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Monday, June 14, 2021

| June 14, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion.  Stay tuned for details.

FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio‘s Brian Kilmeade delivers the keynote address at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

Key Networks nationally syndicated commentator Bill O’Reilly (right) is interviewed by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (left) at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay (right) moderates the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ’20s” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Joe Thomas, program director/morning host, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Greg Stocker, WPHT, Philadelphia APD, executive producer for the Rich Zeoli show; Michael Czarnecki, program director WONK-FM, Washington, DC and the iHeartPodcast Channel; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; Dave LaBrozzi, SVP of programming, Red Apple Media; and Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group, operations VP, New York region.

Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon (right) moderates the “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Christine Travaglini, president Katz Radio Group/RAB; Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Paul Gleiser, president/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media/RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, NY.

WRHU Radio operations director John T. Mullen (right) moderates the “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Derek Hunter, talk host WCBM, Baltimore; Martha Zoller, talk host WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield,  MA “Rock 102”; Brett Winterble, talk host, WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and Dr. Asa Andrew, talk host, Asa Rx.

Monday Memo: Dear Old Dad. There’s still time to make a fuss on his special day; and in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke suggests a couple vintage radio hits worth dusting off, “regardless of your format.” Read the column here.

Biden’s European Trip/G7, Putin Summit, COVID-19, Minneapolis Protest Death, Harris Latin America Trip Criticism/Immigration Reform, Trevor Reed Case, Soaring Urban Crime, and Bennett Replaces Netanyahu Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s European trip, the meeting of G7 leaders; Biden’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and speculation about the origin of the coronavirus; one person is killed as a car rams into protestors in Minneapolis; criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the subject of immigration reform; the case of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed who’s been detained in Russia for two years; the soaring rates of urban crime in America’s large cities; and Naftali Bennett succeeds in ousting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Pending Business: Demand vs Frequency. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “As you engage advertisers during this sales tailwind, what happens when rates and rotations are not even close to 2020 or Q1 of 2021? Does the sales banter go straight to demand? It happened to me. Your internal high-five is your advertiser flashing red light for high rates! Oops, you moved right to the easy part – demand is up so rates are up. Your advertiser should be compassionate, understanding that you made it through to the other side of the pandemic. Are your advertisers really saluting your demand curve? No.” Read more here.

Jim Fox Named Operations Manager for Cumulus Media Kansas City. Radio programming pro Jim Fox is named operations manager for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Kansas City cluster that includes news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI and six music brands. Fox joins CUMULUS Kansas City following a 17-year career with Audacy, where he was vice president, programming, for the company’s four Dallas stations. CUMULUS Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “Record-high ratings delivery as the #1 cluster in KC is the result of our incredible programming talent delivering the highest level of audience engagement. Jim Fox is among the best programming minds in the business. His expertise growing strong brands that deliver results for our client partners is the ideal addition to our team in Kansas City.” Fox comments, “I’m extremely excited and fortunate to be joining this incredible team with an already proven track record of success. So many people who I respect helped to make this move possible. I’m energized by the idea of working closely with Donna Baker, Doug Hamand, Brian Philips, and the very impressive and talented staff in Kansas City.”

Dave Symonds Joins Summit Media Richmond as Director of Programming and Operations. The new director of programming and operations at SummitMedia, LLC’s Richmond cluster that includes WURV-HD2 “ESPN Richmond” and four music brands is Dave Symonds. The company says, “Symonds brings a solid track record of progressive leadership in multi-station, multiformat programming, management, and brand development, including start-ups and well-established stations and shows. He has been consistently successful in differentiating brands, communicating format values and achieving ratings successes.” Symonds adds, “After meeting with the Summit Richmond team, I was quickly swept up by their strength and creativity, as well as the opportunities and potential of these stations. I already respected market manager Bob Willoughby when we were competed a few years back. Now, I’m excited to partner with him. Plus, it’s Richmond. I’m thrilled!”

Zimmer Marketing Market Manager Chad Elliot Dies Unexpectedly at 47. The Joplin, Missouri station group of Zimmer Marketing reports the unexpected passing of its market manager, Chad Carroz, a.k.a. Chad Elliot, who died at his home on Saturday at the age of 47. Elliot was the longtime host of the “KZRG Morning NewsWatch” program on the news/talk station. He held that position for over a decade before moving into a full-time role in sales and management. Company owner James Zimmer says, “Chad will be missed by all who knew and loved him. He was part of our family for over 25 years. His passion for radio guided him from being a part-time air talent to market manager of Zimmer Marketing in Joplin. We will hold Chad forever in our hearts and look forward to seeing him in eternal life with Christ.” Elliot leaves behind his wife Monica – also a member of the Zimmer team – and the couple’s daughter, Mattie.  In announcing her husband’s death via Facebook, Monica wrote, “Chad had two passions. Zimmer Radio and his dogs. He lived, breathed, and bled Zimmer. He wanted nothing more than to help local businesses succeed and grow. He fought for those success stories. I was given a rare gift to work alongside my husband almost seven years ago. At first, I thought it wouldn’t work. How can a couple be together 24/7? It had its challenges, but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it for anything! 8-5 he was in charge. 5-8 I was in charge. It worked.” Details on funeral arrangements are pending.

Audacy Adds Two Shows to BetQL Network. The BetQL Network is adding two new weekday programs to its lineup. Audacy announces that as part of its multiplatform partnership with BetMGM, the network will launch “The Daily Tip,” featuring Michael Jenkins and Chelsea Messinger, and “BetMGM Tonight,” starring Ryan Horvat and Quinton Mayo, beginning June 21. The “BetQL Network,” is heard on KEZW-AM, Denver “The Bet 1430AM”; KCBS-HD2, Los Angeles; and WCFS-HD2, Chicago “The Bet 105.9.”  Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are ecstatic to announce the next phase of our planned expansion of the ‘BetQL Network.’ Our partnership with BetMGM – who is co-developing these shows alongside our sports programming team led by Matt Volk [vice president of sports] – enables us to create this new content that will both entertain and inform our audience around daily sports betting activity. We aspire for the ‘BetQL Network’ to become the go-to destination for the sports betting community and we’ll continue to announce new content to this dynamic platform over the next few months.”

Two Researchers Promoted at Paragon Strategies. Two Paragon Media Strategies longtime researchers are being promoted. Sara Schueller rises to vice president/research and Simone Lowin is promoted to research services director. Paragon CEO Mike Henry notes, “Sara Schueller and Simone Lowin have been part of the Paragon backbone for two decades.  During that time, Paragon has produced hundreds of research projects for our media and entertainment clients. Every one of those projects was guided by these incredible women who exhibit the highest capacity for integrity and professionalism. We’re incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the Paragon family.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

| April 13, 2021

Report: Sebastian Gorka’s ‘America First’ YouTube Channel Terminated. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, the Sebastian Gorka’s “America First” YouTube channel has been terminated for its “presidential election integrity policy.” Gorka’s “America First” program is syndicated nationally via Salem Radio Network live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart. He served as a one-time aide to President Donald Trump. The Examiner reports that YouTube spokesperson Ivey Choi told it, “In accordance with our long-standing strikes system, we terminated the channel ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka’ for repeated violations of our presidential election integrity policy. As we’ve publicly shared, our presidential election integrity policy prohibits content uploaded after last year’s safe harbor deadline that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Any channel that violates this policy will receive a strike and channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period are permanently removed from YouTube, as in the case of ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka.’”

Grace Curley Show Continues to Add New Affiliate Stations. The Boston-based early afternoon talk radio program “The Grace Curley Show” adds new affiliate stations – including Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts and Sugar River Media’s news/talk duo WNTK-FM and WUVR-FM in New London, New Hampshire.  The Grace Curley Show is produced and syndicated by the Howie Carr Radio Network. Howie Carr says, “Grace Curley continues to expand as she has put together an excellent modern talk show with daily compelling, fresh content.” Curley’s program launched in January of this year on WRKO, Boston and recent affiliates adding the program include: Saga’s WGAN, Portland; WFEA, Manchester, New Hampshire; and WKBK, Keene, New Hampshire; plus Harrison Irrevocable Trust’s trio of news/talkers WTPL, Hillsboro; WTSN, Dover; and WEMJ, Laconia in New Hampshire. Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr comments, “It is exciting to see such a young talent grow so rapidly.”

Cox Media Group Adds Mark Kaye Show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. As it did at O&O WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, Cox Media Group fills the early afternoon daypart occupied for so many years by Rush Limbaugh with WOKV-based talk show host Mark Kaye on its Tulsa news/talker KRMG-AM/FM. Kaye was a longtime morning drive personality on CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville who left that role last year to focus on his talk show on sister WOKV-FM. Kaye says, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG along with 102.3 KRMG for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.” CMG Radio EVP Rob Babin adds, “Our stations across the country will greatly miss Rush. We’re pleased to have our own CMG talent to take over that show time in the Tulsa market who has a long successful track record of great ratings and building large audiences, and is very compatible with the brand of entertaining and engaging programming that our listeners expect from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.”

Woofy Appointed OM for JVC Media’s Emerald Coast Cluster. Radio pro Woofy Ramone is joining JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach/Destin station group as operations manager overseeing talk WZLB “Florida Man Radio 103.1,” CHR WECQ, country WHWY, and classic hits WWAV, effective in early June.  JVC executive Shane Reeve states, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Woofy as our operations manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is great for everyone in the market. Woofy is synonymous with the Emerald Coast, having been involved in many local charities, broadcasting and helping listeners through our area’s big hurricanes, and having a top-rated show for almost 30 years. I’m thrilled to work with Woofy again and to have someone of Woofy’s experience and stature on board with the JVC family.” JVC Florida director of programming Stevie DeMann adds, “I’m excited Woofy is joining the JVC team! It is going to be fun to watch him lend his knowledge and expertise of the Emerald Coast to our brands and staff. He’s a natural to continue our culture of FUN radio that works for the community, clients, and our loyal listeners!”

Stanberry Named VP of Government Relations at NAB. The National Association of Broadcasters announces Charlyn Stanberry joins the organization as vice president of government relations, effective today. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Charlyn has exceled on Capitol Hill, in the private sector and in the legal community, and commands expert knowledge of the legislative process. America’s local broadcasters will greatly benefit from Charlyn’s work on their behalf and we are delighted to welcome her to NAB.” Stanberry was most recently chief of staff for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09). She is also an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia where she teaches Foundation Civics and Ethics & Values.

Westwood One Blog Takes Aim at Myths About Radio. In this week’s Westwood One blog by chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, he addresses “the perception of media audiences” that is “skewed by prevalent myths in the ad community.” In the column, he sets out to disprove “eight of the biggest perceptions brands hold about AM/FM radio.” Perception #1: “Due to the pandemic, no one is listening to AM/FM radio.” Reality: According to the latest Nielsen Fall 2020 Nationwide Report, AM/FM radio has retained 95% of its persons 18+ reach from the Fall 2019 survey. Perception #2: “Due to the pandemic, everyone’s working at home and no one is commuting.” Reality: According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, 60% of Americans are commuting every day, a sharp contrast to the perception. Perception #3: “AM/FM radio has very low reach.” Reality: 88% of all Americans are reached by AM/FM radio on a weekly basis, according to Nielsen’s Q3 2020 Total Audience Report. See the rest of the blog here.

CMG Names Kim Dallow Tulsa Director of Radio Operations. Programming pro Kim Dallow officially rises to director of radio operations for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster. Dallow has served with CMG Tulsa for 14 years, most recently as director of branding & programming of classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” a position she will continue to hold. She’s been acting OM for the cluster for the past year. She says, “It’s such a privilege to work with this team of outstanding broadcasters. I’m so proud of the local programming and community support that CMG Tulsa consistently provides, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to help ensure that its legacy of excellence continues.”

Minneapolis Police Shooting Protests/Derek Chauvin Trial, COVID-19, Border Crisis, China’s Taiwan Exercises, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Iran Nuclear Site Attack, and BLM Founder’s Growing Real Estate Portfolio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Clashes erupt between police and protestors in Minneapolis after police kill a Black man during a traffic stop and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the spikes of COVID-19 cases in some states, the recommended pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and the rollout of the other vaccines; the large number of unaccompanied children amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; China’s aggressive military policy regarding Taiwan; the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with a minor; the attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility and the state of the Iran nuclear deal; and criticism of Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors’ growing real estate portfolio were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 12, 2021

| February 12, 2021

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, “Shock President,” looks back at this past week of February 8-12, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Brittany Jennings, commentator, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The 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 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; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

Mark Kaye Transitions to News/Talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Full Time. Jacksonville radio personality Mark Kaye is leaving his on-air role at Cox Media Group’s CHR WAPE-FM on “The Big Ape Morning Mess” to focus on his talk program on sister news/talk WOKV-FM. He’ll do his final show on WAPE with co-host Meghan Lane on February 19. Lane will continue to host the WAPE morning show solo while the search for a new co-host is mounted. Kaye began hosting a talk show on WOKV in December of 2017 and it was expanded to its current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on January of 2019. CMG VP audience & content Tim Clarke says, “Mark is one of the most creative and ambitious people I know and his continuous evolution as a media personality is truly impressive. I truly believe that the ‘Mark Kaye Show’ represents the future of the spoken word format – entertaining and informative with an aesthetic that resonates and appeals to all generations. This represents CMG’s continued investment in creating new and innovative content to serve our audiences and communities.”

Beasley Names Blaine Jackson Digital PD. At the Augusta, Georgia operations of Bealsey Media Group, Blaine Jackson is named digital program director for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands. Jackson comes to Beasley from her most recent position as program director and afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown country outlet WLUB-FM. Beasley Media Group vice president of brand strategies and Augusta/Fayetteville regional operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “We are thrilled to have Blaine join our Augusta team. Her passion for radio and our digital direction make her the perfect fit for our stations.”

Bloomberg Radio Prepared to Present Special Programming This Weekend. The Bloomberg Radio Network announces that is has “an army of reporters, producers, and anchors standing by over the weekend” to produce special programming in the event that former President Donald Trump is convicted in his impeachment trial. The trial could conclude earlier than expected, with a vote among Senate jurors to acquit or convict taking place as soon as Saturday. Bloomberg Radio Network anchors Nathan Hager and Amy Morris would anchor special coverage. Reporter Kevin Cirilli is prepared to report from Washington, DC. In the meantime, Bloomberg’s team of Washington, DC reporters is being made available to its affiliates for two-ways. If you are interested in learning about becoming a Bloomberg Radio Network, contact Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green at: dennis@keynetworks.com.

Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon Adds Chicago and Seattle Affiliates. Nationally syndicated late-night talk radio legend Jim Bohannon is now heard in Chicago on Nextstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM and in Seattle on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM. The Westwood One program is now be heard on more than 275 stations. Bohannon, a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, just marked his 28th anniversary as host of the Jim Bohannon Show on Westwood One. He comments, “I’m very gratified to be adding two legendary sets of call letters – WGN, Chicago and KOMO, Seattle—to the Jim Bohannon Show family of stations. What a perfect way to cap my recent 28th anniversary hosting this nationwide evening chat. Thanks to our wonderful affiliates coast to coast and our fine listeners, without whom I’d merely have an expensive hobby.”

iHeartMedia St. Louis Names John Beck Market President. Radio management pro John Beck is named market president for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis radio cluster that includes “Black Information Network BIN 103.7” and nine music brands. Beck was most recently with Emmis Communications as SVP of its St. Louis stations. iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Tony Coles says, “John is one of the most respected leaders in St. Louis. His track record of success, reputation for building a winning culture, and his deep roots in both the media and advertising communities are only a few of the many reasons we are thrilled to have John leading our team.”

WSCR-AM, Chicago Renews with Chicago Cubs. Chicago sports talk station WSCR-AM “670 The Score” and the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement to continue their relationship with “The Score” serving as the team’s flagship radio station. As part of the deal, Entercom will manage the Cubs Radio Network that includes 30 stations across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “I am beyond thrilled to be extending our partnership with the Cubs organization, establishing ‘670 The Score’ as home of Cubs baseball for years to come. We have never been more excited for baseball season and for Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer to bring the sights and sounds of Wrigley Field to life for Chicagoland listeners, who can hear all of the action on their radio and, for the first time, for free on the RADIO.com mobile app and via home smart speakers.”

Sports USA Inks NHL Deal. A new agreement between Sports USA and NBC Sports will allow the former to present live play-by-play coverage of the National Hockey League for the 2020-21 regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sports USA’s first game broadcasts will be the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe at Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We are excited to present the NHL to fans nationwide through this partnership with NBC Sports and are pleased that Sports USA continues to expand its overall sports coverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Steve Kastenbaum is hosting the new podcast “New York Gritty,” a Blue Desk Productions program that looks at life in New York City during the pandemic. The show “explores the resiliency and hope of New Yorkers in a time of crisis. Will they find a way to bring their city back from the brink of economic disaster, or has New York been irreversibly changed?” The 10-episode series begins February 16 and is executive produced by broadcast and digital media executive Andrew Kalb. Kastenbaum says, “As a third generation native Brooklynite, I’ve watched New York bounce back from many crises. ‘’ve always been inspired by the tenacity and perseverance of my fellow New Yorkers as they’ve soldiered on, regardless of the challenge. I love telling the stories of the individual New Yorkers who make this the best city in the world.”…..Westwood One’s “The Stacking Benjamins Show” recently dropped its 1,000thepisode and to celebrate this milestone, host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman are featuring many friends from the financial community and are sharing a monster list of their favorite books and resources. Since 2012, the program’s goal has been to use “the science of play to make finance more approachable, interesting, and fun. While some podcasts hope to be the final expert in the chain of money lessons, ‘The Stacking Benjamins Show’ aims to introduce listeners to the broad spectrum of fantastic ideas, concepts, and technologies available that can help lock in a better financial future.”…..The KIRO-FM, Seattle-produced podcast “Your Last Meal” – a James Beard Award finalist for Best Podcast – is celebrating 100 delicious episodes! Rachel Belle (right) hosts the program in which she interviews a celebrity about what they would choose to eat for their last meal and then digs into the history, science and culture of that dish with experts from around the globe. For this 100th episode, Belle welcomes three, 100-year-old women to the show to share their extraordinary lives, their favorite foods, and the secret to a long, happy life: red wine and “keeping your own teeth.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One drops “The Kurt Angle Show” on Sunday (2/14) hosted by with Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle and veteran podcast host Conrad Thompson. Angle says, “I’m so excited to be doing ‘The Kurt Angle Show’ podcast in partnership with Westwood One. I will be talking about my life, my career in Olympic and pro wrestling, and my struggles with addiction. Listeners will also hear fascinating stories firsthand from my guests. My hope is this podcast not only inspires but teaches others to not make the mistakes I’ve made and to go after their own goals and dreams. This is my opportunity to give back to my fans, the people who have stuck with me through good and bad times. Gonna be epic. It’s true.”

Nexstar Appoints Lori Tavoularis Chief Revenue Office for Digital Division. Sales pro Lori Tavoularis is promoted to chief revenue officer and EVP of revenue operations for the Digital Division of Nexstar Inc. In this newly created role, Tavoularis will oversee all revenue-related functions for Nexstar Inc.’s Digital Division, including national, local and programmatic sales and digital marketing services. She’s based in Chicago and reports to Digital Division president Karen Brophy. Concurrently, Nexstar’s Digital Division announces the appointment of Jennifer Scilabro as SVP, local digital sales, and the promotion of Wil Danielson to SVP, national digital sales, both reporting to Tavoularis.

Jim Jones and Focus 360 Partner. This deal between Focus360 and Jim JonesSound Solutions Media will allow the former to expand its affiliate relations team effective immediately. Jones and Sound Solutions Media will assist in the research and sale of all Focus360 radio solutions including Bridge Ratings and the Jelli platform which allows radio stations to monetize unsold inventory and eliminate network affidavits and scheduling. Jones says, “I am proud to join the Focus 360 team. Sound Solutions is uniquely qualified to collaborate with radio station executives and content producers to initiate mutually beneficial alliances. Focus 360 is positioned to provide the highest quality service to the radio industry. I look forward to creatively expanding its existing services and launching new business lines with like-minded radio partners.”

Senate Impeachment Trial Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 8-12. The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Capitol insurrection investigation, followed by the latest COVID-19 stats, deaths, and vaccine news 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 a result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

| March 6, 2018

Will Tomorrow Be the Day iHeartMedia’s Future Becomes Clearer? On Sunday, iHeartMedia and Consenting Lenders entered into a Forbearance Agreement that put off iHM’s defaut on an interest payment on 14% Senior Notes until midnight tomorrow (3/7).  That gives both sides more time to work out a solution to the company’s $20 billion in debt and avoid putting the matter into the hands of a bankruptcy judge.  Analysts watching this case are taking note of the fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media purchased $400 million of iHM’s debt last week and now becomes a creditor in the event of a bankruptcy.  Just how important Liberty’s involvement as a creditor becomes remains to be seen but, remember that Liberty came to the aid of SiriusXM when it needed cash and now controls a majority interest in that company.  A lot of the consumer press stories covering the iHeartMedia debt saga that TALKERS editors have seen imply the company is on the verge of “failure.”  But the reality – borne out by its quarterly financial reports – is that the company is making money.  It’s just not making enough to cover interest payments on the massive debt.  The latest term sheet from iHeartMedia summarizes a proposed restructuring of the company that would reduce its debt (in exchange for equity) to $5.75 billion.  As part of the proposed terms, it would spin off Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

And ‘The Loop’ in Chicago Goes to…Educational Media Foundation!  At first, today’s FCC filing to transfer classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago from Merlin Media to non-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for $21.5 million seems surprising, but EMF did recently acquire KSWD, Los Angeles from Entercom and, unlike many secular, commercial broadcasting companies, it has money in the bank.  If approved, it’s expected that EMF will install its “K-Love” Christian contemporary format on the station.  Unfortunately, the deal means the current staff – including morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – will be out of work.  The other Merlin Media station still on the block in Chicago is alternative rock WKQX.

Salem Media Group LMAs KPAM, Portland.  In a press release issued Monday (3/5), Salem Media Group acknowledges that it is operating news/talk KPAM, Portland and adult standards KKOV “Sunny 1550” – both stations in the process of being sold by Pamplin Broadcasting to Intelli LLC.  The presser is titled, “KPAM is Alive and Well” and notes that KPAM airs “live and local drive-time programs – ‘First Edition’ from 6am to 10am and ‘Afternoon Northwest’ from 3pm to 6pm – and syndicated programs such as ‘The Clark Howard Show,’ ‘The Schnitt Show,’ ‘The Michael Medved Show,’ and ‘The Joe Pags Show.’  Hourly news, weather, and sports as well as drive-time traffic are also featured.”

WRKO, Boston Adds Joe Pags Show for Evenings.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe Pags show – hosted by Joe Pagliarulo – is joining the program lineup of iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston.  The Joe Pags show – heard in more than 100 markets across the country – airs in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WRKO program director Michael Czarnecki says “We are thrilled to have Joe join the WRKO weekday line up.  Joe does so much more than just political talk.  He entertains, makes you think, makes you laugh, heck he even sings.  This makes him the perfect addition to the WRKO family.”  Pagliarulo states, “When you hear the call letters WRKO, you hear heritage – and a station most hosts can only dream of being on.  I’m psyched beyond words that my show is coming to this amazing station.  It’s an opportunity I cherish and simply cannot wait to talk with the great people of Boston on a daily basis.  Thank you so much to the management team for the trust and support!”

Saga Communications’ Fourth Quarter Net Revenue Rises 2.3%.  During 2017, Saga Communications executed the sale of its television stations and purchased radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Those transactions resulted in net income increasing $9.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 and $36.5 million for the year.  Saga reports that net revenue increased 2.3% to $31.5 million during Q4.  For the entire year, net revenue decreased 0.7% to $118.2 million.  For the fourth quarter, operating income decreased $433,000 to $5.3 million when adjusted for the $1.5 million charge for impairment of intangible assets.  Station operating expense increased 5.4% to $23.2 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) primarily due to the acquisition of the Charleston and Hilton Head radio stations.  Free cash flow was $6.3 million compared to $7.6 million last year.  Same station net revenue decreased 4.2% to $29.5 million primarily due to a decrease in gross political revenue of $1 million and same station operating expense decreased 2.5% to $21.5 million for the quarter.

Urban One Reports Q4 2017 Net Revenue Down 4%.  The silver lining in this fourth quarter 2017 financial report from Urban One is that broadcast and digital operating income increased 2.8% compared to the same period in 2016.  But overall, net revenue was approximately $109 million, a decrease of 4% from the same period in 2016.  Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $38.7 million for the quarter, compared to $30.9 million for the same period in 2016, an increase of 25.6%.  Urban One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall, we produced a strong quarter from an Adjusted EBITDA standpoint, and as a result we were able to show full year Adjusted EBITDA growth, despite the challenging market conditions.  Our core radio revenues were up slightly for the quarter, excluding the impact of political revenues.  Our TV advertising revenues suffered from weak ratings delivery, which was somewhat offset by growth in affiliate revenues.  Our digital business benefitted from the integration of our acquisition of the Bossip, Madame Noire and Hip Hop Wired brands, and was up significantly in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA compared to prior year.  We were able to control costs, most notably at TV One and Corporate.  During the quarter, we repurchased a further $20 million of our 9.25% notes at a discount, and we remain strongly committed to reducing net leverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports giant ESPN announces James Pitaro is the company’s new chief, taking over for John Skipper, who suddenly stepped down from his position in December in order to address what was termed a long-time substance abuse issue.  Pitaro has been serving the Walt Disney company in an executive capacity in the digital realm.  Pitaro will also serve as co-chair of Disney’s television segment…..JVC Media’s Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio 103.9 FM” is presenting a “Spring Back to Business” event designed to be a “networking social get-together” on March 26 at its studio operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.  Station personality Frank MacKay will introduce FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade who will take part in a Q&A with attendees.

Bill Lally Dies After Battle with Cancer.  Family, friends and the Southern California radio community are mourning the loss of Bill Lally, who passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer.  Lally was a longtime operations manager and APD at KFI, KLAC and KTLK in Los Angeles who exited the company in 2009 during the massive round of layoffs that took place at then-Clear Channel that year.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Lally had also served with WABC, New York; Westwood One; WMCA; and CBS RADIO during his career.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Financial Reforms Rollback, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Trump Tariffs/Trade War, Senate School Safety Bill, Netanyahu-Trump Meeting, the Oscars, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposes rolling back reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean officials; President Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s move to block them; the U.S. Senate proposes a school safety bill in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting; embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Washington and his meeting with President Trump; Sunday night’s Academy Awards show; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The morning show at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia “Power 99” adds Roxy Romeo to the cast.  She’ll join the “Rise & Grind Morning Show” featuring Mikey Dredd and Mutha Knows, effective March 12.  iHM Philly director of urban programming Derrick Corbett says, “To be able to add a talent the likes of Roxy to our staff is phenomenal.  She’s an incredible personality who has the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known her for years upon first listen. We’re excited to be able to share her voice with the city of Philadelphia, and that she’s chosen to make ‘Power 99’ her new home.”  Romeo was most recently midday jock, APD and music director at the company’s “REAL 103.9” in Las Vegas…..Nate Bell is named program director at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3” in Detroit.  EVP of urban/hip hop programming Doc Wynter says, “We are so excited to have Nate back in our urban programming brain trust.  He was missed, but it was destiny for him to come back to iHeartMedia.  Things are about to heat up in Detroit!”…..In Charlotte, iHeartMedia names Brooke Morrison afternoon personality for CHR WHQC “Channel 96.1.”  Station PD A.J. says, “We are very excited about what Brooke will bring to Charlotte.  Her high level of engagement, work ethic and passion for music and entertainment make her a superstar on and off the air.  I look forward to her joining the team as we build the next chapter of ‘Channel 96.1.’”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

| January 18, 2017

WNDE, Indianapolis to Debut New Local AM Drive Sports Talk Show.  There’s a new sports talk show set to launch on Monday, February 6 at iHeartMedia’s Indy sports talker WNDE-AM (and simulcast on translatorgunner W248AW at 97.5 FM) featuring sister rock WFBQ personalities Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck.  The morning drive show – called “Flagrant Foul” – will air on WNDE from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, stuckdonmaking it the only live and local Indy sports talk show in AM drive.   Crosstown competitors WXNT and WFNI air CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio & Jones” and ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” respectively.  The Indianapolis Business Journal notes that “Mike & Mike” are far and away the current sports talk ratings leader in mornings, but with strong rumors that ESPN plans to end the “Mike & Mike” show very soon (moving Mike Greenberg to a more prominent role on ESPN TV), there could be an opening for “Flagrant Foul.”  Gunner comments, “Stuck and I have talked sports on bar stools for years.  Now, we’re excited to move our stools in front of microphones.”

David Moulton Exits Beasley’s WFCN, Fort Myers After Critical Comments About Station Decisions.  Fort Myers sports talk personality David Moulton tweeted yesterday (1/17) that he was fired from Beasley Broadcast Group’s WFCN “99.3 ESPN Radio” after 17 years with the station.  His exit from the station comes onmoultondavid the heels of a weekend story in the Fort Myers News-Press that delved into the break-up of Moulton’s and 10-year on-air partner Mark Miller’s show back in June of 2016 after the company did not re-sign Miller.  The story questioned the wisdom of the move and Moulton commented freely in the story, his main complaint being that he was never told why the station let Miller walk.  WFCN brought Gentry Thomas in to co-host with Moulton after Miller’s departure.  With Moulton now gone, Thomas and station PD Chris Beasley are hosting the midday show.  Read the News-Press story here.

Trump Inauguration Protests/Approval Rating Polls, Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence, U.S.–Russia Relations, Trump Cabinet Nominees Hearings, GOP’s ObamaCare Plans, World Economic Forum, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17).  Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the Democrats who plan to stay away from the event and reports of planned protests in Washington, tied with Trump’s approval rating polls; the controversy over President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for turning classified documents over to Wikileaks; speculation about Trump’s future relationship with Vladimir Putin; yesterday’s confirmation hearings for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; the GOP’s intent to replace the Affordable Care Act with its own plan; the meeting of global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM Remodels ‘Opie Radio’; Re-Brands as ‘Faction Talk.’  The former “Opie Radio”
channel is rebranded by SiriusXM as “Faction Talk.”  The satcaster describes the channel as “an unpredictable and provocative channel inspired by its punk-infused sister channel, the music and sports-focused “Faction.”  The new “Faction Talk” launches on Monday (1/23) and will feature the live talk lineup of Jim Norton and Sam Roberts from 8:00 am to 11:00 am ET; the Jason Ellis show from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; and the “Opie Radio Show” with Greg “Opie” Hughes from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

‘Radio Health Journal’ Celebrates 25 Years.  This month, the weekly public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating its silver anniversary.  Radio pros Shel Lustig and Reed Pence – co-founders of MediaTracks Communications – are recognizing their 25th year in the business recalling their humbleradiohealthjournal beginnings producing the program in Pence’s basement studio and relying on their contacts in the local Chicago radio scene to build an affiliate list and attract advertisers.  “Radio Health Journal” is co-hosted by the program’s original trio from 1992: Pence, Lustig, and Nancy Benson.  Each week the program interviews the most respected experts in the fields of health, medicine and science and has grown from its original 53 affiliates to more than 450 today.  Pence says, “Considering all the medical advances of the last quarter century, it’s a completely different world from when we first went on air.  But what hasn’t changed is the public’s need for reliable reporting on the health issues facing us as individuals, communities and as a nation.  I mean, our very first segment was on the crisis in health insurance, and 1,250 episodes later…we’re still talking about it.”

Odds & Sods.  With the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States taking place on Friday, radio news outlets are covering the event.  Westwood One is beginning live, long-form coverage at 11:30 am ET, anchored by Westwood One News correspondent Chas Henry with on-scene reports from correspondents Bob Costantini at the Capitol and Steve Kastenbaum across from the reviewing stand at the White House…..ABC News Radio will also provide extensive coverage.  Correspondent Aaron Katersky will lead coverage from the U.S. Capitol, joined by correspondent Karen Travers from the White House, correspondents Brad Mielke and Janai Norman from the Inaugural Parade, political director Rick Klein with analysis and commentary from Washington, DC, and contributor Steve Roberts with historical analysis and context of all the proceedings.  ABC News Radio will offer multiple status reports each hour on the events of the day and a one-hour special that will be available at 7:00 pm ET…..E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee – the flagship of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network is hosting “The Hometown Call at Turner Hall” viewing party for this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.  The event is free with a big-screen broadcast of the game synched to the radio play-by-play broadcast on WTMJ…..CBS Sports Radio launches a dedicated channel on Apple Music.  CBS says “sports fans will now have access to CBS Sports Radio’s unique brand of coverage and commentary via Apple Music, available on a variety of devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac, PC, Android, and Sonos.”…..SB Nation Radio is kicking off the new version of the Sean Salisbury show during its coverage of Super Bowl LI in Houston.  Salisbury’s new co-hosts are Robin Carlin, Brian Barrett and producer Adam Sager.  The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET during Super Bowl week and return to the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on February 6…..United Stations Radio Networks names Donna Harrison its newest rep in the affiliate relations department for services and offerings for the news and talk formats…..WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire adds the GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show to its weekend program lineup…..The “What’s Cooking in the Mr. Food Test Kitchen” show is offering stations a free, one-month trial of the weekend food show with no contract obligation.  Mr. Food is seen on some 110 TV stations as well as the QVC channel.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallWHAT ARE WORDS FOR? Michael Harrison Chats with the Editor-at-Large of Merriam-Webster.  The organic English language has always evolved but the changes have been speeding up due to the influences of the digital era.  In this week’s fascinating installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out,” TALKERS foundersokolowskipeter Michael Harrison talks with Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, about the rapidly accelerating evolution of words and the English language. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the second-best-selling book (right behind the Holy Bible) during the past century-and-a-half of American history.  The conversation includes a discussion of the famed publisher’s successful transition from being a print-based company fueled by book sales to a gigantic web-based digital advertising-based enterprise.  To listen to this illuminating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

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RadioInfo Web bannerRock WNNX, Atlanta Inks ‘Bailey & Southside’ for Three More Years.  The morning drive duo of Jason Bailey and “Southside” Steve Rickman signs contract extensions to remainbaileysouthside hosts of the AM show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WNNX “Rock 100.5” for another three years.  Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “The ‘Bailey and Southside Show’ is the foundation of ‘Rock 100.5.’  Our goal is and has been to build the South’s premiere rock and entertainment station.  Renewing Bailey and Southside ensures that we deliver on that promise.”  Bailey and Rickman began their on-air partnership in January of 2015.

Randy Savage Named OM for Cumulus Media’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton Operations.  Programming pro Randy Savage, a.k.a. Bruce Murry, joins Cumulus Media to serve as the operations manager for the company’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton station group that includes: CHR WBHT, rock WBSX, adult contemporary WMGS “Magic savagerandy93,” country WSJR “NASH FM,” and sports talk WARM-AM “CBS Sports Radio.”  He’ll also serve as PD for WSJR.  Most recently, Savage was with Renda Broadcasting programming country WWGR “Gator Country 101.9,” adult hits WJGO “1029 BOB FM,” hot AC WSGL “104.7 The Mix,” and news/talk WGUF in the Fort Myers/Naples market.  Savage comments, “It has been the honor of my life to program these great radio stations in Southwest Florida.  They are near and dear to my heart but it’s time to move on.  I’m excited about joining Cumulus Media and the Wilkes Barre/Scranton cluster and look forward to working with the great staff there to continue to grow these brands.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In St. Louis, CBS RADIO inks KYKY “Y98” midday personality Jill Devine, to a multi-year contract extension with the station…..In Dallas, CBS RADIO re-brands CHR KVIL-FM “AMP 103.7.”  The station recently added Nathan Fast as new AM drive host…..The Radio Advertising Bureau announces iHeartRadio president Darren Davis and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes join its board of directors…..Air personality Pepper is the new midday jock at Entercom’s alternative KNRK, Portland “94/7fm.”  Pepper previously served with the company’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End.”…..Programmer and air personality Kay Rich exits iHeartMedia’s hip hop KBOS, Fresno where he was music director and evening personality.