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NAB2022: Employee Wellness and Mental Health

| April 28, 2022

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

LAS VEGAS — You could have heard a pin drop when TelevisaUnvision president/regional radio GM Sabina Widmann said “This pandemic was the earthquake, and now we’re living in a tsunami, the mental health crisis in America.”

Because “what we do in radio is SO much about the people, about connecting,” this Great Resignation we’ve been reporting-on hits home. In her experience, “money is not the end-all for most employees.” How they FEEL is Issue One. “If you ask someone how they are, they might answer ‘Not so good.’”

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

| April 21, 2022

Bill O’ Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform news/talk media star and best-selling author Bill O’ Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” O’ Reilly’s 40-plus year career has been colorful, controversial, and continues to be consequential. After gaining prominence as an anchor for the mainstream TV networks ABC and CBS, he served as host of the groundbreaking celebrity gossip entertainment-industry show, “Inside Edition,” and then evolved into politics going on to be the top-rated host at FOX News Channel for approximately two decades. Today, his short-form commentaries, syndicated by Key Networks, are heard on hundreds of news/talk radio stations across the nation and he’s currently in the process of launching a new nightly, long-form syndicated program titled, “No Spin News.” Harrison and O’ Reilly discuss the state and future of modern era news/talk media in addition to looking back at what it was like for the independent-minded talker to co-host and partner with former President Donald Trump on his recent four-city “History Tour.” Be sure to meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2022 conference at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.

 

Sean Hannity Becomes Longest-Running Primetime Cable News Host. According to FOX News Channel, primetime superstar Sean Hannity notches another industry milestone as he tops the late Larry King to assume the mantle of the longest-running primetime cable news host in U.S. television history. Today (4/21), marks 25 consecutive years, six months, and 15 days at the helm of a primetime cable news program – beating King’s run on CNN. Hannity has been a staple of FNC’s primetime lineup since the launch of the network in 1996. He was co-host of “Hannity & Colmes (with the late Alan Colmes) that debuted on October 7, 1996. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “Sean’s authenticity and insightful commentary have created one of the most enduring connections with our audience and it’s been an honor to watch him over the years. A FOX News original, he has helped innovate the industry, and we are incredibly proud of his extraordinary success.” Hannity comments, “I am extremely grateful to FOX News Media and to our loyal, dedicated viewers whom I am proud to serve every night.”

 

WHAM/WSYR Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Pens Blog Post About Personal Mental Health. Longtime WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry’s April 20 post to his blog reveals a man searching for help to deal with mental health issues he confesses have plagued him his entire life. The blog doesn’t go into specific detail about his own struggles but does document to some degree his family history of mental illness, especially that which tormented his mother for most of her life. He begins the post saying, “This column is not intended to elicit sympathy or be seen as courageous. Not by any means. It is rather a report on the final desperate action of a man who has destroyed the lives of his family, hurt countless other individuals, failed at his religion, and probably devolved from narcissist to sociopath. This isn’t pretty or sweet, but neither is it manipulative or attention seeking. It’s just a column. Please, leave me the delusion that I’m a writer. And if me being nuts makes you more comfortable asking if you might be nuts, too, and maybe need some help, too, then good. That’s the point.” Read the blog post here.

 

Round Two of March PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s March 2022 sweep covered March 3 – March 30. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM jumps 1.4 shares for an 8.7 share (6+, weekly AQH share) finish and climbs to the #2 rank, while Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM slips two-tenths for a 3.9 share finish good for the #10 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston continues its ascent, tacking on 1.1 shares to wrap the survey with a 4.7 share and the #8 rank, while sister all-news WBZ-FM slides seven-tenths to a 5.5 share and the #6 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM remains on top posting a 7.4 share to stay ranked #1. The talk in St. Louis is dominated by Audacy as heritage news/talk KMOX finishes with a 3.6 share, after shedding two-tenths, and remains ranked #11, while sister talker KFTK-FM drops eight-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.

 

Meghan Ottolini Joins WEEI-FM, Boston’s ‘Merloni & Fauria’ Show. Boston sports media personality Meghan Ottolini is getting an expanded role on sports talk WEEI-FM’s “Merloni & Fauria” afternoon drive program, effective May 4. She’s been serving as a part-time host on the show since January of 2021. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Mike Thomas says, “Meghan is a rising star in this industry, and we are very excited to have her join ‘Merloni & Fauria’ each afternoon. Writing is a passion of Meghan’s and she will be able to continue to do that for our station’s website, enabling her to create can’t-miss content for Boston sports fans – both on air and online.” Ottolini most recently served as a multimedia reporter for the Boston Herald since 2017. Additionally, she was an on-air talent for NBC Sports Boston’s “Quick Slants” television program. She comments, “I’m thrilled to join WEEI and work alongside Lou [Merloni] and Christian [Fauria] delivering premier sports talk coverage in the best sports city in the country. This opportunity is such a privilege and I look forward to having a lot of fun in this next chapter of my career.”

 

The TALKERS magazine 2022 Heavy Hundred of Talk Radio Hosts is Published. The 2022 edition of TALKERS magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – also known as the Heavy Hundred – has been published. Since the early 1990s, TALKERS editors – with input from industry leaders – have compiled this annual feature created to recognize the hard-working talk radio personalities in America. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says of this 2022 edition, “Creating the Heavy Hundred is always a challenging task for our editorial staff. Our use of both hard and soft factors in evaluating candidates for the list only adds to the difficulty in selecting the “most important” radio talk show hosts, but it’s a project that allows us to really get a big-picture look at the key players in this format and it’s something that we take very seriously. Congratulations to all of the talk radio personalities who are recognized on this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

 

FOX News Digital Top Performer in Multiplatform Minutes for March. According to the Comscore data for the month of March, FOX News Digital finished as the top-performing news brand in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes. FOX News Digital says this marks its fourth consecutive quarter ranking as number one in the category in the news competitive set. FOX News Digital delivered 3.5 billion total multiplatform minutes, topping closest rival CNN.com (3.35 billion). For the first quarter of 2022 (Jan.-Mar.), FOX News Digital delivered 9.2 billion total multiplatform minutes versus CNN.com’s 7.85 billion. However, In the multiplatform unique visitors metric, CNN.com was far and away on top with 136.3 million compared to FOX News Digital’s 79.2 million for March. For the first quarter, CNN.com’s multiplatform unique visitors total was 147.9 million to FOX News Digital’s 85.3 million.

 

Radio Pros Launch New Consulting Firm. The new firm is called the Smith Richards Collective and is being launched by radio executives Steve Smith and Tim Richards and digital marketing strategist Heidi McIvor-Allen. The organization says it “brings deep radio operations, programming, and digital marketing experience to radio stations and groups, with a fresh approach and innovative strategies to help stations grow their audience and revenues, while saving money.” It adds that in addition to podcast and radio talent coaching services, the Smith Richards Collective offers full-service white glove consulting for radio stations and groups, as well as an embedded full-service digital marketing agency, McIvor Marketing, which offers stations and groups a full spectrum of digital resources and support.

 

Salem New York’s ‘The Answer’ to Produce ‘The Salem Business Breakfast.’ Next Wednesday (4/27) Salem Media Group’s news/talk WNYM-AM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” is presenting “The Salem Business Breakfast” at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. It takes place from 6:00 am to 10:00 am as Joe Piscopo broadcasts the morning show live. An interactive business panel discussion will be moderated by attorney and AM 970 The Answer personality Arthur Aidala that will include: Bernie Kerik, former NYPD Police Commissioner; Steve Perillo, president & owner of Perillo Tours; Ace Watanasuparp, national director of strategic sales at Citizens Bank Home Mortgage Division & founder of Chase Restaurant Group; Jason Greene, vice president of Magniflood INC; and Melanie Landano, founder & owner of Mel’s Butcher Box.

 

TALKERS News Notes. New York City Audacy radio stations are airing the podcast episodes hosted by WCBS-FM personality Patty Steele for which she won a 2022 Gracie Award in the category National Podcast – Lifestyle Limited Series. The program is titled “The Deep 6” and the episodes that will be aired on April 24 at 6:00 am consist of her interview with her 26-year-old son Jake about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Steele, a mother of three,  reveals her struggle through the ordeal that simultaneously occurred with her breast cancer diagnosis. With five years of sobriety under his belt, Jake and his mom decided it was time to make their story public with the hope of helping others. Steele comments, “It’s important that we take the stigma away from addiction issues and talk openly about what is truly affecting our children. I’m so grateful that Jake and I are in such a good place that we’re able to share our journey.” WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach states, “Patty’s conversation with her son is heartbreaking, inspiring, life-affirming, and compelling. It is one of the most important podcasts to come along in a very long time. What makes it so powerful is its authenticity. You can feel the pain and unrelenting love for her son on this very personal journey. Patty is brave beyond words to share and explore all that has happened and because her story could be any parent’s story, every parent will find a part of themselves in it.”…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallager(left) with 16-time WWE World Champion wrestler Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair (right). Gallagher bumped into Flair while taking his first “maskless” flight since the pandemic began in 2020…..Audacy is conducting 45 volunteer events nationwide to celebrate Earth Day as part of its 1Day1Thing Sustainability Initiative. The series of events, which will engage employees across the company, aim to make a positive impact on the communities in which the company serves and the planet. Projects including tree planting, park and waterway cleanups, recycling projects and habitat restoration, among others. Audacy director of sustainability Jaimie Field says, “We pride ourselves on our relentless commitment to supporting the health and success of the communities that are at the heart of our business, and we’re thrilled to unite our teams across the country to do some good for our planet. Sustainability is a focal point of our Audacy Serves initiative, and we’re looking forward to leveraging these actions this Earth Day to make a lasting impact on our environment, both today and for generations to come.”…..Good Karma Brands president Steve Politziner has been inducted into the 45th class of the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Each year, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission recognizes an elite group of individuals who have made major impacts to the Palm Beach County sports landscape. By bringing ESPN to the market through the power of radio, TV and events, he helped shape Palm Beach County’s sports identity, created a home for sports fans and has provided coverage to the great sports stories, teams and athletes that make up the community.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Netflix Crash/Financial Markets/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, DeSantis vs Disney, College Debt Forgiveness, COVID-19, Macron-Le Pen Race, and Arizona Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its ICBM test and threat of nuclear weapons use; the crash of Netflix’s stock, its effect on the financial markets and the broader issue of high gas and food prices; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushes legislation to strip Disney of its decades-old special district benefit; the Biden administration’s move to provide 50,000 students with college debt forgiveness; the ruling that cancels the air travel mask mandate and the BA.2 variant; the tight race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for president of France; and the raging Arizona wildfire were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 18, 2020

| September 18, 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, “Blowing Smoke!” looks back at this past week of September 14 – September 18, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJennifer Horn, talk show host KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernardino/DJV Show and VP, CRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches, FL; Michael Zwerling, talk show host/owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; 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 (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer 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.

ASU Student Removed from Radio Station Manager Post for Tweet About Jacob Blake Case. After almost a month of press about the case of Arizona State University radio station manager Rae’Lee Klein’s tweet about the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Klein has been removed from her position. The Arizona Republic reports that Klein was asked to resign her position and refused. Finally, yesterday (9/17) the school removed her from the station manager job citing the school’s policy that any student employment at the school is temporary and can be terminated without cause or advance notice. The tweet that started the controversy was Klein’s sharing of a New York Post article that referenced sexual assault allegations against Blake with her comment, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Klein tells the paper she’s been informed that the school’s social media policy “broadly discourage[s] sharing personal opinions online” and Klein says she believes she’s “being disproportionately targeted while other students are given a pass.”

The Black Effect Podcast Network Names Dollie S. Bishop President of Production and Creative Development. The soon-to-launch The Black Effect Podcast Network announces that Dollie S. Bishop is named president of production and creative development. The Black Effect Podcast Network is a partnership between iHeartMedia and “The Breakfast Club” personality Charlamagne Tha God. Bishop is an accomplished TV and events producer who’s worked on such projects as Oxygen’s 2016 hit docu-series, “Like A Boss,” “TeenNick Top 10,” the “MTV Video Music Awards” and MTV’s hit shows “Ridiculousness” and “Wild ‘N Out.” She comments, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to embark on this unprecedented journey with The Black Effect Podcast Network. As the head of the network, I’m privileged to be able to give Black voices the creative and cultural freedom to speak unapologetically in a space where their voices can be real, where their creativity and talent can be rewarded, and where our listeners can be uplifted and informed, respected and appreciated. I cannot thank Charlamagne enough for his visionary leadership in this timely, critically important, history-making endeavor.” Charlamagne adds, “Dollie is a creative force who motivates and inspires people to be the very best version of themselves. Her creative instincts and recruiting and development skills are exactly what we need to ensure that The Black Effect Network becomes an unparalleled leader in podcasting. Dollie is a talent magnet. She brings a unique expertise that will help shape our way forward. It’s a genuine privilege to have her at the helm as we continue to grow and evolve The Black Effect Podcast Network.”

Donald Trump Appears on FOX Sports Radio’s ‘Outkick the Coverage’ with Clay Travis. The appearance of President Trump on a news/talk radio show is not all that unusual, but he’s now made two appearances in as many months on Clay TravisFOX Sports Radio syndicated show “Outkick the Coverage,” his latest being yesterday (9/17). During his Thursday appearance, he spoke with Travis about his administration’s involvement in getting the Big 10 to restart its season next month. Trump said he found that Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren was open to the idea and he credited White House staffer Tim Pataki for laying the groundwork for the conference’s reversal of its previous decision not to play this year.

Health Care, Vaccines and Masks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 14-18. The trio of health care, vaccines, and masks combined to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and mail-in voting security. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by the Western U.S. wildfires, Hurricane Sally, and climate change tied 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.

Entercom’s 4th Annual ‘I’m Listening’ Mental Health Awareness Program Airs Next Wednesday. On September 23 at 6:00 pm local time, Entercom will present the fourth annual “I’m Listening” live national program that brings together artists, athletes, and medical specialists to raise awareness and end the stigma of talking about mental health. It will air across more than 230 Entercom stations and RADIO.COM livestream. Co-hosted by KISW, Seattle morning host BJ Shea and international lecturer, therapist, educator and CHANNEL Q on-air host Dr. Chris Donaghue, the show will highlight shared mental health stories and experiences while also acting as a resource for those simply looking to connect, heal, and share. Listeners are encouraged to call in for advice or to share a story. The program will feature the participation of a bevy of musical artists and medical experts. Entercom chief programming officer Pat Paxton says, “Conversations have the power to save lives and in this time of heightened unrest, human connection and sharing experiences have never been more powerful. Like millions of others, my family has been impacted by mental health issues and the effects it has on families and friends. ‘I’m Listening’ is part of our year-round mental health initiative that is integral to not only who we are as a company, but who we are as people. We’re committed to continuing to leverage our national platform to engage in these crucial and healing conversations.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a piece in the Arizona Daily Star about the success of Tucson Radio LLC’s oldies KDRI-AM/K269FV, Tucson just a year after a trio of Tucson broadcasters – Bobby Rich, Jim Arnold, and Fletcher McCusker – bought the signals and created “The Drive” targeting the 45-plus demo with music from the 50s through the 80s and total local content. Rich says, “I knew there was a need for this kind of programming. Nobody wanted this audience. It’s always been that way for decades, amazingly. But it just seems so obvious that there are so many of us that are 55 and over, and that’s why I chose 45 and up as a target audience to provide something they just can’t get.”…..Entercom tweaks the format of WSTR-FM, Atlanta “Star 94,” moving from hot AC to rhythmic AC. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “The ‘New Star 94’ will bring the rhythm of Atlanta to life and capture the vibe of the metro area. In these difficult times, radio serves as a platform to both entertain and inform. We look forward to growing the well-established ‘Star’ brand into a place for our audience to feel good through top hits from their favorite artists.”…..In Fort Myers, Sun Broadcasting flips alternative WXNX “93X” from alternative rock to country as “Trump Country 93.7.” The station will compete with the market’s three other country outlets: WIKX “Kix Country,” WWGR “Gator Country,” and WCKT “Cat Country 107.1.”