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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

| September 22, 2021

Larry Elder to Return to Salem Radio Network Show Next Month. It’s been more than a week since the California recall election that Governor Gavin Newsom won by a two-to-one margin. Top Republican vote-getter Larry Elder has not yet returned to his nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show that airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. As TALKERS readers are aware, Elder took leave of his show to run in the recall election and Carl Jackson is hosting the program in his absence. SRN SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce says in a statement, “Larry is taking an additional 30 days to de-compress after a grueling run for governor of California. He plans to be back on the radio for Salem on or about October 18.  He wishes to thank all of his affiliates who supported him during this trying time, and he assures them when he comes back, he will be on fire and ready to save America once again.” At this morning’s editorial meeting, several TALKERS staffers raised the question as to why Elder wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get back on the air as quickly as possible to capitalize on the current buzz generated by his good showing among the GOP field. After all, in an era of short-term attention span, one must strike while the iron is hot. If he had been elected, he hopefully wouldn’t have taken a month off to recuperate. Salem has been extremely supportive of Elder and his campaign. Is there something else at play here?

Dennis Glasgow to Program iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. Radio programming pro Dennis Glasgow is the new program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC talk station “104.7 WONK-FM” (WWDC-HD2/W284CQ). Glasgow was most recently with Capitol Broadcasting where he was vice president of operations and program director for three sports stations including WCMC-FM, Raleigh. iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming for Washington and Baltimore Jeff Kapugi comments, “As a veteran in sports and news radio, Dennis brings an unparalleled set of skills and experience to WONK-FM. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Washington, D.C. team!” Glasgow says, “It’s an exciting time to be at WONK in Washington, DC. I am looking forward to creating meaningful and informative content for D.C.’s insiders and thought leaders every day.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WINZ as ‘FOX Sports Miami’; Local Morning Show Cancelled. Miami sports talk outlet WINZ-AM re-brands as “FOX Sports 940 Miami,” effective today (9/22). iHeartMedia drops the morning drive Jeff “DeFo” DeForrest show and replaces it with its new nationally syndicated show, “2 Pros and a Cup of Joe with Arrington, Quinn & Knox.” It now airs the complete FOX Sports Radio national lineup. It will continue to serve as the official flagship radio station for Miami Marlins baseball as well as University of Florida Gators men’s football and basketball. iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale market president Shari Gonzalez says, “We are excited to align 940 AM WINZ with a first-class organization like FOX Sports Radio. This partnership ensures passionate South Florida sports fans, and our 940 advertisers will have access to the nation’s top talk hosts and their insights on the most relevant topics facing teams, athletes, and fans.”

Audacy Names Steve Perrault Senior Producer for MLB Content. Sports radio pro Steve Perrault joins Audacy as senior producer for Major League Baseball content for its newly launched 2400Sports podcast studio. In this role, Perrault will oversee the creation and production of all MLB team podcasts and be a contributor to national podcasts co-produced in conjunction with MLB, following Audacy’s content partnership with the league. Perrault will co-host a new Boston Red Sox podcast under 2400Sports, which will debut in 2022 and will also serve as an on-air contributor for WEEI-FM, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox. This is in addition to his current role as co-host of the “Live BP Baseball Show” on the station. Perrault was most recently with Barstool Sports as co-host and producer of the company’s Red Sox-focused “Section 10” podcast. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “As we continue expanding our new 2400Sports podcast studio and embark on our new expansive podcast partnership with Major League Baseball, we’re thrilled about adding Steve to our team to launch a new show centered around the Boston Red Sox. This podcast, which will be intensely focused on fan engagement and fan-created content, will lend a unique perspective to everything Red Sox, and we believe Steve truly encompasses the dynamic of the show.”

Burlington, Vermont Sports Talker ‘101.3 The Game’ Drops ‘The Huddle.’ The afternoon drive show “The Huddle” with hosts Arnie Spanier and Rich Haskell has been dropped from the station’s program schedule on Vox AM/FM’s sports talk WCPV-FM, Burlington, Vermont “101.3 The Game.” The Burlington Free Press reports that the station has cited substandard ratings as the reason for the program’s demise. Haskell continues to work for Vox AM/FM, including calling Middlebury High School football on the company’s WVTK-FM. Spanier exits the company but continues his work with FOX Sports Radio on Sunday evenings. Haskell tells the paper, “It’s been a great run and it’s hard to see it end in the blink of an eye. But it’s also the nature of the business, that’s the real difficult nature of format and show changes in radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media personality and reporter William J. Kelly returns to the airwaves at WCGO-AM with his “The Citizen Kelly Show” on Monday (9/27). He says, “‘The Citizen Kelly Show’ is back! I’m very proud to be back on AM 1590 WCGO and 95.9 FM. We are a turning point in our nation’s history and, more than ever before, people want the truth. That’s what the Citizen Kelly Show is all about.”…..CNN Audio launches the first episode of “Margins of Error,” a new limited-series, weekly podcast hosted by CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. The company says, “In this series, Harry is on a mission to discover the statistical stories that live just a little under the radar. From making an unusual case for Daylight Saving Time, to the re-examination of a century old-dating rule, this podcast is a love letter to every listener who may need a pause from the news-of-the-day headlines, but still want the rigor of CNN reporting”…..John Davis joins the support team at Wheatstone. Davis – who has 18 years of on-air experience with Cox Media Group and continues to host weekend shows for the company – was most recently with Logitek Electronics Systems as a support manager. Davis has a background in AoIP support of almost 20 years and has previous experience in broadcast automation as the marketing manager for OMT Technologies.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling, Biden UN Speech, Infrastructure Bill, Southern Border Crisis, Trump Sues Niece and NYTimes, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid default on the nation’s debts; President Joe Biden’s speech before the UN general assembly; debate in congress over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump sues his niece Mary Trump and The New York Times over the disclosure of his tax information; and the homicide case of Gabby Petito and her missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, August 27, 2021

| August 27, 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, “Holding the Bag of Blame,” looks back at this past week of August 23-27. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Andrew Langer, talk show host, WBAL, Baltimore; Larry Elder, (on leave) talk show host, Salem Radio Network/gubernatorial candidate, California; Phil Valentine, (deceased) talk show host, WWTN-FM, Nashville; Scott James Matheson, talk show host, WDDQ, Valdosta, GA/Mayor of Valdosta; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WEEI, Boston’s Glenn Ordway Does Last Regular Show with the Station. Boston sports talk radio legend Glenn Ordway did his last regularly scheduled show with Audacy’s WEEI-FM on Thursday (8/26). Earlier this summer he announced he would be retiring from his regular afternoon drive hosting role with the station after some 50 years on the air on the market. (He will do some fill-in and special projects for the station going forward.) In addition to being one of the most-listened-to sports talk hosts in Boston radio history, Ordway was the programmer responsible for building WEEI-AM into a sports talk station when then-owner American Radio Systems flipped it in September of 1994. He launched his radio career as a commentator for Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics games. The WEEI website has some of the comments Ordway received during yesterday’s farewell show from sports luminaries, including New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said, “You’re a true sports radio legend and professional. I know you had everybody’s respect, including mine. I was very fortunate to have the amount of opportunity to work with you that I did. You’re one of the real trailblazers in the industry.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcasting company Connoisseur Media worked with the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater, Hartford HealthCare, and the City of Bridgeport to provide free COVID vaccinations on Wednesday (8/25). The free COVID vaccination clinic was hosted at the brand-new Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport where listeners who received their vaccination were given a $25 gift card courtesy of the radio stations, funded by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to win free concert tickets to shows at the new amphitheater. This came after a number of recent clinics in the area struggled to even administer 10 vaccines in a day, Connoisseur Media says it stepped up to utilize radio and its team of personalities to get the word out. The “Shot to Win” Vaccination Clinic administered 135 vaccines…..C13Features, the new scripted audio movie division of leading premium podcast studio Cadence13, an Audacy company, announces that award-winning actress Kiernan Shipka has signed on to star in “Treat,” the first feature-length project from the newly created studio. “Treat” is in production now and will premiere on Monday, October 25, as a Halloween week worldwide release and will be available on all podcast platforms. It tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Shipka will play protagonist and narrator Allie West…..SiriusXM is offering subscribers an extensive play-by-play schedule for the 2021 college football season’s opening weeks, airing 86 live games from August 28 through September 6. Throughout the season, SiriusXM’s college sports coverage will feature dozens of live college football games each week from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, American Athletic and other conferences, plus Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and more. SiriusXM is also expanding its HBCU coverage and will air multiple HBCU football games every week on the SXM App.

Former WKBN-AM, Youngstown Host Pete Gabriel Dies. Former longtime WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio talk host and programmer Pete Gabriel has died. Gabriel worked in the Harrisburg, Kansas City, and Columbus markets before joining WKBN. He was responsible for the station’s transition from a music outlet to a talk radio station. The WKBN website says Gabriel brought talent to WKBN such as Dan Rivers, Ron Verb, Rich Morgan and the late Dan Ryan. Gabriel is known for starting the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It began with an on-air conversation in 1979 and has continued each year since. Gabriel was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame after his retirement in 2005.

Afghanistan Withdrawal Chaos Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 23-27. The deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops, civilians and Afghanis from Afghanistan was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and mask & vaccine mandates. Following at #3 was the January 6 investigation tied with the ongoing claims by Donald Trump and some supporters that the 2020 election was fraudulent. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio 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.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

| August 26, 2021

Archived Conversation with Phil Valentine is Featured on This Week’s Installment of Harrison Podcast. A conversation featuring the late Phil Valentine has been retrieved from the archives for this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The classic dialogue was recorded in May 2017 – less than five months into the administration of then-President Donald Trump. Harrison and the WWTN-FM, Nashville talk star engage in a deep-dive conversation about a number of still-timely issues including the challenges faced by conservative talk show hosts during this politically charged new era in finding a balance between playing to the Republican Party’s base while maintaining independent critical thinking. The two also discuss Valentine’s experience at that time as an independent filmmaker of the documentary, An Inconsistent Truth, which provided a rebuttal to former Vice President Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, about the environment and climate change issue. Valentine discusses his career in radio and his childhood growing up as the son of long-time member of the U.S. House of Representatives; his love of family; and his close personal and business relationship with his brother. Harrison states, “There was so much more to Phil Valentine as a media practitioner and human being than the headlines surrounding his tragic death indicate. I am gratified that this interview conducted four years ago really presents a full-dimensional portrait of the man and I’m pleased to be able to showcase it for people who might not be familiar with the scope of his contribution to the talk media scene.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Larry Elder’s Ex-Girlfriend Files Police Report as Newsom Recall Race Heats Up. Politico is reporting that the former girlfriend of Salem Radio Network talk host and current candidate for governor of California Larry Elder has filed a formal police report alleging “several incidents of domestic abuse” during their relationship that ended in 2015. Alexandra Datig spoke publicly about the allegations last week but says she delivered her statement to Los Angeles police yesterday (8/25). According to numerous media outlets, Elder is the leading candidate to replace Governor Gavin Newsom should California voters choose to recall him on September 14. Democratic leaders are also reportedly concerned that lack of voter interest could keep enough Democratic voters home on election day and hand the governorship to a GOP challenger such as Elder. Now Alexandra Datig enters the fray with this complaint against Elder. She says she was interviewed by LAPD detectives for two hours on Wednesday, about a week after going public with her story that she broke off her 18-month engagement to Elder after he “pulled a loaded gun from a nightstand” during an argument in 2015. Politico’s Carla Marinucci writes, “She said that out of fear and intimidation, she didn’t file a police report at the time, but that she decided to make a formal report after hearing some of Elder’s public statements denying the gun incident and suggesting she fabricated the account. His denials, she told police, have resulted in her receiving hostile threats on social media.”

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Afternoon Host Jordana Green on Medical Leave. According to a story in BringMetheNews, afternoon drive co-host Jordana Green is taking a “short leave of absence” to focus on her recovery from a rare form of Leukemia. Green told her listeners about her diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia last October. She says her problem now is her inability to create platelets. She recently posted an update on her condition saying, “I can’t seem to get my platelet or red blood cell count up (no there’s nothing I can do for this). Transfusions are my only option. I’m also neutropenic. Which means my white blood cells have been wiped out and I’m at risk for infections.” Green adds, “I’m ready to be done being sick but it looks like I have two more years of treatment. I hope future posts will be more uplifting.” Green co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on Audacy’s WCCO-AM with Paul Douglas.

CNN Audio Unveils New Fall Podcast Lineup. This fall there are new limited-series podcasts launching from CNN Audio. They include, “Tug of War,” hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels across the world to meet the courageous people on the front lines of a battle for democracy. She says, “During my career I’ve always been struck by extraordinary acts of courage from ordinary people. Currently authoritarian regimes are on the ascent across the world, but so are the grassroot movements resisting them. In ‘Tug of War,’ we take you to Syria, Myanmar, Russia and more to meet some of the people behind these movements and see what it takes to risk everything to fight oppression.” Also debuting this fall is, “In Total Recall: California’s Political Circus,” with Dana Bash and “Margins of Error,” hosted by senior data reporter Harry Enten. Longtime podcaster Aminatou Sow joins CNN Audio to host “When Diana Met…,” a new podcast that will revisit Princess Diana’s most notable encounters with politicians, dignitaries and celebrities. Additionally, HLN is launching a new audio companion to their popular true crime series, “Very Scary People.” This season, the show returns to Amityville, New York to revisit the 1974 murders that would spark a cultural conversation.

TALKERS News Notes. WBEN-AM, Buffalo afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle just celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Buffalo stations now owned by Audacy and recently inked a new, long-term contract with the company. Bauerle also shares that a major motion picture based on the life of Saint Cabrini is being filmed in Buffalo and WBEN played a big role in helping put together more than 2,000 extras after local casting director Frank Rossi appeared on his radio program. Bauerle says he is also an extra – actually a featured extra – in the film. We’ll have to wait for the final cut to see if Bauerle makes his big screen debut in the film. Stay tuned!…..Nashville native Clay Travis is the subject of a piece in the Williamson Herald in which he tells writer Carole Robinson how he segued from sports talk to news/talk. Travis – now half of Premiere Networks’ “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton” show – spoke with Robinson while at a political event for Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson. He says when the sports world shut down in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19, he began talking about current events. “The sports audience exploded. I used that as a strong sign. People wanted my opinion.”…..Public radio news/talk KQED-FM, San Francisco – along with its sister television outlet – are presenting a new live event series hosted in its newly redesigned San Francisco headquarters. “KQED Live” events will take place in the 238-seat multipurpose theater called The Commons. The inaugural schedule of guests includes: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Grammy-winning Oakland recording artist Fantastic Negrito, The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan, former California governor Jerry Brown, NPR’s Sam Sanders and others. KQED CEO and president Michael Isip says, “Our mission is to inform, inspire and involve. ‘KQED Live’ will provide an inclusive space for personal, participatory experiences that enhance civic and cultural vitality as well as cultivate a sense of community. ‘KQED Live’ will also elevate diverse Bay Area community voices and stories, adding fresh context to our reporting and programs in an informative and entertaining way.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Trump Lawyers Sanctioned, January 6 Investigation, Newsom Recall, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). The criticism of the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan and the new threat to the Kabul airport from ISIS; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., China promotes U.S. military base as COVID origin, and mask and vaccine mandates; Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and other Donald Trump attorneys are sanctioned in Michigan for “abuse of the judicial process” in contesting the election results; former President Donald Trump claims executive privilege as January 6 House committee seeks documents from his administration; Democrats fear lack of voter interest in Gavin Newsom recall could hand governorship to GOP; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.