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Friday, April 9, 2021

| April 9, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “If I Had a Hammer,” looks back at this past week of April 5-9. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Gene “Bean” Baxter, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; Jim Blasingame, talk show host, Small Business Advocate; Noel Paul Stookey, musician / activist, Peter, Paul and MaryVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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.

Salem Radio Network Host Charlie Kirk Joins WABC, New York for Early Afternoon Hour. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show host Charlie Kirk is taking over the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm hour at Red Apple Media’s legendary WABC, New York on Monday (4/12). Kirk is founder of Turning Point USA, a best-selling author, and host of a popular podcast who joined Salem Radio Network in October of 2020. He says, “I am thrilled and honored to take the same time and station where my friend and American hero Rush Limbaugh launched his national radio show in 1988. I am so impressed with what John Catsimatidis has done since he bought this great station and will commit to doing my part to keep this as one of the top talk stations in America.” Catsimatidis says, “Charlie Kirk has proven to be one of the bright lights of the conservative movement. He’s young, energetic, articulate, and proving to be a great radio talent.” Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “I was fortunate to be the PD at WABC for 14 years. I am thrilled to see WABC once again affirm its status as one of the truly iconic talk stations in the nation, and so blessed to be able to add our newest star Charlie Kirk to their all-star lineup.”

Radio America’s Dana Loesch Featured in The Hill Piece. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Dana Loesch is featured in a story by Thomas Moore in The Hill. The piece, titled, “Dana Loesch has Limbaugh-like aspirations for conservative talk,” explores Loesch’s move to add new affiliate stations in the aftermath of the death of former fellow midday talk host Rush Limbaugh. Loesch is quick to say Limbaugh was a pioneer whose importance to modern talk radio can’t be underestimated and says the idea of being his “heir” is “crazy.” But Radio America and Loesch herself are aggressively working to gain new affiliate stations during this period when news/talk stations that carry “The Rush Limbaugh Show” are examining their options. She tells The Hill her “happy warrior” approach makes her different than her competition. “I don’t like the nonstop, let’s be angry 24-7. And I just don’t even know how that can be maintained, nor do I have any interest in doing that kind of radio. We have fun. And I think that that shows.” Read the piece here.

La Crosse Sports Radio Voice Mike Kearns Passes. La Crosse, Wisconsin television station WXOW reports that longtime La Crosse sports media personality Mike Kearns passed away recently. Kearns worked his entire radio career at Midwest Family Broadcasting’s WKTY Radio doing play-by-play for high school and college football and basketball games. Kearns also hosted “The Lead Balloon Show” weekday mornings from 1981 until his retirement in 2016. Kearns assumed hosting duties for that show from his father Charlie who launched the program in 1948. It’s estimated that between Mike and his father, they called more than 1,200 football and 6,000 basketball games for WKTY over a 68-year period. Kearns, along with his father, was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Tom Wynn Dies at 83. Fargo news/talk station KFGO reports that former morning drive host Tom Wynn has died at age 83. Wynn, who served with the station for 37 years after arriving in Fargo from Lansing, Michigan in 1979, retired from the station in 2017. Wynn hosted “Tom Wynn and Friends” from 5:00 am to 8:00 am with Bonnie Amistadi and Doug Leier until his retirement. Prior to that, he partnered with the late Larry Ristvedt for “Tom and Larry in the Morning.” No cause of death was included in the report.

PodcastOne Content Available on Samsung Free. As the result of an agreement between LiveXLive Media’s PodcastOne and Samsung, all PodcastOne content will be available for the first time ever via the Listen tab within Samsung Free on compatible Galaxy S21, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 series devices. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne strives to make our content some of the most easily accessed content in the podcasting genre. Listening to your favorite hosts and shows shouldn’t be more than a one-tap process and our agreement with Samsung brings fluid accessibility to podcast fans in a new way.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story This Week. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the status of variants combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial and the related issues of race relations and police reform. Following at #3 was gun violence and President Biden’s gun control measures. 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.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

| May 3, 2018

Jamie Allman Sues Entercom and Emmis Over Firing.  Former KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning talk show host Jamie Allman has filed suit against both Entercom and Emmis over his dismissal from the station in the aftermath of his social media comment about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg.  If you recall, Allman’s Tweet about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student – whose anti-gun stance Allman was attacking – included the phrase “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.” Allman’s television show on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDNL-TV was canceled immediately and he was let go from KFTK-FM several days later.  In his suit, Allman contends that immediately after the incident, he was assured by management that it was not serious enough that the company PR department couldn’t handle it.  However, six days later he was summoned to a meeting and let go.  Allman is suing both companies because Emmis owned the station at the time but Entercom was operating it under an LMA in anticipation of owning it (that sale recently closed).  His breach of contract suit centers on the contention that the Tweet does not rise to the level of an offense for which he could be fired “for cause.”  He is seeking either reinstatement of his job or payment of his salary through 2020 (the term of his contract), waiver of the non-compete clause if he’s not reinstated, plus damages of $25,000.

USTN Announces Partnership with Entercom. Today’s announcement isn’t long on details but reports that United States Traffic Network – recently sold to Fair and Equal LLC by Global Traffic Network — has entered into an agreement with Entercom Communications that includes an “equity position” for Entercom in USTN.  Fair and Equal LLC is led by USTN president Ivan Shulman.  He says, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Entercom and look forward to their new role as an equity-holder as we continue to build out the new face of U.S. Traffic Network.  Involving media groups at an equity level is an unprecedented move in the industry and we couldn’t be more excited about our prospects for the future.  As one of the largest radio companies in the United States, Entercom is and will remain an invaluable part of our company and this partnership is just the first step in revolutionizing the broadcast traffic industry.”  USTN says Entercom is the “first of many media groups with respect to which USTN intends to partner.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are pleased to announce our new partnership with USTN. Their new management team has moved quickly to fix their issues and establish a solid business model following the company’s separation from its former corporate parent.  We look forward to participating in their future growth as they capitalize on the significant opportunities in this attractive market segment.”

Wisconsin Broadcaster Settles Debt Issues, Seeks Bankruptcy Exit.  According to the La Crosse Tribune, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters is filing a petition with the bankruptcy court to allow subsidiary La Crosse Media Group – operator of news/talk WLFN, adult contemporary WXLR-FM, classic hits KQEG-FM, classic rock WKBH-FM, and country WQCC-FM – to exit bankruptcy as it has come to agreements with creditors.  The station group was put up for sale but, according to the piece, none of the offers contained enough cash to pay off the debts.  The company reports that the cluster is profitable. The primary creditors agree that bankruptcy would not provide any substantive benefit to unsecured creditors. See the story here.

TALKERS News Notes. A series of moves at Capitol Broadcasting’s stations in the Raleigh-Durham market changes the frequencies of two of its sports talk stations and adds a new music-formatted station to the market.  Capitol had been – in addition to sports talk WCMC-FM “99.9 The Fan” – airing sports talk on WDNC-AM and its two translators as “Buzz Sports Radio” as well as on WCLY-AM, its translator and WCMC-HD3 as “95.7 The Ticket.”  Now, “Buzz Sports Radio” is available via WCMC-HD2, W243DK, and W257CS while “95.7 The Ticket” moves to WDNC-AM and WCMC-HD3 as “620 The Ticket.”  The new music format that appears to be a hybrid of Americana, country, R&B, folk, and rock airs on WCLY-AM and W239CK as “That Station 95.7.”  Capitol is currently running a contest and will award $1,000 to the listener who comes up with the best name for the station to give to the charity of his or her choice…..Saga Communications drops the sports talk on Asheville, North Carolina signals WOXL-HD3 and W247BV. They are now simulcasting oldies as “Pure Oldies 97.3.”  Saga still operates sports talk WISE-AM/WYSE-AM/W275CP as “WISE Sports Radio” on 102.9 FM and 1310 AM in the Asheville market…..Katz Media Group recently raised more than $34,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America during its 9thannual two-week, company-wide membership drive.  The Katz Membership Drive was initiated in 2010 by Stu Olds, the former CEO of Katz Media Group. The drive has continued annually, raising more than $300,000 since its inception.  All money raised during the drive goes to the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, which was established following the beloved industry leader’s passing in 2011.   BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “Katz Media Group has been a longtime champion of the Broadcasters Foundation.  We are extremely grateful to the Katz family for their belief in ‘giving back’ and continuing this charitable tradition.  Their annual donation makes a huge impact for our colleagues in need.”

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kanye West Comments, North-South Korea Talks, Mexico Border Security/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Trump Doctor Story, Iowa Abortion Law, Southwest Plane Window Incident, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents whether President Trump will be subpoenaed; porn star Stormy Daniels’ suit against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that President Trump reimbursed attorney Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush payment; Kanye West’s controversial comments about slavery and his support of President Trump; the peace talks between North and South Korea; security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of the caravan of asylum seekers; former Trump doctor Harold Bornstein’s statement that the president’s bodyguard and lawyer raided his office and that the president dictated his own health status report; Iowa passes restrictive abortion law; a second Southwest Airlines plane suffers a window break while in flight; Major League Baseball action, and the NBA playoffs 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.  Rock radio pro “Uncle Joe” Benson is assuming the hosting duties at Townsquare Media’s syndicated evening program “Ultimate Classic Rock.”  The former KSWD, Los Angeles midday host and former star of Westwood One’s “Off the Record” program takes over for Zach Martin, who’s been hosting the show since it debuted in 2015.  Townsquare SVP of programming Kurt Johnson says, “Joe’s name is synonymous with great rock radio. We’re excited to have him crack the mic nightly on the 50+ national affiliates of ‘Ultimate Classic Rock,’ and to share commentary, stories, interviews and videos with our audience on UltimateClassicRock.com.”…..On-air pro Jenn Marino is joining Entercom to be part of the company’s new alternative outlet KVIL, Dallas “ALT 103.7.”  In a statement, the company says Marino will “lead morning drive as well as all three prime dayparts.  She is the first on-air host to join KVIL since its commercial-free launch as an alternative station.”  Entercom Dallas SVP and market manager Brian Purdy says, “We have an opportunity to build a powerful brand with ‘ALT 103.7’ and it begins with identifying incredibly talented people.  Jenn is passionate about radio and driven to win and we’re looking forward to having her energy and drive on-air.”  Marino was most recently co-host of Premiere Networks’ “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx.”…..Connoisseur Media promotes air personality Kara Reifert to co-host of the WKJY, Hempstead, New York “K-98.3” morning program, the “K-98.3 Morning Crew with Steve Harper.”  Jon Daniels programs the Long Island adult contemporary station and he says, “Kara has been a member of the ‘K-98.3’ family for many years and, in addition to being a familiar, friendly voice, is someone who we feel Long Islanders can really relate to.”…..Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ, New York presents the “95.5 PLJ Pepsi Summer Kick Off” on Friday, May 25 at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. During the “Todd & Jayde in the Morning” show, listeners will be treated to live performances from Jason Mraz, Echosmith, MAX, and John Splithoff…..Hubbard Radio Seattle’s new country KNUC “98.9 The Bull” partners with Super Late Model division race car driver Molly Helmuth of Molly Helmuth Racing (pictured below).  KNUC program director Lisa Adams says, “The ‘New 98.9 The Bull’ is fast-paced by nature and partnering with Molly Helmuth Racing only solidifies that.  She is one of the few up-and-coming female superstars in the sport and we can’t wait to see our name and image flying down the track with her.  What goes better together than NASCAR and country music?  Nothing!”