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Thursday, April 28, 2022

| April 28, 2022

SiriusXM Host Joe Madison is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Civil rights activist, author, speaker and radio talk show host Joe Madison is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Since 1980, “The Black Eagle” has hosted shows at such outstanding outlets as WXYZ, Detroit; WWDB-FM, Philadelphia; WWRC, Washington, DC; and WOL – also in the nation’s capital. He’s been nationally syndicated by Radio One and is now well into his second decade hosting the morning show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Urban View channel. Madison was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2019. He is the leading civil rights activist broadcaster in America whose main platform is talk radio. He’s conducted high-profile hunger strikes to bring attention to causes he supports and has been arrested at demonstrations. He is a prolific public speaker and inspiration to people seeking racial equality and justice in America. The 72-year-old thought leader has received numerous honors over the years including the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award in 2008. Joe Madison is currently the highest-ranked African American personality on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (#5). Now, with David Canton, he has written a long-awaited book about his life and career titled, Radio Active: A Memoir of Advocacy in Action, on the Air and in the Streets. Harrison and Madison take a deep dive into the ongoing turbulence of race relations in America. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, click here.

 

FCC’s Carr Says Agency Has No Authority in Twitter Acquisition. Responding to the Open Markets Institute’s appeal to the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission to block the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr issued a terse statement: “The FCC has no authority to block Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, and to suggest otherwise is absurd. I would welcome the full FCC making it clear that we will not entertain these types of frivolous arguments.” The Open Markets Institute says in its statement, “The most obvious problem is that the deal would give to a single man – one who already wields immense political and economic power – direct control over one of world’s most important platforms for public communications and debate. As has been true from the Founding, the American people have an absolute right to ensure the full openness and neutrality of all essential public infrastructure. Specific to communications, we see this in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, in the Telegraph acts of 1860 and 1866, the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910, the Communications Act of 1934, and many other federal and state laws. Americans have also repeatedly used our antitrust laws to prevent concentrations of power over communications, speech, debate, and news.” Read the organization’s release here.

 

Hall of Famer Brett Favre to Join ESPN Milwaukee for Weekly Segment. Green Bay Packers great and NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre is joining Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee stations for a weekly segment during this fall’s 2022 NFL season. Beginning August 29, the 30-minute interview will air every Monday morning at 7:30 am on WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” Milwaukee’s “Jen, Gabe & Chewy” program featuring Packers Hall of Fame inductee Mark Chmura. The interview will be replayed on other ESPN Wisconsin shows, “Newsradio 620” WTMJ, WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” and Good Karma Brands’ digital platforms. Good Karma VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “We are excited about our coverage of the team this season, which will include pre-game and post-game shows, expanded hospitality at our Tundra Trio hospitality homes in Green Bay, and the exclusive appearance of Brett Favre on our stations. Brett will bring his unique perspective and experience to our programming and we can’t to hear his takes.”

 

WMVP-AM, Chicago Adds Courtney Cronin as Bears Reporter and Fill-In Host. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” adds Courtney Cronin to the staff to serve as a Chicago Bears reporter and on-air fill-in host during the football season. Feder notes that she had been serving with ESPN covering the Minnesota Vikings prior to returning to her native Chicago to cover the Bears. WMVP director of content Danny Zederman is quoted saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Courtney to our ESPN Chicago family. She is well connected in NFL circles and will bring our fans the Bears information they desire. In addition to her reporting, our fans are going to enjoy what Courtney has to offer as a radio host, where she’ll talk all things Chicago sports.”

 

NAB2022: Employee Wellness and Mental Health. “Because COVID-19 was unlike anything we’ve experienced, they called it ‘a novel coronavirus.’” So, consultant Holland Cooke, recalls “we went into a better-safe-than-sorry mode with lasting consequences,” including in the radio workplace. One NAB Show panelist offers advice. Read it here.

 

Retired AURN Executive Jerry Lopes Dies. Former American Urban Radio Networks executive Gerald A. “Jerry” Lopes died on April 23. Lopes served with AURN for almost four decades, retiring in 2018 as president of programming and affiliations. AURN issued a statement saying, “We cherished his dedication to news, entertainment, and sports. As a valued member of the AURN team and a strong advocate for Black radio in general, Jerry Lopes served on the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters board for over 10 years. A few of his most notable accomplishments were securing and broadcasting an interview between then presidents Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela in 1994, live on-site accounts of the Challenger explosion, and a live broadcast of the ‘Million Man March.’ In addition, Jerry shepherded the production of the radio versions of ‘Lou Rawls Parade of Stars’ for the United Negro College Fund and writing and producing various health and voting rights information pieces in conjunction with NABOB. Jerry’s passion for Historically Black Colleges and Black College Football led him to spearhead a 40-plus-year program of scholarships for student-athletes, The Black College All American, which celebrated students’ contributions on and off the field.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. “FOX Weather,” FOX News Media’s free ad-supported streaming television weather service is expanding its reach to FOX News Audio, launching a new daily podcast as well as offering hourly weather updates on FOX News Headlines 24/7 starting at 6:00 am ET on Monday, May 2. Featuring a rotation of FOX Weather meteorologists, the “FOX Weather Update Podcast” will provide multiple weather updates throughout the day. As the first podcast from the weather service which launched last October, the program will also include breaking news coverage on major systems impacting the country…..Telecommunications law professional Gregg Skall is moderating a live webinar for Independent Broadcasters Association members on Thursday, May 5 at 4:00 pm ET. The webinar, “Best Practices for Political Broadcast Advertising” will “identify and clarify the FCC rules and regulations that will keep your stations compliant, while generating revenue from political.” Skall says, “I’m excited to speak to the members of the IBA and detail the critical FCC rules and regulations for political broadcast advertising. We’re heading into an active political season and knowledge of the rules and regulations will help keep IBA-member stations out of trouble.” Learn more about IBA here…..Glass Podcasts and iHeartMedia announce the launch of the eight-part, true-crime podcast series, “Betrayal.” The series is “the story of TV producer Jenifer Faison whose picture-perfect marriage completely shatters in the blink of an eye when she suddenly discovers that her college sweetheart-turned-doting husband is not the person she thought he was. After seven years of marriage, Faison came home from work one afternoon to find her house searched and her husband arrested for the continued sexual assault of a student. In ‘Betrayal,’ Faison investigates the hidden story behind the story, revealing a dark, double-life fueled by dozens often sordid and simultaneous affairs with friends, neighbors and strangers, dating back to the week they were married.”.….ABC Audio announces its new literary podcast, “The Book Case,” hosted by longtime ABC News journalist Charlie Gibson and his daughter Kate Gibson. The first episode, posting on 5/2, features a conversation with television icon Oprah Winfrey, who discusses the impact of her book club on American readership, her own reading habits, and how she makes her picks. Each week, the father-daughter duo will provide hand-selected recommendations and sit down with a prominent or up-and-coming author, book industry insider or literary influencer.

 

Russia-Ukraine War/Trevor Reed Released, the Economy/Recession Fears, Musk & Twitter, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Urban Crime, Western Drought-Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the global repercussions, and the prisoner swap that brought U.S. Marine Trevor Reed home from Russia; the financial markets activity, the high price of food and gas, and predictions of a deep recession; Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the growing rate of urban violent crime; and the drought affecting the U.S. West and the spring wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

| April 15, 2020

Alpha Media Makes Cost Saving Moves. In a press release, Alpha Media announces that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the radio industry’s advertising revenue, it “has taken painful steps similar to those of other media companies and announced temporary furloughs, the elimination of some positions, and a reduction of hours for certain employees. Prior to these actions, the members of Alpha’s executive leadership team proactively reduced their own compensation.”  Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt states, “Alpha Media continues to work through many difficult decisions to cope with the current challenges we all face brought about by COVID-19. We are positioning the company to weather this challenge while trying to keep our valued team members safe and be poised to recover quickly once the crisis has passed.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Online Presentation to Feature Dave Ramsey. In a special, live presentation on Tuesday, April 21, the Radio Advertising Bureau, as part of its “Business Unusual” initiative, is hosting a live, online presentation called “Leading for Success During and After COVID-19” featuring nationally syndicated financial talk media superstar Dave Ramsey.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will speak with Ramsey for this leadership-through-unprecedented times session focused on what broadcasters need to be thinking about to weather the storm while serving their communities of listeners and advertisers.  The session starts at 1:00 pm EST and registration is free to RAB members.

Special Interest Groups Appeal to DOJ to Prevent Liberty Media Acquisition of iHeartMedia. Six special interest groups – American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Open Markets Institute, and Public Citizen – have appealed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to reject a possible acquisition of iHeartMedia by Liberty Media.  Liberty has not made any offers to iHeartMedia but it’s been widely reported in recent months that Liberty – which has a controlling stake in SiriusXM and Pandora and a minority stake in Live Nation/Ticketmaster – is interested in adding iHeartMedia to its portfolio of media companies.  The artist rights and consumer groups say, “With just its current holdings, including Pandora and SiriusXM and a major stake in Ticketmaster/LiveNation, Liberty Media already has far too much control over the music ecosystem.  With artists, performers, and consumers already facing unprecedented uncertainty and risk, DOJ should put the brakes on this dangerous threat to creative livelihoods and consumer options.”

Brian Lang to Lead Townsquare Media’s ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ With the departure of Ron deCastro from the president and chief revenue officer position at Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” the company promotes Brian Lang to the market president and chief revenue officer position.  Lang was most recently regional market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare’s Portland, Portsmouth, and Augusta, Maine operations.  Townsquare SVP of operations Rob Williams says, “Brian has distinguished himself as a leader since joining Townsquare in 2014.  By building a team of exceptional managers and talent, Brian’s markets have been among our top performers year after year.  When the opportunity arose, Brian was the natural choice to lead the exceptional team at ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ which represents the best in live and local media.” Local media chief operating officer Erik Hellum adds, “‘New Jersey 101.5’ is a very special and powerful news/talk station, keeping New Jersey informed and connected in a way that no other media outlet can.  A brand like ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ and the very talented team behind that brand, deserve a strong and experienced leader who can help protect, lead, and evolve it, and there is no one better prepared to do that than Brian.”  Meanwhile, back in Maine, the company promotes regional VP of sales Christine Sieks to regional market president of Northern New England.  She’ll continue her RVP of sales duties.

TALKERS News Notes. Former U.S. Congressman and former Chicago and syndicated talk show host Joe Walsh is promoting his new book, F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is (2020, Broadside Books).  Walsh, who hosted a local show at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago and was syndicated via the Salem Radio Network before he left radio to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, recently was a guest on former WGN-AM morning host Steve Cochran’s podcast…..As part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing Community of Caring public service campaign, the Boston station group that includes sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 FM The Sports Hub” and four music brands is working in conjunction with Safety Insurance, RCN, and Sam Adams to raise $100,000 in support of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Covid-19 response efforts for Healthcare workers through the newly launched Healthcare Heroes initiative.  Beasley Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We wanted to provide our listeners with the opportunity to recognize and thank our Healthcare Heroes for the extraordinary sacrifices they are making during this crisis through this fund.”…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh station group that includes news/talk KDKA-AM raised funds to provide more than 1.5 million meals for people in need through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  Yesterday’s “Feed the Need Radiothon,” directly benefits displaced workers who are utilizing the emergency drive up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region…..Skyview Networks’ franchise partners are airing “best of” games to provide their affiliate networks with sports content for their listeners.  Skyview says it is important to them that they keep their loyal fans engaged and connected, and the company is proud to provide the distribution and inventory management for these games.  Franchises providing replays and “best of” content currently include: Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Trump Orders Halt to WHO Funding, Scrutiny of China’s Handling of the Outbreak, Trump vs Governors, CDC/FEMA Reopening Plan, Financial Markets Activity, and the Presidential Race and Voting by Mail Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections about future cases; President Trump orders a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization, alleging it was slow to respond to the crisis; scrutiny of China’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus; President Trump’s claim that he had ultimate authority while governors of states form regional coalitions to coordinate actions; the CDC and FEMA reveal they are developing a plan to reopen the economy in the safest possible way; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; and the issue of voting by mail for the November elections were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Ron deCastro joins MediaCo to serve as the market president for New York, in charge of the company’s hip hop WQHT “HOT97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  He was most recently market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  MediaCo president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh comments, “Ron is the perfect choice to lead ‘HOT97’ and WBLS.  Our investment plans will enable these iconic brands to impact our audiences and clients in even more meaningful ways.  Ron’s deep experience in building winning digital and broadcast teams in and around New York will be invaluable as we deepen the relationship that our brands and personalities have with our audiences in the tristate area and around the world.”…..SupeRadio is syndicating the Atlanta-based morning show “The Streetz Morning Takeover” hosted by “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reality show star and rapper Yung Joc, Shawty Shawty, and Sue Solo.  Program creator Steve Hegwood says, “This is America’s only authentic hip hop morning show and it is highly rated and battle-tested under one of the most difficult and competitive situations imaginable.  ‘The Streetz Morning Takeover’ is built to win in every possible scenario and in every market.  It has all the bells and whistles needed for great morning radio including tested and proven benchmarks backed by a great team who lives and appreciates the hip hop lifestyle.  I’m excited to be working with Eric Faison at SupeRadio, and Gary Bernstein of Oceanic Tradewinds in what we believe will be the birth of the next great urban syndicated product.”…..WAWZ, Zarephath, New Jersey “STAR 99.1” announces that current afternoon co-hosts Dave Moore and Kristen James are moving to morning drive on “STAR 99.1” beginning April 20.  Director of programming Matt Stockman says, “Great radio stations are built on the daily foundation created by an engaging, entertaining morning show and I believe that Dave and Kristen have the talent, experience, and desire to lay that foundation every day.”