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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

| December 8, 2020

Howard Stern Signs Renewal with SiriusXM for Five More Years. During previous investor conference calls, outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he believed Howard Stern and SiriusXM would come to terms on a new deal and today’s announcement bears that out. Under the new agreement, Stern will continue to produce and host “The Howard Stern Show” exclusively for SiriusXM for the next five years, and the Howard Stern archive of audio and video will continue to be licensed to SiriusXM for an additional seven years. Stern says, “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio. And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike. And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered, and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.” Meyer says, “As the leading audio entertainment company, we couldn’t be happier to have Howard, the leading host in all of radio and audio, continue to make SiriusXM the home for his show, channels, and archives while at the peak of his broadcasting career. Howard’s home has been SiriusXM and it will remain that way, but we’ve expanded SiriusXM in recent years too, and we are excited about finding the right ways that select content from Howard can find audiences on additional platforms. May I add, I consider Howard a close friend and look forward to listening to him for years to come.”

Ron St. Pierre Out at iHeartMedia’s WHJJ, Providence; Jim Polito Takes Over Morning Show. Longtime Providence air personality and programmer Ron St. Pierre has exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence where he hosted the morning drive show. Filling the programming gap is WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based morning personality Jim Polito. In 2016, iHeartMedia dropped the local morning show hosted by Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan on WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts and began simulcasting Polito’s show there. The WHJJ move puts the Jim Polito show in three of iHeartMedia’s New England markets.

Salem’s KRLA and KTIE Cut Ties with Brian Whitman. Southern California radio pro Brian Whitman exits Salem Media Group’s morning drive show “The Morning Answer” that he co-hosted with Jennifer Horn that was simulcast on KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Whitman shared the news on his Facebook page on Friday (12/4). He wrote, “I was provided the following from folks at Salem/KRLA this morning. The announcement was sent by the general manager to their kind and hardworking staff, making this news public. I’ll have very personal thoughts to share with members of the ‘Morning Answer Listening Family’ (as I came to know and regard you over many years) very soon. It will be in this space at a time that is more appropriate and comfortable. With all of my love and with the warmest gratitude for every moment that we’ve shared together, I offer words that I know fall far short of my heart’s sentiment. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys.” The message from management was as follows: “After eight years hosting ‘The Morning Answer,’ Brian Whitman will no longer be with us. We wish Brian all the best in the future. Chuck [Tyler] and I echo Phil Boyce who said, “Brian has been a hard-working and extremely talented employee for us for many years. We will always cherish his friendship, and our opportunity to work together at KRLA and KTIE.” Whitman was the liberal counterpart to conservative Horn.

Hubbard Radio Drops Sports Talker Chris Rongey; Re-Aligns Host Lineup. According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar, afternoon drive sports talk personality Chris Rongey has been let go from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Rongey had been part of “The Fast Lane” afternoon show since replacing D’Marco Farr in 2017. The station moves midday host Jamie Rivers into afternoons alongside Anthony Stalter and Brad Thompson and promotes Alex Farrario to the midday show co-hosting with Brandon Kiley.

Talk Radio Host Michael Berry’s Good Month Includes Raising $1.3 Million for PTSD Foundation. KRTH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry had a very good month in which his program helped raise $1.3 million for Camp Hope, the residential treatment center run by the PTSD Foundation of America, of which Berry is the national spokesman. The organization was laying off staff, including the vital folks who counsel suicidal veterans who struggle with re-integration after war. Berry teamed up with sponsor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, owner of the Gallery Furniture chain, to raise funds. During the whole of 2020, Berry’s efforts have raised $3 million for the organization, almost its entire budget. Additionally, Berry made national news on Monday (12/7) for his interview with Houston-based Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue, during which Unanue said he gave U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez the company’s “employee of the month” award. This came after Ocasio Cortez called for a boycott on Goya products because Unanue publicly praised President Trump. However, Unanue says the boycott call produced a counter-protest in which supporters flocked to buy Goya goods. On top of that, Berry has added new affiliates, WPNN, Pensacola, Florida, and KNUW, Silver City, New Mexico and hopes to roll out seven new affiliates before the New Year. In case you missed it, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Berry back in October. Read it here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The Nielsen Audio PPM ratings survey in the month prior to the November election (October 8 – November 4) was not as generous to sports talk radio stations as it was to news/talk, still TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that 46% of sports talkers were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October 2020 survey. Gainers from October to November were led by RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” (+0.7, 6.2 share) and Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+0.7, 6.0 share). Due to the pandemic’s effect on live sports, year-over-year comparisons have not been kind to the sports talk format and November 2019 to November 2020 is not different. 68% of sports talk outlets in PPM markets were down. However, 23% of stations gained with Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas leading the pack (+1.6, 2.8 share). While no sports talkers claimed the #1 rank in their market during the November survey, iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis came close, posting a 7.6 share good for the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WJR, Detroit News Director Dick Haefner to Retire. After a 51-year career in radio news, WJR, Detroit news director Dick Haefner is retiring. Haefner, an award-winning newscaster, reporter, and news director, has been WJR news director since 1989. Cumulus Media says that “his tenure is unmatched by any other Detroit broadcast news director. He is one of the most recognizable news voices in his hometown of Detroit, signing on to radio news in 1969 and signing off on December 11, 2020, Haefner’s last day on-air.” The company goes on to note that “under Haefner’s leadership, WJR News has been honored with nearly every national and local news award in the broadcast business, including: the Peabody Award, Associated Press national award for Best Broadcast Reporting, Edward R. Murrow Awards, and numerous state news awards… Some of Haefner’s projects have changed laws. A series on suburban toxic waste dumps resulted in tighter rules for handling waste. An investigation of fraud at gas stations brought about new regulations on service station inspections and fuel hauling, and even changed the way the IRS taxes the fuel hauling industry. Among the biggest stories Haefner has broken are Coleman Young’s baby, the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding incident heard around the world, and Detroit’s two side-by-side sports stadiums.” Haefner comments, “Anything I may have accomplished is because of other people, my wife Judy, and my family who allowed me to pursue adventures in broadcast news, and especially my co-workers. My most important job was to put them in position to do their best work. What they accomplished every day is my greatest reward. I have had the best job in Detroit radio news for almost 32 years. I’m the luckiest person I know.”

Susan O’Connell Retires from Compass Media Networks; Robert Blum Rises to Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Affiliate sales pro Susan O’Connell is retiring from her position as vice president of news/talk affiliate sales with Compass Media Networks, effective December 31. At the same time, the company announces that Robert Blum – a Compass Media staffer since 2011 – is being promoted to senior manager of affiliate sales for news/talk/sports. O’Connell has been in the news/talk affiliate sales business for the past 40 years, the last six with Compass Media. She previously served with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, ABC Radio Networks, CBS News, and the Progressive Radio Network. She comments, “The best part of my job has always been working with great broadcasters. Thank you all for sharing your time, talent, and friendship over the years. Compass Media Networks was the perfect place to wind up. Representing our stellar news/talk lineup and being part of this team has been an honor and a privilege.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “Susan is a total superstar, friend, and treasured colleague. Through hard work, perseverance, and cunning, Susan established Compass Media Networks as a dominant player in news/talk programming with over 750 leading news/talk stations airing over a dozen hours of our daily, live, and original news-talk programming.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Trump Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Package, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pornhub Allegations, and Presidential Pardons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the pleas from authorities to follow mask and gathering mandates, and the status of vaccines; Donald Trump continues legal challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the debate in Congress over a new stimulus package; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the allegations that porn giant Pornhub has promoted underage actors; and reports of Donald Trump’s pardon plans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro and urban media personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, and iHeartMedia renew and extend their relationship. The deal means the co-host of the WWPR, New York “Power 105.1”-based, nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” will continue to work with iHeartMedia for the next five years.  He says, “I give my sincerest thanks to iHeart for empowering me over the past decade to be the best talent that I can be, and for honoring me as an owner and executive. I love the audio business and iHeart is the biggest and best audio company in the world. As co-founder and chief creative officer of the Black Effect Podcast Network and now senior creative officer of cultural content and programming at iHeart, all I want to do for the next five years is continue to move the culture of radio and podcasting forward by curating a new era of voices, programming, and events. GOD IS GREAT! Now, it’s time to get back to work.”

Monday, August 17, 2020

| August 17, 2020

Monday Memo: Emulate Success. Talkers of all sorts – music DJs, talk hosts, podcasters – are fighting for attention, now more than ever, in what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison calls “today’s sped-up world.”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists success prescriptions from industry icons. Read it here.

USPS Controversy/Mail-In Voting, Presidential Election/Kamala Harris Choice, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, Portland Protests/Urban Violence, WAP Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The funding issues facing the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud; the November presidential election and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools this fall; the ongoing protests in Portland and rise in violent crime in a number of U.S. cities; and the controversy over the Cardi B song “WAP” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: In the Market for a Test Drive. A personality endorsement campaign is a commitment on both sides – the client’s and the talent’s and AE’s. What happens when a prospect responds with the desire to “try it for a month?” Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about tying the length of time it takes to get a consumer through the purchase process to the minimum term required for an endorsement campaign featuring one of your talk personalities. Read it here.

WQAM, Miami Re-Vamps Daily Program Schedule. South Florida sports talker WQAM “560 The Joe” announces it’s tweaking its daily lineup, adding ESPN Radio’s “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart and is expanding the afternoon drive “Hochman and Crowder” show – hosted by Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder – to 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “With the return of live sports, we aim to give sports fans of South Florida a home for both national headlines and premier coverage of their favorite teams. As he returns to radio, Mike Greenberg is a nationally recognized and trusted voice and we’re delighted to add his show to our already impressive lineup of weekday programming.”

John Fredericks Radio Network Announces New Virginia Digital News Operation. In conjunction with Star News Digital Media, the Virginia based John Fredericks Radio Network is launching The Virginia Star – a new, digital news operation that begins publishing today. John Fredericks is host of the network’s morning drive program and he’s also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of the news operation. He says, “We are very excited about this new venture: real news in real time. The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section. Like on my radio show, we encourage all voices.” Star executives say they have hired three local, full-time reporters and have contracted with several more on a part-time basis. Fredericks adds, “We are going to cover the stories important to our readers that the fake news refuses to do simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative. At The Virginia Star, we have our own narrative, it’s called the truth.” Star News Digital Media CEO Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Virginia Star now becomes the fifth state-based news site in the Star News Network, joining The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and The Michigan Star.” Star News Digital Media chief technology officer Christina Botteri adds, “The Virginia Star is the first affiliate of the Star News Network. We own and operate our four other news sites. We searched the country to find the right organization with the reputation and experience to work with in a fifth state, and the John Fredericks Radio Network in Virginia was hands down the right choice for us. Together with John, our crackerjack team of on-the-ground reporters, and the great people of Virginia, we will change the face of news in the Commonwealth.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As sports leagues begin returning to live play-by-play, America’s sports talk stations are hoping it will translate into improved ratings. During the July 2020 survey, Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” was the big gainer, adding seven-tenths to post a 3.6 share. Right behind was Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco tacking on six-tenths for a 2.5 share finish. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, the top gainer is iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN,” which posts a seven-tenths gain for a 5.0 share. No sports talk station ranked #1 in its market in July – not even close. However, three stations – Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; WBNS-FM, Columbus; and KXFN-FM, Minneapolis – tied for ranking #8 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. This month, Premiere Networks is celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere says that it and FOX Sports “have enjoyed a long partnership that kicked off in 2000 with the goal of producing a home for industry-leading talent focused on delivering entertaining, informed and thought-provoking programming for sports fans. FOX Sports Radio launched in August of that year, and the network’s storied 20-year run has developed a loyal following of more than 14 million listeners across more than 500 affiliates nationwide with an unmatched weekday lineup featuring some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller.” Premiere SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “What an amazing accomplishment – 20 years! I’ve been fortunate to be part of the FSR family for the entire run, both as an affiliate and on the management team.”…..San Diego is getting its first taste of “The Mightier 1090” today (8/17) as the Bill Hagen-led station begins operating. XEPRS-AM had been a sports talker as “The Mighty 1090” operated by Broadcast Corporation of the Americas but that organization lost its lease on the Mexican blowtorch last year. Now, ad exec Hagen is re-imagining the station. Times of San Diego reports that former XEPRS sports talk host Scott Kaplan is hosting afternoon drive. The rest of the schedule is: SportsGrid’s “The Morning After” with Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith in morning drive, Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, two programs hosted by Scott Ferrall, and Tony Bruno in evenings…..ESPN Radio announces that effective today (8/17), personalities Dan LeBatard and Stugotz are presenting new daily podcast-exclusive content. A new digital-only episode will be recorded and posted before their 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET national radio show.  Following the radio program, LeBatard and Stugotz will record more thoughts and ramblings as a digital-only “post-game show.” In addition, each hour of the radio show – as well as their local hour heard in Miami – will continue to be available as podcasts. ESPN Audio VP, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks says, “Dan and Stugotz already have a large digital-only audience, and we wanted to better serve that audience with exclusive podcast content. They are a unique show on sports radio and now their podcast listeners will get more unique podcast content each day.”

Michael Harrison Joins Gunhill Road with New Song About Life During Pandemic.  Here they come again! Gunhill Road, the legendary album rock band that was a cult favorite of FM radio in the early 70s and then scored a Top 40 AM radio one-off smash in 1973 with “Back When My Hair Was Short” has returned in 2020 with a reworked version of the classic hit. This time the catchy tune has new lyrics that address the coronavirus with a lovingly humorous take on the sacrifices society is making to contain it. Rock enthusiasts might recall that Gunhill Road reunited in 2014 to a packed house at New York’s Bitter End and a brand new double album titled, “Every 40 Years,” which became the subject of a feature film documentary. The long-running ensemble which consists of original members Glenn LeopoldSteve Goldrich, and Paul Reich and new members musician/arranger Brian Koonin and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has a new set of songs ready to drop in early 2021. Among the new songs is one co-written and performed by Harrison that addresses the issue of animal welfare. To check out the new “Back When We Used to Hug” video, please click here.

Newsmax TV Adds ‘Stinchfield’ to Nightly Lineup. Four-time Emmy-winning journalist Grant Stinchfield is joining the evening lineup at Newsmax TV, beginning tomorrow (8/18) at 8:00 pm ET. Newsmax says “Stinchfield” is “a full hour of the day’s top news and provocative conversation.” Stinchfield says, “I’m thrilled to be at Newsmax TV. Each night, our viewers can look forward to a compelling mix of up-to-the-second news and compelling discussions with newsmakers and Newsmax TV’s great roster of contributors.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Grant has an impeccable track record in broadcast journalism with the awards to prove it. He will bring our viewers solid news reports with the insight they can’t find elsewhere.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Albany, New York station group, country WGNA brand manager Matty Jeff is promoted to director of content for the cluster that also includes alternative WQSH, rock WQBK, adult contemporary WPBZ, hip hop WQBK-HD2/W256BU, and sports talk WTMM-FM. Townsquare Albany market president Kevin Rich says, “Matty has programmed WGNA to be a consistent local ratings and online leader and by far the #1 country station in the Capital Region. Having him as my partner in the director of content role will make our locally programmed stations even stronger.”…..Country radio air personality Jessica Cash announces she’s leaving Alpha Media’s WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia at the end of this week. She says, “Fourteen years is a long time for someone in our profession to be in one place. I’ve had the good fortune to do that, to hopefully get your day started with a smile. But, now it’s time for me to make a change in my life.” Cash co-hosts the morning drive show with Steve Waters. The duo has won honors over the years, including CMA’s Small Market Morning Show in 2018 and the ACM Small Market Personality in 2019. The station is searching for her replacement…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime South Florida radio personality Sonny Fox, who passed away on Friday (8/14) in Dunnellon, Florida after an illness at age 73. An obit in the Miami Herald notes that Fox worked at former rock outlet WSHE (now hip hop WMIB), CHR WHYI, oldies WMXJ, and country WKIS.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

| July 22, 2020

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part two of how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) has been trending for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on sports talk. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the top-ranked sports talk station during the June PPM survey based on cume (547,700) with the company’s WIP, Philadelphia in second place (375,000). iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis rounds out the top three (350,500). In this report, see which sports talk stations gained cume and which lost it compared to the May 2020 PPM survey, plus more here.

WABC, New York Adds Weekend Programming. New York City news/talk “TALKRADIO 77 WABC announces it is adding three programs to its weekend schedule. The Red Apple Media-owned station adds “The Jeanine Pirro Show” – starring FOX News Channel personality Judge Jeanine Pirro – to the Sunday lineup airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik launches “Bernie Kerik, Behind The Badge” airing from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays (produced in conjunction with Lapcom Communications), and “The Walter Sterling Show” on Saturdays from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm. All three shows are being simulcast on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays (Long Island). Station program director David LaBrozzi says, “New Yorkers want compelling content throughout the weekend and that’s what we’re going to deliver. Jeanine and Bernie are well-known to our audience and perceived as champions for New York. Walter’s syndicated show has done well in other markets and I’m delighted that he is doing a local New York show exclusively for WABC.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News, news radio pro Susan Leigh Taylor is retiring from her morning drive position at Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco on Friday (7/24), capping a 47-year radio career that includes more than 20 years at KCBS-AM. Taylor co-hosts the morning program with Stan Bunger…..iHeartMedia announces that it and Because – the vendor of direct-to-consumer personal care products for consumers 65-plus – have entered into multi-year, multi-million dollar strategic marketing partnership. iHeartMedia EVP of corporate development & ventures Peter Volynsky says, “We are proud to partner with a company that is dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults, offering a seamless way to access essential products and services that provide comfort, while also improving their quality of life. With our massive reach, iHeartMedia will help build awareness of these valuable personal care products and the convenience proposition that Because offers to millions of seniors and their families across the country.”…..This week’s Westwood One Blog shares podcast revenue data and forecasts for the segment. One source is the most recent podcast advertising revenue report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. That report projects 2020 podcast revenues “will come in at 94% of last year’s prediction: The current 2020 podcast revenue forecast of $814M is only 6% less than what IAB/PwC predicted for 2020 last year at this time ($863M).” It also notes that “podcast ad revenues soared +48% from 2018 to 2019: The +48% rate of growth from 2018 to 2019 was nothing short of stunning. While the COVID-19 crisis has tempered 2020 growth rates, IAB/PwC still predicts a +15% lift in 2020 revenues.”…..Edison Research reports that its ongoing “Share of Ear” study finds that Americans’ digital device listening has crossed the 50% threshold during COVID-19 disruptions. Edison says that prior to the COVID-19 disruptions, “55% of the daily total share of time spent listening by those in the U.S. age 13 and older was done on traditional, more linear devices, and 45% was done on digital devices. During Q2 2020, 53% of the daily total share of time spent listening was on digital devices.” The “digital/on-demand” devices in the Share of Ear study include smartphones, computers, internet-connected televisions, and smart speakers. These are essentially the devices that Americans use to stream or listen to audio files on demand. The “traditional or non-linear devices” include AM/FM receivers, SiriusXM receivers, CD players, turntables, or TV channels like Music Choice.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Portland Unrest/Chicago Shootings, Trump’s Use of Federal Agents, GOP Relief Bill, Schools Opening Debate, Chinese Hackers Seeking Vaccine Data/Houston Consulate Ordered Closed, Ohio Bribery Scheme, Twitter’s QAnon Ban, and U.S. Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The outbreak of COVID-19 cases in numerous states, projections for future cases, and President Trump’s first COVID-19 presser in three months; the civil unrest in Portland and the spate of shootings in Chicago; the controversy over Trump’s use of federal agents in Portland; the Republican-authored pandemic relief bill; the debate over opening schools in the fall; U.S. intelligence reports that Chinese hackers are trying to get U.S. vaccine data and the U.S.’s ordering of the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston; the alleged $60 million bribery and money laundering scheme involving Ohio’s House Speaker and three others; Twitter bans 7,000 QAnon-linked accounts; and U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to hold games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Atlanta, Entercom’s hip hop WVEE “V-103” moves afternoon drive personality Big Tigger to morning drive as host of “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” and brings Kenny Burns back to the air staff for afternoon drive. Burns – an entrepreneur, producer, and author – hosted a program from 2011 through 2013. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “During his time with us at ‘V-103,’ I have seen Big Tigger take over Atlanta as a premier talent and generous community activist who is connected to the people. We believe he will bring his high energy and creativity to mornings at the station. Just as important, we see Kenny Burns bringing his added years of experience, industry work, and current show success to the station and we’re excited to welcome him back.”…..The internationally syndicated “Sunday Night Slow Jams” program adds Entercom’s CHR WEZB, New Orleans “B97” to its affiliate station roster…..iHeartMedia Phoenix adult contemporary KEZ, is planning “KEZ Christmas In July” this Saturday (7/25). Station PD Paul Kelley says, “In March, when we were first ordered to stay home, our worlds were turned upside down, but then KEZ played Christmas music on the weekends and our listeners responded positively. It’s July and it’s 110 degrees in Phoenix, and Johnny Mathis is on the radio – sounds pretty on track for 2020, doesn’t it?”…..Louisville public radio personality Duke Meyer is semi-retiring from Louisville Public Media’s alternative WFPK. Meyer, who’s been with the station since 2002, will continue to host the Saturday classic rock program, “Relics.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

| May 21, 2020

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Obviously, the format has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic’s cancelling of games. Sports talk radio ratings generally soften after the Super Bowl in early February and tend to pick up once Major League Baseball opens in April. The absence of ballgames combined with the loss of the NBA and NHL playoff stretches allowed only 17% of sports talk stations to see weekly, 6+ AQH share increases and even those were miniscule. Year-over-year comparisons were almost equally as bleak with iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis the only sports talk outlet putting up a meaningful gain (+1.6). No sports talk station ranked higher than #5 in its market in April. Top performing stations in April included Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (5.9 share, #5), WIP-FM, Philadelphia (5.6 share, #5) and iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis (5.5 share, #6). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence Talk Host Dan Yorke to Pen Weekly Column. Longtime Providence talk show host Dan Yorke is named as a new weekly columnist for Rhode Island’s The Valley Breeze newspaper. Paper publisher Tom Ward is retiring, and Yorke will take over his column in June. He joins former Providence talk radio host Arlene Violet as one of the paper’s two opinion columnists. In addition to Yorke’s radio program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, he also hosts “Dan Yorke State of Mind” on Nexstar Media’s “myRITV” and WPRI-TV “FOX Providence.” The Valley Breeze editor Ethan Shorey says, “If there are two things I’ve learned about Dan Yorke over the years, it’s that he seeks out the truth and he does his homework. I look forward to working with him as we continue to build on what Tom has done and hopefully expand our reach on important topics.” See the paper’s announcement here.

Michelle Malkin Joins Newsmax TV as Correspondent/Host. Author and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin joins Newsmax TV as a prime-time contributor and weekend program host. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michelle is a true conservative, a respected media personality and a powerful voice for millions of Americans that the big media ignore.” The company adds that Malkin “will join Newsmax’s growing list of media heavyweights and commentators where she will deliver her fiercely independent reporting and no-nonsense commentary.” Malkin joins the network as Newsmax TV has signed with all major cable operators and is carried in 70 million cable homes.

Statistics & Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Vaccine Hope, Financial Markets/The Economy, U.S.-China Relationship, Inspector General Firing/Pompeo Investigation, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election, and Sports Leagues Plan for Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; most U.S. states begin re-opening; Moderna reports success in first round of coronavirus vaccine trials; the world’s financial markets activity and the state of the economy; China pushes back against U.S. finger pointing; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Saudi arms deal and his use of staffers for domestic chores; the DOJ’s dropping of the case against Michael Flynn and President Trump’s assertion Barack Obama started the Russia inquiry; the November presidential election and the vote-by-mail controversy; and sports leagues’ plans for holding games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are three Memorial Day weekend podcasts being made available to partnered radio affiliates from FOX News Audio. FOX Nation host Johnny Joey Jones, a combat veteran and double amputee, hosts “The Proud American Series” special that highlights four people who used personal tragedies as an opportunity to serve others. The “America Together” podcast, co-hosted by FOX News Radio reporters Tonya J. Powers, Eben Brown, Jeff Monosso, and Gurnal Scott features uplifting accounts of diverse communities coming together. A special edition of “The Trey Gowdy Podcast” offers listeners advice for combatting the fear and anxiety that many across the country are facing during the uncertainty created by COVID-19…..There have been a lot of “classic” sports contests aired on radio since the coronavirus pandemic took away live sports. Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NFL – is going all the way back to January 15, 1967 to present the original CBS Radio broadcast of Super Bowl I at 8:00 pm ET on Monday, May 25. The game broadcast between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs will feature Jack Drees and Tom Hedrick calling the play-by-play. WWO’s Ryan Radtke hosts the re-broadcast that includes comments from Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Vince Lombardi, Hank Stram and more…..Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown welcomes Emmy Award-winning “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts to the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast. On the show, Roberts and Brown share stories about how cancer has touched their lives and the importance of finding joy every day. They also chat about Roberts’ MasterClass on authentic and genuine communication, and the meaning behind one of her key lessons: “Make Your Mess Your Message.”…..As reported by LARadio.com, radio news pro Reg Laite died on May 12 at age 89 after a battle with cancer. Laite served as news director for KFWB, Los Angeles from 1971-1973. During his career he also served at KYW, Philadelphia; WOR-AM, New York; and NBC TV news.

Rock Legend Ian Anderson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most respected singers, songwriters, and musicians of the album and classic rock era, Ian Anderson, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson is the front man, founder, organizer, and driving force behind the historic British progressive rock group, Jethro Tull. Harrison caught up with Anderson who is quarantining at his home in the UK. They engage in a deep-dive conversation about a broad range of subjects including music, politics, COVID-19, and wildlife conservation. Harrison states, “In addition to being a unique and supremely talented musician, Ian is a scholarly man with a golden tongue who can hold his own among the best ‘talkers’ in the English-speaking world. Having long-managed his own case of the breathing disorder, COPD, he is extremely educated and opinionated about everything having to do with the coronavirus – which he amply shares in this interview.” Anderson sings and plays flute on a new recording by Hungarian-born German rock star Leslie Mandoki titled “#We Say, Thank You” (check it out on YouTube) which pays tribute to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 era and chastises those speculators who are exploiting it for financial gain. To listen to this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Randy McCarten is named host of the morning show at iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE, Albany “99.5 The River.”  McCarten was one of a number of iHeartMedia Albany staffers to be let go back in January as the company was restructuring. iHeartMedia Albany area president Kristen Delaney says, “It’s great having Randy back. He has connected with so many listeners throughout the years and has really been the heart and soul of ‘99.5 The River.’ Capital District listeners are going to love starting their day with him.” McCarten comments, “‘The River’ and its listeners have been a part of my life for over 20 years, and I’m really excited to help them start their day with great music, information, and entertainment – it feels great to be back.”…..In Chicago, Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX is presenting the “Save Our Stages Radiothon” to benefit the city’s independent music venues, including Metro, Lincoln Hall, and Thalia Hall. Some 34 venues have formed CIVL – Chicago Independent Venue League – to support each other. 101 WKQX morning team of Brian, Ali, and Justin are broadcasting live for 34 hours to create awareness and encourage donations to CIVL as well as the individual venues’ GoFundMe.com pages…..Westwood One’s Zach Sang is hosting the St. Jude “Prom from Home – Under the Living Room Lights” show tomorrow (5/22) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET to bring “Prom 2020” to all who missed out on their school proms and aid an important cause – to raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Artists planning to stop by for “Prom from Home” include: Restless Road, Kane Brown, FINNEAS, Lewis Capaldi, Lauv, Monsta X, Noah Cyrus, CNCO, Ashe, mxmtoon, AJR, Blanco Brown, Bazzi, MAX, Asher Angel, Stephanie Poetri, Loren Gray, Cheat Codes, Loud Luxury, Serf Mesa, Olivia O’Brien and a special appearance by Darren Barnet of the Netflix show, “Never Have I Ever.”

Monday, June 16, 2014

| June 16, 2014

warginsusieKOA, Denver Changes PM Drive Programming to Newsy Bent.  Longtime Clear Channel Denver personality Dave Logan remains on KOA, but he loses former Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger (who exits the station) and the content will turn away from sports as KUSA-TV, Denver “9News” part-time reporter Susie Wargin joins Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm talk show portion of “Colorado’s Afternoon News.”  From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Susan Witkin and Mike Rice co-anchor the all-news part of the show.

entercomEntercom Adds Platforms to Rochester ESPN Sports Talker.  The new Rochester market sports talk outlet “ESPN Rochester” debuts on multiple platforms from Entercom Communications.  The broadcast is heard on translator W239BF as well as on original signal WROC-AM, an HD2 channel, and several online destinations.   Entercom Rochester VP and market manager Susan Munn says, “This is an exciting day for our brand, our clients and, most importantly, our listeners.  Since we launched ESPN Rochester in 2008, our goal has been to deliver the most compelling and entertaining brand of national and local sports talk to Rochester.  From FM to AM to HD and online streaming, we are putting the best sports content where sports fans demand and access it.  ESPN media reaches 58% of men and 81% of avid sports fans nationally and ESPN Rochester has the biggest brands and names in sports from the Bills and Sabres to the #1 sports morning show in the country with Mike & Mike.  With ESPN Rochester now on FM, it makes our already powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience.”

kfnskxfnKFNS-AM, St. Louis GM Marshall Resigns; Sports Talk Stations in State of Flux.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar is reporting that Grand Slam Sports general manager Dan Marshall has resigned his post a week after an altercation between him and KXFN morning host Brian McKenna landed Marshall in the hospital and McKenna in police custody.  There are still more questions than answers about what happened and who will be held responsible for the incident.  Although McKenna was taken into custody and Marshall was injured, no charges have been filed against McKenna, who took umbrage at being ridiculed on the air by fellow station personality Nick Trupiano.  The incident that resulted in fisticuffs happened after McKenna went to the station offices to confront Marshall about what was being said about him on the air.  Station operations manager Mike Calvin says there have been no decisions made about on-air talent or whether McKenna – who was fired after the incident – will be offered his position back.  Read Caesar’s story here.

beck not conformGlenn Beck Teams with Fathom Events to Produce National Cinema Event.  The name of the July 22 and July 29 “night of action against Common Core” is being called “We Will Not Conform,” and involves nationally syndicated Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck teaming with Fathom Events.  It’s a live broadcast direct to cinemas across the country and here’s how Beck and Fathom describe it: “This isn’t a typical show –it’s an interactive experience and a rare opportunity to make a real difference in America’s education system. ‘We Will Not Conform’ is your chance to not only hear from experts like Michelle Malkin, David Barton, and others but to join LIVE with fellow theatergoers across the country to develop tangible strategies in the pursuit of enacting real change in our schools.  By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants.”  Tickets for adults are $20.

stephandougDoug Stephan Breaking New Ground with Experimental Farm Show.  His reputation as a major player in syndicated news/talk radio has been forged by longevity, the ability to change with the times and consistent success.  Doug Stephan’s national general issues morning program, “Good Day,” is the second-longest-running weekday syndicated show in talk radio, having launched in October of 1988, with only Rush Limbaugh beating him out during this past quarter century-plus by a mere handful of months (Rush debuted in August of 1988).  In addition, Stephan’s program, “The Talk Radio Countdown Show,” is one of the longest running and most successful weekend programs in news/talk radio.  Now, in addition to his traditional mainstream talk radio accomplishments, Stephan has been cooking up an experimental show on the platform of TalkersRadio that has been gathering significant interest by industry players and observers alike.  The show is a one-hour-per-week information and advocacy forum titled, “American Family Farmer,” and it is targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the talkersradio logoAmerican agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators.  What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program?  The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer!  Stephan is the owner/operator of several dairy farms in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts under the umbrella of Eastleigh Farm. Stephan tells TALKERS, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy, sort of an island of solitude for me growing up. I went to the farm when I was afraid to be home, or anywhere else.  I have kept an alliance with cows over the years on several farms that I have owned — raising heifers and milker replacements for various farms and dealers in Massachusetts.”  Stephan continues, “I have become more involved on a wider scale, to the point now where I have several hundred Jersey dairy cows, which provide us with the raw milk we sell, along with cheeses, ice cream and various other diary-related products that have meaning to those in the locavore movement [people who choose to eat locally grown and raised food].”  On “American Family Farmer” Stephan takes a position quite different from the affable generalist that is heard hosting his traditional news/talk programs.  He is a tell-it-like-it-is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his new program is designed to serve.  He explains, “The family farmers in America, of which I am one, have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag.  It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much government meddling in the affairs of the American family farm.   We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week.  We are dedicated to becoming the voice for these hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by Big Government in cahoots with Big Business.”  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “During the four months or so that this amazing program has been on our experimental platform, we have received non-stop inquiries from small market and rural stations around the country asking if it is available in syndication.  We have had to turn them away, explaining that it is just an experimental program still in development and that we do not have an infrastructure set up to be able to offer it in syndication.  It seems that this show would be a wonderful venue for a wide variety of advertisers that are specifically interested in reaching the people who buy equipment, feed, and other products that support the effort of running a small farm.  It is also a sure-fire, powerful one-hour per week place to park local advertisers seeking this audience as well.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Giving birth to an ‘out-of-the-box’ program like American Family Farmer has been exactly what we designed TalkersRadio to do.  It is especially exciting to see this vehicle being productively utilized by seasoned professionals such as Doug [Stephan], Alan [Colmes] and Lionel to create properties different than what they are generally known for in the industry.”  Harrison adds, “Now we have to identify a good home for American Family Farmer out there among established syndicators to partner in the effort of creating a new rural network for the terrestrial dial – or place it on an existing farm-oriented syndicator.”  American Family Farmer airs on TalkersRadio (on Talkers.com) Saturday mornings between 8:00 am and 9:00 am ET.  Interested syndicators can find out more by emailing Michael Harrison at michael@talkers.com or calling 413-565-5413.  Look for a major announcement involving another TalkersRadio program coming later this week. TalkersRadio, powered by Backbone Networks, is an experimental talk radio laboratory run by TALKERS magazine to support the development of new programs and programming ideas for talk radio.

epictimes logoTRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Relaunch of EpicTimes.com.  Talk show host Jerry Doyle, whose daily radio program is syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network, announces the beginning of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the relaunch and expansion of his flagship website, Epictimes.com.  Doyle says money raised through this campaign will support the growth of EpicTimes.com – currently a news curation and aggregation site.  He says the updated EpicTimes.com will be a one-stop shop for news-related audio and video content for the politically independent “middle majority” that is currently underserved by the left- and right-leaning news media.  The site will also featuredoylejerry podcasts of his radio program as well as other well-known contributors.  Doyle comments, “We are trying to create a news outlet that represents the real needs and interests of the American people, which is something that I am very passionate about.  EpicTimes.com has always been a place where people can find the news and information they are looking for, not what the media thinks they want or need to hear.  Expanding the site allows us to offer more information and give more power to the individual.”  Doyle brings aboard Elaine Kunda as CEO of EpicTimes.com.  Kunda previously served as CEO of women’s lifestyle digital network B5Media and has worked in various digital media companies since 1998.  She adds, “EpicTimes.com presents an exciting opportunity for me.  To be involved basically from the ground floor and build a media network of this kind during a time of such frustration by the American people is exactly the kind of challenge I’ve been looking for.  Jerry’s passion for this company, his fans and his listeners is infectious.  I am looking forward to working with him to make EpicTimes.com a household name.”  With the support of contributions from this Kickstarter campaign, the new EpicTimes.com is scheduled to relaunch in September 2014.

giordanodomOdds & Sods.  In recognition of Flag Day this past Saturday (6/14), WPHT, Philadelphia midday personality Dom Giordano and his listeners joined forces with the local VFW to provide flags for the 1,200 veterans whose graves are located in Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley.  The VFW and Montgomery County officials were at odds about the oversight that would have left the soldiers’ graves without flags.  Giordano’s program was flooded with calls from listeners willing to donate money and flags…..ABC News Radio is offering three one-hour specials ahead of the coming Fourth of July weekend, including: “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” “Red White & BBQ” and “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars.”  ABC’s Aaron Katersky hosts “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” which tells the amazing stories of the continued selflessness and strength from men and women who have returned home from war.  Scott Goldberg anchors “Red White & BBQ,” featuring all of the best tips to make your summer BBQ the best on the block. And Alex Stone hosts “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars,” a show that dishes on the latest technology and safety trends influencing the auto industry today…..NPR appoints Jonathan Hart as its new chief legal officer and general counsel. Hart, who currently serves as a partner in Cooley LLP’s Technology Transactions practice group, joins NPR on July 1.

weismanstevenWEISMAN: The Limits of the First Amendment.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in an article published today (6/16) about the pending legal case involving Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck, who is being sued by Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi for defamation.  Alharbi was, for a time accused of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombing by Beck even after local authorities had cleared him of any suspicion.  Beck’s attorneys are pointing to the First Amendment as part of Beck’s defense.  But Weisman says the result may rest on whether Alharbi qualifies and as a public figure, limited public figure or not a public figure at all.  Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.