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Monday, November 29, 2021

| November 29, 2021

Monday Memo: We’re Late. “Like the bookstores and stockbrokers and travel agents that were early casualties,” consultant Holland Cooke sees radio and TV stations as “middlemen the Internet is squeezing-out.” In this week’s column, HC warns that “we-who-power-the-towers are late, if we still regard digital content as an adjunct” and he urges that “we should only do what only we can do.” Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Exercise. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that “the radio business can learn a lot about the core changes facing 21st century commercial media in general by watching how the outdoor advertising industry is adjusting to the drastically new conditions of the modern era. Next time you’re moving through traffic take notice of the variety of messages on the out-of-home media around you. Billboards of all sizes, and all kinds – poster boards, vinyls, newer digital, stationary, mobile, building signage, airport boards, bus stop enclosures – all are blatant reminders that the medium is the message and the creative is changing.” Read more here.

Terry Ford to Program Cumulus Media’s ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia, South Carolina. Sports talk radio pro Terry Ford joins Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” as program director. In this role, Ford will also oversee the cluster’s sister sports talk station WISW-AM “ESPN 1320.” Ford was most recently with Clarity Communications’ sports talk WZNN-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Sports 96.1” as host and program director. During his career he’s served as late night host at Audacy’s WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and as a host on the Yahoo Sports Radio network. Ford says, “I am truly excited to become the next program director of such a quality sports brand as ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia. ‘The Game’ has sharp upper management support, a rock-solid infrastructure, and a talented staff, so this was an easy decision for me. I want to thank Cumulus Columbia market manager Tammy O’Dell for offering me this fabulous opportunity. In my many conversations with Tammy, you could hear her love and passion for ‘107.5 The Game.’ I also want to thank Cumulus SVP of sports, programming and audience Bruce Gilbert. It was Bruce who put me on Tammy’s radar. I can’t wait to land in Columbia and get started!”

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Says No More Advertising for Salem. Numerous consumer publications, including Business Insider, are reporting that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has pulled ads for his MyPillow products from the air at Salem Radio Network after complaining on his 96-hour livestream “Thanks-a-Thon” over the holiday weekend that the broadcast network has not had him on any of the talk shows in a “long, long time.” The Business Insider piece says Lindell “expressed annoyance that Salem apparently never took the time to explain why, in his opinion, the mainstream media had shunned him. He said that ‘woke’ retailers had also ‘canceled’ him and described their actions as ‘a joke.’” The story notes that retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s stopped selling his products after Lindell began his campaign spouting voter fraud theories. Salem has not publicly commented on the matter.

Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation 6th Annual Event Features Churchill Author Interview. The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, which supports efforts to defend free speech and help young people enter the news and talk radio formats, held its 6th annual event on November 19 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out program was themed “Celebrating the Leadership of Winston Churchill – Defender of Free Speech & Western Civilization” and featured keynote remarks by professor Andrew Roberts (pictured at right being interviewed by broadcaster James Rosen), author of the 2018 international best-seller, Churchill: Walking With Destiny. Roberts spoke about how Churchill used the power of oratory and the medium of radio to rally the free world to confront a variety of tyrannical ideologies and threats to freedom. Vince Benedetto, president of the Bold Gold Foundation and Bold Gold Media Group, addressed the rising importance of the Foundation’s work in an age of increased censorship and cancel culture.   The event also honored local business leader and entrepreneur, Rob Grimm, with the 2021 Atlas Award for Citizenship.

Good Karma’s ‘101.7 The Truth’ Announces Black-Owned Business Giveback. The Milwaukee talk station owned by Good Karma Brands announces a partnership with Associated Bank called Black-Owned Business Giveback, a promotion to help support Black-owned businesses by awarding them a free radio advertising campaign on WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth.” Each month, the first 10 businesses to register at BlackBusinessGiveback.com wins a campaign that includes one 30-second commercial that airs 50 times over the month. The promotion will run through the end of 2022. Station general manager Cherie Harris comments, “We are thankful for our partnership with Associated Bank for the Black-Owned Business Giveback Promotion. Our Black-owned businesses are a vital part of the community’s growth and economic development, and we want to be sure they are given every opportunity to succeed.” The 10 chosen businesses will be invited to work with ‘The Truth’ team to write and produce their customized radio spots. At the conclusion of the campaign in November 2022, over 100 businesses will be awarded a free advertising campaign valued at $2,000.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Asks for Help on Giving Tuesday. Tomorrow – November 30 – is Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving, and the Broadcasters Foundation of America asks that you think of them on this day of philanthropy. For over 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided medical aid and disaster relief to broadcasters and their families across the United States. This year, the Foundation will give away more than $1.8 million in monthly and emergency grants. Your gift will help them reach every broadcaster in need. One broadcaster says, “We would be lost without the generosity of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Because of your support, chronic illness has not taken everything from me. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!” On behalf of everyone at the Broadcasters Foundation of America, thank you and have a safe and happy holiday season. Donate here.

MIW Presents Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence Webinar. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization, together with vCreative, are recognizing and celebrating women in radio “whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their radio stations and groups.” The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence,” takes place Thursday (12/2) from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s Operations: Becky Degener, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Webinar participants will hear how these professionals strategically embrace emerging technologies; integrate new products into existing workflows; and hire and train teams. You can register for the webinar here.

COVID-19/Omicron Variant, Financial Markets/Inflation, Crime Spike/Mass Looting, January 6 Investigation, China Military Aggression, Thanksgiving/Football, and the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about the new Omicron variant; the world’s financial markets react to the news of the Omicron variant and the high retail prices facing consumers; the rising crime statistics in major cities and the ongoing spate of smash-and-grab flash mobs; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the Committee’s seeking information from former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; China’s continuing aggressive posture toward Taiwan; the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend; and this week’s start of the trial of accused Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

| November 24, 2021

TALKERS magazine Offices Closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The offices of TALKERS magazine will be closed from the end of business today (11/24) through the weekend. TALKERS will reopen on Monday (11/29). The staff of TALKERS hopes that everyone enjoys a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

NOW POSTED: This Thanksgiving 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, “Thanksgiving Weekend,” looks back at this past week of 11/22 – 11/26. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksDr. Murray Sabrin, professor emeritus of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; “SuperTalk 99.7” WTN, Nashville; 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 Network; Pioneer 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.

WWO: Radio and Podcast Revenues to Rise in 2022. This week’s blog post from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group, assesses leading revenue forecasts and key trends to watch for in the coming year. The piece predicts that 2020 AM/FM radio revenue will grow 6% to 8% while podcast revenue will grow 31%. Of the big 10 categories that represent 60% of local revenue for radio stations, the five to watch are: auto, TV/cable, healthcare, home improvement, and communications/cellular. Travel and entertainment should also surge. At the network level, look for continued growth in pharmaceutical, financial, business-to-business brands, recruitment, consumer packaged goods, restaurants, insurance, and auto. The post predicts that when it comes to ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio will remain dominant, AM/FM radio streaming will surpass Pandora and Spotify, podcasts will continue to explode, and Pandora will collapse.

Sarah Quinn Named Marketing Director for iHeartMedia Greensboro. Radio and marketing pro Sarah Quinn joins iHeartMedia Greensboro, North Carolina as marketing director for the cluster that includes news/talk WPTI-FM and seven music brands. Quinn comes to iHeartMedia from Alpha Media’s Canton, Ohio operations where she was marketing and promotions director and an air personality. iHeartMedia Greensboro SVP of programming Zac Davis says, “We had some great candidates from different backgrounds apply for this integral position, but Sarah possessed a unique skill set that really stood out to us. Her beliefs and work ethic align well with what we’re doing here in Greensboro and she’s going to hit the ground running!”

Alliance for Women in Media Unveils New Mentoring Program. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the launch of a new program – “AWM Connects presented by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Ziploc Accessory Bags.” This new program is “an exciting new virtual mentoring program that will connect young/new professionals with senior level executives throughout television, radio, and digital media.” The event takes place on December 15 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and includes an opportunity for mentees and mentors to interact. Mentees will also be connected with mentors for a one-on-one conversation following the conclusion of the event. Mentors will be members of the AWM and AWM Foundation Board of Directors as well as high-level executives specifically selected to match up with the mentees that apply for the program. Mentees interested in participating in this inaugural program should apply by December 1. AWM president Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media has been connecting, educating and recognizing women in all forms of media for 70 years and this is the next opportunity to fulfill our important mission. We strongly encourage up and coming women in radio, television and digital medias to apply for an opportunity to experience this unique mentoring program and stay engaged with AWM as we move into the next 70 years.”

South Carolina Radio Station Holds ‘On-Air Job Fair.’ WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller (pictured at right with Jay Logan of the local Reagan Flooring company) recently held an “On-Air Job Fair” to assist in matching up employers with open positions with people looking for work. Eller tells TALKERS magazine that one employer needed as many as 30 people to care for clients with disabilities and special needs. Another was seeking flooring installers. An international company in the healthcare field had manufacturing and other specialized jobs available. She says she’s been hearing local stories from businesses, industries, and service providers about the increasing lack of employees for jobs, many of which offered good starting salaries and benefits. She adds, “Although this is a nationwide problem, the lack of workers has been impacting our economy for months. Restaurants had shorter hours or were closing on more days. People needing home and other repairs had long waits. The stories were endless, and I knew that I had to do something to help.” Connecting with the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce, she asked the Chamber to promote the idea to its members and in return, she would provide a business with 10 minutes of free air time to discuss their business or organization, the types of services it provides and the employees and skills needed for the positions. She had one requirement: employers had to give a phone number so that people could call and discuss the position because she believes many people are intimidated by filling out job applications online. She says the job fair was a success as employers received calls after their air time from potential employees and other businesses began calling to find out when the next job fair would be held. Eller says, “We will monitor the demand in the community. I am passionate about serving the needs of my listeners and advertisers, and I would love to see this happen again.”

TALKERS News Notes. San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is sitting in for Premiere Networks afternoon drive talk host Sean Hannity on today’s program. Pags tells TALKERS, “I’m extremely thankful and thrilled to crack the mic for broadcasting superstar Sean Hannity. Huge shoes to fill.”…..Edison Research announces the debut of The Infinite Dial 2021 UK, sponsored by Bauer Media and Spotify, debuting in a webinar on Thursday, December 2. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “We are excited to add the UK to the list of countries around the world investigating digital audio, podcasting, and social media usage via The Infinite Dial franchise. Thanks to Bauer Media and Spotify for bringing this beneficial research to the media community in the UK.”…..PodcastOne announces the launch of “Melissa Gorga On Display,” a new pop culture podcast hosted by the reality star and influencer. Gorga, who has spent a decade on the immensely popular Bravo series “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” brings to the podcast her expertise in all things marriage, motherhood, fashion and, of course, reality television. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There is absolutely no denying the immense popularity of Melissa Gorga and the impact her presence has had on pop culture around the world. Her podcast is exactly what audiences want in a celebrity-hosted podcast, and listeners will not be disappointed.”…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, in partnership with EagleBank and 4giving, announces the conclusion of its inaugural Week of Giving holiday charity campaign aimed at raising money and awareness for local charities. The WTOP Week of Giving Campaign ran for one week from Monday, November 8 through Friday, November 12 and raised $9,054 for local charities. WTOP also matched donations made as part of an internal employee match program encouraging employees, as well as their friends and family, to donate during the Week of Giving. WTOP general manager Joel Oxley says, “We’re so honored to be able to give back to our community in this way and thankful for the giving spirit of our loyal audience. We couldn’t help these charities and the people they support without them.”

Inflation-Gas Prices/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, California Looting Spree, Charlottesville Jury Awards Damages, COVID-19, Ohio Opioid Verdict, Ahmaud Arbery Case, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The soaring prices of food and gasoline and the broken supply chain; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the subpoenas issued for Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone and media figure Alex Jones; the rising number of smash-and-grab mall looting cases in California; a jury in Charlottesville awards $26 million in damages stemming from the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and the battle over mask & vaccine mandates; an Ohio jury finds CVS, Walgreens and Walmart liable in the opioid epidemic; the jury considers the evidence in the trial of three men in the death of Ahmaud Arbery; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

| October 27, 2021

Vaccine Mandates Causing Strife Among Staffers in Broadcasting Industry. The mandate by several radio companies that workers return to the office and get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they do is causing angst for some in the industry. Already, a handful of radio personalities have chosen to be terminated from their positions rather than get a vaccine. TALKERS reported on the dismissal of sports talk host Tim Hill from Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina and Jeff Crank’s exit from Cumulus Media’s KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs for refusing the vaccine. Also, country jock Roxanne Steele exited Cumulus’ WDRQ-FM, Detroit for the same reason. Cumulus is not the only radio company with a mandate. Beasley Media Group also has instituted a vaccine requirement. But the threat by talk host Dan Bongino to leave his program syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One if the company doesn’t retreat on the mandate has pushed the issue into mainstream news outlets. It has also put WWO in a difficult situation with Bongino as the company has replaced Bongino’s live show with best-of editions so far this week, ostensibly so the company can sort out this matter. Bongino – who is vaccinated but says he’s taking this stand for his fellow employees – has only been syndicated by WWO since May but the company has invested a lot of time and money in his show. His popular podcast was the #8-ranked podcast in terms of average weekly downloads in September, according to Triton Digital’s rankings so this makes Cumulus’ handling of Bongino’s threat very tricky. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison comments, “We haven’t seen this kind of dramatic brinksmanship since the Cuban Missile Crisis… well perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but Bongino has clearly drawn a red line in the sand and both parties have boldly stepped over it. Now it’s a matter of image and pride for each. Unless this is defused by a masterful display of diplomacy in which both sides can save face and move the issue forward to the benefit of all involved – including society at large – [Cumulus CEO] Mary Berner has no choice but to let Bongino go. He made his choice… and Dan must now make good on his threat and live with the consequences, whatever they might be. One thing’s for sure… we’ve come a long way from the old ‘morals clause’ that was a standard part of media talent contracts. We’ll now be seeing the ‘political clause’ become part of the deal in talk media management/talent legal agreements.”

Audacy Rebrands WQAM, Miami; Unveils Tweaked Lineups for South Florida Sports Talkers. A number of changes talk place at Audacy’s South Florida sports talk stations, including the rebranding of WQAM, Miami. The station is leaving the “560 The Joe” moniker behind and the station is now “AM 560 Sports WQAM.” While sister sports talker WAXY-AM remains branded “AM 790 The Ticket,” some programming changes also take place, including the move of personality Jonathan Zaslow to middays (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) on WQAM from his previous role in middays on WAXY. Meanwhile, “AM 790 The Ticket” adds “BetQL Daily” for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.

Hubbard Radio’s Talk KTMY-FM, Minneapolis Launches Marketing Campaign. Twin Cities talk outlet KTMY-FM “myTalk 107.1” is beginning a four-and-a-half month marketing campaign that sets out to differentiate itself from its pure news/talk cousins with the slogan: “Where Talk is Fun.” The first billboard (top) was a teaser that was followed by the next in the series (bottom) featuring morning duo Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson that reveals the station’s brand. Hubbard Radio VP and region manager Dan Seeman says the next four months will see the campaign expand with bulletins, poster billboards, indoor advertising (women’s bathrooms), OTT, and digital display.

Talk Host John Hancock Honored with Induction into NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The North Carolina Broadcasters Association held its annual business meeting virtually this year and presented its annual broadcast awards. Longtime WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. Hancock’s bio says: “John recently retired after 50 years of on-air service with the past 30 years in Charlotte. John arrived in Charlotte and at WBT in December of 1990 and has helped shape the conversation in the Queen City ever since by musing on the issues of the day with his unique perspective. For nearly three decades, John’s daily show provided a mix of information and opinion, peppered with humor and just the right dose of sarcasm, enabling him to become a cherished and trusted voice for the community, known universally as ‘Charlotte’s Most Beloved.’ As an integral part of the community, he showed how much he cared including his 27 year, unconditional commitment to the Kids First of the Carolina’s annual holiday drive, raising millions in dollars, toys, bikes (over 20,000) and services. Additionally, John’s annual ‘Father’s Day’ show on the anniversary of his own father’s death, March 16 and the annual ‘Peanut Butter N July’ benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, became Charlotte traditions. John Hancock aired his final daily show on WBT 1110 AM on October 17, 2019. But, even in retirement, he remains active in radio and at WBT in the form of two commentaries a week and joining Bo Thompson on the WBT morning show for an hour every Friday.

Sean Spicer Celebrates Release of New Book. Pictured above at the launch party for former White House press secretary and current Newsmax personality Sean Spicer’s new book are (from l-r): U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Spicer and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy. Newsmax says, “The top movers and shakers in Washington came out for the launch of Sean Spicer’s new book, Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Dangerous Plan for America (Humanix, 2021). The book launch party, hosted by Chris Ruddy, drew approximately 40 members of Congress, including many from the top leadership, former Trump administration cabinet members, media personalities, and major policy experts.”

TALKERS News Notes. Finance and investment expert and best-selling author Jared Dillian is launching a podcast titled, “Be Smart: How Not to Be an Idiot with Your Money.” This is an all-new take on an existing podcast. Dillian says, “I’m on a mission to help people live a richer stress-free life, not by renting or borrowing it. I help discover how to conquer money troubles, escape the scarcity mentality trap, and ignite earning power. Yes, people can do it while still enjoying material possessions. You don’t have to live in a van down by the river.” Dillian is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. He worked at Lehman Brothers from 2001 to 2008 —first as an index arbitrage trader and then as head of the ETF trading desk. He left Lehman to start his own newsletter, “The Daily Dirtnap,” where he shares trade ideas and market commentary for finance professionals and sophisticated investors. He also edits of “Street Freak,” “ETF 20/20,” and the “10th Man.”…..There’s a nice piece in The Southern Illinoisan recognizing 45 years on the radio for River Radio’s WJPF-AM, Herrin, Illinois morning host Tom Miller. The self-described “rock ‘n’ roll guy” has been hosting “The Morning News Watch” for 20 years and he says that during his rock radio days it was all about his image as “off-the-hook crazy, a wild card, loose cannon.” Now, unlike the majority of his talk radio colleagues, Miller says it’s not about him. “I had to remake myself completely. I didn’t use my name; I focused solely on content. I didn’t want anybody to think about any of the other stuff I had done before, because in this format it is about what you say and how you say it. It became about credibility.”…..TeshMedia signs an extension with Compass Media Networks to continue in its role as the exclusive advertising sales representative for its portfolio of radio assets including the daily “John Tesh Radio Show,” a/k/a Intelligence for Your Life, “The Best of the John Tesh Radio Show,” “Intelligence for Your Health with Connie Sellecca,” “The Weekend Show with John Tesh and Gib Gerard” and “Intelligence for Your Life Minute,” as well as “Intelligence For Your Life: The Podcast.”…..Cumulus Media, Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci dropped “Bonaparte,” a true crime podcast series revealing the remarkable journey of one woman’s resolve to help piece together events surrounding the mysterious and unsolved death of her childhood friend 25 years prior. The new, 10-part podcast series, hosted by Jason Stavers, reports on attorney Anne Champion’s endeavor to solve the death of her childhood friend of Laura Van Wyhe. Champion says, “Laura’s death has always stayed with me. There are too many things that don’t add up. A few years ago, I decided to start pushing for answers. I’m working with Laura’s family to see if we can get people to come forward and share new details. Based on my review of the files, it’s clear that there are many inconsistencies and many open issues begging for further investigation. I believe this is a cold case that can be solved, and solving it is long overdue for Laura’s family and friends.”

January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Virginia Governor’s Race, Bolsonaro Charges, and Rust Movie Set Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the too-close-to-call race for Virginia Governor between incumbent Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; Brazil’s senate recommends criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for his response to the coronavirus pandemic; and the investigation into the death of assistant producer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday August 13, 2020

| August 13, 2020

Gardner Announces Retirement. Having worked for Bonneville the past 12 years – the last three as senior vice president and San Francisco market manager – Carl Gardner will be retiring at the end of this month. Bonneville International president Darrell Brown comments, “Carl has been a tremendous asset to Bonneville. We will miss his leadership, deep experience, and friendship.” Gardner transferred to the Bay Area from Seattle, where he spent nine years as the company’s vice president/market manager. In advance of that, he was an upper-level executive at Journal Broadcast Group for 17 years, leaving in 2008 as executive vice president of television, radio, and digital media. For more than a half-dozen years, Gardner was Journal’s Milwaukee-based president of radio operations. The University of Washington alum began his 43-year media career in Seattle and has worked in Denver and Portland, as well as San Francisco and Milwaukee. A past chair of the NAB Radio board and former member of the NAB executive committee, Gardner has had active industry involvement in other capacities, including membership on the Radio Advertising Bureau board of directors, Associated Press advisory board, and Washington State Association of Broadcasters board of directors. For the past seven years, Gardner has been part of the Seattle Sports Commission’s executive committee. Bonneville is expected to name Gardner’s replacement later this month.

RAB To Acquire NRTS. Founder/president of the National Radio Talent System, Dan Vallie, will advise the Radio Advertising Bureau as the RAB integrates the institute into the organization. With RAB’s oversight, the national “System” will continue to operate under its brand name and network of institutes across the country. RAB president/chief executive officer Erica Farber states that, “An integral part of the RAB’s mission is providing the industry with the tools and resources to help broadcasters attract new sales talent to the medium and enhance radio’s professionalism through training and support. The integration of the National Radio Talent System into the RAB delivers on the mission in so many ways. We are just delighted to continue to grow Dan Vallie’s vision and take it to the next phase.” According to Vallie, “The National Radio Talent System began as a labor of love to prepare the next generation of broadcasters, who can be hired today and be leaders in our industry tomorrow. Today’s visionary broadcasters, universities and sponsors working together have made it a reality. RAB has been there with us from the very first Radio Talent Institute. I’m confident the National Radio Talent System will continue to grow and maximize its potential, assuring the industry of young talent on through this 21st century. I truly believe over the next 100 years, radio will be the keystone of a golden age of audio, even more so by attracting young talent to the industry. People make the difference – always has been and always will be.” Entercom chief operating officer/RAB board chair Susan Larkin notes, “The future of our companies is dependent on the next generation of committed, prepared, and talented radio professionals. The National Radio Talent System is unique in that it provides a radio talent ‘farm’ for the industry, an incubator of well-rounded, well-educated college talent with a passion for radio. That’s why investing in this program is good for the RAB and the industry.” College students, recent graduates, and radio interns have to apply to be accepted into the intensive 10-day Institutes. Sessions include on-air, programming, sales, writing, news, sports, promotions, videography, podcasting, social media, engineering and management. Each student participates in RAB training and takes the exam to earn Radio Marketing Professional Certification (RMPC).

Davis Appointed iHM Greensboro VP/Programming. Most recently the senior vice president of programming for Entercom Richmond – Zac Davis – joins iHeartMedia as vice president of programming of Greensboro’s five-station cluster. Davis will report to iHeartMedia Greensboro president Kellie Holeman, who comments, “I am thrilled to welcome Zac to my team in Greensboro. I look forward to collaborating with him to continue developing these great brands. Zac brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity across all formats; I look forward to a long, prosperous partnership.” Davis adds, “I’ve really enjoyed my four years in Richmond, but always considered North Carolina my home. I’m thrilled to head back to Greensboro. After getting to know [those involved], I knew this was a special team.” The Florida State University grad previously was program director at iHeartMedia Hartford-New Haven and has held industry positions in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh, as well as in Melbourne (Florida), Stockton (California); and Myrtle Beach (South Carolina). In addition to WPTI “Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” (ninth, 4.2, July 2020, 6+), iHeartMedia’s Greensboro cluster consists of adult contemporary WMAG “The Best Variety of the ‘80s, ‘90s, & Today” (third, 8.8, 6+); WTQR “Q-104.1 #1 For New Country” (sixth, 5.7, 6+); rock WVBZ “105.7 Man Up!” (tenth, 3.7, 6+); and CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM The Triad’s #1 Hit Music Station” (#12, 2.4, 6+).

Weinstein, Donaldson, Hall To Occupy Washington’s Radio Booth. While the updated name of this particular NFL franchise might not be the most creative – although an improvement over its controversial one – the Washington Football Team has unveiled its completely new radio crew for a potential 2020 season. Cumulus Media sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol” afternoon host Bram Weinstein will handle play-by-play, while former defensive back DeAngelo Hall prepares to serve as an analyst alongside Julie Donaldson. Weinstein succeeds Larry Michael, who faces accusations of improper behavior toward female employees. Donaldson and Hall are replacing Chris Cooley and Rick “Doc” Walker. Weinstein explains that since 1979, “Only two people have had the privilege of holding the position of play-by-play voice of the Washington Football Team. With that in mind, and knowing what this team means to our community, I am humbled and honored to be given this opportunity. This is the fulfillment of a dream. This is also an exciting time to start with so much change happening in and around the franchise. I’m proud to have been selected to be part of this team.” Former NBCSW anchor/reporter Donaldson is the franchise’s newly-named senior vice president of media and remarks, “With DeAngelo’s experience as the ‘eyes’ of our defense for a decade, not to mention his work with the NFL Network, and Bram’s tenure as a sports broadcaster/Washington Football fan, we’ll be able to relate to – and involve –  the players and fans like never before.” Hall adds, “I am incredibly excited and honored to be joining this storied franchise as the next gameday analyst. While I loved my time playing for Washington the better part of ten years, there is more I would have liked to have accomplished for the fans. This opportunity will allow me to make a lasting impact in a different way. We are heading into the future with Julie Donaldson and I am excited to be her teammate for this journey.” The franchise’s games will air on a network headed by Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL and cross-town Radio One-owned sports talk WTEM “980 The Team.”

TALKERS News Notes. Honoring the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, iHeartMedia’s WVON “1690 The Talk of Chicago” afternoon talent Kimberley Egonmwan will host a virtual celebration to commemorate contributions of African-American women to democracy. The event will honor past and present “Women of the Movement” with a pictorial montage; a civic engagement call-to-action; and two panel discussions about how women have turned voting into power. Taking place on Zoom and Facebook Live, the celebration begins this Saturday (8/15) at 11:00 am, preceded by a 10:30 am civic engagement show featuring a 2020 census and election presentation by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority connection committee. Among those scheduled to join Egonmwan are the first black female US Senator, Carol Moseley Braun; congresswoman Robin Kelly; historian Dr. Keisha N. Blain; political strategist Delmarie Cobb; and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” contributor Stefanie Brown James Montana Public Radio host/writer/producer Nora Saks is the recipient of Boston University public radio news/talk WBUR’s Daniel Schorr journalism prize of $5,000 for her podcast “Richest Hill,” a series on a notorious EPA superfund site. Named for the legendary CBS, CNN, and NPR reporter/analyst, the award honors public radio journalists under the age of 35. Saks will be honored at a virtual event next month (9/15) … Effective next Monday (8/17) on Good Karma Brands’ Madison sports talk WTLX “100.5 FM ESPN,” Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti grab the 5:00 am – 9:00 am slot. Fellow ESPN Radio talents Mike Greenberg (“Greeny”) and Max Kellerman will follow at 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm, and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, respectively. Vice president and market manager Keith Williams comments, “It is an exciting time to be an ESPN radio sports fan, with the opportunity to listen to ESPN Network’s new national shows that will provide incredible energy and varying perspectives. Fans will continue to hear from the locally-produced and informative Wilde & Tausch (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); 12-year radio host Jim Rutledge (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); and then complete their day with the fast-paced entertainment of Greg Scalzo & Ben Brust (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm).” … A daily, two minute Josh Tolley-hosted feature – “The Business of Life” – is available from Fishnet Syndication. Topics pertain to faith, family, finance, politics, entertainment, and news. Fishnet Syndication partner Mike Tyler notes, “Josh has a long history of producing a fantastic radio show covering many hot topics to keep listeners coming back for more. Fishnet Syndication is always on the lookout for great shows and we know content is king.” Tolley adds, “I’ve had a very successful radio show with over 20 million listeners in 160 countries and in all 50 states. We know our decision to partner with Fishnet Syndication is the correct decision. Mike Tyler and Kent Jones have a long history in the radio industry and are well known for getting the job done.”

Entercom Launches “Battleground America.” The daily podcast available to listeners nationwide on Radio.com beginning next Monday (8/17) is centered around this year’s presidential election and American politics. Entercom Greenville (South Carolina) news/talk WYRD “106.3 Word” morning show host Tara Servatius provides daily intel on American politics and culture. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg senior vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi remarks, “With election season in full swing, we want to give our listeners a wide array of premier political content, supported by reliable insight and diverse opinions. Tara does a fantastic job captivating her audience through her daily morning show and we look forward to amplifying her voice across the country on Radio.com to spark healthy discussions surrounding the 2020 election.” Servatius opines, “This election will be unlike any other and could change the way Americans live forever. I’m excited to share this afternoon snack with our local listeners who want their ‘Tara Show’ fix, as well as share my voice with those in other cities nationwide craving election talk radio as we rapidly approach November.” In episode one, Servatius will discuss her opinion about president Trump‘s 2016 win being a razor’s edge miracle and the probability of pulling it off again. New episodes will be available every weekday.

NAB Show New York Registration Opens Next Month. The ten-day (October 19 – 29) virtual event showcases advances in next-generation technology and will feature conferences, workshops, and exhibits focused on podcasting, television, film, online video, live events, and advertising. Executive vice president of NAB conventions Chris Brown notes, “We are continuing to evolve the digital event model to better serve the needs of the industry with a more robust platform and enhanced experience for participants. This solution allows us to serve a broader audience with expanded content, collaborative features and a longer, more flexible schedule that optimize opportunities for conducting business, networking and peer-to-peer learning.” Additional NAB virtual events taking place in October include the “Radio Show” (October 5–9), co-produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau, and NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange (October 14 – 15).

WBT, Charlotte Morning Host Pat McCrory is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former North Carolina governor turned WBT, Charlotte talk show host Pat McCrory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  McCrory is heard weekday mornings on the Entercom-owned heritage station with co-host, newsman Bo Thompson, 8:00 – 10:00 am on a highly-rated show that addresses local, regional and national topics along with a blend of pop culture items and a heavy dose of “fun.”  He has successfully held that position since 2017 after serving a four-year term as the Republican governor of North Carolina.  His gubernatorial service was a wild ride during which he garnered a tremendous amount of national attention, both positive and negative, due to the controversy surrounding his signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – also referred to as”HB2″ – and became embroiled in the issue of transgender use of public rest rooms.  There was a political backlash against that move which resulted in North Carolina being the target of numerous economic boycotts that resulted in the loss of revenue and jobs for the state.  McCrory, who refers to himself as one of the first victims of the “cancel culture,” lost his bid for re-election following that episode by a razor thin margin.  Prior to that, he had a long track record of being one of North Carolina’s most popular political figures.  Before being elected Governor, he served seven consecutive terms as mayor of Charlotte and presided over the Queen City’s notable growth as a business and cultural center during that period.  Harrison and McCrory candidly discuss a variety of topics from the impact of hyper political correctness on public discourse to current political issues.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Wrap” located in the right-hand corner on every page of Talkers.com.

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and the Economy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/12).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/12).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included concern over the economy including unemployment, the stimulus package debate, as well as COVID-19 stats and projections according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Approximately two weeks ago, 21-year-old Payton Cannon was killed when her vehicle ran off the right side of a North Carolina road and hit a tree. Payton was the daughter of David “Ace” Cannon, better known as “Ace” from the syndicated “Ace & TJ” show that originates from iHeartMedia Charlotte CHR WHQC “Hits 96.1.” Payton’s childhood friend, Max McLaughlin, will drive a Mohawk Northeast-sponsored #1Payton’sPromise.org Toyota Camry in tomorrow’s (Friday, 8/14) inaugural Arca Menards Series race at the Daytona International Speedway. “Ace” comments, “We are very touched that Max has been granted permission to honor Payton in this way.” Ritchie “TJ” Beams adds, “The best part about this is Payton would absolutely love it.” McLaughlin is a second-generation driver and races for Hattori Racing Enterprises. He won his first race on a road course at Watkins Glen International last season. Payton’s Promise is a nonprofit charity set up to help when a community is in the need of immediate help from tragic events or when local support efforts need more assistance to get to their goals … Most recently doing afternoons at iHeartMedia San Francisco CHR KYLD “Wild 94.9,” Julian Nieh (“Julian on the Radio”) joins Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle’s similarly-formatted KQMV “MOViN 92.5” for nights. KQMV brand and content director Cat Thomas comments, “Julian has always impressed me with his energy, excitement, and content. We are thrilled to have him join the team at ‘Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station.” Nieh notes, “I’m beyond blessed to be added to a team of insanely-talented individuals and management. I’ve learned and been blessed to work with some of the best managers in this industry, and continue to do so. Much appreciation and thanks to Cat Thomas for bringing me aboard. I knew Cat was one of those special managers and all around good people when I met him last year.” …  Former WPLJ, New York City music director/midday talent Melony Torres has joined Pandora as director of pop programming. Torres was with WPLJ when it was a Cumulus Media-owned hot AC; it’s now an Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian outlet … The classical music format on Nashville Public Radio’s WFCL will relocate to the HD2 channel of co-owned news/talk WPLN-FM in the fall. Posting on the station’s website, president chief executive officer Steve Swenson writes that WFCL will air “more of Nashville’s music” with “complete local curation.” WFCL’s new format, he indicates, will be a “vibrant soundtrack of Music City.” … Voiceover talent Jordana Klein adds imaging duties at Cumulus Media Dallas CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3.” Klein formerly was imaging director at Bell Media Toronto CHR CKFM “99.9 Virgin Radio” and imaging voice at Bell Virgin Radio stations throughout Canada … Starting next Monday (8/17), Damien Barling and Kenny Caraway (“D-Lo & KC”) take over 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm duties on Entercom Sacramento sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320.”