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Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco

| August 16, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Next month we will be noting that “It’s been TWENTY years!” We’ll invite callers’ where-were-you-when-you-heard stories. They will recall how — in the days following 9/11 – we were all…Americans, actually being nice to each other. And we were angry enough at whoever-did-this that we bungled into Iraq. Cue Lee Greenwood.

We were galvanized by a human enemy. Yet now, as we’re under attack by a super-human enemy – a virus that has killed over a half million in the USA, and is now resurging – we argue.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

| August 13, 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, “Millions, Billions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of August 9-13. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Paul Vandenburgh, talk show host/station owner, Talk 1300, Albany, NY; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; 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; 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.

Round Four of July PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis puts up an impressive 1.2 share increase for an 8.2 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish but remains in the #2 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ stays in the #1 spot after posting an 8.9 share for the second survey in a row, while iHeartMedia crosstown news/talk WISN-AM adds three-tenths for a 6.8 share and stays in the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence tacks on three-tenths, finishing with a 4.2 share and rises to the #7 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville remains ranked #3 in the market after posting an 8.1 share for the second month in a row. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (as well as the first three groups) here.

Audacy’s All-News WWJ, Detroit Announces New Anchor Lineup. Motor City all-news WWJ “Newsradio 950” unveils its new anchor lineup that takes effect immediately. The Audacy station says Jason Scott is promoted to morning drive and will co-anchor with Roberta Jasina from 5:00 am to 10:00 am. Tony Ortiz is also elevated as new afternoon drive co-anchor, teaming with Jackie Paige from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Brooke Allen continues in middays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Audacy Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to elevate Tony and Jason into their new roles. Both know the Detroit area well and that will allow them to bring our listeners valuable insight into the stories we cover each day.” Speaking about his promotion, Ortiz says, “I’m excited about this opportunity to make the move from sports to news. I am looking forward to co-anchoring with Jackie, who is just an amazing person to work with. It’s also an honor to be able to deliver the news on WWJ, a station that I grew up listening to and have been pleased to work at for the last 21 years.” Jason Scott comments, “I’m both excited and honored by the opportunity. I remain thrilled to be working with Roberta Jasina and such professional people at such a revered station.”

iHeartMedia Names Lisa Ballance SVP of Sales for Huntsville. Radio sales pro Lisa Ballance is promoted within iHeartMedia as she moves from her vice president of sales role at the St. Louis cluster to senior vice president of sales for the Huntsville station group that includes news/talk WBHP “The Big Talker” and six music brands. In this role, Ballance will be responsible for multi-platform sales not only in Huntsville but across the Alabama area. iHeartMedia Alabama area president Ray Quinn states, “We are excited that Lisa will be leading our sales efforts in Huntsville and bringing her talents to the entire Alabama area. Lisa’s unique skills and broad media knowledge will benefit both our employees and our clients.” Ballance comments, “I am thrilled to join iHeartMedia’s Huntsville team and be back in the South. It will be great working again with some old friends and making some new ones too. The Huntsville market is growing fast and has so much hidden potential that I can’t wait to tap into and get started!”

Michael Burger New SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Raleigh. Radio sales pro Michael Burger is promoted from his vice president of sales post at the St. Louis cluster of iHeartMedia to SVP of sales for the company’s Raleigh operations that includes news/talk WTKK-FM and five music brands. iHeartMedia Raleigh market president Alan Kirshbom says, “Michael has a proven record of winning. Having held virtually all sales roles since joining the industry, his experience will help him lead our team of champions to even greater success.” Burger states, “The opportunity to join this accomplished team in Raleigh, a team that is reshaping the way we help clients tell their stories and also leaning into the ever-evolving audio/digital/events/data space, is exhilarating. My appreciation goes to iHeart Raleigh for welcoming me with open arms and my family and I are beyond excited to make Raleigh our new home.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network effective September 13. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “At SPN we like to find podcasters like Jenna who want to change the world for good. With her strong Christian faith, combined with a rock-solid legal mind, she brings something unique and special to our network. Like all of our podcasters, you learn something every day from Jenna, and we can’t wait to get her started.” Ellis comments, “I am so excited to join the Salem Podcast Network family and add to their incredible lineup of voices for biblical truth and conservative policy. I get questions daily from concerned citizens all over the country on various issues, and this podcast will focus on my answers and analysis of cultural and legal issues and how to think through them from a Christian, conservative, and constitutional framework.”…..The Doug Stephan-produced program “Your Hidden Power” is changing its name to “Zodiac Magic” and transitions to the podcast format. The weekly program is hosted by Doug Stephan with astrologer Laura Banks and psychic-medium Mary O’Malley as co-hosts. Stephan says, “In this era of many questions and few good answers, more and more Americans are turning to the world of the heretofore unknown and misunderstood. But people are finding answers, real help from what used to be taboo sources.”…..Broadway Wine Club and iHeartMedia New York’s “iHeartRadio Broadway” announce the launch of a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast, “The Broadway Happy Hour Podcast.” Hosted by Broadway actor and certified wine expert Kate Rockwell, the show features Rockwell interviewing guests from Broadway about their work on stage and screen and what they love to drink. It will feature a variety of unique stories from backstage to the best bars, all while teaching you more about fine wine, cocktails, craft ales and other delicious libations. iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger says, “iHeartRadio Broadway is beyond thrilled to have Broadway Wine Club and Kate Rockwell join the iHeartRadio Broadway platform with ‘The Broadway Happy Hour Podcast.’ Kate’s ability to chat about wine and Broadway feels like a conversation with your best friend at your favorite wine bar after seeing a great show. Listeners will pick up some great wine tips from Kate while also getting to know their favorite Broadway stars in a new way.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 9-13. Discussion about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta variant and public policy regarding masks and vaccine requirements combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill headed to the U.S. House and the current high rate of inflation. Following at #3 was the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after numerous allegations of sexual harassment and the related #MeToo movement. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Full-Time Reporter/Anchor. Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg news/talk WYRD “106.3 WORD” has an opening for a full-time, aggressive, curious reporter/anchor to add to our award-winning news staff. Candidates must demonstrate creative instincts in finding local stories. He or she must have efficient and effective writing skills and the ability to react to breaking news. The successful candidate should be familiar with news gathering tools and be comfortable with social network postings and usage, including video for digital assets. Experience writing, producing, and reporting news is required. If you are passionate about reporting news and creating compelling, story-telling news features for on-air and digital platforms, show us you have what it takes. Please submit your resume, cover letter, and work sample here.

Affiliate Relations Pro. “The Sons of Liberty” and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. With 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting in over 53 countries – “The Sons of Liberty” and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747 or visit here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts?

| August 13, 2021

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS magazine
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — On August 11, Federal Judge Carl Nichols denied the motions to dismiss filed by Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell in regard to the defamation lawsuits filed against them by Dominion Voting Systems.  The defamation lawsuits stem from false claims Powell and Giuilani, both attorneys who had worked on the Trump presidential campaign and Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, Inc and a frequent media commentator each had made about fraud in the 2020 presidential election, specifically related to baseless claims that Dominion had altered votes in favor of President Biden.

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Friday, February 5, 2021

| February 5, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Freedom of Screech,” looks back at this past week of February 1-5, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkJoyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanySteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Rudy Giuliani Says WABC Radio Disclaimer ‘Rather Insulting.’ Former New York City mayor and recent Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York after the station aired a disclaimer at the end of a commercial break during Giuliani’s one-hour afternoon radio show on the station. On the heels of the announcement by voting systems firm Smartmatic that it is suing FOX News, some of its hosts, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and Giuliani for defamation for $2.7 billion, WABC added the disclaimer to his program that stated, “The views, assumptions and opinions expressed by former U.S. attorney, former attorney to the president of the United States, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his guests and callers on his program are strictly their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs or policies of WABC Radio, its owner Red Apple Group, its other hosts or its advertisers.” Giuliani expressed his surprise at the disclaimer stating on the air, “I would have thought they would have told me about that before just doing what they just did. Rather insulting. And gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone. And how they frighten everybody. I mean, we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany… They’ve got to warn you about me? I’m going to have to give that a lot of consideration. I also think putting it on without telling me ― not the right thing to do. Not the right thing to do at all.”

Holiday PPM Ratings Highs & Lows. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today reports on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM ratings and says, “Virtually nothing in any facet of life was ‘normal’ in the just-concluded calendar year, so it wouldn’t have been a monumental shock if Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 numbers strayed from past scripts. Pandemic-caused modified radio listening habits, combined with a completely out-of-the-norm presidential campaign/election/aftermath, accounted for some strange wobbles compared to past Holiday survey periods. Read his complete report here.

Donald Trump Resigns from SAG-AFTRA. As requested by the union after a Disciplinary Committee meeting, Donald Trump has resigned from SAG-AFTRA. However, the former president did not go quietly into the night. He wrote, in part, “Your organization has done little for its members, and nothing for me – besides collecting dues and promoting dangerous un-American policies and ideas – as evident by your massive unemployment rates and lawsuits from celebrated actors, who even recorded a video asking, ‘Why isn’t the union fighting for me?’ These, however, are policy failures. Your disciplinary failures are even more egregious. I no longer wish to be associated with your union. As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me.” You can read the entire text of his resignation here. For its part, the union responded, “Thank you.”

TALKERS News Notes. In the Twin Cities, Entercom and the Minnesota Timberwolves announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement that keeps WCCO-AM as the flagship station for Timberwolves basketball. The station has served as the radio home of the team since 2011. Entercom Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “This season we are excited to not only expand our distribution, but also try new content platforms that utilize our incredible talent and give fans an insider’s view into the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are an organization that’s forward-thinking and innovative, and it’s a perfect partner for 830 WCCO and the unparalleled signal coverage we provide to the Upper Midwest.”…..iHeartMedia is partnering with Paris Hilton to produce a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts as well as a series of PodPosts, what the company calls “a new format that merges social media into voice, and podcasting into a social environment.” The new series will launch February 22 with the “This is Paris” podcast hosted by Hilton herself, “which puts her own creative spin on the podcast format — releasing a blend of both playful, emotional and authentic scripted, scheduled episodes as well as spontaneous, shorter ‘social’ audio episodes each week between segments. This unique audio format will entertain audiences with content that includes candid interviews with influential and inspiring guests around the globe, discussing topics such as beauty, wellness, fashion, pop culture, travel, entrepreneurship, relationships and more.”…..Entercom’s C13Originals announces season three of the Gangster Capitalism documentary podcast franchise: Jerry Falwell Jr. The company says that “Gangster Capitalism, Season 3: Jerry Falwell Jr. and Liberty University” will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The series will launch in the spring and the investigative docuseries will feature more than 30 exclusive interviews from current and former students, staff, faculty, administration, and insiders, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians, some going on the record for the first time to reveal new stories and information that is explosive and revealing…..WNYC Studios and The Atlantic introduce, “The Experiment: Stories From an Unfinished Country,” a weekly podcast that will “give listeners the context they need to understand our country right now.” In each episode, host Julia Longoria is joined by The Atlantic’s writers and editors to “explore America’s promise through riveting, surprising, and even surreal stories that uncover powerful and sometimes invisible forces of history.”

Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, and GOP Cheney and Greene Issues Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The looming impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the investigation into the Capitol insurrection, and the GOP’s dealing with attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of February 1-5, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 stats, rollout of vaccines and concern about variants. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the Biden-GOP stimulus negotiations, and the financial markets activity. At #4 was race relations tied with police reform and the Morgan Wallen racial slur case. #5 was the cable TV ratings war tied with social media censorship and the cancel culture. Following at #6 was climate change tied with immigration reform. At #7 was U.S. relations with China and Russia tied with the Myanmar coup. #8 was the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the FBI agents slain while investigating a child porn case. Finally, at #10 was the countdown to Super Bowl LV. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.