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Monday, March 28, 2022

| March 28, 2022

Monday Memo: Is Your Show the Dog? Or the Tail? “Spoiler Alert: Both!” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. As radio faces new audio competitors, HC follows up last week’s column “Weekend Warriors: Renegotiate” by outlining tactics that make ask-the-expert hosts sound popular and preeminent and leverage on-air shows to the digital on-demand platform listeners and advertisers increasingly favor. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: Marketing Madness. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about the innovation that’s taken place in the static advertising realm – bus shelters and taxi tops, for example. He says that talk radio also has the ability to create innovative marketing opportunities for clients within its own technological parameters. In fact, it’s crucial to competing. “Developing and presenting unique, cutting-edge sales and marketing solutions is a relationship builder that can cement a long-term bond,” he says. Read more here.

 

Beasley Media Group Names Kevin Rich VP of Operations. Radio executive Kevin Rich joins Beasley Media Group as vice president of operations, effective April 18, 2022. Rich was most recently market president and chief revenue and content officer at Townsquare Media’s Albany operations in which he was responsible for overseeing and managing the market with a focus on generating revenue across the company’s media and entertainment platforms. In his new role with Beasley, Rich will work closely with company president Bruce Beasley, chief operating officer Brian Beasley and vice president of operations Brad Beasley in overseeing the day-to-day business of the company’s 62 radio stations and multiple platforms. Company CEO Caroline Beasley says, “It’s an absolute privilege to welcome Kevin into our Beasley Media Group family. His credentials and leadership skills are the perfect fit with our organization. We look forward to Kevin sharing his outstanding strategic skill set, especially on the digital side of the business, with our teams across the organization.” Rich comments, “I am thrilled to join the Beasley Media family at a pivotal moment in the company’s growth. This is an exciting time for our industry, and I am honored to be joining such a talented team as we continue to deliver the very best content, provide comprehensive solutions to advertisers, and strengthen our market presence in the communities we serve.”

 

Detroit News Radio Pro Ken Rogulski Joins WHMI-FM, Howell as News Director. Radio news pro Ken Rogulski is named news director and morning drive news anchor at Krol Communications’ full-service/classic hits WHMI-FM, Howell, Michigan. Rogulski has held down a number of assignments at WJR-AM, Detroit for almost two decades including newscaster, street reporter, fill-in talk show host for the late Frank Beckmann, and performing his live annual broadcast from the policy conference on Mackinac Island. He is recipient of numerous awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, The Associated Press and The Society of Professional Journalists as well as having been a correspondent for ABC News and Westwood One News. Rogulski will lead the news staff that includes Jessica Mathews, Mike Kruzman, and Tom Tolen.

 

WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 100 Years. The iHeartMedia station that was once a 500,000-watt signal dubbed “The Nation’s Station” celebrated its 100th birthday on March 23. WLW, Cincinnati is one of a number of heritage stations that launched in 1922. iHeartMedia’s WGY, Albany also celebrated its 100th this year. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo has two WLW videos that TALKERS readers may find interesting. The first is from a WLW Radio reunion produced in March of 2020 by Vuolo and current Nexstar Media executive Sean Compton. The second is a tour of the station’s transmitter with Randy Michaels produced on December 9, 1985.

 

WWL, New Orleans to Commemorate 100th Year of Broadcasting. As NOLA.com reports, New Orleans news/talk WWL-AM is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first broadcast on March 31, 1922. WWL was the first station to serve the lower Mississippi River valley. The NOLA piece notes that “WWL was an outgrowth of physics experiments and wireless radio classes offered at Loyola University as early as 1907. On March 31, 1922, WWL’s first broadcast from Loyola’s Marquette Hall consisted of an on-air fundraising appeal from Father Edward Cummings, S.J., Loyola University’s president, followed by someone playing a few songs on an upright piano.” Loyola operated the station until 1989 when it sold the station and its sister WLMG-FM to Keymarket Communications.

 

TALKERS News Notes. A partnership between iHeartMedia and Collab Inc will result in the creation of Curativity, LLC, a new podcast studio publishing creator-centric shows with Collab’s top talent, as well as the debut a new slate of family shows. The Curativity kids slate will kick off with three shows featuring popular kids Collab talent Mr. Jim, including a new weekly series, “Spyology Squad,” set to launch April 4. In addition, the kids’ programs, “Kids Animal Stories,” and “Kids Short Stories,” will join the slate…..Milwaukee Board of School Directors-owned triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” expands its flagship “Community Stories” program into a full-length weekly podcast called, “Uniquely Milwaukee.” The podcast launch is part of Radio Milwaukee’s 15th birthday celebration this year, growing a program that has been a part of its mission-driven offerings since 2007. The first episode of “Uniquely Milwaukee” centers on bodegas in the city. Station director of content Nate Imig says, “‘Community Stories’ are a beloved part of Radio Milwaukee. By expanding this content into a weekly thematic podcast, ‘Uniquely Milwaukee’ will greatly increase the amount of stories we’re able to share with listeners.”

 

Ukraine Song Getting Airplay, Garnering Downloads. A song penned by Streamline Publishing chairman and CEO Eric Rhoads is getting airplay on radio stations in the U.S. and has also been one of the most downloaded songs the past couple of weeks. Rhoads, whose company publishes radio trades Radio Ink and RBR-TVBR, says he decided “we needed a ‘we are the world’ kind of anthem. I wrote a title called, ‘Tears for Ukraine,’ and some lyrics. I then went to Billy Craig, he co-wrote with me and produced it.” You can hear the song here.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Biden at NATO, COVID-19, Gas Prices/Inflation, Brown Confirmation Hearings, Ginni Thomas and January 6, Midterms and Trump & the GOP, and the Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; President Joe Biden calls for Vladimir Putin to be removed from power at NATO conference; concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant that’s rampant in the U.K. and parts of Asia; Americans’ frustration over high gas prices and the high cost of consumer retail goods; the aftermath of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Katanji Jackson Brown; the January 6 committee’s investigation and texts between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginni and Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows in which she appears to urge him to overturn the 2020 election results; the battle for control of congress in November’s midterm elections and speculation about Donald Trump’s potential 2024 run; and Sunday night’s Oscars telecast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

| March 17, 2022

‘Free Talk Live’ Co-Host Ian Freeman is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. A self-described “activist for liberty” for the past two decades, Ian Freeman co-hosts (with Mark Edge) the independently syndicated radio show “Free Talk Live.” The program emanates from Keene, New Hampshire and airs seven nights a week between 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET. In addition to the two co-hosts, the show presents a rotating panel of regular personalities – such as one individual whose legal name is Nobody – described as ministers of the Shire Free Church (the show’s parent organization) and features various voices from New Hampshire’s liberty activist community. It has guests and takes callers from across the nation. Although still on the air regularly, Freeman is currently under federal arrest on a wide array of charges ranging from money laundering to wire fraud. He maintains his innocence and claims the FBI and other government agencies are on the mission of shutting him up after years of dealing with the nuisance of the show’s activism and controversial information. Freeman will begin his trial later this year. Stand by for a fascinating conversation about the First Amendment, freedom of speech, liberty, civil disobedience, and the role and impact of cryptocurrency in our modern society – the connection to which a number of Freeman’s legal troubles are related. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

Weber Named Interim Broadcast Managing Editor for WBBM, Chicago. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Zac Weber is being promoted from his morning editor position to interim broadcast managing editor at Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago. This move comes three months after Julie Mann left the managing editor post at the station to take the public information officer role with Kane County, Illinois. WBBM Newsradio brand manager Ron Gleason says in a memo to staff, “Zac has done a tremendous job as morning editor, and there’s no question his skills of scouring the world for the latest news early each morning will pay off for all of us.”

 

Micah Goldberg Rises to SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Denver. Sales and management pro Micah Goldberg is promoted to SVP and market manager for Audacy’s Denver station group that includes sports talk KAMP-AM “The Bet 1430AM,” comedy KQKS-HD2 and three music brands. Goldberg – who was most recently director of sales for the cluster – takes over for John Fullam who had been serving as interim market manager since July 2021 and returns to his executive coaching business. Goldberg says, “Team Audacy is second to none. The pride I feel being able to continue contributing and leading a team I have such respect for is nearly indescribable. Following in John Fullam’s footsteps is no easy task, but I know Audacy Denver will continue to make him proud. Thanks to Audacy, Doug [Abernethy] and Susan [Larkin] for all the support and for this amazing opportunity.”

 

Edison: 39% of Americans 12+ Have No Radio in the Home. Calling it “radio’s hardware problem,” Edison Research says that data from its soon-to-be-released The Infinite Dial 2022 report indicates that over the last two years, the number of Americans 12+ who report not having a radio in their home has risen almost 10% with 39% reporting no radio in the home. Just 14 years ago that figure was 4%. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “Of course, nearly all cars have AM/FM radios easily available, and people can listen to the content of radio stations on their phones or smart speakers. However, the elimination of the standard, single-use radio from so many households makes the challenge that much harder in the location that most people spend the most hours.” Many consider the smart speaker to be the new in-home radio. Edison says it will present smart speaker adoption data when it reveals The Infinite Dial 2022 at Podcast Movement Evolutions on March 23.

 

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thanks Joe Madison for Help with Antilynching Act. Pictured above at yesterday’s bill enrollment photo opportunity for H.R. 55, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which specifies lynching as a hate crime act, are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (third from right) and SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison (far right). Speaker Pelosi thanked Madison for his efforts is raising awareness of the bill. Also pictured are: Chair Bennie Thompson, House Committee on Homeland Security (far left); Chair Joyce Beatty, Congressional Black Caucus (second from left); Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) (third from left); and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (second from right).

 

WJR, Detroit Named Station of the Year by MAB. News/talk WJR-AM, Detroit was named Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters as part of its 2021 Broadcast Excellence Awards. This is the fifth time in six years that the Cumulus Media station has been recognized as the Station of the Year. In addition, WJR was selected for 17 “Excellence” awards, and 7 “Merit” awards. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “Winning so many awards reflects the depth of talent on this all-star team. Winning Station of the Year is especially gratifying, as WJR celebrates our 100th Anniversary this year! We thank the MAB for this wonderful recognition.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Erick Erickson Show” is being added to the program schedule at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s news/talk WMAY-AM/FM, Springfield, Illinois. Erickson launched the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program nationally in May of 2021. The show is based at Cox Media Group’s news/talk “95.5 WSB” in Atlanta. Erickson says, “We’re excited to be joining the lineup at WMAY in Springfield and look forward to many great things to come in 2022.”…..iHeartMedia, Inc. announces that it has named Sam Englebardt, general partner of Galaxy Interactive, to its board of directors.  Galaxy Interactive is a venture capital franchise focused on companies operating at the intersection of content, finance and technology, with a particular emphasis on video game studios, NFTs, social platforms and financial marketplaces. Englebardt is also co-founder and partner at Galaxy Digital, a technology-driven financial services and investment management firm that provides institutions and clients with a full suite of financial solutions spanning the digital assets ecosystem. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Sam’s expertise and deep understanding of web3, exponential technologies and the potential of emerging consumer tech platforms like NFTs, tokens and shared virtual experiences, combined with his background in media and entertainment, will be uniquely valuable to us as we extend iHeart’s presence into web3 and the metaverse.”…..Audacy Pittsburgh raises funds to provide over 600,000 meals for people in need through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The “Giant Eagle Feed the Need Radiothon” aired on February 25 on KDKA “News Radio 100.1 FM and 1020 AM,” KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” and its two music-formatted sister stations. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Pittsburghers help their neighbors in times of need. Our community is at the core of everything we do at Audacy Pittsburgh. The results of the ‘Feed the Need Radiothon’ are a good showcase of radio’s power in our region. We are so grateful to everyone who contributed to make this another successful year.”

 

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces New Board Members and Officers. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Curtis LeGeyt, president and CEO for the National Association of Broadcasters, Dennis Lyle, president and CEO for the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation, and Chad Matthews, president of ABC Owned Stations, to its board. In addition, it names Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, and Judy Quaranta, a highly accomplished executive in the world of finance, as officers. Quaranta will also fill the role of vice president of finance for the BFoA. Chairman Scott Herman says, “We’re delighted to announce these esteemed individuals — Curtis, Dennis, and Chad – as members of our board. Their support of the Foundation’s charitable mission and their leadership in the broadcast industry is commendable. Heather and Judy are accomplished professionals in their individual fields, and as officers of the Broadcasters Foundation, they will help us advance our cause of helping our colleagues who are in great need.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, Fed Rate Hike, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Daylight Saving Time Bill, and Cuomo Sues CNN Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The Russian invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky’s appeal to the U.S. Congress, and China’s role in Russia’s gambit; the high price of gas at the pumps and the high cost of consumer retail goods; the Fed approves a quarter-percent interest rate hike; concerns about the Ba.2 Omicron variant and the rolling back of mask mandates in the U.S.; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the debate over the Senate-approved bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent; and Chris Cuomo sues CNN for $125 million claiming he was unlawfully fired were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, April 30, 2021

| April 30, 2021

The “Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Marks its Second Anniversary with This Weekend’s Show.  The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Smokin’ a Joint Session,” looks back at this past week of April 26-30. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneThom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaMartha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The 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; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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

KFNS-AM, St. Louis Expands Charlie Marlow’s Role in Middays. Following the exit of former 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host Steve Savard, who recently left the station for an out-of-market television gig, sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis is turning over hosting of the 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm hour to Charlie Marlow, who co-hosts the lead-in show with Cam Janssen. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that the station is airing a sports gambling show from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, currently hosted by station general manager John Hadley. Speaking about the changes, Hadley says, “The intent is to give Cam and Charlie an opportunity to grow and also give Charlie a chance to cut it on his own merits. It’s two guys, one concept, two shows. I’m a big Janssen fan, I’m a big Marlow fan. Charlie never has been the big dog. We have the time to give him to grow into the role. He’s naturally talented with a good sense of humor and wit. He can be a big factor in this (radio) market.” Marlow also serves as a sportscaster at KTVI-TV, St. Louis.

Vicki Thomas Exits Full-Time Role at WWJ-AM, Detroit After 30 Years. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit Free Press by Julie Hinds about WWJ-AM, Detroit city beat reporter Vicki Thomas, who left her full-time position with the station yesterday (4/29) after a 30-year run with the Audacy all-news outlet. Thomas will continue to host the weekly “Black Business Minute” segment for the station. During her career Thomas has been honored by such organizations as the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Associated Press and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. She was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame two years ago. Thomas is also a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Detroit chapter and credits the organization for helping her get the gig at WWJ back in 1991.

Today Is Dave Lee Day in Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation making today (4/30), Dave Lee Day in Minnesota, in honor of the WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning host who is retiring from the station after today’s program. Lee served with WCCO for more than 30 years. Lee first joined WCCO-AM as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. He took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.

Live365 Inks Deal to Place Content on iHeartRadio. A deal between Live365 and iHeartMedia will allow for select Live365 stations to be available on the iHeartRadio platform. Calling the agreement one of the first steps in Live365’s efforts to expand its listening network, Live365 general manager Jason Stoddard says, “As we focus on growing the Live365 listening network, we are excited to announce we now have an agreement in place to list select Live365 stations on iHeartRadio’s distribution network. Being able to showcase some of our standout stations on iHeart is a testament to the hard work our broadcasters put in to programming quality stations that are not traditionally represented on the radio dial. We will continue to work with world-class distribution companies to help listeners discover the top-notch content available on Live365.”

Beasley Names Patti Taylor Director of Sales in Detroit. Radio sales pro Patti Taylor is promoted from general sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-FM and WRIF-FM in Detroit to director of sales for the entire Detroit station group. Beasley Media Group vice president of sales Tina Murley says, “We could not be more excited to have Patti leading our sales effort in Detroit. Patti is collaborative, strategic, and extremely well respected. She is exactly what we need to drive revenue for Beasley and for our valued clients.” Taylor adds, “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to lead the sales efforts for Beasley Media Detroit. We have an unmatched team of account executives, market-leading brands, and an impressive suite of products and tools to offer advertisers today. I am truly enthusiastic for what we’ll achieve in 2021 and beyond.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekend program is being added to the lineup on SiriusXM’s Volume channel. “Lunch on the Deck” is hosted by Bill Evans and Jessica Ambrose and will air live at 12:00 noon each Sunday, beginning May 1. The show was first launched on Sag Harbor, New York outlet WLNG-FM in 2019. SiriusXM says the program includes “unique and exclusive interviews with celebrity guests as [Evans and Ambrose] share their stories and play music that they love. This two-hour program takes listeners on a journey of candid conversations paired with hand-picked, favorite music selected by the show’s weekly guests.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show picks up new affiliate WLDS-AM, Jacksonville, Illinois.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 26-30. The COVID-19 vaccines, variants, politics and the crush of cases in India combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Joe Biden’s 100-day address before Congress tied with Washington party politics. Following at #3 was the economy, the Biden $1.8 trillion infrastructure package, and stimulus initiatives. 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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

| March 31, 2021

Watergate Co-Conspirator and Talk Show Host G. Gordon Liddy Dead at 90. Former talk radio host, author, and Watergate break-in architect G. Gordon Liddy died yesterday (3/30) in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 90. Liddy’s son Tom told The New York Times that his father had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and had been in declining health recently. G. Gordon Liddy famously made the transition into the talk radio business in the early 1990s after then-Infinity chief Mel Karmazin heard him subbing on a talk radio show and offered him the midday show at the company’s hot talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC – a station that at the time aired Howard Stern in mornings and Don & Mike in afternoons. Liddy’s program would later move into national syndication via Westwood One. He moved his syndication to Radio America in 2003. He retired from his regular radio program in July of 2012.

Remembering G. Gordon Liddy. On the occasion of the death of G. Gordon Liddy, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an overview of Liddy’s colorful career based on a profile piece he wrote while serving as special features editor for the radio trade publication Inside Radio in 2004. In the piece, speaking about his radio career, Liddy told Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.” Read Kinosian’s story here.

Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) presenting the Freedom of Speech Award to G. Gordon Liddy (right).

FLASHBACK 1995 – G. Gordon Liddy was at the Center of a Talk Radio First Amendment Award Controversy. In 1995, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) – a pivotal industry trade association that played an active role in the “modern era” rise of talk radio between the late 1980s through the 1990s – presented then-syndicated radio personality G. Gordon Liddy with its annual Freedom of Speech Award (the same award still presented annually by TALKERS magazine). The award was (and still is) non-partisan and has been presented over the decades to a variety of personalities ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Al FrankenMark Levin to Thom HartmannHoward Stern to Karen Hunter and Sean Hannity to Joe Madison. It has been awarded to broadcasters from both sides of the American political divide who have demonstrated through their words, deeds and courage the First Amendment in action, its purpose and how it operates.  Liddy received the award that year for facing a lot of heat in the aftermath of remarks he made on the air pertaining to the then-explosive controversy over how Americans can use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves from armed federal agents breaking into their homes with the intent of shooting them first and asking questions later. This grew out of the activities occurring at the time prompted by the tensions building during the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas and other related tragic events involving the BATF. Needless to say, it was wildly controversial and a major test for talk radio in establishing a standard for its position on the First Amendment. The award was presented that year at the NARTSH Convention in Houston. To view Liddy’s acceptance speech at the Kennedy Space Center (including attorney and then KABC, Los Angeles talk show host Gloria Allred’s one-woman protest demonstration) please click here. To view a clip from a luncheon that took place at that same contentious convention in which convention chairman Michael Harrison stood up to U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) over his call for NARTSH members to boycott the Liddy award presentation, please click here.

Update on Jail Status of ‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman. In an interview with “Free Talk Live” co-owner, co-host, and head of sales Mark Edge, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison gets the latest on the legal status of co-host Ian Freeman and the federal government’s charges against him. Yesterday (3/30), TALKERS published a summary of the story from the Manchester Union-Leader that included news of the government’s charges against Freeman that include fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. In addition to an update from Edge on the charges against Freeman, this interview contains some fascinating information, background, and insights into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Listen to it here.

Brad Lane Returns to Twin Cities as WCCO-AM Brand Manager. Programming pro Brad Lane is named brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, effective April 19. Lane was most recently serving Good Karma Brands as director of content for news/talk WTMJ-AM and sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee.” Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM in numerous capacities, including as program director. Audacy Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “WCCO Radio serves as an extremely important news brand for the people of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Brad brings a wealth of experience leading content teams and his leadership and vision will be instrumental to the success of our station. We’re looking forward to adding him to the team.”

KROF, Lafayette Adds ‘Todd Starnes Show’ for Early Afternoons. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program lineup at Townsquare Media’s KROF-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana “TalkRadio 960” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The program will also be broadcast on the company’s sister sports talk station KPEL-AM. Both stations will also air the short-form daily program “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

Ramsey Show Passes One Billion Downloads Mark. Over the course of the last 15 years, “The Ramsey Show” podcast with Dave Ramsey and his team of co-hosts has surpassed one billion downloads, what the Ramsey Network says is a rare milestone reached by only a handful of podcasts in the world. In addition, callers have paid off $500 million dollars in debt since the podcast began 15 years ago. Each weekday, “The Ramsey Show” podcast produces three episodes heard across every platform. Ramsey Network EVP Brian Mayfield says, “We’re teachers at the core. And podcasts are an extremely useful medium, giving us another megaphone to reach people. We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.”

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Takes Station of the Year Honors. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk outlet WSGW-AM/FM “100.5 & 790 Newsradio” is named Medium Market Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. This is the seventh time the Alpha Media station has earned Station of the Year honors from the MAB. Operations manager, Dave Maurer states, “This past year was challenging in our part of Michigan with a devastating flood that hit in May and captured the headlines for much of the year. This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections which were huge stories that demanded much of our staff’s focus. We are pleased that our team’s performance has won recognition for the quality of content gathered in difficult circumstances.” In addition to Station of the Year, WSGW won 12 other awards including six Best of Show and six Merit Awards in the MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards competition.

Jaleigh Long Officially to Lead Cox Media Group Atlanta and Athens. Sales and management pro Jaleigh Long has been interim market manager for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta and Athens, Georgia markets since earlier this year and now the company officially appoints her VP and market manager. The clusters include news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens; sports talk WREF-AM, Athens “960 The Ref”; and seven music brands. Long comments, “I am abundantly proud and honored to lead this group of industry-defining stations. The great work we do in all areas of the business every day is making an impact on our audiences, advertisers, and communities we serve. The power of radio is exhilarating and fortunately we get to experience that firsthand each day through the powerful programming, compelling promotions, and important community initiatives that define and underscore CMG’s purpose.”

Keith Lawless to Lead Cox Media Group’s Tampa and Houston Markets. Broadcast executive Keith Lawless is promoted to regional vice president of Cox Media Group Tampa + Houston. He’s been serving as VP and market manager for the company’s Tampa cluster since 2009. Cox Media Group Radio SVP Rob Babin comments, “I am thrilled to announce Keith Lawless as regional vice president over two of CMG Radio’s key markets, CMG Tampa and now CMG Houston. Keith has demonstrated an unwavering commitment for many years and has made an incredible impact on CMG Tampa and successfully led many CMG Radio strategic initiatives. His passion for his team, CMG Radio, and our industry make him the ideal leader to take on the role of RVP.”

Tampa Radio Figure Tedd Webb Dies at 72. Longtime Tampa radio personality Tedd Webb died on Tuesday (3/30), a week after entering hospice following a long illness. WFLA-AM reports Webb’s passing, noting that he was a host at the station for more than 30 years. He co-hosted the “AM Tampa Bay” program with Jack Harris beginning in 1994 and ending in 2017 when Webb retired. Webb was born Henry Ruiz – son of Cuban immigrants – in Tampa and began his radio career at the age of 14. He was a music DJ for the first 15 years of his career before transitioning to talk. He hosted a sports talk show, worked with Nanci Donnellan “The Fabulous Sports Babe,” and as part of WFLA’s “Gardner and Company” morning show before partnering with Harris for “AM Tampa Bay.”

COVID-19 Stats/Variants/Vaccines, WHO COVID Report, Biden Stimulus-Infrastructure Plan, Violence Against Asians, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Legislation, Trump Website, and Matt Gaetz Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The number of COVID-10 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; scrutiny of the WHO COVID origin report and criticism of China’s cooperation; President Biden’s $2 trillion economic stimulus and infrastructure plan; the brutal beating of a 64-year-old woman in New York and more reports of assaults on Asian Americans; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Georgia’s new voting rules and the Democrats’ push for expanded voting rights laws; Donald and Melania Trump launch a new website; and the allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 29, 2021

| March 29, 2021

Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. “Make commercial copy you craft for local advertisers THIS crisp,” and, consultant Holland Cooke says, “you will make money.” In this week’s column, he rips-off…er, “compiles” examples. Read it here.

Pending Business: Checking In. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that you’re more likely get a renewal from that advertiser if you check in regularly instead of adopting the “no-news-is-good-news” approach to gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. “Great sellers are like commercial airline pilots, or cruise ship captains. Everyone is prepared with specific goals, timelines, and once the journey (schedule) begins, ready to control the mission.” Read his column here.

The ‘Todd Starnes Podcast’ Joins Salem Podcast Network. Beginning April 5, the “Todd Starnes Podcast” joins the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “SPN is delighted to join in this partnership with Todd Starnes, one of the leading voices in conservative America. His courage in saying what needs to be said is unmatched. His knowledge and ability to explain what is really going on is his forte.” With this deal, the Salem Podcast Network assumes distribution, marketing, and sales representation duties for the “Todd Starnes Podcast.” Starnes also hosts a daily, syndicated radio program and he previously spent more than a decade at the FOX News Channel, hosting a daily radio program on the FOX Radio Network. He comments, “Salem is known for its cutting-edge platforms and excellence-driven programming. I’m honored to join such a well-respected industry leader like the Salem Podcast Network.”

WJR-AM, Detroit Takes Station of the Year Honor. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM is named “Commercial Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the 17th time since 2000. The Cumulus Media station also received 17 other awards, including eight “Merit Awards,” as well as nine “Best Awards.” Some of the “Best Awards” include: Regularly Scheduled Broadcast Personality/Team – “The Guy Gordon Show”; Sports – “Lions Pregame: Around the League”; Special Show Broadcast Personality/Team – “War of the Worlds” live stream event; and Continuing News Coverage – COVID-19 Replay.

iHeartMedia Names Barbara Latham Area President for Central Florida. Sales and management pro Barbara Latham is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia Central Florida in which she’ll oversee the Orlando and Melbourne markets that include talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1,” news/talk WFLF “WFLA,” sports talk WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game,” plus 10 music brands. She’s most recently been serving the Orlando cluster as SVP of sales. Latham reports to division president Linda Byrd, who says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Barb to this position. We’ve worked together for 36 years and in many different capacities. She is one of the brightest and most competitive employees I know. Barb has always been a winner, and to her, there is no other option. No one deserves this opportunity more, and it makes me happy to put this team, that I’ve managed for the last 21 years in her capable hands.”

WABC, New York Recognizes Greek Independence Day. Pictured above (from l-r) are Chad Lopez, president of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC, and Renee Cassis, owner of RC Communications Marketing on March 25 as the radio station hosted a celebration for the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The event was held in WABC’s event space, Studio 77. During his opening remarks, John Catsimatidis noted the diversity of America and stated that the celebration was for every ethnicity and race.

Josh Innes Returns to iHeartMedia as Morning Host at WNRQ-FM, Nashville. Sports radio talk host Josh Innes is joining iHeartMedia’s Nashville classic rock WNRQ-FM “105.9 The Rock” as morning drive host, effective April 5. The station says “The Josh Innes Show” will be a Nashville-focused blend of classic rock, news, sports and commentary and will broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WNRQ program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Josh is wildly talented as a personality, idea generator, and storyteller. He’s unconventional, creative, and exceptionally compelling. We’re beyond excited to welcome him to Nashville and foster in the next great classic rock morning show!” Innes was most recently afternoon host on Gow Media’s sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston. He’s also served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME-AM, Houston, and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He hosts “The Josh Innes Show” podcast live on Twitch and heard on iHeartRadio.

iHeartMedia Issues Statement on FCC Ruling. The company’s statement issued on Friday (3/26) is in regard to the approval of its pending applications to acquire certain radio stations, and the temporary shareholder restrictions required by the FCC to be imposed upon Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd. The company says, “iHeartMedia values its shareholder relationships and we welcome all new shareholders to iHeartMedia. However, because GMEI is a foreign shareholder, its recent investment was inconsistent with the FCC’s foreign ownership rules and created an operating issue for us under the FCC’s regulatory framework. As background, GMEI’s purchase of an 8.7% position in our Class A Common stock, as reported in its Schedule 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 5, 2021, caused a violation of the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations and the FCC’s November 5, 2020 declaratory ruling related to the company’s foreign ownership, both of which limit a foreign investor in GMEI’s position to 5% without prior FCC approval. To address this issue, over which iHeartMedia had no prior knowledge or control, we filed a remedial petition for declaratory ruling requesting FCC approval for GMEI to have the ability to increase its ownership to up to 9.99%. Notwithstanding the GMEI investment, the FCC has approved iHeartMedia’s acquisitions of certain stations, including stations for BIN: Black Information Network. However, the FCC has required that the company impose temporary shareholder restrictions on GMEI as a condition of approving those radio station acquisitions. To comply with the FCC order, iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors resolved to take action consistent with the FCC’s conditional requirements. These actions include imposing temporary voting and other shareholder restrictions on GMEI which will apply during the pendency of the Petition. iHeartMedia respects the FCC process and will, as a matter of consistent policy, ensure the company’s compliance with the FCC’s foreign ownership and other regulations.”

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, CNN’s COVID War Special/WHO Origin Report, Suez Ship Jam, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Hedge Fund Failure-Financial Markets, Chauvin Trial, U.S. Afghanistan Operations, and Nashville Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., rising cases in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; CNN’s Sunday special featuring the six doctors leading the U.S. COVID program and the WHO’s report concluding the coronavirus likely came from an animal at a Chinese wildlife market; the status of the container ship blocking the Suez canal and its effect on the global economy; the crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the failure of a major hedge fund causes problems for Credit Suisse and Nomura that could reverberate through the global economy; today’s beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; the United States’ Afghanistan operations and the Doha agreement that calls for U.S. troop removal by May 1; and the historic floods in Nashville and Middle Tennessee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.