Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com. Don’t miss this!
WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”
KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”
Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.
RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.
iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.
Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One: Strategies for Creative and Marketing in COVID-19 Era. The latest Westwood One Blog presents some of the takeaways from a number of studies looking at what makes effective creative and what constitutes a reasonable marketing plan in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. According to NuVoodoo research, clients should reconsider any copy that includes “We’re all in this together” as 35% of those surveyed are already tiring of it and that number is only likely to grow. System1 finds that ads that delivered a “a strong connection to local community and togetherness” appear to be working well. Other aspects System1 believes are effective include use of “established brand characters, ads that make use of familiar scenarios or taglines, ads set in a specific time and place in the past, ads that highlight the human connection in the current state of ‘betweenness.’” However, coronavirus ads run the risk of not being perceived as unique and marketing pro Mark Ritson laments the generic ads ring as cliched and not “distinctive.” Read the blog here.
Entercom Adds Translator to WYRD-FM, Greenville. The news/talk station gets an FM translator simulcast as W236CD, Seneca, South Carolina begins airing the station’s audio. Entercom says the addition of this frequency to WYRD-FM’s broadcast “extends the reach of the Upstate’s No. 1 news/talk radio station to Pickens County and into Oconee County, bringing its coverage to additional cities including Seneca, Pickens, and Clemson for the first time.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi adds, “‘106.3 WORD’ serves a vital role as the Upstate’s trusted source of information. We are thrilled to expand the over-the-air signal for ‘106.3 WORD’ to Pickens and much of Oconee County on 95.1 FM during this critical time in which demand for live and local news and talk is rapidly rising. This expansion allows us to maximize our reach in the region and more broadly meet the needs of our listeners and advertisers.” In 2019, the station expanded to Anderson County on 101.5 FM.
Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination and Retaliation Case. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride is suing Entercom claiming that she was discriminated against and suffered retaliatory actions after complaining to her superiors. Entercom filed a Motion to Dismiss based on a jurisdictional error (claiming it should have been filed in Eastern Pennsylvania District as opposed to New Jersey District) as well as arguments that McBride failed to sufficiently demonstrate a hostile work environment or a retaliation claim. In response, McBride’s attorney argues since the bulk of McBride’s clients were located in New Jersey, the suit was filed in the proper district. Her attorney also lays out arguments that McBride has satisfied pleading requirements for her claims.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Lockdown Protests, Pressure on China, Michael Flynn Case, and Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; a number of states begin re-opening their economies; groups of protesters rail against the social distancing requirements in their states; the U.S. and other countries put pressure on China to open up to investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; Republicans seek an investigation into the FBI’s treatment of Michael Flynn; and the presidential race and the allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FOX News and Spotify Ink Deal for Podcast Distribution. The new deal between FOX News Media and Spotify will have the latter distributing FOX News Podcasts on its global audio streaming platform. Effective today (5/5), FNR’s catalogue of more than 20 original series, including three new programs slated to debut in May — “The Trey Gowdy Podcast,” “The Proud American Podcast Series” and “FOX Top 5” — will be made available globally on Spotify, reaching more than 286 million monthly users. FOX News Radio VP John Sylvester says, “Throughout these unprecedented times, FOX News Audio has become a destination for listeners to get up to the minute information, whether it’s the latest on the current coronavirus pandemic, insights from the 2020 presidential campaign or in-depth interviews with leading newsmakers. We are pleased to partner with Spotify, offering their millions of subscribers worldwide access to our best in class content.”
TALKERS News Notes. Rochester producer and radio personality Pauly Guglielmo is leaving the “Brother Wease Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” to pursue his marinara sauce manufacturing career full time. Guglielmo began selling his grandfather’s marinara sauce commercially in 2014. Recently, he had the opportunity to acquire the plant that’s been making the sauce. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story here…..The latest episode of the podcast “The -30-: The End of the News,” hosted by Save Journalism Project co-founder John Stanton, features Joshua Koran, head of innovation labs at Zeta Global, discussing “the current digital ad marketplace, how dominant players like Google can ‘play by a different set of rules,’ and how Google will continue to engage in the same kinds of data collection and measurement it claims harms the privacy of consumers when others do it.” Listen to the podcast here…..The weekend radio show, “The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour,” from Hillsdale College is being added to the lineup at Starnes Media Group’s KWAM-AM/W300DE, Memphis “The Mighty 990.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nashville CHR WNFN-FM re-brands as “Hot 106.7.” To celebrate, the Midwest Communications station is launching the new brand with its $5K Payday awarding someone in the Middle Tennessee area $5,000. Station brand manager Joe Breezy says, “I fully expect ‘Hot 106.7’ to be a Nashville powerhouse. Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country, so it’s about time we turn up the heat with the all NEW, ‘Hot 106.7.’”…..iHeartMedia Chicago stations are honoring Chicagoland teachers and nurses in a weeklong celebration, kicking off on National Teachers Day (today 5/5) and culminating on International Nurses Day on Tuesday, May 12. Throughout the week, each station will feature on-air shout outs for teachers and interviews with school principals, parents and students. From May 6 through May 8, 103.5 KISS FM’s midday host Showbiz Shelly will host Zoom classroom takeovers to speak directly with students during the week of celebration…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the launch of Entravision Digital, a division that consolidates its digital reach, data, creative, and programmatic capabilities into a unified solutions offering. Entravision chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa says, “By combining our comprehensive digital capabilities into Entravision Digital, advertisers and agencies have a single source to access a rich combination of audiences, media, performance solutions, and consumer insights. Entravision Digital has a global reach and is an exceptional complement to our television, radio, and digital media assets serving the U.S. Hispanic market. We are excited to extend the Entravision brand to these businesses and look forward to continued success in the media technology marketplace.”
By Holland Cooke
Even with so many smart speakers under the Christmas tree, we’re still early-on in the adoption curve, so this will only become more opportune for broadcasters.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — “Radio isn’t radio; radio is life.” Noted international talk radio consultant Valerie Geller stressed that point yesterday (6/2) during the kickoff of the two-day Hivio confab in Los Angeles. The “labor of love” event organized by San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst Mark Ramsey and Slacker Radio director/content initiatives Jaime Solis concludes today (6/3).
Ten people – including Geller – were interviewed in one-on-one “Q&A” sessions with Ramsey, or they made individual presentations. Emphasizing that on-air talents and podcasters are all in the story business, Geller states, “It is all about how to powerfully communicate your story. The real secret is how does it matter to you?” She reasons that, if the talent does not care, there is no reason to think the audience will either. “You are an actor playing the part,” she remarks. “Radio – audio – is magical – you are in someone’s head.”