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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

| December 14, 2021

Good Karma Brands to Acquire ESPN Stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The three sports talk radio stations owned by Disney/ESPN are being acquired by Good Karma Brands, LLC under a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. The stations are WEPN-AM, New York; KSPN-AM, Los Angeles; and WMVP-AM, Chicago. The deal will also have Good Karma Brands perform ESPN’s obligations under the current Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN.” As part of a long-term affiliation agreement, all three stations will remain as ESPN Radio affiliates and continue broadcasting ESPN Network Radio content as well as locally produced programming. There is no price revealed in the press release from GKB. The company has been operating WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” under an LMA since October 2019. Good Karma founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB. These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.” ESPN Audio vice president Scott McCarthy comments, “At ESPN, we are focused on evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our business, providing the outstanding content that our fans expect, and growing our audience in critical, leading markets. We have a strong, 20-plus year relationship with Good Karma Brands and know they will further contribute to the success of these great local audio operations.” In addition, the companies have agreed to extend their ESPN Digital sales agreement, which began in 2015, in which GKB represents display and video inventory on ESPN.com and the ESPN App to local and regional advertisers in 14 select markets.

Porth Joins WSCR, Chicago as Assistant Brand Manager. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Ryan Porth is leaving his program director position at Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” to joins Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” as assistant brand manager, effective January 3. WSCR operations director and brand manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving ‘The Score’ brand forward into the future.” Porth has served as PD of WPRT since 2016 and also served as executive producer for the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Bonilla Rises to PD at KXNT, Las Vegas. TALKERS magazine hears that Audacy has promoted Mark Bonilla from his assistant program director position at news/talk KXNT-AM, Las Vegas to program director for the station. He assumes the role previously held by Paul Ihander.

Audacy and Voicify Partner for Voice Capabilities Across Digital Platform. A new multiyear partnership is struck between Audacy and Voicify, a company described in a press release as “the market leader in conversation experience management software that combines voice optimized content management, cross-platform deployment, and voice-specific customer insights.” As part of this deal, Audacy will leverage Voicify’s services to drive interactive voice capabilities across the Audacy platform and make station-branded skills more easily accessible for listeners via any voice assistant-enabled device. Audacy will also license Voicify’s patented platform – The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform – to create and deliver innovative, interactive voice ads and voice commerce experiences through digital audio content for advertisers. The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform enables marketers to connect with their customers by creating highly engaging and personalized voice experiences that are automatically deployed to a broad array of voice platforms, including smart speakers. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As we continue to expand and enhance the Audacy direct-to-consumer platform, adding new interactive voice capabilities and enabling voice commerce experiences across a wide range of devices is an important area of future growth, especially in an age where flexibility and speed to market are a must have for our advertising partners. We are excited to partner with Voicify to provide next generation interactive advertising solutions to our clients to help make their advertising more actionable.”

Former WLS-AM, Chicago Talk Host Stephanie Trussell to Run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Former weekend talk host Stephanie Trussell is joining Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Trussell had hosted the Saturday afternoon program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago after winning the station’s “Next Talk Star” contest in 2012. She left the weekend gig in 2019 but continued to host a podcast for the station for a period.

Newsmax Names Duchardt Congressional Correspondent. Journalist Kilmeny Duchardt is joining Newsmax as congressional correspondent. A press release says that Kilmeny brings more than 15 years of media experience with the Associated Press, Reuters and most recently as an anchor with Turkish TV’s TRT World. Duchardt has spent the last three years anchoring “Turkish TV’s TRT World” U.S. primetime news bulletins out of Washington, covering the U.S. election, Congress, the White House and other major global news events. Newsmax news director Chris Wallace states, “Kilmeny is a well-regarded journalist known for getting the story right. She will be a great addition to our growing team.” Duchardt comments, “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. I take great pride in earning the trust of my viewers. I look forward to gaining the respect of our diverse audience at Newsmax and being a source they can count on.”

TALKERS News Notes. Digital and tech services provider Triton Digital announces it is expanding its Podcast Reports to Canada. Triton says the Canadian Podcast Report will provide insight into the Top Podcasts and Networks in Canada each month, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The inaugural Canadian Podcast report will be issued in late Q1 2022. Triton president of market development John Rosso states, “As podcast listening in Canada continues to rise, advertisers need reliable measurement to better understand the performance of on-demand and podcast content. Expanding our Podcast Reports to the Canadian market, where we already have a strong presence, highlights our commitment to eliminate inconsistent measurement practices and self-reported data, providing content marketers, media buyers, and the audio industry at large with access to validated and transparent podcast metrics in the Canadian market for the first time.”.….New Hampshire Public Radio promotes staffer Rebecca Lavoie to director of on-demand audio. Lavoie joined NHPR in 2010 to produce the daily magazine program “Word of Mouth” and most recently served as director of audience & engagement. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “Rebecca has nurtured an explosion of excellent journalism and inspired creativity throughout NHPR. Her keen editorial ear is evident in all the material produced under her leadership. Her deep roots in the community and knowledge of the podcast industry make her an essential contributor to our senior management team.”…..Audacy announces that its Richmond stations – including news/talk WRVA – raised more than $670,000 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU during the annual “36-Hours for Kids Radiothon.”…..The syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill is added to the weekend lineup on Bennett Radio Group’s news/talk duo “The Patriot” in WEZR-AM, Rumford and WPNO-AM, South Paris, Maine…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) personality Shannon Burke (left) with Key Networks syndicated radio star Bill O’Reilly (right) backstage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday (12/12). Burke attended the “History Tour” event with O’Reilly and former President Donald Trump – a series of live conversations between Trump and O’Reilly about the four-year Trump administration.

FOX News Radio’s Jimmy Failla to Be Part of FNC’s New Year’s Eve Programming. This New Year’s Eve, FOX News Channel is presenting special programming from 10:00 pm to 1:30 am ET featuring “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Will Cain live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joining the trio in the holiday programming will be Jimmy Failla, host of FOX News Radio’s “FOX Across America” midday show, who will perform stand-up comedy from the Wildhorse Saloon. Also involved in the programming will be FOX Nation’s Lawrence Jones, “Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno and FOX News correspondent Griff Jenkins from Times Square, FOX News contributor Raymond Arroyo and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek in New Orleans, and FOX News Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina and FOX Business correspondent Madison Alworth from Tampa Bay, Florida.

COVID-19, Economy/Supply Chain/Inflation, Software Vulnerability, Build Back Better, January 6 Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Omicron variant, Pfizer’s pill, and mandates; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain woes, and high consumer prices; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, Mark Meadows’ refusal to cooperate with the House committee, and new email revelations; the G7 nations’ warning to Russia about military action in Ukraine; and the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky and Illinois were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 15, 2021

| October 15, 2021

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, “Boosters and Rockets,” looks back at this past week of 10/11 – 10/15. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, medical field podcaster/forensic psychiatrist.  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; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

Kristine Bellino Joins WIBX-AM, Utica Morning Show. Television and radio pro Kristine Bellino returns to Townsquare Media’s WIBX-AM, Utica, New York to serve as morning news anchor and co-host of the “First News with Keeler in the Morning” program, effective Monday (10/18). Townsquare says that Bellino has worked in television, radio, and cable TV, most recently as director of programming and audience development and morning show host at public radio outlet WCPE-FM, Raleigh. She has also produced and hosted a podcast on sustainability and dreams of owning an off-the-grid farm one day. Bellino says, “I am thrilled to be working with Bill Keeler and Andrew Derminio in the morning again, I am beyond excited! Returning to our adopted hometown of Utica is an inspiring homecoming for my family. Returning to TSM and [market president] Karen Carey’s team means doing it right.”

FOX News Inks Book Deal with HarperCollins. A new deal between FOX News Books, the publishing imprint of FOX News Media, and HarperCollins calls for the publication of six new titles. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “We are thrilled to once again partner with HarperCollins, furthering the multiplatform brand extension of FOX News Media. Over the past 25 years, we have developed a unique connection with our audience and look forward to delivering more of the content they desire from their favorite FOX News personalities through our expanded publishing platform.” Next month, All American Christmas will be the third title from the imprint. Authored by “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy, along with her husband, FOX News contributor Sean Duffy, the book features an inside look at how the family of 11 celebrates the holidays, showcasing their favorite memories and traditions with stories and photos from over the years. The Duffy’s will also spotlight several FOX News personalities sharing their favorite holiday memories, including stories from Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Bill Hemmer, Dana Perino, Martha MacCallum, Geraldo Rivera, Lawrence Jones, Jesse Watters, John Rich, Charles Payne, and many more.

Cumulus Adds FM Translator to WFTW-AM, Fort Walton Beach. Fort Walton Beach, Florida news/talk WFTW-AM now has an FM translator broadcasting its audio at 107.5 FM. Cumulus Media launched the new signal at 7:00 am this morning (10/15). Cumulus Fort Walton Beach-Destin VP and market manager Ashley Allegretto says, “This is an exciting day for local radio and for the Fort Walton Beach market. We are elated to bring this sought-after content and renowned programming lineup to the FM dial.” Cluster OM and program director Chris Kellogg adds, “The proud tradition of 1260 WFTW continues across multiple streaming platforms and now the addition of 107.5 FM. This deepens our commitment to our conservative community of listeners and businesses and provides multiple access points for news and opinion.”

WGN, Chicago to Present ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ Chicago’s WGN Radio will broadcast “Halloween Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” live on Sunday, October 31 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show will consist of six half-hour spooky classic radio shows including: “Mystery in the Air” starring Peter Lorre, “Lights Out!,” “The Whistler,” and “Mystery House,” starring Bela Lugosi and John Carradine. Listeners can also expect shorter scary clips and other fun surprises. Amari says, “I’m super excited to be on the air live this Halloween evening to bring WGN listeners some of the spookiest shows from the golden age of radio. It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ four hours, so don’t miss it!” Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving original radio broadcasts, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

TALKERS News Notes. A contest from Beasley Media Group and Philadelphia restaurateur John Tripodi is asking WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” listeners to provide the new name for a restaurant and sports bar. Midday show personality Anthony Gargano unveiled the details for the Name This Restaurant and Sports Bar Contest. The restaurant – located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania – has re-opened but needs a name. The person who comes up with the winning name receives a $100 monthly tab for a year at the location. It’s also the location of the official home of “97.5 The Fanatic’s Football Friday Tailgate with Anthony Gargano” live broadcast (Fridays from 10am to 2pm) and 97.5 The Fanatic’s “Birds Away Game Pre-Game Show with Devon Givens and Derrick Gunn.” WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “Partnering with John Tripodi and his amazing place for our ‘Name This Restaurant and Sports Bar’ promotion was an opportunity we had to jump at. If you’re not actually at the game, you’re out with friends and enjoying delicious food (maybe a drink or two) and having a great time! This is the next great spot to be doing it and to have the chance to have one of our listeners decide what it’s called. How cool is that?”…..SiriusXM announces its coverage of the 2021-22 NBA season in which it offers live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on SiriusXM NBA Radio. The NBA begins its season on Tuesday (10/19) as the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets in a rematch of last season’s seven-game conference semifinals series. SiriusXM hosts Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine will host a special show live from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee starting at 6:00 pm ET and leading into the game broadcast.

The Economy, Inflation, Supply Chain Woes, and Labor Shortage Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 11-15. The state of the U.S. economy, the inflation affecting consumer prices, the broken supply chain, and the shortage of workers in the U.S. and abroad combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., booster shots and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the pandemic’s effect on the politics of education at #3. 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.