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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

| June 1, 2021

Audacy and Radio America Reach Deal to Syndicate ‘The Dana Show’ to 11 Stations in Multi-Platform Deal. As had been rumored a couple of weeks ago, Audacy and Radio America have agreed to a new, multi-platform deal that will put “The Dana Show,” starring Dana Loesch, on 11 Audacy news/talk stations. In addition to the affiliate clearances, Audacy will become the exclusive audio streaming provider for “The Dana Show” and Loesch will collaborate with Audacy on the development and production of her first-ever, original on-demand podcast. “The Dana Show” will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart previously held by the late Rush Limbaugh on: KMBZ-AM, Kansas City; KXNT-AM, Las Vegas; WRVA-AM/WTVR-HD2, Richmond; KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, Florida; and WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The show will also re-air during various times on WPHT-AM, Philadelphia; KJCE-AM, Austin; WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KFTK-FM, St. Louis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford. Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Radio America and welcome Dana Loesch to our broadcast and digital platform. Dana is a leading conservative voice and influencer and both her daily live show and future original podcast are terrific additions to our best-in-class news and talk offerings.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “During this pivotal moment in talk radio, the partnership with Audacy and Dana’s show is exciting because it represents our shared vision on radio’s future for the news/talk format. Audacy’s leading digital platform is also the perfect fit for Dana’s growing digital audience. We look forward to working closely with Audacy’s content team, led by Jeff Sottolano, to make ‘The Dana Show’ a key element on each of their hugely successful Audacy news/talk stations.” Dana Loesch says of the new deal, “I look forward to working with the great team at Audacy. Their digital platform is a great fit for my streaming and podcast audience and their top-rated radio stations are a phenomenal addition to my loyal radio fan base.”

Pending Business: New Talent, New Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges sellers face when a longtime talk talent leaves your station and you are pitching a new program. “This round will be different as many stations try and replace a proven ratings winner with new talent, never before tested in the time period in your market. An audience that has been built up over years may start dial surfing with a newfound curiosity. What happens if audience levels wobble through the short term as your competitor pushes the emergency stop button?” Read his advice here.

Shelby Cassesse to Host Weekend Show on ‘98.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. A piece by Joshua Axelrod in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh news anchor Shelby Cassesse who is launching a Sunday morning sports talk show on Audacy’s sister KDKA-FM “98.7 The Fan.” Cassesse will be the first (and only) woman to host a sports talk show on KDKA-FM who was not a contest winner. Her new show will air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am on Sundays on a scattered schedule that is expected to become an every-other-Sunday program. She tells the paper, “When the opportunity was presented to me, it was an instant, ‘Well, yeah, of course I’m going to do this!’ It’s one of the greatest professional opportunities I’ve been given. It’s something I never anticipated doing in my career because I always saw myself as a reporter. It’s truly incredible, and I’m beyond thrilled to be doing it. It’s definitely not lost on me that few women have had this opportunity, especially here in Pittsburgh. I don’t want that to be what people see me as. I’m happy to take on that title, and I’m glad to celebrate it, too, because it needs to be celebrated.”

Saga’s WTAX, Springfield, Illinois Getting New FM Frequency. According to a story in the State Journal-Register, Saga Communications’ news/talk WTAX-AM is getting a full market FM signal as the company will move the station’s programming from FM translator W228DL at 93.5 to the 93.9 frequency occupied by classic hits WQQL-FM. The company has requested a call letter change with the FCC and WQQL will become WTAX-FM. The classic hits format will continue on the 93.5 frequency as “Rewind 93.5” but the station feeding W228DL is not revealed in the story.

Sports Talk ‘ESPN Southwest Florida’ Moves to AM Band. As a result of the growing Hispanic population in Southwest Florida, Beasley Media Group moves the “Playa” adult Hispanic format from WRXK-HD2/W251AL to the 99.3 FM frequency. That bumps the sports format “ESPN Southwest Florida” from 99.3 to WBCN-AM and two FM translators at 101.5 and 104.3.

NPR Brings A Martinez Aboard “Morning Edition.” The NPR program “Morning Edition” is adding A Martínez to its talent on the AM drive news magazine, effective July 6. Martínez has been serving with KPCC-FM, Pasadena and he takes over for David Greene who left the program in 2020. Martínez – who will be based at NPR West in Culver City, California – will join Steve Inskeep, Noel King, and Rachel Martin on the syndicated program that airs on 835 stations. NPR VP of news programming Sarah Gilbert says, “He brings a remarkable record of journalism and empathy that allows him to truly connect with audiences and stories. He brings intelligence, a sense of humor and a deep curiosity that will fit right in with the show’s commitment to telling distinctive stories that make a difference to our understanding of the world.”

WYPR, Baltimore to Acquire WTMD, Towson. Public radio station WYPR, Baltimore “Your Public Radio” is acquiring WTMD, Towson, Maryland from Towson University. According to a report at The Current, WYPR is an “independent community licensee and a top-ranking news/talk station in the market airing local, national and international radio content. WYPR excels in local programming and journalism through outstanding shows like ‘Midday,’ ‘On the Record’ and ‘Out of the Blocks’ as well as its award-winning newsroom.” The station also feeds signals in Frederick, Maryland (WYFP-FM) and Ocean City, Maryland (WYPO-FM). WTMD has been a triple A-formatted station since 2002.

COVID-19/Wuhan Lab Theory, Memorial Day, Miami Concert Shooting, Tulsa Massacre Anniversary, Meat Company Hack, Infrastructure Plan, January 6 Commission, Osaka Withdraws from French Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and growing acceptance of the possibility the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Virology lab; the Memorial Day holiday and honoring those who made the “ultimate sacrifice”; the shooting at a Miami concert venue the killed 2 and wounded dozens of others; the 100th anniversary of Tulsa “Black Wall Street” massacre; the hack of JBS’ U.S. and Australian meat plants; the GOP’s counter-offer to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; Senate Republicans kill the January 6 Commission; and Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open after refusing to take part in press conferences were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

| December 8, 2020

Howard Stern Signs Renewal with SiriusXM for Five More Years. During previous investor conference calls, outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he believed Howard Stern and SiriusXM would come to terms on a new deal and today’s announcement bears that out. Under the new agreement, Stern will continue to produce and host “The Howard Stern Show” exclusively for SiriusXM for the next five years, and the Howard Stern archive of audio and video will continue to be licensed to SiriusXM for an additional seven years. Stern says, “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio. And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike. And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered, and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.” Meyer says, “As the leading audio entertainment company, we couldn’t be happier to have Howard, the leading host in all of radio and audio, continue to make SiriusXM the home for his show, channels, and archives while at the peak of his broadcasting career. Howard’s home has been SiriusXM and it will remain that way, but we’ve expanded SiriusXM in recent years too, and we are excited about finding the right ways that select content from Howard can find audiences on additional platforms. May I add, I consider Howard a close friend and look forward to listening to him for years to come.”

Ron St. Pierre Out at iHeartMedia’s WHJJ, Providence; Jim Polito Takes Over Morning Show. Longtime Providence air personality and programmer Ron St. Pierre has exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence where he hosted the morning drive show. Filling the programming gap is WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based morning personality Jim Polito. In 2016, iHeartMedia dropped the local morning show hosted by Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan on WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts and began simulcasting Polito’s show there. The WHJJ move puts the Jim Polito show in three of iHeartMedia’s New England markets.

Salem’s KRLA and KTIE Cut Ties with Brian Whitman. Southern California radio pro Brian Whitman exits Salem Media Group’s morning drive show “The Morning Answer” that he co-hosted with Jennifer Horn that was simulcast on KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Whitman shared the news on his Facebook page on Friday (12/4). He wrote, “I was provided the following from folks at Salem/KRLA this morning. The announcement was sent by the general manager to their kind and hardworking staff, making this news public. I’ll have very personal thoughts to share with members of the ‘Morning Answer Listening Family’ (as I came to know and regard you over many years) very soon. It will be in this space at a time that is more appropriate and comfortable. With all of my love and with the warmest gratitude for every moment that we’ve shared together, I offer words that I know fall far short of my heart’s sentiment. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys.” The message from management was as follows: “After eight years hosting ‘The Morning Answer,’ Brian Whitman will no longer be with us. We wish Brian all the best in the future. Chuck [Tyler] and I echo Phil Boyce who said, “Brian has been a hard-working and extremely talented employee for us for many years. We will always cherish his friendship, and our opportunity to work together at KRLA and KTIE.” Whitman was the liberal counterpart to conservative Horn.

Hubbard Radio Drops Sports Talker Chris Rongey; Re-Aligns Host Lineup. According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar, afternoon drive sports talk personality Chris Rongey has been let go from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Rongey had been part of “The Fast Lane” afternoon show since replacing D’Marco Farr in 2017. The station moves midday host Jamie Rivers into afternoons alongside Anthony Stalter and Brad Thompson and promotes Alex Farrario to the midday show co-hosting with Brandon Kiley.

Talk Radio Host Michael Berry’s Good Month Includes Raising $1.3 Million for PTSD Foundation. KRTH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry had a very good month in which his program helped raise $1.3 million for Camp Hope, the residential treatment center run by the PTSD Foundation of America, of which Berry is the national spokesman. The organization was laying off staff, including the vital folks who counsel suicidal veterans who struggle with re-integration after war. Berry teamed up with sponsor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, owner of the Gallery Furniture chain, to raise funds. During the whole of 2020, Berry’s efforts have raised $3 million for the organization, almost its entire budget. Additionally, Berry made national news on Monday (12/7) for his interview with Houston-based Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue, during which Unanue said he gave U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez the company’s “employee of the month” award. This came after Ocasio Cortez called for a boycott on Goya products because Unanue publicly praised President Trump. However, Unanue says the boycott call produced a counter-protest in which supporters flocked to buy Goya goods. On top of that, Berry has added new affiliates, WPNN, Pensacola, Florida, and KNUW, Silver City, New Mexico and hopes to roll out seven new affiliates before the New Year. In case you missed it, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Berry back in October. Read it here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The Nielsen Audio PPM ratings survey in the month prior to the November election (October 8 – November 4) was not as generous to sports talk radio stations as it was to news/talk, still TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that 46% of sports talkers were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October 2020 survey. Gainers from October to November were led by RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” (+0.7, 6.2 share) and Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+0.7, 6.0 share). Due to the pandemic’s effect on live sports, year-over-year comparisons have not been kind to the sports talk format and November 2019 to November 2020 is not different. 68% of sports talk outlets in PPM markets were down. However, 23% of stations gained with Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas leading the pack (+1.6, 2.8 share). While no sports talkers claimed the #1 rank in their market during the November survey, iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis came close, posting a 7.6 share good for the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WJR, Detroit News Director Dick Haefner to Retire. After a 51-year career in radio news, WJR, Detroit news director Dick Haefner is retiring. Haefner, an award-winning newscaster, reporter, and news director, has been WJR news director since 1989. Cumulus Media says that “his tenure is unmatched by any other Detroit broadcast news director. He is one of the most recognizable news voices in his hometown of Detroit, signing on to radio news in 1969 and signing off on December 11, 2020, Haefner’s last day on-air.” The company goes on to note that “under Haefner’s leadership, WJR News has been honored with nearly every national and local news award in the broadcast business, including: the Peabody Award, Associated Press national award for Best Broadcast Reporting, Edward R. Murrow Awards, and numerous state news awards… Some of Haefner’s projects have changed laws. A series on suburban toxic waste dumps resulted in tighter rules for handling waste. An investigation of fraud at gas stations brought about new regulations on service station inspections and fuel hauling, and even changed the way the IRS taxes the fuel hauling industry. Among the biggest stories Haefner has broken are Coleman Young’s baby, the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding incident heard around the world, and Detroit’s two side-by-side sports stadiums.” Haefner comments, “Anything I may have accomplished is because of other people, my wife Judy, and my family who allowed me to pursue adventures in broadcast news, and especially my co-workers. My most important job was to put them in position to do their best work. What they accomplished every day is my greatest reward. I have had the best job in Detroit radio news for almost 32 years. I’m the luckiest person I know.”

Susan O’Connell Retires from Compass Media Networks; Robert Blum Rises to Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Affiliate sales pro Susan O’Connell is retiring from her position as vice president of news/talk affiliate sales with Compass Media Networks, effective December 31. At the same time, the company announces that Robert Blum – a Compass Media staffer since 2011 – is being promoted to senior manager of affiliate sales for news/talk/sports. O’Connell has been in the news/talk affiliate sales business for the past 40 years, the last six with Compass Media. She previously served with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, ABC Radio Networks, CBS News, and the Progressive Radio Network. She comments, “The best part of my job has always been working with great broadcasters. Thank you all for sharing your time, talent, and friendship over the years. Compass Media Networks was the perfect place to wind up. Representing our stellar news/talk lineup and being part of this team has been an honor and a privilege.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “Susan is a total superstar, friend, and treasured colleague. Through hard work, perseverance, and cunning, Susan established Compass Media Networks as a dominant player in news/talk programming with over 750 leading news/talk stations airing over a dozen hours of our daily, live, and original news-talk programming.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Trump Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Package, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pornhub Allegations, and Presidential Pardons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the pleas from authorities to follow mask and gathering mandates, and the status of vaccines; Donald Trump continues legal challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the debate in Congress over a new stimulus package; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the allegations that porn giant Pornhub has promoted underage actors; and reports of Donald Trump’s pardon plans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro and urban media personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, and iHeartMedia renew and extend their relationship. The deal means the co-host of the WWPR, New York “Power 105.1”-based, nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” will continue to work with iHeartMedia for the next five years.  He says, “I give my sincerest thanks to iHeart for empowering me over the past decade to be the best talent that I can be, and for honoring me as an owner and executive. I love the audio business and iHeart is the biggest and best audio company in the world. As co-founder and chief creative officer of the Black Effect Podcast Network and now senior creative officer of cultural content and programming at iHeart, all I want to do for the next five years is continue to move the culture of radio and podcasting forward by curating a new era of voices, programming, and events. GOD IS GREAT! Now, it’s time to get back to work.”

Friday, September 4, 2020

| September 4, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Bullets and Spit!” looks back at this past week of August 31 – September 4, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSSid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; Larry Young, talk show host, WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of August PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 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 August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis adds a half share to finish the August survey with an 8.0 share good for the #3 rank in the market. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN climbs 1.8 shares for an 8.6 share and leaps from #4 to #1 while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ tacks on 1.2 shares for a 6.7 share and the #5 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” rises nine-tenths to a 5.7 share and the #5 rank. Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford erases some of July’s 1.7 share dip by adding eight-tenths for a 6.9 share and finishes the August survey tied for #3 in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets (and the other three groups!) here.

Cromwell Media Launches New Conservative Talk Radio Outlet in Owensboro, Kentucky. According to a story in the Owensboro Times, Cromwell Media has flipped a couple of its Owensboro, Kentucky signals from rock to news/talk as “K-News 101.3.” It’s not clear which station is feeding translator W267BM at 101.3 FM for the new format. Previously, the translator had been carrying the rock format from feeder station WXCM-FM. The station is using FOX News Radio for hourly newscasts and well as the Brian Kilmeade show. Also airing on the station is Key NetworksBill O’Reilly, Talk Media Network’s Tom Sullivan, and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro. Local personality Brian Jackson hosts the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Cromwell general manager Taunya Iverson tells the paper, “We felt that our community was in need of a platform for our local community that brings businesses, people and organizations together and helps to build up our community with local information that is greatly needed.”

Charlotte Hornets Fire Radio Voice John Focke. The Charlotte Observer reports that the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets have parted ways with radio play-by-play personality John Focke. He’d been suspended from his duties while the team investigated a recent tweet in which he said he’d accidently typed the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” The team’s official statement is as follows: “The Charlotte Hornets announced today that John Focke will not return as the team’s radio broadcaster due to a violation of the organization’s social media policy. Since this is a personnel matter, the organization will not comment any further. The Hornets thank John for all his efforts during the 2019-20 NBA season.” Entercom’s sports talk WFNZ, Charlotte serves as flagship for the team’s radio broadcasts.

Nate Lucas Suspended ‘Indefinitely’ from Zimmer’s ‘Jock 98.7 FM.’ The Springfield News-Leader reports that KBFL-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri sports talk host Nate Lucas is suspended “indefinitely” after uttering what’s being termed a “sexist slur” about vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris on his midday program. Zimmer Communications corporate operations director Jeff Allen tells the paper about Lucas’ status and says he won’t comment further as it is a personnel matter. Now hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show at KBFL is Ned Reynolds, who was let go from the station by its previous owner.

Geraldo Celebrates 50 Years as a Broadcaster. American journalism icon Geraldo Rivera is celebrating his 50th broadcast anniversary on September 8. Rivera hosts a daily, one-hour program on iHeartMedia’s WTAM, Cleveland in addition to his current role as a correspondent-at-large for FOX News. iHeartMedia announces that as part of the week-long celebration of Rivera’s anniversary, many historical broadcast career moments and several high-profile guests will be heard on his “Geraldo in Cleveland” program. Rivera says, “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years and I’m humbled by all of the opportunities during my storied career. Cleveland is my home now and so is WTAM, where I look forward to sharing some incredible highlights with you during my daily radio show. Most importantly, I look forward to continuing my daily broadcast journey with YOU by my side.” Rivera began his 50-year career as a television reporter at WABC-TV, New York and was a member of the original cast of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He had an eight-year association with ABC’s “20/20” as an investigative reporter and produced and hosted “The Geraldo Rivera Show” for 11 years.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from ESPN is debuting called, “Bettor Days with Mike Greenberg,” and the program is described as “a character-driven reenactment show bringing to life the true stories of unforgettable gambling adventures” and “uses in-depth interviews and comedic reenactments to relive the wildest, funniest betting tales – and their unexpected outcomes.” The show’s debut episode “Fauxto Finish” tells the story of ophthalmologist Steven Friedlander who won a long-shot bet in one of the most dramatic Kentucky Derby races ever, only to find out the incredible payout wasn’t at all what he anticipated…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated weekend program “The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” adds three new affiliate stations. Joining the program’s roster are:  KWWV-HD2/K253BR, San Luis Obispo, California “K-News 98.5”; WVMT-AM/FM, Burlington, Vermont; and WWDC-HD2/W284CQ, Washington, DC “WONK FM 104.7.”…..Entercom’s Cadence13 and Headspace Studios unveil “The Yes Theory Podcast” hosted by Thomas Brag, Matt Dajer, and Ammar Kandil. In the summer of 2015, the three crossed paths in Montreal. Then total strangers, they bonded over the idea that they felt most alive outside of their comfort zones. With $500 to their names, the new friends started making videos about confronting their biggest fears. Fast forward to today — Brag, Dajer and Kandil run Yes Theory, where they have harnessed social media to share their adventurous approach to life with millions around the world, including Will Smith, who took them up on their challenge to bungee jump from a helicopter in celebration of his 50th birthday.

The Presidential Race, the Polls and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Tied for Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 31- September 4. The November presidential election, the current polling numbers and the debate over the safety of voting by mail tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between race relations, urban violence, police reform, and suburban housing. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, vaccine developments, and the masks debate at #4. 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.

Cool Talk Host Opportunity in Huntsville. News/talk WVNN, Huntsville program director Dale Jackson announces that the Cumulus Media station is seeking a dynamic air personality to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program. “WVNN is seeking someone who creates and produces a local talk radio show focusing on local, national, and political issues with a strong ability to interview newsmakers. Ability to become part of the community and the listener’s life is a must. Knowledge of entertainment, politics, news, weather, sports and other topics of interest are important to your success. Endorsement and sale opportunities will supplement your income and instant income growth is possible.” See more about the position and apply here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, iHeartMedia drops the country music on WEBG-FM and launches a rock format branded “ROCK 95 FIVE, Chicago’s Rock Station” featuring core artists: Metallica, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Linkin Park, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Def Leppard, Foo Fighters, Mötley Crüe, and more. iHeartMedia Chicago regional SVP of programming James Howard says, “Our goal with ‘ROCK 95 FIVE’ is to provide the music Chicagoland has been missing, a key soundtrack for a large lifestyle group. Our purpose is to be a driving force and a companion in the lives of millions of rock music fans for years to come.” The station says its programming lineup will be announced at a later date…..On-air pro Tay Hamilton is joining iHeartMedia’s WSIX-FM, Nashville “The BIG 98” to work with Wayne D as on-air personality and for the afternoon drive show. Hamilton says, “I’m so excited about my journey to Nashville to join the power team at WSIX and to grow within iHeart Country! It’s been a life-long dream of mine to do radio in the heart of country music and I finally get to do so thanks to Gator Harrison and Rod Phillips.”…..Cumulus Media announces the addition of two new live-and-local, personality-driven shows to urban contemporary WLXC-FM Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1.” Dee Dee Renee joins “Kiss 103.1” as host of the midday program. She moves to Columbia from Cumulus’ WWDM, Columbia, South Carolina. Meanwhile, program director Chris Connors moves from middays to afternoon drive…..Cumulus Media re-brands country WVLK,  Lexington, Kentucky from NASH FM to “K92.9, Lexington’s New Country Leader.”…..The “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” program is expanding to weeknights beginning September 21, 2020 in a syndication partnership with Skyview Networks. The country program is hosted by Bryan “B-Dub” Washington and is offered in two versions, including a fully produced night show and a content-only version, which provides program directors the flexibility to choose the music for their station, as well as daypart flexibility.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

| September 1, 2020

Salem Radio Network to Syndicate Charlie Kirk Show. Beginning October 5, Salem Radio Network is syndicating a new, three-hour talk show hosted by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. He’s been hosting an eponymous podcast that SRN says has “quickly become one of the top ten podcasts according to the Apple News charts.” The radio program will air live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart. Kirk founded Turning Point USA in his parents’ garage in the suburbs of Chicago when he was 18 years old. SRN says that today, that organization has a presence on over 2,000 campuses, directly engages over 250,000 students every year, and boasts a staff of over 450 full-time and part-time employees scattered across the country, all “playing offense with a sense of urgency to win America’s culture war.” Kirk is also the author of the bestseller The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas that Will Win the Future (Broadside Books, 2020). Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce says, “Rarely do we find somebody as knowledgeable and talented as Charlie Kirk as a potential talk radio host. He wants to change the world and I think he’s the type of talent who can actually do that. It will be a great opportunity to watch him succeed.”

Sports Talker Nate Lucas Off Air After Using ‘Sexist Slur.’ According to a report in the Springfield News-Leader, KTXR-FM, Springfield, Missouri “ESPN Jock 98.7” host Nate Lucas is off of his 9:00 am to 11:00 am show after using a “sexist slur” to describe vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The News-Leader’s Harrison Keegan says that Lucas was also “hypercritical” of members of the Missouri State University football program after they announced a campus march to raise awareness of racial injustice. That caused fellow station host Art Hains (who is also play-by-play broadcaster for Missouri State athletics) to take leave of his program because of Lucas’ comments. Hains said he “did not want to be associated with the ‘regrettable’ comments Lucas made about Missouri State student-athletes and staff.” Tom Ladd, operations manager for the Zimmer Midwest Communications station, asked listeners to give management “time to deal with the situation.”

Round One of August PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. With the return of live sports, Entercom’s WFAN, New York adds six-tenths to climb to a 2.3 share and the #17 rank. The company’s all-news WINS tacks on a half share to finish the survey with a 4.3 share and remains ranked #7. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI dips eight-tenths for a 3.9 share and slides to the #5 rank. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago halts its recent slide with a three-tenths increase to finish the August survey with a 3.6 share and the #9 rank. Across town, Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM remains ranked #1 on the strength of a three-tenths increase to wrap the survey with a 7.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

Ramsey Network Launches Dr. John Delony Podcast. A new podcast from Ramsey Solutions is joining the Ramsey Network. “The Dr. John Delony Show” is a caller-driven show that provides real talk about life, relationships, and mental health challenges from host and Ramsey Personality Dr. John Delony, a leading voice on relationships and emotional wellness. Ramsey Solutions says, “Through humor, grace and grit, Delony gives people the tools they need to cut through the chaos of anxiety, depression, and disconnection.” The show will be published three times a week and will be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the Ramsey Network app, YouTube and on smart speakers.

Entercom and GM Partner for RADIO.COM Native App in Seven Million Vehicles. This deal between Entercom and General Motors will put RADIO.COM as a native, in-dash application into nearly seven million compatible Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac vehicles. The app allows drivers with compatible vehicles to seamlessly access RADIO.COM through embedded technology beginning on September 15. Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re pleased to launch this app with GM to expand the reach of RADIO.COM’s connected car offering into millions of vehicles across the country and enhance the consumer in-vehicle experience. Drivers now have another way to connect with their favorite station and talent, regardless of the market they live in, and enjoy our robust portfolio of leading local news and sports radio content, as well as our suite of leading music stations, podcasts, and on-demand audio content whenever they want, wherever they are going.”

Entercom to Implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan. In a memo to all employees, Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field announces that the company’s Diversity, Equit and Inclusion Task Force has produced a four-prong action plan for the company that seeks to “build a more diverse organization, strengthen our culture of inclusion and respect and foster a more just, equitable and inclusive nation.” The plan calls for a partnership with the National Urban League to “deepen our understanding of economic and social justice issues within our communities and provide support for NUL programs through public service messages”; a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities Morehouse, Clark, and Spelman “through various actions to provide career opportunities and counseling, while creating a pipeline of diverse talent for key hiring needs within our organization”; a fellowship program “to create up to 10 fellowship roles for recent college graduates emphasizing diverse candidates to fill key openings across the organization”; and unconscious bias training “for our leadership team and online training for our entire team as part of our ongoing investments in skill building and training.”

Danno Wolkoff Named COO at Sun Broadcast Group. Media executive Danno Wolkoff is named chief operating officer at Gen Media Partners’ general market network division Sun Broadcast Group. Wolkoff takes over for Julio Aponte, who recently exited the company. Wolkoff joined SBG after it acquired Wolkoff’s Envision Networks in January of this year. Also, SBG announces it has created two additional New York-based ad sales positions with the hiring of Jackie Cardillo and Angela Codella, both of whom will report directly to Wolkoff.

Presidential Race, Protest Violence/BLM Movement, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, New Stimulus Deal, and NFL Investigating Washington Football Team Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The November presidential election; the violent protests in Portland and Los Angeles and President Trump’s planned trip to Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the COVID-19 outbreaks at numerous college campuses; a new stimulus deal being worked on in Congress; and the NFL takes over the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the Washington Football Team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In Los Angeles, Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC-AM is adding network newscasts from Total Traffic and Weather Network. TTWN has provided local news and traffic reports to the station since 2018. Under the expanded partnership, TTWN will provide KABC-AM with unbranded network newscasts delivered by TTWN’s 24/7 News division. KABC-AM had been using the Westwood One News service that ceased operations on August 30. KABC VP and market manager Drew Hayes says, “We are excited and happy to continue and expand our relationship with TTWN. They have proven to be not only a top-shelf national news and traffic services provider, but also a responsive and creative partner.”…..Hubbard Radio unveils a new podcast app built specifically for Minnesotans called, PodMN. The mobile app was soft launched in December and showcases podcasts that feature voices, topics and stories that are rooted in Minnesota. It is also aimed at making locally produced audio more discoverable and more profitable for its creators. Users will find hundreds of podcasts from independent local content creators like PodMN’s own senior editor Beth K. Gibbs who also produces and co-hosts the podcast, “Totes Recall.”…..Cox Media Group Tulsa is partnering with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance to provide four weeks of hands-on, curiosity-driven activities during the month of STEMtember “to help grow a love of science, technology, engineering and math in Green Country students and families.” Each week will offer free virtual experiences for students and teachers, and some weeks will include a physical component. CMG Tulsa vice president Cathy Gunther says, “We are proud to partner with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance to help offer hands-on resources for students to use, especially now when so many are engaged in distance learning.”…..Rush Street Interactive and VSiN announce a multi-year agreement that includes the launch of “Rush Hour.” VSiN will broadcast “Rush Hour” live from the in-casino sportsbook in Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Illinois weekdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET…..Actor Zack Robidas (“Succession,” “Friends from College,” “30 Rock”) hosts “The Pod Spotter,” a podcast that celebrates under-the-radar and next-big-thing podcasts. Created and produced by Price Brothers, “The Pod Spotter” will be published every Monday. Robidas says, “With over a million podcasts in existence today, and more being developed every day, it’s sort of the Wild West out there when it comes to pod fans finding appropriate content. When I was approached to host the show, I was shocked to find that no such resource exists. And so, we wanted to do a show that not only entertained but had great utility as well.”…..C13Originals expands its partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham, and HISTORY with a new podcast documentary series, “It Was Said,” that focuses on some of the most important, impactful and relevant speeches in history. Drawing on a selection of speeches from powerful figures in history like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, JFK, RFK, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Lewis, Edward R. Murrow, and Barbara Jordan, Meacham offers expert insight and analysis into their origins, the orator, the context of the times they were given, why they are still relevant today, and the importance of never forgetting them. “It Was Said” launches tomorrow (9/2).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio legend Scott Shannon and Entercom agree to a contract extension to continue his hosting the “Scott Shannon in the Morning with Patty Steele” program on classic hits WCBS-FM, New York as well as his nationally syndicated weekend countdown show “America’s Greatest Hits.” Entercom SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “When New Yorkers think of morning radio, they hear Scott Shannon in their minds. Generations of listeners have woken up with Scott as the first voice they hear each day. As relevant and compelling as ever, it is fitting that he holds court on WCBS-FM 101.1, right in the middle of that radio dial that he has influenced like no other talent in history.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Bon Jovi has been added to the lineup for the 10th anniversary of its iHeartRadio Music Festival that will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. Taking place on September 18 and 19, the concert event is being hosted by Ryan Seacrest and this year’s virtual two-day mega-concert will feature already announced performances from: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with special guest Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 27 and 28.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.