NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” 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, “The New Abnormal,” looks back at this past week of 1/3 to 1/7. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host WPG, Atlantic City; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Scott Sands, talk show host, WSPD, Toledo; Danny Lipford, host “Today’s Homeowner” Radio & TV; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each weekend on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; 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.
Bill Bartholomew Joins WPRO, Providence as APD/Executive Producer. Rhode Island multimedia journalist Bill Bartholomew joins Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM “NewsTalk 99.7 FM & AM 630” as assistant program director and executive producer. Bartholomew is creator and host of “The Bartholomewtown Podcast,” a popular local political podcast that features in-depth interviews with local and national figures. He holds a degree in political science from University of Rhode Island and is also a regular contributor to Rhode Island PBS. WPRO program director Doug MacGunnigle comments, “I’m excited to welcome Bill to the team. His experience in the digital realm, standing in the community, and political savvy will add greatly to the success of WPRO and be a tremendous asset as we move into new and exciting frontiers, both on the air and beyond.” Bartholomew states, “Joining the team at legendary platform WPRO on a daily basis is a tremendous opportunity for me, and one that I take extremely seriously. For nearly a century, WPRO has been a trusted source for southern New Englanders, and I look forward to collaborating with the station to expand the reach of my perspective and insight into the issues that are important to the region, introducing radio to a new audience, and expanding WPRO’s reach in the rapidly expanding digital space.”
Mueller Named Program Director at Cumulus Media’s ‘Sports Animal’ in OK City. After last month’s retirement of program director Chris Baker, Cumulus Media brings Robert “Cisco” Mueller aboard as PD of WWLS-FM, Oklahoma City “The Sports Animal” to lead the station. Mueller says, “What an amazing opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Chris Baker who I’ve known for over 21 years. My wife and I are thrilled to be back home in OKC, close to our son… and it’s so fun to be working in familiar places with familiar faces. Truly humbled to work with the best sports talent on WWLS. I want to thank Jay Davis and Bruce Gilbert for this opportunity!” Chris Baker comments, “I am exceedingly excited that Robert “Cisco” Mueller will be my successor. I have known Cisco over two decades. His knowledge of the OKC metro, the Oklahoma sports landscape, and his prowess with new media makes him the perfect pick.”
CES2022: Cars, Cash, COVID. As the scaled-down yet still-enormous Las Vegas tech expo wraps – a day early, out of caution – Holland Cooke reports how tech trends that accelerated during the shutdown emerge as the New Normal. Read it all here.
Triton Digital Releases U.S. Streaming Rankers for November 2021. This data is a listing of the top performing digital audio publishers as measured by Triton Digital’s Streaming Metrics measurement services and is ranked based on Average Active Sessions (AAS is calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period) and includes only Triton clients. For the November 2021 period (Mon-Sun 6A-12M), iHeartRadio ranks #1 with 296,880 AAS. At #2 is NPR Member Stations (76,918 AAS), followed by Audacy at #3 (66,543 AAS), and Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (41,370 AAS). Other companies of note in the top 25 include: Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (18,053 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (13,831 AAS), Salem Communications at #11 (9,007 AAS), and Bonneville International at #13 (7,116 AAS). You can see the complete top 25 here.
New NAB Chief Curtis LeGeyt Pledges to Fight for Local Journalism. In a blog piece published on Thursday (1/6), NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt says he intends to “strongly advocate on behalf of America’s broadcasters and help fulfill their mission of providing trusted local journalism that keeps our communities safe, informed and connected.” LeGeyt writes, “Today marks the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Among the many lessons learned that day, the public was undoubtedly reminded of broadcasters’ critical role in bringing information to the public, especially during times of crisis. As misinformation runs rampant on social media, local radio and TV stations continue to bring the most trusted news to communities across the country. Millions of Americans have relied on broadcasters to be their eyes and ears during our nation’s most pivotal events.” Read the entire piece here.
Harrison Sings Hannity’s Praises on Radio Show. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison sang praises for Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity while guesting on the Scott Sands afternoon drive program on iHeartMedia’s WSPD, Toledo yesterday (1/6). Harrison was invited to discuss the anniversary of January 6 and the impact talk radio has had in covering the story. When asked about Hannity’s high-profile role in the story, Harrison responded with emphatic support of the talk show host’s involvement in it and his First Amendment rights as well as the value his connection to President Trump has played in illustrating the importance of talk radio in contemporary society. Harrison, known for his political neutrality but zealous support of the First Amendment and talk media industry, stated, “Sean Hannity is one of the most influential radio personalities of the medium’s 100-year history.” To listen to an excerpt of the conversation, please click here. Scott Sands is also the PD of WSPD as well as area SVP of programming, Ohio/West Virginia iHeartMedia Communities Division.
The COVID-19 Omicron Surge, Vaccines, Boosters & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 3-7. The soaring rate of COVID cases in the U.S. and abroad, the debate over vaccine mandates, the effectiveness of boosters and the politics that surround it combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack and the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s role in it, followed by the economy, inflation, the supply chain, and the labor shortage at #3. 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.
Jim Bohannon to Be Inducted into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Achievement in Broadcasting event at NAB Show scheduled for April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. Bohannon’s eponymous Westwood One program is heard on some 300 affiliate stations across the country. Bohannon spent more than 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” for which he still provides interviews and his feature “The Offbeat.” He previously hosted the weekend news magazine “America This Week.” Bohannon began his radio career in 1960 at KLWT-AM in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri. Following college and military service during the Vietnam War, he returned to radio in the Washington, D.C. market, covering news at both WTOP-AM and WWRC-AM. He later worked as a morning anchor at WCFL-FM in Chicago and as a freelance reporter for CNN. Bohannon hosted his own Saturday night call-in program starting in 1984 and served as the principal back-up for Larry King on the “Larry King Show.” In February of 1993, Bohannon assumed the full-time role of the late night radio show that was launched by King. Bohannon’s relationship with Westwood One goes back to 1983. He’s anchored newscasts, political conventions and election night coverage in addition to his weekday programs. Bohannon is a recipient of a Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and was named by TALKERS magazine’s editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003, and into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2020. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Jim encompasses the spirit of radio. His distinct voice, humor and engaging programs have informed and entertained listeners for 50 years, while addressing historic milestones affecting our nation. I am grateful for his friendship and the opportunities I have had to be a guest on his show. We congratulate Jim on this befitting honor.”
Audacy Launches Sports Betting Station on WMC-AM, Memphis. Heritage Memphis AM signal WMC is being flipped to a sports talk and sports betting format as Audacy unveils “The Bet 790 AM” using content from the BetQL Network and CBS Sports Radio. The changes take place tomorrow (12/9). In addition to sports betting shows, the station will air CBS Sports Radio’s “The Jim Rome Show,” “Andy Gresh” and “Amy Lawrence.” Audacy Memphis SVP and market manager Dan Barron says, “Since launching in January 2020, the BetQL Network has given listeners a destination to obtain quality sports betting information and entertainment, while making them smarter, more well-equipped bettors in the process. We’re thrilled to add that rolodex of content to our portfolio here in Memphis and deliver that one-stop-shop that millions of listeners are enjoying to our local audience.”
iHeartMedia Names Daniel Lenz to SVP of Sales for Milwaukee and Madison. Radio sales pro Daniel Lenz is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee and Madison station groups. The markets include news/talk juggernaut WISN-AM, Milwaukee and WIBA-AM, Madison plus sports talk outlets WRNW-FM, Milwaukee and WTSO, Madison. Lenz was most recently VP of sales for iHM Milwaukee. iHeartMedia area president Jeff Tyler says, “We are thrilled to have a leader with Dan’s knowledge, leadership and credentials to lead the iHeartMedia sales organizations in both Milwaukee and Madison. Dan’s knowledge of the company will provide strong strategic thinking and results for our advertisers.” Lenz comments, “I’ve had a rewarding career in Milwaukee working alongside some really great media professionals and I am excited to take on this new role with iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Madison. I look forward to continuing the success we have established while contributing new ideas and leadership to the team.”
WGN, Chicago Announces Christmas and New Year’s Specialty Programming. WGN Radio announces it will broadcast special holiday programming on Christmas with 27-hours of “Christmas Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza with hosts Steve [King] and Johnnie [Putman] and John Landecker. “Christmas Radio Theatre” is curated by Amari who has selected half-hour holiday-themed selections from old-time radio programs including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Bing Crosby Show,” “The Burns & Allen Show,” “Gunsmoke,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Nero Wolfe,” and more. In addition to the 27-hour marathon, WGN Radio has added “WGN Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” to its weekend program schedule, airing Sundays 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning December 12. The show will feature programs from radio’s golden age. In the first few weeks, episodes from “The Jack Benny Program,” “Gunsmoke,” “My Favorite Husband” starring Lucille Ball, “Suspense,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” will be featured. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. On New Year’s Eve, Steve and Johnnie will host from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by John Landecker, who will lead the countdown to 2022. Steve and Johnnie were heard overnights on WGN Radio for 27 years before signing off in 2011. Landecker is currently heard Mondays through Thursdays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on WGN Radio.
Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Offers $100,000 Reward in Providence Murder Case. According to a story in the Providence Journal, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can provide “accurate and direct” information that is deemed “crucial” to finding the person or persons responsible for the drive-by shooting death of 24-year-old Miya Brophy-Baermann that happened on August 1 of this year. The money is not coming from DePetro himself or the radio station, but apparently from anonymous donors. The Providence Journal piece states, “The situation raises lots of questions that DePetro didn’t answer thoroughly during a brief email exchange. Where exactly is the money? Is the money donated or pledged? If the case goes unsolved for say, 20 years, how would the money be disbursed if someone provides the information and breaks the case? ‘Twenty years from now?’ DePetro said in an email. ‘I admittedly am in new territory here. I will tell you the reward is very real.’ The donors ‘are real and have been vetted,’ he said.”
TALKERS News Notes. The podcast production and distribution deal between Audacy’s Cadence13, and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions – the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries” is extended. Season two of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast, based on the long-running hit television and popular Netflix streaming series, will come back next spring with 40 new episodes. The podcast is narrated by award-winning voice actor Steve French and presents all-new unsolved cases from the vast “Unsolved Mysteries” database – including unsolved crimes, missing persons, fugitives, mysterious creatures, and the paranormal – with each episode taking a deep dive into one specific mystery. Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer and the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ podcast, which became an instant fan favorite with a devoted following of listeners around the world. We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with this iconic show, and look forward to this new season.”…..Premiere Networks and Amy Brown, co-host of iHeartMedia’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and host of the popular “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast, announce the addition of “Here After with Megan Devine” to The Amy Brown Podcast Network. “Here After with Megan Devine” is a weekly podcast guiding listeners through one of the trickiest parts of being human: what to do when life goes horribly wrong. In each episode, best-selling author, psychotherapist, and grief advocate Devine shares her inclusive and realistic approach to grief. Devine says, “Grief is the foundation of being human: from the big losses to the everyday stressors, it’s hard to be here sometimes. I’m excited to use my experience as both a grieving person and a clinician to explore new ways to respond – and survive – when life goes horribly wrong.”
COVID-19 Omicron Variant, Biden-Putin Meeting, January 6 Investigation, Jussie Smollett Trial, the GOP and the 2022 Mid-Terms, Kim Potter Trial, Youth Mental Illness Crisis, and FOX Christmas Tree Torched Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The threat of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and the issue of vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Donald Trump loyalists who are refusing to cooperate; the trial of actor Jussie Smollett who’s accused of staging an attack on himself and blaming homophobia; Republicans, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley via her new book, promoting the party in advance of the 2022 mid-term elections; the manslaughter trial of former cop Kim Potter who killed black motorist Daunte Wright after mistaking her gun for a taser; Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s report on the pandemic-influenced rise in mental health issues among the nation’s youths; and authorities arrest a suspect in the burning of FOX News’ Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia and DraftKings Enter into Multiplatform Deal. This new relationship between iHeartMedia and DraftKings is a “multi-year strategic relationship, making DraftKings the official odds supplier for iHeartMedia’s broadcast, digital, podcast and social platforms.” As part of this deal, DraftKings is now able to co-create and distribute longform content with iHeartMedia and will receive preferred access to iHeartMedia’s full roster of diverse personalities. Furthermore, DraftKings and iHeartMedia will collaborate around a wide range of possible content development opportunities, including the distribution of shows and segments across the media giant’s radio and digital properties and integrations within iHeartMedia’s live sports broadcasts. DraftKings and iHeartMedia will also collaborate on a number of possible experiential opportunities for listeners and fans including providing cross platform interactive games. iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group CEO Greg Ashlock says, “Even though we are number one in audio sports programming, we continue to build new sports content and DraftKings is an ideal partner as we expand and innovate. DraftKings is a premier sports technology and entertainment company that provides millions of customers with the best in real-money gaming products along with exceptional safety and security through various responsible gaming measures. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership everywhere sports betting is permissible.”
Round Two of October PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2021 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 October 2021 survey period covered September 16 – October 13. 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 a full share to finish the survey with a 4.2 share (6+, weekly AQH share) and rises to the #8 rank in the market. At Bonneville’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM, the station dips two-tenths for an 8.3 share and falls back to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston tacks on two-tenths for a 4.1 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM dips four-tenths for a 6.2 share but remains ranked #3. But, the winner in Boston is Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” which adds six-tenths for an 8.0 share finish good for #1. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM continues in the #1 position even though it shed three-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 6.8 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.
Former President Trump Featured in New Starnes Book. Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio host and author Todd Starnes (right) with former President Donald Trump (left) at Mar-a-Lago in in Florida where the two sat down for a 90-minute interview that will be the centerpiece of Starnes’ new book about American culture set to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2022.
Jake Query Partners with Kevin Bowen for Mornings on Emmis’ ‘The Fan 93.5 & 107.7.’ Indianapolis sports talk personality Jake Query is joining Emmis Communications’ Indy sports talker “The Fan 93.5 & 107.5” (WIBC-HD2/W228CX/W298BB) to co-host the morning drive program with current morning personality Kevin Bowen. Query was most recently with iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talk WNDE-AM as co-host of the “Query and Schultz Show.” The new “Kevin & Query” show will air weekdays from 7:00 am to 10:0 am beginning Monday (11/8). Emmis Indianapolis VP of programming David Wood says, “Jake is an Indianapolis sports lifer and a gifted storyteller. It was clear that Kevin and Jake had an instant and interesting chemistry when they did several shows together in October. They are going to give Indy sports fans a consistently fun and informative show.” Query says, “During the last 22 months, I’ve been fortunate to gain many valuable, and previously overlooked, personal perspectives. One thing that needed no further solidification was my love for the city of Indianapolis. To be given the privilege to again speak to and with people from all corners and backgrounds of this town means the world to me. I’m grateful for the opportunity and am excited to be part of the trajectory of the morning show on ‘The Fan.’ It’s a great honor.”
Paul Windisch Named GSM for SummitMedia Springfield, Missouri. Radio sales pro Paul Windisch joins SummitMedia as general sales manager for the company’s Springfield, Missouri station group that includes news/talk KSGF-AM/FM and three music brands. Prior to joining SummitMedia, Windisch owned Freedom Consulting LLC, in which he helped companies grow through marketing consulting, sales training, recruitment, and operational strategy. Windisch says, “I believe we all should strive to bring out the best in others, whether that is the people I work with, peers, or clients. It’s clear Summit Media embodies these same principles, recognizing their people are their most important asset. I feel incredibly blessed and excited to join this company.”
Jerry Butler Upped to Market Manager for MARC Radio in Gainesville. Radio pro Jerry Butler is promoted to market manager for MARC Radio’s Gainesville, Florida that includes Christian teaching/talk WTMN/WRZN/WIWA and five music brands. Butler joined the company 14 months ago and has been leading the group’s local sales efforts. MARC Radio executive vice president Dave Cobb says, “Jerry Butler is an impressive mix of on-air talent, industry knowledge, experience and most importantly, results. Despite the economic challenges of the past year, Jerry has navigated our stations and inspired our local sales team to record-breaking sales. He’s earned this promotion and we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next at MARC.” Butler adds, “My cause has always been economic empowerment. MARC Radio has assembled a team of passionate broadcasters who share our commitment to quality and growth. It’s an honor to grow with this incredible company.”
Key Networks to Rep Radio’s Fresh Eyes. Syndication firm Key Networks announces it has inked a deal with Radio’s Fresh Eyes to represent the radio culture and leadership consultancy’s services to stations for cash or barter. Radio’s Fresh Eyes is led by radio industry pros Dave Paulus and John Shomby whose goal is to work with radio groups of all sizes “to create a dominant and unparalleled employee culture, giving stations actionable steps to a winning culture.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “When we started Key Networks, the goal was to be associated with the biggest brands and best in class product and people. Radio’s Fresh Eyes checks all the boxes, and I couldn’t be happier to be working with Dave and John on this project. They are consummate professionals who know all facets of the business and provide the leadership your station needs to win. That is Radio’s Fresh Eyes. They get it because they lived it. That’s all you need to know.”
NuVoodoo Names Andrea Parikh to Lead OOH Media-Trading Unit. Joining NuVoodoo Media Services to lead the firm’s new Out-of-Home Media-Trading unit is Andrea Parikh, whose title is digital OOH product developer and team leader. Parikh spent 16 years with Clear Channel Outdoor and in her new role will help NuVoodoo clients “leverage the intersection of mobile, social and digital media with billboards, transit shelters, street furniture and venue signage to reach consumers and in particular, the people most likely to participate in radio ratings.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “We couldn’t be happier that the person who led the rollout of digital Out-of-Home, mobile and data products at one of the world’s leading Out-of-Home media companies is now available exclusively to NuVoodoo clients in the radio industry. We welcome Andrea to the NuVoodoo team and look forward to doing even more for our clients through her extensive relationships and deep expertise.”
VA and NJ Governor’s Races, COP26 Summit, Biden Spending Bills, COVID-19, SCOTUS Texas Abortion Case, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). Tuesday’s elections that saw Republican Glenn Youngkin defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe for the Virginia governor’s seat and the still-too-close-to-call New Jersey gubernatorial race; the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and the issue of climate change; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion economic plan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the controversy over vaccine mandates, and vaccines approved for kids; the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Texas abortion law case; and the Atlanta Braves’ victory over the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Solutions’ Film Borrowed Future Debuts on October 14. The first documentary film from Ramsey Solutions will premiere on digital platforms on October 14. Titled, “Borrowed Future: How Student Loan Debt Is Killing the American Dream,” and produced by Dave Ramsey, it “uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry, exposes how it’s built to work against the 45 million Americans currently in debt for their education, and shows that it’s possible to beat the student loan system.” The film is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loan debt, a debt-free college graduate, and high schoolers who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans. DiCicco says, “This film is a warning for kids and teenagers who aren’t victims of the student loan industry yet. I want viewers to walk away from this film with eyes wide open to the true cost of student loans. Teens need to know that they can have the American Dream — they just shouldn’t listen to America on how to get it.” Dave Ramsey adds, “The student loan problem is out of control, and it’s messed up millions of lives. Smart young people got sucked into a false narrative about what success looks like, and it’s left them paralyzed. It’s time to call the student loan industry what it is: an epic failure.” See more about the film here.
Phil Valentine Update: Family Says He Remains in ‘Grave Condition.’ The status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine has not improved as his family provided an update last night (8/16) asking his fans to “pray for a miracle” as he remains in “grave condition.” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and initially Valentine told his listeners that while he was pretty sick, he believed he was “on the other side of it.” His family revealed on July 22 that he’d been hospitalized and was eventually put on a ventilator due to his suffering from COVID pneumonia. Although Valentine had expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines and disagreed with mask mandates, his family says he was never an “anti-vaxxer,” but he does regret not being more “pro-vaccine.” His family is urging his fans to get vaccinated.
Salem Media Group Promotes Jamie Cohen to SVP of Broadcast Digital. Digital media pro Jamie Cohen is promoted to senior vice president, broadcast digital for Salem Media Group. The company says that in his new role he’ll oversee all aspects of the digital operations for Salem’s local and national/network digital efforts. Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella comments, “Jamie has done a tremendous job building Salem’s digital enterprise for our local stations. Overseeing all aspects of our digital operations, both locally and nationally, will open more channels of opportunity and unify our efforts in reaching our audiences through digital avenues and monetizing our digital assets.” Cohen says, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and am bullish on our future. With the emergence of platforms like Salem Now, the Salem Podcast Network and other innovations, our audience has never been bigger. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us and I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Phil Cianciola to Host Mornings on WOSH-AM, Oshkosh. Radio pro Phil Cianciola is named morning drive host for Cumulus Media’s WOSH-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin “NewsTalk 1490,” effective August 23. The station says, “It is important for WOSH that we retain a local voice in mornings and provide a show that will be uniquely Oshkosh. We wanted to find someone who would get what Oshkosh and the Valley are all about and would be able to entertain our listeners while also providing the news and community information that matters most. That’s a lot to ask of someone, but we’re confident that Phil fits our needs perfectly.” During his career Cianciola has served at Milwaukee news/talk outlets WISN and WTMJ. He comments, “I believe in LOCAL radio. The magic of radio is the relationships we build with listeners over the air. It’s all I’ve ever done. I guess you could say radio is in my blood.”
Brian Hauswirth Named News Director at KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. News pro Brian Hauswirth joins Zimmer Communications to serve as news director for news/talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “93.9 The Eagle.” In this role, he becomes the newest member of the “Wake Up Columbia” morning drive program. Zimmer Communications operations manager Jeremy Washington states, “We’re thrilled to have Brian Hauswirth be part of our Zimmer News Network. Brian shares our vision for excellence in broadcasting and will strongly enhance our award-winning local news coverage in Mid-Missouri.” Hauswirth most recently served with Missourinet where he was a senior capitol reporter, covering the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City. His radio station experience includes time spent working at KMZU, Carrollton; KTRS, St. Louis; and KRES-KWIX, Moberly. In addition to his new role, Hauswirth will continue his 23rd season as a college football scoreboard host at Learfield, where he handles the updates for five major colleges across the nation, including Mizzou, Alabama, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Wyoming.
Audacy and Urban One Enter into Digital Platform Relationship. A content distribution partnership between Audacy and Urban One will put audio from the latter’s 57 stations in 13 markets onto the Audacy digital platform. Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to amplifying diverse voices and delivering premier audio content to the communities in which we serve. We’re delighted to unite with a power player in the audio space to expand and enhace our content offering and add dozens of dynamic brands to our library.”
iHeartMedia Launches Progressive Podcast Network Cool Zone Media. The launch of Cool Zone Media will highlight “vital voices often overlooked in today’s rapidly changing political landscape,” according to iHeartMedia. The progressive podcast network is being powered by investigative journalist and podcaster Robert Evans. The company says Cool Zone Media will provide an “in-depth look at topics including climate change, the Capitol insurrection, and uncovering QAnon – offering listeners a place unique from others in the political sphere by melding media and politics with storytelling.” The network debuts with the first episode of the new daily podcast, “It Could Happen Here,” that focuses on climate change and picks up where Evans’ 10-episode weekly podcast by the same name left off. Evans, who is serving as the head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by the iHeartPodcast Network’s executive producer, Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate and elevate other vital voices in today’s progressive political landscape for the network.
TALKERS News Notes. Canton radio stations WHBC-AM “News/Talk 1480” and WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” wrapped their 14th Annual Aultcare Wish-a-thon to benefit Wishes Can Happen on Friday August 13 and the Alpha Media outlets helped raise a record $334,928. The charity grants wishes to children with severe and terminal illnesses in Northeast Ohio. The record number was an increase of almost $145,000 over last year’s event, thanks in large part to the many businesses, individuals and foundations who stepped up…..PodcastOne announces it has secured the exclusive sales and distribution rights for B-Real’s “Dr. Greenthumb” podcast and the sales rights to the show in its vodcast form. “Dr. Greenthumb” launched in January of 2020 as a program dedicated to all things entertainment, music, and cannabis and now has more than 300 recorded episodes to date that include guests such as Tommy Chong, George Lopez, Tony Hawk, Matt Barnes, John Sally and Ricky Williams. B-Real says, “PodcastOne has set the bar for what podcasts have become. With their amazing roster of shows, best-in-class distribution and advertising approach, there is no other platform for the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ podcast. I am excited to partner with Norm Pattiz and the PodcastOne family.”…..Pictured below are staffers from the Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations celebrating their honors from the 2021 State Television and Radio (STAR) Awards presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. News/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” was honored with four STAR Awards including: Radio Station of the Year, Radio Personality of the Year (Tara Servatius), Best News Talk Show (Tara Servatius), and Production PSA.
Benztown West Coast Commercial Production Director Jeff Kelly Dies at 50. The company announces the untimely death of Jeff Kelly, who had joined Benztown in January as West Coast Commercial Production Director. Kelly passed away unexpectedly on August 13 at the age of 50. He and his fiancé had recently moved to L.A. to work with the Benztown team in its Glendale studios. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “We are deeply saddened we were not able to spend more time with Jeff and we will miss him very much. Jeff was incredibly energized and excited about working for Benztown and his recent move to L.A. from Albuquerque, and his positive attitude and tremendous talents were inspiring. His production, writing and VO skills were among the very best in the business and I am incredibly grateful for his contributions to our company, the Commercial Production Department and YamanAir.”
Biden on Taliban in Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, New Trump Book, Western Drought/Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). President Joe Biden defends his Afghanistan pullout amidst the Taliban’s resurgence and the social chaos; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and mask mandates for schoolchildren; the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, Peril, that chronicles the final days of the Donald Trump administration; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.
FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio‘s Brian Kilmeade delivers the keynote address at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.
Key Networks nationally syndicated commentator Bill O’Reilly (right) is interviewed by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (left) at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.
McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay (right) moderates the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ’20s” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Joe Thomas, program director/morning host, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Greg Stocker, WPHT, Philadelphia APD, executive producer for the Rich Zeoli show; Michael Czarnecki, program director WONK-FM, Washington, DC and the iHeartPodcast Channel; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; Dave LaBrozzi, SVP of programming, Red Apple Media; and Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group, operations VP, New York region.
Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon (right) moderates the “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Christine Travaglini, president Katz Radio Group/RAB; Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Paul Gleiser, president/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media/RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, NY.
WRHU Radio operations director John T. Mullen (right) moderates the “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Derek Hunter, talk host WCBM, Baltimore; Martha Zoller, talk host WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Brett Winterble, talk host, WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and Dr. Asa Andrew, talk host, Asa Rx.
Monday Memo: Dear Old Dad. There’s still time to make a fuss on his special day; and in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke suggests a couple vintage radio hits worth dusting off, “regardless of your format.” Read the column here.
Biden’s European Trip/G7, Putin Summit, COVID-19, Minneapolis Protest Death, Harris Latin America Trip Criticism/Immigration Reform, Trevor Reed Case, Soaring Urban Crime, and Bennett Replaces Netanyahu Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s European trip, the meeting of G7 leaders; Biden’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and speculation about the origin of the coronavirus; one person is killed as a car rams into protestors in Minneapolis; criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the subject of immigration reform; the case of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed who’s been detained in Russia for two years; the soaring rates of urban crime in America’s large cities; and Naftali Bennett succeeds in ousting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.
Pending Business: Demand vs Frequency. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “As you engage advertisers during this sales tailwind, what happens when rates and rotations are not even close to 2020 or Q1 of 2021? Does the sales banter go straight to demand? It happened to me. Your internal high-five is your advertiser flashing red light for high rates! Oops, you moved right to the easy part – demand is up so rates are up. Your advertiser should be compassionate, understanding that you made it through to the other side of the pandemic. Are your advertisers really saluting your demand curve? No.” Read more here.
Jim Fox Named Operations Manager for Cumulus Media Kansas City. Radio programming pro Jim Fox is named operations manager for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Kansas City cluster that includes news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI and six music brands. Fox joins CUMULUS Kansas City following a 17-year career with Audacy, where he was vice president, programming, for the company’s four Dallas stations. CUMULUS Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “Record-high ratings delivery as the #1 cluster in KC is the result of our incredible programming talent delivering the highest level of audience engagement. Jim Fox is among the best programming minds in the business. His expertise growing strong brands that deliver results for our client partners is the ideal addition to our team in Kansas City.” Fox comments, “I’m extremely excited and fortunate to be joining this incredible team with an already proven track record of success. So many people who I respect helped to make this move possible. I’m energized by the idea of working closely with Donna Baker, Doug Hamand, Brian Philips, and the very impressive and talented staff in Kansas City.”
Dave Symonds Joins Summit Media Richmond as Director of Programming and Operations. The new director of programming and operations at SummitMedia, LLC’s Richmond cluster that includes WURV-HD2 “ESPN Richmond” and four music brands is Dave Symonds. The company says, “Symonds brings a solid track record of progressive leadership in multi-station, multiformat programming, management, and brand development, including start-ups and well-established stations and shows. He has been consistently successful in differentiating brands, communicating format values and achieving ratings successes.” Symonds adds, “After meeting with the Summit Richmond team, I was quickly swept up by their strength and creativity, as well as the opportunities and potential of these stations. I already respected market manager Bob Willoughby when we were competed a few years back. Now, I’m excited to partner with him. Plus, it’s Richmond. I’m thrilled!”
Zimmer Marketing Market Manager Chad Elliot Dies Unexpectedly at 47. The Joplin, Missouri station group of Zimmer Marketing reports the unexpected passing of its market manager, Chad Carroz, a.k.a. Chad Elliot, who died at his home on Saturday at the age of 47. Elliot was the longtime host of the “KZRG Morning NewsWatch” program on the news/talk station. He held that position for over a decade before moving into a full-time role in sales and management. Company owner James Zimmer says, “Chad will be missed by all who knew and loved him. He was part of our family for over 25 years. His passion for radio guided him from being a part-time air talent to market manager of Zimmer Marketing in Joplin. We will hold Chad forever in our hearts and look forward to seeing him in eternal life with Christ.” Elliot leaves behind his wife Monica – also a member of the Zimmer team – and the couple’s daughter, Mattie. In announcing her husband’s death via Facebook, Monica wrote, “Chad had two passions. Zimmer Radio and his dogs. He lived, breathed, and bled Zimmer. He wanted nothing more than to help local businesses succeed and grow. He fought for those success stories. I was given a rare gift to work alongside my husband almost seven years ago. At first, I thought it wouldn’t work. How can a couple be together 24/7? It had its challenges, but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it for anything! 8-5 he was in charge. 5-8 I was in charge. It worked.” Details on funeral arrangements are pending.
Audacy Adds Two Shows to BetQL Network. The BetQL Network is adding two new weekday programs to its lineup. Audacy announces that as part of its multiplatform partnership with BetMGM, the network will launch “The Daily Tip,” featuring Michael Jenkins and Chelsea Messinger, and “BetMGM Tonight,” starring Ryan Horvat and Quinton Mayo, beginning June 21. The “BetQL Network,” is heard on KEZW-AM, Denver “The Bet 1430AM”; KCBS-HD2, Los Angeles; and WCFS-HD2, Chicago “The Bet 105.9.” Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are ecstatic to announce the next phase of our planned expansion of the ‘BetQL Network.’ Our partnership with BetMGM – who is co-developing these shows alongside our sports programming team led by Matt Volk [vice president of sports] – enables us to create this new content that will both entertain and inform our audience around daily sports betting activity. We aspire for the ‘BetQL Network’ to become the go-to destination for the sports betting community and we’ll continue to announce new content to this dynamic platform over the next few months.”
Two Researchers Promoted at Paragon Strategies. Two Paragon Media Strategies’ longtime researchers are being promoted. Sara Schueller rises to vice president/research and Simone Lowin is promoted to research services director. Paragon CEO Mike Henry notes, “Sara Schueller and Simone Lowin have been part of the Paragon backbone for two decades. During that time, Paragon has produced hundreds of research projects for our media and entertainment clients. Every one of those projects was guided by these incredible women who exhibit the highest capacity for integrity and professionalism. We’re incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the Paragon family.”