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Monday Memo: Is Your Imaging Boastful or Benefit-Laden? Noting that “the first Star Wars movie was 44 years ago,” consultant Holland Cooke pleads that “it’s time to retire those whizzing sounds that still litter on-air promos.” And in this week’s column, he cautions against copy clichés that sound equally dated. Read it here.
Pending Business: Survey Says… Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that the recent NPR/Edison study showing that “connection seekers” and “infomaniacs” are fine with hearing ads is good news for news/talk radio stations, however, poorly executed creative can kill any benefit you station is getting from these groups’ acceptance of ads. Read his piece here.
Ransomware Attacks, COVID-19, Trump North Carolina Speech, 2020 Vote Audits, Biden Infrastructure Bill, Voting Rights Bill, and Immigration Reform/Kamala Harris’ Latin America Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The growing number of ransomware attacks affecting American businesses and utilities; the fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus; former President Donald Trump’s speech before North Carolina Republicans and speculation about his political future; the audit of 2020 presidential votes taking place in Arizona and New Hampshire; negotiations in Congress over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill; West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s statement he will not back Biden’s For The People voting act; and Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Latin America and the related topic of immigration reform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Gets International Press for Political Strategy Advice to Donald Trump. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root was among the talk radio hosts to interview former President Donald Trump as he made his first round of media appearances since leaving office. During the conversation, Root suggested Trump run for a House seat in Florida in 2022 and, in his words, “lead the GOP to a resounding House takeover, then become Speaker of the House, and then become Biden’s worst nightmare, block Biden’s agenda for the next 2 years, open multiple criminal investigations against Biden, lead the impeachment of Biden, dominate the news cycle, then be in perfect position to win back the presidency leading into 2024. Trump liked the idea and was clearly intrigued.” Numerous media outlets picked up on the interview and Root got press in the New York Post, TMZ, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Newsweek, and more.
Salem Radio Network Host Eric Metaxas Loses YouTube Channel. The Washington Times reports that Salem Radio Network talk host and Salem Books author Eric Metaxas has lost one of his YouTube channels for violating the social media platform’s community guidelines. Metaxas’ digital producer Chris Himes tells the paper Metaxas’ YouTube channel was banned after getting three strikes in a 90-day period, the latest apparently was an interview with Naomi Wolf in which she criticized COVID lockdown policies, leading YouTube to conclude the program violated the “medical misinformation policy,” Other programs that were flagged contained content YouTube said promoted, “false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of the U.S. 2020 presidential election.” Metaxas told listeners to his radio show, “I’m all hopped up. I’m crazy because I got knocked off of YouTube permanently. People don’t realize it — this is a huge financial hit, but you know what, it’s because we’re over the target.”
SRN’s Charlie Kirk Show Added for Early Afternoons at Virginia Stations. Beginning June 21, Salem Radio Networks’ “The Charlie Kirk Show” is joining the program lineup at Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV, Charlottesville and news/talk/sports WRAD, Blacksburg, Virginia in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Program director Joe Thomas says, “Since the talk radio format has been built on the ‘Rush Limbaugh Show’ since it launched in 1988 and so has the success of WCHV, needless to say this was the biggest decision of my career. When I arrived here in 2007 the station’s biggest audience was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and we’ve built this station around serving the listener. But now it’s time to head into the future and to see what Charlie has already built with Turning Point USA. I know his is the show to continue that… We poured over all the information on all the options out there and there are great folks that will be doing terrific things, I’m sure. However, when I saw the esteem that Rush himself had for Charlie I knew that his show is the one that would meet the needs of Rush’s audience and help bring more of the young folks who Charlie already connects with to the station, and that’s a win-win.”
Dr. Asa Andrew Takes on Diabetes in This Fall’s Season of ‘Reversed.’ This fall, the third season of the reality TV show “Reversed” will air on WGN America and Discovery and in it, Dr. Asa Andrew and business partner Charles Mattocks will take on Diabetes. Dr. Asa Andrew is one of the leading personalities in health radio and television programming (as well as a member of the TALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred). Dr. Asa says, “This is our third season of ‘Reversed’ and the networks have been thrilled with the audience and the message. The show is designed as reality TV with a purpose, presenting the powerful effects of unmanaged diabetes, and the hope of reversal.” Filmed in early 2021 in Costa Rica, this season tells the story of five brave individuals living with diabetes as they work to positively transform their lifestyle choices. The show will have a world-class team of nutritionists, trainers, doctors, therapists, and celebrity guests focused on one common goal – to improve the health and well-being of each person living with diabetes. Dr. Asa adds, “Better health begins with better choices. ‘Reversed’ is about transforming the behavior of those fighting diabetes. Charles and I share a common mission and this is just the beginning. In my years of coaching and clinical experience, ‘Reversed’ is a powerful version of an inspirational office visit to those watching looking for hope and faith to believe that anything is possible for empowering your health.” Find out more about Dr. Asa Andrew here.
Tim Donnelly Show Debuts on ‘94.1 ESPN’ in Norfolk. Today (6/7), the “Tim Donnelly Show” launches on Max Media’s sports talk WVSP-FM, Norfolk, Virginia “94.1 ESPN” in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Donnelly also serves as the executive producer of the “Nick Cattles Show” that airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Donnelly says, “The opportunity to carve out my place in the 757 sports landscape is one that I do not take lightly. I understand that the market deserves a host that is dedicated and determined to create a fun, sports-centric escape for listeners each and every time they flip on the radio during their lunch break or hop in the car for a midday drive. I am unbelievably thankful for Keith Barton, Eddie Haskell, Nick Cattles, and Max Media for giving me the chance to bring the show to Hampton Roads.”
TALKERS 2021 a Sellout. The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, has reached its COVID-era attendee capacity. TALKERS 2021 will take place between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, June 11. The event is a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU.
POWER PACKED Agenda Set for TALKERS 2021. Because of the timing, per the pandemic, this 24th annual meeting of talk media industry leaders has the potential to be one of the most important radio-centric conventions in recent history. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV will be speaking during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Check out the latest updated agenda by clicking here.
TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – to be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra is equipped to provide. This convention will be smaller and more streamlined than the traditional TALKERS conventions – with lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space to spread out, especially in the university’s gigantic state-of-the-art theater. The convention will boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” The conference has been limited to a smaller number of attendees and exhibitors than usual and only open to members of the working media and closely associated industries. For the sake of safety, all attendees will be required to comply with COVID-19 regulations in effect at the time of the actual conference regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks, and providing proof of vaccination and/or testing, etc.
Travel and Hotel Information for TALKERS 2021. The full-service Long Island Marriott Uniondale is serving as the closest and best hotel for TALKERS 2021. To reserve rooms, please click here. All New York area airports are a car ride away from the hotel and Hofstra: JFK (18 miles), LaGuardia (24 miles), MacArthur (34 miles), Newark (47 miles). Free and convenient parking information at Hofstra will be posted here shortly.
Convention Information: For further TALKERS 2021 information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email email@example.com.
By Holland Cooke
WAUSAU, WI — Client stations are sharing feedback from listeners increasingly uncomfortable with “guided” Rush Limbaugh Show reruns. “Morbid,” “forced,” “clinging to the past,” and “icky” are among verbatim comments, as, for instance – three months after Rush passed – aircheck clips react to President Biden’s address to Congress.
Non-iHeart stations (allowed to) are bailing, most to one of a half-dozen other syndicated keepers of the flame. Some stations, however, are recovering the network inventory and reallocating Limbaugh cash clearance dollars to fund live-N-local hosts in his former hours. Last week’s column suggested a creative financing model.
KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Skyler Cooper ‘Evening News’ Host. Nine-year KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa staffer Skyler Cooper rises from his reporter position to a new role as the host of the “KRMG Evening News” that airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm weeknights. Station director of branding and programming Levi May says, “The ‘KRMG Evening News’ has a great history of hosts informing and entertaining Tulsa’s radio audience on their drive home. Skyler’s the perfect local host to carry on this tradition.” Cooper is a Tulsa native who began his career with the Cox Media Group station as a part-time board operator and moved up through the ranks. During his nine years with the station, he’s covered the construction and opening of the Gathering Place, the historic 2019 Arkansas River flood, tornadic weather, and the tragic shooting of two Tulsa Police Department officers in 2020. He says, “I am beyond excited to take on this new challenge and I am looking forward to working with the ‘KRMG Evening News’ team. It’s such a thrill to work for the most powerful radio station in Oklahoma and it’s right here in my hometown!” Cooper replaces Dick Loftin who served as the “KRMG Evening News” host for eight years.
Larry Blumhagen to Lead Cumulus Media San Francisco. Radio sales and management pro Larry Blumhagen is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco station group that includes news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO, sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, and classic rock KSAN-FM. He takes over for Doug Harvill, who announced his retirement from the industry in January. Blumhagen was most recently VP and director of sales for Audacy Los Angeles. Cumulus EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “Larry brings a strategic mind focused on building successful sales organizations and positive cultures. Aligning his exceptional leadership abilities and deep knowledge of the San Francisco market with our talented team and strong brands is a winning combination.” Blumhagen comments, “I’m beyond thrilled to return to San Francisco and to join the exceptional team at Cumulus Media. Leading these great brands forward while meeting the needs of both our listeners and advertisers will be an exciting journey. I’m fortunate to be stepping into Doug Harvill’s shoes, as I know first-hand that he is a man of deep integrity and immense passion for the industry.”
‘The Dana Show’ Announces New Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – adds a number of new affiliate stations. Syndicator Radio America reports that “The Dana Show” recently replaced “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on KURV-AM, McAllen-Brownsville, Texas; KJNO-AM/FM Juneau, Alaska; and KJMT-FM, Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Other stations to recently add the program to their lineups include: KERN-AM, Bakersfield; KYUL-AM & KIUL-AM Wichita; and KGYN, Guymon, Oklahoma.
Sebastian Gorka’s ‘Reality Check’ Debuts on Newsmax TV This Sunday. Former Trump White House strategist and deputy assistant – and current Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk radio host – Sebastian Gorka’s new television show on Newsmax TV debuts this Sunday (4/11) at 7:00 pm ET (with a rebroadcast at 10:00 pm ET). The program is called “The Gorka Reality Check” and Gorka says, “Newsmax is the new force for truth in the face of a morally bankrupt legacy media and I am honored to join Chris Ruddy’s sterling team. There is a good reason that Newsmax’s daily shows are scaring legacy competitors, and our new weekly show, ‘The Gorka Reality Check,’ will reveal the truth behind the most important stories our loyal viewers need to be aware of in order to stop the radical Left.”
Martha Zoller’s Show Expands on WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Martha Zoller’s talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia is getting a new name and another hour of air time. The AJC’s Rodney Ho reports that the station’s program changes in the aftermath of the death of 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk legend Rush Limbaugh include the expansion of Zoller’s program. While the early afternoon daypart previously occupied by Limbaugh is being filled by syndicated radio personality Todd Starnes, Zoller’s show grows from one to two hours and now airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily. It’s also changing its title from “Morning Talk with Martha Zoller” to “The Martha Zoller Show.”
The Mightier 1090’s “Kaplan & Crew” Airing on So Cal Cable TV. According to a story in the Times of San Diego, best of segments of the XEPRS-AM “The Mightier 1090” afternoon drive show “Kaplan & Crew” are being featured in an hourlong program airing from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly on Cox Communications’ regional cable channel “YurView.” Scott Kaplan, along with co-hosts John Browner and Alex Padilla, re-joined XEPRS for its re-launch in August of last year. The station’s previous operator Broadcast Company of the Americas lost its lease with XEPRS’ owner and Flagstaff, Arizona-based advertising executive Bill Hagen began the process of bringing “The Mightier 1090” back to the airwaves. Kaplan tells the Times, “We are stoked to add TV as a distribution platform. Two years ago, we were heard exclusively on radio, then we evolved into a podcast broadcasting on terrestrial radio and now cable TV. I am excited to share with the Cox viewers our brand of sports and life talk. Thankfully, my man Bill Hagen revived 1090, who has been instrumental in our growth, and getting us onto televisions throughout the mega market.”
Former Nielsen PPM Panelist Sues Ratings Company for Revealing His Identity in Bubba the Love Sponge Ratings Manipulation Case. A report in the Tampa Bay Times indicates that the rabid fans of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge forced Nicolas Tabachuk and his family to move out of Florida after his identity was revealed along with this role in outing Bubba in a PPM ratings manipulation scheme. Tabachuk is suing Nielsen in Pinellas County, Florida complaining that the company promised to keep his identity hidden but failed to do so. This suit stems from the 2015 case in which Nielsen sued Bubba the Love Sponge for paying a PPM panelist to tune in to the show. Bubba and Nielsen settled that suit for an undisclosed amount. This suit claims that after promising to keep Tabachuk’s identity secret, Nielsen revealed it to Bubba during a meeting with him. It goes on to claim that Bubba’s fans harassed Tabachuk with death threats, rape threats and stalking, hacking his social media accounts, showing up to his home and the home of his parents. The suit is seeking in excess of $30,000 from Nielsen. Bubba the Love Sponge is not named in the suit.
WWO: Podcasting Accounts for All the Growth in Audio. Using data from Edison Research’s Q4 2020 edition of the Share of Ear study, this week’s Westwood One blog observes what it calls “stunning news” – that “for the first time, audience shares for podcasting surpassed the combined audiences of ad-supported Pandora and ad-supported Spotify.” Some of the takeaways from this blog report include: AM/FM radio’s 74% share of ad-supported audio is 11 times bigger than Pandora’s and 19 times larger than Spotify’s; adding podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming generates incremental reach to over-the-air AM/FM radio media plans; and podcasting now accounts for all the growth in audio. A four-year comparison of Share of Ear data reveals ad-supported Pandora and Spotify shares have dropped from a 12% share in 2016 to a 11% share in 2020. Over the same period, podcast shares increased 4 times, 3% to 12%. See the Westwood One blog here.
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report at Syracuse.com, radio sales and management pro Rick Yacobush has come out of retirement to join the sales and marketing team at Cumulus Media’s Syracuse cluster as a senior account executive. Yacobush has worked for more than 42 years in the Central New York radio market. The Cumulus cluster in Syracuse includes sports talk WSKO-AM and three music brands…..New York Times bestselling author and TV personality Nicole Lapin announces the launch of her new daily financial podcast, “Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin,” distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast is a call-in style financial podcast “that demystifies money topics for everyday people.” Each week, Lapin invites a listener to come onto the show for a one-on-one “listener intervention,” where she has an extended conversation with the listener about a money issue and gives them advice so they can “rehab” their finances…..Audacy’s Cadence13 and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions unveil “FAIRGAME,” a limited-run podcast series hosted by former world No. 1 champion golfer Adam Scott in which “he’ll take listeners inside the ropes to provide a never-before-heard account of what it takes to compete at the game’s most prominent event, the 2021 Masters Tournament.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting coverage of the 85th Masters Tournament from Wednesday (4/7) through Sunday (4/11). Each day during the tournament, Westwood One will offer two-minute-long leader board updates and breaking news reports at :16 and :46 past the hour for a total of 102 updates throughout the Masters. In addition, Westwood One Sports will air “The Masters Tonight,” an hour-long show featuring highlights, player audio, and more to recap the day’s events, hosted by Kevin Kugler with former PGA Tour player Charlie Rymer…..The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC announces it has partnered with Cumulus Media’s KCSF-AM, Colorado Springs “XTRA Sports 1300” to broadcast Switchbacks games in 2021. KCSF-AM program director and afternoon drive host Ryan Kaufman will handle play-by-play duties. He’d served as TV play-by-play announcer since 2018.
COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Troubles/Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Rights/MLB Moves All-Star Game, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Hunter Biden Book, Credit Suisse Loss, and Netanyahu Corruption Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the spread of the variants, and the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan; the problem of large numbers of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the new voting laws in Georgia, the Democrats’ federal voting rights bill, and the MLB’s decision to move the All-Star game out of Atlanta in response; the investigation into allegations of sex with a minor against Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz; the new book by Hunter Biden that details his addiction troubles and more; Credit Suisse loses $4.7 billion after a hedge fund collapses; and the corruption trial facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.