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, “Hazy Shade of Winter,” looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media Management; Amy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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 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; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer 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.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”
New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.
Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.
WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.
WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”
Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.
COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections 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. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”
Nielsen Audio to Increase PPM Panel Size. The radio industry has been asking for larger panels for the PPM surveys and yesterday (12/21) Nielsen Audio granted the business that long-sought-after wish. In a press release, Nielsen announced it will increase “the effective sample size of the panel by 10% across all markets and demographics starting mid-2017. Nielsen’s enhanced PPM panel will have more than 80,000 installed meters. This means that on an average day over 65,000 panelists will contribute to the ratings. The increase represents more than 6,000 additional panelists on a daily basis across the aggregate of PPM markets. The sample increase will be distributed proportionally across all demographics.” President for Nielsen product leadership Megan Clarken states, “Larger sample sizes are important due to the continuing fragmentation of audiences and the need for more granular analysis of the data. This expansion will be an important step forward in the accuracy and quality of our audio estimates. Increasing the size of our PPM panel will allow our clients to continue to share their story with confidence and in a way that resonates with advertisers.” The company also says that the recent acquisition of Gracenote will allow it to explore “ways to leverage Gracenote’s vast footprint in over 70 million car infotainment systems as well as their expertise as the industry standard for automatic content recognition to help expand our measurement of in-car audio and in-car digital listening.” Managing director for Nielsen Audio Brad Kelly, adds, “An increase in the PPM sample size is the number one priority for our clients. With this investment, Nielsen is doubling down on its commitment to the radio industry and addressing the needs of our clients. We are thrilled to rollout this enhancement that will continue to build a stronger radio advertising marketplace.”
ESPN Extends Deal with Bomani Jones. Sports giant ESPN inks a contract renewal with Bomani Jones. He currently hosts the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot on ESPN Radio – “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” – and appears on ESPN television on “Highly Questionable” with Dan Le Batard and Papi weekdays at 4:30 pm. The company says additional projects featuring Jones will be developed. Jones says, “I’m really happy to continue my relationship with ESPN. I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years working with some of the best and brightest people in sports, and it’s great to know that will continue. More than that, I’m excited about everything that will be possible in the next few years on television and continuing to build ‘The Right Time’ on ESPN Radio.”
Our American Network Offers Holiday Specials. The producer of the two-hour, nightly syndicated radio show “Our American Stories” is offering a Christmas special and a weeklong, “Best of 2016” special. Lee Habeeb hosts and produces “Our American Stories.” He says the Christmas special “will feature stories about how the song ‘White Christmas’ came to be, along with a superb story about the Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet of ‘The Little Drummer Boy.’ We will also delve into the origins of many of our greatest Christmas traditions, from the Christmas tree to Christmas lights, and so much more.” That show airs live from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday (12/23). “Our American Stories Best of 2016” will showcase a week of some the year’s most memorable segments from the year. Habeeb says, “Included are profiles and rare interviews with actor Gene Wilder, musician Merle Haggard, golf legend Arnold Palmer, plus profile segments about Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Annie Oakley and Jimmy Stewart. It will be the best of the best of ‘Our American Stories.’” For market exclusivity on the Christmas and/or week-long “Best of” special, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 239-470-9297.
iHeartMedia and Jingle Punks Create ‘National Jingle Day’; Honor Barry Manilow for Career Jingle Work. In collaboration with audio creative agency Jingle Punks, iHeartMedia is debuting the first annual iHeartMedia’s National Jingle Day Presented by Jingle Punks, taking place on Monday, December 26. The event will debut new jingles from the ACLU, Aloe Gloe, Axe Hair, Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Glade, Logitech, musical.ly, Outback Steakhouse, Suave, Ziploc and more. The two companies partnered with the brands to script, record and produce 13 original jingles, back-to-back in 13 hours. Select jingles will air nationwide on December 26 across hundreds of iHeartMedia radio stations and on digital platform iHeartRadio. Also, video social network musical.ly is going to share a selection of the original jingles with its community of more than 160 million users, allowing them to create videos set to their favorite jingle. Jingle Punks president and CEO Jared Gutstadt comments, “National Jingle Day was created to bring the jingle back into the spotlight in an impactful, disruptive way. Music is the most powerful way to reach people, so we teamed up with iHeartMedia to create 13 jingles for 13 brands in 13 hours, and ended up with some kick-ass audio creative that celebrates the adventure of sound in today’s modern world.” In connection with National Jingle Day, Barry Manilow is being honored as the first-ever inductee into the National Jingle Day Hall of Fame for his voice work on iconic brands such as McDonald’s, Band-Aid, KFC and State Farm.
Nielsen Audio Releases Round Three of December 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of December 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The December 2016 survey period covered November 3-30. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Portland sports talker KXTG “750/102.9 The Game” adds Seattle Mariners baseball to its programming. The Alpha Media station announced yesterday that it is adding KIRO-AM-based duo “Brock & Salk” to its lineup and today’s move adds more Seattle-based sports content…..ESPN Radio is adding four new shows to its winter weekend lineup. The new shows are “Rothenberg & Medcalf” (Saturdays, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET), featuring Dave Rothenberg and Myron Medcalf; “Robin & Reese” (Saturdays, 11:00 pm to 1:00 am) with Robin Lundberg and Reese Waters; “Clinton Yates, Mina Kimes & Domonique Foxworth” (Sundays, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon); and Jordan Rodgers & Jason Fitz (10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight).
Trump Transition, Popular Vote vs Electoral College, Walmart ‘Black Lives Matter’ Case, Iran Involvement in Syria, Search for Berlin Terror Suspect, North Carolina Bathroom Law Issue, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). The Trump Administration’s transition, including Kellyanne Conway’s appointment as counselor to the president; the final presidential election figures showing Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin of victory; Walmart’s response to request by national Fraternal Order of Police to remove “Black Lives Matter” shirts from its website; new information indicating Iran’s military is playing violent role in Aleppo, Syria; the search for the man German authorities believe was responsible for the deadly truck attack in Berlin; the failure of the North Carolina Senate to repeal the law requiring people use public restrooms that align with their gender at birth; and chatter about the NFL playoff possibilities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Special PodcastOne Live Event. On Monday (12/19), PodcastOne host Adam Carolla (second from right) invited 100 fans to an advanced screening of the new film, Why Him? on the FOX Studios backlot. Following the showing, stars (left to right) James Franco, Megan Mullally and Bryan Cranston joined Carolla for a live podcast. The group covered everything, from growing up to current projects, and culminated with a few questions from audience members.