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Monday, August 30, 2021

| August 30, 2021

Anti-Vaxxer Bernier Loses Three-Week COVID Fight. This time last week, we reported news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive personality Phil Valentine’s COVID-19-related death. Now, another conservative radio host who publicly spoke out against COVID-19 vaccines has died from the coronavirus: Marc Bernier, 65, passed away Saturday (8/28) after a nearly month-long battle against the virus. A Daytona Beach market fixture for more than three decades, the Rhode Island native who characterized himself as “Mr. Anti-Vax” did a morning commentary; a three-hour afternoon program; weekend shows; and specials for Southern Stone Communications news/talk WNDB “AM 1150 & FM 93.5.” The station released news of Bernier’s death on its Twitter account by stating, “It is with great sadness that [we] announce the passing of Marc Bernier, who informed and entertained listeners on WNDB for over 30 years.” After being off-the-air for a week, Bernier entered the hospital on August 7.  In an article published in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Mark Harper points out that Bernier, “interviewed countless governors, senators, mayors, sheriffs, journalists, historians and authors. He also was an outspoken opponent of vaccinations.” Sports Network International vice president Justin Gates co-hosted “Weekend Around the House” with Bernier and was the best man at Bernier’s wedding. Gates was quoted as saying that Bernier gave “all sides” and wouldn’t “bully, throw punches, do potshots, or anything for ratings – that’s why he [was] so popular.” A guest on Bernier’s WNDB radio show the past 15 years, Volusia County sheriff Mike Chitwood comments, “I’m numb – this is a death in the family to me. You don’t have to agree with everything a person says for them to be your friend – I don’t think a lot of people get that. [Our] off-the-air banter was priceless. A great stress reliever for me was the things we would talk about, laugh about, and the jokes we would exchange. More than anything, I will miss how funny he could be, and how we’d try to one-up each other with funny anecdotal stories.” Florida-based CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King’s first radio news job was at WNDB and included anchoring on Bernier’s afternoon show. On his Facebook page, King writes, “I enjoyed working with him and we remained in touch for a while after that. Marc was the proverbial big fish in a small pond, becoming an integral and influential force in the community and really turning himself into a cottage industry that allowed him a wonderful quality of life in Daytona Beach. Whether you agreed with his points or not, he was always interesting; engaging; well-informed; involved; and a fine broadcaster. There was always room for more than just his opinion. I’m pretty sure that he helped make a lot of money for his radio station during his 30 years there. I was saddened to read reports that he was very publicly anti-vaccine on-air and was hospitalized with COVID; I’m even more saddened by his death.” After Bernier was hospitalized, WNDB operations director Mark McKinney was uncertain if the talk host was vaccinated. According to progressive news website/online tabloid Raw Story, McKinney remarked, “If you’ve listened to his show, you’ve heard him talk about how anti-vaccine he is on the air.” In his final tweet published on July 30, Bernier wrote that the United States government was “acting like Nazis because officials were urging people to get vaccinated.” WNDB emphasizes on Twitter, “We kindly ask that privacy is given to Marc’s family during this time of grief.”

Monday Memo: Which of These 7 Mistakes Are You Making On-Air? Validating the consultant caricature, Holland Cooke ticks-off what ticks-off listeners. Most of these are not intentional on the part of the talk host but they can signal a host who is not completely prepared, doesn’t hear things through the ears of the listener, or has acquired a bunch of bad habits, probably due to a lack of coaching. Read his column here.

 

Pending Business: Checking In. You’ve noticed how so many retailers “check-in” with you after your purchase – usually via email or text – to make sure you’re happy. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about sales managers checking in with sales leads to make sure they are being served by the sales rep. He says this is not about micro-managing and most managers trust most of their reps, but there are several reasons the “Check-In” plays an important role in the sales process. Read his column here.

Dawn Stensland to Host Late Mornings at WPHT, Philadelphia. WPHT morning drive co-host Dawn Stensland is getting her own two-hour radio talk show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning September 7. She is currently co-anchor of the Audacy station’s morning drive “Rich Zeoli Show” and will continue in that role. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re excited to grow Dawn’s role with the station with the launch of her new midday show, where she will speak with top local newsmakers for in-depth analysis of stories that affect the Philadelphia region. Dawn’s show, along with an extra hour of Rich Zeoli, and Dom Giordano’s new program time extends our local content to nine hours, which allows us to best serve our local listeners, while continuing to deliver some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stensland says, “I’m grateful to Rich Zeoli and his ‘army’ of loyal listeners for believing in me since I joined the show six years ago. I am so proud to work with Audacy and I’m also so thankful for their commitment to showcase a diverse collection of local voices as we engage with people across our region about the issues of the day and the news that impacts us here at home.”

KMVP-FM, Phoenix Makes AM Drive Change; Replaces ‘Doug and Wolf’ with ‘Bickley and Marotta.’ A series of programming changes at Bonneville’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” has the midday team of Dan Bickley (left) and Vince Marotta (right) moving to morning drive, taking over for the current morning show hosted by Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, effective September 7. Wolfley moves to middays with a new show (in addition to his current role as Arizona Cardinals radio broadcast analyst) joined by Luke Lapinski for “The Wolf and Luke Show.” Doug Franz remains with the station as he transitions to digital contributor on ArizonaSports.com. Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “I cannot say thank you enough to both Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, who along with being great broadcasters, are both first-class people that have made tremendous contributions to the Arizona Sports brand and our community.  Vice president of programming Ryan Hatch adds, “Doug and Wolf had the longest, most successful run in Valley sports radio history, and we are so appreciative of all of their great efforts over the years. But now is the time to bring a new energy to mornings with an ensemble cast that will jumpstart each day with strong opinions and plenty of laughs.” Bickley and Marotta state, “We are so pumped up to start the Valley sports conversation every morning on one of the biggest sports brands in the country. This is going to be a blast.”

WEEI/NESN Radio-Telethon Raises More than $3.8 million to Fight Cancer. The 19th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $3.8 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Audacy sports talk outlet has been partnering with New England Sports Network to present the event since 2003 and since WEEI launched the fundraiser in 2002 has raised more than $62 million for the cause. The 36-hour live broadcast took place on August 24 and 25. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “We’re completely inspired to see the New England community from so many different walks of life come together to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s selfless mission. The annual ‘Jimmy Fund’ event is synonymous with this region and, in a year where we’ve faced adversity unlike any other, being able to unite with our audience to help strike out cancer is a true testament to our resiliency.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate station WRVA, Richmond, Virginia in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. With this addition, the Starnes Media Group program is now heard on more than 110 affiliate stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” and WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “The Fan” brand manager Mitch Rosen is also adding the title director of operations for BetQL Network, which is providing sports betting programming to Audacy’s sports talk stations. Audacy VP of sports Matt Volk says, “Mitch Rosen has been at the forefront of all the planning, operations and execution of this seamless expansion. He has been a trusted leader and point of contact for so many important BetQL Network initiatives. We are thrilled with Mitch’s daily dedication to all of his stations, its people and Audacy.”…..Radio programmer and consultant Mike McVay is being inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame on October 16. The ceremony will take place at the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, West Virginia. McVay began his radio career at WEIF, Moundsville in 1974. He also served with WNEU, Wheeling and WCHS, Charleston…..PodcastOne announces the launch of Doug Ellin’s “Hollywood Wayz” weekly podcast and vodcast with co-host, rapper and actress BRE-Z. “Hollywood Wayz” debuts September 9. The vodcast is available on LiveXLive and YouTube. The production includes a partnership with actor and director Kevin Connolly’s Action Park Media, where the show will be recorded weekly.

Afghanistan Pullout, COVID-19, Hurricane Ida Hits Louisiana, Global Supply Chain Troubles, North Korea Re-Starts Nuclear Program, Gavin Newsom Recall, Talk Host Marc Bernier Dies from COVID-19, and Ed Asner Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S.’s deadly exit from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s meeting the return of the slain military personnel at Dover, and the Taliban’s terrorist strategies; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battles over mask and vaccine mandates; Hurricane Ida hits Louisiana leaving New Orleans without power; the effect COVID-19 is having on global supply chains; U.S. intelligence indicates North Korea is again producing plutonium; California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the ropes as the recall election looms; Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier dies after a battle with COVID-19, and actor Ed Asner dies at 91 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, August 24, 2012

| August 24, 2012

Cincinnati Talk Host and Attorney Eric Deters Resigns from WQRT.  According to Cincinnati.com’s John Kiesewetter, Cincinnati talk show host Eric Deters quit his program at Christian Broadcasting System’s “Real Talk 1160” on Wednesday saying, “I do not have any respect for Rob Williams’ programming ability at all.  I’m not going to put myself in a stressful situation… I’m going to tell the truth.  There’s not a phony bone in my body.”  Williams is the operations manager/program director for the station and Deters didn’t want to answer to him.  Previously he had been answering to station manager Bob Herrion and Herrion requested the change.  Deters says he did not like Williams’ suggestion for his back-up – former “Warm 98” jock Dean Miuccio – and suggested others to Williams.  Deters is quoted by Kiesewetter saying, “I don’t mind taking direction.  I talk to Willie  (Bill Cunningham, his mentor at WLW in 2010-2011) almost every single day.  I listen to Willie.  I know what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let someone dictate to me…I resigned.  I was willing to pull the resignation this morning if they changed their mind, but they wouldn’t.  I think they’re making a huge mistake.”  WQRT has since made Miuccio the permanent morning host.  Deters, a practicing attorney in the area, had served as Cunningham’s back-up at crosstown WLW and hosted a weekend program there until May of 2011 when he was let go for posting a video blog that included a racial joke.

NBC Gives Rodney Harrison Weekend Sports Talk Radio Show.  Rodney Harrison is part of NBC TV’s “Football Night in America” but he’ll cut his sports talk radio teeth on the new NBC Sports/Dial Global venture beginning September 8 with his weekly two-hour “Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” show.  NBC Sports Radio debuts soon and Dial Global says it has about 100 affiliates on board for the sports radio network’s launch.  NBC Sports Ventures and International SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “With the launch of NBC Sports Radio just 12 days away, we are thrilled to add Rodney Harrison to our growing list of talented sports radio personalities. We anticipate Rodney’s transition to radio to be as seamless as his transition was from the football field to television, where he went from being one of the fiercest competitors in the game to one of the most respected voices in the space. He is the latest in what we expect to be many NBC Sports television personalities who will join our radio team.”

Powerful News/Talk Programming Panel Set for New Media Seminar in Los Angeles.  A dynamic panel discussion featuring a strong lineup of Western states-based programmers has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club.  Titled  “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” the panel includes Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; John McMullen, OM/PD Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; David Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles.  It will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. The New Media Seminar agenda is being set with a total of 60 speakers planned to examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries.  Its agenda will continue to be posted and updated on Talkers.com.  It is expected to be an early sellout.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

CBS Sports Radio Unveils Talent for Hourly Features.  As CBS Sports Radio gradually brings sports talk radio content to the air in advance of its round-the-clock format debut in January, it will begin airing hourly CBS Sports Minutes on September 4 near the top of the hour.  Talent include: WFAN, New York morning host Boomer Esiason; sports writer and author John Feinstein; network talk host and analyst Doug Gottlieb; and KNBR, San Francisco talk host Tom Tolbert.  CBS Radio says the features will air 90 affiliates including stations in the top 10 markets – all of which are CBS O&Os except Cumulus Media’s KNBR.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Bob Morgan VP and Market Manager for Rochester.  Bob Morgan is very familiar with the Rochester market having managed the CBS Radio cluster there from 1994-1999.  Most recently he’s served as SVP of broadcast for American Tower Corporation in Boston.  Clear Channel SVP of operations Kevin LeGrett says of Morgan, “Bob is an experienced broadcaster who knows the Rochester market.  He is well respected throughout the area, both within our industry and by our clients. Bob will bring superb leadership skills, passion and expertise to our team. We are excited to have him on board.”  Clear Channel operates seven radio stations in Rochester including news/talk WHAM; Sports 1280 WHTK, 95.1 The Brew, 106-7 KISS FM, 100.5 The DRIVE, Oldies 107.3 and 102.3 Sunny FM.

Talk Host Alan Colmes Publishes New Book.  Fox News Radio and television personality Alan Colmes has written a new book coming out next week (just in time for the election) titled Thank the Liberals…for Saving America (and Why You Should) (Hay House 2012) and will be hitting the radio trail doing interviews.  In the book Colmes claims, “America was born liberal — the Declaration of Independence puts forth a liberal mission statement, and the Constitution lays out a liberal framework for how the business of our nation is to be conducted. At the time, America was, in fact, beyond liberal … and America has become progressively more liberal.”  He declares that you are a liberal, even though you may not know it, and further, you should be thankful for it.  We’re so immersed in the concept, we might not recognize it, but “try telling someone who escaped from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that America isn’t a very liberal place to be.” Although most people only know Alan Colmes (syndicated nightly by Fox News Radio) as a serious political talker who gained national prominence during a dozen-year run as co-host of Fox News Channel’s recently ended “Hannity and Colmes” program – his early broadcasting background was as a hilarious morning and late night music DJ.  To arrange an interview call David Kass at 212-725-7707.

WEEI/NESN Radio Telethon Raises More Than $3.3 Million for Cancer Charity.  The 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon took place over two days this week and helped top last year’s total of $3.3 million raised for cancer care and research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  The event is heavily centered around Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its network stations in New England but donations came in from all 50 states.  WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Each year the Radio-Telethon brings us stories of incredible courage and ground-breaking research that continue to show us why the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are so special and this year was no exception.  These two days were as emotional as any we’ve experienced and we are so proud to have been a part of another huge success that will provide the necessary funds to bring new and better treatments to so many who need it.”

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents Social Media Summit for Small Business at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on September 14 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The full-day conference will feature more than a dozen speakers who will outline best practices and present case studies to help business owners and entrepreneurs strategize and monetize using popular and up-and-coming social media platforms.  It will include pros from Google/YouTube, Facebook, foursquare and Citrix Online…..WSOY, Decatur, Illinois prepares for 11th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive.  You can see WSOY morning host Brian Byers (second from right) at this press conference at a local Kroger store as they announced the coming food drive to take place at the store on October 5.  Last year the station collected more than 640,000 lbs. of food and is shooting to exceed 650,000 this year.  Food and cash donations go to Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army.  But last year, because of the wonderful generosity of the community, donations were also given to the Good Samaritan Inn, Oasis Day Center, Northeast Community Fund and the Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project.  Amazing accomplishment for a station in market 268!

Radio Row at RNC in Tampa.  Sure the halls are empty now but this area of the Tampa Times Convention Center will be teeming with talk hosts, reporters, guests, politicians and more on Monday as the Republican National Convention gets underway (weather permitting).  RNC radio director Andy Polesovsky tells TALKERS magazine, “With a fantastic view of Tampa Bay, floor-to-ceiling windows providing abundant natural light, and located in the middle of a high-traffic area, the 2012 Radio Row could not be better situated.  The freedom of guests, surrogates, hosts, and producers to traverse the convention center will allow more spontaneous interviews with top guests and Republican officials than ever before.  Working closely with the Romney Campaign, the Surrogate Operations Department of the Convention is fully prepared and will be ready to respond to requests on the fly.  Providing briefed, knowledgeable guests on time is the Radio Convention Team’s #1 goal. To help with this task, all the volunteers working on Radio Row – which will be staffed nearly 24 hours a day – have experience booking guests and, more importantly, many have worked on Radio Row in past conventions.

It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas!  WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently visited the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, Tennessee with his friend Gas Can Man who is getting ready to travel the country providing people with gas at $1.84 per gallon – the price it was on January 20, 2009, the day before Barack Obama took office.  Gill is pictured here with fair worker Holly who provided him with fried green tomatoes and sweet tea.

Coming Republican and Democratic Conventions and the Tropical Storm Threat Land Atop the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 20 – 24.  The approaching political conventions and the threat that Tropical Storm Isaac will postpone the Republican National Convention were the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following close behind at #2 was the debate over the Medicare cuts in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was the Todd Akins controversy and Israel-Iran tensions followed at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Fisher House Christmas Show “The Gift” Available for Holiday Programming.  The three-hour spoken-word special “The Gift,” produced by the Fisher House Foundation, is available for stations to carry around the holiday season.  The program is hosted by veteran newsman and war correspondent Greg Jarrett.  The program tells the powerful and uplifting stories of wounded warriors and veterans who, with the help of their loved ones, have overcome tremendous obstacles to reclaim their lives.  The show helps raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones recover at military and VA hospitals.  For more information or to sign up for “The Gift,” contact Randall Bloomquist at Bloomquist Media or Ron Rivlin at Cumulus Media Networks.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff program show is added to WESR-AM, Norfolk; WWPR-AM, Bradenton, Florida; KEUN-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana; WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; and KLCN, Blytheville, Arkansas…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal” with Michael Castner is picked up by KRDO, AM/FM, Colorado Spring; WLTT, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WGMD in Salisbury, Maryland.…..Kate Delaney’s “America Tonight” adds WEGP, Presque Isle, Maine to its affiliate roster…..Dave Ferguson’s “Beyond the Cheers” feature is added to the program schedule at KFIV, Modesto; KKRN, Bella Vista, California; and non-commercial WFSK, Nashville…..Shannon Rose’s “Mr. Hollywood” feature joins the programming at KRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri.