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Friday, April 15, 2022

| April 15, 2022

 

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS, is now posted. This new episode titled “Hostile Takeovers” looks back at this past week of 4/11 to 4/15. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC, New York; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Bill O’ Reilly, talk show host/commentator, No Spin News; and Matthew B. Harrison, associate publisher, TALKERS/law professor. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.

 

Report: Connoisseur’s Jeffrey Warshaw Offers to Buy Cumulus Media. According to a report from Reuters, Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw is leading a consortium that is offering to acquire Cumulus Media “for close to $1.2 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.” Warshaw’s offer is to take the company private for $15 to $17 per share. Before the news broke yesterday, Cumulus was trading at around $11 per share. After the news broke, Cumulus stock closed Thursday’s trading at $14.21 per share. Warshaw says the consortium would be willing to pay more, subject to due diligence. Reuters says that “a Cumulus spokesperson confirmed that the company had received ‘an unsolicited, non-binding, highly conditional indication of interest’ and that its board of directors was reviewing it alongside its financial and legal advisers.” Cumulus operates 406 radio stations, syndicator Westwood One, as well as its digital platform. The Reuters piece notes that in February, Noble Capital Markets analysts put a $27 price target on the stock, saying that “Cumulus is seeing strong advertising demand driven by sports betting, government, restaurants and cryptocurrency platforms.”

 

iHeartMedia Division President Linda Byrd Announces Retirement. Forty-year iHeartMedia staffer Linda Byrd announces she is retiring from her role as division president for iHeartMedia Florida and moves into an advisory role, effective July 15. The company says that “as a company leader for four decades at iHeartMedia, Byrd has contributed to the success of nearly 50 different markets and countless employees.” iHeartMedia says one of the duties in her advisory capacity will be the continued involvement in iHeartMedia’s Hispanic footprint, where she has made significant contributions. Byrd says, “It’s hard even to say the word retire. I have had the most fantastic career working in an industry that I absolutely love. I’ve never even thought about doing anything else. And I am so fortunate to have been on this iHeart train, and previous companies, for the last 40 years. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am thankful and excited to have the opportunity to transition into an advisory role for the next stage of my life. And I’m truly appreciative of the support and partnership I have had for so many years with Bob [Pittman], Rich [Bressler], Greg [Ashlock] and Hartley [Adkins]. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to learn from and work with.”

 

John Rowe to Lead Cumulus Northeast Wisconsin. Radio executive John Rowe is promoted to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s combined business unit of Cumulus Green Bay and Cumulus Appleton/Oshkosh. Rowe has been serving as vice president/market manager for Cumulus Appleton/Oshkosh for nearly eight years and adds leadership responsibilities for the Green Bay market, effective immediately. In the two markets, Cumulus operates sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, Green Bay and news/talk WOSH-AM/FM, plus seven music brands. Rowe comments, “I am excited to lead both Wisconsin clusters on behalf of Cumulus Media. The combination of talent and quality programming in each market makes this an ideal role and provides a host of opportunities going forward. My primary focus will be to enhance these great brands while meeting the needs of both our listeners and advertisers. I want to thank Mary Berner, Bob Walker, and Mark Sullivan for this opportunity.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Darren “DMac” McKee is named Denver’s best talk show host in alt-weekly Westword’s Best of Denver 2022 edition. The Bonneville station notes that the recognition was not specific to the format of sports, or even the field of radio. McKee co-hosts “The Drive with Tyler Polumbus and DMac.” It was a week for kudos for the duo as Polumbus was honored by the Colorado Broadcasters Association with their 2021 Award of Excellence in the category of Best Regularly Scheduled Entertainment Program for his “Mount Polumbus” segment…..SiriusXM announces the launch of Amanda Seales’ “Smart Funny & Black Radio,” a new morning show on Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Radio channel. The weekly program kicks off on Monday (4/18) at 10:00 am ET. Seales is joined by co-hosts Taj Rani and JeremiahLikeTheBible. Kevin Hart says, “I’m beyond excited to have the amazing Amanda Seales join Laugh Out Loud Radio’s expanding family, as we continue to deliver a dynamic slate of voices to the channel. Passionate, unapologetic, brilliant, talented, and most of all funny, her show is going to be a can’t-miss experience for our SiriusXM listeners nationwide.”…..Larj Media and iHeartMedia debut the new serial podcast “Nobody Should Believe Me,” hosted and executive produced by novelist Andrea Dunlop. The podcast investigates Munchausen by proxy, a form of medical child abuse in which a caregiver feigns, exaggerates, or induces illness in their child for the purpose of receiving attention and sympathy from medical staff, their family, the community, and even strangers online. Dunlop first became interested in the subject when her older sister was investigated for Munchausen by proxy. This catastrophic series of events that followed tore her family apart and set her on a journey to understand this most taboo form of abuse. In this groundbreaking podcast, Dunlop talks to some of the top experts in the world to explore the criminology and psychopathology behind Munchausen by proxy and to reveal the wide swath of destruction these perpetrators leave in their wake…..Audacy announces that its premium podcast studios, including Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, have garnered 22 nominations for the 2022 Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet, representing the most across the industry. Audacy’s nominations span original series, partner series, partner networks, and branded content across 20 categories, including Arts & Culture, Crime & Justice, Documentary, Diversity & Inclusion, and Sports.

 

Russia-Ukraine War Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 11-15. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the greater topic of U.S. foreign policy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the U.S.  economy, including high gas prices, inflation and employment figures, followed by the Brooklyn subway shooting, crime, and guns 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 the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.