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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

| September 28, 2021

Binnie Media Names Michael Czarnecki Director of Brand Operations.  Radio programming pro Michael Czarnecki is named director of brand operations for Binnie Media, owner and operator of 15 signals in New Hampshire and Maine. Czarnecki joins the company from iHeartMedia where he most recently served as program director of WONK-FM (WWDC-HD2) Washington DC. Before that, Czarnecki was program director for iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston. At Binnie Media, Czarnecki will work alongside Binnie Media VP of programming Heath Cole, who says, “In his new role, Michael will work closely with our marketing, promotions, news/talk, and music initiatives in all formats. We are very excited to have Michael joining us on the programming leadership team.” Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati adds, “Michael’s skillset and energy combine to make him the perfect addition at Binnie Media.” Czarnecki, who began his radio career at WGIR in Manchester, New Hampshire, comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the Binnie media team. This is a return home for me, it’s full circle. Special thanks to Massimo Rosati and Heath Cole for making this incredible opportunity possible.”

SuperTalk Mississippi Unveils ‘SuperTalk Mississippi Outdoors with Ricky Mathews.’ The new weekly program “SuperTalk Outdoors with Ricky Mathews” will air on Mondays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm across the 12-station SuperTalk Mississippi network. Mathews is the former publisher of the Times-Picayune, NOLA.com, Mobile Press-Register, and the Sun-Herald. He retired in 2016 as president of Advance Southeast before joining SuperTalk Mississippi Media as the host of “Coast Vue” in January of 2020. He says, “Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of our Mississippi heritage. It’s part of our DNA in this state. Hunting or fishing or just simply soaking up the endless number of other outdoor recreational activities is at the core of this great state. I’m thrilled to be the host of this new show.” SuperTalk Mississippi Media owner Steve Davenport states, “Ricky has been a compass for our company and always seeks to forge a path toward improving our great state. He understands the importance of Mississippi’s outdoors, one of our greatest resources. I am confident that he will use this opportunity to engage and educate the public and will work to lead the conversation in this state about Mississippi’s outdoors.”

2021 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists in this year’s Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 149 radio/audio spots and campaigns made it to the finals of this year’s 30th anniversary awards. The Radio Advertising Bureau notes that this year marks the first time all categories were open to all languages. The submissions were created by advertising agencies, brands, production companies, radio stations and digital companies. The 2021 finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers from categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, nonprofits, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. Robin Fitzgerald is chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta and chief judge for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards. She says, “This year’s Radio Mercury Awards is celebrating the work that came through in 2021 and acknowledging the awards’ 30-year history. It was great to hear the amazing work, and I can’t wait to celebrate the winners in November.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Every year, the Radio Mercury Awards shines a light on the best of the best in radio creative, and this year is no different. This year’s finalists showcase a wonderful range of audio work that leverages the medium and delivers for the advertiser.” The Radio Mercury Awards winners will be presented at 6:00 pm ET on November 17 during a virtual ceremony. See more at www.radiomercuryawards.com.

Cumulus Media Creates Audio Active Group. The company calls the new division “an audio media and creative advisory group for marketers and agencies.” The Audio Active Group is being led by Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer of CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One and that this is the “natural evolution from a sponsor-focused research and insights group to a true comprehensive marketing advisory. The company says the Audio Active Group partners with clients to measure the impact of the entire audio campaign (not just the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One investment), specializing in the following areas: 1) Audio creative best practices: Advising on the development and testing of sonic logos and advertising creative; offering recommendations on how to optimize and enhance current creative; advising on how to deploy new creative strategies to meet campaign objectives; 2) Media planning: Providing recommendations on daypart mix, flighting, weight levels, podcast genres, and AM/FM radio programming formats to meet campaign objectives, based on audience analytics; 3) Strategic allocation within audio: Advising on the right mix of ad-supported audio platforms; and 4) Measurement of the entire audio investment: Advising on the right approach for brands to measure campaign effectiveness, including brand lift, sales effect, and search and site attribution. Cumulus EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes states, “One-third of brands in audio today are new to the medium. As major brands discover audio, they have lots of questions about audio creative strategy, media planning, and campaign measurement, and we have a deep understanding of what audio campaigns can accomplish. Under Pierre’s deft leadership, we are the only company that measures the impact of the entire audio investment and uses our trove of creative-testing and campaign-effectiveness data to help guide clients’ media investments and creative strategy.”

Cumulus Media Wichita Falls Offices Burglarized Overnight. According to a report from Texomashomepage.com, the offices and studios of Cumulus Media on Call Field Road in Wichita Falls, Texas were burglarized sometime early this morning (9/28). The story notes that the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to a call from a Cumulus employee who arrived early this morning to find the building had been “burglarized and ransacked.” Authorities say “there is extensive damage to the office areas of Cumulus Media and Henderson Appraisals.” Additionally, a station vehicle was stolen from the parking lot.

COVID-19, Biden’s Infrastructure and Spending Plans, Debt Ceiling Issue, Afghanistan Withdrawal Hearing, Border Crisis, Trump Georgia Rally, Chips and Labor Shortage, and R. Kelly Conviction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; this week’s debates on President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; the battle over the U.S. debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown; today’s congressional testimony from Pentagon brass about the withdrawal from Afghanistan; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Georgia and his role in the GOP; the global silicon chip shortage, supply chain woes, and the labor shortage; and singer R. Kelly is convicted of sex trafficking charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pioneering Radio Programmer Christine Cooper Spindel Dies at 97. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the obituary of former WDIA, Memphis programmer Christine Cooper Spindel, who passed away in Urbana, Illinois last week at the age of 97. As her daughter Carol Spindel states, Christine Cooper Spindel was a pioneer both as a female program director at WDIA in 1948 and for hiring an all-Black programming staff. Spindel appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, “The Blues,” to talk about her role in hiring the Black DJ staff that included legendary bluesman B.B. King.  Memphis music historian Robert Gordon is quoted in Bob Mehr’s story saying, “Instead of caving in to the racist pressures all around her, she persisted, and we as a city — and also we as blues lovers — all benefitted. Chris Spindel is evidence of how ordinary citizens have the power to change the world.” The story goes on to say, “In 1948, WDIA was still a small struggling outlet, when [co-owner Bert] Ferguson, Spindel and the station’s production head Don Kern decided to take a risk and hire Nat D. Williams, a Black high school history and social studies teacher, to host an afternoon program directed at Memphis’ large Black radio audience. ‘It was an unprecedented thing to do. Although Black people were accepted as entertainers… to put a Black man on the air was actually to empower Black people. They could speak in their own right,’ recalled Spindel. ‘I heard this phrase a lot and I deplore the phrase, “We must keep these people in their place” and their place was not in front of a microphone. It was to be subservient to the white community. But we tried to change that.’”

Thursday, March 11, 2021

| March 11, 2021

Andrew McLuhan, President of The McLuhan Institute and Grandson of Marshall McLuhan, Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. “Media freaks” will love this – Andrew McLuhan, the grandson of the late Marshall McLuhan, the legendary communications theorist and philosopher, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Andrew McLuhan is the president of the Toronto, Canada-based educational/historical organization, The McLuhan Institute, which he founded in 2018 to gather, preserve and archive the works and legacy of his famous grandfather, whose books and lectures about the impact of media and technology on human culture encompassing his groundbreaking “the medium is the message” meme profoundly influenced a generation of communication students and media practitioners. Harrison and McLuhan discuss a wide array of topics including details about the life of the iconic guru and implications of his complex and often controversial theories. Don’t miss this! 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.

Grace Curley Show Adds Three Affiliate Stations. The Howie Carr Radio Network announces that it has signed three new affiliates for the “Grace Curley Show.” The 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show joins Saga Communications to air on news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland, Maine and WKBK-AM Keene, New Hampshire leading into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Howie Carr Show.” The “Grace Curley Show” will joins Saga’s WFEA-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire in early April.  Portland Radio Group president Phil Zachary says, “Grace Curley is no wannabe. Her approach to talk radio is fresh, female, and fearless. And because Grace learned at the right hand of Howie Carr, we know she’s more than ready to command her own daypart.”  Howie Carr adds, “Grace’s show is exceeding expectations which is why she has picked up so many new affiliates quickly.” For affiliate information, contact Kathy Carr at Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com.

Danielle Murr to Leave WEEI, Boston’s Greg Hill Morning Show. Morning drive personality Danielle Murr tells listeners to WEEI, Boston’s “The Greg Hill Show” that she will leave the program after tomorrow’s edition. The Boston Globe reports that Murr told listeners, “It was a very, very, very difficult decision for me. One that I have been wrestling with for months. But I’m at a time in my life where I need to take a chance on myself.” Murr has been with the program since 2005 when it aired on rock WAAF. The show moved to sports talk WEEI in July of 2019 after Entercom sold WAAF to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation. Entercom regional president Mark Hannon comments, “I think it’s been a special connection having Danielle as a full-time female voice on the radio station. So that’s certainly not going unnoticed for us. And that will be a critical piece of how we think about going forward with the show. It was even alluded to today on the air. So, as we begin to open the search, you should expect that we’ll be talking to as many potential candidates as possible, men and women. But I think we’re very cognizant of that [situation].” Murr says she wants to pursue other business opportunities, including podcasting.

WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin to Shift Hayley Tenpas to Middays. With the May 28 retirement of longtime midday personality Kathy Keene looming, news/talk WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin announces it is moving Hayley Tenpas to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm time slot, effective June 1. Tenpas has hosted the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm “Focus Fox Valley” show since June of 2018. Tenpas says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to begin this next chapter of my broadcast career. A five-year-old Hayley once called into the ‘Good Neighbor Show.’  I grew up listening to WHBY and now am so proud to be part of this team. I am honored to fill this part of the day with conversations highlighting the best of the Fox Valley. I can’t thank Kathy enough for her time and dedication to radio. It’s hard to imagine WHBY without Kathy’s voice, but I hope that ‘Focus Fox Valley’ can provide opportunities for all of us to be good neighbors to one another.” Tenpas came to WHBY from an on-air career in television news. In 2019 she was awarded the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Best Online Personality honor.

WTIC Local Weekend Computer Show Reaches Quarter Century Anniversary. When executed properly, discussion about computers, digital technology and consumer electronics does very well within the context of news/talk radio. An example of this is on display at heritage news/talk station, WTIC-AM, Hartford where “Computer Talk with TAB” has been on the air live each week since the mid-1990s providing an in-depth practical view of computers and their place in listeners’ everyday lives. Airing Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, it is described as “a computer radio program for everyone!” Erik Semmel, VP of local firm, TAB Computer Systems hosts the show and provides real time answers to callers’ questions. To keep the topics fresh and informative, guests are brought in as a result of listener’s questions and suggestions. The extremely highly rated show (with a successful podcast spinoff) is geared towards the everyday computer user with questions about how their computer works and how to fix it when there is a problem. Semmel tells TALKERS, “We have been advising Connecticut’s computer users since Windows 95 through the big scare of Y2K to the scourge of today’s ransomware attacks. From PCs to laptops to smartphone to cutting the chord, ‘Computer Talk with TAB’ has been there to answer everyday peoples’ computer issues in an understandable way.”

Entercom to Offer $500 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a move announced today (3/11), Entercom Communications Corp announces its wholly owned subsidiary Entercom Media Corp plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $500 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2029. The Issuer expects to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem all of its 7.250% senior notes due 2024 and to partially repay existing indebtedness under their senior credit facilities. The Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. They will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

Kirby Joins Broadcasters Foundation of America as General Counsel. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Kathleen A. Kirby has been voted secretary and general counsel to the organization. Kirby, who is a Partner with Wiley Rein LLP Washington, DC and co-chair of the firm’s Telecom, Media & Technology group, takes over secretary and general counsel duties from Richard Bodorff, who will remain on the board of directors. Kirby’s practice involves advising some of the country’s largest media groups on regulatory and policy matters, representing radio and television stations in connection with the full realm of FCC compliance, and counseling clients on the sale and acquisition of broadcast properties. She says, “It’s an honor to follow Dick in the roles of secretary and general counsel for the Broadcasters Foundation. I’ve been a supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to giving back even more by donating my time and energy to continuing the crucial mission of providing aid to those in our industry who need it most.” Kirby has long served as counsel to the Radio Television Digital News Association, advising electronic journalists on a variety of legal and legislative matters, including freedom of information, privacy, libel, content regulation, copyright, and other First Amendment issues. She is an inductee of the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame and recipient of RTDNA’s prestigious First Amendment Leadership Award. Kirby is regularly rated by Chambers USA as one of Washington, DC’s “Leading Lawyers” in her field and has been recognized by Law 360 as a Legal MVP. Before attending law school, Kirby worked for almost a decade as a radio broadcaster in her native New York and in Connecticut, where she gained extensive experience first as a reporter and news anchor, then in management positions in operations, sales, and marketing.

TALKERS News Notes. The Virtual News Center announces that its services are now being used by Legend Communications of Wyoming, LLC’s “The Basin Radio Network” that consists of the five Gillette, Wyoming signals KIML-AM, KAML-FM, KLED-FM, KDDV-FM and KGWY-FM. Virtual News Center will provide newscasts for the network anchored daily by Roxanne Stuart…..vCreative co-founder and CEO Jinny Laderer is transitioning to the president emerita role on April 1 and Susie Hedrick will rise from president/COO to the CEO position. John Laderer, co-founder and chief technical officer will continue to serve the company in a consulting role. Hedrick has more than 25 years of experience in media technology and prior to joining vCreative, held executive roles at Marketron and WideOrbit…..WABC, New York says the weekend program “Ladies, It’s Not Our Fault, It’s Our Hormones and High Heels!” – starring fashionista Julie Sagoskin, nutritionist Jacqui Justice, and fitness guru Lisa Avellino – changes its name to “Ladies, What the F?” The program airs Sundays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..ESPN Podcasts debuts the “Daily Wager Podcast” on Monday, March 15, and the first of four “Daily Wager Tournament Preview” radio specials will air on ESPN Radio on Saturday, March 20. The four “Daily Wager Tournament Preview” radio specials are planned for the time of the NCAA Tournament and will air on ESPN Radio at 9:00 am ET. In addition to the debut special on March 20, editions will air on March 21, March 27 and April 3…..Entercom Pittsburgh hosts the second “Giant Eagle Feed the Need Radiothon” to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Last year’s radiothon provided more than 1.5 million meals to the region and this year’s event will be broadcast live on news/talk KDKA-AM, sports talk KDKA-FM, as well as its two sister music stations.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Biden TV Address/Stimulus Package, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, U.S. Border Chaos, Newsom Recall, Iran Nuclear Talks, and Chinese Military Buildup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the several states relaxing mask and occupancy mandates and the push for full school openings; Joe Biden’s planned Thursday national TV address and his $1.9 trillion stimulus package; the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the growing migrant chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the rapid military buildup in China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 4, 2021

| January 4, 2021

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush? Consultant Holland Cooke says the short answer is, of course, nobody. However, he points out that affiliate stations may soon have to find a solution for those 15 hours per week that they didn’t have to worry about before. He also asks, “Who will replace Clark Howard?” Find out what he has to say here.

Pending Business: This Year in Review. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says that just many aspects of our daily lives changed after 9/11, so too has the pandemic changed much about our lives – including how we work and consume media. In today’s column, he offers some thoughts about how selling radio will be different this year. Read it here.

WTIC, Hartford’s Joe D’Ambrosio Exits Morning Show. After stating back in early November that he was disillusioned with management’s directives about political opinion on the air, WTIC-AM, Hartford, morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio said he would leave the station when his contract was up in June of 2021 after 28 years with the Entercom station. However, he and management reached an agreement on an early buyout and D’Ambrosio’s last shift was December 31. D’Ambrosio co-hosted the morning drive show with Ray Dunaway. The Hartford Courant reports D’Ambrosio saying he never adapted to waking up for the program’s 5:30 am start and he found it difficult to work within station’s conservative political framework.

Chris Ryan Takes Over ‘New Hampshire Today’ Morning Show. New Hampshire radio pro Chris Ryan is named the new host of the “New Hampshire Today” program heard on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth. Ryan fills the role previously held by Jack Heath, who exited “NH Today” to join Binnie Media’s three-station simulcast in New Hampshire for the late morning daypart back in October. iHeartMedia says that Ryan is an award-winning talk show host and political commentator based in Concord who most recently served as general manager for New Hampshire Family Radio’s news/talk WKXL, Concord. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It was of utmost importance that the new host of ‘NH Today’ would be a person of integrity and character, someone who would hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We are thrilled that Chris will be joining our iHeart NH team!” The “New Hampshire Today” program is also heard on WKXL.

Leila Rahimi Named Co-Host for WSCR, Chicago’s Late Morning Show. Radio and television sports personality Leila Rahimi is promoted to regular co-host of the late morning program alongside Dan Bernstein on Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score.” Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to be amplifying Lelia’s role at ‘The Score.’ She’s a seasoned professional with experience engaging with sports fans across multiple platforms and cities and has built a great reputation with Chicago’s sports fans. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for ‘Score’ listeners.” She assumes the role left vacant when Entercom let co-host Connor McKnight go back in April. Rahimi has appeared on “670 The Score” both as a contributor to various shows on the station, and as a co-host since 2017. She’s also hosted, reported and anchored for NBC Sports Chicago. She was a rink-side reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. She’s also served with NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Houston, the San Diego Padres, FOX Sports Southwest, and KLIF-AM and KTCK-FM/AM in Dallas.

Ian Beckles & Jay Recher New Afternoon Hosts on Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa. Sports talk WDAE, Tampa announces that Ian Beckles and Jay Recher are the new afternoon drive program co-hosts, taking over the daypart from retiring Tampa Bay radio icon Ron Diaz. WDAE program director John Mamola says, “We are thrilled to announce our new afternoon drive program featuring Ian Beckles and Jay Recher. Teaming Ian’s long-standing history in the market both as a player, entrepreneur, and radio personality with the knowledge and passion for Tampa Bay sports from Jay Recher will provide a dynamic program for sports fans in Tampa Bay to embrace. This announcement further enhances and strengthens WDAE’s standing as the voice for Tampa Bay sports fans.” Beckles was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles during his eight-year NFL career and he joined WDAE in 2002. Recher began his career at WDAE in 2014 and has served as executive producer of multiple programs including the previous “Ron and Ian Show.”

David Rubini Launches Conspiracy Radio Network. Former Art Bell and John B. Wells producer David Rubini is launching the Conspiracy Radio Network. Rubini officially leaves Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight In The Desert” to begin “his own unique vision” and take his “pioneering spirit to the all-new 24/7 digital streaming platform and subscription archive service in the new radio landscape of 2021.” Rubini is now hosting his own program titled “David Rubini After Midnight AM” that will broadcast “two to three live shows each week on alternating days from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET with “The Best of David Rubini After Midnight AM” on all Rubini off days. He says, “Unlike what we did with Art, we will get political at CRN, that’s for sure. The political climate has drastically changed since we left ‘Dark Matter.’ And with the 2020 election confusion and rise of ‘fake news’ awareness and questioning, uncensored alternative news, info, and talk are more in-demand right now than any time in modern history. Our staff of professionals are convinced CRN will absolutely fill this void in the digital content delivery space.” Terrestrial radio affiliate relations expert Ted Edwards says, “What programmers have to realize is that variety in political talk is hot right now and the political landscape has never been more fascinating to discuss and to share opinions about both like-minded and dissenting talk radio voices. CRN should have remarkable growth over the next four to eight years. I love David Rubini’s pioneering vision and I plan to help see it all the way through to fruition, responsibly performed by Rubini on-air in terrestrial syndication.” Joining this new venture are: Jordan Maxwell, Dr. Richard Alan Miller, Flat Earther Math Powerland, and controversial and polarizing YouTube sensation, Russianvids, as well as former Art Bell Network News anchor Leo Ashcraft, Ross Mitchell, Dr. John Illias, Michael Decon, Blake Walley, and Joshua Chaires

TALKERS News Notes. At Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis, Brodee Scott joins to serve as operations director. Scott previously served at iHeartMedia in Memphis. He is a longtime Memphis radio pro having also served at Flinn Broadcasting and Rebel Radio in Oxford, Mississippi. In this new role, Scott will also oversee KWAM’s growing podcast and digital platforms. KWAM general manager Dalton Glasscock says, “Brodee was born and raised in Memphis and he understands how important it is to have a locally owned, locally run news/talk radio station.”…..Indianapolis talk radio personality Tony Katz shifts his syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program from the late morning daypart to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Katz is host of the morning drive show at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. He says, “The numbers in Indianapolis have been incredible. The show has been doing great in its current setup, it was just in a weird place, bridging two standard time slots being 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This move shows a lot of faith in the show from WIBC and opens up a lot of opportunity.”…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble achieved what he calls a career milestone on December 30 when he filled in for Rush Limbaugh. About sitting in for Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks syndicated show, Winterble says, “I am just overjoyed at the chance to connect with the greatest audience in all of talk radio. It is a homecoming. I have kept in close touch with everyone at the Rush Limbaugh show over these years and nothing could be more special than to sit in that legendary seat for a man I consider a friend and mentor.” Winterble started his career with Limbaugh’s original syndicator EIB/EFM Media in 1995 and was with the show until early 2006…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is adds an hour to Big John Howell’s afternoon drive show. The program now airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Howell takes the 4:00 pm hour from Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro program that continues to air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston announces the new program schedule that takes effect with the new year that includes the addition of Grace Curley and Jesse Kelly. Curley’s program airs from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm and Key Networks’ syndicated Jesse Kelly airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (Kelly’s show will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart effective February 15. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, and sports Rob Sanchez says, “We’re excited about the addition of Grace and Jesse to WRKO’s lineup. Their talents complement the established success of Jeff Kuhner in the morning and the legendary Howie Carr in afternoons.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Jon Laing to vice president and market manager for its Cincinnati cluster. Laing rises from his previous role as vice president of sales for the station group. He takes the market leadership reins from Dave Crowl, who retired in December…..Salem Radio Network and TOWNHALL news White House correspondent Greg Clugston is traveling aboard Air Force One with President Trump today (1/4) to cover a campaign rally for the Republican U.S. Senate candidates ahead of tomorrow’s runoff elections. In addition to filing special reports for SRN News and TOWNHALL News, Clugston will also serve as White House pool reporter for all other national radio networks…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, expands its partnership with iHeartMedia by moving its dedicated streaming radio station to digital platform iHeartRadio. VSiN had previously broadcast its content via SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Skyview Networks OM Andy Luberda Passes After COVID Battle. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Skyview Networks operations manager Andy Luberda, who died on December 29 of complications from COVID-19. Luberda joined Skyview Networks in the broadcast operations department as a board operator in 2012. In 2015, Luberda was promoted to operations manager in which he focused on managing one of the company’s largest clients, TuneIn. In 2016, Luberda’s son, Kade, joined Skyview’s operations team as a board operator. Aaron Mellis, Luberda’s longtime friend and manager shares, “We were fortunate to have Andy on the team, and as his role grew, it made a positive impact on our company and our clients. Andy’s warm heart and genuine care for his colleagues will continue to be a part of the Skyview Networks culture.” Skyview has set up a GoFundMe page for his family to help raise funds for medical and memorial costs and to provide financial support for Kade during this difficult time.

GOP Senators to Challenge Election Results/Trump Georgia Phone Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pelosi Keeps Speaker Post, and Texas Church Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The move by a group of GOP senators to challenge the election results and the recording of President Trumpasking the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes in his favor; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Georgia runoff election for its two U.S. Senate seats; Nancy Pelosi retains her House Speaker position; and the fatal shooting at a Texas church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

| October 22, 2020

Rising Radio America Talk Star Chad Benson is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Described as “a new generation talker,” Radio America syndicated talk show host Chad Benson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Benson’s rapidly growing three-hour daily syndicated program heard live 6:00 am to 9:00 am MT (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) emanates from KTAR, Phoenix where he also is co-host with Larry Gaydos of the station’s popular afternoon drive program. Both of these programs are proving to be very successful with the 25-54 adult demos. In addition to KTAR, Benson’s syndicated show is performing well on such stations as KXL-FM, Portland; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa among others. One of the syndicated show’s unique features is it is updated throughout the day so that it is current regardless of when stations run the program. Benson’s radio career began in his native California in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH (K-EARTH), Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan Show and went on to be heard on several California music stations. Building upon his creativity developed on the music side of the business, he honed his talk skills at Talk Radio UK in London as one of the first commercial talk hosts to take on the mighty BBC, boasting over a quarter million listeners per week. With success and experience abroad, he returned to the US and hosted programs in Palm Springs at K-NEWS-FM and in San Antonio at KTSA before eventually joining KTAR. He also played professional soccer while in Europe and was talented enough to be signed onto the rosters of several teams including the Bristol Rovers, the Falkirk (Scotland) Football Club and the Portsmouth Football Club. Harrison and Benson talk about today’s media, politics and sports with an eye on the future. Check it out! 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.

SiriusXM Third Quarter Revenue Up 1%. Reporting on 2020 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue was $2.02 billion, up 1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Net income increased 11% to $272 million in the third quarter from $246 million a year prior. While subscriber revenue rose from $1.55 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to $1.59 billion in Q3 2020, advertising revenue was down from $366 million in Q3 2019 to $345 million in the third quarter of 2020. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM maintains strong momentum heading into year end, and we are increasing all of our full-year subscriber and financial guidance today. Our talented people and our powerful business model have delivered stellar results during a challenging year for our company and country. Our commitment to having the best possible audio content from top talent, as well as leading media and sports brands, has never wavered. First, we are making significant progress in extending our relationship with Howard Stern. We reached a new agreement with Kevin Hart for more content, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter we launched UNINTERRUPTED Radio from the NBA bubble on Pandora, and we debuted our fulltime channel with the members of U2 on SiriusXM. Pat McAfee joined our sports lineup, and we returned to live sports across the MLB, NBA and NFL.  And we brought our listeners special moments like the recent interview between Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday on The Beatles Channel.”

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘Building Black Biz’ Initiative. The newly revealed “Building Black Biz” initiative from iHeartMedia New York is designed to “support, sustain and grow local Black-owned businesses in the New York metro area.” In this effort, iHeartMedia New York pledges to support the “Building Black Biz” initiative during the next three months with more than 100 million media impressions on hip hop WWPR “Power 105.1,”CHR WHTZ “Z100,” WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” hot AC WKTU, classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3,” and news/talk WOR as well as the stations’ websites and social media channels. iHeartMedia New York says that through the “Building Black Biz” initiative, listeners and aspiring business owners can hear from successful entrepreneurs within the tristate area on how they started their business and what advice they would give to new entrepreneurs. iHeartMedia New York president Bernie Weiss says, “I am so proud of our team for going above and beyond and creating this comprehensive campaign. New York needs more Black-owned businesses and I am thrilled we can use the power of all of our six radio stations to do our part in making a real impact.”

Jack Heath Joins Binnie Media to Host Talk Show. A week after exiting iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire where he hosted the “NH Today” morning drive program, Jack Heath is joining Binnie Media to host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that will be simulcast across New Hampshire outlets WTPL-FM, Hillsboro (Concord market); WEMJ-AM/W279BS, Laconia; and WTSN-AM/W251CF, Dover. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “Jack’s show will stay consistent with the content from his former show, while adding some new features, additional geography, and more FM coverage. Jack will be joining our other great on-air talent for a truly star studded cast of broadcasters on our news talk sports stations.” Bill Binnie adds, “We are thrilled to have a talent like Jack join Binnie Media. He brings a breadth of experience and professionalism in journalism along with a connection to politics that will be of interest to our listeners.”

WGN, Chicago Plans ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ This Halloween night (10/31) WGN, Chicago will air “Halloween Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. The program will feature mystery, thriller, and terror-themed selections from 12 Golden Age of Radio dramas including “Suspense” starring Bela Lugosi, “Lights Out,” “Inner Sanctum Mystery,” “Escape,” “The Whistler,” and “The Sealed Book.” Amari, who 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. He says, “It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ seven hours, so stay up late, pop some popcorn, pull the covers up close, and be chilled by ‘theatre of the mind’ classic radio horror and mystery shows.” Last week (10/15), TALKERS magazine published a piece by University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon titled, “The Scare On the Air” that is an homage to the radio horror genre. If you missed it you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The October 19 interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles generated a lot of coverage in other media outlets – from CBSStephen Colbert to CNN to The Hill to The New York Post – after Dr. Fauci addressed the criticism he received from President Trump. While explaining that he knows Americans are fatigued by the pandemic but that he believes we’ll put it behind us after a vaccine becomes available, he then said, “That’s the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in The Godfather: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.” Hear the whole interview here…..ABC News Radio offering three hours of live, anchored coverage for tonight’s presidential debate. Programming includes a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams…..iHeartMedia and “Bobby Bones Show” co-host Amy Brown are partnering to launch The Amy Brown Podcast Network that will include a slate of health and wellness podcasts that will be co-produced by Brown and iHeartRadio. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne comments, “Our goal is to provide the highest quality programming across every podcast genre – and health and wellness is one of the most important categories in the medium right now, given the engagement of the listeners and the authenticity of the content. Amy is an incredible podcast talent – not just as the host of her own show, but someone who has a great eye for recruiting and developing new podcasts, too – and we want to support that however we can.”…..Entercom Podcast Network’s Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries,” for a weekly podcast based on the long-running television show and Netflix streaming series. The podcast will present all new unsolved cases and each episode will take a deep dive into one specific story. The “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will be executive produced by Chris Corcoran, chief content officer of Cadence13, and Terry Dunn Meurer, the co-creator of “Unsolved Mysteries,” and will be co-directed and co-produced by Cadence13 and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions. Season One of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will launch in early 2021.

The Presidential Election/Final Debate, Early/Mail-In Voting, Iran-Russia Election Interference, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Hard Drive Case, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Vote, Pope Supports Same-Sex Unions, Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty in Opioids Suit, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The November presidential election and tonight’s final presidential debate; the issues of early voting and mail-in voting; the allegation that both Russia and Iran are practicing cyber interference in the U.S. presidential election; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for a fall-winter second wave; the allegations that a hard drive from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicates then-Vice President Joe Biden influenced the Ukraine; today’s Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Pope Francis voices support for same-sex unions; OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in the opioid epidemic case and will shut down; and pro sports during the time of COVID were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh. Programmer and talk show host Scott Ryfun was a college student in 1991 when he first heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio. At the time, Ryfun was a conservative college student when he stumbled across Limbaugh’s show while spinning across the radio dial. He became hooked and his love of Limbaugh’s show led him into the radio business. “My goal was to host an issues-oriented talk show and to be insightful and entertaining, but there was only one local political talk show in [my] town and no one seemed interested in letting me have it. So, I decided to learn how to do every job in radio I could so that I’d be a valuable employee while I awaited my opportunity to do the show I wanted to do. I also spent my time trying to deconstruct conservative talk radio and figuring out how it worked and how to make it work for me.” Today, Ryfun is vice president of programming at iHeartMedia’s Brunswick, Georgia operations and morning host at news/talk WGIG-AM/W245DO. He’s written a piece titled, “Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh,” that encapsulates much of what he’s learned about great talk radio from Rush Limbaugh. Read his insightful piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The 2020 “iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One” is streaming on LiveXLive.com and broadcast across iHeartMedia’s county radio stations tomorrow (10/23) at 8:00 pm ET. Bobby Bones is hosting the seventh edition of this event that will feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, and special performances by Morgan Evans and Gabby Barrett, recorded live on one stage in Nashville.

Friday, October 16, 2020

| October 16, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hugging and Slugging!” looks back at this past week of October 12 – October 16, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Alan Stock, talk show host/commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Jack Heath Exits WGIR-AM, Manchester, NH. A brief story in the New Hampshire Union Leader indicates that radio talk show host Jack Heath has exited iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire and his daily “NH Today” morning program. Heath said goodbye to his listeners at the end of his show and posted the following message to his Facebook page: “I have been honored and humbled to host the show for nearly 7 plus years there. I am especially grateful to the listeners for being there and proud of the work I was able to do to help NH’s great nonprofits and advocate for our veterans — a mission I will continue. This is not a goodbye but a thank you for now. Until we talk again, thanks…Stay tuned. JH.”

KFGO, Fargo’s Joel Heitkamp Positive for COVID-19. A report from the Associated Press indicates that KFGO-AM, Fargo “The Mighty 790” talk show host Joel Heitkamp has tested positive for COVID-19. The story notes that Heitkamp says he began experiencing symptoms last weekend and says he’s “lost his sense of taste and smell and is experiencing body aches.” He’s self-quarantining and still doing his radio program remotely. He told listeners, “I am in a part of the process where it’s certainly after talking with people in the medical field, it certainly looks as though I’m going to be one of the lucky ones in terms of how this has infected me, in terms of how I’m going to feel throughout this process, not going to feel good, not going to feel great.”

SRN’s Sebastian Gorka Has Twitter Account Locked After Biden Post. According to a story published at Breitbart, Salem Radio Network talk show host Sebastian Gorka has been locked out of his Twitter account after posting a photo of Hunter Biden in the bathtub smoking a cigarette and the text, “Why did @FBI take the Biden laptop and do nothing?” Gorka received a message from Twitter saying he’d been locked out for violating the rules and said he must delete the tweets that violate the rules. It’s not clear what rules were broken in the tweet. While appearing on SiriusXM with Breitbart’s Alex Marlow, Gorka said to listeners, “This is America in 2020. The FBI did nothing when they had evidence of crimes, and when I want to talk about it as an American citizen to you and the Breitbart listeners, my account was locked. We are here. We have arrived. 1984 wasn’t fiction, and they want to steal an election again, and I just don’t mean social media, I mean authorities that can burst through your front door at 4:00 am with a warrant like they did to Roger Stone.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Promises to ‘Clarify Ambiguity’ in Section 230. Saying that he’s moving in response to concerns from members of all three branches of the federal government, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says he’ll proceed with a rulemaking to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Act that explains the immunity from legal responsibility that digital platforms enjoy with regard to their content. Pai says, “The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’  And earlier this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision. As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean? Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230.  The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning. Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression.  Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 12-16. The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a four-way tie between the presidential race, Thursday night’s dueling town halls, balloting issues, and scandals & accusations. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections plus high-profile COVID patients, followed by health care, meds, and protective measures at #4. 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.

ASU Student Rae’Lee Klein Sues School on Free Speech Grounds. In September, Rae’Lee Klein was removed from her position as manager of Arizona State University’s student radio station Blaze Radio. This came in the aftermath of Klein’s tweet related to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the tweet, Klein said, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Her attorney, Jack Wilenchik, tells Downtown Devil, “We’re suing because she’s not the station manager. She’s been constructively terminated (and) they’re not letting her do her job. They are discriminating against her based on her exercise of free speech by taking that away.” Klein has been effectively removed from her position but she’s still being paid by the school. According to media and constitutional law specialist David J. Bodney, whom Downtown Devil communicated with for the story, “There was no First Amendment violation here, and Ms. Klein’s claims are meritless. ASU and the Cronkite School have deep and abiding commitments to free speech and excellence in journalism, and this lawsuit disregards an array of facts that show just how baseless these claims really are.” Bodney added that Klein’s conduct post-Tweet is evidence she’s is no longer able to lead Blaze Radio and that the university did not terminate her employment. Bodney also says that Klein was offered other opportunities, such as starting her own radio station with support from the university, all of which she rejected.

TALKERS News Notes. The most recent Westwood One Blog post reveals data from Nielsen Audio’s national consumer study of 1,000 respondents (conducted October 1-5) that tracks the pandemic’s impact on consumer movement, spending, attitudes, and media usage. Some of the conclusions drawn include: 1) There is a 56% increase in the number of Americans working outside the home. Nielsen reports 61% of U.S. workers are now commuting to their workplace, up from 39% in early May; 2) Half of American schoolchildren are driven to school with AM/FM radio playing in the car. 50% say their children are driven to school (3% carpool, 47% parent/family member). 44% of American schoolchildren are taking the bus. 62% indicate that AM/FM radio is always on, and 35% say AM/FM radio is sometimes on in the car; and 3) The economy will affect holiday shopping, but AM/FM radio listeners will spend more than the average. A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will spend more this holiday (14%) versus heavy TV viewers (10%) and the overall market (10%). Read the full post  here…..Podcast producer Lipstick & Vinyl announces the third season of “The Double Shift,” that explores the challenges working moms face every day. The new season focuses on the disruptive impact of the coronavirus on families, how that disproportionally disrupts moms’ careers, and how to navigate that. Creator and host Katherine Goldstein says, “We’re in an acute crisis at this moment. 865,000 women have left or been forced to leave the workforce between August and September. Many of those women are moms. The lack of structured family and childcare programs that we’ve talked about on ‘The Double Shift’ are more glaringly missing than ever before.”…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that its national travel radio show “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” has successfully surpassed another affiliation milestone and is now heard on more than 440 radio stations across the USA and Canada.  The Careys say, “Since the pandemic has disrupted our nation and the world back in March, ‘RMWorldTravel’ has added about 30 new affiliates and additional new sponsors, underscoring the importance of all aspects of the travel world in our daily lives.”

Outstanding Sales Opportunities. New York’s next media star is wanted at two power-packed stations. Salem Media New York, part of a nationwide media conglomerate, wants to hire two fabulous sellers who can rise to the top! Opportunity is limitless. We are looking for quality, regardless of current time in selling. Respond by dropping a note to Jerry.Crowley@Salem.cc.