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Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

| July 7, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Brian Kilmeade Keynote Address. The sixth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the conference’s Keynote Address delivered by FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel talk media star Brian Kilmeade. The introduction is provided by talk show host Frank MacKay of “Long Island News Radio” WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Audacy to Hire 50-Plus Journalists as Part of Multiplatform Transformation. In a move it calls “a multiplatform transformation for its news brands,” Audacy says the transformation will allow it to “offer more original digital news content as well as in-depth reporting to complement breaking news broadcast coverage.” The company says it will launch a new centralized digital team dedicated to news and add over 50 journalists in eight of its newsrooms across the country. “This coordinated, multi-platform focus will allow the company to produce an array of fresh audio and local reporting that will be distributed across the Audacy network. The new resources will enable the creation of original podcasts and other specialty digital content that will add to the body of trusted local reporting that Audacy news and news/talk brands deliver to millions of listeners daily.” Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano comments, “The past year has underscored the crucial role of journalism and the demand for trusted quality content has never been higher. Audacy’s local news brands have been delivering on-demand news and information for decades and are now poised to build on that foundation. While other news organizations are downsizing, this further investment will allow us to leverage the credibility of our news brands to expand our reach and engagement while continuing to deliver the premier coverage our audience is accustomed to and relies on.” The company adds that the multiplatform transformation will also see the launch of original longform podcasts from local news brands; an original national weekly podcast that highlights the most pressing story of the week and draws on reporting and interview content from across the Audacy network of news brands; daily in-depth podcasts and on-demand audio that explore local stories and issues that most affect listeners’ lives; as well as custom newsletters and in-app experiences that offer audiences a chance to explore areas of interest and interact directly with Audacy brands.

Dom Giordano Moves to Rush’s Old Slot on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal (7/6) reports Audacy has made a major move to turn WPHT’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, held for years by Rush Limbaugh, into a local program showcasing the talents of market mainstay Dom Giordano. Thirty-year veteran of the Philly airwaves, Giordano, is rightly considered by many to be “the dean of Philadelphia talk radio.” A former high-profile schoolteacher, he is one of American news/talk radio’s leading advocates for education reform, not to mention a household name in the City of Brotherly Love where he is plugged-in to the full spectrum of local issues. (He’s also quite astute about national issues as evidenced by his being the longtime go-to guy to sit in for Jim Bohannon on that legend’s Westwood One show.) Giordano moves to his new noon start from WPHT’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Morning host Rich Zeoli has taken over an extra hour until 10:00 am and WPHT has been utilizing the services of several locally known talents in the still open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon position.

WABC, New York Brings Constantine Maroulis Aboard for Dual Role. Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor Constantine Maroulis is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to launch a new variety entertainment program called “The Constantine Maroulis Show – Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!” and airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning this Saturday (7/10). Additionally, Maroulis will serve as 77 WABC Radio’s entertainment reporter. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.” He’s worked on Broadway and was twice nominated for Tony Awards – one for his leading role in Rock of Ages. His new program will feature music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s plus interviews with some of the most noteworthy musicians, artists, and influencers. He says, “I will be bringing the high energy and music that fans enjoyed from my ‘American Idol’ performances and starring roles on Broadway. What will be new for fans are my interviews. I look forward to having artists on my show and sharing behind the scenes stories with the audience while I spin amazing songs.” On Mondays and Fridays, Maroulis’ entertainment reports will be heard on “Bernie & Sid In The Morning,” and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, he will deliver a weekend-focused segment titled, “Pop Rocks 60.” Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Constantine is an immense talent both as a performer and storyteller. 77 WABC has worked with him on several specials and charity events, so we are sure ‘The Constantine Maroulis Show — Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!’ will be a homerun with audiences in New York and around the world. We look forward to sharing this new show and his other contributions to our schedule all week long.”

News/Talk WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Changing Hands and Calls. According to a report in Northern Virginia Daily, heritage Winchester, Virginia radio station WINC-AM is in the process of being sold to by Centennial Broadcasting II to Colonial Radio Group for $25,000. The station is operating under new call letters WZFC. It will continue to operate as a news/talk outlet. Centennial previously sold WINC-FM, Berryville and WZFC-FM to Metro Radio and Centennial president and CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper it offered WINC-AM to Metro Radio for free as part of the deal, but that Metro didn’t want it. Shaw says Colonial managing member Todd Bartley has what it takes to make the standalone AM work. “He’s very dynamic and very smart. He believes in local programming and community involvement.” The report goes on to say that “the sale of Centennial’s Winchester-area stations doesn’t include the building on North Pleasant Valley Road that houses their operations. Centennial is allowing Colonial and Metro Radio to occupy the building temporarily. Both companies are seeking new locations for the stations, and Centennial is discussing with real estate brokers possibilities for the approximately 7,000-square-foot building,” according to Shaw. “Those possibilities include demolition, he said, if the building can’t be sold and redeveloped eventually. WINC-AM’s tower on the property will be taken down at some point.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (7/8), the Key Networks nationally syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” – starring Bill O’Reilly – will feature an interview with former President Donald Trump. O’Reilly says Trump will appear in the “Message of the Day” segment. “The 45th President of the United States will have the opportunity to comment on rising gas prices, rising violent crime, and a disintegrating southern border.”…..In the wake of recent attacks on journalists, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith issues the following statement: “NAB is gravely concerned by recent incidents of violence directed against broadcast journalists who are covering local news. A cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the free press to document the stories and events shaping our communities and our nation. Journalists should be afforded the respect to safely provide this valuable service to the community without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”…..PodcastOne signs a multi-year partnership with Empire Media Group chairman and CEO Dylan Howard to produce a slate of original scripted and non-scripted podcast and vodcast series. Some of the shows that have been green-lighted include: “The Firm: Blood, Lies & Royal Succession,” a multi-part historical non-scripted drama looking at the British royal family; “My Favorite Scandal,” a weekly series where nothing is NSFW when you work at one of the nation’s leading tabloid magazines; and “You’re Fired,” a weekly series, in which you find out what really happens when the axe falls in the media, Hollywood, politics, television, or off-stage? PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne is thrilled to build our relationship with the Empire Media Group team on their upcoming podcasts. Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin have a proven track record of success in the space, and we are proud to join forces on their exciting new slate of shows.”…..iHeartMedia announces four new shows launching this month from My Cultura, its new podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, while also sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. The network’s initial lineup will include: “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama,” “Exactly Amara,” “Transportista” (published in both English and Spanish) and “Life As a Gringo.” iHeartMedia says, “With a driven commitment to the creation of a platform that helps amplify the Latinx community, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Walgreens will be My Cultura’s inaugural sponsors, building connectivity amongst this growing audience.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association announces this year’s inductees into its NBA Hall of Fame, and this year’s class includes longtime morning personalities Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler, a.k.a. Todd-N-Tyler. The nationally syndicated duo are based at SummitMedia’s rock KEZO, Omaha.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Soaring Big City Crime and Gun Violence, House January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Tropical Storm Elsa Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). Concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading through the U.S. and the low rate of vaccination in some parts of the country; the skyrocketing rate of violence and gun crimes in America’s big cities; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to appoint Republicans to sit on House January 6 investigation panel; the status of President Joe Biden’s $970 billion infrastructure package; the war of words over the issue of teaching “critical race theory”; the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.