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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Monday, July 27, 2020

| July 27, 2020

Monday Memo: About Pottymouth. Yes, the rules are different for podcasters than for what’s acceptable on-air lingo. But consultant Holland Cooke warns podcasters, “Pick your lane and stay with it.” Read his column here.

Unemployment Benefits Ending/New Stimulus Deal, Back to School Debate, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Protests, Presidential Race, U.S.-China Tensions, MLB Season Begins, and the Deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Americans are bracing for the end of unemployment benefits that run out this week as the GOP and the White House work on a new stimulus package; the debate over if and how to send kids back to school in the fall; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the Black Lives Matter protests in several cities and the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; the November presidential election and current Trump approval polls; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China and allegations China is trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data; Major League Baseball begins its shortened 2020 season; and the deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Location, Location, Location. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the coronavirus pandemic has changed where people take part in certain activities and where they consume certain products. Similarly, radio salespeople must accept that in-car listening habits have changed and they must pitch accordingly. Read it here.

Two Stations Add Salem Radio Network Lineup. Two radio stations are adding the Salem Radio Network lineup of conservative talk shows to their program schedules. Idaho Wireless Corporation’s KSEI, Pocatello, Idaho flips from oldies to news/talk and Wilkins Radio Network changes KXKS-AM, Albuquerque from a religious format to news/talk, both airing the lineup of Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Dan Proft.  Both stations are also airing Townhall News at the top of the hour. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “We have seen tremendous interest in the news/talk format, with this major breaking news cycle we are living through. These stations see this tremendous interest in breaking news and what to make of it, and they understand only one network is capable of giving them an entire lineup.”

iHeartMedia Los Angeles Partners with FanVestor for Charitable Sweepstakes. Through a partnership with fan engagement app FanVestor, iHeartMedia Los Angeles is raising money for local charities providing access to healthy meals for children and others affected by COVID-19 school closures and financial hardship. FanVestor is hosting a series of virtual in-app sweepstakes in which fans who download the free app and create an account become automatically entered to win a daily $1,000 cash prize and can also enter to win one virtual fan experience sweepstakes of their choice for free. Those virtual fan experiences include: A Private Virtual Q&A with professional baseball players Justin Turner or Max Muncy hosted by KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” personalities Petros and Money. The winner will also receive a team gift bag and jersey from one of the players and two of the original seats from Dodger Stadium; A Private Virtual Hang with The Jonas Brothers hosted by 104.3 MYFM’s on-air personality Valentine; A Private Virtual Hang with DJ Khaled, hosted by Big Boy from KRRL “REAL 92.3”; Co-Host for The Day on 102.7 KIIS FM’s “Top 9 at 9 Countdown” alongside on-air personality EJ, plus a private virtual hang and interview with artist, singer and dancer Jackson Wang; Private Virtual Brunch with Ryan Seacrest and the cast of 102.7 KIIS FM’s “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” show; and more. iHeartMedia division president Kevin LeGrett says, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles is excited to partner with the new FanVestor fan engagement app at a time when our listeners, the fans, are craving interaction with their favorite artists and trusted iHeartMedia personalities.”

‘10,000 Voices’ Campaign Underway at iHeartMedia Philadelphia. In collaboration with non-profit voter registration organization HeadCount, iHeartMedia Philadelphia launches the “10,000 Voices” campaign to encourage voter registration in Philadelpha, New Jersey, and Delaware. iHeartMedia Philadelphia says it will “combine its tremendous reach on air and digitally with HeadCount’s voter engagement tools along with support from the Philadelphia Commissioners Office in the 100 days leading up to voter registration deadlines in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. “10,000 Voices” will provide three paths for voter engagement: voter registration; a Me+3 Pledge, an initiative which will encourage listeners to bring three friends or family members to vote; and voting by mail. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “Increasing the number of people that vote in each election means better representation of everyone’s voice and a great way to actively participate in our democracy. This is our chance to vote on the issues important to us.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio pro Simon Conway (left) is filling in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show today through Wednesday. That’s in addition to Conway doing his regular WHO, Des Moines-based morning show that’s also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Quad Cities. The Joe Pags Show will also air on WMT and WOC…..Magnum Communications closes on the acquisition of WFAW-AM and WSJY-FM, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and WKCH-FM, Whitewater, Wisconsin from NRG Media. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers announce they have a new Spanish-language radio broadcast team for the 2020 season. Francisco Pinto will provide color commentary and Adrian Garcia Marquez will serve as the play-by-play announcer on Estrella Radio’s simulcast of regional Mexican KBUE-FM/KEBN-FM “Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos says, “We are excited to reunite two of LA’s most recognizable and respected voices on our Spanish-language radio broadcast. Francisco and Adrian have great on-air chemistry, as witnessed by their multiple Emmy Awards calling Los Angeles Lakers games for Spectrum SportsNet Deportes. Both are consummate professionals with extensive sports broadcast experience not just in LA, but on the national and international stages as well. We cannot wait for their call to hit the airwaves this season and bring Chargers fans the action in a way that only Francisco and Adrian can.”…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline announced via social media that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He writes: “I am COVID positive and I ‘have a bad case of pneumonia.’ They are sending for the respiratory therapist STAT. And they will do everything they can before they need to consider… ventilator. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Not feeling well at all.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Broadcaster Urban One, Inc’s executive team expressed thanks on Friday to the Washington, D.C. City Council for the amendment that effectively eliminates a proposed advertising tax from the Fiscal 2021 budget.  The proposed 3% sales tax would have been added to TV, radio, print, and digital advertising purchases. Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “We have been partners with the residents of the District for over 40 years and consider ourselves part of the fiber of the city and the DMV.  This pandemic has devastated and disrupted all of our lives, and the advertising tax would have been like adding salt in the wound.”…..iHeartMedia announces it has signed Jubal Fresh to a deal to host “The Jubal Show” on CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” Previously paired with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke and Jubal” show based at Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle, Jubal exited the show earlier this year. He will be joined at KBKS by his wife, Alex Fresh, and additional hosts to be named at a later date. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Jubal on his next endeavor and welcome him to iHeartMedia Seattle. Jubal’s ability to cultivate a diverse fan base across America, but most importantly, right here in Seattle, was just something we could not miss. I’m excited to welcome him and Alex to the team!”

Friday, May 22, 2020

| May 22, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled “Medicine and Politics!” looks back at this past week of May 18-22, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, physician / talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Richard Neer, talk show host, CBS Sports RadioLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast. This 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Cumulus Media Adopts Short-Term Shareholder Rights Plan. The company follows both Entercom (announced on April 21) and iHeartMedia (announced on May 7) in adopting a shareholder rights plan – also known in the financial world as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without the consent of the board of directors. Cumulus Media states, “In adopting the Rights Plan, the Board has taken note of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Cumulus’ stock price, which the Board believes does not reflect the Company’s inherent value or business performance.  The Rights Plan is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders by preventing a creeping change of control without an appropriate premium and on terms that would not deliver sufficient value for all shareholders. In connection with the adoption of the Rights Plan, the Board declared a dividend distribution of one right (a ‘Right’) on each outstanding share of Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock, Series 1 warrant and Series 2 warrant.  The record date for the dividend distribution is June 1, 2020. Initially, these Rights will not be exercisable and will be attached to the Company’s common shares and warrants, as applicable. The Rights Plan is intended to protect shareholder interests by reducing the likelihood that any entity, person or group  is able to gain control of Cumulus through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or providing the Board sufficient opportunity to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of all shareholders. The Rights issued pursuant to the Rights Plan would be exercisable only if a person or group acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares (subject to certain exceptions), including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. In that situation, each holder of a Right (other than the acquiring person, whose Rights will become void and will not be exercisable) will be entitled to receive upon exercise of such Right that number of Class A common shares, Class B common shares, Series 1 warrants or Series 2 warrants, as applicable, having a market value of two times the exercise price of $25 per Right. In addition, the Rights Plan contains a similar provision if Cumulus is acquired in a merger or other business combination after an unapproved party acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares, including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. The Board, at its option, may exchange each Right (other than Rights owned by the acquiring person that have become void) at an exchange ratio of one Class A common share, Class B common share, Series 1 warrant or Series 2 warrant, as applicable, per outstanding Right, subject to adjustment.” The Rights expire on April 30, 2021.

TALKERS News Notes. The Buffalo News reports that John Murphy is leaving his role as co-host of the “One Bills Live” program that airs on Entercom’s sports talk WGR “550 Sports Radio” daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Murphy has been co-hosting the program with Steve Tasker. The Buffalo Bills website lists Bills insider Chris Brown and journalist Maddy Glab as Tasker’s co-hosts. Murphy also serves as radio play-by-play voice for the Buffalo Bills and will continue in that role…..UrbanMilwaukee.com columnist Bruce Murphy has a feature piece on Wisconsin progressive radio host and station owner Michael Crute that you can read here. Crute – co-host of the long-running progressive talk radio show “Devil’s Advocate” along with Dominic Salvia – owns progressive talk simulcast WRRD-AM, Waukesha/W269DL, Milwaukee as “Talk 101.7” and operates WTTN-AM, Columbus/W224EG, Madison as “Talk 92.7.” The piece addresses Crute’s decision to drop the “Resistance Radio” brand in Milwaukee of which potential advertisers were leery, as well as his surprise that Wisconsin Democrats have been hostile to his efforts…..ABC Audio’s daily, one-hour radio program “COVID-19: What You Need to Know” is re-launching as “Bringing America Back: What You Need to Know.” ABC says the Aaron Katersky-hosted program “updates the country’s fight against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – both medical and economic.  We answer your questions about the latest outbreak numbers and treatment developments and look at the cities and towns that are reopening, and what our new normal looks like. ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and other experts respond directly to questions submitted by ABC News listeners and viewers, and our team of correspondents and medical contributors keep you up to date on the latest news related to coronavirus.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 18-22. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the health care system and the controversy over the use of hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the state of the U.S. economy and the state of education in the country, followed by the presidential race and politics 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 from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

iHeartRadio and Mental Health Coalition Partner for ‘How Are You Really?’ Campaign. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, iHeartRadio is partnering with Kenneth Cole and The Mental Health Coalition to end the stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness. The initiative addresses the most universally and commonly asked, but rarely answered question, ‘How Are You, Really?’ The campaign challenges people to answer this as honestly as they can and inspire many others to do the same to help destigmatize all mental health conditions. As part of the collaboration, iHeartRadio is airing PSAs voiced by on-air personalities Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones and Steve Harvey, encouraging listeners to answer how they’re really doing and challenge those in their lives to do the same. In addition, iHeartRadio is hosting and airing a 30-minute public affairs show discussing the effects of COVID-19 on mental health. Interviewees include social activist and iconic fashion designer Kenneth Cole; Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president of Child Mind Institute; and Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

MIW Radio Group Adds Four to Executive Committee. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group adds four new members to the MIW Group executive committee: Angie Balderas, SVP & general manager Entravision; Valerie Blackburn, principal VKB Media Consulting; Tricia Gallenbeck, VP & general manager Reno Media Group; and Beth Neuhoff, CEO and president Neuhoff Media. MIW Group national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “Seasoned radio pros, these accomplished ladies bring expertise in a variety of areas, years of experience in leadership and well-earned reputations as some of the best in the business. They are perfect additions to the MIW executive committee and, not surprisingly, they’ve already hit the ground running on behalf of the MIWs! We also extend heartfelt thanks to two good friends and long-term MIW colleagues transitioning off of the executive committee, Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer, Beasley Media Group (MIW Spokeswoman from 2008-2014) and Jennifer Williams, VP digital marketing, Beasley Media Group. They leave with our immense gratitude for many years of dedication and service to the MIWs.”

TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2020 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled and published the eighth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list, like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos, or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says it’s important to note that this year’s Heavy Hundred comes with an important qualifying statement. “The publication of this year’s list was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and it is crucial to note that it represents a snapshot of the industry as it was shortly after January 1, 2020 and is based on performances and assessments made prior to that point. Although we were prepared to publish the list in March, we delayed publication in order to focus on the pandemic’s effect on the radio industry. As a result of COVID-19, some of the talent on this list have been victims of unexpected staff reductions and furloughs and are not currently on the air. It is our belief that they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments, nonetheless. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made the eighth annual list!” See it here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits/Oldies. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits and oldies formats. See how those stations performed in April compared to March 2020 and in comparison to April of 2019, plus more, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The City of Chicago is partnering with iHeartMedia Chicago hip hop outlet WGCI for two days of virtual entertainment to encourage residents to stay home while still enjoying themselves and experiencing music and culture over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. Under the Stay at Home order and CDC guidelines prohibiting gatherings of over 10 people, the virtual entertainment will provide Chicagoans with an online opportunity to engage and celebrate the weekend at home. The 107.5 WGCI Stay at Home Weekend starts Saturday with an Instagram Battle between two of Chicago’s own hip hop artists, GHerbo and Lil Durk. Starting at 8:00 pm, these two rappers will go song-for-song for the title of Stay at Home Weekend Rap King. On Sunday the Stay at Home Weekend continues with a virtual comedy tour hosted by 107.5 WGCI’s Leon Rogers. This virtual show will feature comedians, Just Nesh, Dawn B, Lavar Walker, Correy B, and Damon Williams. iHeartMedia Chicago region president Matt Scarano says, “I am honored to have the privilege of partnering with the City of Chicago in its mission of promoting the health and safety of our community during this critical time. As a broadcaster it is our responsibility to engage in continuous collaboration with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicagoland community.”

Monday, November 11, 2019

| November 11, 2019

2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame.  Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies.  Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest).  Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance.  “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.”  Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh.  Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.

Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap.  The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion.  Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password.  She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed.  Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment.  Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone.  In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion.  The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.”  Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey.  Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4).  Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up.  News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: That First Call.  As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales.  In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects.  Read it here.

Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year.  As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year.  He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen.  The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am.  Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM.  He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show.  He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago.   Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts.  He retired from the station last March.

WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.  It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners.  And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.”  In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show.   Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air.  She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”  Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan.  Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced.  Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday.  Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame  by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.

Monday, October 21, 2019

| October 21, 2019

Monday Memo: TV Synergy. The two biggest hits radio suffers during ongoing cost cuts are off-air promotion and local news.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists resourceful tactics that smart stations share with equally challenged TV stations.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry, Mulvaney-Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Spat, G7 Summit Flap, Canadian Election, U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and FOX News’ Chris Wallace spar over Mulvaney’s Ukraine quid pro quo explanation; the 2020 presidential race and the spat between Hillary Clinton and Tulsi Gabbard; the controversy over the White House reversing its decision to hold the 2020 G7 summit at the Trump National Doral; Canada goes to the polls today as Justin Trudeau fights for his political life; the trade negotiations between China and the U.S. and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong; and Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Celebrity Presenters Announced for Radio Hall of Fame Induction. When the 31st Annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place at Gotham Hall in New York City on November 8, it will feature a star-studded lineup of presenters that includes: “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, actor and producer Christian Slater, “Entertaintment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier, veteran radio and cable television programmer and music industry entrepreneur Andy Schuon, SiriusXM vice president/general manager talk programming Dave Gorab, WYNY-FM, New York retired general manager of Frank Osborne, longtime WCBS-FM program director Joe McCoy, and actress, producer, and radio host Connie Sellecca.  This year’s inductees are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (Kevin & Bean), Joe Madison, Jim Rome, Ryan Seacrest, John Tesh, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin comments, “This event is traditionally heartfelt and emotionally charged as the talented inductees are honored for accomplishments that most only dream of.  But this year will be even more magical with this A-list group of presenters who share a special connection with our inductees.”

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Opioid Town Hall. On Wednesday (10/23) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media news/talk outlet WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a special Town Hall broadcast confronting the opioid crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents.  The program includes “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott leading the news and digital departments in bringing listeners personal stories of addiction and recovery, a discussion of the physical and physiological effects of opioids that lead to addiction, and information about state programs designed to help.  The on-air guest panel is comprised of alumni of New Jersey recovery programs: Leah Butacavoli, a residential tech at GenPsych; Alton Robinson, founder of Flanders, New Jersey-based Community Recovery Center of Morris County; and Cheryl Semiz, director of outreach for Sparta, New Jersey-based Garden State Treatment Center.  They will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.  “New Jersey 101.5” brand manager Anne Gress says, “As the opioid crisis continues to threaten New Jersey, we understand our responsibility to use our powerful voice and multiple platforms to continue the conversation on this pervasive epidemic.  I am proud to be part of a station and media company that understands this responsibility and is bringing this critically important information to the community.”  The program will be streamed via Facebook Live.  The “New Jersey 101.5” news department, under the direction of Annette Petriccione, will air a series of special news segments from station investigative reporter David Matthau titled, “Battling Addiction,” beginning today (10/21) and continuing up to the Town Hall broadcast.  Online versions of those stories are being made available on NJ1015.com and the free “New Jersey 101.5” app.

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway’s Puppy Jake Foundation raised more than $40,000 in two hours on Friday (10/18) to acquire, raise, and train service dogs for veterans.  The sixth annual free BBQ sandwich giveaway raised $4,000 in its first year and raised incrementally more each successive year.  A local supermarket donated more than 200 pounds of meat and a local barbecue grilling champion donated buns and sauce and did the cooking.  Pictured at right are some of the cars lining up to get their free BBQ.  Conway says, “I have the best audience in talk radio.  They are astonishing!  I also have to thank some of my show’s sponsors who have taken this charity to their hearts.”…..SiriusXM is again offering NBA fans extensive coverage of the 2019-20 season with live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel.  The NBA begins its 74th season tomorrow (10/22)…..iHeartMedia teams up with Mental Floss to launch a new history podcast titled, “History Vs.”  The iHeartRadio Original Podcast explores the lives of historical figures who made a lasting impact on today’s society and culture, with this season examining U.S President Theodore Roosevelt.  Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts the show.

iHeartMedia Names Yesenia Bello SVP of Multicultural Sales. In this newly created position, Yesenia Bello will be responsible for developing sales opportunities with key multicultural advertisers and their agencies across iHeartMedia broadcast stations, digital, podcast, events and Premiere Networks.  She will also work closely with Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, to create an innovative go-to-market audio strategy for iHeartMedia’s Hispanic portfolio.  In addition, she will also lead sales efforts for the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina annual concert in Miami.  Bello most recently worked at Google, where she focused on Multicultural strategy and sales for YouTube advertisers.  Bello says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia during a time when cultural sound is creating a seismic shift in the music industry and is reshaping how we consume and how we experience music.  iHeart has a great history of embracing its Hispanic and African-American listeners and I can’t wait to help create an innovative, strategic focus in multicultural audiences that will deliver incremental growth across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of assets.”

Jim Bohannon Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Perennial TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” star Jim Bohannon guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Next year marks the Cumulus Media/Westwood One personality’s 60th anniversary in radio. Harrison and Bohannon discuss the mega-changes that have occurred in the radio business over the past six decades, taking a seasoned look at the current state of the medium and its trajectory going forward including a fascinating analysis on the ever-changing relationship between content and platform. They also discuss the implications of the disappearance of the local radio station as a community cultural center. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

 

Sales Assistant Gig in Charlotte. At its Charlotte station group that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/FM, and hot AC WLNK-FM, Entercom is seeking a detail-oriented and energetic individual to serve as a sales assistant. Entercom says, “The primary role of this position is to help coordinate all aspects of the local business and sales efforts – order entry, traffic coordination, promotional fulfillment, and communication with clients and vendors. Other duties include editing and formatting sales proposals, creating client recaps, and assisting in sales and business reporting. Secondary duties include coordinating on-air promos, assisting with employee and client meetings, and assisting in office management. Get more info and apply here.

Station Manager Position in Cincinnati. Christian broadcaster Pillar of Fire has a station manager position open in Cincinnati. The post says: Are you looking for a job with purpose? Contemporary Christian music station “STAR 93.3” (WAKW) Cincinnati is looking for a qualified, well-rounded individual to oversee and ensure the smooth daily operation and growth of the radio station. This position involves managing the staff, administrative, compliance, technical, program, fundraising, and sales aspects of the station. Reporting to the network director of broadcasting, the station manager is responsible for fostering the positive organizational culture, personality, listener growth, and financial viability of the station and representing the station at local and industry-wide events. Job requirements include a bachelor’s degree, commitment to excellence, and at least 5 years of successful radio station management. ‘STAR 93.3’ offers a positive working environment. Send your resume to: hr@star933.com. No calls please. EOE.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Rich Bailey is named program director for Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville.  He served as the program director for SummitMedia’s CHR WWST, Sevierville, Tennessee “Star 102.1” for the past 23 years.  Cumulus Knoxville VP/market manager Ken Salyer says, “The opportunity to have Rich join our team in Knoxville was simply too good to pass up.  His dedication to detail and drive to win is known industry wide.  This elevates our group to an entirely new level.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is now offering a third version of the classic hits format for stations seeking a gold-based pop radio format with more 60s music.  Classic Hits Gold complements the company’s modern Classic Hits format, which has evolved to be a core ‘80s format with some ‘90s, and its Classic Hits Rock, that features rock classics.  Classic Hits Gold feature proven hit music from the mid-to-late-60s through the early-to-mid-80s, from core artists such as: The Eagles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Queen, The Beatles, and Chicago…..Entercom announces the lineup for its “7th Annual We Can Survive, presented by AT&T” benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.  The RADIO.COM event, hosted by local CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” will feature performances by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Marshmello, and Becky G.  Proceeds from the event will help the American Cancer Society save more lives from breast cancer.  Entercom SVP of programming and musical initiatives Michael Martin says, “‘We Can Survive’ will bring together legendary artists on an iconic stage for a great cause.  We’re looking forward to bringing audiences together for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind evening.  The anticipation for this event has been outstanding, with tickets selling out in under 30 minutes.”…..In Louisville, content director and afternoon personality Juan Hustle exits Alpha Media’s hip hop WGZB “B96.5” after a stint of more than four years…..Northeast Broadcasting makes a change at its Burlington, Vermont station group, flipping adult hits WWMP “Free 103.3” to rock at “Rock 103,3.”  Core artists for the format include: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Papa Roach, Rage Against The Machine, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters…..There’s more downsizing at Forever Media’s Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland cluster as Tom Schultz exits classic hits WAVD, Ocean City “97.1 The Wave.”   Also exiting her position is classic hits WNCL, Milford, Delaware “COOL 101.3” midday personality Paula Sangaleer…..The Mainstay Station Trust – created to hold and sell four stations Cumulus Media was required to let go of after its 2017 reorganization – will sell WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin (Green Bay market) and WNUQ, Sylvester, Georgia (Albany market).  Educational Media Foundation will buy WPCK for $512,000 and Pretoria Fields Collective Media will acquire WNUQ for $98,000…..iHeartMedia alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” announces the return of the “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show.”  It will take place on Saturday, November 30 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia and will feature a surprise performance from one of today’s top performing artists.  Fans will learn who the performer is as they walk on stage.  The 2018 “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show” featured a performance from Bastille.