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Friday, August 6, 2021

| August 6, 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, “Masks, Mandates and Mayhem,” looks back at this past week of August 2-6. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Grace Curley; talk show host, WRKO, Boston / HCRNDavid Gornoski, talk show host, WHBO, Tampa; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Ralph Nader, political activist/talk show host, the Ralph Nader Radio Hour; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; 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.

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Revenue Up 76.7%. The company reports revenue for the second quarter was $862 million, up 76.7% from the same period in 2020 and down just 6% from the pre-pandemic second quarter of 2019. For Q2 of 2021, iHeartMedia reports operating income of $28.1 million compared to the operating loss of $159.1 million reported in the second quarter of 2020. For all of 2020, the company reported an operating loss of $1.88 billion. That loss has narrowed to $48.2 million for the first six months of 2021. iHeartMedia now reports its data in three segments – the Multiplatform Group that includes broadcast radio, networks, and sponsorship & events; the Digital Audio Group that includes digital content and podcasts; and the Audio and Media Services Group, including Katz Media Group and RCS.  Broadcast radio’s revenue was $451.1 million, an increase of 84.9% while networks revenue was $123.6 million, up 28.3%. As a whole, the Multiplatform Group’s revenue was $605.9 million, up 69.7%. Digital, excluding Podcast was up 100.7% on revenue of $144.5 million and Podcast revenue rose 151.5% on revenue of $53.4 million. iHeartMedia reports that its net debt is $5.4 billion.

Audacy Q2 2021 Revenue Rises 73%. Reporting financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Audacy, Inc. says net revenue was $304.5 million, up 73% compared to $175.9 million in the second quarter of 2020. Breaking down the revenue by type, Audacy reveals spot revenue was $202.8 million, up 98% compared to the second quarter of 2020. Digital revenue was $58.4 million, up 41% compared to the same period a year ago. Network revenue was $20.6 million, an increase of 21% over Q2 of 2020. Operating income for the quarter was $17.9 million compared to the operating loss of $45.5 million the company posted in the second quarter of 2020. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field states. “I am pleased to report that Audacy accelerated its recovery from the pandemic as second quarter revenues grew 73% over the prior year, led by a 98% increase in spot radio advertising and 41% growth in digital revenues. In addition, our momentum is continuing into the third quarter as we expect that revenues will increase by about 10% sequentially from the second quarter and by about 25% compared to prior year. We continue to make great strides in enhancing our business and elevating our competitive position. During the second quarter, we executed a rebranding of the company as Audacy, a name that reflects our evolution into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and an important leadership position across the full spectrum of the dynamic and growing audio market – including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, network, events, music, news and sports. Our recent acquisitions in podcasting and sports betting, as well as numerous growth investments have significantly enhanced our ability to capitalize on broader advertising trends, augment our product line and better serve our listeners and customers. This has been an active period of development across the company as we recently launched over 350 exclusive new stations on our Audacy digital platform, unveiled our new 2400Sports podcast studio, commenced a three-year strategic partnership with American Public Media (the creators of Marketplace), expanded our BetQL network, and announced an important partnership with Major League Baseball, making us the league’s official podcast and digital audio partner. We are also pleased to note the significant acceleration in each of our digital businesses, including podcasting, digital audio, and digital marketing solutions. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Personnel Exiting ‘NoogaRadio’ As Station Plans Programming Changes. According to a report at The Chattanoogan, a number of staffers at news/talk outlet WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ, Chattanooga “NoogaRadio” at 92.7 FM are leaving as management plans changes to the programming. The station had been billed as “Local Radio Done Right” and was created by former owner Jim Brewer. After Brewer’s death from cancer, the station is now owned by Sabatino Cuppelli. Station general sales manager Mike Lisowski tells The Chattanoogan, “It is with deep sadness I regret to inform you that as of Friday the ‘Fred the Show’ morning crew, including Jeff Styles, a beloved 29-year veteran of local talk radio, Jen Lambert, also general manager who brought 20-plus years of experience in marketing, advertising, promotions and design, Jason Kirk, also our operations manager who brought a multitude of knowledge and technical expertise, not to mention his sales ability, will be parting ways with NoogaRadio.” Lisowski adds that sports broadcaster Keon Rose is moving to Arizona to advance his career.  The statement continues: “Unfortunately, after four years, a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a whole lot of love, the station ownership has chosen to take ‘NoogaRadio’ in a direction that most of us feel we are unable to stand behind. We are so grateful and proud to have been able to entertain you for as long as we have and, as the general manager, I am able to move on with my head held high knowing that I gave it my all. We genuinely hope we can bring our relationship to an amicable end in the most professional manner leaving no burned bridges, hard feelings or severed business relationships.”

WSB Care-a-Thon Raises $1.67 for Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. Pictured above are WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta personalities (from l-r) Eric Von Haessler, Scott Slade, and Clark Howard with the check indicating the grand total of $1,671,813 raised during the July 29 and 30 “95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon benefiting the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.” During the 37-hour broadcast, Slade, Howard, Erick Erickson, Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Brian Kilmeade and many other 95.5 WSB hosts turned the airwaves over to the patients and families of Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to raise funds to support research, the Fellowship Program, and the family support team at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Over the past 21 years, the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon has raised over $28 million for the cause. 95.5 WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “This event began as an idea from 95.5 WSB’s Scott Slade, and 21 years later we continue the partnership with the great people at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This event reminds us that no matter what we have going on in our own lives, there are always others dealing with challenges much more difficult than our own. The passion and heart of our team is represented by the incredible generosity of the 95.5 WSB listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. Albuquerque sports talk KNML-AM/K240BL “95.9 FM and AM 610, The Sports Animal” announces it is partnering with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos to bring all Raiders games and non-conflicting Broncos games to Albuquerque sports fans for the 2021-2022 season. The Cumulus Media station is also airing its current powerful slate of Westwood One Primetime NFL programming. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart comments, “Our partnership with The Raiders and Broncos is vital to Albuquerque as it helps bring NFL football coverage to the extensive Raider and Bronco fan base in our passionate sports state. We couldn’t be more excited to have the inaugural season of Las Vegas’ first NFL team, and the love of the Broncos in Albuquerque is palpable. We think this will energize the NFL programming on The Sports Animal better than almost any other NFL team could.”…..iHeartMedia and Salesforce.org are launching a special six-episode iHeartRadio Original podcast series hosted by Emmy-nominated and NYT Bestselling author, Baratunde Thurston, called “Force Multiplier,” that examines the exponential impact businesses and organizations can have on the world by working together. “Force Multiplier” was created to bring leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors together to discuss how they’re tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, such as nutrition insecurity, health equity, workforce development, racial injustice, mental health & wellbeing and homelessness…..ABC News says its hit podcast “The Dropout” returns with new episodes as Elizabeth Holmes – once the youngest self-made female billionaire – goes on trial for alleged fraud, facing decades in prison, if convicted. “The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial” is hosted by ABC News chief business, technology & economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, who’s spent more than a decade covering business and five years investigating Holmes. The Stanford University dropout turned founder and CEO of the blood-testing company Theranos suffered an astounding fall from grace amid the accusations of alleged widespread fraud. “The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial” debuts with two new episodes on Tuesday, August 31, to coincide with jury selection…..Boston NPR member station WBUR announces the next call for submissions for the WBUR Newsroom Fellowship. This Fellowship is a yearlong program for recent graduates or early-career journalists who are looking to build reporting and production skills and have a demonstrated commitment to advancing issues of underrepresented voices in public radio. For the first time, WBUR will select two Fellows for the program who will each receive a salary of $55,000 in addition to a complete Boston University benefits package. The Fellowship provides hands-on training in every aspect of public media journalism. Fellows will develop their skills under the guidance of WBUR’s editors and producers and will contribute to each part of the newsroom, rotating every three months, maximizing exposure to the many aspects of public media, including newscast, live broadcast, digital and reporting. See more about this Fellowship and apply here…..Audacy announces former NFL All-Pro T.J. Lang is joining sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit “97.1 The Ticket” and the Detroit Lions Radio Network, effective August 6. Lang will join Dan Miller and Lomas Brown as the sideline reporter. Lang will also be in studio on the station each week throughout the professional football season, joining “The Morning Show with Stoney and Jansen” and “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico” on Monday and Fridays.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccine Hesitancy, Masks and Mandates Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 2-6. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy in numerous parts of the country, and the controversy of mask policies and mandates combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the New York Attorney General’s report on the allegations of sexual impropriety against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the push for him to resign. Following at #3 was the investigation into the Capitol attack by the January 6 Committee, the voting legislation taking place in various states, and race relations. 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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

| September 23, 2020

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 PolistinaThe 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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

| June 8, 2017

Industry Still Buzzin’ Over Talkers 2017: A New Era – Videos Soon to be Posted.  Positive response to the recently held 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers 2017: A New Era – continues to flow into the Talkers Communications Center.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are extremely gratified and appreciative of the wonderful feedback we continue to receive from industry professionals who attended the event.  We are looking forward to posting videos of the key sessions in the coming days and weeks so even more folks can gain benefit from the tremendous information shared last week in New York.”  Attendees universally approved of the new fast-paced “one-on-one” and “fireside chat” format that marked a major format departure from the “panel” style of most industry conventions.  Also, an exciting aspect of this year’s convention was the significantly increased number of young attendees – college radio students and new names rising in the business.  For example, Michael Harrison points out syndicated health show host Dr. Asa, “whose video presentation and live stage appearance elevated this dynamic young man to emerging star status in talk media.” (To view Dr. Asa’s powerful promotional video that impressed the crowd, please click here.)  Another unexpected moment that mesmerized the attendees was this year’s choice of opening patriotic video kicking off the day’s events – a Talkers Convention tradition.  According to Harrison, “Every year, we either have a special solo singer of musical group perform the national anthem live or play a powerful video of a performance to get our patriotic juices flowing. It pulls all the different political ideologies in the room together in a moment of unity under the banner of our common interest in free speech and broadcasting.  We recently blew the crowd away with the rock band Madison Rising’s stunning rendition of the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’  We’ll, this year we went ‘retro’ and opened the convention with a video from black and white TV in the early sixties – the late Judy Garland honoring the recently-slain president JFK with a soul-stirring and timeless rendition of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’  It is simply one of the most incredible musical performances of all time. It stood out in startling juxtaposition to the extreme modernity of the venue, the forward-focused content of the conference, and the apparent youth of so many attendees!”  (To view the video, click here.)  To see earlier coverage of the conference, please scroll down this page.  The following are newly posted photos from Talkers 2017: A New Era.

The exhibition/meeting area at Talkers 2017: A New Era was always buzzing with activity.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Mike “Bax” Baxendale of WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA (l) and Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore (r) discuss how local morning shows and stations benefit by creating “community” in their markets.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

WMAL, Washington, PD Bill Hess (l) and syndicated star Thom Hartmann (r) talking about the future of radio.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

“Humanitarian of the Year” Dr. Daliah Wachs and WPHT, Philadelphia talker Dom Giordano engage in a one-on-one dialogue.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Attorney Steve Weisman of www.scamicide.com warning radio and broadcasters how to protect themselves against digital age internet scams and hacking.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Bernadette Duncan reporting on her recent “Yappy Tour” of shows and stations coast-to-coast.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

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Pioneer Valley Radio (PioneerValleyRadio.com) GM/host Brad Shepard discussing hyper-local online radio.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Consultant Walter Sabo addressing the convention.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Michael Harrison (l), Mary Berner (c) and Mike McVay talking about radio at Talkers 2017: A New Era.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

The “Woman of the Year” award plaque presented to Mary Berner at the convention.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Report: SiriusXM in PIPE Talks to Invest in PandoraReuters is reporting that SiriusXM is in talks with Pandora to negotiate a private investment in public equity (PIPE).  The story by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis notes that this development happened after talks to acquire Pandora outright did not materialize.  The story explains that “a PIPE deal involves the sale of a company’s shares in a private offering, as opposed to a public secondary offering.”  Time is critical because the opportunity for Pandora to find an alternative to its agreement with private equity firm KKR & Co LP expires today (6/7).  KKR & Co LP has agreed to invest $150 million in Pandora.  Reuters’ sources say this is not a done deal and any number of things could crater it.  Read the Reuters piece here.

Heather Park Joins WXYT-FM’s ‘Jamie and Stoney’ Show. Detroit sports media personality Heather Park is joining the “Jamey and Stoney” show at CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket,” effective Monday, June 12.  Park is the in-park host at Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers.  She’s also the past host of “Detroit Sports News” on WWJ-TV and is currently hosting “Michigan Golf Weekly” for the television station.  WXYT-FM program director Jimmy Powers says, “Heather’s experience with the Detroit Tigers and WWJ-TV, combined with her personality, makes her the perfect fit for the ‘Jamie and Stoney’ show.  I look forward to the evolution of the show with the addition of Heather.”

ABC Radio and Spotify Announce Podcast Deal. A new deal between ABC Radio and Spotify means the latter will distribute ABC Radio podcasts on its platform.  This comes as the two companies announce they are collaborating on the production of “Brilliant Minds,” a podcast named after the annual event led by Natalia Brzezinski.  She serves as the CEO of Symposium Stockholm, Brilliant Minds – a thought leadership symposium that focuses on the relationship between humanity and technology.  Rebecca Jarvis is ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent and also hosts the “No Limits” podcast.  She’ll co-host a special series of eight “Brilliant Minds” podcasts along with Brzezinski.  ABC Radio vice president Steve Jones states, “ABC News is America’s number one news source and Spotify is the global leader in digital audio distribution.  We’re excited that ABC News will now help to inform, inspire and empower Spotify users to better understand their world and improve the future.”

FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Three Weeks Away. The 11th annual Washington, DC radio row that addresses America’s immigration policies takes place at the Phoenix Park Hotel on June 28 and 29.  Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” will consist of more than 60 talk radio hosts from around the country holding “a national conversation with voters in all 50 states about what is happening, what isn’t happening, and what needs to be done to get things moving” regarding America’s “immigration laws being effectively enforced.”  FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “The goal of this year’s event is to call upon President Trump to honor the promise he made to voters in 2016 and demand that the 115th Congress implement real reforms to our nation’s immigration policies.  Time is of the essence and the president’s legislative priorities on immigration need to start moving forward.”  One of the guests who has been an annual favorite of the talk show hosts participating in “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” is Michael Harrison.  The TALKERS magazine founder and publisher has been a key component of the event for years and usually appears on as many as 25 radio shows during its two-day run.  Harrison states, “The FAIR event is a veritable ‘First Amendment Festival’ and that alone is enough reason for me not to miss it.  Although I stay out of the partisan aspects of the immigration reform issue, I really welcome the opportunity to speak about freedom of speech as well as the nuts and bolts of 21st century communications on what collectively is a gigantic platform – not to mention enjoy visiting with so many of my talk radio friends in one concentrated two-day period.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sales pro Mary Baxter joins Cumulus Media to serve as general sales manager for news/talk KABC-AM, Los Angeles and sister rock station KLOS.  Baxter was previously with Crossroads WOW serving as regional sales director.  She’s worked in Los Angeles as local sales manager for CBS RADIO’s CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP.”…..Entercom names Jim Clerkin executive producer of news/talk WRKO, Boston’s “Boston Dot Com” morning program with Kim Carrigan and Doug “VB” Goudie…..University of South Carolina Athletics and IMG ink a multi-year deal with Cumulus Media to continue with sports talk WNKT-FM, Columbia, SC “107.5 The Game” as “The Official Flagship Station for the Gamecock IMG Sports Network.”…..ESPN’s “30 for 30” podcast series debuts on June 27 with episode topics including the origin of the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt and Reebok’s 1992 “Dan & Dave” campaign.  ESPN says each episode will explore and report on a new sports story that will be a combination of original interviews and archival sound.  The first season will include a total of five installments, with one debuting every Tuesday from June 27 through July 25…..With the exit of Neil Larrimore from his post as Arizona region director of spoken word programming for iHeartMedia, Aaron Trimmer will move from his position with the company as director of talk programming at the Richmond, Virginia station group to Phoenix to take over programming oversight of news/talk KFYI and KOY in Phoenix, sports talk KGME “FOX Sports 910” as well as KNST and KTZR in Tucson…..Envision Networks names Kerry Manfredi as a reporter at its Envision Virtual Services News Reports.  She was most recently a morning news reporter for WXIS, Johnson City, Tennessee.

Today’s Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony from James Comey, Kamala Harris Questioning Flap, Iran Terror Attack-Trump Condolences Rejected, British General Elections, London Terror Attacks Aftermath, Wonder Woman Film, MLB Action, NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/7). Today’s testimony before a senate subcommittee by former FBI Director James Comey; criticism of Senator Kamala Harris’ questioning of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; the recent terror attack in Tehran and the country’s refusal of President Donald Trump’s condolences; today’s British general elections and the fate of Prime Minister Theresa May; the aftermath of last weekend’s terror attacks in London; the runaway success of the new Wonder Woman film; MBL action; and NBA and NHL finals action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

The 42nd Annual Gracies Gala. Pictured above are Alliance for Women in Media Foundation board member and Weiss Agency talent agent Heather Cohen (r), Canadian actress Jessica Parker Kennedy (l) and radio and television personality Kerri Kasem (c) at Tuesday evening’s 42nd annual Gracies Gala in Beverly Hills.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Guests on Harrison Podcast.  One of news/talk radio’s rising young stars, Rich Zeoli of WPHT, Philadelphia, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  Zeoli, who hosts afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on the CBS O&O 50k flamethrower, came to the station several years ago as an accomplished political advisor and public speaking coach who was a regular guest on the outlet.  He grew up in New Jersey and spent his career advising candidates in all levels of political office including president, governor, and congress. He was the youngest chair of a political party in New Jersey history.  Zeoli is the author of The Seven Principles of Public Speaking: Proven Methods of a PR Pro (Skyhorse Publishing, 2008) and a visiting associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Harrison and Zeoli discuss the state of radio and media, along with politics, public speaking, and the challenges and opportunities that come with being on the air during the era of Donald Trump.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Toledo market, iHeartMedia brings the “Mojo in the Morning” show to town on CHR “92.5 KISS-FM,” effective June 19.  The Mojo show emanates from the company’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 955.”…..Madison, Wisconsin radio personality Aaron Rogers joins Entercom to serve as morning host on the company’s hot AC WMHX “MIX 105.1.”  He previously served with iHeartMedia, hosting the afternoon drive program on crosstown CHR WZEE “Z104.”…..More exits from CBS RADIO Philadelphia are being reported, including night jock Jennifer Reed being let go from country WXTU…..Sun Broadcast Group adds Keith Goldstein to its staff as national account manager.  He’ll work with the sales department focused on products including Shazam For Radio, “The Hit List with Fitz,” “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” “The Fitz Show,” Sun Latino Networks, and others…..Benztown appoints affiliate sales pro Maria Musaitef to its affiliate relations team.  She joins Benztown from Envisage Radio Group in Los Angeles, where she was vice president, affiliate sales and marketing…..Westwood One celebrates Independence Day with its annual “Celebrate the USA” holiday music special featuring country megastars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  The duo will play their music and share their Fourth of July memories in a four-hour, all-star program including friends Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, and more.  Stations can air the show any time Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4, 2017.