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Thursday, April 29, 2021

| April 29, 2021

RTDNA/Newhouse School: 2020 A Dangerous Year for Journalists. The annual survey of broadcast newsrooms from the RTDNA and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University notes that during the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. “Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.” This is the first year that the survey included a section on media safety. The survey’s research team says it wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country and learned that one in five television news directors reported attacks on employees. 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. As far as radio is concerned, the study concludes, “Not surprisingly, the level of attacks at radio stations and on radio news people is much lower. Four percent of radio news directors and general managers reported attacks on newsroom employees. It was primarily a problem in major markets, with one million and more people, where 13.8% of news directors and general managers reported attacks on employees.” You can see the complete survey here. Commenting on the study, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Broadcast journalists play an essential role in documenting pivotal moments in American history from the front lines. That has never been more important than during the past year. NAB is gravely troubled by this study reporting the unprecedented level of harassment, intimidation and violence directed at journalists covering the historical events of 2020. These unacceptable attacks on our nation’s free press undermine our very democracy by preventing journalists’ ability to report the facts and keep the public informed. We are grateful to the dedicated broadcast journalists bringing the truth to Americans during these dangerous times.”

Nick Craig to Host Mornings on WAAV-AM, Cape Fear. Beginning May 3, Nick Craig begins hosting “Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk/sports WAAV-AM, Cape Fear, North Carolina “980 The WAAV.” The station says the show is “a live and local morning show hosted by fresh conservative talk personality Nick Craig. The show focuses on the day’s biggest stories including Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The show will feature a wide variety of topics, guests, and listener interaction.” Cumulus Wilmington VP and market manager Eric McCart comments, “We’re excited to have Nick join our 980 WAAV Cumulus family! He brings a fresh new energy and excitement to weekday mornings that our listeners will really enjoy. If it’s happening in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, it’s happening on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig!” Craig adds, “Traveling on the road paved by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, I’m excited to bring the next generation of conservative talk to the Wilmington region and beyond. To be part of a legacy talk station like WAAV and Cumulus Media is quite the opportunity at my age. Looking forward to using these platforms to engage and interact with traditional talk listeners and the next generation.”

Ron Slay Joins WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Afternoon Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces that former University of Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay is joining the “3HL” afternoon drive program alongside current hosts Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport. Paul Mason is program director for the Cumulus Media station, and he says, “Our listeners have made it clear that they want us to hire Ron Slay. I am happy to say we listened, and we are thrilled Ron Slay will be joining Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport on ‘3HL.’ ‘3HL’ is already a great show and I look forward to seeing it go to even higher levels.” Slay comments, “I am both delighted and eager to join the ‘104.5 The Zone’ and ‘3HL’ families. I hope to bring joy, energy, and insight to Nashville sports enthusiasts each day.”

SiriusXM Reports 2021 Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 5%. Satellite radio and digital audio broadcaster SiriusXM releases its financial data for the first quarter of 2021 and reports total revenue of $2.06 billion, a 5% increase from the $1.95 billion reported during the same period a year ago. However, net income for the quarter was $219 million, a decline of 29% from the $293 million reported in Q1 of 2020. SiriusXM added 126,000 self-pay subscribers to hit its all-time high of 31 million self-pay subscribers. New chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure.  These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company. Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports… We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”

RAB Announces ‘Radio Works for Automotive’ Presentations. As part of RAB’s Business Accelerated initiative, it is presenting a two-part live series for May’s featured automotive category, one of radio’s most important advertising categories. The first presentation titled, “What’s Driving the Auto Industry?” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 19. As Americans return to school and work, the demand for vehicles grows. Parts shortages, as well as chip scarcity, are hindering inventory on lots and yet, auto sales remain high despite the supply-demand imbalance. In this presentation, hear from experts in both automotive and auto dealership industries including Tyson Jominy, vice president, data and analytics, J.D. Power, and Dick Parrish, dealership management consultant, NADA, who will share insights into the auto industry’s growth and challenges. The second live presentation will feature broadcasters discussing automotive client success stories to help sellers prospect and support their clients. The session, titled “Radio Works for Automotive Part 2,” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 26. The presentation will also be available for on-demand viewing. Both presentations are free for RAB members. You can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Media Sales Institute announces its strategic alliance with Media Staffing Network that will bring MSN’s media recruiter’s expertise to the MSI curriculum at the 2021 NABOB MSI, being held at the Atlanta University Center and hosted by Morehouse College from October 25 to November 4, 2021. Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn comments, “With our tutelage, we can better prepare the MSI graduates to address the position for which they are applying. Sadly, many colleges and universities are not as up to date on what a recent graduate should include on their resumes. Nor do they teach their students how to best stand out and showcase their value when they have little to no work experience.”…..iHeartMedia and media personality Chelsea Handler have entered into a deal for a new podcast called “Dear Chelsea” to be produced as a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast.  The comedian, best-selling author, and television host will give listeners the opportunity to submit questions about life and get candid answers on the podcast. “Dear Chelsea” – also featuring Handler’s co-host and longtime assistant Brandon Marlo – debuts on May 6. Handler says, “iHeartRadio has been a great place for me to share all of my wild, unvarnished thoughts. I’m excited to start this journey with ‘Dear Chelsea’ to help people figure out what they need in life – I’m more than happy to be that kick in the pants or shove that will give someone a new perspective on a situation and help them to make a decision.”…..SiriusXM announces it is again offering listeners nationwide comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/1). SiriusXM, through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network, airs all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network and produced in collaboration with HRRN.

Biden Addresses Congress, COVID-19, Police Violence, Fed Search Giuliani’s Home and Office, John Kerry Iran Allegation, Feds Investigate Direct Energy Attack, and Boris Johnson Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and his wide-ranging $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; the spate of high-profile cases of deadly police violence against citizens; the FBI’s search of former NYC mayor and former Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in an investigation of his ties to Ukraine; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry shared Israeli military intelligence with Iran; the Pentagon’s investigation into a mysterious “direct energy attack” near the White House; and the scandal over Boris Johnson’s refurbishing of 10 Downing St. 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.”

Monday, July 13, 2020

| July 13, 2020

Pending Business: What Would Maslow Do? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that motivation – a stop on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – is something that can be challenging in times like these.  But, he says, “We are in a motivation transition that can solve the long-term need to stay in the game and give you the control to move the performance bar as high as you need it.” Read his piece here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Fall Schools Opening Debate, Portland Protests, Presidential Race, Trump Commutes Roger Stone Sentence, Violent Crime Surge, Washington Redskins to Change Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future infections; the debate over re-opening schools in the fall; the violent BLM protests taking place in Portland, Oregon; the November presidential election, plans for a Florida Republican National Convention, and Joe Biden’s polling numbers; President Trump commutes the sentence of former “fixer” Roger Stone; the surge in violent crime statistics in a number of American cities; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins announce they will change the team’s nickname were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Broadcasters, Podcasting? Radio was late to this party and is scrambling to follow listeners to the digital platform. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke describes an opportunity in broadcasters’ dilemma. Read it here.

New Hampshire Talk Host’s Relationship with WSMN-AM, Nashua Ends After Video Post Goes Viral. New Hampshire talk host Dianna Ploss is no longer hosting her program on Bartis-Russell Broadcasting’s WSMN-AM, Nashua, New Hampshire after posting a video of herself verbally assaulting a landscaping crew with racist language for speaking Spanish while doing their jobs. The station carries a lot of brokered programming and it’s believed that Ploss also brokered her program. Apparently, Ploss became incensed when she heard a white crew leader speaking Spanish to his staff. After the video went viral, the radio station severed ties with her and posted the following on its website. “Dianna Ploss is no longer associated or affiliated in any way with WSMN or Bartis-Russell Broadcasting, LLC. We at WSMN value freedom of speech, freedom of expression and assembly. We will not tolerate discrimination, racism or hatred. We continue to present and offer on air opportunities for discussion, education and the exchange of opinions and ideas.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station performances in his “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of markets. Regarding the news/talk format, Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin stays in the #3 rank in the market after repeating the 5.5 share it posted in May. iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh sheds four-tenths, finishing the June survey with a 6.2 share good for the #6 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis drops 1.5 shares to a 7.4 share and falls back to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN falls to #2 after losing 1.2 shares and posting a 7.2 share. Across town, Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops six-tenths for a 5.5 share finish good for the #6 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville falls to the #2 rank after losing a half share and finishing the June survey with a 9.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

It’s Official: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 Million. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal between E.W. Scripps and SiriusXM for the latter to acquire the podcast platform Stitcher was imminent. Now, Scripps announces that deal is done and it’s getting $325 million for the unit that includes: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including the comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform. The press release states, “Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $4.5 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.” The deal includes $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; and earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Cumulus Media Cuts 3% of Workforce. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has permanently removed 3% of its staffers from the payroll. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that 94 staffers have been affected by the move. The company put the cuts into effect the same day it announced to affiliate stations that the Westwood One News service would be shut down at the end of August due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the radio industry.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Golic will remain with ESPN after ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” program ends on July 31. Schefter says Golic will work for the sports giant as a college football analyst – a position he held for 10 years before launching the “Mike & Mike” morning radio show with Mike Greenberg. The status of Golic’s co-host Trey Wingo – whose contract with ESPN is ending – is still unknown at this time…..Bonneville Denver announces that it is hiring Nate Jackson to serve as an air personality on sports talk KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says Jackson will be heard across all of the station’s programs as a contributor and fill-in host, in addition to contributing digital content to 1043TheFan.com. KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nate is a fascinating person with an incredible perspective on sports and life based on his experiences. While he’s obviously a talented writer, Nate also has a very entertaining and warm personality that we look forward to developing as one of our on-air talents.”

Atlanta’s Black-Targeted Radio Stations to Unite for Voter Registration Effort. This initiative involves Black-targeted radio stations in Atlanta owned by Cox Media Group (WALR “KISS 104.1”; Entercom (WVEE “V103” and WAOK-AM “1380 News/Talk); Radio One (WAMJ/WUMJ “Majic,” WHTA “Hot 107.9,” and WPZE “Praise 102.5”) and Core Radio Group (WWSZ) teaming up “with the common goals of voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization in advance of the November 2020 election.” The goal of “Black Radio United For The Vote” is to register black voters across metro Atlanta, and to get them to the polls in the coming election on November 3, as well as encouraging them to participate in the 2020 Census. Black Radio United For The Vote is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its affiliates to make these goals a reality. Each month through September, beginning on July 23, the participating radio stations will dedicate a full day of on-air programming to educate, inform and inspire Atlanta’s black community to register to vote, check their current registration status, and participate in the 2020 Census.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the death of former Windy City radio executive and station group owner Seth Mason. He passed away on Saturday (7/11) after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71. Mason was the general manager for legendary rock outlet WXRT in the 1970s and was managing WSCR for Infinity when the company debuted the sports format on WSCR at its original dial position at 1160 AM. Mason retired from radio management and ownership in 1998…..Programming pro Laura Lee is named interim program director for Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting’s alternative WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD102.5.” Lee will also host the midday program, taking over for Rachael Gordon, who recently resigned from the station. Lee was most recently program director and afternoon host at alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7.”

Judge Puts Three Ed Stolz Stations into Receivership; Larry Patrick to Sell Them. The result of a 2016 complaint against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting Group by Warner Music Group and other music companies alleging KREV, San Francisco; KFRH, Las Vegas; and KRCK, Palm Springs played music for which it did not have the rights, was a $1.2 million award for the plaintiffs in the copyright infringement portion of the complaint. Stolz appealed that decision, to no avail, and later agreed to sell the stations to pay the award. However, after it appeared to the plaintiffs that Stolz was not really trying to sell the stations, they asked the court to appoint a receiver to sell the stations in order to receive their award. The court agreed and moved to put the stations into receivership to force the matter. Larry Patrick of media brokerage firm Patrick Communications – who is charged with operating the stations and selling them – estimates that the three stations are worth a somewhat less than half of the jury’s $1.2 million award.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

| July 7, 2020

Nielsen to Cut 3,500 Jobs in ‘Broad-Based Optimization Plan.’ Media ratings and consumer data giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the implementation of a “broad-based optimization plan to drive permanent cost savings and operational efficiencies, as well as to position the company for greater profitability and growth.” The company says it is “prioritizing resources to focus on key strategic initiatives, higher margin products and services, and greater efficiency” and as a result will include a global reduction in force of approximately 3,500 employees. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “Across Nielsen Global Media [ratings segment] and Nielsen Global Connect [consumer data segment], we are making progress on increasing our operational and financial discipline, including zero-basing our cost structure as we move toward the planned separation of Nielsen Global Connect. As discussed on our earnings call in April, we have increased our focus on platform consolidations, further automation, optimizing our global footprint, and ensuring that our resource allocation aligns with high-margin essential services. Today’s plan encompasses, accelerates, and expands on those initiatives. These restructuring actions will further expedite our transformation to a more efficient, agile, and scalable organization and are designed to drive sustained margin expansion and increased cash generation. As part of the optimization plan, we have made the difficult decision to exit selected businesses and markets and permanently reduce our workforce. While these are important actions to take, I recognize the impact they have on our people, and I am grateful for the important contributions made by these talented associates during their time at Nielsen.” The company says cash payments for the severance costs will continue into late 2021.

WVON, Chicago Morning Show Exits Over ‘Censorship’ Issue. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story about the sudden departure of urban news/talk outlet WVON, Chicago’s morning program. Maze Jackson, co-host Todd Stroger, and producer Sonia Escobar resigned from the station last week after station management ordered the program to cease criticism of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Jackson tells Feder he was instructed not to talk about the mayor or allow callers to do so and he consequently resigned because he “could not accept the censorship.” The trio are now brokering the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot on Gospel WBGX-AM. WVON is searching for a new morning show as Ernest B. Fenton handles the morning show on an interim basis.

Report: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, SiriusXM Satellite Radio is very close to a deal with E.W. Scripps to buy podcasting platform Stitcher for $300 million. Scripps paid $4.5 million for Stitcher in 2016. The piece notes that Stitcher owns podcast networks Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts that comprise some 50 shows, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “Freakonomics Radio.” Stitcher also has deals with other podcast networks for distribution and sales via Scripps’ Midroll Media division that totals more than 250 programs.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM is producing a special version of its ongoing series “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast,” this one targeting children. The “COVID-19 Seattle: Kids Edition” was released on July 2. For this episode, Bonneville’s KIRO Radio asked young listeners to call in with questions about the coronavirus, in their own words. KIRO Radio hosts Dave Ross, Mike Lewis, Tom Tangney, John Curley, Rachel Belle, Dori Monson, Ursula Reutin, Gee Scott, Feliks Banel, and Colleen O’Brien answered these questions “with heart, humor, and the best information available.” Dr. Mollie Greves Grow from Seattle Children’s Hospital also contributed to this podcast as a local healthcare expert…..The BetR Network is partnering with Skyview Networks for network audio and affiliate sales and distribution and announces it has an affiliate agreement with Denver’s Mile High Sports. As a result, KDCO-AM/K284CI will bring sports betting programming to Denver, including select content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network…..Public media’s KQED announces its long-running public affairs call-in radio program “Forum” is making the 10:00 am hour of the program available for public media stations across California starting July 13. The second hour of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily program will be hosted by Mina Kim, who shifts from her role as the Friday host of “Forum” and afternoon anchor for KQED news. Longtime host Michael Krasny continues to host the 9:00 am hour of the program. Kim says, “This is a moment of unprecedented change and people are hungry for meaningful dialogue about these issues. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help bring ‘Forum’ to other communities across the state — and to bring in a wider range of voices to these conversations.”

Michael Kindhart Promoted at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Michael Kindhart is promoted from senior director of operations, affiliate sales at Premiere Networks to vice president of operations, affiliate sales. Nashville-based Kindhart will help develop strategic and operational initiatives to improve sales effectiveness and efficiency for nearly 200 of Premiere’s radio programs, services, and podcasts in this new position. Premiere EVP of affiliate sales Peter Tripi says, “Michael’s contributions to our affiliate sales division have been significant. He is constantly searching for ways to enhance our business through collaboration and by providing the best possible tools and resources to serve our affiliates and partners. This is a well-deserved promotion and I’m proud to have him on the team!”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Heightened Gun Violence, Presidential Race, John Bolton/Mary Trump Books, PPP Scrutiny, TikTok Ban, SCOTUS Electoral College Ruling, and Charlie Daniels Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states and projections for future cases; the spate of gun violence in some urban areas and the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta; the November presidential election; the book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and the soon-to-be released book by Mary Trump; the Trump administration releases the names of companies that benefitted from the Payroll Protection Plan; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration is considering banning the China-based TikTok app; the Supreme Court rules that states can bind presidential electors’ votes; and musician Charlie Daniels dies at 83 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The daughter of Reach Media nationally syndicated morning radio personality Rickey Smiley is recovering in a Houston hospital after being shot in that city late Sunday night. AL.com reports that Aaryn Smiley was driving to a Whataburger restaurant in Houston close to midnight and was stopped at a red light when shooting between several men erupted and she was hit at least twice. She is recovering from her wounds. Meanwhile, authorities are searching for the shooter.

Friday, December 20, 2019

| December 20, 2019

WGN, Chicago Names Bob Sirott Morning Drive Host.  The legendary Chicago media personality Bob Sirott will take over for Steve Cochran on Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, effective January 6.  At the same time, Mary Sandberg Boyle is promoted to general manager.  She’s been acting GM since September 20 in addition to her director of news and operations position.  WGN notes that Sirott started as a morning radio show personality in 1971.  “His acclaimed broadcasting career has spanned nearly five decades and has included stints at WMAQ, WBBM-FM, WLS, WGN and various television stations.  In 2015, Sirott was recognized for his achievements in the media industry and inducted into the Silver Circle by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.”  This move is the latest in a series that finalizes the station’s programming going into 2020.  Sirott’s 5:00 am to 9:00 am show is followed by John Williams (9:00 to 12:00 noon), the “Wintrust Business Lunch with Ji Suk Yi” (12:00 noon to 1:00 pm), Anna Davlantes (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm), Roe Conn (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Justin Kaufmann (7:00 pm to 11:00 pm), Nick Digilio (11:00 pm to 4:00 am), and a WGN Radio simulcast of WGN-TV “Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.

Dan Proft Named Night Host on Salem Radio Network. Chicago-based talk host Dan Proft is the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network.  Proft, who has been co-hosting the WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” morning show with Amy Jacobson since 2015, fills the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot that opend up when Joe Walsh entered the 2020 presidential race.  Prior to joining WIND in 2015, Proft co-hosted a talk show on crosstown WLS-AM with Bruce Wolf from 2010 through 2014.  SRN SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Dan Proft is incredibly intelligent, insightful, and full of knowledge.  We are delighted to have a host of his quality available to take over the night slot on the lineup.  I think stations will love having his wit and humor every night.”  Proft, who has a JD from Loyola University, Chicago Law School, will continue his morning drive duties on WIND.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/20).  The new episode titled, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Persons!” looks back at this past week of December 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  John Caracciolo, president/CEO, JVC BroadcastingJoe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio;  Casey Hendrickson; talk show host, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Trevor Smith, president, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network, and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

KMJ, Fresno Unveils New Afternoon Team ‘Philip & Skip.’ Fresno news/talk KMJ-AM/FM brings Frances “Skip” Echeverria (right) aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Philip Teresi (left).  Echeverria was most recently morning drive personality at One Putt Broadcasting’s crosstown rock outlet KFRR.  Teresi moved into the afternoon drive slot at the Cumulus Media station after talk host Chris Daniel resigned from the show in early September after a 10-year stint.  “Skip” says, “You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this valley that doesn’t know the legend that is KMJ.  When I started radio in 2001, I didn’t anticipate this opportunity.  But having been born and raised in Fresno, a graduate from Fresno State, and having chosen to raise my own family and base my mental health practice locally, I have a vested interest in the continued success of my community.  I absolutely love this valley and its people.  I’m honored and excited to join the KMJ team and am looking forward to conversations about topics that are important to us.”  Teresi adds, “I’m elated to be a part of the next step at KMJ.  Skip makes a brilliant, powerful addition to the station.  Bringing Skip to KMJ benefits the audience, the sponsors, and the station as a whole.”

Will Sterrett Joins KMBZ’s ‘Kansas City’s Morning News’ as Co-Anchor. On-air pro Will Sterrett makes the move to morning drive co-host on “Kansas City’s Morning News” alongside Ellen Schenk.  He takes over for E.J. Becker, who dials back his responsibilities with the Entercom news/talk stations.  The “Kansas City’s Morning News” program airs on both KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM.  Both stations air separate programming outside of AM drive.  Sterrett had been a contributor to the afternoon drive “Dana & Parks” show on KMBZ-FM.  He says via Twitter, “I have big shoes to fill as outgoing anchor E.J. Becker will stay on with the show as a special contributor.  My final day with ‘Dana & Parks’ is Friday and I can’t thank Dana and Scott enough for their votes of confidence earlier this year and their support as this new opportunity took shape.  Many thanks, too, to [PD] Alan Furst for the opportunity and for putting up with all the back and forth that comes with it.”

Hobnobbing for Charity. Pictured above are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (right) and RC Communications Marketing owner Renee Cassis (left) with Red Apple Media chief John Catsimatidis (center) at the NYC Police Athletic League Luncheon.  The monthly luncheon – chaired by Catsimatidis – raises money for the PAL Kids charity.  Catsimatidis hosts the weekly “Cats Roundtable” talk show (heard on 14 affiliate stations) and his media company is in the process of purchasing WABC, New York from Cumulus Media.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth (left) chats over a meal in Phoenix with Salem Radio Network v.p./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) about SRN’s strategy for covering the upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.  Tradup says Hayworth offered perspective from his six terms in Washington on what is likely to unfold in the historic Senate trial scheduled to begin in January…..WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley scored a coup as he interviewed New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew on his radio show today.  Van Drew made headlines recently after promising to switch parties from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.  Hurley says, “Van Drew becomes only the 24th congressman in American history to switch political parties and my initial research indicates he’s the first to switch from the majority party to the minority…..iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV announce the third installment of the “Monster” podcast series, “Monster: DC Sniper,” premieres on January 2, 2020.  “Monster: DC Sniper” takes listeners back in time to the tragic killing spree of the D.C. Sniper, “one of the most tangled, intricate true-story killing sprees to ever take place.”  The podcast also fast forwards to the present as the Supreme Court considers whether or not to amend the sentence of one of the two men convicted for the crime…..SiriusXM is giving sports fans a “comprehensive and in-depth look back at the Defining Moments of the Decade in their favorite sports” via a series of specials that examine the memorable moments and trends in professional and college sports from the last 10 years.  SiriusXM will present these specials across 11 of its dedicated 24/7 sports channels.   SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “Over the past 10 years, SiriusXM has aired so many of these great moments live, and we’ve covered all of these important stories and trends across our channels more extensively than anyone else in radio.  We’re proud to be the place where all fans can not only hear all about their favorite sport but can call in and talk about it as well.”…..Last Friday (12/13), Sinclair Radio’s Seattle stations all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5” – along with Sinclair TV outlets KOMO-TV and KUNS-TV – held their annual Toy Drive benefitting the Salvation Army. The campaign resulted in the collection of $125,000 – including a $50,000 matching donation from the Wold Family Foundation – and more than 7,000 toys.   Sinclair Radio Seattle station manager Gary Greenberg says, “The toy drive has been a nine-year tradition for our stations.  Our team builds an amazing campaign every year and our listeners continue to come out to support the Salvation Army in a big way.  It’s what local radio is all about.”

The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald Trump Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 16-20. The U.S. House’s vote to levy articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and last night’s Democratic debate.  Coming in at #3 was the Australian heat wave-drought-bushfires and the related topic of climate change, followed by the Obamacare mandate ruled unconstitutional and health care reform at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Triton Digital to Issue Podcast Reports. There will be another firm rating the performances of podcasts in the New Year as Triton Digital announces it is launching Podcast Reports in the U.S., powered by its Podcast Metrics measurement service.  Triton says, “The reports will provide a ranking of the top networks and top podcasts in the U.S., as measured by Podcast Metrics.  Reported entities will be ranked by Average Weekly Downloads, in accordance with the latest IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines.”  Podcast publishers signed up for the new service so far include: NPREntercom’s RADIO.COM, Stitcher, and Cumulus Media.  Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso adds, “We are pleased to leverage our 10-plus years of digital audio measurement expertise to provide reliable and informative data around podcast consumption in the U.S.  Our Podcast Reports will provide buyers with the trusted, third-party podcast measurement they need to make informed decisions around podcast advertising.  Furthermore, our reports will provide podcast networks with the reputable consumption data they need to grow their podcast strategies, gain a better understanding of their listening audiences, and increase their advertising revenue.”  The first U.S. Podcast Report will debut in March 2020.  Triton currently publishes Podcast Reports in Australia and Latin America and has announced that the Netherlands will follow in early 2020.

 

 

Two News Positions Open at FOX News Radio and FOX News.  There are two news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill.  The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC or New York City.  FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts.  You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.”  See more about that position and apply here.  The second position is a Freelance Writer for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  The company says, “We are looking for a freelance writer to join the FOX News Headlines 24/7 team.  As a writer, you will be a crucial member of our broadcast team.  You will write news for our national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  You may be the right candidate if you have the right attitude and understand the level of commitment required to be successful in this role. Your passion for national and international news is bar none!  See more and apply for this position here.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Seeks News Anchor. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM has an immediate opening for a full-time news anchor. The Entercom station says, “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality. You’re a great storyteller. You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know “Why?” If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT/Entercom Charlotte would like to hear from you. We are seeking a full-time news anchor for our programming team. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: Writing and on-air delivery of news reports based on programming clock; editing and preparation of news audio; filing of two to three recorded reports per day to be aired outside the live daypart of the shift; on-air interaction with the talk show host and personnel; and coverage and reporting of breaking news events in real-time. Interested candidates should visit the Entercom site here. EOE.

Cool Job Opportunity. An experienced guest booker/researcher is needed to find/book four to five top-tier guests per week to do telephone/Skype interviews for a top-ranked podcast. This is a work-from-home job with a great potential for advancement. This person will also research other interesting content for the podcast “Something You Should Know,” primarily a self-help, news-you-can-use program. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with experience producing/booking talk radio programs. Resumes should be sent to: info@somethingyoushouldknow.net.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Marty Linck is named brand content manager for Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” and rock KSHE.  Linck previously served in the market as OM for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY, AC KEZK and CHR KNOU.  He’s most recently been brand director for the JACK-FM format.  Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Marty is a dedicated leader whose professionalism and experience has achieved outstanding results.  He also brings many years of success in managing high-performance radio brands that focus on live and local talent.  We are excited to add him to our team.”…..On-air pro Alex Waters is joining Max Media’s CHR WVHT, Norfolk “Hot 100” as afternoon drive personality, effective January 6. He’s been serving as the evening jock at Bahakel Communications’ CHR WDOD-FM, Chattanooga “Hits 96.”

Thursday, December 12, 2019

| December 12, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Present the Second in a Series of Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  In response to the positive feedback received about the recent “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times in New York City this past October 1 (see video here), a second installment of the event was successfully presented Tuesday morning (12/10) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The conversation again focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event featured a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts – John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkDr. Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who again moderated the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that its practitioners stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world.  A video of the entire forum will be posted on Talkers.com within the next few days. Pictured below are (from l-r): moderator, Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Salem Radio Network; Dr. Dana Cheng, The Epoch Times; John Fredericks, The John Fredericks Radio Network; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; Larry O’ Connor, WMAL, Washington, DC; Josh Philipp, The Epoch Times; and Nan Su, The Epoch Times/NTDTVPhoto: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times

KYW-AM, Philadelphia Reporter Barred from Press Conference. Maybe it was a snafu, but the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s explanation for KYW-AM, Philadelphia crime and justice reporter Kristen Johanson being barred from the press conference for a criminal case is inconsistent.  DA Larry Krasner was asked by fellow FOX 29 journalist Jeff Cole if Johanson had been barred from the conference and he replied, “What I can tell you is I did not bar anybody from coming to a conference.  We always enjoy having Kristen Johanson here and if there’s been some kind of miscommunication, then I’m sorry to hear that that has occurred.”  The DA offices’ spokesperson later said only reporters who requested comment on the case were notified of the press conference.  However, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer who did request a comment was not invited to the press conference either.  The spokesperson then said “security protocols” were the reason Johanson was denied access to the conference.  KYW program director Alex Silverman says, “A press conference open to some members of the media should be open to all.  To deny access to a reporter who covers the crime and justice beat in our city raises serious questions about how the District Attorney’s Office views a free and fair press.”

Opinion: Gen Z Is Excited About Radio. Georgia College lecturer Chad Whittle writes in an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the intertest in radio he’s hearing from his students.  He says, “This semester, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to teach a course on radio broadcasting to students ranging from freshmen to sophomores.  In this course, multiple students are excited about learning more about the radio industry.  I know because they told me last semester they were interested and eager to take the class.”  Read his story here.

Slater Joins Entercom for Digital Sales Role. Sales pro Andy Slater joins Entercom as SVP of digital sales, East Coast.  He was most recently regional VP of sales for Stitcher’s Midroll Media ad sales division.  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Andy has a tremendous track record leading sales strategy across numerous digital platforms, most recently in podcasting.  His unique combination of experience in broadcast radio and digital will prove to be a major asset as we continue developing and expanding our position as leaders in the digital audio marketplace.”

Articles of Impeachment, Inspector General’s FBI Report, 2020 Presidential Race, Jersey City Shooting, USMCA Trade Deal, and UK Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The articles of impeachment against President Trump; the inspector general’s report on the failures within the FBI; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Jersey City; the Trump administration’s United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal; and Britain’s prime minister election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In Kansas City, Entercom appoints Josh Vernier to the Royals insider position.  Vernier had been co-host of the “Show and Vern” midday program on sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” prior to the exit of co-host Ron “Show” Hughley last month.  This is a return to the Royals insider position for Vernier, who will also host the pre- and post-game shows for Royals play-by-play on KCSP.  He’ll also host the “Royals Hot Stove Show” this winter…..ESPN reports that last month, ESPN Podcasts set a new record for the month with a verified unique audience of 7.3 million, according to Podtrac.  ESPN says the total represents an increase of 28% over November 2018 and is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.  In addition, ESPN podcasts had 45.6 million downloads, up 24% from November 2018 and just shy of last month’s all-time record of 46.1 million…..iHeartMedia sports talk WYGM-AM/W245CL, Orlando “FM 96.9 The Game” is hosting a live holiday show special during the “Open Mike” morning show to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.  Former Orlando Magic head coach and current NBA TV analyst Stan Van Gundy will join the show dressed up as Santa Claus and will encourage listeners to stop by, take pictures, and donate new unwrapped toys or cash for children in the local community.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dustin Matthews is named director of rock programming for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC stations classic rock WBIG “BIG 100” and alternative WWDC “DC 101,” effective January 13. He comes to Washington from iHeartMedia’s Charlotte operations where he was program director and afternoon drive personality at WEND “106.5 The End.”  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi says, “Dustin is one of the most dynamic rock programmers in the country.  His programming expertise combined with his creativity and passion for our rock brands is unparalleled and we look forward to welcoming him to Washington, D.C.”…..Entercom announces that it has signed a new, multiyear deal with WPOW, Miami “Power 96” program director and midday host Miguel “Mijo” Irizarry for him to continue in those roles.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “‘Mijo’ has been a strong force in the ‘Power 96’ studio over the last year.  We are thrilled that he will continue to lead one of our most iconic brands in our cluster.”  ‘Mijo’ joined ‘Power 96’ in August 2017.  He assumed the role of program director in October 2018…..Tegna’s adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego names Soleil Spigelman the new producer of “The Cantore Show.”  She says, “Becoming a part of ‘The Cantore Show’ is a big step in joining the San Diego community.  I’m from a small surfing town in the San Francisco Bay Area and I immediately feel at home here in SD.  I’m looking forward to showcasing my passion for entertaining people and sharing my kooky-yet relatable-personality with this on-air family and our listeners.”