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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

| October 4, 2022

It’s Official: KEGL-FM, Dallas Flips to Hot Talk as ‘97.1 The Freak.’ After a cryptic message from longtime Dallas sports talk personality Mike Rhyner two weeks ago fueled speculation that iHeartMedia would flip rock outlet KEGL-FM “97.1 The Eagle” to sports talk, the company finally reveals that the change will actually be to hot talk. KEGL-FM is now “97.1 The Freak.” The company says that “The Freak” will be “a broad-based personality radio station that connects in a personal way with the DFW audience.” It will feature “The Speakeasy” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am starring Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs and Matt Cather, followed by “The Ben & Skin Show” with Ben Rogers, Jeff  “Skin” Wade, Krystina “K-Ray” Ray and Michael “Grubes” Gruber; and “The Downbeat” in afternoon drive hosted by former longtime KTCK personality Mike Rhyner, with Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber. iHeartMedia Dallas regional VP of programming Patrick Davis says, “We’re beyond excited to introduce “97.1 The Freak.” The level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas-Fort Worth!”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Legends of Radio Inductees. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022, “recognizing the talents and efforts of air personalities, programmers and operators who contributed with greatness to the radio industry and have since passed away.” They are: Doug Banks, nationally syndicated on-air personality; James Brown, legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE, Knoxville; Bob Coburn, host of the syndicated “Rockline” show; Chick Hearn, play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers; Bernice Judis, owner and general manager, WNEW-AM from the 1930s through the 1950s; Sid Mark, host of syndicated program, “Sounds of Sinatra”; Bobby O’Jay, on-air personality, WDIA-AM, Memphis; Pervis Spann, on-air personality, WVON-AM, Chicago; James Thompson, Group W Broadcasting president and president of the Broadcasters Foundation of America; and Rosalie Trombley, music director of CKLW-AM, Detroit in the 1960s–1970s. Radio Hall of Fame co-chair Kraig T. Kitchin says, “The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100-plus-year-old industry. I’m thrilled to see the nominating committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.” The Radio Hall of Fame recognizes its 2022 class of inductees at the in-person 2022 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Tuesday, November 1, at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Acqua Hotel.

Derek Wolfe Joins Darren McKee for Afternoons at ‘104.3 The Fan’ in Denver. Television station KUSA-FV “9News” is reporting that recently retired Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe joins Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” as co-host of the weekday afternoon sports show “The Drive” with Darren “Dmac” McKee. Wolfe takes over the co-host role on the afternoon drive show after the company did not renew the contract of fellow former Bronco and Colorado Buffalo Tyler Polumbus.

Cumulus Unveils New Morning Show at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. Beginning tomorrow (10/5), Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” features two new co-hosts alongside Ramon Foster. Kayla Anderson – who’s been sports anchor, reporter and more for WKRN-TV, Nashville “News 2 TV” – joins the program as does current WGFX-FM high school play-by-play voice, Titans post-game show host and fill-in host Will Boling. Station operations manager Paul Mason says, “Ramon Foster has a tremendous natural ability to connect with sports fans in morning radio, and our listeners love him. Bringing Ramon together with experienced television sports anchor and reporter Kayla Anderson and hometown broadcaster Will Boling creates a truly special dynamic that will make for some great morning sports radio!”

BFoA Delivers Aid to Broadcasters Puerto Rico, Florida, and Carolinas. The Broadcasters Foundation of America says it is providing emergency aid to qualifying colleagues in the radio and TV industry who have been personally hit hard by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian. BFoA says that so far, requests have come in from individuals who work at Spanish Broadcasting System, America CV Station Group, Telemundo, and Univision, with the first of those checks going out to qualifying individuals this week. BFoA president Tim McCarthy states, “Our Emergency Grant Program is set up with a streamlined vetting process that allows us to move quickly and get checks to those in desperate need quickly. Broken pipes, power outages, displacement, and more have brought devastation to many of our colleagues.” Broadcasters can apply for emergency aid and see if they qualify by clicking here.

AWM Names Gracies Leadership Awards Honorees. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the seven honorees for the Gracies Leadership Awards that will be presented on Monday, November 14 at Tribeca 360 in New York. Google News Initiative is a presenting sponsor of the awards. AWM says the annual event provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the significant impact women have made in the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening female leaders in attendance. The list of this year’s honorees include the following: Nancy Daniels, chief of content, TNets, Discovery, Animal Planet, & Science Channel; Marie Donoghue, vice president, Global Sports Video, Amazon; Kim Godwin, president, ABC News; Wendy Goldberg, chief communications officer, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, American Urban Radio Networks; Debra O’Connell, president, Networks, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution; and Dawn Porter, founder, Trilogy Films. AWM president Becky Brooksstates, “It is an exceptional honor to recognize and celebrate this strong lineup and powerhouse of women leaders in our industry. Soledad O’Brien as our keynote speaker will undoubtedly create an unforgettable event for everyone in attendance.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between SiriusXM and Dan AbramsLaw&Crime TV network adds the network to the satcaster’s streaming channel lineup. Abrams says, “I’ve loved being part of the SiriusXM family and am thrilled to be expanding our collaboration. We have been talking with SiriusXM for years about a Law&Crime channel that would bring compelling trial coverage and crime content to the platform, so it’s really exciting to see this come to fruition.” In addition to his Law&Crime network, Abrams is also the host of “The Dan Abrams Show” heard from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. channel as well as the host of “Dan Abrams Live” on NewsNation, the chief legal analyst for ABC News and host of “On Patrol: Live on Reelz.”…..NHPR will be celebrated on Thursday, October 20, 2022, as the recipient of The Nackey S. Loeb School’s Quill & Ink Award. This award is not given annually, but instead is reserved to honor significant contributions to the First Amendment. NHPR is being honored for continuing to produce high-quality accountability journalism in the face of legal threats and vandalism directed at some staff members and their families. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “This is a fitting tribute to our newsroom’s outstanding work and our journalists’ courage. I’m glad that it recognizes the entire organization, because it takes everyone at NHPR to make our journalism possible.”

Russia-Ukraine War, Hurricane Ian Aftermath, Inflation/Recession Fears, Trump Legal Issues, November Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Oath Keepers Trial, and Brazilian/European Politics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Russian president Vladimir Putin’s move to call up more troops and to attempt to annex parts of Ukraine; the destruction in southwest Florida left by Hurricane Ian; the record-setting inflation and fears of a recession; the legal issues facing former President Donald Trump and his defamation suit against CNN; the November midterm elections and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the Washington, DC trial of several Oath Keepers on seditious conspiracy charges relative to the January 6 Capitol riot; and the political situation in Brazil and in Europe were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

| September 22, 2022

FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Radio Row 2022 Brings Hosts and Guests Together in Washington, DC. Today (9/22) is the second day of the two-day radio row presented by Federation for American Immigration Reform. The 15th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” began on Wednesday with more than 65 talk media personalities interviewing politicians and immigration experts and discussing the hot-button issue of immigration reform and the problems the nation faces with the recent surges of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Pictured above are two of the hosts taking part in the radio row. Above left is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island personality John DePetro flanked by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and above right is WRVA, Richmond afternoon host Jeff Katz with the media personalities Diamond and Silk.

WPHT, Philadelphia Talent Shuffle Includes New Morning Show; Zeoli Moves to PM Drive. A change in the programming schedule at Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia includes a new morning drive program titled, “Kayal and Company,” led by Nick Kayal and including Dawn Stensland and Greg Stocker (who also serves as station PD). Current morning drive host Rich Zeoli moves to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Dom Giordano remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and Stensland continues her solo program from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The changes become effective on October 3. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “For the first time ever, WPHT will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, which further cements this fan favorite as the voice of Philadelphia and a reliable destination for our listeners. We’re excited to welcome Nick, who is trading in his sports background for his passion for politics, to our morning drive, and move Rich and his highly-successful program to entertain and inform listeners as they wind down their days.” Kayal previously worked in the market on sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”

The Ramsey Network Launches ‘Smart Money Happy Hour’ Podcast. A new podcast from the Ramsey Network is launched titled, “Smart Money Happy Hour,” starring Rachel Cruze and George Kamel. The podcast is described as “a mix of solid advice and snark from two friends who also happen to be money experts.” The show joins the Ramsey Network roster of podcasts that includes “The Ramsey Show,” “The Dr. John Delony Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Fine Print,” “Borrowed Future” and “The EntreLeadership Podcast.” Ramsey Network EVP Blake Thompson says, “Rachel and George have such unique chemistry. One minute I was laughing along with them, the next I was thinking about money in a whole new way. People are going to love the pop culture references and the casual, pour-a-glass-of-wine environment these two have created in this new podcast.” Some of the “Smart Money Happy Hour” topics include: Is Convenience Culture Worth Being Broke?; HGTV: The Network That Brainwashed Us; How to Leave a Royal Legacy for Your Family; and Can the Middle Class Still Afford to Go to Disney?

SmileyAudioMedia Offering ‘Agenda for America’ Election Programming to Stations. As a part of its continuing election coverage, Tavis Smiley, SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. and KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” announce that they are offering exclusive election programming to urban stations nationwide. SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. and KBLA Talk 1580 are producing a live, four-part series titled, “Agenda for America: An African American Perspective” that is executive produced by Smiley and moderated by KBLA’s radio hosts. The company says these four national conversations featuring influential Black voices will be offered at no charge to other talk- and urban-formatted radio stations and audio platforms across the country. The four programs are: “The State of Black Women in America,” hosted by Areva Martin; “The State of Black Men in America,” hosted by Zo Williams; “The State of Black Youth in America,” hosted by Dominique DiPrima; and, “Why We Can’t Wait: The Urgency of Now,” hosted by Tavis Smiley. The series airs live on Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PT on KBLA “Talk 1580.” Smiley says, “KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ is not only a portal for talk and opinions for the progressive African American listening audience, but also a content provider of relevant programming for urban stations around the country. We intend for KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ to be the epicenter of election coverage, addressing local, state and national issues, affecting what matters most to our people.”

Audacy’s All-News WWJ, Detroit Unveils New Anchor Lineup. Beginning on October 3, the news anchor lineup changes at Audacy’s all-news WWJ, Detroit “News Radio 950.” The station says longtime anchor Jackie Paige (right) moves to mornings, joining Jonathan Carlson (left) from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Paige will also host middays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Brooke Allen follows from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Tony Ortiz takes over at 2:00 pm and is joined by Allen from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Ortiz also hosts from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erin Vermeulen remains the evening news anchor from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Audacy Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “We are excited to announce our new lineup, which is full of news anchors who are seasoned and well known in the community. This new slate will allow WWJ to continue its mission of keeping listeners informed of breaking news and the top stories of the day.”

BIA Advisory: WTOP Maintains Top Biller Spot for 2021. A report from BIA Advisory Services tallying radio’s top billers for last year reveals that Hubbard Broadcasting’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington stayed in the #1 position with an estimated $70 million in revenue in 2021. BIA Advisory says that figure was an increase of 12.9% from $62 million in 2020. It goes on to say, “This surpasses the overall growth rate of 10.3% that BIA forecasts for over-the-air radio from 2020 to 2021, as the industry started to pull out of the pandemic slump. WTOP-FM is also the only station on this list to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue figure of $69.8 million in 2019.” The spoken word stations on the 2021 list that showed improvement include Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago – up to the #4 spot from #5 in 2020 ($34 million); Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston rose from #6 to #5 ($33.4 million); Audacy’s all-news WINS, New York was up from #9 to #8 ($31.6 million); its sports talk WFAN, New York rose from #10 to #9 ($31.5 million); and its all-news WCBS-AM, New York entered the top 10 at #10 ($30.9 million). The big change from the 2020 list to the 2021 list was Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta falling from #4 to #12. BIA also ranked the top billing by radio companies. You can see both charts here.

Triton Digital Releases August 2022 U.S. Podcast Report. This report from Triton Digital ranks the most popular podcasts in the U.S. for the month of August based on Average Weekly Downloads. Changes from the July 2022 report include audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” rising from #3 to #1, bumping Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” from #1 to #3. Remaining in the #2 spot is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” You can see the complete list of the top 100 U.S. podcasts from Triton Digital here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York City Radio Committee, a joint partnership of all the major radio broadcasters in New York City, is developing a marketing campaign to promote the power of radio. The campaign includes radio messaging on over 20 of New York’s most-listened-to stations, digital and social media marketing along with trade media. The multi-media campaign runs through November. The focus of the initiative is on advertising agencies and businesses that purchase advertising. Audacy New York market president and chairman of the New York City Radio Committee Chris Oliviero says, “Radio has been and continues to be a critical and valued part of millions of New Yorkers’ daily lives. These iconic brands, from music to news to sports, provide the soundtrack of the city. This campaign offers a fresh, fun and innovative approach to highlighting the efficacy of radio for media planners and advertisers.  The collaboration of the city’s major broadcasters shows a clear commitment to our belief that local radio, consumed on FM or AM or streaming or in podcasts, is an essential tool in any overall marketing strategy in the media capital of the world.”…..iHeartMedia extends the contract of Michael McGuinness through June 1, 2027 and changes his title from EVP – finance and deputy chief financial officer to EVP, deputy chief financial officer of the company and chief financial officer – multiplatform and digital segments…..FOX News Channel names Trace Gallagher anchor of “FOX News @ Night.” Gallagher takes over for Shannon Bream, who was recently promoted to anchor of “FOX News Sunday.” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “When it comes to breaking news coverage, Trace Gallagher is one of the best in the business and having a seasoned journalist at the helm of this hour ensures our viewers unrivaled 24/7 news coverage.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate KHTS, Santa Clarita, California to its roster of stations.

Inflation/Interest Rate Hike, NY Sues Trump Org, Trump Documents Case, Immigration/Migrant Transportation, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Zelenskyy UN Speech, Iran Protests, and Hurricane Fiona Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). Inflation, the rising price of gasoline, and the Fed’s interest rate hike; New York Attorney General Letitia James files a civil fraud suit against Donald Trump, his children, and Trump Org officers; an Appeals Court rules DOJ can resume criminal probe of Donald Trump documents case; the immigration troubles at the U.S.-Mexico border and the transporting of migrants from Southern states to Northern cities; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for president in 2024; Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the UN General Assembly pressing for punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the protests in Iran over the death of a woman in custody of the country’s “morality police”; and the destruction caused by Hurricane Fiona were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

| August 25, 2022

WPHT, Philadelphia Midday Icon Dom Giordano is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The dean of Philadelphia radio talk show hosts, Dom Giordano, heard daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on WPHT, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Giordano is a former public school teacher now nationally recognized as one of broadcasting’s leading experts on education and advocates for its improvement in America. He also hosts a popular podcast series titled, “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason,” that tackles the most challenging issues facing education today. Harrison and Giordano discuss the decline of attention spans and general literacy induced by digital technology, the political weaponization of basic historical concepts and traditions due to radical “wokeness,” and the shift from academic discipline to the “touchy feely coddling” of students by many of today’s public schools and institutions of higher learning. Harrison says, “The subject of education is on my mind with the release this week of the Gunhill Road music video ‘Idiots’ (www.idiotsvideo.com) and the growing negative impact ignorance and illiteracy are having on the healthy functioning of American democracy. I know of no one better to turn to in discussing these matters than our learning go-to guy – Dom Giordano.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

KIRO-AM, Seattle Brings Brock & Salk Back for Morning Drive. The sports talk duo of Brock Huard and Mike Salk is getting back together as Bonneville’s sports talk KIRO-AM, Seattle “Seattle Sports” announces the return of the “Brock & Salk” show to morning drive on September 6. “Brock & Salk” previously aired on “Seattle Sports” from April 2009 through September 2019 and transitioned to a weekly podcast shortly thereafter. Salk has been hosting the morning show solo. Huard says, “I am thrilled to come back on the air with Mike Salk, though I feel like I never left. My heart and passion are for the Pacific Northwest community, its teams, and its fans. On September 6, that daily connection begins again.” Station program director Kyle Brown comments, “At ‘Seattle Sports’ we aim to be the preeminent voice for sports fans in the region. The return of Brock Huard to an already strong weekday lineup helps cement our status as the go-to destination for sports coverage in the Pacific Northwest.”

KBLA, Los Angeles to Present Live Election Forums. Los Angeles talk station KBLA-AM “Talk 1580” announces it is presenting election coverage of heated races with its Public Safety Forum that it says is “designed to provide a place to discuss politics for Black voters.” The first live broadcast will feature incumbent Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva facing off against challenger, former Long Beach chief of police Robert Luna on September 12 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The forum will be moderated by KBLA owner and media personality Tavis Smiley, who will be joined by radio hosts Dominique DiPrima, Angela Reddock-Wright, and KBLA chief national political affairs analyst Nii-Quartelai Quartey. The forum will be livestreamed via KBLA1580.com, KBLA’s YouTube channel, and Facebook with an encore broadcast to air on KBLA Talk 1580. Smiley says, “We intend for KBLA Talk 1580 to be the election information station for our audience. We will be covering all of the local, state and national elections that matter to our listeners. This particular sheriff’s race is perhaps the most hotly contested in some time, and we are appreciative that the candidates have agreed to speak to our audience directly.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Labor Day weekend, news/talk ABC News Radio affiliates have two special programs available to them. “Impact: Climate & Sustainability” is hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky and explores the recent surge in wildfires, the effort to bring alternative power to communities nationwide, the jobs created by the clean energy industry, and a look at why there is an increase in shark sightings on Long Island. “Your Voice, Your Vote 2022” is a one-hour preview of the upcoming midterm elections hosted by ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers and political director Rick Klein. They will be joined by reporters, analysts and experts to discuss what’s at stake in the election, voting rights and more…..Audacy and Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today that keeps KWFN-FM “97.3 The Fan” the flagship station for Padres baseball through 2027. The station has served as the radio home of the team since 2018. As part of the extended partnership, “97.3 The Fan” will continue to serve as the radio home of Padres baseball, broadcasting all of the team’s regular season and postseason games. Audacy San Diego SVP and market manager Michael Valenzuela says, “As one of the most exciting teams in Major League Baseball, the Padres have brought championship aspirations back to San Diego, and we’re delighted to deliver every minute of the action to our listeners for the foreseeable future.”…..SiriusXM kicks off the 2022 college football season with play-by-play of 95 live games from August 27 through September 5. The opening week schedule on SiriusXM features games from every team from the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including #1 Alabama vs. Utah State, the season’s first Top 5 matchup of #5 Notre Dame at #2 Ohio State and the Top 25 matchups of #11 Oregon at #3 Georgia and #23 Cincinnati at #19 Arkansas.

Biden’s Student Loan Relief, Abortion Bans, FBI Raid/Documents Investigation, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy, Uvalde Police Chief Fired, and Vanessa Bryant Lawsuit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The student loan debt cancellation executive order announced by President Joe Biden; bans on abortion go into effect in three states; the aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the documents investigation; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the deadly strike on a civilian train; the high price of food and consumer goods and concerns about a recession; the Uvalde, Texas school board fires police chief Pete Arredondo; and Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa wins a $16 million judgement against Los Angeles County were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 25, 2021

| June 25, 2021

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, “Bridges, Roads and Condos,” looks back at this past week of June 21-25, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York 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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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 Host and Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Suspended from Practicing Law in New York. The New York State Appellate Division, First Department suspended the law license of former NYC mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York talk host Rudy Giuliani. The court ruled that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” It added that Giuliani’s conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.” The fate of Giuliani’s New York law license hangs in the balance as the court added, “We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings.”

Audacy Unveils Sports Podcast Studio Building 2400Sports. The new podcast studio for production of Audacy sports podcasts is being launched. 2400Sports houses Audacy Sports’ digital audio content, including both new and existing original podcasts. It is the latest addition to Audacy’s podcast portfolio, which contains premium podcast companies Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as the recently acquired Podcorn. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “We’re excited to launch a third major studio with a goal of building 2400Sports into the home of the country’s best sports podcasts. We look forward to developing elite partnerships, including our just-announced deal with MLB, to create truly special, riveting sports content.” In the new partnership with MLB, Audacy and the league will collaborate on the production and distribution of official podcast programming for the league and its clubs. The studio will launch with a new flagship podcast series in development that revisits baseball’s most dramatic and thrilling postseason campaigns. The first installment, coming this fall, will take a deep dive into the Chicago Cubs’ historic march to the 2016 World Series championship. Audacy will work with all 30 clubs to develop new podcast content. Also concurrent with the studio launch, Audacy announces a development deal with award-winning podcast producer Jody Avirgan’s Roulette Productions. Over the coming months, Avirgan will contribute to 2400Sports’ slate of programming by developing and creating new original shows across a range of sports and genres. From 2016-2020, Jody Avirgan was the executive producer and host of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts.

KBLA, Los Angeles Adds Black Information Network News. The new talk station launched by Tavis Smiley – KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” – is adding BIN: Black Information Network’s national news service to its programming, according to Premiere Networks. KBLA will feature Black Information Network News’ :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists. Premiere says the news service is available on more than 40 stations nationwide and is “the first and only 24/7 comprehensive national audio Black News service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” KBLA president and COO Elston Butler says, “We’re excited to partner with Black Information Network News. We knew it would deliver the trusted news and information that is valuable to our listeners. Other news sources offered KBLA a nice piece of the news pie, but with BIN, we felt we would receive the whole recipe that our listeners deserve.”

Cumulus Media Completes $175 Million Debt Paydown. The company completes a multi-step procedure it began in May of this year to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Here’s how it happened: On May 17, Cumulus Media completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. On May 25, it paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to a mandatory prepayment obligation arising from the company’s previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020. Pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, on May 26, 2021, the company launched a tender offer to repurchase approximately $26 million of the Notes at par, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. As of the expiration of the Tender Offer, approximately $3 million of Notes were validly tendered, accepted for payment and subsequently cancelled. Giving effect to the impact of the Tender Offer, approximately $450 million principal amount of Notes remains outstanding. Finally, on June 24, Cumulus submitted an irrevocable paydown notice to the administrative agent of the Term Loan to effectuate a required paydown of $23 million, which represents the remainder of the initial amount of the Tender Offer that was not validly tendered prior to the expiration date. Cumulus EVP and CFO Francisco J. Lopez-Balboa says, “As the improvement in economic and public health conditions continues to drive momentum in business trends, we felt it appropriate to accelerate several debt repayments in order to expedite our balance sheet de-levering, reduce interest expense, and increase our free cash flow generation. We believe this better leverage and free cash flow profile, more than $200 million of available liquidity and solid rebound trajectory are significantly enhancing our financial flexibility. Given our strong competitive position, proven execution track record, and numerous revenue growth drivers, we are confident in our multiple pathways to grow shareholder value.”

The Score’s Danny Parkins Leads Fundraising of More Than $650,000 for Food Bank. The Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project was the beneficiary of WSCR, Chicago’s “What About Chicago Radiothon.” The Audacy sports talker helped raise more than $650,000 for the charity launched by former Chicago Bear Sam Acho and its mission to erase a food desert and build a permanent facility that can fully service the community and those in need. 670 The Score brand manager Mitch Rosen says, “What a tremendous 24 hours. ‘The Score’ asked and the audience delivered for Austin Harvest to build a permanent food mart. I can’t thank our dedicated listeners, our score team, Danny Parkins who led all of us, and Sam Acho enough. We’re so proud to help support a great cause. Thank you, Chicago.” Parkins adds, “That’s the Chicago that I know and love. We saw a problem and helped to solve. So, when people ask, ‘What about Chicago?’ I want people to tell them the story of Austin Harvest, Sam Acho and ‘670 The Score.’ Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us erase a food desert and fund the construction of a permanent facility for Austin Harvest.” Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids.

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Raises $27,000-plus for Boston Children’s Hospital. The Beasley Media Group sports talk station raised more than $27,000 to benefit the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (P.A.C.T.) Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital via the 10th Annual Who’s Your Caddy? Classic charity golf tournament. WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive personality Tony Massarotti created the original event in memory of his nephew who was cared for by the P.A.C.T. Unit. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Massarotti, Chris L. and Erika O. from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and “The Sports Hub Golf Club” host Hardy.

Pompeo Speaks at National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above is former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) with Salem Radio Network VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup (right) at the annual National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas. Pompeo warned the 3,500 attendees of the dangers posed by teaching Critical Race Theory in schools and applauded Christian broadcasters for “helping protect religious freedom and traditional American values in our nation.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is hinting at a return to the talk radio business after taking a buyout from the paper that’s been acquired by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and launching his own media platform johnkassnews.com. He currently is hosting a podcast called “The Chicago Way with John Kass” on WGN-AM’s digital platform. In the past, he hosted a talk show on WLS-AM, first with co-host Jake Hartford, then with Lauren Cohn.  Kass tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I’m in meetings now with various broadcast entities to continue talking to people in Chicago. I think they might want to hear what I have to say.”…..Audacy announces that Mike Hoss is the new play-by-play announcer for New Orleans Saints game day broadcasts on news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Hoss will work with color analyst and Saints all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in the booth. Audacy New Orleans SVP and market manager Kevin Cassidy says, “When we started our search for the new ‘Voice of the Saints,’ the goal was not only professional play-by-play, but also someone with a deep connection to the team, the Saints amazing fan base and our community. Mike checks all the boxes. His extensive experience covering the team both on and off the field has allowed him to paint a front-row picture for fans over the course of his career, and we trust his knowledge will enhance our coverage on game days.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new station KTLR, Oklahoma City to its roster of affiliates…..Colorado Springs-based Way Media announces the addition of Steven Thompson as vice president of technology. Thompson was most recently VP of technology for Hope Media Group and KSBJ, Houston. WayFM VP of broadcast operations Jim Marshall comments, “The addition of Steven to the WayFM roster puts us in a position to further solidify our operations. He played a key role in KSBJ’s expansion in South Texas and I’m thrilled that Steven has joined our leadership team. He has a heart for God and a desire to excel in the technical arena. I love that combination.”

Former ‘Talk 106.7’ Atlanta Host Mike Brooks Dies at 66. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, former WYAY-FM, Atlanta “Talk 106.7” talk host Mike Brooks died unexpectedly Wednesday (6/23). Brooks was a former police officer who also had served as a correspondent for CNN, among numerous other career ventures that included hosting a talk radio show on Cumulus Media’s former news/talk station “Talk 106.7.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Goals and Delta Variant Top News/Talk Story This Week. The controversy over the vaccinations against COVID-19, the Biden administration’s goals, and the Delta variant combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the blocking of the For the People voting bill and race relations, followed by the economy and the compromise infrastructure bill 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.

NEED A GREAT EXPERT GUEST? Newsom Recall Attracts National Talk Media Interest. The official word that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will definitely face a recall election has sparked interest in the subject of California politics at talk media outlets across the nation. Attorney/author Wayne Avrashow is a reliable non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews on the Newson development as well as all things Golden State. He is a frequent contributor to RealClearPolitics and a California political insider. He has an extensive background in California politics, served on two government commissions, was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition, and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as chief of staff. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at Southwestern University School of Law and was an adjunct professor at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers and in legal, business, and real estate publications. He authored Success at Mediation: 10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used by law students at the University of Southern California School of Law. And he is the author of a current Amazon best-selling novel Center Stage: A Political Thriller (2021, RealClearPublishing) about a rock star who runs for the U.S. Senate. His experiences in politics, government and business, and as a practicing attorney provide unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns. His website is www.wayneavrashow.com. He can be contacted directly at 818-995-1100 or walaw@sbcglobal.net