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Friday, October 8, 2021

| October 8, 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, “Floors and Ceilings,” looks back at this past week of 10/4 – 10/8. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, professor of Law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Ken Coleman, talk show host, Ramsey Solutions; 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; 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.

WPHT, Philadelphia Promotes Greg Stocker to Brand Manager. Executive producer and assistant brand manager Greg Stocker is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210,” effective immediately. In this role, Stocker will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. Stocker assumes the brand manager role for the station previously held by Spike Eskin, who left the Audacy Philadelphia operations to become program director for the company’s WFAN, New York. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m so pleased to see Greg earn this well-deserved recognition for his hard work and commitment to WPHT. Greg brings a passion for talk radio to his role and is the perfect manager to lead WPHT and our newly expanded local lineup along with some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stocker joined the company as an intern in 2003 after obtaining a degree in TV/radio from Northampton County Community College. From 2005 through 2013, he was producer of “The Michael Smerconish Show” and since 2014, he has been executive producer of “The Rich Zeoli Show.” In 2019, he was named assistant brand manager in addition to his producing role. He comments, “It’s truly an honor to be leading this legendary radio station. I have an amazing team and I’m excited to guide us all into the next phase of WPHT’s evolution.”

Round Four of September PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds 1.6 shares to finish with a 6.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises from #7 to #4 while Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF-AM declines 1.2 shares for a 2.4 share finish and falls to the #14 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is at #1 after adding nine-tenths for a 9.1 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN is close behind at #2 after adding 1.7 shares for an 8.9 share finish. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” is steady with a 7.8 share but rises to the #1 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WLAC is up eight-tenths for a 2.9 share and wraps the survey at #14. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

WABC, New York to Celebrate 100 Years of Broadcasting. New York City news/talk WABC is celebrating 100 years of continuous broadcasting. John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media, announces that WABC will celebrate its “rich history and the cultural impact that the iconic station has had on the lives of its listeners” throughout the next year, kicking off this month. The celebration will feature guests, interviews, milestones, remembrances, and more. You can visit the 77 WABC Celebrates 100 Years webpage here. The special retrospective series airs every Sunday in October, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Last Sunday featured Rush Limbaugh’s first show on 77 WABC and talk radio pioneer Bob Grant. This Sunday spotlights Dan Ingram, the thinking man’s DJ. Catsimatidis states, “With 50,000 watts of clear channel power, 77 WABC represents the many and diverse communities in New York and America with a common sense approach to the issues that confront our world, along with music and entertainment on the weekends. Looking forward to the next 100 years, we’re reaching our listeners on every available platform – broadcast, podcast, streaming, and mobile – and we’re thinking beyond radio. We’ve built a state-of-the-art audio/visual facility, which we call Studio 77. Our morning show is available for our fans to watch, as well as listen, and we’ve hosted live broadcast events such as a mayoral primary debate and special 9/11 programming that included the leaders of New York then and now. We’re developing new talent and exploring new ideas.” WABC launched in 1921 as WJZ. On May 1, 1953, the station changed its calls to WABC.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Talks Idaho Politics on CNN. Pictured above is KIDO-AM, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) appearing on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo (left) discussing the recent political theatre involving the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Karina Farias joins Edison Research as project coordinator. Farias was most recently program director and morning co-host at KUFX-FM, San Jose. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “Karina’s experience in audio combined with her passion for research will be a great fit, and we’re excited to have her join the team.” In her new role with Edison, Farias will be directing an array of market research projects with a focus on audio and media clients. She will also take a role in Edison Research’s election research…..Focus 360 adds of two national personal finance shows to its roster. “Real Money Pros” and the “Jared Dillian Money Minute” are now being repped by Focus 360 for network advertising and affiliation sales. Focus360 founder and CEO Phil Brown says, “As the country continues its climb out of the employment and economic disasters of last year, we wanted to expand our network to help listeners where they need it most – their bank accounts! Jared Dillian and the ‘Real Money Pros’ have been helping people through tough money issues for years and I am extremely excited to have them join the Focus 360 financial lineup!”…..ESPN releases VOL 1 of “Shots of Hype,” a new digital spoken-word audio series of motivational speeches. The three-part series is comprised of 15 tracks written and performed by well-known ESPN on-air personalities, including former athletes, coaches, and analysts. VOL 1 is now available via Hollywood Records across all major digital music platforms globally…..Sports USA reaches an agreement with the NHL to be the league’s exclusive live national radio play-by-play partner through the 2024-2025 season. The broadcasts will include select regular season games and continue through the Stanley Cup Final each year. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We look forward to building on the success we had during our coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and are thrilled to expand upon this partnership. The NHL has a loyal and passionate fan base and we couldn’t be more excited about the next four years.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway interviewed former President Donald Trump this week ahead of Trump’s planned rally in Iowa this weekend. During the 15-minute conversation, they discussed the Durham investigation, the border, the economy, inflation, Afghanistan, Iowa and it’s first in the nation status, crime and much more. Conway’s show is also heard on WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities.

The Budget Debate, Debt Ceiling Negotiations, and Infrastructure & Reconciliation Bills Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 4-8. The negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling and the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about COVID-19 boosters and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack tied with former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud 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.

 

 

Audacy Seeks Co-Host for Boston Red Sox Podcast. A podcast co-host is being sought for a yet-to-be-titled Boston Red Sox show that will launch as a result of Audacy’s partnership with Major League Baseball and the launch of Audacy’s third podcast studio 2400Sports. The co-host will be paired alongside newly hired host Steven Perrault, who joins Audacy from Barstool Sports, and will be counted on to provide their unique, engaged, and passionate perspective during each show. The show will break down some of the top storylines, rumors, and subplots happening in and around the team. Additionally, with access to current and former Red Sox personnel, the show will look to reach fans with unparalleled affection and vigor. See more about the position and apply here.

Alpha Media Portland Seeks Content Director. There’s an excellent opportunity for an experienced content director at Alpha Media Portland. The company is looking for a content director for news/talk 101.1 KXL, sports talk 750 KXTG – “The Game” and talk 970 AM KUFO – “Freedom” and for a corporate executive with involvement of key talk talent and stations. Alpha says, “We’re looking for someone with experience programming winning news/talk, talk and sports stations that thrive with content and entertainment in the digital world. The ideal candidate must possess an extremely good work ethic, be a self-starter who is highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and have strong leadership skills. Alpha Media owns or operates 207 radio stations in 44 markets across the United States and is a diverse, multimedia company sharing music, sports and news across a variety of platforms. We believe in creating progressive products, world-class events and building strong relationships in our communities. See more about this position and apply here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

| September 8, 2021

SuperTalk Mississippi Network Announces ‘MidDays with Gerard Gibert.’ The “SuperTalk Mississippi Network” operated by TeleSouth Communications that airs on 12 news/talk outlets across the state announces the launch of a new show to air in the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart. “MidDays with Gerard Gibert” takes over the slot previously held by J.T. Williamson, who recently died after a battle with lymphoma. SuperTalk Mississippi Media says Gerard is “an entrepreneur, capitalist, and Journey junkie. After founding Venture Technologies in 1986, Gerard worked diligently to provide jobs for Mississippians and ultimately sold the well-established company in 2019. Wanting to have a larger impact in Mississippi, Gibert joined the SuperTalk family in March of 2020, filling in as guest host of ‘The JT Show’ and being overwhelmingly welcomed by the SuperTalk audience.” Gibert comments, “It’s been an honor over the past 19 months to guest host for J.T. as he focused on fighting cancer. While in the chair, I’ve gotten acquainted with The JT Show’s vast audience – truly the best of Mississippi. Without a doubt, they loved and respected J.T. and I greatly appreciate the welcome they extended to me. I am ‘Super’ excited about launching my new show and look forward to achieving the standard of broadcasting excellence delivered daily by J.T. and consistent with the SuperTalk tradition.” SuperTalk Mississippi Media owner Steve Davenport adds, “Gerard is passionate and relatable, with a natural ability to connect with his audience. He understands the immense power that radio has to connect with listeners for three hours every day. I am confident that he will take this opportunity and create a lasting legacy just as his predecessor J.T. did before him. The company will always remember J.T. and the impact he had on his wonderful and loyal fanbase, and the state of Mississippi as a whole.”

‘Free Talk Live’ Co-Founder Ian Freeman’s Legal Situation is Featured in New York Magazine Piece. Regular readers of TALKERS magazine are probably aware of the legal situation the “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman finds himself in: He’s out on $200,000 bond (with an ankle monitor) awaiting trial for various charges stemming from his (and five of his associates’) bitcoin activities. Though there are some 20 charges against him after the FBI’s five-year investigation, the thrust of the government’s case is that Freeman was not licensed to handle the bitcoin-for-cash transactions. The piece is written for New York by Simon van Zuylen-Wood and he writes about the case, “The government alleged that Freeman had been running a sophisticated multimillion-dollar racket that enabled ‘hordes of cyber criminals’ to scam victims and launder money. To do this, prosecutors said, Freeman and his crew used both online accounts and crypto vending machines to execute thousands of unlicensed transactions, trading the Shire’s [referring to the Freeman-founded Shire Free Church] bitcoin for cash without asking too many questions about its origins. Freeman was also charged with enlisting friends to stash his operation’s proceeds into newly created bank accounts under false pretenses. (Freeman and his codefendants have pleaded not guilty.)” The piece goes into detail about Freeman’s and co-founder Mark Edge’s settling in Keene, New Hampshire to join the libertarian Free State Project, a bit about the history of the nationally syndicated radio program and a lot about the bitcoin scene in Keene. Edge has not been arrested or indicted because, as he tells New York, “I wasn’t buying and selling cryptocurrency, because I think it’s stupid.” Meanwhile, Freeman recently told a caller to the radio show if he has any regrets about his actions, he says, “Is there something I regret? I mean, of course not. This is my mission. I’ve been given this mission from God to get this alternative form of value into people’s hands.”

WPHT, Philadelphia to Present Nine-Hour 9/11 Anniversary Program Remote Broadcast. Philadelphia news/talk outlet WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 with a live, remote broadcast on Friday (9/10) from the Doylestown Firehouse. The program is titled, “9/11 Through The Eyes Of…” and begins at 6:00 am and runs through 3:00 pm. WPHT personalities Dom Giordano, Dawn Stensland and Rich Zeoli will honor first responders, then and now. Listeners will hear stories highlighting local firefighters and police officers who showed heroism on 9/11, as well as family members who were touched by this life-changing event. Through the station’s partnership with the Travis Manion Foundation, WPHT is raising donations to support local first responders and to show gratitude for their ongoing dedication to the community. This is another example of the Audacy station’s practice of producing documentary specials addressing news events and historic milestones for which it has been getting positive industry attention.

Mancow Returns to Live Broadcasting with New Show. Radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is launching what he calls a live podcast and says it will be “everything Mancow’s ‘Militia of Love’ members have come to expect.” “Monday Night Live with Mancow” is a weekly, full-length live episode covering current events. He’s also debuting, “Microaggressions,” a series of short webisodes featuring random thoughts and “throwback” content throughout the week. “Monday Night Live with Mancow” airs Mondays at 8:00 pm ET via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (via Periscope), Twitch and Rumble. Episodes are available to re-watch immediately following the live stream and are additionally uploaded to Bitchute and syndicated as an audio podcast through Spotifiy’s syndication platform Anchor.fm and is available on Spotify, Apple and other popular podcast platforms. Mancow says, “We wanted to create the least amount of friction possible between our listeners and our content and ensure that if we get censored or deplatformed by the tech monopolies, there are plenty of additional options to access our show. The new Mancow 2.0 is pure Mancow minus the well-paid, annoying sidekick chuckleheads. Everything we hear now is pre-chewed corporate pablum puked into America’s psyche. This is something else.”

Joe Mathieu’s ‘Sound On’ to Air on ‘Bloomberg Radio’ in Boston. The “Sound On” program hosted by longtime Boston news radio personality Joe Mathieu is joining the programming lineup at Beasley Media Group’s WRCA-AM/WBOS-HD2/W291CZ “Bloomberg Radio” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The station says, “Anchored by Bloomberg Washington correspondent Joe Mathieu, the one-hour news program delivers insight and analysis on the latest headlines from the White House and Capitol Hill, including conversations with influential lawmakers and key figures in politics and policy.” The program currently airs in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and nationally on SiriusXM. During his career, Mathieu has anchored morning drive programs at all-news WBZ-AM and public radio news/talk WGBH-FM in Boston.

Griffin Communications’ KTSB-AM, Tulsa Adds FOX Sports Programming. The new Tulsa sports talk outlet KTSB-AM “The Blitz 1170 AM” (formerly news/talk KFAQ-AM) is adding FOX Sports Radio programming for its evening hours. Griffin Broadcasting says FOX Sports will air from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am daily and 24/7 on weekends. Shows heard on weeknights will include: “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” KTSB-AM program director Jeremie Poplin says, “We’re excited to launch a station with great local personalities combined with the excellent resources of FOX Sports Radio. We could not have asked for a better partnership.”

Triton Digital Releases Streaming Ranker for July. This data from Triton Digital is based on Triton’s listing of the top performing digital audio publishers as measured by its Streaming Metrics and Webcast Metrics measurement services. The following ranks U.S. publishers’ U.S. streaming based on Average Active Sessions for Monday-Sunday, 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight for July of 2021. iHeartMedia leads the top 20 with more than 280,000 AAS. Other U.S. broadcasters include: Audacy at #3 with 57,466 AAS; Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 with 38,856 AAS; Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 with 16,276 AAS; Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 with 13,845 AAS; Salem Communications at #11 with 8,346 AAS; Urban One at #12 with 6,677 AAS; Bonneville International at #13 with 6,432 AAS; and Midwest Communications at #18 with 4,464 AAS. See the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. New WABC, New York talk show host James Golden, of “The Bo Snerdley Show,” announces the formation of the Golden-TIPP Poll. Golden is partnering with TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics to present “issue-specific surveys of public opinion involving emerging political policies.” Golden says, “Objectivity and accuracy are paramount in providing information, so people can make informed decisions about their lives. I can think of no better partner for providing radio listeners with the political, historical and socio-economic information they need than TIPP.”…..SportsMap Radio is adding “Pushing the Odds Sunday” to its weekend program schedule. This edition is an offshoot of the network’s midday sports gambling show “Pushing The Odds with Matt Perrault.” Perrault’s new Sunday show airs from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and will use sports betting information to further the discussion about what is going on every Sunday in the NFL. Perrault is being joined on the show by former Western Michigan linebacker and current market analyst for Betfred Sports, Jason Sylva. They will update the audience on the games plus preview the SNF matchup from a betting perspective…..The National Football League and iHeartMedia announce the NFL’s Podcast Network programming lineup for this season. Earlier this year, the NFL and iHeartMedia announced an exclusive partnership to launch the NFL’s Podcast Network that includes the distribution of NFL Media’s existing podcasts, certain Member Club podcasts, and the co-production and distribution of two dozen new original shows with the iHeartPodcast Network. Available to listeners will be the six existing podcasts plus six podcasts new for this season…..Shining City Audio, a recently launched history-focused podcast studio joint-venture between C13Originals and Jon Meacham, announce details for “It Was Said: Sports.” This new documentary podcast franchise is being narrated by NBA legend Doc Rivers and features some of the most important and inspirational sports speeches throughout history. Drawing from powerful figures like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, and Hank Aaron, season one takes listeners through six speeches whose impact, legacy, and significance goes far beyond the world of sports.

COVID-19/Coronavirus Research Revelation, Afghanistan, Texas Abortion Law, Biden Social Safety Net Bill, Hurricane Ida Aftermath/California Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/7). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and mask & vaccine mandates plus The Intercept’s report that the NIH did fund coronavirus research in Wuhan; the aftermath of the U.S.’s exit from Afghanistan; the battle over the restrictive Texas abortion law; Democrats ramp up efforts to pass trillions in funding for improved social services; slow recovery in the areas of the country impacted by Hurricane Ida and the ongoing California wildfires; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

| July 14, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change.” The 10th video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change.” Moderated by Lee Harris, morning drive anchor, WINS, New York, introduced by Brad Shepard, GM, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA, and sponsored by ABC News Radio, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Juliet Huddy, talk show host, WABC, New York; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host WSIC, Statesville, NC/podcaster, “Teacher Talk”; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkLisa Wexler, talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport/probate judge, State of Connecticut; Larry Young, talk show host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Rich Zeoli, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia.  The major panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 will remain posted on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.

Round One of June PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In New York City, Audacy’s all-news properties are basically flat with WINS dipping one tenth to a 2.6 share (6+ weekly, AQH share) and WCBS-AM adding one-tenth to finish with a 2.5 share. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles remains ranked #3 even though it loses four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.4 share. In Chicago, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM slides to the #10 rank after adding one-tenth for a 3.3 share and Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM remains in the #2 rank after adding one-tenth for a 6.0 share finish. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM, Dallas tacks on two-tenths for a 3.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #9. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta continues its run as the #1 ranked station even after shedding a half share to finish the survey with an 8.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

SummitMedia Appoints Rick Parrish President of Omaha Market. Radio executive Rick Parrish is named president of SummitMedia’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN,” four music brands and the “Todd ‘n’ Tyler” morning show franchise. Parrish’s nearly 50 years of radio experience includes serving as market manager for iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, and Cherry Creek. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are very excited to have Rick lead our amazing team in Omaha. His wealth of experience, passion and competitive nature will serve us well as we move forward.” Parrish adds, “I’m excited to be a part of the leadership of SummitMedia Omaha. SummitMedia has an excellent team in Omaha that is dedicated to entertaining and informing our listeners and achieving outstanding results for our clients. I’m confident that we will continue to grow and receive exceptional results.”

Binnie Media’s SEALs By the Sea Event Raises $145,000 for Veterans. Pictured above are some of the 35 former and present Navy SEALs (including Congressman Dan Crenshaw who is fifth from the right) who took part in Binnie Media’s first annual SEALs By The Sea VIP Luncheon event on July 9. The newest addition to the Swim With a Mission Veteran Festival was held at the Wentworth By The Sea Country Club where more than 150 people showed up in support of Veterans, including generous event sponsors, Binnie Media staff, and the SEALs, their families, and their friends. Through the sale of VIP tickets and a live auction, Binnie Media’s SEALs By The Sea event raised more than $144,500 for the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, as well as Trident Tuition Funds, and Swim With A Mission. Since its inception, Swim With A Mission has raised over $6 million for Veteran organizations.

‘The Dana Show’ Adds New Affiliate Stations. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program, “The Dana Show,” starring Dana Loesch announces the addition of new affiliate stations to its roster, including: KIVA, Albuquerque; KJJR, Whitefish, Montana; KNFT, Bayard, New Mexico; KRSN, Los Alamos, New Mexico; KWOR, Worland, Wyoming; KODI, Cody, Wyoming; KIML, Gillette, Wyoming; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; and WULK-FM, Crawfordville, Georgia. “The Dana Show” is now heard on almost 250 stations nationwide. Dana Loesch is a regular contributor to FOX News and has been invited to provide election analysis on FOX, CNN, and ABC and has also appeared on HBO. She is the author of three books.

iHeartMedia to Broadcast ‘Global Citizen Live’ Event. The September 25 multi-continent event Global Citizen Live will be broadcast by iHeartMedia as the company is serving as the exclusive U.S. audio partner. Global Citizen Live will consist of performances from six continents with the goal being to “defend the planet and defeat poverty.” It will feature music artists, activists and world leaders taking the stage at iconic locations across the globe all in an effort to inspire global action and shine a light on issues ranging from equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, hunger, education and climate change. To help support this historic worldwide event iHeart will launch Global Citizen Radio later this month which will offer the latest news and information surrounding the event leading up to Global Citizen Live. iHeartMedia president of Entertainment Enterprises John Sykes says, “By bringing together the world’s most powerful leaders, music artists, cultural influencers, and the general public, Global Citizen has recreated the ‘Live Aid’ of this generation and is once again proving that music can encourage citizen action in the movement to fight extreme poverty. iHeart is proud of our deep relationship with Global Citizen and the progress they have made in the last decade addressing some of the toughest global issues of our time.” iHeartMedia’s six New York radio stations, including news/talk WOR, will again support this year’s Global Citizen Festival, the free ticketed festival that takes place on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park on September 25.

‘ESPN Chicago’ Personality David Kaplan to Lead ‘Walk As One’ Charity Event. Chicago sports media personality David Kaplan – host at Good Karma Brand’s WMVP “ESPN 1000” will lead the second annual “Walk as One” charity walk scheduled for Thursday, September 23, 2021. The event benefits Bernie’s Book Bank, which sources, processes and distributes free, quality children’s books to under-served children ages birth to sixth grade throughout the Chicagoland area. Kaplan will walk with Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek for 24 miles hitting various stops along the way, including Guaranteed Rate Field, the United Center, and other stadiums across Chicago, to raise awareness and donations. In 2020, the event raised over $95,000 with around 350 donors, and this year, the goal is to raise over $300,000. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas says, “What Kap and Darrin Utynek were able to do last year, during a pandemic, to help Chicago’s under-served children was amazing. We are thrilled to partner with Bernie’s Book Bank again this year to make this fundraiser even bigger and to help more children. The new route to go to all the stadiums is really awesome.”

TALKERS News Notes. This fall’s college football broadcast schedule from Compass Media Networks is released. Compass kicks off this season’s slate of games on Saturday, August 28 at 12:30 pm ET with the Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Illinois Fighting Illini. The schedule features top-ranked schools from the Power Five Conferences: ACC, BIG TEN, BIG 12, SEC and PAC-12. Compass general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore says, “After a year of uncertainty and challenges, it’s great to see a return to normalcy. College football is a beloved pastime, and we are honored to continue our commitment to offering full productions of one of the greatest sports. Our schedule of games features the best action in NCAA football available. Once again, our team of talent, producers, and engineers at Compass Media Networks is ready to bring the best of college football straight to our listeners.”…..Today (7/14) at 3:00 pm ET, Nielsen is hosting a webinar to present the results from its Nielsen Audio Consumer Sentiment survey, conducted in June to provide an understanding of how people feel about COVID restrictions and the economy in their local markets. Nielsen’s Audio Consumer Sentiment Survey is an ongoing consumer study series addressing current American consumer sentiment around COVID-19 and media usage. The study includes insights about activities consumers engage in, including health, schooling, employment, and transportation. Additionally, the study includes new data about vaccines and people’s purchasing habits. You can register for the webinar here…..The RAB is presenting its next “Radio Sales Essentials” workshop focusing on how to develop relationships and provide solutions which guides clients to the next right step on July 27. RAB says, “A change in business requires a change in approach. This course is ideal for new and experienced sellers to learn, develop, and strengthen their skills-set to ensure an individual seller’s success and station’s long-term revenue growth.” Register for the workshop here…..Beasley Media Group signs with vCreative to use its suite of software products. As a result, all Beasley stations will use vPPO for commercial production; vPromotions for promotions, contesting and event management; and vTrade to manage their trade inventory. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Our business has grown more complex as we have grown into new and innovative areas for our audiences and our advertising customers. vCreative’s solutions are essential to bridge the gap between what we promise and what we deliver, providing us with a best-in-class platform that enables our teams to have more time to do what they do best: create.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Vaccines, Cuba Protests, Voter Legislation, Senate Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget, Haiti Assassination Investigation, and Airline Industry Woes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The rise in COVID-19 cases in several states and concerns about the falling rate of vaccinations; the protests against Cuba’s government taking place in Florida; the battle over new, strict voter legislation in numerous states; the $3.5 trillion spending bill from Senate Democrats; the investigation into Americans allegedly involved in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; and the large number of cancelled and delayed flights affecting U.S. travel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

| July 7, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Brian Kilmeade Keynote Address. The sixth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the conference’s Keynote Address delivered by FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel talk media star Brian Kilmeade. The introduction is provided by talk show host Frank MacKay of “Long Island News Radio” WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Audacy to Hire 50-Plus Journalists as Part of Multiplatform Transformation. In a move it calls “a multiplatform transformation for its news brands,” Audacy says the transformation will allow it to “offer more original digital news content as well as in-depth reporting to complement breaking news broadcast coverage.” The company says it will launch a new centralized digital team dedicated to news and add over 50 journalists in eight of its newsrooms across the country. “This coordinated, multi-platform focus will allow the company to produce an array of fresh audio and local reporting that will be distributed across the Audacy network. The new resources will enable the creation of original podcasts and other specialty digital content that will add to the body of trusted local reporting that Audacy news and news/talk brands deliver to millions of listeners daily.” Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano comments, “The past year has underscored the crucial role of journalism and the demand for trusted quality content has never been higher. Audacy’s local news brands have been delivering on-demand news and information for decades and are now poised to build on that foundation. While other news organizations are downsizing, this further investment will allow us to leverage the credibility of our news brands to expand our reach and engagement while continuing to deliver the premier coverage our audience is accustomed to and relies on.” The company adds that the multiplatform transformation will also see the launch of original longform podcasts from local news brands; an original national weekly podcast that highlights the most pressing story of the week and draws on reporting and interview content from across the Audacy network of news brands; daily in-depth podcasts and on-demand audio that explore local stories and issues that most affect listeners’ lives; as well as custom newsletters and in-app experiences that offer audiences a chance to explore areas of interest and interact directly with Audacy brands.

Dom Giordano Moves to Rush’s Old Slot on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal (7/6) reports Audacy has made a major move to turn WPHT’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, held for years by Rush Limbaugh, into a local program showcasing the talents of market mainstay Dom Giordano. Thirty-year veteran of the Philly airwaves, Giordano, is rightly considered by many to be “the dean of Philadelphia talk radio.” A former high-profile schoolteacher, he is one of American news/talk radio’s leading advocates for education reform, not to mention a household name in the City of Brotherly Love where he is plugged-in to the full spectrum of local issues. (He’s also quite astute about national issues as evidenced by his being the longtime go-to guy to sit in for Jim Bohannon on that legend’s Westwood One show.) Giordano moves to his new noon start from WPHT’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Morning host Rich Zeoli has taken over an extra hour until 10:00 am and WPHT has been utilizing the services of several locally known talents in the still open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon position.

WABC, New York Brings Constantine Maroulis Aboard for Dual Role. Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor Constantine Maroulis is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to launch a new variety entertainment program called “The Constantine Maroulis Show – Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!” and airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning this Saturday (7/10). Additionally, Maroulis will serve as 77 WABC Radio’s entertainment reporter. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.” He’s worked on Broadway and was twice nominated for Tony Awards – one for his leading role in Rock of Ages. His new program will feature music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s plus interviews with some of the most noteworthy musicians, artists, and influencers. He says, “I will be bringing the high energy and music that fans enjoyed from my ‘American Idol’ performances and starring roles on Broadway. What will be new for fans are my interviews. I look forward to having artists on my show and sharing behind the scenes stories with the audience while I spin amazing songs.” On Mondays and Fridays, Maroulis’ entertainment reports will be heard on “Bernie & Sid In The Morning,” and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, he will deliver a weekend-focused segment titled, “Pop Rocks 60.” Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Constantine is an immense talent both as a performer and storyteller. 77 WABC has worked with him on several specials and charity events, so we are sure ‘The Constantine Maroulis Show — Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!’ will be a homerun with audiences in New York and around the world. We look forward to sharing this new show and his other contributions to our schedule all week long.”

News/Talk WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Changing Hands and Calls. According to a report in Northern Virginia Daily, heritage Winchester, Virginia radio station WINC-AM is in the process of being sold to by Centennial Broadcasting II to Colonial Radio Group for $25,000. The station is operating under new call letters WZFC. It will continue to operate as a news/talk outlet. Centennial previously sold WINC-FM, Berryville and WZFC-FM to Metro Radio and Centennial president and CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper it offered WINC-AM to Metro Radio for free as part of the deal, but that Metro didn’t want it. Shaw says Colonial managing member Todd Bartley has what it takes to make the standalone AM work. “He’s very dynamic and very smart. He believes in local programming and community involvement.” The report goes on to say that “the sale of Centennial’s Winchester-area stations doesn’t include the building on North Pleasant Valley Road that houses their operations. Centennial is allowing Colonial and Metro Radio to occupy the building temporarily. Both companies are seeking new locations for the stations, and Centennial is discussing with real estate brokers possibilities for the approximately 7,000-square-foot building,” according to Shaw. “Those possibilities include demolition, he said, if the building can’t be sold and redeveloped eventually. WINC-AM’s tower on the property will be taken down at some point.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (7/8), the Key Networks nationally syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” – starring Bill O’Reilly – will feature an interview with former President Donald Trump. O’Reilly says Trump will appear in the “Message of the Day” segment. “The 45th President of the United States will have the opportunity to comment on rising gas prices, rising violent crime, and a disintegrating southern border.”…..In the wake of recent attacks on journalists, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith issues the following statement: “NAB is gravely concerned by recent incidents of violence directed against broadcast journalists who are covering local news. A cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the free press to document the stories and events shaping our communities and our nation. Journalists should be afforded the respect to safely provide this valuable service to the community without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”…..PodcastOne signs a multi-year partnership with Empire Media Group chairman and CEO Dylan Howard to produce a slate of original scripted and non-scripted podcast and vodcast series. Some of the shows that have been green-lighted include: “The Firm: Blood, Lies & Royal Succession,” a multi-part historical non-scripted drama looking at the British royal family; “My Favorite Scandal,” a weekly series where nothing is NSFW when you work at one of the nation’s leading tabloid magazines; and “You’re Fired,” a weekly series, in which you find out what really happens when the axe falls in the media, Hollywood, politics, television, or off-stage? PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne is thrilled to build our relationship with the Empire Media Group team on their upcoming podcasts. Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin have a proven track record of success in the space, and we are proud to join forces on their exciting new slate of shows.”…..iHeartMedia announces four new shows launching this month from My Cultura, its new podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, while also sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. The network’s initial lineup will include: “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama,” “Exactly Amara,” “Transportista” (published in both English and Spanish) and “Life As a Gringo.” iHeartMedia says, “With a driven commitment to the creation of a platform that helps amplify the Latinx community, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Walgreens will be My Cultura’s inaugural sponsors, building connectivity amongst this growing audience.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association announces this year’s inductees into its NBA Hall of Fame, and this year’s class includes longtime morning personalities Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler, a.k.a. Todd-N-Tyler. The nationally syndicated duo are based at SummitMedia’s rock KEZO, Omaha.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Soaring Big City Crime and Gun Violence, House January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Tropical Storm Elsa Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). Concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading through the U.S. and the low rate of vaccination in some parts of the country; the skyrocketing rate of violence and gun crimes in America’s big cities; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to appoint Republicans to sit on House January 6 investigation panel; the status of President Joe Biden’s $970 billion infrastructure package; the war of words over the issue of teaching “critical race theory”; the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.