American Public Media’s McTaggart to Step Down. According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jon McTaggart will resign from his position as president and CEO of American Public Media, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio. The paper says McTaggart issued a memo to the company’s staff on the same day that MPR staffers issued a letter to listeners and readers saying they had “lost faith in their senior leaders.” All of this comes on the heels of two recent incidents at the public media firm. The first was the resignation of MPR reporter Marianne Combs after she claimed that editors had sat on her story about an air personality’s pattern of inappropriate behavior at company O&O KCMP-FM, Minneapolis. That staffer, later identified as Eric Malmberg, has been let go. The second incident was the firing of air personality Garrett McQueen, who is Black, for refusing to follow protocol. McQueen’s overnight program “Classical 24” was syndicated by APM and PRI to public stations across the country. He said publicly he altered the station’s playlist to avoid playing hours of music by “dead white men.” McTaggart says he has set in motion his plans to step down and will remain in his position until a successor is chosen.
Chicago Radio Legend Orion Samuelson to Retire. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that agriculture and business reporter Orion Samuelson will retire from Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM at the end of the year. Samuelson will have been with WGN for 60 years on Saturday (9/26). As Feder notes, Samuelson grew up on a dairy farm near LaCrosse, Wisconsin and started in radio at stations in that state. He says, “December 31st will be my last time on the air at WGN. I don’t know how many broadcasters have been around for 60 or more years, so I don’t know if it’s that much of a milestone.”
SCOTUS Justice Battle, the Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Western Wildfires, U.S.-China Relations/UN Speeches, BLM Movement/Louisville Tensions, and Tropical Storm Beta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The war of words over Senate President Mitch McConnell’s move to put a Supreme Court nominee before the Senate prior to the election; the November presidential election; the U.S. passes the 200,000 dead from COVID-19 mark and projections for a potential second wave in the fall and winter; the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington; the tensions between the U.S. and China and the speeches delivered at the UN by President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping; the Black Lives Matter movement and Louisville’s preparation for protests following today’s announcement on the Breonna Taylor case; and Tropical Storm Beta dumps rain on Texas and Louisiana were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WPG’s Harry Hurley Emcees Trump Event. WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley served as master of ceremonies at a private dinner fundraiser for the Trump campaign last night at the Smithville Inn in Galloway Township, New Jersey. The event was hosted by former Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy and former New Jersey Assemblyman Vince Polistina. The guests of honor were Donald Trump, Jr. (center), who delivered a 20-minute address, and attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle (right). Trump also signed copies of his new book, Liberal Privilege.
TALKERS News Notes. A special edition of ABC News’ podcast and radio show, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” was posted yesterday (9/22) to recognize the United States’ surpassing 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths. Hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, the program features reporting by ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, political director Rick Klein and more…..Cumulus Media announces a new partnership between its Westwood One Podcast Network and Living Corporate LLC to monetize, market, and distribute the flagship podcast “Living Corporate” as well as podcasts in development. “Living Corporate” addresses “the experiences and perspectives of Black, brown, and marginalized persons in the workplace, and provides information designed to help them reach their full potential and achieve success. In each episode, host Zachary Nunn interviews top business executives, inclusion and diversity leaders, social impact entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and elected officials who offer guidance and practical advice for navigating majority-white working spaces.”…..The National Football League and SiriusXM expand their satellite broadcasting agreement to include additional streaming rights. For the first time, SiriusXM customers with the streaming-only SiriusXM Premier subscription will have access to every live NFL game as well as the exclusive 24/7 talk channel, SiriusXM NFL Radio.
iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network: An Information Source Supplying Hope and Pride. This summer’s launch of BIN: The Black Information Network by iHeartMedia came at a time of renewed strife in America’s relationships between races; one that is complicated even more by the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black Americans. As today’s feature story by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reveals, this format project was not a knee-jerk reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police back in May, but the fulfillment of a vision begun by iHeartMedia executives in 2019. Tony Coles, president of BIN, says, “At budget time, companies look at what is and isn’t working. We had a conversation about the lack of women and minorities who listen to traditional [news and news/talk] stations. The fact is they haven’t really been served.” That started the Black Information Network project. Fast-forward to the spring as the pandemic rolled across America and Coles says, “We thought there was a need for the network before, but this would be the headline every single day. It’s not just the virus, but the high number of deaths in the Black community and the economical toll it was having. There were numerous angles with that story. We thought everything we were working on was being validated.” Read Mike Kinosian’s complete feature story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated, lifestyle entertainment program, “Life with Lindsay,” – starring Lindsay Cochrane – is now airing on Alpha Media’s suburban Chicago country WCCQ, Crest Hill, Illinois. She says, “Almost eight million people in the Chicago area have stories to tell and I’m looking forward to hearing the common experiences that unite us, the funny moments that define us, and the serious stuff that makes us stronger together. I’m grateful to Alpha Media, WCCQ market manager Brian Foster and content director Roy Gregory. This is the beginning of some beautiful friendships.”…..Beasley Media Group New Jersey hot AC WMGQ-FM, New Brunswick “Magic 98.3” and news/talk WCTC-AM recently hosted the first annual Give Hope Radiothon (9/10) in conjunction with Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in New Jersey. The stations raised more than $13,000 dollars to benefit CSH’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund which supports any additional needs the hospital may incur as a result of the pandemic as well as the continued expansion of telehealth as a means to provide life-changing care to more children at their 13 locations across New Jersey.
Dodgers-KLAC Broadcast Deal Gives Team Equity in Station. Indeed, the newsworthy part of this story is the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring an equity position in KLAC, Los Angeles as part of the renewal for play-by-play flagship rights. Neither side is going into details, so what “an equity position” means is not clear. The team and station owner iHeartMedia made the announcement Tuesday about the multi-year agreement renewing KLAC’s broadcast rights of the Dodgers regular season games, select spring training games and potential post-season games. The deal must be approved by Major League Baseball. Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten comments, “We are looking forward to expanding KLAC’s content in this new partnership for our passionate and loyal fan base. We will be teaming up with the fantastic creative team at iHeartMedia on a number of projects and initiatives to enhance our fans’ engagement. And what better team to tell the story than from broadcast talent of Vin Scully, Rick Monday and Charley Steiner.”
Another Cable Network for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The Glenn Beck-founded video platform TheBlaze gets carriage on Suddenlink – one of the top 10 cable companies in the U.S. A Wikipedia entry shows Suddenlink with approximately 1.2 million subscribers. TheBlaze says this addition means its “24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network” is now available on 77 television providers nationwide including 10 of the top 25. TheBlaze president of business development Lynne Costantini says, “We are pleased that Suddenlink decided to launch TheBlaze in response to customer demand, validating the appeal of our original programming to a broad audience. We look forward to providing additional value and choice to Suddenlink’s customers, growing our respective businesses together in partnership.”
Rich Eisen Program Available on PodcastOne. When the DirecTV-produced Rich Eisen show airs on October 6, an audio version of the program will become available via PodcastOne as the sports media star begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz’s programming-on-demand platform. Eisen, the former ESPN personality who’s been with the NFL Network since its inception, has produced a podcast via NFL Media for the past four years. Eisen quips, “The podcast form is in this show’s DNA, so I am overjoyed to have the Rich Eisen show in the PodcastOne family. Plus, this leaves me one step closer to my dream of getting Norm Pattiz’s Lakers tickets.” Pattiz replies, “My courtside seats are now a lock. Rich is a pro’s pro. Sports talk on demand is a digital segment that’s breaking big in the podcast universe and we are excited to engage this passionate fan base with the exceptional content Rich consistently creates. His expertise and talent are a great addition to our roster which includes Dan Patrick, Ross Tucker, Steve Czaban and all of Yahoo! Sports.”
Opie Hughes and Jim Norton Re-Up with SiriusXM. Any hopes the Opie & Anthony fans had that when the contract came up, Opie Hughes (right) and partner Jim Norton (left) would walk away in protest of former co-host Anthony Cumia’s firing this summer are dashed as Hughes and Norton announce via Twitter that they have “not resigned, but re-signed” with the satcaster. The show is billed as “Opie with Jim Norton.” Cumia was fired by SiriusXM after a series of Tweets from him that used vulgar and racial terms to describe an encounter he had with an African America woman in Times Square earlier this year.
Round Two of September PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle adds two new stations to his affiliate list. The Talk Radio Network-syndicated show is now heard on Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo and Frank Iorio-owned WJAS, Pittsburgh…..At the Fresno operations of Cumulus Media, Michael Knight is named news director for KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM. Knight comes to KMJ after spending last several years with KFWB, Los Angeles…..Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101 KXL” picks up three Oregon Association of Broadcasters Awards. Delivered at this past weekend’s 2014 OAB Fall Conference, KXL won accolades for: Best Single Story Newscast by reporter, Rosemary Reynolds on a piece covering Robert Yuille; Best Investigative Reporting for the K-9 Shooting earlier this year; and Best Newscast for the coverage on the shooting of Officer Robert Libke……Sports USA announces a new twice-weekly podcast from baseball Hall-of-Famer and Emmy Award-winning analyst Joe Morgan is being produced. Dubbed, “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” it debuts on Thursday (10/2). The company says each week Morgan will create one new podcast featuring the topics of today along with one “Classic Conversation” featuring a mixture of over 100 of the greatest sports and celebrity interviews he has conducted…..Entercom‘s Milwaukee sports talker WSSP is now simulcasting on translator W289CB at 105.7 FM. The station has re-branded as “Sportsradio 105.7 The Fan.”
Westwood One Appoints Foley to its Business Development Division. Former Radio Disney Group business development manager Jack Foley joins Westwood One as a business development vice president. Westwood One president Steve Shaw states, “Jack’s outstanding record of success in radio, event sponsorship, digital, in-store audio, and experiential marketing is an ideal match for this position. He has the ability to leverage all of our platforms and to create powerful marketing solutions for our clients.” New York City-based Foley comments that he is “thrilled” to join the “great team at Westwood One” as “we put the power of sound to work for our valued clients. Westwood One offers unsurpassed assets from which to build integrated marketing programs that deliver exceptional value and ROI. I look forward to activating these deep connections in a way that serves all stakeholders, content providers, marketers, and consumers.” Foley’s past credits include Entercom Boston’s vice president and director of sales; Clear Channel’s (now iHeartMedia) regional vice president for sales (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine); president and owner of mergers/acquisitions brokerage Transworld Advisors; and senior vice president of business development for Opus 3 Mobile.
Agreeing to Disagree. Nationally syndicated talk show hosts Michael Medved (left) and Tavis Smiley (right) pose for a photo after their on-air discussion about the day’s hot issues. Salem Radio Network’s Medved hosted Smiley – whose weekly radio show is distributed by PRI – on his program to talk about issues and Smiley’s new book, Death Of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year (Little, Brown & Company, 2014). Medved’s camp reports the two sparred over: black unemployment, economic inequity in minority communities and failing schools after six years of the Barack Obama presidency, to name a few.
U.S. ISIS Policy, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Hopefuls, Obama Amnesty Policy, White House Trespasser/Secret Service Controversy, U.S. Ebola Case/Pandemic Threat, and NFL Controversies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The military strikes against ISIS and speculation about U.S. intelligence breakdowns; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; controversy over a possible Obama Administration amnesty program; the recent White House trespasser case and questions about the Secret Service’s effectiveness; the first U.S. Ebola virus case and concerns over a possible pandemic; and the domestic violence cases that have rocked the young NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ESPN Radio Extends Michael Kay’s Contract with WEPN-FM, New York. “ESPN New York 98.7” announces Michael Kay signs a three-year contract to remain the PM drive host on the ESPN O&O. Station VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re very happy to have extended Michael’s contract for multiple years. He’s been a mainstay at the station and in the New York sports scene for more than a decade. Having him continue to anchor our afternoon drive programming alongside Don La Greca is a huge plus for ESPN New York.” Kay has worked at the ESPN sports talk station for the past 11 years and also serves as the play-by-play announcer for Yankees baseball on the YES Network.
The James T. Harris Show Moves to PM Drive on KQTH, Tucson; Jon Justice Gets TV Simulcast. Talk show host James T. Harris moved from Journal Broadcasting’s Milwaukee news/talk flagship WTMJ – where he did weekend and fill-in shows – to the company’s KQTH “104.1 The Truth” last October to begin hosting the two-hour midday show. Now, program director Ryan McCredden reports Harris is taking over the PM drive slot and he says that change in the lineup “will give ‘The Truth’ listeners an unprecedented seven hours of local talk, and the only live and local FM talk show in the afternoons. By moving James T. to our afternoon drive time, we’re continuing our commitment to providing the best local talk programming in Tucson. His energy, passion and dedication is the right fit for the top-rated talk station in Southern Arizona.” In other KQTH news, the Jon Justice morning drive show is now being seen in addition to being heard in Tucson. KWBA-TV “CW 58” simulcasts the 7:00 am to 9:00 am hours of Justice’s program. Justice says, “I’m very excited to be able to expand on the success of the show and be able to offer the listener another dimension to what we do on ‘104.1 The Truth’ every day.”
Careful What You Say. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says radio personalities – especially those in PPM markets – should remember there are some words and phrases that will cause parents with kids in the car to dump your show. “If you’re in a PPM market, awareness drives use. So, either way, being thought of as R-rated will cost you what Arbitron calls Occasions of Listening and Time Spent Listening.” Find out what Cooke says is one of the most “offensive” phrases to parents in today’s piece. But wait, there’s more. Perception is reality and if you or your talent are using some of the incorrect words or pronunciations Holland lists here, you could be jeopardizing your reputation and, yes, listenership. Don’t be punished by Arbitron and choose your words carefully. Read Holland Cooke’s entire story here.
Bidding War for Indians Baseball in Cleveland Pits CC Against CBS. A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer illustrates the bidding going on between CBS Radio and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the radio broadcast rights to Cleveland Indians baseball. The story quotes the Indians senior director of communications Curtis Danburg saying, “We are in the bidding process for our radio rights. We are making strides, but it’s hard to put a date on when we’ll get a deal done. Nothing is imminent.” Clear Channel’s WTAM currently has the broadcast rights but it’s believed that the team wants the winning bidder to commit to a longer deal than the current two-year contract Clear Channel is finishing up. CC has had the Indians since 1998 but CBS Radio would like to put the Tribe on its new FM sports talk WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan.” How important the FM signal is to the team is now known since it is playing the negotiations very tight-lipped but one has to assume CBS will play the FM card very seriously. The Plain Dealer reports that not only do the Indians sell the broadcast rights, the deal allows the team to keep revenue garnered from game broadcasts.
Michael Smerconish Announces “Book Club” Live Events. Philadelphia-based WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish has been bringing high-profile authors to the Philadelphia area for live events that draw his book-consuming P1s to venues for several years. He is announcing his fall lineup that begins with the September 27 appearance of two-time Pulitzer Prize winners Donald Barlett and James Steele to the historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope in support of their provocative new bestseller, The Betrayal of the American Dream (PublicAffairs 2012). Smerconish says, “There could not be a more timely read in the midst of the 2012 election from the men who two decades ago wrote America: What Went Wrong. In a methodical assessment, Barlett and Steele drill down on the confluence of economic policy and politics that has jeopardized the American middle class. One wishes that Messrs. Obama and Romney would be in attendance to hear what Barlett and Steele have to say!”
TuneIn Announces New Partnerships Bringing News, Talk and Music Content to the Web. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces a number of partnerships with terrestrial and digital radio companies that expand the company’s slate of content. Some of the companies that are providing their audio to TuneIn for listeners to hear include: Public Radio International; C-SPAN Radio; ABC Australia; the Hearst Corporation; myvradio; WFMU, East Orange, New Jersey; WSM, Nashville; KDHX, St. Louis; KXT, Dallas-Fort Worth; Wu-Tang Radio; Israel Sports Radio; My Cool Inventions Radio; and others. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “After reaching the 40 million monthly active listener milestone earlier this month, we are more committed than ever to serving our growing listener base by offering as many quality content options as possible. Aligning with renowned and respected news organizations like C-SPAN and PRI will be a fantastic and effective way for both TuneIn and these broadcasters to continue to build and expand our audiences.”
Presidential Campaign, Obama China Complaint, Anti-Muslim Film Violence, Occupy Wall Street Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike and iPhone 5 Mania Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Obama Administration’s complaint about illegal Chinese subsidies; the repercussion in the Islamic world from the now-infamous anti-Muslim internet film; the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests; week two of the Chicago teachers strike begins; and records sales of Apple’s new iPhone 5 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.