Michele Tafoya Joins Salem Podcast Network. National sports media figure Michele Tafoya is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network to host a new podcast titled, “Sideline Sanity.” The former NBC Sports sideline reporter’s new show – focusing “life, politics, and world news” will be produced four times per week, beginning on May 23. Tafoya’s broadcasting career includes a lot of radio in addition to her TV work. She served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk “KFAN,” hosted afternoon drive on Audacy’s WCCO-AM, and worked alongside morning star Tom Barnard at Cumulus Media’s KQRS-FM. She says, “I’m thrilled to launch my first podcast with the Salem Podcast Network. It’s exciting to join the chorus of talented Salem voices discussing the historic issues facing America and the world.” Salem Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson comments, “I cannot wait for the rest of the country to get to know Minnesota’s own Michele Tafoya beyond her successful years of reporting from the sidelines. She’s full of insight, passionate about her platform, and she’s ready to speak her mind. And Salem Media-Twin Cities is eager to help as we produce her podcast for a national audience and look forward to working with her locally as opportunities arise.” Tafoya announced her retirement from NBC Sports in February of this year and has joined the campaign of Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls as campaign co-chair.
David ‘Mad Dog’ DeMarco to Exit ‘The Game’ in Lansing After 26 Years. Sports talk personality David “Mad Dog” DeMarco is leaving his role as afternoon drive host on Townsquare Media’s WVFN, Lansing, Michigan after tomorrow’s program, capping a 26-year sports talk career in the market. According to a story in the Lansing State Journal, DeMarco began his sports talk gig in 1996 as part of “The Sports Guys” on WVFN. For four years in the early aughts, the “Mad Dog & Company” show aired on crosstown WQTX-FM, returning to WVFN in 2007. For the past 12 years, DeMarco has been selling for the station, as well. He says, “I had to be like Clark Kent and then go into sales mode and hit the streets as a salesman. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They just think that I did the show for three hours and I go home and smoke cigarettes and get high and stuff. I had to really buckle down and be disciplined that I was going to do this. And I did. It’s not even ratings anymore. It’s how much money that you can bring in. It’s like the mafia — you’re an earner is what you are. And if you can’t earn, you’re not going to be around.”
Edison: Comedy Top Podcast Genre for First Quarter of 2022. According to data from Edison Research’s Edison Podcast Metrics, the top podcast genre in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022 was comedy. This list of podcast genres is based on weekly audience size. (Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+.) The list of the Top 10 Genres for Q1 2022 is: 1) Comedy, 2) News, 3) Society and Culture, 4) True Crime, 5) Sports, 6) TV and Film, 7) Business, 8) Arts, 9) Religion and Spirituality, and 10) Education. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche comments, “As advertisers increasingly seek to target podcast listeners, it becomes more important to understand the appeal of various genres in the space.”
TALKERS News Notes. There’s special programming available from ABC Audio for the coming Memorial Day weekend. ABC News Radio will present, “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Alex Stone. The program reports on America’s heroes, including those who lost their lives serving their country and individuals performing good deeds at home. It features Katersky’s interviews with Gold Star families who lost loved ones last summer in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew its troops. The special also shines a light on COVID-19’s toll on the country as well as the resilience of Americans trying to emerge from the pandemic and recover from the past two years…..WNYC Studios announces that Kenya Young is appointed to the newly created position of SVP, WNYC Studios – part of New York Public Radio. In this position, Young will oversee a portfolio that includes “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry,” “The United States of Anxiety with Kai Wright,” “Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale,” “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience,” and the “Blindspot” series co-produced with HISTORY. Young was most recently managing editor for collaborative journalism at NPR. Young will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for WNYC Studios’ portfolio of podcasts, and leading and supporting the teams developing and producing shows. In partnership with Emily Botein, VP, original programming, she will manage and grow current Studios productions and build out WNYC Studios new documentary unit devoted to producing longform nonfiction audio works…..Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal “Save Democracy” Tour 2022 will make a Los Angeles appearance at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Joining Miller will be Hal Sparks, Frangela, and John Fugelsang on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 pm for an evening of standup comedy and special guests. Miller says, “We have a lot of work ahead of us supporting the Democratic agenda that moves all of America forward by delivering an even bigger majority to Capitol Hill.”…..“The Regular Joe Show,” hosted by Joe Giganti and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network, adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD, Albuquerque adds the program to air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and WPA Radio LLC’s KTLR-AM/K279CR, Oklahoma City is now airing two hours of the program daily. Giganti says, “These are exciting opportunities to bring our upbeat, witty take on some of the most pressing and challenging issues of the day. I think it’s so important to maintain your ability to laugh and have a little fun, especially when tackling some of the heavier hot topics – perhaps now, more than ever.”
The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The high cost of food and gasoline, the roiling stock market & plunging value of cryptocurrency, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and Putin’s warning to Finland over plans to joins NATO; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Beam Me Up, Scotty. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you sell talk radio for a living, take a minute to thank William Shatner.” Why? “For years talk radio sellers used the anecdotal examples of iconic figures who crossed into the older demographic with faces and lifestyle that made the older demo more advertiser friendly. From Mick Jagger and Joe Namath, to Cher and Goldie Hawn, these were the easy-to-reference examples leading the path to older demo acceptance. And now a new normal has fallen into our collective talk radio lap, William Shatner who at age 90 touched the sky as the planet logged on.” Read more here.
Monday Memo: Speaking of Vaccine Mandates. “Until we can come up with something else to argue about,” the latest COVID controversy offers what consultant Holland Cooke calls “new evidence demonstrating the importance of choosing our words carefully.” In this week’s column HC bullet-points some fresh research. Read it here.
Matt Sheeder Promoted to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Radio sales pro Matt Sheeder is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes KTLK-AM, sports talk KFXN “KFAN,” and news KQQL-HD2/W227BF “BIN 93.3,” plus five music brands. Sheeder was most recently serving the cluster as local sales manager. Sheeder started in the media industry in 2015 at Comcast Spotlight. He joined the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team as an account executive in 2018. Sheeder says, “I feel fortunate to be able to help expand and lead this high-performing team. The past three years of my career at iHeartMedia have been incredibly enriching and have only helped me grow both professionally and personally. Thank you to the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team for this exciting new opportunity!”
WTOP, Washington’s Chris Roth to Acquire WNAV-AM, Annapolis from Pat Sajak. The Annapolis, Maryland radio station owned by “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak – oldies intensive, full-service outlet WNAV-AM – is being acquired by partners Chris Roth and Frank Brady for $1,000. Roth is currently a staffer in the WTOP-FM, Washington production department. WTOP has the story and notes that Roth and Brady will have to trim some of the payroll but hope to keep as many of the two dozen staffers as they can. The station will have to move from land that Sajak owns but Sajak is committing up to $100,000 to help with the move and a new lease. Roth says he will keep his position with WTOP as he transitions to his new role as co-owner of the station. Meanwhile, Sajak comments, “I am indebted to our advertisers and, of course, our loyal listeners. As I move toward retirement over the next couple of years, I’ll always look back at my ownership of WNAV with great pride and satisfaction.”
AdLarge Releases 2021 Podcasting Buying Guide. The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 has been released by AdLarge. The company says this guide features “essential information on the rapid evolution of the marketplace including the latest resources and tools for measurement, analysis, and attribution available today. While similar to the first three guides by remaining simple to follow and understand, the fourth edition goes beyond the basics of buying and delves into the specifics behind content selection, measurement efficacy, and targeted delivery.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek adds, “As more buyers continue to experience the unmatched ROI of podcast advertising, we recognized the opportunity to provide guidance and context to the quickly evolving landscape of attribution, measurement, and delivery. The unprecedented growth we are witnessing today is a true testament to the power of podcasting.” AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas states, “Working with a broad range of shows and clients has uniquely positioned AdLarge as an authentic resource to buyers. Our spectrum of knowledge has enabled us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which we’ve outlined in this playbook. Our goal is to provide everyone with the tools to make the most informed advertising decisions possible. The substantial increase year-over-year in advertiser spend has proven the audience is attentive, engaged, and ready to take action.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM morning drive personality Steve Cochran has kicked off the fourth season of his podcast “Live From My Office.” Guests on the twice-weekly podcast this season are expected to include: Tom Waddle, Mark Giangreco, Lou Piniella, Bill Leff, Spike O’Dell and comedians Kathleen Madigan and John Da Cosse…..Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT-FM, Nashville “ESPN 102.5 The Game” and the NHL’s Nashville Predators agree to a multi-year extension that continues WPRT’s role as the official flagship station and broadcast partner of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Cromwell Media president Bud Walters says, “For over 10 years the Predators have been the ‘best’ to work with. They’ve brought such excitement to Nashville, and we look forward to continuing our partnership together. We are very proud to be the flagship home of the Nashville Predators Network.”…..Townsquare Media’s KHOM, Hannibal, Missouri “NewsTalk 1070” adds Premiere Networks’ “Glenn Beck Program” to its daily lineup, effective today (10/18). Beck’s show airs locally from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden vs Progressive Democrats, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Bannon Subpoena, U.S. Missionaries Kidnapped, and Ahmaud Arbery Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The effects of the global supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden’s challenges bringing progressive Democrats aboard his agenda; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., and mask & vaccine mandates; the January 6 investigation and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s defying a subpoena to testify before a congressional committee; the kidnapping of 17 U.S. missionaries by a gang in Haiti; and the trial of three Georgia men in the slaying of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NAB Crystal Award Winners Named; Dave Ramsey Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon on Monday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Ramsey’s induction was part of the program that included the announcement of the winners of the 2013 NAB Crystal Awards. Spoken-word stations that claimed the honor included Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Salt Lake City. Here is the list of winners: KIRO-FM, Seattle; WKDZ-FM, Cadiz, Kentucky; KSFI-FM, Salt Lake City; WPEG-FM, Charlotte; KUZZ-FM, Bakersfield; WQHT-FM, New York; WCVQ-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee; WTOP-FM Washington; WHUR-FM, Washington; and WYCT-FM, Pensacola. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The 2013 NAB Crystal Radio Award recipients listed above were chosen from among 50 finalists honored at yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon. The NAB Show Radio Luncheon also featured a presentation of the NAB Crystal Heritage Award to KNOM-AM/FM, Nome, Alaska. The Crystal Heritage Award honors those stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards. Entertainer, musician, author and broadcast personality John Tesh provided a keynote address. The luncheon was sponsored by ASCAP.
2013 NAB Show: “It doesn’t feel like 2009.” Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the NAB Show in Las Vegas: Cue tympani roll for the official attendance count: 92,414, up from 91,565 in 2012. Notable: Exhibit space is up 10% over last year, and exhibitors I’m speaking with say that stations are here shopping, not just window shopping. That tracks my conversations with station people here, who came with shopping lists. The vibe is upbeat generally, despite some cold water thrown on radio:
“Right now, whether FM is on the phone is a very small issue for our customers and it’s not going to be a priority until I hear that’s what consumers want.” That’s from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam being interviewed by NAB President Gordon Smith indicating that his company isn’t ready to make the kind of deal Sprint has agreed to: FM receiver chips in wireless phones, in exchange for radio spot inventory. McAdam is unconvinced that his target prospects think radio when they think music: “It looks to me as if the trend is among younger folks customizing the station or getting the playlist they want [from streaming sources]. They will be the ones consuming this stuff and we have to be responsive to what they want.” They’re also consuming billable data time, which is, after all, what wireless carriers sell; whereas listening to over-the-air radio via a receiver chip would stop the clock. Recent blizzards and other incidents have demonstrated wireless networks’ limitations, and AM/FM radio’s value as first informer. Nowhere was that more obvious than in Hurricane Sandy’s path, and New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is gung-ho for the Sprint deal. I asked him about some broadcasters’ concern that spot inventory Sprint would turn over to a rep firm could end up competing with member stations’ own sales efforts, and Rotella agreed that’s a key deal point.
Programming Changes at Entercom’s Sports KCSP, Kansas City. Entercom’s “610 Sports Radio” moves Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison from middays to the PM drive slot for a new show called “The Drive with Danny Parkins” that features Harrison and former Kansas City Chief Jayice Pearson. At the same time, the station brings Henry Lake aboard to host the midday program alongside Jay Binkley for “The Dayshift with Lake and Bink.” Lake comes to the station from Clear Channel’s “KFAN” in Minneapolis where he’s been working since 1998. There he hosted “Sludge and Lake,” and more recently “The Lake Show.” He also hosted postgame call-in shows following Minnesota Vikings, and University of Minnesota football games. KCSP program director John Hanson states, “Minneapolis was sad to lose him and we’re glad to get him. He’s earned the respect of his listeners and colleagues alike. ‘610 Sports Radio’ is the most-listened-to sports station in Kansas City, and we know Henry’s experience, sports knowledge and energetic personality will help solidify that position.” Regarding the move of Parkins and company to afternoons Hanson states, “Listeners have been asking for this move. Danny and Carrington have built a great chemistry over the past year, so this move is a great one for us. And to add the player perspective and unique life experience Jayice provides, it will offer a great dynamic to the show.”
Odds & Sods. It’s been a busy week for WHO, Des Moines PM drive talk host Simon Conway. The London, England native was an in-demand guest this week commenting on the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He appeared on radio shows in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and others as well as with Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” – a program on which he regularly fills in. On Friday of this week, Conway will fill in on the AM drive show on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..As CNN continues to re-tool under the guidance of CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, Deadline.com reports that in addition to bringing back the old “Crossfire” political debate program, the cable news/talk channel is planning to air a 10-week interview program this summer hosted by CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulis. The show would be taped in Los Angeles before a live audience…..Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen is reporting that the Boston Red Sox Radio Network – based at Entercom’s WEEI – is losing studio host and fill-in announcer John Rish who resigned his position and will leave by April 24. Rish is a fill-in play-by-play voice when Dave O’Brien is away on his ESPN duties. Rish has been with the network since 2006 and in 2008, he was appointed as the third announcer in the booth to fill in for either O’Brien or Joe Castiglione…..This Saturday, April 13, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller brings her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to Chicago for a stop at the historic Chicago Theatre! As usual, Miller is joined on the tour by comics and radio show cast members John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s Wally Witkowski Passes Away. The man known on the radio as “Wally Witkowski,” whose real name was Tom Bolden, died in Nashville at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. Bolden, who co-hosted “The Village Idiots” with partner Jim Reynolds on WGOW-FM, Chattanooga for years, had suffered with a variety of illnesses over the years but was working as recently as several weeks ago. According to WRCB-TV, Chattanooga, Bolden was long active in local advertising sales and promotional businesses and became “Wally” in the early 1990s doing traffic reports for the radio station each morning. WRCB-TV reports that Bolden partnered with Reynolds some 20 years ago and the chemistry between the two was apparent from the beginning.
Talk Show Host is Huge Fan of the Comrex Access. Technology has changed every part of our lives and that is especially true for those in the arts, particularly broadcasting. What it used to take a truck to do, now takes less than a briefcase and cost 1/100th the original price. Radio today is changing; no longer is it just terrestrial, it’s the stream, it’s the podcast, Twitter, YouTube, it’s moving at the speed of sound. But, as one talk personality points out in a post today, many hosts are not. They are stuck in their studios doing the same type of radio that worked 20 or more years ago. According to Charles “Karel” Bouley, host of “The Karel Show” (KGO, San Francisco; GCN and CRN), hosts need to be out interacting with the community. They need to be at events, not just covering them. They need to be creating events, not just advertising them. They need to show up at unexpected places and do unexpected things. They need to be entertaining and relevant, and that means they need to get out of the studio. Karel states, “The Comrex Access unit makes that possible in ways never before imagined.” To read his entire article, click here.
New Affiliates for the Leslie Marshall Show. WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show adds some new affiliates to the nationally syndicated talk show. Beginning April 22, KMA Broadcasting’s KMA-AM/FM, Shenandoah, Iowa starts carrying the program live 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Also, Saga Communications’ WHMP, Northampton and WHMQ, Greenfield – both in Massachusetts add the show to their schedules beginning April 15.
North Korea Missile Threat, Gun Legislation Proposals, Washington Budget Battle, Brad Paisley ‘Racist’ Song Flap, Obama White House Concert, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The ongoing threats by North Korea to launch a long-range missile at the United States; the battle over new gun legislation; the Washington tug-of-war over the nation’s budget and the deficit; controversy over country singer Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist”; the recent White House soul concert; and chatter about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cuttin’ the Cake with Corporate. Staffers from the Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas and the company’s corporate execs show off a tasty looking sheet cake bestowed upon them as the big bosses saw fit to throw a little soiree for the Las Vegas staff to recognize them for the good job they’ve been doing lately. Vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells TALKERS, “We all agree that this is what makes Beasley so special!” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bruce Beasley, news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer, Mesnik, VP digital Kathleen Bricketto, Brian Beasley, rhythmic oldies KOAS and classic hits KVGS program director John Candelaria, VP digital production Kimberly Sonneborn, vice president and market manager Tom Humm, and country KCYE program director Justin Chase.