WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Rod Lakin Program Director. Philadelphia sports talk WIP-FM goes outside the Philly area for its new program director naming KMVP, Phoenix “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” PD Rod Lakin as its new brand manager. Lakin will take over for Spike Eskin, who recently joined Audacy’s WFAN, New York as program director on October 4. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station. Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.” Lakin has spent nearly two decades in the spoken-word format in Phoenix, first joining “ESPN Radio 860″ and “Newsradio 620” KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620 KTAR” upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.” In 2018, Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620 AM” and was named program director of “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” in 2019.
iHeartMedia Denver Announces Programming Changes at KOA and KHOW. A number of changes at iHeartMedia Denver’s news/talk stations take place, effective September 20. First, Ross Kaminsky moves from KHOW where he’s been hosting the morning drive show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on sister KOA. He displaces the “Logan & Lewis” show but both Dave Logan and Rick Lewis move to the afternoon drive daypart for the all-new “The KOA Sports Zoo” that will also feature current PM drive personalities Alfred “Big Al” Williams and JoJo Turnbeaugh. At KHOW, Michael Brown moves from his early afternoon show to the morning drive daypart where he’ll host “The Situation with Michael Brown.” Filling the 2:00 pm to 4:00 slot on KHOW is regular KOA and KHOW fill-in host Leland Conway, who joins the ranks of the full-time personalities. Regarding Kaminsky, iHeartMedia notes that he’s been named “Best Talk News/Talk Show” by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and “Best Radio Talk Show Host” by Westword. “The KOA Sports Zoo” – in addition to its four main personalities – will feature Denver Broncos players and coaches, and other celebrities and will cover the MLB’s Colorado Rockies and University of Colorado Buffaloes. Michael Brown is “a fan-favorite and described by many as smart, funny and connected. As the Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, Brown provides provocative insight into culture, current events and politics.” New full-time host Leland Conway is known as “a ‘happy libertarian,’ and has an uncanny ability to interview news makers, putting them at ease while cutting to the heart of the issue.” iHeartMedia Denver president Brenda Egger says, “Both KOA and KHOW have been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for close to a century. These enhancements further cement our position as the leading destination for unmatched news, talk and sports programming.”
Round Four of August 2021 PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for the group of markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM dips two-tenths to an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slides from the #2 to the #3 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee loses seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish but remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN tacks on four-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and rises to the #3 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, “SuperTalk 99.7” rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.5 share jump to a 7.8 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the previous three rounds) here.
‘104-9 FOX Sports Upstate’ Launches in Greenville, SC. Gone from the 104.9 FM signal of WROO-FM, Greenville, South Carolina is the rock format and in is sports talk. iHeartMedia unveils “104-9 FOX Sports Upstate” that is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national programming lineup with the addition of the two-hour afternoon drive show hosted by longtime South Carolina sports broadcaster Phil Kornblut. His program, “Sports Talk with Phil Kornblut,” airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly in addition to “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia Asheville/Greenville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We’re excited to bring back the FOX Sports Radio brand to the Upstate. Our listeners will have access to the best names in sports talk, plus regional coverage. It’s also a natural pairing with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Game on Upstate!”
Cumulus Media Studies NFL Fans’ Use of Radio vs. TV. This study from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts and reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners. Cumulus Media chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience. The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.” Other key findings from the study indicated that: sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience; in the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the ‘best available screen’ for employed and upscale sports fans and according to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale; compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more. See the study results here.
Salem Media Group Closes Refinancing of 2024 Senior Secured Notes. In a statement released on Monday (9/13), Salem Media Group announces it has closed the refinancing of $112.8 million of its senior secured notes due 2024 by way of exchange and/or sale and purchase of $112.8 of such 2024 Notes into $114.7 (reflecting a call premium of 1.688%) of newly issued 7.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. After the refinancing, only $103.5 million of the 2024 Notes remain outstanding. At the same time, Salem has obtained commitments from the holders of the 2028 Notes to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, contingent upon Salem satisfying certain performance benchmarks, the proceeds of which are to be used exclusively to repurchase or repay 2024 Notes. Salem believes that the extended maturity of the 2028 Notes, the ability under the indenture governing the 2028 Notes to use certain asset sale proceeds and casualty loss proceeds to repurchase or repay the 2024 Notes, and the commitments to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, as well as certain other features of the refinancing, all contribute to the ability of Salem to pay the remaining 2024 Notes in full prior to or at maturity. Salem CEO Edward G, Atsinger III says, “With this refinancing and our expected future free cash flow generation, we believe Salem has a clear path to ultimately push out all of the rest of our outstanding debt maturities. It also provides flexibility to opportunistically invest in our business.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago-born stand-up comic Brian Babylon, a.k.a., “Prince of Bronzeville,” is named the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on Tavis Smiley’s talk outlet KBLA, Los Angeles. Feder notes that Babylon hosted “The Morning AMp” from 2011 to 2015 on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform…..ABC Audio announces that Derricke Dennis is promoted to staff correspondent. In this role, he’ll report for all ABC Audio platforms, continue to anchor newscasts – as well as coverage of breaking news and special events – and he’ll be instrumental in the company’s efforts to build new products and reach new audiences. Dennis has been serving the company as a freelancer and anchoring ABC’s flagship I-NET newscast…..VSiN announces that Stormy Buonantony joins the sports betting network as the new host of “My Guys in the Desert.” In addition to covering college football for ESPN, Buonantony joins VSiN from AT&T SportsNet, where she was the rinkside reporter for the Vegas Golden Knights over the past two seasons. She says, “I’m so excited to expand my role and join the incredibly talented and knowledgeable team at VSiN full time. I’ve always joked that I grew up in a household where it didn’t matter who won or lost the game but rather by how many points they won or lost. This represents a special opportunity for me to combine my personal and professional backgrounds in my hometown of Las Vegas on a network committed to providing the best sports betting analysis out there.”…..Pet behaviorist and humorist Warren Eckstein celebrates 40 years in radio hosting, “The Pet Show With Warren Eckstein,” that is syndicated internationally by Radio America in 150 additional markets, including Guam and Canada.
COVID-19, California Recall, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Met Gala, Prince Andrew Case, California Wildfires/Tropical Storm Nicholas Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the battle over vaccine mandates, and school mask requirements; today’s recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the looming Justice for J6 rally in Washington; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wears a dress that says “tax the rich” to the Met Gala; Prince Andrew’s attorneys claim Jeffrey Epstein-related complaint is improper; and the wildfires in California and the threat of heavy rain in the Gulf south from Tropical Storm Nicholas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Self-Evident Truths,” looks back at this past week of June 28 – July 2, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Buck Sexton, talk show co-host, EIB Network; Clay Travis, talk show co-host, EIB Network; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; and Brad Shepard, talk show host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Posting of Video Content from TALKERS 2021 Conference to Resume Next Week. TALKERS magazine has been posting videos, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the recent TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on June 11. So far, we’ve posted on-demand video of the first four sessions. We’ll continue making new sessions available next week. Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!
Report: Larry Elder Considering Entering California Recall Race. According to a report in Politico, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host and attorney Larry Elder is “seriously considering” getting into the California recall race. The report by Carla Marinucci indicates that Elder expects to make a decision about the September 14 recall election early next week. She goes on to say the 69-year-old media figure is looking for “support from conservative voters who may not be motivated by other Republican candidates, which include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, former Rep. Doug Ose, and reality TV star and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner. Elder spokesperson Steve Frank is quoted saying, “Should he get into the race, it will be a game changer because he’s well known, well-liked, and extremely knowledgeable about the problems of California and government. He has been articulate about expressing those views for years.”
WFAN, New York Honors Mark Chernoff with Studio Dedication. Pictured above is Mark Chernoff – longtime program director for legendary New York sports talk radio station WFAN – standing beside the plaque that designates the station’s sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” Wednesday (6/30), Chernoff retired from his position as program director of Audacy’s WFAN and CBS Sports Radio Network. Photo: Audacy
‘JOX 94.5’ in Birmingham Unveils New Morning Show. Birmingham, Alabama sports talk outlet WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5” combines two Alabama gridiron greats for its new 7:00 am to 10:00 am show. Greg McElroy, former University of Alabama quarterback and ESPN college football color commentator partners with Cole Cubelic, former Auburn University offensive lineman and captain and sports analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN. He joined WJOX-FM in 2018 as co-host of “3 Man Front.” Pat Smith, a 25-year sports media broadcaster with a TV and radio background, will be a contributor to the new morning show. Smith – who also serves as assistant program director for WJOX-FM – created the college football radio and television program, “Finebaum,” starring Paul Finebaum. He’ll also continue his hosting duties on the station’s “3 Man Front” late morning program. Damian Mitchell will serve as producer “while adding humor and wit to the program every morning.” Cumulus Birmingham operations manager Ryan Haney says, “This is a show that I have wanted to put together for a long time and I am excited to get started. Greg and Cole are two of the top college football minds in the country. Having them in mornings on ‘Jox 94.5’ in America’s number one college football market is huge.”
SiriusXM’s Michael Smerconish Debuts Duo of New Podcasts. Talk media personality Michael Smerconish is adding two new podcasts to his content for SiriusXM. Smerconish hosts his eponymous 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show on the satcaster’s P.O.T.U.S. channel and is launching “The Smerconish Podcast,” featuring his thoughts on the key issues of the day, and “Book Club with Michael Smerconish,” which will spotlight discussions with authors about a wide range of subjects. “The Michael Smerconish Podcast” will cull “the most poignant moments” from his daily program “whether it’s his opening commentary about a controversial topic, a deep-thought interview with newsmakers, insights from listeners’ calls, or more.”
WPG-AM, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Celebrates Anniversary. Morning drive talk radio personality Harry Hurley is celebrating his 30th anniversary hosting a radio show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hurley hosts the “Hurley in the Morning” program on Townsquare Media’s WPG-AM, Atlantic City. He says in a message posted on the WPG website, “I want to take this opportunity to thank my employer, Townsquare Media and my boss Michael Ruble, president of Townsquare Media South Jersey for the opportunity to be a talk radio show host for 30 years, today. Along with my employer and boss, my sincere thanks and appreciation to our loyal listeners and advertisers, many of whom have been with us for so many decades.”
COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccines, and Masks Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 28 – July 2. Discussion about the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, the slowing rate of vaccination in the U.S., and the inconsistent mask protocols combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the indictment of the Trump Organization by NYC District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, tied with the U.S. House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack. Following at #3 was the troubles affecting the ranked choice voting in New York City’s mayoral primary elections tied with the violent crime spike in America’s large cities. 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.
Audacy Hiring in Promotions Department. There are a number of positions open in Audacy’s promotions department in several parts of the country. The company is seeking three regional promotions managers and it says the candidates must be “organized, detail-oriented and outgoing professionals to support our Promotions + Experiences team in promotions, contesting and prize fulfillment.” Those positions are open in Southern California, the Midwest, and the Tri-State area. Also, Audacy is searching for an event director and the location for that position is TBD. It directly supports the Director of National Experiences for all aspects of live events production for music, lifestyle, and sports events across the country. Find out more about it here.
Freelance Radio Anchor Opportunity. FOX News is seeking a freelance radio anchor to join the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As the freelance radio anchor, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/air check to be considered for this role. Click on the cities to find out more and to apply in New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.