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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, “Take a Hike,” looks back at this past week of 6/13 to 6/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Paul Gleiser, talk show host/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Joe Thomas, talk show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Matthew B. Harrison, VP/associate publisher, TALKERS/media law professor; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford, CT; and Daliah Wachs, M.D., physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network. 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 magazine Presents Annual Awards at TALKERS 2022 Convention. After two years of not presenting annual awards (2020 and 2021) at the TALKERS convention due to COVID-19 interruptions, TALKERS magazine presented four awards to talk media broadcasters on Friday, June 10 at Hofstra University at the TALKERS 2022 convention. As we reported on Wednesday (6/15), WOLB-AM, Baltimore morning host Larry Young was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Breakfast session, KOA, Denver talk host Mandy Connell (pictured below) was presented with the Woman of the Year Award.
WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive personality Jeff Katz (above) was honored for his charity work dedicated to children with developmental challenges and to organizations supporting law enforcement with the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
At the convention’s Closing Reception, “Free Talk Live” co-founder Mark Edge (above left, being congratulated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, right) accepted the 2022 Freedom of Speech Award for the program’s co-founder and lead host Ian Freeman, whose work fighting for what he sees as the freedoms we all should enjoy as Americans has earned him accolades as well as the ire of those – including some New Hampshire and federal authorities – who see him as a troublemaker, or worse.
Audacy Teams Up ‘Bernstein and Holmes’ for Middays at ‘The Score.’ The new midday show at Audacy’s WSCR-AM, Chicago “670 The Score” features two of the station’s longtime hosts – Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes. As part of a station programming update, the new “Bernstein and Holmes” show will air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, beginning June 20. The morning drive “Mully and Haugh” show adds an extra hour and will be heard from 5:30 am to 10:00 am. Leila Rahimi, who had been co-hosting with Bernstein but accepted a new gig as lead sports anchor at NBC 5 in Chicago, will continue in her role on “Leila Wednesdays” on “Bernstein and Holmes.” WSCR brand manager Mitch Rosen states, “Our all-star Chicago lineup improves with ‘Mully and Haugh’ extending later into the morning and two teammates who have worked together for 20-plus years finally sharing a microphone on a regular basis. We couldn’t be more excited for this updated lineup.” Bernstein had previously hosted late mornings on the station. Holmes previously served as host from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Unveils New ‘Bump & Stacy’ Midday Show. Seattle sports talk personality Stacy Rost is getting a new partner as Michael Bumpus joins her for the new “Bump & Stacy” program on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports,” airing from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Station program director Kyle Brown comments, “We’re thrilled Michael Bumpus will be stepping in to join Stacy Rost as a full-time host from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm each weekday. Bump has spent years preparing for this opportunity and I have no doubt he’s ready for this moment. ‘Bump & Stacy’ will bring four hours of unending fun to ‘Seattle Sports’ listeners daily.” Michael Bumpus –who played football at Washington State University before going on to a pro career with the Seattle Seahawks and BC Lions – now serves as the host of the Seahawks pregame, postgame and halftime shows and as a television analyst for the PAC12 Network. Stacy Rost joined “Seattle Sports” as a staff writer and Seahawks Insider in 2017. She has spent the past three years as a talk show host with “Seattle Sports” and producing daily Seahawks Insider reports.
Mike Conti Named Brand Manager for ‘92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. News and sports radio pro Mike Conti is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s sports talk WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.” Audacy says that in this role, Conti will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. He will continue in his current role as radio play-by-play announcer for the station’s flagship coverage of the Atlanta United FC and as host of the Atlanta Hawks Radio Network. Audacy Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey comments, “Mike has stepped up to the challenge of leading our programming team on an interim basis since February and he has earned this opportunity to lead WZGC. We are excited to have his leadership as we continue to build on our performance of providing the very best in entertainment and sports content for our audience and business partners.” Conti joined “92.9 The Game” in October 2012 from WGST-AM, Atlanta where he served as assistant news director. At WZGC, Conti has served as managing editor, overseeing coverage and production of live sports events. He says, “I want to thank Rick Caffey and my teammates at ‘92.9 The Game’ for the opportunity to lead such a talented group of content creators. As someone who has been with ‘The Game’ since the day we signed on 10 years ago, it has been remarkable to see us evolve into Atlanta’s go-to source of sports information and entertainment, and I look forward to continuing that evolution.”
Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2022 sweep covered April 28 – May 25. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK-FM dips two-tenths to finish with a 7.2 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slips to the #4 rank, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF loses half a share for a 1.5 share finish and landing in the #17 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee remains in the #1 spot after adding four-tenths to wrap the survey with a 10.3 share. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN puts up a 2.1 share increase to finish with a 9.6 share that vaults it into the #2 rank. Although dipping by two-tenths and finishing with a 5.9 share, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville climbs to the #4 rank. After losing a full share, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville wraps the survey with a 9.6 share and falls from #1 to #2. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.
NPR and Edison Research Reveal Results of 2022 Smart Audio Report. The 2022 Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research was released on Thursday (6/16). The report highlights the increased usage of voice technology, with 35% of Americans 18-plus now owning a smart speaker. This year’s study compares the most recent survey results with the 2017 Smart Audio Report, and also revisits families who were interviewed in 2017, creating a comprehensive picture of the changes over the last five years. Some of the key findings from the study include: 1) Voice technology is everywhere: In 2022, 62% of Americans 18-plus use a voice assistant on any device, and those devices can include: smart speakers, smartphones, TV remotes, in-car systems, a computer/laptop, tablet, among others; 2) Overall usage of voice tech is increasing: In 2022, 57% of voice command users use voice commands daily. Twenty percent of smart speaker owners spend most of their audio time listening through a smart speaker, up from 18% in 2017. The weekly number of tasks is increasing: In 2022, smart speaker owners request an average of 12.4 tasks on their device each week, up from 7.5 in 2017. Smartphone voice assistant users request an average of 10.7 tasks weekly, up from 8.8 in 2020; and 3) Ad messages delivered via voice tech are heard: Half of smart speaker owners have heard an ad on their smart speaker. Fifty-three percent of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device agree they are likely to respond to ads on their smart speaker. Almost half (48%) of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device say that compared to hearing an ad in another place, hearing it on their smart speaker would make them more likely to consider the brand. Find out more here.
TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (6/21), Newsmax will present a live New York Republican Gubernatorial Primary Debate at 8:00 pm at the famed Kodak Center in Rochester. Moderating the debate for Newsmax will be Eric Bolling and the leading candidates – Rob Astorino, Andrew Giuliani, Harry Wilson, and Lee Zeldin will take part. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy states, “People across New York are hungry to learn about the Republican candidates as they make their choice in this critical primary. Newsmax is glad to be actively involved across the nation a series of debate and town hall events to further voter awareness.”…..Audacy announces the launch of a new show, “Hey Mayne,” from its sports podcast studio 2400Sports, premiering June 23. Longtime ESPN host Kenny Mayne leads the program that “blends the sports culture with entertainment, politics, music, comedy, and beyond.” Mayne says, “I want to ask guests not just about their work, but who they are. I want to know what people were like in kindergarten. Because I think who you were then is basically who you are today.”…..Nineteen students just successfully completed the Kellar Radio Talent Institute’s broadcast radio training program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. The return of the in-person, 10-day immersive professional development course for college students also marks the first institute to be produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau since it acquired the National Radio Talent System in August of 2020. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “An integral part of the RAB’s mission is providing the industry with the tools and resources to help broadcasters attract new sales talent to the medium and enhance radio’s professionalism through training and support. Bringing back the talent institutes was a top priority for RAB, and we are excited by this year’s Kellar graduating class, all future broadcasters.”…..iHeartMedia’s WDAS-AM, Philadelphia “FOX Sports Radio, The Gambler” announces that the popular sports podcast “The Divide Live” will make its official broadcast radio debut on the station’s Sunday afternoon drive lineup, effective June 19. Airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, “The Divide Live” features two longtime friends – Mike, a diehard Mets fan and Corey, a diehard Yankees fan. Together, the dynamic duo hash it out about all things sports, life and current events…..NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” will remain the flagship home for the NCAA Men’s College World Series through 2026. The new five-year contract extension with Westwood One begins this year. NRG Media has been the radio home of the Men’s College World Series in Omaha since 1997…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that sports media executive Len Mead will join the VSiN team as general manager. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger states, “Len has excelled at creating original content and growing audience across all platforms throughout his career, and we’re thrilled to add his expertise to our leadership team. Not only does Len bring a wealth of media experience from his prior roles at ESPN, NBC Sports, NESN and others, but he also brings sports betting industry knowledge from his time as head of content for PointsBet. We believe this combination will help VSiN deliver its premium sports betting content to even more bettors, on more platforms, in new ways.”
The Economy and the National Mood Tie for Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 13-17. The state of the U.S. economy, including the sinking Dow & NASDAQ, soaring gas & food prices, and fears of a recession – combined with the unsettled national mood – came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics tied with Tuesday’s midterm election primaries, followed by the January 6 Committee hearings at #3. 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.
Denver Talk Radio Host Peter Boyles Announces Retirement. Longtime Denver talk radio personality Peter Boyles called in to his own show on Salem Media Group’s KNUS-AM while on vacation to tell his listeners that he will be retiring from his radio program. As reported by Westword, his March 21 call to substitute host George Brauchler included Boyles saying, “Everything has a beginning and a middle and an end. And I see an end coming.” Boyles recently suffered a health episode while on air that he referred to as an “event” and a “mini-stroke.” Boyles, who will soon turn 79, announced that there will be a five-hour “going away” show on April 1 that will include former KOA personality Mike Rosen. Boyles spent a large part of his Denver talk career at iHeartMedia’s KHOW where he hosted the morning drive show for almost 20 years. He was fired from KHOW in 2013 after getting into a physical confrontation with producer Greg Hollenback, but quickly landed his current gig with Salem’s KNUS. Boyles said during his call-in, “I remember the old-timers saying, ‘When the time comes, you’ll know it.’”
Charlie Kirk Latest Talk Host to Have Twitter Account Frozen. A report from Benzinga indicates that Salem Media Group personality Charlie Kirk’s Twitter account was frozen yesterday (3/22) after the social media platform ruled that his tweet about transgender Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine violated its rules against “hateful conduct.” Kirk tweeted: “Richard Levine spent 54 years of his life as a man. He had a wife and family. He ‘transitioned’ to being a woman in 2011, Joe Biden appointed Levine to be a 4-Star Admiral, and now USA Today has named ‘Rachel’ Levine as a ‘Woman of the Year’ Where are the feminists??” Kirk responded, “Everything I said was precisely accurate and yet, Twitter still suspended my account. That should terrify every American, even those who disagree with me. What they want is submission. They have become the enemy of the truth.”
Leila Rahimi Promoted at Chicago TV Station; Will Continue Part Time with ‘The Score.’ Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sports radio personality Leila Rahimi, co-host of the late morning show on Audacy’s WSCR-AM “The Score,” is being promoted at WMAQ-TV to full-time sports anchor. The move means that Rahimi will reduce her work with co-host Dan Bernstein at “The Score” to part time. WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says in an email to his staff, “Leila will be in studio each and every Wednesday [from 9 a.m. to noon], co-hosting with Dan and adding great commentary and her unique perspective on the world of sports. Leila is a tremendous asset to The Score, and we are grateful she remains a big part of our team and that Score listeners will continue to hear Leila across all of our platforms.”
Audacy Rebrands Greenville-Spartanburg Sports Talker as ‘The Fan Upstate.’ Sports talk WORD-AM/WYRD-AM in Greenville-Spartanburg is rebranding as “The Fan Upstate” after Audacy ends the stations’ affiliation with ESPN and signs on with CBS Sports Radio. The company says, “‘The Fan’ will continue delivering live, local content including the award-winning ‘Rob Brown Show’ and award-winning ‘Offsides with Marc Ryan’ and will now be home to CBS Sports Radio and BetQL programming. ‘The Fan Upstate’ will also continue to serve as the play-by-play home for Furman University Paladins football and basketball as well as Byrnes High School football.” Audacy SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “After years of constantly changing, syndicated ESPN content, we have made the exciting move to bring new and relevant sports talk content to our listeners in the Upstate. ‘The Fan Upstate’ will aim to provide the best original sports talk and sports betting content that our fans crave.”
Round Two of February 2022 PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s February 2022 sweep covered February 3 – March 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM rises a half share to finish with a 4.9 share (6+, weekly AQH share) and climbs to the #9 rank. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP loses seven-tenths, finishing with a 7.3 share and slides from the #2 rank to #4. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston drops nine-tenths to post a 3.6 share and falls from #7 to #10, while the company’s all-news WBZ-AM sheds two-tenths and wraps the survey with a 6.2 share good for the #5 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville International’s news/talk KIRO-FM sits at #1 after adding a half share and finishing with a 7.4 share while Lotus Communications’ crosstown all-news KNWN-AM/FM rises a half share to a 5.7 share and climbs from #5 to #2. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.
TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the recent passing of NFL insider and KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports” personality John Clayton, the station and owner Bonneville International are launching the “John Clayton Memorial Fund” to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society, an MS research organization supported by Clayton, as well as his wife, Pat. The Fund has received an initial investment of $10,000 donated by Bonneville. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “The MS Society was an important charity for John and his wife Pat. The John Clayton Memorial Fund is a wonderful way for everyone to honor his memory and make a difference in the lives of others through a cause that meant so much to John.” Clayton served with the station for 14 years. He died on March 18 after an illness…..SiriusXM announces the upcoming launch of “Basic!,” an original SXM Podcast series, produced in conjunction with Pantheon Media and hosted by media veteran Doug Herzog and TV critic Jen Chaney. The series explores “the glory days of cable television, celebrating an era in pop culture when networks like MTV, Comedy Central, FX and ESPN changed the television landscape with groundbreaking, innovative programming.” Each episode will include guests who thrived and starred on cable TV including Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Schumer, Fab Five Freddy, Cindy Crawford, Neal Brennan, Tim Gunn and many more. The podcast premieres on May 18 and will also begin airing on SiriusXM’s Volume channel this spring.
Russia-Ukraine War, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, Biden European Trip, COVID-19, Gas Prices/Inflation, Chinese Airliner Crash, and Severe Southern Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/22). The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the rest of the world’s reactions; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees Ketanji Brown Jackson; President Joe Biden begins his visit to Europe; concerns about the spread of the Omicron BA.2 variant in the U.S.; the still-soaring price of gas at the pump and the high consumer retail prices; the mystery of the deadly crash of a Chinese passenger airliner; and the severe weather hitting the U.S. South that spawned a tornado in New Orleans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.