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Pending Business: When Controversy Strikes

| August 8, 2022

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Is someone out there in talk radio land ready to help us understand the new boundaries of controversy in talk radio?

A little help here, I’m getting lost.

Abortion laws will quickly become a leading topic again as states begin to weigh in on laws. Social media is already buzzing about Brittney Griner’s sentencing and what about her stance on honoring our National Anthem? The January 6 hearings continue to produce new fodder for talkers as the Russia-Ukraine-China-Taiwan storyline is on the radar — literally. Those topics don’t touch what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Somewhere along the way one of your local talent or nationally syndicated talent will say something that will offend listeners, sponsors, or both.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2022

| March 1, 2022

Radio One Swaps Frequencies in Charlotte; Sports Talk WFNZ Gets Full Market FM Signal. Charlotte sports talk WFNZ-AM is getting a full-market FM signal as Radio One swaps FM frequencies between WFNZ and hip hop/R&B “92.7 The Block.” WFNZ is now heard on WFNZ-FM at 92.7 (in addition to WFNZ-AM at 610) and “The Block” airs on FM translator W273DA at 102.5. Radio One Charlotte/Richmond regional VP Marsha Landess says, “Charlotte has continued to grow as a great sports city and Sports Radio WFNZ will continue to grow with it! Now on a more powerful FM signal, with continued live and local talent, we will be able to superserve more of our listeners and clients with broader market coverage on the FM dial.”

 

Audacy Unveils New Audacy Digital Audience Network. In an effort to present advertisers with a “high-performing audience solution,” Audacy launches the Audacy Digital Audience Network, “an addressable aggregate of over 60 million listeners that other audio platforms and streaming platforms do not reach.” Audacy says that each month, it connects with 200 million fans across its broadcast and digital assets. Over 60 million of these listeners can be found on ADAN across its streaming content, on the Audacy app and on its podcasts. Through this, ADAN can target precise audiences at scale and deliver high-performing digital audio media strategies for Audacy’s advertising partners.” The company says it “continues to provide exclusive content across news, sports, talk, music and podcasts that its listeners seek and trust as a daily habit. ADAN audiences skew more affluent, are more likely to be college educated and are more diverse – collectively bringing the highest value consumers to advertisers. ADAN provides an unduplicated reach to listeners that other audio platforms do not deliver.” Components of the Audience Network include over 230 of Audacy’s broadcast brands and thousands of podcasts. Exclusive stations, curated music stations from Audacy brands, talent and influencers and digital streams of MLB play-by-play broadcasts via flagship partnerships are also included in ADAN.

 

WWO Blog: AM/FM Radio, Print, and Podcast Ads Lead in Attentiveness. The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group releases a new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report that incorporates several new studies that examine consumer attentiveness and concentration levels when using various media platforms, ad-skipping tendencies, and the reasons why listeners choose to use various audio platforms. Cumulus EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report demonstrates that AM/FM radio leads all media in advertising attentiveness with the lowest levels of ad skipping. Consumers also devote very high levels of concentration to podcasts since listeners actively seek them out to learn something new, which justifies premium CPMs for podcasts.” Some of the highlights of the report include: 1) Attention grows in importance among marketers and agencies: Nearly half of advertisers have discussed consumer attentiveness as a metric. Two out of three say it is important for measuring media investments; 2) Traditional media ads have greater engagement compared to digital ads: AM/FM radio, print, and podcast ads lead in attentiveness. Consumers skip social and digital ads the most; 3) Social media disconnect: Agencies/marketers overestimate consumer concentration of social media. Two consumer studies reveal social media has the lowest attentiveness of media platforms; 4) AM/FM radio CPMs should be a premium to Pandora and Spotify: Pandora/Spotify audio impressions are not the same as AM/FM radio impressions. The greater proportion of spoken word content on AM/FM radio generates much higher levels of concentration and attentiveness. The information and personalities of AM/FM radio satisfy consumer needs for information and connection. See the full blog post here.

 

KLIF-AM, Dallas Adds ‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ Show. The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated news/talk program “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” is added to the program lineup at Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM, Dallas in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. KLIF-AM program director Bruce Collins says, “These guys were just what we were looking for to add to KLIF’s lineup, news and information and a whole lot of laughs and fun. They understand entertaining radio.” The program stars Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins. Van Camp says, I’m excited and honored to be on the legendary KLIF. Having spent several years in the Metroplex, being on that station means a lot to me. Many thanks to Bruce Collins, who’s been a great partner and supporter of the show from the beginning.”

 

Todd Starnes Speaks at CPAC 2022. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes was a featured speaker at last weekend’s CPAC 2022 in Orlando. In addition to appearing on the conference’s agenda, Starnes broadcast his national radio show from the CPAC radio row during which he interviewed former President Donald Trump and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (pictured here with Starnes).

 

 

KYW, Philadelphia Honors 2022 GameChangers. Pictured above are the recipients of the 2022 GameChangers honors from Audacy’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia. The annual GameChangers recognize people making a difference in communities of color around the Philadelphia region. This year’s honorees were recognized at a ceremony at Audacy’s Philadelphia headquarters on February 27. KYW Newsradio community impact reporter Racquel Williams, who has been highlighting the GameChangers honorees throughout February, hosted the ceremony. The 2022 recipients were nominated by members of the audience and selected by a panel of previous honorees. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio shines light on the stories of people from all backgrounds doing amazing things in our communities who might not otherwise get the recognition they deserve. That’s part of our mission 365 days a year, and we’re proud to award these meaningful honors to these outstanding community leaders during Black History Month.”

 

Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit Helps Raise $1.74 million for Salvation Army. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM helped raise more than $1.74 million for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit during a 27-hour radio fundraiser that took place on February 24 and 25. The Cumulus Media station presented the 35th Annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon as station personalities including Paul W. Smith (pictured here), Sean Baligian, Kevin Dietz, Lloyd Jackson, Chris Renwick, Mitch Albom, Ken Brown, Steve Courtney, Kevin O’Neill and Guy Gordon broadcast from The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Norm Lewis to Perform at BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that this year’s entertainment for the Golden Mike Award Gala will be Broadway, film, and TV star Norm Lewis. Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the BFOA Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony returns this year on Monday, March 14 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation, whose sole mission is to provide financial aid to broadcasters in acute need from critical illness, accident, or serious misfortune. This year’s BFOA Golden Mike Award honoree will be Hilton Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a broadcaster who has made invaluable contributions to the television and radio industries. This year, it will be presented to renowned sportscaster Lesley Visser.

 

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast starring Dennis Prager and Julie Hartman is joining the Salem Podcast Network. After reading Prager’s book, Still the Best Hope, Hartman – a senior at Harvard University – realized she actually held many conservative beliefs. She reached out to Prager, who was so impressed with her that he invited her on to his national talk show. Not long after, she sat in for him for all three hours of the show. Now, the two are launching a weekly podcast titled, “Dennis and Julie.” She says, “Finding Dennis’ work changed my life. I discovered the historic significance of the American value system and just how much our society today has come to be guided by the wrong principles. I hope that Dennis and I can make the world more understandable to our audience and impart to our listeners — especially those my age — how important it is to resist the far-left push that comes at them every day. I’m honored to work with Dennis and I’m grateful to Salem for trusting me with this opportunity.”…..CNN debuts three new podcasts. “Breaking News Alerts” – previously only available to smart speaker listeners – this audio version of CNN’s breaking news alerts offer podcast listeners a more contextualized understanding of breaking news. “Tug of War” takes listeners to the most volatile corners of the world to document some of the greatest power struggles of our time – a mission that now feels more relevant than ever – and offers historical, political, and social context for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Diversifying” – hosted by Delyanne Barros – presents insightful discussions about how the financial system can work for us, instead of against us. It creates a space for people who have traditionally been left out of conversations around personal finance, and who are often faced with the challenge of balancing cultural expectations against their own financial needs…..ESPN Audio says that the 2021 Share of Ear from Edison Research finds that ESPN Audio accounts for over half of all sports listening, at 53%, marking a nine percentage point increase in the same category from 2020. ESPN Audio was also shown to account for 63% of the digital sports listening space and 47% of the terrestrial sports audio space, both up a significant 8% points from 2020, respectively…..SiriusXM announces that Hope Solo, the World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist goalkeeper, will launch a new and original SiriusXM podcast, “Hope Solo Speaks,” that debuts across all podcast platforms March 2. Solo will discuss a variety of topics on her mind, including her relentless fight for women’s rights and gender equality, motherhood and family, changing trends in sports and much more. Solo will be joined on episodes of the podcast by guests from various walks of life including world-class athletes, artists, and influencers for candid conversations on their experiences, passions and topics of the day.

 

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine, COVID-19, State of the Union, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, UN Climate Report, and Sacramento Murder-Suicide Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). Russia’s continued attacks on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and relaxing mask mandates; tonight’s State of the Union address by President Joe Biden; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the dire warning on the effects of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and the murder of three children and their chaperone by the children’s father in a Sacramento church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2022

Dave Ramsey Releases New Book, Baby Steps Millionaires. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey has published his most recent book, Baby Steps Millionaires (Ramsey Press, 2022). A press release for the book says, “In his first trade book in eight years, Ramsey proves that anyone can become a millionaire — no matter their starting point. The No. 1 national bestselling author and host of ‘The Ramsey Show’ tells real stories about ordinary people who spent years busting through barriers and digging out of debt so they could build wealth. Now, they’re millionaires.” The book takes a deeper look at how Ramsey invests and builds wealth — and teaches readers how they can do the same. It also includes Ramsey Solutions’ The National Study of Millionaires, the largest study of millionaires ever done in North America. Dave Ramsey says, “This is a book 30 years in the making. I’ve coached millions of people on ‘The Ramsey Show’ over that last 30 years, and people come up to me all the time saying they’re millionaires because they followed the Ramsey Baby Steps. The stories of real Baby Steps Millionaires will show you this is really possible — because these millionaires are just like you!”

Sun & Fun Media Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1996 by chief executive officer Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun Media is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sun & Fun is a leading network radio company offering radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. It serves more than 1,400 stations across the U.S in nearly all 50 states. Sun & Fun says it is the radio industry’s go-to supplier of virtually all products and services needed by radio stations for barter, including vacations, incentives, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for stations, research, consultants, transmitters and other equipment, software and more. The company has even paid electric bills on barter, as well as worked with large radio groups to cover costs for corporate managerial meetings and office holiday parties. Koblasz, who is also CEO for Key Networks, says, “Over the last 25 years, Sun & Fun Media has built a dream team of former radio GMs and network executives who deliver big for our clients time and time again. Our team has an extensive radio background. We understand the needs of stations and the challenges they face, and we’re able to provide turnkey solutions to improve their top-line revenue and reduce their expenses. We are proud to have set the standard as a barter partner to radio stations across the country. We thank our team members for their outstanding service and commitment to our customers, and our loyal customers who continue to grow with us.

iHeartMedia Reveals Plans for Development in the Metaverse and Web3. Audio giant iHeartMedia says it is taking “an important next step in extending its presence into web3 and the metaverse, beginning with plans for the creation of iHeart events and experiences for listeners and music fans” on online gaming platform and game creating system Roblox and “committing to launch tokenized communities for its users and creators.” It also says it will “use its industry-leading consumer reach of over 90% of Americans every month and strong engagement to create the awareness and demand necessary to bring new metaverse and web3 platforms to the mass market.” If you’re not familiar with these terms, XRToday defines metaverse as “a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.” Wikipedia defines web3 as “an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchains, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Although there are a number of great new products for the metaverse and web3 from a wide array of creators, with our unparalleled audience reach, multiple platforms, and our trusted broadcast and podcast hosts, iHeartMedia is uniquely positioned to build the consumer awareness, understanding and demand necessary for those new products and platforms from both us and others to succeed. We see this as a unique opportunity to serve our listeners’ needs, provide an important new layer of growth for the company, and help develop the advertising and consumer potential for the metaverse and web3.” The press release says that this year, “iHeartMedia plans to bring immersive musical moments to the over 47 million daily active users on the Roblox platform and launch its first tokenized community, building a new token that will incentivize and reward the iHeart creator community in new ways and give iHeart’s fans unique access to offerings across its multiple platforms, and a series of collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs), building on the success of its previously launched iHeartRadio Music Festival NFTs in partnership with Green NFT platform OneOf in September 2021.

Premiere Networks’ Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Enjoying Rapid Growth. According to data presented by Premiere Networks, the nationally syndicated radio program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” continues to experience rapid growth and success across multiple platforms since its debut in June 2021. Premiere says, “In addition to marking one of the biggest launches in talk radio history on more than 400 stations nationwide, the program’s total AQH audience increased 40% from June to November among PPM markets in the key demo of Adults 25-54. The powerhouse duo is also driving No. 1 rankings in many markets, including KTRH-AM, Houston; KOGO-AM, San Diego; KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City; KFBK-AM, Sacramento; WTKK-FM, Raleigh-Durham; and WISN-AM, Milwaukee. Additionally, ‘The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show’ closed out 2021 by setting a new podcast record with 10.3 million monthly downloads in December. The popular program is also connecting and engaging with fans online, with unique visitors to www.ClayandBuck.com growing 239% since its launch in June 2021.”

Compass Media Networks Promotes Alexander to Senior Director of Research. The company announces that Kareem Alexander is promoted to senior director of research. Compass Media Networks says that Alexander, who’s been with the company since 2015 and previously held the director of research title, will oversee and manage the research, data, and analytics of Compass Media Networks’ 16 national advertising networks and audience measurements of the affiliate base. Compass president of sales & marketing Paul Gregery comments, “Kareem always goes above and beyond to deliver timely research and data for our sales staff and advertisers.”

AURN and Superadio Networks Offer Free MLK Jr. Weekend Programming. This weekend is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and American Urban Radio Network and Superadio Networks are offering free programs to honor and celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The informative and provocative one-hour special celebrating the life and legacy of King is titled, “King…Realizing the Dream.” It was originally produced in 2002 and chronicles the life of the Baptist minister and freedom fighter and explores how we as a society have carried on King’s legacy. The special includes excerpts from his inspiring speeches and examines the messages behind the words by those who walked with him to contemporary leaders who have carried the torch for justice and equality. This offering also includes a series of one-minute MLK vignettes titled, “Inspiring Moments,” and “Remembering the Dreamer.”

Loker Promoted to VP of Politics/Senior Executive Producer at FNC. Producer Jessica Loker is promoted to vice president of politics and senior executive producer of “FOX News Sunday” at FOX News Channel. In this role, Loker will oversee all political newsgathering and logistics in addition to managing “FOX News Sunday,” the network’s one-hour Sunday public affairs program that airs on FOX Broadcasting and FNC. Alan Komissaroff will continue overseeing all political coverage as the SVP of news & politics. FOX News Media president & executive editor Jay Wallace says, “Jessica’s exceptional skills and extensive understanding of politics in Washington and beyond have made her an asset to our news division. We look forward to her continued contributions to the network.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Audacy’s Cadence13 called “Fly on the Wall” is launching. The program stars former “Saturday Night Live” alums Dana Carvey and David Spade who sit down with past and present cast, hosts, writers, and musical guests to reminisce about their favorite moments, memories, and sketches from the iconic sketch comedy program. Each week, Carvey and Spade invite listeners to be a “fly on the wall” as they sit down for in-depth conversations with a who’s who of SNL, as well as other special guests and friends, to take listeners behind the scenes and share never-before told stories about their careers and time on the show. Guests include: Chris Rock, Tom Hanks, Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, Martin Short, Melanie Hutsell, Ana Gasteyer, Tim Meadows, Laraine Newman, Rob Lowe, and Will Forte…..AdLarge announces that the “Honeydew Me” podcast joins the company’s podcast sales network portfolio. Expanding the focus on female health, wellness, and self-love, “Honeydew Me” podcast – hosted by Emma Norman and Cass Anderson – pushes old boundaries and breaks antiquated rules and expectations by openly discussing women’s sexual wellness, and normalizing conversations, questions and experiences. AdLarge co-founder Cathy Csukas says, “Emma and Cass have created something that is uniquely compelling, informative, and honest. They have provided a space to openly and authentically address female health and insecurities in a casual and safe environment. Proven by their explosive engagement on social media and with the podcast, it’s abundantly clear these are questions women everywhere want to find answers to.”…..Public media’s WNYC welcomes two new staffers as Steve Smith joins as the culture & art editor and Ann Givens assumes the public safety editor role. Smith was most recently with NPR as a senior editor on the arts, culture and books desk. Givens comes to WNYC from The Trace, a nonprofit news outlet dedicated to covering guns and gun violence in America.

COVID-19, Voting Rights, Facebook Anti-Trust Complaint, U.S.-Russia Relations, 2022 Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Investigation, and Boris Johnson Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and the face-off between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul; President Joe Biden’s Atlanta speech promoting the Voting Rights Act; Facebook loses its bid to have the FTC’s anti-trust complaint against it tossed; the U.S., NATO and Russia’s planned meeting over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; the battle for control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is called out for attending Downing Street party that violated COVID protocols were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 3, 2021

| September 3, 2021

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, “I Had a Cow,” looks back at this past week of 8/30 – 9/3. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Larry Elder, gubernatorial candidate, California; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem to Debut ‘Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.’ On Tuesday (9/7), Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network will launch the “Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.”  Salem says the podcast is an audio companion to the Daybreak Insider Newsletter, which is currently distributed each weekday morning to more than 100,000 subscribers. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “It’s clear that podcast listeners are looking for informed reporting on what’s really happening in their world. Within Salem, we have a wealth of resources, both for newsgathering and for analysis. With the ‘Daybreak Insider Podcast,’ we’ll be pooling all of those resources into a single podcast to provide in-depth coverage from a conservative worldview. You’ll hear trusted voices from SRN News, Townhall.com, as well as the Salem Radio Network every day on this podcast, and it will all be pulled together by the experienced voice of Rich Thomason.” Thomason has served for more than 20 years with SRN News as an anchor, correspondent, and news producer.

‘710 ESPN Seattle’ Announces ‘The Matt Hasselbeck Show.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, “710 ESPN Seattle” announces “The Matt Hasselbeck Show” joins the programming lineup as a weekly program. The new, one-hour show will air each Wednesday at 9:00 am as Hasselbeck joins morning host Mike Salk, who says, “No one tells a story quite like Matt and he uses his incredible experiences to paint an extraordinary picture of what’s happening in the NFL. He’s as entertaining, knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in this business and his Seahawks credentials are second to none. I can’t wait to talk with him every week!” Kyle Brown is program director for the Bonneville station. He adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to add one of the most illustrious players in Seahawks franchise history to our team here at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Matt is among the premier football analysts in the country and his indelible ties to Seattle make him the perfect addition to our Seahawks coverage.” The inaugural show will air Wednesday, September 15 and it also be offered as a weekly podcast at 710Sports.com.

Erick Erickson Lays into Anti-Vaxxers. In a story published in Newsweek, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk host Erick Erickson lashed out at anti-vaxxers after a relative of his died from COVID-19. The piece says that during Erickson’s Wednesday broadcast, he referred to anti-vaccination activists as “idiots” after a healthy, unvaccinated relative of his died from COVID-19 after being influenced by anti-vaccine messaging. He’s quoted calling “organized efforts to undermine trust in the vaccines… a deeply evil thing” and “a sin.” He also chastised a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators who harassed health care workers and people waiting in line for vaccinations that led to the vaccination site being shut down. He said on his program, “Listen to this, you idiots. What I care deeply about though is that some of you are scared of getting [the vaccine] because you’ve heard people on the internet lie to you and you don’t know that they’re lying. I don’t care that you don’t want the vaccine, but if you’re out there spreading lies and misinformation and disinformation and willfully undermining people’s trust with a vaccine, I care about that a great deal.”

iHeartMedia Panama City Fills Three Trucks for Hurricane Ida Relief. Staffers at iHeartMedia Panama City and community volunteers worked together on the “iHeartMedia Operation Storm Relief” effort to collect enough items to fill three semi-truck trailers donated by Tarpon Dock Seafood owner Greg Abrams, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. The drive was held at a local Super Walmart on Wednesday (9/1). Two of the trucks are en route to south Louisiana, with the third going early next week. iHeartMedia general manager Darrell Johnson says, “Having been through a category 5 hurricane ourselves less than three years ago, we knew what the folks of South Louisiana needed. Even as our community is still recovering from that natural disaster while also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important for our community to step up and help our Gulf Coast neighbors.” In addition to the supplies, the drive also raised over $10,000 in monetary donations, which was used for purchasing additional critically needed items to fill the third truck for Hurricane Ida victims

NAB’s Gordon Smith to Be Honored with 2021 Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith is this year’s recipient of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award that is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Smith will be presented with the Award at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on October 12 during NAB Show. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Past recipients include: Ajit Pai, Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University Sign Five-Year Broadcast Extension. Chicago news/talk outlet WGN-AM and Northwestern Athletics agree to a five-year broadcast rightsholder extension to keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the station through the 2025-26 seasons. Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio has been the home of the Wildcats since 1996. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Athletics head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins will continue to make frequent appearances on the station’s shows. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “For the past 25 years, WGN Radio has broadcast Northwestern football and men’s basketball and I am thrilled to be extending our partnership for five more years, bringing Chicago’s Big Ten team play-by-play to our Chicago’s Very Own audience. WGN sports director Dave Eanet, who has handled play-by-play duties for Wildcats football since 1990, and basketball since 1996, says, “I’m excited to see our relationship with Northwestern Athletics continue. We’ve had so many great moments: Bowl games, two Big Ten Championship games, the NCAA Tournament, and I know many more thrilling moments are ahead. We look forward to bringing them to WGN Radio listeners for the years to come.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 30 – September 3. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the exit was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about the COVID-19 variants and the vaccines & mask mandates. Coming in at #3 was the greater topic of climate change along with the devastation from Hurricane Ida and the battle to stop the Caldor wildfire in California. 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.

Monday, December 14, 2020

| December 14, 2020

Monday Memo: In 2021, What Does It Mean to be Relevant? Think 2020 was a bender? Consultant Holland Cooke says, “Grab the arm rest!” And in this week’s column, he points to “a silver lining in this year-we’d-like-to-forget: It knocked us out of the business-as-usual mindset.” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Junk. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president Steve Lapa says if many of your 2020 proposals now reside in the “junk” category, now is the time of year to review proposals that sold through and which ones missed. In today’s column, he presents a five-point review of key elements he says should be part of every news/talk proposal you submit to your advertisers and prospects. Read it here.

Key Networks’ Jesse Kelly Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The nationally syndicated Jesse Kelly show will debut on iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston beginning on January 4. Key Networks announces that the news/talk program will air in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot initially, then moving to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart on February 15. Key Networks calls Jesse Kelly “unfiltered and unapologetic.” Kelly says, “Everyone in radio knows about the greatness of WRKO and wants to be there. I’m honored to be there. And I’m sure they’re honored to have me since I’m such a huge important celebrity with a superior brain and community college credits.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “We are delighted to be a part of the great WRKO and bringing Jesse Kelly to the Boston audience. Stations need to make room for the next generation of talk radio. Fresh voice, fresh opinions – it’s time for Jesse Kelly.”

Bold Gold Media Group Raises $30,000-plus for Charity. Pictured above is Bold Gold Media Group general manager Michael G. Stanton on Saturday (12/12) doing his 19th annual Shower for Charity. Stanton spent a little less than two hours showering out in the cold on Main Street in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in order to encourage people to donate to the Wayne County Children’s Christmas Bureau. His goal was $20,000 and despite the pandemic, Stanton and the Bold Gold Team raised more than $30,000! Stanton comments, “The generosity of this community is amazing! Businesses during this pandemic, as well as area residents and individuals from out of state driving by, gave from the heart to help the children in the area have a very Merry Christmas. It is very humbling to see this overwhelming support.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Busy as Ever. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio Network-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root is pictured above left at the White House Christmas party – the fourth one he’s attended. At right is Root with baseball great Pete Rose. Root tells TALKERS that before he became a talk host he was “the king of Vegas sports gambling.” He’s back in that business with Rose (above right) appearing in the radio and TV ads for his new, publicly traded company VegasWINNERS Inc.

SiriusXM Deploys New Satellite. Yesterday (12/13), SiriusXM Satellite Radio successfully launched a new satellite. SXM-7 was built by Maxar Technologies and launched by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Shortly afterward, SXM-7 deployed its solar arrays and began receiving and sending signals. Next, SXM-7 will begin firing its thrusters to commence its journey to its final geostationary orbit. SiriusXM SVP of satellite and repeater systems engineering and operations Bridget Neville says, “SXM-7 plays an important role in bolstering the continuity and reliable delivery of SiriusXM’s audio entertainment, as well as our traffic, weather, data and information services for years to come. With the addition of SXM-7, our satellite-delivered service coverage area in North America is larger and more powerful than ever before. We congratulate our engineering team, Maxar, and SpaceX on a successful launch.”

Trump Election Challenges/Protest Violence/Electoral College, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccine Rollout, Stimulus Negotiations, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Georgia Senate Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Cleveland to Drop ‘Indians’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing challenge of the election results by Donald Trump, the violence at the Washington, DC protests, and today’s Electoral College vote; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-Christmas spikes; the rollout of COVID vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over a new stimulus package; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing former aid Lindsey Boylan; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration transition; and the MLB’s Cleveland Indians announce plans to drop “Indians” as their name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7” names Chris Booker afternoon drive personality. Lisa Worden is program director for KYSR and vice president of rock and alternative for iHeartMedia and she says, “Our paths have crossed for many years – mostly at The 1975 shows – and we finally found the perfect opportunity to work together. Chris is a pro with a knack for entertaining and a huge passion for alternative rock music. He’s a perfect fit for ‘ALT 98.7,’ and I could not be more excited for him to join the team!” Booker was most recently afternoon drive personality at Entercom’s alternative WNYL-FM, New York. In the past he’s held several roles in the television industry, including as commentator and host for VH1 where he was featured on more than 50 shows including the “Greatest Ever” series and the “I Love The…” series…..Air personality Tamo Sein joins iHeartMedia’s alternative WWDC, Washington “DC101” as host of the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. She has been serving as weekend and fill-in host at the station since July of this year. Previously, she was midday host at the company’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr, host of Key Networks’ nationally syndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country” program hosted a successful virtual fundraising event for charity, “Soup for the Soul,” benefiting Bridge to Home that raised more than $110,000 through a live auction and sponsorships. Bridge to Home helps individuals and families in Santa Clarita Valley, California transition out of homelessness. Featured performers for the evening included GRAMMY and ACM-nominated double platinum country artist Cam, Broadway star and recording artist Rachel Potter, ACM-nominated country trio Runaway June, and Nashville singer/songwriter Kenny Foster.