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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “2022 ½,” is a special edition of the program that looks back at the first six months of 2022. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/podcaster, MDEdge Psychcast; Daliah Wachs, M.D., physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder Samicide.com. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.
TALKERS 2022 Convention Takes Place Today at Hofstra University. The 25th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest and most important convention, TALKERS 2022, is taking place today on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio. Its speaker lineup and attendees comprise a “who’s who” of the talk media industry and its agenda will boldly address the most compelling industry issues of the modern era. For video coverage of the convention, be sure to check in with TALKERS magazine every day in the coming weeks.
Stephan’s Show Rebrands, Moves to USA Radio Networks. In addition to jettisoning the title of his program from “The DJV Show” to its original “Good Day” moniker, Doug Stephan will segue his program to the USA Radio Network. Officially re-launching next Monday (6/13), “Good Day” with Stephan and co-host Jai Kershner will merge with USA’s “Daybreak.” The show Stephan launched in 1988 will continue to air in the morning and remains designed to time-shift to other dayparts. Affiliation will be handled by USA Radio Network, with that web’s president Chip Miller stating, “I’m excited to welcome Doug and ‘Good Day’ to the USA Radio Network family. Doug is an iconic fixture in morning radio throughout the country and we look forward to working with [him] and the ‘Good Day’ team. The lifestyle, non-political content ‘Good Day’ offers is something we feel more stations will welcome during a time when there’s so much going on in the world and in our society. Doug and ‘Good Day’ will serve as the cornerstone for an exciting growth plan for the network. This is our first programming change and show addition since acquiring the network in December 2021.” Stephan comments, “We’ve been hearing from some of our more than 300 affiliates of their frustration with how negative many news/talk programs have become. This move enables us to continue to present the news you need to know, along with our opinions, in addition to the positives that we see every day.” There will be no change in the format clock; technical; traffic; or sales partners. Stephan is the longest running syndicated host of a daily talk show and appears at #29 on TALKERS’ 2022 “Heavy Hundred.”
Guthrie Named iHM Florida Division President. Former six-year Cox Media Group president/chief executive officer Kim Guthrie is set to become iHeartMedia’s Florida division president. In that position, she will succeed Linda Byrd, who retires next month (7/15). Guthrie will report directly to iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins, who states, “At iHeart, we pride ourselves on being a ‘talent first’ company; this decision reflects that commitment. It’s rewarding to find someone who both understands what our listeners need and how to operate in a multi-platform environment. Kim checks every box and more. We’re thrilled she chose to bring her talents to iHeart. Her CEO experience at Cox Media Group makes her uniquely-qualified for this position.” Guthrie adds, “I am very excited to announce my ‘un-retirement.’ iHeart has become a true employment destination and I’m thrilled to be part of America’s #1 audio company. iHeart’s leadership has built a culture of respect, transparency and innovation. The entire team has made me feel like I can make a difference here.” Guthrie joined Cox Media Group in 1998 as vice president/general manager for its Long Island radio station group and later became executive vice president of CMG’s national ad platforms. As Cox Media Group’s CEO, she had complete oversight of the company, including nearly 100 broadcast radio and television stations; dozens of digital assets; and newspapers. She started her career as a television news reporter and anchor for several ABC affiliates. Guthrie was named “Woman of Distinction” by the March of Dimes and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In addition, she won the “Trailblazer Award” from Mentoring And Inspiring Women In Radio and the “Women Who Lead” honor from the Alliance For Women In Media.
Radio Mercury Awards Winners Announced. The 31st annual such event was held last night (Thursday, 6/9) in-person at New York’s Sony Hall, as well as virtually. This year’s “Best of Show” award was presented to FCB Chicago for its “Go RVing” radio commercial. Other winners included: Mockingbird, iHeartRadio App, The Studio at iHeartMedia (“Creative Radio Promotional Spot or Campaign by a Radio Station or Group”); Great American Settlers, Spreaker.com, The Studio at iHeartMedia tied with Kiddie Pool, The Kartrite Resort and Indoor Water Park, The Studio at iHeartMedia (“Creative Radio Commercial by a Radio Station or Group”); Tick Suck, Steve’s Pest Control, Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group; Dog Years, Motel 6, Barkley (Creative Radio Commercial by an Agency, Production Company, Or Advertiser); and Moolah, Georgia Lottery, BBDO Atlanta. Radio Mercury Awards chief judge/Campbell Ewald executive creative director Ale Ortiz comments, “It’s been an honor to be at this year’s Radio Mercury Awards and to award the incredible lineup of winners. The final round jury and I were very impressed by the winners’ ability to not only entertain listeners, but tell stories through radio and audio.” According to Radio Advertising Bureau president and chief executive officer/Radio Creative Fund chair Erica Farber, “This year’s awards once again proved the power of sound and demonstrated the strength of radio and audio in conveying a brand’s message. This was an incredible night for radio. It was so great to celebrate with everyone both in person and online.” Presenters from this year’s final round jury and advisory council included: freelance creative consultant Larissa Kirschner-Chaney; Josh Grossberg (McCann Health); Nicky Lorenzo (Taylor Global); Ciro Sarmiento (Weber Shandwick); and Joyce King Thomas (King Thomas). Event sponsors of this year’s event were Audacy and iHeartMedia. Dedicated sponsors included CBS News Radio, Hubbard Broadcasting and World Wide Wadio. General sponsors were Beasley Media Group; Cumulus Media/Westwood One; Katz Media Group; Salem Media Group; Skyview Networks; Sound and Fury; and WideOrbit, along with Friends of the Mercuries sponsors Forcht Broadcasting; Neuhoff Media; Nielsen; Triton Digital; and vCreative. For the complete list of winners and to listen to their work, go to www.RadioMercuryAwards.com. Shown in the photo are (left to right): Ale Ortiz; FCB Chicago’s Justin Enderstein and Andrés Ordóñez; and Erica Farber.
WTOP Partners With Greater DC-Maryland’s National MS Chapter. Through a series of on-air and online promotions, Hubbard Radio Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP will raise awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Announcements will highlight various MS events in the community in an effort to increase registrations – and ultimately – donations. WTOP general manager Joel Oxley states, “We wanted to do everything we could to help amplify the critical mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Our hope is that, through this partnership, we can help those in their journey with MS and work towards a world free of this devastating disease.” National MS Society Greater DC-Maryland Chapter president Chartese Berry remarks, “We are sincerely grateful [to] WTOP and their amazing partnership in joining our quest towards a world free of MS. Their strong reach in the region will help immensely in raising much needed awareness and funds to support the nearly one million people in the United States living with MS.” WTOP senior sports director Dave Johnson and WTOP anchor/reporter Mike Murillo were diagnosed with MS in 2019 and 2016, respectively. The two will contribute to the campaign by sharing their stories about how MS has effected them and their families. Johnson declares, “MS: Look out we are coming after you. We have the community and we have the support. My mom lost her battle to MS in 1979, and now with my WTOP family and the MS Society we are going to finish the fight.” Murillo adds, “I am so thankful to have benefited from new treatments for MS, but there is so much still to do including finding ways to repair the damage the disease can cause. With your help, I truly believe there will soon come a day when we can say there’s a cure for MS.” WTOP will highlight volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
TALKERS News Notes. Veteran NPR reporter/political correspondent Juana Summers is named one of the rotating co-hosts for the network’s flagship afternoon news program, “All Things Considered.” Summers has been covering politics, race, and justice for the network. She joins Alisa Chang, Mary Louise Kelly, and Ari Shapiro. Summers succeeds Audie Cornish, who departed NPR in January for CNN. According to VP/news programming Sarah Gilbert, “Propelled by her authoritative reporting expertise, versatile journalistic talent, and drive to explore and interrogate the most challenging questions of the moment, Juana emerged as the top candidate.” Summers states, “In my work as a political correspondent, I spend a lot of time talking with young people about the country and the world that they are inheriting. It’s made me think about the future of our audience and the opportunities that we have to grow. I’m excited to play a role in introducing a new, diverse generation of listeners to the blend of powerful storytelling, accountability journalism and culturally relevant conversations that can only [be found] on NPR.” Summers – who previously worked at Politico, CNN, Mashable and The Associated Press – begins her new duties in just over two weeks (6/27) … Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge guested this past Sunday (6/5) on Multicultural Broadcasting-owned KBLA “Talk 1580,” Los Angeles’ “A More Perfect Union.” The HUD secretary and KBLA’s chief national political analyst, Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, discussed the city’s homelessness problem; the need for affordable housing; and creative ways for first-time buyers to purchase a home and down payment assistance. Fudge commented that HUD is committed to equity by eliminating redlining of “certain kinds of neighborhoods.” … Effective next Monday (6/13), Randy Cable commences as director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Fort Myers/Naples cluster, which includes sports talk WBCN “ESPN Southwest Florida.” Vice president/market manager AJ Lurie comments, “The more people I asked about Randy, the more excited I got about having him on our team. I think he will be a perfect complement to our brands, products, and family here in Southwest Florida.” Spring Valley, New York native Cable notes, “I am thrilled to join the Beasley family and look forward to working with the incredible team in Fort Myers. I am passionate about helping our team help local businesses thrive and prosper with great ideas and our ability to develop/execute powerful fully-integrated radio and digital campaigns.” Cable formerly was integrated sales manager for Cox Media Group’s Miami and Jacksonville stations, and spent eleven years as director of sales for Audacy Greenville (South Carolina) … The Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association (CAPBA) recognizes Your Public Radio-owned public radio news/talk WYPR, Baltimore with five (5) first-place awards and seven (7) second-place awards for work done in 2021. Its first-place citations are in “Outstanding News Series”; “Outstanding Public Affairs”; “Outstanding Specialty Reporting”; “Outstanding Documentary/In-Depth Reporting”; and “Outstanding Serious Feature.” The CAPBA awards ceremony was held last Saturday (6/4) in Ocean City, Maryland. … In addition to hosting afternoon drive on iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO “News Radio 1040,” Simon Conway has been doing morning drive on similarly-formatted Orlando sibling WFLA “News Radio” and today adds a national assignment, filling in for Joe Pagliarulo. Conway’s PM drive program is simulcast on iHM’s WMT-AM “News Radio AM 600,” Cedar Rapids and WOC “News Talk 1420,” Davenport (Iowa). … Among the Delta Radio Greenville, Mississippi properties McConnell “Man@Large Adams will oversee as the newly-appointed operations director is WNIX “News Talk.” Adams most recently was director of content for Townsquare Media Lansing (Michigan).
Primaries and Trump & the GOP Top News/Talk Stories This Week. This week’s primary races – as well as the recall election of San Francisco’s progressive district attorney – combined as the top news/talk story for the week of June 6 – 10. At #2 this week was the U.S. economy, including the high price of gasoline and food, plus the concerns about a recession, followed by the January 6 Committee hearings at #3. The Talkers Ten 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.
The Road Ahead. With TALKERS 2022 taking place today (Friday, 6/10) on the campus of Hofstra University, this marks our publication’s biggest day on the calendar. We’re right back at it again though next week, as TALKERS vice president/executive editor Kevin Casey leads team coverage of TALKERS 2022 highlights; in addition, we will post regular Monday morning memos from Holland Cooke and Steve Lapa. Later in the week, editor/publisher Michael Harrison reveals his latest guest on “The Michael Harrison Podcast,” while managing editor Mike Kinosian begins his four-part series on “Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 survey period.
Swenson Out at Entercom Washington; Phil Zachary to Assume Market Manager Role. According to several consumer media reports (including the Philadelphia Business Journal) Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Phil Zachary is leaving the cluster to assume the same role at the company’s Washington, DC operations. The company has not commented publicly about the change, but the report indicates Zachary will take over the position from Steve Swenson. Zachary moved to the Hartford cluster from the market manager position at Entercom’s Boston operations just after the CBS RADIO deal closed last November. His duties also included oversight of the Providence and Springfield, Massachusetts markets.
Radio Station Imaging Master and Syndicated Show Host, Nick Michaels Dies. Holland Cooke Pens Tribute. One of the radio industry’s most influential voice over artists and musical curators, Nick Michaels, reportedly died of a sudden heart attack in his Pinecrest (Miami), Florida home on Friday (5/25). Michaels was the host, writer and producer of the long-running, American Voice Corporation syndicated classic rock show, “The Deep End,” heard on music stations across the nation and the imaging voice of numerous major/medium market news/talk and all-news stations. He was known for his rich tone and thoughtful – almost poetic – approach to copy that made him one of the most distinguished performers in the radio business. Michaels’ media career began in advertising in his native Canada where success brought him to New York City in the late 1970s. He appeared as the voice in many major national radio and television spots for a variety of major products and television programs. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Nick Michaels joined forces five years ago as Michael & Michaels co-producing a Memorial Day one-time special, “The Classic Rock Summer of ’13 Kick-Off” – a two-hour countdown of the most popular summer songs from the AOR era. Harrison says, “The industry has lost a legend and I have lost a friend. Nick was a one-of-a-kind talent and a passionate proponent of everything good about the kind of radio we grew up with and love.” Media consultant, RT America TV host and special TALKERS correspondent Holland Cooke, a very close friend of Michaels, penned a tribute to the late broadcaster. To read it, please click here. In July of 2015, Nick Michaels appeared as a guest on the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” To listen to a clip from that conversation, please click here.
WQTX, Lansing Sports Talk Host Suing Fellow Michigan Personality. What sounds like a feud between two sports talk hosts that goes back a few years is now a lawsuit in the state of Michigan. According to the Lansing State Journal, WQTX, Lansing sports talk host Ryan Schuiling is suing WBBL, Grand Rapids-based sports talker Bill Simonson and his employer, Cumulus Media, for defamation. Schuiling alleges that Simonson made “false allegations” in a column he wrote on the blog Detroit Sports Rag, including accusing Schuiling of attempting to “orchestrate some alleged sexual interaction with Mr. Simonson’s daughter.” Schuiling says Simonson sent the link to the story to the IBEW – one of Schuiling’s sponsors – and that the actions have caused him emotional distress and have affected his professional standing in the community. Simonson says the allegations in the suit are untrue and lack merit. See the story here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. Five news/talk stations saw (6+) increases of more than one full share from March to April, and four of those benefitted from the start of the baseball season. They are: Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+2.3); Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (+1.9); iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+1.6); KOA, Denver (+1.4); and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+1.2). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” is up 2.6 shares since April of 2017, and Emmis’ WIBC, Indianapolis is up two full shares. Four news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in April: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; KOA, Denver; KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City; and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” Read the whole report here.
Price: Protect Your People, Protect Your Brand. By now, most broadcasters are aware of the tragic deaths of the two young television journalists from WYFF-TV, Greenville, South Carolina who perished while covering Subtropical Storm Alberto over the weekend. While the accident appears to have been a matter of bad timing – a tree fell on their SUV while they were driving – business continuity expert Howard Price writes that it is occurrences like these that should make all broadcasters review their safety protocols to make sure they offer the best safety practices to staffers. Read his piece here.
Radio Journalist Bob Fuss Dies at 64. Former longtime CBS Radio News reporter Bob Fuss died in Falls Church, Virginia on Sunday (5/27) after a battle with a rare form of leukemia. During his long radio news career, Fuss served as Capitol Hill correspondent for 16 years. During that time, he covered the impeachment of President Clinton, the Florida presidential election re-count, and the 9/11 terror attacks. He covered the House and Senate for CBS Radio and reported national political stories until his retirement in 2014. CBS News general manager Craig Swagler writes about Fuss saying, “After his retirement, he wrote a book about his life, Kidnapped by Nuns: And Other Stories of a Life on the Radio, drawing from his work and personal experiences in 50 states and 70 countries. The book briefly addresses what listeners couldn’t see: he was disabled. He writes he was born with defects his parents were told could end his life before adulthood. He beat the odds and described himself as ‘a busy and active kid’ who ‘never let anything slow me down.’ That attitude held true throughout his adult life; unable to walk without crutches, he never allowed the handicap to deter him from attaining his career goals or pursuing activities like snorkeling and skiing.” Swagler adds, “Bob was an extraordinary reporter with a true skill for making complicated stories relatable for everyday people. Not only was Bob an outstanding journalist he was an all-around optimistic and funny person. A true joy to work with.”
TALKERS News Notes. In the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana market, Cumulus Media names Aaron Criswell vice president and market manager for the five-station cluster that includes sports talk KRMD-AM “The Ticket Sports Radio” and four music-formatted stations…..Chris Forgy is promoted within Saga Communications to the newly created corporate position SVP of operations. In making the announcement, Saga CEO Ed Christian comments, “Chris is a world-class broadcaster whose contributions to Saga will be very important and strategic as he joins us in the corporate office.” Most recently, Forgy was president and general manager of the company’s Columbus station group…..The Arizona Broadcasters Association announces that Art Brooks is exiting the president and CEO position after a near 30-year stint. Brooks says, “I leave the ABA proud of the many things we have been able to accomplish together in my nearly three decades of leadership and will remain ever grateful for the many friends I have made in the Arizona broadcasting community. I’m eager to explore my next adventure both personally and professionally.”
U.S.-North Korea Summit, Subtropical Storm Alberto, Ireland Abortion Vote, Starbucks Bias Training, Solo Film, Memorial Day Holiday, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The off-again, on-again summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; subtropical storm Alberto hits the Southeast U.S.; the aftermath of Ireland’s vote to repeal the ban on abortion; Starbucks’ plan to close all stores today (5/29) for companywide bias training; the newest Star Wars film Solo; the Memorial Day holiday; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA Conference Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Rebecca Wilde is becoming a personality on the “Wicker in the Morning” program with Jeff Wicker on Entercom’s hot AC WTVR-FM, Richmond. Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We’re thrilled to bring Rebecca back into the Richmond mix and look forward to having her reconnect with our community. Rebecca’s drive and enthusiasm will ensure we continue to deliver the engaging local content our listeners look forward to daily on ‘Mix 98.1.’” She previously worked on-air in the market at hot AC WURV and hip hop WBTJ…..Longtime Myrtle Beach personality David “Prez” Spindler retires from Dick Broadcasting classic rock WYAV “Wave 104.1” Station operations manager Charlie Steele says, “We wish Prez the best with where life takes him next. He’s spent a long time in the radio trenches and will be missed.”