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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 Gallagher, Eric 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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
“Old habits die hard,” he wrote and so we are reminded every time we see him on the largest denomination of American currency, the $100 bill.
Yet our digital PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, ACH, wire transfer, direct deposit, etc. society has leapfrogged way beyond anything Ben could have imagined. And so that visual reminder isn’t as present as you may think. But his phrase has stood the test of time and stands tall as a warning to every seller in the radio/audio business. Why do most sellers still ignore someone who organized the first fire department, post office, library and creator of that all time best seller, the lightning rod?
Pending Business: Not So Fast. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “I’m finding more and more mistakes slowing down the sales flow, sending the wrong message to the right people. Proposals, emails, price points, and schedules sent out with errors telegraph an unintentional ‘we don’t check our work’ message. Blame the working-from-home adjustment.” But, Lapa says, sponsors and prospects don’t care why it’s wrong. So, he offers some tips for catching mistakes before it’s too late. Read it here.
The Presidential Election/Senate & House Races, COVID -19 Stats & Projections, Deadly Quebec City Stabbings, and Sean Connery Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Tomorrow’s presidential election, as well as the races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats and which party will control each house; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and warnings from Dr. Tony Fauci that the country is not positioned well going into the winter months; the sword slaying of two and wounding of three others in Quebec City on Saturday, and the death of legendary actor Sean Connery at the age of 90 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. What makes a marketing message powerful? “Less than you think,” according to consultant Holland Cooke, whose column this week includes some familiar examples. Read it here.
Tapping Into Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning talk legend Dom Giordano (right) made an appearance on FOX News Channel early last evening (11/1) sharing his ground-level view of the presidential sprint for every last minute vote in Pennsylvania with host Tucker Carlson (left). Giordano described his take on the visible passion and enthusiasm being displayed by Trump loyalists across the key battleground state during the final weekend before Election Day.
iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network Launches on WWRL, New York Today. The BIN: Black Information Network format – a “24/7 comprehensive national audio news service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective” – is launching today on WWRL, New York. Back on September 10, iHeartMedia announced it is entering into an LMA with NJ Broadcasting LLC to operate the station and has also entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement. iHeartMedia says the station kicks off this morning with a series of important speeches in Black history, including those from Barack and Michelle Obama, Al Sharpton, Maya Angelou, and Malcom X, leading up to the official 12:00 noon ET launch. At sunset, the Empire State Building will illuminate its world-famous tower lights and turn red, white, and green in celebration of BIN: Black Information Network’s official launch on WWRL. For election day, renowned journalist and BIN commentator Roland Martin will anchor live news coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET and provide updates as the polls close and election tallies are reported nationwide. Martin says, “The 2020 Election is one of the most consequential we’ve seen in American history, and Black voters will play a crucial role. Our goal at #RolandMartinUnfiltered is to provide unparalleled coverage of not only the presidential and U.S. Senate races, but the many local races that impact our people. From top scholars to civil rights lawyers to health and economic experts and politically minded celebrities, there will be no other place – digital, cable or broadcast – that will match the plans we have for our collaboration with BIN on election night.”
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Todd Starnes will provide election night analysis on the USA Radio Network and American Family Radio, and is also providing local election coverage for a number of his affiliate stations. On a related note, Starnes Media Group appoints Tim Van Horn morning show co-host on its KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990.” Van Horn, who exits iHeartMedia’s crosstown WREC to join KWAM, will work alongside incumbent morning personality Grace Baker and Kenny Bosak. Van Horn spent 15 years in the market as a meteorologist for WMC-TV…..Nielsen’s board of directors announce that it has agreed to sell its Global Connect business to Advent International for $2.7 billion. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “The sale of this business to Advent will deliver substantial value sooner than was anticipated through the planned spin-off and creates certainty for all stakeholders. The proceeds from the sale will allow Nielsen to significantly reduce debt, which will provide greater financial flexibility to execute our growth strategy and expand our role in the global media marketplace. At the same time, we are excited about this opportunity for Nielsen Global Connect and believe that moving forward as a private company will better position the business to accelerate its transformation and strengthen its market-leading position.” The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher among the thousands gathered outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for Donald Trump’s rally last Thursday (10/29). Gallagher says, “I don’t understand how President Trump does it. It’s 90 degrees and he and Melania were onstage in direct sun for hours. It nearly killed me, and I’m younger!”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Columbus, Ohio alternative rock outlet “CD 102.5” leaves the airwaves and will broadcast only via stream. That news comes from the station after it was unable to negotiate a deal with WWCD-FM owner Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System. The station posts to its website: “Things are getting weird around here, and they’re about to get weirder. 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in recent history, and CD102.5 has faced its share of challenges. Recently, we were unable to reach an agreement with the owner of the FCC License, and at 12:01 am on November 1, CD102.5 will leave the FM airwaves. Make no mistake: we plan to move forward and continue broadcasting in the digital realm. For decades, CD101 was a favorite radio station to many. When the license that allowed us to broadcast was sold, we moved our frequency to 102.5. Together, for 30 years, CD101 and CD1025 have been synonymous with the Columbus music scene and alternative music. With the connectivity of the internet in cars and homes, with smart phones and smart devices, the digital world is the future. As we move exclusively to the digital realm, we will have more freedom to play the music that YOU want to hear—to promote local artists, to engage with the community, and to do all of the things that we’ve always done—but better! We will continue to support the arts community and nonprofits in Columbus. ‘CD1025 For The Kids’ will continue to help local charities, and add to the over $1,000,000 that it has donated over the years. So, join us as we help curate all the same great music you have loved, and will love, for decades to come. Follow us to hear bands that would otherwise not get the chance to be heard or to find your new favorite band from Columbus, from around the country, and from around the world.”
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
This week I encountered four different managers in top 20 markets who all started an email with, ”Sorry about…”
We are all human, we all make mistakes, and sometimes we all want to dial back the send button. But when the managers start getting sloppy, what’s next?