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Thursday, August 12, 2021

| August 12, 2021

Cumulus Media Informs Employees of Fall Vaccine Mandate. Although the company is saying it is not commenting on yesterday’s message from CEO Mary G. Berner to its employees, Cumulus Media employees are confirming the story first reported by radio trade RadioInsight on 8/11 that all employees returning to their offices by the previously announced October 11 date must be fully vaccinated. The message states that all returning staffers must complete their vaccination by September 27 to be able to return by October 11. At this time, some Cumulus employees have been designated permanent remote and the mandate does not apply to them. The rationale for the policy is explained as follows: “Exceptions to the return to office plan will not be considered except as legally required. The decision to return to our offices was made with utmost consideration and reflects how we believe we can optimize our business efforts. Put simply, we believe that FORCE CUMULUS is at our best when we’re working together in offices. To do that as safely as we reasonably can, we’re requiring that everyone be vaccinated except those legally excepted. It would neither be fair, nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences.”

Round Three of July PPM Ratings Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 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 July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM rises by seven-tenths for a 5.5 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) finish good for the #4 rank in the market. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on three-tenths for a 3.8 share and rises from #12 to #9 in the market. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds eight-tenths for a 4.5 share finish to rise to the #10 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK-AM/FM climbs by two-tenths to an 8.7 share – good enough to rise from #3 to #1. In the Salt Lake City news/talk battle, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM adds eight-tenths for a 6.9 share and rises to the #3 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown KNRS-AM/FM falls one-tenth to a 5.0 share but remains at the #7 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets (as well as the two previous rounds) here.

Dr. Daliah Wachs is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of talk radio’s leading medical practitioners, Dr. Daliah Wachs of the Genesis Communications Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Wachs take a deep-dive into the latest medical, social, and political implications of COVID-19. According to Harrison, “Dr. Wachs is a dependable go-to resource for all things having to do the pandemic without any partisan spin whatsoever. She’s also an extremely skilled radio personality and a talk media treasure.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Grace Baker Named Executive Producer of Todd Starnes Show. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and Starnes Media Group chief Todd Starnes announces that Grace Baker is being promoted to executive producer of the “Todd Starnes Show.” Baker has been serving as news anchor for Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis and as a call screener for “The Todd Starnes Show.” Baker is a graduate of the University of Memphis and previously covered the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies for SB Nation as a game day editor. Starnes says, “Grace is beloved by our listeners. She’s got solid news judgment, a quick wit, and we are blessed to have her running the show.”

Jean Taylor to Lead America Public Media Group. After a rigorous national search, American Public Media Group’s Board of Trustees announces Jean Taylor is being named the next president and chief executive officer of the company. Taylor, who will be the first woman to lead the media organization, was most recently chair of the board of Star Tribune Media, where APMG says “she helped guide the organization through significant digital transformation. During her tenure as chair, Star Tribune has been lauded and seen as a leader in the industry for its commitment to high-quality public service journalism, its digital subscription growth, and its strong financial results.” Taylor says, “It is an exciting and critical time for public media, with tremendous opportunities to deliver quality journalism in new ways, connect with new audiences and more intentionally serve diverse communities. I am honored to lead this organization alongside the talented team at APMG.”

TALKERS News Notes. The finalists for this year’s 63rd annual Southern California Journalism Awards have been announced and Mo’Kelly and “The Mo’Kelly Show” are finalists in five different categories, including ‘Radio Journalist of the Year.’ Included in the acknowledgments are two of his nationally syndicated ‘2-Minute Warning’ commentaries for iHeartMedia’s BIN: The Black Information Network. Winners will be announced October 16 at the Biltmore in Los Angeles…..Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios launches “The 11th” – a monthly audio series designed to create a home for “intriguing stories that do not currently have a natural place in the podcast landscape, with content spanning original reporting, memoir, musicals, advice columns, fiction, and more from a continually evolving roster of contributors.” Pineapple Street co-founder Max Linsky says, “‘The 11th’ is a place for stories that might not otherwise be told, whether that’s because of format or length or perspective. There is not a singular personality as the voice of ‘The 11th’ and that’s a deliberate choice — the goal is to create something that will feature a range of voices, both from within Pineapple and beyond. The incredible team of producers and editors working on The 11th has described it as a mystery box, where you never know what you’ll get each month — I can’t wait to hear how this team and this show will surprise audiences.”…..Pictured below is Galaxy Media director of engineering Tim Backer (left) with Galaxy Media president and CEO Ed Levine (right) as Backer celebrates his 20-year anniversary (8/11) with the company. Levine says, “Many (if not most) broadcast stations don’t have engineers on site anymore. Galaxy not only has an engineer on site, but we have also had the SAME engineer for 20 years. Tim has and continues to be a huge part of the Galaxy Media team. We appreciate all his hard work and dedication to our local company. In recognition of his 20 years of service, Tim will receive a brand-new engineering vehicle of his choice for his 2:00 am drives to remote engineering sites during the Central New York winters!”

COVID-19 Infection Rate & Mask Mandates, Democrats’ Budget Resolution, Economy/Inflation, Dominion Lawsuits, Cryptocurrency Heist, Wildfires/Extreme Heat, Taliban Gains in Afghanistan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battles over mask mandates in numerous states; the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; the state of the U.S. economy and the highest rate of inflation in 20 years; a judge rules Dominion Voting Systems’ suit against Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and Mike Lindell can proceed; the theft of $600 million worth of cryptocurrency; the western wildfires and the extreme heat in parts of the U.S. and Europe; and the Taliban’s gaining control over major Afghanistan cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

| March 30, 2021

Entercom Changes Corporate Name to Audacy. This change was teased by Entercom on Monday in a tweet but makes the news official today, marking the change from Entercom Communications Corp to Audacy, effective immediately. In a press release, the company says: “Over the past three years, the company has purposefully evolved into a scaled, multi-platform audio content and entertainment organization with the country’s best radio broadcasting group and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market—including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, network, live experiences, music, sports and news. Audacy is also the #1 creator of original, premium audio content.” Chairman, president and CEO David Field adds, “We have transformed into a fundamentally different and dramatically enhanced organization and so it is time to embrace a new name and brand identity which better reflects who we have become and our vision for the future. ‘Audacy’ captures our dynamic creativity, outstanding content, and innovative spirit as we aspire to build the country’s best audio content and entertainment platform.” The company says its evolution has been fueled by: the acquisition of the CBS Radio group, the launch of RADIO.COM and building the fastest growing digital audio platform, the acquisition of Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, enhancing its sports platform with the acquisition of QL Gaming Group and its partnership with FanDuel, and more. The company’s ticker symbol will change from ETM to AUD effective on or about Friday, April 9. Along with the name Entercom, effective today, the company will also sunset the RADIO.COM brand and align its direct-to-consumer platform under Audacy.

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Adds ‘Markley, Van Camp & Robbins’ for Early Afternoons. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk WSGW-AM/FM announces it is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart previously occupied by the Rush Limbaugh program with Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, Van Camp & Robbins Show” featuring Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins. The Alpha Media station says in mid-March it switched “from the Rush recordings to this new, live show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. WSGW wanted a show that would serve conservatives on the hot topics of the day in an informative and entertaining style. The MVC&R Show does that perfectly because they include a Millennial, Gen Xer, and a Baby Boomer. The range of audience listenership this trio brings closes the generation gap and provides a unique perspective that no other show can do. At the end of the day, it’s three friends hanging out and talking about everything! It is a great show and 100.5 & 790 Newsradio WSGW is excited to announce their addition to the lineup.”

WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia to Air Todd Starnes Show in Noon to 3:00 pm Slot. The Gainesville, Georgia news/talk outlet announces it will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with the “Todd Starnes Show.” Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM is overseen by EVP and general manager Bill Maine, who says, “We know our listeners will miss Rush. He was the absolute best at what he did, and no one can replace him. But we are fans of Todd Starnes and we think moving Todd into that time slot, as well as adding more locally produced programs gives WDUN an exceptionally strong lineup of news/talk programs.”

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Expands Local Shows in Talent Shuffle. Salt Lake City news/talk KSL-AM/FM announces a series of changes in its lineup that includes the expansion of three programs. The Bonneville station says that with the departure of Lee Lonsberry from this station, Boyd Matheson’s “Inside Sources” program moves from the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon slot to the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart. The “Utah’s Noon News” show expands from 30 minutes to a full hour from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and “The Dave and Dujanovic Show” grows by an hour to air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. KSL program director Kevin LaRue says, “Boyd is just too important of a voice to the community to only have him on KSL one hour a day. We’re excited to provide listeners a longer program to cover important issues. The thinking he offers about the news and current culture is unparalleled.” Matheson also serves as the opinion editor of the Deseret News. He says, “Having spent most of my career as an international business consultant really gave me a look at how things work, what leadership looks like, and how you pull people together. Then my time in Washington DC as a chief of staff understanding the behind-the-scenes things that go on where the real levers of power are in DC and of course our connection to politics here locally. ”

‘Free Talk Live’ Host and Co-Founder Ian Freeman Awaits Bail Ruling; Faces Fraud and Money Laundering Charges. The lead host and co-founder of the nationally syndicated talk radio program “Free Talk Live” – Ian Freeman– is awaiting a ruling from federal Judge Magistrate Andrea Johnstone on a bail request from his attorney, according to an article in the Manchester Union-Leader. Freeman is being charged with money laundering, fraud and conspiracy after a recent raid on his home by federal authorities. Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgina MacDonald alleges that Freeman and others operated a Bitcoin-dollar exchange program through churches with which they are affiliated and called Freeman a “sophisticated cybercriminal.” The Union-Leader reports the feds allege that Freeman used Shire Free Church accounts to convert dollars to Bitcoin and that those dollars came from “romance fraud, investment fraud, and your-friend’s-in-jail fraud.” MacDonald says Freeman “offered anonymity, didn’t ask questions and charged a 10% exchange fee” when “legitimate” exchange services charge 3% or less. In requesting bail, Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, argued that Freeman is not a flight risk and that he’s known about the federal investigation for years because people agents interviewed would tell Freeman about their encounter with authorities. Sisti says Freeman could have fled before his arrest. Industry observers who follow this TALKERS Heavy Hundred program know that its main freedom-based theme and Freeman’s ongoing antagonistic position on laws he considers unconstitutional have provided it with provocative and compelling “reality show” type material even though it has been a source of irritation to both local Keene, New Hampshire (where the show is based) and federal law enforcement agencies. Part of the show’s formidable appeal to an ever-growing number of affiliates and loyal listeners has been the willingness of its primary host to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.”

Sam Tatum Promoted to VP, Integrated Marketing & Partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media. Rising from his director of sales for Radio One’s Washington, DC cluster to the newly created position of vice president, integrated marketing & partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media is Samuel Tatum. In this new role, Radio One and Reach Media say they are further unifying their sales and integrated marketing efforts across both divisions to help brands and agency partners effectively connect with the coveted and influential Black consumer through authentic and powerful multiplatform touchpoints. Tatum will lead a team of marketers and project managers in developing and implementing new innovative marketing solutions for national advertisers and agencies utilizing all of the Radio One and Reach Media assets. As the primary liaison between the national sales teams and other departments within Radio One, Reach Media, and other Urban One divisions, Tatum will streamline communications, ensure the continuity of national and corporate partnerships, and make sure the sales teams continue to provide their advertising partners with the absolute best-in-class cross-platform solutions. Tatum states, “I am humbled by the confidence Reach Media and Radio One has placed in me and am excited to continue to grow the legacy of our founder, Cathy Hughes, in this new role. Radio One and Reach Media have a rich portfolio of assets, and I am passionate about the opportunity to create, develop, and execute unique, on-brand, and culturally appropriate solutions that provide reach and engagement with the Black consumer for our advertisers and partners. Let’s blaze new trails!”

Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville Announces Content Partnership with A to Z Sports. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces it has entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports. Cumulus Media says, “The agreement brings together the two biggest sports entertainment brands in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, allowing them to create and share unique, deep-dive sports content across their respective digital platforms, including streaming and on-demand content, podcasts, social media, and much more, plus live and local on-air programming on ‘104.5 The Zone’ and high-engagement live events for area sports fans.” Per the terms of the agreement, “104.5 The Zone,” the flagship home for the Tennessee Titans and Nashville affiliate for University of Tennessee Volunteers, will regularly feature A to Z Sports personalities, while “104.5 The Zone” personalities will appear regularly on A to Z Sports’ popular programs. The partnership will create shared and complementary original programming between the brands and their platforms to give fans more and better sports news and talk than ever before. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “We are truly excited to partner with A to Z Sports! This opens up more doors for both WGFX and A to Z to be more creative and implement new ideas in the market. The true winner in this partnership is the Nashville sports fan.” A to Z Sports is co-owned by Zach Bingham and Austin Stanley. Earlier this month, “104.5 The Zone” signed sports journalist Buck Reising as its midday air personality (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). Reising had previously been a frequent guest host on WGFX, but is mostly known for his “615 Sessions” podcast and live weeknight show, “A to Z Sports Primetime,” heard on A to Z Sports Nashville.

Audacy Unveils New Relationship with BetMGM. The new Audacy, formerly Entercom, unveils another sports betting deal, this time with BetMGM. This relationship is a multi-year deal designating BetMGM as a betting partner of Audacy across its sports broadcast stations, the Audacy, and Bet QL apps and digital platforms, and the “BetQL Audio Network.” The partnership will bring BetMGM’s sports betting content to Audacy sports talk listeners and gives BetMGM preferred access to Audacy talent. The partnership comes on the heels of several recent moves made by Audacy in the sports betting space, including the acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group and the launch of the “BetQL Audio Network, both of which are fundamental components of this deal. Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “The advent of legalized mobile sports betting has presented an unprecedented opportunity to bring the action closer to the audience than ever before and, as a result, provide our partners with a direct line of sight to tap into an attentive, fully engaged audience of potential sports bettors. We are proud to partner with BetMGM and wish to thank them for their confidence in us as we become one of their largest media partners. In light of our BetQL acquisition and related offerings, we believe this commitment is the latest validation that no other media company offers the wide variety of ways to connect with the sports betting audience the way that we do on a multi-platform basis.”

COVID-19 Cases Rising/Vaccines, WHO Virus Origin Report, Derek Chauvin Trial, Biden Economic Stimulus Plan, Suez Ship Freed, Lil Nas X Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/29). The rising number of COVID-19 cases and the CDC’s warning of a fourth wave, plus the rollout of vaccines; the World Health Organization’s COVID origin report that suggests the coronavirus jump to humans from animals; the beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the Biden administration’s multi-trillion dollar economic plan that first focuses on infrastructure; the container ship that blocked the Suez canal for almost a week is freed; and the controversy over the new song from Lil Nas X and the accompanying “Satan Shoes” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

| March 25, 2021

Cumulus Fires One and Suspends Two at WGRF-FM, Buffalo After Racists Remarks on ‘Morning Bull Show.’ One member of the “The Morning Bull Show” at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” has been fired and two other members have been suspended after they did a bit that involved comparing the color of famous Black women’s skin to burnt toast. Spectrum News reports that Cumulus fired Rob Lederman and suspended Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and the University of Buffalo says Gaenzler will not be considered for stadium announcer next fall (a position he’s held in the past). At least two advertisers pulled their ads from the station as Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the West Herr Auto Group canceled their current ad schedules. Cumulus issued the following statement: “Cumulus Media operates from a clearly defined set of programming principles and there is no question that Rob Lederman’s comments made on The Morning Bull Show are in direct violation of those principles. We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize and deeply regret the incident.”

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Extends Bauerle and Bellavia Shows to Cover Limbaugh Daypart. According to a report in the Buffalo News, Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN-AM is going to fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart long occupied by “The Rush Limbaugh Show” by expanding the midday David Bellavia and afternoon drive Tom Bauerle shows. Beginning on April 5, the David Bellavia show air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tom Bauerle’s program will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The station will add a 9:00 am to 10:00 am program hosted by AM drive co-host Brian Mazurowski and producer and fill-in host Joe Beamer. To fill the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm hour created by Bauerle’s move, WBEN will air “The News Hour with Tom Puckett and the WBEN News Team.” Program director Tim Wenger says in a memo to staff, “This lineup gives us the ability to super-serve the market with the most compelling stories and topics on the minds of people in Buffalo and Western New York and establishes us as THE go-to outlet for full LIVE coverage all day long.”

Dana Loesch Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The leading female news/talk radio host in America, Dana Loesch, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Loesch has been syndicated by Radio America in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET time slot for the past seven years and is considered one of the leading players in a growing field of competitors seeking to be cleared on stations looking to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Rush Limbaugh. Loesch, a staunch conservative described as a “next generation” talker, is the author of three highly influential books: Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America (Hachette, 2015), Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To (Sentinel, 2016), and Grace Canceled: How Outrage is Destroying Lives, Ending Debate, and Endangering Democracy (Regnery, 2020). Harrison and Loesch discuss the state of the talk radio industry as it enters the post-Limbaugh era along with her views on the gun control debate in the wake of the latest wave of mass murders in the news.  They also tackle the big questions about the future of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and the conservative movement in America.  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.  Don’t miss this!

Round Three of Nielsen Audio’s February PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 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 February 2021 sweep covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations that typically see a decline in listening following a presidential election kept the attention of listeners due to the chaos that followed the elections and that continued into the new year with the January 6 Capitol attack and the incoming Biden administration. In this report, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM drops from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths to finish the February survey with a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 5.5 share and slides to the #4 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK remains ranked #1 even while losing six-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 9.6 share. There’s a second-place tie in Salt Lake City as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM dips nine-tenths and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM is flat – both posting 7.0 shares. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Nielsen: Women Make Up 45% of Podcast Consumers; Kids & Family Most-Listened-To Genre. The new Podcasting Today report from Nielsen indicates that the top genre among female podcast listeners in the U.S. is ‘kids & family,’ with a 77% audience composition while true crime is fourth with a 60% audience composition (health & fitness and arts are second and third, respectively). The rest of the top 10 is: religion and spirituality (58%), education (54%), society and culture (53%), fiction (50%), and TV, film, and music (48%). “Perhaps what this tells us is that regardless of characteristics such as gender, podcasts listeners are a diverse group with diverse interests and that women are among the most voracious consumers of podcasts of all types and subjects.” Nielsen states, “Women are savvy consumers of news, information, and other media across devices. They also make up 45% of all podcast consumers over-indexing in podcasts across all genres. This is a coveted demographic for marketers and advertisers, as female-led households in the U.S. increased 41% in the last five years. No matter what media they’re consuming, truth, transparency, and real representation matter.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast deal is announced in which iHeartMedia partners with Will Packer Media for a slate of original scripted and unscripted podcasts to the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “The new partnership builds on the success of the true crime podcast ‘Fight Night,’ which launched on the iHeartMedia platform in October 2020 and was co-produced by Will Packer and James Lopez, president of Will Packer Productions. ‘Fight Night’ examined one of Atlanta’s most infamous armed robberies from the night of Muhammad Ali’s historic 1970 return to boxing.”…..ABC Audio unveils its new podcast “Inside the Oscars,” hosted by ABC News’ Ginger Zee. ABC says the six-part series dives into everything listeners want to know in the one-month countdown to an Oscar Sunday that will be like no other, including how filmmaking and the way we enjoy movies has changed. The first episode of “Inside the Oscars” is available today (3/25) with new episodes posting Thursdays…..Entercom and Global Music Rights announce a long-term partnership that allows Entercom to perform GMR’s catalog of hit songs across all of its platforms. Entercom says the multi-year deal starts immediately and paves the way for a strong partnership between the rapidly growing audio content and entertainment platform and the boutique performing rights organization featuring some of music’s most talented hitmakers. Entercom chief David Field adds, “We are excited to partner with Irving [Azoff] and the team at GMR. They represent some of the top talent on radio today. The combination of Entercom’s reach and GMR’s music is a huge win for our audience.”

Biden’s Immigration Policy, COVID-19, Cuomo Troubles, Georgia Voting Bill-Dem’s For the People Act, Suez Canal Blocked, Deadly Boulder Shooting/Gun Control, Biden Press Conference, and Chinese Cotton Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The growing crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s response; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some U.S. states, concern about variants, and vaccine rollouts; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of giving his family priority in COVID testing, he faces allegations of sexual harassment, and engineering a cover-up over nursing home COVID deaths in the state; the Georgia bill that would restrict voting and the House Democrats’ For the People voting expansion bill; the freighter creating a roadblock in the Suez Canal; the slaying of 10 at a grocery in Boulder, Colorado and the larger issue of gun control; today’s first live press conference for President Joe Biden; and the allegation that Xinjiang cotton is made in Chinese detention camps 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.

Friday, October 2, 2020

| October 2, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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 “Shut Up and Keep Talking!” looks back at this past week of September 28th – October 2nd, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Kevin Miller, talk show host, KIDO, Boise; Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkAndy Bloom, CEO, Andy Bloom Communications / contributor, Newsmax.com; John Catsimatidis, CEO, Red Apple Media / syndicated talk show host; “Cousin” Bruce Morrow, program host, WABC, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer 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.

Michael Savage Announces He’ll Exit Radio in January to Focus on Podcasting. The talk radio star told his listeners on Wednesday (9/30) that he’ll be leaving his radio program effective in January. Michael Savage posted a Breitbart story about his announcement to his website and that piece says Savage will be heard exclusively on his “Savage Nation Podcast” on the Westwood One Podcast Network. However, other sources are reporting he’s splitting from Cumulus Media and Westwood One. Savage said on his radio show, “I cannot give you the reasons. I am constrained for legal reasons. You will no longer hear Michael Savage on radio anywhere in America.” Starting in 2019, Savage’s radio show was reduced from three hours to one – airing live from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. He also began his podcast that some radio stations aired as a radio show.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Adds Jon Jansen to Morning Show. The new morning drive show at Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is “Stoney and Jansen,” starring Mike Stone and Jon Jansen and featuring Heather Parks. Jamie Samuelsen co-hosted the morning show with Stone from August 2016 until his death on August 1. Jansen is a former University of Michigan and Detroit Lions football player and has been a frequent guest host on WXYT-FM as well as a personality on the station’s “Gameday Uncensored” weekly football show. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As Detroit’s number one sports talk station, we are excited to add Jon’s vast NFL knowledge to our incredible team. A native Detroiter who played for the University of Michigan and the Lions, Jon has distinct passion for the city’s football scene. Detroiters are really going to enjoy the chemistry that Jon has with Stoney as they tackle the biggest storylines in the Motor City and beyond.”

Round Three of September PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 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 September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AHQ share 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 “FM News 101” adds one-tenth to finish the survey with a 6.0 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte also tacks on one-tenth to finish with a 6.0 share and rises to the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento was up one-tenth to an 8.1 share and that was good enough to push it into the #1 spot. After four straight down surveys, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City finished the September survey up one full share to post a 6.1 share and jumps into the #5 spot. Across town, iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM adds 1.2 shares to finish with a 7.3 share and climbs into the #2 spot. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway report here.

PodcastOne Beefs Up Sports Content. The PodcastOne SportsNet announces new and upcoming programming that includes a weekly podcast hosted by NFL great Michael Irvin and a new daily show called, “All Balls, All Sports” starring Adam Carolla and Jeff Cesario. Sports media personality Chris Myers recently debuted his “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris says, “Sports-related programming has done remarkably well on our network and this slate of premium sports shows from some of the greatest sports and comedic talent will serve both our audience and our advertisers.” The company says listenership to its sports-related programming has increased 14% in Q3 since the end of Q2 in calendar year 2020.

The Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Debate, and Mail-In Voting Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election, Tuesday’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, and the debate over mail-in voting tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of September 28 – October 2, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the issue of court-packing. Coming in at #3 was President Trump and Melania Trump testing positive for COVID-19 along with statistics about current infections and projections for future cases. 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Wednesday (10/7) is the lone 2020 Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. The debate will be moderated by USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page. SRN’s coverage begins at 8:06 pm ET with a special “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt who will be joined by special guests and feature an update from SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. After the debate, SRN will present a 30-minute wrap-up program…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Foxtopus Ink partner for Westwood One to distribute, market, and monetize Foxtopus’ existing and future podcasts. As part of the deal, popular science podcast “Wild Thing” moves to the Westwood One Podcast Network. “Wild Thing” – hosted by Laura Kratz – turns its gaze skyward in this second season. In “Wild Thing: Space Invaders,” Krantz examines the science, culture, and philosophy of a universe where we’re not alone and why the idea of alien life has abducted our imaginations…..Podcast network Ramble (a division of Cadence13 and part of Entercom’s Podcast Network) launches “Charli and Dixie: TWO CHIX,” a new weekly podcast hosted by sisters TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. The sisters have a combined social following of nearly 200 million and tens of billions of views on leading social media platforms…..Skyview Networks wrapped its third annual upfront this week – a celebration built on a virtual stage for an audience of top media agencies and network buyers. The theme of this year’s event was “Unrivaled Momentum” in which Skyview underscored its strong focus on growth and new initiatives saying, “Despite the economic and industry effects of the pandemic, Skyview continued to increase the strength of its sales portfolio, building its affiliate relationships from 5,700 to over 9,000 and reaching more than half of American listeners weekly. Loaded with some of the biggest names in entertainment, music and news, Skyview has set the tone for a powerful year ahead.”…..HealthyLife.net Radio Network is extending the reach of its programs by launching HRNradio.com – a platform “designed to be the place where positive people and podcasts unite with more than 2,400 timeless, entertaining talk programs curated from HealthyLife.net Radio’s cadre of seasoned hosts like Dr. Bernie Siegel, Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland and more.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.

Programming pro Tricia “TJ” Jenkins is named assistant brand and content director for Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM “KS95.” Station brand and content director Mat Mitchell says as part of her duties TJ will host the midday show and handle the traditional music director and APD roles. TJ was most recently co-host of Westwood One’s “Ty Bentli Show.” Previously she worked in the Twin Cities at Entercom’s KMNB-FM. Mitchell says, “There is a massive interest in this role at ‘KS95,’ and we talked to many talented people to champion the legacy of this brand. TJ immediately stood out to me as a personality who understands how to build companionship with the ‘KS95’ audience on-air, online, and in the Twin Cities community. TJ has the unique skills to collaborate with our record label partners, key clients, and I’m excited for her to join the Hubbard radio family!”…..Today, iHeartMedia’s KRRL, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” will present Big Boy and J Cruz hosting “A REAL Town Hall Meeting” for “serious conversations about issues that are important to the future of the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” KRRL says, “The special town hall meeting will be a no-holds-barred, unfiltered discussion on a variety of significant topics including the importance of voting in the upcoming election and the relationship between the police and the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” Also appearing on the show will be Van Jones, rapper Saweetie, attorney Benjamin Crump, sheriff Alex Villanueva, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia…..iHeartMedia Chicago’s WGRB “Inspiration 1390 Music of Power and Praise” is presenting “Praise In Place,” a virtual concert and celebration featuring gospel artists Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Jekalyn Carr, Melvin Crispell III, LeNasia Tyson and Selah Youth Choir of Saint Sabina via livestream on the station’s Facebook page tonight at 7:00 pm. The event is being hosted by WGRB personalities Sonya Blakey, Marcella Jones, Willie Moore Jr. and DeAndre Patterson. The station will also honor local nonprofits and community and faith leaders who have provided much-needed services to the Chicagoland community during the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest.