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Friday, October 8, 2021

| October 8, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Floors and Ceilings,” looks back at this past week of 10/4 – 10/8. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, professor of Law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Ken Coleman, talk show host, Ramsey Solutions; 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; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WPHT, Philadelphia Promotes Greg Stocker to Brand Manager. Executive producer and assistant brand manager Greg Stocker is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210,” effective immediately. In this role, Stocker will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. Stocker assumes the brand manager role for the station previously held by Spike Eskin, who left the Audacy Philadelphia operations to become program director for the company’s WFAN, New York. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m so pleased to see Greg earn this well-deserved recognition for his hard work and commitment to WPHT. Greg brings a passion for talk radio to his role and is the perfect manager to lead WPHT and our newly expanded local lineup along with some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stocker joined the company as an intern in 2003 after obtaining a degree in TV/radio from Northampton County Community College. From 2005 through 2013, he was producer of “The Michael Smerconish Show” and since 2014, he has been executive producer of “The Rich Zeoli Show.” In 2019, he was named assistant brand manager in addition to his producing role. He comments, “It’s truly an honor to be leading this legendary radio station. I have an amazing team and I’m excited to guide us all into the next phase of WPHT’s evolution.”

Round Four of September PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds 1.6 shares to finish with a 6.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises from #7 to #4 while Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF-AM declines 1.2 shares for a 2.4 share finish and falls to the #14 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is at #1 after adding nine-tenths for a 9.1 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN is close behind at #2 after adding 1.7 shares for an 8.9 share finish. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” is steady with a 7.8 share but rises to the #1 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WLAC is up eight-tenths for a 2.9 share and wraps the survey at #14. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

WABC, New York to Celebrate 100 Years of Broadcasting. New York City news/talk WABC is celebrating 100 years of continuous broadcasting. John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media, announces that WABC will celebrate its “rich history and the cultural impact that the iconic station has had on the lives of its listeners” throughout the next year, kicking off this month. The celebration will feature guests, interviews, milestones, remembrances, and more. You can visit the 77 WABC Celebrates 100 Years webpage here. The special retrospective series airs every Sunday in October, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Last Sunday featured Rush Limbaugh’s first show on 77 WABC and talk radio pioneer Bob Grant. This Sunday spotlights Dan Ingram, the thinking man’s DJ. Catsimatidis states, “With 50,000 watts of clear channel power, 77 WABC represents the many and diverse communities in New York and America with a common sense approach to the issues that confront our world, along with music and entertainment on the weekends. Looking forward to the next 100 years, we’re reaching our listeners on every available platform – broadcast, podcast, streaming, and mobile – and we’re thinking beyond radio. We’ve built a state-of-the-art audio/visual facility, which we call Studio 77. Our morning show is available for our fans to watch, as well as listen, and we’ve hosted live broadcast events such as a mayoral primary debate and special 9/11 programming that included the leaders of New York then and now. We’re developing new talent and exploring new ideas.” WABC launched in 1921 as WJZ. On May 1, 1953, the station changed its calls to WABC.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Talks Idaho Politics on CNN. Pictured above is KIDO-AM, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) appearing on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo (left) discussing the recent political theatre involving the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Karina Farias joins Edison Research as project coordinator. Farias was most recently program director and morning co-host at KUFX-FM, San Jose. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “Karina’s experience in audio combined with her passion for research will be a great fit, and we’re excited to have her join the team.” In her new role with Edison, Farias will be directing an array of market research projects with a focus on audio and media clients. She will also take a role in Edison Research’s election research…..Focus 360 adds of two national personal finance shows to its roster. “Real Money Pros” and the “Jared Dillian Money Minute” are now being repped by Focus 360 for network advertising and affiliation sales. Focus360 founder and CEO Phil Brown says, “As the country continues its climb out of the employment and economic disasters of last year, we wanted to expand our network to help listeners where they need it most – their bank accounts! Jared Dillian and the ‘Real Money Pros’ have been helping people through tough money issues for years and I am extremely excited to have them join the Focus 360 financial lineup!”…..ESPN releases VOL 1 of “Shots of Hype,” a new digital spoken-word audio series of motivational speeches. The three-part series is comprised of 15 tracks written and performed by well-known ESPN on-air personalities, including former athletes, coaches, and analysts. VOL 1 is now available via Hollywood Records across all major digital music platforms globally…..Sports USA reaches an agreement with the NHL to be the league’s exclusive live national radio play-by-play partner through the 2024-2025 season. The broadcasts will include select regular season games and continue through the Stanley Cup Final each year. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We look forward to building on the success we had during our coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and are thrilled to expand upon this partnership. The NHL has a loyal and passionate fan base and we couldn’t be more excited about the next four years.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway interviewed former President Donald Trump this week ahead of Trump’s planned rally in Iowa this weekend. During the 15-minute conversation, they discussed the Durham investigation, the border, the economy, inflation, Afghanistan, Iowa and it’s first in the nation status, crime and much more. Conway’s show is also heard on WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities.

The Budget Debate, Debt Ceiling Negotiations, and Infrastructure & Reconciliation Bills Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 4-8. The negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling and the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about COVID-19 boosters and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack tied with former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine it is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

Audacy Seeks Co-Host for Boston Red Sox Podcast. A podcast co-host is being sought for a yet-to-be-titled Boston Red Sox show that will launch as a result of Audacy’s partnership with Major League Baseball and the launch of Audacy’s third podcast studio 2400Sports. The co-host will be paired alongside newly hired host Steven Perrault, who joins Audacy from Barstool Sports, and will be counted on to provide their unique, engaged, and passionate perspective during each show. The show will break down some of the top storylines, rumors, and subplots happening in and around the team. Additionally, with access to current and former Red Sox personnel, the show will look to reach fans with unparalleled affection and vigor. See more about the position and apply here.

Alpha Media Portland Seeks Content Director. There’s an excellent opportunity for an experienced content director at Alpha Media Portland. The company is looking for a content director for news/talk 101.1 KXL, sports talk 750 KXTG – “The Game” and talk 970 AM KUFO – “Freedom” and for a corporate executive with involvement of key talk talent and stations. Alpha says, “We’re looking for someone with experience programming winning news/talk, talk and sports stations that thrive with content and entertainment in the digital world. The ideal candidate must possess an extremely good work ethic, be a self-starter who is highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and have strong leadership skills. Alpha Media owns or operates 207 radio stations in 44 markets across the United States and is a diverse, multimedia company sharing music, sports and news across a variety of platforms. We believe in creating progressive products, world-class events and building strong relationships in our communities. See more about this position and apply here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

| September 14, 2021

WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Rod Lakin Program Director. Philadelphia sports talk WIP-FM goes outside the Philly area for its new program director naming KMVP, Phoenix “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” PD Rod Lakin as its new brand manager. Lakin will take over for Spike Eskin, who recently joined Audacy’s WFAN, New York as program director on October 4. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station. Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.” Lakin has spent nearly two decades in the spoken-word format in Phoenix, first joining “ESPN Radio 860″ and “Newsradio 620” KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620 KTAR” upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.” In 2018, Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620 AM” and was named program director of “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” in 2019.

iHeartMedia Denver Announces Programming Changes at KOA and KHOW. A number of changes at iHeartMedia Denver’s news/talk stations take place, effective September 20. First, Ross Kaminsky moves from KHOW where he’s been hosting the morning drive show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on sister KOA. He displaces the “Logan & Lewis” show but both Dave Logan and Rick Lewis move to the afternoon drive daypart for the all-new “The KOA Sports Zoo” that will also feature current PM drive personalities Alfred “Big Al” Williams and JoJo Turnbeaugh. At KHOW, Michael Brown moves from his early afternoon show to the morning drive daypart where he’ll host “The Situation with Michael Brown.” Filling the 2:00 pm to 4:00 slot on KHOW is regular KOA and KHOW fill-in host Leland Conway, who joins the ranks of the full-time personalities. Regarding Kaminsky, iHeartMedia notes that he’s been named “Best Talk News/Talk Show” by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and “Best Radio Talk Show Host” by Westword. “The KOA Sports Zoo” – in addition to its four main personalities – will feature Denver Broncos players and coaches, and other celebrities and will cover the MLB’s Colorado Rockies and University of Colorado Buffaloes. Michael Brown is “a fan-favorite and described by many as smart, funny and connected. As the Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, Brown provides provocative insight into culture, current events and politics.” New full-time host Leland Conway is known as “a ‘happy libertarian,’ and has an uncanny ability to interview news makers, putting them at ease while cutting to the heart of the issue.” iHeartMedia Denver president Brenda Egger says, “Both KOA and KHOW have been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for close to a century. These enhancements further cement our position as the leading destination for unmatched news, talk and sports programming.”

Round Four of August 2021 PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for the group of markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM dips two-tenths to an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slides from the #2 to the #3 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee loses seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish but remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN tacks on four-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and rises to the #3 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, “SuperTalk 99.7” rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.5 share jump to a 7.8 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the previous three rounds) here.

‘104-9 FOX Sports Upstate’ Launches in Greenville, SC. Gone from the 104.9 FM signal of WROO-FM, Greenville, South Carolina is the rock format and in is sports talk. iHeartMedia unveils “104-9 FOX Sports Upstate” that is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national programming lineup with the addition of the two-hour afternoon drive show hosted by longtime South Carolina sports broadcaster Phil Kornblut. His program, “Sports Talk with Phil Kornblut,” airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly in addition to “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia Asheville/Greenville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We’re excited to bring back the FOX Sports Radio brand to the Upstate. Our listeners will have access to the best names in sports talk, plus regional coverage. It’s also a natural pairing with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Game on Upstate!”

Cumulus Media Studies NFL Fans’ Use of Radio vs. TV. This study from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts and reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners. Cumulus Media chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience. The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.” Other key findings from the study indicated that: sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience; in the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the ‘best available screen’ for employed and upscale sports fans and according to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale; compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more. See the study results here.

Salem Media Group Closes Refinancing of 2024 Senior Secured Notes. In a statement released on Monday (9/13), Salem Media Group announces it has closed the refinancing of $112.8 million of its senior secured notes due 2024 by way of exchange and/or sale and purchase of $112.8 of such 2024 Notes into $114.7 (reflecting a call premium of 1.688%) of newly issued 7.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. After the refinancing, only $103.5 million of the 2024 Notes remain outstanding. At the same time, Salem has obtained commitments from the holders of the 2028 Notes to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, contingent upon Salem satisfying certain performance benchmarks, the proceeds of which are to be used exclusively to repurchase or repay 2024 Notes. Salem believes that the extended maturity of the 2028 Notes, the ability under the indenture governing the 2028 Notes to use certain asset sale proceeds and casualty loss proceeds to repurchase or repay the 2024 Notes, and the commitments to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, as well as certain other features of the refinancing, all contribute to the ability of Salem to pay the remaining 2024 Notes in full prior to or at maturity. Salem CEO Edward G, Atsinger III says, “With this refinancing and our expected future free cash flow generation, we believe Salem has a clear path to ultimately push out all of the rest of our outstanding debt maturities. It also provides flexibility to opportunistically invest in our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago-born stand-up comic Brian Babylon, a.k.a., “Prince of Bronzeville,” is named the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on Tavis Smiley’s talk outlet KBLA, Los Angeles. Feder notes that Babylon hosted “The Morning AMp” from 2011 to 2015 on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform…..ABC Audio announces that Derricke Dennis is promoted to staff correspondent. In this role, he’ll report for all ABC Audio platforms, continue to anchor newscasts – as well as coverage of breaking news and special events – and he’ll be instrumental in the company’s efforts to build new products and reach new audiences. Dennis has been serving the company as a freelancer and anchoring ABC’s flagship I-NET newscast…..VSiN announces that Stormy Buonantony joins the sports betting network as the new host of “My Guys in the Desert.” In addition to covering college football for ESPN, Buonantony joins VSiN from AT&T SportsNet, where she was the rinkside reporter for the Vegas Golden Knights over the past two seasons. She says, “I’m so excited to expand my role and join the incredibly talented and knowledgeable team at VSiN full time. I’ve always joked that I grew up in a household where it didn’t matter who won or lost the game but rather by how many points they won or lost. This represents a special opportunity for me to combine my personal and professional backgrounds in my hometown of Las Vegas on a network committed to providing the best sports betting analysis out there.”…..Pet behaviorist and humorist Warren Eckstein celebrates 40 years in radio hosting, “The Pet Show With Warren Eckstein,” that is syndicated internationally by Radio America in 150 additional markets, including Guam and Canada.

COVID-19, California Recall, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Met Gala, Prince Andrew Case, California Wildfires/Tropical Storm Nicholas Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the battle over vaccine mandates, and school mask requirements; today’s recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the looming Justice for J6 rally in Washington; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wears a dress that says “tax the rich” to the Met Gala; Prince Andrew’s attorneys claim Jeffrey Epstein-related complaint is improper; and the wildfires in California and the threat of heavy rain in the Gulf south from Tropical Storm Nicholas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

| January 30, 2020

Air Personalities Out at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City News/Talk and Sports Stations. A number of air personalities at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City stations have been let go in what appears to be a major money-saving move.  News/talk KOKC-AM/K237GE morning drive host Jack Elliott posted the news on his Facebook page that he and the “entire air staff” have been let go.  The station’s website now indicates an all-syndicated lineup.  Afternoon host and program director Mac Mullings, PM drive personality Chad Alexander, and sister sports talk KRXO “107.7 The Franchise” morning host Andrew Gilman and afternoon sports talk host Colby Daniels also have been let go.  KOKC has replaced the local morning show with “America in the Morning” and Radio America’s “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch occupies the afternoon drive daypart.

Report: Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton to Host Mornings on WTZA-AM, Atlanta. According to Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, talk personalities Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton are joining the new talk station being launched on WTZA-AM/ W271CV, Atlanta on Monday (2/3).  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  Atlanta talk personalities Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and Mike Brooks are also joining the station’s lineup.  Burke and Stockton worked together at Cumulus Media‘s talk WYAY-FM, Atlanta prior to the company selling that signal to Educational Media Foundation.  Burke also hosts afternoons at JVC Media‘s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando “Florida Man Radio.”  He’ll work both shows, hosting the WZTA program from Orlando.  Ho’s story also indicates that the station is holding two-week tryouts for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart and former Phoenix talk host (and Arizona congressman) J.D. Hayworth will give it a go as will radio personality Rich Sullivan.

Theisen Promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing for Leighton Broadcasting. Sales pro Stephanie Theisen is named vice president of sales and marketing for Leighton Broadcasting.  She currently serves the company as general sales manager for the company’s St. Cloud, Minnesota market and will continue in that role through 2020.  Leighton operates 26 radio stations in seven markets and also produces events and is an interactive design and marketing company.  Leighton Enterprises CEO Bob Leighton says, “The addition of Theisen as VP of sales and marketing will support the structure of our company as we continue to grow and expand.  Stephanie has a successful track record in sales, team building, and hiring.  We are looking forward to her focus in those areas in markets outside of our corporate headquarters, in 2020 and beyond.”  Theisen adds, “In the coming months I will focus on amplifying the impact Leighton Broadcasting has in the communities we serve.  Leighton is a robust company with talented employees throughout our locations and divisions.  I am thrilled to serve as the VP of sales and marketing for this incredible company.”

‘Grant & Danny’ to Air on WRNL, Richmond. The WJFK-FM, Washington-based “Grant & Danny” Show featuring Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier is now being simulcast on Entercom’s Richmond, Virginia sports talk outlet WRNL-AM “Sports Radio 910 The Fan” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Paulsen and Rouhier both joined WJFK-FM in 2009 and have been partners on the midday show since 2014.  Entercom Virginia SVP and market manager Bennett Zier says, “I’m excited to welcome Grant and Danny to the Capital City.  They are a welcomed addition as we continue serving Richmond and the surrounding markets with premier sports content and coverage of local and regional teams.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Jorge Sedano’s Los Angeles radio show on ESPN-owned KSPN “ESPNLA” is moving to a new daypart effective Monday (2/3).  Sedano has been hosting the early evening show that’s often pre-empted by Lakers games.  He tweets that effective Monday the “Sedano Show” will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT…..Entercom’s Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94WIP” is holding a daylong “Andy Reid Appreciation Day” today (1/30) to celebrate the career and accomplishments of former Eagles and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.  Reid took the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, losing to the New England Patriots 24-21.  The station says that today it will “break down Reid’s career through discussions with former NFL players and on-air hosts Ike Reese and Jon Ritchie, both of whom were on Reid’s Super Bowl team.”  Program director Spike Eskin says, “It’s finally time to give Andy credit where credit is due.  I look forward to celebrating his great career and reminiscing on old Eagles memories with our on-air staff as we root for ‘Big Red’ to win his first Super Bowl.”…..iHeartMedia and OZY Media have entered into a multi-year deal to co-produce and promote a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts, with three shows set to be released this year and distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  The first co-produced podcast will be “Around the World,” a travel and culture podcast featuring stories of changemakers and renegades from around the world who are doing the unexpected in the face of adversity.  The content will originate from OZY’s groundbreaking year-long editorial project that saw them report three stories from every country on earth.  The two additional podcasts set to launch this year include a spin-off series from OZY’s “The Thread” and a scripted series.

Impeachment, Wuhan Coronavirus, Presidential Race, Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Kobe Bryant Death, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; concerns about a global outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus; the Democrats battling to face Donald Trump in November; reaction to the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan; the aftermath of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant; and the rape trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WUHAN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most knowledgeable journalists covering U.S.-China relations, Joshua Philipp, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Philipp is the senior investigative reporter with the New York City-based international news organization, The Epoch Times – the multi-language, global newspaper launched in 2000 by freedom-seeking Chinese-Americans – that specializes, among its many beats, in fearlessly keeping tabs on China and the Chinese Communist Party. The podcast was recorded on January 27 and presents an up-to-date account of what is currently known about the still-unnamed “coronavirus” that burst on the scene in the past few weeks emanating from the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has begun to spread and cause illness at an alarming pace putting health officials all around the world on increasingly high alert. The crisis offers tremendous insight into the methodology of the Chinese Communist Party and will, undoubtedly have an impact on the superpower’s activities in world affairs in the coming months. This is a major news/talk media story with serious health, political, and economic implications. To listen to the entire podcast NOW, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s in the immediate aftermath of two related tragedies that morning drive personality Gary Smith is retiring from Neversink Radio’s classic hits, WABT-FM, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania “Pocono 96.7.”  On January 7, Smith’s co-host Elisa Chase died suddenly after a brief illness at the age of 38.  Then, the day after Chase’ memorial service, her husband died at their home.  The station says, “Smith took time off after his colleague’s death and went back on the air with his ‘Gary in the Morning Show’ last week to do a memorial.  It turned out it would be his last show.”  On its website, the station writes to its listeners, “As you likely have heard, we lost our beloved Elisa in early January.  Between this and the sudden death of her husband, our entire organization is in pain over these losses.  Gary has taken this quite hard as Elisa was his ‘radio wife.’”…..Colorado Public Radio’s triple A KVOQ-FM, Denver “Indie 102.3” hired on-air pro Jason Thomas to host the afternoon drive show, effective February 5.  Thomas hosted afternoons at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago for the past 12 years.  “Indie 102.3” program director Willobee Carlin says, “We are thrilled to have Jason join our ‘Indie 102.3’ team.  His background and success in the radio world will be incredible assets to both the station and Colorado’s music scene.  He has an obsession for music that is truly contagious, and I can’t wait to see how that translates onto our airwaves.” Thomas comments, “The team at ‘Indie 102.3’ has been incredibly welcoming, and it’s been eye-opening to see how committed everyone is to Colorado and its music scene.  I can’t think of a station/city combo that’s a better fit for me, and I’m excited to work and learn alongside a team that’s loaded with true music junkies that want to serve and connect with our listeners.”