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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “2022 ½,” is a special edition of the program that looks back at the first six months of 2022. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/podcaster, MDEdge Psychcast; Daliah Wachs, M.D., physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder Samicide.com. 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; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; 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 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.
TALKERS 2022 Convention Takes Place Today at Hofstra University. The 25th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest and most important convention, TALKERS 2022, is taking place today on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio. Its speaker lineup and attendees comprise a “who’s who” of the talk media industry and its agenda will boldly address the most compelling industry issues of the modern era. For video coverage of the convention, be sure to check in with TALKERS magazine every day in the coming weeks.
Stephan’s Show Rebrands, Moves to USA Radio Networks. In addition to jettisoning the title of his program from “The DJV Show” to its original “Good Day” moniker, Doug Stephan will segue his program to the USA Radio Network. Officially re-launching next Monday (6/13), “Good Day” with Stephan and co-host Jai Kershner will merge with USA’s “Daybreak.” The show Stephan launched in 1988 will continue to air in the morning and remains designed to time-shift to other dayparts. Affiliation will be handled by USA Radio Network, with that web’s president Chip Miller stating, “I’m excited to welcome Doug and ‘Good Day’ to the USA Radio Network family. Doug is an iconic fixture in morning radio throughout the country and we look forward to working with [him] and the ‘Good Day’ team. The lifestyle, non-political content ‘Good Day’ offers is something we feel more stations will welcome during a time when there’s so much going on in the world and in our society. Doug and ‘Good Day’ will serve as the cornerstone for an exciting growth plan for the network. This is our first programming change and show addition since acquiring the network in December 2021.” Stephan comments, “We’ve been hearing from some of our more than 300 affiliates of their frustration with how negative many news/talk programs have become. This move enables us to continue to present the news you need to know, along with our opinions, in addition to the positives that we see every day.” There will be no change in the format clock; technical; traffic; or sales partners. Stephan is the longest running syndicated host of a daily talk show and appears at #29 on TALKERS’ 2022 “Heavy Hundred.”
Guthrie Named iHM Florida Division President. Former six-year Cox Media Group president/chief executive officer Kim Guthrie is set to become iHeartMedia’s Florida division president. In that position, she will succeed Linda Byrd, who retires next month (7/15). Guthrie will report directly to iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins, who states, “At iHeart, we pride ourselves on being a ‘talent first’ company; this decision reflects that commitment. It’s rewarding to find someone who both understands what our listeners need and how to operate in a multi-platform environment. Kim checks every box and more. We’re thrilled she chose to bring her talents to iHeart. Her CEO experience at Cox Media Group makes her uniquely-qualified for this position.” Guthrie adds, “I am very excited to announce my ‘un-retirement.’ iHeart has become a true employment destination and I’m thrilled to be part of America’s #1 audio company. iHeart’s leadership has built a culture of respect, transparency and innovation. The entire team has made me feel like I can make a difference here.” Guthrie joined Cox Media Group in 1998 as vice president/general manager for its Long Island radio station group and later became executive vice president of CMG’s national ad platforms. As Cox Media Group’s CEO, she had complete oversight of the company, including nearly 100 broadcast radio and television stations; dozens of digital assets; and newspapers. She started her career as a television news reporter and anchor for several ABC affiliates. Guthrie was named “Woman of Distinction” by the March of Dimes and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In addition, she won the “Trailblazer Award” from Mentoring And Inspiring Women In Radio and the “Women Who Lead” honor from the Alliance For Women In Media.
Radio Mercury Awards Winners Announced. The 31st annual such event was held last night (Thursday, 6/9) in-person at New York’s Sony Hall, as well as virtually. This year’s “Best of Show” award was presented to FCB Chicago for its “Go RVing” radio commercial. Other winners included: Mockingbird, iHeartRadio App, The Studio at iHeartMedia (“Creative Radio Promotional Spot or Campaign by a Radio Station or Group”); Great American Settlers, Spreaker.com, The Studio at iHeartMedia tied with Kiddie Pool, The Kartrite Resort and Indoor Water Park, The Studio at iHeartMedia (“Creative Radio Commercial by a Radio Station or Group”); Tick Suck, Steve’s Pest Control, Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group; Dog Years, Motel 6, Barkley (Creative Radio Commercial by an Agency, Production Company, Or Advertiser); and Moolah, Georgia Lottery, BBDO Atlanta. Radio Mercury Awards chief judge/Campbell Ewald executive creative director Ale Ortiz comments, “It’s been an honor to be at this year’s Radio Mercury Awards and to award the incredible lineup of winners. The final round jury and I were very impressed by the winners’ ability to not only entertain listeners, but tell stories through radio and audio.” According to Radio Advertising Bureau president and chief executive officer/Radio Creative Fund chair Erica Farber, “This year’s awards once again proved the power of sound and demonstrated the strength of radio and audio in conveying a brand’s message. This was an incredible night for radio. It was so great to celebrate with everyone both in person and online.” Presenters from this year’s final round jury and advisory council included: freelance creative consultant Larissa Kirschner-Chaney; Josh Grossberg (McCann Health); Nicky Lorenzo (Taylor Global); Ciro Sarmiento (Weber Shandwick); and Joyce King Thomas (King Thomas). Event sponsors of this year’s event were Audacy and iHeartMedia. Dedicated sponsors included CBS News Radio, Hubbard Broadcasting and World Wide Wadio. General sponsors were Beasley Media Group; Cumulus Media/Westwood One; Katz Media Group; Salem Media Group; Skyview Networks; Sound and Fury; and WideOrbit, along with Friends of the Mercuries sponsors Forcht Broadcasting; Neuhoff Media; Nielsen; Triton Digital; and vCreative. For the complete list of winners and to listen to their work, go to www.RadioMercuryAwards.com. Shown in the photo are (left to right): Ale Ortiz; FCB Chicago’s Justin Enderstein and Andrés Ordóñez; and Erica Farber.
WTOP Partners With Greater DC-Maryland’s National MS Chapter. Through a series of on-air and online promotions, Hubbard Radio Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP will raise awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Announcements will highlight various MS events in the community in an effort to increase registrations – and ultimately – donations. WTOP general manager Joel Oxley states, “We wanted to do everything we could to help amplify the critical mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Our hope is that, through this partnership, we can help those in their journey with MS and work towards a world free of this devastating disease.” National MS Society Greater DC-Maryland Chapter president Chartese Berry remarks, “We are sincerely grateful [to] WTOP and their amazing partnership in joining our quest towards a world free of MS. Their strong reach in the region will help immensely in raising much needed awareness and funds to support the nearly one million people in the United States living with MS.” WTOP senior sports director Dave Johnson and WTOP anchor/reporter Mike Murillo were diagnosed with MS in 2019 and 2016, respectively. The two will contribute to the campaign by sharing their stories about how MS has effected them and their families. Johnson declares, “MS: Look out we are coming after you. We have the community and we have the support. My mom lost her battle to MS in 1979, and now with my WTOP family and the MS Society we are going to finish the fight.” Murillo adds, “I am so thankful to have benefited from new treatments for MS, but there is so much still to do including finding ways to repair the damage the disease can cause. With your help, I truly believe there will soon come a day when we can say there’s a cure for MS.” WTOP will highlight volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
TALKERS News Notes. Veteran NPR reporter/political correspondent Juana Summers is named one of the rotating co-hosts for the network’s flagship afternoon news program, “All Things Considered.” Summers has been covering politics, race, and justice for the network. She joins Alisa Chang, Mary Louise Kelly, and Ari Shapiro. Summers succeeds Audie Cornish, who departed NPR in January for CNN. According to VP/news programming Sarah Gilbert, “Propelled by her authoritative reporting expertise, versatile journalistic talent, and drive to explore and interrogate the most challenging questions of the moment, Juana emerged as the top candidate.” Summers states, “In my work as a political correspondent, I spend a lot of time talking with young people about the country and the world that they are inheriting. It’s made me think about the future of our audience and the opportunities that we have to grow. I’m excited to play a role in introducing a new, diverse generation of listeners to the blend of powerful storytelling, accountability journalism and culturally relevant conversations that can only [be found] on NPR.” Summers – who previously worked at Politico, CNN, Mashable and The Associated Press – begins her new duties in just over two weeks (6/27) … Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge guested this past Sunday (6/5) on Multicultural Broadcasting-owned KBLA “Talk 1580,” Los Angeles’ “A More Perfect Union.” The HUD secretary and KBLA’s chief national political analyst, Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, discussed the city’s homelessness problem; the need for affordable housing; and creative ways for first-time buyers to purchase a home and down payment assistance. Fudge commented that HUD is committed to equity by eliminating redlining of “certain kinds of neighborhoods.” … Effective next Monday (6/13), Randy Cable commences as director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Fort Myers/Naples cluster, which includes sports talk WBCN “ESPN Southwest Florida.” Vice president/market manager AJ Lurie comments, “The more people I asked about Randy, the more excited I got about having him on our team. I think he will be a perfect complement to our brands, products, and family here in Southwest Florida.” Spring Valley, New York native Cable notes, “I am thrilled to join the Beasley family and look forward to working with the incredible team in Fort Myers. I am passionate about helping our team help local businesses thrive and prosper with great ideas and our ability to develop/execute powerful fully-integrated radio and digital campaigns.” Cable formerly was integrated sales manager for Cox Media Group’s Miami and Jacksonville stations, and spent eleven years as director of sales for Audacy Greenville (South Carolina) … The Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association (CAPBA) recognizes Your Public Radio-owned public radio news/talk WYPR, Baltimore with five (5) first-place awards and seven (7) second-place awards for work done in 2021. Its first-place citations are in “Outstanding News Series”; “Outstanding Public Affairs”; “Outstanding Specialty Reporting”; “Outstanding Documentary/In-Depth Reporting”; and “Outstanding Serious Feature.” The CAPBA awards ceremony was held last Saturday (6/4) in Ocean City, Maryland. … In addition to hosting afternoon drive on iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO “News Radio 1040,” Simon Conway has been doing morning drive on similarly-formatted Orlando sibling WFLA “News Radio” and today adds a national assignment, filling in for Joe Pagliarulo. Conway’s PM drive program is simulcast on iHM’s WMT-AM “News Radio AM 600,” Cedar Rapids and WOC “News Talk 1420,” Davenport (Iowa). … Among the Delta Radio Greenville, Mississippi properties McConnell “Man@Large Adams will oversee as the newly-appointed operations director is WNIX “News Talk.” Adams most recently was director of content for Townsquare Media Lansing (Michigan).
Primaries and Trump & the GOP Top News/Talk Stories This Week. This week’s primary races – as well as the recall election of San Francisco’s progressive district attorney – combined as the top news/talk story for the week of June 6 – 10. At #2 this week was the U.S. economy, including the high price of gasoline and food, plus the concerns about a recession, followed by the January 6 Committee hearings at #3. The Talkers Ten 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.
The Road Ahead. With TALKERS 2022 taking place today (Friday, 6/10) on the campus of Hofstra University, this marks our publication’s biggest day on the calendar. We’re right back at it again though next week, as TALKERS vice president/executive editor Kevin Casey leads team coverage of TALKERS 2022 highlights; in addition, we will post regular Monday morning memos from Holland Cooke and Steve Lapa. Later in the week, editor/publisher Michael Harrison reveals his latest guest on “The Michael Harrison Podcast,” while managing editor Mike Kinosian begins his four-part series on “Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 survey period.
Bingham Promoted at Salem Media Group. Rising from his vice president of mobile and digital acquisitions position to vice president of operations and business development at Salem Web Network is David Bingham. In this new role with Salem Media Group, Bingham will oversee operations of Salem Web Network and continue to drive business development. Bingham has been with Salem for ten years, initially as director of mobile before being promoted to vice president of mobile and digital acquisitions in 2017. Salem Web Network EVP Rick Killingsworth says, “Since joining us in 2012, David Bingham has been exceptional at spearheading numerous mobile app acquisitions and brand growth initiatives that have expanded Salem’s presence in the mobile computing space. David has proven himself to be a passionate leader and negotiations professional who has a legacy of coaching high performing teams and generating results for the business and our clients.” Bingham comments, “It is a time like no other in our company to work on exciting new initiatives. There are so many opportunities in video, subscription services, podcasting, as well as the continued tradition of outstanding content, to support our users in their daily walk. I am so fortunate to get to work with a high-level group of dedicated individuals. The future is very bright for Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.”
Tavis Smiley and KBLA, Los Angeles to Mark Anniversary of Rodney King Verdict with Live Remote Broadcast. Station owner and air personality Tavis Smiley – with co-host Dominique DiPrima – will host a live remote broadcast on April 29 to remember the 30th anniversary of the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King. The KBLA, Los Angeles broadcast will take place at the intersection of Florence and Normandie which is considered “ground zero” of the civil unrest that followed. Smiley says, “Historic anniversaries, to my mind, are only worth pausing to commemorate if our reflections are instructive, informative and empowering for how to make America a nation as good as its promise.” KBLA says that Smiley and DiPrima will be joined by family members of King, community organizers, faith leaders, elected officials and everyday people to discuss, dissect and deliberate on the factors that led to a boiling point of civil disturbance, and if the city has healed from it. DiPrima adds, “We want to take this opportunity to amplify the voices of the African American community in this moment of solemn reflection and continue the quest for accountability.”
TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday at 7:00 pm ET, Townsquare Media’s “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW-FM) is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents navigate life in the Garden State. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott will lead a panel of economists, business leaders, policy experts, and business owners to explore how the workplace has changed since the start of the pandemic, and how it will function moving forward. Scott says, “Both the physical workplace and the dynamic between employer and employee has changed. There are lessons to be learned from both sides.” The program’s on-air panel will feature Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Peter Chen, senior policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective; and Maria Heidkamp, director of program development and a senior researcher at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University…..“The Lisa Wexler Show,” heard daily from 10:00 am to 12:000 noon on Connoisseur Media’s WICC-AM/W297CP, Bridgeport, Connecticut, wins five awards from the Connecticut Press Club’s 2021 Communications Contest. The program won First Place for Best Newscast: Radio; Second Place for Talk Show; and three Third Place awards for On the Scene Reporting, Radio & Television Interview, and Electronic Newsletter. Lisa Wexler comments, “I am thrilled that our show was honored by my colleagues at the Connecticut Press Club on a variety of topics. When Congressman Jim Himes came on our show the morning after he experienced what happened at the Capitol on January 6th, I felt that history was being made in real time. When callers related their stories of near-drowning incidents, we shared the importance of water safety. I thank the judges at the Connecticut Press Club for recognizing the importance of storytelling in the talk radio format.”…..Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc., announce that the 14th annual Rising Through the Ranks will be held in 2022 as a hybrid event. The program will begin with two virtual sessions taking place on July 26 and August 2, prior to participants meeting in person August 9-11 in Nashville. As in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. The scholarships will cover the cost of the professional development course, which is geared to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers in broadcast radio. BMI VP, industry relations Dan Spears says, “BMI continues to be proud supporters of Rising Through the Ranks and the work our partners at the RAB and MIW do to support rising female executives in the radio industry. The scholarships provided by BMI give these talented women invaluable training from some of the top executives in the business. We’re so thrilled to have everyone back together again in Nashville this year and look forward to a successful event.” Find out more about Rising Through the Ranks here.
Washington, DC News Personality Wendy Rieger Dies at 65. Longtime WRC-TV, Washington “News4” anchor and reporter Wendy Rieger died on Saturday (4/16) after a long battle with brain cancer. Rieger, who had recently retired from News4 after 20 years as anchor of the 5:00 pm news, also worked in radio earlier in her career, serving at both public radio WAMU-FM and all-news WTOP in Washington. See News4’s video montage of Rieger’s career here.
Russia-Ukraine War, Mask Ruling/COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Extreme Weather/Climate Change, School Curriculum Battles, Elon Musk vs Twitter, and Weekend Shootings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18). Russia’s intensifying attacks on Ukraine, NATO’s response, and the global economic effects of the war; a U.S. judge rules the airline mask mandate is illegal, keeping an eye on the BA.2 variant, and lockdowns in Shanghai and Hong Kong; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; recent extreme weather events in U.S. and the debate over anthropogenic climate change; policies in several states designed to prevent discussion about non-traditional gender & family situations and critical race theory; Elon Musk’s continuing attempt to take Twitter private; and the weekend’s spate of shootings were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” The seventh 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 features the panel discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; introduced by Dick Morris, talk show host, Newsmax TV/WABC, New York; and sponsored by the Michael Berry Show, the panel features (in alphabetical order): Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Grace Curley, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta/Cox Media Group; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.
Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The stars of Premiere Networks’ recently launched Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The program serves as the official Premiere Networks replacement for the historic 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Rush Limbaugh Show. It launched on June 21, 2021 on some 400-plus affiliates in all 50 states making it the largest rollout of a syndicated news/talk show in modern talk radio history. Travis has a background in leading edge sports talk commentary developed on both the Internet and terrestrial radio. Sexton has a background in political news/talk radio and served a number of years as a counter-terrorism expert for the CIA and the NYPD. They discuss their brand of conservative broadcasting and the strategy steering their course to effectively serve the existing fans and affiliates of Rush Limbaugh while building upon that base to grow the show going forward. Don’t miss this timely, fascinating conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.
Tavis Smiley’s KBLA, Los Angeles Names Otis Warren VP of Sales. The new Los Angeles talk station launched by Tavis Smiley’s Smiley Audio Media – KBLA “Talk 1580” announces radio executive and sales pro Otis Warren is named vice president of sales. The company says that it is “building a sales team that is dynamic in understanding the changing market demographic and the economic power of its targeted audience,” and adds that during his career, “Warren has built a successful track record in client development and expanding station growth and marketability.” During his career, Warren has served as the national sales manager for American General Media, overseeing 12 stations in two markets – Bakersfield and Albuquerque. He began his radio career with Buckley Broadcasting and served with the company for more than 16 years, rising to VP of sales. Warren says, “I’m a radio guy and I am looking forward to being a part of the KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ family. I respect what Tavis is trying to accomplish with KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ as a Black-owned and operated radio station for the sophisticated African American listening audience. I think it is something that is long overdue.”
Stitcher’s 2021 Podcast Report Reveals Changes in Growing Media Platform. Based on data from its listener base, Stitcher unveils its second annual Stitcher Podcasting Report that it calls “a comprehensive look at who and where these listeners are, behavioral patterns, trends shaping the medium and the factors contributing to its growth.” Chief marketing officer Amy Fitzgibbons says, “Podcasting is a powerful medium that has not only prevailed, but thrived, in the midst of a global pandemic, as people sought a sense of connection during periods of isolation.” Some of the findings of the study: 1) Pre-pandemic, top listening hours aligned with peak commuting times, which have been replaced by a shift to lunchtime/early afternoon (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); 2) Similarly, household chores and gardening have replaced commuting as the primary activity that listeners do while listening to podcasts; 3) Based on user “favorite” activity, younger generations gravitated to comedy and talk content (age 13-34), while news and politics did better with older generations (age 35+); 4) Median monthly hours per listener per month rose from 7.5 in 2019 to nearly 8 in 2020; 5) Pandemic and COVID-19 searches were the top most searched terms for the year (2020), with listeners turning to podcasts for the latest on major global events; 6) “NFL” was the second highest cultural search term in 2020 – despite a shortened season and inability to attend games, fans still wanted to get involved and turned to podcasting to do so; 7) Some states are more dedicated: Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska all rank higher in listening hours than they do in the total number of listeners; and 8) Habits differ by gender: Men have a slight edge in the average number of shows listened to and hours listened per week, whereas women continue to have more favorites. Women are also more likely to listen to podcasts for entertainment, while men tend to seek news/information. See more about the study here. Stitcher was acquired by SiriusXM in July 0f 2020.
Jim Bohannon Recognized as 2020 Inductee into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The 2020 induction ceremony for the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame didn’t take place due to the pandemic, so the 2020 inductees will be honored as part of this year’s ceremony on August 7 at the Branson Hilton Convention Center in Branson, Missouri. The induction ceremony is part of the 2021 Awards Banquet at the MBA’s annual convention. Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be among those honored as a 2020 inductee.
Longtime WVMT, Burlington Host Ernie Farrar Dies at 78. Burlington, Vermont broadcasting legend Ernie Farrar passed away recently at age 78. Farrar retired from Sisson Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT-AM/W242BK in 2018 after more than 50 years with the station. WCAX-TV reports that Farrar was inducted into both the Vermont Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. Farrar’s son, Tony Farrar, tells WCAX News,“All of the practical jokes and laughter will be greatly missed! All I can say is that I hope heaven is ready for one heck of a show!”
TALKERS News Notes. Actress and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis and iHeartMedia collaborate to produce a new weekly iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Good Friend.” Premiering July 15, the podcast addresses the good, the bad and the ugly of friendships through both intimate and candid unscripted conversations. Throughout the 15-episode season, Curtis has unscripted, relatable conversations with celebrity friends and public figures such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts, Michelle Yeoh and Maria Shriver, among others, about conflict resolution, making new friends and keeping friendships alive during difficult times like the pandemic. On the premiere episode of “Good Friend,” Curtis sits down with her new friend Lena Dunham…..Full-service sound agency TM Studios inks a deal with Greau Creative to serve as its agency of record to handle all national creative design, event production, communications, and branding. Greau, the marketing company led by former Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey, will lead creative and branding efforts to further expand TM’s presence across all platforms including the launch of several new products in the coming weeks. TM Studios co-owner Dave Bethell says, “After looking at numerous companies to partner with, we are excited to be working with Greau. We’ve been fans of Jay Bailey’s work for some time now. He and his team are smart, passionate, understand our clients’ needs and daily challenges, and that badass attitude will help us get the message to our clients, partners and potential future clients.”
COVID-19 Delta Variant, Trump Social Media Lawsuits, House January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Economy/Labor Shortage, Haitian President Assassinated, Florida Condo Demolition, Tucker Carlson NSA Claims, and Tokyo Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; former President Donald Trump files suits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube alleging violation of his First Amendment rights; the House panel to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; criticism of the teaching of critical race theory in U.S. schools; the booming U.S. economy and employers’ staffing challenges; the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; the recovery efforts at the Surfside condo in Florida; Tucker Carlson’s claim that the NSA hacked his email account and distributed some to reporters; and the Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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, “Bridges, Roads and Condos,” looks back at this past week of June 21-25, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; 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; 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.
WABC, New York Host and Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Suspended from Practicing Law in New York. The New York State Appellate Division, First Department suspended the law license of former NYC mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York talk host Rudy Giuliani. The court ruled that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” It added that Giuliani’s conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.” The fate of Giuliani’s New York law license hangs in the balance as the court added, “We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings.”
Audacy Unveils Sports Podcast Studio Building 2400Sports. The new podcast studio for production of Audacy sports podcasts is being launched. 2400Sports houses Audacy Sports’ digital audio content, including both new and existing original podcasts. It is the latest addition to Audacy’s podcast portfolio, which contains premium podcast companies Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as the recently acquired Podcorn. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “We’re excited to launch a third major studio with a goal of building 2400Sports into the home of the country’s best sports podcasts. We look forward to developing elite partnerships, including our just-announced deal with MLB, to create truly special, riveting sports content.” In the new partnership with MLB, Audacy and the league will collaborate on the production and distribution of official podcast programming for the league and its clubs. The studio will launch with a new flagship podcast series in development that revisits baseball’s most dramatic and thrilling postseason campaigns. The first installment, coming this fall, will take a deep dive into the Chicago Cubs’ historic march to the 2016 World Series championship. Audacy will work with all 30 clubs to develop new podcast content. Also concurrent with the studio launch, Audacy announces a development deal with award-winning podcast producer Jody Avirgan’s Roulette Productions. Over the coming months, Avirgan will contribute to 2400Sports’ slate of programming by developing and creating new original shows across a range of sports and genres. From 2016-2020, Jody Avirgan was the executive producer and host of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts.
KBLA, Los Angeles Adds Black Information Network News. The new talk station launched by Tavis Smiley – KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” – is adding BIN: Black Information Network’s national news service to its programming, according to Premiere Networks. KBLA will feature Black Information Network News’ :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists. Premiere says the news service is available on more than 40 stations nationwide and is “the first and only 24/7 comprehensive national audio Black News service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” KBLA president and COO Elston Butler says, “We’re excited to partner with Black Information Network News. We knew it would deliver the trusted news and information that is valuable to our listeners. Other news sources offered KBLA a nice piece of the news pie, but with BIN, we felt we would receive the whole recipe that our listeners deserve.”
Cumulus Media Completes $175 Million Debt Paydown. The company completes a multi-step procedure it began in May of this year to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Here’s how it happened: On May 17, Cumulus Media completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. On May 25, it paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to a mandatory prepayment obligation arising from the company’s previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020. Pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, on May 26, 2021, the company launched a tender offer to repurchase approximately $26 million of the Notes at par, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. As of the expiration of the Tender Offer, approximately $3 million of Notes were validly tendered, accepted for payment and subsequently cancelled. Giving effect to the impact of the Tender Offer, approximately $450 million principal amount of Notes remains outstanding. Finally, on June 24, Cumulus submitted an irrevocable paydown notice to the administrative agent of the Term Loan to effectuate a required paydown of $23 million, which represents the remainder of the initial amount of the Tender Offer that was not validly tendered prior to the expiration date. Cumulus EVP and CFO Francisco J. Lopez-Balboa says, “As the improvement in economic and public health conditions continues to drive momentum in business trends, we felt it appropriate to accelerate several debt repayments in order to expedite our balance sheet de-levering, reduce interest expense, and increase our free cash flow generation. We believe this better leverage and free cash flow profile, more than $200 million of available liquidity and solid rebound trajectory are significantly enhancing our financial flexibility. Given our strong competitive position, proven execution track record, and numerous revenue growth drivers, we are confident in our multiple pathways to grow shareholder value.”
The Score’s Danny Parkins Leads Fundraising of More Than $650,000 for Food Bank. The Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project was the beneficiary of WSCR, Chicago’s “What About Chicago Radiothon.” The Audacy sports talker helped raise more than $650,000 for the charity launched by former Chicago Bear Sam Acho and its mission to erase a food desert and build a permanent facility that can fully service the community and those in need. 670 The Score brand manager Mitch Rosen says, “What a tremendous 24 hours. ‘The Score’ asked and the audience delivered for Austin Harvest to build a permanent food mart. I can’t thank our dedicated listeners, our score team, Danny Parkins who led all of us, and Sam Acho enough. We’re so proud to help support a great cause. Thank you, Chicago.” Parkins adds, “That’s the Chicago that I know and love. We saw a problem and helped to solve. So, when people ask, ‘What about Chicago?’ I want people to tell them the story of Austin Harvest, Sam Acho and ‘670 The Score.’ Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us erase a food desert and fund the construction of a permanent facility for Austin Harvest.” Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids.
‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Raises $27,000-plus for Boston Children’s Hospital. The Beasley Media Group sports talk station raised more than $27,000 to benefit the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (P.A.C.T.) Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital via the 10th Annual Who’s Your Caddy? Classic charity golf tournament. WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive personality Tony Massarotti created the original event in memory of his nephew who was cared for by the P.A.C.T. Unit. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Massarotti, Chris L. and Erika O. from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and “The Sports Hub Golf Club” host Hardy.
Pompeo Speaks at National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above is former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) with Salem Radio Network VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup (right) at the annual National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas. Pompeo warned the 3,500 attendees of the dangers posed by teaching Critical Race Theory in schools and applauded Christian broadcasters for “helping protect religious freedom and traditional American values in our nation.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is hinting at a return to the talk radio business after taking a buyout from the paper that’s been acquired by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and launching his own media platform johnkassnews.com. He currently is hosting a podcast called “The Chicago Way with John Kass” on WGN-AM’s digital platform. In the past, he hosted a talk show on WLS-AM, first with co-host Jake Hartford, then with Lauren Cohn. Kass tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I’m in meetings now with various broadcast entities to continue talking to people in Chicago. I think they might want to hear what I have to say.”…..Audacy announces that Mike Hoss is the new play-by-play announcer for New Orleans Saints game day broadcasts on news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Hoss will work with color analyst and Saints all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in the booth. Audacy New Orleans SVP and market manager Kevin Cassidy says, “When we started our search for the new ‘Voice of the Saints,’ the goal was not only professional play-by-play, but also someone with a deep connection to the team, the Saints amazing fan base and our community. Mike checks all the boxes. His extensive experience covering the team both on and off the field has allowed him to paint a front-row picture for fans over the course of his career, and we trust his knowledge will enhance our coverage on game days.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new station KTLR, Oklahoma City to its roster of affiliates…..Colorado Springs-based Way Media announces the addition of Steven Thompson as vice president of technology. Thompson was most recently VP of technology for Hope Media Group and KSBJ, Houston. WayFM VP of broadcast operations Jim Marshall comments, “The addition of Steven to the WayFM roster puts us in a position to further solidify our operations. He played a key role in KSBJ’s expansion in South Texas and I’m thrilled that Steven has joined our leadership team. He has a heart for God and a desire to excel in the technical arena. I love that combination.”
Former ‘Talk 106.7’ Atlanta Host Mike Brooks Dies at 66. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, former WYAY-FM, Atlanta “Talk 106.7” talk host Mike Brooks died unexpectedly Wednesday (6/23). Brooks was a former police officer who also had served as a correspondent for CNN, among numerous other career ventures that included hosting a talk radio show on Cumulus Media’s former news/talk station “Talk 106.7.”
COVID-19 Vaccines, Goals and Delta Variant Top News/Talk Story This Week. The controversy over the vaccinations against COVID-19, the Biden administration’s goals, and the Delta variant 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 the blocking of the For the People voting bill and race relations, followed by the economy and the compromise infrastructure bill 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.
NEED A GREAT EXPERT GUEST? Newsom Recall Attracts National Talk Media Interest. The official word that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will definitely face a recall election has sparked interest in the subject of California politics at talk media outlets across the nation. Attorney/author Wayne Avrashow is a reliable non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews on the Newson development as well as all things Golden State. He is a frequent contributor to RealClearPolitics and a California political insider. He has an extensive background in California politics, served on two government commissions, was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition, and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as chief of staff. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at Southwestern University School of Law and was an adjunct professor at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers and in legal, business, and real estate publications. He authored Success at Mediation: 10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used by law students at the University of Southern California School of Law. And he is the author of a current Amazon best-selling novel Center Stage: A Political Thriller (2021, RealClearPublishing) about a rock star who runs for the U.S. Senate. His experiences in politics, government and business, and as a practicing attorney provide unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns. His website is www.wayneavrashow.com. He can be contacted directly at 818-995-1100 or email@example.com