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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

| July 20, 2022

Michael La Crosse to Lead Programming at iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group that includes news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE and five music outlets. La Crosse will continue to oversee the iHeartMedia Portland market as vice president of programming and will serve as program director for adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.” iHeartMedia National Programming Group EVP Maynard says, “Michael is an outstanding programmer and human. He has worked closely with Sacramento and many other iHeartMedia markets over the past few years and I couldn’t be more excited to formally expand his leadership responsibilities and influence.” La Crosse comments, “I’m very humbled to get the chance to work with the amazing team in Sacramento. With a brand-new station like ‘KISS 107.9’ and a station like NewsRadio KFBK, that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, our stations are as diverse as Sacramento itself.”

Ernie Brown Moves to Morning Drive on WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. News and talk radio pro Ernie Brown moves from his late morning daypart to morning drive on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. Brown joins Hal Jay as co-host of “WBAP’s Morning News” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. WBAP program director Bruce Collins says, “Ernie is exactly what we were looking for. He’s the ultimate professional broadcaster that knows how to relate to the audience and understands the biggest stories of the day that resonate with our target audience. We’re excited to have him as our new morning show leader.” Brown comments, “We’ll talk about the issues that matter to WBAP listeners: inflation, gas prices, grocery prices, supply chain shortages, your money, covid, and of course the Cowboys! I’ve worked at great stations and organizations all over the country including KOGO in San Diego, ‘America’s Radio News’ in Washington, D.C., Western Journal – Phoenix, and KOMO in Seattle and hosted a national late night talk show called ‘America at Night.’ This is an incredible opportunity to get to work with Hal Jay and the talented WBAP morning team. I want to thank Cumulus DFW RVP/market manager Dan Bennett and PD Bruce Collins.”

Podtrac Announces Top Podcast Publishers for June 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers for June of this year from Podtrac based on unique monthly audience (UMA) has been released and iHeartRadio holds down the top spot with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 30.3 million. At #2 is Wondery with a UMA of 23.8 million. NPR follows at #3 (UMA 18 million), The New York Times is #4 (UMA 11 million), and NBC News is #5 (UMA 9.1 million). You can see the complete ranking of the top 20 here.

Audacy Unveils Updates to App and Website. The company announces that it has begun to make updates to its digital platform in the form of new features on the Audacy app and website. The company says, “We’ll be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks and months, with each release focused on positively impacting Audacy’s digital, podcasting, data, analytics, and ad tech capabilities. At the heart of these updates lives truly interactive radio. We’re giving our listeners even more control over streaming radio with additional interactivity to both live and on-demand content. We’re also improving the discovery and curation of our radio and podcast content, presented seamlessly together within an evolved interface and user experience.” Initial updates include: 1) enhanced rewind in which listeners can rewind live news, sports, and news/talk stations and hear it all again; 2) curated discovery of content in which listeners are immersed into a personalized, interactive experience that is customizable, based not just on their favorite stations or podcasts, but also on their topical interests across news, sports and music; and 3) enriched podcast listening giving listeners access to nearly 3 million podcasts plus exclusive binging of Audacy Originals. The app also now presents radio and podcast content together, allowing listeners to consume the latest content from the shows they love along with the topics they’re interested in.

NAB Reveals 2022 Marconi Award Finalists. The finalists for the NAB’s 2022 Marconi Awards in numerous categories have been revealed. In the category of Legendary Station of the Year, three spoken-word stations made the cut: Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; Audacy’s all-news KRLD-AM, Dallas; and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year nominees include: Ramsey Media’s Dave Ramsey, Premiere NetworksGeorge Noory, and Premiere’s Dan Patrick. News/talk and sports talk personalities making the finalist round include, in the Major Market Personallity of the Year category: Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston; and Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago. In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore and Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. In the Medium Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas and Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho. The five finalists in the News/Talk Station of the Year category are: Audacy’s KNX-AM, Los Angeles; Hubbard Radio’s KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton; iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. And the five finalists in the Sports Station of the Year category are: Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM, San Francisco; Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Audacy’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Mike Missanelli to Co-Host Eagles Postgame Show. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime Philadelphia sports media personality Mike Missanelli, who exited Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in May of this year, is working with JAKIB Media Partners to co-host a Philadelphia Eagles post-game show beginning this fall. The paper says that Missanelli and former NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Seth Joyner are joining Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney on JAKIB’s YouTube channel. The program will stream after each Eagles game this fall. As the Inquirer notes in its story, JAKIB Sports streams three daily live programs including “Birds 365,” hosted by John McMullen and WIP host Jody McDonald; “Sports Take,” hosted by Gunn, Barrett Brooks, and Rob Ellis; and “The National Football Show” hosted by Dan Sileo.

Audacy: Study Confirms Ad Engagement Increases with Each Audio Exposure. The results of an audio study conducted by independent market research consultancy Alter Agents in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, show that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. Audacy says that this distinctive content peak study shows that “exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign.” Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services and QSR industries. Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times. The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix. Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”

Squad SCOTUS Protest, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Probe/Bannon Trial, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/2024 Race, The Economy, House Same-Sex Marriage Bill, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Heatwave/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest at which U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others were arrested; the ongoing January 6 hearings, the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 election results, and the contempt of congress trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2024 presidential nominees; the state of the U.S. economy as inflation and falling financial markets affect Americans; the U.S. House passes a bill protecting same-sex marriages; the rising rate of BA.5 subvariant COVID-19 cases; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the record-setting European heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

| July 14, 2022

KFNX, Phoenix Owner Bill Brady is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The veteran radio broadcaster who rolled up his sleeves in 2019 and fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning and operating a radio station by acquiring news/talker KFNX (1100 AM) in Phoenix is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Michael Harrison has known and closely followed the solid career of Bill Brady since hiring him as program director and afternoon drive host at WSPR, Springfield in 1986. Harrison says, “Bill Brady is one of the smartest, most-talented, and dedicated talk radio broadcasters on either side of the microphone that I have ever met, and I’m delighted to have him on the podcast this week to talk about hosting and managing in 2022.” In his steadfast career, Brady served in a number of key industry positions on air and in sales management in large market radio and television as well as the newspaper business. His resume includes stints with Clear Channel Radio, Citadel Communications, Comcast and the Miami Herald. His radio background includes the aforementioned WSPR, Springfield; WQBK, Albany and WPRO, Providence among others. When Brady purchased KFNX right before the pandemic hit, he vowed to upgrade the Phoenix talk outlet to competitor status by eliminating much of its brokered clutter, adding high-caliber syndication and local shows (including his own 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily program) bolstering the sales initiative, instituting a modern expansion of its digital presence and growing its community involvement and outreach. He is well on his way to achieving his goals. News/talk radio practitioners will find this interview illuminating. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cary Pahigian Named VP/GM of Salem News Channel. Broadcasting industry management pro Cary Pahigian is named vice president and general manager for Salem Media Group’s Salem News Channel (SNC), effective July 18. Pahigian was most recently president and GM for Hearst Television’s news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM in Baltimore. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “Cary has been an active, hands-on executive in radio for years, but his last eight years at Hearst Television prepared him well for the burgeoning OTT television market. In Cary we have a strong experienced general manager, who will help us get SNC to the next level. Cary was ready for the next adventure in his long and storied career, and we are extremely fortunate to have that opportunity to give him.” Salem says the new SNC platform “is providing news-oriented content using a combination of Salem Radio Network hosts, and new TV-only content, and recently began top- and bottom-of-the-hour news capsules.” Pahigian will supervise all elements of production on the network including talent, content, sales, marketing, and social media. He comments, “I have long admired Salem Media Group’s unique culture and dedication to community service, quality content and client partnerships. Salem News Channel has put Salem Media Group front and center in the fast-growing video streaming arena with a lineup of prominent hosts and straightforward news and analysis.”

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 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 June 2022 sweep covered May 26 – June 22. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM adds two-tenths for a 4.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish lifting it up to the #7 rank, while Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP falls nine-tenths to a 6.9 share but remains ranked #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston dips eight-tenths to finish with a 3.4 share good for the #11 rank as sister all-news WBZ-AM is steady at a 4.8 share and stays ranked #6. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM is ranked #1 after adding four-tenths for a 7.3 share finish, while Lotus Communications’ all-news KNWN-AM/FM falls six-tenths for a 3.3 share finish good for the #14 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s round one) here.

Beasley Unveils New PM Drive Show for ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ in Philly. The new afternoon drive show at Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” is announced. In the wake of longtime PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s May departure, the station unveils “The Best Show Ever?” featuring (pictured from l-r) former MLB pitcher and NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ricky Bottalico, digital sports media influencer Hunter Brody, air personality Jennifer Scordo, and current “Fanatic” personality Tyrone Johnson. The 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program that will be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia debuts on August 1. Beasley VP and market manager Joe Bell says, “When you put long time ‘Fanatic’ personality Tyrone Johnson together with social media star Hunter Brody and former Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico, then mix in ‘Ring Master’ Jenn Scordo, you’re going to have some exciting afternoons on ‘The Fanatic.’” Station PD Chuck Damico adds, “Philadelphia fans are the best fans ever and they deserve ‘The Best Show Ever?’ We look forward to this diverse group of passionate sports experts providing some of the most entertaining sports talk in Philadelphia.”

Morgan Zegers Latest Addition to Salem Podcast Network. The latest addition to Salem Media Group’s growing slate of programs on its Salem Podcast Network is Morgan Zegers. Her eponymous podcast officially joins the platform on July 18. Salem Media Group VP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “When we talk to consumers about podcasts, they keep telling us to give them more young, female hosts. Morgan is a perfect example of the nation’s young females taking a stand in favor of America, and we could not be more pleased to add her to SPN.” The 25-year-old Zegers comments, “I am so honored to join the Salem Podcast Network with my show highlighting key issues and events in our nation from the perspective of a young conservative woman. Americans, especially members of my generation, are sold a heap of lies by our education system, media, and pop culture. To get America back on track, we must embrace our roots, rethink education and leadership, and take back control of ourselves, our families, and our country. I hope to inspire my listeners to join into this hopeful and mindful American mentality! I’m thankful to Salem for giving me the opportunity to grow with their support.”

Wayne Allyn Root Featured at FreedomFest Convention. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio Network-syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root is playing a couple of roles at this week’s FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas. The event, billed as “a big tent event that strives for attendees to come to a deeper understanding of freedom and important social issues through open conversations, debate and civil discourse by bringing together a variety of perspectives” will include Root on a Saturday (7/16) panel debate exploring the question “Was the 2020 election stolen and is Trump the best choice for the 2024 GOP nomination?” Root will also serve as the “judge” during a debate over the legalization of drugs.  Root tells TALKERS magazine that on Saturday he will also announce not one, but two TV deals he has signed.

Cox Media Group Sells CoxReps and Gamut. Noting that this sale will allow Cox Media Group to “focus on our core businesses,” the company announces it is selling national television rep firm CoxReps and multiplatform ad firm Gamut to private equity firm One Equity Partners. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. OEP managing director Andrew Dunn states, “OEP is thrilled to begin its investment partnership with these two superb teams leading two companies at the forefront of the television advertising and digital streaming industries. While both CoxReps and Gamut are leaders in their respective markets, and will continue to operate as sibling companies, we expect to foster even greater collaboration between them, increasing the flow of advertising dollars into local video. We will assist these efforts with increasing investment in technology and by capitalizing on OEP’s own deep expertise in the media industry.”

Industry Mourns Tanita Myers. Radio programming pro Tanita Myers – VP of news operations for iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network – died unexpectedly at age 49 on Tuesday (7/12). The Black Information Network posted news of her death on its website, including part of a memo from BIN president Tony Coles, who wrote: “Tanita was a passionate leader, a champion of women in journalism, and one of the driving forces behind the Black Information Network. We are a better organization because of her dedication to our mission, and we are better humans because of her love, her humor, and her spirit. While she took great pride in her work, it was her friends and family who brought her the most joy. Tanita’s smile always got a bit brighter when she spoke about her mom and her son Brandon.” Myers joined iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network in June 2020, following 15 years at Reach Media where she was senior director of radio operations. She previously served as director of operations for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and executive producer of “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island midday talk host John DePetro is now also heard on Audacy’s WPHT, Philadelphia on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. In addition to his radio work, DePetro is a frequent contributor to Newsmax TV…..The Independent Broadcasters Association announced it will conduct the IBA Fall 2022 National Cash Contest, its fifth since the birth of the IBA in 2020. IBA president and executive director Ron Stone says, “We fully expect this upcoming IBA National Cash Contest to be the most successful campaign we’ve done so far! IBA member stations invest $300 to leverage thousands of prize monies, making this the best ratings and revenue opportunity ever presented. But remember, stations must be an IBA member to participate. Nearly $3 million in sponsorship revenue has been generated for participating IBA member stations thus far, with an average of 14.7 to 1 ROI.”…..The Society of Broadcast Engineers is holding its national meeting, awards dinner, board of directors and committee meetings at the Ramada by Wyndham in Liverpool, New York on September 28 and 29. The event includes the SBE22 Broadcast and Technology Expo with a trade show exhibit hall and technical sessions.

The Economy, Biden in Middle East, January 6 Hearings, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Southern Border Crisis, Russia-Ukraine War, Abortion Battle, Musk vs Twitter, and COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The latest inflation report, pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates again, and fears of a recession; President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East; the ongoing January 6 hearings; November’s midterms elections and speculation about who the nominees will be for the 2024 presidential race; the migrant problem at the U.S.-Mexico border; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s potential arms deal with Iran; the abortion rights battles at the state level after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade; Elon Musk’s legal battle with Twitter over his canceled takeover bid; and the spread of the coronavirus BA.5 variant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

| June 1, 2022

Chris Camp Retires from WSB, Atlanta News Director Role. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that after 28 years leading the news department at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Chris Camp is retiring from that station and his role as news director. The story indicates that assistant news director Amanda Moyer will step up to the news director role and Jennifer Perry will rise to assistant news director. The 63-year-old Camp says that around Christmas of last year he made the decision to retire and return to New England where he’s from and where most of his family still lives. Camp tells the AJC, “It’s time for somebody else to shepherd this ship and take it to the new heights.”

 

Mike Missanelli and ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ Part Company. Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli announced to his listeners on Tuesday that it would be his last day leading the afternoon drive program on Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” According to a report by NBC 10 Philadelphia, Missanelli told his audience that his contract is expiring in a couple of weeks and “he and the company have decided to go in different directions.” He added that Beasley has a new program under contract to fill the daypart. Missanelli, who previously served with crosstown sports talker WIP, had been hosting at WPEN for 12 years.

 

Remembering William O’Shaughnessy. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this look at the life and career of radio executive William O’Shaughnessy, who passed away on Saturday (5/28) at 84 after a battle with cancer. Kinosian writes, “Those privileged to spend time with the perfectly coiffed president & editorial director of Whitney Radio’s WVOX-AM & WVIP-FM were guaranteed to be regaled with classic radio nuggets spun in extraordinary style and vibrant flair. Queries on any subject produced at least a handful of animated recollections, all eloquently crafted by the classy O’Shaughnessy, who frequently and delightfully referred to himself in the third-person.” Read his piece here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” is hosting what is expected to be the final GOP debate before the June 28 Illinois primary. The debate is taking place on June 23 at McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. News director Mike Scott will serve as moderator and WIND morning co-host Amy Jacobson and Illinois Radio Network’s Greg Bishop will serve as panelists. WIND program director Marcus Brown states, “As Chicago’s leading conservative media outlet, we look forward to providing a forum for the Republican candidates for governor to address our audience and make their closing arguments. We know that our listeners will be the ones that decide the outcome of this election, and we expect a spirited and informative exchange of ideas at our debate just a few short days before the election.”…..In celebration of Pride Month, Audacy all-news outlets WINS and WCBS-AM in New York are launching “It’s OK to Say Gay,” a new LGBTQIA+ podcast focused on various topics affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. The podcast is being hosting by managing producer of podcasts Femi Redwood, who says, “As some LGBTQ people feel like they’re being forced back into the closet due to legislation like the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills, queer and trans voices are more important than ever before. With humor and honesty, the new ‘It’s OK To Say Gay’ podcast brings together diverse voices across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum that rarely get to be heard.”…..iHeartRadio announces a deal with Victoria’s Secret and Amanda de Cadenet to bring “VS Voices” to the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast “builds on the Victoria’s Secret vision of being a leading advocate for women by highlighting stories of trailblazers who have paved the way for other women to succeed today and beyond.” De Cadanet says, “Storytelling with a purpose is what I have focused on for most of my career. I am looking forward to continuing that mission in partnership with iHeart, and to amplify the powerful life experiences that my guests share with me. With each of the podcasts we will be able to tell a wide variety of stories, from the profound and insightful, to those that are simply entertaining. I’m excited to be launching this audio trifecta!”…..Virtual News Center announces that a group of stations owned by Southern Broadcasting LLC joins its roster of affiliate stations. WTKI, Huntsville; WSLV, Ardmore, Tennessee; WIEZ, Decatur, Alabama; WYDL, Middleton, Tennessee; and WWGM, Selmer, Tennessee are now using the Virtual News Center services.

 

Uvalde Shooting Investigation/Gun Control, Inflation/Recession Fears, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, Durham Investigation, SCOTUS Leak Investigation, and China’s Taiwan Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/31). The investigation into the timeline of the Uvalde, Texas shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead and the topic of gun legislation; the still soaring price of gasoline & food and the concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the global economic repercussions; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the impact of restrictions and mandates; special counsel John Durham’s probe into the Trump-Russia investigation and the acquittal of former Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussman; the intensifying investigation into the leak of the Supreme Court’s potential overturning of Roe v Wade; and China’s military interest in Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.

Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.

WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”

MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.

Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

| December 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November 2020 survey (10/8-11/4), 50% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up while 28% were down and 22% were unchanged. Gainers were led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+0.6) and KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Jose (+0.5). Comparing year-over-year data, 63% of all-news stations were up with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+2.2) and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+2.0). During the November ratings period, two all-news stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington with a 9.3 share and WBZ-AM, Boston with a 7.0 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

John Kincade Named New Morning Host at WPEN-FM, Philadephia. As a number of Philadelphia radio watchers had predicted, Beasley Media Group brings sports talker John Kincade back to Philadelphia to take over hosting duties at WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” effective January 4. Kincade was a longtime host of the “Buck and Kincade” show (with Buck Belue) on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN-AM, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” He exited that role back in September as part of a budget-related talent shakeup at the station. He has also served as co-host of “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” on PodcastOne. WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “We have a very clear vision for what we want to accomplish at the station and adding John Kincade is a giant leap towards accomplishing those goals. Our team is thrilled that he chose ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ for his homecoming to Philadelphia. We’re excited about the future!” Kincade says, “From the beginning of my search for a new radio home, my conversations with [market manager] Joe Bell and Chuck Damico were the most enthusiastic and interesting. It became clear to me that joining the team at ‘The Fanatic’ was the best place for me to start this next chapter. With guys I have long respected like Mike Missanelli and Anthony Gargano already there, I knew it would be an honor to join their team.”

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz Joins FOX Sports Radio. Former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz becomes part of the weekend lineup at FOX Sports Radio where he joins FSR personality Steve Hartman as co-host of the Saturday afternoon program (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET). The program debuts on Saturday (12/5) on 400 stations and includes highlights and instant analysis on the weekend in games plus conversations with insiders and experts. Schwartz has served as one of the primary fill-in hosts for FSR’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” for the past three years and is a weekly guest on the show. Premiere Networks SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “Building on what’s already the strongest weekend lineup in the game, Geoff’s entertaining and thoughtful approach takes it up yet another notch. FSR’s talented weekend cast is here to deliver exactly what sports fans want before, during and after games.”

WEEI-FM, Boston Raises $1.5 Million for Jimmy Fund. The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on the annual Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that takes place every August, so this year Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI-FM, Boston used the national “Giving Tuesday” (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) to help raise more than $1.5 million for The Jimmy Fund that directly supports innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and helps transform cancer treatment, so patients and their families can spend more time together. Since 2002, WEEI has helped raise nearly $60 million for The Jimmy Fund. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “This was the first time in 19 years we were unable to hold our annual ‘Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon,’ but this broadcast allowed us to continue supporting the fund’s lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. I’m very grateful for the widespread support from our listeners and some of New England’s biggest stars to help make this radiothon a success.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Biden Transition/Trump Tactics, Georgia Runoff Elections, UN Climate Report, the Economy/New Stimulus Negotiations, and NFL’s COVID Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the climbing death toll, and the rollout of vaccines in the U.K. and Russia; the Joe Biden administration transition process and Donald Trump’s ongoing statements calling the election results into question; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the dire tone of the new UN Climate Report; the state of the U.S. economy and current negotiations for a new COVID relief deal; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID cases as the season moves toward the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Progressive Political Talker and Multi-platform Groundbreaker Stephanie Miller Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the longest-running leaders among the relatively rare species of commercial news/talk radio progressives, Stephanie Miller is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Miller’s daily morning ensemble program, now in the middle of its second decade, has developed a large, active, and extremely loyal national audience through a cross-platform array of venues that includes terrestrial radio, SiriusXM Satellite RadioFree Speech TV, podcasts, and online streaming. During the past several years, this three-decade-plus veteran of talk radio has enjoyed groundbreaking success in bringing her “Sexy Liberal Tour” – a theatrical version of her ensemble radio show – to sold out houses at some of the most prestigious theaters in America. Since that got sidelined in early 2020 by COVID-19, she and her business partner Ron Hartenbaum have successfully morphed it into the “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” that has been drawing in gigantic monthly audiences anxious to see and follow what has become a rising force in online political sketch comedy. Ironically, Miller comes to the Left from the Right. She is the daughter of William MillerBarry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican presidential running mate. In a fast-paced, candid, and informal conversation between longtime friends, Harrison and Miller discuss the “survival mode” state of progressive news/talk radio, non-traditional methods of generating broadcasting revenue, the evolution of her successful theatrical (and now online) “Sexy Liberal” offshoot, and her no-holds-barred take on today’s explosive presidential politics. Not to be missed! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At  Entercom’a hip hop WVEE, Atlanta “V-103,” air personalities Tylerchronicles and Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville join “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” that airs from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Adding Tylerchronicles and Christina ‘Ms. Basketball’ Granville will not only round out our widely popular morning program, but further establish ‘V-103’ as the people’s station throughout Atlanta. Both possess a unique talent for captivating and entertaining their audiences, and I look forward to introducing them to our listeners as part of their morning routines.”…..Eagle Communications closes on the acquisition of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP, Sutherland – both in Nebraska – from Legacy Communications. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.