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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

| February 16, 2021

WABC, New York Owner John Catsimatidis ‘Very Close’ to Deciding to Run for Mayor of NYC. On yesterday’s “Bernie and Sid in the Morning” program on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, company CEO John Catsimatidis said “we’re very close to deciding” on whether he’ll run for mayor of New York this year. Catsimatidis has been teasing his potential second run for mayor – he ran as a Republican in 2013 and lost in the primary. He told the New York Post he’s a Republican-Liberal candidate. “The progressive flank of the Democratic Party seems to be controlling common-sense Democrats through fear and intimidation. I stand by my belief that the so-called Progressive movement is actually REGRESSIVE, taking our city back 30 years. I love this city and I want to be able to help it, but I have to resolve things with my company, and I have to resolve things with my family.”  On the “Bernie and Sid” program, he said, “We want to go back to being the best city in the world, an international city that can create jobs.” 77 WABC notes that there are 41 candidates running in the city’s June 22 primary race. In addition to owning WABC, Catsimatidis hosts the 5:00 pm “Cats at Night” program as well as the Sunday morning show, “The Cats Roundtable.” It’s worth noting that WABC early afternoon talk host Curtis Sliwa is also considering a run for mayor as a Republican.

‘The Dana Show’ Adds New Affiliate Stations. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program “The Dana Show” – hosted by Dana Loesch – adds a number of new stations to its affiliate roster. Adding the show to their program schedules are: Tiger Communications’ WQSI-FM, Auburn, Alabama; Entercom’s WSKY-FM, Gainesville, Florida; Cumberland Broadcasting Company’s WCBC-AM, Cumberland, Maryland; Vernon R. Baldwin’s WMOH-AM, Hamilton, Ohio; KSBN Radio’s KSBN-AM, Spokane; VP Broadcasting’s WHOL-AM/W295CR Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Grace Broadcasting Services’ WTJS-FM, Jackson, Tennessee.

Matthew Volk Joins Entercom as Vice President of Sports. Sports programming pro Matthew Volk is named vice president of sports for Entercom. He was most recently vice president of content strategy for NBC Sports Washington. In his new role with Entercom, Volk will collaborate with national and market-level leadership to create and manage the integration of existing and new sports and sports-betting content and partnerships across the company’s broadcast, podcast, and on-demand sports audio portfolio. He will also be charged with expanding on Entercom’s sports betting content through the expansion of the BetQL Audio Network and additional broadcast and digital concepts. Volk will report to Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano while also collaborating with the QL Gaming Group and the digital editorial team on multi-platform concepts to reach sports betting fans. He will also partner with sales leadership on the development of programs, features and sponsorship opportunities. About his new position, Volk says, “This is an incredible opportunity to build on the core assets of Entercom’s sports brands and its broadcast pipes to drive its premier content both locally and nationally across digital, editorial, audio, video and betting content on all platforms. Our multiplatform first approach will enable us to leverage our market-leading talent, programs and access to bring our fans all of the content they crave on the devices they choose.”

Jasmine M. Johnson Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Milwaukee. Sales pro Jasmine M. Johnson joins iHeartMedia Milwaukee to serve as vice president of sales for the cluster that includes news/talk WISN-AM, sports talk duo WRNW “97.3 The Game” and WOKY “The Big 920” and four music brands. In this role, Johnson will be responsible for leading multi-cultural initiatives for broadcast, digital and iHeartRadio customers across the region. She will report to Nathan Tonarelli, SVP of sales for iHeartMedia Milwaukee. Prior to joining iHeartMedia, she served with Walgreens, Pfizer Inc., and ManpowerGroup. Her first gig after college was as an intern with the company’s hip hop WKKV “V100.” She says, “This for me is a full circle moment. To return to the company that gave me my first start – from an intern to my first job post-undergrad – as vice president of sales leading such an iconic brand in our community and serving such a loyal listenership base is a gift.”

TALKERS News Notes. Radio programming pro Jon Goulet joins VSiN, “The Sports Betting Network,” in the newly created position of program director. Goulet comes to VSiN from FOX Sports where he was executive producer for “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” His role with VSiN includes overseeing the network’s growing slate of sports betting podcasts and continuing to build out its broadcast radio footprint. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger says, “Jon is one of the most respected names in radio and we’re thrilled to benefit from his industry experience and relationships as we continue to grow our audio capabilities. As the leader in the sports betting audio space, adding Jon will allow us to strengthen our podcast network and both improve and expand our offerings for broadcast radio.”…..News radio pro Jerry Barmash is producing and hosting the podcast, “Here Now the News.” Barmash has worked in news anchor roles at news/talk WABC and business news WBBR-AM in New York. He tells TALKERS magazine, “My podcast ‘Here Now the News’ was born out of my previous digital reporting work for WABC. When the pandemic hit, I started posting stories with additional video content for the website. The podcast focuses on current events with newsmakers from around the country. Since starting in October, guests have included Anthony Scaramucci, former New York Governor David Paterson and television personality Bob Eubanks…..Cox Media Group Tulsa radio stations, including news/talk KRMG-FM are partnering with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to help “Spread the Love.” The company says the annual drive to collect peanut butter and jelly is more crucial than ever this year, as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced more people to rely on assistance in feeding their families. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “It is startling to hear that one in three children in our communities are unsure from where their next meal is coming. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is doing some heavy lifting to keep people fed during such uncertain times, and we are happy to pitch in and encourage our listeners to help.”

Trump Acquittal Aftermath/State of the GOP, Capitol Riot Commission, Stimulus Bill Negotiations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The political climate in Washington, DC in the wake of Saturday’s acquittal of Donald Trump and the state of the Republican Party; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises an independent commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot; the negotiations in Congress over Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill; the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; and the freezing winter weather affecting much of the country and paralyzing parts of the South were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

| February 4, 2021

Round Four of Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The 2020 election aftermath created news and controversy that largely kept news/talk listeners tuned to their favorite stations during the month of December, a period that typically reflects lower 6+ weekly AQH share for talk stations due to Christmas music listening and altered listening habits due to the holiday season. Although Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis lost more than two full shares from the December to the Holiday surveys (10.0 – 7.6), it still finished as the #2 station in the market. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM finished in the #3 spot on the strength of an 8.2 share and Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ-AM wrapped the Holiday survey with a 6.0 share good for the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence dipped just one-tenth to a 5.4 share but rises to the #4 spot. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville slid from #1 to #2 after losing 1.6 shares to finish the month with an 8.4 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.

Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay to Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. On the heels of the promotion of Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier to the afternoon drive daypart, Entercom announces that Washington, DC sports media pros Brian Mitchell (right) and JP Finlay (left) are the new midday co-hosts. Mitchell – who played 10 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Washington Football Team – served for years as a host on Entercom’s recently acquired WTEM “980 The Team.” He also serves as an analyst on NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team pre-game and post-game coverage. Finlay has been NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team beat reporter since 2016, and created and hosted the “Washington Football Talk Podcast.” Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay are two of the most high-profile, opinionated, and respected sports voices in the DC area. True friends off the air, ‘BMitch’ and JP’s show will feature natural chemistry, great sports information and opinion, and a lot of fun.”

New WTEM, Washington “980 The Team” Schedule Revealed. Concurrent with the story above regarding Brian Mitchell’s move to WJFK-FM, Entercom announces the new weekday program schedule for recently acquired sister sports talk station WTEM-AM “980 The Team” that goes into effect on Monday (2/8). Joining the station is Washington and Baltimore sports media pro Travis Thomas who will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Thomas most recently hosted “DC Sports Live” and “Wizards Extra” on NBC Sports Washington, as well as a Saturday afternoon radio show on “106.7 The Fan.” Reese Waters is the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. He hosted “Get Up DC” for WUSA-TV since 2017 before transitioning to a new nightly show this month. He was previously a correspondent for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and a host on the Versus network. For afternoon drive, market pros Chris Russell and Pete Medhurst join together for the “Russell and Medhurst” program. Russell has appeared in a variety of roles for “106.7 The Fan” and “980 The Team” since 2009 and is Sports Illustrated’s Washington Football Team correspondent. Medhurst joined “106.7 The Fan” as an update anchor in 2009 and has been the station’s primary fill-in host, Nationals post-game show host and fill-in play-by-play talent. Longtime market pro Kevin Sheehan remains in morning drive joined by a rotating cast of contributors.

Cumulus Media San Francisco Exec Doug Harvill to Retire. Radio executive Doug Harvill announces that he will retire from his vice president and market manager position with Cumulus Media’s San Francisco cluster – news/talk KGO-AM, news/talk KSFO-AM, sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, and classic rock KSAN-FM – on May 14. Harvill’s 46-year radio career includes spending the past 24 leading station groups in San Francisco and Sacramento. Harvill comments, “I’m leaving a wonderful and satisfying career in an industry I’ve wanted to be a part of since I was a kid. Local radio has been and continues to be a tremendous and enriching experience, but I’ve achieved my goals and exceeded my dreams. Whoever steps into the market manager role at Cumulus San Francisco is going to inherit a tremendous team of professionals and lead some of the most legendary radio stations in broadcast history.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner states, “Doug Harvill has had an amazing career in our industry and I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him these past three years. His talents run deep and he has helped so many grow and flourish in radio over the years. Congratulations, Doug – we wish you the very best in the next chapter of your life!”

Emmis Promotes James Connor to VP of Sales for Indianapolis. Rising to the vice president of sales position at Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis cluster is James Connor. He takes over for Taja Graham, who was elevated to market president last month. Connor will oversee sales efforts for news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” plus adult contemporary WYXB “B105,” country WLHK “Hank FM,” and Network Indiana. Graham says, “We are fortunate to have James’ expertise as a GM with a track record of maintaining positive cash flow and delivering creative client solutions. James’ focus on details has helped us in the restructuring of our sales force and optimizing of our inventory, which has resulted in higher market share. He is a well-known and a well-respected figure in Indiana radio, and I’m thrilled he will be leading our sales efforts.” Connor spent 20 years in Terre Haute, leading the former Emmis stations there first in sales and then as general manager, before returning to Indianapolis in 2017 to continue with Emmis when the Terre Haute Emmis cluster was sold. He has been serving as general sales manager of the Indianapolis cluster and as general manager of Network Indiana since early 2017. He will retain the title of general manager for Network Indiana. He comments, “I’m excited to lead the most dedicated, talented sales team in Indiana radio. I have tremendous respect for Taja, who has positioned us for enduring success, and I know the transition will be seamless as we continue to grow our market share despite the global challenges the pandemic presents.”

Roe Conn and Richard Roeper Partner for New Podcast. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are getting back together to host a new podcast backed by the global digital agency AmericanEagle.com. That company recently built state-of-the-art studios at its world headquarters in suburban Des Plaines where the podcast will be recorded. The “Roe and Roeper” program will be produced twice weekly with new episodes on Tuesday and Thursday focusing on pop culture and current events. Feder quotes Roeper saying, “We’ll have new shows covering pop culture, movies, TV, streaming shows, sports, and interviews with major filmmakers and actors every Tuesday and Thursday, with the goal of expanding to a daily podcast later in 2021.” The two first teamed up together co-hosting afternoon drive at WLS-AM, Chicago in 2010. Conn recently exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM after a five-year stint. Roeper is a long-time film critic for the Sun-Times and contributes to WLS-TV. AmericanEagle.com CEO Tony Svanascini says, “It’s fitting a long-time client like Richard Roeper is part of the first podcast launched from AmericanEagle.com Studios. He and Roe Conn are true talents that will bring their unique sense of humor and wit to what I’m sure will be an extremely popular podcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” personality Mike Rhyner is moving into the video streaming space via VOKAL Media Inc where he’ll host a program called “Your Dark Companion.” VOKAL says, “This weekly series features Rhyner’s musings and tales covering a wide range of topics and a variety of guests including Rangers general manager Chris Young and Dallas Morning News reporter David Moore, to name a few.” Rhyner says, “‘Your Dark Companion’ is a show I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. Streaming is the wave of the future, so when I saw the technology that VOKAL has developed I knew this is what I wanted to do. I look forward to engaging with my audience again and working with the great team at VOKAL.” The first episode premieres on February 11 at 5:00 pm CT…..iHeartMedia and the Clinton Foundation announce a new podcast hosted by President Bill Clinton titled, “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” The first episode, “How Jazz Explains Democracy” with guest Wynton Marsalis, drops today (2/4). iHeartMedia says each episode will feature Clinton’s “wide range of interests and well-known intellectual curiosity through conversations and stories with some of the most interesting people he knows about the ideas and issues that shape our interconnected world.”…..ESPN is reporting that its podcasts experienced strong growth in 2020, with downloads growing 28% to nearly half a billion. ESPN senior director, digital audio programming Pete Gianesini says, “It was another big year for ESPN Podcasts, yet another with new records and offerings. As sports return to their customary place on the calendar, we expect our momentum to continue.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Les Levine, who passed away recently at the age of 74 after complications from diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease. Levine began his sports media work handling play-by-play at WHK, Akron. He later started hosting his own sports talk show on WTAM-AM (then WWWE) following Ohio State games and Indians ballgames. Later he developed the “More Sports & Les Levine” program that was heard on WERE and WHK. The program later moved to local television. Most recently, Levine was hosting his program on Cleveland.com and was handling fill-in work at Entercom’s sports talk WKRK-FM “92.3 The Fan.”

THE ABCs of GAMESTOP MADNESS: Cybercrime Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Law professor Steve Weisman of Bentley University in Boston, founder of the groundbreaking website Scamicide.com, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Weisman provide a basic overview of the situation that led up to the events last week that rocked Wall Street by exposing just how vulnerable the stock market is to the manipulation of bad actors on social media, shady rigging by the big players, and the stark shortcomings of algorithms that dominate the second-to-second decisions that drive prices up and down – often without any regard for the actual value of companies based on their actual merits. According to Weisman, this is a very dangerous set of circumstances that threatens to create a disastrous situation potentially worse than the events of 2008. Harrison states, “I am not an expert on the stock market, and I suspect by the way that this story is being covered in the media that most reporters, commentators, and talk show hosts aren’t either. Nor am I a big fan of investing in markets I don’t reasonably understand, and I am even more averse to the idea of gambling – which I suspect is the basis of much of today’s Wall Street trading on the part of small, individual investors. So I turned to one of my most valued resources and go-to guys in the media – respected attorney Steve Weisman – for a point-by-point explanation about just what the hell is going on regarding this story and its meaning to our nation’s wealth, economy, and financial stability… not to mention what it says about the state of our values and ethics.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Biden-GOP Stimulus Negotiations, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, GOP on Cheney and Greene, Social Media and Censorship, Deadly Florida FBI Raid, Putin Jailing Critics/Navalny Sentenced, Morgan Wallen Dropped by Label & Radio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The negotiations between the Joe Biden administration and GOP leadership over a new stimulus package; the looming Donald Trump impeachment trial; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; Republican leadership in Congress deals with the attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; complaints from conservatives that they are being censored by Big Tech; the deaths of two FBI agents and wounding of three others in a Florida investigation into child porn; Vladimir Putin increases the arrests of his critics and Alexei Navalny is sentenced to two years in prison; and country artist Morgan Wallen is dropped by his record label and many U.S. radio stations for a racial slur incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.