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Friday, September 3, 2021

| September 3, 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, “I Had a Cow,” looks back at this past week of 8/30 – 9/3. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Larry Elder, gubernatorial candidate, California; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; 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 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.

Salem to Debut ‘Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.’ On Tuesday (9/7), Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network will launch the “Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.”  Salem says the podcast is an audio companion to the Daybreak Insider Newsletter, which is currently distributed each weekday morning to more than 100,000 subscribers. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “It’s clear that podcast listeners are looking for informed reporting on what’s really happening in their world. Within Salem, we have a wealth of resources, both for newsgathering and for analysis. With the ‘Daybreak Insider Podcast,’ we’ll be pooling all of those resources into a single podcast to provide in-depth coverage from a conservative worldview. You’ll hear trusted voices from SRN News, Townhall.com, as well as the Salem Radio Network every day on this podcast, and it will all be pulled together by the experienced voice of Rich Thomason.” Thomason has served for more than 20 years with SRN News as an anchor, correspondent, and news producer.

‘710 ESPN Seattle’ Announces ‘The Matt Hasselbeck Show.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, “710 ESPN Seattle” announces “The Matt Hasselbeck Show” joins the programming lineup as a weekly program. The new, one-hour show will air each Wednesday at 9:00 am as Hasselbeck joins morning host Mike Salk, who says, “No one tells a story quite like Matt and he uses his incredible experiences to paint an extraordinary picture of what’s happening in the NFL. He’s as entertaining, knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in this business and his Seahawks credentials are second to none. I can’t wait to talk with him every week!” Kyle Brown is program director for the Bonneville station. He adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to add one of the most illustrious players in Seahawks franchise history to our team here at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Matt is among the premier football analysts in the country and his indelible ties to Seattle make him the perfect addition to our Seahawks coverage.” The inaugural show will air Wednesday, September 15 and it also be offered as a weekly podcast at 710Sports.com.

Erick Erickson Lays into Anti-Vaxxers. In a story published in Newsweek, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk host Erick Erickson lashed out at anti-vaxxers after a relative of his died from COVID-19. The piece says that during Erickson’s Wednesday broadcast, he referred to anti-vaccination activists as “idiots” after a healthy, unvaccinated relative of his died from COVID-19 after being influenced by anti-vaccine messaging. He’s quoted calling “organized efforts to undermine trust in the vaccines… a deeply evil thing” and “a sin.” He also chastised a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators who harassed health care workers and people waiting in line for vaccinations that led to the vaccination site being shut down. He said on his program, “Listen to this, you idiots. What I care deeply about though is that some of you are scared of getting [the vaccine] because you’ve heard people on the internet lie to you and you don’t know that they’re lying. I don’t care that you don’t want the vaccine, but if you’re out there spreading lies and misinformation and disinformation and willfully undermining people’s trust with a vaccine, I care about that a great deal.”

iHeartMedia Panama City Fills Three Trucks for Hurricane Ida Relief. Staffers at iHeartMedia Panama City and community volunteers worked together on the “iHeartMedia Operation Storm Relief” effort to collect enough items to fill three semi-truck trailers donated by Tarpon Dock Seafood owner Greg Abrams, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. The drive was held at a local Super Walmart on Wednesday (9/1). Two of the trucks are en route to south Louisiana, with the third going early next week. iHeartMedia general manager Darrell Johnson says, “Having been through a category 5 hurricane ourselves less than three years ago, we knew what the folks of South Louisiana needed. Even as our community is still recovering from that natural disaster while also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important for our community to step up and help our Gulf Coast neighbors.” In addition to the supplies, the drive also raised over $10,000 in monetary donations, which was used for purchasing additional critically needed items to fill the third truck for Hurricane Ida victims

NAB’s Gordon Smith to Be Honored with 2021 Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith is this year’s recipient of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award that is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Smith will be presented with the Award at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on October 12 during NAB Show. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Past recipients include: Ajit Pai, Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University Sign Five-Year Broadcast Extension. Chicago news/talk outlet WGN-AM and Northwestern Athletics agree to a five-year broadcast rightsholder extension to keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the station through the 2025-26 seasons. Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio has been the home of the Wildcats since 1996. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Athletics head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins will continue to make frequent appearances on the station’s shows. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “For the past 25 years, WGN Radio has broadcast Northwestern football and men’s basketball and I am thrilled to be extending our partnership for five more years, bringing Chicago’s Big Ten team play-by-play to our Chicago’s Very Own audience. WGN sports director Dave Eanet, who has handled play-by-play duties for Wildcats football since 1990, and basketball since 1996, says, “I’m excited to see our relationship with Northwestern Athletics continue. We’ve had so many great moments: Bowl games, two Big Ten Championship games, the NCAA Tournament, and I know many more thrilling moments are ahead. We look forward to bringing them to WGN Radio listeners for the years to come.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 30 – September 3. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the exit was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about the COVID-19 variants and the vaccines & mask mandates. Coming in at #3 was the greater topic of climate change along with the devastation from Hurricane Ida and the battle to stop the Caldor wildfire in California. 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.

Friday, February 5, 2021

| February 5, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Freedom of Screech,” looks back at this past week of February 1-5, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkJoyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanySteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Rudy Giuliani Says WABC Radio Disclaimer ‘Rather Insulting.’ Former New York City mayor and recent Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York after the station aired a disclaimer at the end of a commercial break during Giuliani’s one-hour afternoon radio show on the station. On the heels of the announcement by voting systems firm Smartmatic that it is suing FOX News, some of its hosts, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and Giuliani for defamation for $2.7 billion, WABC added the disclaimer to his program that stated, “The views, assumptions and opinions expressed by former U.S. attorney, former attorney to the president of the United States, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his guests and callers on his program are strictly their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs or policies of WABC Radio, its owner Red Apple Group, its other hosts or its advertisers.” Giuliani expressed his surprise at the disclaimer stating on the air, “I would have thought they would have told me about that before just doing what they just did. Rather insulting. And gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone. And how they frighten everybody. I mean, we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany… They’ve got to warn you about me? I’m going to have to give that a lot of consideration. I also think putting it on without telling me ― not the right thing to do. Not the right thing to do at all.”

Holiday PPM Ratings Highs & Lows. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today reports on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM ratings and says, “Virtually nothing in any facet of life was ‘normal’ in the just-concluded calendar year, so it wouldn’t have been a monumental shock if Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 numbers strayed from past scripts. Pandemic-caused modified radio listening habits, combined with a completely out-of-the-norm presidential campaign/election/aftermath, accounted for some strange wobbles compared to past Holiday survey periods. Read his complete report here.

Donald Trump Resigns from SAG-AFTRA. As requested by the union after a Disciplinary Committee meeting, Donald Trump has resigned from SAG-AFTRA. However, the former president did not go quietly into the night. He wrote, in part, “Your organization has done little for its members, and nothing for me – besides collecting dues and promoting dangerous un-American policies and ideas – as evident by your massive unemployment rates and lawsuits from celebrated actors, who even recorded a video asking, ‘Why isn’t the union fighting for me?’ These, however, are policy failures. Your disciplinary failures are even more egregious. I no longer wish to be associated with your union. As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me.” You can read the entire text of his resignation here. For its part, the union responded, “Thank you.”

TALKERS News Notes. In the Twin Cities, Entercom and the Minnesota Timberwolves announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement that keeps WCCO-AM as the flagship station for Timberwolves basketball. The station has served as the radio home of the team since 2011. Entercom Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “This season we are excited to not only expand our distribution, but also try new content platforms that utilize our incredible talent and give fans an insider’s view into the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are an organization that’s forward-thinking and innovative, and it’s a perfect partner for 830 WCCO and the unparalleled signal coverage we provide to the Upper Midwest.”…..iHeartMedia is partnering with Paris Hilton to produce a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts as well as a series of PodPosts, what the company calls “a new format that merges social media into voice, and podcasting into a social environment.” The new series will launch February 22 with the “This is Paris” podcast hosted by Hilton herself, “which puts her own creative spin on the podcast format — releasing a blend of both playful, emotional and authentic scripted, scheduled episodes as well as spontaneous, shorter ‘social’ audio episodes each week between segments. This unique audio format will entertain audiences with content that includes candid interviews with influential and inspiring guests around the globe, discussing topics such as beauty, wellness, fashion, pop culture, travel, entrepreneurship, relationships and more.”…..Entercom’s C13Originals announces season three of the Gangster Capitalism documentary podcast franchise: Jerry Falwell Jr. The company says that “Gangster Capitalism, Season 3: Jerry Falwell Jr. and Liberty University” will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The series will launch in the spring and the investigative docuseries will feature more than 30 exclusive interviews from current and former students, staff, faculty, administration, and insiders, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians, some going on the record for the first time to reveal new stories and information that is explosive and revealing…..WNYC Studios and The Atlantic introduce, “The Experiment: Stories From an Unfinished Country,” a weekly podcast that will “give listeners the context they need to understand our country right now.” In each episode, host Julia Longoria is joined by The Atlantic’s writers and editors to “explore America’s promise through riveting, surprising, and even surreal stories that uncover powerful and sometimes invisible forces of history.”

Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, and GOP Cheney and Greene Issues Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The looming impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the investigation into the Capitol insurrection, and the GOP’s dealing with attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of February 1-5, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 stats, rollout of vaccines and concern about variants. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the Biden-GOP stimulus negotiations, and the financial markets activity. At #4 was race relations tied with police reform and the Morgan Wallen racial slur case. #5 was the cable TV ratings war tied with social media censorship and the cancel culture. Following at #6 was climate change tied with immigration reform. At #7 was U.S. relations with China and Russia tied with the Myanmar coup. #8 was the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the FBI agents slain while investigating a child porn case. Finally, at #10 was the countdown to Super Bowl LV. 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.

Friday, January 8, 2021

| January 8, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Responsibility, Integrity, and Credibility,” looks back at this past week of January 4-8, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / talk show host, regional syndication; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioAnne Eller, talk show host / station owner, WCRS, Greenwood, SC; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

KMJ, Fresno’s Ray Appleton Under Scrutiny for “Hanging” Comment. Fresno talk radio host Ray Appleton – heard daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM – is being taken to task, at least by the Fresno Bee, for saying on his program that “certain news editors should be hanged… maybe.” Appleton’s comment came during a monologue in which he complained about the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol compared to coverage of protests and riots in Portland and other cities, implying that reporting on those events was more sympathetic. He posted a clarification to his Facebook page that was later removed. In it, he says the comment was “clearly tongue in cheek.” On his program Thursday, he said, “So if you were upset by that, I didn’t mean it. I humbly apologize. I’m not talking about taking every news editor and hanging them. I mean, come on. Get with it.” The Bee reports that a call to KMJ for comment on Appleton’s comment was not returned.

Del Colliano: Cumulus Corporate Flips on Election Talk Mandate. According to InsideMusicMedia publisher Jerry Del Colliano, who cites an internal memo from Cumulus Media EVP of content Brian Philips, the company did an about-face on Wednesday as the assault on the Capitol building was taking place in Washington, DC. Del Colliano says that contrary to what many of the company’s talk hosts were saying up to that point about the legitimacy of the election results, Philips’ memo ordered all Cumulus and Westwood One personalities not to continue presenting any illegitimacy claim. He wrote, “We need to help induce national calm NOW. Cumulus and Westwood One will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’” He adds, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Del Colliano writes, “Some employees felt the sudden change in direction was so onerous that it in effect dictated what air talent could not broach on the air even after many years of tolerating if not encouraging controversial political talk for the purpose of increasing ratings.”

WFAN, New York Debuts Craig Carton-Hosted Gambling Addiction Program. The program is titled, “Hello, My Name is Craig,” and will air on WFAN-AM/FM, New York on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The 30-minute program is being hosted by Craig Carton and is being presented by 1-800-GAMBLER. In the program, Carton will “drive candid conversations with listeners about different aspects of gambling and provide resources and outlets to those seeking help or looking for ways to help their loved ones.” Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be a regular contributor and the program will feature various guests to share stories of indulgence, falls from grace, and the fight to overcome gambling addiction. Guests will include medical and therapy experts, members of the 1-800-GAMBLER team, founders of rehabilitation treatment centers, and more. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Legalized gambling is a growing part of the modern sports experience and the everyday fans’ conversations. Our obligation and commitment are to serve not only the audience that can responsibly enjoy these gaming elements, but also in a meaningful way help those, like Craig, who have an addiction. With Craig’s voice and unique perspective, along with outstanding partners and the influence of the WFAN platform, we will do just that.” Carton adds, “Each week, we will tackle different aspects of what for some is a fun recreation but for others is an addiction that forever alters and sometimes ends lives. The show will be a raw and revealing look into the fastest-growing vice in the country and I look forward to providing my first-hand perspective for both those dealing with the grip of their gambling compulsions as well as the loved ones in their lives.” Carton, who hosted mornings on WFAN with Boomer Esiason from 2007 to 2017, was convicted of fraud he perpetrated in order to pay off gambling debts. He served a year of a three-year sentence in prison. He returned to WFAN this fall to host the WFAN afternoon show with Evan Roberts.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Talk Host Dave Lee Announces Retirement. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning drive personality Dave Lee announces he’ll retire from the Entercom news/talk station at the end of April. Lee joined the station in September of 1989 from KFGO, Fargo where he was program director and afternoon drive personality. He first joined the station as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. Lee took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.

“Free Talk Live” to Migrate from GCN to Talk Media Network. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman announces that his New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated program will move from current syndicator Genesis Communications Network to Talk Media Network, effective January 18. Freeman says that while GCN has been “a great radio syndication partner” since 2004, for a few reasons (some of them technical) he’s made the hard decision to sign up with TMN. He says, “Talk Media Network is, like GCN, an affiliate-focused network. They don’t have makegoods or cramdowns or other undesirable, unfriendly corporate syndication crap. TMN’s CEO Josh Leng came up through the industry and has himself been a successful talk radio programmer.  He knows what it’s like in the trenches and has built his company with the desires of radio stations and programmers in mind. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Josh and I appreciate his passion for radio.” Freeman continues, “TMN’s also an interesting new take on a syndicate – they don’t have a network studio. Their shows feed directly to Westwood One’s uplink facility. That means that TMN’s overhead is reduced and the potential for failures is lower. It also means we had to start producing our show 100% from the FTL studio, which was no problem, since I’ve had that capability here for years but never used it until now. Since we’re now fully in charge of our program content, phones sound better and our feed on XDS should be a little higher quality as the audio won’t be re-encoded and re-processed at the network studio, since there isn’t one… We will stay on GCN for some time in order to give our stations plenty of time to make the jump. I’m grateful to the crew at GCN for their professionalism and support over the years and especially now. I don’t ever want to burn a bridge and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ted, George, Adam, and the rest of the crew there and wish them only the best.”

SportsGrid Content to Air on SiriusXM. There’s a new sports betting-oriented channel on SiriusXM as the satellite broadcaster inks a deal with SportsGrid. The new SportsGrid Radio channel will feature personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith plus expert contributors and guest analysts. The channel streams live from its production facilities adjacent to New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook. SportsGrid says its real-time reporting includes the daily odds, lines, matchups, injury reports, news and more across pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer.

iHeartMedia Completes Warrant Exchange for Stocks. The company announces that it has completed an exchange of iHeartMedia Warrants (financial instruments that give the holder the right to buy underlying shares at a specific price on or before a specified date) into shares of iHeartMedia Class A Common Stock, the Company’s publicly traded equity, or Class B Common Stock. The company reports that as of December 31, 2020, there were approximately 65 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 7 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and  75 million Warrants outstanding. Following the exchange, there will be approximately 110 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 29 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 7 million Warrants outstanding. The exchange was authorized by a previously issued Declaratory Ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving an increase in iHeartMedia’s authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100%. Certain shares of Class B Common Stock and Warrants were not converted into Class A Common Stock due to current regulatory restrictions applicable to certain shareholders. iHeartMedia expects additional conversions of Class B Common Stock and Warrants into Class A Common Stock.

Attack on Capitol Building Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 4-8, 2021. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol Building in Washington by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing denial of the election results combined with his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss there. Coming in at #3 was Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election that saw both Democrats beat their Republican opponents. 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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

| December 23, 2020

NOW POSTED: Christmas and New Year’s Weekend Installments of Special Two-Part “2020 Year in Review” Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” A two-part special installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on Talkers.com.  This new episode titled, “2020 Year in Review,” looks back at the history-laden past year. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host WPG, Atlantic City; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder Scamicide.com; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Kathy Valentine, rock musician, The Go-Go’s; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The acclaimed news/talk radio 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 “Freedom 93.7”; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to the Christmas weekend episode, please click here. To listen to the New Year’s weekend episode, 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.

The Talkers TenTM Top News/Talk Stories and People for 2020. Today (12/23), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the annual Talkers TenTM Top News/Talk Stories and People for 2020. In this annual feature seen above, the editors draw upon the year’s in-house research to reveal the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio in the U.S. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says, “2020 was obviously a year that will go down in history. The pandemic, a polarizing presidential election, coast-to-coast racial protests, and more combined to make this year one that was replete with storylines and personalities that consumed talk hosts and their listeners unlike any other year in the history of modern-day news/talk radio.”

Michael Savage to Leave Radio for Podcasting. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage announces that after 26 years on AM/FM radio, he’ll leave the medium in January to focus exclusively on podcasting. Savage says in a press release that “The Savage Nation Podcast” (available on numerous podcast platforms) “will be ‘essential Savage’: news, views, reviews, politics, history, science, nutrition, cooking, movies & TV, literature, philosophy, cars, animals, spirituality, and something more.” He adds that fans can “expect even more ‘edge’ as he frees himself from the constraints of corporate broadcasting.” Savage’s current deal with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One includes the production and distribution of a daily radio show and a companion podcast.

Round Two of December PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. Some moves of note include Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle adding six-tenths to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 7.2 share. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO loses eight-tenths, posting a 5.8 share and falling to the #6 rank while all-news sister WBZ-AM loses just two-tenths but retreats from #1 to #4 with a 6.8 share. Hearst Television’s WBAL-AM remains steady with a one-tenth increase for a 4.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway for this group of markets here. ALSO, Mike will post his Ratings Takeaways for the third and fourth rounds of markets tomorrow (12/24) and Tuesday (12/29), respectively.

WABC, New York and WLIR, Long Island Raise $174,000 for Cohen Children’s MC. Pictured above are 77WABC talk personalities Sid Rosenberg (left) and Curtis Sliwa (right) broadcasting as WABC, New York and WLIR-FM, Long Island “TALKRADIO 107” raised more than $174,000 last Friday (12/18) during the “Holiday Radiothon for the Kids at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.” Red Apple Media president Chad Lopez says, “We’re honored to partner with Cohen Children’s Medical Center again this year and to raise much-needed funds with our second Holiday Radiothon for The Kids. We have the utmost respect for the team at this world-class pediatric hospital and are happy to bring some holiday cheer during this season of giving. Our hearts go out to each and every family with a child in the hospital during the holidays.”

TALKERS News Notes. The annual White House Christmas Poem by Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston got some love from Austin Statesman-American columnist Ken Herman, who published Clugston’s poem in his column today (12/23). You can see it here…..Talk host and former U.S. Rep J.D. Hayworth is doing some fill-in hosting during the holidays. He sat in for Lars Larson on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated program on Monday (12/21) and hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago yesterday (12/22)…..The GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show adds new affiliate WRWH, Cleveland, Georgia to its roster of stations.

COVID Relief Bill, Trump Pardons, Trump Election Challenge, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines-Variant, Georgia Runoff Elections, Russian Cyberattack, Israel Government Collapses, and UK-EU Brexit Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The COVID relief and omnibus spending bill and President Trump’s demands; Trump pardons/commutes 20 including political allies; Trump and supporters’ denial of election results; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for a post-Christmas spike; the rollout of COVID vaccines in the U.S. and questions about effectiveness against coronavirus variants; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the hack of U.S. government computer networks by Russian agents; Israel’s inability to pass a budget and the collapse of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government; and the Brexit deal ahead of the December 31 deadline were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Four music outlets change hands in Florida as JVC Media acquires the four-station Fort Walton Beach cluster from Community Broadcasters LLC. In this deal, JVC Media gets CHR WECQ, country WHWY, adult hits WWAV, and classic rock WZLB. This acquisition brings JVC’s Florida holdings to 11 stations, including three in Orlando and four in Gainesville-Ocala. JVC executive Shane Reeve will oversee the integration of the Fort Walton Beach stations into the company and will be responsible for the staffing and operation of the facilities. He says, “I’m thrilled JVC is bringing our live and local approach to the Florida Panhandle and Emerald Coast!”…..Religious broadcaster WayFM announces the retirement of Thom Ewing, longtime station manager for WayFM Huntsville, Alabama. Ewing was hired in 2002 as the founding general manager of WAYH-FM, and has been the only manager in the station’s history. He led additional WayFM expansion into several other Alabama cities, including Birmingham and Gadsden.

Friday, January 17, 2020

| January 17, 2020

KXNO, Des Moines Cutbacks Reversed; PD and Hosts Rehired. According to a report by WHO-TV, Des Moines, after some serious blowback from listeners about the firing of six programming staffers from sports talk KXNO as part of a company-wide downsizing, iHeartMedia Des Moines market manager Joel McCrea sought from corporate and was granted permission to bring them back to their positions. Program director Andrew Downs; “The Morning Rush” personalities Travis Justice, Heather Burnside, and Sean Roberts; and “Sports Fanatics” hosts Chris Williams and Ross Peterson will return to their jobs. The story says in addition to the re-hiring, KXNO will be simulcast on (currently alternative) KDXA-FM at 106.3 FM beginning next week.

Newsmax TV Reports Increasing Viewership. According to recently released Comscore data, Newsmax TV shot past Bloomberg Television in total household reach, household coverage area rating, and average audience for the week of December 9, 2019.  It also topped C-SPAN in household coverage area rating for the same week.  Comscore’s data indicates that for the week of December 9, 2019, Newsmax TV had a total reach of 2.64 million households compared to 1.63 million for Bloomberg Television.  Comscore reports Newsmax had 1.03 million weekly viewers as of August 26, 2019.  By the broadcast week of December 9, 2019 Newsmax TV’s household reach had increased to 2.65 million households, reflecting both an increase in distribution of 21% and a disproportionate increase in reach.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “This is a major milestone for us.  Our content is resonating with Americans across the nation who are hungry for a fresh alternative to FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels.”  Ruddy adds that the network will make major lineup changes, announcing new programs in the coming weeks and months.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Weight of History in an A.D.D. World!” looks back at this past week of January 13-17, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; Trevor Smith, radio presenter, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Kilcoyne Exits KFNS, St. Louis. Sports media pro Martin Kilcoyne has left his on-air role with Randy Markel’s sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Frank Cusumano.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that Kilcoyne, who also works as sports director at KTVI-TV, says his television duties have expanded.  He adds that the time spent producing podcasts with St. Louis Cardinals television announcer Dan McLaughlin played a role in his decision.  Prior to rejoining KFNS, Kilcoyne did a five-year stint with CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS, St. Louis as a general issues host.

Allegretto to Lead Cumulus in Fort Walton Beach. Sales and management pro Ashley Allegretto rises from her regional sales manager, digital position with Cumulus Media’s Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola markets to vice president and market manager for the Fort Walton Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTW-AM “NewsTalk 1260” and four music-formatted stations.  Cumulus regional VP Pete De Simone says, “We are thrilled to promote Ashley Allegretto to lead this cluster.  Her passion for this community and her understanding of how to use our brands and our digital assets to help clients grow their businesses make her an effective leader.”  Allegretto adds, “Over the past 13 years I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our radio stations can have for local businesses and organizations in our community. I am eager to build on our past accomplishments and lead this group into our next round of success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Ocala, Florida morning show hosts Larry “The Giant” Whitler and Robin MacBlane are leaving their posts at Generations Broadcasting Corporation’s news/talk WOCA-AM/W242CA after today’s program.  They have been doing mornings at WOCA since 2002.  They’d previously worked together hosting a children’s show on WTMC – a signal that went dark in 2004.  The Ocala Star Banner reports that the two will continue to work together collaborating on children’s books and music…..Entercom all-news KYW, Philadelphia is inviting listeners to its “Executive Briefing” event, presented by Independence Blue Cross, Thursday, January 23 at 7:45 am.  KYW says this invite-only event “offers listeners the opportunity to listen to and take part in an in-depth discussion about the biggest issues facing the Philadelphia area and the nation in 2020.”  KYW Newsradio afternoon drive host Ian Bush will moderate the discussion that includes station anchors and reporters: Pat Loeb, city hall bureau chief; Mike DeNardo, education reporter; Cherri Gregg, community affairs reporter; Jim Melwert, KYW suburban bureau chief; and Kristen Johanson, crime and justice reporter.  Guests will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions during the final 20 minutes of the event.  Breakfast will be served courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar prior to the start of the event.  Listeners interested in attending the event can register online…..Beasley Media Group announces Chris Ornelas is named general counsel for the company, effective February 1.  Ornelas was most recently with the National Association of Broadcasters as chief operating and strategy officer in which he was responsible for overseeing the operations of and providing strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today…..Lemonada Media announces a new podcast called “Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett,” hosted and executive produced Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett and his wife Pele.  Lemonada, whose programs are distributed and repped by Westwood One, says “the series explores personal and provocative topics ranging from love, sex, parenting, the NFL, and politics.”  The first episode drops on January 31…..Entercom is being honored at the Project Voice Awards with the “Samsung Bixby Capsule of the Year” for its RADIO.COM integration.  The awards honor global best-in-class achievement across the emerging voice and AI realm and took place at the organization’s annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15.  Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re honored to be recognized among industry leaders by Project Voice.  This award is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovating in voice and to enhancing the consumer experience.  With Bixby, we were able to expand the reach of RADIO.COM to millions of listeners and engage with them whenever and wherever they are with an optimized presence.”

Cox Media Group Gets Deadline Extension to Sell Ohio Newspapers. Due to a ruling by a three-judge panel at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Cox Media Group must divest of its Ohio newspapers to avoid said newspapers having to reduce publication to three days per week.  Even though the company had been operating a radio station and newspaper in the southwestern Ohio region since 1935, the Court revived the rule prohibiting operating both.  The FCC appealed the three-judge ruling to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal was denied.  Now, CMG has until March 16 to complete a sale to a party that can publish the Dayton Daily News seven days per week.  Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie says, “We applaud the decision by the FCC and are grateful for the extension.  News does not conveniently schedule itself three days a week and we felt a reduced print schedule would negatively and severely impact the newspapers, our employees and the communities we serve.  CMG and Apollo have been pushing for this outcome because we feel that maintaining a daily publication schedule is the absolute best way to continue to produce the solid and timely journalism that our readers deserve.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 13-17. Not surprisingly, the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump were the most talked about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and the Democratic debate from Des Moines.  Coming in at #3 was the Iran crisis and U.S. foreign policy, followed by the U.S.-China trade war and the economy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Omaha hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5,” NRG Media launches an all-female morning show with current morning host Nikki Oswald and afternoon drive time personality Laura Blenkush.  The company says it will be the only all-female duo morning show in Omaha.  KQKQ program director Jay Michaels says, “Taking two of our highly talented personalities, and pairing them together for an all-female morning show is the obvious move when targeting women.”  Oswald was most recently partnered with Matt Tompkins, who recently moved over to NRG’s classic hits KOOO “THE NEW 101.9 The KEG” to host the morning show…..Two nationally syndicated programs land on Cumulus Media stations in South Carolina.  First, the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy is the new morning show at hip hop WDAI-FM, Myrtle Beach.  Programmer and air personality Mike “BigMMike” Bell says, “We are excited to bring ‘The Breakfast Club’ to The Grand Strand.  As Myrtle Beach’s source for hip hop and R&B, what better way to enter a new era than with the “World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show?”  Second, the Compass Media Networks-distributed “DeDe in the Morning” show with DeDe McGuire, Lady Jade, Rudy Rush, and comedian Michael Shawn assumes the morning drive daypart at Cumulus’ hip hop WYNN, Florence.  Bell, who also programs WYNN and handles afternoon drive, says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning show to Florence.  As the market leader, it was important that we went with a brand that can be trusted to deliver great entertainment our listeners will love.  DeDe is a seasoned vet and I’ve been a fan of her work for years.”