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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

| March 8, 2022

Pines and DiMarco to Lead Good Karma Brands’ Los Angeles and New York Sports Talkers. Two radio executives are being named to market manager roles with Good Karma Brands’ newly acquired sports talk stations in Los Angeles and New York City. The company announces that GKB partner and SVP Sam Pines will serve as market manager for KSPN-AM “ESPN Los Angeles” and former ESPN Audio senior director of sales Vinny DiMarco will hold the same position for WEPN-AM “ESPN New York.” Good Karma Brands founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “I couldn’t be more excited to have both Sam and Vinny in their respective roles. Sam has distinguished himself as a leader both inside and outside the company and will bring creativity and take a relationship-focused and marketing savvy approach to ‘ESPN Los Angeles.’ Vinny’s background at ‘ESPN New York’ and his relationships within New York City and throughout both Good Karma and ESPN make him a well-liked and respected leader who will keep teammates, advertising partners and our fans at the forefront of all that we do and achieve.” Pines joined Good Karma Brands in 2000, and since 2006 has led ESPN Cleveland as a market manager and sales manager. DiMarco joins Good Karma Brands from ESPN, where he managed multi-market, multi-platform sales across ESPN radio affiliates, and oversaw emerging categories, including sports betting and cryptocurrency. He started his ESPN career at ESPN New York as general sales manager.

 

JVC Broadcasting Adds New Programming to ‘Florida Man Radio’ Stations. New talent join JVC Broadcasting’s “Florida Man Radio” network in Orlando (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ/WOTW-HD3) and Fort Walton Beach (WZLB-FM). “Florida Man Radio” adds Orlando radio veteran Lil’ Shawn as co-host and producer of late morning program “The Justin Clark Show.” Westwood One’s “The Dan Bongino Show” is added to the lineup in Orlando and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, Van Camp, and Robbins” moves from evenings to middays in Fort Walton Beach. Lil’ Shawn served for 20 years with Cox Media Group at CHR WPYO, Orlando. JVC Florida director of programming Stevie Demann says, “As this unique radio station continues to grow exponentially, we will always look for exciting new ways to deliver Florida, America, and the world’s most ‘unfiltered and unafraid’ content. Lil’ Shawn brings a unique and relatable perspective on local and national events to ‘The Justin Clark Show,’ Dan Bongino’s connections and experience in the national political landscape gives our listeners exclusive access and opinions into politics and social conversation, and ‘The MVR Show’ in Fort Walton Beach is such a fun and informative show to listen to!” JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo adds, “The great talent and notoriety of our hosts has given our audiences true personality-driven talk radio. ‘Florida Man Radio’ continues to fulfill its promise of delivering humorous, topical, and compelling discussions on the radio that everyone can enjoy.”

 

Bonneville Rebrands KIRO-AM as ‘Seattle Sports.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, Seattle is leaving behind its “710 ESPN Seattle” moniker and is rebranding as “Seattle Sports.” Bonneville International says, “The flagship home of the Mariners and Seahawks will still feature the same great insider content and programming, now with a new name showcasing the commitment to the best in local Seattle Sports.” The station will continue to be the exclusive ESPN affiliate in the Seattle market and home to the Seattle Sports Radio Network. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “Our focus and investment has always been live and local. We are more than a radio station. We are ‘Seattle Sports,’ a content creator that distributes the best in Seattle sports across multiple platforms.”

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast Set for April 27. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the date and place for its annual Breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas will be April 27 at 7:00 am in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel. During the Breakfast, the Broadcasters Foundation will present the Leadership Awards to individuals in recognition of their career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large. This year, they will be: Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO of Allen Media Group; Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer, Cumulus Media; Ralph Oakley, retired, president and CEO, Quincy Media; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group; and Dennis Wharton retired EVP, media relations, NAB. At the Breakfast, former NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will receive the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Music and talk show personality Zach Sang is launching a new, live streaming program on Amazon’s new Amp service. After his recent exit from Westwood One, Sang has partnered with OBB Media for a new show produced by its audio division OBB Sound in association with FanMade Inc. A press release says Sang is “taking an ambitious next step to create a more social music and talk show designed for Gen-Z.” He’ll also release a premium interview-of-record as a weekly podcast and full video on his YouTube channel.…..Radio syndicator Salem Radio Network becomes a client of Reatro Ventures and will use the company’s ARC software to research, analyze, sign and maintain affiliate deals across their lineup. ARC is a full-service media research platform providing detailed station and personnel information, revenue analysis, a full CRM, as well as Nielsen data for every radio broadcast signal across America…..iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question-and-answer session during Deutsche Bank’s 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Florida on March 15 at 2:50 pm ET. A live webcast of the session will be available to the general public at the start of the session through a link on the Investors homepage of iHeartMedia’s website.

Russia-Ukraine War, Financial Markets/Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19/Florida Child Vax Policy, Anti-Lynching Act, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and Brown Confirmation Process Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The ongoing Russian attack on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response to it; financial markets roiled by the Ukraine war, the soaring price of gasoline at the pump and the continuing high retail prices for consumer goods; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the loosening of mask mandates, and Florida’s bucking the CDC to recommend children not get vaccinated; the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act makes lynching a federal hate crime; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the Republican strategy for the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

 

FOX News Media Seeks Freelance Radio Anchor. This New York-based position with FOX News is as a freelance radio anchor to work on air for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this role, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. See more about this position and apply here.

 

FOX News Audio Looking for Podcast Producer. This is also a New York-based position with FOX News Audio as a podcast producer to be part of the fast-paced and growing FOX News Podcast Network. This position’s responsibility will be to develop ideas, pitch stories, and work with FOX News Channel talent in crafting daily and weekly podcasts. They will direct bookings, edit shows for broadcast, and work with production teams to create high-quality products every day. In addition to their production duties, they will also lead creative on social media posts and website write-ups to promote the products. See more about this position and apply here.

Friday, February 18, 2022

| February 18, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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,“Good Gawd Y’All,” looks back at this past week of 2/14 to 2/18. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSTodd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Mike Bendixen, Canadian broadcasting executive/personality, Toronto; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Michael Riedel, theater critic/talk show host, WOR, New York; Matthew B. Harrison, attorney/associate publisher, TALKERS. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast 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.

Brett Winterble Celebrates Second Anniversary of Joining WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Talk radio host Brett Winterble begins his third year as host of the afternoon drive show on Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Winterble, who spent almost 10 years as a producer of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” before launching his own talk show in 2008, joined WBT in February of 2020 after hosting a talk show at KFMB-AM, San Diego, among other outlets. WBT program director Mike Schaefer says, “Brett made an immediate impact on WBT two years ago, and our listeners have welcomed him into their lives every day from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm.  We couldn’t be happier that he is starting his third year as we move towards WBT’s 100th Anniversary on April 10.”

iHeartMedia to Use Veritone Technology to Translate Podcasts into Foreign Languages. A deal between iHeartMedia and Veritone, Inc. will see the former use Veritone’s synthetic voice solution that allows celebrities, athletes, influencers, broadcasters, podcasters and other talent across numerous industries to securely create and monetize verified synthetic voices that can be transformed into different languages, dialects, accents and more. iHeartMedia will leverage Veritone’s AI platform to make more shows across the iHeartPodcast Network available in multiple languages. The first use case is to translate iHeartMedia’s marquee podcasts for Spanish-speaking audiences. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “With the hyper-growth of our podcast network over the past decade, we are always looking for what is new and next in the medium, too – and Veritone’s synthetic voice solution is a great example of that. Being able to easily offer our podcasts in other languages, in the talents’ unique style, will be an awesome and innovative way to grow market share in the global marketplace.”

Michael Harrison Guests on Maria Milito PodcastTALKERS founder Michael Harrison is this week’s guest on the iHeartMedia podcast, “Maria’s Mutts & Stuff,” hosted by longtime Q104.3, New York classic rock midday personality, Maria Milito. The podcast series focuses on Milito’s ongoing interest in animals and their welfare – a passion shared by Harrison. The two old radio friends discuss Harrison’s YouTube hit “I Know You’re Real” which he co-wrote and performed with the legendary album rock band Gunhill Road that was released last spring on the group’s fourth album, What Year Is This! They talk about animals, cosmic consciousness and, of course, their experiences in radio. You can check out the podcast by clicking here. To view the video of “I Know You’re Real” please click here.

Promotions and Staff Additions at Today’s Homeowner Media. There are a number of personnel moves to report at Today’s Homeowner Media, the company that produces the “Today’s Homeowner” radio and television shows starring Danny Lipford. First, Stephanie Greenwood rises from VP of PR, marketing and digital to general manager of the company. Scott Basilotta, formerly director of television and radio syndication, is now vice president of distribution, and Thomas Boni is now digital content director. Danny Lipford says, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the performances of these three individuals and how each has shown growth in their areas of expertise year over year. I look forward to their continued leadership of the company and the impact their efforts will have our Today’s Homeowner Media’s success.” Additionally, the company brings aboard Carey Bradley as content coordinator, Glenn Johnson as audio operations manager, and Karmen Baker as PR & marketing manager.

TALKERS News Notes. The Talk Shows USA-syndicated program “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” adds new affiliates WORK, Canandaigua, New York; KDGO, Durango, Colorado; KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska; and WLNL, Horseheads, New York. Gresham says, “The continued growth of the show mirrors the spectacular increase in the number of gun owners across the country. More than 10 million people have purchased a first gun over the last two years, and the research shows this group to be fully representative of America’s demographics. These new owners need and want information on safe gun handling and storage, and we provide that weekly on Gun Talk.”…..PodcastOne launches the “Third Wheel with Jenny Mollen” podcast on February 22.  “Third Wheel with Jenny Mollen” features the actress and best-selling author in conversation with some of the most-talked-about couples in pop culture, from Chelsea Handler and Jo Koi to Karamo Brown and Carlos Medel to Heather and Terry Dubrow, discovering what makes a healthy, committed relationship. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Jenny Mollen’s witty, raw and honest commentary on relationships, parenting, and life in general delivers an honest take on topics at the forefront of everyone’s minds. PodcastOne is thrilled to give Jenny a platform to explore other people’s insights and thoughts on relationships and couple goals. We cannot wait for everyone to be able to listen and hear what celebrity relationships are all about.”…..SiriusXM announces today that TikTok star Tinx, a.k.a. Christina Najjar, joins the company to create a range of new audio content for SiriusXM and its platforms. Those include a new podcast titled, “It’s Me, Tinx,” and a weekly radio show, “It’s Me, Tinx Live,” on SiriusXM’s Stars channel…..Your Public Radio, operator of Baltimore public radio outlets WYPR-FM and WTMD-FM and publisher of award-winning podcasts, announces a new, limited podcast series, “Wavelength: Baltimore’s Public Radio Journey” that examines the history and impact of public radio in Baltimore. Hosted by noted storyteller and actress Maria Broom, and featuring interviews and archival tape, the podcast will take listeners on a journey from public radio’s early days to now. Listeners will learn about the evolution of WYPR, WTMD, WEAA and WBJC, how the stations responded to major news stories, featured local and national musicians, and how they found their place in Baltimore’s current radio scene.

COVID-19 Vaccines, Masks, Mandates & Canadian Truckers Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 14-18. COVID-19 vaccines, mandates, masks and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Russia’s continuing buildup of military forces at the Ukraine border and the threat of a global conflict, followed by the combination of the economy, record-setting inflation, the supply chain woes, the labor force, and remote working at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

| September 1, 2021

KIRO-AM, Seattle Launches Mike Salk Morning Show. Seattle sports talk outlet KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” announces the launch of “The Mike Salk Show” that takes over the morning drive daypart on September 7. The move ousts the “Danny & Gallant” show hosted by Danny O’Neill and Paul Gallant. Salk is the station’s former program director. His show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and the “Jake & Stacy” show hosted by Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost adds an hour, starting at 10:00 am and airing until 2:00 pm. Bonneville says, “‘The Mike Salk Show’ will regularly feature influential and notable voices, past and current, within the Seattle sports landscape such as Jerry Dipoto, Scott Servais, Pete Carroll, Matt Hasselbeck, Brock Huard, Shannon Drayer, Michael Bumpus, and many more.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown comments, “We’re excited and fortunate to be able to add such a talented host back into our daily lineup. Mike is a passionate, opinionated broadcaster with long-standing connections to Seattle’s teams and fans. With daily appearances from Brock Huard and John Clayton and weekly interviews with Pete Carroll, Matt Hasselbeck and Jerry Dipoto, this show will be a can’t-miss destination for sports fans in the region.” Salk is also co-host of the “Brock & Salk” podcast with Brock Huard.  The “Brock & Salk Show” aired in various dayparts on “710 ESPN Seattle” from 2009-2019 and continues exclusively as a weekly podcast. For the new show, Salk will be joined by executive producer and on-air contributor Justin Barnes and producer Maura Dooley.

Michigan Sports Network Hosts Move to ‘The Game.’ A report at MLive.com says two of the Michigan Sports Network’s sports talk radio programs moved to a new flagship station – iHeartMedia’s WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “The Game 96.1.” “The Huge Show” featuring Bill Simonson and “X’s & Bro’s” with Anthony Bellino moved to “The Game 96.1” from Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJRW-AM/W291DJ this week. Simonson says in a statement, “The move to 96.1 means that I get back to reaching a wider audience on the FM dial. It’s good for all the listeners in West Michigan, our marketing partners based in West Michigan, the local charitable organizations we support and the community. The show hasn’t changed since I came on the air September 23, 2001, and I’ll always offer my Huge opinions on local, state, national and world-wide topics.”

Orlando Franklin Leaves KKFN, Denver to Join 49ers Coaching Staff. Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Orlando “Big O” Franklin is leaving Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to take a coaching position with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Denver TV station KUSA reports Franklin told his audience that he’s leaving the late morning show he’s been co-hosting with Sandy Clough for the past two years. Franklin said, “My coaching internship with the 49ers was a tremendous experience, and I was honored that Coach Shanahan offered me the opportunity to continue with the team this season. While it’s bittersweet leaving my radio show here on ‘The Fan,’ the chance to continue learning from Coach Shanahan and working closely with my father-in-law Bobby Turner was one I just couldn’t pass up.”

G-Networks Responds to Wolkoff Suit; Requests Complaint Be Dismissed. In a 12-page response to Danno and Laura Wolkoff’s breach of contract suit against it, G-Networks LLC basically says it stands by its actions when it terminated the Wolkoffs from their positions and accused them of costing the business some $1.8 million in damages due to “gross negligence” and “gross incompetence” in the performance of their duties as chief development officer and VP of business operations, respectively. The Wolkoffs sold their company Envision Networks to then-Sun Broadcast Group and entered into employment agreements to serve in the positions noted above. The Wolkoffs say in their complaint that they are owed $2.1 million based on the deal to sell Envision and their employment contracts. G-Networks is asking that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice and that the Wolkoffs be ordered to pay all costs, expenses and attorney’s fees.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Todd Starnes delivered a speech at the recent Donald Trump rally in Alabama. The former president also appeared on Starnes’ radio program on Monday (8/30) and made news by announcing that “he’s heading to Iowa,” hinting that he’s already considering a run for president in 2024…..Audacy Buffalo announces multi-year radio broadcast contract extensions with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. As part of the partnership sports talk WGR-AM will continue as the flagship radio station for the Bills and Sabres, airing all pre-season, regular and post-season games for both teams. Audacy Buffalo SVP and market manager Tim Holly says, “We’re delighted to extend our partnerships with the Bills and Sabres to continue delivering premier gameday and supporting content. These partnerships will allow WGR 550 to continue to serve as the home for everything fans need to stay up to date surrounding these two iconic franchises and we look forward to entertaining and informing our listeners throughout both teams’ seasons.” WGR 550 will kick off its Bills gameday broadcasts with three pregame shows, “Breakfast with the Bills Fantasy Style,” “Bills Game Day,” “Countdown to Kickoff,” and wrap up with two postgame shows “Bills Network Postgame Show” and “The Overtime Show.” In addition to gameday content, the station will air “Buffalo Bills Football Monday” and “Football Friday,” which will feature team-focused content with special guests. Morning show “Howard and Jeremy” will welcome Bills play-by-play announcer John Murphy on Monday and Friday mornings and Bills head coach Sean McDermott each Friday morning. Afternoon show “Schopp & Bulldog” will speak with former Bills center Eric Wood every Monday and professional football writer John Clayton every Thursday. WGR 550 will also air pregame and postgame shows for its Sabres gameday broadcasts. “Howard and Jeremy” will welcome head coach Don Granato each Tuesday morning. “Schopp and Bulldog” will speak with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams each month…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” radio program hosted by Chris Hill adds new affiliate New Hampshire Family Radio’s WKXL-AM/W280EC, Concord to its roster of stations…..Pictured below donating blood is GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs. Regular donating of blood – as well as the promotion of National Blood Donation Day (Sept. 4) and National Blood Donation Week (Sept. 1-7) – is something Dr. Wachs is passionate about and she encourages her fellow talk hosts to use their platforms to stress the importance of keeping our nation’s blood banks stocked.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, California Wildfires, Texas Abortion Law, January 6 Investigation, and Jeopardy’s Mike Richards Fired Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The criticism of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., states dealing with full ICUs, and mask & vaccine mandates; the Caldor wildfire threatens the California resort town of Lake Tahoe; the Texas law outlawing abortion after six weeks goes into effect; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that comply with the January 6 committee’s request for phone records; and Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is fired were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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.