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Monday, January 24, 2022

| January 24, 2022

Monday Memo: Improving Results from Endorsement Spots. “Radio – stations and personalities – can make big money with the personal pitch that cuts through listeners’ mental clutter. BUT…” in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against common technique faux pas. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Comfortably Numb. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that radio sales proposals missing the answer to the “Why Buy?” question are missing the chance to tell your station’s unique story. If your station has personalities that connect with listeners and get thousands of them to act when it comes to charity giving and live appearances, sellers should tell those stories. “Move on from empty ‘reach’ numbers. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tik-Tok and geo-targeted others will win the numbers game. But when it comes to showing results, radio is still a primary medium.” Read more here.

Starnes Media Group Partners with Hibbard Group for Affiliate Relations. The Starnes Media Group announces that it is engaging The Hibbard Group as its agency of record for affiliate relations and acquisition for “The Todd Starnes Show” and “The Todd Starnes Commentary.” Todd Starnes’ daily talk radio program airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and Starnes Media produces three separate 90-second daily commentaries by Todd Starnes that are heard on more than 650 stations nationwide. The Hibbard Group president Jack Hibbard says, “I am excited to be working with Todd Starnes. Todd’s high standard of journalistic integrity is rare these days. We believe that, combined with his unique style of communication, he has created a show that any radio station would be proud to air.” Starnes says the partnership is “an important step for us. We believe they have the experience to assist us in growing our affiliate base and serving our stations well.”

Radio One Partners with Charlotte FC for Radio Broadcasts. As part of a partnership between Major League Soccer club Charlotte FC and Radio One, sports talk WFNZ-AM/W273DA, Charlotte will serve as the club’s flagship radio station. Radio One says it will broadcast most matches on WFNZ, while the remaining matches will be carried on sister news/talk station WBT-AM/FM. Radio One regional vice president Marsha Landess says, “Our team at Radio One Charlotte is thrilled to bring the passion of Charlotte FC to “Sports Radio” WFNZ. With the growing excitement of professional soccer that’s evident in Charlotte, we look forward to a long successful partnership and are glad that we are a part of this historic time in Charlotte sports.”

COVID-19, Ukraine Tensions, Biden Approval Ratings/Midterm Elections, Inflation & Supply Chain, Boris Johnson Troubles, Beijing Olympics, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The COVID mandates protest in Washington, DC and the rate of Omicron cases in the U.S. and abroad; the tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and the battle for control of Congress in the midterm elections; high retail and oil prices and the ongoing supply chain woes; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s political troubles; the politics and health policies at the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the NFL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

| January 6, 2022

FCC Releases 2021 Year-End Station Totals: AM Declines by 42 Stations. At the end of December, the FCC issued its annual station totals report and the number of commercial AM radio stations in the U.S. declined by 42. Interestingly, the country also lost 23 commercial FM signals but gained nine educational FMs. However, the number of FM translators and boosters rose by 446 while Low Power FMs declined by 67. The FCC notes that the number of AM signals in the United States was at its peak in the 1990s at around 5,000. As for FM translators and boosters, there were about 6,100 such signals 10 years ago and that number is now 8,866. The category of FM educational will continue to grow soon and the FCC recently opened a window for new non-commercial educational FM construction permits and received almost 1,300 applications.

KWAM, Memphis Names Kevin Davis General Manager. Radio programming and management pro Kevin Davis returns to the Memphis market as the new general manager of Starnes Media Group’s news/talk KWAM-AM “The Mighty 990.” Davis was most recently serving as afternoon host and production director at Radio Training Network’s Christian contemporary WAFJ-FM, Augusta, Georgia. Starnes Media Group says, “Kevin brings more than 36 years of broadcast experience to KWAM. His experience includes a wide variety of radio formats – AC, CHR, Christian, classic rock, classic hits, country and news/talk radio. This isn’t the first time for Kevin in Memphis. For four-and-a-half years, Kevin was at crosstown classic hits WOWW, Memphis “Guess FM” and country WEBL “95.3 The Rebel” as operations manager/program director until departing for WAFJ, Augusta in April 2020. Kevin is eager to serve the community, grow the brand and expand KWAM’s footprint in the Mid-South region.”

CES 2022: Gadgets, Still! “They REALLY don’t want us calling this ‘The Consumer Electronics Show.’” Holland Cooke explains that “harkens back to VCRs and other things-in-boxes, as so much of the now technology on display here is software that enables experiences.” But HC reports that “acres and acres of inventions do transform Las Vegas into nerd heaven this week.” Read more here.

Former KABC, Los Angeles Host Bill Pearl Dies at 71. Former KABC, Los Angeles broadcaster, attorney, and Long Beach investigative website host Bill Pearl died on January 4 at age 71 due to complications from cancer. Consultant Valerie Geller tipped TALKERS magazine to Pearl’s passing. She says most Southern California listeners remember hearing him on KABC with co-host Bill Press on their popular point/counterpoint-style show. Pearl leaves behind his wife – former KOA, Denver and KFWB, Los Angeles radio reporter Sharon Katchen Pearl and children David, Max, and Chaya Pearl. Pictured here during the mid-1990s are (from l-r): Geller, Sharon Katchen Pearl, and Bill Pearl.

iHeartMedia Station Groups Announce Community Partners for 2022. The station groups in Indianapolis, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky announce they have arranged community partnerships with eight local non-profit organizations in each of those regions that address needs there. iHeartMedia says each non-profit community partner will be promoted during a three-month marketing campaign based on their specific needs, including seeking volunteers, raising awareness and promoting events. The Local Advisory Boards in each market, comprised of numerous community leaders, selected the recipients through an extensive application process. The community partners vary in each market. In Indianapolis, the partners include: AccessAbility, Cancer Support, and Kids’ Voice of Indiana. In Louisville, the partners include: CASA of The River Region, Center for Women & Families, and Family & Children’s Place. In Lexington, the partners include: Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter of Lexington, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington, and Central Music Academy.

TALKERS News Notes. Production pro MJ Bloch is named East Coast director of commercial production for Benztown and its client Yamanair Creative. Bloch joins Benztown from iHeartMedia, where she was creative services director for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge clusters for the past nine years. She also previously served in iHeartMedia’s national production department…..Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s media company, and Spotify announce the new podcast, “The Big Hit Show,” a series of audio documentaries hosted by Alex Pappademas that focus on the pieces of popular culture that have defined and changed our culture. Pappademas says, “The shows and films and albums we explore have all been chosen not just because they’re massive pieces of popular culture. We’ve picked them because each has had a profound butterfly effect on our culture. Whether we’re tracing how an author’s vivid dream about a sparkly vampire led to an entirely new fan culture or how a megastar reckoning with success, expectation and survivor’s guilt crafted a masterpiece that became the soundtrack to the biggest protest movement in a generation, listeners will know from chapter to chapter they’re getting a high stakes narrative that explains how our culture has been influenced and shaped by these creations.”

January 6 Capitol Attack Anniversary, COVID-19, Midterm Elections, Border Crisis-Human Trafficking, and NYC DA’s Jail Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol building and the House Select Committee’s investigation; the soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and the battles over school attendance and mandates; the November midterm elections and speculation about the Democrats’ ability to keep control of Congress; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of President Joe Biden’s border policy as the administration marks National Human Trafficking Prevention Month; and New York City DA Alvin Bragg announces plan to reduce incarceration for certain violent crimes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

| August 12, 2021

Cumulus Media Informs Employees of Fall Vaccine Mandate. Although the company is saying it is not commenting on yesterday’s message from CEO Mary G. Berner to its employees, Cumulus Media employees are confirming the story first reported by radio trade RadioInsight on 8/11 that all employees returning to their offices by the previously announced October 11 date must be fully vaccinated. The message states that all returning staffers must complete their vaccination by September 27 to be able to return by October 11. At this time, some Cumulus employees have been designated permanent remote and the mandate does not apply to them. The rationale for the policy is explained as follows: “Exceptions to the return to office plan will not be considered except as legally required. The decision to return to our offices was made with utmost consideration and reflects how we believe we can optimize our business efforts. Put simply, we believe that FORCE CUMULUS is at our best when we’re working together in offices. To do that as safely as we reasonably can, we’re requiring that everyone be vaccinated except those legally excepted. It would neither be fair, nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences.”

Round Three of July PPM Ratings Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM rises by seven-tenths for a 5.5 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) finish good for the #4 rank in the market. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on three-tenths for a 3.8 share and rises from #12 to #9 in the market. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds eight-tenths for a 4.5 share finish to rise to the #10 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK-AM/FM climbs by two-tenths to an 8.7 share – good enough to rise from #3 to #1. In the Salt Lake City news/talk battle, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM adds eight-tenths for a 6.9 share and rises to the #3 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown KNRS-AM/FM falls one-tenth to a 5.0 share but remains at the #7 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets (as well as the two previous rounds) here.

Dr. Daliah Wachs is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of talk radio’s leading medical practitioners, Dr. Daliah Wachs of the Genesis Communications Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Wachs take a deep-dive into the latest medical, social, and political implications of COVID-19. According to Harrison, “Dr. Wachs is a dependable go-to resource for all things having to do the pandemic without any partisan spin whatsoever. She’s also an extremely skilled radio personality and a talk media treasure.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Grace Baker Named Executive Producer of Todd Starnes Show. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and Starnes Media Group chief Todd Starnes announces that Grace Baker is being promoted to executive producer of the “Todd Starnes Show.” Baker has been serving as news anchor for Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis and as a call screener for “The Todd Starnes Show.” Baker is a graduate of the University of Memphis and previously covered the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies for SB Nation as a game day editor. Starnes says, “Grace is beloved by our listeners. She’s got solid news judgment, a quick wit, and we are blessed to have her running the show.”

Jean Taylor to Lead America Public Media Group. After a rigorous national search, American Public Media Group’s Board of Trustees announces Jean Taylor is being named the next president and chief executive officer of the company. Taylor, who will be the first woman to lead the media organization, was most recently chair of the board of Star Tribune Media, where APMG says “she helped guide the organization through significant digital transformation. During her tenure as chair, Star Tribune has been lauded and seen as a leader in the industry for its commitment to high-quality public service journalism, its digital subscription growth, and its strong financial results.” Taylor says, “It is an exciting and critical time for public media, with tremendous opportunities to deliver quality journalism in new ways, connect with new audiences and more intentionally serve diverse communities. I am honored to lead this organization alongside the talented team at APMG.”

TALKERS News Notes. The finalists for this year’s 63rd annual Southern California Journalism Awards have been announced and Mo’Kelly and “The Mo’Kelly Show” are finalists in five different categories, including ‘Radio Journalist of the Year.’ Included in the acknowledgments are two of his nationally syndicated ‘2-Minute Warning’ commentaries for iHeartMedia’s BIN: The Black Information Network. Winners will be announced October 16 at the Biltmore in Los Angeles…..Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios launches “The 11th” – a monthly audio series designed to create a home for “intriguing stories that do not currently have a natural place in the podcast landscape, with content spanning original reporting, memoir, musicals, advice columns, fiction, and more from a continually evolving roster of contributors.” Pineapple Street co-founder Max Linsky says, “‘The 11th’ is a place for stories that might not otherwise be told, whether that’s because of format or length or perspective. There is not a singular personality as the voice of ‘The 11th’ and that’s a deliberate choice — the goal is to create something that will feature a range of voices, both from within Pineapple and beyond. The incredible team of producers and editors working on The 11th has described it as a mystery box, where you never know what you’ll get each month — I can’t wait to hear how this team and this show will surprise audiences.”…..Pictured below is Galaxy Media director of engineering Tim Backer (left) with Galaxy Media president and CEO Ed Levine (right) as Backer celebrates his 20-year anniversary (8/11) with the company. Levine says, “Many (if not most) broadcast stations don’t have engineers on site anymore. Galaxy not only has an engineer on site, but we have also had the SAME engineer for 20 years. Tim has and continues to be a huge part of the Galaxy Media team. We appreciate all his hard work and dedication to our local company. In recognition of his 20 years of service, Tim will receive a brand-new engineering vehicle of his choice for his 2:00 am drives to remote engineering sites during the Central New York winters!”

COVID-19 Infection Rate & Mask Mandates, Democrats’ Budget Resolution, Economy/Inflation, Dominion Lawsuits, Cryptocurrency Heist, Wildfires/Extreme Heat, Taliban Gains in Afghanistan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battles over mask mandates in numerous states; the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; the state of the U.S. economy and the highest rate of inflation in 20 years; a judge rules Dominion Voting Systems’ suit against Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and Mike Lindell can proceed; the theft of $600 million worth of cryptocurrency; the western wildfires and the extreme heat in parts of the U.S. and Europe; and the Taliban’s gaining control over major Afghanistan cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” 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.  Don’t miss this!

WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”

KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”

Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.

RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.

iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.

Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2020

| October 19, 2020

Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.

Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries.  Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.

SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.

Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more.  We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”