iHeartMedia Adds ‘Jim Polito Show’ to WXKS-AM, Boston. Boston news/talk outlet WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” is adding “The Jim Polito Show” to the morning drive daypart, replacing the FOX Sports Radio programming currently airing there. Jim Polito’s morning show launched on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAG-AM, Worcester and was eventually rolled out to news/talk WHYN-AM, Springfield and news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence, replacing the local morning shows on those stations. iHeartMedia president of the New England area community markets Sean Davey says, “I am proud of Jim and his growth. More than anyone I know, Jim loves politics and the ‘give and take’ that goes with it. For him to be heard in Boston is so exciting and the natural next step in Jim’s growth.” Polito comments, “Boston is the next stop for making serious talk fun. I do battle with the political establishment and succeed where others fail by changing minds and waking people up on the ‘right’ side of the bed.”
John Batchelor Returns to New York Airwaves on WOR. Nationally syndicated nighttime radio personality John Batchelor returns to the New York City air on November 1 as iHeartMedia’s news/talk 710 WOR, The Voice of New York adds his program, “Eye on the World with John Batchelor,” to the schedule in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “I have been a fan of John’s for almost two decades and the dedication he consistently displays in tracking down the details behind the important stories anywhere in the world and then sorting them out for listeners.” Batchelor says, “I am astounded to be invited to join the legendary WOR at this promising time, when the listeners of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut begin the hard work to recover from these last rough years. This is a privilege.” Batchelor’s program broadcasts nightly from New York and is syndicated by CBS Audio.
iHeartMedia Spends $64 Million to Repurchase All Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. The company announces that it has – via its subsidiary iHeart Operations, Inc., repurchased and cancelled all of its 60,000 outstanding shares of Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock, paying for it with cash on hand. The cash repurchase price for each Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock is $1,000, plus a premium equal to the remaining dividends required to be paid through the optional redemption date of May 1, 2022 discounted at a negotiated rate. This results in an aggregate redemption amount of $64.35 million to be paid to the holders of the $60 million Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “We are pleased to have voluntarily repurchased the full balance of our $60 million preferred stock, demonstrating our commitment to strengthening our balance sheet and increasing free cash flow, while still maintaining ample liquidity. Repurchasing early allows us to realize interest savings, exit the most restrictive instrument on our balance sheet, and continue to reinforce iHeart’s commitment to improving our capital structure. This action continues to demonstrate our confidence in our business moving forward.”
Armstrong & Getty Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The long-running, highly successful, West Coast-based news/talk radio duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” They started out as DJs in music radio in the early 90s but transitioned to all-talk and landed a big-time slot in 1998 as the morning team on news/talk station KSTE in Sacramento, California where they developed a reputation throughout the radio industry for their freshness and youthful dynamics. They’ve remained a huge attraction on that station to this very day but their reputation and reach has spread and continues to grow far beyond the Golden State’s capital. They are now a morning powerhouse in California’s major cities including KABC, Los Angeles; KSFO, San Francisco; and KGB-AM, San Diego and are heard throughout the West as well as on an increasing number of stations spreading East via their own independent syndication. “When I first heard them years ago, they sounded to me more like the kind of talk show hosts one would expect to hear on a rock station than on a serious news outlet. They were funny and irreverent and surrounded with a cast of characters that gave their show more of the feeling of a morning zoo than a round table of stuffy panelists,” says TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. “But even though they were zany and played the goofball roll to a certain degree, their antics were offset by obvious intelligence, keen insight, excellent interviewing skills and a ton of information about what was happening in the news.” Today, this compelling act – though still first and foremost entertaining and full of engaging pop culture – has matured and is a perfect fit for news/talk stations looking to cover the news and maintain a conservative orientation, but without the pedantic posture that can sacrifice a more eclectic audience. Even more important,” says Harrison, “Jack and Joe remain irreverent and are not rigidly beholden to any singular ideology or political personality. They present their opinions issue by issue. As we approach 2022, the show is uniquely positioned to be a major element in the unfolding news/talk radio universe.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
iHeartMedia Swipes Green Bay Packers Football from Good Karma Brands. The business relationships between radio stations and sports franchises are not immune to change but iHeartMedia’s new deal with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers that moves play-by-play broadcast rights in the state’s largest market from Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee to its own crosstown sports talk WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” beginning in 2022 is huge because WTMJ has enjoyed broadcasting Packers games since 1929. The team announced the news yesterday (10/27) and clarifies that this change only affects the Milwaukee affiliate as the team brought the Packers Radio Network in house in 2018. Packers VP of sales and business development Craig Benzel says, “iHeartMedia enthusiastically pursued the opportunity that being part of the network creates, and we are looking forward to how their innovative approach will appeal to Packers fans in southeastern Wisconsin. The Packers have greatly appreciated the partnership with WTMJ over the years and will always respect the history they have with the franchise.” The press release says, “‘97.3 The Game’ WRNW and iHeartMedia Milwaukee will offer an attractive demographic opportunity to reach new listeners with a growing sports talk radio segment and other programming formats in the Milwaukee area. Additionally, the partnership offers a variety of new platforms that will support key Packers initiatives, including iHeartMedia’s new audio partnership with the NFL which features podcast distribution.” The most recent Nielsen PPM numbers (6+, weekly AQH share) from the September 2021 survey show WTMJ ranked #1 in the market with a 9.1 share and WRNW-FM ranked #15 with a 1.3 share.
Charlie Sislen to Retire from Research Director; Karen Morriss Joins as Director of Client Services. Radio pro Charlie Sislen is retiring from his role at Research Director, Inc after 24 years with the company as a partner. His last day will be December 31, 2021. Sislen says, “It has been a pleasure being part of Research Director, Inc. for the past 24 years. I woke up every day excited not only about what would come next, but also more importantly the people I would interact with. I enjoyed every conversation with Research Director, Inc.’s amazing team, our tremendous clients, and everyone who makes our industry great. I want to especially thank my partner, Marc Greenspan, who had the vision to bring me into this company and partnered with me to build a truly remarkable organization. I am leaving a phenomenal team, whose hard work made my role as the face of the company easy. They made the difference for every one of our clients. Now is the time of my life where I must shift my focus from my career, which I love, to my family and my community. Research Director, Inc. and the radio industry will always be in my heart. My thanks to all who were such an integral part of this life‐changing journey.” As a part of the transition, Karen Morriss joins the team as the director of client services. She says, “I’m excited to be joining the Research Director, Inc. team. I’ve known Marc and Charlie for over 30 years and have great respect for both of them. I look forward to working with their wonderful clients.”
Triton Digital and Signal Hill Insights Collaborate to Create Demos+ Podcast Metrics Service. This collaborative effort between Triton Digital and audio research firm Signal Hill Insights results in the enhancement to Triton’s Podcast Metrics that provides audience demographic and socio-demographic data on podcast listeners and downloads in the United States. Triton Digital says the new Demos+ solution is “the first-ever integration of census and survey-based research podcast measurement methodologies. Through this collaboration, podcast publishers, advertisers, and agencies will be able to leverage podcast download metrics by person-level demographic, socio-demographic, media behavior and purchase intent propensities.” The two firms say they’ve “launched a large, year-round survey that is representative of the population of podcast listeners in the United States. Demos+ utilizes the Podcast Metrics measurement census-level data to identify listener overlap to scale the podcast survey-based insights. This unique approach enables Triton to project the audience composition for virtually all size podcasts – a capability previously hindered by podcast survey sample-size limitations. With this insight, podcasters will see a clear view of their audience, and marketers can more easily identify the podcasts which best reach their target audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. Promotions and marketing pro Sandy Corcoran joins Summit Media as promotions director for the company’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN” and four music brands. Corcoran served for 10 years with Audacy where she was the assistant director of marketing and promotions for the Phoenix cluster, including KOOL-FM, KALV-FM, and KMLE-FM. She says, “I’m excited for the opportunity to join SummitMedia and their heritage brands in Omaha. Radio and music are my biggest passions. I couldn’t be happier to oversee promotions and events for this cluster.”.…..Podcast firm PodcastOne extends its podcast production partnership with REELZ to launch “Sex, Lies & Murder,” the latest true crime podcast in a series of shows co-produced by the two media companies. “Sex, Lies & Murder” episodes feature the real stories of sex-driven crimes that have rocked communities. These are the stories of a suburban housewife who becomes a killer. A church pastor who has extramarital sex then his wife joins the dearly departed. It’s a soccer mom who is found dead and police uncover her double life as a midnight escort. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to continue our long standing relationship with REELZ through our latest podcast “Sex, Lies & Murder.” Listeners and advertisers alike know that our REELZ-branded programming is edge-of-your-seat content that the podcast world is hungry for and we are excited to deliver.”…..ABC News is covering the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with correspondent Karen Travers reporting from Glasgow. She’ll file regular reports for newscasts, “Perspective” and other audio platforms. ABC Audio will also release a five-part climate report series examining the consequences of climate change and issues the conference is planning to address. Additionally, ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will dedicate multiple segments to the effects of climate change and how Americans are addressing the problem.
Biden’s Infrastructure and Social Spending Bills, COVID-19, Virginia Governor’s Race, Petroleum Industry Testimony/Climate Change, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Migrant Caravan/Immigration Policy, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Rust Set Shooting Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The state of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social spending bills as Democratic factions battle over where to spend; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approved for kids, and mask & vaccine mandates; the tight race between Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; today’s testimony before Congress from petroleum industry CEOs about climate change; the ongoing supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; a migrant caravan in Mexico approaches the U.S. border and the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies; China’s continuing military aggression toward Taiwan; and the investigation into the deadly shooting on the Santa Fe set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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 “What, Me Work?” looks back at this past week of 10/18 – 10/22. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Howard Monroe, talk show host/station owner, WVLY, Wheeling; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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.
Armstrong & Getty Podcast Hits 100 Million Download Mark. Podcasts from the syndicated news/talk morning duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty have surpassed the 100 million mark, according to “The Armstrong & Getty Show.” They say tracking of Armstrong & Getty podcasts began in 2019, meaning the show reached this milestone in less than three years. The total includes Armstrong & Gettty’s “One More Thing,” “On Demand,” and “Extra Large” podcasts. The duo says they see podcasting as a natural extension of their show. “We love the podcasting era. Now our listeners can come back to the show after dealing with life. They don’t turn off the radio, they just hit pause.” The Armstrong & Getty podcasts average more than 3.4 million downloads each month.
Miller & Moulton Launches on Beasley’s Tampa and Ft. Myers Stations. Florida sports talk personalities Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) are back together on Beasley Media Group stations as the company partners with the Florida Sports Network to bring the “Miller & Moulton” show to WBCN-AM/W251AL, Fort Myers “ESPN Southwest Florida” and business talk WHFS-AM, Tampa “Money Talk 1010” for morning drive. Beasley says Miller and Moulton have produced an entertaining and informative show with national guests since 2006 and have been consistently ranked among top rated sports shows in the history of Southwest Florida radio. Beasley Southwest Florida VP and market manager AJ Lurie says, “It’s great to have ‘Miller & Moulton’ back where they started. Our audience has missed them.” Florida Sports Network president Marty Booher comments, “We have a great relationship with Beasley in Detroit with the Michigan Sports Network and are thrilled to partner with them again in their hometown of Naples and across the state of Florida. We already know that sports fans love the ‘Miller & Moulton’ brand and we’re proud to put them back on the air as we expand their show across the state. Listening to the show is like being in your favorite Florida sports bar for four hours in the morning!”
iHeartMedia Execs Reveal New Workplace Plan. In a memo to all staffers, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler explain their plans for the future of working from the office and from home. Saying that at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, they believed all staffers would return to the office when it was safe to do so, they say now, however, “that construct fails to take into consideration everything we’ve learned in the last year and a half – from new skills and new ways of working to maximizing our technology to enable us to communicate, innovate and work together as a team. So, we will never ‘return to the office’ as we all knew it; instead, we’ll be returning to a ‘New Work Environment’… Although we’ll start as a hybrid of working from home and some use of the office, we know it will evolve as we learn together. We should all think about the office as a productivity tool, vs that more rigid ‘home base’ we’ve been used to – and the office will always be open for your use.” They go on to say that “overall we think most people will have a hybrid approach, one in which they’ll spend a period of time in the office every week, depending on what their team’s needs are. And even that schedule may vary week to week, or even month to month, depending on what you are working on… On a practical note, your individual schedule will be developed with your managers, built around the needs and timetables of each location and function, and hopefully tailored to everyone’s specific talents and jobs. In this process, the most important thing we can do is protect your well-being. To that end, we would encourage you to follow the latest recommendations for both vaccines and office protocols. We’ll remain committed to providing you support through all our office and company policies.”
WFAN, New York’s Steve Somers to Retire from Full-Time Show. According to Andrew Marchand’s story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York night host Steve Somers will retire from his full-time position sometime this fall. The 74-year-old sports talk host has been with the station for the entirety of its 34 years as a sports talk outlet. Somers told listeners to his show that he doesn’t want a farewell tour as some hosts who’ve left the station have done saying he would find it embarrassing. Audacy SVP Chris Oliviero tells the Post, “Yes, sadly it is true. Steve will be wrapping up his full-time run at WFAN sometime this fall. He is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks in the history of WFAN. Steve and the FAN became stars together in this town. The voice, the wit, the humor, the catchphrases all iconic. Now we have to convince him to give us all, especially the listeners, a chance to celebrate him because he is worthy of the accolades.”
iHeartMedia Washington, DC Names Jen Richer APD. Programming pro Jen Richer is named assistant program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC cluster that includes news/talk “104.7 WONK-FM,” WUST-AM “DMV BIN 1120,” and six music brands. Richer was most recently executive producer for WMAL-FM, Washington’s “Vince Coglianese Show.” In the past she’s also served as executive producer for 104.7 WONK- FM’s “Reaction Zone,” news director for iHeartMedia Washington D.C., co-host and executive producer of “The Tommy Show” on WIAD-FM, and host and executive producer of “The Fresh Perspective Show” on WIAD-FM. She says, “I am so excited to rejoin the team at iHeartMedia Washington, DC for this incredible new opportunity to work with such a talented team of programmers and talent. There couldn’t be a more important time for radio to connect with our listeners as we start transitioning into the ‘new normal,’ and I am looking forward to helping deliver an awesome experience for the Washington DC community through these landmark stations.”
Former KHTK, Sacramento Sports Personality Grant Napear Sues Bonneville for Wrongful Termination. KOVR-TV, Sacramento is reporting that former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer and sports talk personality Grant Napear is filing a suit against station owner Bonneville International for firing him in June of 2020. Bonneville fired Napear after he tweeted a response to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins who asked him for his take on the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Napear replied, “All Lives Matter… every single one.” At the time, Napear said, “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” Now, he says he’s filing the lawsuit because he believes he’s been wronged, and he wants to be “vindicated.” Bonneville has not commented on the lawsuit.
Triton Digital Releases September 2021 Podcast Report. This report for the period of August 30 to October 3 from Triton Digital ranks the top 20 podcast networks in the U.S. based on average weekly downloads and the top 100 podcasts, also based on average weekly downloads. SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks as the #1 network for September with 38.4 million AWD. Some broadcast companies whose podcast networks ranked in the top 20 include: NPR at #2 (32 million), Audacy Podcast Network at #3 (29.1 million), Cumulus Podcast Network at #4 (17.7 million), FOX News Podcasts at #10 (3.6 million), and Salem Podcast Network at #12 (3.2 million). The top podcast on Triton’s chart is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” Other podcasts of note on this chart include: Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” at #4, Cumulus’ “Dan Bongino Show” at #8, Salem’s “Charlie Kirk Show” at #12, and FOX News’ “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #13. See the complete charts here.
77 WABC Radio Backs the Blue. Pictured above are a number of New York City police officers with Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo. Red Apple’s news/talk 77 WABC dedicated yesterday (10/21) to the men and women in blue with an all-day, on-air salute that included current and past police dignitaries. Photo: Jillian Nelson jillpics.com
TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast team for iHeartMedia Seattle’s coverage of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken is complete. Sports talk KJR-AM serves as the official flagship station for the Kraken Audio Network and will debut its broadcast team tomorrow (10/23) when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. The broadcast team includes: Everett Fitzhugh as the network’s play-by-play voice, retired NHL player Dave Tomlinson as broadcast analyst, and former voice of the Everett Silvertips, Mike Benton, as the network’s studio host…..Audacy’s C13Features releases a video trailer for its new, scripted audio movie, “Treat.” C13Features partnered with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh of Two & Two Pictures, and Best Case Studios, to co-produce the story written by Nathan Ballingrud. “Treat” tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Actress Kiernan Shipka plays protagonist and narrator Allie West…..CNN Audio debuts its first episode of “Tug of War” – a new limited-series podcast hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels to some of the most volatile corners of the world to document the greatest power struggles of our time. The first episode has her taking listeners onto the streets of Afghanistan and into the homes of its citizens as they watch the balance of power start to tip — and the Taliban tries to keep order with truncheons and whips. She shares firsthand accounts from Afghan citizens who witness the United States military withdrawal – after two decades of war – escalate into the Taliban swiftly toppling the Afghan government watching their 20 years of hard-earned freedoms crumble…..Chick Pallotta, creator, executive producer, and host of the nationally syndicated radio series titled, “The Inside Stories Behind the Christmas Songs,” signs a two-year agreement with Orbyt Media, a division of Bell Media Inc. of Canada, to syndicate his series to Canadian radio stations. Programs feature many legendary songwriters who explain how their holiday hits originated. The series comes in two forms: the original short-forms (structured where all the verses of the song are wrapped around the songwriter’s narrative) and the two-minute versions. The series now totals 39 programs. They have aired on SiriusXM and hundreds of radio stations across the U.S., including WCBS-FM, New York City and news/talk KXEL-AM, Waterloo, Iowa. Some 15 different radio formats have aired the holiday series that’s now in its 11th year of syndication.
Budget Debate/Infrastructure/Inflation/Supply Chain/Labor Issues Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 18-22. The negotiation among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s social spending and infrastructure bills, the world’s supply chain woes and labor shortages came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the January 6 investigation tied with the House voting to hold Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt and former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over boosters, mask & vaccine mandates and SRN talk host Dennis Prager’s intentional COVID case. 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.
Program Director/News Director. iHeartMedia is seeking a program director/news director to oversee news/talk WHAM, Rochester; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse and “FM Talk” WAIO-FM, Rochester. This person will “lead all aspects of the radio stations’ on-air experience in a leadership and operations role, responsible for talent, content, news operations, programming, and online presence.” This is a Rochester-based position. To find out more about this role and to apply, click here.
Morning News Reporter. News/talk WSYR, Syracuse seeks a morning news reporter. This role is based in Syracuse and the position requires the news reporter gather and verify factual information through interviews, observation and research; Monitor sources for breaking news, e.g., wires and social media; Plan, write, edit, and voice news broadcasts; Finalize content using digital audio editing software; Maintain crucial deadlines in order to provide news stories in a timely fashion; and more. Find out more about this position and apply here.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Rod Lakin Program Director. Philadelphia sports talk WIP-FM goes outside the Philly area for its new program director naming KMVP, Phoenix “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” PD Rod Lakin as its new brand manager. Lakin will take over for Spike Eskin, who recently joined Audacy’s WFAN, New York as program director on October 4. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station. Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.” Lakin has spent nearly two decades in the spoken-word format in Phoenix, first joining “ESPN Radio 860″ and “Newsradio 620” KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620 KTAR” upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.” In 2018, Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620 AM” and was named program director of “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” in 2019.
iHeartMedia Denver Announces Programming Changes at KOA and KHOW. A number of changes at iHeartMedia Denver’s news/talk stations take place, effective September 20. First, Ross Kaminsky moves from KHOW where he’s been hosting the morning drive show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on sister KOA. He displaces the “Logan & Lewis” show but both Dave Logan and Rick Lewis move to the afternoon drive daypart for the all-new “The KOA Sports Zoo” that will also feature current PM drive personalities Alfred “Big Al” Williams and JoJo Turnbeaugh. At KHOW, Michael Brown moves from his early afternoon show to the morning drive daypart where he’ll host “The Situation with Michael Brown.” Filling the 2:00 pm to 4:00 slot on KHOW is regular KOA and KHOW fill-in host Leland Conway, who joins the ranks of the full-time personalities. Regarding Kaminsky, iHeartMedia notes that he’s been named “Best Talk News/Talk Show” by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and “Best Radio Talk Show Host” by Westword. “The KOA Sports Zoo” – in addition to its four main personalities – will feature Denver Broncos players and coaches, and other celebrities and will cover the MLB’s Colorado Rockies and University of Colorado Buffaloes. Michael Brown is “a fan-favorite and described by many as smart, funny and connected. As the Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, Brown provides provocative insight into culture, current events and politics.” New full-time host Leland Conway is known as “a ‘happy libertarian,’ and has an uncanny ability to interview news makers, putting them at ease while cutting to the heart of the issue.” iHeartMedia Denver president Brenda Egger says, “Both KOA and KHOW have been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for close to a century. These enhancements further cement our position as the leading destination for unmatched news, talk and sports programming.”
Round Four of August 2021 PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for the group of markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM dips two-tenths to an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slides from the #2 to the #3 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee loses seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish but remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN tacks on four-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and rises to the #3 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, “SuperTalk 99.7” rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.5 share jump to a 7.8 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the previous three rounds) here.
‘104-9 FOX Sports Upstate’ Launches in Greenville, SC. Gone from the 104.9 FM signal of WROO-FM, Greenville, South Carolina is the rock format and in is sports talk. iHeartMedia unveils “104-9 FOX Sports Upstate” that is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national programming lineup with the addition of the two-hour afternoon drive show hosted by longtime South Carolina sports broadcaster Phil Kornblut. His program, “Sports Talk with Phil Kornblut,” airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly in addition to “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia Asheville/Greenville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We’re excited to bring back the FOX Sports Radio brand to the Upstate. Our listeners will have access to the best names in sports talk, plus regional coverage. It’s also a natural pairing with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Game on Upstate!”
Cumulus Media Studies NFL Fans’ Use of Radio vs. TV. This study from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts and reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners. Cumulus Media chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience. The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.” Other key findings from the study indicated that: sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience; in the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the ‘best available screen’ for employed and upscale sports fans and according to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale; compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more. See the study results here.
Salem Media Group Closes Refinancing of 2024 Senior Secured Notes. In a statement released on Monday (9/13), Salem Media Group announces it has closed the refinancing of $112.8 million of its senior secured notes due 2024 by way of exchange and/or sale and purchase of $112.8 of such 2024 Notes into $114.7 (reflecting a call premium of 1.688%) of newly issued 7.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. After the refinancing, only $103.5 million of the 2024 Notes remain outstanding. At the same time, Salem has obtained commitments from the holders of the 2028 Notes to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, contingent upon Salem satisfying certain performance benchmarks, the proceeds of which are to be used exclusively to repurchase or repay 2024 Notes. Salem believes that the extended maturity of the 2028 Notes, the ability under the indenture governing the 2028 Notes to use certain asset sale proceeds and casualty loss proceeds to repurchase or repay the 2024 Notes, and the commitments to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, as well as certain other features of the refinancing, all contribute to the ability of Salem to pay the remaining 2024 Notes in full prior to or at maturity. Salem CEO Edward G, Atsinger III says, “With this refinancing and our expected future free cash flow generation, we believe Salem has a clear path to ultimately push out all of the rest of our outstanding debt maturities. It also provides flexibility to opportunistically invest in our business.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago-born stand-up comic Brian Babylon, a.k.a., “Prince of Bronzeville,” is named the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on Tavis Smiley’s talk outlet KBLA, Los Angeles. Feder notes that Babylon hosted “The Morning AMp” from 2011 to 2015 on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform…..ABC Audio announces that Derricke Dennis is promoted to staff correspondent. In this role, he’ll report for all ABC Audio platforms, continue to anchor newscasts – as well as coverage of breaking news and special events – and he’ll be instrumental in the company’s efforts to build new products and reach new audiences. Dennis has been serving the company as a freelancer and anchoring ABC’s flagship I-NET newscast…..VSiN announces that Stormy Buonantony joins the sports betting network as the new host of “My Guys in the Desert.” In addition to covering college football for ESPN, Buonantony joins VSiN from AT&T SportsNet, where she was the rinkside reporter for the Vegas Golden Knights over the past two seasons. She says, “I’m so excited to expand my role and join the incredibly talented and knowledgeable team at VSiN full time. I’ve always joked that I grew up in a household where it didn’t matter who won or lost the game but rather by how many points they won or lost. This represents a special opportunity for me to combine my personal and professional backgrounds in my hometown of Las Vegas on a network committed to providing the best sports betting analysis out there.”…..Pet behaviorist and humorist Warren Eckstein celebrates 40 years in radio hosting, “The Pet Show With Warren Eckstein,” that is syndicated internationally by Radio America in 150 additional markets, including Guam and Canada.
COVID-19, California Recall, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Met Gala, Prince Andrew Case, California Wildfires/Tropical Storm Nicholas Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the battle over vaccine mandates, and school mask requirements; today’s recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the looming Justice for J6 rally in Washington; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wears a dress that says “tax the rich” to the Met Gala; Prince Andrew’s attorneys claim Jeffrey Epstein-related complaint is improper; and the wildfires in California and the threat of heavy rain in the Gulf south from Tropical Storm Nicholas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
The “Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Marks its Second Anniversary with This Weekend’s Show. 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, “Smokin’ a Joint Session,” looks back at this past week of April 26-30. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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, 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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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
KFNS-AM, St. Louis Expands Charlie Marlow’s Role in Middays. Following the exit of former 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host Steve Savard, who recently left the station for an out-of-market television gig, sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis is turning over hosting of the 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm hour to Charlie Marlow, who co-hosts the lead-in show with Cam Janssen. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that the station is airing a sports gambling show from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, currently hosted by station general manager John Hadley. Speaking about the changes, Hadley says, “The intent is to give Cam and Charlie an opportunity to grow and also give Charlie a chance to cut it on his own merits. It’s two guys, one concept, two shows. I’m a big Janssen fan, I’m a big Marlow fan. Charlie never has been the big dog. We have the time to give him to grow into the role. He’s naturally talented with a good sense of humor and wit. He can be a big factor in this (radio) market.” Marlow also serves as a sportscaster at KTVI-TV, St. Louis.
Vicki Thomas Exits Full-Time Role at WWJ-AM, Detroit After 30 Years. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit Free Press by Julie Hinds about WWJ-AM, Detroit city beat reporter Vicki Thomas, who left her full-time position with the station yesterday (4/29) after a 30-year run with the Audacy all-news outlet. Thomas will continue to host the weekly “Black Business Minute” segment for the station. During her career Thomas has been honored by such organizations as the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Associated Press and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. She was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame two years ago. Thomas is also a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Detroit chapter and credits the organization for helping her get the gig at WWJ back in 1991.
Today Is Dave Lee Day in Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation making today (4/30), Dave Lee Day in Minnesota, in honor of the WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning host who is retiring from the station after today’s program. Lee served with WCCO for more than 30 years. Lee first joined WCCO-AM as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. He took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.
Live365 Inks Deal to Place Content on iHeartRadio. A deal between Live365 and iHeartMedia will allow for select Live365 stations to be available on the iHeartRadio platform. Calling the agreement one of the first steps in Live365’s efforts to expand its listening network, Live365 general manager Jason Stoddard says, “As we focus on growing the Live365 listening network, we are excited to announce we now have an agreement in place to list select Live365 stations on iHeartRadio’s distribution network. Being able to showcase some of our standout stations on iHeart is a testament to the hard work our broadcasters put in to programming quality stations that are not traditionally represented on the radio dial. We will continue to work with world-class distribution companies to help listeners discover the top-notch content available on Live365.”
Beasley Names Patti Taylor Director of Sales in Detroit. Radio sales pro Patti Taylor is promoted from general sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-FM and WRIF-FM in Detroit to director of sales for the entire Detroit station group. Beasley Media Group vice president of sales Tina Murley says, “We could not be more excited to have Patti leading our sales effort in Detroit. Patti is collaborative, strategic, and extremely well respected. She is exactly what we need to drive revenue for Beasley and for our valued clients.” Taylor adds, “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to lead the sales efforts for Beasley Media Detroit. We have an unmatched team of account executives, market-leading brands, and an impressive suite of products and tools to offer advertisers today. I am truly enthusiastic for what we’ll achieve in 2021 and beyond.”
TALKERS News Notes. A new weekend program is being added to the lineup on SiriusXM’s Volume channel. “Lunch on the Deck” is hosted by Bill Evans and Jessica Ambrose and will air live at 12:00 noon each Sunday, beginning May 1. The show was first launched on Sag Harbor, New York outlet WLNG-FM in 2019. SiriusXM says the program includes “unique and exclusive interviews with celebrity guests as [Evans and Ambrose] share their stories and play music that they love. This two-hour program takes listeners on a journey of candid conversations paired with hand-picked, favorite music selected by the show’s weekly guests.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show picks up new affiliate WLDS-AM, Jacksonville, Illinois.
COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 26-30. The COVID-19 vaccines, variants, politics and the crush of cases in India combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Joe Biden’s 100-day address before Congress tied with Washington party politics. Following at #3 was the economy, the Biden $1.8 trillion infrastructure package, and stimulus initiatives. 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.
By Holland Cooke
And in the words of now-retired radio traffic reporter Bob Marbourg – a rock star to heavy listeners when he was part of my WTOP crew in the 1980s – “Pick your lane and stay with it.”