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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

| September 23, 2020

American Public Media’s McTaggart to Step Down. According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jon McTaggart will resign from his position as president and CEO of American Public Media, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio. The paper says McTaggart issued a memo to the company’s staff on the same day that MPR staffers issued a letter to listeners and readers saying they had “lost faith in their senior leaders.” All of this comes on the heels of two recent incidents at the public media firm. The first was the resignation of MPR reporter Marianne Combs after she claimed that editors had sat on her story about an air personality’s pattern of inappropriate behavior at company O&O KCMP-FM, Minneapolis. That staffer, later identified as Eric Malmberg, has been let go. The second incident was the firing of air personality Garrett McQueen, who is Black, for refusing to follow protocol. McQueen’s overnight program “Classical 24” was syndicated by APM and PRI to public stations across the country. He said publicly he altered the station’s playlist to avoid playing hours of music by “dead white men.” McTaggart says he has set in motion his plans to step down and will remain in his position until a successor is chosen.

Chicago Radio Legend Orion Samuelson to Retire. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that agriculture and business reporter Orion Samuelson will retire from Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM at the end of the year. Samuelson will have been with WGN for 60 years on Saturday (9/26). As Feder notes, Samuelson grew up on a dairy farm near LaCrosse, Wisconsin and started in radio at stations in that state. He says, “December 31st will be my last time on the air at WGN. I don’t know how many broadcasters have been around for 60 or more years, so I don’t know if it’s that much of a milestone.”

SCOTUS Justice Battle, the Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Western Wildfires, U.S.-China Relations/UN Speeches, BLM Movement/Louisville Tensions, and Tropical Storm Beta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The war of words over Senate President Mitch McConnell’s move to put a Supreme Court nominee before the Senate prior to the election; the November presidential election; the U.S. passes the 200,000 dead from COVID-19 mark and projections for a potential second wave in the fall and winter; the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington; the tensions between the U.S. and China and the speeches delivered at the UN by President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping; the Black Lives Matter movement and Louisville’s preparation for protests following today’s announcement on the Breonna Taylor case; and Tropical Storm Beta dumps rain on Texas and Louisiana were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WPG’s Harry Hurley Emcees Trump Event. WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley served as master of ceremonies at a private dinner fundraiser for the Trump campaign last night at the Smithville Inn in Galloway Township, New Jersey. The event was hosted by former Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy and former New Jersey Assemblyman Vince PolistinaThe guests of honor were Donald Trump, Jr. (center), who delivered a 20-minute address, and attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle (right). Trump also signed copies of his new book, Liberal Privilege.

TALKERS News Notes. A special edition of ABC News’ podcast and radio show, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” was posted yesterday (9/22) to recognize the United States’ surpassing 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths. Hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, the program features reporting by ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, political director Rick Klein and more…..Cumulus Media announces a new partnership between its Westwood One Podcast Network and Living Corporate LLC to monetize, market, and distribute the flagship podcast “Living Corporate” as well as podcasts in development. “Living Corporate” addresses “the experiences and perspectives of Black, brown, and marginalized persons in the workplace, and provides information designed to help them reach their full potential and achieve success. In each episode, host Zachary Nunn interviews top business executives, inclusion and diversity leaders, social impact entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and elected officials who offer guidance and practical advice for navigating majority-white working spaces.”…..The National Football League and SiriusXM expand their satellite broadcasting agreement to include additional streaming rights. For the first time, SiriusXM customers with the streaming-only SiriusXM Premier subscription will have access to every live NFL game as well as the exclusive 24/7 talk channel, SiriusXM NFL Radio.

iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network: An Information Source Supplying Hope and Pride. This summer’s launch of BIN: The Black Information Network by iHeartMedia came at a time of renewed strife in America’s relationships between races; one that is complicated even more by the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black Americans. As today’s feature story by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reveals, this format project was not a knee-jerk reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police back in May, but the fulfillment of a vision begun by iHeartMedia executives in 2019. Tony Coles, president of BIN, says, “At budget time, companies look at what is and isn’t working. We had a conversation about the lack of women and minorities who listen to traditional [news and news/talk] stations. The fact is they haven’t really been served.” That started the Black Information Network project. Fast-forward to the spring as the pandemic rolled across America and Coles says, “We thought there was a need for the network before, but this would be the headline every single day. It’s not just the virus, but the high number of deaths in the Black community and the economical toll it was having. There were numerous angles with that story. We thought everything we were working on was being validated.” Read Mike Kinosian’s complete feature story here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated, lifestyle entertainment program, “Life with Lindsay,” – starring Lindsay Cochrane – is now airing on Alpha Media’s suburban Chicago country WCCQ, Crest Hill, Illinois. She says, “Almost eight million people in the Chicago area have stories to tell and I’m looking forward to hearing the common experiences that unite us, the funny moments that define us, and the serious stuff that makes us stronger together. I’m grateful to Alpha Media, WCCQ market manager Brian Foster and content director Roy Gregory. This is the beginning of some beautiful friendships.”…..Beasley Media Group New Jersey hot AC WMGQ-FM, New Brunswick “Magic 98.3” and news/talk WCTC-AM recently hosted the first annual Give Hope Radiothon (9/10) in conjunction with Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in New Jersey. The stations raised more than $13,000 dollars to benefit CSH’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund which supports any additional needs the hospital may incur as a result of the pandemic as well as the continued expansion of telehealth as a means to provide life-changing care to more children at their 13 locations across New Jersey.