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Thursday, May 12, 2022

| May 12, 2022

Michele Tafoya Joins Salem Podcast Network. National sports media figure Michele Tafoya is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network to host a new podcast titled, “Sideline Sanity.” The former NBC Sports sideline reporter’s new show – focusing “life, politics, and world news” will be produced four times per week, beginning on May 23. Tafoya’s broadcasting career includes a lot of radio in addition to her TV work. She served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk “KFAN,” hosted afternoon drive on Audacy’s WCCO-AM, and worked alongside morning star Tom Barnard at Cumulus Media’s KQRS-FM. She says, “I’m thrilled to launch my first podcast with the Salem Podcast Network. It’s exciting to join the chorus of talented Salem voices discussing the historic issues facing America and the world.” Salem Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson comments, “I cannot wait for the rest of the country to get to know Minnesota’s own Michele Tafoya beyond her successful years of reporting from the sidelines. She’s full of insight, passionate about her platform, and she’s ready to speak her mind. And Salem Media-Twin Cities is eager to help as we produce her podcast for a national audience and look forward to working with her locally as opportunities arise.” Tafoya announced her retirement from NBC Sports in February of this year and has joined the campaign of Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls as campaign co-chair.

 

David ‘Mad Dog’ DeMarco to Exit ‘The Game’ in Lansing After 26 Years. Sports talk personality David “Mad Dog” DeMarco is leaving his role as afternoon drive host on Townsquare Media’s WVFN, Lansing, Michigan after tomorrow’s program, capping a 26-year sports talk career in the market. According to a story in the Lansing State Journal, DeMarco began his sports talk gig in 1996 as part of “The Sports Guys” on WVFN. For four years in the early aughts, the “Mad Dog & Company” show aired on crosstown WQTX-FM, returning to WVFN in 2007. For the past 12 years, DeMarco has been selling for the station, as well. He says, “I had to be like Clark Kent and then go into sales mode and hit the streets as a salesman. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They just think that I did the show for three hours and I go home and smoke cigarettes and get high and stuff. I had to really buckle down and be disciplined that I was going to do this. And I did. It’s not even ratings anymore. It’s how much money that you can bring in. It’s like the mafia — you’re an earner is what you are. And if you can’t earn, you’re not going to be around.”

 

Edison: Comedy Top Podcast Genre for First Quarter of 2022. According to data from Edison Research’s Edison Podcast Metrics, the top podcast genre in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022 was comedy. This list of podcast genres is based on weekly audience size. (Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+.) The list of the Top 10 Genres for Q1 2022 is: 1) Comedy, 2) News, 3) Society and Culture, 4) True Crime, 5) Sports, 6) TV and Film, 7) Business, 8) Arts, 9) Religion and Spirituality, and 10) Education. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche comments, “As advertisers increasingly seek to target podcast listeners, it becomes more important to understand the appeal of various genres in the space.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. There’s special programming available from ABC Audio for the coming Memorial Day weekend. ABC News Radio will present, “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Alex Stone. The program reports on America’s heroes, including those who lost their lives serving their country and individuals performing good deeds at home. It features Katersky’s interviews with Gold Star families who lost loved ones last summer in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew its troops. The special also shines a light on COVID-19’s toll on the country as well as the resilience of Americans trying to emerge from the pandemic and recover from the past two years…..WNYC Studios announces that Kenya Young is appointed to the newly created position of SVP, WNYC Studios – part of New York Public Radio. In this position, Young will oversee a portfolio that includes “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry,” “The United States of Anxiety with Kai Wright,” “Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale,” “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience,” and the “Blindspot” series co-produced with HISTORY. Young was most recently managing editor for collaborative journalism at NPR. Young will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for WNYC Studios’ portfolio of podcasts, and leading and supporting the teams developing and producing shows. In partnership with Emily Botein, VP, original programming, she will manage and grow current Studios productions and build out WNYC Studios new documentary unit devoted to producing longform nonfiction audio works…..Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal “Save Democracy” Tour 2022  will make a Los Angeles appearance at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Joining Miller will be Hal Sparks, Frangela, and John Fugelsang on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 pm for an evening of standup comedy and special guests. Miller says, “We have a lot of work ahead of us supporting the Democratic agenda that moves all of America forward by delivering an even bigger majority to Capitol Hill.”…..“The Regular Joe Show,” hosted by Joe Giganti and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network, adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD, Albuquerque adds the program to air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and WPA Radio LLC’s KTLR-AM/K279CR, Oklahoma City is now airing two hours of the program daily. Giganti says, “These are exciting opportunities to bring our upbeat, witty take on some of the most pressing and challenging issues of the day. I think it’s so important to maintain your ability to laugh and have a little fun, especially when tackling some of the heavier hot topics – perhaps now, more than ever.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The high cost of food and gasoline, the roiling stock market & plunging value of cryptocurrency, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and Putin’s warning to Finland over plans to joins NATO; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

| April 21, 2022

Bill O’ Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform news/talk media star and best-selling author Bill O’ Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” O’ Reilly’s 40-plus year career has been colorful, controversial, and continues to be consequential. After gaining prominence as an anchor for the mainstream TV networks ABC and CBS, he served as host of the groundbreaking celebrity gossip entertainment-industry show, “Inside Edition,” and then evolved into politics going on to be the top-rated host at FOX News Channel for approximately two decades. Today, his short-form commentaries, syndicated by Key Networks, are heard on hundreds of news/talk radio stations across the nation and he’s currently in the process of launching a new nightly, long-form syndicated program titled, “No Spin News.” Harrison and O’ Reilly discuss the state and future of modern era news/talk media in addition to looking back at what it was like for the independent-minded talker to co-host and partner with former President Donald Trump on his recent four-city “History Tour.” Be sure to meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2022 conference at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.

 

Sean Hannity Becomes Longest-Running Primetime Cable News Host. According to FOX News Channel, primetime superstar Sean Hannity notches another industry milestone as he tops the late Larry King to assume the mantle of the longest-running primetime cable news host in U.S. television history. Today (4/21), marks 25 consecutive years, six months, and 15 days at the helm of a primetime cable news program – beating King’s run on CNN. Hannity has been a staple of FNC’s primetime lineup since the launch of the network in 1996. He was co-host of “Hannity & Colmes (with the late Alan Colmes) that debuted on October 7, 1996. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “Sean’s authenticity and insightful commentary have created one of the most enduring connections with our audience and it’s been an honor to watch him over the years. A FOX News original, he has helped innovate the industry, and we are incredibly proud of his extraordinary success.” Hannity comments, “I am extremely grateful to FOX News Media and to our loyal, dedicated viewers whom I am proud to serve every night.”

 

WHAM/WSYR Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Pens Blog Post About Personal Mental Health. Longtime WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry’s April 20 post to his blog reveals a man searching for help to deal with mental health issues he confesses have plagued him his entire life. The blog doesn’t go into specific detail about his own struggles but does document to some degree his family history of mental illness, especially that which tormented his mother for most of her life. He begins the post saying, “This column is not intended to elicit sympathy or be seen as courageous. Not by any means. It is rather a report on the final desperate action of a man who has destroyed the lives of his family, hurt countless other individuals, failed at his religion, and probably devolved from narcissist to sociopath. This isn’t pretty or sweet, but neither is it manipulative or attention seeking. It’s just a column. Please, leave me the delusion that I’m a writer. And if me being nuts makes you more comfortable asking if you might be nuts, too, and maybe need some help, too, then good. That’s the point.” Read the blog post here.

 

Round Two of March PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s March 2022 sweep covered March 3 – March 30. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM jumps 1.4 shares for an 8.7 share (6+, weekly AQH share) finish and climbs to the #2 rank, while Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM slips two-tenths for a 3.9 share finish good for the #10 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston continues its ascent, tacking on 1.1 shares to wrap the survey with a 4.7 share and the #8 rank, while sister all-news WBZ-FM slides seven-tenths to a 5.5 share and the #6 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM remains on top posting a 7.4 share to stay ranked #1. The talk in St. Louis is dominated by Audacy as heritage news/talk KMOX finishes with a 3.6 share, after shedding two-tenths, and remains ranked #11, while sister talker KFTK-FM drops eight-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.

 

Meghan Ottolini Joins WEEI-FM, Boston’s ‘Merloni & Fauria’ Show. Boston sports media personality Meghan Ottolini is getting an expanded role on sports talk WEEI-FM’s “Merloni & Fauria” afternoon drive program, effective May 4. She’s been serving as a part-time host on the show since January of 2021. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Mike Thomas says, “Meghan is a rising star in this industry, and we are very excited to have her join ‘Merloni & Fauria’ each afternoon. Writing is a passion of Meghan’s and she will be able to continue to do that for our station’s website, enabling her to create can’t-miss content for Boston sports fans – both on air and online.” Ottolini most recently served as a multimedia reporter for the Boston Herald since 2017. Additionally, she was an on-air talent for NBC Sports Boston’s “Quick Slants” television program. She comments, “I’m thrilled to join WEEI and work alongside Lou [Merloni] and Christian [Fauria] delivering premier sports talk coverage in the best sports city in the country. This opportunity is such a privilege and I look forward to having a lot of fun in this next chapter of my career.”

 

The TALKERS magazine 2022 Heavy Hundred of Talk Radio Hosts is Published. The 2022 edition of TALKERS magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – also known as the Heavy Hundred – has been published. Since the early 1990s, TALKERS editors – with input from industry leaders – have compiled this annual feature created to recognize the hard-working talk radio personalities in America. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says of this 2022 edition, “Creating the Heavy Hundred is always a challenging task for our editorial staff. Our use of both hard and soft factors in evaluating candidates for the list only adds to the difficulty in selecting the “most important” radio talk show hosts, but it’s a project that allows us to really get a big-picture look at the key players in this format and it’s something that we take very seriously. Congratulations to all of the talk radio personalities who are recognized on this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

 

FOX News Digital Top Performer in Multiplatform Minutes for March. According to the Comscore data for the month of March, FOX News Digital finished as the top-performing news brand in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes. FOX News Digital says this marks its fourth consecutive quarter ranking as number one in the category in the news competitive set. FOX News Digital delivered 3.5 billion total multiplatform minutes, topping closest rival CNN.com (3.35 billion). For the first quarter of 2022 (Jan.-Mar.), FOX News Digital delivered 9.2 billion total multiplatform minutes versus CNN.com’s 7.85 billion. However, In the multiplatform unique visitors metric, CNN.com was far and away on top with 136.3 million compared to FOX News Digital’s 79.2 million for March. For the first quarter, CNN.com’s multiplatform unique visitors total was 147.9 million to FOX News Digital’s 85.3 million.

 

Radio Pros Launch New Consulting Firm. The new firm is called the Smith Richards Collective and is being launched by radio executives Steve Smith and Tim Richards and digital marketing strategist Heidi McIvor-Allen. The organization says it “brings deep radio operations, programming, and digital marketing experience to radio stations and groups, with a fresh approach and innovative strategies to help stations grow their audience and revenues, while saving money.” It adds that in addition to podcast and radio talent coaching services, the Smith Richards Collective offers full-service white glove consulting for radio stations and groups, as well as an embedded full-service digital marketing agency, McIvor Marketing, which offers stations and groups a full spectrum of digital resources and support.

 

Salem New York’s ‘The Answer’ to Produce ‘The Salem Business Breakfast.’ Next Wednesday (4/27) Salem Media Group’s news/talk WNYM-AM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” is presenting “The Salem Business Breakfast” at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. It takes place from 6:00 am to 10:00 am as Joe Piscopo broadcasts the morning show live. An interactive business panel discussion will be moderated by attorney and AM 970 The Answer personality Arthur Aidala that will include: Bernie Kerik, former NYPD Police Commissioner; Steve Perillo, president & owner of Perillo Tours; Ace Watanasuparp, national director of strategic sales at Citizens Bank Home Mortgage Division & founder of Chase Restaurant Group; Jason Greene, vice president of Magniflood INC; and Melanie Landano, founder & owner of Mel’s Butcher Box.

 

TALKERS News Notes. New York City Audacy radio stations are airing the podcast episodes hosted by WCBS-FM personality Patty Steele for which she won a 2022 Gracie Award in the category National Podcast – Lifestyle Limited Series. The program is titled “The Deep 6” and the episodes that will be aired on April 24 at 6:00 am consist of her interview with her 26-year-old son Jake about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Steele, a mother of three,  reveals her struggle through the ordeal that simultaneously occurred with her breast cancer diagnosis. With five years of sobriety under his belt, Jake and his mom decided it was time to make their story public with the hope of helping others. Steele comments, “It’s important that we take the stigma away from addiction issues and talk openly about what is truly affecting our children. I’m so grateful that Jake and I are in such a good place that we’re able to share our journey.” WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach states, “Patty’s conversation with her son is heartbreaking, inspiring, life-affirming, and compelling. It is one of the most important podcasts to come along in a very long time. What makes it so powerful is its authenticity. You can feel the pain and unrelenting love for her son on this very personal journey. Patty is brave beyond words to share and explore all that has happened and because her story could be any parent’s story, every parent will find a part of themselves in it.”…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallager(left) with 16-time WWE World Champion wrestler Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair (right). Gallagher bumped into Flair while taking his first “maskless” flight since the pandemic began in 2020…..Audacy is conducting 45 volunteer events nationwide to celebrate Earth Day as part of its 1Day1Thing Sustainability Initiative. The series of events, which will engage employees across the company, aim to make a positive impact on the communities in which the company serves and the planet. Projects including tree planting, park and waterway cleanups, recycling projects and habitat restoration, among others. Audacy director of sustainability Jaimie Field says, “We pride ourselves on our relentless commitment to supporting the health and success of the communities that are at the heart of our business, and we’re thrilled to unite our teams across the country to do some good for our planet. Sustainability is a focal point of our Audacy Serves initiative, and we’re looking forward to leveraging these actions this Earth Day to make a lasting impact on our environment, both today and for generations to come.”…..Good Karma Brands president Steve Politziner has been inducted into the 45th class of the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Each year, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission recognizes an elite group of individuals who have made major impacts to the Palm Beach County sports landscape. By bringing ESPN to the market through the power of radio, TV and events, he helped shape Palm Beach County’s sports identity, created a home for sports fans and has provided coverage to the great sports stories, teams and athletes that make up the community.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Netflix Crash/Financial Markets/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, DeSantis vs Disney, College Debt Forgiveness, COVID-19, Macron-Le Pen Race, and Arizona Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its ICBM test and threat of nuclear weapons use; the crash of Netflix’s stock, its effect on the financial markets and the broader issue of high gas and food prices; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushes legislation to strip Disney of its decades-old special district benefit; the Biden administration’s move to provide 50,000 students with college debt forgiveness; the ruling that cancels the air travel mask mandate and the BA.2 variant; the tight race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for president of France; and the raging Arizona wildfire were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 12, 2021

| February 12, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Shock President,” looks back at this past week of February 8-12, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Brittany Jennings, commentator, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Mark Kaye Transitions to News/Talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Full Time. Jacksonville radio personality Mark Kaye is leaving his on-air role at Cox Media Group’s CHR WAPE-FM on “The Big Ape Morning Mess” to focus on his talk program on sister news/talk WOKV-FM. He’ll do his final show on WAPE with co-host Meghan Lane on February 19. Lane will continue to host the WAPE morning show solo while the search for a new co-host is mounted. Kaye began hosting a talk show on WOKV in December of 2017 and it was expanded to its current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on January of 2019. CMG VP audience & content Tim Clarke says, “Mark is one of the most creative and ambitious people I know and his continuous evolution as a media personality is truly impressive. I truly believe that the ‘Mark Kaye Show’ represents the future of the spoken word format – entertaining and informative with an aesthetic that resonates and appeals to all generations. This represents CMG’s continued investment in creating new and innovative content to serve our audiences and communities.”

Beasley Names Blaine Jackson Digital PD. At the Augusta, Georgia operations of Bealsey Media Group, Blaine Jackson is named digital program director for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands. Jackson comes to Beasley from her most recent position as program director and afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown country outlet WLUB-FM. Beasley Media Group vice president of brand strategies and Augusta/Fayetteville regional operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “We are thrilled to have Blaine join our Augusta team. Her passion for radio and our digital direction make her the perfect fit for our stations.”

Bloomberg Radio Prepared to Present Special Programming This Weekend. The Bloomberg Radio Network announces that is has “an army of reporters, producers, and anchors standing by over the weekend” to produce special programming in the event that former President Donald Trump is convicted in his impeachment trial. The trial could conclude earlier than expected, with a vote among Senate jurors to acquit or convict taking place as soon as Saturday. Bloomberg Radio Network anchors Nathan Hager and Amy Morris would anchor special coverage. Reporter Kevin Cirilli is prepared to report from Washington, DC. In the meantime, Bloomberg’s team of Washington, DC reporters is being made available to its affiliates for two-ways. If you are interested in learning about becoming a Bloomberg Radio Network, contact Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green at: dennis@keynetworks.com.

Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon Adds Chicago and Seattle Affiliates. Nationally syndicated late-night talk radio legend Jim Bohannon is now heard in Chicago on Nextstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM and in Seattle on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM. The Westwood One program is now be heard on more than 275 stations. Bohannon, a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, just marked his 28th anniversary as host of the Jim Bohannon Show on Westwood One. He comments, “I’m very gratified to be adding two legendary sets of call letters – WGN, Chicago and KOMO, Seattle—to the Jim Bohannon Show family of stations. What a perfect way to cap my recent 28th anniversary hosting this nationwide evening chat. Thanks to our wonderful affiliates coast to coast and our fine listeners, without whom I’d merely have an expensive hobby.”

iHeartMedia St. Louis Names John Beck Market President. Radio management pro John Beck is named market president for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis radio cluster that includes “Black Information Network BIN 103.7” and nine music brands. Beck was most recently with Emmis Communications as SVP of its St. Louis stations. iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Tony Coles says, “John is one of the most respected leaders in St. Louis. His track record of success, reputation for building a winning culture, and his deep roots in both the media and advertising communities are only a few of the many reasons we are thrilled to have John leading our team.”

WSCR-AM, Chicago Renews with Chicago Cubs. Chicago sports talk station WSCR-AM “670 The Score” and the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement to continue their relationship with “The Score” serving as the team’s flagship radio station. As part of the deal, Entercom will manage the Cubs Radio Network that includes 30 stations across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “I am beyond thrilled to be extending our partnership with the Cubs organization, establishing ‘670 The Score’ as home of Cubs baseball for years to come. We have never been more excited for baseball season and for Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer to bring the sights and sounds of Wrigley Field to life for Chicagoland listeners, who can hear all of the action on their radio and, for the first time, for free on the RADIO.com mobile app and via home smart speakers.”

Sports USA Inks NHL Deal. A new agreement between Sports USA and NBC Sports will allow the former to present live play-by-play coverage of the National Hockey League for the 2020-21 regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sports USA’s first game broadcasts will be the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe at Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We are excited to present the NHL to fans nationwide through this partnership with NBC Sports and are pleased that Sports USA continues to expand its overall sports coverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Steve Kastenbaum is hosting the new podcast “New York Gritty,” a Blue Desk Productions program that looks at life in New York City during the pandemic. The show “explores the resiliency and hope of New Yorkers in a time of crisis. Will they find a way to bring their city back from the brink of economic disaster, or has New York been irreversibly changed?” The 10-episode series begins February 16 and is executive produced by broadcast and digital media executive Andrew Kalb. Kastenbaum says, “As a third generation native Brooklynite, I’ve watched New York bounce back from many crises. ‘’ve always been inspired by the tenacity and perseverance of my fellow New Yorkers as they’ve soldiered on, regardless of the challenge. I love telling the stories of the individual New Yorkers who make this the best city in the world.”…..Westwood One’s “The Stacking Benjamins Show” recently dropped its 1,000thepisode and to celebrate this milestone, host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman are featuring many friends from the financial community and are sharing a monster list of their favorite books and resources. Since 2012, the program’s goal has been to use “the science of play to make finance more approachable, interesting, and fun. While some podcasts hope to be the final expert in the chain of money lessons, ‘The Stacking Benjamins Show’ aims to introduce listeners to the broad spectrum of fantastic ideas, concepts, and technologies available that can help lock in a better financial future.”…..The KIRO-FM, Seattle-produced podcast “Your Last Meal” – a James Beard Award finalist for Best Podcast – is celebrating 100 delicious episodes! Rachel Belle (right) hosts the program in which she interviews a celebrity about what they would choose to eat for their last meal and then digs into the history, science and culture of that dish with experts from around the globe. For this 100th episode, Belle welcomes three, 100-year-old women to the show to share their extraordinary lives, their favorite foods, and the secret to a long, happy life: red wine and “keeping your own teeth.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One drops “The Kurt Angle Show” on Sunday (2/14) hosted by with Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle and veteran podcast host Conrad Thompson. Angle says, “I’m so excited to be doing ‘The Kurt Angle Show’ podcast in partnership with Westwood One. I will be talking about my life, my career in Olympic and pro wrestling, and my struggles with addiction. Listeners will also hear fascinating stories firsthand from my guests. My hope is this podcast not only inspires but teaches others to not make the mistakes I’ve made and to go after their own goals and dreams. This is my opportunity to give back to my fans, the people who have stuck with me through good and bad times. Gonna be epic. It’s true.”

Nexstar Appoints Lori Tavoularis Chief Revenue Office for Digital Division. Sales pro Lori Tavoularis is promoted to chief revenue officer and EVP of revenue operations for the Digital Division of Nexstar Inc. In this newly created role, Tavoularis will oversee all revenue-related functions for Nexstar Inc.’s Digital Division, including national, local and programmatic sales and digital marketing services. She’s based in Chicago and reports to Digital Division president Karen Brophy. Concurrently, Nexstar’s Digital Division announces the appointment of Jennifer Scilabro as SVP, local digital sales, and the promotion of Wil Danielson to SVP, national digital sales, both reporting to Tavoularis.

Jim Jones and Focus 360 Partner. This deal between Focus360 and Jim JonesSound Solutions Media will allow the former to expand its affiliate relations team effective immediately. Jones and Sound Solutions Media will assist in the research and sale of all Focus360 radio solutions including Bridge Ratings and the Jelli platform which allows radio stations to monetize unsold inventory and eliminate network affidavits and scheduling. Jones says, “I am proud to join the Focus 360 team. Sound Solutions is uniquely qualified to collaborate with radio station executives and content producers to initiate mutually beneficial alliances. Focus 360 is positioned to provide the highest quality service to the radio industry. I look forward to creatively expanding its existing services and launching new business lines with like-minded radio partners.”

Senate Impeachment Trial Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 8-12. The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Capitol insurrection investigation, followed by the latest COVID-19 stats, deaths, and vaccine news 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 a result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

| December 2, 2020

Entercom Names Rick Dayton Afternoon Host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. Almost three months after former afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell was taken off news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s air for suggesting park rangers shoot people caught defacing public monuments (she was officially fired on October 16), Entercom names local news pro Rick Dayton host of “KDKA Radio Afternoon News hosted by Rick Dayton,” effective December 7. Dayton has worked in television news in North Carolina, at WOWK-TV, Charleston, West Virginia; and at KDKA-TV, Pittburgh. He’s most recently been a fill-in host for the station. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rick is ingrained in the local community and has a tremendous news reputation in the market. He is a beloved personality who will engage the listeners daily with content and information and I’m excited to welcome him to our weekday lineup.” Dayton adds, “After spending more than a decade back home in western Pennsylvania, I am honored to join KDKA Radio and build on its iconic legacy. To talk with KDKA’s loyal listeners each day and to discuss important issues is something I do not take lightly. I cannot wait to get those conversations started on Monday afternoon.”

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Fires Morning Host Marc Farzetta. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, morning drive host Marc Farzetta is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” after a little more than two years in the daypart. Farzetta let fans know about his departure via Twitter in which he said: “I was informed a few hours ago that today was my last day hosting the Morning Show at 97.5 The Fanatic… I’m so proud of the work we did taking that time slot to heights it hadn’t seen in the station’s 15-year history in the sports format.” Farzetta had been hosting the show with Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. At this time, it’s not clear if they remain with the station or not.

OPINION: Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility. In the response to the on-air statement by Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova about former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales president Ron Hartenbaum pens a piece for TALKERS explaining his take on the responsibilities of broadcasters who find themselves in such a position. diGenova, while appearing as a guest on “The Howie Carr Show,” said, “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Read Hartenbaum’s response here.

UNCF First Recipient of iHeartMedia’s Media Grant Program. The new iHeartRadio Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program from iHeartMedia is designed to “support organizations that are making a positive impact within the communities iHeart serves and to use iHeart’s multi-platform media network to deliver messaging that is timely, relevant and hyper-targeted to most effectively serve impacted communities.” The company says that the inaugural Spotlight Grants will provide a nationwide platform for Black-focused community organizations to “inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice; celebrate Black excellence, achievement, and culture; help members of the Black community express themselves and address the unique needs of their communities; and invest in educational programs and individuals that are inspiring the next generation of Black journalists and leaders.” Long-time partner UNCF, an organization that helps fund 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has been named the first partner and will receive a minimum media grant of $350,000 to be used through the end of the year. The all-new PSA airs now through the end of the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations and will bring attention to the many social, financial, educational and mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to communities of color and the threat to America’s progress for a more equitable society. UNCF is asking listeners to donate $10 online at UNCF.org/donate to help HBCU students who had to withdraw from school because of COVID-19 challenges get back to college in the spring. Additionally, iHeart will again host UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax as a guest on the iHeartRadio Communities public affairs show in the coming weeks.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new sports channel coming to SiriusXM as the satellite radio company and NBC Sports have partnered to create NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM that will launch tomorrow (12/3). Sirius XM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “The NBC Sports Audio channel is a terrific addition to the SiriusXM lineup. Fans of NBC Sports’ great programming and talent will get access to an outstanding sports talk lineup every weekday, and our subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of many top events on the sports calendar.” Shows airing on the channel will include: “PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “Brother From Another with Michael Holley and Michael Smith,” and more…..Entercom Chicago is presenting its 25th annual “Good Neighbor Radiothon” on all-news WBBM Newsradio (WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM) to raise money for The Salvation Army. Hosted by WBBM Newsradio news anchor Pat Cassidy, the live program will encourage listeners to donate through the station’s phone bank or online via the station’s website…..Prior to Thanksgiving, Cox Media Group Atlanta’s radio stations – including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations to supply holiday meals for local families in need and collected a grand total of 2,127 pounds of dry food, 1,325 pounds of frozen turkey, and monetary donations that will provide 25,816 meals for hungry children, hardworking families and struggling seniors…..Entercom Milwaukee is presenting WSSP-AM  1250AM The Fan’s 14th annual “FAN Toy Drive,” to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. This year’s 24-hour virtual on-air event will aim to raise funds and toys for the hospital’s patients. Listeners will be encouraged to donate via the station’s website…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division and Pegalo Pictures are premiering the podcast, “American Coyote” that tells the true story of America’s most successful coyote, Elden Kidd. While active, Elden was responsible for ushering over a thousand people across the border — and was unfazed even after cheating death multiple times and spending two years incarcerated in a Mexican prison…..iHeartMedia Stockton’s “Fox Sports AM1280, Stockton’s Only Sports Station,” announces an extension of its broadcast agreement with the University of the Pacific to continue to broadcast the university’s men’s and women’s Pacific Tiger basketball games through the 2020-2021 basketball season.

COVID-19/Vaccines, Trump Tactics/Barr Statement, DOJ Pardon Bribery Investigation, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Nuke Scientist Death, and the NFL’s COVID Problem Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, concerns about private gatherings fueling the pandemic, and the promise of soon-to-be-available vaccines; Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to call the election results into question and Attorney General William Barr’s public statement that his agency had found no evidence of widespread election fraud; the DOJ’s investigation into a possible bribery scheme involving pay for pardons; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fallout from the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; and the NFL’s strategy for dealing with growing COVID-positive players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In a move that’s not too surprising to the staffers at the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting, the company’s two radio stations – hip hop KZGO-FM and alternative KQGO-FM in Minneapolis – are being sold to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed sum. The Pohlad family owns MLB’s Minnesota Twins and until 2018 games were broadcast on KQGO. Now, with Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM, the family has little use for the signals. Both stations will flip to religious formats in the New Year. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..SiriusXM and the family of Bob Marley announce a new, exclusive year-round channel dedicated to the legacy of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio launches tomorrow (12/3) and will feature the cultural icon’s entire music catalog, both live and recorded, including rare recordings, some of which have never been made available to the public. The channel is being curated by the Marley family and will include a wide range of Caribbean music from its inception to present day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

| July 29, 2020

DC Broadcasters Caucus Urges Support for Local Broadcasters. Two U.S. Representatives – Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) – via a letter to House and Senate leadership are asking that the next COVID-19 relief package provide funding dedicated to supporting local broadcasters experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic. Emmer says, “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every American, but for those whose job it is to keep us informed – like our local radio and TV stations – this outbreak has been exceptionally difficult. They have been tasked with getting us up to date information during a time of high stress where the information they share could literally save lives. However, these outlets rely on advertising revenue to survive – a revenue source that has become less available due to the hardships businesses nationwide have experienced. The local radio and TV stations that give us the stories we need to know deserve our support and I am urging my colleagues show them that they are essential by ensuring they have what they need to weather this storm.” NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith comments, “During these unprecedented times, broadcasters have been hit hard by an unparalleled blow to the advertising revenue that funds local journalism and emergency news coverage. Ensuring that small broadcasters, including those that may be owned by station groups, have access to the Paycheck Protection Program will help them continue to serve their communities and provide lifeline information. NAB and America’s local radio and TV stations thank Reps. Emmer and Boyle for fighting to help broadcasters remain on the air and free to their local audiences.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to several news accounts, including at Variety, the Duplass brothers – Mark and Jay– are entering the podcasting realm via a deal with Spotify to produce scripted and unscripted podcasts. The brothers are indie filmmakers (Nexflix’s “Wild, Wild Country”), producers, and actors. Spotify head of network programming Liz Gateley says, “As Spotify continues to partner with unique and iconic storytellers, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Mark and Jay Duplass. They are so creatively versatile that we’re confident they’ll figure this podcasting thing out.”…..ESPN is announcing the debut of “America’s Caddie,” a streaming program available via ESPN+ that features “the quick wit and unique perspective of Michael Collins, the gregarious longtime caddie, comedian and ESPN golf analyst.”  ESPN adds, “Covering professional golf like fans have never seen it before, ‘America’s Caddie’ mixes feature segments and interviews with golf’s biggest stars, as the series follows Collins on his journeys across the country. Part travelogue, part golf history lesson, part celebrity hangout – ‘America’s Caddie’ combines it all into a magazine-style road show hosted by the one-of-a-kind Collins.”…..Pandora unveils “UNINTERRUPTED Radio,” a brand new and exclusive station that features music selected by top NBA and WNBA players. Pandora says, “With ‘UNINTERRUPTED,’ listeners get access to the very soundtracks that top athletes listen to on and off the court, including those curated and used by LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Trae Young, A’ja Wilson, Draymond Green, Lonzo Ball,Skylar Diggins-Smith, Tobias Harris, Angel McCoughtry and others. This is one of Pandora’s first curated stations to feature its Modes functionality, giving listeners even more control over their listening experience by offering selectable and thematic sub-stations curated by their favorite athletes with special audio drops throughout…..In conjunction with NBC Sports, Westwood One is presenting live, play-by-play action of the National Hockey League’s return to the ice. Westwood One/NBC Sports audio coverage will restart on Saturday (8/1) at 2:45 pm ET when the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers meet in the first game of their best-of-five qualifying series at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The network will also broadcast select games during the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, every game from both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, as well as every game from the Stanley Cup Final.

Ruth Presslaff Named MIW National Spokeswoman. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group executive committee names Ruth Presslaff MIW national spokeswoman. Presslaff is founder of Presslaff Interactive and leader of Second Street Media Enterprise Sales. Denyse Smith Mesnik, who assumed the role in 2017, will continue serving as a member of the MIW Group executive committee. Presslaff says, “I’m humbled by this opportunity, eager to take on this challenge, and honored to work with a truly stellar executive committee of dedicated and powerful women. There is a great need to serve our industry by mentoring women broadcasters at this particularly difficult moment in time, and beyond.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Trials, Russian Disinformation Campaign, Barr Before House Judiciary, BLM Protests/Portland Violence, Presidential Race, Uncertainty About Pro Sports Seasons, and Mystery Seeds Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and other parts of the world, plus projections for future cases; the various COVID-19 vaccine trials taking place; U.S. intelligence allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign around the coronavirus pandemic; U.S. Attorney General William Barr spars with House Democrats at Tuesday’s hearing; the Black Lives Matter protests around the country and the violent encounters between protestors and federal agents; the November presidential election and speculation about who Joe Biden will pick for his running mate; the uncertainty about successfully continuing pro sports after outbreaks among MLB teams; and the mysterious seed packages – apparently from China – being mailed to Americans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.