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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

| June 8, 2021

Jesse Kelly Show Joins Premiere Networks. Talk radio host Jesse Kelly is moving from his current syndicator Key Networks to Premiere Networks, effective June 28. Kelly – a former U.S. Marine and a former Arizona congressional candidate – will air in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot currently occupied by Buck Sexton, who moves to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot partnering with Clay Travis. Kelly will continue to be seen weekdays at 9:00 pm ET as host of “I’m Right with Jesse Kelly” on TV network The First. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “We couldn’t be happier to have Jesse at the helm of our weekday afternoon timeslot. His fresh voice will undoubtedly connect with and engage our audience with intelligent, witty conversation and bold opinions, while creating impactful opportunities for our partners.”

Jimmy Cefalo Returns to WIOD, Miami Air. According to a report in the Miami Herald, WIOD-AM morning personality Jimmy Cefalo has returned to the air after several weeks’ absence and told listeners he’s been diagnosed with a form of demyelinating disease that affects the protective covering of the nerve fibers around the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – is a demyelinating disease but Cefalo was not diagnosed with that. He said, “We don’t know what exactly it is, what caused it, what will fix it. I’ll keep going as long as I can. One day I’ll just go, ‘Boom!’ Which is the right way to go, by the way, I’m convinced, after the last couple of months.”

Trump and Bill O’Reilly to Hold ‘History Tour’ Live Events. According to a piece in the Washington Times, Key Networks nationally syndicated radio personality and author Bill O’Reilly will go on a “history tour” with former President Donald Trump in December. The four live events before paying customers in Florida and Texas will address “exactly how things were accomplished, as well as challenges, both good and bad,” according to a statement from Trump. His statement adds, “These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the fake news media never mention.” O’Reilly says, “My job as a historian/journalist is to get important things on the record in a fact-based way. These conversations with the 45th president will not be boring.” Bill O’Reilly will be one of the 50 industry speakers participating in TALKERS 2021.  Check out the latest up to date agenda here.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Chats with ‘Seinfeld’ Star About New Film. Pictured above is former “Seinfeld” actor Wayne Knight (left) – who played the character “Newman” – speaking with Salem Radio Network V.P./News & Talk Tom Tradup (right) at Monday night’s Fort Worth, Texas red carpet premiere of “12 Mighty Orphans.” The SONY Classic Pictures film – starring Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Luke Wilson – tells the story of a Depression-era orphanage in Fort Worth that produced an inspiring state football championship team that even drew praise from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The film opens nationwide on June 18.

Radio Mercury Awards Call for Entry is Open. The call for entry for the 30th anniversary Radio Mercury Awards is officially open. The RAB announces that 15 trophies will be awarded in 12 categories, and the final round judges have the option to award a Best of Show winner. Starting this year, the Radio Mercury Awards is now accepting entries in any language for work that was broadcast, aired digitally, released or transmitted initially and primarily in the U.S. and its territories. For 2021, a new category, Purpose-Driven Spot or Campaign, will award a radio spot or campaign for an advertiser or corporation that promotes their actions and effort towards the public good and demonstrates how they addressed social, environmental or public health/safety issues. There are also updated categories, including Creative Radio Spot: Insightful Voice and Radio Station or Group Promotional Spot or Campaign. The call for entry deadline is on August 9. Finalists for the show will be announced in late September and winners will be announced at the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards event on November 17, during a virtual event. The Radio Mercury Awards is introducing a “Thirty Years in Your Ears” campaign produced in collaboration with chief judge Robin Fitzgerald and the creative team at BBDO Atlanta. The campaign highlights several of the Best in Show winners from the last 30 years of the competition. It can be viewed here and will be featured in social media and digital marketing. For more information regarding entry categories, guidelines, entry fees and deadlines, click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A couple of Chicago market notes from media writer Robert Feder: First, Wendy Snyder and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens are teaming up for a weekly program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. “The Wendy and Ray Show” will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. The two have been co-hosting a podcast and Stevens tells Feder, “The weekend show on WLS-AM 890 will be hyper local and will cover everything from block parties to the Bears. This is a true Chicago show hosted by two lifelong Chicagoans.” And second, Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM announces the return of “The Hamp and OB Show” starring former Chicago Bears Dan Hampton and Ed O’Bradovich. The program will air weekly during the football season…..ESPN’s Chiney Ogwumike is launching her own weekly podcast, “Chiney,” today (6/8). She’ll discuss current events in the sports world, primarily through the lens of an active professional athlete. Ogwumike plays for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and was the 2014 league rookie of the year. She first worked for ESPN in 2017 and in August 2020 began hosting “Chiney and Golic Jr.” on ESPN Radio, becoming the first Black woman to host a national, daily sports talk radio show…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new affiliate station KUJ-AM/K254DK, Walla Walla, Washington to its roster of stations.

COVID-19, January 6 Report, Harris Latin America Trip, Ransomware Attacks/Crypto Recovered, Voting Rights Issue, and Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccinations, and the investigation into the Wuhan lab leak theory; the Senate report on the January 6 Capitol attack faults Capitol Police for inaction on threats; Vice President Kamala Harris tells Guatemalans not to come to the U.S. during Latin American trip; the increase in ransomware attacks and the FBI recoups millions in bitcoin paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers; Senator Joe Manchin’s decision not to back Joe Biden’s For The People voting rights bill; and the controversy surrounding the FDA’s approving Biogen’s Aduhelm Alzheimer’s drug were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection 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.

Friday, August 21, 2020

| August 21, 2020

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 “The Straw that Almost broke the Snail’s Back!” looks back at this past week of August 17-21, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Ken Lanphear, talk show host, WKZO, Kalamazoo; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkKenneth S. Stern, director, Bard Center for the Study of Hate; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. 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 NetworkPioneer 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.

Newsmax TV Names Carl Higbie Host of ‘Saturday Report.’ Retired Navy SEAL Carl Higbie is the new host of Newsmax TV’s “Saturday Report,” airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on the cable TV network. Newsmax says, “Higbie will tackle current events and the biggest headlines of the week, with smart, provocative analysis and commentary from newsmakers and the nation’s top political thinkers.” Higbie adds, “I am extremely excited to join the Newsmax family. With the team we have in place, I believe we can soon become America’s go-to weekend news program.” Higbie was a member of the Navy SEALS for nine years, with two combat tours in Iraq in which he saw dozens of combat missions and was decorated with valor in leadership positions. During one mission, he and his team were responsible for the capture of Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. Higbie was an early surrogate spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. He was appointed chief of external affairs for the National Corporation for Community, overseeing grants with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity. He also served as director of advocacy for America First Policies, a nonprofit social-welfare organization supporting President Trump’s policy platforms. Higbie has published three books, most recently Crisis of Culture: The Political Battlefield of the New Civil War (2018, Tactical 16).

PodcastOne Inks Deal with Chris Myers. Sports media pro Chris Myers and PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc. sign an exclusive podcast deal for the platform to publish the FOX Sports personality’s “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” The first episode will drop on August 26 and offer revealing conversations between Myers and some of the greatest names in sports, including college football’s Urban Meyer, MLB legend “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson, Super Bowl MVP and fellow broadcaster Troy Aikman and more. PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “I’m sitting on the beach in Santa Barbara and next to me is Chris Myers and a very famous athlete. I said to Chris, ‘Do you think this guy would guest on your podcast?’ Chris replied, ‘I don’t have a podcast.’ Well he does now and it’s right here on PodcastOne. We couldn’t be happier.” Myers comments, “Anytime you have a chance to share a conversation with the most accomplished and interesting personalities in and around sports it’s a good thing and I am excited to do that with ‘CMI: The Chris Myers Interview’ on PodcastOne where you can eavesdrop on people you know or would like to.”

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a nice piece in the Times-Free Press in Chattanooga that spotlights the changes in programming at Brewer Broadcasting’s talk station “NoogaRadio” WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ. It focuses on Jeff Styles’ 7:00 am to 10:00 am “Fred the Show” program, Bryan Stone’s daily, one-hour “StoneOnAir Podcast” and Styles’ weekly, one-hour music program called, “Rockaeology.” Styles’ “Rockaeology” airs on University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s non-commercial WUTC-FM. It is also now airing on “NoogaRadio” Fridays at 6:00 pm…..Radio ratings firm Eastlan Ratings announces that its move to continuous measurement has yielded two more new markets: Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol in Tennessee and Virginia and Billings Montana. Bristol Broadcasting has been using Eastlan for its Charleston, West Virginia stations for four years and for its Paducah, Kentucky cluster for about 20 years. Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould says, “We are certain the increased consistency and stability of our new continuous measurement will provide radio advertisers a new level of accountability and at the same time, instill more confidence in our subscribers. We are excited to be able to offer this enhancement to small and medium market broadcasters without increasing our annual rates.”…..iHeartMedia Birmingham is partnering with United Way of Central Alabama to launch the “Chromebooks For Kids” fundraising campaign to purchase Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. Through September 3, iHeartMedia Birmingham’s 10 stations are encouraging listeners to make a donation and support students in the community. iHM Birmingham program director Dino Conrad says, “The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for laptops as Alabama schools and students shifted to at-home learning. As some children return to class this fall or continue at-home education, we hope our community can help students access the tools and resources necessary for learning.”

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states, “With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

The Presidential Race and the Democratic National Convention Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election and this week’s Democratic National Convention tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio from August 17-21 and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the funding issues at the United States Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, medications, and vaccines 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Wilmington, Delaware hot AC WJBR-FM “Mix 95.5” is awarding $50,000 in advertising grants to assist small businesses in need in Wilmington. Beasley Media Group says that “to assist in the reopening efforts, the station will offer a total of five $10,000 advertising grants (all to air on “Mix 99.5”) over a six-week period from 9/7/20- 10/18/20. General sales manager Marta DeLisi says, “We are thrilled to be able to help local businesses during the reopening process during these unprecedented times.”…..Cumulus Media’s KBUL, Carson City, Nevada recently partnered with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada after the charity had to cancel its primary annual fundraiser due to the pandemic. The gala event would have brought in an estimated $150,000 and supported their efforts as a safety net for the community in times of crisis. “K-Bull 98.1” presented the public with “Boxers For Bucks” in which afternoon personality J.J. Christy (at right) donned nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (and Garfield house slippers) and literally “weathered” the morning show on top of the local Toyota dealership. During that time, he was greeted with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, a brief monsoon that nearly blew his pop-up tent away, no food, and a swarm of bats! In the end, $152,000 was raised (and still counting) for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

| October 23, 2019

Steve Bannon Launches Impeachment-Focused Radio Show and Podcast. Politico is reporting that former Breitbart executive and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon has launched a daily, one-hour radio show and podcast called, “War Room: Impeachment.”  The story indicates that show is airing on six conservative talk stations in Virginia and Florida, though no call letters are cited.  Bannon tells Politico that “the show will be about the impeachment process, specifically the witnesses and the evidence, and ‘is going to get very granular.’”  Bannon says he aims “to break news and make the show an outlet for people to leak information related to impeachment.”  The program includes two co-hosts – former Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller and former Breitbart London bureau chief Raheem Kassam.  Bannon hosted a daily morning political talk show on SiriusXM when he was with Breitbart.

Todd Starnes to Moderate SRN Political Event.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Starnes is moderating Salem Radio Network’s “Countdown 2020: The Race to the White House” on November 5 in San Antonio.  The panelists include SRN talk show hosts Dennis Prager and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.  Starnes – a best-selling author and syndicated political columnist who recently left FOX News – is launching his new, three-hour talk radio program via Hamilton Strategies on Monday, November 4.  Interested parties can contact media@hamiltonstrategies.com for more information.

Report: Stephen A. Smith to Leave ESPN Radio as Part of New Contract.  The New York Post is reporting on the story broken by The Big Lead that ESPN and Stephen A. Smith are negotiating a contract extension that would pay him $40 million to $50 million over a five-year period.  According to the Post, Smith will continue his “First Take” duties, add more “SportsCenter” appearances, and host his own edition of “SportsCenter” on Wednesdays before NBA games.  He would, however, exit his daily midday show on ESPN Radio.  The story also says that ESPN talent who might take over the radio show include Max Kellerman or Mina Kimes.

KYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg Named Journalist of the Year. KYW, Philadelphia community affairs reporter and on-air host Cherri Gregg is named Journalist of the Year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.  Gregg is recognized by the organization in the broadcast and online category and will be honored at the PABJ’s annual Awards and Scholarship Gala on November 2 in Philadelphia.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Cherri is extremely deserving of this award.  She is a champion of the community who is constantly searching for and reporting on the stories and issues that matter most to KYW Newsradio listeners across the Philadelphia area.  I’m proud to call her a member of our team.”  Gregg joined KYW Newsradio as a reporter in 2010 and has served as the station’s community affairs reporter since 2013.  In addition to that role, Gregg hosts “Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg,” a weekly program that focuses on the most relevant issues affecting the Philadelphia area.  The program airs on five Entercom Philadelphia stations.  Earlier this year, Gregg was recognized with two National Association of Black Journalists Salute To Excellence Awards for radio investigative reporting and podcasting.

TALKERS News Notes. On November 15, the Black News Channel will debut in 30 million American homes and one of the personalities on the new network will be Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder.  BNC hasn’t specifically stated what program or daypart Elder will host, just that he’s a “show host/commentator.”  Vibe.com says, “Everyone loves a wildcard and BNC has found one in Larry Elder.  The radio staple and attorney has over 25 years in the industry from news programs on NBC and ABC News & Talk.  He also starred as a judge on ‘Moral Court,’ an early production by TMZ creator Harvey Levin in 2001.”…..Gone from the air on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is afternoon drive personality Mac Watson – one half of the “Mac & Gaydos” show.  The station made no announcement about the change, but Larry Gaydos continues in the daypart as solo host of “Gaydos in the Afternoon.”  Watson had been partnered with Gaydos since 2008…..In Cleveland, Good Karma Brands announces two new staffers for its sports talk duo of WKNR-AM “ESPN 850” and WWGK-AM “ESPN 1540 KNR2.”  Brock Thompson joins from MAVTV where he was VP of media sales to become general sales manager for Good Karma.  At the same time, Amy Crossman is named marketing director for the stations.  She was most recently director of partnerships for the Pro Football Hall of Fame…..The Radio America nationally syndicated “Passport Mommy” program, hosted by veteran talk show host and mom Michelle Jerson, welcomes WGCH-AM, Greenwich, Connecticut to its growing list of affiliates.  “Passport Mommy” is heard on more than 50 radio stations nationwide.  On the show, Jerson covers the topics on everyone’s mind as a new parent.  This nationally syndicated lifestyle, interview format show for women, features interesting guests with cool products and advice for parents.

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Feud, A Warning Book to Be Published, U.S.-Syria Policy, Hong Kong Extradition Bill, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The status of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor regarding allegations President Trump would withhold military aid to Ukraine until it opened an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden; the Democrats hoping to challenge Trump in 2020, speculation Hillary Clinton will join the race, and Clinton’s feud with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; the anonymous Trump administration official announces November 15 for publication of tell-all book, A Warning; the U.S.’ military exit from Syria; Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces extradition bill is dead; and the U.K.’s Brexit chaos 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. A surprise at Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as Maria Knight and Chad Mitchell exit the morning show months after moving over from the company’s classic hits KOOL.  It’s not clear what the station’s plans are for replacing the duo but the show is now called “Country Music Mornings.”…..On-air pro Ryan Lacosse is exiting the Cumulus Media Peoria station group at the end of this month to pursue a career outside of the radio business.  Lacosse hosts the morning show on rhythmic CHR WZPW “Power 92.3” as Oryan and the midday show on sister rock WIXO “105.7 The X Rocks” as Ryan Black.….Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting “A Salute to Our Military Veterans,” the annual Veterans Day special that honors “generations of men and women who answered the call to serve in the U.S. armed forces.”  The show is hosted by Kix Brooks, host of “America’s Country Countdown,” and includes appearances from Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, and more.  The program can air any time on Saturday, November 9 through Monday, November 11, 2019, between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight…..Yesterday (10/22), WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert was honored as one of the 2019 inductees into the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Annual Walk of Fame.  Other honorees included the Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Jody Gerson, and Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton.