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, “Spread Dem Wings,” looks back at this past week of 9/27 – 10/1. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Bill Brady, talk show host/station owner, KFNX, Phoenix; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; and Curtis Sliwa, talk show host (on leave) WABC, New York/GOP NYC mayoral nominee. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; 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; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; 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.
Quick: Just What is Radio? Consultant Jon Quick answers that question in this piece published today in TALKERS magazine. He says, “I remember in Sunday school the minister asked us: ‘What is a church?’ All of us agreed that a church is a building with a bell and a steeple. Pastor Thorson said, ‘No, that is just a shell. A church is really a congregation of people, the spirit and all of the goodness we are taught to believe in.’ I find this analogous to radio.” Read his story here.
14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Wraps Up in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, took place on Wednesday and Thursday (9/29-30) based at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The actual radio row was produced under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts attended the event and discussed issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured here at the event is talk media personality Heidi Harris (left) with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (right).
Todd Schnitt Celebrates 20 Years of ‘The Schnitt Show.’ Twenty years ago today (10/1), “The Schnitt Show” entered syndication from radio pro Todd Schnitt’s home market of Tampa. Compass Media Networks says that as the syndicated show celebrates its 20th anniversary, Schnitt is back at home in Tampa on Beasley Media Group’s WHFS-AM “Money Talk 1010 AM” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and is currently heard in more than 50 markets nationwide. Schnitt is also heard in Tampa as alter ego morning jock personality MJ, host of “MJ in the Morning” on Beasley’s classic hits WRBQ-FM. Schnitt comments, “It’s been a very eventful 20-year ride and never a dull moment. I am proud of my team and feel we’re doing our most compelling programs ever. I am grateful for my special relationship with the Compass team.” Compass Media Networks CEO/founder Peter Kosann adds, “Climbing the mountain is hard. Staying on top is truly an awesome accomplishment. Kudos to Todd and his team. We look forward to a great future together. Congratulations Todd.”
Alex Jones Found Liable in Sandy Hook Suits in Default Judgement. As reported by the Huffington Post, talk media personality and InfoWars founder Alex Jones has been found liable in a rare default judgement after two parents of children who died in the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 – Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa – sued Jones and InfoWars for defamation. In the piece, Sebastian Murdock writes, “In the years since, the parents have dealt with continued harassment from those who followed Jones’ lead and claimed the shooting was faked. They’re not the only ones. In total, nine families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook shooting have leveled lawsuits against Jones and Infowars for the damage he and his outlet caused. Since then, Jones has lost multiple legal battles in his many lawsuits and was ordered to pay nearly $150,000 in legal fees in 2020 for failing to provide discovery documents for the plaintiffs.” The default judgement rulings came after Jones repeatedly refused to hand over documents during the discovery phase of the trial. In the next phase of the case, a jury will decide how much Jones will have to pay the plaintiffs.
Lisa DiMartini Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Allentown. Radio sales pro Lisa DiMartini is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Allentown, Pennsylvania station group that includes news/talk WAEB-AM “Newsradio 790” and WSAN-AM “iHeartPodcast AM 1470,” plus three music brands. iHeartMedia area president Brit Goldstein states, “I could not be more thrilled to have Lisa as a partner in maximizing the untapped potential we see in Allentown and the surrounding areas. Lisa is incredibly focused and driven and will thrive in this role.” DiMartini most recently served the iHeartMedia Allentown cluster as a senior account executive. She says, “I am excited for this new opportunity to lead the Allentown team and focus on growing revenue, increasing market share, and increasing team collaboration. Thank you, iHeartMedia, for this amazing opportunity.”
Bonneville Assumes Operation of KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City; Several Staffers Let Go. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Bonneville International, in a deal with Smith Entertainment Group, is taking over operations of sports talk outlet KZNS-AM/FM “The Zone.” The Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz from Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment in 2020 and although KZNS-AM/FM was owned by Miller as well, the station was sold to Smith in a separate deal. It remains the radio flagship for the NBA club’s games. Bonneville has made some changes to the station and that includes the ouster of station personality and Salt Lake Tribune sports columnist Gordon Monson as well as other radio producers. In a statement, Bonneville president Darrell Brown said, “Bonneville is proud to partner with the Utah Jazz, and we are grateful for the trust the Jazz have placed in us with their radio assets. Our two companies are uniquely aligned, sharing deep roots in Utah and a focus on serving local audiences with a commitment to high quality content and operations.”
PodcastOne Announces Winner of ‘Self Made Podcast Edition’ Contest. The winner of this year’s first-ever “Self Made Podcast Edition” audio competition from PodcastOne is “Knock Knock,” created and hosted by Jason B. Jones. The competition was hosted on PodcastOne’s independent podcasting platform LaunchpadOne. In addition to being crowned the inaugural winner, Jones is awarded a PodcastOne podcasting contract and a total prize package worth over $100,000 including promotion across PodcastOne’s network. “Knock Knock” featuries real stories of families and communities that have lived through the horror of an unsolved murder. Season 1 tells the story of host Jones’ own step-grandmother, Betty Jones, who was murdered alongside her friend Kathryn Crigler on Labor Day in 1990 after answering a knock on the door at Crigler’s Starkville, Mississippi home. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “We had an overwhelming response to the competition and the content for the submissions ranged from true crime and sports to pop culture and gossip. The quality and excitement around the ‘Self Made Podcast Edition’ competition exemplifies that independent podcasting is thriving. We are thrilled to be able to offer up an opportunity to become part of the PodcastOne network and plan to continue enabling up and coming podcasters to succeed through our LaunchpadOne platform. A very special thank you to our judges who took the time to listen to each podcast and tell us what they think. We can’t wait for ‘Self Made Podcast 2nd Edition.’”
Tavis Smiley’s KBLA-AM, Los Angeles Announces New Weekend Programming. Los Angeles talk radio outlet KBLA-AM – launched this summer by media personality and entrepreneur Tavis Smiley – adds some new shows to its weekend program schedule. “Café Mocha,” hosted by Los Angeles hip hop icon YoYo, comedienne and talk show host Loni Love, and voice actress Angelique Perrin airs Saturdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. “Areva Martin Out Loud,” hosted by civil rights attorney Areva Martin airs from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and follows “This Is Not a Drill,” hosted by BLM/LA co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah.
COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 27 – October 1. COVID-19 infection rates, vaccines, booster shots, masks, mandates & politics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Joe Biden budget and infrastructure bill debate, followed by the debt ceiling-government shutdown battle in congress tied with the larger issue of the U.S. economy at #3. 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.
Pensacola News/Talk Outlet NewsRadio 92.3/ AM1620 WNRP Seeks Program Director. Pensacola, Florida news/talk outlet WNRP “NewsRadio 92.3/AM1620” has an immediate opening for a program director. ADX Communications says, “Enjoy life working in a beach paradise on the pristine Gulf Coast of Florida’s NW panhandle. Lead our award-winning, full-service news/talker “NewsRadio 92.3/ AM1620” WNRP in Pensacola, Florida to the next level. We have an immediate opening for a forward-thinking program director. We’ve won seven Murrow Awards, nine Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists awards, and this year we’re nominated for a Marconi. We’re ready to take our experienced talk and news pros to the next level and grow our presence on-air, promotionally and on our social media platforms. News-based talk hosting/producing, creative production and technical trouble shooting are plusses. Must be organized, detail-oriented and with good staff communication skills. Our locally owned, independent owners are committed to live, local news and talk programming, and community-oriented promotions. The ADX Communications group also includes CatCountry98.7, 1330 ESPN Pensacola and Playlist 94.5. 401k/health/dental/vision plans available. Send audio or audio link with resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. EOE.
TALKERS 2021 Taking Place Today. The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, is taking place today at between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event is a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV will be speaking during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. CHECK OUT THE AGENDA here. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – to be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra is equipped to provide. The convention will boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” The conference has been limited to a smaller number of attendees and exhibitors than usual and only open to members of the working media and closely associated industries. For the sake of safety, all attendees will be required to comply with COVID-19 regulations in effect at the time of the actual conference regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks, and providing proof of vaccination and/or testing, etc.
WBZ, Boston Begins Celebration of 100 Years of Service. Boston’s all-news WBZ-AM today (6/11) begins a 100-day celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of its first day of broadcasting on September 19, 1921. The iHeartMedia station “celebrates 100 years of being a legendary cornerstone of the Boston media landscape,” broadcasting the latest headlines and news coverage on 1030 AM. The station will celebrate on-air and online with short stories and photos of memorable moments in WBZ’s rich history. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “For a station to broadcast for 100 years is nothing short of amazing. Listeners and advertisers consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued ratings and revenue success. People lean into objective news sources to remain informed and none has been more dependable than WBZ NewsRadio.” iHeartMedia Boston vice president of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez adds, “WBZ NewsRadio is defined by our strong, unmistakable presence in the communities we serve. As the media landscape continues to evolve, our reach has only increased as WBZ listeners have adopted streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.”
Elston Howard Butler Named to Lead Talk KBLA, Los Angeles. The new talk radio station being launched on KBLA-AM, Los Angeles by Tavis Smiley will debut on June 19, a.k.a. Juneteenth. Smiley Audio Media announces that it has hired Elston Howard Butler to serve as president and general manager of the station as well as president and CEO of Smiley Audio Media. Smiley says the launch of the station will give Los Angeles its “first and only ‘Unapologetically Progressive’ talk radio station for the African-American listening audience.” Butler most recently served as market manager for Taxi Productions’ urban contemporary KJLH-FM, Los Angeles “Radio Free 102.3.” Butler says, “I’m having a great run, but I’m not tired yet. The eyes of the future are looking back at us, hoping and praying that we get it right this time. I have been in and around LA my entire life, and now more than ever in this moment of racial reckoning for America, I feel a deep responsibility to help put our city on the right track.” He adds, “For me, that starts with helping to build a new talk radio station that will sound like our city and reflect the way it looks. KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ is a talk radio station that will give everyday people a voice, and advance conversations that matter. I am grateful to Tavis Smiley for his vision and stewardship of this historic Black-owned and operated media venture. The city is ready, our talented team is ready, I am ready.”
iHeartMedia Names Barb Neren Director of Marketing and Partnerships. In the Twin Cities market, iHeartMedia promotes Barb Neren from director of sponsorships and events to director of marketing and partnerships. In this role, Neren will be responsible for overseeing the market’s marketing, promotions, events and partnership efforts. She will report to market president Greg Alexander. He says, “I am excited to see Barb promoted into this expanded role. Her industry knowledge, both on the promotions and programming side of the business, will serve her well as she leads our marketing and partnership efforts.” The company says Neren’s leadership while events were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic showcased her ingenuity. She was able to create events to connect listeners with their favorite on-air personalities and artists whether that was via Facebook Live or virtual concerts like KDWB’s Star Party. Neren can also be heard Fridays on “KFAN 100.3” and weekends on Cities 97.1. Neren comments, “I am honored to lead this team. While we have loved finding new and creative ways to bring our listeners, advertisers and artists together virtually, we are looking forward to our events being live and in person once again.”
Audacy’s Cadence13 and American Public Media Enter Multi-Year Partnership. This new deal between Cadence13 and the podcast arm of American Public Media makes Cadence13 the exclusive podcast sales representative for APM. Additionally, the organizations will develop future on-demand programming initiatives, co-productions, and collaborative new revenue opportunities. APM podcast division general manager Lily Kim says, “Our organizations share a complementary vision for premium audio storytelling and we are delighted to form a partnership with an established powerhouse like Cadence13 that will help us expand our collective reach and pursue new ways to connect directly with our fans. A cornerstone of public media is the commitment to serve our listeners by providing meaningful content that enriches, informs and builds community. This partnership will further enhance our ability to deliver on that mission.” Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran adds, “Cadence13’s objective is to align with the best. Partnering with APM, one of the most premium networks in the industry, brings together two of the most accomplished podcast companies for unmatched opportunities for scale and development. We are so proud to be joining forces with the entire team at APM and look forward to taking this to market together.”
Cumulus Media Partners with Adomni to Rep Uber OOH. This agreement between Cumulus Media and programmatic advertising platform Adomni (with 460,000 out of home digital screens nationally) makes Cumulus the exclusive sales partner to local businesses for the Uber OOH powered by Adomni cartop advertising network in markets where Cumulus operates radio stations. Uber OOH is the official Uber digital out-of-home national advertising network which, in partnership with Adomni, features two-sided internet-connected, video-enabled screens on the tops of Uber vehicles. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “Cumulus Media is delighted by its selection as Adomni’s exclusive Uber OOH local sales partner. Not only does this product give advertisers a unique and creative new way to connect with consumers, but it is also a terrific addition to the portfolio of radio, streaming, podcasting and other digital marketing solutions we already offer local businesses to meet their marketing needs.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Way Media board of directors and president/CEO John Scaggs announces he is stepping down from his post, effective immediately. Scaggs says, “Leading through the pandemic is the hardest thing many of us have done. The board recognized this and recommended a season of rest for me, to which I’ve agreed. My wife Cathy and I plan to relax and catch our breath before finding another great Kingdom role to serve in.” Scaggs spent 18 years on the Christian network’s board prior to being named to president/CEO in 2017. Way Media COO Tim Dukes has been appointed interim president while the board prepares for a national search to select a permanent replacement…..Radio One Charlotte regional vice president Marsha Landess announces that news/talk WBT-AM/FM will partner with the Charlotte Knights on this year’s Fourth of July Skyshow. The annual July 4th holiday event has been celebrated every year since 1976 and is a staple event in the Charlotte community. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic…..ABC News Radio is providing live anchored coverage of next week’s Joe Biden–Vladimir Putin summit (6/15-16), with correspondent Karen Travers reporting live from Geneva, Switzerland. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from New York and be joined by ABC News contributors and experts on Russia and cybersecurity. Hourly status reports will be offered throughout the morning and as news warrants. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will provide coverage of the summit, featuring the latest updates from ABC News’ reporters and analysts.
COVID-19 Vaccines, Origins, Stats & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 7-11. The issues of vaccine hesitancy, the coronavirus origins, infection rates and politics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between voting legislation and the status of the senate filibuster, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack at #3. 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.
New York City Radio Sales Opportunity. The New York City radio stations owned and operated by Salem Media Group announce a sales opportunity. The company says, “NYC is REOPENING and sales are starting to boom – the hottest stations around belong to Salem Media Group’s NY cluster, come join us! If you were born to sell and want a great career with benefits and financial security, write directly to: Jerry Crowley, VP/GM at: Jcrowley@nycradio.com.