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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

| March 17, 2021

Saga Adds New Talk Station to Clarksville, Tennessee Cluster. The Saga Communications station group in Clarksville, Tennessee – known as 5 Star Media Group – has acquired WNZE-AM and translator W288DQ from Consolidated Media (the AM’s previous calls were WJZM). According to the report at Clarksville Now, the news/talk station – called “NewZee 105.5 FM and 1400 AM” is airing a slate of nationally syndicated talk programming including: Compass Media Networks’ “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, Westwood One’s Mark Levin, and more. Speaking about the acquisition, 5 Star Media Group general manager Katie Gambill says, “When this station became available, we saw it as a golden opportunity to round out our portfolio with radio talk while also expanding what we can do with local news. And it gives our business partners new ways to reach more customers.”

KTRS, St. Louis to Celebrate 25 Years Next Month. The CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS-AM is preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary next month. Current KTRS morning host and program director McGraw Milhaven says, “It was April 1996, when 550 KTRS radio signed on in St. Louis. At the time, the St. Louis business community, upset that corporate radio was gutting the fabric of St. Louis, started KTRS with the idea of bringing local back to local. The corporate radio reaction? ‘Local talk? All day long? With no syndication? We give it six months.’ Well 25 years later KTRS is celebrating 25 years of local talk radio. Some changes along the way. The general manager who put the deal together, longtime St. Louis radio executive Tim Dorsey, retired and was replaced by his brother Mark Dorsey, but the mission continues. Local talk, all day long. With great support from the local St. Louis community and local businesses, KTRS has only grown stronger over the years. Now, 25 years later, local talk is more important than ever and KTRS is here to prove once and for all that local radio can not only survive but thrive.”

Westwood One Blog: Podcasting Data from ‘Infinite Dial’ Most Compelling. Calling two of the slides from Edison Research’s and Triton Digital’s “Infinite Dial 2021” “the most compelling aspect of the study,” Westwood One’s Pierre Bouvard says in this week’s WWO blog that they’ve summarized “the most crucial data on the U.S. podcast audience.” Bouvard cites the following data as important to viewing the changes in the U.S. podcasting audience over the past five years: Nearly eight in ten 12+ Americans are familiar with the term podcasting, up from 60% in 2017; 57% of Americans have ever listened to a podcast, a near 50% increase since 2017 (40%); 41% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, a 71% increase versus 2017 (24%); among persons 12-34, podcast usage has crashed through the 50% barrier with a monthly reach of 56%; The weekly podcast audience (28%) has nearly doubled over the same period from 15% in 2017; and podcast habituation is up with 68% of the monthly podcast audience having also listened in the past week, an 8% increase from 2017. Looking back 10 years, the study shows that 10 years ago, the podcast audience was 58% male and 42% female while today the monthly podcast audience is more evenly split between men and women. Over the past 10 years, the audience is diversifying as the persons 55+ proportion of the monthly podcast audience has grown from 14% to 21%; the persons 12-34 audience composition has increased from 46% to 50%; and the persons 35-54 audience composition has dropped from 40% to 29%. Also, the podcast audience is more diverse: The ethnic audience composition of monthly podcast listeners is up from 32% in 2011 to 43% in 2021. The Hispanic audience composition has surged from 11% to 16% over the 10-year period. See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive personality Bob Sirott is being honored by the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois with the 2021 Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media. Sirott will receive the honor at the organization’s March 25 annual meeting…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast hosted by actress and singer-songwriter Minnie Driver called, “Minnie Questions with Minnie Driver. ” iHeartMedia says in the intimate talk show-style podcast, Driver will ask a wide-range of celebrity guests the same seven “mini” questions to uncover larger truths and help us better understand ourselves and the world around us. Driver says, “I have wanted to share this crazy idea for a podcast for such a long time. I question everything about the world around me, and I’m so excited to share these questions I’ve discovered and host these conversations that can help other people find happiness, self-love and belonging, too.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – as the official network radio partner of the NCAA – begins its presentation of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tomorrow (3/18) at 5:00 pm ET. WWO will present play-by-play from all 67 games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. Games will air on more than 400 affiliate stations across the country and via SiriusXM…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh radio stations – including news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” – raised funds to provide more than 650,000 meals for people in need through the “Giant Eagle Feed the Need Radiothon” that took place yesterday (3/16). Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “This is a great example of Pittsburghers taking care of each other and using the power of radio to spread the message of the need in our region. Helping the community is part of the fabric of what we do. On behalf of our amazing team at Entercom Pittsburgh, I want to once again thank our listeners for stepping up to help our neighbors in need.”

Atlanta Spa Slayings, Migrant Border Crisis, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Dems Attack on the Filibuster, Newsom Recall Effort, U.S. Sanctions 24 Chinese and Hong Kong Officials, and the Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The shooting deaths of  eight Asians at several spas in the Atlanta area by a white suspect; the Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; Democrats fight with Republicans over the former’s attempt to kill the Senate filibuster; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the U.S. sanctions 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act; and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pictured above is Michael Harrison contemplating lyrics to “I Know You’re Real” while walking in the woods that surround his Western Massachusetts home searching for The Tree Of To Be.

Calling All Animals! TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has put out an open “casting call” to the talk media industry readers of this publication to submit royalty free original photos of animals that are, as he puts it, “special in their lives.” Some of the photos submitted will be used in a music video project Harrison is developing for release next month about the animal welfare movement of which he is a longtime advocate. Harrison has co-written a song about the relationship between human beings and other species titled, “I Know You’re Real,” which addresses the subject of animal welfare in what he describes as an “inspirationally spiritual manner.” It has been recorded by the legendary rock band Gunhill Road of which Harrison is now an official member and will appear on the storied 50-year-old ensemble’s forthcoming 13-song album, What Year Is This! scheduled for release in April. Harrison says, “We are looking for photos of people’s domestic pets, farm animals or personal wildlife photography subjects to use in the video.” Please send JPG photo files of animals that are royalty free to Harrison at michael@talkers.com. Include the name of the animal (if it is a pet) and a statement that the photo and rights to its use are being donated to the Gunhill Road Video Project without expectation of payment or credit. (Attempts will be made to properly credit the animals and photographers if and where possible.) Two versions of the song will appear on the album. One will feature Harrison delivering the lyrics in spoken word fashion and the other will be a fully sung version featuring lead vocals by Gunhill Road member (and highly accomplished Broadway musician) Brian Koonin. The 2021 incarnation of Gunhill Road consists of founding members Steve Goldrich and Glenn Leopold, longtime member Paul Reisch, and recently added members Harrison and Koonin. Harrison and the other band members will be available for talk media interviews upon the release of the album. Stay tuned to TALKERS for more information about this project coming in early April.

Friday, July 31, 2020

| July 31, 2020

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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Postpone, Opt Out, and Cancel!” looks back at this past week of July 27-31, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network / executive producer, “Uncle Tom”; Herman Cain (deceased) / talk show host, Newsmax TVShadoe Stevens, host / producer, “Mental Radio”; Steve Trevelise, talk show host, “New Jersey 101.5” / WIP, Philadelphia; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Remembering Herman Cain. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a piece on Herman Cain – the radio talk host and business executive who died yesterday (7/30) at the age of 74 — that was originally run in Inside Radio in 2008 when Kinosian served there as special features editor. It ran three years before Cain would begin his campaign for president for the 2012 election and in addition to revealing facts about his personal history, it provides insight into his political philosophy at the time.  Read it here.

Legal Battle Between Jackson, Tennessee News/Talk Stations Resolved. According to a story in the Jackson Sun, a legal dispute between Grace Broadcasting and Wireless Group over a non-compete issue has been settled, with one company buying the other’s news/talk station. Wireless Group – owner of news/talk WNWS-FM – was suing Grace Broadcasting – owner of news/talk WTJS-FM – after former WNWS host Dan Reaves left and began working for WTJS. Wireless Group claimed Reaves was in violation of his contract while Reaves argued the deal was never a legal contract. The Sun reports that as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the Jackson, Tennessee advertising market, the two sides became more amenable to a settlement that culminated with Grace acquiring WNWS for an undisclosed sum. The future of WNWS’ programming is reportedly uncertain at this time.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Down; Business Has Been ‘Resilient.’ Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, SiriusXM says revenue was $1.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same period a year ago. Net income was reported to be $243 million in Q2 of 2020, down 7.9% from Q2 2019 net income of $263 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter remained roughly unchanged at $615 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “Sirius XM’s business during this challenging period has been resilient, and with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year, I’m pleased to resume offering subscriber and financial guidance.  Despite the incredible economic stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-pay net subscriber additions grew by nearly 200,000 over the first quarter of the year, and we reported improved churn of just 1.6% per month with rising ARPU. Although advertising revenue fell 34% in the quarter, substantial expense savings in SAC and other areas provided a complete offset, and we generated over half a billion dollars of free cash flow.  We are investing in our business, our people, and external opportunities to position ourselves for future growth.”

Jim Meyer on Howard Stern’s Future. During yesterday’s earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the negotiations underway with Howard Stern and he said, in part, “Howard is performing at the top of his game right now. And he has been for pretty consistently some time. I couldn’t be happier with the status of Howard’s show. In particular, given the transition he’s made from doing everything at our studio at 1221 in New York to now doing it remotely and doing it flawlessly. I’ve been clear. I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM for as long as Howard Stern wants to work. And I’ve engaged with Howard’s team… I know what Howard wants and we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can read the whole earnings call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. WDBJ-TV, Lynchburg, Virginia reports that news/talk WLNI-AM, Lynchburg morning drive talk host Larry Dowdy is retiring from his role with the station after a 47-year career in radio. Dowdy is not retiring completely; he plans to do some commercial voiceover work and some podcasting. WLNI PD Kenny Shelton says of Dowdy, “When I started working with him, I just realized what a great talent he is, what a great person he is. The way he goes about doing this job is a great lesson to anybody in the business as far as show prep that he does and just his knowledge of things.”…..Beginning with tonight’s Oakland A’s game against the Mariners in Seattle, Oakland fans will be able to hear their team play on iHeartMedia’s business news KNEW-AM, Oakland. Back in February, the team announced that it had no local radio deal and the way to hear games would be via streaming. Yesterday (7/30), the team announced the deal to air the remainder of this season on KNEW…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde is moving to the afternoon drive daypart, working from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on air. Traffic reports in the mornings and late mornings are being provided by Nexstar’s WGN-TV…..The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s releases the latest episode of the AWM Gracie Interview Series titled, “Medicine and The Media – Leadership in Historic Times,” with American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D.. The session is moderated by Entercom media personality Kelly Ford.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Dr. Bailey shared meaningful insight into the important partnership between media and the medical community. This is a critical time for media to understand its role and for all of us to know our roles as individuals. We look forward to hosting more virtual gatherings to share the wisdom of experienced leaders.” Listen here.

The Presidential Race, Politics, and the Federal Agents Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 27-31. The November presidential election, politics, and the debate over the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal troops to cities where Black Lives Matter protests are taking place tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising cases of COVID-19 in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was health care, medications for treating COVID-19 and the race to create a vaccine, followed by the debate over opening schools this fall at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Salem Seeks Chief Engineer for NYC. This chief engineer position is in Salem Media Group’s New York City operations for news/talk WNYM “AM 570 The Answer” and Christian teaching WMCA (plus translator W272DX). See the list of position duties and qualifications necessary to be considered – and how to apply – here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” is “The Morning Mess,” featuring Joey Boy, Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard, and Karla Hernandez. The company says, “The show, currently on sister station “Live 101.5” (KALV-FM) in Phoenix, will feature curated local content for Los Angeles listeners, including lifestyle, news, daily traffic and weather updates, as well as city-specific COVID updates. Listeners in L.A. will also hear popular segments like “Nachoo’s Revenge,” featuring Joey Boy’s alter ego prank calling unsuspecting listeners. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Joey Boy and ‘The Morning Mess’ are a true reflection of Southern California. They are diverse, dynamic, socially responsible and completely transparent.”…..Radio pro Frank Ski returns to Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM, Washington, DC for afternoon drive hosting “The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown,” beginning Monday (8/3). This comes after Ski’s exit from Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103” late last month.  WHUR program director Al Payne says, “Frank Ski has dominated ratings and has an incredible legacy of community enrichment wherever he is on the air. He is a media icon and adding his name to WHUR once again completes our DMV Dream Team.”.….Salem Media Group announces that radio pro Amanda Carroll joins the Nashville-based Salem Music Network to produce a five-hour show for daily syndication, effective Monday (8/3). The company says, “Throughout her career, she has worked at major market Christian radio stations, including 89.3 KSBJ-FM in Houston, 91.9 WGTS in Washington, D.C. and K-LOVE national network. Most recently, Carroll worked at Sacramento’s adult contemporary station, KYMX-FM Mix 96.1.”

Friday, July 24, 2020

| July 24, 2020

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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “BLM and MLB!” looks back at this past week of July 20-24, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Lars Larson, talk show host KXL, Portland/Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaSteve Trevelise, talk show host, New Jersey 101.5/WIP, Philadelphia; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/commentator, “MD Edge Psychcast.” 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Mike Francesa Announces Retirement from WFAN and RADIO.COM. New York City sports talk legend Mike Francesa announced on Thursday’s program that this afternoon’s program (Friday, July 24) would be his last regularly scheduled show on “The Fan.” He told his listeners, “Tomorrow night will be my last regularly scheduled broadcast on ‘The Fan.’ I have been discussing this with the company for a while. We agreed I would stay until sports came back. The reason – I have cut back dramatically. This has been a very strange year. It has made me think about different things and do different things.” Francesa has been at Entercom’s WFAN for 33 years. He left the station at the end of 2017 when his contract ran out and WFAN replaced him with Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, but Francesa returned four months later and resumed his afternoon show, bumping the trio to middays. At the end of 2019, Francesa’s schedule was dramatically changed as he began hosting a half-hour program on WFAN and a full hour on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM. Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moved from middays into the afternoon drive slot. Senior vice president and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Mike has been the heart of WFAN for over 30 years, and though his day in and day out presence has come to an end, that bond happily will continue. The future of WFAN as the premiere sports platform in New York is bright, and that is in large part to the foundation that Mike has helped build.”

WHUB-AM, Cookeville, Tennessee Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above (from l-r) are Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, WHUB program director and morning drive host Brent Fleshman, and Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter recognizing the 80th anniversary of the Zimmer Broadcasting station. It went on the air on July 20, 1940. Fleshman – a 2016 NAB Marconi winner for Small Market Personality of the Year – tells TALKERS magazine that the company recently built a brand-new studio specifically for the news/talk station to accommodate more guests.

iHeartMedia Adds Sports Talker to Eau Claire, Wisconsin Market. There’s a new sports talk outlet in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin market as iHeartMedia drops the classic hits simulcast on WBIZ-AM/W254CN and launches “98-7 The Fan” on the two signals The station cherry-picks sports talk shows heard in other Wisconsin and Minnesota markets for its programming. Morning drive “The Power Trip” and 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show “The Common Man” emanate from the company’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” and late morning “Nine to Noon with John Kuhn” and afternoon drive “Drew & KB” are based at WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming Dave DeVille says, “The Chippewa Valley is often a house divided when it comes to Wisconsin and Minnesota sports teams. We’ve curated a home base station for all sports fans to enjoy.” The station will air Chippewa Valley area high school sports and professional sports including Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings and Milwaukee Bucks.

TALKERS News Notes. WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the air. Walt Palmer is director of broadcast operations, engineering, and programming for the Resort Broadcasting Co station. He tells TALKERS magazine, “‘Sunny 92.7’ music morphed to ‘The TALK of Delmarva,’ providing 20 hours of live programming, 10 of which are live and local. Resort Broadcasting has assured listeners it is committed to serving the local communities with news, talk, sports, and information.” The station features local hosts Mike Bradley in AM drive, Jake Smith in late mornings, and Duke Brooks in afternoon drive…..SmartTalk Radio Network and WCGO, Chicago talk radio personality Blanquita Cullum – host of “The Hard Question” – is the moderator of the Voices Against Trafficking international human rights forum that will stream via Facebook Live on July 29 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Cullum tells TALKERS magazine, “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest-growing, multibillion-dollar criminal industry exploiting men, women, and children across the globe. This program will feature leading national and international human rights activists sharing details on many aspects of the current state of human trafficking.” Guest speakers include: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, numerous U.S. members of congress, internet safety leaders, law enforcement experts, and survivors who are forging a new path for human rights…..Entercom’s St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” renews to serve as an outlet for Kansas City Chiefs football play-by-play and will simulcast broadcasts from sister station WDAF-FM, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf,” the team’s flagship station.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WCXI, Detroit to News/Talk. Detroit outlet WCXI-AM flips from oldies to conservative talk using a lineup of conservative talk shows from Premiere Networks and FOX News Radio. Branded “Freedom 1160 WCXI” by owner Birach Broadcasting Corporation, the station’s lineup consists of: “FOX News Rundown” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Guy Benson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Buck Sexton from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Dan Bongino from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” in overnights.

Schools Opening Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 20-24. The debate over how to safely open schools this fall was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spike in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was talk about health care, vaccine development, and the $1.95 billion deal for Pfizer to develop a vaccine, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the GOP-crafted stimulus package at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Independent Broadcasters Association Organizes. The new Independent Broadcasters Association announces that it has filed articles of incorporation in the State of Minnesota and is “officially in business.” Founding organizer Ron Stone of Adams Radio Group says, “We filed the articles last Friday, on a day where we were 96% of our 3,000-station goal. 2,877 stations had signed up, represented by just under 600 owners / operators. We continue to have additional owners signing up every day.” He adds that the initial board of directors has been selected and includes: Deborah Barrera, R Communications; Kristin Cantrell, Seven Mountains Media and Cap City Communications; Darrell Calton, Iliad Media Group; Allen Dick, Dick Broadcasting; Mike Flood, Flood Communications; Kenneth Forte, R&F Communications; Charles Johnson, Northstar Broadcast; Kimberly Martinez, All Pro Broadcasting; Gregory Pretko, Southern Stone Communications; Kelly Radandt, Woodward Radio Group; Tony Renda, Renda Broadcasting; David Stephens, Stephens Media Group; Ron Stone, Adams Radio Group; Tony Richards, Kensington Digital; Cindy Taylor, Ohio Midland Newsgroup; Rebecca White, Salem Media (of Indiana); and Sandra Woodruff, Northwest Indy Radio. Stone adds, “Our first board meeting will be scheduled for next week, to decide mostly organizational matters and to approve our business plan. We will have a conference call with everyone that has signed up on www.radioiba.org schedule shortly after the board meeting to review the business plan and goals of the IBA.” New members are still being accepted.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes the 2020 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine announce the publication of the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We are proud to publish the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in way that puts them among the “most important.” See this year’s Heavy Hundred here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bringmethenews.com reports that Northern Lights Broadcasting has let go of alternative KQGO “Go 96.3” morning show “Ben and Dana” – Ben Holsen and Dana Wessel – in a budget-related move. Wessel tweeted to listeners: “Got some news to share. I was let go by ‘Go963.’ Covid is having a big impact on a lot of businesses and radio is no different. I wanna say thanks and send love to all my colleagues, especially Ben for putting up with me every morning. I have been at ‘Go’ since the day it launched and poured my heart and soul into it.”…..Cox Media Group Orlando moves CHR WPYO afternoon host Danie B and evening personality Kevin Kon to the morning drive daypart as “Danie & Kevin Mornings on Power 95.3.” WPYO brand manager Will Calder says, “I have been watching their chemistry for years and they truly are the best of friends and have the kind of relationship with each other – and our listeners – that make those deep memorable, emotional connections. Moving them to mornings felt like such a natural fit as they will definitely take over Central Florida.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Christopher Squire vice president of sales for its Philadelphia station group, effective immediately. Squire was most recently general sales manager for Townsquare Media’s Trenton-Princeton stations. Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore states, “I am thrilled to add Chris to our team. He is someone that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years and have been impressed by his leadership qualities, his ability to build meaningful relationships with client partners and his dedication to helping the people he works with succeed. His positive outlook and enthusiasm are contagious and I can’t wait to continue to build on our team’s success with his help.”…..Sales and management pro Johnette Cochran has been director of sales for Adams Radio Group’s five station Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland operations consisting of five music brands since December of 2019. Now, she rises to vice president and general manager for the cluster. She says, “I’m delighted to grow into this position with Adams Radio Group. Becoming a general manager has always been my goal and I am blessed to have this opportunity on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. I have been connecting to the community in a limited way during Covid, and now I’m free to truly get out and get to know the people in this great market.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

| June 23, 2020

Ramsey Solutions to Expand; Create 600 News Jobs. The Tennessean reports that Dave Ramsey’s Ramsey Solutions is investing $52 million to construct a second office building on its campus in Franklin, Tennessee and will create 600 new jobs. The paper says this project is “part of Ramsey Solutions’ continued expansion, which started in 2015 when the company closed on 47 acres of land in the Berry Farms development.” Dave Ramsey is quoted saying, “We appreciate our partnership with Governor [Bill] Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in helping us create another 600 jobs for our state. Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration. It’s helping boost our economy, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” The story goes on to say that in 2019, “the Ramsey team moved into the first six-story office building, which includes podcast and radio studios, more than 200,000 square feet of workspace, a team member cafeteria, a bookstore and coffee shop for guests watching ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ live in the studio. This latest expansion will accommodate the company’s continued growth. Construction on the second office building began in August 2019 and is expected to be completed in May 2021.”

Joe Pags Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘The Weekend.’ The weekly issues-oriented program “The Weekend” has been airing on iHeartMedia stations since the late 1990s. It was created to provide live weekend talk content for the company’s news/talk stations and featured a rotating cast of then-Clear Channel talk hosts. In June of 2010, Premiere Networks named WOAI, San Antonio talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo the permanent host of the three-hour show that is heard on more than 300 stations.  Premiere says, “Each weekend on the show, Joe Pagliarulo – or “Pags” as he’s affectionately known – offers listeners a refreshing break from traditional talk as he covers a variety of stories and topics that affect all Americans – from family, social issues, and pop culture, to news headlines and politics. The relevant, entertaining and often funny program also features playful debate.” Speaking about his 10th anniversary, Pags says, “It is such an honor to be able to crack the mic every weekend and talk to wonderful people across the nation! Time flies when doing what I love. I’m humbled that it’s been a decade!  Looking forward to many more years to come.”

Heidi Glaus Hosts Afternoons on KTRS-AM, St. Louis. With the recent retirement of Guy Phillips from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS-AM, St. Louis, the station elevates Phillips’ co-host Heidi Glaus to lead personality. The station says Glaus “debuts her new show ‘The Heidi Glaus Show with Josh Gilbert’ after a short but solid run with radio legend Guy Phillips. Heidi is a former, longtime reporter and host of ‘Show Me St. Louis’ for KSDK television. Glaus is originally from the small town of New Madrid, Missouri. She attended Williams Woods University and played softball and basketball. Following college, she started working at KSDK in 1996 as an intern, then transitioned into working as a production assistant for the network after her internship ended.” KTRS says Josh Gilbert joined KTRS in 2010 handling shifts “nobody else wanted to do.” After producing the “Guy Phillips Show,” Gilbert rises to his new producer/co-host role.

PPM Analysis: COVID-19’s Effect on Spoken-Word Listening. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM and April 2020 PPM surveys to analyze spoken word listening trends. In this report based on weekly, 6+ AQH share, Kinosian charts listening trends by market, ratings gains by market, ratings losses by market, top 20 gains by spoken-word stations, top 20 losses by spoken-word stations, and more. See it all here.

Jason McCollim Elevated to SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio. Programming pro Jason McCollim moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs/Pueblo markets where he was SVP of programming to the company’s Austin/San Antonio region to serve in the same capacity. The clusters include legendary news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio; sports talk KVET-AM, Austin; and 13 other brands. iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio president Matt Martin says, “It is terrific to re-connect and work with Jason again. Jason is passionate about leading teams, is a proven winner, and fits our culture perfectly. We are excited to welcome him to our team.” McCollim comments, “Thank you iHeartMedia for this fantastic opportunity to work in not one, but two of the most competitive radio landscapes in the country. I am beyond excited to join forces with the already incredible leadership, sales, and programming teams in the Austin and San Antonio markets.”

Peter Tripi Rises to EVP of Affiliate Sales at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Peter Tripi is promoted from his senior vice president of affiliate sales/talk and morning shows position with Premiere Networks to executive vice president of affiliate sales. In this new position, Tripi will oversee affiliate sales and affiliate marketing for all of Premiere’s talent, including: Rush Limbaugh, Ryan Seacrest, Delilah, Sean Hannity, Steve Harvey, Glenn Beck, The Breakfast Club, Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, the FOX Sports Radio Network, and many others. Additionally, he’ll manage affiliations for more than 60 prep, production, imaging and research services. In total, Tripi and his team are responsible for more than 7,100 radio affiliations worldwide. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “I’ve worked with Peter for over two decades and I couldn’t ask for a better representative for our unmatched lineup of national radio personalities and their brands. His extensive industry experience and tremendous insight make him an effective leader and valued member of our team. I look forward to working together for years to come.”

Spiking COVID-19 Numbers in South and West, Trump Tulsa Rally/Presidential Race, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial Era Statues, Seattle Autonomous Zone, and Trump Expands Visa Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The rising number of cases of COVID-19 in states in the South and the West as economies re-open; the aftermath of President Trump’s rally in Tulsa and his race against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests at LaFayette Park in DC; the movement to remove statues of Confederate and Colonial-era figures from public land; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announces the city will take back the Capitol Hill district that’s been an “autonomous zone”; and President Trump’s expansion of the ban on employment-based visas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. WNYM-AM, New York “AM970 The Answer” announces a new producer for the morning drive “Joe Piscopo Show.” The Salem Media Group station says it recently said “goodbye” to longtime producer Frank Morano and is now welcoming back Joseph Sibilia as the new producer for the program. Sibilia worked on ‘The Joe Piscopo Show’ from 2017 – 2018 as a social media assistant and production assistant. He left the show to take on the executive/associate producer and director of parody development role at Entercom’s WPHT, Philadelphia…..According to data from Edison Research’s May 2020 Share of Ear data, streaming hit double digits for the first time with 10% of AM/FM radio listening coming from streams versus 90% of listening on a traditional radio receiver. This comes as listening patterns have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Edison director of research Laura Ivey says, “Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow. While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” She adds, “The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports, while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News will present the special, “Black Lives Matter: From Protests to Police Reform,” over the July 4th holiday weekend. Correspondent Elliott Francis will explore “how the killing of George Floyd by a police officer sparked a national reckoning on racial and social injustice in the United States and fueled a movement years in the making, with massive demonstrations across cities large and small protesting violent police tactics. Francis also will look at the impact the movement is having from the boardroom to the courtroom, and from the sidelines to the big screen.” It will replace “The Week in Review” on July 4-5…..CBS Audio announces its special one-hour, weekend program “Coronavirus: Changed Forever” has evolved into “America: Changed Forever,” allowing it to address “new issues emerging daily from protests to elections to health.” Also, CBS is presenting its three-hour Independence Day special hosted by Gil Gross. CBS says, “From fireworks to the Declaration of Independence, this three-hour block of programming will focus on what makes July 4​th so special to all Americans and how this year’s most patriotic holiday will be so different from celebrations of the past.”…..ABC Audio is providing special programming to affiliates for the July 4th holiday weekend. For talk stations, ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone hosts “Turning to Tech,” a show that explores how Americans used technology while sheltering in place. From virtual classrooms and doctor appointments, to exercising at home and remote work, Stone reports on the new role technology plays in daily life…..A podcast production partnership has been struck between iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio and WarnerMedia Entertainment (HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS, truTV, etc) for the parties to co-produce a slate of companion podcasts for HBO Max’s upcoming catalog of original and legacy shows. The first podcasts to debut will include companion podcasts for the comedy thriller series “Search Party” and sci-fi drama “Raised by Wolves.” The new slate of companion podcasts will play as standalone productions in their own right, but will often center around and help promote HBO Max programming…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington says that in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd and renewed calls for meaningful change and racial equality in America, it is releasing a new podcast titled, “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America.” The program is hosted by longtime WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green and former WTOP contributor and creator of “Core Values,” Chris Core. WTOP says, “Each week, JJ and Chris – a black man and a white man who have known each other for 30 years – will engage in raw, real, honest and, sometimes, uncomfortable conversations about race. JJ and Chris will also invite guests to offer their knowledge and opinions on issues and give listeners an opportunity to ask questions in a safe place.” The podcast is a “revival” of a similar radio show the pair piloted in 1993 called “Black and White” while they were colleagues at crosstown WMAL…..Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Kenyon is one of 31 broadcasters to receive the honor since 1989. Entercom Detroit regional president Michael Doyle says, “Debbie is a relentless leader whose work ethic and breadth of expertise serve as a pillar for our Detroit market. I congratulate her for this distinguished honor and am proud to see her outstanding career achievements recognized through this award.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WRKI, Danbury, Connecticut “I-95” program director and afternoon drive personality Tim Sheehan exits the station after a 30-year career. The station’s morning host Ethan Carey reports on the “I-95” website, “It was 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2020, when I-95’s Tim Sheehan turned on his microphone for the last time to say goodbye to his afternoon classic rock audience. He told me it was time for a new challenge and a new adventure. He graciously thanked his listeners for their support over the last 30 years and handed over the reins as I-95’s afternoon rock jock to I-95 production director and former part-time air personality, Large Dave.”…..iHeartMedia announces its all-new television and radio special, “iHeartCountry 4th of July BBQ” featuring country music artists Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina, and Old Dominion performing live from the backyards of their homes. The program is being hosted by Bobby Bones. It’ll be broadcast as a television event on Friday, July 3 at 8:00 pm ET on The CW Network and ​audio broadcast on iHeartCountry stations nationwide…..Alpha Media’s classic hits KXGL, Amarillo, Texas “100.9 The Eagle” adds the Sun Broadcast Group syndicated “Ashley and Brad” show to air on mornings…..The Tulsa Music Awards names country KWEN-FM “K95.5” morning drive personality Natalie Cash “Tulsa’s Favorite Radio Personality.” Cash co-hosts the “Cash & Bradley Show” on the Cox Media Group station. Station PD Matt Bradley says, “Natalie is bold and vivacious and so much fun – it’s hard not to love her and want to help her on whatever project she is working on. When Natalie tells listeners that we are going to get involved and do something to help others, it is incredible the way they respond. She really knows how to utilize the power of radio to affect change in a meaningful way.”

Monday, August 5, 2019

| August 5, 2019

Radio HOF Announces “Class of 2019.” The nine newest members of the Radio Hall of Fame who will be inducted at a November 8 ceremony in New York City’s Gotham Hall are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Harry Harrison; Kevin Ryder & Gene “Bean” Baxter (“Kevin & Bean”); Joe Madison; Jim Rome; Ryan Seacrest; John Tesh; and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Radio HOF chair Kraig Kitchin remarks, “I am especially proud to welcome these individuals into the Radio Hall of Fame. Their on-air performances and audience relationships are especially remarkable. Each of our 2019 nominees [is] worthy of induction. I’m appreciative of all those who participated in our process of selecting our Class of 2019, who will join the 238 Radio Hall of Fame inductees already recognized for their great work.” Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton does afternoon drive on iHeartMedia New York rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” and his “Weekly Top 30 Countdown” is syndicated by Premiere Networks. Harry Harrison (“Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years”) was a mainstay New York City morning talent on WMCA, WABC, and WCBS-FM. Kevin and Bean (“Active Local/Regional, 10+ years”) have been overseeing mornings on Entercom Los Angeles alternative KROQ. Joe Madison – “The Black Eagle” – is heard on SiriusXM’s “Urban View” channel. Jim Rome (“Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years”), whose show was called a “freaking jungle” by a listener – and the term stuck – airs on CBS Sports Radio. Ryan Seacrest’s multi-platforms include mornings on iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” and Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” and “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.” John Tesh (“Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years”) hosts Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Intelligence For Your Life.” Meanwhile, “The Dr. Ruth Show” was heard on NBC Radio and she hosted “Sexually Speaking” on New York City’s WYNY. Four inductees were determined by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. Another four were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, two with input from the public. The outcome of the listener vote for a music format and spoken-word format on-air personality counted as one vote among the committee votes. The Radio HOF voting process was administered by Votem and overseen by the certified public accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase LLP.

Monday Memo: “Hollywood,” Co-starring AM Radio. The Los Angeles Times calls “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” “the year’s first surefire Oscar Best Picture nominee.”  And the soundtrack — assembled after writer/director Quentin Tarantino listened to 14 hours of 1969 KHJ airchecks — may also grab a statuette.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s panel explains what made radio so “sticky” then, and what it would take to reclaim the foreground on today’s crowded audio landscape. Read his column here.

Karem’s Press Pass Suspended. The White House Correspondents Association is “closely monitoring” the White House press secretary’s decision to suspend for 30 days the pass of CNN political analyst Brian Karem. Association president Jonathan Karl states, “We sincerely hope this White House does not again make the mistake of revoking a reporter’s hard pass. The WHCA has stood up to violations of due process rights before and we stand ready to safeguard those rights for all reporters who work to hold our government accountable.” CNN’s Brian Stelter reports the suspension letter Karem received specifically cited the confrontation he got into with former Trump aide/Salem Radio Networks talk host Sebastian Gorka at the White House social media summit a few weeks ago. Via Twitter, Gorka writes, “From this day forth the punk @BrianKarem will be called Brian Karma.” Meanwhile, on that same social media platform, Karem notes that he intends to appeal the White House’s decision. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke with Gorka moments after that summit wrapped. That conversation is archived here on the TALKERS website (Friday, July 12, 2019).

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Net Revenue Increases 6.5%. The $4 million (6.5%) year-over-year gain (to $65.7 million) during the three months ended June 30 reflects increased revenue in Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia cluster, primarily due to the September 2018 acquisition of country WXTU, and increased revenue from its Boston stations. Net revenue for the three months ended June 30 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the company’s other clusters. Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley comments, “The strategic and financial benefits of our initiatives to further expand and diversify Beasley’s broadcast and digital platform are evident in our second-quarter financial results and further highlights the progress we are making to reinforce and grow Beasley’s leadership position across all audio platforms in our markets. Record second-quarter net revenue of $65.7 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in three of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset approximately $1 million in combined political and United States Traffic Network (USTN) revenue recorded in the comparable 2018 period, which was non-recurring in 2019.” In June, Beasley Broadcast Group entered into a definitive agreement with Urban One to acquire Detroit’s WDMK and three translators used to broadcast WDMK’s HD2 signal for $13.5 million. Caroline Beasley notes, “This transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow, excluding one-time transaction costs. The acquisition of WDMK-FM and the WDMK-HD2 translators represent a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders and further enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit with a strong cluster of four FM stations in the country’s thirteenth largest market.”

iHM Hikes Hyland to Region President/Washington & Baltimore. Most recently region senior vice president of sales and market president for iHeartMedia Washington D.C./Baltimore, Aaron Hyland is elevated to region president of those two markets. He succeeds Mike Preacher, who becomes president for government initiatives and partnerships for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Preacher will report to iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock, while Hyland will report to iHeartMedia west division president Kevin LeGrett. According to Ashlock, “With Aaron, we are fortunate to have someone so talented, experienced and knowledgeable of the area to make the natural progression to the role of region president. With Mike, we are grateful for the amazing job he has done leading our D.C./Baltimore region and excited about the incredible wealth of experience and success he brings to the table in managing our government initiatives and partnership division. This is a win-win.” Hyland, who began his radio career as local sales manager for iHeartMedia Albany (New York), comments, “The iHeartMedia Washington D.C. region has a strong presence in both Washington and Baltimore with advertisers throughout the community. I’m excited to build on our success here, giving our advertisers efficient and effective marketing solutions as well as providing our listeners the best programming and content.” Preacher notes, “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Washington D.C. region. Aaron has been instrumental to our growth and I am highly confident that he and the team will enjoy continued success. Regarding my role moving forward, we have very high growth expectations for our government initiatives and partnerships division. I am looking forward to resourcing and spearheading the team’s efforts.” The iHM DC cluster consists of news/talk WONK, adult contemporary WASH, country WMZQ, CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5,” alternative WWDC “DC-101,” and WBIG “Big 100 – Washington’s Classic Rock,” while its Baltimore owned-and-operated stations are CHR WZFT “Z-104.3,” adult hits WQSR “102.7 Jack-FM,” WPOC “93.1 Baltimore’s Country Station,” and gospel WCAO “Heaven 600.”

2020 Local Political Advertising to Top $6.5 Billion. That’s the estimate from BIA Advisory Services, which forecasts over-the-air television will earn the majority of the spending (47% or $3.08 billion). That compares to just over $312 million (4.8%) for radio. Meanwhile, online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21%), while multichannel video programming distributors are expected to rake in $919 million (14%). The balance will go to other media. BIA Advisory Services chief economist/senior vice president Mark Fratrik opines, “It is going to be a very interesting political year. Some very large markets will not see much in political advertising while some small markets will see an extraordinary amount of advertising due to competitive gubernatorial, senate and house races along with the presidential election. Campaigns will continue to rely on television as a dominant platform for advertising while supplementing with digital advertising across mobile and desktop. In some smaller markets, one thing to keep an eye on is how the huge volume of political advertising could crowd out other local advertisers during primary and general election seasons. That may have an impact on advertisers and media companies. We will certainly factor that into our forecasting as we go through the fall.” It is believed that the three top local political revenue generating markets will be Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. In each market, TV OTA will receive more than $130 million in advertising with online/digital ad spend getting over 25% of the total spend.

Hart Heads to Albuquerque. Former six-year Entercom Philadelphia news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart relocates to Albuquerque to become AM operations manager for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB-AM (which he will program), sports talk KNML “The Sports Animal,” and business talk KTBL. Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Jared brings the experience, skill, and vision to lead our three AM stations – including the legendary KKOB-AM – back to a position of market dominance. We are so excited for him to join our team and help guide our cluster to new heights.” Hart adds, “I’m excited by the opportunity to join the passionate and forward-thinking team at Cumulus Albuquerque. It’s hard to overstate the power and impact of KKOB-AM and ‘The Sports Animal’ across New Mexico and the potential for KTBL. I’m honored to help drive the future success of these great stations and can’t wait to jump in.” Prior to his tenure at WPHT, Hart was assistant program director for Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk siblings KGO and KSFO.

Four Staffers Added to Westwood One Podcast Network. Joining Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One Podcast Network are senior producer, core content Madena Parwana; senior producer, development Lou Pellegrino; audio mixing engineer/studio technician Rebekah Wineman; and associate producer Sarah McCrory. All four will report to executive editor John Wordock, who comments, “This latest round of hiring further demonstrates Westwood One’s commitment to quality and scale as we grow our podcast business and serve our extraordinary partners and content providers. Madena, Lou, Rebekah, and Sarah have diverse and distinctive skillsets that will greatly contribute to the success and evolution of podcasting at Westwood One.” Parwana will help manage and produce podcasts that cover news, lifestyle and entertainment, sports, and business/money. She previously was a producer in the global radio division of Bloomberg LP, where she produced Bloomberg’s “Masters in Business” and “The Business of Sports” podcasts. Parwana was also senior podcast producer and co-host of “Unique Radio with Will Castro.” Pellegrino will manage and assess in-bound podcast pitches as well as help to develop pilots and shows. He formerly was executive producer of podcasts for Cadence 13 where he produced “The Woj Pod” and was involved with “Pod Save America.” In addition, Pellegrino was a producer for NBC Sports Radio and worked as a freelance producer for “The Dan Patrick Show” and MSG Networks. Wineman will support post-production, sound quality, field engineering, and studio maintenance. She previously worked as an audio engineer for The Wall Street Journal, where she mixed the “What’s News” podcast. Wineman served as a mixing and mastering engineer for NPR’s “Latino USA” and “In the Thick.” McCrory will support hosts, help edit and produce shows, and book guests. Before joining Westwood One, she worked as a production coordinator and podcast coordinator for Fox News Channel in New York City and Washington, DC, working on the podcasts “Livin’ the Bream” and “The Fox News Rundown.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Sports reporter/anchor Carol Maloney joins Cumulus Media Washington DC’s WSBN-AM “ESPN 630” for 10:00 am – 12:00 noon duty. Cumulus Washington, DC program director Bill Hess states, “I’ve admired Carol’s energy, passion, and journalism since we first worked together a dozen years ago. Her relationships with the players, coaches, reporters, and sports fans in our town are unmatched.” Maloney notes, “I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful for this opportunity. I’ve spent most of my career in the nation’s capital passionately following and covering the sports teams in town. Luckily, I’ve made a lot of friends and contacts along the way and will be calling on all of them.” Maloney has worked for Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Washington. She continues as a field reporter/show host for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) on Washington Nationals telecasts. “The Carol Maloney Show” debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/6) ….. Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” rebrands as “560 The Joe.” While the Entercom sports talk outlet is the flagship of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and University of Miami Hurricanes, its weekday lineup is taking more of a national lean: SportsCenter All Night (1:00 am – 5:00 am); First & Last with Jason Fitz (5:00 am – 6:00 am); The Joe Rose Show with Zach Krantz (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dan Le Batard with Stugotz (10:00 am – 1:00 pm); Stephen A. Smith (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “Best of ‘560 The Joe’” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Spain & Company (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Freddie & Fitzsimmons (9:00 pm – 1:00 am). Co-owned/similarly-formatted WAXY “AM 790 The Ticket” is the key station of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Its on-air roster includes: Amy Lawrence (2:00 am – 6:00 am); Tobin, Leroy, & The Beast (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Zaslow & Amber (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Zack Duarte (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Scott Ferrall (10:00 pm – 2:00 am).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At a time when high-profile stations such as WPLJ, New York; WRQX, Washington, DC; and WYAY, Atlanta (among others) are flipping to contemporary Christian, Tucson is losing a religious-geared outlet. Specifically, Tucson Radio LLC officially closes on its $650,000 purchase of KFLT “AM 830” & K269FV Oro Valley (Arizona) from Family Life Broadcasting and transitions it to “The Drive” (pending calls KDRI), an “original format” of music and local, live personalities. The ownership team of Arizona-based Tucson Radio, which has no other broadcast interests, is longtime Tucson businessman and community activist Fletcher McCusker (board chair); Bobby Rich (president); and Jim Arnold (general manager). McCusker is the only one without extensive radio or broadcast background. According to Arnold, who has nearly 40 years of  experience in Tucson radio and TV stations, “The Drive” will debut commercial-free as he begins hiring a sales staff this week. Today’s 6:00 am launch (Monday, 8/5) follows stunting as “The Worm,” a mix of novelty songs. With a catalogue of over 2,000 songs, “The Drive” is designed to appeal to baby boomers and originates 24/7 broadcasting from downtown Tucson. Its FM signal is heard throughout the Tucson valley, while the 830 AM signal carries from the Mexican border to Phoenix. Rich tells RadioInfo/TALKERS, “This has been developing for more than eight months; I recently realized I’ve never done a total build from scratch. I have gone back-and-forth from high anxiety to beyond thrilled of building something new, from concept to call-letters to months sorting song lists to finding talent before I could tell them what it was or what it would sound like. We didn’t buy studios or broadcast equipment – just a pair of transmitters and a tower rental agreement. Everything was kept confidential, which was extremely difficult. Some of the staff just learned the branding and what titles are in the library. We’re in empty offices working from a temporary studio while the real studios are being built across the hall. It is crazy, fun stuff.  I’m more than a little overwhelmed but so happy. It’s a dream come true for all of us – a chance to select our own music and manage content that matters to Tucson and have incredible fun while making great radio. It’s crazy to start a new radio station, but we are just crazy enough and have the passion-to make it work.” Immediately prior to his 25-year tenure as program director/morning drive host at Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix 94,” Rich was vice president/general manager/morning show talent for Seattle’s KMGI. His voluminous resume also includes programming stops in New York City (WXLO “99-X”); Los Angeles (KHTZ “K-Hits 97”); Philadelphia (WWSH); San Diego (KFMB-FM “B-100,” where he famously formulated the “Rich Brothers”); and director/programming consultation for Drake-Chenault. Rich worked on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ and KFI, as well as WMYQ, Miami. The on-air lineup for “The Drive” is comprised of Rich and Hill Bailey (morning drive); former program director of cross-town CHR KRQQ Ken Carr (mid-days); Mike Esparza (afternoon drive); and onetime Bobby Rich intern Tyler Russell (nights). Evan Carlson-headed, Arizona not-for-profit corporation Family Life owns stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction ….. While retaining its “Que Buena 92.7” identity, Univision Radio New York’s WQBU transitions from regional Mexican to Spanish AC. Core artists will include Chayanne, Juan Gabriel, Juan Luis Guerra, Enrique Iglesias, Jose Jose, Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, Laura Pausini, and Shakira. Univision Radio New York president and general manager Roberto Yanez comments, “We are excited to launch a format that reflects distinct tastes of the Latino community in the Tri-State area. By reformatting our audio portfolio to include the only Spanish AC station in the region, we are able to give our audience more of the music they love, whether they’re listening at home, at work, or during their commute.” Its adjusted on-air lineup now includes: Mildre Aquino (6:00 am – 10:00 am); El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Jose Luis Arcos (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Cesar Lozano (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm); and El Free-Guey with La Bronca (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 New York City report, WQBU ranks #34 (.3); it is #37 in Long Island (.2, 6+, June 2019) ….. One-year KVIL, Dallas “Alt 103.7” morning talent Jenn Marino exits the Entercom alternative outlet. Marino formerly co-hosted Premiere Networks’ Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx. Her other on-air credits include Baltimore outlets WHFS “Alternative 99.1”; WWMX, “Mix 106.5”; and WIYY “98 Rock,” as well as KRXO, Oklahoma City …. Launched in 2018, YEA Networks’Tino Cochino Radio” debuts next Monday morning (8/12, 6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas CHR KVGQ “Q-106.9.” Hosted by Tino Cochino, Raquel, and DJ Nicasio, the show is now heard in more than 40 markets. KVGQ program director Gabriela “Lady g.” Loredon comments, “I’m excited to welcome Tino and the TCR team to our ‘Q-106.9’ family. TCR is the perfect fit for mornings here in Vegas and can’t wait to win” ….. American Idol winner Maddie Poppe and Whitney Woerz are among those scheduled to appear at the third annual “Survive Live” concert presented by Entercom Madison hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.” The October 3rd event will raise money for breast cancer awareness ….. “I’m Roger Carroll and I play records.” For 20 years (1959 – 1979), listeners of Los Angeles’ once powerhouse KMPC heard Kolman Carroll Rutkin begin his “R.C. Get Together” that way; the 90-year-Carroll died last week in Long Beach, California. Andrew Rutkin notes that his father “lived an amazing life; was surrounded by family; and his passing was peaceful.” The son of Eastern Europe immigrants, Roger Carroll was born in Baltimore in 1928 and moved away at 15 to work as an announcer at Frederick, Maryland’s WFMD. After World War ll, he relocated to Los Angeles, and at age 18, became the youngest announcer ever on the ABC Radio Network. Carroll, who worked at Los Angeles’ KABC from 1946 – 1959, became executive producer of the “Lawrence Welk Radio Show” in 1981 and owned KWIP, Salem (Oregon), a station he sold in 1991. For many years, he was the off-camera voice for such TV shows as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “Bonanza,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” and “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” In 2017, he started a streaming internet station, Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds in Town.” Commenting about his father, Andrew Rutkin states, “We will all miss him terribly. I’ll especially miss his wealth of stories and his amazing talent for mucking up his computer.”

Charlamagne Tha Guest. A number of the 2020 presidential candidates have made Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” a must-stop on their campaign trail. Last week, the show’s Charlamagne Tha God made the media rounds himself, appearing on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (the two are shown here) and CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett. Among other things, he talked about how the Democrats performed in the recent debates; who his favorite candidate is so far; and how he approaches interviews. Originating from iHeartMedia New York urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1,” the 4.5-hour “Breakfast Club” features Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee.

Friday, February 1, 2019

| February 1, 2019

Anderssen Adds Atlanta Duties at WSB-AM. Continuing as Cox Media Group’s news, talk, and sports format coordinator, Drew Anderssen is appointed senior operations/program manager for the company’s Atlanta news/talk outlet, WSB-AM. Director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs notes, “Drew and I have worked in lockstep for the last five years as format leaders for all of our outstanding Cox Media Group news/talk stations. He brings an overwhelming amount of experience and passion and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure [WSB-AM] remains a dominant leader in the radio space.” Anderssen comments that WSB-AM is “one of America’s strongest and most iconic radio stations. It has been a career-long dream of mine to become part of this award-winning team. I am thrilled to work one-on-one with Pete Spriggs and the entire team to help shape the future of the WSB brand.” Anderssen previously oversaw programming, news, digital, and social media planning as OM/PD at co-owned WDBO-FM, Orlando. Prior to joining Cox Media Group in 1998 as Tulsa news/talk KRMG’s operations manager, he spent several years in promotions, research, and programming in Texas and Oklahoma. WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 Nielsen Audio sweeps – is a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+).

Thrall To Call Some Reds Ballgames. Seven-year Pensacola Blue Wahoos play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall bumps up from the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds to “the show,” joining the Reds’ broadcast team on iHeartMedia news/talk WLW and the Reds’ radio network. After 45 years of calling Reds’ games, Marty Brennaman will be retiring after this season; Jeff Brantley will continue working alongside Brennaman as color analyst. Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus notes, “Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our ‘utility’ broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the ‘Reds on Radio’ post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill-in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.” Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith comments, “We are incredibly proud of Tommy for taking this well-deserved step in his career. Since Opening Day 2012, he has been an invaluable part of our organization and we are grateful for his numerous contributions to ‘Hoosville.’” Thrall and Brantley worked together on three games last September. They are scheduled to call the Reds – Chicago White Sox spring training matchup later this month (2/27).

Applications Now Accepted For Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program. In its 18th year, this experience pairs up-and-coming women currently working in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Beasley Media Group is once again lead sponsor of the initiative for women interested in advancing their careers. Chair of the 2019 Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s mentoring committee/Entercom Chicago national sales manager Lindsay Cerajewski states, “This unique initiative provides an amazing opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and access to some of the most influential women in radio. It is very rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.” MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik adds, “We are absolutely thrilled Beasley Media Group has once again generously offered to serve as lead sponsor of MIW Group’s heritage Mildred Carter Mentoring Program; we look forward to another successful year.” Four candidates within the radio industry will be selected for this year’s program. At least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot for a digital candidate. The MIW Group Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter, who, along with her husband, Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, when they signed-on Kansas City’s KPRS in 1950. Deadline to apply for the mentoring program is in less than three weeks (2/20).

Blues Skating To Hubbard St. Louis. Effective with the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season, games of the St. Louis Blues will shift from Entercom news/talk KMOX to Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN.” According to Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski, “It has always been a dream to partner with the St. Louis Blues organization. The Blues management team is a class act and their fans are the best in professional hockey.” WXOS band content director Chris “Hoss” Neupert adds, “The ‘101 ESPN’ team is excited to be the new home for the St. Louis Blues. Our entire team is looking forward to our partnership with the St. Louis Blues and the opportunity to offer innovative content, exclusive interviews, analysis, and coverage for St. Louis fans.”

Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

FSR Sets Super Bowl Programming. Among the highlights on Fox Sports Radio’s schedule this Sunday (2/3) is a weekend edition of “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” who will be joined by betting experts Steve Fezzik and Brad Powers, as well as FSR personality Jonas Knox. Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is considered the biggest sports betting event of the year. The network’s complete lineup this Sunday includes: Andy Furman and Brian Noe (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Mike Harmon and Kelvin Washington (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm); Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Steve Hartman and Ephraim Salaam (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank (throughout the Super Bowl game); and Jonas Knox (11:00 pm – 2:00 am).

RTDNF Tabs Klobuchar As “First Amendment Defender.” This year’s First Amendment Defender award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be presented next month (3/13) in Washington, DC. RTDNF chair Scott Libin comments, “Senator Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts; worked to advance government transparency; and pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning of Attorney General-designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Senator Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.”

WBUR’s CitySpace Opens Later This Month. The 8,700-square-foot, high-tech multipurpose facility at The Lavine Broadcast Center officially opens to the public in several weeks (2/28), but Boston mayor Marty Walsh joined executives of Boston University-owned public radio news/talk WBUR for a ribbon cutting at the Commonwealth Avenue site on Wednesday (1/30). WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz comments, “CitySpace will be the home for public conversation in Boston. It brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it is a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives.” Mayor Walsh notes, “The city of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves. This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.” The calendar of events already includes discussions with Boston Marathon champions; authors and chefs; brown-bag musical performances by Boston University students; trivia nights with WBUR staff; and adult spelling bees. The venue accommodates up to 275 people and has state-of-the-art audio and robotic high-definition video technology for live streaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. First-year CitySpace guests scheduled to appear include comedian/former Air America host Janeane Garofalo, “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur, composer Philip Glass, and author Margaret Atwood.

Southern California Broadcasters Association Shares Its 2019 “Automotive Overview.” In an ongoing series, the Southern California Broadcasters Association delivers an in-depth analysis of a particular industry or topic directly relevant for its members and the radio industry. This particular report, available on SCBA’s website, “challenges the auto industry’s focus” on non-radio digital platforms by “making a compelling case” for broadcast radio and the influence radio advertising has on today’s car buyers. The overview reveals that “year-over-year vehicle sales have remained essentially flat to down the past four years, highlighting SCBA’s case that media reallocation and a true ROI analysis of current ad spending by the automakers is urgently recommended.” SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “Based on factual research, it is our view that broadcast radio is the underrated and undervalued workhorse for the auto industry. Not only will 23% of auto buyers visit a dealership after hearing a radio ad, but one in ten will actually buy a vehicle after hearing a dealer radio ad. The auto industry must reevaluate its dependence on digital since increased digital ad spending has not delivered increased retail sales. Spending 63% of automotive ad budgets with digital is not sustainable.” Previous SCBA reports include topics such as “E-Commerce Basics to Know,” “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Pandora,” and “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Digital and Social Media.”

Michael Harrison Addresses South Florida Art CommunityTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as special guest speaker addressing a gathering of approximately 70 emerging local artists last evening (1/30) at a workshop titled “The Thriving Art Exchange” at the CJR Fine Art Gallery in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  The event was presented by the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists and honored the work of Rickie Leiter, publisher of a Palm Beach County-based art industry trade publication, The Rickie Report.  In his speech, Harrison focused on opportunities available to independent artists in the rapidly evolving digital era in both the creative and marketing arenas.  He opened his talk with a humorous anecdote, “The last time I addressed a group of visual artists was when I served as keynote speaker at the first annual convention of the National Association of Cave Wall Painters.”  Harrison said, “It was a time when the standard method of painting was to put colored pigments on your hands and paint directly with your fingers onto the walls of caves.  The big issue that year was what to do about the introduction of a new gadget called the paint brush and whether images created with this new technology were truly ‘art.’”  Harrison concluded, “The argument became a non-issue when the stone tablet was invented shortly thereafter and paintings could be taken to places outside the cave.  That form of disruption was the first example of mobile media!”

 

“PodGOATs” Launches Today. The series of Comworld Media-produced “PodGOATS” podcasts features Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host Phil Valentine and his millennial son, Campbell Valentine. The elder Valentine remarks, “I can’t remember having this much fun doing something in a long time,” while recent University of Tennessee graduate Campbell counters, “You can’t remember – period.” The two will discuss everything from their top three picks of events that changed the world to what to do if an electromagnetic pulse took down the electrical grid. They talk spies, conspiracy theories, and anything else in today’s society and culture. Five episodes debut today (2/1) with a new podcast – available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, – released once a week each Sunday afternoon.

Grabbing Gronk. Preparing for its coverage of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday (2/3) when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s exclusive network radio partner – Westwood One – has been interviewing players, coaches, and special guests for their weeknight “Road to Super Bowl LIII” program; “Super Bowl Preview”; and “Super Sunday” shows airing prior to Sunday’s big game in Atlanta. Seen above is the voice of NFL Films, Scott Graham, chatting with New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. This is the 32nd consecutive year – and 46th time overall – that Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl.

CBS News Radio Offers Radio Version of “Intelligence Matters” Podcast. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 2/2), former CIA deputy director/intelligence analyst and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell begins hosting a one-hour radio version of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast, which emanates from CBS News’ Washington, D.C bureau. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler notes, “We are delighted to offer Michael Morell’s programs and expertise to our affiliates. Michael’s keen insight into the world of intelligence is a hot topic in today’s fast-moving world. It is the right time to bring his hugely successful podcast to radio audiences everywhere.” Leaders throughout the U.S. intelligence community will discuss national security policy and current events with Morell, a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terrorism efforts of the past two decades.

Rockcastle Media Networks’ Radio Nebraska Network Launches Next Monday. The national radio network expands by creating a Rockcastle Regional Networks division, with the Radio Nebraska Network scheduled to deliver its first newscasts via FTP download next Monday (2/4). Rockcastle Media Networks president/chief executive officer Will Sterrett comments, “When we learned the Nebraska Radio Network folded, our thoughts turned to serving those affiliates and listeners with high-quality radio news. We are excited to offer four newscasts each weekday with much more to come down the road.” As is the case with all other Rockcastle Media Networks programming, the Radio Nebraska Network is available on a market-exclusive, 100% self-contained barter basis. Prior to Rockcastle Media Networks, Sterrett worked in radio news at the CNN Radio Network; Texas State Network; Waitt Radio Networks, Omaha; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTRH, Houston; and WLW, Cincinnati.

Border Wall Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-February 1. The ongoing battle over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers Ten.  At #2 this week was Robert Mueller‘s Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump‘s attacks on intel chief Dan Coats over his report on North Korea and Iran, followed by the record Midwestern cold snap at #4.  The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

SiriusXM Finalizes Pandora Purchase. The $3.5 billion deal (at a ratio of 1.44 new SiriusXM shares for each Pandora share) creates a digital audio entity reaching 100 million North America listeners. The closing comes three days after Pandora stockholders approved the acquisition. The deal was okayed by the Department of Justice approximately six weeks ago (12/21). In a prepared statement, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer – who now leads the combined company – notes, “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences. We could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM is a subscription-based national service of curated and exclusive content and programming, and Pandora is the largest U.S. streaming music provider with its highly personalized free ad-supported service. This is a powerful platform under one roof for consumers, content creators, and advertisers. We look forward to creating unique audio packages that combine our strengths and offer an even wider range of content to our listeners.” Pandora’s 16-month chief executive officer and Sling TV founder, Roger Lynch, is leaving the company, as are general counsel Steve Bene, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson.

PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at “Holiday” 2018. Each month, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at four formats and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. Adult contemporary is in the spotlight today as Mike delves into the mostly ups – and occasional downs – AC experienced in the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period. The format that leads the way in the all-Christmas music programming strategy accounts for 77% of “Holiday” 2018 #1 finishers (6+). In addition, Bonneville-owned Salt Lake City AC KSFI is the only station in any PPM-market to reach the 20-share level (21.8, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018. Check out all the facts and figures here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas contemporary Christian KAWA “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” general manager Tim Dukes is named mid-south regional manager over parent company WAY Media properties in Nashville and Clarksville (Tennessee); Louisville and Bowling Green (Kentucky); and Birmingham and Huntsville (Alabama). WAY-FM Network chief operating officer Lloyd Parker states, “We are excited that Tim has accepted the role and challenge of managing our mid-south region. Tim is respected and uniquely-qualified for this position with his many years of mainstream radio experience, plus his time on the pastoral staff at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth and as chief operating officer of the Dallas-based Halftime Institute. He’s going to do a great job.” Dukes – who will continue to manage KAWA  until a new general manager is named – remarks, “Joining WAY-FM in 2015 has given me some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most fulfilling, years of my career. Louisville is my hometown. I went to college in Nashville and started in radio there, so this is an especially exciting appointment to me.” His past programming credits include Chicago’s WLUP and Cincinnati’s WEBN, as well as being director of FM programming for Jacor San Diego ….. Today (2/1) on his syndicated show, Tom Joyner announced the “One More Time Experience” multi-city tour, which begins May 10 in Washington, DC and continues throughout the summer. Joyner states, “I hope everyone will be as excited as I am to celebrate with good music, good fun, and good hugs. We have 25 years’ worth of partying to achieve, so let’s do it together.” Confirmed dates and places so far – in addition to May 10 in Washington – include Cleveland (June 7); Indianapolis (June 8); Columbus (July 12); St. Louis (July 13); Raleigh (July 19); and Charlotte (July 20). Also on today’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker announced he is running for president ….. Starting next Thursday (2/7), Afentra – who formerly did mornings at Entercom Kansas City alternative KRBZ “The Buzz,” (“Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz”) – will join cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative” for 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm duty. Cumulus midwest region vice president Donna Baker states, “Afentra has the gift of observing life in a manner that is real, whether hilarious or poignant, and sharing that in a way that truly connects.” Cumulus Media and Westwood One executive vice president, content & programming Mike McVay comments, “The opportunity to bring Afentra to the Cumulus Kansas City cluster was one we simply couldn’t pass up. A talent with her skills, experience and market heritage is a rare find.” KCJK program director Mike O’Reilly notes, “Sometimes in a lineup strategy, you get lucky and make a big splash. Adding Afentra is more along the lines of a tidal wave for Kansas City alternative, while Afentra explains that KCJK “didnʼt just say they wanted me, they showed me. Wanting me – my thoughts and my experience –  speaks to my soul. I’m rested, excited, and ready to win.” ….. Assistant music programmer Brian Denicola is promoted to program director of SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel. Senior director of programming Lou Simon writes in an internal memo, “Brian has exemplified a great level of care and focus and has developed relationships with each of you, making sure he has what you need and providing you with inspiration for added creativity. His copywriting; attention to detail in editing logs; and his creativity have all led to this appointment. I will remain in a position of oversight and Bond Collard will remain as the channel coordinator, doing a spectacular job in that role.” Denicola had been programming the channel on an interim basis ….. Three-year WRQX “Mix 107.3,” Washington, DC afternoon drive talent Jason Kidd exits the Cumulus Media hot AC. “Mix” program director/Cumulus Media vice president of hot AC programming Rob Roberts is seeking Kidd’s successor ….. Mainstream CHR KYYY “Y-93” Bismarck (North Dakota) program director Joey Dee transfers to iHeartMedia Omaha sibling KISO “96.1 Kiss FM Omaha’s #1 For All The Hits” as program director/afternoon drive host. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Omaha Erik Johnson comments, “We are extremely excited to welcome Joey Dee to the ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ team. His major-market experience and creative ideas will help make [KISO] a market leader.” Dee adds, “Making my pilgrimage to Omaha is a dream come true for me as a CHR programmer. I am incredibly excited to work with the entire iHeartMedia Omaha team and I look forward to taking ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ all the way to number one.” Dee previously was assistant program director for Hubbard Seattle CHR KQMV “Movin’ 92.5” and has programmed Bismarck’s KKCT ….. On-air lineup adjustments at Entercom Buffalo’s WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” find “Emily” in extended morning drive (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Brandi” middays (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Axe” handling 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight duties.