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Friday, July 23, 2021

| July 23, 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, “Breakthroughs and Setbacks,” looks back at this past week of July 19-23. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; James Golden, host/producer, Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.

WWTN-FM, Nashville Afternoon Host Phil Valentine Hospitalized with COVID-19. According to a report from WKRN-TV, Nashville, WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine is in the hospital and his family says he is “in very serious condition” and is suffering from “COVID Pneumonia,” as well as other side effects. The family adds that he is “in the critical care unit of a Nashville area hospital breathing with assistance, but is not on a ventilator, his family wrote.” Valentine had tested positive for COVID-19 around July 11 and posted to Facebook confirming that he had the illness but said he believed he was “on the other side of it” and expected to be back at work soon. It’s unclear when he took a turn for the worse but his family adds in their message, “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. Phil & his family would like for all of you to know that he loves y’all and appreciates your concern, thoughts & prayers more than you will ever know. Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”

WLS-AM, Chicago Political Reporter Bill Cameron to Retire. After a 51-year career, Chicago political reporter Bill Cameron will retire from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago on August 20. Cameron, who also hosts the Sunday evening program, “Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron,” has spent the last 21 years of his career with WLS-AM. Cumulus says, “Cameron, who until the demise of WMAQ radio was its political editor, is considered the “dean” of radio political reporters in Chicago. He joined the Chicago City Hall beat in 1970. In addition to daily reporting of Chicago politics, he has hosted and produced weekly public affairs programs.” Cameron’s coverage of Chicago politics began with Mayor Richard J. Daley and includes the “revolving-door administration” of Mayor Jane Byrne, the “Council Wars” of the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and now Lori Lightfoot. Cameron has an audio archive of the news events that occurred during his career that includes humor and songs of Chicago politics. From this archive, Cameron reported and produced four albums, “Mayor Daley on the Record”, “Remembering Harold,” “Blago’s Greatest Hits,” and “Mayor Daley’s Greatest Hits.” WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “No matter what the news entailed, you could always count on Bill to bring it to you accurately and without bias. Never swayed by the political winds of the day, Bill’s interviewing and reporting skills will not only be missed by us here at the ‘Big 89’ but by Chicago as a whole. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Dan Bongino Show Passes 300 Affiliate Mark. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” has surpassed the 300-station milestone after two months on the air. Cumulus Media says, “‘The Dan Bongino Show’ has quickly become one of the most influential radio programs and appointment listening for conservative audiences.” The radio program counts stations including KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; KSEV-AM, Houston; WMAL-FM, Washington; KTTH-AM, Seattle; and WJR-AM, Detroit; as well as the company’s new, all-digital station WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York.

Telstar and Me: July 23, 1962. Voiceover artist and former talk radio host Mark Wainwright contributes a piece in the anniversary of the debut of the first communications satellite in 1962. He writes, “Instant worldwide audio/video communication is a routine, taken‐for‐granted aspect of our lives; we can hold the technology in our hands and access it anytime. Yet, it wasn’t so long ago that this was the stuff of science fiction. By the early 1960s, live worldwide radio had been around for decades. With a combination of shortwave transmission and some intricate international phone links, you could get a radio broadcast from just about anywhere to just about anyplace. There were limitations, and the audio quality wasn’t great, but it could be done.” Read the whole piece here.

COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccines Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 19-23. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and the vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the January 6 Committee, Donald Trump and the GOP, and the new books covering the Trump administration, followed by denial of the 2020 election results, voting legislation, and the teaching of critical race theory 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.

Salem Media Group Seeks Talk Host for Christian Talk KKLA-FM, Los Angeles. Salem Media Los Angeles is looking for the next host for its live daily talk show on Christian formatted 99.5 KKLA. The company says: “This is talk radio with a difference. It’s a Christian perspective on news of the day. The average length of time hosts have held this position is eight-plus years, and our current host is moving on to other ministry work. Affinity for and understanding of the target audience of Christians, or spiritual ‘seekers’ is necessary. Impacting the culture and lives can be deeply satisfying, so much more so than many typical ‘shows.’ If you are still reading this posting, tired of less meaningful hosting, if you are ready for a change, if you are intrigued by this opportunity, pray about it and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. This show can tend to be off the radar of ‘general market’ talk radio, so in case you are wondering, this is a legit afternoon drive talk show, topics, guests, listener calls. Salem is a public company, we are not a church, we are a commercial radio station. Most of us here have a background in competitive ‘general market’ radio. And we have been attracted to working for Salem because of the difference it makes in our own lives, and the lives of our audience base and communities. The show is heard in both Los Angeles and San Diego during afternoon drive each weekday. It’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We would enjoy speaking with you if you have any questions.” Contact KKLA program director Rodney Miller at: Rodney.miller@salemla.com.

KNBR, San Francisco Seeking Full-Time Writer/Web Producer. San Francisco sports talker KNBR is seeking a full-time writer and web producer. The station says: “As a member of the San Francisco Cumulus digital team, the writer and web producer will be responsible for covering Bay Area sports as a writer, reporter and content creator, while also supporting the KNBR digital team’s efforts in creating digital content related to the KNBR radio station. The job will include but is not limited to writing, on-site reporting, interviewing, editing, headline writing, social media skills, going on-air or on-camera, collaborating on digital content both within the department and with other departments such as programing, sales and promotions.” See more information about the position and apply here.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

| July 22, 2021

Larry Elder Prevails in Suit to Get on California Recall Ballot. California-based Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder is on the official ballot for the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom after California Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl sided with Elder in his suit against Secretary of State Shirley Weber. Weber’s office said Elder’s five years of tax returns were improperly filed or redacted and he would not be allowed on the September 14 ballot. In his suit, Elder argued that the 2019 law requiring gubernatorial candidates to provide five years of tax returns applies to candidates in a “direct primary election,” and this recall is not a primary election and Judge Earl agreed, saying, “I don’t find that Mr. Elder was required to file tax returns at all.” Elder also argued that since Governor Newsom did not have to provide tax returns, Elder was not being afforded equal protection under the law. There will be 43 candidates on the September ballot.

Bob Philips Named President of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. In a memo to company employees, Audacy chief operating officer Susan Larkin announces that chief revenue officer Bob Philips is assuming the new role of president of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. She says, “We believe Bob will deliver significant revenue impact and client outcomes by focusing on growing our network and multi-market sales businesses as we continue to execute our market growth strategy. As chief revenue officer, Bob was a catalyst for innovation and growth. Under his leadership, we streamlined multiple revenue departments, launched the Audacy Network and our in-house traffic network while also revolutionizing our approach to national sales, bringing new brands and bigger opportunities onto our platform. And, as the economy rebounds and local and national advertising return to pre-pandemic levels, Bob will build exponential value for our clients and for Audacy.” Larkin says the company is beginning a search for a new chief revenue officer immediately.

Townsquare Media Names Peter Van Den Heuvel Market President for Cedar Rapids-Waterloo. Media executive Peter Van Den Heuvel is joining Townsquare Media as market president and chief revenue officer for the company’s Cedar Rapids/Waterloo station group. Van Den Heuvel was most recently with Spectrum Reach. Townsquare Media SVP Todd Lawley says, “Peter has extensive multi-platform management experience which makes him a perfect fit for this role. I could not be more excited to have someone with Peter’s leadership and depth of multi-platform knowledge to lead our two-time ‘Market of the Year’ team in Cedar Rapids/Waterloo.”

BIA: U.S. Local Ad Spend to Hit $142 Billion. The consultancy firm BIA Advisory Services is revising its 2021 forecasts for U.S. local advertising revenue to $142.4 billion, up $4.8 billion from its November 2020 estimate. The projection is split between traditional and digital media but shows that the divide is narrowing, with traditional advertising only 8 % ahead of digital media that includes: mobile, online, over-the-top, email, and traditional media’s online ventures. BIA predicts local radio advertising will rebound somewhat to $11.7 billion in 2021 and $12.3 billion in 2022, with $.94 billion and $1.04 billion, respectfully, coming from digital platforms. The revised forecast also sees a 5.6 % increase in overall compound annual growth in U.S. spending in local ad markets and expects the amount to reach $157.1 billion in 2022 and $162.1 billion in 2023. While the digital media share will first leapfrog to 51 % over traditional media by 2023.

Journalists Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz to Produce January 6 Podcast for Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios. Former WNYC reporters Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, co-hosts of the podcast “Trump, Inc.,” announce they will be working with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios on an investigative documentary podcast series “that will trace the multiple failures that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.” The yet-to-be-titled series will launch in early 2022. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “We couldn’t be prouder to be working with Andrea and Ilya. We’ve been tremendous fans of their unique, ambitious style of investigative narrative audio for years, and what they are uncovering about the insurrection on January 6 will provide the context about that day and what led to it that all of us are so desperate to understand.”

TALKERS News Notes. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG, Tulsa talk host Mark Kaye is giving away his new book to listeners for free. He says his anti-cancel culture book, The Woke Folk, is dedicated to his late on-air predecessor Rush Limbaugh. He says, “I just wanted to get this book out there. Cancel culture is already destroying important parts of our society. It must be stopped. I want everyone in my audience to have this book so we can continue to spread Rush’s legacy to as many people as possible. So, instead of selling it, I’m just giving them all a copy for free.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services announces the findings of a new study on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Americans, conducted on Tuesday (7/20) and supplementing its Ratings Prospect Study 18, fielded June 18-20, 2021. In Tuesday’s study of 1,318 respondents between 14 and 64 years of age, NuVoodoo found that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is highest among women and 25-54-year-old adults. On the flipside, the study further revealed that Hispanic Americans are the least vaccine hesitant of any population segment. NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert comments, “Our June study was conducted about five weeks after the CDC gave the all-clear for vaccinated Americans to essentially return to a normal life, and feelings were most certainly running toward the optimistic side after 15 months of COVID-19 related restrictions. With this new variant of concern starting to impact case rates and hospitalizations, not to mention dominating the news cycle, we felt it important to provide the timeliest information, so our industry partners can make better informed decisions when planning the next few months.”…..Nexstar Media Group‘s WGN-AM, Chicago announces that Joe Brand is named the host of Chicago Blackhawks pregame and postgame shows and the weekly “Blackhawks Live” program, starting September 29. Brand takes over for Chris Boden, who was cut after four years. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says Brand is “one of the exciting sports broadcasters in Chicago. He’s been a key part of our Blackhawks broadcasts on WGN for several years, but mainly behind the scenes. Now, we’re thrilled that he can share his expertise, energy, and enthusiasm with Blackhawks fans on the air on a daily basis.” Brand has reported for the broadcast team and co-hosted both the “Blackhawks Crazy” and “Blackhawks 720” podcasts that originate from the WGN Radio studios.  Since joining WGN in 2013, Joe Brand has been a producer, reporter, anchor, and host.

COVID-19, Biden Town Hall, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill/Debt Ceiling Battle, Critical Race Theory, Extreme Weather and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the return of mask mandates; President Joe Biden’s Wednesday evening CNN town hall; Republicans and Democrats battle over the January 6 investigation committee; the fight in Washington over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill and the GOP’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling; the controversy over the teaching of critical race theory in public schools; and the extreme weather all over the world and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

| July 21, 2021

Pete Kaliner Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for Early Afternoon Show. North Carolina talk radio personality Pete Kaliner is joining Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte as host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show, effective July 26. Kaliner, who has been hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WWNC, Asheville, returns to the station where he spent a dozen years as news reporter and talk show host. Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landress says, “For three decades, ‘Noon to 3’ has been synonymous with an icon that is irreplaceable. We know that no one will ever replace Rush, and we’re not attempting to replace him. Bringing Pete Kaliner back to WBT represents our commitment to serving this community by utilizing his decades of experience in covering national issues and how they affect us here. We are excited by the future that having Pete on this team brings.” Kaliner says, “Returning to WBT is somewhat surreal, as it has been such a huge part of my life. Being a part of WBT for all those years meant being a part of Charlotte’s unique and inspiring story. WBT and Charlotte are inextricably connected by a century of history. I am sincerely humbled and honored to be entrusted to help contribute to the next chapters.” The station adds, “And, just as WBT has supported the community of Charlotte for over 99 years, Pete will join in this commitment to service by raising awareness to anti-poverty and animal welfare organizations as WBT approaches its Centennial celebration in 2022.”

Larry Elder Sues California Secretary of State for Keeping Him Off Recall Ballot. In a suit filed in California Superior Court, Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder complains that California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has improperly applied the state’s election code that requires candidates for governor submit five years of tax returns. Elder is among a number of people who filed as a candidate in the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder’s suit says that he fully complied with the code that requires filing of the tax returns and was informed by the Secretary of State that everything appeared to be in order and therefore the state’s Elections Code says it’s incumbent on the Secretary of State to correct any redacting errors that might have occurred. Further, Elder says the law requiring the filing of tax returns specifically applies only to “direct primary elections” so it’s debatable whether it applies to recall elections at all. Additionally, the way the law is being applied does not require Gavin Newsom to file his returns and this, Elder argues, violates his equal protection rights under California’s Constitution. Read the court filing here.

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on 11th Episode of Limbaugh Tribute Podcast Series – Premiere Networks and EIB Network Presenting ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast series is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo SnerdleyPremiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series details legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series gives listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to becoming the number one talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “It is gratifying to share this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best are providing an insider’s look at his life and career, presenting a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” Michael Harrison states, “I am honored to be part of this magnificent project. Congratulations to the entire team at Premiere including the production wizards Phil Tower and Chris Kelly for their superb craftsmanship.” You can listen to the first 11 installments of this historic 12 part series including the latest featuring Michael Harrison and Salem Media Group VP Phil Boyce titled, “Talkers,” by clicking here.

TTWN Expands Relationship with The JOY FM. The Total Traffic and Weather Network announces an expanded newswire content partnership with The JOY FM. Under the agreement, TTWN will provide news, sports, show-prep and audio content via its 24/7 News Source wire service to The JOY FM’s 14 radio stations across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. TTWN says that with a completely redesigned all-in-one broadcast interface, 24/7 News Source provides its affiliate partners with market-customized text and audio news, weather, sports, and entertainment updates, including format-specific content and show-prep, plus the ability to instantly click-n-share stories via social media. TTWN SVP of affiliate sales Jack Dunkle says, “TTWN delivers custom solutions for all formats to meet our affiliate partners’ needs, including more than 200 Christian Radio affiliates.  We’re excited to expand our partnership with The JOY FM to provide more of their stations with trusted, premium newsroom content.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is hiring Hollywood entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to contribute show biz reports to Steve Bertrand’s afternoon drive program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rubin is based at Nexstar’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles and he also contributes to the NewsNation cable channel. WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells staffers, “These added resources help WGN report and tell stories that other audio platforms can’t deliver.”…..Compass Media Networks unveils the lineup of NFL games that it will make available to radio stations this season. The season starts on September 9 with the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compass Media Networks says the schedule will feature a double-header every Sunday for all 18 weeks of the regular season along with full coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders…..3G Broadcasting’s WADK-AM, Newport, Rhode Island adds a translator to its broadcast at 101.1 FM. Station owner Bonnie Gomes says WADK can now operate 24 hours and they’ll be rounding out the program schedule soon. “We’ll make the announcement as our programming increases, but we’re still going to be the source for wide, local news, and a resource to the community. That’s who we are, we’re not going to change.”…..The Undefeated columnist, commentator and host Clinton Yates is leading a new The Undefeated and ESPN podcast, “Black History Always,” produced by Roj Grobes, beginning July 28. Yates says, “With ‘Black History Always,’ we’re looking to remind people that who we are as a culture is a living, breathing entity in all parts of American society. It’s not just history books and social media. The humans who make up the fabric and backbone of this country aren’t all superstars or slaves. We contain multitudes and everyone deserves to be heard. So, tune in.”…..RAB announces that the deadline for entries for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards has been extended to August 23. For more information and to register, click here.

Jiggy Jaguar Interviews Stars at Exxxotica Conference. Pictured above is Transmedia World Wide talk host James “Jiggy Jaguar” Lowe (center) at last weekend’s Exxxotica conference in Chicago interviewing two adult film stars for his radio program.

COVID-19/Paul-Fauci Battle, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, Trump Books/Trump and the GOP, Bezos Space Flight/Philanthropic Awards, Western Drought and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 U.S. states, vaccine hesitancy, and the Senate floor accusations between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Tony Fauci; the status of Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and Republicans’ plans to kill debate and negotiate a new bill; the ongoing backlash against teaching critical race theory in schools; the various books detailing the final year of the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space flight and his awarding $100 million to CNN’s Van Jones and chef Jose Andres; and the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Selling the Sorehead Show

| July 19, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week’s column dealt with the product aspect of talk radio’s negativity problem. This week, about sales.

Face facts:

  • We live in a divided America. Many are dug-into “rigged election” and similar grievance mantras.
  • Say “talk radio,” and you conjure a caricature. A decade ago Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke faux pas scared-away major advertisers who never came back.

Read More

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.