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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

| September 15, 2021

NAB Pulls Back from In-Person NAB Show in Las Vegas. This year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas – planned for October 9-13 – is being cancelled. NAB executive vice president and managing director of global connections and events Chris Brown issued the following statement today (9/15): “For more than a year we have worked tirelessly to bring our industry together safely in Las Vegas at NAB Show. Unfortunately, the pandemic and surge of the Delta variant has presented unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community. As we have always kept the best interest and safety of the industry as our priority, it has become apparent in the face of these challenges that we can no longer effectively host NAB Show or our co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, in person. NAB Show is the premiere destination for the media and entertainment industry and we will not move forward with a show that delivers anything less than the excellence our community has come to expect and deserves from us. While we are disappointed that we will not be together again in person next month, we look forward to converging at the 2022 NAB Show, April 23-27, 2022, to reignite our passion for our business and focus on a bright future ahead. Stay tuned for details regarding virtual options for accessing select 2021 NAB Show content through NAB Amplify.” Reacting to the NAB announcement, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is an extremely unfortunate turn of events. As a convention-planning organization, TALKERS empathizes with the amount of forethought, coordination, and resources that are invested in presenting these industry gatherings. No doubt, this is a tough blow for the NAB and the industry.  At TALKERS we were very lucky to be able to squeeze our live conference in this year on June 11 which seemed to be a window of calm opportunity between two waves of the coronavirus. I strongly suggest those who have yet to view the video recordings of every session – many that dealt productively with radio’s existential issues and are still extremely pertinent – do so at their convenience.” To view the videos from Talkers 2021, please click here.

Audacy and Cumulus Media Strike Deal for Digital Distribution Partnership. This content distribution deal between Audacy and Cumulus Media puts streaming audio from Cumulus’s 413 radio stations and its portfolio of podcasts onto the Audacy digital platform. Cumulus SVP of digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky says, “We’re delighted with this opportunity to expand listeners’ ability to discover and connect with our stations and podcasts through the Audacy app. This partnership is in sync with our strategy of distributing our content through multiple platforms to make it available anywhere and anytime people want to enjoy it.” Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “The addition of Cumulus’s expansive portfolio of leading radio stations enhances and bolsters Audacy’s position as the fastest growing digital platform for radio listeners. Audacy looks forward to building on this initial partnership with Cumulus and will continue to develop new and innovative ways to super serve our listeners.”

Bret Gogoel Named Producer for WLS-AM, Chicago’s John Howell Show. The afternoon drive “John Howell Show” at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has a new executive producer as Bret Gogoel is named to the position. Gogoel takes over the role vacated by Mallory Vor Broker who was recently promoted to the news department covering city hall and the political beat for the station. She fills the role held for years by Bill Cameron, who retired. Gogoel has been a technical producer, fill-in producer, and podcast manager for WLS-AM since 2017 and was former play-by-play announcer for the Windy City Bulls basketball team. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “I am delighted to announce that Bret Gogoel will be the new executive producer of ‘The John Howell Show.’ Bret has worked for Cumulus for over four years and during his tenure has worn many hats including producing the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, the PoPo Report, the Trip Sisters and more. Bret has also been an integral ‘pinch-hitter’ producer who has regularly filled in to produce drive time programs. He is the perfect fit for our afternoon drive team.” Gogoel comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to step into the big shoes left by Mallory and work with a consummate professional like John Howell. I hope to take everything I’ve learned from my time here at WLS and continue to put out a top-notch product.”

‘Chad & Nate’ New Late Morning Show on KKFN, Denver. The exit of Orlando “The Big O” Franklin from Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to join the staff of the San Francisco 49ers forced the station to make some programming changes. Now, KKFN program director Raj Sharan announces that Chad Brown (left) and Nate Jackson (right) will partner for the “Chad and Nate” show that will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am beginning September 20. He says, “We’ve received incredible feedback from listeners on both Chad and Nate, hoping to hear them more regularly on the station. Chad and Nate’s contrasting personalities and insightful perspectives will create a unique and entertaining program every day.” As a result of the new schedule, the programs that follow will all begin one hour earlier. Additionally, Sandy Clough – who co-hosted with Franklin – moves to evenings where he’ll work with Shawn Drotar on the new night show, “Sandy and Shawn.” Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Bob Call adds, “I’m excited we can bring Chad and Nate together. We’ve been looking for a way to get them both involved in our lineup on a daily basis. In addition, teaming Sandy with Shawn in the evening will give Denver sports fans an objective, unbiased and unaffiliated postgame show following Nuggets, Avalanche and Rockies games.”

iHeartMedia Albany’s Kristen Delaney to Retire. Radio sales and management pro Kristen Delaney is retiring from her position as area president for iHeartMedia Albany, effective December 31, 2021. Delaney began her broadcasting career in 1989 as an account executive in Utica. She’s been serving as area president for Albany and Poughkeepsie, New York and Sussex, New Jersey since 2011. iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins says, “Rarely do you see someone so inspiring and skilled at their profession as Kristen Delaney. After almost 23 years with iHeartMedia, she still treated every day as a new adventure and those of us in her orbit all benefited. I applaud her in taking one more adventurous step to retirement. Kristen’s presence will be missed beyond words.”

WJCW-AM, Johnson City Host Tim Cable Succumbs to COVID-19. The Johnson City Press reports the death of WJCW-AM, Johnson City, Tennessee morning drive co-host Tim Cable at age 60 after a battle with COVID-19. Cable co-hosted the “Thinking Out Loud” morning drive show with Carl Swan. He was a longtime media figure in the market and was well known for his WJHL-TV series “Cable Country.” In addition his morning show work, he served as play-by-play announcer for Daniel Boone High School and David Crockett High School sports. Cable was a graduate of Hampton High School and East Tennessee State University. He started his radio career at WBEJ in Elizabethton before venturing into television where he anchored news, weather and sports.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow night (9/16), Nissan Stadium in Nashville – home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans – will be the site of a high school football game between the White House Blue Devils and Waverly Central Tigers. The latter school’s football facilities were destroyed by the recent flooding that hit the state. Titans Radio broadcaster Mike Keith approached Titans Radio and WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” operations manager Paul Mason about broadcasting the game and Mason says the result was a unanimous “yes.” Mason adds, “The entire Titans Radio team is humbled and looking forward to giving Waverly and White House an NFL broadcast experience. We can’t wait to hear ‘Tigers Radio’ Thursday night on ‘104-5 The Zone.’”…..Tom Griswold (pictured here in the studio) returned to his role as host of “The BOB & TOM Show” yesterday (9/14) after successful heart valve replacement surgery in mid-August and recovery at home in Indianapolis. Westwood One syndicates the program nationally (and on the American Forces Network worldwide) and says, “The comedic ringmaster of The BOB & TOM Show’s talent-packed ensemble cast was back in the studio in fine form this morning, entertaining the show’s loyal fans across the U.S.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000-plus at 2021 Golf Tourney. The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 to help broadcasters in need during Monday’s 2021 Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out to help support broadcasters who have experienced terrible loss due to illness or unforeseen disaster. BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Tournament is one of our biggest annual fundraising events. We had to cancel last year’s tournament due to the pandemic, and we are grateful to return this year and to have strong support from our sponsors and players. The money comes at a time when we are helping more broadcasters and their families than ever before. Our thanks also go to everyone who has generously supported the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation with a donation.”

Gavin Newsom Recall Election, COVID-19, Peril Book Allegations, Afghanistan Exit, Texas Abortion Law, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Korean Tensions, Wildfires and Flooding, and Norm MacDonald Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). California Governor Gavin Newsom survives recall election; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the battle over vaccine & mask mandates, and the deaths of anti-vaxxers; the new Bob Woodward book Peril details steps General Mark Milley took to prevent former President Donald Trump from “going rogue”; the U.S. military’s exit from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s control of the nation; the legal moves being attempted to combat Texas’ restrictive abortion law; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the September 18 “Justice for J6” rally; tensions on the Korean peninsula as both North and South Korea launch test missiles; the wildfires plaguing the U.S. West and the drenching rains of tropical depression Nicholas; and comedian and former “SNL” star Norm MacDonald dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 23, 2021

| August 23, 2021

Remembering Phil Valentine. “We are saddened to report that our host and friend, Phil Valentine, has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.” That’s how Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” shared the news of Valentine’s death. Having spent the past several weeks in a Nashville-area hospital battling COVID-19, the 61-year-old conservative talk show host – and coronavirus vaccine skeptic – died Saturday afternoon (8/21). Last month, his brother, Mark Valentine, told The Tennessean, “I know if [Phil] were able to tell you this, he would [say], ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories. He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data.” In a July 26 (2021) interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Mark said Phil was “still very deep in the woods” and breathing with assistance. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. This is a real threat – it is a real public health crisis. His cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.” Tennessee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 50.1% of adults fully-vaccinated. Modifying the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Taxman,” Valentine wrote/performed “Vaxman,” which included such lyrics as, “Let me tell you how it will be, and I don’t care if you agree, ‘cause I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.” In a December 2020 blog, the “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” afternoon drive personality wrote that his chance of dying from COVID-19 was “probably way less than 1%.” He had said of the vaccine, “I have a very low risk of getting COVID and dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” He said  he’d been taking ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication that comes in different forms for animals and humans. Acknowledging on July 11 (2021) that he had COVID-19, Valentine claimed it would not be a problem, saying that as a “precaution,” he might take a day off from his radio show. In fact, his Facebook post that day read: “Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it. Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow.” Valentine’s health, however, quickly deteriorated and his family issued a statement saying that “the experience” had changed the radio host’s mind on vaccination. “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine.’ [He] looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is a tragic loss for Phil’s family as well as the people of Nashville; WWTN; the talk radio industry; and the national conversation. His track record as a nationally known, super-successful, longtime radio personality is among the best. It is painfully ironic that his position on COVID-19 became the headline component of his sad passing. May his courage to reverse his stance during his final days serve as an effective influence to save lives.” On “The TALKERS magazine 2021 Heavy Hundred,” Valentine appears at #47. Tennessee Republican senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted that, “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.” The junior senator from Tennessee, Republican Bill Hagerty, noted that, “Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice that will be sorely missed.” That state’s governor, Republican Bill Lee, tweeted, “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.” Meanwhile, lieutenant governor Randy McNally also took to social media, writing, “Deeply saddened that we have lost Phil Valentine to COVID-19. He was an inspirational and persuasive conservative voice. He will be greatly missed. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider vaccination. It is the only way to defeat this scourge.” Even though Valentine was a conservative talk show host, he was the son of former six-term North Carolina Democratic representative Tim Valentine. A radio personality since he was 20, Valentine – who attended East Carolina University and the Charlotte branch of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – protested against a state income tax proposed by Tennessee’s governor at the time, Republican Don Sundquist. Valentine signed a three-year deal in 2019 that would have kept him on “99.7 WTN” through next year. He  authored three books: “The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z”; “Right from the Heart: The ABC’s of Reality in America”; and “Tax Revolt: The Rebellion Against an Overbearing, Bloated, Arrogant, and Abusive Government.” Valentine and his son, Campbell, joked about their relationship via the podcast “PodGOATs.”  Reiterating a vaccination plea, Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “Phil Valentine was a charismatic broadcaster who entertained millions and enriched countless lives throughout his career. A beloved friend and mentor to many, his contributions to our city and his passion for his listeners cannot be overstated. We know he will be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Phil’s family and wish them peace during this difficult time. If you aren’t yet vaccinated, we fervently hope that you will honor Phil’s memory by taking to heart the urgent plea he made in the last weeks of his life – please go get vaccinated.” Funeral arrangements for Valentine are pending.

Monday Memo: Empathy? Sympathy? While the parents of school-age children – “the mega-shoppers that our advertisers want to meet” – are confronting “the school year we hoped we would never repeat,” consultant Holland Cooke cautions against what he regards as “a media/consumer disconnect.” And in this week’s column, he recommends an urgent message that can literally be a matter of life and death. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Is Radio Still the Frequency Medium? Do you remember your sales training that suggested a formula for getting results included your message hitting the target audience X number of times? What was that number? Maybe the number isn’t so important. Sales pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, “Do you remember the thousands of daily ads you hear and see? Somehow your brain filters out what you don’t want to process. But when you’re hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, need a new computer, car, couch, or more cash, the appropriate ad jumps out of the jungle, demanding your attention. And that’s what great talk radio hosts are all about: owning the listener’s attention.” Read more here.

Cumulus Chicago Promotes Mallory Vor Broker to Reporter Covering City Hall and Politics. At news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago, Cumulus Media announces it has promoted Mallory Vor Broker to reporter for 890 WLS-AM. In this role, she’ll cover Chicago City Hall and the political beat for the station, filling the role vacated by Bill Cameron, who retired on August 20 after a 51-year career. Vor Broker was been serving with the station as executive producer for the “The John Howell Show.” In the past, she’s served as a producer for Steve Dahl, Roe Conn and Lauren Cohn during her nearly 10 years as a producer for Cumulus Chicago. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “As our new City Hall reporter, Mallory will tell the latest local news stories that matter to Chicago. She brings a fresh perspective and deep experience as a storyteller to this integral role. We look forward to continuing WLS’ superb coverage of City Hall and welcome Mallory to the 890 News Team.” Vor Broker says, “I am thrilled to begin my new role as City Hall reporter for WLS-AM 890. It’s a great opportunity to cover the dynamic political landscape in Chicago and Illinois after years of producing high-profile shows. I look forward to continuing to bring high-quality, thoughtful reporting to WLS-AM 890.”

Nate Weaver Named Promotions Director for iHeartMedia Wilmington-Salisbury. Joining iHeartMedia to serve as promotions director for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets is Nate Weaver. He comes to the company from his most recent position with Audacy’s WBEB, Philadelphia. iHeartMedia VP of programming Josh Wolff says, “We are so excited to have Nate join our team. From the first time we spoke, we knew he was the perfect fit. Nate’s impressive background will only serve to improve our portfolio of already strong brands.” Weaver says, “I am super excited to join iHeartMedia Salisbury and Wilmington’s amazing and hard-working teams. Not only am I looking forward to growing brand engagement amongst our portfolio of market-leading stations, but now that I’m in Delaware, I get to really indulge in tax-free shopping – this is great!” The markets include news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WDOV, Dover; sports talk WWTX-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WJDY-AM, Salisbury; and sports talk WTGM-AM, Salisbury.

iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network to Expand News Efforts; Three Promotions Announced. The BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia’s “24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective,” announces plans to expand local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets beginning January 2022. The network is also promoting three staffers: Tanita Myers, previously director of news operations, is now vice president of news operations; Chris Thompson, previously director of network operations, is now vice president of network operations; and Lauren Crawford, previously associate editor, is now senior director of digital and social strategy, effective immediately. The company says the expanding local news coverage will create new employment opportunities including multiple news anchor and reporter positions, a managing editor, and a podcast managing editor. BIN president Tony Coles states, “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success of BIN during our first year. We are thrilled to continue our leadership in providing the most trusted news source for the Black community, offering even more local news coverage to the communities we serve. BIN’s success has been, in no small part, due to our dedicated and talented team. I look forward to seeing how Tanita, Chris and Lauren continue to grow within BIN, and I am excited to add even more experienced talent to our team.”

Nexstar Media to Acquire The Hill. The politics and Washington, DC publication The Hill is being acquired by Nexstar Media for $130 million. Nexstar is primarily a television company but also owns news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago. A press release from Nexstar says, “The acquisition marks a continuation of Nexstar’s content-first strategy, focused primarily on news, designed to further leverage and monetize its expansive digital reach… With more than 100 journalists who cover political news and events and provide a wide variety of engaging content to its users, The Hill’s business model is primarily advertising supported by direct, programmatic, and licensing revenue. Nexstar’s omni-channel approach to content distribution will allow it to expand The Hill’s reach and revenue channels while creating synergistic opportunities with Nexstar’s growing national cable news network, NewsNation, and its leading local news gathering platform, which counts 5,500 journalists producing over 275,000 hours of local and national news annually.”

Red Table Talk and iHeartMedia Strike Content Deal. The EMMY Award-winning talk show “Red Table Talk” enters into a deal with iHeartMedia to launch the Red Table Talk Audio Network. The venture will include a slate of co-produced podcasts, including its two current audio series: “Red Table Talk,” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris; and “Positively Gam,” a podcast hosted by Banfield-Norris. The newly formed network will launch five new series over the next two years with iHeartMedia that will allow listeners to go deeper into topics covered at the table, with all-new original podcasts from Red Table Talk hosts and regular show contributors. The first show to launch on the slate will be the podcast version of the EMMY and GLAAD Media Awards-nominated RTT spinoff, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” hosted by Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan, and Lili Estefan.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, Extreme Weather/Wildfires, Arizona Vote Audit, Staffing & Shipping Woes, Trump in Alabama, and Portland Protest Skirmish Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the move; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the flooding in Tennessee, Hurricane Henri hits the Northeast, and the California wildfires; the anticipated release of the controversial audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election votes; the ongoing troubles employers are having finding workers and filling orders and the chaos affecting the world’s shipping industry; former President Donald Trump is booed in Alabama for suggesting people get COVID vaccines; and the violence in Portland between Proud Boys and Antifa protesters were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

| January 26, 2021

Programming Consultant Greg Moceri Working with ‘Our American Stories.’ News and talk radio programming consultant Greg Moceri joins American Private Radio – producer of the extremely successful “Our American Stories” program – as strategy and content consultant. The “Our American Stories” nightly program is currently heard on more than 300 stations, including new affiliate KEIB-AM, Los Angeles “The Patriot AM 1150.” American Private Radio CEO and show host Lee Habeeb says, “We’re thrilled to have Greg as a part of the team. We’ve long admired his well-earned standing in the business, his ability to help stations and talent be better versions of themselves, and his all-around excellence and cheerfulness, too. He is already making a real difference.” Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media, LLC, comments, “I have always been about content. ‘Our American Stories’ exemplifies this. Uplifting, wonderful stories about our nation’s most connecting and emotionally gravitating people in our amazing past and present. Just uplifting daily reminders, from people you may know, and people you don’t. A perfect antidote to division, politics, and the anger of day. Honored to be part of this brand and product.”

It’s Official: Kim Gordon Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor. Yesterday (1/25), TALKERS reported a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder that Windy City news pro Kim Gordon had exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM and would sign with Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM. Today, Cumulus announces Gordon’s joining the station as afternoon drive news anchor. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor states, “Finding the facts and reporting the news has never been an easy job. Doing it in this environment hasn’t made it any easier. You need experience and grit to craft a meaningful, accurate newscast and Kim Gordon has both of those qualities in spades. I’m delighted to have Kim join our 890 WLS-AM news team as the PM drive anchor. Her attention to facts and detail will enhance our news product and yes, she can probably teach John Howell a thing or two about golf.” Gordon comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the WLS news team and to be working with John Howell in the afternoons. It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of John Dempsey. I’ve long admired his integrity and passion for news. I hope to continue that legacy at WLS.”

WECK-AM, Buffalo Owner Puts Republican Assemblyman’s Show on Hiatus; Denies Station Was Threatened by Antifa. The weekly, hourlong program on WECK-AM, Buffalo hosted by Republican New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro was put on hiatus by owner Buddy Shula but not because he received any threats from “leftists” to “burn the station down.” Shula tells the Buffalo News that it was a miscommunication between him and DiPietro over his rationale for the show’s hiatus. After DiPietro posted comments on Facebook suggesting that “leftists” threatened the station and forced Shula to cancel his show, Shula said, “I wanted to make sure I make it perfectly clear that Dave DiPietro did zero wrong in terms of me putting his show on hiatus. It was me being spooked by the Capitol events. That’s it. Nothing more.” Shula indicates he was speaking hypothetically about the station being attacked in the aftermath of the Capitol assault and believes DiPietro misunderstood him to mean that threats were actual. He adds he’d like to bring DiPietro back to the air with a Democrat on the other side of the table for balance.

New Affiliates Join Doug Stephan’s DJV Show. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan and featuring Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan – adds new affiliate stations: WPMO, Pascagoula, Mississippi; KFOW, Waseca, Minnesota; KOMY, Santa Cruz-Monterey; KHOB, Hobbs, New Mexico; WTGB, Brownsville, Texas; WDOC, Pikeville, Kentucky; KBST, Big Spring, Texas; and KMAX, Colfax, Washington. Doug Stephan states, “I’d like to thank all of these new affiliates of the show. Our goal is to make our listeners lives better. We want them to be informed without having to sift through the vitriol.” McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay adds, “What I like most about the ‘DJV Show’ is that it’s a talk show that is truly balanced in their opinions. It’s informative and fun. They’re a great first place to find what’s trending every day.”

Entercom Launches BetQL Audio Network; Unveils ‘The Bet’ Stations in Denver and LA. On the heels of Entercom’s acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group, the company is launching the BetQL Audio Network. The network is headlined by two daily shows – “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley and “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker.  Additionally, Entercom is debuting two radio stations to carry gambling-oriented programming. KEZW-AM, Denver is now “The Bet 1430AM” and KCBS-HD3 is now “The Bet 93.1 HD3.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With our acquisition of QL Gaming Group in November, we committed to leveraging our national scale to amplify the rapidly growing sports gambling landscape and deliver smart, data-supported sports-betting content to our listeners. By combining the BetQL brand and our deep collection of expert talent, this new network complements our industry-leading local sports broadcast portfolio and will further enhance our position as a leader for sports betting programming.” The new network is being promoted across Entercom’s 39 all-sports stations including WFAN-AM/FM, New York; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”

Newsmax TV and FreedomWorks Partner for ‘Save the Nation’ Program. A new, Sunday morning program titled, “Save the Nation,” is debuting on Newsmax TV via a partnership with FreedomWorks. The hour-long program – co-hosted by FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon and economist Stephen Moore – will premiere on February 7 at 11:00 am ET will provide “Americans with critical information they need on the economy, government policies, and the latest news.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “We look forward to bringing our rapidly-growing audience exclusive content from respected economist Stephen Moore, Adam Brandon, and the team at FreedomWorks. It is one of the nation’s most effective and respected grassroots organizations in touch with the issues Americans care about.”

New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards Open for Entries. Entries for the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards are now being accepted. NYF Radio Awards says that each year it carefully evaluates and updates the category roster to provide the most current categories to reflect the innovative content produced today. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “In a year marked by disruption of every kind, New York Festivals is implementing additional categories for social justice across all genres. These categories spotlight storytellers who are using all of their creativity to engage with their listeners on this critical topic.” New categories for 2021 include: Best Social Justice Report, Social Justice Reporting, Social Justice Documentary, Best Regularly Scheduled Social Justice Program, Best Social Justice Special, Social Justice Promo, Best Digital Social Justice Program, Social Justice Podcast, and Social Justice Student Content. See all of the 2021 Radio Awards Categories here. The New York Festivals is partnering with the NAB Show for the 11th year and again NYF will honor the winners in Las Vegas in October. Anderson adds, “Combined with our TV & Film Winners, it will be a celebration of innovative storytellers across all platforms.” For more information and to enter visit here.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Ray Appleton returned to the air on Cumulus Media‘s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno on Monday (1/25) after a two-week suspension for a comment about news coverage of the January 6 Capitol attack in which he stated some news editors should be “hanged – maybe.” He said his words were tongue-in-cheek but station management meted out the suspension nonetheless…..New York news/talk outlet WABC is adding a new weekend program to its schedule. Fashion designer Joseph Abboud is joining the lineup of the Red Apple Media station beginning Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 pm as the host of “Threads,” a one-hour lifestyle program that looks at our world through the lens of fashion and design. WABC says, “From super models and fashion shows to the new world order of post pandemic fashion, Abboud will explore the evolution of one of the most creative and fascinating industries on the face of the earth, and how it weaves through our culture and our lives.”…..KQED, San Francisco “Forum” host Michael Krasny is retiring after his final broadcast on February 12. Krasny’s broadcasting career began in the late 1970s. He joined KQED in 1993 as host of “Forum.” To help commemorate his career on February 12, Krasny will be joined in his final broadcast by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving who will co-host…..Two new affiliate stations – KCPS, Burlington, Iowa and KLMB, Roundup/Billings, Montana – add the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” feature to their programming…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” program picks up new affiliates as KCPX-AM/K290CS, Spanish Valley, Utah and WHIR-AM, Danville, Kentucky add the show to their lineups.

COVID-19 & Vaccines Rollout, Senate Power Sharing/Battle Over Filibuster, Trump Impeachment, Social Media & Censorship, Dominion Sues Giuliani, and Biden Reverses Trans Troops Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variant strains, and the vaccine rollout problems; Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree to a Senate power-sharing deal and Democrats don’t have the votes to eliminate the filibuster; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is permanently banned from Twitter; election process firm Dominion sues Rudy Giuliani for defamation and seeks $1.3 billion; and Joe Biden reverses Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

| January 20, 2021

Nick Gale Named News Director at WLS-AM, Chicago. Award-winning journalist Nick Gale is promoted to the news director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. Gale is elevated into the role on the heels of the retirement of news director John Dempsey. Gale also serves as morning drive news anchor, a position in which he’ll continue. During his career, Gale has served as news director at a five-station radio group in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, as a reporter and anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville, and a reporter with the Illinois Radio Network before joining WLS-AM full time in 2013. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “There’s a spot in Chicago, below Michigan Ave, where the sun rarely shines, and the conversation is always flowing. It’s the Billy Goat Tavern, a haven for the kings and queens of Chicago print and on-air journalism, and it’s where for the past eight years, Nick Gale has ordered a fried egg sandwich to go as he began the short walk to the NBC Tower to start his news shift at 890 WLS-AM. Nick, like the Billy Goat Tavern, is reliable, relatable, and fulfilling. That is why he’s the perfect person for the news director position at 890 WLS-AM. He is exactly what Chicago news needs right now and I look forward to working with him to enhance our news product for our listeners.” Gale comments, “I have big shoes to fill and look forward to working with our newsroom team in keeping the ‘Big 89’ a place where Chicago can turn to for all the news and information they need through the day. Thank you to Stephanie, Marv [Nyren] and the rest of the management team at Cumulus for the opportunity.”

Emmis Indianapolis Names Taja Graham to Take Over for Bob Richards as Radio Market Manager. Current vice president of sales for Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis radio stations Taja Graham is being promoted to market president effective on March 1. Until that date, Graham will be deputy market manager as she and current market president Bob Richards work together to make the transition. Emmis owns and operates news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB, and country WLHK-FM. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Bob approached us last year with this plan and strongly endorsed Taja to succeed him in the role. Taja has been a huge part of creating our winning culture at Emmis. Her commitment to building and developing great teams is directly correlated with our top-ranked position in the Indianapolis market. I’m thrilled to see our home-grown talent like Taja succeed and look forward to the impact she will have on our great brands in the years to come.” Richards has been with Emmis for 11 years, the past three-and-a-half years as market manager. Smulyan says of Richards, “I can’t thank Bob enough for his contributions over the past decade and in particular his leadership as market manager. His passion and desire to win have been hallmarks of his leadership and positioned our team for a great future. I wish Bob every success as he charts the course for his next career adventure and thank him for all he’s meant to Emmis.”

USA Radio and Todd Starnes Partner. Author and talk media personality Todd Starnes and USA Radio Networks enter into a partnership for the latter to syndicate Starnes’ eponymous talk radio program and his commentaries. USA Radio assumes this syndication role effective Monday, January 25.

Doug Schoen Joins Newsmax TV as Analyst. Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen is joining Newsmax TV as an analyst. In a press release, Newsmax says, “Schoen, a longtime Democrat who helped shape Bill Clinton’s successful 1996 campaign and who has worked on dozens of major senate and gubernatorial races, will be a regular on Newsmax TV giving vital analysis on the new Biden administration and the national political landscape.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy adds, “Doug is a Democrat who plays it fair and square and calls it as he sees it. Since our founding over two decades ago, Newsmax has striven to give our readers and viewers ‘both sides’ and we’re now lucky to have one of the very best joining our roster.” Schoen, who has served as a contributor to FOX News and has been a frequent columnist for Newsmax, comments, “In a short time, Newsmax TV has become one of America’s leading news networks, and I am glad to join such a strong group of news professionals.”

SAG-AFTRA Board Orders Disciplinary Hearing for Donald Trump. The union representing television and radio employees announces that its national board has voted to hold a disciplinary hearing for Donald J. Trump. SAG-AFTRA says that national board “voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of a violation of SAG-AFTRA’s constitution by member Donald J. Trump and ordered the matter to be heard by SAG-AFTRA’s disciplinary committee as required by the SAG-AFTRA constitution. If found guilty by the committee, possible penalties include reprimand, censure, fines, suspension from the rights and privileges of membership, or expulsion from membership in SAG-AFTRA.” In a press release, SAG-AFTRA says the board acted on charges initiated by national executive director David White at the request of president Gabrielle Carteris. “The charges specifically cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members. The charges request the imposition of the most severe penalty available to SAG-AFTRA: expulsion from membership.” Carteris comments, “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press. There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Programming Changes at Sports Talk ‘Sports Talk 99.5’ in Mobile. Monday (1/25) will see a number of programming changes take place at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRKH-HD2/W258AY, Mobile “Sports Talk 99.5.” AL.com reports the station’s current morning drive program, “The Randy Kennedy Show” – with co-host Creg Stephenson of AL.com – is moving to the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and debuting in morning drive will be “The Press Box,” hosted by broadcasters Mike Grace, Chris Stewart (the voice of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball and host of  the Nick Saban and Nate Oats TV shows), and J.D. Byars (the voice of the South Alabama Jaguars). Kennedy, who is also program director for the station, says, “We couldn’t be more excited about our new lineup and the opportunity to partner with three tremendously talented and entertaining broadcasters like Mike, Chris and J.D. Creg and I always thought our show was best suited for the afternoon. Now that we have a chance to introduce ‘The Press Box,’ we feel great about the chance to make the move without missing a beat during the morning drive time slot.”

John Skipper and Dan Le Batard Reveal New Firm is Meadowlark Media. According to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter, the new venture from former ESPN president John Skipper and longtime ESPN radio and television personality Dan Le Batard will be called Meadowlark Media. Financing for the new media brand comes from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, the company behind the DAZN sports streaming service at which Skipper had served as chairman. Skipper tells THR that their first goal is to “to find Dan a new home for his wildly popular audio programs.” Le Batard is quoted in a statement saying, “We hear the term ‘free agency’ a lot, but our fans, as loyal and rabid as any in sports, just gave us the freedom to exert the agency. John Skipper is a visionary, an industry leader and also the most powerful person in sports across the decade when our show rocketed to national acclaim. I can’t wait to see what he builds, and what we build together.”

TALKERS News Notes. Production pro Jeff Kelly is named West Coast commercial production director for Benztown. Kelly was most recently production director for iHeartMedia’s Albuquerque station group where he was honored with nine New Mexico Broadcasters Association Awards over the course of four years…..ESPN Podcasts is launching a new weekly offering, “First Take, Her Take,” featuring three prominent female sports media figures – ESPN’s Charly Arnolt, Kimberley A. Martin, and Chiney Ogwumike. ESPN says the three will discuss “the biggest sports stories but also provide insight into their unique backgrounds and personalities as they delve into other topics about their lives and culture.” Additionally, Jalen Rose and David Jacoby are returning to their podcast roots with the relaunch of “Jalen & Jacoby” as a twice-weekly offering. This is in addition to the podcast version of their daily ESPN TV show…..The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation and iHeartMedia, are launching “Sharing Solutions: A Virtual Nationwide Tour” to drive business-led solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 40 states report increases in opioid-related mortality amid COVID-19. As part of the campaign, the Foundation and its partners will convene 50 virtual events in 50 states to showcase innovative workforce solutions and support employers as they tackle growing substance misuse in their communities and in the post-COVID workplace. iHeartMedia vice president of strategic partnerships & government initiative Alexandra Cameron says, “As a co-founder of the National Opioid Action Coalition, iHeart has been committed to combating the opioid crisis affecting communities across America. By collaborating closely with the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are bringing public and private sectors together in this mission, and including pop culture influencers who can bring attention to this important issue.”

Trump’s Final Day in Office/Pardons and Commutations, Trump Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Attack Investigation, and Social Media & Free Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The final day in office for Donald Trump and his issuing of pardons and commutations; the impeachment of Donald Trump; the preparation and security process for today’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., the 400,000 death mark, and the rollout of vaccines; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and the suspensions and bans of some by social media platforms and the issue of free speech were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, December 21, 2020

| December 21, 2020

Monday Memo: “Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful…” in wint’rish New England, where consultant Holland Cooke reminds stations that – even with smartphones outnumbering radios in such regular use – information staples can still drive listening (and are sponsorable). Read his column here.

Pending Business: Pain Management. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that in 2021 we should eliminate the “pain point” from the radio sales process. “It makes no sense to me today or from the first day I was exposed to the ‘probe for the pain point’ strategy of selling. Discovering marketing solutions is a fluid, positive process anchored by a relationship built on trust, not finding the pain.” Read more here.

Bold Gold Media Group Honored with NY Senate Empire Award. The New York State Senate Empire Award is bestowed annually to “businesses or organizations that encourage other area businesses or have formed partnerships within the community, those that volunteer their time and services and demonstrate exceptional leadership in the community; or have contributed significantly to their community’s quality of life.” Bold Gold Media Group was recently honored with the New York State 2020 Senate Empire Award, presented by Senator Jenn Metzger. She says, “Bold Gold Media is deserving on so many counts, it’s hard to count them. You have been the voice of the Catskills; you have really been there for the community in a way that is really unusual for a media group. There are so many great community organizations that are doing such important work and you share information; you educate them especially with your local news.  In a rural area many people are isolated and they need to know day-to-day and emergency information, and you play a vital role for our communities in providing that. On top of that, your volunteer work and sponsorship with the ‘98.3 WSUL Heart-A-Thon’ and the ‘Thunder 102 & 104.5 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon’ is yet another way you give back to the community.  This is a way for us to recognize you and express our great appreciation for all that you do.” Bold Gold New York general manager Dawn Ciorciari comments, “Helping our community is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This award belongs to our amazing team of hard-working local professionals and a community that gives us amazing content to talk about everyday.”

Salem Radio Network’s Charlie Kirk Named to 1776 Commission. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk host Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point USA), is one of 18 Americans President Trump intends to appoint to his President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. A memo from the Office of the White House Press Secretary offers the purpose of the commission: “As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary of glorious Independence, many of America’s school children are tragically being taught to hate our founding, hate our history, and hate our country. This must stop. The 1776 Commission will help ensure that every American child learns that they live in the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. That is why it is absolutely vital to teach America’s young people all that is inspiring and unifying in our history. We want our children to become patriots who love their country. The 1776 Commission will share the story of our nation’s miraculous founding, proclaim the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence, and explain how these founding principles have helped our people overcome great national challenges throughout our history – and how these principles can guide us to a great American future. All Americans should pay close attention to this work.” About his appointment, Kirk states, “I’m incredibly honored to be named to the president’s 1776 Commission alongside so many other patriots. America is the greatest nation to exist in the history of the world. Our nation’s virtues and our accomplishments must be passed on to the next generation if it is going to survive into the future. I have devoted my life to that mission, and I am beyond humbled to be able to continue doing so in this new role.”

Retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Talk Host John Hancock Loses Foot to Infection. A story in the Charlotte Observer by Theoden Janes chronicles the recent health issues that retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock has been dealing with that resulted in the recent amputation of his right foot. Last fall, 68-year-old Hancock retired from Entercom’s WBT where he was afternoon drive host. He’d been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes more than three years ago and took steps to lose weight and change his diet. But by his own admission, he fell off the healthy food wagon and put some of the weight back on. Then this summer, he began to notice tenderness in his right foot. As time passed it became worse until it was diagnosed as an infection. It was shortly thereafter that one of his doctors recommended the foot be amputated. He’s been fitted for a prosthetic leg that he’ll be getting early in the New Year.

WWL, New Orleans Talk Host Kristian Garic Returns to Air After Rehab Stint. New Orleans sports talk host Kristian Garic recently returned to the air on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM after 29 days in a rehab program for alcoholism. Garic co-hosts the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Sports Talk” program with Bobby Hebert. On his return, he penned an editorial piece on the WWL website explaining his situation, what he’s been through and the challenges that lay ahead of him as he works to remain sober. He wrote, in part, “Getting help was perhaps the hardest decision I ever had to make. Here I was, pretty successful, with a good job. My bills were paid, my kids are healthy and I’m a father actively involved in their lives. Nothing the matter, right? Not so fast. Just to give you the insight into the depth of my drinking; I didn’t just drink three or four beers and call it quits. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a fifth of whiskey nearly every night for the past ten years… I want to thank my co-workers and management at WWL (Diane Newman and Kevin Cassidy in particular), and our parent company Entercom. The outpouring of support from the few who knew of my addiction leading up to treatment is sincerely appreciated. That support will help me tremendously in my life-long battle against alcoholism.”

Judy Pielach Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as Contributor. Former WGN-AM news personality Judy Pielach is now part of the WLS-AM morning show hosted by Bruce St. James. The program is being billed on the Cumulus Media station’s website as “The Bruce St. James Show with Judy Pielach.” Pielach accepted a buyout from former WGN owner Tribune Broadcasting in 2018 and left her afternoon drive post at WGN. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “Judy Pielach is a radio force majeure that has delivered the news to Chicago audiences for decades. Now, her strong voice, wit, and wisdom will be heard every weekday morning on 890 WLS-AM from 5:30 am to 9:00 am on ‘The Bruce St James Show,’ where she and Bruce will entertain and inform our Chicagoland listeners. Judy is a perfect match for Bruce. She’s local, she’s funny and she knows the news that Chicago is talking about.” Pielach adds, “When I left an iconic radio station two years ago seeking a new adventure, I never imagined I’d find it at another iconic radio station. It turns out, I just can’t stop talking. And, I especially like talking to Bruce. Really looking forward to the conversation on 890 WLS! A big thank you to Stephanie Tichenor for giving me this opportunity.“

Entercom Announces $1 Million Community Giveback Initiative. In an effort to help fellow businesses in the communities in which Entercom operates, the company is making a $1 million commitment to local restaurants, arts, and charitable organizations in the cities and towns where Entercom’s employees live and work. The employee-led initiative allows local managers to buy gift certificates and tickets that will then be disbursed to full-time staffers.

Congress Strikes COVID Relief Deal, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/New Strain Concerns, Trump Continues Election Fraud Claim/Martial Law Considered, Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Congress agrees to a $900 billion COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and the report of a new and more transmissible strain in Europe; Donald Trump continues to claim election fraud and reports of a White House meeting discussing martial law to stay in office; the breadth of the Russian hack of U.S. government computer networks; and the Georgia runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a holiday special program for Country top 40 affiliates as “Bob Kingley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” presents “Christmas In America with Fitz and special guest Carrie Underwood,” a six-hour Christmas music celebration. CT40 says, “This six-hour music-intensive radio special offers country music’s most loved Christmas songs – past and present, the stories behind them and wonderful memories and traditions of the holidays. This year we are honored to have Carrie Underwood join Fitz as we also feature music from her new Christmas album My Gift.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s WRFF-FM “ALT 104.5” is teaming up with Crew Nation – a global relief fund for live music crews – to throw a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Bastille on Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 pm, with a pre-show starting at 7:00 pm. All ticket sale donations will support Crew Nation/Music Forward Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that extends a helping hand to the touring and venue crews that have been impacted by the pandemic and depend on shows to make a living.