Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Renegotiate. Weekend ask-the-expert shows exploit the most proven concept in marketing: free samples. Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Done well, these shows can grow all sorts of service businesses. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke describes “an EXTERMINATOR who’s a rock star!” But HC observes that, “too often these shows are well-kept secrets because stations don’t promote them properly.” And in this week’s column he shares “two magic words” and other deal points for hosts who broker Saturday/Sunday airtime. Read it here.
Pending Business: Reimagining How News/Talk is Sold. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column in TALKERS that “chances are you are still pitching the news/talk format the same way you did when podcasting was still a rumor. Is anyone still wondering why podcast ad sales are exploding, while news/talk radio is proud to be hitting 2019 levels?” He suggests sales teams reimagine how news/talk radio is sold. Read more here.
Exclusive ‘Kim Komando Show’ to Air on WLS-AM, Chicago on Friday Nights. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talk WLS-AM and WestStar TalkRadio Network is bringing Kim Komando to the station’s listeners for a one-hour, Friday night program produced exclusively for WLS. The 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm show debuts this Friday (3/25) and “will showcase the latest news and insights in digital-lifestyle and technology that helps improve the daily lives of Chicagoland listeners.” Komando’s award-winning, nationally syndicated three-hour weekend show is also heard on WLS-AM 890 every Saturday and Sunday night from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to have more of Radio Hall of Famer Kim Komando on the ‘Big 89.’ For over 25 years, Kim has been part of the WLS-AM family, providing our listeners with the latest tech news. Now she brings that experience to Friday nights at WLS, where listeners will learn more about why tech matters.” Komando comments, “People have different interests — politics, cars, cooking — you name it. But there is one thing that affects us all and that’s tech. It’s hard to navigate Big Tech taking our privacy along with the hackers, scammers and stalkers. You can Google anything. You can’t Google trusted advice and that’s why I am honored to be our nation’s premier digital expert. I’m thrilled that WLS sees my show worthy for the Friday schedule. Tech isn’t a hobby. It’s our lives.”
Christopher Layfield Named OM for Cumulus Indianapolis. Radio programming pro Christopher “Boomer” Layfield is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WXNT-AM and five music brands. Layfield joined Cumulus Indianapolis in April 2018 and served as one of two operations managers for the cluster until January, and as program director for country WFMS-FM. He will continue to program WFMS-FM and adult contemporary WNTR-FM. Layfield comments, “It truly is a thrill for me to be able to work with such a gifted group of radio pros at these iconic broadcasting brands here in Indianapolis. Being given the chance to continue to lead these teams at this level is something that I look forward to making the most of, working together for the benefit of our listeners and advertisers… and having fun doing it! I’d like to thank Chuck Fredrick, Doug Hamand and Dave Milner for this amazing opportunity.”
Adam ‘The Bull’ Gerstenhaber to Exit Cleveland’s ‘92.3 The Fan’ on April 1. According to a report in TheFocus, Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber told his listeners that he will leave Audacy’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” on April 1. Gerstenhaber, who co-hosts the afternoon drive “Bull & Fox” with Dustin Fox, has been with the station for almost 11 years. Gerstenhaber is not saying what his plans are for his post-Fan career but tweeted: “In case you missed it, I am leaving @923TheFan. The last @BullandFox show will be April 1st (No, this is not an April fools joke). I leave with nothing but love for everyone…especially @DustinFox37 and @KeithBritton86!!”
NFL Insider and KIRO-AM Personality John Clayton Remembered. After last week’s passing of longtime sports media figure and NFL insider John Clayton, Bonneville International’s Seattle staff are remembering him with tributes. Clayton was a personality on the company’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports” for the past 14 years. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “John was a treasured member of our team. John was a legend in our industry and a true Hall-of-Famer. He was a consistent advocate for the game of football. His connections, friendships and relationships throughout the sports world were simply unmatched. His love of football was only surpassed by his love, loyalty and dedication to his wife Pat. John will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his family and friends.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown adds, “John was an amazing journalist, colleague and friend. A Hall-of-Famer both personally and professionally, John was one of the most loyal people you’d ever meet. While his loyalty extended to friends and co-workers, it was never stronger than in his commitment to his beloved wife Pat, who he cherished every moment of his life. Our ‘Seattle Sports’ family will miss John dearly and keep his family in our hearts.”
TALKERS News Notes. The air talent at Salem Radio Network – including Larry Elder, Sebastian Gorka and others – have been appealing for donations to the non-profit Food for the Poor, which provides food, water and medical supplies to 17 Caribbean and Latin American countries has no “footprint” in Eastern Europe. SRN announces that Food for the Poor has reached an alliance with Feed My Starving Children, which has had staff on the ground in Ukraine for the past eight years, and so effective today (3/21), SRN hosts will generate donations to rush food, clean water and other relief supplies to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees. SRN host Mike Gallagher says, “It took some diplomatic maneuvering between these two awesome charities to combine forces in order to rush emergency relief to the children and families of war-torn Ukraine. All of us at SRN are proud to play a role in this unique campaign, and we’ll be urging our listeners to open their hearts – and their wallets – in the exciting days ahead.”…..The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” announces the addition of new affiliate stations. Launched last fall, the show adds WJFP-AM, Philadelphia; KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas; KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz, California; and WJFP-FM, Trenton, New Jersey. The “Rob Carson Show” airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, the same time slot that Rush Limbaugh occupied. Newsmax notes that Carson wrote comedy for Limbaugh for over 20 years.
Russia-Ukraine War/Biden Europe Trip, Gas Prices/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, and Kanye Cut from Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the weekend attacks on Kyiv, plus President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Europe; soaring gas prices in the U.S. and the still rising price of consumer retail goods; the battle for control of Congress in November’s mid-term elections, the Republican prospects for president in 2024 and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rising rate of the Omicron variant BA.2 cases in some parts of the world and the U.S.; this week’s start of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Kanye West is ousted from performance at Grammy Awards for his “concerning online behavior” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Another Week in the Year of Fear!” looks back at this past week of August 24-28, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dale Jackson, talk show host / program director, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Walter Sterling, nationally syndicated talk show host / WABC, New York; and Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle/CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Buck Sexton Show Expands on WOR, New York. The Premiere Networks-syndicated Buck Sexton show is growing from two to three hours on iHeartMedia’s “710 WOR, The Voice of New York.” The program begins airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Monday (8/31). Sexton says, “I’m thrilled to be extending my presence on the far-reaching airwaves of WOR. I look forward to expanding my nightly conversation with fellow New Yorkers and Tri-Staters about the issues that matter most to us.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy adds. “Since COVID-19 hit us, Buck has been broadcasting from his apartment in mid-town Manhattan and has never missed a day. He has done an outstanding job giving New Yorkers everything they need to know to survive this pandemic, along with his thoughts on the political stories of the day.”
Beasley Promotes Tee Gentry to Regional OM for Augusta and Fayetteville. Longtime company programmer Tee Gentry is promoted to regional operations manager for Beasley Media Group’s radio stations in Augusta, Georgia – including news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands – and Fayetteville, North Carolina’s six music brands. Gentry has been serving as operations manager for the Augusta cluster. Gentry has spent the majority of his 25-year radio career with Beasley Media Group, serving more than 20 years as operations manager and PD at country WKXC-FM, Augusta and three years in Tampa as operations manager and PD at country WQYK-FM. Beasley VP and general manager Kent Dunn says, “Tee has done a tremendous job over the past 20 years at Beasley Media Group. He has done a great job leading our Augusta team and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Fayetteville team.”
The RNC, Presidential Race, the USPS and Defunding Police Controversies Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. This week’s Republican National Convention, the presidential race and the controversies over the U.S. Postal Service and the move to defund police departments tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was race relations, urban violence, the suburban housing controversy, and the NBA demonstration. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, meds, masks, and the CDC testing flap tied at #4. 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.
TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talk host Norm Hitzges revealed to listeners on Thursday that he is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer. The 76-year-old Hitzges – who co-hosts the “Norm and D Invasion” program on Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” with Donovan Lewis – says he’ll continue to work while going through the treatment, according to a story in the Dallas News…..In Asheville, North Carolina, WISE-AM sports talk host Pat Ryan is battling a recurrence of colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. WLOS-TV reports that Ryan was first diagnosed and treated in 2018. He learned last month that more chemotherapy is needed. But Ryan tells WLOS that doing his daily, afternoon drive show on the Saga Communications station rejuvenates him and helps with the cancer treatment…..Salem Radio Network says it will have a front row seat to President Trump’s first campaign stop after last night’s acceptance speech as SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston travels aboard Air Force One to Manchester, New Hampshire today (8/28). Clugston is also credentialed for all four debates (three presidential, one vice presidential) sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates this fall…..iHeartMedia, Inc chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler are participating in a question-and-answer session during the BofA Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference taking place on September 10 at 11:40 am ET. iHeartMedia says a live webcast of the session will be available to the general public through a link on the Investors homepage of its website (https://investors.iheartmedia.com/). A replay of the video webcast will be available in the Events & Presentation section of iHeartMedia’s Investors homepage.
45th Annual Gracie Awards to Stream Virtually on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 45th annual Gracie Awards program will air live on AWMF’s Facebook page on September 10 at 7:00 pm ET. The virtual event will recognize esteemed honoree Katy Perry, who will receive the Gracies Impact Award, presented to an artist who has made a positive impact on society through their music. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will deliver a special tribute to frontline journalists who covered breaking news regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, and women in television, radio, and digital media being honored for their contributions this year include: Naomi Watts, Michelle Williams, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee. AWMF adds that Danai Gurira, Norah O’Donnell, Fiona Shaw, Andrea Mitchell and Gayle King will appear in the virtual show along with country artist Mickey Guyton who will perform twice throughout the night, and Grey’s Anatomy’s “Silent All These Years” episode will receive the Grand Award for the incredibly powerful episode which brought attention to sexual assault survivors. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “There’s no doubt that this year has been indescribable – but one thing that has stayed consistent is the level of content that continues to be generated by and for women. We understand that people are going through unprecedented times and it’s our commitment to bring the world in for the first time and see the magic of the Gracie Awards as we celebrate some of the brave and poignant, storytellers of our time.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Flipping from Gospel to adult contemporary is Beasley Media Group’s WGUS-FM, Augusta, Georgia “Sunny 102.7.” Core artists include: Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Journey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, and more…..Entercom is kicking off “DTS Sound Space Sundays” with a special broadcast of Foster the People’s performance at “KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017.” The broadcast will air at 9:00 pm ET August 30 via RADIO.COM. An exclusive new interview with band frontman Mark Foster will follow the performance. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We’re looking forward to opening our archives and sharing this classic Foster the People performance with a national audience via RADIO.COM. HD Radio has served as a great partner over the years and we’re excited to spotlight their sister brand, DTS, through our Sound Space and Sound Space Sundays content.”