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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

| March 24, 2021

Wendy Bell Promoted to Full Time Talk Host at WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh; Rose Tennent Added to Afternoons. According to a story in the Beaver County Times, St. Barnabas Health System-owned news/talk WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh bumps talk personality Wendy Bell to full time in which her 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show will air Monday through Friday. The station has also added Pittsburgh media personality Rose Tennent to the program schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Bell was a host on Entercom’s KDKA-AM until she and the company agreed to part company early last fall. Bell had been criticized for suggesting on her show that park rangers shoot anyone seen defacing a monument in a public park. Tennent co-hosted “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh with Jim Quinn. St. Barnabas Health System SVP J.D. Turco says, “Both women have very distinctive styles. WJAS is the only station featuring six hours of back-to-back conservative female programming. We are proud to have strong, intelligent, and informed talk radio with Wendy from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and Rose from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.”

Round Two of February PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s February 2021 survey period covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations benefitted from the January 6 Capitol attack and its aftermath as well as from the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration during the post-holidays period that is traditionally down from a ratings standpoint. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rose by one-tenth to a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and the #4 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM was unchanged with a 9.9 share good for the #2 rank. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s WRKO was steady at a 5.2 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM dipped seven-tenths but remained ranked #1. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM lost just one-tenth, finishing the survey with a 7.3 share good for a repeat at the #1 rank. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s crosstown all-news KOMO-AM/FM dropped half a share to a 5.2 and slipped to the #5 rank. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets here.

Former WFLA-AM, Tampa Morning Host Tedd Webb Enters Hospice. Longtime Tampa Bay radio personality Tedd Webb has entered hospice, according to a statement from his son Lee Ruiz. He says his father’s dialysis and dementia have been “particularly taxing.” Webb co-hosted “AM Tampa Bay with Jack Harris from 1994 through 2017 when he retired. Webb has been dealing with health issues for some time. Ruiz says, “This wasn’t an easy decision for him to make and obviously no one wants to lose him, but there’s only so much one person can endure. He feels the time is right and, ‘that’s how he sees it’ as he would say… I know a lot of people would like to spend one more time with him, and as much as we would like to accommodate all of those wishes, it’s just not possible. Given his current state, and that this came about rather abruptly, we have a very tight window of time left which makes it difficult to pull off.”

Jeanna Berge Rises to Market President for iHeartMedia Eau Claire/Rochester. Radio sales pro Jeanna Berge is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota markets, effective April 1. She takes over the role from Rick Hencley who is retiring after 27 years with iHeartMedia. Berge will retain her role as SVP of sales for the Eau Claire market. She says, “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am beyond ecstatic to lead and learn from these incredible, dedicated, multi-talented teams in the Eau Claire and Rochester markets. Rick has been an inspiring leader throughout my career at iHeartMedia and I’m honored to have had him as my mentor. His passion to have his employees always strive to be the best is evident with the success of his career, and I am determined to share that same motivation, positivity and creativity to help these ambitious teams excel. My mission is to continue to build on our already strong connection while having a positive impact on our employees, listeners, advertisers and our communities.”

Gaby Dunn Partners with Westwood One for Podcast. Comedian and New York Times best-selling author Gaby Dunn is partnering with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to bring her podcast “Bad With Money” to the Westwood One Podcast Network. The podcast will “unapologetically examine the intersection of finances and social justice. Every week, Gaby will bring a queer, feminist, and unabashedly radical point of view to conversations with top journalists, student loan experts, tax specialists, and mutual aid organizers.” Dunn says, “At a time when so many people are scared and out of work, I’m thrilled to be able to provide helpful and actionable advice for long-term financial security. Furthermore, ‘Bad With Money’ will now sit alongside other like-minded shows on Westwood One, where it can reach those who need to hear it most.”

Cumulus Media’s WSBN-AM, Washington to Air Baltimore Orioles Games. When the 2021 Major League Baseball season begins, Baltimore Orioles games will be heard in Washington, DC on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus says the multi-year deal keeps the Orioles Radio Network on the Washington, DC airwaves and adds to ESPN 630 AM’s stable of sports broadcasts – which also includes the Washington Football Team and the University of Virginia. Cumulus Washington SVP and market manager Ken Roberts says, “We are thrilled to be associated with the Baltimore Orioles. From their classic venue, Oriole Park at Camden Yards to their Hall of Fame heritage, the Orioles have a rich history with the League and with the City of Baltimore.”

Traveling with 46. Pictured above (back to the camera, wearing headphones) is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston covering President Joe Biden’s tour of the new, state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Department at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University yesterday (3/23). Clugston traveled frequently on Air Force One during the Trump administration. Tuesday was his first flight accompanying the 46th president.

Deadly Colorado Grocery Shooting/Gun Control, COVID-19-Spring Break, Border Crisis-Immigration, Capitol Attack-Sedition Controversy, and Deshaun Watson Sexual Assault Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The shooting at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store that left 10 dead and the related issue of gun control; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, concern about variants, the rollout of vaccines, and the chaos in Florida related to spring break revelers; the large number of child migrants appearing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the pressure on the Biden administration to deal with immigration policy; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the controversy over a justice department lawyer’s suggestion sedition charges may be leveled against some; and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces 14 sexual misconduct lawsuits were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

| February 3, 2021

Key Networks and Bloomberg Offer ‘Tax Tips’ Daily Feature. Tax season is upon us and beginning Monday (2/8), Bloomberg Radio is making its daily feature “Bloomberg Tax Tips” available to stations. Bloomberg and syndicator Key Networks say in a press release, “2020 was a year like no other, and that makes the 2021 tax season one that requires special attention. Bloomberg Radio is meeting listeners’ needs with a special series of daily tax tips designed to air in the 10 weeks leading up to April 15, at the height of when listeners are preparing their personal income tax filings for 2020.” The 30-second daily reports are hosted by Bloomberg tax reporter Laura Davison and among the topics covered this season are: If listeners have been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may need to pay state taxes differently this year; if listeners are still missing some or all of the stimulus payments Congress approved last year, they can claim that on their tax return this year; and more people have worked from their homes during COVID-19, leading many to wonder if they can claim the home office deduction on their taxes. Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “So much is different this year, and people have so many questions about their taxes. It’s a topic that interests listeners across all radio formats.” Bloomberg Tax Tips anchor Laura Davison reports on taxes for Bloomberg News from its Washington bureau. She frequently interviews members of Congress, policymakers, and tax professionals about how the tax code affects businesses and families. She has been with Bloomberg since 2014 and has also covered the insurance industry.

Round Three of Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the third round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. Due in large part to the chaotic events that followed the November election, the Holiday PPM survey from Nielsen reveals radio listeners remained more interested in news and opinion during the month of December than in previous years. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK was steady with a 7.8 6+ weekly, AQH share, though it slid from #2 to the #3 rank. Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh added three-tenths to finish the survey with a 5.3 share and remained in the #6 spot. Although both Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM (6.1 share) and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (6.0 share) in Salt Lake City were down from the December survey, both remained in the respective #2 and #3 ranks. And in Las Vegas, Entercom’s news/talk KXNT lost just one-tenth (2.7 share), it rose from #14 to #11 while Beasley Media Group’s KDWN shed three-tenths but remained in the #17 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

WFDF-AM, Detroit Owner Bans Mention of Kwame Kilpatrick’s Name After Spurned Offer. According to a piece in the Detroit News, WFDF-AM, Detroit “910 Superstation” owner Kevin Adell is banning the mere mention of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s name on his airwaves because Kilpatrick ghosted Adell after the latter made him an offer to host his own talk show on the station. Kilpatrick’s 28-year prison sentence for corruption was commuted by President Trump last month and, hearing that Kilpatrick was interested in hosting a show on the station as a step toward launching a ministry, Adell offered him either the morning drive or afternoon drive program plus a 30-minute show on his Word Network international religious radio operation. But after a week of waiting and not hearing from Kilpatrick, Adell lashed out, saying, “For wasting my time, now no one’s going to breathe your name. And any guests you have on, if they talk about him, you’re off. Is that mean-spirited? Sure. But it shows he is not going to jerk me around.” The Detroit NewsRobert Snell says Kilpatrick has about $11.5 million in debts, including the $1.7 million in restitution he must pay the IRS and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Pollnow to Lead Cumulus Montgomery. Former iHeartMedia Wichita market president Don Pollnow is re-joining Cumulus Media to serve as vice president and market manager for that company’s Montgomery, Alabama station group that includes news/talk WLWI-AM, sports talk WMSP-AM and four music brands. Prior to his work with iHeartMedia, Pollnow managed Cumulus’ Green Bay, Wisconsin cluster. Pollnow says, “I would like to thank Mary Berner, Bob Walker and Mark Sullivan for this opportunity. I am beyond thrilled to be returning to Cumulus and to be joining the experienced team in Montgomery. With the great culture, support and resources of Cumulus, we will continue to be a top-performing market for the company.”

Radio Reveals Super Bowl Coverage. During this week leading up to Super Bowl LV and for the game on Sunday evening, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces its plans to cover the contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kevin Harlan will handle the play-by-play duties for the 11th straight year, while Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner will return for the third consecutive year as the lead analyst. Tony Boselli will be back for a fifth straight year as sideline reporter and will be joined by longtime field reporter Laura Okmin, who will return to the Super Bowl crew for the second time. Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage for the 20th consecutive year. FOX Sports Radio, a division of Premiere Sports Network, is bringing its entire 24/7 lineup of sports talk shows to its Super Week coverage, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,” and more. SiriusXM is presenting coverage from Super Week, including on its pop-up channel Super Bowl LV Radio with lead host Danny Kannell. Broadcasts from Tampa will include the voices of numerous SiriusXM NFL Radio personalities such as Gil Brandt, Tim Brown, Bill Polian, Mark Dominik, Charlie Weis, Solomon Wilcots, Erik Coleman, David Diehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Torry Holt, Brad Hopkins, Ed McCaffrey, Kirk Morrison and Brady Quinn. Super Bowl-focused content from “The Pat McAfee Show,” hosted by the former NFL punter who has become one of sports media’s most popular personalities, will appear on the SiriusXM app.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia talk radio host Dom Giordano scored an exclusive interview with the newest addition to the Donald Trump impeachment defense team, Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County, Pennsylvania DA. Castor tells Giordano how he got involved in the representation team, and explains why he’s willing to represent the former president in a very heated political climate. Castor also discusses the potential argument of ‘dereliction of duty’ from the impeachment managers, and how that argument shouldn’t hold up in court…..PodcastOne says it is airing the brand-new episode of “Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen” featuring Stormy Daniels. The company says that in their first interaction ever, Daniels unveils her personal feelings about what transpired between her and the former president and “the relationship that changed political history.” The program launched in September of 2020 and has since featured a wide variety of guests, ranging from actors like Ben Stiller and Rosie O’Donnell, with whom Trump had a well-documented history of malevolence, as well as members of federal law enforcement and political scientists and consultants. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Podcasting is the only medium that gives its audience the full story and not just the headlines. ‘Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen’ is giving us the content that polarized news media censors and this episode with Stormy Daniels is not to be missed.”

Trump Impeachment, Fractured GOP/Unapologetic Greene, Biden-GOP Stimulus Negotiations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Big Tech & Political Censorship, GameStop and the Reddit Rebellion, Deadly Florida Child Porn Raid, Putin Critic Sent to Prison, and Jeff Bezos to Exit Amazon CEO Role Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). The Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the Republican Party’s attempts to coalesce in the aftermath of Trump and criticism of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric; President Joe Biden and the GOP negotiate over a new COVID stimulus package; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; criticism of Big Tech over what some perceive as political censorship; the Reddit crowd’s GameStop, AMC, and silver ploy and repercussions on Wall Street; two FBI agents are killed and three wounded in a raid on a child porn suspect’s Florida residence; Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny is sentenced to two years in prison; and Jeff Bezos’ leaving Amazon’s CEO role were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

| January 21, 2021

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Amy Anderson AM Drive Co-Host. Kansas City news/talk outlet KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM bring Amy Anderson aboard to serve as a member of the news team and as co-host of the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program. The Entercom station says, “Amy is a familiar face and is well-known in her hometown of Kansas City, spending nearly 18 years working as a television news anchor and reporter for KCTV-5… Amy brings strong news ‘chops’ and news sense to the KMBZ newsroom, and will form a power team with Will Sterrett, building on KMBZ’s tradition of delivering credible, factual news to listeners in Kansas City and beyond. Amy says she is excited to make the transition from TV to radio! And thrilled she gets to continue to work in Kansas City.” The “Kansas City’s Morning News” show airs on KMBZ-FM and is simulcast on KMBZ-AM “Talk980am.”

Wendy Bell Returns to the Air in Pittsburgh Market. In Western Pennsylvania, Patch.com reports that former KDKA-AM talk show host Wendy Bell is launching a new talk program on St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM on Monday (1/25). Her program will air from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Monday through Thursday and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays. Bell was taken off the air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM back in September and a month later it was announced the two sides had mutually agreed to part company. This came as the result of Bell stating on air that park rangers should shoot anyone attempting to vandalize monuments of historical figures. Numerous statues and monuments across the country had been vandalized during Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. Bell posted on her Facebook page, “America needs common sense conservatism. Let’s roll!”

Salem Radio Network Unveils ‘Rebuilding the Right’ Program. This new, weekly special program from Salem Radio Network is titled, “Rebuilding The Right,” and premieres on Wednesday, January 27 at 4:00 pm ET. SRN says the program is “designed as a freewheeling roundtable and exchange of ideas hosted by former White House national security strategist and SRN talk host Dr. Sebastian Gorka.” The press release adds, “With Joe Biden now inaugurated as our 46th president and Democrats in control of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, conservative voices may literally encounter difficulty even being heard… How do conservatives nationally recover from this and rebuild…even as the Left tries to silence us all? ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will harness the combined input of nationally syndicated SRN talk hosts Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder, and Eric Metaxas on a rotating basis each week…as well as voices of groundbreaking conservative podcasters like Dinesh D’Souza.” Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Our SRN hosts on ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will represent the best way forward for America. Their ideas and intellect will help conservatives avoid any sadness over recent events and create positive, actionable steps for crafting a new direction for the nation.” The program will also be repurposed as videos on YouTube and Rumble and a podcast version will also be made available after each weekly broadcast.

Ashes of Late CBS Reporter Dave Barrett to Launch into Space. Late, longtime CBS News Radio correspondent Dave Barrett will have his wishes honored as his cremains will be launched into space on Friday (1/22), assuming the weather is suitable for the 9:24 am launch of the Space X Falcon. Barrett is pictured here in 2011 covering the final Space Shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center. Barrett, who died suddenly in 2018 at the age of 63, was a lifelong space enthusiast and dreamed of traveling into space. Friday’s launch will contain a payload of private and government satellites as well as the cremains of not only Barrett but a number of other people. CBS News’ Peter King will report on the launch.

WABC, New York Extends Clint Arthur Program. New York news/talk outlet “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” announces it has extended its deal with celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur to continue airing his program, “The Greatest Show of All Time.” Arthur says, “The mission of this show is a personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”

Tom Goslowski Exits Townsquare’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany. According to a report in The Daily Gazette, Tom Goslowski has been let go from Townsquare Media’s sports talk outlet WTMM, Albany “104.5 The Team” where he was brand manager and co-host of the “Levack and Goz” program with Jeff Levack. At the time of his Monday dismissal, Goslowski told The Daily Gazette, “I can’t say I was too shocked. It’s been a tough year, a tough stretch for radio companies. I wasn’t too shocked by it because it’s been a brutal year for the sports media business.” But Townsquare Media Albany market president Kevin Rich later explained to the paper via email, “While we do not comment on any particular person’s situation or performance, what I can share is that the decision was specific to Goz and not related to COVID nor any economic backdrop. To that point, we have already been recruiting for a replacement and we are already receiving strong interest in the opportunity to serve the local sports community in the Capital Region. ‘104.5 The Team’ is the only Albany radio station with great daily local sports content, rather than just being fully syndicated.” That’s not sitting well with Goslowski, who tweeted the following: “The unnecessary and intentionally vague comments have sadly put my character, performance as a brand manager/host, and employee into question.” He’s launching a podcast titled “Getting There with Goz” and promises to talk about his exit from the station on the first episode on Monday (1/25). Meanwhile, the station has partnered Charlie Voelker with Jeff Levack in afternoon drive in the interim.

Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell Sentenced to 41 Months for Mail Fraud. According to a story in the Des Moines Register, former sports talk host Marty Tirrell was sentenced to 41 months in prison with three years of supervised release to follow after he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Tirrell is also ordered to pay $1.46 million in restitution to those he defraud – including American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, and five individuals, although it doesn’t appear Tirrell has the assets to pay restitution any time soon.  Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence instead of the almost three-and-a-half he received. The FBI’s investigation revealed that Tirrell’s scheme revolved around buying luxury ticket packages to sporting events and re-selling them at a profit. But investors’ money never went into buying tickets. Instead, Tirrell spent the cash on a luxurious lifestyle and to pay off gambling debts. When he could no longer find new investors, he stole credit cards, kited checks, and lied to banks to get more money.

Changes in Cumulus Media’s Sales Leadership Announced. With the departure of Bryan Forbes from his Westwood One president of sales position for another opportunity, Cumulus Media makes changes to its sales leadership structure. Ron Russo is appointed to the president, sales post at Westwood One. He was most recently Westwood One’s EVP of sales for the Northeast region. At the same time, Rafe D’Amico is promoted to SVP, president of national sales in which he’ll be responsible for leading the Cumulus Radio Station Group’s national spot team and managing the relationship with Katz Radio Group. D’Amico joins Cumulus from Beasley Media Group where he was VP of strategic partnerships and national sales. Brandon Berman, EVP sales and sports partnerships at Westwood One, adds responsibility for the Northeast region to his current oversight of the Midwest region and Westwood One sports sales. Kim Bryant, EVP of sales for the West and Southwest regions at Westwood One, picks up responsibility for the Southeast region. And Adam Shifrin is promoted to VP, sports sales and marketing at Westwood One. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One is extremely fortunate to have a group of sales executives poised to lead the team forward seamlessly. I’m thrilled to announce these well-deserved promotions that will enable us to manage through this challenging pandemic with confidence, commitment, resilience and results.”

WPHT, Philadelphia Mainstay Dom Giordano Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Described by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as “American talk radio’s leading advocate for education renewal,” Philadelphia broadcasting icon Dom Giordano is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Giordano has been a mainstay of local Philadelphia talk radio since 1987, where he has developed a national reputation in the media industry for his intelligence and even-handedness. He offers a dependable “guy next door” sensibility that’s as comfortable as your favorite chair. Born and raised in South Philly, his local flavor makes him one of the region’s best-connected media personalities. His mix of compelling topics, great local callers, and provocative guests produces fascinating talk radio. He has also written and hosted several critically acclaimed exclusive WPHT talk radio specials this past year addressing hot topics such as COVID-19, the national mood, and the economy. But there’s even more to this perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred than just the fact that he’s a dependable survivor of decades of broadcasting and is regularly turned to by major networks as a reliable substitute for several national hosts such as Jim Bohannon and Michael Savage. He’s an expert on one of the hottest topics in the national conversation and one that promises to be around for a long time to come – the education crisis that has been brewing in America for years and has now been terribly exacerbated by the COVID-19 disruption of our schools and learning processes. Giordano began his unique path to broadcasting as a high school teacher in the Delaware Valley where he received widespread media coverage for his innovative teaching and motivational techniques. He was hired at WWDB-FM, Philadelphia in 1987, becoming the country’s first high-profile teacher-turned-talk show host. In 2000 he joined then-CBS owned-and-operated WPHT (now owned by Entercom) where he has been ever since. He currently is heard weekdays between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon. And now, as part of his call to duty to address the education crisis at hand, WPHT is launching an ambitious weekly podcast hosted by Giordano totally dedicated to the subject of education in America with commentary, news reports, and interviews with experts and leaders in the field representing a variety of viewpoints. The podcast is titled “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason.” On this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Harrison and Giordano take a deep dive into the education crisis that promises to challenge the United States for years to come and threaten its standing among nations as an economic, scientific, and cultural world leader. Don’t miss this! 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 of every page on Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Central New Jersey news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick is being credited with helping the City of New Brunswick with receiving a special award from the NJ State League of Municipalities, the NJ Municipal Management Association, and the Rutgers University Center for Government Studies for outstanding coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Former WCTC-AM program director and morning host Bert Baron – now serving as public information officer for the city – says, “Our coverage of the pandemic was, and continues to be, multi-faceted. The city’s existing communication platforms all provided high engagement levels. What helped us to directly reach the community with the messaging was a 30-minute update aired weekdays on WCTC.” The “New Brunswick COVID-19 Report” aired each weekday morning on the Beasley Media Group station from March through September and was hosted by Baron and City of New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill…..SiriusXM and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship are teaming up to launch a new show hosted by Bare Knuckle FC’s newest star, Paige VanZant. Yesterday (1/20) at 5:00 pm ET VanZant debuted as the host of a new four-episode SiriusXM show, “Knuckle Up Radio with Paige VanZant,” that will chronicle her journey from the MMA octagon to the BKFC “Squared Circle.”…..PodcastOne secures the distribution and advertising sales rights to Todd and Julie Chrisley’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast. The “Chrisley Confessions” podcast launched in 2018 with hosts Todd and Julie Chrisley. In each episode, the duo play audience voicemails and offer advice, suggestions and opinions on all things faith, family, food and just about everything else. Todd Chrisley says, “Julie and I are looking forward to being part of the long tradition of outspoken and irreverent hosts in the PodcastOne family. And anyone who knows me knows that family means more to me than anything.”

Biden Inauguration, Biden Executive Orders, Trump Farewell/Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media and Censorship, and Capitol Attack Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; Biden signs 17 executive orders intending to undo Trump administration projects including the Mexico border wall and the Keystone XL pipeline; Donald Trump’s farewell address from Andrews Air Force Base and the article of impeachment against him; the stabilizing number of COVID cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the suspension and banning of some by social media platforms and cries of censorship; and the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

| January 14, 2021

Key Networks Names Deidra Hoye to Lead Expanded Sales Team. Syndication firm Key Networks appoints network advertising sales executive Deidra Hoye to the senior vice president, ad sales position in which she’ll lead the company’s newly expanded sales team. Los Angeles-based Hoye will supervise the enhanced sales team of veteran network radio sales professionals that includes recent hires Maggie Sisco, vice president, Eastern sales; Brian Pollina, vice president, Midwest sales; and Michelle McLynn, supervisor of sales support & operations. Hoye previously served as vice president, network sales, for Premiere Networks. Sisco joins Key Networks from PodcastOne, where she was vice president/director of sales, Eastern region. Pollina comes to Key Networks from United Stations Radio Networks, where he was vice president of digital assets and Midwest sales. McLynn joins Key from Westwood One, where she was affiliate services manager. Key Networks and Sun & Fun Media CEO Rob Koblasz says, “We are delighted to welcome Deidra to the Key Networks team. Her wealth of experience in the network ad sales arena will allow us to serve our partners now and as we grow our network. Deidra’s leadership along with the breadth of experience of our team is a winning combination for our customers.” Key Networks syndicates “The O’Reilly Update,” starring Bill O’Reilly to almost 250 radio stations. It also manages all network advertising sales, affiliate sales, and marketing for Bloomberg Radio and distributes “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country,” as well as news/talk program “The Jesse Kelly Show,” alt rock morning program, “The Billy Madison Show,” and Virtual Jock programming services.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas to Retire. Pittsburgh news anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas is retiring from her PM drive anchor post at Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM after 45years in the broadcasting business. Ryan-Douglas has been with KDKA-AM since 2002. She joined KDKA-AM after anchoring the morning news at crosstown (current classic hits outlet) WWSW “3WS” for almost 20 years. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rose has been the ultimate news professional. Not only will we miss her on the air but her calming influence in the newsroom is irreplaceable. On behalf of all of us at KDKA Radio and our listeners we thank her for the tremendous work she has done over the years.” Her last shift will be Friday, February 26.

Seth Goldberg Exits ‘ESPN Syracuse’ for Gig with the NBA. Syracuse.com reports that WTLA-AM, Syracuse “ESPN Radio Syracuse” host and producer Seth Goldberg is leaving the radio station to take a position with the NBA. Goldberg began working at WTLA in 2015 producing “Upon Further Review” with hosts Chris McManus and Steve Neikam while still a student at Syracuse University. Joining WTLA full time after graduating in 2016, Goldberg has been co-host and producer for “Orange Nation” (co-hosted with Steve Infanti), and produces “On the Block,” a program with Syracuse.com’s Brent Axe. Both programs also are featured on the WTLA-SU Twitch streaming channel ‘Cuse Sports Talk.’ Galaxy Media CEO Ed Levine says Goldberg’s on-air role on “Orange Nation” will be filled in the interim by Paulie Scibilia.

Beasley Media Group’s Preliminary Q4 Net Revenue Down 5.8%-6.5%. Releasing preliminary financial data from the fourth quarter of 20201, Beasley Media Group says it expects net revenue for the period to be approximately $67.4 million to $67.9 million. Compared to the same period in 2019, the figures represent a decrease of between 5.8% and 6.5%. The company says the change reflects a year-over-year decrease in commercial advertising revenue due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by growth in digital, esports, and political revenue. Other data points include: fourth quarter 2020 Station Operating Income increased by approximately 23.1% to 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $19.2 million to $20.1 million; and fourth quarter 2020 EBITDA increased by approximately 25.0% to 33.8% year-over-year to approximately $17.0 million to $18.2 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “We expect to report top-line revenue improvement in the second half of the year, with sequential quarter-over-quarter growth in both the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Our preliminary fourth quarter performance also demonstrates the significant operating benefits from the actions we took earlier this year to address the pandemic, including reducing station operating expenses and negotiating discounts with landlords, service providers, and partners. Although it is difficult to predict what the impact of COVID-19 will be in the coming months, we remain optimistic that the commercial advertising market will return to more normalized revenue levels as we move further into the year, following broad vaccine distribution.”

CES2021: Technology Is Merely the Plumbing. As the (virtual) convention that reporters are scolded for calling “the Consumer Electronics Show” wraps today, consultant Holland Cooke urges broadcasters to focus on product, not package. Read his analysis here.

First Detroit Sports Talk Show Hosted by Frank Beckmann? Not So Fast… Former longtime Detroit Free Press writer John Smyntek reaches out to TALKERS magazine to let us know that legendary Detroit radio personality Frank Beckmann – who announced his retirement from Cumulus Media’s WJR-AM on Wednesday (it takes effect at the end of March) – was not the first to host a sports talk program on Detroit radio as the press release from WJR claims. Smyntek says, “WXYZ-AM (1270, now WXYT-AM) had the late Dave Diles hosting a daily sports talk and caller dial-in show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm weeknights starting, I think, in 1967 and running through 1969 or 1970. Then Ron Cameron had a sports call-in format on WXYT-AM under the Chuck Fritz regime for several years in the 1970s, long before Beckmann’s show started.” Smyntek – who retired from the Free Press in 2008 – says Beckmann’s “Sportstalk” program, launched in 1981, was indeed the first sports show to air on WJR-AM.

WSB, Atlanta Talk Star Erick Erickson Is This Week’s Guest on the Harrison Podcast.  One of the rising stars of talk radio, Erick Erickson of WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He’s one of the most important talk radio figures in the Peach State where, for the past eight years, he’s been hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” a 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on the Cox Media Group heritage station. He also hosts a recently launched, daily three-hour show airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on his own independent network of almost 20 stations stretching across Georgia that many industry observers say is ready to expand nationally. His background is fascinating. Born 45 years ago in Jackson, Louisiana, he was raised between the ages of five and 15 in Dubai where his father worked for Conoco Oil as a production foreman. Returning to the U.S., he received a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and a J.D. degree from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. He practiced law for six years at a major legal firm in Georgia. He served four years as an elected city councilman in Macon. He was one of the founders of RedState.com which he managed as editor-in-chief for 10 years. He’s been a regular contributor to CNN and FOX News Channel over the years. He’s currently attending a seminary where he is working on earning a theological degree and he’s one of the talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh turns to when he needs someone to fill in. Erickson is a conservative who has not been reluctant to tell his audience the truths he thinks they need to know as opposed to engaging in the daily dance of affirmation and only telling them what they want to hear – especially when it comes to his opinions about President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this extremely timely conversation about the state of talk radio and politics in America today recorded the day after the Capitol insurrection. 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.

Report: Dan Le Batard and Former ESPN Boss John Skipper to Form New Sports Media Company. According to a report by Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, former ESPN radio and TV personality Dan Le Batard and former ESPN chief John Skipper are partnering for a new “politically progressive sports media company” that is “described as the strategic opposite of Clay TravisOutkick.” The Le Batard-Skipper partnership was first reported by the Miami Herald. McCarthy’s piece says that Le Batard and Skipper are seeking talent including former ESPN talent Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, and Kate Fagan. Hill tells FOS, “We’re trying to figure out the most productive way to work together. Both John and Dan know I have such a deep level of respect for them. So, me working with them again always felt like it was inevitable.” Skipper is currently executive chairman of sports streaming platform DAZN. Hill, in the aftermath of her departure from ESPN, formed her own production company that produces the Vice TV show “Stick to Sports,” and the “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” Spotify podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit talk station WFDF “910 AM Superstation” announces that former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who served as mayor during the city’s water scandal, joins the station as a talk host. She’ll appear Monday-Friday in the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour. Adell Radio Group CEO Kevin Adell says that with former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder being criminally charged with willful neglect in conjunction with the Flint water crisis, bringing Weaver aboard is timely. “Mayor Karen Weaver watched this disgraceful water episode unfold firsthand and will have much to talk about as Rick Snyder works his way through our legal system”…..The Armstrong & Getty Show – starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces that QBS Broadcasting’s talk WBQO-FM, Brunswick, Georgia adds the program to its lineup. WBQO program director Paul Andresen says, “There’s a reason Armstrong & Getty’s reputation precedes them. So, when tasked with finding a replacement for Clark Howard, it was a no-brainer. A&G brings a much-needed change of perspective and influx of personality to not only 93.7 WBQO, but our market as a whole. The listeners’ response, from the first show onward, has been nothing short of fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder to have Armstrong & Getty in our on-air lineup.”…..The “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” announces that it has added 23 new affiliate stations in 2021 so far, bringing its affiliate roster to more than 460 stations!

U.S. House Votes to Impeach Trump, Capitol Attack Investigation, States Prep for More Attacks, Social Media and Free Speech, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, WHO Investigating COVID Origin in China, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach Donald Trump; the investigation into last week’s attack on the Capitol; states across the nation move to protect their capitals from potential future attacks; the removal of Donald Trump and others from social media platforms and questions about free speech; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the WHO enters China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus; and the record Powerball jackpot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

| December 2, 2020

Entercom Names Rick Dayton Afternoon Host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. Almost three months after former afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell was taken off news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s air for suggesting park rangers shoot people caught defacing public monuments (she was officially fired on October 16), Entercom names local news pro Rick Dayton host of “KDKA Radio Afternoon News hosted by Rick Dayton,” effective December 7. Dayton has worked in television news in North Carolina, at WOWK-TV, Charleston, West Virginia; and at KDKA-TV, Pittburgh. He’s most recently been a fill-in host for the station. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rick is ingrained in the local community and has a tremendous news reputation in the market. He is a beloved personality who will engage the listeners daily with content and information and I’m excited to welcome him to our weekday lineup.” Dayton adds, “After spending more than a decade back home in western Pennsylvania, I am honored to join KDKA Radio and build on its iconic legacy. To talk with KDKA’s loyal listeners each day and to discuss important issues is something I do not take lightly. I cannot wait to get those conversations started on Monday afternoon.”

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Fires Morning Host Marc Farzetta. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, morning drive host Marc Farzetta is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” after a little more than two years in the daypart. Farzetta let fans know about his departure via Twitter in which he said: “I was informed a few hours ago that today was my last day hosting the Morning Show at 97.5 The Fanatic… I’m so proud of the work we did taking that time slot to heights it hadn’t seen in the station’s 15-year history in the sports format.” Farzetta had been hosting the show with Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. At this time, it’s not clear if they remain with the station or not.

OPINION: Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility. In the response to the on-air statement by Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova about former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales president Ron Hartenbaum pens a piece for TALKERS explaining his take on the responsibilities of broadcasters who find themselves in such a position. diGenova, while appearing as a guest on “The Howie Carr Show,” said, “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Read Hartenbaum’s response here.

UNCF First Recipient of iHeartMedia’s Media Grant Program. The new iHeartRadio Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program from iHeartMedia is designed to “support organizations that are making a positive impact within the communities iHeart serves and to use iHeart’s multi-platform media network to deliver messaging that is timely, relevant and hyper-targeted to most effectively serve impacted communities.” The company says that the inaugural Spotlight Grants will provide a nationwide platform for Black-focused community organizations to “inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice; celebrate Black excellence, achievement, and culture; help members of the Black community express themselves and address the unique needs of their communities; and invest in educational programs and individuals that are inspiring the next generation of Black journalists and leaders.” Long-time partner UNCF, an organization that helps fund 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has been named the first partner and will receive a minimum media grant of $350,000 to be used through the end of the year. The all-new PSA airs now through the end of the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations and will bring attention to the many social, financial, educational and mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to communities of color and the threat to America’s progress for a more equitable society. UNCF is asking listeners to donate $10 online at UNCF.org/donate to help HBCU students who had to withdraw from school because of COVID-19 challenges get back to college in the spring. Additionally, iHeart will again host UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax as a guest on the iHeartRadio Communities public affairs show in the coming weeks.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new sports channel coming to SiriusXM as the satellite radio company and NBC Sports have partnered to create NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM that will launch tomorrow (12/3). Sirius XM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “The NBC Sports Audio channel is a terrific addition to the SiriusXM lineup. Fans of NBC Sports’ great programming and talent will get access to an outstanding sports talk lineup every weekday, and our subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of many top events on the sports calendar.” Shows airing on the channel will include: “PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “Brother From Another with Michael Holley and Michael Smith,” and more…..Entercom Chicago is presenting its 25th annual “Good Neighbor Radiothon” on all-news WBBM Newsradio (WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM) to raise money for The Salvation Army. Hosted by WBBM Newsradio news anchor Pat Cassidy, the live program will encourage listeners to donate through the station’s phone bank or online via the station’s website…..Prior to Thanksgiving, Cox Media Group Atlanta’s radio stations – including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations to supply holiday meals for local families in need and collected a grand total of 2,127 pounds of dry food, 1,325 pounds of frozen turkey, and monetary donations that will provide 25,816 meals for hungry children, hardworking families and struggling seniors…..Entercom Milwaukee is presenting WSSP-AM  1250AM The Fan’s 14th annual “FAN Toy Drive,” to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. This year’s 24-hour virtual on-air event will aim to raise funds and toys for the hospital’s patients. Listeners will be encouraged to donate via the station’s website…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division and Pegalo Pictures are premiering the podcast, “American Coyote” that tells the true story of America’s most successful coyote, Elden Kidd. While active, Elden was responsible for ushering over a thousand people across the border — and was unfazed even after cheating death multiple times and spending two years incarcerated in a Mexican prison…..iHeartMedia Stockton’s “Fox Sports AM1280, Stockton’s Only Sports Station,” announces an extension of its broadcast agreement with the University of the Pacific to continue to broadcast the university’s men’s and women’s Pacific Tiger basketball games through the 2020-2021 basketball season.

COVID-19/Vaccines, Trump Tactics/Barr Statement, DOJ Pardon Bribery Investigation, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Nuke Scientist Death, and the NFL’s COVID Problem Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, concerns about private gatherings fueling the pandemic, and the promise of soon-to-be-available vaccines; Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to call the election results into question and Attorney General William Barr’s public statement that his agency had found no evidence of widespread election fraud; the DOJ’s investigation into a possible bribery scheme involving pay for pardons; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fallout from the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; and the NFL’s strategy for dealing with growing COVID-positive players 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. In a move that’s not too surprising to the staffers at the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting, the company’s two radio stations – hip hop KZGO-FM and alternative KQGO-FM in Minneapolis – are being sold to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed sum. The Pohlad family owns MLB’s Minnesota Twins and until 2018 games were broadcast on KQGO. Now, with Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM, the family has little use for the signals. Both stations will flip to religious formats in the New Year. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..SiriusXM and the family of Bob Marley announce a new, exclusive year-round channel dedicated to the legacy of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio launches tomorrow (12/3) and will feature the cultural icon’s entire music catalog, both live and recorded, including rare recordings, some of which have never been made available to the public. The channel is being curated by the Marley family and will include a wide range of Caribbean music from its inception to present day.

Monday, October 19, 2020

| October 19, 2020

Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.

Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries.  Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.

SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.

Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more.  We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

| August 6, 2020

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Revenue Declines 47%. In line with the other broadcast companies that have reported Q2 2020 data so far, iHeartMedia’s revenue of $488 million represents a 47% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. Breaking it down into segments, iHM reports that broadcast revenue declined 57% ($561 million to $244 million), networks revenue was down 38% ($156 million to $96 million), digital revenue increased 2% ($91 million to $93 million – led by a 103% increase in podcasting revenue), sponsorship and events declined 65% ($42 million to $15 million), and audio & media services dropped 33% ($59 million to $39 million). iHeartMedia is reporting an operating loss of $159 million in Q2 of 2020 compared to an operating income of $182 million in the second quarter of 2019. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “The challenges that we have faced due to COVID-19 were unprecedented and had a severe, negative impact on our revenue in the second quarter. Despite those financial challenges, we retained our strong relationship with the consumer as the #1 audio company in America and the #1 media company in America by reach. As the advertising marketplace is recovering, we are working hard to ensure that we have the products and services to fully capitalize on the opportunity while proactively taking steps to fortify our balance sheet and our liquidity. Finally, I want to thank our employees for their commitment and creativity under such difficult and challenging circumstances.” Company president, CFO and COO Rich Bressler adds, “In response to COVID-driven market weakness, we acted rapidly and decisively to further streamline our cost structure and capital-spending programs, while continuing to implement pre-COVID cost savings programs through our modernization initiatives. These actions played an important role in minimizing the negative impact on our free cash flow results against the backdrop of the significant revenue declines we saw in the second quarter. We believe that these actions, in combination with our proactive capital structure management provides the company with sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness.”

Round Three of July PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on one-tenth to finish the July survey with a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte dips one-tenth to a 5.9 share but rises one spot to the #3 rank. Despite losing a full share and finishing with a 5.5 share, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio remains ranked #2 in the market. In Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds three-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.4 share good for the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City jumps by half a share to claim the #5 rank with a 5.8 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states,“With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

Giuliani Suggests Salem’s Hewitt and Elder Serve as Debate Moderators. On behalf of the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani submitted a list of potential presidential debate moderators to the Commission on Presidential Debates that includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated hosts Larry Elder and Hugh Hewitt. The list of moderators the campaign would find acceptable also includes David Muir of ABC News and Norah O’Donnell of CBS News. Salem Media Group SVP spoken word programming Phil Boyce says, “We are so proud to see Hugh Hewitt and Larry Elder mentioned as possible moderators of a presidential debate. Frankly all of our SRN national hosts are capable of doing this, and these two especially are. We hope they get the nod.” Hewitt served as co-moderator of four 2016 Republican Primary debates co-produced by CNN and the Salem Radio Network.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on some news from Nexstar’s WGN-AM, saying that the station is not talking with market legend Garry Meier about replacing Roe Conn in afternoon drive when his contract ends this year as previously reported. His sources say serious talks with Meier never got off the ground. In other WGN news, Feder says that if John Records Landecker’s fill-in stint for morning host Bob Sirott goes well next week, Landecker may be in line for the permanent evening show position…..Cadence13 – a part of Entercom’s podcast network – is partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures to create The Boardroom Podcast Network. The network will launch with two podcasts. In “The Boardroom: Out Of Office,” Kleiman hosts and digs deep into guests’ career trajectories, the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and the stories they’ve gathered along the way. In September, Durant launches the monthly podcast “The Etc’s with Kevin Durant.” He says, “I’m really excited to be launching both of these podcasts and this partnership with Cadence13. We’re really invested in making both of these pods different than anything else out there, and I’m personally looking forward to having in-depth conversations about some of my favorite topics.”

NAB’s Gordon Smith Suffers Stroke. A statement from the National Association of Broadcasters reveals that its president and CEO Gordon Smith suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. The statement adds, “He is responding well to treatment, is stable and alert, and is resting comfortably. His prognosis is good, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/5). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election and President Trump’s statements about the validity of mail-in ballots; the controversial BLM protests in Portland; the deal to allow Microsoft to acquire TikTok and the tenuous U.S.-China relations; the investigation into the ammonium nitrate-caused explosion that rocked Beirut; and pro sports leagues struggle with positive COVID-19 cases were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Venerable Multimedia Personality Shadoe Stevens Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Los Angeles-based radio and TV personality Shadoe Stevens is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Stevens is an extraordinarily talented and creative individual who has succeeded to one degree or another in just about every phase of performance media in a career that has spanned five decades. He remains on the leading edge with the debut of a 12-part podcast series titled, “MentalRadio,” that pulls out the stops on imaginative writing, complex production, and audio theatrics. During the course of his career, Stevens has served as program director and/or air talent at legendary radio stations including LA’s KROQ and KMET. He was the first successor to Casey Kasem as the voice of “American Top 40” which he hosted for seven years. He’s been a television announcer and personality on such shows as “Hollywood Squares” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He was also producer, writer, and talent on hundreds of successful radio and television commercial campaigns – highlighted by his celebrated creation and performance of the outrageous character, Fred Rated, for the Federated Group home appliance chain. As an actor, he appeared on such TV programs as “Baywatch,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Dave’s World,” “Max Monroe: Loose Cannon,” and he performed in the movie “TRAXX,” plus more. Harrison and Stevens recount their days in Los Angeles radio (both served as PD of KMET), the intricacies of Stevens’ colorful career, and the unlimited potential of modern podcasting as a platform for 21st century audio theater. Radio and media freaks will really enjoy this interview! 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. Seattle radio and music business legend Pat O’Day died on Tuesday (8/4) at age 85. As a DJ, O’Day was arguably the most popular air personality in the market in the mid-1960s when he was the afternoon jock on KJR-AM. He eventually became PD of the station, then general manager in 1968. O’Day ran a lucrative teen dance events business. He was also a concert promoter, founding the firm Concerts West. O’Day also eventually became a station owner. Read more about his colorful career here…..Rochester classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” announces its new afternoon drive show is “The Big Show,” hosted by Earl David Reed, Megan Carter, and Pat McMahon. Reed is a nationally recognized stand-up comedian. Carter most recently served as the afternoon host on iHeartMedia’s sister CHR “KISS 106.7.” McMahon has been with iHM Rochester for six years. Program director Joe Bonadonna says, “Earl, Megan and Pat clicked from the minute we put them together. They are the three friends you want with you when you’re getting a garbage plate, grabbing a Genny Light or spending the day at Seabreeze.”…..Entercom promotes Emily Ward to general sales manager for the Chattanooga station group that includes CHR WKXJ-FM “103.7 Kiss FM,” adult hits WLND-FM “98.1 The Lake,” WRXR “Rock 105,” country WUSY “U.S. 101,” and country WUSY-HD2 “Real 961.” Ward has been serving the cluster as local sales manager and digital sales manager.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

| May 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.

Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.

Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’  Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.”  Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.”  Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.”  Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades.  He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures.  To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC NewsDan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month.  Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at “Expert Guests.” Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.

Monday, April 20, 2020

| April 20, 2020

Monday Memo: The Trump Show. There’s lots of buzz about that New York Times report that the president told the coronavirus task force “he wanted to start a White House talk radio show.”  To which Rush Limbaugh invited him to guest host.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks “What if…?”  Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, the Re-Open the Country Debate/Stay Home Protests, Trump vs Governors, U.S.-China Relations, Deadly Nova Scotia Shooting, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Prices Crash, and Celebrities with Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll as well as the projections for future cases and deaths; the debate over “re-opening” the country and the organized protests against “stay home” directives; President Trump’s war of words with some of the country’s governors over the breadth of his powers; the pressure on the Chinese Communist Party as calls for an investigation into the coronavirus’ origins mount; a lone shooter posing as a police officer kills 16 people in Nova Scotia; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus pandemic and the glut of oil; and global celebrities with COVID-19 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Time Is of the Essence. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column about adjusting to the new dynamic of deadlines and timeliness.  “Adjusting to working from home, with limited access to the people and resources you rely on is a daily climb.  More than likely you are now participating in (multiple) online meetings that eat the clock.  Still, you are paid on performance and need to keep the dynamics of the sales process moving forward in a timely fashion.  Like it or not, for today, you need to own this new dynamic.”  Read his column here.

SmartTalk Radio Network Distributing ‘The Hard Question.’ The daily talk radio program “The Hard Question” with host Blanquita Cullum is now being made available to stations across the country via the SmartTalk Radio Network.  Cullum says, “‘The Hard Question’ is all about trying to help the audience to be empowered, to be able to hear a deeper level of a conversation on an issue that may impact them and change their life.”  The network says, “With decades of experience in broadcasting and government service, Cullum knows the decision makers and her guest list routinely includes the names you hear in the headlines: governors, senators, ambassadors, foreign heads of state, as well as regular citizens.”  SmartTalk Radio Network general manager Chuck Duncan says, “Occasionally in network radio, a diamond emerges from the clutter of ho-hum.  Blanquita Cullum is a woman of worldly experiences and a deep participant of the inside rail, allowing her to ask and offer sensible solutions to the hard questions.  With unique clarity and above-the-fold guests, BQ covers the critical issues with a compassion, intellect, and understanding that evidences her emergence onto the national scene. She’s got a voice that must be heard.”

KXL, Portland’s Steve Leader Retires. Longtime morning news anchor Steve Leader retired from his role with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland on Friday (4/17).  Leader had been a news anchor on KXL for 34 years.  His KXL news colleague Pat Boyle posted photos and a tribute to Leader on Facebook, writing: “Legendary news guy Steve Leader’s last day! Thanks Steve for keeping Portlanders informed for more than 30 years.  You are a huge talent and will be greatly missed.  Enjoy your retirement; you deserve it.”

Round Three of March PPMs Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The survey period covered February 27 – March 25.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly 6+ , AQH share increases include: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland which added 1.8 shares in March to finish with a 6.7 share and a leap to the #3 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rises 1.9 shares from February to March for a 10.3 share and its third straight month at #1; Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh climbs 1.3 shares to finish with a 5.6 share and the #5 rank in the Steel City; Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City rises to the #3 rank by adding 1.1 shares to end the survey with a 6.0 share; and iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati tacks 1.8 shares onto its February 8.3 share to finish March with a 10.1 share and the #1 rank in the market.  You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Presents Next Coronavirus Town Hall. This Thursday (4/23), Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the next in its series of coronavirus Town Hall broadcasts.  The station’s senior political director Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in highlighting the sacrifices being made by the front-line workers dealing with this health crisis.  He says, “Nurses, EMTs, and police officers are among the many frontline workers who are putting their own health at risk during this crisis.  We will both highlight their stories and offer them the resources they need to deal with the overwhelming stresses of their jobs.”  This edition’s on-air expert panel will feature: Debbie White, president, Health Professionals and Allied Employees; Pat Colligan, president, New Jersey Police Benevolent Association; Barbara Platt, president, New Jersey EMS Council; and first-responder crisis councilor Michael Bizzarro, PhD, LCSW, BCD.

Legislators Seek Paycheck Protection for Local Journalists and Broadcasters. A bi-partisan effort to assist local journalists and broadcasters suffering with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being spearheaded by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and John Boozman (R-AR).  They sent a letter to senate leadership urging them to ensure any future legislation make thousands of local newspapers, TV, and radio stations around the country eligible for small business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  In the letter, the senators called for waiving the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rule to allow local media outlets to access funding, pointing to the critical role these outlets play in keeping communities healthy and informed.  The senators say in their statement, “Ensuring that local news outlets remain viable at this critical time is not only a matter of fairness but is essential to public health.  Local newspapers, radio, and television stations provide important local content that keeps their communities informed.  People rely on local newspapers and broadcasters to cover school and business closures, to widely communicate public health guidance, and to combat life-threatening misinformation.”  National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith comments on the move, “NAB is grateful to Senators Cantwell, Kennedy, Klobuchar and Boozman for their leadership in supporting expanded access to Small Business Administration loans for local radio and television stations under the Payroll Protection Program.  America’s broadcasters are providing trusted and credible lifesaving coverage to keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet local stations are suffering advertising losses of historic proportion that will undermine this critically important service.  We urge congressional leaders to support this proposal to provide immediate SBA loan eligibility to more local radio and TV stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway signs a new deal with the iHeartMedia news/talk station that runs through 2022, with an additional one year option.  Conway’s program is also heard on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa.  Conway says, “WHO Radio was and remains the gold standard for local talk radio in America.  I’m delighted to have signed this contract and look forward to many more years broadcasting on these heritage stations.”…..Indianapolis-based news/talk personality Tony Katz, who hosts “The Morning News” on Emmis’ WIBC-FM as well as his own syndicated late morning show, is putting his flagship station together with local businesses and sponsors to feed first responders across Central Indiana.  He says, “‘Hoosiers Helping Heroes’ does weekly deliveries of meals, snacks, and drinks to local hospitals.  It’s our way of saying, ‘thank you.’  And businesses across the area have been great to work with.  They want to help.  People want to help.  We’re getting calls from restaurants all over the area.  All types of businesses and individuals are asking if they can be a part of it.”…..NPR president and CEO John Lansing tells company staffers in a memo that the organization is preparing to cut costs due to a budget shortfall of between $35 million and $40 million due to the coronavirus pandemic.  He says, “We do not have any position eliminations on the table now, and it is our goal to avoid them as much as is reasonably possible.  However, I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t guarantee anything other than that is my intent.”…..JVC Media is airing the “Florida Man Radio”-based Shannon Burke afternoon drive program on its Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN “103.9 LI News Radio”  JVC Media’s EVP for Florida Shane Reeve says, “Now more than ever, our community needs to come together and stay at home to keep their families and loved ones safe.  With that being said, as humans we have the need to socialize and feel like we are still part of the society that we love.  The ‘Florida Man Friday Happy Hour with Shannon Burke’ is that bit of relief and laughter you need to keep some sense of normalcy in your life.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds two new affiliate stations as Seehafer Broadcasting’s WFHR-AM, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and Rck 1 Group’s WVLY, Wheeling, West Virginia add the show to their program lineups.

Wheeler Morris Named Hubbard Seattle VP/Market Manager. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio names Wheeler Morris vice president and market manager for the five-station cluster.  Scott Mahalick, who’s been serving as interim market manager, is named operations manager for the Seattle station group.  Morris has been serving the company as manager of corporate podcasting strategy.  Wheeler says, “I’m excited to join the great team at Hubbard Radio Seattle and to help continue the success that the strong brands have built over the years.  I’m especially excited to have an experienced and accomplished partner like Scott Mahalick to lead content and brands. He’s the right person to lead operations.”  Mahalick comments, “It brings joy to my heart that we will have the good fortune of Wheeler at the helm of Hubbard Radio Seattle.  Our team deserves a dedicated full-time manager focused on our success. I’ve had the advantage of getting to know and work with Wheeler this past year in his capacity as the head of our podcasting efforts. I can tell you he is a people person with great charm, empathy, wicked smart, driven and innovative as they come.  Bring it Wheeler!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio personality Shawn Parr is launching a new, daily syndicated program via Key Networks titled, “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on June 1.  Key Networks says the four-hour, localized country music entertainment program features Parr’s trademark warmth, wit and love for country music, and is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery.  The show is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.  Key Networks adds, “Known as ‘The Ambassador of Country Music,’ Shawn Parr is one of country radio’s brightest and most familiar voices.  With nearly 30 years in country radio, including 10 years as a nationally syndicated on-air host, Parr takes country fans front row-center to country’s biggest stars and hottest music.”  Parr says, “My entire career has always been about the country listeners and they will lead the way with this show as well!  Teaming up with Key Networks is like a dream come true.  Together we have worked so hard to get this show on the air and trust me when I say I am fired up and can’t wait for you to feel the energy ‘Across The Country!’”…..Air personality Corey Dillon exits Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” after a two-year stint.  Dillon says via Facebook, “There are no hard feelings on my end.  It’s business, and I understand that.  I have learned so much over the past two years here at ‘The Bull’ and feel more confident in my craft than ever.”…..Cumulus Media names Paul Williams director of programming for Westwood One Nashville.  In this role, Williams will oversee the marketing, content, and operations for Westwood One’s nationally syndicated country programming.  Williams was most recently vice president of marketing & artist development for Reviver Entertainment Group in Nashville…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces the Spanish hits format is moving from WBZY at 105.3 FM to WRDA at 105.7 FM.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Meg Stevens says, “This is a tremendous opportunity to move the signal where more of the Hispanic audience can enjoy the music, information and the top-rated ‘Tu Mañana Con Enrique Santos’ show.”