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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

| August 31, 2021

Bruce Collins Joins WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas as PD. Programming pro Bruce Collins is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM. Collins joins Cumulus from Alpha Media’s Portland, Oregon cluster where he was spoken word content director and operations manager for news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” talk KUFO-AM “Freedom 970,” sports talk KXTG-AM “The Game” and the Radio Northwest Network. Cumulus regional VP Dan Bennett says, “After a nationwide search, Bruce Collins’ history of winning in news/talk in Portland made him the obvious choice to lead our talented team in Dallas. His perceptions and analysis of our brands convinced me he should be our next programming leader.” Collins comments, “I cannot thank Dan Bennett enough for the opportunity to program two heritage stations like WBAP and KLIF. I look forward to working with the entire Cumulus Dallas/Fort Worth staff and producing stimulating, thought provoking, informative, entertaining content each and every day.”

Beasley Media Group and Three Partners Collaborate to Launch New Detroit Sports Talker. The new Motor City sports talk outlet dubbed “The ROAR, Motor City Sports Talk 93.5 FM and 99.1 FM” can be heard via Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-HD2 and two translators – W228CJ at 93.5 FM and W248CC at 99.1 FM. For this station, Beasley is partnering with Woodward Sports, the Michigan Sports Network, and SportsMap Radio Network for the content. Morning drive features “X’s & BrO’s with Anthony Bellino” from the Michigan Sports Network. The midday show (10:00 am to 3:00 pm) is “Morning Woodward & Big D Energy” from Woodward Sports and features former Red Wing Darren McCarty, former Lion Joique Bell, with host Neal Ruhl and Detroit sports personalities Braylon Edwards and former WXYT-FM personality Terry Foster. The afternoon drive show is “The HUGE Show with Bill Simonson” and the evenings and overnight dayparts are filled with programming from SportsMap Radio including: Kevin Dziepak, Anthony Pepe, and Bill Schmid. Beasley Detroit VP and market manager Mac Edwards says, “There’s a new sports animal in the Motor City – The ROAR! We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Chad Johnson from Woodward Sports Network as well as Marty Booher at MSN and the crew at SportsMap Radio to deliver some of the most compelling sports content Motor City fans have ever experienced!”

WABC, New York Ups Matthew Meany to Assistant Program Director. Rising from his position as executive producer for the “Bernie & Sid” show to his new role as assistant program director is Matthew Meany. Red Apple Media SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi announces the promotion and says Meany will step into his new position immediately and play an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the radio station, working alongside the programming team. He adds, “Matt’s hand in the impressive growth of the morning show ratings and his desire to grow make this appointment an ideal match for him and the station.” Meany began his radio career at 77 WABC in 2014 as a part-time board operator and quickly rose through the ranks. Red Apple says he took over as executive producer of the “Bernie & Sid” show over a year ago and has piloted the show to its best ratings in years.

Bill Michaels Show Returns to Milwaukee Airwaves. After eight months not being heard in the Milwaukee market, Wisconsin sports talk host Bill Michaels is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WOKY-AM in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Michaels, who was ousted from Audacy’s WSSP-AM “The Fan” as part of the station’s programming changes back in January, is bumping FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and consequently moves the Doug Gottlieb show out of afternoon drive on WOKY. Since exiting WSSP, Michaels’ show has been based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison.

WWO Blog: Podcast Listeners Are Young, Educated and Employed. This week’s Westwood One blog reveals findings from the Westwood One 2021 Audioscape, a report that includes data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s annual Podcast Download release, and Nielsen’s Scarborough USA+ studies that delves into the question of who is listening to podcasts? The report concludes that the podcast audience is young, employed, educated, and upscale. “At 34, the median age of the podcast audience is 14 years younger than AM/FM radio and much younger than broadcast television network audiences (54). 53% of persons who have listened to an audio podcast in the past 30 days are employed in a white-collar occupation. 39% hold management positions and 55% have a household income of $75,000-plus, making this group an audience advertisers want to reach.

WRVA, Richmond Talk Host Jeff Katz Honored with 2021 Father Figure Award. Talk radio host Jeff Katz is being honored by The Relationship Foundation of Virginia with its 2021 Father Figure of The Year award. Katz is one of 11 men nominated as “Funding Fathers” for their work raising funds for The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. Katz personally raised the most money in the history of the Funding Fathers program. The Relationship Foundation of Virginia is a regional, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and educating men on fatherhood, and presents the award to Katz who, along with his wife Heidi, have three children ranging in age from 16 to 20 years. The Father Figure Award also recognizes Katz’s career as Central Virginia’s leading talk radio personality at WRVA, Richmond and his active role in serving the community. He serves on the board of directors of The Friendship Circle of Virginia, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Advisory Board and represents the Beaverdam Magisterial District on the Hanover County Community Services Board. He is also completing his term as Mayor of Beaverdam, Virginia. Katz volunteers with The Relationship Foundation of Virginia as teacher and mentor, helping men to be better fathers. He happily works with new dads with special concentrations in the areas of fathers to special needs children, fathers in recovery, and fathers who are incarcerated. Chris Beach, executive director of The Relationship Foundation of Virginia, says, “This was the biggest event yet. It wasn’t just an event it was really a celebration of amazing men. These eleven dads raised more than $77,000 collectively for fatherhood and marriage programs in our area. Jeff Katz, the dad who was crowned The Father Figure, raised more money than any dad in the history of this event by bringing in more than $18,000! To say that I am blown away by the hard work of these dads is an understatement.”

NAB Names Anna Chauvet VP of Public Policy. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Anna Chauvet joins the organization as vice president of public policy. Chauvet reports to Shawn Donilon, executive vice president of government relations. She joins NAB from the U.S. Copyright Office, where she was most recently associate general counsel. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Anna enjoys sterling credentials as an expert in copyright law, including deep knowledge of the music licensing regime. Broadcasters will benefit from her experience as the industry navigates a range of critical policy issues affecting radio and television. We are excited to welcome her to the NAB team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Houston operations of iHeartMedia – along with their listeners – are working to assist the people of New Orleans as they struggle through the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. Staffers from all seven radio stations are loading and deploying dozens of 18-wheeler trucks filled with critically needed items for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. KTRH-AM-based, syndicated talk host Michael Berry comments, “The people of Houston are very close to the New Orleans community. They came to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and they came and helped us after our last horrible Hurricane Harvey.”…..ABC News Radio is providing an hour-long special anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 titled, “9/11 Twenty Years Later – America Remembers” which will be available mid-week for affiliates to air on-demand. The special will also be available later as an episode of the “ABC News Radio Specials” podcast, available on major listening platforms. ABC News’ flagship daily podcas, “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will feature special coverage in the days leading up to the anniversary.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, End of Unemployment Benefits, China Limits Online Gaming, Global Supply-Shipping Woes, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). Criticism of President Joe Biden’s quick withdrawal from Afghanistan and the recent deaths of U.S. military personnel; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Southern states dealing with full ICUs, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana without power; the looming end of federal jobless benefits from COVID aid packages; China announces limits on the time children can spend gaming online; retailers and manufacturers are suffering from lack of inventory and building components due to the broken global supply chain and shipping troubles; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, August 20, 2021

| August 20, 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, “It’s Finger Pointing Time,” looks back at this past week of August 16-20. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Frank MacKay, talk show host, (Long Island News Radio) WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY; Dr Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/podcaster, Princeton, NJ; Wayne Avrashow, attorney/columnist, RealClearPolitics.com, Los Angeles; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Adds Bo Snerdley to Daily Lineup. Longtime “Rush Limbaugh Show” staffer Bo Snerdley, a.k.a. James Golden, is being added to the daily, afternoon lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, effective Monday (8/23). Snerdley has been hosting a two-hour, Saturday morning program and now steps into the 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot that’s been occupied by “The Rundown with Lidia Curanaj.” His show will air in between Rudy Giuliani’s one-hour show and John Catsimatidis’ program. The station says, “WABC is committed to bringing you the best talk lineup. Shows that entertain and inform, with a true connection to real New York and you. That’s what James Golden, a.k.a. Bo Snerdley delivers, keeping it real. With great guests, compelling conversation and excellence in talk radio, welcome back to the ‘Golden’ age of radio with James Golden.”

‘Miller and Moulton’ Show Exits ‘FOX Sports Radio SWFL.’ The Fort Myers News-Press reports that the “Miller and Moulton” show – co-hosted by Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) – has been dropped from the lineup at Sun Broadcasting’s sports talk “FOX Sports Radio SWFL” heard on WHEL-HD3/W277AP/W290DB. Moulton tweeted, “Suffice to say that Act 2 is over. It was not our decision. These last 4 years were some of the most enjoyable of our 14 years together. On top of that, we think it may have been our best work. We are optimistic there can be a 3rd Act but we will need a little time to regroup. To our unbelievably loyal fans/listeners, many who followed us from one station to another, from afternoons to mornings, from bad signal to good signal to bad again…‘Thank You’ is insufficient.”

Danno and Laura Wolkoff Sue G-Networks for Wrongful Termination. In a case that has been moved (at the request of G Networks LLC) from and Ohio Common Pleas Court to US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division, Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff are suing G Networks LLC for wrongful termination and are seeking $1.2 million. The complaint states that the Wolkoffs were informed by G Networks in late June of this year that the company was accusing them of costing the business some $1.8 million in damages due to “gross negligence” and “gross incompetence” in the performance of their duties as chief development officer and VP of business operations, respectively. The Wolkoffs argue that G Networks failed to offer any “specific conduct constituting alleged grounds for termination for cause or any specific, reasonable measures to cure such conduct, thereby interfering with, and effectively rendering impossible,” their “bargained-for right to cure.” The Wolkoffs sold their company Envision Networks to then-Sun Broadcast Group (at the time headed by Jason Bailey) and entered into employment agreements to serve in the positions noted above.

Triton Digital Releases July 2021 Podcast Report. Global technology and services provider Triton Digital releases the results of its July 2021 U.S. Podcast Report (June 28 – August 1, 2021), as measured by its Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Networks Report, based on Average Weekly Downloads, indicates SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks #1 with NPR at #2, Audacy Podcast Network at #3 and Cumulus Podcast Network at #4. Also included in the top 15 networks are FOX News Podcasts at #11, Salem Podcast Network at #12, and Bonneville International at #14. The July 2021 rank of the 100 Top Podcasts (ranked by Average Weekly Downloads) has “NPR News Now” at #1, Cumulus’ “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #3, Cumulus’ “The Dan Bongino Show” at #9, Salem’s “The Charlie Kirk Show” at #14, and “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #16. You can see the complete results of the July report here.

SportsMap Radio Network Adds ‘America on the Road’ for Weekends. The SportsMap Radio Network announces that it is adding the weekly automotive radio show “America on the Road” to the network, airing Saturdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am ET. The program is hosted by Jack Nerad, Charlie Baker, and Chris Teague. Nerad says, “We are very excited to introduce ‘America on the Road’ to the extensive SportsMap Radio Network audience. Our goal is to entertain while making what is sometimes very technical information clear to our listeners. And that’s been a successful formula for more than two decades.” Nerad has covered the automotive industry for more than 20 years in a number of prestigious editorial posts. He currently serves as editor of DrivingToday.com, and he contributes to a number of online publications. He has also been featured on “The Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Good Morning America,” and FOX News Channel.

TALKERS News Notes. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Digital earned the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views in July, reaching nearly 1.6 billion multiplatform views and approximately 3.4 billion multiplatform total minutes. In the most recent month of July, the digital network surpassed CNN.com in total multiplatform minutes for the fifth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. FOX News Digital also outpaced CNN.com in total multiplatform views, delivering nearly 89 million multiplatform unique visitors. Additionally, the FOX News Mobile App drove close to 6.9 million unique visitors in July, beating out CNN in the category for the third straight month…..iHeartMedia and live streaming and on-demand fitness and wellness marketplace NEOU announce a new marketing partnership. Through a multiplatform marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s audio network including broadcast radio, digital, podcast and social platforms, listeners will be introduced to NEOU’s fitness offerings…..ABC News Radio is presenting the Labor Day weekend special, “Help Wanted,” hosted by anchor Cheri Preston, in which she and a team of ABC News correspondents report on America’s jobs – from the most desirable positions to the most difficult careers and some unbelievable and rare jobs in between. The program explores the shifting U.S. labor market and examines roles across all kinds of industries.

Afghanistan Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 16 – 20. The Taliban’s unexpectedly quick takeover of Afghanistan’s major cities as the U.S. withdraws from the nation and the criticism being leveled at President Joe Biden was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this was the rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases and the debate over vaccines, boosters, and mask mandates, followed by the battle over mask and vaccination mandates in the country’s schools and colleges 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.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

| August 11, 2021

Phil Valentine Update: Doctors Focusing on Lungs. The latest update on the status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive host Phil Valentine published by Newsweek indicates that doctors “are focusing on treating the lungs of conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, in what his family has described as a ‘critical issue.’” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and as the viral infection got worse, he was hospitalized and eventually put on a ventilator. Dan Mandis is the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host on the station and has been communicating with Valentine’s listeners on behalf of his family. He wrote on Monday, “They are working on his lungs, that’s the critical issue right now. Other problems will come along but right now the focus is on his lungs. I’m hoping to have another update soon. #PrayForPhil.” The day before, Mandis posted, “Phil remains in critical condition this morning. There isn’t much new to report, but your continued prayers and support are appreciated. #PrayforPhil,” and later added that Valentine’s atrial fibrillation had improved, as well as his blood pressure. “The hope now is that his dependence on the vent will decrease and his lungs will improve.” The Newsweek piece also quotes Valentine’s longtime producer Johnny B saying, “I know I’d be emotional about this, but not to the point that I have. It’s been a very dark period, actually. I’ve really had to talk to myself, and my wife has helped me tremendously, my family’s helped me, and it’s not been easy. And my co-workers too have been very wonderful,” adding that Valentine is “just the nicest guy and loves to help people out.”

Round Two of July 2021 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2021 survey period covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM remains ranked #11 after tacking on one-tenth for a 3.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to #1 on the strength of a 1.1 share uptick and an 8.8 share finish. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 position after dropping two-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 3.5 share. Sister all-news WBZ-AM is also steady at #5 after adding two-tenths for a 5.9 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM takes over the #1 rank after climbing 1.9 shares to a 7.8 share while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM drops from #1 to #4 after falling two-tenths to a 6.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the first round) here.

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2021 Study Says AM/FM Listening Hits Highest Level in Over a Year. The just released Audio Today 2021 study from Nielsen Audio – from June 2021 online survey data based on a weighted sample of 1,000 among persons 18-plus – indicates “nine in 10 now feel life is becoming more normal, and they’re resuming pre-pandemic activities, spending and listening.” The study also finds that, “among the employed, two thirds are now working outside the home, up more than 70% since the height of lock-down in the spring of 2020. As a result, the AM/FM radio audience just recorded its highest levels in over a year across Nielsen’s PPM markets.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly adds, “Listening may have migrated into the home during the past year via smart speaker or mobile device, but now we’re tracking the audience shift back to pre-pandemic habits with in-car and out-of-home consumption increasing. All the while, radio’s value proposition for marketers hasn’t budged: it specializes in reaching consumers who are ready to spend right now, while they’re in the marketplace, and does so in a controlled environment which protects the advertiser’s reputation… Elsewhere in the audio universe, podcast usage — which flat-lined last year — is also growing again as millions of new listeners are engaging with the hottest new audio marketing opportunity. We’re approaching one million available podcasts, with something literally for everyone including radio broadcasters who are nimbly using on-demand audio as an extension of their on-air brands. The question now is how can advertisers reach the right audience in the right podcast?”

Gow Media’s SportsMap Radio Network Adds Three New Shows. The SportsMap Radio Network announces the launch of three new programs to its weekday lineup. They are: “Just Sayin It with Cole Thompson” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET), “In My Opinion with Denton Day” (9:00 am to 11:00 am ET), and “High Frequency with Kevin Dziepak” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET). Thompson, who covers the NFL and college football for Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation, says, “This is the start of something special. I just can’t thank the staff here at SportsMap enough for giving me the chance. Not everyone is lucky enough for this opportunity, but I will certainly make the most of it.” Day states, “I’m extremely thankful for the chance to host a weekday show. I started at the company nearly three years ago doing one live hour on Sunday mornings. Craig Larson and David Gow allowed me the creative freedom to grow and it’s very rewarding to have all that hard work lead to this exciting opportunity.” Dziepak, who spent the last eight years with WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score,” comments, “My goal is really simple: just have fun and try to provide an entertaining and enjoyable product for those listening. I want to widen the scope of the show beyond sports as well, integrating pop culture, TV, music and whatever else can spark conversation; sort of a cosmic gumbo.” Gow Media CEO David Gow states, “We have a number of partners who produce fabulous content for our network. I’m very excited about each of these new shows. The opportunity to produce original, informative and entertaining programs will always be an indispensable part of our core business model.”

Paul Mason to Lead Titans Radio for Cumulus Nashville. Programming pro Paul Mason is appointed to lead programming operations for Titans Radio for Cumulus Media Nashville. The company says that Mason will continue to serve as program director for sports talk WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” and Middle Tennessee sports audio. The appointment comes after Cumulus and the NFL club extended their multi-year partnership for WGFX to serve as the official radio broadcasting home of the Tennessee Titans and Titans Radio. Longtime executive producer Rhett Bryan remains in his role with Titans Radio. Cumulus Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “From the beginning, we were seeking a creative visionary with a passion for sports entertainment to lead ‘104.5 The Zone,’ the dominant sports destination in Middle Tennessee. Clearly, Paul has stepped into that role and done exceptional work. Adding programming operations oversight to Titans Radio is a natural next step for Paul and we are confident he’ll continue to deliver the best live and local sports content to fans on both WGFX and Titans Radio.” Mason states, “I am excited to work with this amazing group of broadcasters. Mike Keith, coach Dave McGinnis, executive producer Rhett Bryan, and the entire Titans Radio team are among the best in sports, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I also want to thank Allison Warren and [VP of programming operations] Charlie Cook for their confidence in me.”

TALKERS News Notes. Electronic voting firm Dominion Voting Systems is suing conservative video platforms OAN and Newsmax for defamation, alleging that they “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” about the company, relative to the presidential election of 2020. The complaint says they did so despite knowing the claims were false. Newsmax has issued the following statement regarding the suit: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”…..Focus360 announces that Forever Media is now a client as 29 Forever Media brands will be included in Focus360’s exclusive Jelli Plus networks including Jelli Male Plus, Jelli Female Plus and Jelli Music Plus. Focus360 CEO Phil Brown comments, “I’m elated to welcome such a storied media company to our Jelli Plus lineups. Forever Media covers some of the largest markets on the East Coast with incredible brands that super-serve their local audience. I’m honored that they have given us the opportunity to share that relationship with our advertising partners.”…..Edison Research unveils the results of its U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 of 2021. The list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report (which Edison says is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads). The top three shows based on measurement from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021 are: “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “The Daily,” and “Crime Junkie.” You can see the rest of this Top 50 report here…..Public radio outlet WVXU, Cincinnati – operated by Cincinnati Public Radio – is dropping its music programming and will go all news/talk as of August 14, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization says its goal is to “bring a wider diversity of voices to Cincinnati airwaves.” It will use NPR, American Public Media, and other programming to fill its schedule.

Longtime Public Radio Broadcaster Neal Conan Dies at 71. The NPR website has Neal Conan’s obituary here. Conan passed away in Hawaii after a battle with glioblastoma. He was host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” for 11 years, until NPR cancelled the show in 2013. During his lifelong public radio career, he served with WBAI, New York and with NPR in numerous capacities, including as executive producer of “All Things Considered” and as news director.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Controversy, Cuomo Resigns, Infrastructure Bill/Dems’ Budget Resolution, Senate GOP Blocks Voting Bill, Social Media Suspensions, Dominion Lawsuit, and Prince Andrew Sued Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/10). The rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and the hotly debated mask policies for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns yet maintains innocence; the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; Republicans in the Senate block Democrats’ attempts to revive the For the People voting act; Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene and YouTube suspends Rand Paul for “pandemic misinformation”; electronic voting firm Dominion sues OAN and Newsmax over “stolen election” broadcasts; and Britain’s Prince Andrew is sued by Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

| October 15, 2020

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. There was a lot of news and controversy during Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey (August 13-September 9) during a period that is usually sleepy in non-election years and that could account for the fact that 62% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes in his analysis that gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.6), Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” (+1.4), and Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.3). Looking at year-over-year ratings improvements, WISN was the most-improved news/talk station putting up a 5.5 share gain from September 2019 to September 2020. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City was close behind (+4.5), followed by WCBM Maryland’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.5). iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles was again the news/talk station with the highest cume (742,800). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

New Midday Sports Talk Program Debuts on Radio and Online. The new sports talk program “The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes, and Eytan” will launch on Monday (10/19) starring former NFL lineman Barrett Brooks (bottom), Harry Mayes (top right), and Eytan Shander (top left). The program, produced by JAKIB Media Partners, will air live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on PhillyVoice.com and WBSS-AM, Pleasantville “AM 1490 Sports Betting Radio” in South Jersey. It is also available via the SportsMap Radio Network. PhillyVoice CEO Hal Donnelly says, “This exciting partnership brings together two of the city’s top sources for Philly sports news, making it easier than ever for fans to consume the content they crave on the platform of their choice. We look forward to welcoming JAKIB Media’s audience to PhillyVoice.com.”

October Is the Time to Reexamine ‘The Scare On the Air.’ With Halloween just weeks away, what better time to take a look at the genre that produced some of radio’s most revered programs – the horror drama. University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon writes for TALKERS about the great horror dramas of radio’s Golden Age (the 1930s through the 1950s). Proof of radio listeners’ love of stories that thrill and chill exists today in the numerous scripted podcasts being produced in the horror genre. In his piece, Weldon chronicles some of the great radio horror dramas, explains the importance of sound effects (and how they were made!), and gives credit to some of the writers that made those great programs as successful as they were. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Dueling Town Halls, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Emails Probe, COVID Stimulus Negotiations, California Wildfires, and NFL’s COVID Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The November presidential election and controversy over two networks’ competing presidential town hall broadcasts; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus concerns about a full-blown fall/winter second wave; the Hunter Biden emails that could implicate him in benefiting from access to then-Vice President Joe Biden; the negotiations in Washington over a new COVID stimulus package; the status of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID tests among players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (10/16), Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” present the daylong “Back the Blue” special – a tribute to “honor the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep the New York Metro Area safe.” Listeners are being encouraged to tie a blue ribbon on trees, bushes, park benches – everywhere around the tri-state area – to show their support for the men and women in blue. The program will feature current and former law enforcement officers as well as family members of officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty. WABC and Red Apple SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi says, “As New Yorkers, we want to let the police know that we appreciate all that they do for us. The 77 WABC ‘Back the Blue’ special is one way we can honor police officers across the New York Metro Area.”…..The program “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Community Health Center, Inc, is celebrating the 11th anniversary of its first broadcast featuring an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is leading the COVID-19 response at the National Institutes of Health. The nationally syndicated show is co-hosted by Mark Masselli, founder and CEO, and Margaret Flinter, SVP and clinical director of CHC, Inc. The program initially launched to explore the transformation of American health care in the 21st century, spurred by technological advances and passage of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the show’s first guest in the fall of 2009…..The New Haven Register reports that radio’s Clark Smidt has purchased WATX-AM, Hamden, Connecticut, (the former WQUN) from Quinnipiac University. Luther Turmelle writes that Smidt purchased the station via his Clark Media LLC and the amount – not revealed by Smidt – is estimated to be a portion of the school’s legal bills for the transaction. The station is currently dark and it’s unknown what if anything Smidt intends to do with the signal…..It may mean nothing at all but Kevin Kinkead writes in Crossing Broad that WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive host Mike Missanelli has changed his Twitter handle from @MikeMiss975 to @MikeMiss25. Kinkead says, “One would assume that removing the 975 reference would allow him to continue to post partisan political tweets and call other people idiots and dolts without any of that coming back to Beasley Media Group. It’s like saying ‘views don’t represent those of my employer’ without actually saying it. Maybe Beasley suggested he do this, or maybe not. Just speculating on that.”

Charlie Kirk Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The founder and president of Turning Point USA and host of a newly launched daily Salem Radio Network show, Charlie Kirk is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, The Michael Harrison Interview. At 26, Charlie Kirk was the youngest speaker at the recent Republican National Convention and is already a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Regardless of one’s personal partisan leanings, this young communicator commands respect for his ability to articulate a compelling case for traditional conservative ideology. He is the founder and president of Turning Point USA – a national student movement with the mission of “identifying, organizing, and empowering” young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government which are – or at least are supposed to be – the foundation of American conservative thinking. With a presence on over 2,000 high school and college campuses nationwide, 250,000 student members, and over 150 full-time staff, Turning Point USA is the largest and fastest growing conservative youth activist organization in the country. Kirk is also a New York Times best-selling author whose presence on social media reaches over 100 million people per month and according to Axios he is one of the “top 10 most engaged” Twitter handles in the world behind only President Trump among conservatives. His new midday talk show on the Salem Radio Network debuted two weeks ago. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, 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.

Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good – A Profile of Talk Radio Host Michael Berry. Houston-based talk radio host Michael Berry – heard on KTRH, Houston locally and on stations across the nation in syndication – is the subject of a profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Michael Berry is an attorney, former real estate broker, former six-term Houston city council member, and former Houston mayor pro tem who got his start in talk radio doing a weekend real estate program. From there he transitioned into hosting a news/talk radio program. Berry’s current programs are heard on some 20 affiliate stations in addition to home base KTRH. He says, “We have not aggressively sought markets. Folks find our shows on podcasts, streaming, or when they’re driving in another town. They reach out to me through my website and literally ask what it would take to get me on their station. We don’t actually in the technical, literal sense ‘syndicate.’ I don’t sell an ad to a nationwide company that we place into the show. It’s not syndication in the purest sense. We give stations the show and all the resources they need. If a station makes money from the show, they are going to keep it. I’m still in the building phase and doing it on my own. You lose money for a long time to get a big footprint.” Read the entire piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Fort Smith, Arkansas radio personality Darren Miner, a.k.a. Maverick, has been fired by iHeartMedia for a tweet about a University of Arkansas female basketball player. Miner worked on air at country KMAG-FM. Responding to player Erynn Barnum’s tweet of four pictures of herself in uniform sitting on top of the announcers table at the school’s arena, Miner tweeted, “Now they just need to install a pole.” iHeartMedia area president Clyde Bass tells KFSM-TV that as soon as they became aware of the tweet, Miner was let go…..Beasley Media Group names Tradia McCoy the new midday personality at hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville “Foxy 99. ” She was most recently with Radio One’s hip hop WCDX-FM, Richmond, Virginia. “Foxy 99” program director and brand manager Kenny J says, “We’re extremely excited to welcome Tradia McCoy to the ‘Foxy’ family. Tradia’s energy, passion, and social media knowledge made her the fit for middays on WZFX/Foxy 99.”…..Skyview Networks announces that Raul “Rico” Colindres joins the company as vice president, content development and syndication. In this role, he’ll lead the company’s syndication initiative, working to develop current shows such as “The Dana Cortez Show” and “Nick Cannon Radio,” and discover and develop additional programs. As part of the new relationship, Colindres’ “Carmen’s Calls” prank phone call bit service joins the Skyview syndication lineup, effective January 1, 2021…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s urban contemporary WDAS-FM, hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze” announce the fourth annual “Sista Strut” breast cancer walk taking place virtually Saturday (10/17). A portion of the proceeds for the event will benefit the American Association for Cancer Research.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.