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Friday, July 30, 2021

| July 30, 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, “Recalibration!” looks back at this past week of July 26-30. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley; talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Mark Simone, talk show host, WOR, New York; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical profession podcaster; Ralph Nader, political activist/talk show host, “The Ralph Nader Radio Hour”; Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling on Sunday”; 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-AM, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; 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.

Schultz, Husmann Join Quu. Selected to become Quu’s head of marketing and product manager, respectively, are Suzy Schultz and Ben Husmann. Schultz and Husmann will report directly to chief executive officer Steve Newberry, who comments, “Suzy and Ben are respected executives and creative problem solvers known for leading innovation in audio. With deep industry knowledge, they’re uniquely qualified to fortify the significant expansion of Quu’s software and services [which will roll out] later this year.” Creative Prism founder/chief executive officer Schultz notes, “Developing a consistent, clarified, and fresh approach to Quu’s brand and messaging is a dream come true. We’re focused on empowering Quu’s customers and offering the industry access to ratings and revenue growth opportunities that build on radio’s core product.” Meanwhile, Husmann states, “My role is to make it quick, easy, and painless for stations to enhance their programming and advertising metadata and visuals for the car dashboard and beyond. I’m excited to collaborate with the elite team at Quu to build a new and improved user experience on top of Quu’s extensive capabilities.” Schultz’s marketing/content production company Creative Prism will oversee branding, communications, marketing strategy, productization, and sales enablement for Quu customers. Prior to founding Creative Prism, Schultz was Cumulus Media/Westwood One’s senior vice president of corporate marketing, and managing editor of iHeartRadio. Formerly AccuRadio’s chief operating officer, Husmann was senior vice president/product and technology for TagStation and NextRadio. Quu enables radio stations to publish sales and programming messages on car dashboards; it delivered over six billion “visual Quus” in 2020. Earlier this month, Quu and Bonneville announced a multi-market partnership.

Tunein, iHeart Partner On Strategic Technology and Content. The agreement will allow TuneIn to dispense on more than 850 iHeartMedia digital stations. In addition, TuneIn will have access to local advertising demand from iHeartMedia’s monetization assets, including its sales force of nearly 2,000 sellers in every major market, and Triton Digital‘s advertising technology. iHeartMedia chief data officer/president of revenue strategies Brian Kaminsky comments that the partnership is “a great marriage of content and technology. [It is] enabled by Triton’s cutting edge and comprehensive suite of audio advertising technology to support streaming audio and podcast businesses with both direct and programmatic sales. With Triton’s Supply Side Platform, local advertisers will have the ability to reach additional iHeart and TuneIn listeners through both direct and programmatic sales.” TuneIn chief revenue officer Rob Deichert notes, “The relationship with iHeart demonstrates the power of TuneIn’s open platform to flexibly align with the content, distribution and monetization assets of our partners to jointly create new and previously unrecognized value. We’re incredibly pleased to partner with iHeartMedia and Triton as we continue our mission to delight listeners and reinvent radio for a connected world.”

WNYC Appoints Clary Deputy Editor. The newly-created role at WNYC Broadcasting Foundation-owned public radio news/talk WNYC, New York will be filled August 30 by current Vice VP Stephanie Clary. As deputy editor, Clary will oversee the station’s news coverage, working with editors in charge of multiplatform desks to align journalistic priorities. Per a WNYC press release, “In Stephanie, we have found a truly impressive journalist with deep experience covering local, national, international and breaking news on both digital and broadcast platforms. She has developed strategies to enhance newsroom innovation and dynamism. She will bring those skills to WNYC as we continue to grow our audience, expand our reach, and produce impactful journalism that improves the lives of people in New York City and our region. Her track record as a leader in a wide range of newsrooms makes her the perfect fit for this role. She has managed large teams of journalists, bringing to each job her unique mix of editorial judgement, product expertise, digital skills, and news judgment. Our team is the next place she wants to bring her talents and skills.” Clary comments, “I’m thrilled to join a newsroom that’s so essential to our city and region at a time when local news is diminishing in even the largest metropolis. This role is an incredible opportunity to work on both audio and digital at an institution with such a deep and respected legacy, and such committed journalists. I’m excited to be a part of helping to serve more communities with impactful, mission-driven journalism and storytelling.” Prior to her present role at Vice, Clary was CNN’s director of social publishing; managing editor at Mic; managing editor of NBC start-up “Breaking News”; and part of the Seattle Times team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the 2009 Lakewood police shooting in Washington.

Nielsen’s Q2 Revenue, Income Increase. Second quarter 2021 revenue for Nielsen Holdings rose 6.2% year-to-year to $861 million. Net income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders was up 207.1% to $86 million. Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA rose 11.8% to $370 million. The audience measurement division saw revenue gain 4.3% to $629 million, while outcomes & content revenue was up 11.5% to $232 million. The company revised full-year 2021 guidance: It increased total revenue growth projections from 2% – 3% to 2.5% – 3% on a constant currency basis; adjusted EBITDA from $1.47 billion – $1.49 billion to  $1.475 billion -$1.49 billion; and adjusted earnings per share from $1.47 – $1.58 to  $1.54 – $1.61. According to chief executive officer David Kenny, “[The results] demonstrate our continued strategic and operational transformation, as the global media ecosystem evolves. We have increased confidence in our full-year outlook, which is reflected in our updated 2021 guidance. We continue to see healthy renewals from existing clients, growing interest from new clients, and steady progress in our global product development. We are executing well against our strategy and roadmap to create long-term value and are pleased with steady progress again this quarter.”

House-Passed Bill Contains Public Media Funding. The Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill earmarks money for public media. Corporation For Public Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Patricia Harrison remarks, “We appreciate the House of Representatives’ strong support of public media, providing $565 million for CPB’s [fiscal year] 2024 advance appropriation, ensuring that public media remains free and available to every American. As the country continues to address the impact of a global pandemic on every aspect of American life, public media is responding with content and services that support the increased educational, informational, and public safety needs of America’s diverse communities. We are grateful for the House’s ongoing support of $20 million for the public broadcasting interconnection system, which allows for the distribution of content from producers to local stations and is part of our nation’s emergency alert system.” Regarding the $31.8 million provided for the Department of Education‘s “Ready To Learn,” Harrison states, “The program enables the creation of accessible, educational public media content, on air, online and in the community, for children ages 2 to 8. As the appropriations process continues, we look forward to working with Congress on funding decisions to support a healthy and vibrant public media system.”

Have You Heard This Podcast? That’s a question those at ABC News are most likely again posing regarding the network’s “Have You Seen This Man?,” which begins its second season (Wednesday) August 11. Listeners are invited to join a real-time global search by U.S. Marshals for fugitive John Ruffo, who stole over $300 million. Instead of reporting for a 17-year prison sentence, the scammer – currently on the “15 Most Wanted” list – vanished. Involved in one of the largest frauds of its time, Ruffo swindled banks out of more than $300 million, using the cash to transform himself into a Wall Street luminary. The six-part Sunny Hostin-hosted podcast features reporting by ABC News senior investigative reporter Matthew Mosk, who embeds with the U.S. Marshals on Ruffo’s trail. Mosk reports the story of how 23 years ago, Brooklyn computer salesperson Ruffo pleaded guilty to fraud. After turning in his ankle monitor on his way to a 17-year prison sentence, Ruffo left his car at New York’s JFK Airport and disappeared. Tips have kept marshals on their toes for two decades and listeners could be the key in uncovering the final clue in finding Ruffo, who was rumored to be behind home plate at a Los Angeles DodgersBoston Red Sox baseball game. The podcast reports on Ruffo’s disappearance through the eyes of those who were there, including the attorney who persuaded a judge to let Ruffo drive himself to prison; the bailiff who took off Ruffo’s handcuffs; the FBI agent who got the call when Ruffo skipped town; Ruffo’s former wife, who remarried after abandoning hope that he would make contact with her; and family members who found themselves temporarily homeless after Ruffo skipped bail. A four-part Hulu original limited series on the global search for Ruffo is currently in production from ABC News Longform. The first season of “Have You Seen This Man?” followed the search for murderer Lester Eubanks, who was on the run for over 45 years. That podcast yielded more than 300 tips; the case remains active.

SiriusXM’s SXM-8 Satellite Ready for Service. The SXM-8 satellite completed in-orbit testing and has been handed over to SiriusXM. Last month (6/6), a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the satellite into space from Cape Canaveral. SXM-8 is the ninth digital, audio radio satellite built by Maxar for the satcaster. SiriusXM senior vice president/satellite and repeater systems engineering & operations Bridget Neville notes, “We are committed to enhancing our satellite fleet and ability to deliver the best audio entertainment, traffic, weather, data and information services for years to come. We congratulate our engineering team, Maxar, and SpaceX on a successful launch and commissioning.” Maxar senior vice president/space programs delivery Chris Johnson adds, “We are proud of our long-standing relationship with SiriusXM and excited to see SXM-8 ready for service to bring entertainment to millions of SiriusXM subscribers. The entire Maxar team is committed to excellence – playing a role in the success of our customers’ missions is what drives us every day.” SXM-8 is more than 27-feet tall and weighed nearly 7,000 kg at launch. SXM-8 has an almost 30-feet in diameter mesh reflector that will allow SiriusXM programming to reach radios, including those in moving vehicles.

TALKERS News Notes. Whereas Nielsen July 2021 stats indicate double-digit declines by Newsmax’s cable news competition, Newsmax is touting a year-over-year total audience increase of 500%, maintaining it is the country’s fourth-rated cable news network. Chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy states, “Newsmax is growing across almost every metric.” The cable news network draws over 30 million regular viewers … Airing weekly on CRN Digital Talk Radio and in numerous radio markets across the country, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” notes its 750th episode with an on-air celebration. Among those taking part include Brewer Clifton founder/winemaker Greg Brewer; Arthur Vineyards proprietor David Long; Pisoni Vineyards founder Gary Pisoni; Boisett Collection proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset; and CIRQ & CHEV Wines founder Michael Browne. The Michael Horn and Nicole Nielson-hosted show began broadcasting from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in 2002; Michael Jordan spun off “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” and created “The Word on Wine,” which originates from Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa (California). According to Jordan, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” has become “one of the most respected radio shows and podcasts in the world of wine. Bringing the joy of wine to the public is my passion; it’s only fitting to celebrate the legacy of the show with some of the most important people in the industry.” In addition to being an original host of “The Word on Wine” and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine,” certified sommelier Horn hosts the daily syndicated “What’s Cookin’ Today.” He founded CRN in 1983 and is its chief executive officer … Public radio news/talk WMFE, Orlando’s former president/chief executive officer Stephen McKenney Steck, 77, died this past Saturday (7/24) in Orlando. He was hit by a car while biking. Responsible for signing on WMFE in 1980, Steck founded the Carroll McKenney Foundation For Public Media, a nonprofit producer of Central Florida programming and podcasts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

| February 15, 2017

McMahon: Lessons Learned from Rebuilding a Struggling Radio News Station.  Consultant Bill McMahon details the myriad reasons he believes people tune in to – and stay with – a radio news station.  He explains it in the context of rebuilding a major market news station that had lost its course and dove from being a leader to an also-ran in the ratings.  McMahon says that delivering news is the mechanics of what a station does but “news stations are actually in the life enrichment business.  News merely provides the vehicle and fuel for helping to make listeners’ lives more interesting, meaningful and fun.”  With that, McMahon presents his beliefs about what constitutes meaningful content for listeners in order to attract and keep them.  Read it all here.

SiriusXM’s Howard Stern Show Being Sued for Airing of Taxpayer’s IRS Call.  This complaint is filed in US. District Court in Massachusetts as the result of an incident that happened on May 19, 2015.  The crux of the suit against the IRS and the Howard Stern Production Company is as follows: IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe had called in to the Howard Stern show from his office and was placed on hold.  During that time, plaintiff Judith Barrigas called the IRS with a question about “the potential misapplication of her tax refund” for the previous year.  At some point, Stern staffers put her discussion with Forsythe on the air, during which Barrigas’ personal information, tax matters, etc. were aired.  Barrigas says she learned of what was happening after receiving texts and calls alerting her that her conversation was being broadcast.  She complained to the IRS which, she alleges, did nothing until she contacted WCVB-TV, Boston’s consumer helpline.  After the TV station contacted the IRS, Forsythe was put on administrative leave.  Barrigas claims she’s suffered monetary damages as a result of the incident in addition to various health issues.  She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, plus a recoup of legal fees.

Seattle Times Piece Highlights Medved’s Independent Prespective.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Michael Medved – whose show is based at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle and is distributed by Salem Radio Network – is featured in a story by Seattle Times staff reporter Nina Shapiro.  Central to the piece is that Medved is one of a very few conservative talk show hosts who never got on board supporting President Donald Trump’s campaign.  Now that Trump is in office, Medved continues to walk his own path – criticizing the administration for what he thinks is bad and praising it for what he thinks is good.  Read the Times piece here.

Fresno’s “Power Talk 96.7” Jumps into Sanctuary City Issue.  Pictured above is a still from KFSN-TV, Fresno’s coverage of a petition drive spearheaded by news/talk outlet KALZ, Fresno “Power Talk 96.7” requesting that the city’s mayor not allow Fresno to become a sanctuary city.  Last night (2/14), the iHeartMedia-owned station held a remote broadcast as part of the signature drive.  KALZ host Trevor Carey tells the TV station that he and other citizens are concerned that the mayor’s recent language on the matter was ambiguous, spurring the petition campaign.

West Palm Beach Host Joyce Kaufman Does WH Skype Session.  WFTL, West Palm Beach talk show host Joyce Kaufman took part in the latest Skype Session portion of yesterday’s White House press briefing (pictured above).  During the session, Kaufman asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the security issues relative to President Trump’s receiving word of North Korea’s missile launch while at dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  News outlets have been questioning whether sensitive issues were discussed in the vicinity of other diners, wait-staff, etc., as photos taken by other diners seemed to indicate.  Kaufman asked if there is a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) at Mar-a Lago.  Spicer answered that there is and it was used by Trump and Abe.  She also asked if Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.  Spicer replied he would not “get ahead of” the president on that one.

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend talk program “Café Mocha” – co-hosted by comedienne and actress Loni Love, hip hop legend YoYo and broadcast veteran Angelique Perrin, and heard on numerous urban-formatted stations across the country – is celebrating its sixth anniversary.  At the same time, the program announces that Compass Media Networks is working with the show to handle ad sales…..Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces the results of its 2016 Gender Analysis Study.  The study was done by PrecisionTrak and concludes that, as of December 31, 2016, out of 11,229 AM and FM radio stations, 1,944 or 17.8% have women holding the general manager position – a 0.5% increase from 2015.  In 2016, 31.5% of all stations had a women sales manager – up one full percentage point from the prior year.  And in the top 100 markets, 31.4% of the stations have female sales managers.  MIW says that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be found in the programming department.  Women currently program only 10.7% of all stations in the country, which compares to the same number 10 years ago.  The news is better in the top 100 markets where women programmers now represent 12.2%, which is basically flat from last year.

Trump Campaign-Russia Connection/Flynn Resignation, Russian Spy Ship and Missiles Deployed, ICE Raids, Oroville Dam Scare-State of Infrastructure, Kim Jong Un’s Half-Brother Assassinated, Paid Protests Allegations, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14).  New allegations the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian officials prior to the election and before the inauguration, plus the related resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; reports of a Russian spy ship near the U.S. coast and the country’s deploying of a missile that reportedly violates current arms treaties; the raids being conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the concerns about the stability of a spillway at the Oroville Dam in Northern California and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s statement that the incident is emblematic of the country’s infrastructure issues; allegations that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was assassinated with poisoned needles in Malaysia; speculation that the protests at GOP town halls are populated with people paid by Democratic Party operatives; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Rock radio pro Jeff Zito returns to Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK, Fort Myers to host the midday show – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm – and serve as program director.  Zito left the station last spring to head north to Tampa to program the company’s then-rock WBRN, Tampa.  However, with the exit of Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show in the fall, the station flipped to adult contemporary at the end of 2016…..The demise of Eric “Shmonty” Ashmont as host of the morning show on Lotus’ alternative KFMA, Tucson “Rock 102.1” has been greatly exaggerated.  Yes, it’s true that Shmonty left the Tucson area to return to Rockville, Maryland for family reasons.  But, now the station is keeping him on as morning host via remote.  On-air producer Beef Vegan produces the show from the studios in Tucson…..In Erie, Pennsylvania, Kwame Dankwa joins Connoisseur Media as program director for CHR WRTS “Star 104.”  Dankwa was most recently with iHeartMedia as afternoon personality and APD at CHR KPWK “Power 933.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

| April 15, 2013

sheppardpeteWeekend Talk Host Pete Sheppard Quits During WEEI, Boston Saturday Program.  Telling listeners that he’s no longer happy working for the company, WEEI, Boston weekend talk host Pete Sheppard abruptly quit on-air during his Saturday evening show.  Sheppard, who was a long-time fixture on the former Glenn Ordway-hosted PM drive “Big Show” and was fired from that post due to budget cuts in 2010, was hired back for part-time duties about a year ago.  Sheppard even went so far as to tease his on-air exit by Tweeting that he had something special coming up.  He also specified that his problem was with Entercom management and not program director Jason Wolfe.

sternhowardLegal Analysis and Brief Historical Background of “Stern Versus Sirius” Suit.  Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king.  But other times it is not.  Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.  In order to understand Stern’s lawsuit, which he filed in 2011, it is important to review the history of Stern’s relationship with Sirius.  In an illuminating article posted today (4/15) TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman explains both the background and legal tenets of this important, high-profile (and big bucks) radio industry case.  To read it, click here.

oneildannyBonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle Names Danny O’Neil Late Morning Co-Host.  Bonneville’s “710 ESPN Seattle” names market sports journalist Danny O’Neil co-host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program alongside Brock Huard.  O’Neil replaces Mike Salk who moved to WEEI, Boston earlier this month.  The “Brock & Danny Show” debuts today.  The station states that in addition to his on-air duties, O’Neil will write a daily Seattle-focused sports column/blog on 710Sports.com.  During the NFL season, O’Neil will cover the Seattle Seahawks to provide fans with an inside perspective on the team.  O’Neil did three stints with the Seattle Times (1996-97; 1999-2002; 2006-2013) and also wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 2002-2006.  KIRO-AM vice president and general manager Dave Pridemore states, “We are extremely excited about teaming up Danny O’Neil with Brock Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle.  I’m sure our listeners will appreciate the combination of an athlete’s insight and analysis with a journalist’s curiosity and straight forward perspective.”  Program director Brian Long says, “Brock and Danny have a natural chemistry and genuine likability that will make for a smart entertaining listen for the Seattle sports fan.”

millerchrisEncouragement and Advice for Lonely Digital “True Believers” at Radio Stations.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “True Believers are the radio folks I talk to who just know deep in their heart of hearts that the brilliant use of our digital tools could help radio be the best it could possibly be.  When I talk with them, they often just see so clearly how to fit all our different platforms together and how to use them.  Most of them seem to feel a level of frustration, too.  I suspect that’s because they are often the one person at work who is both knowledgeable and passionate about the potential of these tools.”  If you think that describes you, in an article posted to today in TALKERS, Miller serves up several good ideas on how to lessen your frustration level as well as help position you as the radio/digital expert in your workplace and help accomplish your goals.  He suggests starting small, pressing for constant improvement and creating an industry-wide community of like-minded broadcasters.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

beckglennGlenn Beck Named Recipient of 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named Premiere Networks syndicated radio host, CEO/founder of Mercury Radio Arts, and founder of TheBlazeGlenn Beck the recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.  The award is one of the most prestigious honors presented annually in the talk media industry.  The award is presented to an individual in the talk media industry who courageously demonstrates the First Amendment in action, productively promotes its vitality, and inspires increased public awareness of its tenets.  It has an extremely colorful history, sparking heated controversial battles on some occasions, and accruing a roster of outspoken, dynamic recipients as diverse as the medium itself.  Past honorees include Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Bob Grant, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Al Franken, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Matt Drudge, Norm Pattiz, Brian Lamb, Jim Farley and more. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This is a tough award to present – especially when the recipient is a politically controversial figure — because people who view the world through the lens of partisan politics immediately see the award as an endorsement of the position expressed by the recipient, as opposed to its deeper, principled meaning.  The only political position held and espoused by TALKERS magazine is our devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment.  Otherwise we are about as non-partisan as you can get.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “This year’s recipient deserves the award for several reasons: First, he has shown enormous courage and creativity in expressing extremely controversial views on both talk radio and cable television; second, he stood up to the powers-that-be at his biggest single platform and dared to risk (and eventually lost) his lucrative job in the process; three, he demonstrates the vital role of showmanship and entertainment in artfully executing his craft within the commercial marketplace while still getting his points across (which is what this business is ultimately about); and four, he has intelligently designed a model of independent broadcasting through his pioneering development of an entrepreneurial ‘media station’ that serves to inspire others, create jobs and pave the way for the next generation of talk show hosts to carve their meaningful niches in the new 21st Century digital reality.”  The 2013 Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Glenn Beck at Talkers New York 2013.  To see the entire up to the minute agenda, click here.

whi logoSalem Communications Re-Brands WHK, Cleveland “The Answer.”  Following the trend in branding taken by its news/talk stations in New York, Los Angeles, Riverside, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, and Chicago, Salem Communications announced WHK, Cleveland becomes “AM 1420 The Answer.”  Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “As our listeners are preparing to write Uncle Sam that fat check, I can’t think of a better day to give Cleveland ‘The Answer’ to why their taxes are so high.  We have the answer for little things like ‘why am I stuck in traffic’ to bigger things like what can conservatives do to win back the White House.”  The on-air lineup, consisting of Salem Radio Network programs, remains the same.  The station adds morning news anchor Jim McIntyre, “one of the most trusted news voices in Greater Cleveland,” as part of its local news, traffic and weather team.  The station is adding a new late night program dubbed, “The 11th Hour,” hosted by McIntyre and Cleveland talk host Tom Kelly that will air at 11:00 pm.  The station says the show “will focus on both local and statewide stories that affect the WHK audience, with news updates and interviews of the day’s newsmakers and journalists.”  Station general manager Mark Jaycox states, “These are very exciting times at Salem Communications of Northeast Ohio.  To be able to take a station like WHK – one rich in Cleveland heritage and Ohio tradition and celebrating its 91st birthday this year – and make it even more relevant and current, while maintaining that strong identity, we are confident our WHK listeners will be pleased with this change.”

mid-westfamilybroadcasting logoMid-West Family Broadcasting Acquires Wisconsin and Illinois Stations from Maverick for $15.5 Million.  Just days after Connecticut-based Maverick Media announced the sale of its Santa Rosa, California stations to Lawrence Amaturo-led Sonoma Media Group, we learn that Mid-West Family Broadcasting is buying Maverick’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rockford Illinois clusters.  The stations in the Rockford market are: adult hits WRTB “Bob FM 95.3,” AC WGFB “B103 FM,” rock WXRX, and comedy WNTA-AM/FM “Funny 1330.”  In Eau Claire, the stations are: news/talk WAYY, sports talk WEAU “ESPN 1150,” classic rock WECL “92.9 The Big Cheese,” AC WIAL, “I-94,” adult hits WDRK “Bob FM 99.9,” and country WAXX.  In a statement, Mid-West Family Broadcasting president Tom Walker says, “We have wanted to grow our company for some time and want to bring the ideals of locally owned radio back to these two cities.  The stations in both Eau Claire and Rockford will continue serving their local markets with the quality programming Mid-West Family brings to all its stations.”

mcconnellmiltMilt McConnell Joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland Cluster as SVP and GM.  Former Cumulus Albuquerque market manager Milt McConnell is named the senior vice president and general manager at Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland, Oregon cluster.  McConnell was part of a recent exodus of staffers from the Albuquerque operations that included longtime KKOB talk host Jim Villanucci.  On his new post in Portland overseeing properties including hot AC KBFF “Live 95.5,” triple A KINK, country KUPL “98.7 The Bull,” sports KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” and talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” McConnell says, “I am just thrilled to get back to live and locally owned radio.  What Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt have crafted with these premier brands at Alpha/Portland is incredible and I am excited about growing our influence in this dynamic city.  The Alpha culture is very reminiscent of the boom years when we were growing Citadel.  The cherry on top is that I get to work with formats that I have experience with and am extremely passionate about.”

smerconishmichaelOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia debuts its new PM drive program hosted by Dick Morris.  The show is airing from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Meanwhile, longtime WPHT personality Michael Smerconish makes his move to SiriusXM Satellite Radio today.  The program airs on the POTUS channel from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET….Speaking of SiriusXM, the satcaster began a six-week run of a special program hosted by Breitbart News Network chairman Stephen K. Bannon called “Breitbart News Sunday with Stephen K. Bannon” last night at 7:00 pm ET on its conservative talk SiriusXM Patriot channel.  The three-hour call-in show is said to feature commentary and analysis on the stories and narratives that will drive the upcoming week’s news cycle from the editors and contributors of the Breitbart News Network.

miklaszbernieBernie Miklasz to Appear on WXOS, St. Louis Daily.  When WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” midday talk host Bernie Miklasz announced he’d be leaving his daily program on the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talker to focus on his work with the St. Louis Dispatch, the station said it hoped to still have him contributing on a regular basis.  Now, it’s announced that Miklasz will be a regular guest and will be featured at the following times: Monday afternoons at 4:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Tuesday mornings at 9:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesday evenings at 5:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Thursday mornings 10:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” and Friday afternoons at 12:30 on the new midday program.  Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are thrilled that Bernie Miklasz will still be a part of the ‘101ESPN’ team.  His experienced analysis regarding the local St. Louis and national sports scene is immeasurable, and our listeners really value his comments and opinions.”

barberrickLongtime Denver Talk Host Rick Barber Facing ALS Battle.  Rick Barber was a talk show host on KOA, Denver for more than 30 years.  He exited the station in January of 2012 and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – several months ago.  Now, former fellow Denver talk host Peter Boyles is helping alert the industry to Barber’s situation and providing information where people can make donations.  Find that on Boyles’ KHOW, Denver page here.

greatermediagoodguysGreater Media’s Peter Smyth Honored by Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.  Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth is pictured here at the 12th Annual Good Guys Awards on Thursday, April 11 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.  The awards event was produced by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus which honored Smyth for his continued support of women and families in Massachusetts.  Smyth is an active philanthropist working with many organizations that advocate for women and families including the United Way of Massachusetts, the New England Baptist Hospital and Emerson College. In addition, he is a supporter of GRLZ Radio, a radio station giving young women a voice in their community.  MWPC executive director Priti Rao states, “We were very excited to honor Peter Smyth as one of our Good Guys.  His dedicated advocacy to advance women serves as a role model to our community. His support of programs and initiatives that improve the welfare and safety of women and families has been indispensable.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Greater Media VP of corporate communication Heidi Raphael, “HOT 96.9” morning show co-host Pebbles, Greater Media Boston market manager Rob Williams, Smyth, “Hot 96.9” APD and digital media brand manager Jill Strada, WROR general sales manager Matt DiRoberto and Greater Media VP of program development Buzz Knight.