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Friday, May 1, 2020

| May 1, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled “Living in a Ghost Town” looks back at this past week of April 27-May 1, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Scott Hennen, talk show host, WZFG, Fargo, ND / WTGO, Tioga, ND / KFYR, Bismarck, ND / KTLC, Dickenson, ND; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; Michael Zwerling, talk show host / station owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; Glenn Beck, talk show host, Premiere Networks; 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Smart Audio Report: Half of 18-34s Consuming More News and Information. Among the results of The Smart Audio Report Spring 2020 from Edison Research and NPR (based upon a national telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted December 31, 2019 through January 5, 2020, and a national online survey of 1,660 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted March 31, 2020 through April 1, 2020) is that “77% of those in the U.S. age 18+ are experiencing a change in their typical routine due to the outbreak of COVID-19 as of April 1, and voice-assistant usage has expanded during these disruptions.”  Smart Speaker ownership has reached 24% of the 18+ U.S. population. The study concluded: 1) 36% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners say they are using their device more to listen to music and entertainment since the outbreak, and 2) 52% of 18-34-year-olds say the same; 3) 35% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners are listening to more news and information since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 4) 50% of those ages 18-34 say the same. See more about the study here.

iHeartMedia Creates ‘Small Business Crisis Resource.’ This new initiative from iHeartMedia is designed to help local, small business owners across the country easily find available benefits and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Small Business Crisis Resource” serves as a centralized source for small business owners and includes a weekly iHeart Small Business newsletter and a website providing critical information on the Federal stimulus package, up-to-date small business news, state by state resources, links to top business-focused podcasts and more at iHeartRadio.com/SmallBusiness and SmallBusinessCrisisResource.com. Small business owners can also sign up for special webinars, kicking off this Monday, May 4 featuring iHeartRadio’s Elvis Duran joining senior officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration to discuss ways small businesses can find assistance and vital information. iHeartMedia Markets Group COO Hartley Adkins says, “At iHeart, our focus continues to be about serving our local communities, including the small businesses that support many residents. We also know that studies show business owners look to radio as their trusted news source more than any other medium, so we want to do everything we can to ensure that these businesses have the important information they need to survive and get through this pandemic as best they can.”

Stephan Multimedia Off to Rocking Start on Four-Day ‘Feeding America Emergency Radiothon.’ Beginning yesterday (4/30) and running through the weekend, Doug Stephan’s Stephan Multimedia national radio programs began a four-day “Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,” to help fight hunger resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Doug Stephan says, “With more than 37 million of our neighbors struggling with hunger right now, we answered the call to join forces with RadioCares.org on this project. Within the first several hours, more than $176,000 was raised.” The Radiothon continues on the daily “Doug, Jenn and Victoria Show,” and weekend shows “The Talk Radio Countdown,” “Good Day Health” and “The American Family Farmer.” The combined programs are heard on more than 400 radio stations.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 27-May 1. The latest tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll across the U.S., and projections of future infections were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of health care system and its resources to fight the coronavirus. Coming in at #3 this week was the economy and the issue of lives vs livelihoods, followed by the presidential race, politics, and the #MeToo movement 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 entire chart here.

Cumulus to Sell Albany, Georgia Station Group. The five-station cluster in Albany, Gerogia includes news/talk WALG-AM, country WKAK-FM, rock WJAD-FM, adult contemporary WEGC-FM, and urban AC WQVE-FM and Cumulus Media is selling it to First Media Services for $450,000.  First Media Services, owned by Rick Lambert and Charles Spencer, also owns stations in Bluefield, West Virginia.

TALKERS News Notes. Copywriter Scott Dahl is the winner of the 13th Annual Dead Radio Contest in which a radio script that was rejected by the client or not green-lighted for some other reason is produced. The contest is sponsored by boutique radio agency Oink Ink Radio. Dahl works for Periscope and the winning script was “Homemade Easy: Call” written for Schwan’s Home Service. Normally, the winner receives an all-expense paid weekend trip to a recording session in NYC with Oink Ink to witness their beloved spot being revived.  But COVID-19 prevented that so Oink Ink moved forward and produced the spot remotely. To hear “Homemade Easy: Call” and for more information about Oink Ink’s Dead Radio contest, click here…..There’s more speculation about the future of air personality Will Cain with ESPN Radio – this time from the Washington Post.  Last week, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand wrote about possible changes at ESPN. The Washington Post’s piece also reports that Cain will leave ESPN and return to FOX News where he’ll appear on FOX News Channel and the digital platform FOX Nation…..Entercom announces that it will report its 2020 first quarter financial results before the market opens on Thursday, May 14. It will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 10:00 am ET that morning to review the results and recent progress against its strategic initiatives…..Longtime Milwaukee and Houston radio personality and programmer Mike Elliott died on April 20 at age 82 after contracting pneumonia. Elliott worked in a number heritage stations – WGST-AM, Atlanta; WASH, Washington; and WIOD-AM, Miami – before landing at WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee in 1974.  He would work in the market at WISN-AM, WZTR, and WLUM during his career.  He also handled Houston Astros play-by-play on KENR-AM and anchored sports on Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV.  He retired from his last gig with WBWI, West Bend, Wisconsin in 2005.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In addition to his recent appointment as director of programming for Westwood One’s country programming, Paul Williams is also being charged with serving as program director for country WKDF-FM, Nashville. Williams was most recently vice president of marketing & artist development for Reviver Entertainment Group in Nashville. Williams says, “What a unique opportunity to lead a radio station in a community you have lived in for over 14 years in one of the craziest times in history.  We’re going to get through this with our Tennessee neighbors then rebound together with music, hope, fun, and the larger-than-life Volunteer State spirit.”…..Waterloo Media’s adult contemporary KGSR-FM, Austin “STAR 93.3” adds the nationally syndicated “Brooke & Jeffrey” show to the station’s weekday lineup for morning drive. Brooke Fox says, “We couldn’t be more excited to be part of Waterloo Media’s Austin team! [Program director] Krash Kelly’s energy, expertise and leadership at ‘STAR 93.3’ is a real dream for us. This partnership could not be better matched and we can’t wait to get on air to start killing it together.”…..Radio Power’s urban contemporary WAMO-AM/WW297BU “107.3 The Beat” announces that Premiere Networks’ “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” is taking over the morning drive daypart effective Monday (5/4).

Thursday, April 30, 2020

| April 30, 2020

Michael Harrison Programs Cleared on Podcast Radio, UK.  The recently launched Podcast Radio, UK that is taking Great Britain audio media fans by storm, has cleared the two Michael Harrison audio products – “The Michael Harrison Wrap” syndicated radio show (Talk Media Network) and “The Michael Harrison Interview” podcast (PodcastOne).  Podcast Radio, UK is a combination on-demand podcast website and on-air DAB streaming radio station that plays these podcasts (podcastradio.co.uk).  Harrison states, “It is really exciting to have our programs receive direct exposure in the UK where there is a tremendous interest in American news, views, and popular culture. I’m honored to be a part of Podcast Radio’s lineup of programming and to work with brilliant British broadcasters such as the platform’s founder Gerard Edwards and star show host Graham Mack.”  In welcoming him to the platform, Mack interviewed Harrison yesterday (4/29) in a deep dive conversation about radio, politics, and culture via Zoom For Podcast Radio, UK’s “The Pod 20” show and YouTube.  Watch it here.

Nielsen Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Flat. The media ratings and consumer behavior/retail measurement giant reports first quarter 2020 revenue of $1.56 billion, roughly flat (-0.3%) compared to the same period in 2019.  Nielsen Holdings also reports that its Nielsen Global Media sector (ratings) was up 1.9% over the same period a year ago. The company is posting a net loss of $18 million for the first quarter compared to Q1 2019’s net income of $43 million.  On February 27, 2020, Nielsen announced its plan to complete the spinoff of Nielsen Global Connect (consumer behavior/retail measurement) by November 2020. The company continues to make operational progress towards separation but now expects the closing to take place in the first quarter of 2021, largely due to temporary shutdowns of government agencies that are necessary to move forward with the separation.

WRNW-FM, Milwaukee Names Former Packer John Kuhn Late Morning Host. Former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn is joining iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game” as host of the late morning “Nine 2 Noon with Kuhn” show, beginning May 4. Joining him as co-host of the program is former Wisconsin Badgers basketball star Brian Butch. Kuhn says, “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the iHeartMedia team and to continue learning and growing in this industry.  I look forward to bringing the same energy to the studio that I brought on the playing field during my days as a football player.”

WGAN, Portland Weekend Host John McDonald Exits. According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, Saga Communications’ news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland has let weekend morning personality John McDonald go.  McDonald has worked at the station for the past 25 years.  He’d been on hiatus from the station due in part to trepidation about coming into the station during the COVID-19 crisis and tells the paper that he was given no reason for his dismissal.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Available on Comcast’s Xfinity Platforms. This deal between Entercom and Comcast will make its RADIO.COM platform available to subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.  X1 and Flex customers can enjoy RADIO.COM stations on their televisions by saying “RADIO.COM” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to launch the app. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “During this critical moment when listeners are dependent on reliable and familiar voices to inform and entertain them, we are especially pleased to expand the reach of RADIO.COM even further. Launching on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex allows us to bring RADIO.COM’s premier news, sports and music content to millions of listeners when they need it most.”

2020 ‘Rising Through the Ranks’ Course Canceled. The “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar that is a collaborative effort between the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is canceled for this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations say that “due to the current travel restrictions and fluid situation of COVID-19, it made sense to look towards 2021 for the professional development course which is designed to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers within broadcast radio.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “‘Rising Through the Ranks’ is by far one of my favorite initiatives produced by the RAB and I’m disappointed that we have to suspend it due to COVID-19. However, we’ve seen that knowledge sharing through intimate peer-to-peer discussions between both speakers and attendees is immeasurable, that we couldn’t replicate this experience in a virtual setting.”

Parshall Steps Down from NRB Board Chair Position. Broadcaster Janet Parshall is resigning from her position as chairman of the board of the National Religious Broadcasters.  At the same time, her husband Craig Parshall has resigned from his post as general counsel for the organization.  The NRB says, “Both Janet and Craig have a long association with NRB. Janet served the NRB for nearly 20 years as board member, executive committee member, and most recently as chairman. Craig served two terms as NRB’s general counsel, where he effectively championed NRB’s public policy interests in Washington, D.C.”  Parshall was a longtime talk host on the Salem Radio Network.  SRN VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup comments, “It is the passing of the torch at NRB, with veteran Christian broadcaster – and former Salem Radio Network talk host – Janet Parshall stepping down as board chairman. Janet’s talent – which always made SRN’s call-in lines ring so hard they were practically levitating – will be missed as the NRB moves into the future of Christian broadcasting.”

States Re-Opening Economies, Confirmed COVID-19 Cases/Projections, Remdesivir, Meat Processing Plants, Presidential Race/Biden Assault Accusation, Michael Flynn Case, U.S -China Relations, and Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Almost half the country’s states begin opening up their economies; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; reports that the drug Remdesivir is showing positive results helping people recover from COVID-19; President Trump orders meat processing plants to remain open; the presidential race and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; released FBI documents indicate investigators were trying to get former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lie; the U.S. and China spar over accusations that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and speculation about the status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Glenn Beck Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star, Glenn Beck is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” His remarkable career includes groundbreaking stints as a host on both FOX News Channel and CNN’s Headline News, in addition to being a 13-time New York Times best-selling author and media industry entrepreneur.  An independent-minded conservative, Beck’s brand-new book is titled, Arguing with Socialists (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster, 2020).  Beck, a marvelous storyteller who brings a unique combination of intelligence, unpredictability and emotion to the microphone, is described by Harrison as “talk media’s leading performance artist.”  Harrison and Beck candidly discuss life during the coronavirus pandemic, the disturbing power wielded by Google and Facebook, and the burning issue of lives versus livelihood, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, morning drive personality Angie Fitzsimmons is out at Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO “Go Country.”  She’d been co-host with Tim Hurley since he joined the station last June.  During her career, Fitzsimmons has served as a producer for Carson Daly when he hosted the morning show at KAMP-FM, Los Angeles…..The Memphis Flyer reports that Memphis radio pro Drake Hall is no longer with Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX “98.1 The Max” where he’s been serving as morning host.  Hall issued the following statement, “As many of you have noticed, I’m not on the radio at the moment.  I’m very excited about our future plans and we’ll be letting you know what’s next, very soon. You can follow us on the Drake Hall Memphis Facebook page and at drakehallmemphis.com. I owe a debt of gratitude to all the good people I’ve worked with for the past 16 years, especially Wes Yahola and Syd Nabors and my late, great partner of 23 years, Zeke Logan. My main goal for now is not getting up at 3:00 am. Wishing you good health and peace until we meet again.”