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Thursday, January 13, 2022

| January 13, 2022

Today’s Homeowner Media Founder and Host Danny Lipford is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Home ownership issues, from the rising cost of housing to the maintenance and improvement required to protect and enhance one’s investment, are deeply tied into the national conversation about America’s economy. One of talk media’s leading experts on the myriad issues facing homeowners is Danny Lipford, founder/host of the notably successful “Today’s Homeowner” syndicated radio and TV programs. Lipford is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison methodically taps into Lipford’s educated perspective on current concerns about inflation, supply chain backups, and the labor force shortage in addition to the programming and advertising compatibility of the home improvement genre with the news/talk radio station format. Don’t miss this extremely informative conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cumulus Media Signs VP of Programming Operations Doug Hamand to Long-Term Extension. Programming executive Doug Hamand and Cumulus Media sign a new, long-term agreement that will keep the vice president of programming operations with the company for the foreseeable future. Hamand joined the company in January of 2016 after having served with iHeartMedia in a number of executive programming positions for 21 years. Cumulus SVP, programming operations John Dimick says, “Doug is a fierce competitor and expects the best from our content teams. His expertise and experience with multiple formats have enabled Cumulus Media to maintain its leadership position. Doug has definitely earned this new deal and many thanks for the hard work, dedication and commitment to Cumulus Media.” Hamand says, “Working the last five years with this team of exceptionally talented format VP’s, alongside Brian Philips, John Dimick and Greg Frey has been rewarding! I am glad to have helped PDs and market managers in key Cumulus cities achieve success in ratings and revenue. I look forward to serving these markets and the industry for more years to come.”

Jon Hansen’s ‘Your Money Matters’ Added to WGN-AM Program Schedule. Local media figure Jon Hansen joins the daily program schedule at Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago as host of “Your Money Matters” beginning February 7. The program – featuring topics including the basics of personal finance, investing and wealth management, financial security, financial literacy, and retirement planning will air from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm Monday through Thursday. Hansen says, “I’m looking forward to learning things along with the audience. Just like them, I’m someone looking for ways to save money, smart ways to spend money, and how to prepare my family for life’s surprises. I’m looking forward to engaging with experts who can help everyone – no matter their financial background. ‘Your Money Matters’ will be a show driven by the listeners’ questions with their needs and financial goals in mind – and I promise we’ll have a lot of fun along the way.” WGN VP/GM Mary Sandberg Boyle comments, “No one is more knowledgeable in hyper-local business and community news than Jon Hansen. He is the perfect host to navigate these challenging topics and make them relatable to our audience.” Hansen also hosts “Let’s Get Legal” on WGN Radio on Saturday afternoons.

Bill Michaels Clears Non-Compete; Show to Air on iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM, Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Bill “The Big Unit” Michaels will return to the airwaves in Milwaukee after a false start five months ago. Michaels’ program had been airing on Audacy’s crosstown sports talk WSSP-AM prior to that station’s programming changes that saw the show dropped. iHeartMedia added “The Bill Michaels Show” to its sports talker WOKY-AM on August 30, but received a cease-and-desist from Audacy because Michaels had a non-compete in the Milwaukee market that kept him off the air there until now. Michaels’ show airs in the Madison market on Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/FM. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show will begin on WOKY-AM “The Big 920” on Monday (1/17).

iHeartMedia Atlanta and John Hope Bryant to Launch ‘BUILDING the Good Life’ Podcast. The Atlanta operations of iHeartMedia are teaming up with entrepreneur, philanthropist and globally recognized financial literacy advocate John Hope Bryant to launch a new iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “BUILDING the Good Life with John Hope Bryant.” iHeartMedia says the podcast showcases “Bryant’s gift for delivering inspiration through authentic and intimate conversations with some of the world’s most extraordinary people, culled from his unique orbit of leaders from business, entertainment, sports, media and government including Killer Mike, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar.” Bryant says, “This show is all about the magic of aspiration, inspiration, growing and maximizing human potential – delivered through the reach of the largest podcaster in the country. I have been a builder since I began my entrepreneurial journey as a 10-year-old boy in Compton, California, later creating Operation HOPE in response to the Rodney King riots, which evolved into the building of over 40 for-profit and non-profit organizations. This drive to build began as I listened to stories from those around me growing up in South Central Los Angeles and began to recognize the importance of everyone’s story: that by listening we can hear, by hearing we can see, and by seeing we can reach our full potential.”

WABC, New York Owner John Catsimatidis Offers $10k Reward for Arrest and Conviction of Teen’s Killer. WABC-AM owner and Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man who shot and killed 19-year-old Kristol Bayron Nieves during the robbery of an East Harlem Burger King restaurant last weekend. The perpetrator appears in surveillance video wearing dark clothes and a mask. He got away with about $100 dollars. Nieves had been working at the restaurant at 116th and Lexington Ave for about three weeks.

FOX News Channel Promotes Jeanine Pirro to Co-Host of ‘The Five.’ FOX News Channel personality Jeanine Pirro is promoted to full-time co-host of “The Five.” Pirro has been a substitute co-host of the show since 2020 in addition to her work with FNC as a legal analyst and host of the weekend program, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” Pirro joins the program that features a rotating cast that includes: Harold Ford Jr., Geraldo Rivera, and Jessica Tarlov as the co-hosts for the liberal seat and conservatives Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino and Jesse Watters. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “‘The Five’ continues to be a beloved show by the American audience. Each of the co-hosts are accomplished and insightful talent with diverse opinions and terrific chemistry who will certainly help drive this ensemble program going forward.” Pirro will continue hosting “Castles USA” on FOX News Media’s streaming service FOX Nation, where she dives into the rich history of iconic castles around the country.

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Voting Rights, Economy/Inflation, U.S.-Russia Relations, and Prince Andrew’s Legal Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12). The high rate of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., the fate of the Omicron variant, and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s spat with Senators Rand Paul and Roger Marshall; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announces refusal to cooperate with House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol; speculation about which party will control Congress after the 2022 midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; President Joe Biden’s push for Congress to take up the Voting Rights Act; the state of the U.S. economy and the high rate of inflation; the U.S., NATO and Russia meet over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; and Prince Andrew faces a civil suit brought by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 3, 2022

| January 3, 2022

Monday Memo: CES, Carefully. Like most conventions a year ago, CES2021 settled for virtual. But this week, it’s game-on in Las Vegas. And there – vax’d, boosted, tested, masked, and toting the jug-handle-size bottle of hand sanitizer – is Holland Cooke. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Year’s Lesson. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says a holiday chat with a former associate recalled a memorable case of a radio seller who transitioned from newspapers and the switch was not smooth sailing at first. But persistence and management support saved the day. Read more here.

Ratings Takeaways from Nielsen’s December PPM Survey. Last week, Nielsen Audio released December 2021 ratings data for all 48 PPM markets. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from those markets for the period that covered November 11 to December 8. Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was the top spoken-word station in New York, adding two-tenths for a 3.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) good for the #8 rank. In Los Angeles, although it shed four-tenths, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI posted a 3.1 share and rose to the #7 rank. Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago fell out of first place to the #2 rank though it remained steady with a 5.7 share, while Nexstar Media’s crosstown news/talk WGN-AM was flat with a 3.7 share but rose to the #8 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta lost 2.7 shares, finishing with a 6.6 share and falling from #1 to #4. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM added two-tenths for a 3.7 share and inched up to the #11 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM dipped nine-tenths for a 6.8 share good for the #4 rank. Even though Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle added one-tenth, its 6.6 share was only good enough for the #2 rank. The news/talk battle in Salt Lake City flipped as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM remained ranked #2 after slipping one-tenth to a 7.1 share while Bonneville’s crosstown KSL-AM/FM lost 1.5 shares for a 6.0 share finish causing it to fall from #1 to #5. The news/talk wars in Milwaukee showed some separation as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remained ranked #1,  posting its second consecutive 10.3 share while Good Karma Brands‘ crosstown WTMJ-AM fell five-tenths to a 7.1 share and finished ranked #4. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

Salem’s WIND-AM, Chicago Adds to News and Traffic Operations. Changes in the news and traffic departments are taking place at Salem Media Group’s Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Long time morning news anchor Mike Scott – who has anchored newscasts on the station between 5:00 am and 12:00 noon each weekday for the past 17 years – will join Salem as full-time news director and continue anchoring news and traffic. Scott had appeared on the station through an agreement between Salem, Total Traffic and Weather Network, and NBC News Radio. That agreement is not being renewed.  Scott says, “I’m incredibly gratified to be able to continue in my role on the air with AM 560 and Salem Media. We have some of the best listeners in all of Chicago radio and some of the best on-air talent. I look forward to providing the first look at the day’s news for our audience.” Scott will also assume anchoring duties for the Salem Podcast Network’s “Daybreak Insider Podcast,” which launched in September of 2021. Additionally, JoAnn Genette will join WIND as an afternoon news anchor through an agreement with Remote News Service. She will anchor weekday afternoon newscasts through 6:30 pm. Also, longtime Chicago traffic reporter Jill Urchak will begin handling afternoon traffic reports for the station. Urchak has spent close to 25 years as a traffic reporter in Chicago, including at WGN-AM, WBBM-AM, WSCR-AM, and WLUP-FM, as well as WBBM-TV. Salem regional VP and WIND general manager Jeff Reisman says, “News and traffic are cornerstone elements for our format and for our radio station. Keeping Mike Scott on our team while also adding JoAnn and Jill solidifies our commitment to serve our audience. We have a team of veteran broadcasters with experience and insight that our listeners can trust.”

Zederman Named Director of Content for ‘ESPN 1000’ in Chicago. At Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000,” Good Karma Brands names Danny Zederman director of content. Zederman joins the leadership team as a 15-year veteran of “ESPN 1000.” Zederman has been serving as executive producer of the “Kap & J.Hood” show. He says, “I’m grateful to Good Karma Brands for the opportunity and am excited to work alongside ESPN 1000’s market manager Keith Williams, to lead and collaborate with our talented teammates and partners. My goal is to continue entertaining our fans, grow the ESPN Chicago brand on all platforms and add value to the community.” Williams says, “We’re excited to announce Danny Zederman as ESPN Chicago’s director of content.  Danny’s strategy and vision for our team in the future will allow us to grow to serve our partners, fans and teammates.”

Jimmy Failla Featured on FOX News’ New Year’s Celebration. Pictured above in Times Square prior to Friday’s New Year’s celebration is FOX News Radio host Jimmy Failla (right). With him is FOX News Radio manager of affiliate sales & marketing Tamara Karcev (left) and KTTH, Seattle talk host Jason Rantz (center). Failla was featured as one of the FOX personalities on the “All American New Year Live from Nashville” special that aired on New Year’s Eve.

TALKERS News Notes. Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, Ric Edelman debuted his new, nationally syndicated radio program, “The Truth About Your Future with Ric Edelman,” on 26 affiliates around the country. Edelman hosted AgeWave founder Dr. Ken Dychtwald on the program. Edelman says, “If you’re alive in 2030, you will likely live to age 100 or beyond. We need to make sure that your money lasts as long as you do, and that’s why I’m focusing on the topics that matter to investors today. The investments of the past 40 years won’t deliver the results you need in the future, so I’ll be sharing the ideas and strategies you need to achieve success in the 21st century.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s board of directors elects officers for the 2022-2023 term. Ron Stone was re-elected for a second term as president and executive director of the IBA. Two of the other officers were also re-elected, Darrell Calton, chairman and assistant secretary and Allen Dick, VP and treasurer. Tony Renda was elected as secretary and assistant treasurer, replacing Mike Flood. Stone says, “I am pleased that the board has re-elected three of the founding officers for an additional term. I am very excited to have Tony Renda as one of our leaders in the next term. Tony has been instrumental in helping the IBA with many of the initiatives we took on in our first two years.  The IBA has succeeded in its first 18 months delivering many new ways for its members to save on operational costs, create new revenues, and benefit from all the professionals in the industry that are working with us. We have said from the beginning that a large independent membership provides scale and with scale we can deliver many great things for independent broadcasters.  I am looking forward to working with our management team to establish new goals for the IBA for 2022 and 2023.”

COVID-19, New Year’s Holiday, Twitter Boots MTG, January 6 Investigation, Colorado Wildfires, NASCAR ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Issue, Betty White Dies, Antonio Brown Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The exploding rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and vaccine mandates; the New Year’s holiday, 2021 retrospectives, and predictions for 2022; Twitter permanently cancels account of Marjorie Taylor Greene; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the wildfires that devastated the Boulder, Colorado area; criticism over NASCAR for “reviewing” Brandon Brown’s crypto sponsorship and the “Let’s Go, Brandon” slogan; entertainment icon Betty White dies at 99; and Antonio Brown’s bizarre exit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of Sunday’s game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

| December 16, 2021

Cumulus to Flip R&B WNBM-FM, New York to Talk as ‘Talk FM 103.9.’ Beginning on January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s R&B WNBM-FM, New York will flip to news/talk as WFAS-FM “Talk FM 103.9.” The station is being billed by Cumulus as “the only all-talk FM station in the New York metropolitan area.” The station will simulcast the programming on WFAS-AM “AM1230Digital” the first all-digital AM station to broadcast in the New York metropolitan area. Programming will be Westwood One’s lineup, including: “The Dan Bongino Show,” “The Ben Shapiro Show,” “The Chris Plante Show,” “The Michael Knowles Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Jim Bohannon Show.” Also heard on the station will be “America in the Morning,” “First Light,” “Red Eye Radio,” “America this Week/Week in Review,” and “Real Estate Today.” Cumulus Media president of operations Dave Milner says, “Extending our marquee talk programming into New York City is a win-win for Cumulus. The addition of the WFAS-FM signal will allow us to reach even more listeners with the well-known talk shows they expect from us and also provide our advertising partners with premium opportunities in the number-one metro area.” Cumulus says that with the addition of WFAS-FM’s footprint, the signal will reach well beyond Westchester County, and into large portions of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan), the north shore of Long Island, and northern New Jersey.

WGN-AM, Chicago and Bob Sirott Sign Extension. WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Bob Sirott and the Nexstar Media news/talk station have agreed to a two-year contract extension to keep Sirott in the morning drive daypart. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Boyle says, “We are delighted to announce that Chicago’s Very Own Bob Sirott and his uniquely entertaining morning show will continue to be heard on Chicago’s Very Own WGN Radio 720. Bob has been an iconic voice in Chicago since 1973 and we’re fortunate to have his voice and talent as we head into our 100th year and beyond.”  Sirott says, “The station calls it work. I call it fun. It’s a forgotten commodity at most radio and TV stations today. But [Nexstar president, networks] Sean Compton, a true fan of radio, gets it. And who knows, someday I may turn into a morning person.”  The one change is that the show will start an hour later, airing from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.

WaPo: ‘Sports Junkies’ Celebrate 25 Years. A piece by Scott Allen in the Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Blog column profiles “The Sports Junkies” radio show as it celebrates 25 years on the air. The WJFK-FM, Washington morning show starring J.P. Flaim, John “Cakes” Auville, Eric “E.B.” Bickel and Jason “Lurch” Bishop began life as a cable access show on Bowie Community Television in August 1995. A year later, after a positive review from the Washington TimesDick Heller, “The Sports Junkies” got picked up for a weekend show on WJFK-FM. From there they transitioned to AM drive after Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio. Flaim recently authored a chronicle of the program titled, Still Barking. Flaim tells the Post, “The book is about the radio show and friendship and brotherhood, but none of it would’ve happened but for having an amazing audience. We have been very lucky to have people that have followed us and supported us for 25 years. Without them, we’re nothing.”

FOX News Channel Tops Competitors for 2021 in Nielsen’s Primetime and Total Day. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the highest rated cable news channel for 2021 (12/28/20-12/09/21) in both primetime and total day. In primetime, FOX News Channel averaged 2,365,000 viewers and 374,000 with A25-54 along with 233,000 in A18-49. Meanwhile, in total day, the network delivered 1,328,000 viewers and 223,000 in the younger 25-54 demo and 135,000 in A18-49. Also, according to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, this year, “more independents and democrats tuned into FNC than CNN while delivering the largest independent audience in cable news, making FNC’s audience the most politically diverse in cable news.” FNC holds 44% of the cable news audience in total day viewership and 41% of the audience with A25-54. In primetime, the network holds a 47% audience share in total viewers and 43% in the younger A25-54 demo. As a result, FNC increased its share of the cable news audience with A25-54 from 2020 to 2021. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “As we embark on our 20th year as the leader in cable news, the last six of which as number one in all of cable, I am incredibly proud of the unrivaled success we’ve had at FOX News Channel. Not only were we the only network to grow our audience share, but we did so while changing our lineup and transforming the entire late-night television landscape in the process, ensuring our continued momentum for many years to come.”

Newsmax Names Rich Grenell VP, Analyst. The former Acting Director of National Intelligence and U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is joining Newsmax Media as a national security contributor and executive for international partnerships. Newsmax says that Grenell, a former FOX News contributor, “will play a key role in offering security and international analysis for the network.” He’ll also serve as vice president for international development, helping the company’s foreign branding and content expansion. Newsmax currently licenses its brand and content in eight European nations. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Ric Grenell is a master of politics, media and government and we believe our viewers will gain great insight from his broad experience and public service.”

The ‘Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network’ Launches. “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory and Premiere Networks are partnering for the launch of the Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network.  This new project will focus on producing a slate of podcasts focused on the paranormal, supernatural, and unexplained. Co-produced by Noory and his long-time “Coast to Coast AM” senior producer Tom Danheiser, the network debuts with three new podcasts: “Shades of the Afterlife with Sandra Champlain,” “Strange Things with Joshua P. Warren,” and “Dark Becomes Light with Heidi Hollis.” Noory comments, “With these new programs, and more to come, we’re focused on producing the best content for paranormal fans. There’s so many facets of this entertaining and intriguing format, and we’re excited to kick off the network with three fan favorite guests from ‘Coast to Coast AM’ who are experts in their fields – Sandra Champlain, Joshua P. Warren and Heidi Hollis.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “We’re excited to partner with George to expand the ‘Coast to Coast AM’ brand with this new podcast network, creating a platform for new programing focused on the fascinating world of the paranormal. This new network will provide us with the opportunity to further engage and entertain George’s broad-reaching, worldwide audience.”

KBOI, Boise and USMC Collect Toys and Cash in 10-Day Drive. Pictured above is an unidentified staff member of Cumulus Media’s news/talk KBOI, Boise at the fifth “Idaho’s Largest Toy Drive” done in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps. Held November 26 through December 6, this was the longest toy drive of the past five years, collecting 38,822 toys and $36,213. KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “With supply chain concerns and inflation being possible negative factors, we decided to extend this year’s efforts. The Treasure Valley residents came through in fine fashion to support the USMC and kids in the area.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Economy/Supply Chain, Software Flaw, Build Back Better Negotiations, S.F. Mayor Actions/Urban Crime, and Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The spread of the Omicron variant, vaccines, and mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, the release of media personalities’ texts, and the contempt of Congress charge against former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; the high rate of inflation, the Fed’s plan to raise interest rates, and the supply chain breakdown; a pervasive software flaw that’s giving foreign hackers an entrance into crucial systems; the negotiations between the Biden administration and Senator Joe Manchin over the Build Back Better plan; San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s promise of strong actions to combat crime issues and urban crime spikes in other cities; and the aftermath of the Kentucky and Illinois tornadoes and the threat of more violent weather were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

| December 2, 2021

Round One of November PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s November 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s November 2021 sweep covered October 14 – November 10. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC rises two-tenths for 2.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and ranks #15 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WOR also goes up two-tenths for a 2.4 share finish good for the #17 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up three-tenths for a 3.5 share and rises to the #8 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM continues in the #1 spot (tied with AC WLIT-FM) even though it dipped a full share to finish with a 5.7 share. Meanwhile, Nexstar Media’s crosstown news/talk WGN rises two-tenths for a 3.7 share good for the #9 rank. Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco shoots up 1.2 shares for a 7.2 share and the #2 rank in the market. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dips three-tenths to a 9.3 share but remains ranked #1. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Report: Julie Mann Exits Audacy’s WBBM Newsradio in Chicago. According to a piece by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago managing editor Julie Mann is leaving the Audacy all-news station for a new, undisclosed opportunity. Her December 10 departure was revealed to staffers by WBBM brand manager and news director Ron Gleason, who wrote, “Julie has been instrumental in our news coverage, interacting minute by minute with our reporters, working closely with our behind-the-scenes team and taking care of a laundry list of needs. For me personally, I will miss her camaraderie, tremendous work ethic and the incredible amount of help she’s given me over the years. An invaluable resource in so many ways, she’s been a great leader, teacher and counsel to all of us.” Mann commented in a statement, “WBBM Newsradio is in good hands. I know the vast experience of our seasoned veterans and the promising accomplishments of our newcomers will continue to keep WBBM a top-rated and reliable source for news. I’ve seen and done some incredible things as a reporter and manager thanks to WBBM Newsradio. It’s been an extraordinary career and I was lucky to have it.”

Ric Edelman to Launch New Financial Talk Program in January. Independent financial adviser and New York Times bestselling author Ric Edelman is launching, “The Truth About Your Financial Future with Ric Edelman,” on January 1. Edelman’s new program is being syndicated nationally and will debut in 24 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia (and all major podcast platforms). This program replaces “The Ric Edelman Show,” which Edelman has hosted for the past 30 years. Edelman’s new program focuses on what he calls “the five personal finance topics that matter most” today: longevity, retirement security, exponential technologies, digital assets, and health & wellness. He says, “I’m thrilled to launch my new show and podcast. Advances in technology are disrupting every aspect of our lives, but also creating massive new investment opportunities. My mission is to help you learn how you can improve your wealth, health and lifestyle for the rest of your life.” The program’s debut sponsors are Edelman Financial Engines, Global X ETFs, Invesco, Bitwise Asset Management. Initial advertisers include Choice and other leading financial services companies. Edelman Financial Engines EVP Jason Van de Loo says, “Edelman Financial Engines is proud to be a sponsor of “The Truth About Your Future with Ric Edelman” radio show to raise awareness about advances in technology, science and medicine and their profound impact on our personal finances.” Find more information about the show here.

Triton Digital Releases October 2021 Streaming Rankers. Data from Triton Digital’s October 2021 Streaming Rankers for the United States (Monday-Sunday 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight) have been released. The rankings are based on Average Active Sessions representing the average number of sessions at any point in time in the reported time period, with invalid sessions omitted. (AAS is calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period.) The top publisher for the period was iHeartRadio with 284,344 AAS. The rankings of other radio-based companies of interest include: #2 NPR Member Stations; #3 Audacy; #4 Cumulus Streaming Network; #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate; #8 Hubbard Broadcasting; #9 ESPN Radio Corporate; #11 New York Public Radio; #12 Salem Communications; #13 Urban One; #14 Bonneville International; #18 Midwest Communications; and #23 Lotus Communications Corp. You can see more from this report here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED ITDave Ramsey Guests on the Harrison Podcast. Last week’s Thanksgiving holiday upset everyone’s schedule. Here’s a reminder to check out Michael Harrison’s interview with multi-media talk radio giant Dave Ramsey on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Based near Nashville, he’s been on the air for almost three decades dispensing advice about personal finance, faith, and grass-roots politics to an ever-growing audience that goes deep into the human psyche in dealing with debt, ambition, ethics, balance and leadership. Ramsey is ranked #2 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America and he certainly practices what he preaches. Starting out with a small, money-oriented local radio show in Tennessee, he built his firm on the principles he espouses into a multi-million-dollar media operation known today as Ramsey Solutions employing over 1,000 people. The firm engages in filmmaking, book publishing, podcasting, live presentations and the radio syndication of a growing number of unique personalities. Ramsey Solutions has just released a ground-breaking full-length documentary film titled, Borrowed Future: How Student Loans are Killing the American Dream. Michael Harrison says, “It is one of the most important commentaries about our economy and culture to come out in years. Student debt is a major crisis smothering a generation. It is a disgrace.” Ramsey has also written and published a new book titled, Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth – and How You Can Too (Ramsey Press, 2021). Harrison and Ramsey discuss the student debt crisis, his plans for Ramsey Solutions going forward, and the current wave of inflation gripping the nation. Not to be missed! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Omicron Variant, Looming Government Shutdown, SCOTUS Abortion Case, Michigan School Shooting, Smash Mobs, Financial Markets/Inflation, and MLB Lockout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The new Omicron coronavirus variant and the Biden administration’s battle over vaccine mandates; the potential shutdown of the federal government as some Republicans insist on defunding Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; the Supreme Court hears arguments in Mississippi’s 2018 restrictive abortion law; the spate of smash-and-grab flash mobs hitting high-end retail stores; the activity on the world’s financial markets and the ongoing high retail and oil prices; and Major League Baseball locks out the players four months before the 2022 season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 23, 2021

| August 23, 2021

Remembering Phil Valentine. “We are saddened to report that our host and friend, Phil Valentine, has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.” That’s how Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” shared the news of Valentine’s death. Having spent the past several weeks in a Nashville-area hospital battling COVID-19, the 61-year-old conservative talk show host – and coronavirus vaccine skeptic – died Saturday afternoon (8/21). Last month, his brother, Mark Valentine, told The Tennessean, “I know if [Phil] were able to tell you this, he would [say], ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories. He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data.” In a July 26 (2021) interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Mark said Phil was “still very deep in the woods” and breathing with assistance. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. This is a real threat – it is a real public health crisis. His cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.” Tennessee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 50.1% of adults fully-vaccinated. Modifying the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Taxman,” Valentine wrote/performed “Vaxman,” which included such lyrics as, “Let me tell you how it will be, and I don’t care if you agree, ‘cause I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.” In a December 2020 blog, the “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” afternoon drive personality wrote that his chance of dying from COVID-19 was “probably way less than 1%.” He had said of the vaccine, “I have a very low risk of getting COVID and dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” He said  he’d been taking ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication that comes in different forms for animals and humans. Acknowledging on July 11 (2021) that he had COVID-19, Valentine claimed it would not be a problem, saying that as a “precaution,” he might take a day off from his radio show. In fact, his Facebook post that day read: “Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it. Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow.” Valentine’s health, however, quickly deteriorated and his family issued a statement saying that “the experience” had changed the radio host’s mind on vaccination. “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine.’ [He] looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is a tragic loss for Phil’s family as well as the people of Nashville; WWTN; the talk radio industry; and the national conversation. His track record as a nationally known, super-successful, longtime radio personality is among the best. It is painfully ironic that his position on COVID-19 became the headline component of his sad passing. May his courage to reverse his stance during his final days serve as an effective influence to save lives.” On “The TALKERS magazine 2021 Heavy Hundred,” Valentine appears at #47. Tennessee Republican senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted that, “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.” The junior senator from Tennessee, Republican Bill Hagerty, noted that, “Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice that will be sorely missed.” That state’s governor, Republican Bill Lee, tweeted, “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.” Meanwhile, lieutenant governor Randy McNally also took to social media, writing, “Deeply saddened that we have lost Phil Valentine to COVID-19. He was an inspirational and persuasive conservative voice. He will be greatly missed. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider vaccination. It is the only way to defeat this scourge.” Even though Valentine was a conservative talk show host, he was the son of former six-term North Carolina Democratic representative Tim Valentine. A radio personality since he was 20, Valentine – who attended East Carolina University and the Charlotte branch of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – protested against a state income tax proposed by Tennessee’s governor at the time, Republican Don Sundquist. Valentine signed a three-year deal in 2019 that would have kept him on “99.7 WTN” through next year. He  authored three books: “The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z”; “Right from the Heart: The ABC’s of Reality in America”; and “Tax Revolt: The Rebellion Against an Overbearing, Bloated, Arrogant, and Abusive Government.” Valentine and his son, Campbell, joked about their relationship via the podcast “PodGOATs.”  Reiterating a vaccination plea, Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “Phil Valentine was a charismatic broadcaster who entertained millions and enriched countless lives throughout his career. A beloved friend and mentor to many, his contributions to our city and his passion for his listeners cannot be overstated. We know he will be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Phil’s family and wish them peace during this difficult time. If you aren’t yet vaccinated, we fervently hope that you will honor Phil’s memory by taking to heart the urgent plea he made in the last weeks of his life – please go get vaccinated.” Funeral arrangements for Valentine are pending.

Monday Memo: Empathy? Sympathy? While the parents of school-age children – “the mega-shoppers that our advertisers want to meet” – are confronting “the school year we hoped we would never repeat,” consultant Holland Cooke cautions against what he regards as “a media/consumer disconnect.” And in this week’s column, he recommends an urgent message that can literally be a matter of life and death. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Is Radio Still the Frequency Medium? Do you remember your sales training that suggested a formula for getting results included your message hitting the target audience X number of times? What was that number? Maybe the number isn’t so important. Sales pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, “Do you remember the thousands of daily ads you hear and see? Somehow your brain filters out what you don’t want to process. But when you’re hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, need a new computer, car, couch, or more cash, the appropriate ad jumps out of the jungle, demanding your attention. And that’s what great talk radio hosts are all about: owning the listener’s attention.” Read more here.

Cumulus Chicago Promotes Mallory Vor Broker to Reporter Covering City Hall and Politics. At news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago, Cumulus Media announces it has promoted Mallory Vor Broker to reporter for 890 WLS-AM. In this role, she’ll cover Chicago City Hall and the political beat for the station, filling the role vacated by Bill Cameron, who retired on August 20 after a 51-year career. Vor Broker was been serving with the station as executive producer for the “The John Howell Show.” In the past, she’s served as a producer for Steve Dahl, Roe Conn and Lauren Cohn during her nearly 10 years as a producer for Cumulus Chicago. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “As our new City Hall reporter, Mallory will tell the latest local news stories that matter to Chicago. She brings a fresh perspective and deep experience as a storyteller to this integral role. We look forward to continuing WLS’ superb coverage of City Hall and welcome Mallory to the 890 News Team.” Vor Broker says, “I am thrilled to begin my new role as City Hall reporter for WLS-AM 890. It’s a great opportunity to cover the dynamic political landscape in Chicago and Illinois after years of producing high-profile shows. I look forward to continuing to bring high-quality, thoughtful reporting to WLS-AM 890.”

Nate Weaver Named Promotions Director for iHeartMedia Wilmington-Salisbury. Joining iHeartMedia to serve as promotions director for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets is Nate Weaver. He comes to the company from his most recent position with Audacy’s WBEB, Philadelphia. iHeartMedia VP of programming Josh Wolff says, “We are so excited to have Nate join our team. From the first time we spoke, we knew he was the perfect fit. Nate’s impressive background will only serve to improve our portfolio of already strong brands.” Weaver says, “I am super excited to join iHeartMedia Salisbury and Wilmington’s amazing and hard-working teams. Not only am I looking forward to growing brand engagement amongst our portfolio of market-leading stations, but now that I’m in Delaware, I get to really indulge in tax-free shopping – this is great!” The markets include news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WDOV, Dover; sports talk WWTX-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WJDY-AM, Salisbury; and sports talk WTGM-AM, Salisbury.

iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network to Expand News Efforts; Three Promotions Announced. The BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia’s “24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective,” announces plans to expand local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets beginning January 2022. The network is also promoting three staffers: Tanita Myers, previously director of news operations, is now vice president of news operations; Chris Thompson, previously director of network operations, is now vice president of network operations; and Lauren Crawford, previously associate editor, is now senior director of digital and social strategy, effective immediately. The company says the expanding local news coverage will create new employment opportunities including multiple news anchor and reporter positions, a managing editor, and a podcast managing editor. BIN president Tony Coles states, “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success of BIN during our first year. We are thrilled to continue our leadership in providing the most trusted news source for the Black community, offering even more local news coverage to the communities we serve. BIN’s success has been, in no small part, due to our dedicated and talented team. I look forward to seeing how Tanita, Chris and Lauren continue to grow within BIN, and I am excited to add even more experienced talent to our team.”

Nexstar Media to Acquire The Hill. The politics and Washington, DC publication The Hill is being acquired by Nexstar Media for $130 million. Nexstar is primarily a television company but also owns news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago. A press release from Nexstar says, “The acquisition marks a continuation of Nexstar’s content-first strategy, focused primarily on news, designed to further leverage and monetize its expansive digital reach… With more than 100 journalists who cover political news and events and provide a wide variety of engaging content to its users, The Hill’s business model is primarily advertising supported by direct, programmatic, and licensing revenue. Nexstar’s omni-channel approach to content distribution will allow it to expand The Hill’s reach and revenue channels while creating synergistic opportunities with Nexstar’s growing national cable news network, NewsNation, and its leading local news gathering platform, which counts 5,500 journalists producing over 275,000 hours of local and national news annually.”

Red Table Talk and iHeartMedia Strike Content Deal. The EMMY Award-winning talk show “Red Table Talk” enters into a deal with iHeartMedia to launch the Red Table Talk Audio Network. The venture will include a slate of co-produced podcasts, including its two current audio series: “Red Table Talk,” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris; and “Positively Gam,” a podcast hosted by Banfield-Norris. The newly formed network will launch five new series over the next two years with iHeartMedia that will allow listeners to go deeper into topics covered at the table, with all-new original podcasts from Red Table Talk hosts and regular show contributors. The first show to launch on the slate will be the podcast version of the EMMY and GLAAD Media Awards-nominated RTT spinoff, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” hosted by Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan, and Lili Estefan.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, Extreme Weather/Wildfires, Arizona Vote Audit, Staffing & Shipping Woes, Trump in Alabama, and Portland Protest Skirmish Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the move; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the flooding in Tennessee, Hurricane Henri hits the Northeast, and the California wildfires; the anticipated release of the controversial audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election votes; the ongoing troubles employers are having finding workers and filling orders and the chaos affecting the world’s shipping industry; former President Donald Trump is booed in Alabama for suggesting people get COVID vaccines; and the violence in Portland between Proud Boys and Antifa protesters were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.