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Thursday, September 2, 2021

| September 2, 2021

Scott James Matheson – Mayor and Radio Broadcaster – is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. It is not uncommon for longtime AM drive local radio personalities to be dubbed the “morning mayor” of the cities in which they broadcast. Scott James Matheson, the morning host at Talk 92.1 WDDQ, Valdosta, GA, actually is the mayor of the South Georgia city in which he is heard daily! In addition, he is the owner of WDDQ and its parent company, Smalltown Broadcasting, LLC.  He is also this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.” Matheson was inaugurated mayor of the Deep South city of 60,000-plus residents in early 2020 and has a very interesting story to tell juggling both demanding jobs. Harrison and Matheson discuss small town America politics and the view of today’s national conversation from Valdosta’s key geographic perspective located right near the Florida-Georgia line. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

KFAQ-AM, Tulsa’s Flip to Sports Talk Happens Tuesday. Tulsa news/talk outlet KFAQ-AM will flip to sports talk on Tuesday (9/7), according to owner Griffin Communications. The company says it “is excited to announce ‘The Blitz 1170 AM’ – Tulsa’s new sports talk station covering Oklahoma and national sports by the folks who know sports best, the experts from Oklahoma’s Own.” Griffin VP of content Todd Spessard says, “We are so excited to bring the best local sports radio to Tulsa. From high school to college to professional – Tulsa has so many great sports stories to tell, and we can’t wait to bring them to Green Country. We’re putting together a local lineup of some of the best and well-known Tulsa voices and are ready to start talking sports!” The station will be live and local from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Its lineup is as follows: University of Tulsa hoops play-by-play announcer Rick Couri from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dan Hawk from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Big Al & Friends from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Jeremie “Pop” Poplin from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Colby Daniels from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Barstool Sports from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Griffin says the station will also feature content from the KOTV-DT “News On 6 Sports” team led by veteran sports director John Holcomb and appearances by KWTV-TV “News 9” sportscaster Dean Blevins covering all things OU, OKC Thunder reporter Steve McGehee, and college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek. KFAQ director of programming Jeremie Poplin adds, “I am incredibly excited for this opportunity with The Blitz. A lot of hard work has gone into all the stages of planning for a station that will reach a variety of different fan bases. We will strive to present a product everyone can be proud of and help fill the local sports void in Tulsa.”

WOKY-AM, Milwaukee Pulls Bill Michaels Show After Audacy Cries Foul. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison, Wisconsin-based sports talk host Bill Michaels’ program has been removed from the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM after two days because Michaels’ former employer Audacy is claiming his being on WOKY violates his non-compete. Michaels’ show aired on Audacy’s crosstown WSSP-AM until January of this year when he was let go. His program is currently based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison and it launched on WOKY on Monday (8/30) in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Michaels tells the paper, “Audacy sent a cease-and-desist to iHeart. What they’re claiming is that no station in Milwaukee can carry me.” He says the question is whether his contractual obligation to Audacy allows him to appear on a Milwaukee station as a syndicated talent versus as an employee. It’s not clear when the non-compete period expires.

El Dorado Broadcasters Unveils Hyperlocal News Platform in Yuma. The owner of news/talk KBLU-AM, Yuma, Arizona and two music outlets – El Dorado Broadcasters – announces the debut of a hyperlocal news website for Greater Yuma called Yumadailynews.com. The company is calling it a “new newsroom focused on the local happenings in southwest Arizona.” It will distribute its content via Yumadailynews.com, its radio stations, social media platforms and daily e-news headlines. El Dorado executive president Chris Fleming says, “We serve our local market with our broadcast stations, but this is a logical expansion of services for the market. It seems like an opportunity for our company to step into this space and make an immediate impact for the community we serve.” The newsroom is being managed by news director Andrew Caravella.

WLS-AM, Chicago Debuts Weekend Travel Show. A new travel show is launching on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. “Round Trip With Colleen Kelly” will air on Sunday (9/5) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Kelly is a digital contributor to National Geographic and Travel + Leisure and is host, creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, “Family Travel With Colleen Kelly.” She says, “I am thrilled to be working with the legendary WLS team and Cumulus Media, bringing audiences the latest in travel news, tips, and destinations on ‘Round Trip with Colleen Kelly.’ It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with and create work at the WLS-AM radio station. What a fantastic opportunity to connect with not only dedicated Chicago listeners but also listeners from across the U.S.”

New Lexington, Kentucky Sports Talker Launches. Flipping from country to sports talk, Clarity Communications’ WZNN-FM, Stamping Ground, Kentucky re-launches as “Sports 96.1 The Zone” using content from FOX Sports Radio. The station’s press release says, “The station will feature the only live and local afternoon drive show hosted by program director Terry Ford, Big Blue reports daily, extensive live pre- and post-game UK coverage before and after every Wildcat game, play-by-play of high school football and basketball, play-by-play of regional and national college football and basketball and play-by-play of the biggest NFL games every week. Clarity CEO Charlie Cohn says, “Clarity Communications is pleased to bring local sports talk to FM in Lexington. We will not only have the only local afternoon sports talk show in the market, but we plan to expand all our local coverage of the sports teams and topics that matter in Central Kentucky. Plus, we are pleased to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to Lexington. And our partnership with FOX Sports Radio means Lexington and the surrounding areas can expect the best sports coverage 24/7.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new program from ESPN Podcasts hosted by former NFL coach Rex Ryan and former NFL linebacker Bart Scott will debut on September 12. Titled, “Organized Chaos,” new episodes will drop each Monday and will “provide listeners with expert insight and analysis on everything happening around the league featuring trending stories from on and off the field.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a new 13-episode podcast series called, “9/11 & Sports: 20 Years Later.” It looks back at the impact of that day’s events on the world of sports and the reaction by leagues, players and fans in the hours, days, weeks and years that followed. SixiursXM SVP of sports programming & podcasts Steve Cohen says, “We’ve produced this series to tell the story of how the events of 9/11, one of the most tragic days in our history, reverberated through the world of sports through the days and months that followed the attacks, and in ways even now 20 years later. We remember lives heartbreakingly lost that day, the way our country responded, and the impact on citizens and public figures alike.”

KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas’ Paul Berry Dead at 52. Longtime KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas news and operations director Paul Berry died on Tuesday afternoon of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. The station says, “Berry joined KTBB more than 20 years ago after having previously been the program director and morning air personality on KTBB’s then sister station, KDOK. In addition to overseeing the editorial operation of the KTBB newsroom, he also managed the day-to-day technical operations of KTBB 97.5 FM, 600 AM and 92.1 FM, The TEAM Sports Radio.” Station owner Paul Gleiser adds, “Paul and I really loved the radio business. We spent a lot of time talking about the work of the great broadcasters that we both admired, and we also spent a lot of time looking for just one more way to make this station better. Somewhere in all of that an employment relationship morphed into friendship. I’m going to miss him.”

Gen Media Partners Launches Multicultural Initiative. In an effort to “champion the power and influence of certified minority-owned and -targeted radio stations to advertisers and agencies,” Gen Media Partners announces the formation of a strategic task force that will “advocate on behalf of the largely overlooked multicultural-owned and -targeted radio stations across all market sizes, including non-metro, and demonstrate multicultural radio’s remarkable power to connect with audiences.” The company says that Ann-Marie Figueira, whose promotion to SVP of Hispanic platforms and multicultural initiatives was announced recently, will lead the initiative. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity adds, “Our goal – our job – is to make sure advertisers and their agencies look beyond the large-scale companies and include independent, certified minority-owned and -targeted radio groups in their plans. We’re already seeing a receptiveness to learning more about these stations and their effectiveness at reaching multicultural audiences with content that is relevant to their specific lifestyles, tastes, and cultures.” The company says it represents 1,176 radio stations in 168 markets, either minority-owned or -targeted to Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Indigenous audiences and has one of the strongest multicultural platforms in radio, reaching  95% of the multicultural segment of the US population.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Devastation/Caldor Wildfire, Texas Abortion Law, Social Security Insolvency, January 6 Investigation, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). Criticism of President Joe Biden and Pentagon leaders over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the stress on ICUs in several states, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the devastation in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida and the flooding in the Northeast & the battle to keep the Caldor wildfire from Lake Tahoe; the Supreme Court votes 5-4 not to block the restrictive Texas abortion law; the report that the U.S. social security system will be insolvent by 2034; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that might comply with the January 6 committee’s investigation for phone records; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

| February 9, 2021

WSCR, Chicago Announces Parkins & Spiegel New Afternoon Show. Chicago sports talker WSCR-AM “670 The Score” brings Matt Spiegel back to the air in a full-time capacity, hosting the afternoon drive show with former partner Danny Parkins. The two co-hosted the midday program in 2017 and 2018 before Spiegel was bumped to a part-time role and Parkins moved to afternoons alongside Dan McNeil, who was let go from the station back in September after tweeting disparaging comments about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “Matt has always been part of the ‘Score’ team, but the fact that he is now reunited with Danny in afternoons is great news most for fans. Matt’s popularity with our audience throughout all of our platforms is unwavering. The content he delivers on a daily basis is thoughtful, entertaining, opinionated sports talk, and data shows from the previous time together that listeners love this tandem of Danny and Matt.” Spiegel comments, “This is where I’m supposed to be: talking sports and more with this audience, creating a daily space for connection and companionship. There’s nothing like it. Danny Parkins is a great host and a good friend. What he and I had found in terms of chemistry was special three years ago, and I’m super excited to resume, move forward creatively and see where we can go.”

Sports Talk Host Bill Michaels Back on the Air in Wisconsin. After exiting Entercom’s sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “1250 AM The Fan” on January 8, sports talk personality Bill Michaels has a new flagship station for his midday program. Starting today (2/9), Michaels is being heard on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN, Madison “1670AM and 96.7FM The Zone” from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Mid-West Family VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “We are excited to have one of the biggest names in Wisconsin sports talk history as part of our growing sports properties. Bill is known and loved throughout the state as the authority on all things Wisconsin sports, pro and college. Bill is the trusted voice, and we already have radio stations calling to secure his show.” Michaels’ program is being heard on Mid-West Family radio stations WKTY, LaCrosse and WAYY-AM/W286CK, Eau Claire. Mid-West Family says it plans to make the show available on a market exclusive basis throughout all of Wisconsin immediately. Michaels comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity with Mid-West Family and I’m even more excited to get back to doing what I love. In addition, I’m so thankful and appreciative to all of my family, friends, listeners and sponsors for encouraging me to come back. I can’t even begin to tell you what your support has meant to me. Let’s go!”

‘The Dana Show’ Now Heard on KXNT, Las Vegas. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – joins the program schedule at Entercom’s Las Vegas news/talk outlet KXNT-AM for the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney states, “We are excited to bring the energy and originality of ‘The Dana Show’ to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. Dana’s bold personality and sharp opinion will fit perfectly in our superstar KXNT lineup.”

SummitMedia Announces Management Changes. Birmingham, Alabama-based SummitMedia, LLC announces it has made a number of changes to its programming leadership team. Company CEO Carl Parmer says, “Our goal is to bring each Summit brand experience to life and innovate in the media space. While the past year disrupted radio as we knew it as well as experiencing the recent passing of programming legend Bill Tanner, we recognize the incredible opportunities before us for those who can deliver fresh ideas to the industry.” Parmer announces that programmer Randy Chase, who joined the company back in July as SVP of programming, is the new EVP of programming, a role in which he’ll lead the company’s strategic and programming charge and oversee the company’s team of brand and content leaders. John Olsen, continues as SVP of programming managing rock, classic rock and alternative along with special projects. Maurice DeVoe, most recently operations manager for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster, moves into the brand and content leader role for the company’s rhythmic top 40, hip hop and R&B stations. Rick Thomas, formerly the vice president of programming for Max Media in Denver, joins the company as the new brand and content leader for top 40, hot AC and AC formats. Chase comments, “We have assembled a team with both incredible experience and a tremendous hunger to capitalize on the disruption in the media space and arrive first into the next normal. With this leadership team in place, I believe we will deliver highly engaging products for our consumers and set up every member of the SummitMedia team to perform at their full potential.”

Rob Finnerty Named Anchor of Newsmax TV’s ‘Wake Up America.’ Television sports and news pro Rob Finnerty is appointed anchor of Newsmax TV’s new morning program, “Wake Up America” that airs from 6:30 am to 9:00 am ET.  Finnerty was most recently serving as an anchor and reporter for the CBS television affiliate in Tampa. Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Rob has the rock-solid journalistic credentials we look for here at Newsmax. Our viewers will be well-served by his honest, accurate reporting.” Finnerty, who also has served with New England Cable News; KCTV-TV, Kansas City; and KBAK-TV/KBFX-TV, Bakersfield; adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the network, especially at this moment in our history. Not only is Newsmax TV growing at an unbelievable pace, but with everything happening in our country politically, I don’t think there is a better place to be right now.’’

GeoBroadcast Solutions ZoneCasting Test Gets FCC Approval. The Federal Communications Commission grants approval for the fourth experimental operation to build and operate two new co-located on-channel boosters at two discreet locations to GeoBroadcast Solutions. The company calls the technology ZoneCasting and will conduct the test via Universal Media Access’ KSJO-FM, San Jose. This trial will demonstrate KSJO’s ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, advertising, and EAS tests during short parts of a broadcast hour. ZoneCasting allows the additional geo-targeting and geo-fencing of audio and graphical advertisements. GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “These emerging technologies give radio broadcasters the tools that are vital in order to compete in the face of innovations from online and other forms of message distribution.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Washington Post publishes a piece today (2/9) by Paul Farhi critical of the future of the talk radio business. Citing the stage 4 cancer diagnosis of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh, Farhi’s story questions what the future of the format will be post-Limbaugh in a media world teeming with alternative platforms to radio, where the bulk of listeners are well beyond Madison Avenue’s coveted 25-54 demographic…..Public media’s WNYC, New York announces that Karen Rouse is promoted to newsroom editor where she will oversee a new audio, writing and editing training effort for reporters and editors, and work as part of a team of editors editing Gothamist and WNYC content. Rouse will also work with WNYC editor in chief Audrey Cooper and SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion Brenda Williams-Butts to develop a newsroom fellowship program aimed at bringing more Black and brown journalists into WNYC’s newsroom…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the release of the first three episodes of “The Washies,” a 10-episode serialized fictional podcast from partner Omnicast Media. The serial is set in in the not-so-distant future of 2025, amid a backdrop of significant political unrest, in which a TV producer finds and promotes five millennials who happen to be direct descendants of George Washington. The three women and two men participate in a reality TV show that catapults them to both fame and infamy. As they struggle to slay their own personal demons, they also represent the paradox of George Washington — hero/slave owner. Through all this, they learn to love each other and truly become family, just as the country needs them most…..SiriusXM unveils a new, multi-part audio documentary titled, “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: Boomers – The Story of The ‘80s Comedy Boom and Bust,” that is airing all this week. As SiriusXM notes, the “comedy boom” of the 1980s was a critical time for stand-up comedy, as its popularity skyrocketed and new clubs emerged in New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. This program is hosted and executive produced by Dan Pasternack, and chronicles this period, with major comedy stars offering their first-hand accounts, including: Chris Albrecht, Louie Anderson, Judd Apatow, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, Jeff Foxworthy, Gilbert Gottfried, Barry Katz, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Larry Miller, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Pollak, Paul Provenza, Paul Reiser, Bob Saget, Jonathan Schmock, Yakov Smirnoff, Judy Tenuta, Jimmy Vallely, Marsha Warfield, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Trump Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Package Negotiations, Smartmatic Lawsuit, North Korea Hackers, and Super Bowl LV Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s beginning of the Donald Trump impeachment trial; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concern over variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over the next COVID stimulus package; the Smartmatic lawsuit against FOX News and numerous Trump allies; North Korean hackers steal hundreds of millions to fund nuclear program; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” To listen to the 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.  Don’t miss this!

WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”

KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”

Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.

RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.

iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.

Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

| November 5, 2020

Cumulus Media’s Q3 Financial Report Reveals Net Revenue Down 30.1%. Reporting its earnings for the third quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 30.1% from the same period in 2019. The company also reports a net loss of $15.8 million compared to the $16.3 net income reported for the third quarter of 2019. Same station net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 29.4% from Q3 of 2019. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the company continued to focus on maximizing revenue performance, executing meaningful expense reductions, protecting cash through efficient working capital management and strengthening our balance sheet. Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating through a pandemic, we have reduced debt by $269 million and increased cash by $316 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018 (a net debt reduction of more than $585 million or 46%.) We believe that these actions, along with record-setting political revenues, will allow us to navigate through and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with considerable ability to support our growth initiatives and capitalize on strategic and operating opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”

Bakersfield Talk Radio Personality Inga Barks Dies. According to a report by KERO-TV, Bakersfield, former market talk radio personality Inga Barks has died unexpectedly at age 53. At this point details are few, but it appears Barks passed away on November 4. KERO-TV quotes Barks’ friend Cindy Andrews – who worked with Barks at American General Media news/talk outlet KERN-AM – saying, “I am deeply saddened over the death of my former coworker and friend, Inga Barks. Not only was she a talented talk show host, but she was also very devoted to her family. We shared many laughs and unique experiences as female broadcasters for American General Media. She will be missed by many.” You can see KERO-TV’s report that includes tributes from former co-workers – including KMJ, Fresno’s Blake Taylorhere.

WTIC-AM, Hartford Morning Co-Host Joe D’Ambrosio to Leave Station in June. According to an account in the Hartford Courant, WTIC-AM, Hartford morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio says he’s frustrated with his “inability to speak his mind on the air and will leave his position when his contract expires in June.” The paper reports that D’Ambrosio told co-host Ray Dunaway, “At this radio station at this time, I’m not allowed to let my opinions be known. I’ve told management, when my contract is up in June, my time with WTIC will be over.”  It’s not clear if D’Ambrosio is upset with a directive from management or just with the general tenor of host and caller opinions. Reporter Susan Dunne says that when reached later, D’Ambrosio declined to elaborate on his comments.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Over the last eight PPM surveys going back to March, the global pandemic, racial tensions/protests, and the election year have provided the news/talk format with ample hot-button issues to discuss and the format’s performance has improved over the same period in 2019, based on Nielsen’s 6+ weekly AQH share data. In the October 2020 survey, 61% of news/talk stations were up over the September 2020 survey with gainers being led buy iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix (+1.4) and Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.3). Comparing year-over-year data, 68% of news/talk stations were up in October 2020 compared to October 2019 with gainers being led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+6.2), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+4.4), and WCBM Inc’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.7). In the October 2020 survey, seven news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets. Find out which stations were ranked #1 by reading Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Mid-West Family Madison Donates $900k in Advertising. The Madison, Wisconsin station group of Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave $900,000 in free advertising (more than 31,000 commercials) to hundreds of local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic between March 21 and July 21 through its “NOW OPEN” program. Mid-West Family Madison president Tom Walker says, “Our company was formed in Madison, we’ve been here for 91 years, and our commitment to the community and local businesses is our top priority. ‘NOW OPEN’ gave us the chance to connect businesses with consumers when they needed it most.”

Report: ESPN to Lay Off 300. According to a report by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, sports giant ESPN is laying off 300 staffers and will not fill some 200 positions that had been open. This comes as parent company ABC/Disney deals with the effects of the pandemic and the changes in media consumption behavior. Marchand’s report indicates that the cuts will be “spread across the network” but will largely spare on-air personalities. Marchand adds, “As is the case across Disney, ESPN is trying to shift more of its business to direct-to-consumer. It has created ESPN+. It had reported 8.5 million subscribers as of this summer. The pandemic has also created new ways to deliver programming with less people.”

The Road to 270 Electoral Votes/Promised Legal Challenges, Portland Violence, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, European Lockdowns, New Islamic Terror Threats, U.S. Exits Paris Climate Accord, Prop 22 Passes in California, Watch on Hurricane Eta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The counting continues as Donald Trump and Joe Biden each hope to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to claim victory and the gearing up of legal challenges to some states’ vote totals; the National Guard is called in to Portland, Oregon after a riot is declared; the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for the fall/winter seasons; the lockdowns being ordered in numerous European nations to combat the rising number of COVID cases; concerns about new terror attacks by actors sympathetic to the Islamic State; the United States officially exits the Paris Climate Accord; California passes Proposition 22 which allows Uber and Lyft to treat drives as contractors and not employees; and the possibility that Hurricane Eta will gain steam and head for Florida 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. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive podcast partnership for the series “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” that will debut Friday (11/6), the day before the 35th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony airing on November 7 on HBO. The series covers iconic induction speeches and will debut with The Beatles inducted by Mick Jagger, N.W.A inducted by Kendrick Lamar, The Eagles inducted by Jimmy Buffet, and Stevie Nicks inducted by Harry Styles. New episodes will premiere every Friday through the end of the year and a second season will premiere in early 2021. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Over the past 35 years, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies have become renowned for their impassioned and sometimes outrageous acceptance speeches. We’re thrilled to bring the most iconic moments of past and present music infamy to fans around the world and continue to share what’s made the event special in the past and for years to come.”

Thursday, October 8, 2020

| October 8, 2020

Radio Show: ‘Broadcast Finance 2020 – The Pandemic Edition’ As the Coronavirus shutdown and racial unrest have challenged society at large, radio’s response has leveraged “local-local-local.” Two of our industry’s more respected CEOs explain the Return On Investment in station staffing. Pictured above are (from l-r): moderator Scott Flick of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Hubbard Radio‘s Ginny Morris, and Connoisseur Media‘s Jeffrey Warshaw. Read Holland Cooke’s coverage of the virtual 2020 Radio Show here.

Mid-West Family Debuts ‘The Farm’ in Madison. The new station from Mid-West Family is a blend of country music and farm news airing on its WHIT-AM/W249DH signals in the Madison, Wisconsin market. Mid-West Family Madison operations manager Randy Hawke says, “This is a destination for those who are farmers, farm advocates or people that just love spending the day outdoors. We all know farming isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle and this is the soundtrack.” In addition to country music, the station will feature the Fabulous Farm Babe, Pam Jahnke. The station says that for more than 30 years, Jahnke has lived in and reported on the world of agriculture to people across the state of Wisconsin. Along with Josh Scramlin from the “Mid-West Farm Report,” they’ll present expanded coverage and late breaking farm news 24 hours a day. Jahnke adds, “Today, more than ever, people care about who’s producing their food. ‘The Farm’ will let us share that story across many platforms 24/7.”

Brazier Rises to Cluster Content Director for Townsquare Killeen-Temple. On-air and programming pro Shannon Brazier, a.k.a. Trey the Chok-Lit Jock,  is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Killeen-Temple, Texas cluster that includes news/talk KTEM-AM, hip hop KOOC-FM “B106,” urban contemporary KSSM “Kiss 103.1,” country KUSJ-FM “US 105.5,” and classic rock KLTD-FM “K-Rock 101.7.” Brazier has been serving as brand manager for “B106” and “Kiss 103.1.” He says, “Townsquare Media is a unique company that I’ve been so proud to be a part of for the past five years. Local content is what we do and we do it best. I am very thankful for Kurt Johnson and Todd Lawley who have given me an opportunity to continue to lead our local team into 2021 and beyond. I’m ready for the challenge.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sales pro Jaime Frankel is among those named the 2020 Women of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Frankel is general sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The annual selection process recognizes Philadelphia’s most influential women who are making a difference in the region’s business community. Beasley Philly VP of sales Paul Blake says, “Jaime has been an instrumental part of The Fanatic’s growth and has been an amazing contributor to our company for nearly 15 years. She’s literally done it all – national sales manager, local sales manager, general sales manager. Jaime certainly has distinguished herself with all of us and now the rest of the city realizes it!”…..Among the shows joining the iHeartPodcast Network is “The GOAT: Tom Brady, ” a series that covers the unparalleled career of legendary quarterback Tom Brady. Sports journalist and author Gary Meyers examines Brady’s journey from late-round draft pick and 2nd-stringer to the unequaled highs of nine Super Bowl appearances, six World Championships and three MVP awards. Also part of the program are never-before-heard interviews with Brady, rival Peyton Manning, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others…..SiriusXM announces that Howard Stern will host a week-long tribute to some of his greatest guests who have passed away over the years. “Gone But Not Forgotten” will feature brand new commentary from Stern, who weaves his memories throughout replays of his best conversations with the late guests. The special programming takes over Stern’s exclusive SiriusXM channel Howard 101 for the week of October 12. The interviews include first appearances from comedians Sam Kinison (1986), Flip Wilson (2004), and Don Rickles (2007), plus musical moments from James Brown (1998), Stone Temple PilotsScott Weiland (1996), and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (2007) and more…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston outside Kingsburg Hall at the University of Utah prior to last night’s vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris. Clugston provided special reports and live commentary from the debate for Salem Radio Network affiliates.

The Presidential Race/VP Debate, Trump’s COVID Case/U.S. Stats & Projections, Stimulus Deal/Unemployment Claims, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Jonathan Price Slaying, NFL COVID Issues, Hurricane Delta, and Eddie Van Halen Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The November presidential election and Wednesday evening’s vice-presidential debate; President Trump’s COVID-19 case and the current U.S. disease statistics and projections for fall and winter cases; stimulus negotiations put off until after the election and the most recent new jobless claims; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of unarmed Black man Jonathan Price in Texas; the NFL deals with positive COVID tests; Hurricane Delta heads for Louisiana; and the death of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Founder/Author/Radio Host John McEuen Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary country, bluegrass, folk and rock musician John McEuen, founder of the groundbreaking Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McEuen has personally logged more than 9,500 concert appearances and traveled more than three million miles on the road both during his time as a member of NGDB and now as a solo performer. He is also in the 15th year of hosting his “Acoustic Traveler” show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. McEuen released an autobiography in 2018 titled, The Life I’ve Picked.  The spoken word version of the book is set for release next spring – enhanced with original songs, additional stories and some of his film score-style music. In addition, he has two coffee table books set for release next year. The first, titled, The Russian Trip, features over 200 photos (many unreleased) chronicling NGDB’s famous tour of the Soviet Union in 1977. They were the first US band to be allowed behind the Iron Curtain, playing 28 sold-out shows in the spring and summer of that year. The second, titled, 50 Years: The Circle Album Keeps Going features almost 100 photos from the recording sessions for Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 album hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the most important records ever to come out of Nashville. Fans of music and radio will enjoy the loose, freewheeling chat between Harrison and McEuen that covers a wide range of topics including the decades-long struggle faced by country music in navigating the highly subjective and often porous border it shares with rock ‘n’ roll. To listen to the 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. The Skyview Networks nationally syndicated “Dana Cortez Show” was recently named “Best Radio Morning Show” by Phoenix New Times’ Best of Phoenix 2020 issue. Cortez says, “I’m so honored the city of Phoenix voted us ‘Best Morning Show,’ after having started on ‘Power 98.3’ less than a year ago. During this time especially, we know trust is important and it means so much that our listeners, who we consider extended family, know we’re here to not only entertain them, but also to deliver up-to-date information with compassion.”…..Nashville Public Radio announces that its soon-to-launch triple A WNXP “91.ONE” names Mickey Lernard Parks assistant program director and on-air host. The company says that when the station launches later this fall it will be a platform for new local music and serve as “Nashville’s Music Experience.” Program director Jason Moon Wilkins says, “Mickey Lernard Parks has deep roots in the city and is well known for introducing so many music fans to their future favorites through his work at Grimey’s and WRVU. We are so fortunate that his desire to return to music coincided with the launch of this station.”…..The 2020 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina is celebrating the best in Latin culture and music during Hispanic Heritage Month today (10/8). This year’s virtual event will feature remote performances from artists’ homes and studios around the world, as well as stories from members of the Latin community who have changed the world of art, television, cinema, radio and politics. The event is being hosted by iHeartLatino chairman and chief creative officer Enrique Santos and feature performances by Ozuna, Prince Royce, Anitta, Manuel Turizo, Myke Towers, Camilo, and Nicky Jam.