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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

| December 8, 2021

Jim Bohannon to Be Inducted into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Achievement in Broadcasting event at NAB Show scheduled for April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. Bohannon’s eponymous Westwood One program is heard on some 300 affiliate stations across the country. Bohannon spent more than 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” for which he still provides interviews and his feature “The Offbeat.” He previously hosted the weekend news magazine “America This Week.” Bohannon began his radio career in 1960 at KLWT-AM in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri. Following college and military service during the Vietnam War, he returned to radio in the Washington, D.C. market, covering news at both WTOP-AM and WWRC-AM. He later worked as a morning anchor at WCFL-FM in Chicago and as a freelance reporter for CNN. Bohannon hosted his own Saturday night call-in program starting in 1984 and served as the principal back-up for Larry King on the “Larry King Show.” In February of 1993, Bohannon assumed the full-time role of the late night radio show that was launched by King. Bohannon’s relationship with Westwood One goes back to 1983. He’s anchored newscasts, political conventions and election night coverage in addition to his weekday programs. Bohannon is a recipient of a Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and was named by TALKERS magazine’s editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003, and into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2020. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Jim encompasses the spirit of radio. His distinct voice, humor and engaging programs have informed and entertained listeners for 50 years, while addressing historic milestones affecting our nation. I am grateful for his friendship and the opportunities I have had to be a guest on his show. We congratulate Jim on this befitting honor.”

Audacy Launches Sports Betting Station on WMC-AM, Memphis. Heritage Memphis AM signal WMC is being flipped to a sports talk and sports betting format as Audacy unveils “The Bet 790 AM” using content from the BetQL Network and CBS Sports Radio. The changes take place tomorrow (12/9). In addition to sports betting shows, the station will air CBS Sports Radio’s “The Jim Rome Show,” “Andy Gresh” and “Amy Lawrence.” Audacy Memphis SVP and market manager Dan Barron says, “Since launching in January 2020, the BetQL Network has given listeners a destination to obtain quality sports betting information and entertainment, while making them smarter, more well-equipped bettors in the process. We’re thrilled to add that rolodex of content to our portfolio here in Memphis and deliver that one-stop-shop that millions of listeners are enjoying to our local audience.”

iHeartMedia Names Daniel Lenz to SVP of Sales for Milwaukee and Madison. Radio sales pro Daniel Lenz is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee and Madison station groups. The markets include news/talk juggernaut WISN-AM, Milwaukee and WIBA-AM, Madison plus sports talk outlets WRNW-FM, Milwaukee and WTSO, Madison. Lenz was most recently VP of sales for iHM Milwaukee. iHeartMedia area president Jeff Tyler says, “We are thrilled to have a leader with Dan’s knowledge, leadership and credentials to lead the iHeartMedia sales organizations in both Milwaukee and Madison. Dan’s knowledge of the company will provide strong strategic thinking and results for our advertisers.” Lenz comments, “I’ve had a rewarding career in Milwaukee working alongside some really great media professionals and I am excited to take on this new role with iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Madison. I look forward to continuing the success we have established while contributing new ideas and leadership to the team.”

WGN, Chicago Announces Christmas and New Year’s Specialty Programming. WGN Radio announces it will broadcast special holiday programming on Christmas with 27-hours of “Christmas Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza with hosts Steve [King] and Johnnie [Putman] and John Landecker. “Christmas Radio Theatre” is curated by Amari who has selected half-hour holiday-themed selections from old-time radio programs including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Bing Crosby Show,” “The Burns & Allen Show,” “Gunsmoke,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Nero Wolfe,” and more. In addition to the 27-hour marathon, WGN Radio has added “WGN Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” to its weekend program schedule, airing Sundays 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning December 12. The show will feature programs from radio’s golden age. In the first few weeks, episodes from “The Jack Benny Program,” “Gunsmoke,” “My Favorite Husband” starring Lucille Ball, “Suspense,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” will be featured. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. On New Year’s Eve, Steve and Johnnie will host from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by John Landecker, who will lead the countdown to 2022. Steve and Johnnie were heard overnights on WGN Radio for 27 years before signing off in 2011. Landecker is currently heard Mondays through Thursdays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on WGN Radio.

Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Offers $100,000 Reward in Providence Murder Case. According to a story in the Providence Journal, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can provide “accurate and  direct” information that is deemed “crucial” to finding the person or persons responsible for the drive-by shooting death of 24-year-old Miya Brophy-Baermann that happened on August 1 of this year. The money is not coming from DePetro himself or the radio station, but apparently from anonymous donors. The Providence Journal piece states, “The situation raises lots of questions that DePetro didn’t answer thoroughly during a brief email exchange. Where exactly is the money? Is the money donated or pledged? If the case goes unsolved for say, 20 years, how would the money be disbursed if someone provides the information and breaks the case? ‘Twenty years from now?’ DePetro said in an email. ‘I admittedly am in new territory here. I will tell you the reward is very real.’ The donors ‘are real and have been vetted,’ he said.”

TALKERS News Notes. The podcast production and distribution deal between Audacy’s Cadence13, and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions – the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries” is extended. Season two of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast, based on the long-running hit television and popular Netflix streaming series, will come back next spring with 40 new episodes. The podcast is narrated by award-winning voice actor Steve French and presents all-new unsolved cases from the vast “Unsolved Mysteries” database – including unsolved crimes, missing persons, fugitives, mysterious creatures, and the paranormal – with each episode taking a deep dive into one specific mystery. Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer and the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ podcast, which became an instant fan favorite with a devoted following of listeners around the world. We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with this iconic show, and look forward to this new season.”…..Premiere Networks and Amy Brown, co-host of iHeartMedia’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and host of the popular “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast, announce the addition of “Here After with Megan Devine” to The Amy Brown Podcast Network. “Here After with Megan Devine” is a weekly podcast guiding listeners through one of the trickiest parts of being human: what to do when life goes horribly wrong. In each episode, best-selling author, psychotherapist, and grief advocate Devine shares her inclusive and realistic approach to grief. Devine says, “Grief is the foundation of being human: from the big losses to the everyday stressors, it’s hard to be here sometimes. I’m excited to use my experience as both a grieving person and a clinician to explore new ways to respond – and survive – when life goes horribly wrong.”

COVID-19 Omicron Variant, Biden-Putin Meeting, January 6 Investigation, Jussie Smollett Trial, the GOP and the 2022 Mid-Terms, Kim Potter Trial, Youth Mental Illness Crisis, and FOX Christmas Tree Torched Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The threat of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and the issue of vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Donald Trump loyalists who are refusing to cooperate; the trial of actor Jussie Smollett who’s accused of staging an attack on himself and blaming homophobia; Republicans, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley via her new book, promoting the party in advance of the 2022 mid-term elections; the manslaughter trial of former cop Kim Potter who killed black motorist Daunte Wright after mistaking her gun for a taser; Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s report on the pandemic-influenced rise in mental health issues among the nation’s youths; and authorities arrest a suspect in the burning of FOX News’ Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 26, 2019

| August 26, 2019

Joe Walsh Says He’ll Challenge Trump for GOP Nomination. As teased on Friday (8/23), former Illinois GOP congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh officially announced on Sunday that he will begin a GOP primary campaign to challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination.  Walsh hosts the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program on the Salem Radio Network. It’s not clear right now when he’ll leave his radio show, but it’s a safe bet it will be very soon.  As a politically conservative broadcasting company, the SRN and Salem Media Group brass can’t be thrilled about Walsh’s decision. However, conventional wisdom says Walsh has no chance to take the nomination from Trump since the president enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, weighing in on the syndicated host’s announcement states, “The extraordinary amount of press surrounding this development illustrates just how powerful talk media has become during the age of Trump.  We all know that talk radio and cable news/talk TV have been consistently influential platforms in the post-Fairness Doctrine decades.  However, the sheer measurable power this bubbling influence has amassed in the age of Trump is jaw dropping to say the least.  Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, the fact that the president of the United States is a huge talk media fan and constantly demonstrates it through his use of social media, shout-outs, and political appointments has been the most significant booster rocket imaginable in elevating talk media beyond junior status to equal-if-not-greater influence and prestige as the so-called mainstream media.  Look at the amount of attention his tweets garnered for Wayne Allyn Root last week.  The fact that Joe Walsh – a radio talk show host with a microscopically short resume of elective service – could get so much more coverage than former governors William Weld and Mark Sanford sends an important message.  Radio and TV talk personalities are, in a growing number of cases, on the same level as major elected officials.  In an industry where anecdotal qualitative influence is every bit as important as murky quantitative metrics, everyone in the talk business owes a debt of gratitude to President Trump.  All I can say is, Mr. President, ‘Keep listening and watching!’” Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated FOX News had ignored the story.  Actually, FOX News published this story on Sunday and devoted reports on FOX News Channel to the story.

Neal Boortz Ends WSB-AM, Atlanta Commentary.  Six years after retiring from his daily radio talk show, radio legend Neal Boortz does his last commentary feature for his old flagship station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM. In his final piece for the station, Boortz says he looks forward to paying less attention to the news because he believes the country is headed for disaster due to young people knowing more about LGBTQ history than American history.  He says, “I’m going to just enjoy my friends, family and my travels while the rest of you see if you can pull this country back from the brink.” Hear his commentary here.

LaDona Harvey Re-Ups with KOGO, San Diego. Longtime station personality LaDona Harvey signs a new contract with iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego to continue as morning personality through 2022.  Harvey served as news anchor and then midday talk host before being partnered with Ted Garcia in morning drive in 2014.  Station program director Brian Long says, “When we re-launched Newsradio 600 KOGO, it was clear that LaDona had the versatility needed to shift from a popular local news/talk host to become a strong morning news personality without missing a beat.  LaDona and Ted Garcia together every morning share a chemistry that connects with San Diegans and serves to entertain and inform KOGO listeners every weekday morning.”

New Affiliate Stations for ‘Our American Stories.’ The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” radio program announces the program is being added to the program schedules at stations including: iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver; Bustos Media’s KVOI, Tucson; American General Media’s KVEC, San Luis Obispo; Entercom’s KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita; and Kensington Digital Media’s WRSW-AM, Warsaw, Indiana.  Lee Habeeb is host of the program and CEO of American Private Radio, producer and syndicator of the show.  Habeeb comments that he’s “grateful for the new markets and the opportunity to bring more listeners together in a positive listening environment.  These stations, along with our 210 other affiliate partners are a testament that listeners want more than just political talk.  They want a positive experience that radio does really well, which is just what ‘Our American Stories’ delivers.

Ken Lagana Named EVP of Digital Sales for Entercom. Digital sales executive Ken Lagana is appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president of digital sales for Entercom, effective September 10.   Lagana was most recently head of sales and marketing for podcast technology firm Megaphone.  In this new role, Lagana will lead sales strategy for the company’s digital business, including RADIO.COM, and its newest podcast acquisitions – Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I have known Ken a long time and have immense respect for the large digital businesses he’s helped build.  Ken has an incredible reputation in the industry for creating innovative programs at scale that solve challenges for marketers.  We’re excited to welcome him to the team as we continue to help shape the rapidly growing digital audio marketplace.”

Envision and Radio PA State Network Partner for Sports Report. This partnership between Envision Networks and Radio PA State Network will result in EnvisionVirtualServices Sports Reports being distributed to more than 50 radio stations throughout the Keystone State.  The feature his presented by sports reporter Andrew Scaglione who delivers twice-daily reports (and one report on Saturday).   Scaglione says, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has such a rich sports history spanning from the high school level all the way up to the pros.  It’s a privilege to provide daily sports reports to stations around the state and keep folks up to date on Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College, Williamsport, and everywhere in between.”

Monday Memo: YouTube Tweaks.  YouTube is a powerful platform and it’s real crowded.  Every second, one hour of video is uploaded.  If you just “throw something up there,” you’re probably not capitalizing on the benefits of YouTube.  Consultant Holland Cooke suggests that before your video joins that torrent, take a look at some valuable tips here.

U.S.-China Trade War/G7 Summit, Hong Kong Protests, Joe Walsh to Challenge Trump in Primary/2020 Presidential Race, Israel Strikes Iranian Targets, and Andrew Luck Retires from NFL Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tariff battle between the U.S. and China, the world’s financial markets’ reactions to them, and the meetings that took place at the G7 in France over the weekend; the protests against Chinese aggression in Hong Kong; talk host and former congressman Joe Walsh announces his Republican presidential bid and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Israeli military strikes against Iranian targets near Damascus, Syria; and the shocking retirement from pro football by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Forever Media to Buy Lebanon, Pennsylvania Duo. The stations – news/talk WLBR-AM and adult contemporary WQIC-FM “Soft Rock 100.1” – are being sold by family-owned Lebanon Broadcasting Company to Forever Media.  The deal gives Forever 64 stations in 11 markets.  Lebanon president Lynn Deppen says, “WLBR/WQIC has been in the Etter family for over 70 years.  Since my sons have independent careers, I made the decision to sell to Forever Media. Forever Media is an excellent company consisting of community-oriented radio stations.  They empower local managers with key decision-making authority and encourage local community interests to be a factor in any decision.”  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented the seller in this deal.

Barr Bids Buck Bon Voyage. Pictured above is Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left) with U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right) at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. last Thursday night (8/22).  Sexton, host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” had an impromptu going away celebration at the hotel as he leaves Washington to move to New York City.  Barr made an appearance to wish Sexton well as he returns to his home state.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Josh Innes is launching a podcast.  The former KBME, Houston and WIP, Philadelphia sports talk host tells ForbesJonathan Berr that he intends to target sports fans in Philly and Houston with separate shows for each market.  He says he understands that there are a ton of podcasts out there and that compared to big stations, he’s a small business.  He says he plans to target local advertisers who can’t afford to advertise on major market radio stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Vivianne Linou  is promoted to executive producer of WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran morning show. The Tribune Broadcasting station promoted Mary Sandberg Boyle from that position to director of news and operations back in May.  Linou joined WGN as a producer back in March after having previously served with Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM…..Alpha Media’s Portland sports talk KXTG-AM drops the FM translator simulcast of its programming.  The station signaled the end of the broadcast on K275CH with the re-branding of its social media accounts that eliminate the 102.9 FM frequency…..Saga Communications swaps FM translators as a simulcast of news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland.  It goes from W288CU, PORTLAND at 105.5 FM to W253DA at 98.5 FM…..ESPN launches a new college football podcast featuring lead analysts Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack plus SportsCenter’s Kevin Negandhi.  The “ESPN College Football Podcast- Herbie & Pollack” publish three times per week through the season with Negandhi hosting all episodes. Herbstreit will co-host on Mondays and Pollack will do so on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. West Palm Beach country outlet WIRK names Moriah Daniels midday personality.  Daniels began her radio career eight years ago as an intern for the then-CBS Radio station, now owned and operated by Hubbard Radio.  WIRK operations manager and brand/content director Bruce Logan states, “As a program director, there is nothing better than inheriting great talent!  When I started the search to transition ‘New Country 103.1’ from a voice-tracked show to a live and local show in West Palm Beach, I was thrilled to find Moriah sitting mere feet from my office dutifully serving our sales team.  She expressed interest, I went through the entire search process and in the end, there was no one I’d rather have as WIRK’s At-Work host.”…..Air personality Pat Gallagher returns to the Madison market to assume the morning show duties on Mid-West Family’s alternative WRIS “The Resistance.”  Company VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “Pat helped define alternative music in Madison.  It’s so important to have him here and be a part of it.”  Gallagher worked in alternative radio in Madison for 27 years before joining Mid-West Family Madison for a brief time then heading to WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia to do mornings…..Radio personality and doo wop enthusiast Ron Farber appeared on WMTR-AM, Morristown, New Jersey over the weekend as guest and co-host on the station’s “Doo Wop Drive” program from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on August 23.   It was a homecoming of sorts as Faber hosted the Friday night doo wop show from 2005 through 2008…..Air talent Scotty Kay joins the new morning program at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago.  Kay was most recently on air at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  He joins morning show hosts Katie BrightJason Pullman, and Erin Creedon on the program…..In Los Angeles, Doug “Sluggo” Roberts is named assistant program director and music director for classic rock KLOS.  Roberts currently hosts weekend programs on SiriusXM’s “1St Wave” and “Lithium” channels.  He’s also worked at alternative KROQ and adult hits KABC-FM in Los Angeles.