Blake Thompson Transitions to EVP of Ramsey Network. After nine years at the helm of Ramsey Network, Brian Mayfield accepts a new role at Ramsey Solutions, creating the opportunity for broadcast veteran Blake Thompson to step into the role as the network’s executive vice president. Thompson began his career as Dave Ramsey’s first producer in 1996. As EVP, in addition to serving on the Ramsey Solutions operating board, Thompson will be responsible for distribution and content development of all programs and platforms for The Ramsey Network. That includes “The Ramsey Show,” “The Dr. John Delony Show,” “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Christy Wright Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” EntreLeadership, as well as new feature podcast productions such as “The Fine Print,” “Everyday Millionaires,” “Ramsey Call of the Day,” and “Work Matters with Ken Coleman,” and the newly released documentary film, Borrowed Future. Thompson says, “I look forward to this new opportunity to serve our listeners and viewers with programming that brings hope. Brian has done a stellar job leading the Ramsey Network, and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in his new role.” As EVP of strategic alliances under Ramsey’s newest brand, Ramsey Trusted, Brian Mayfield will continue to serve on the Ramsey Solutions operating board. He will also lead the team responsible for overseeing the more than 5,000 relationships comprised of national advertisers and the endorsed local provider network. He comments, “It’s been an absolute honor serving as EVP of Ramsey Network. I have been blessed to make a lot of friends in the industry as well as experience the development and tremendous growth into what Ramsey Network is today. I can’t wait to see where Blake takes it with his expertise in content development. I’m equally excited to continue my journey with Ramsey Solutions as part of the development of this new brand within our organization.”
Zoe Burdine-Fly Named Regional President for Alpha Media. Media executive Zoe Burdine-Fly joins Alpha Media as regional president, effective November 1. Burdine-Fly most recently served as regional VP with Townsquare Media. In her new role with Alpha Media, she’ll oversee the operations, talent management and the strategic growth of 13 Alpha Media markets, including Amarillo, Bakersfield, Lincoln and Topeka. She’ll play a key role supporting the development of the company’s growing digital engagement platform. Alpha Media chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt says, “I am pleased to welcome Zoe as the newest member of Alpha Media’s senior leadership team. We conducted a thorough search process, and Zoe stood out as possessing the right leadership experience, sophisticated expertise and deep radio industry knowledge to guide our markets and support our long-term growth strategy. Zoe will help us further expand our digital capabilities across our nationwide platforms so we can continue to deliver excellent results and value in partnership with our advertiser partners. I look forward to all we will accomplish together.” Burdine-Fly comments, “Alpha Media continues to deliver incredible programming in all of its communities, and I am thrilled to join the Alpha Media family at a pivotal moment in the company’s growth. I am eager to get to work with Alpha Media’s team as together we continue to strengthen our market presence, serve our advertiser partners and honor the company’s legacy of engaging content and relevant local programming.”
Quick: And Now, the News. Consultant Jon Quick writes in a column for TALKERS published today (10/21), “The world of radio news writing and presentation has changed over the decades… Newscasts today tend to be shorter and more direct. They are written more concisely and in a more conversational style. There is more sound, and sometimes even music is used. For better or for worse, people don’t have as much time as we exist in a faster-moving world with many more options for getting our information.” Quick presents his “Effective Ways to Improve Your Radio News Writing and Presentation in Today’s World.” Read about them here.
Connecticut Court to Sanction Alex Jones Attorneys. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis says she’ll sanction the defense attorneys representing media figure Alex Jones in the civil lawsuit filed against him by parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Judge Bellis says she’ll “impose new sanctions on Jones’ attorneys for violating a court order when they included information from a confidential deposition this summer in a motion seeking to question former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting Clinton had arranged the families’ lawsuit as a vendetta against Jones after her 2016 loss to former President Donald Trump. Bellis also will consider additional sanctions over what she called ‘highly inappropriate’ and ‘abusive questioning’ by Jones defense attorney Jay Wolman during a September deposition, during which he demanded the man being deposed search email records on his phone even though the subpoena issued by the court did not require it.” This comes after yesterday’s (10/20) two-hour virtual hearing. Judge Bellis is also accusing Jones’ attorneys for violating a “very straightforward protective order that (defense) counsel themselves filed and asked the court to approve.” The order makes information from depositions entirely confidential but Jones’ attorneys, in their filing to depose Clinton, included “two sentences that make reference to an unnamed plaintiff and witness — information available only from the deposition being taken that day that was supposed to be entirely confidential.” Judge Bellis issued previous warnings to Wolman earlier this year and said she is “‘leaning toward’ issuing a sanction herself, but that she will decide at a hearing scheduled for early November.”
Oklahoma Talk Radio Host Pat Campbell Dies After Battle with Brain Cancer. Former KFAQ, Tulsa and WFLF, Orlando talk radio personality Pat Campbell passed away on October 20 after a long battle with brain cancer. Griffin Communications owns sports talk KTSB-AM, Tulsa – previously news/talk KFAQ – and company VP and COO Rob Krier says in a memo to staff, “Pat joined 1170 Talk Radio (KFAQ) in 2008 and immediately his voice developed a loyal following in Green Country. He got his start in radio as a talk show caller. Prior to KFAQ, Pat worked at WFLA 540 in Orlando. He also made numerous appearances on ‘FOX & Friends,’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ‘Tucker Carlson’ and others. In 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 he was named one of TALKERS magazine’s most important talk show hosts and was also recognized as one of Oklahoma’s best radio personalities by Oklahoma magazine. Pat will be greatly missed and we and ask that you please keep Pat’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe commented, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and long-time radio personality Pat Campbell. I will never forget how last summer, Pat called me up and told me he was working through his bucket list, and one of the items was that he had always wanted to fly upside down with me in my airplane. On September 5, 2020, Pat was able to cross that off his list, and I was honored to be a part of it. Pat – always larger than life – had a profound impact on television and radio, proudly representing Tulsa and Oklahoma locally and nationally. Yet, more than being a pioneer for Conservative values in America, he was a friend. This loss will be felt for years to come. I am praying for peace for his loved ones during this difficult time.”
TALKERS News Notes. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman says one of his program co-hosts – a man legally known as Nobody – is out of custody. Freeman writes, “After being held in jail for nearly six months after our studio was raided in March, ‘Free Talk Live’ host Nobody was released last month on insanely restrictive bail conditions. While I am being held on home confinement with an ankle monitor, Nobody does have the freedom to move about, however he is unable to speak publicly and is currently off-the-air as a result. The restrictions prevent him from being interviewed by any media or publicizing his opinions, a clear violation of his right to free speech. Though we are accused of victimless financial ‘crimes’ and have not been convicted, our liberties have been stripped from us. We are even barred from speaking with each other.” Freeman goes on to say, “However, not all the news is bad. Free Talk Live’s family of broadcast stations nationwide now expands to 186 with the addition of Townsquare Media stations ‘Newstalk 98.3 FM’ and KGVO in Missoula, Montana and KLYQ in Hamilton, Montana to our live Sunday night edition.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation is recognizing nine distinguished industry leaders and celebrities for lifetime achievement on November 9 during its Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts virtual awards ceremony. Being honored are: Emily Barr, president CEO, Graham Media Group; Frank Boyle, president & CEO, Frank Boyle & Co; Bob Costas, Hall of Fame sportscaster; Russell Perry, founder & president, Perry Publishing & Broadcasting Co; Robin Roberts, co-anchor “Good Morning America,” president, Rock’n Robin Productions; Marion Ross, actress; Neal Shapiro, president & CEO, The WNET Group; Sen. Gordon H. Smith, president & CEO, NAB; and Jordan Wertlieb, SVP, Hearst Communications, president, Hearst Television…..Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is hosting the 17th season of his “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program for SiriusXM. The show features Coach K and co-host Dave Sims discussing basketball as well as the headline stories from the larger sports world and interviewing successful people from many different walks of life. On today’s debut, Krzyzewski’s guests will be seven-time Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer Katie Ledecky and Jeff Vinik, owner of the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning…..ESPN Podcasts debuts a new, signature series, “Swagu & Perk,” on Monday, October 25. The weekly podcast will be led by its namesake hosts, former NFL veteran and analyst Marcus Spears, a.k.a., Swagu and NBA champion and analyst Kendrick Perkins. ESPN says, “The duo will take fans inside the latest news across the NFL, NBA and beyond with their own unique, personal insight and expert, in-depth analysis with new episodes every Tuesday morning. Spears and Perkins will also bring listeners inside their lives, career journeys and so much more with can’t-miss conversations and welcome in top sports and celebrity guests.”
January 6 Investigation/Bannon Case, COVID-19, Biden Social Spending Bill, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, Southern Border Crisis, and Chinese Military Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the move to charge former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon with criminal contempt; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden considers reducing his $3.5 trillion social spending bill to $1.9 trillion; the effects of the supply chain breakdown on the availability of consumer goods and soaring retail prices; the State Department inspector general’s investigation into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; and China’s development of hypersonic weapons and its aggression against Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Fresh Edition of ‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Veterans Day and the Holidays. There’s new programming from the Fisher House Foundation for this Veterans Day as well as for the holiday season. The Jeff Wyatt Group has produced a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 available for download. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The program is available in three-hour, one-hour, 25- and 30-minute radio special versions and is hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt. It features stories of America’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families. Host Jeff Wyatt’s love and respect for our military will only amplify these radio specials, scheduled to deliver Oct. 28 for potential airing Veterans Day weekend, during the holiday season, and for Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends as well. You can hear a demo and see the clock at: radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at 301-518-3640 or email@example.com.
Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”
SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”
WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”
Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”
Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.
‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”
iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”
New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”
‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”
COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.