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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled “Hackers, Hucksters, Harassers, and Hooligans!” looks back at this past week of July 13-17, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Paul Vandenburgh, talk show host /owner, WGDJ, Albany, NY; Matt Battaglia, talk show host, “Business Roundtable” / business manager, KFNX, Phoenix; Rob Carson, talk show host, “What in the World is Going On?” Newsmax TV; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; Lincoln Ware, talk show host, WDBZ, Cincinnati; and John Lodge, musician, the Moody Blues. 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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 (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode (posted Friday 6/3 at 3:00 pm ET), 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.
Ramsey Solutions Seeks Talent to Become Ramsey Personalities. Nashville-based Ramsey Solutions announces that it is growing its team of speakers, writers, and broadcasters – referred to as Ramsey Personalities. Current Ramsey Personalities are thought leaders and communicators, headlining national events and media appearances, while sharing a message of hope through original content published in books and streamed on various platforms. Ramsey Solutions says, “Ramsey Personalities recognize their public platform is a privilege. They are passionate about sharing biblically based, commonsense education to empower the real heroes – audience members, show listeners, and book readers – to take control of their lives. That shared mission of life change drives the company forward, and Ramsey Personalities lead the charge.” Ramsey Personalities EVP Jeremy Breland says, “Ten years ago, I joined the team to train and grow speakers to take Dave Ramsey’s message even farther. Now we have six Ramsey Personalities that help people in all areas of life, like money, relationships and careers.” Dave Ramsey’s passion to help people with their money problems quickly expanded into giving advice in other areas of life. He comments, “I’m in the legacy stage of my career where I now get to share my success and platform with this next generation of speakers, authors, and thought leaders and help them be successful. It’s deeply satisfying to pour into our Ramsey Personalities as we are growing their brands and messages, which ultimately scales the impact and helps more people.” Qualified candidates should be currently working to build their brand through speaking engagements, podcasting, YouTubing, broadcasting or blogging. The team is specifically looking for experts in topics like marriage/parenting, leadership/business, money, careers and personal development. You can apply here.
Entercom and Twitch Partner for Sports Talk Live Video Simulcasts. This deal between Entercom and interactive digital platform Twitch will “bring live video simulcasts of market-leading sports talk programs to Twitch and its 17.5 million daily users.” Entercom says that “initially, live video streaming of leading RADIO.COM sports stations from six major markets across the country will be accessible to Twitch users via individually tailored, branded station channels, providing the Twitch community a full week’s worth of appointment viewing from some of the nation’s most iconic sports talk stations” – starting with WEEI, Boston; WFAN, New York; KRLD-FM, Dallas; WSCR, Chicago; WZGC, Atlanta; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “Twitch has built a substantial platform for audiences to connect through video content and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring our unrivaled sports programming to millions of viewers. This partnership will expand how listeners can connect with our on-air talent through real-time engagement on Twitch and introduce a new generation of sports fans to legendary sports brands like WEEI, WFAN 101.9 FM/660 AM, and ‘92.9 The Game.’” Twitch director of new verticals Jane Weedon adds, “Over the last several years, there has been a growing sports community on Twitch. With the addition of sports radio, on-air talent, and fans will be able to interact and discuss their favorite athletes, teams and leagues with one another in real time. Through features like Twitch Chat, now the entire audience will be able to participate in the coveted ‘call ins’ and ‘hot takes’ that have come to define sports talk radio.”
Sports Talk KWFN-FM, San Diego Deploys GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting System. San Diego’s KWFN-FM is now using the MaxxCasting system from GeoBroadcast Solutions to improve its signal. GeoBroadcast Solutions says “the four-node single-frequency network (SFN), which represents the first commercially deployed HD Radio Single Frequency Network (HD SFN), extends clear FM and HD Radio coverage up and down the busy Interstate 15 and State Route 78 corridors. The improved signal also increases penetration with Nielsen PPM Portable People Meters (PPMs) to help broadcasters accurately measure audiences and set advertising rates.” The FCC is currently looking at a rule change for radio broadcasters that would allow them to air geo-targeted programming and GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “This successful implementation of an HD SFN through MaxxCasting also demonstrates that geo-targeting for radio will work when the boosters are equipped with GeoBroadcast Solutions’ ZoneCasting technology. ZoneCasting will eventually owe its success to MaxxCasting, the foundational architecture that is currently boosting FM and HD signals from the Boston market’s [adult contemporary] WXLO-FM to KWFN in San Diego.” Entercom San Diego market technical operations director JR Rogers says, “There is no question that the commuter listening experience has improved, as the holes in the signal coverage have been greatly diminished. The community was previously served by a massive AM signal originating in Mexico. We especially wanted to provide the Padres and their fans as close to 100% coverage as possible. While high-power AM has a much broader coverage pattern, FM offers far superior sound. The MaxxCasting system will provide the community with higher quality game coverage, and better penetrate the entire market.”
TALKERS News Notes. This year marks the 10th edition of Brock Huard’s Football Camp, led by KIRO-AM, Seattle personality Brock Huard. However, this year the camp will be a virtual one. Bonneville Seattle Media Group says the football camp for youth ages 8-18 will take place July 27-31 with a series of daily training videos hosted by former University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard and featuring former Seahawks players Michael Bumpus, Paul Moyer, and Dave Wyman…..Entercom announces the radio team for broadcasts of Kansas City Chiefs football for the 2020 season. Games are to be heard on the company’s country WDAF, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf” – the flagship station – in addition to the 70 affiliate stations that make up the Chiefs Radio Network. The broadcast team will feature play-by-play announcer “Voice of the Chiefs” Mitch Holthus, entering his 27th season, and newcomers Danan Hughes and Josh Klingler…..SiriusXM names Nicole Hughey its new vice president, diversity & inclusion. The company says, “Nicole joins us today with an impressive and extensive career focused on creating a culture for people to be appreciated, respected, and valued for the diversity they bring to the table. We couldn’t be more excited to have her on board.”
WGN-AM, Chicago Names Steve Tarpley GSM. Chicago news/talk WGN-AM promotes local sales manager Steve Tarpley to the general sales manager position. Mary Sandberg Boyle, general manager for the Nexstar Media Group outlet, says, “I am delighted to name Steve Tarpley as general sales manager of WGN Radio. We had our choice of top candidates and Steve proved to be the best person for the job. He’s had incredible success as a seller in his career here at WGN, and he’s excelled as a manager since 2014. Steve knows how to drive results for our advertisers and lead a team of sellers successfully.” Tarpley joined the station in 2010 as a local account executive. In subsequent years, he assumed more responsibilities including the roles of national sales manager, and most recently, local sales manager.
The COVID-19 Statistics & Projections and the Related Schools Opening Debate Tied for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in Southern and Western states and the debate over opening schools in the fall tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 13-17, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask wearing debate, and the CDC-HHS reporting switch. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race, politics, and the Trump campaign shuffle, followed by the Black Live Matter movement, urban violence, and police defunding 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Connecticut, Hall Communications cuts two full-time staffers and two part-timers in budget-related moves. Full-time news staffer Kevin Gordon, part-time reporter Bernie Loubier as well as DJ Glenn O’Brien were let go from nostalgia WICH, Norwich and full-time air personality Josh Matty was released from country WCTY-FM, Norwich.….Condolences to the family and friends of country WOKO, Burlington, Vermont air personality Amy Lynn, a.k.a. Amy McGovern, who died on Wednesday (7/15) from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash in Georgia, Vermont. Hall Communications VP Dan Dubonnet tells WCAX-TV, “We miss her already, dearly. Our station, our employees are pretty much in shock about it. And we’ll always remember her crazy laugh, her bounce up and down the hallway and just her passion for the radio station.”
PPM Analysis: Alternative. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on alternative rock. In this report you can see how stations’ weekly, 6+ AQH shares fared compared to the May 2020 survey, compared to the June 2019 survey and how alternative stations ranked in their respective markets. See the complete report here.
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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio. Coming off the historically down Holiday survey, almost 80% of news/talk stations on this panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) in the January survey with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.4) and WISN, Milwaukee (+2.2) leading the gains. Comparing January 2018 to January 2019, almost 45% of stations were up (slightly more were down) with Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+2.3) and WLW, Cincinnati (+2.0). CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dropped 2.3 shares from last January to this year but still retains its #1 ranking (6+) in the Atlanta market. Four other news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the January survey: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Monday Memo: ‘Today’s Bonus Question…’ Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about evergreen talk radio topics. He says, “Smart talk radio hosts have always kept an evergreen file, undated call-in topics for use, y’know, back when we had slow news days.” Even though there have not been lot of those lately, Cooke says for hosts who want to break away from Washington topics for a bit he has some thoughts on questions they can throw out to their listeners to start a fun topic, such as, “What’s your gripe about where you work?” See Cooke’s entire Monday Memo here.
Ethan Bearman Leaves KGO. Heavy Hundred talk media rising star Ethan Bearman has informed TALKERS magazine that he and KGO, San Francisco have parted ways. Bearman, known for his youthful view of politics and lifestyles from an independent position, began his career at KSCO, Santa Cruz. He joined Cumulus San Francisco in January of 2014 as a personality at KSFO and moved over to KGO in early 2016 where he was most recently heard live each day between 10:00 am and 12:45 pm with a replay in evenings at 7:00 pm. Bearman, who lives in Southern California and has been studying law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, performed his daily show by remote from the Westwood One studios in Culver City. Bearman tells TALKERS, “I love the Bay Area audience and the folks at KGO have been wonderful, but my home and family are in LA and I always knew that this set up would eventually have to end. I’m excited about receiving my law degree this coming May and moving on with my media career with that extra credential from this location.” In addition to his radio work, Bearman has become a popular go-to commentator on cable news/talk TV and regularly appears as a guest on the Fox News Channel.
Alfred Williams Joining iHeartMedia Denver. Sports talk host Alfred “Big Al” Williams left Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” last week where he was co-host of the market’s highest-rated show with partner Darren McKee to join iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KOA, according to a report by KUSA-TV, Denver. Williams will wait out a non-compete (probably six months) and speculation is that he’ll join Dave Logan and Rick Lewis on the afternoon drive program. In the piece, Williams speaks about how much Bonneville manager Bob Call has meant to his career. His new boss, iHeartMedia region president Tim Hager says, “I’m unbelievably excited about the possibility of having Big Al on our team as a broadcaster, a talent and a man. Right now, I just respect Bob [Call] and Bonneville and everything they have going on as they transition from that great broadcaster and talent and man. Much more to come, but really exciting times.”
iHeartMedia Ups Marc Sherman to Regional SVP of Programming for New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Houston senior vice president of programming Marc Sherman has been promoted to regional senior vice president of programming for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets, that include news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT-AM in New Orleans and news/talk WJBO-AM/K249DV in Baton Rouge. iHeartMedia region president Eddie Martiny says, “I’m excited to expand Marc’s programming expertise to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets. I have had the pleasure of working with Marc for over 15 years and he is not only a brilliant programmer but an excellent leader. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are in good hands.”
Amber Parker Named SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Tuscaloosa. Programming pro Amber Parker moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs where she served in programming and on-air roles to Tuscaloosa where she’s senior vice president of programming for the four-station Tuscaloosa cluster that includes news/talk WRTR-FM “Talk Radio 105.9” and three music outlets. Parker will be responsible for spearheading the programming, promotions, and digital strategies for all four stations and will also host the midday show on country WTXT.
Harvey Wells Named Director of Sales Development and Marketing for GeoBroadcast Solutions. Radio sales and management pro Harvey Wells joins GeoBroadcast Solutions as director of sales development and marketing. In this role, Wells is responsible for the continued roll-out of GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting technology and help introduce its ZoneCasting technology to a broader audience. The company’s press release says MaxxCasting “leverages Single Frequency Network (SFN) architectures to optimize a radio station’s signal strength within its FCC-allocated contour, allowing greater numbers of potential listeners and Nielsen Personal People Meter encoding…ZoneCasting, pending FCC approval, will allow a radio station to divide its signal based on a market’s geography, allowing a radio station on its single frequency to air different news, traffic, weather, public service announcements and advertisements based on where a listener is located.” Wells was most recently general manager for Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois cluster. During his career he also managed CBS RADIO’s Chicago station group.
TALKERS News Notes. In Burlington, Vermont, Vox AM/FM makes changes to the morning show on news/talk WVMT, ousting Pete Belair and Sarah Mitiguy after two months as hosts of the morning show and launches a new program hosted by Burlington City Council president Kurt Wright and local DJ and podcaster Marcus Certa. Belair and Mitiguy took over the morning program after working together at Sison Broadcasting’s CHR WXXX, Burlington. They replaced Charlie Papillo and Ernie Farrar, who retired at the time Vox AM/FM was buying the station from Paul Goldman in late 2018. Seven Days Vt has the story here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on what he’s calling “reality-show premise of an inspired stunt” as most of the talk hosts from Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” will live in a rented house in Mesa, Arizona while covering the Chicago Cubs’ spring training. The hosts – midday’s Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight and pm drive’s Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins (along with PD Mitch Rosen) – will live together in the house with show producers and a video producer. Morning hosts Mike Mulligan and David Haugh are staying in a nearby hotel. Fans can watch for video highlights on the station’s website…..Entercom Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM is presenting the seventh annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes” event being emceed by morning show host Larry Richert on March 26 at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino. Richert will honor five hometown heroes who’ve made contributions to the local community. This year’s honorees are: Joyce Erdner, founder of The DoorWay, an organization that serves those who need a second chance from dealing with abuse, addiction and neglect; Steven D’Achille who, following the loss of his wife to post-partum depression, founded The Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital; Debbie Thackrah, founder and president of Feeding the Spirit, a special non-profit dedicated to nourishing the bodies, minds and spirits of those in need in the Greensburg community; German Township police corporal John Lingo, who stepped into the line of fire and took down a gunman who shot four people in a magistrate’s office; and George O’Donnell, who operates Runs Friends to Friends, an organization bringing kids with and without disabilities together through sports and mentoring.
Trump-Russia Investigation/House Obstruction of Justice Investigation, Trump CPAC Speech, Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Summit, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Deadly Alabama Tornadoes, Leaving Neverland Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related investigation by the U.S. House into possible obstruction of justice by President Trump; the president’s two-hour speech at CPAC; last week’s congressional testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the list of Democrats vying to oppose President Trump in the 2020 election; the tornadoes that ripped through Alabama and taking the lives of at least 23; the controversy over the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland and the legacy of Michael Jackson; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
RadioInfo Review: Australian Artist Michael Burrows Deserves American Radio Attention. Melbourne, Australia-based recording artist Michael Burrows knows a thing or two about life – and his take is laid out beautifully within a custom blend of folk, rock, and country music. Burrows’ music has been described as a fusion of musical genres with hints of artists such as the Beatles, Wilco, Eagles and Ron Sexsmith. From intimate solo shows to full band performances, his songs are deceptively simple about complex things: love, family, home, and trust. The latest single, “Turn This Love Around,” is attracting a lot of attention from music directors and on social media with listeners. It’s a strong melodic tune with lyrics that Ed Sheeran or Jason Mraz would have been proud to have written. It’s a comfortingly familiar track that conjures feelings of a time when things were easier, responsibilities were less, and the vulnerability in Burrows’ voice provides an invitation for the lover and the listener to engage in more – coming back to bed…while tapping their feet and singing along. To check out his latest single please click here. To set up an interview with Michael Burrows, please email Sam Schipman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A format flip takes place in the Motor City as iHeartMedia drops alternative on WDTW-FM and goes classic rock as WLLZ-FM “106.7 Detroit’s Wheels.” The station’s core artists are 80s and 90s rock artists: AC/DC, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica,Ozzy Osbourne, and Pearl Jam. The jock lineup features well-known Detroit radio personalities, including Bill McAllister in mornings, Trudi Daniels in middays, Doug Podell in afternoons, and Casey Krukowski in evenings. iHM region president Paul Corvino states, “Detroit’s Wheels is back. The attitude, music, and personalities featured on ‘106.7 Detroit’s Wheels’ is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.”