TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.
FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio‘s Brian Kilmeade delivers the keynote address at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.
Key Networks nationally syndicated commentator Bill O’Reilly (right) is interviewed by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (left) at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.
McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay (right) moderates the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ’20s” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Joe Thomas, program director/morning host, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Greg Stocker, WPHT, Philadelphia APD, executive producer for the Rich Zeoli show; Michael Czarnecki, program director WONK-FM, Washington, DC and the iHeartPodcast Channel; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; Dave LaBrozzi, SVP of programming, Red Apple Media; and Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group, operations VP, New York region.
Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon (right) moderates the “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Christine Travaglini, president Katz Radio Group/RAB; Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Paul Gleiser, president/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media/RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, NY.
WRHU Radio operations director John T. Mullen (right) moderates the “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Derek Hunter, talk host WCBM, Baltimore; Martha Zoller, talk host WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Brett Winterble, talk host, WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and Dr. Asa Andrew, talk host, Asa Rx.
Monday Memo: Dear Old Dad. There’s still time to make a fuss on his special day; and in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke suggests a couple vintage radio hits worth dusting off, “regardless of your format.” Read the column here.
Biden’s European Trip/G7, Putin Summit, COVID-19, Minneapolis Protest Death, Harris Latin America Trip Criticism/Immigration Reform, Trevor Reed Case, Soaring Urban Crime, and Bennett Replaces Netanyahu Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s European trip, the meeting of G7 leaders; Biden’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and speculation about the origin of the coronavirus; one person is killed as a car rams into protestors in Minneapolis; criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the subject of immigration reform; the case of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed who’s been detained in Russia for two years; the soaring rates of urban crime in America’s large cities; and Naftali Bennett succeeds in ousting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.
Pending Business: Demand vs Frequency. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “As you engage advertisers during this sales tailwind, what happens when rates and rotations are not even close to 2020 or Q1 of 2021? Does the sales banter go straight to demand? It happened to me. Your internal high-five is your advertiser flashing red light for high rates! Oops, you moved right to the easy part – demand is up so rates are up. Your advertiser should be compassionate, understanding that you made it through to the other side of the pandemic. Are your advertisers really saluting your demand curve? No.” Read more here.
Jim Fox Named Operations Manager for Cumulus Media Kansas City. Radio programming pro Jim Fox is named operations manager for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Kansas City cluster that includes news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI and six music brands. Fox joins CUMULUS Kansas City following a 17-year career with Audacy, where he was vice president, programming, for the company’s four Dallas stations. CUMULUS Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “Record-high ratings delivery as the #1 cluster in KC is the result of our incredible programming talent delivering the highest level of audience engagement. Jim Fox is among the best programming minds in the business. His expertise growing strong brands that deliver results for our client partners is the ideal addition to our team in Kansas City.” Fox comments, “I’m extremely excited and fortunate to be joining this incredible team with an already proven track record of success. So many people who I respect helped to make this move possible. I’m energized by the idea of working closely with Donna Baker, Doug Hamand, Brian Philips, and the very impressive and talented staff in Kansas City.”
Dave Symonds Joins Summit Media Richmond as Director of Programming and Operations. The new director of programming and operations at SummitMedia, LLC’s Richmond cluster that includes WURV-HD2 “ESPN Richmond” and four music brands is Dave Symonds. The company says, “Symonds brings a solid track record of progressive leadership in multi-station, multiformat programming, management, and brand development, including start-ups and well-established stations and shows. He has been consistently successful in differentiating brands, communicating format values and achieving ratings successes.” Symonds adds, “After meeting with the Summit Richmond team, I was quickly swept up by their strength and creativity, as well as the opportunities and potential of these stations. I already respected market manager Bob Willoughby when we were competed a few years back. Now, I’m excited to partner with him. Plus, it’s Richmond. I’m thrilled!”
Zimmer Marketing Market Manager Chad Elliot Dies Unexpectedly at 47. The Joplin, Missouri station group of Zimmer Marketing reports the unexpected passing of its market manager, Chad Carroz, a.k.a. Chad Elliot, who died at his home on Saturday at the age of 47. Elliot was the longtime host of the “KZRG Morning NewsWatch” program on the news/talk station. He held that position for over a decade before moving into a full-time role in sales and management. Company owner James Zimmer says, “Chad will be missed by all who knew and loved him. He was part of our family for over 25 years. His passion for radio guided him from being a part-time air talent to market manager of Zimmer Marketing in Joplin. We will hold Chad forever in our hearts and look forward to seeing him in eternal life with Christ.” Elliot leaves behind his wife Monica – also a member of the Zimmer team – and the couple’s daughter, Mattie. In announcing her husband’s death via Facebook, Monica wrote, “Chad had two passions. Zimmer Radio and his dogs. He lived, breathed, and bled Zimmer. He wanted nothing more than to help local businesses succeed and grow. He fought for those success stories. I was given a rare gift to work alongside my husband almost seven years ago. At first, I thought it wouldn’t work. How can a couple be together 24/7? It had its challenges, but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it for anything! 8-5 he was in charge. 5-8 I was in charge. It worked.” Details on funeral arrangements are pending.
Audacy Adds Two Shows to BetQL Network. The BetQL Network is adding two new weekday programs to its lineup. Audacy announces that as part of its multiplatform partnership with BetMGM, the network will launch “The Daily Tip,” featuring Michael Jenkins and Chelsea Messinger, and “BetMGM Tonight,” starring Ryan Horvat and Quinton Mayo, beginning June 21. The “BetQL Network,” is heard on KEZW-AM, Denver “The Bet 1430AM”; KCBS-HD2, Los Angeles; and WCFS-HD2, Chicago “The Bet 105.9.” Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are ecstatic to announce the next phase of our planned expansion of the ‘BetQL Network.’ Our partnership with BetMGM – who is co-developing these shows alongside our sports programming team led by Matt Volk [vice president of sports] – enables us to create this new content that will both entertain and inform our audience around daily sports betting activity. We aspire for the ‘BetQL Network’ to become the go-to destination for the sports betting community and we’ll continue to announce new content to this dynamic platform over the next few months.”
Two Researchers Promoted at Paragon Strategies. Two Paragon Media Strategies’ longtime researchers are being promoted. Sara Schueller rises to vice president/research and Simone Lowin is promoted to research services director. Paragon CEO Mike Henry notes, “Sara Schueller and Simone Lowin have been part of the Paragon backbone for two decades. During that time, Paragon has produced hundreds of research projects for our media and entertainment clients. Every one of those projects was guided by these incredible women who exhibit the highest capacity for integrity and professionalism. We’re incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the Paragon family.”
Superadio Networks, Bloomberg Radio, and Key Networks Partner to Present ‘Bloomberg Black Business Beat’. A collaborative effort between Key Networks, Bloomberg Radio, and Superadio Networks LLC results in the syndication of the specialty feature “The Bloomberg Black Business Beat” to radio stations across the U.S. The program is hosted by Renita Young and presents a daily look at the intersection of culture and commerce affecting Black American audiences. Topics range from the latest trends in Black-owned businesses and profiles of Black entrepreneurs, to a continuing look at diversity in the workplace and an inside look at the business of entertainment. Superadio president Eric Faison says, “We’re excited to partner with Key Networks to bring ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ to an audience that is looking for information on business trends, consumer news and finance and deliver it in a compelling and fast-paced format.” Key Networks’ chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Key Networks is proud to partner with Superadio to bring ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ to listeners and advertisers across the country. The feature provides a wealth of information related to business and finance that is important to Black audiences. ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ will inform and educate listeners and provide affiliates with high-quality iHeart content.”
New Execs Appointed at iHeartMedia Salt Lake City. At its Salt Lake City operations, iHeartMedia promotes Judy Copier to market president and Joyce Wirthlin rises to SVP of sales. Copier has served with iHeartMedia Salt Lake City for 10 years, most recently as SVP of sales. Copier takes over for Stu Stanek, who has been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years and is retiring as market president. Copier says, “I am very appreciative of the opportunity to take over the reins and lead this talented team in Salt Lake City. I feel very fortunate to have worked alongside Stu for several years and know his wisdom and insight have been invaluable in preparing me for this role. I’m also excited to promote Joyce to SVP of sales – the strength of her leadership will be a great asset. I’m proud to be part of the iHeartMedia family, one that recognizes that our organization is built on, and succeeds because of, the very talented people I get to work with every day.” In addition, to these changes, Jeff McCartney was appointed to the SVP of programming role in January of 2021, rounding out the market’s executive team.
‘LI News Radio’ Wins Eight Press Club Awards. Long Island news/talk WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio” took home eight Press Club of Long Island Media Awards at the organization’s May 28 ceremony. The JVC Media station’s “Breaking it Down with Frank MacKay” won in seven categories. JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “The Press Club of Long Island is a professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. ‘Breaking it Down’ airs Monday through Friday at 2:00 pm on ‘LI News Radio’ and it is one of the leading celebrity radio talk shows in the nation with thousands of daily listeners on many of our JVC stations, as well as other affiliates and partners. The entire team at JVC is so proud of Frank. He brings a passion to this medium and has a fantastic interview and storytelling style that just makes his show appointment listening for all. I am very excited about the future of Frank MacKay and the ‘Breaking it Down’ program.”
WWO Blog: Targeting ‘Ready to Go’ Customers. This week’s Westwood One blog analyzes a recent Nielsen study that investigates which media audiences have the greatest purchase propensity as the nation continues to emerge from the pandemic. The group of people that considers itself “ready to go” is one that “perceives less risk, feels safer, and indicates their cities are emerging from crisis. The study indicates that in the “ready-to-go” group “advertisers can find a desirable consumer group that over-indexes in having children aged 2-11 (117), having an annual income of $100K+ (113), and working outside of the home (114). Compared to the average, the “ready-to-go” consumers are 5% more likely to listen to AM/FM radio in a typical day.” Data from the study shows that in the automobile category, “podcast listeners (+43%) and AM/FM radio listeners (+18%) are more likely to make an auto purchase in the next 12 months versus the average consumer and heavy TV viewers.” In the restaurant category, “heavy AM/FM radio listeners and podcast listeners are more likely to dine out: 63% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners intend to dine out at either a quick serve or sit-down restaurant within a month. More than half of podcast listeners also intend to dine out after COVID-19 restrictions ease.”
Meredith Tiger Joins Audacy as Director of Corporate Communications. PR pro Meredith Tiger joins Audacy as director of corporate communications and PR. In this role, Tiger will help drive overall communications strategy for the company, including leading communications support for key business initiatives, crisis communications, event communications, and talent relations, and will serve as a key company spokesperson, reporting to Ashok Sinha, SVP, head of corporate communications & PR. Tiger – most recently serving with HBO Max – will lead strategic communications for Audacy’s digital, research, podcasting, corporate social responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion, and other divisions within Audacy’s portfolio, while also increasing industry awareness for the company through executive visibility and thought leadership programs, including key speaking engagements and press opportunities for Audacy’s executive leadership team. Additionally, she will spearhead consumer publicity for the company’s tentpole live events. In her role, Tiger will partner closely with employee communications, local market communications efforts and corporate social media. Tiger says, “It’s an exciting time in our industry and I am thrilled to have joined the team at Audacy. It’s clear that based on the leadership, this is a first-class operation and I’m looking forward to collaborating with some of the top creative and communications professionals in the field.”
TALKERS News Notes. In recognition of Pride Month, Audacy unveils a month-long multiplatform campaign called, “Celebrations in Pride,” presented by Stella Rosa Wines, that includes a series of on-air content heard on CHANNEL Q, the award-winning LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network, and select Audacy stations. “Celebrations in Pride” will also be available digitally via station streams on the Audacy platform and Audacy.com/Pride. Audacy SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re delighted to leverage our national scale and local connection to celebrate Pride Month through this exciting and entertaining campaign. We look forward to connecting our audience to our industry’s biggest superstars and influential allies of the LGTBQ+ community and delivering powerful everyday content throughout the month.”…..The National Association of Broadcasters is hosting a special event on June 17 at 2:00 pm ET on NAB Amplify to announce and celebrate the 2021 recipients of the NAB Engineering Achievement Awards and Digital Leadership Award. The special session titled, “The Future of Media and NAB Technology Awards,” kicks off with a keynote conversation with Mike Chapman, a partner and Americas media lead at management consulting firm Kearney, who will discuss the future of media, including trends to watch, with Sam Matheny, executive vice president and chief technology officer of NAB…..In celebration of Black Music Month, Urban One announces the release of its new podcast series, “For the Culture, A History of Black Music.” The podcast features six episodes focused on the impact of several Black music genres on popular music today, including Gospel, Funk, Philly Soul, Trap and Hip Hop, Go Go, and Chopped and Screwed and present interviews with music makers from each genre. Reach Media syndicated radio host Angie Ange hosts the podcast and presents content designed to entertain and enlighten Reach Media’s national audience with real discussions and insights from pioneers and celebrities who have contributed to the national/global rise of locally originated sounds in hotbed music markets…..audiochuck network announces that the popular true-crime podcast, “Park Predators” is dropping a second season. Hosted by investigative journalist and accomplished podcaster Delia D’Ambra, “Park Predators” explores the evil hiding among the beautiful landscapes of the national parks and forests within North and Central America.” AdLarge handles ad sales for the podcast.
COVID-19, Worker Shortage, Tulsa Massacre Anniversary, Voting Rights, Vote Audits/Sydney Powell Claim, and JBS Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and the simmering Wuhan lab leak theory; employers in the U.S. are complaining about the lack of available workers as the country fully re-opens; the anniversary of the Tulsa “Black Wall Street” massacre; President Joe Biden appeals to Americans to support voting rights and appoints Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to defend voting rights; the 2020 vote audits taking place in Arizona and New Hampshire and former Trump lawyer Sydney Powell’s claim Donald Trump could be “reinstated”; and the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
NOT just toilet paper hoarding.
From Stop & Shop, the supermarket goliath here in New England:
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Product knowledge? Station and competitive knowledge so deep, you even know the tower array. Not really.
Planning and organization? Every minute is booked, accounted for and planned weeks in advance. Unrealistic in today’s world.
Wired with contacts? You know the gatekeeper’s favorite treat and the decision maker’s birthday. So does everyone who’s read Harvey Mackay.
Monday Memo: New Normal HR? If you’ve been broadcasting remotely during the shutdown, and you’re daydreaming about getting back to what was left of radio station camaraderie, consultant Holland Cooke quotes Cher from “Moonstruck:” “SNAP OUT OF IT!” In this week’s column: Why telecommuting is GOOD news for you; and an HR expert explains how listeners’ lives are changed. Read it here.
George Floyd Protests, De-Funding Police, Re-Opening Across America, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, U.S.-China Relations, and Tropical Storm Cristobal Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The racism and police brutality protests that took place all over the world; the prospect of de-funding the police department in Minneapolis and in other cities; states across the nation continue to re-open their economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases; tense relations between China and the U.S. over the coronavirus pandemic; and tropical storm Cristobal hits the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Sales: Clients (As Well as Listeners) Seek Connection. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the on-air team at your news/talk station “is working hard to deliver the storylines driving the news cycle and talk the talk the listener expects every day… And THAT is the light in the darkness. That critical expectation of the listener attracted to the content of your news/talk programming is your start point. The reason your listener is engaged is your path to a cohesive sales flow that can resonate with potential sponsors.” Read his column here.
Emmis Suspends Sports Talker Joe Staysniak After Race Discussion. Former Indianapolis Colts player and current WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan” morning drive co-host Joe Staysniak is serving a one week, no-pay suspension from his show after management deemed his remarks about the police and racism in America were insensitive. The Indianapolis Star reports that during a discussion about the protests taking place in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, Staysniak said that Black people should say, “I’m going to stop being a victim,” and “Well, you know, get an education, you know, get a second job.” When co-host Jeff Rickards said that a Black driver is six times more likely to get pulled over than a white driver in some parts of Indiana, Staysniak responded, “OK and then you have to look at why. Is that racism or is that the time of day? Is that the car they’re driving? Are lights out? Are turn signals working?” He added, “It comes down to a cultural thing too. Are we putting ourselves in a situation where we don’t need to be? Again, when we have multiracial police officers…cell phones out…it just becomes harder and harder to believe you are being targeted like that.” Staysniak has apologized and Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement, “Emmis takes very seriously its commitment to the communities in which we proudly serve and reaffirms its dedication in rooting out injustices and oppression in any form.”
TALKERS News Notes. In Indianapolis, iHeartMedia debuts a new business talk outlet branded “Business News 97.5 FM” on translator W248AW, bumping the simulcast of alternative WOLT-FM. The station is airing almost exclusively content from Bloomberg Radio. iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Mike Killabrew says, “This is a unique format for a unique time. As the Indianapolis market continues pushing forward in a responsible fashion, we want to provide sound financial and business content to consumers looking to rebuild their personal and professional portfolios.” The company has not indicated what the feeder station is for the FM translator…..The Nevada Talk Network – consisting of KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks; KNNT-FM, Battle Mountain; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPKK-FM Amargosa Valley – adds Starnes Media Group’s “The Todd Starnes Show” to its programming lineup for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro received a “thank you” from Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Gary Dantzler as Dantzler took part in a press conference with Governor Gina Raimondo in which the governor announced a state partnership with Black Lives Matter to improve race relations. DePetro tells TALKERS magazine that he often had Brother Gary (as he’s called) on his radio show as a guest and treated him fairly. “The moment he chose to acknowledge it is incredible and positive for talk radio, since he was always shunned by local TV.”…..The radio edition of the “Cigar Dave Show” will end on June 27 after 25 years as host Dave Zeplowitz transitions the content to “more timely, daily short to medium-form, unrestricted podcasts aligned with related new e-commerce initiatives.”…..Dr. David Samadi, M.D. is named lead medical contributor for Newsmax TV. Dr. Samadi currently serves as director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Dr. Samadi is not only a brilliant surgeon, but also a great communicator who is able to explain complex medical issues clearly and concisely. During the coronavirus we have found him to be an invaluable resource for our viewers.”
Roger Neel Retiring from WNBF, Binghamton. After 42 years with the station, Roger Neel is retiring from his full-time position with Townsquare Media’s WNBF, Binghamton. Neel serves as morning show personality and brand manager for the news/talk station and for sister sports talker WYOS “CBS Sports Radio.” His last day will be June 19. Neel joined the station in 1978 when he was hired as the play-by-play announcer for Binghamton’s minor league hockey franchise the Broome Dusters.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow (6/9), Cumulus Media’s urban-formatted radio stations, along with Westwood One urban brands, will air an 8 minute and 46 second audio tribute to George Floyd at 1:00 pm ET. The nationwide tribute, titled “8:46-Remembering George Floyd,” will align with Floyd’s burial Tuesday. Cumulus VP, urban formats Kenny Smoov says, “People are tired. They want Change now. They want Peace now. It is a beautiful thing to see people from outside of the African American community and from all over the world coming together to say ENOUGH! Let’s be the living generation that ends systemic racism!”…..Programming and on-air pro “Big Rick” Daniels is named program director for Gulf South Communications’ country WTVY, Dothan, Alabama “95.5 Your Country.” Daniels was most recently morning personality at country WGCC-FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky. At Gulf South, Daniels will also serve as digital brand manager for classic country WDJR-FM and CHR WKMX-FM…..Condolences to the family and friends of triple A WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD 102.5” program director and afternoon personality Mason “Mase” Brazelle who died on Saturday (6/6) after a sudden illness at the age of 53. The station’s website says, “Mase to all was known for his deep knowledge and passion for music, his ability to make anyone feel welcome, staff and listeners alike. Mase was a staunch supporter of shopping local from his vast collection of vinyl records from local stores and live music dating back to his time as a drummer in a rock band. Mase will be deeply missed.”