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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.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

| June 29, 2020

Monday Memo: Curing the Radio Advertising Pandemic. “Local-Local-Local” has been the desperate plea of programmers, as corporate bloodletting whacked station staffs. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke debriefs an independent station owner – in the eye of the storm in Texas – who weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than absentee-owned competitors, with a grassroots sales strategy focused on the service retailers deemed “essential” during the shutdown. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russia-Taliban Bounties Allegation, Presidential Race/Trump ‘White Power’ Tweet, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues/Mississippi Flag Change, BET Awards, and Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states, the total cases around the globe, and projections for future cases; the report that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American soldiers; the November presidential election and President Trump’s tweet including a supporter shouting, “White power!”; the protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement; the controversy over the status of Confederate and Colonial-era statues and Mississippi’s state flag change; Sunday’s BET Awards show; and the state of professional and college sports leagues as they attempt to launch or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Great Ones Have This Trait. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that more important than product knowledge, planning & organizational skills, and a “Rolodex” of contacts, is one trait that the best salespeople share: Enthusiasm. So, how do you stay enthusiastic during these challenging times? Lapa offers three tips in his column you can read here.

FOX News Channel Welcomes Will Cain. As had been predicted, Will Cain’s exit from ESPN and his ESPN Radio show on Friday (6/26) is being followed by his joining FOX News Channel as co-host of “FOX & Friends Weekend” (Saturdays & Sundays 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET). Cain will make his official debut on Saturday, August 15 alongside co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth. FNC VP of morning programming Gavin Hadden says, “Will has a unique ability to connect with an audience on a wide variety of topics and will make an excellent addition to the ‘FOX & Friends’ franchise.” Cain, who was a political analyst for CNN and co-hosted “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer prior to joining ESPN, says, “I am excited to join the team at ‘FOX & Friends Weekend’ and look forward to building upon my experience in sports, news, and politics on the number one morning show in the country.”

Eric Johnson Named Program Director at AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington. Programming pro Eric “EJ” Johnson is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s Wilmington, Delaware adult contemporary WJBR-FM. Johnson was most recently PD at the company’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” a position he left last November. Prior to that he spent almost 20 years programming news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” In his new role, Johnson will be in charge of content for WJBR-FM’s on-air and digital platforms as well as hosting the afternoon drive show. He says, “Thank you to Joe Bell, Justin Chase, and Bruce Beasley for bringing me back to the family. I’m looking forward to working with the Beasley management team and the talented staff at ‘Mix 99.5’ WJBR in serving our listeners and the community! The station has such a rich heritage in Wilmington and the tri-state area and has a tremendous signal. We will make it shine!”

Newsmax TV Live on fuboTV. Cable television news channel Newsmax TV joins the channel lineup on fubo Standard – the basic package of live streaming TV platform fuboTV. The package offers subscribers more than 100 sports, news, and entertainment channels. Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “fuboTV is offering TV viewers an exciting and growing platform for watching content across genres — news, sports, and entertainment. Newsmax is happy to bring a fresh voice to their subscribers, especially when demand for news is so strong.” fuboTV’s Mihir Shah comments, “Adding Newsmax to the fuboTV platform will give our users access to even more news programming, which is critical during these times as cord-cutters are looking for a variety of both national and local news to stay informed.”

Chris Jones Promoted to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Atlanta. Rising from his general sales manager post at iHeartMedia’s Atlanta cluster to senior vice president of sales is Chris Jones. He’ll oversee all sales operations for the Atlanta market and report to iHeartMedia Atlanta market president Justin Schaflander. Jones states, “Atlanta has been my home for 38 years, having grown up in Lithonia, attending UGA and residing in Marietta with my beautiful bride, Shell, and my two amazing daughters, Maggie and Kate Belle. I am blessed to have called Atlanta home. I love everything that is Atlanta — the energy, excitement, and diversity. I am excited to lead the charge for iHeartMedia Atlanta and the incredibly talented group of sellers, support, talent, and leadership I get to work alongside.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former University of South Carolina and NFL player Rick Sanford announces he’s leaving the South Carolina syndicated radio program “SportsTalk” due to worsening effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The State reports that Sanford addressed his listeners on Friday (6/26) saying he’s leaving the talk program he co-hosts with Phil Kornblut and Matt Smith because the neurocognitive disorder from which he suffers makes it difficult to perform his duties on the radio. “I struggle with keeping my train of thought, finding the right words, and remembering how to do things. My fuse has gotten shorter and my filter has lessened… This is a progressive condition and the time has now come for me to step away from the (microphone).”…..Red Apple Media’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC in New York is partnering with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to present the “All American Weekend” on Saturday, July 4, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (and replayed on 7/5 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm). WABC says, “The show harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll when 77 WABC was a music station and its catchy jingle was known to every New Yorker.” The show is being hosted by DJ Vinnie Medugno and will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani conducting special interviews with Tunnel to Towers heroes…..Entercom says that its Podcast Network is the “top commercial network for the second month in a row, according to Triton. From May 11 through June 7, the network had more than 22.6 million average weekly downloads… In addition, Triton’s latest four-week ranker featured 22 shows from Entercom’s Podcast Network in the Top 100, the most of any publisher for the third month in a row despite new networks joining the report.” Entercom notes that “Pod Save America” was its highest-ranking show at #9.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, Vuolo Video’s Art Vuolo alerted TALKERS magazine that legendary Boston disc jockey Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg passed away at the age of 93. Vuolo says Ginsburg was a broadcast engineer at both WBOS and WBCN but he is best known for his work as night jock on WRKO and WMEX. Ginsburg’s show was called “The Night Train” and the train whistle sound effect gave him his nickname, “Woo Woo.” Later in his career he was EVP of Pyramid Broadcasting, which owned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 FM.” Vuolo archived the WRKO reunion that took place in 2017. You can see that video here…..iHeartMedia moves WZEE, Madison “Z104” afternoon host, MD and APD Sean Strife to the company’s Detroit cluster to serve as afternoon host and APD/MD at CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

| May 5, 2020

Westwood One: Strategies for Creative and Marketing in COVID-19 Era. The latest Westwood One Blog presents some of the takeaways from a number of studies looking at what makes effective creative and what constitutes a reasonable marketing plan in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. According to NuVoodoo research, clients should reconsider any copy that includes “We’re all in this together” as 35% of those surveyed are already tiring of it and that number is only likely to grow. System1 finds that ads that delivered a “a strong connection to local community and togetherness” appear to be working well. Other aspects System1 believes are effective include use of “established brand characters, ads that make use of familiar scenarios or taglines, ads set in a specific time and place in the past, ads that highlight the human connection in the current state of ‘betweenness.’” However, coronavirus ads run the risk of not being perceived as unique and marketing pro Mark Ritson laments the generic ads ring as cliched and not “distinctive.” Read the blog here.

Entercom Adds Translator to WYRD-FM, Greenville. The news/talk station gets an FM translator simulcast as W236CD, Seneca, South Carolina begins airing the station’s audio.  Entercom says the addition of this frequency to WYRD-FM’s broadcast “extends the reach of the Upstate’s No. 1 news/talk radio station to Pickens County and into Oconee County, bringing its coverage to additional cities including Seneca, Pickens, and Clemson for the first time.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi adds, “‘106.3 WORD’ serves a vital role as the Upstate’s trusted source of information. We are thrilled to expand the over-the-air signal for ‘106.3 WORD’ to Pickens and much of Oconee County on 95.1 FM during this critical time in which demand for live and local news and talk is rapidly rising. This expansion allows us to maximize our reach in the region and more broadly meet the needs of our listeners and advertisers.”  In 2019, the station expanded to Anderson County on 101.5 FM.

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination and Retaliation Case. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride is suing Entercom claiming that she was discriminated against and suffered retaliatory actions after complaining to her superiors.  Entercom filed a Motion to Dismiss based on a jurisdictional error (claiming it should have been filed in Eastern Pennsylvania District as opposed to New Jersey District) as well as arguments that McBride failed to sufficiently demonstrate a hostile work environment or a retaliation claim.  In response, McBride’s attorney argues since the bulk of McBride’s clients were located in New Jersey, the suit was filed in the proper district.  Her attorney also lays out arguments that McBride has satisfied pleading requirements for her claims.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Lockdown Protests, Pressure on China, Michael Flynn Case, and Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; a number of states begin re-opening their economies; groups of protesters rail against the social distancing requirements in their states; the U.S. and other countries put pressure on China to open up to investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; Republicans seek an investigation into the FBI’s treatment of Michael Flynn; and the presidential race and the allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News and Spotify Ink Deal for Podcast Distribution. The new deal between FOX News Media and Spotify will have the latter distributing FOX News Podcasts on its global audio streaming platform.  Effective today (5/5), FNR’s catalogue of more than 20 original series, including three new programs slated to debut in May — “The Trey Gowdy Podcast,” “The Proud American Podcast Series” and “FOX Top 5” — will be made available globally on Spotify, reaching more than 286 million monthly users. FOX News Radio VP John Sylvester says, “Throughout these unprecedented times, FOX News Audio has become a destination for listeners to get up to the minute information, whether it’s the latest on the current coronavirus pandemic, insights from the 2020 presidential campaign or in-depth interviews with leading newsmakers. We are pleased to partner with Spotify, offering their millions of subscribers worldwide access to our best in class content.”

TALKERS News Notes. Rochester producer and radio personality Pauly Guglielmo is leaving the “Brother Wease Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” to pursue his marinara sauce manufacturing career full time. Guglielmo began selling his grandfather’s marinara sauce commercially in 2014. Recently, he had the opportunity to acquire the plant that’s been making the sauce. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story here…..The latest episode of the podcast “The -30-: The End of the News,” hosted by Save Journalism Project co-founder John Stanton, features Joshua Koran, head of innovation labs at Zeta Global, discussing “the current digital ad marketplace, how dominant players like Google can ‘play by a different set of rules,’ and how Google will continue to engage in the same kinds of data collection and measurement it claims harms the privacy of consumers when others do it.” Listen to the podcast here…..The weekend radio show, “The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour,” from Hillsdale College is being added to the lineup at Starnes Media Group’s KWAM-AM/W300DE, Memphis “The Mighty 990.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nashville CHR WNFN-FM re-brands as “Hot 106.7.” To celebrate, the Midwest Communications station is launching the new brand with its $5K Payday awarding someone in the Middle Tennessee area $5,000.  Station brand manager Joe Breezy says, “I fully expect ‘Hot 106.7’ to be a Nashville powerhouse. Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country, so it’s about time we turn up the heat with the all NEW, ‘Hot 106.7.’”…..iHeartMedia Chicago stations are honoring Chicagoland teachers and nurses in a weeklong celebration, kicking off on National Teachers Day (today 5/5) and culminating on International Nurses Day on Tuesday, May 12. Throughout the week, each station will feature on-air shout outs for teachers and interviews with school principals, parents and students.  From May 6 through May 8, 103.5 KISS FM’s midday host Showbiz Shelly will host Zoom classroom takeovers to speak directly with students during the week of celebration…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the launch of Entravision Digital, a division that consolidates its digital reach, data, creative, and programmatic capabilities into a unified solutions offering.  Entravision chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa says, “By combining our comprehensive digital capabilities into Entravision Digital, advertisers and agencies have a single source to access a rich combination of audiences, media, performance solutions, and consumer insights. Entravision Digital has a global reach and is an exceptional complement to our television, radio, and digital media assets serving the U.S. Hispanic market.  We are excited to extend the Entravision brand to these businesses and look forward to continued success in the media technology marketplace.”

Monday, February 3, 2020

| February 3, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Announces That He Has Been Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer – News Shocks Industry

Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh ended his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program today with the shocking news that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

He made the following statement:

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me… one thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me.

“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today.

“I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

“I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer… diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions on January 20th after first discovering something not right on January 12th.

“I thought about not telling anybody, it is what it is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville. This has happened and my intention is to come here every day I can, and do this program as normally and competently and expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally.

“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously.

“I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.

“I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled, we’re at full speed ahead on this. It’s just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”

Limbaugh indicated that he “hopes” to be back on Thursday further stating, “If not, it’ll be as soon as I can. Every day I’m not here I’ll be thinking of you and missing you.”

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has released the following statement: “Anything I have to say about Rush’s importance to the radio industry as well as the national conversation has been said countless times before.  He is cumulatively the most influential individual in the modern era of talk media and any change in his role will have enormous impact.  We pray for his swift and complete recovery.”

Monday Memo: Cue ‘Centerfield.’ Consultant Holland Cooke describes the morning after the Super Bowl as “like the morning after the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines or the morning after the New Hampshire Primary in Manchester: sagebrush and tumbleweed.  The crowd has moved on.”  And he outlines opportunities for exploiting what he calls “the best radio sport.”  Read it here.

‘Bill and Wendy’ Podcast to Debut On WLSAM.com. Chicago media personalities Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – most recently hosting a midday show at crosstown WGN-AM – are signing on with Cumulus Media to host a podcast on WLSAM.com, effective today. Cumulus says, “Since their early days at the legendary WLUP-FM “The LOOP” in the 1990s, Wendy and Bill have also been heard hosting weekday programming on Chicago radio powerhouses WKQX and WGN-AM 720. As a team, they have amassed thousands upon thousands of on-air hours conducting celebrity interviews, providing a laugh, and discussing the topics that are most important to their audiences and themselves. Once considered to be our generation’s ‘slightly edgier Donnie and Marie,’ Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder proudly bring you their version of a world gone mad! (Or at least, slightly ticked off.)”

Juandolyn Stokes Named New Midday Host at WAOK-AM, Atlanta. At Entercom’s urban news/talk outlet WAOK-AM, Atlanta, Juandolyn Stokes is named the new midday show host. Stokes is the founding pastor of Deeper Life In Christ Ministries in Conyers, Georgia and will host “On Point with Juandolyn Stokes” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, effective immediately. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Juandolyn Stokes is a leader in our community and embodies the WAOK mission, which serves as an informative, empowering, engaging and entertaining voice of Atlanta. It is our goal to provide our city with everything they need to navigate their world and I believe the addition of Juandolyn, as well as our new weekday lineup, will benefit our audience on all platforms.” Stokes’ show followed “The Rashad Richey Morning Show” and leads into Reach Media’s syndicated “Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.” “Too Much Truth with Derrick Boazman” airs in afternoon drive on the station.

Columbia Sports Talker Teddy Heffner Moves to iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM. Longtime Columbia sports radio personality Teddy Heffner – who was losing his daily sports talk show on Glory Communications’ WGCV, Columbia, South Carolina because of its pending format change – will continue talking sports in Columbia on iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM “FOX Sports 1400.”  Heffner served with iHeartMedia for almost 20 years before exiting in 2014.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming LJ Smith says, “We are looking forward to having Teddy back on ‘FOX Sports 1400.’  His knowledge of sports and the connection he has with his listeners is really unique to Columbia radio.  And now people can listen to him no matter where they live or travel, on the iHeartRadio App.

SCBA’s Callahan Joins Saga Communications. Media sales pro Thom Callahan is leaving the Southern California Broadcasters Association to join Saga Communications as director of business development.  Callahan has been serving as president of the SCBA and current SCBA chairman Miles Sexton will serve as interim president while the group seeks a permanent replacement.  Callahan says, “I am proud of the value we have created for Southern California radio and will miss so many of the great radio members we have.  However, the opportunity to work with CEO Ed Christian and the great Saga team was just too compelling.  I wish the SCBA great success moving forward.”

PPM Analysis: NBA Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as flagship stations for NBA play-by-play.  This report shows comparisons of station performances from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, from December 2018 to December 2019, market rankings, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis media personality Martin Kilcoyne is back with CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis after exiting crosstown sports talk KFNS-AM two weeks ago.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports, that Kilcoyne – whose main gig is as sports director for KTVI-TV, St. Louis – begins a new position with KTRS after having hosted a regular, daily show there in the past.  Kilcoyne tells Caesar, “I’ll be basically a correspondent, a contributor.  I think it will be a lot of fun to be on different shows, have a chance to kind of appear in a columnist role.  I can talk about sports news of the day but kind of venture off into life stories, too, and have a little bit of fun.  I had a good run there and I think the audience is somewhat familiar with me and I’m familiar with the station.  So, I think it’s a good fit.  It’s a really professional operation, which has gotten me excited.”…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle is hosting a GOP Gubernatorial Forum on Friday, February 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.  Station afternoon drive host Jason Rantz is moderating the free event.  He says, “This won’t be a boring debate of canned answers to fit in :30 second slots.  This will be an in-depth look at the issues that matter to voters most.  Candidates will be challenged, the pace will be quick, and solutions to Washington’s biggest problems will be demanded of all the Republican candidates.”…..The Forum of Fargo reports that Dom Izzo’s “Hot Mic” show heard on Forum Communications’ WDAY-AM, Fargo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily, is now being simulcast on television on WDAY-Xtra.  Izzo launched his radio show in September of 2019 after stepping back from his nightly sportscasts.  He says, “This was something they talked to me about right away when they initially approached me about moving off the set.  This was the thing I was most excited about was the chance to do something different that hadn’t been done before in this market.”…..Cumulus Media’s classic rock and Kansas City Chiefs flagship KCFX-FM “101 The Fox” aired a special re-broadcast of the 1969 Super Bowl IV win featuring Bill Grigsby, and all of the original game day content with no commercials.   That re-broadcast led right into the “101 The Fox” pre-game show live from Super Bowl LIV in Miami….FOX News Radio is presenting live national network coverage from Des Moines today for the Iowa Caucus beginning at 7:00 pm ET with a FOX News Podcast special, “The Campaign with Bret Baier,” followed by live coverage of the results anchored by FNR’s national correspondent Jared Halpern, FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar, and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal. Additionally, the nationally syndicated “Guy Benson Show” is broadcasting live from Des Moines from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET as is the nationally syndicated “Brian Kilmeade Show” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce a new, multiyear contract extension of their broadcast partnership.  The extension includes the broadcast of all 82 Hawks regular season and all postseason games as well as 30-minute pre- and post-game shows.  As part of the agreement, sister stations urban contemporary WVEE-FM “V-103” and WSTR-FM “Star 94.1” will provide additional promotional support.

Impeachment Trial, Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Brexit, and Super Bowl LIV Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s vote not to hear witnesses in the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial; concerns about a coronavirus pandemic; the effects the Wuhan coronavirus is having on the world’s financial markets; Monday’s Iowa caucuses and the Democrats battling for the nomination to face Donald Trump in November; the U.K. officially exits the European Union; and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dance-formatted WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3” names “Steve and Leeana” co-hosts of the morning show.  JVC Media says, “Steve and Leeana have been a part of Long Island radio mornings for decades and now they will be part of mornings on ‘Party 105!’”  The company says, “While many radio stations around the dial have been consolidating, cutting staff, bringing in national shows from other markets, and terminating jobs, JVC is doing the opposite and going back to what made radio great – live, local, and home grown.”  JVC Media president John Caracciolo says, “This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be, we’re not phoning it in.  To say you are live and local isn’t enough; the radio personalities have to be involved in the community, involved in local charities and events and become ambassadors for the radio station.  There is no better team to do this than Steve and Leeana.”…..Radio One Buffalo, LLC owner and operator Buddy Shula announces that former WGRF-FM, Buffalo overnight and evening personality Cindy Chan is joining the station’s personality lineup.  Shula says, “While other companies are firing great on-air talent here in Buffalo and all over the country, making radio just a jukebox, WECK-AM/FM continues to appreciate what live DJs bring to our radio culture and community and we continue to hire.  As a kid I grew up in Buffalo listening to Cindy Chan.  I loved her conversational on-air approach and her unique style of communicating, plus she really knows her music, and relates it so well to listeners.”  Cindy Chan will begin with her “Dance, Sing and Boogie-Woogie” show on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.