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Friday, January 29, 2021

| January 29, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Raging Politics!” looks back at this past week of January 25-29, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT AmericaCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC / GOP primary candidate for Mayor of New York City / founder Guardian AngelesSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Bill Graff, talk show host KSCO, Santa Cruz; Amy Hao, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; Nan Su, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; senior reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Cox Media Group Names Rob Babin SVP of Radio. Atlanta vice president and market manager Rob Babin is promoted to senior vice president of radio for Cox Media Group, effective immediately. Over Babin’s 20-year career with Cox, he’s held numerous management and sales management positions, including his most recent overseeing the Atlanta market that includes news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, three music brands, as well as the six-station Athens, Georgia market. Cox Media Group says that “as head of radio and a member of the company’s executive leadership team, Babin is responsible for the profitability, strategic direction, and operational execution of CMG’s radio platform, spanning 65 radio stations in 11 markets across the country. He will focus heavily on achieving CMG’s radio strategic growth objectives while maintaining CMG’s industry leading content, impactful community engagement, and growth-focused culture.” Cox Media Group president and CEO Dan York comments, “We are so excited that Rob accepted this role on the CMG leadership team. He is a proven leader with a true passion for the radio, CMG and his people. Rob is a collaborative and agile executive, with deep industry and CMG expertise and passion for everything he does – making him the ideal leader for CMG Radio.” Babin says, “Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside many exceptional individuals and teams across CMG. I am thrilled to accept this position and honored to lead our CMG radio team. With our company’s incredible strength, brands, and people, we will continue to excel and grow our radio business to new heights.”

SummitMedia EVP of Programming Bill Tanner Dies. Radio programming executive Bill Tanner died at his home in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday evening. Tanner had been serving as executive vice president of programming for SummitMedia, LLC. In a press statement, the company says, “Tanner, who had an incredible career spanning nearly five decades, was known for his fierce competitive spirit and his brilliant approach to radio programming. He amassed one of the radio industry’s most consistent track records of number-one stations in markets ranging from South Florida to Los Angeles.” SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer comments, “I had the honor of working alongside Bill since the early 90s from our days together at Heftel Broadcasting. His knowledge of the industry and loyalty as a friend continued as we worked to build SummitMedia together. All those who knew Bill came to respect his skills and watch in awe of how he connected with listeners. We will all truly miss him.” Parmer and Tanner joined forces in 2013 to create SummitMedia LLC, a company formed to purchase a number of radio stations being divested by Cox Radio. Later, they added 20 stations acquired from E.W. Scripps. Tanner began his career in the early 1970s doing mornings in Jackson, Mississippi followed by the ‘Tanner in the Morning Show’ on Miami’s WHYI “Y-100.” Soon thereafter, he was named VP of programming for parent company Heftel Broadcasting Corporation, where Parmer served as president and co-CEO. SummitMedia’s Randy Chase says, “We will miss Bill’s incessant enthusiasm, his love for our business, and his desire to always put the consumer first. But we will carry on with the fierceness he demonstrated and his passion for building an emotional connection with the listener.” Tanner is survived by his son Scott and two grandchildren, Tessa and Ryan.

Coleman and Conn Swap Dayparts at ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. A couple of talent moves take place at Entercom’s Baltimore sports talker WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan.” Jerry Coleman is leaving his role on the “Big Bad Morning Show” to host his own program, “Sports with Coleman,” evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Meanwhile, Jeremy Conn moves from the evening daypart to join Rob Long and Ed Norris as part of the morning show, effective February 8. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “With his vast knowledge of sports and his connections to the sports world, Jerry Coleman was born to host his own show. Jeremy Conn will bring his unique brand of humor, his extensive gambling knowledge, and his signature bits to morning drive. We appreciate both Jerry and Jeremy’s hard work and dedication to ‘105.7 The Fan’ and are excited to have two Baltimore natives serve as bookends for our impressive weekday lineup.” Coleman says, “Switching from the mornings to the evening will allow me to bring back ‘Sports with Coleman’ and grow my brand. I’m grateful to Entercom for this opportunity.” Conn comments, “I am unbelievably excited and humbled to join the ‘Big Bad Morning Show.’ I am also nervous to work with two former cops, considering my shady background – thank goodness for the statute of limitations. Ed, Rob, producer Joe LaCroix and myself will have fun and I am confident Baltimore will laugh their way to work each morning.”

Al Galdi Exits Entercom’s WTEM, Washington ‘The Team 980.’ There’s been no official statement from Entercom, but sports talk personality Al Galdi announces via Twitter that he’s been let go from the company’s newly acquired sports talk outlet WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” where he hosted the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He tweeted, “So…I am no longer w/ @Team980. Started there as an intern on Memorial Day Weekend 1998 & had been there ever since. A time in my life I’ll never forget. A sincere thank you to my coworkers & anyone who ever listened or contributed to a show I did in some way. Much appreciated.”

Al Peterson Dies at 68. The family of Al Peterson announces that he died about a week ago after an unusual series of medical events led to multiple organ failure that led to his passing at age 68. Peterson was well known in the radio industry for his years of service to Radio & Records as news/talk/sports editor. After R&R was shuttered by its parent company, Peterson launched his own news/talk/sports-focused trade publication that he ran for a number of years prior to retiring from the business about four years ago. Art Vuolo tells TALKERS magazine that per Al’s very clear directive, the family agreed to keep him on life support long enough for his organs to be harvested. He adds that his liver already saved a woman in Southern California and they harvested enough skin, bone, tissue, etc. that he could potentially help 60-plus other people. Peterson’s work in radio prior to entering the radio trade business included serving as program director at news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.

Beasley Media Group Initiative Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion. The ongoing Community of Caring initiative from Beasley Media Group is now focused on diversity and inclusion. The company says that the initiative will feature on-air public service announcements, customized online content, and in-car messaging utilizing Quu technology that will underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion across the company’s 63 radio properties. It officially launches on Monday (2/1) and “will shine an important spotlight on Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Diversity/Belonging. Beasley Media CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Diversity, collaboration and respect are paramount to our core values. This initiative reflects the vision and philosophy my father, George, had when he founded the company 60 years ago. We are thrilled to launch this important initiative that promotes a culture of belonging and encourages, supports and reflects the communities we serve.”

Senate Impeachment Trial and Capitol Insurrection Investigation Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the investigation into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of January 25-29. At #2 this week was the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the variant strains. Coming in at #3 was the GameStop stock frenzy, the U.S. economy’s contraction, and the education crisis, followed by U.S. relations with China and Russia at #4. 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 form TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

| August 29, 2019

Good Karma Brands Inks Deal to Operate ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Yesterday’s announcement by sports talk radio WMVP-AM owner ESPN that Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands would begin operating “ESPN 1000” beginning next month took the industry by surprise.  But as ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller says, Karmazin’s company has a long track record with ESPN.  “Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand.”  Keller adds, “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.”  As a result of this long-term LMA between ESPN Radio and Good Karma, the latter will “expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ‘ESPN 1000’ name.  ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.”  The LMA begins on September 29.  Longtime ‘ESPN 1000’ VP and general manager Jim Pastor will exit his role.  He says, “Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN.  I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ‘ESPN 1000’ or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma.  Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing [Good Karma Brands president] Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin, and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show.  For me, I’m ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats.”  Craig Karmazin – whose company also owns operates ESPN-affiliated stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach – says, “Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades.  We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN’s best-in-class local operator into what will now be our largest market.”  ESPN Audio continues to operate WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles.

WJBC, Bloomington’s Laughlin Retires; Miller Takes Over AM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, longtime morning personality Scott Laughlin is retiring from the station and afternoon drive personality Scott Miller will take over as morning drive host. Miller – who inked a new, multi-year deal with the company – will work with news director Katherine Murphy on the morning show.  Back in May, Laughlin announced he was taking a leave of absence from the WJBC morning show for health reasons.  He has since decided to make his leave permanent.  He says, “I had planned to retire next summer.  My circumstances have speeded up that plan.”  Station operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We wish nothing but the best for Scott Laughlin as he focuses on his health.  Emotionally, it’s not easy to move forward in a situation like this, but we must.  We look forward to having Scott Miller in the morning and know he will do a great job.” The station is searching for a new afternoon talk host.

‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix Makes Drive Time Changes; Dan Sileo Joins for Afternoons. Beginning Tuesday (9/3), iHeartMedia’s KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” is moving afternoon drive personality Jody Oehler’s “The Drive” program to the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.  The station says that Oehler’s “‘The Drive’ has brought a signature blend of truth, humor and originality to the Phoenix airwaves.  Throughout the run of the show, Oehler has had some of the biggest names in sports on-air regularly, including: Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer, Ian Rapoport, Kent Somers, and Greg Amsinger, as well as everyone’s favorite radio segment, ‘Top 5 Thursday,’ which ranks the top five sports stories every Thursday.”  Oehler says, “I’m incredibly excited to be moving to mornings. In a city like Phoenix with all the local teams and transplant residents, I relish the opportunity to offer my reaction to the biggest local and national sporting events.  We’ll do it better than anyone in the market with truth, humor, and fun.  And as a bonus, I won’t get into a near fist fight with myself on the air.”  The station is expected to announce its plans for the afternoon drive daypart very soon. Taking over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot is sports talk host Dan Sileo, most recently with Entercom at KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan.”  The station says Sileo’s show “will feature engaging sports talk with features such as ‘Cardinals Rewind,’ where Sileo analyzes the Cardinals by recapping the biggest hits and misses from each game, and ‘Stump Sileo,’ a daily segment where listeners have the opportunity to challenge Sileo to a game of six degrees of separation, in which Sileo has to find a way to connect himself to the listener’s favorite sports icon.”  Sileo says, “It’s an honor to come home to iHeartMedia, where I spent the majority of my 24-year radio career, for this amazing opportunity to host afternoons on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  I will promise my listeners this – we will have the most compelling sports show in The Valley.  It will be a show for Phoenix, about Phoenix.  We’re going to bring on the biggest stars in sports and entertainment and give listeners a show they’ll never forget.”

WLAC, Nashville Host Steve Gill Remains in Jail; ‘Terrified’ Wife Files for Divorce. More legal woes arise for embattled WLAC, Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, who remains in jail in Williamson County, Tennessee for failure to pay $170,000 in child support to ex-wife Kathryn Gill.  Now, Gill’s current wife – who is not named by The Tennessean in its report since she’s under an order of protection from the court – is filing for divorce from Gill and told the court in her request for the order, “I need protection.  I am terrified.  He is ‘influenced’ and ‘powerful’ and he used that to try to keep me from escaping.”  As a witness in Gill’s child support case, she testified that he was lying under oath in court.  The court has ordered Gill not to contact his current wife; to stay away from her home and workplace; to vacate the family home; undergo a certified batterers’ intervention program; and cannot possess any firearms (the order notes he has numerous weapons).

Palm Springs Morning Host Bill Feingold Off the Air for Cancer Treatment. Coachella Valley morning drive personality Bill Feingold is on medical leave from Alpha Media’s news/talk brand “K-News” – KNWZ-AM/KNWQ-AM/K232CX/K274DA – after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer.  Feingold tells the Desert Sun that he’s aware of the gravity of his diagnosis but is hopeful he can return to the air after undergoing chemotherapy, which begins on September 12.  He and co-host Kevin Holmes have been together on the radio in Palm Springs since 2004.  Feingold says, “Alpha Media is hoping for a semi-miracle so I can come back.  I would come back in a second.”

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit journalist Bankole Thompson is returning to Kevin Adell-run WFDF-AM, Detroit “910AM Superstation” to host the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program, beginning September 9.  Previously, the Detroit News columnist hosted the program, “Redline,” on the station.  Thompson says, “I’m happy to be back at ‘910AM Superstation’ and I’m looking forward to making Detroit’s recovery and poverty the front and center of our conversation.”…..The conservative Christian K-Star Talk Radio Network announces it is adding independent journalist and radio host Will Johnson’s newly syndicated talk radio program, “Fire Power News,” to its 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot, effective September 9.   K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “I am so excited to add Will Johnson’s program to the K-Star schedule.  He is young, energetic, intelligent, and really passionate about making a difference.”…..Entravision Communications announces it’s bringing listeners “the most extensive Spanish-language radio broadcast coverage” of the upcoming 2019 NFL Centennial season.  The company will broadcast 46 games across 17 U.S. markets on its owned-and-operated stations, as well as on affiliate stations across the country.  Entravision president and COO Jeffrey Liberman says, “The start of the NFL season is always exciting and this year we’re especially proud to have the most extensive Spanish radio broadcast coverage of the NFL. The game of football has really found a home in the Latino market and there are more passionate NFL fans than ever.”…..Actors Gabrielle Carteris and Camryn Manheim have been chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s national membership to fulfill the respective roles of president and secretary-treasurer, two of the union’s highest ranking offices.  Their two-year terms begin today.

Legendary Radio Executive Dwight Case Dies at 90.  Earlier this month, Dwight Case – onetime publisher of Radio & Records and general manager of KHJ, Los Angeles – died at the age of 90. Case started in radio in 1948 KFRE-AM, Fresno.  During his long career, he also managed KROY, Sacramento; served as president of RKO’s radio division; founded Transtar Satellite Radio Network; and served as publisher and CEO of R&R from 1983-1987.  Read more at LARadio.com.

Trump vs the Media, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War, Queen Suspends UK Parliament, Jessi Combs Dies in Crash, and Hurricane Dorian Heads for Florida Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The president’s renewed frustration with the media’s coverage of his presidency; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Queen agrees to suspend the UK Parliament; driver and television personality Jessi Combs dies trying to set a land speed record; and Hurricane Dorian’s projected path toward Florida 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. Media executive Winter Horton joins Meruelo Media as chief operating officer, reporting to president and CEO Otto Padron.   Horton was most recently COO for LBI Media Inc.  Padron says, “Meruelo Media has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the past few months.  The task to solidify our L.A. super cluster position and continue our expansion is my highest priority.  To achieve this, I’m proud to announce the addition of Winter Horton as our chief operating officer.  Winter brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to help us create even greater value as we optimize our strategy of growth.”…..Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X” announces that Abe Kanan takes over as morning drive personality, effective September 3.  Kanan has served with stations including WLUP-FM and WKQX in Chicago and WBGG in Miami, as well as on the Howard 101 channel on SiriusXM.  He says, “If I could create my own radio station, it would sound just like ‘93.9X.’ In 2019, this is exactly how a rock station should sound.  I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen as the first morning show host on the soon-to-be world-famous 93.9X!”…..SummitMedia names Sheba Foxx news & community affairs director for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster.  Foxx takes over for Rhonda Rawlings who left the position to serve as South Carolina media rep for Cory Booker’s presidential campaign…..Alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” morning personality Dinah Powers is leaving the station’s Rod Ryan show after Friday’s broadcast.  She tells the Houston Chronicle that she elected not to renew her contract and is leaving the radio business and hopes to go back to school and work in the mental health field…..After 62 years in the same Takoma Park, Maryland location, Washington Adventist University’s WGTS-FM, Washington, DC celebrates the grand opening of its new broadcast ministry center in Rockville, Maryland.  The new 13,000 square-foot facility contains two identical on-air studios, three production rooms and a television studio.  It replaces the 3,000 square-foot World War II-era building that has served as the headquarters of the ministry since 1957…..Former, longtime WDVE, Pittsburgh air personality Jack Maloy died yesterday (8/28).  Maloy spent 36 years on the air at the iHeartMedia rock outlet, mostly in overnights.  The station says Maloy loved the shift so much that when he was promoted to the evening show, he was miserable and requested to return to the overnight show where he stayed until his retirement in 2013.