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Friday, January 28, 2022

| January 28, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Back in the USSR,” looks back at this past week of 1/24 to 1/28. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, TALKERS executive editor, John Batchelor, talk show host, CBS RadioHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Victoria Jones, executive director/commentator, DC Radio CompanyJosh Hammer, opinion editor/podcaster, Newsweek; and Nanette Holt, reporter, The Epoch Times. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Bonneville Names Sean Thompson PD for ‘Arizona Sports.’ Sports radio pro Sean Thompson is named program director for Bonneville’s Phoenix sports talk properties, KMVP-FM “98.7 FM Arizona Sports” and KTAR-AM “ESPN 620 Phoenix.” Thompson comes to Bonneville from his most recent position as assistant brand manager for Audacy’s WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 FM The Game.” Thompson comments, “It was going to need to be the ultimate opportunity for me to leave ‘The Game’ and I’ve found it. With the talented talk shows, flagship relationships with all the local teams and full commitment to digital content, the potential for the ‘Arizona Sports’ super brand is limitless.” Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Ryan Hatch adds, “Sean is the perfect person to lead ‘Arizona’s Sports Station’ to new heights. He is strategic, creative, collaborative and we can’t wait to see what he will do to continue to grow the ‘Arizona Sports’ brand on all channels.” Thompson takes over for Rod Lakin, who assumed the brand manager post with Audacy’s sports talk WIP, Philadelphia in October.

KFI-AM Launches Weekly Show with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Los Angeles news/talk KFI-AM announces the return of the weekly radio program, “Live and Unscripted with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.” The iHeartMedia station will air the program on Sundays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm from its studios in Burbank. The station says, “The new weekly program is back by popular demand and is hosted by Alex Villanueva, who runs the country’s largest sheriff’s department. Every Sunday, listeners can join the show to hear the hottest topics on the mind of LA County residents: homelessness, crime, corruption and politics. Villanueva will also feature guests who will explain the inner workings of the various bureaus in his department.” Station program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Sheriff Alex Villanueva is a straight talker and KFI has always welcomed bold talk.”

Round Three of Holiday PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2021 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 Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Radio listening patterns change during this period due to the seasonal implementation of Christmas music but some spoken-word stations were able to buck that trend. Audacy’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh tacked on seven-tenths for a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #8 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland was up four-tenths for a 4.4 share and climbed to the #7 rank. In Kansas City, Audacy’s KMBZ-FM rose four-tenths for a 5.0 share finish good for the #5 rank in the market. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well and the first two rounds) here.

Audacy Partners with Podchaser for Podcasting Insight. A new partnership between Audacy and Podchaser will allow Audacy to use Podchaser’s metadata and podcast technology capabilities to gain insight into the performance and influence of podcasts across the entire industry, enhancing Audacy’s value proposition for agencies and clients. Audacy EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “As Audacy continues to build out our industry leading, measurement and attribution suite, we are excited to partner with Podchaser to help our client and agency partners continue to make smart decisions routed in data when placing their podcast buys with Audacy.”

WABC, New York Honors Memory of Fallen NYPD Officer Jason Rivera. New York City news/talk “77 WABC Radio” is honoring fallen New York City Police Officer Jason Rivera today (1/28), the day of his funeral. The station is asking its listeners to recognize Rivera’s service. “On behalf of John Catsimatidis, chairman and chief executive officer of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media and the entire staff of 77 WABC, we encourage you to join us and support a hometown hero at the NYPD by ‘standing with us’ on Friday, January 28 at 9:00 am EST to honor the life of Jason Rivera. 77 WABC will pause the airwaves and take a moment of silence to show support and ask ALL of New York City and America to STAND, outside your home, inside your home, place of work or school. All of our communities are deeply saddened and affected, and we are asking to show your support.” 77 WABC and One Times Square have collaborated to display the image of Jason Rivera on the side of their building at 8:58 am, 9:15 am, 9:30 am, 9:45 am. The station is also distributing free “Back The Blue” pins to wear to show support for police officers via its website.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM “KOMO News” is losing its heritage call letters and the “KOMO News” slogan as part of the deal that transferred the station from Sinclair Broadcast Group to Lotus Broadcasting. The Seattle Times reports that since the deal allows Sinclair to keep the KOMO calls off the stations, it will take up the new calls KNWN for “Northwest News.” Station PD and afternoon personality Rick Van Cise tells the paper, “There won’t be any difference in the sound of the radio station. The personalities, the reporters are all staying the same.”…..Austin public radio outlet KUT-FM names Jerry Quijano permanent host of the “All Things Considered” host seat at the NPR member station. Quijano began his career with KUT in 2017 as a weekend local host. After graduating from Texas A&M University-San Antonio and participating in NPR’s Next-Generation Radio project, he started full-time the following year…..“Radiolab” founder Jad Abumrad announces he’s leaving the podcast he founded almost 20 years ago and to honor and celebrate him, WNYC is releasing the very first episode of the show that was broadcast only once on WNYC’s AM station in 2002 and then locked away in the vault. WNYC says it had to literally digitize the show from several CDs to get it on air. Speaking about his departure, Abumrad says, “For the last few years – since 2016 really – I’ve told myself that there’d come a point when the team would be ‘ready’ for me to leave. When they might even need me to. I wasn’t sure when that would be or how I’d know, but I made a pact with myself to stay watchful, to create space rather than filling it, and to listen rather than talk. We’re at that point.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 24-28. Controversy surrounding COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates and the rate of infection from the Omicron variant in the U.S. and around the world came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the global tensions over the Russian military build-up at the Ukraine border, tied with relations between the U.S. and China. Coming in at #3 this week was the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and speculation about President Joe Biden’s potential nominee. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

| September 29, 2021

Lotus Communications Closes on Seattle Stations Acquisition. The only radio stations that Sinclair Broadcast Group owned are now part of the Lotus Communications portfolio as Lotus closes on the $18 million purchase of all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM in Seattle that was announced in June. Lotus president Jim Kalmenson says in a statement, “Today begins an exciting era as we begin working with the amazing staff at these heritage radio stations KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Sinclair Broadcast Group – a broadcast television company – picked up the radio stations as part of its acquisition of Fisher Communications’ TV assets in 2013.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Hospitalized with COVID. The “Real Radio 104.1” website has the story of “Monsters in the Morning” host Russ Rollins’ battle with COVID-19. Rollins – who is fully vaccinated and has been an advocate for vaccinations and masks – was on an RV trip with his wife when he fell ill. They cut their trip short and returned home but on Monday (9/27), “things went from bad to worse” and “he was told by his doctor to go to the local emergency room.” Rollins texted that “fluid was filling up” and “this is not good,” adding this “is the worst I have ever felt.” For now, longtime member of “The Monsters in the Morning” Carlos Navarro is leading the show from his home with Angel Rivera and Ryan Holmes in separate rooms at the iHeartMedia studios in Orlando.

iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network Partners with Real Times Media. The deal between iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network and Detroit-based multi-media firm Real Times Media is described as “a strategic partnership to share and distribute news that is most important to the Black community.” BIN: Black Information Network is the company’s “national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective” and Real Times Media publishes Black-targeted newspapers The Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, The Chicago Defender, The Michigan Chronicle, and The New Pittsburgh Courier. iHeartMedia says this new partnership expands upon the recent announcement that beginning in January 2022, BIN will expand their local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets. Under this deal, iHeartMedia will source and distribute news stories from RTM publications across BIN radio stations and sites, and RTM will source and distribute BIN news, entertainment and sports stories and place BIN’s audio widget, a source of 24/7 audio coverage, on their digital properties. iHeartMedia will distribute RTM news on BINnews.com, BINnews.com/Atlanta and BINnews.com/Detroit. The deal also includes opportunities for iHeartMedia to convert RTM stories into audio reporting. BIN president Tony Coles says, “From the start, our goal at BIN has been to celebrate and invest in the Black community and shine a light on our most important stories. This exciting new partnership allows us to extend our commitment to expanding local journalism, benefitting Black communities all across the country.”

Elvin Fluellen Named VP and Market Manager for Cumulus Macon. Radio sales pro Elvin Fluellen is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Macon, Georgia station group that includes news/talk WMAC-AM and four music brands. Fluellen rejoins Cumulus Macon from Cox Media Group Jacksonville where he was an account executive. Fluellen was previously general sales manager/digital sales manager for Cumulus Macon from 2016-2019. Fluellen has also held programming leadership and on-air positions during his 23-year radio career, including 13 years as operations manager/program director for iHeartMedia in Albany, Georgia. Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “It’s exciting to have Elvin rejoining the team in Macon as he did a wonderful job for us and made a lasting impact with the staff, advertisers and community. I’m very pleased to work alongside him again and look forward to many more successes together.”

Premiere Networks Launches Weekend Cryptocurrency Show Hosted by Mark Moss. This weekend Premiere Networks is debuting “The Mark Moss Show,” hosted by investor, entrepreneur, cryptocurrency expert, and host of the popular “Market Disruptors” podcast/YouTube series Mark Moss. The new three-hour weekend program is available for stations to air between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight local time. It will also be available as a podcast. Premiere says, “Each week on ‘The Mark Moss Show,’ Moss will help audiences understand and navigate Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, as well as why they’re important, including the business, politics, financial markets, and more. He’ll share his knowledge for why this isn’t just a new technology, but a technological revolution with the biggest opportunity and potential ever seen.” He says, “We’re witnessing the most important technological revolution right now – it’s the greatest ‘asymmetric opportunity’ of our lifetime. But to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to have asymmetric information and you need to know what most others do not. That’s what I’m excited to share with listeners each and every week, so they can participate in this revolution today!” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “Mark is uniquely qualified to inform and educate audiences on how to make smart investments, grow their money, understand the financial markets and prepare for the future. He doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk. We look forward to sharing Mark’s knowledge and expertise with listeners every weekend!”

Dan Kripke Named DOS for El Dorado Broadcasters. At El Dorado Broadcasters in Yuma, Arizona, Dan Kripke is named director of sales for the group that includes news/talk KBLU-AM, two music brands, plus Yumadailynews.com and its digital sales operations in the marketplace. Kripke was most recently director of sales for Curtis Media in Jacksonville, North Carolina. El Dorado Broadcasters executive president Chris Fleming says, “Dan Kripke is someone we identified as a match for our team as his style and approach are both complementary and unique. When we look for people to join our team, we actively search for people who have a passion for this business and the curiosity and enthusiasm to be innovative. In our conversations with Dan this year, we knew he is someone we want on our team.” Kripke comments, “I can see the potential for growth in the Yuma market and I am thrilled to be part of it. I knew this was a team I wanted to join when had my first conversation with El Dorado Broadcasters. I can’t wait to get started.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (9/30) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents a Town Hall broadcast addressing the alarming rise in youth suicide in New Jersey. Station senior political director Eric Scott says, “The most alarming statistic is the sharp increase in suicide among children as young as 10. Our goal is to remove the stigma surrounding those struggling with thoughts of suicide and connect them with the help they need.” The program’s on-air panel will feature: Meredith Masin Blount, executive director of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Susan Tellone, clinical director of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide; anti-bullying expert Stuart Green; and Roselin Duenas, a youth suicide survivor and advocate for New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ community…..Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno “NewsTalk 580/105.9” recently teamed with local agriculture company Gar Bennett to raise money for the Central California Food Bank through its 2021 “Feeding Families Fund Drive,” and listeners responded generously donating more than $250,000 to help their neighbors struggling with food insecurity and hunger. The annual one-day event was held on September 17 and has raised more than $3.5 million dollars and provided 18 million meals over the eight years the station has been presenting the fund drive…..Monticello Media’s WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia  recently picked up awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters for newscast (“Local News First”), sports coverage (Mac McDonald “Covid 19 and HS Sports”) and community events (“Save the C’ville Fireworks”)…..iHeartMedia announces that Charlamagne Tha God’s The Black Effect Podcast Network will celebrate its one-year anniversary of “uplifting and amplifying Black voices in the podcast space” with a live event on October 7 at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The hybrid event (in-person and live-streamed) will highlight some of the network’s comedy podcasts and will be hosted by Flame Monroe, co-host of “Laugh and Learn.” The event will feature live recordings from “Whoreible Decisions” with Mandii B and WeezyWTF and “The 85 South Show” with DC Young FlyKarlous Miller, and Chico Bean…..Audacy’s C13Originals drops the second season of its documentary series written and created by Vanity Fair’s Lili Anolik titled, “Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College.” This season explores the Bennington College Class of ‘86 and the cultural impact of three of its members, authors Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Donna Tartt.

Debt Ceiling Standoff, Biden Infrastructure-Spending Plans, Senate Afghanistan Testimony, COVID-19, Stephanie Grisham Book, and UK Fuel Shortage Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The congressional stalemate over raising the U.S.’s debt ceiling to avoid default; the debate in congress over President Joe Biden’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; Tuesday’s senate testimony from top generals indicating they counseled Biden not to exit Afghanistan and Gen. Mark Milley’s doubling down on his calls to Chinese military; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; fallout from former Donald Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s tell-all book; and the fuel crisis affecting Great Britain were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.