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Thursday, December 9, 2021

| December 9, 2021

Talk Show Host Michael Berry is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. KTRH, Houston/independently syndicated radio talk show host Michael Berry is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Berry is heard live twice daily on Houston’s talk radio powerhouse KTRH. The first show airs between 8:00 am and 11:00 am and then he comes back between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. But, wait, that’s not all. An additional 25 formidable stations carry one or the other or both of these shows on an independent network that has grown out of his recognition as a break-out talent with a growing following of fans. This network stretches from upstate New York to Portland to Louisiana to Pensacola to Baton Rouge, Nashville, New Orleans, New Mexico and Alabama, with eight stations in Texas. Berry, the son of a maintenance worker for a chemical plant, is an attorney with two law degrees and an interesting history in politics. He began his often-controversial talk radio career in 2005 while still Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Houston. He’s married to the former Secretary of State of Texas, who is from India (and also a lawyer). They are parents of two adopted sons from Ethiopia – now teenagers. TALKERS research places him at number 15 on its most-listened-to radio talk show hosts list with a weekly audience of some 5 million people. He’s also ranked number 9 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. Harrison and Berry engage in a fascinating conversation about a number of topics including the impact of the COVID era on the psyche of American workers, the application of the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows” to today’s news/talk discussion, the differences between live radio and podcasting, Berry’s evolution from “yeller” to storyteller, and the syndrome of conservative talk show hosts often being unjustly accused of being proponents of racism and hate. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Faces Unionization of Podcast Network. After a majority of iHeartPodcast Network staffers signed union cards to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East, the Guild is calling on iHeartMedia to voluntarily recognize the union. According to a press release from the WGAE, “The approximately 125-member iHeartPodcast Network Bargaining Committee includes producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts based in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York CIty. The iHeartPodcast Network includes hit series like ‘Stuff You Should Know,’ ‘Fake Doctors, Real Friends,’ ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast,’ ‘Disgraceland,’ ‘Chelsea Handler: Life will be the Death of Me,’ ‘Noble Blood’ and ‘Committed,’ among many others.” In its “Why We’re Organizing” letter to iHM management, the organizing committee writes, in part: “We, the podcast producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of iHeartMedia, are thrilled to announce that we are unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. Months of discussion with our colleagues have clarified some things: First, we love the community we have created at iHeart. We work shoulder to shoulder with some of the most creative minds in the business, who have come to feel more like family. We are devoted and passionate storytellers who take pride in our ability to provide our listeners with entertaining, thought-provoking audio content and, most importantly, companionship. However, during difficult times, we are reminded that while the iHeart Digital Audio Group prides itself on its relative autonomy and ability to adapt to the shifting needs of the marketplace—much like a start-up—we work under the capacity constraints of a legacy broadcast conglomerate. Essentially, we have been encouraged to embrace the dynamism of start-up culture without any of the associated benefits. Throughout the unprecedented challenges of the last two years, we managed to seamlessly transition to remote work; our adaptability helped the company not just sustain but thrive during a period of economic uncertainty and social unrest. During team calls, town halls, and official email communications from leadership, we are frequently reminded of the financial gains that we helped make possible. Bob Pittman, CEO and chairman of iHeartMedia, reported during last month’s quarterly earnings call that Digital Audio revenue increased by 77 % compared to 2020. Our division’s significant growth was “driven primarily by continuing increases in demand for digital advertising and the continued growth of podcasting,” where revenue is up 184 % compared to 2020. Unfortunately, those gains have not reached the creators working round-the-clock to keep our audience of more than 30 million monthly listeners actively engaged. With hundreds of shows across all categories and genres, many of us are doing the work of multiple employees, and the huge volume of content we are responsible for is not met with equitable compensation. Furthermore, we lack transparency in workplace decision making, meaningful initiatives toward diversity and inclusion, fairness in managerial relationships, and clarity in divisions of labor. While we are proud to be an essential part of iHeartMedia’s success over the past few years, we are keenly aware of significant internal pay disparities between similarly positioned individuals within the company. And across the board, iHeartMedia’s overall compensation and benefits standards are wholly insufficient when compared to the greater podcast and scripted audio market. Due to these working conditions, the creators of iHeart’s podcasts have banded together in order to help determine the best path forward so that iHeart can remain competitive, retain existing talent, and attract new voices to the network, all while creating a more equitable, transparent, and democratic workplace.” Staffers are seeking: Appropriate compensation and benefits, accountability mechanisms regarding diversity and inclusion efforts, manageable workloads and appropriate staffing for shows, clear paths for advancement and standardized job descriptions, and job security. There’s been no official word from iHeartMedia yet.

Audacy Unveils Sports Betting Intensive ‘95.7 The Fan’ in Rochester. Rochester sports talk outlet WROC-AM adds FM translator W239BF to its broadcast and Audacy adjusts the programming to go sports betting intensive as “95.7 The Fan.” The station is using programming from the BetQL Network, CBS Sports Radio and keeps the local Buffalo Bills program “One Bills Live” in early afternoons as well as “The Sports Bar with Danger and Battaglia” (hosted by Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia) in PM drive. The station also continues to air as simulcasts of sister station WCMF’s flagship play-by-play coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. Audacy Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “In line with our company’s expansive position as leaders in sports audio, we’re delighted to enhance our sports content offering through the launch of ‘The Fan Rochester.’ Powered by widely recognizable BetQL and CBS Sports Radio programming, this station will give our local listeners more premier content from some of our brightest talent.”

KFI, Los Angeles Announces Record-Breaking 11th Annual Pastathon. Some of the staff of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI are pictured above at a remote broadcast for this year’s 11th annual KFI Pastathon that raised a record-breaking $933,502 and 115,324 pounds of pasta and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club, the local charity that provides more than 25,000 nutritious meals every week to children in need in Southern California. With the help of listeners, local businesses and the continued partnership with Barilla, this year’s event set a new fundraising record. Since 2010, KFI listeners have raised more than $4.5 million and over 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for children in need in the community. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “The KFI PastaThon is a full-station effort, and the biggest heroes are our listeners and partners. Every year, we reach new highs and that means more meals to feed more kids in Southern California. On behalf of the entire KFI team we thank the community for the remarkable generosity.”

Fargo’s ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ Radio Show Visits FOX Square in NYC. Pictured above are listeners to the “What’s on Your Mind?” show that airs on North Dakota stations KFYR, Bismarck; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga; and KLTC, Dickinson as they watch show host Scott Hennen (right) and FOX News Radio star Jimmy Failla (left) do a weather hit with FOX NewsJanice Dean (center). The group also was able to meet “FOX & Friends” co-star and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade and see the remnants of the now-famous burned Christmas tree.

Podcast Download Fall 2021: Big Three Expand Their Share. The just-released Fall 2021 edition of the Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download report focuses on how consumers access podcasts, what they want from a listening app, and attitudes and usage of the “big three” podcast publishers: Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and Spotify. As part of the study, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 media agencies and marketers and found: 71% say they have discussed the potential of advertising in podcasts; An all-time high of 53% are likely to consider advertising in the next six months, up from 46% last year and 18% in 2015; Another all-time high of 44% indicate they are likely to actually advertise in podcasts in the next six months, up from 37% last year and 10% in 2015; and 45% report they are currently advertising in podcasts, an increase of three times from 2015 and a nine-point growth over 2020. In another aspect of the report, MARU/Matchbox conducted an in-depth study of 600 weekly podcast listeners in October 2021. In the MARU study, weekly podcast listeners were provided a list of podcast listening platforms and asked how often they listened to each. Since 2019, frequent Spotify use jumped from 30% to 36%. With podcasts showcased right in their app, Spotify has helped lure more music streamers into podcasting. Versus two years ago, YouTube is stable (33% to 34%) while Apple Podcasts dropped (from 38% to 27%). Frequent use of Google’s apps (Google Play/Google Podcasts) dropped from 19% in 2019 to 16% in 2021. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Gallagher used the torching of the FOX News Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan to spur his Salem Radio Network listeners to action for the network’s annual Angel Tree campaign that helps children of prisoners through the non-profit Prison Fellowship. Gallagher told his listeners, “Let’s show everyone that there’s more good than evil in America.” As a result, yesterday (12/8) more than 1,000 children of prisoners were sponsored and will be blessed with personalized Christmas gifts plus a note from their incarcerated mom or dad. Gallagher added, “We proved that a positive message can overcome any negative news when we all pull together.”…..The Carey Brothers are ending their media efforts after 35 years. Morris and James Carey announce they will wrap their radio program after the December 25 edition and the final “Tip of the Day” feature will air nationally on December 31. The Carey Brothers did their first radio show on January 2, 1987 at KCBS-AM, San Francisco. The program went national in 1992 and at its peak aired on more than 300 affiliate stations.

COVID-19 Omicron Variant/Rising Case Numbers/Mandate Repeal, Russia Threatens Ukraine, Biden’s Summit for Democracy, Evergrande Defaults, Violent Crime Spike, January 6 Investigation, Social Media/Instagram Testimony, and Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The Omicron coronavirus variant, the rising case numbers in numerous U.S. states, and the Senate’s passing a repeal of Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Russia’s continuing military build-up at the Ukraine border; Russia and China criticize Joe Biden’s virtual Summit for Democracy taking place today and tomorrow; Chinese real estate giant Evergrande defaults causing concern of global investors; the violent crime spike in numerous American cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump loyalists’ refusal to cooperate; Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testifies at a Senate hearing on social media and teen safety; and the prosecution rests its case in the trial of Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

| May 26, 2021

KFI, Los Angeles Suspends Tim Conway, Jr and Sheron Bellio for Racist Bit. According to a report in Deadline, iHeartMedia and KFI, Los Angeles have suspended evening talk host Tim Conway Jr. and executive producer Sheron Bellio after the two performed a bit in which Conway pretended to interview Yuko Sakamoto – the wife of sports talk personality Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and Bellio spoke in a stereotypical Japanese accent. The pair have issued on-air apologies and will serve a week’s unpaid suspension. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci issued the following statement to Deadline: “We of course take matters of this nature very seriously. Their failed attempt to what they thought would be a humorous shtick was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to anyone who was offended. They both have since apologized on air and I can assure you the situation is being handled appropriately internally. That said, we wanted to make things right with a plan that was not only deeply apologetic, but also educational, and focused on the community – taking further action to help combat racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.” Part of the station’s plan includes running PSAs addressing anti-Asian and Pacific Islander hate. The KFI news team is also set to produce a two-hour special designed to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes in Southern California. That special will air on May 30 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Cumulus Media Launches New Talker in Buffalo. Sports talk WHLD-AM, Niagara Falls, New York flipped to news/talk on Monday (5/24). Cumulus Media is branding the station “Talk 1270/WHLD-AM.” Vice president and market manager Jim Riley says, “We’re very excited to launch ‘Talk 1270’ this week in Buffalo as Dan Bongino launches his national radio show. Western New Yorkers can now enjoy daily radio shows on ‘Talk 1270’ from two of the most listened-to podcasters in America, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, as well as other marquee talk radio favorites.” In addition to Bongino and Shapiro, the station is airing the “First Light” and “America In The Moring” shows from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Chris Plante in late mornings, plus Michael Knowles from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Lars Larson in early evenings and Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon in late nights.

Greg Alexander Named Market President for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Sales pro Greg Alexander is promoted from SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Western Great Lakes Region to market president for Minneapolis. Alexander will report to Scott Hopeck, division president for iHeartMedia. Hopeck says, “Greg’s extensive experience qualified him for this role, but more importantly his team lifted him into it, which is a testament to his leadership. I’m confident that Greg and his team will lead our Minneapolis operation to new heights.” The Minneapolis market includes news/talk KTLK, sports talk KFXN “K-FAN,” and four music brands. Alexander says, “This is an incredible opportunity to work with some of the country’s best brands and the industry’s brightest minds. I look forward to collaborating with the programming, advertising, and operations teams while helping elevate the Minneapolis market.”

Peter Rothfuss to Lead Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala Market. Sales and management pro Peter Rothfuss is promoted from his general sales manager role to SVP and market manager for Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala, Florida operations that includes news/talk WSKY, sports talk WRUF-AM/W237EJ, and two music brands. Rothfuss takes over for Dick O’Neil who is retiring from the company on May 31. Audacy regional president Claudia Menegus says, “Peter’s experience in this market, coupled with his proven track record of success leading sales efforts, will allow him to seamlessly expand his role and continue the momentum we have achieved. I look forward to watching our market reach new heights under his leadership.” Rothfuss served as general sales manager for Audacy Gainesville/Ocala since 2016. Prior to that, he had two stints with Audacy Wilkes-Barre in which he served as an integrated marketing specialist from 2014 to 2016 and director of sales from 2010 to 2013.

TALKERS News Notes. GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, and music producer T-Pain signs a deal with PodcastOne for an exclusive podcast and vodcast production and distribution deal. T-Pain will host the upcoming podcast and vodcast “Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain, set to launch June 3. Upcoming guests on the podcast include Peyton List, Xolo Maridueña, Jacob Bertrand, and Joe Seo from Cobra Kai, Mike Tyson, Lil Jon, Steve-O, Jazzy Pha and Slim Jxmmi. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “At PodcastOne, we seek hosts who are charismatic and engaging with something to say that audiences want to hear. T-Pain is all that and more. His innate curiosity and interest in the world around him and the people who live in it offers up endless possibilities for show content  and we cannot wait to launch ‘Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain.’”…..Audacy’s C13Originals reveals thatt the third season of “Gangster Capitalism” – the documentary podcast franchise that focuses on white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream – will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The sex scandal that engulfed the largest evangelical Christian university in the world and Jerry and Becki Falwell is just the beginning. For the eight-episode new season, the Gangster Capitalism team spoke with more than eighty people — insiders, former and current Liberty students, faculty, staff, high-ranking administrators, and those with intimate knowledge of Falwell Jr., many going on the record to reveal their explosive stories for the first time, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians.

COVID-19/China Lashes Out at Fauci, George Floyd Anniversary/Portland Riot, Inflation Fears, Gaza Cease-Fire/Anti-Semitic Violence, NYC Grand Jury Convened in Trump Org Investigation, Election Audits, Border Crisis, and Biden-Putin Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The fast-falling rate of COVID cases in the U.S, vaccine hesitancy, and China’s state media criticizes Dr. Tony Fauci for admitting lab origin possibility; the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd and Portland breaks out in riots; skyrocketing consumer prices spark fears of inflation; the cease-fire in Gaza and the uptick in violent attacks on Jews; Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jrconvenes a grand jury to hear indictment arguments in the Trump Organization case; the election audits taking place in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Georgia; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border; and the planned meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

| December 16, 2020

Grace Curley Show Adds Three-Station News/Talk Network in New Hampshire. The new Grace Curley Show is adding the three-station news/talk network consisting of WTSN-AM, Dover; WEMJ-AM, Laconia; and WTPL-FM, Hillsboro in New Hampshire operated by Binnie Media. The Grace Curley Show is being rolled out in syndication by The Howie Carr Radio Network and the Binnie stations join iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston which also begins airing the program on January 4. Binnie Media director of programming & operations Dave Andreesen says, “We are thrilled to offer our listeners The Grace Curley Show across our three news/talk stations in New Hampshire. The Howie Carr Show has been a popular mainstay in our lineup for years and I think Grace’s show will be the perfect addition to round out our weekday lineup. Anyone who has listened to Howie can tell you what a fine broadcaster and commentator Grace has evolved into. I’m looking forward to her fresh perspective on the issues everyone is talking about.” The Grace Curley Show will air live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Beasley Media Group Promotes Five Programmers. In the programming department of Beasley Media Group, five current staffers have been promoted. WMMR-FM and WMGK-FM, Philadelphia program director Bill Weston is upped to vice president of talent development in which he’ll work directly with certain personalities to help improve their content as well as assist the company’s PDs with talent assessment and recruitment. Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack adds VP of strategy & analytics to his role with the company. Beasley Charlotte director of operations John Reynolds rises to VP of music & entertainment in which he’ll serve as the company’s record label liaison for multi-market artist opportunities and company events. Beasley Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson adds VP of national content to his duties. He’ll now also work to identify opportunities for content sharing and manage a national database of talent. Beasley Augusta and Fayetteville OM Tee Gentry adds VP of brand strategies to his responsibilities and he’s charged with working to seek out creative ideas for imaging, promotions, and sales integrations to share with stations across the company. Beasley Media Group Justin Chase comments, “It is such a pleasure to elevate these first-class programmers within our company. Each of them has already made a major positive impact to our company as well as the industry. It’s a privilege to have them on our team!”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles news/talker KFI AM 640 announces that its 10th annual “KFI PastaThon” fundraiser that helps feed local children in need raised a record of more than $770,000 and 75,980 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce. The charitable organization Caterina’s Club – an organization that feeds more than 25,000 underprivileged children each week in over 30 cities throughout Southern California – was the beneficiary. Robin Bertolucci is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and she says, “We are in awe at the generosity of our listeners and so grateful for their support of this worthy cause. Over the past 10 years, they have helped us raise more than $3.5 million and over 586,000 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce in support of Chef Bruno Serato and his outstanding organization as they feed thousands of children in Southern California and help end the cycle of poverty.”…..Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas “News Talk 820AM” raised more than $225,000 (and counting!) for the Denton State Supported Living Center from its “42nd Annual Christmas Is for Caring Radiothon” that took place from December 7-11. Station PD Kevin Graham comments, “This is a testament to the giving nature of our listeners to find it in their hearts in such a difficult year to donate to those that are in desperate need of the holiday spirit. Big thank you to our passionate staff and those at the Denton State Supported Living Center for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful mission.”…..Also at Cumulus Dallas, news/talker KLIF partnered with Ed Wallace from KLIF’s Saturday morning show, “Wheels with Ed Wallace,” and Kwik Kar Industries for the “32nd Annual KLIF Kids Toy Drive.” Sponsors contributed $44,600, which the station will use to purchase toys for more than 800 underprivileged children attending two different schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…..Among the numerous year-end features listeners will find on spoken-word radio stations across the country this time of year is the WNYC 2020 Time Capsule from the Brian Lehrer Show. WNYC says that the show “plans to end the year doing what public radio is uniquely able to do: to capture the oral history of this year through the voices of the people who lived through it all.” The WNYC 2020 Time Capsule “is a place for listeners to voice their grief – but also their hopes for the future. In mid-March, a year from when the pandemic took hold in the region – the Time Capsule will be stored atop the Empire State Building next to the WNYC transmitter, not to be opened until 2030.” It will contain the voices of New Yorkers; an Audio Timeline of 2020 that tells the story of the year stitched together from listener calls; a reading of the names of the over 1,900 New Yorkers that died from COVID-19; listener-submitted photographs that best capture the year; and select news stories from the WNYC and Gothamist newsrooms.

Hartmann: Democrats Can’t Win If They Don’t Play. In a piece published in The Nation, progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann writes about the success Republicans have enjoyed winning political races with the help of the “roughly 1,500 right-wing talk-radio stations that saturate every corner, no matter how remote or rural, of America.” Hartmann says the takeaway from this is: Radio works. He adds, “Good talk show hosts know their job isn’t to find or interview ‘good guests’; it’s to build a trust relationship with their audience, cemented over years, caller after caller, day after day. Truly effective hosts like Limbaugh and Michael Savage talk to their listeners as if they’re close and trusted friends.” He notes that – aside from Bernie Sanders – most Democrats have avoided talk radio. And that, he says, needs to change. “If Democrats want to effectively counter the relentless spread of hard-right ideology in America, talk radio has to be part of that strategy.”

Ashok Sinha Joins Entercom as Head of Corporate Communications. Corporate communications pro Ashok Sinha is named SVP, head of corporate communications and PR for Entercom Communications. In this role, Sinha will lead the communications strategy and execution across Entercom’s entire portfolio of assets. He’ll have direct oversight of internal and external communications, media and press relations, corporate messaging, crisis communications and issues management, and executive thought leadership management. He will serve as a member of Entercom’s executive leadership team, reporting to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer. Sinha says, “As a lifelong consumer of music and the spoken word, I believe in the power of audio and its ability to engage, entertain and inform the world. I’m delighted for this opportunity to join Entercom and its award-winning corporate communications team, and lead the charge as we tell the story of audio in this dynamic time for media.” Sinha was most recently VP, communications lead, technology at WarnerMedia.

iHeartMedia Names Gabe Fleet EVP of Business Affairs and Chief Music Licensing Counsel. Attorney Gabe Fleet joins iHeartMedia as EVP of business affairs and chief music licensing counsel, effective January 11. Fleet transitions to iHeartMedia from his role as a partner at Greenberg Traurig law firm. In his new role, Fleet will lead iHeartMedia’s business affairs team and focus on strategic deals and relationships with the company’s music and entertainment partners and be responsible for business and legal affairs across the company’s divisions, multiplatform assets and tentpole events. Fleet will also spearhead the company’s music licensing strategy, including maintaining and renewing all music industry licenses for iHeartRadio’s digital services and performance licenses through PRO agencies.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, Economy & Shutdowns, Biden Transition/Nominations, Georgia Runoff Elections, Stimulus Negotiations, and U.S. Government Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of the distribution of COVID vaccines in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy, job losses, and mandated business shutdowns; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and cabinet nominations; January’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections; the ongoing stimulus negotiations; and the Russian hack of U.S. government computer systems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Details are few but WMC-TV, Memphis is reporting that Chris Jarman, morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX, Memphis “98.1 The Max” has died after a “tragic accident” at age 50. Jarman co-hosted theDanni & The Jar” morning show. The report cites Cumulus VP Morgan Bohannon saying that Jarman was transported to a hospital in Batesville, Arkansas because no ICU beds were available in Memphis…..AL.com reports that triple A WZEW-FM, Mobile air personality Lee Ann Camp has died after a short battle with cancer. Camp, who along with her husband Tim Camp, hosted radio shows on the .Com+ LLC-owned stations, was first diagnosed earlier this fall after experiencing back pain and subsequent tests revealed she had advanced cancer. The couple have two children, ages 12 and 15…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX, Chicago “101.9fm THE MIX” announces that morning show cast member Melissa McGurren is declining a contract renewal with the station and will leave after a 22 years. Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England says, “Our plans for the future of ‘Eric in the Morning’ definitely included Melissa. We were disappointed by her decision not to renew her contract, but also know that this year has led all of us to assess our lives in different ways. When she informed me of her decision, she described her time at the station as ‘a privilege’ and that feeling is completely mutual. We wish her the best.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Tish Boden to vice president and market manager for its six-station Shreveport, Louisiana cluster. She was previously director of sales…..Sun Broadcast Group is now exclusively representing the syndicated urban AC afternoon drive program “The Jeff Foxx Show with Keke Brown and Nina” for network sales. The program was formerly syndicated on Superadio.

Monday, September 28, 2020

| September 28, 2020

Monday Memo: It’s Not Debatable. As the president and his challenger prepare to take the stage tomorrow night, consultant Holland Cooke can’t resist an analogy about radio programming vs. digital challengers. Read it here.

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated for SCOTUS Seat, the Presidential Race/Tuesday Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, NYTimes Trump Tax Story, BML Movement/Protests, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The president introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and projections for future cases; the New York Times piece that details President Trump’s tax, income, and debt situation; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in numerous cities across the country; and the ongoing wildfires in California, Oregon and others were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartSports Network Debuts. The new iHeartSports Network from iHeartMedia launches today, “servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.” The company says the new network, “with a monthly reach of 75 million listeners, will feature some of the biggest names in sports including Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Joy Taylor and more.” The iHeartSports Network will deliver short-form national, regional local sports reports to listeners on formats that index high against sports interest, including rock, country, hip hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. The company adds, “Scarborough found that 83% of sports fans want a daily update. Nielsen confirms that 89% of sports fans listen to radio each week and radio listeners typically tune in multiple times per day. Research also indicates that almost two-thirds of sports fans do not have the time to seek out additional desired information, so the iHeartSports Network will deliver sports reports to listeners conveniently and timely wherever they are.” iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a product driven network responding to the interests of our listeners. People are passionate about sports and this will deliver the timely regional and local coverage they care most about along with the biggest national stories.”

Sarah Foss Joins Entercom as Chief Information Officer. Advertising executive Sarah Foss is named chief information officer for Entercom. In this role, Foss will “provide strategic direction and oversight for the design, development, acquisition, operation and support of the company’s enterprise technology systems and programs. She will also collaborate with cross-functional executives to create a vision for how digital, data and analytics, and new technologies can help create a differentiated experience and drive efficiency in operations.” Foss was most recently senior vice president, strategic initiatives for FreeWheel Advertisers. Prior to that role, she was general manager, ad tech for Imagine Communications. Entercom EVP and CFO Richard Schmaeling says, “This role is critical to our success in the constantly evolving media landscape and we’re thrilled to have Sarah on board. Her strong business acumen and enriched media technology intellect is incredibly valuable as we continue to evolve and elevate our business.” Foss adds, “I’m thrilled to be joining Entercom at this exciting time in media. We have a unique opportunity to leverage outstanding content and deep community relationships to reach new, targeted audiences through our digital and broadcast platforms. Smart technology choices will accelerate this for us.”

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign is tomorrow night (9/29) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and ABC News Radio is offering three hours of live, anchored coverage the night of the debate, including a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, FiveThirtyEight’s Galen Druke, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams. ABC News Radio will also offer multiple one-minute “Status Reports” throughout the night…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS-AM, Wichita takes home three top honors in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Television & Radio Awards. The station won first place for Complete Newscast by Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward, Jad Chambers, Ronelle Williams; Complete Sportscast by Ted Woodward; and Station Website…..A new podcast series called “The Frost Tapes” is coming to the iHeartRadioplatform. It is an original podcast featuring unheard interviews of towering figures in American life during the 1960s and 1970s conducted by legendary broadcaster David Frost and hosted by his son, Wilfred Frost. Debuting on October 6, the podcast will include unaired behind-the-scenes footage from Frost’s famous 28-hour interviews with Richard Nixon, and huge swathes of interviews that have not been heard since their original broadcast date 50 years ago.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Todd Schnitt is returning to morning drive in Tampa Bay in his alter ego MJ as “The MJ Morning Show” joins Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM “Q105,” effective October 5. As a result of this move, current longtime morning personality Mason Dixon takes over afternoon drive and Geno Knight shifts to middays. Schnitt continued to host his afternoon drive, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Schnitt Show.” The Schnitt Show on Compass Media Networks. Beasley Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Steve Triplett says, “We are excited and proud to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back on the legendary Q105. For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market. I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay!”…..Los Angeles-based “Valentine In The Morning” is the new morning program on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KSOF, Fresno “Soft Rock 98.9.” The program features Valentine along with his co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. To make room for the program, Teri-Ann Schlesser moves to middays…..Programming pro McConnell Adams is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Lansing station group. He’s been serving as brand manager for CHR WJIM-FM “97.5 Now” and adult contemporary WFMK. He says, “I am truly blessed for the opportunities I have been presented by this amazing company. Our multi-platform, ‘Local First’ strategy is second to none at delivering local, original content and entertainment. I am really excited to be working even closer with the talented team here to continue our amazing success.”…..Morning personality John Houston is retiring from Woof Inc’s adult contemporary WOOF-FM, Dothan, Alabama after a 44-year career in radio. The Dothan Eagle reports on Houston’s career and his decision to start sleeping in and spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Profile: KFI Keeping Listeners Informed in Unusual Times

| September 28, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

LOS ANGELES — Only the most vociferous glass half-full proponent would venture to discern the slightest glimmer of positivity about the present-day coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile though, it must never be forgotten that through it all, genuine heroes continue to surface and walk among us.

Precisely as in life itself, cream has a glorious tendency to rise to the top in the radio industry.

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