NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “It’s Finger Pointing Time,” looks back at this past week of August 16-20. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Frank MacKay, talk show host, (Long Island News Radio) WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY; Dr Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/podcaster, Princeton, NJ; Wayne Avrashow, attorney/columnist, RealClearPolitics.com, Los Angeles; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WABC, New York Adds Bo Snerdley to Daily Lineup. Longtime “Rush Limbaugh Show” staffer Bo Snerdley, a.k.a. James Golden, is being added to the daily, afternoon lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, effective Monday (8/23). Snerdley has been hosting a two-hour, Saturday morning program and now steps into the 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot that’s been occupied by “The Rundown with Lidia Curanaj.” His show will air in between Rudy Giuliani’s one-hour show and John Catsimatidis’ program. The station says, “WABC is committed to bringing you the best talk lineup. Shows that entertain and inform, with a true connection to real New York and you. That’s what James Golden, a.k.a. Bo Snerdley delivers, keeping it real. With great guests, compelling conversation and excellence in talk radio, welcome back to the ‘Golden’ age of radio with James Golden.”
‘Miller and Moulton’ Show Exits ‘FOX Sports Radio SWFL.’ The Fort Myers News-Press reports that the “Miller and Moulton” show – co-hosted by Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) – has been dropped from the lineup at Sun Broadcasting’s sports talk “FOX Sports Radio SWFL” heard on WHEL-HD3/W277AP/W290DB. Moulton tweeted, “Suffice to say that Act 2 is over. It was not our decision. These last 4 years were some of the most enjoyable of our 14 years together. On top of that, we think it may have been our best work. We are optimistic there can be a 3rd Act but we will need a little time to regroup. To our unbelievably loyal fans/listeners, many who followed us from one station to another, from afternoons to mornings, from bad signal to good signal to bad again…‘Thank You’ is insufficient.”
Danno and Laura Wolkoff Sue G-Networks for Wrongful Termination. In a case that has been moved (at the request of G Networks LLC) from and Ohio Common Pleas Court to US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division, Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff are suing G Networks LLC for wrongful termination and are seeking $1.2 million. The complaint states that the Wolkoffs were informed by G Networks in late June of this year that the company was accusing them of costing the business some $1.8 million in damages due to “gross negligence” and “gross incompetence” in the performance of their duties as chief development officer and VP of business operations, respectively. The Wolkoffs argue that G Networks failed to offer any “specific conduct constituting alleged grounds for termination for cause or any specific, reasonable measures to cure such conduct, thereby interfering with, and effectively rendering impossible,” their “bargained-for right to cure.” The Wolkoffs sold their company Envision Networks to then-Sun Broadcast Group (at the time headed by Jason Bailey) and entered into employment agreements to serve in the positions noted above.
Triton Digital Releases July 2021 Podcast Report. Global technology and services provider Triton Digital releases the results of its July 2021 U.S. Podcast Report (June 28 – August 1, 2021), as measured by its Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Networks Report, based on Average Weekly Downloads, indicates SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks #1 with NPR at #2, Audacy Podcast Network at #3 and Cumulus Podcast Network at #4. Also included in the top 15 networks are FOX News Podcasts at #11, Salem Podcast Network at #12, and Bonneville International at #14. The July 2021 rank of the 100 Top Podcasts (ranked by Average Weekly Downloads) has “NPR News Now” at #1, Cumulus’ “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #3, Cumulus’ “The Dan Bongino Show” at #9, Salem’s “The Charlie Kirk Show” at #14, and “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #16. You can see the complete results of the July report here.
SportsMap Radio Network Adds ‘America on the Road’ for Weekends. The SportsMap Radio Network announces that it is adding the weekly automotive radio show “America on the Road” to the network, airing Saturdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am ET. The program is hosted by Jack Nerad, Charlie Baker, and Chris Teague. Nerad says, “We are very excited to introduce ‘America on the Road’ to the extensive SportsMap Radio Network audience. Our goal is to entertain while making what is sometimes very technical information clear to our listeners. And that’s been a successful formula for more than two decades.” Nerad has covered the automotive industry for more than 20 years in a number of prestigious editorial posts. He currently serves as editor of DrivingToday.com, and he contributes to a number of online publications. He has also been featured on “The Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Good Morning America,” and FOX News Channel.
TALKERS News Notes. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Digital earned the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views in July, reaching nearly 1.6 billion multiplatform views and approximately 3.4 billion multiplatform total minutes. In the most recent month of July, the digital network surpassed CNN.com in total multiplatform minutes for the fifth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. FOX News Digital also outpaced CNN.com in total multiplatform views, delivering nearly 89 million multiplatform unique visitors. Additionally, the FOX News Mobile App drove close to 6.9 million unique visitors in July, beating out CNN in the category for the third straight month…..iHeartMedia and live streaming and on-demand fitness and wellness marketplace NEOU announce a new marketing partnership. Through a multiplatform marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s audio network including broadcast radio, digital, podcast and social platforms, listeners will be introduced to NEOU’s fitness offerings…..ABC News Radio is presenting the Labor Day weekend special, “Help Wanted,” hosted by anchor Cheri Preston, in which she and a team of ABC News correspondents report on America’s jobs – from the most desirable positions to the most difficult careers and some unbelievable and rare jobs in between. The program explores the shifting U.S. labor market and examines roles across all kinds of industries.
Afghanistan Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 16 – 20. The Taliban’s unexpectedly quick takeover of Afghanistan’s major cities as the U.S. withdraws from the nation and the criticism being leveled at President Joe Biden was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this was the rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases and the debate over vaccines, boosters, and mask mandates, followed by the battle over mask and vaccination mandates in the country’s schools and colleges at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.
WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Nexstar Names Gliha VP/CFO. In two weeks (8/9), Jefferies LLC managing director Lee Ann Gliha will become Nexstar Media Group’s executive vice president/chief financial officer. She will take over CFO responsibilities from Thomas E. Carter, who was promoted to president/chief operating officer late last year and was Nexstar’s executive vice president/chief financial officer since 2009. According to Carter, “[Lee Ann is] an accomplished finance leader who understands the rapidly evolving media ecosystem and brings extensive industry relationships to her new role at Nexstar. This background will be invaluable to [our] senior management team, board of directors, and our experienced finance team. [She] will be instrumental in advancing our strategic objectives with the goal of further enhancing shareholder value.” Gliha comments, “Throughout its 25-year history, Nexstar has been at the forefront of every major innovation in local broadcasting, while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Nexstar’s corporate and local management teams have built the preeminent local broadcasting and digital media company in the country and consistently delivered impressive financial results for shareholders. I am thrilled to be joining Nexstar – I look forward to growing and evolving the business and driving new value for shareholders.” Prior to working at Jefferies LLC, Gliha was Live Nation’s executive vice president/corporate finance.
Westwood One Sets Affiliate Sales Moves. Boosted to vice president of affiliate sales for 24/7 formats at CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One is Neal Weiner, while Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate sales for the music & entertainment division. Senior vice president of affiliate sales Stuart Greenblatt comments, “With more than a quarter-century with Westwood One, Neal knows this business inside and out; Sue’s new role brings her full circle back to Westwood One. There are no better people to assume these roles and drive Westwood One’s affiliate sales.” Weiner remarks, “We have fantastic new offerings in the pipeline for helping our affiliates to operate smoothly and efficiently and to sound amazing. I’m honored to assume this role at such an exciting time.” Falco notes, “Westwood One is synonymous with great programming and super-sized talent. I’m thrilled to be back on the team with such a well-respected brand.” Weiner’s 26-year tenure at Westwood One has included working with 24/7 formats; music and entertainment shows; sports; and prep services. He began his radio career at then Westwood-owned KQLZ “Pirate Radio,” Los Angeles. Falco most recently spent ten years as United Stations’ director of affiliate sales. Prior to that, she had a six-year run at Westwood One as part of both the news/talk and country affiliate sales teams.
Audacy Introduces Podsauce. The one-hour Dax Holt and Alesha Reneé-hosted multi-platform podcast discovery show assists podcast partisans find new series; it will begin this Thursday (7/29). Audacy Digital executive vice president/general manager Pam Russo contends, “With over two million active podcasts and nearly 50 million episodes worldwide, finding a podcast to listen to can be overwhelming. That’s where ‘Podsauce’ comes in. Through Alesha and Dax’s passion for this exploding medium, coupled with in-depth conversations with the people behind the content, ‘Podsauce’ will give consumers a taste of [the] top shows – both in our portfolio and beyond – and spotlight the very best in the world of podcasting.” Holt spent 11 years at TMZ where he won two Emmy nominations. He hosts the “Hollywood Raw” podcast. Actress/TV personality Reneé has appeared on “Girl Code,” “Guy Code,” “E! News,” “HotWyred,” “The 5ive,” and “106 and Park.” In addition, she has been the host/spokesperson for McDonald’s “Men of McCafe.” Select sound bites titled the “Podsauce Minute” will be heard on Audacy’s 235 broadcast stations.
SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Of $2.16 Billion. That’s an increase of 15% compared to this time last year. SiriusXM’s 2021 Q2 net income of $433 million is up $190 million versus 2020’s $243 million. The substantial increase included $140 million in insurance recoveries related to its SXM-7 satellite. Chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “We are increasing all of our financial guidance. The quarter was bolstered by record self-pay churn of just 1.5%, and we achieved strong monetization in our advertising business with an increase in ad revenue of 82% from the prior year period and 20% from the second quarter of 2019. We have long been the leader in shaping the future of audio for listeners, and we continue doing so by providing curated and premium content in innovative formats.” Earlier this month, the satcaster announced that a daily Megyn Kelly-hosted show (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) will begin on September 7. Witz notes, “In addition, video of the best moments from the show will be available in our app to subscribers and a podcast version of the show will be distributed broadly on SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, and other major platforms. Seth Rogen will do his first-ever podcast with us starting in the fall.”
Salem Radio Network Extends Gorka. The multi-year agreement enables Sebastian Gorka to continue his 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (ET) Salem Radio Network “America First” program that began in January 2019. Salem senior vice president for spoken-word Phil Boyce states, “Dr. Gorka has proven to be a natural on the radio. His insight into current events, his courageous stands on the issues, and his unique sense of humor have blended together to make this one of the best shows in the Salem lineup.” Gorka adds that, “Despite an incredibly hard 18 months for America, conservative talk radio is stronger than it has ever been. I am so grateful to Salem, my superb team and our amazing listeners for their loyalty and enduring love of country. I am overjoyed at the chance to continue our shared mission to tell the truth and make America even stronger than before.” Gorka grew up in London and learned talk radio listening to radio stations there. A three-time author, he hosts a weekend Newsmax TV show.
RTDNA Announces “The Year Of The Team.” Maintaining this year’s news leadership conference will feature “fresh and focused hands-on training and more intimate/inspirational discussions,” the Radio Television Digital News Association’s “The Year of the Team” retreat will be held in Denver on September 23 – 24. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “When approaching our annual conference this year, we listened to what our members said they wanted in a post-pandemic world in terms of professional development. We have developed a curriculum that helps them restore, rejuvenate, refresh and find ways to be more productive, more satisfied, and more well-rounded as they practice the craft of journalism. It’s going to be a holistic reset and refresh of everything we do as journalists and everything we are as human beings.” News leaders will reportedly celebrate the “Year of the Team” with representation and resilience. Attendees will be able to participate in interactive and immersive sessions taught by subject matter experts on a variety of topics relevant to representation and resilience – including self-care and inclusive language.
COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccine Denial/Hesitancy Top News/Talk Story for Monday July 26. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/26). That was followed closely by the highly contentious January 6 Committee debate between the parties. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com.See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland-based Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff have exited Sun Broadcast Group as chief operating officer and vice president/operations, respectively … As first reported by Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), former standup comedian Patti Vasquez’s “Driving It Home With Patti Vasquez” (5:00 pm – 6:00 pm) will be added to Newsweb Chicago news/talk WCPT’s weekday roster next Monday (8/2). Vasquez formerly did evenings at cross-town Nexstar news/talk WGN … Former eight-year traffic pilot/reporter at (now Audacy-owned) St. Louis news/talk KMOX John Larrabee, 73, passed away earlier this month (7/10) at his Moscow Mills (Missouri) home. His other radio credits include stops in New York City (WXLO) and Hartford (WDRC-AM and WPOP), as well as programming St. Louis’ KSLQ and KADI.
Newsmax To Unveil “Eric Bolling The Balance.” Touting it as a (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm) weekday show “for everyday Americans, covering the issues that truly matter,” Newsmax will introduce “Eric Bolling The Balance’’ tomorrow (7/28). According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “Viewers know and trust Eric Bolling as one of the most tenacious guys in news. Insiders know he’s a true veteran who is driven to follow the facts and deliver the news.” Before joining Newsmax last month, Bolling hosted a weekly talk show on Sinclair Broadcasting and hosted “The Five,” “Cashin’ In,” and “Fast Money.” He is a former commodities trader and board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” The seventh video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; introduced by Dick Morris, talk show host, Newsmax TV/WABC, New York; and sponsored by the Michael Berry Show, the panel features (in alphabetical order): Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Grace Curley, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta/Cox Media Group; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.
Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The stars of Premiere Networks’ recently launched Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The program serves as the official Premiere Networks replacement for the historic 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Rush Limbaugh Show. It launched on June 21, 2021 on some 400-plus affiliates in all 50 states making it the largest rollout of a syndicated news/talk show in modern talk radio history. Travis has a background in leading edge sports talk commentary developed on both the Internet and terrestrial radio. Sexton has a background in political news/talk radio and served a number of years as a counter-terrorism expert for the CIA and the NYPD. They discuss their brand of conservative broadcasting and the strategy steering their course to effectively serve the existing fans and affiliates of Rush Limbaugh while building upon that base to grow the show going forward. Don’t miss this timely, fascinating conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.
Tavis Smiley’s KBLA, Los Angeles Names Otis Warren VP of Sales. The new Los Angeles talk station launched by Tavis Smiley’s Smiley Audio Media – KBLA “Talk 1580” announces radio executive and sales pro Otis Warren is named vice president of sales. The company says that it is “building a sales team that is dynamic in understanding the changing market demographic and the economic power of its targeted audience,” and adds that during his career, “Warren has built a successful track record in client development and expanding station growth and marketability.” During his career, Warren has served as the national sales manager for American General Media, overseeing 12 stations in two markets – Bakersfield and Albuquerque. He began his radio career with Buckley Broadcasting and served with the company for more than 16 years, rising to VP of sales. Warren says, “I’m a radio guy and I am looking forward to being a part of the KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ family. I respect what Tavis is trying to accomplish with KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ as a Black-owned and operated radio station for the sophisticated African American listening audience. I think it is something that is long overdue.”
Stitcher’s 2021 Podcast Report Reveals Changes in Growing Media Platform. Based on data from its listener base, Stitcher unveils its second annual Stitcher Podcasting Report that it calls “a comprehensive look at who and where these listeners are, behavioral patterns, trends shaping the medium and the factors contributing to its growth.” Chief marketing officer Amy Fitzgibbons says, “Podcasting is a powerful medium that has not only prevailed, but thrived, in the midst of a global pandemic, as people sought a sense of connection during periods of isolation.” Some of the findings of the study: 1) Pre-pandemic, top listening hours aligned with peak commuting times, which have been replaced by a shift to lunchtime/early afternoon (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); 2) Similarly, household chores and gardening have replaced commuting as the primary activity that listeners do while listening to podcasts; 3) Based on user “favorite” activity, younger generations gravitated to comedy and talk content (age 13-34), while news and politics did better with older generations (age 35+); 4) Median monthly hours per listener per month rose from 7.5 in 2019 to nearly 8 in 2020; 5) Pandemic and COVID-19 searches were the top most searched terms for the year (2020), with listeners turning to podcasts for the latest on major global events; 6) “NFL” was the second highest cultural search term in 2020 – despite a shortened season and inability to attend games, fans still wanted to get involved and turned to podcasting to do so; 7) Some states are more dedicated: Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska all rank higher in listening hours than they do in the total number of listeners; and 8) Habits differ by gender: Men have a slight edge in the average number of shows listened to and hours listened per week, whereas women continue to have more favorites. Women are also more likely to listen to podcasts for entertainment, while men tend to seek news/information. See more about the study here. Stitcher was acquired by SiriusXM in July 0f 2020.
Jim Bohannon Recognized as 2020 Inductee into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The 2020 induction ceremony for the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame didn’t take place due to the pandemic, so the 2020 inductees will be honored as part of this year’s ceremony on August 7 at the Branson Hilton Convention Center in Branson, Missouri. The induction ceremony is part of the 2021 Awards Banquet at the MBA’s annual convention. Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be among those honored as a 2020 inductee.
Longtime WVMT, Burlington Host Ernie Farrar Dies at 78. Burlington, Vermont broadcasting legend Ernie Farrar passed away recently at age 78. Farrar retired from Sisson Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT-AM/W242BK in 2018 after more than 50 years with the station. WCAX-TV reports that Farrar was inducted into both the Vermont Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. Farrar’s son, Tony Farrar, tells WCAX News,“All of the practical jokes and laughter will be greatly missed! All I can say is that I hope heaven is ready for one heck of a show!”
TALKERS News Notes. Actress and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis and iHeartMedia collaborate to produce a new weekly iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Good Friend.” Premiering July 15, the podcast addresses the good, the bad and the ugly of friendships through both intimate and candid unscripted conversations. Throughout the 15-episode season, Curtis has unscripted, relatable conversations with celebrity friends and public figures such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts, Michelle Yeoh and Maria Shriver, among others, about conflict resolution, making new friends and keeping friendships alive during difficult times like the pandemic. On the premiere episode of “Good Friend,” Curtis sits down with her new friend Lena Dunham…..Full-service sound agency TM Studios inks a deal with Greau Creative to serve as its agency of record to handle all national creative design, event production, communications, and branding. Greau, the marketing company led by former Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey, will lead creative and branding efforts to further expand TM’s presence across all platforms including the launch of several new products in the coming weeks. TM Studios co-owner Dave Bethell says, “After looking at numerous companies to partner with, we are excited to be working with Greau. We’ve been fans of Jay Bailey’s work for some time now. He and his team are smart, passionate, understand our clients’ needs and daily challenges, and that badass attitude will help us get the message to our clients, partners and potential future clients.”
COVID-19 Delta Variant, Trump Social Media Lawsuits, House January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Economy/Labor Shortage, Haitian President Assassinated, Florida Condo Demolition, Tucker Carlson NSA Claims, and Tokyo Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; former President Donald Trump files suits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube alleging violation of his First Amendment rights; the House panel to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; criticism of the teaching of critical race theory in U.S. schools; the booming U.S. economy and employers’ staffing challenges; the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; the recovery efforts at the Surfside condo in Florida; Tucker Carlson’s claim that the NSA hacked his email account and distributed some to reporters; and the Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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 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.”