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Friday, October 14, 2022

| October 14, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS, is now posted. This new episode titled “Juries & Judgements” looks back at this past week of 10/10-10/14. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Gary Nolan, talk show host, 93.9 The Eagle, Columbia, MO/USA Radio Network/Talk Media Network; Jack Heath, talk show host, the Pulse of NH; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte, NC; Ethan Bearman, attorney/commentator; and Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on 100-plus broadcast signals and networks across the U.S. and U.K as well as having developed a significant international following as a podcast. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here.   “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is 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.

Report: Continued Growth In Spoken-Word Audio Consumption. According to the NPR and Edison Research “Spoken-Word Audio Report,” the number of spoken-word audio listeners has increased by 26 million in the last eight years. Scheduled in two weeks (Thursday, 10/27), a 2:00 pm webinar presentation of the findings from the fourth annual such report explores specific types of spoken-word content, various spoken word platforms, and devices used to consume spoken-word content. National Public Media vice president of sponsorship marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research vice president Megan Lazovick will take part in the live webinar. Among topics they will cover are: how spoken-word audio fits into this country’s overall landscape; how “Gen Z” listeners consume spoken-word audio; how daily spoken-word audio listeners consume audio; which devices and platforms are used to listen to spoken-word audio; and how podcasts continue to impact the growth of spoken-word audio. The report includes trending data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, which measures daily listening habits of Americans using a 24-hour diary.

Cumulus Media Transfers Divello To Montgomery As VP/MM. The four-year vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media Abilene (Texas), Paula Divello (pictured at right), shifts to the company’s Montgomery (Alabama) stations in the same capacity. Cumulus Media Montgomery’s five-station cluster includes news/talk WLWI “News Radio 1440” and sports talk WMSP “Sports Radio 740.”  Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Mark Sullivan remarks, “I’m excited for Paula’s next leadership role in Montgomery, as she has been such a positive force in [our] company. I look forward to working alongside her as she continues her track record of delivering strong results.” Divello comments, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead Cumulus Montgomery [and look forward] to joining the team [there]. I look forward to working in collaboration with our great employees on our next chapter of growth and success, making a positive impact on our staff, listeners, and advertisers alike.” Divello joined Cumulus Media’s Shreveport (Louisiana) stations five years ago as director of sales. She previously had similar responsibilities for Townsquare Media Lufkin, Texas and was digital marketing manager and senior account executive for Raycom Media.

Connecticut Senator Slams Jones. “I mean, Alex Jones is a clown.” That declaration was made by Senator Chris Murphy (pictured at right) during an interview on Yahoo News’Skullduggery” podcast. “I can’t understand what goes on inside the brain of somebody like that. I can’t understand [how] any human being would delight in torturing the parents of dead children. I don’t know how you live with yourself if that’s what you do every day.” The Connecticut Democrat called on top Republican and conservative leaders to publicly denounce Jones in the wake of Wednesday’s (10/12) jury verdict that the “Infowars” talk show host must pay nearly $1 billion to the families of children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. From 2007 – 2013, Murphy represented the Connecticut district where Sandy Hook is located; he has a long relationship with the families of the victims. “I want the focus to be much more broadly than on Alex Jones,” Murphy commented. “I’m not going to change Alex Jones’ business model, but man, why aren’t there more Republicans out there condemning this guy? Why is he still invited to all of these conservative conferences until the political right decides that these conspiracy theorists, these Sandy Hook harassers, are going to be purged from the right? Somebody will replace Alex Jones, because there’s a market there for it. So the culpability here is on Jones, but it is also much more broadly on the Republican Party that continues to celebrate Alex Jones.” In 2015, – three years after the Sandy Hook killings – then-presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on “Infowars” and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.

Donnolo Drops “Positively Sex” Podcast. Intimacy specialist Lila Donnolo’s weekly 46-episode iHeartPodcast Original “Positively Sex! with Lila” premiered yesterday (10/13). The series explores intimacy of all kinds through a sex-positive talk show on timely, tender and taboo topics. According to Donnolo, “As a society, we’ve become aware – more than ever before – of just how much we need intimacy in order to thrive. Most of us were indoctrinated with sexual shame, and this shame is detrimental to all aspects of our lives. The world desperately needs sex-positivity now. That’s why I’m so incredibly delighted to have iHeartRadio in my corner. iHeartRadio has given me a global megaphone: To paraphrase my psychiatrist friend, I’m so excited for the world to get to hear these perspectives.” Donnolo will host a multitude of episode formats including editorialized segments; “on-the-street” style interviews; intimate one-on-one conversations; and “kiss-and-tell” storytelling. Her five-year “Horizontal with Lila” podcast of conversations about sex, love, and relationships, which concluded earlier this year, was entirely recorded while she was lying down.

TALKERS News Notes. In a memo to his fellow WCBS-AM staff members, reporter Peter Haskell reveals that a rare voice disorder – spasmodic dysphonia – is causing him to exit the Audacy New York all-news outlet. Describing his 30-year career at “News Radio 880” as “the journey of a lifetime,” Haskell notes he has “come to the realization” that what he’s been doing “is unsustainable” and as much as he has tried, he “just can’t overcome the problems” with his voice. … Nine industry figures – including iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and Cromwell Media president Bayard “Bud” Walters  – will be honored next month (11/15) for lifetime achievement by The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation. Hosted by ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang, LABF’s annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” luncheon ceremony at New York’s Gotham Hall will be produced by the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. In addition to Pittman and Walters, this year’s “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronics Arts” honorees are: TV chef Julia Child (honored posthumously); Standard Media Group chief executive officer Deb McDermott; CBS Sports chair Sean McManus; multi-award winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson; E.W. Scripps president/chief executive officer Adam Symson; ; recently-retired NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams; and CNN anchor/Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria. The LABF event honors creators, innovators, performers and journalists who have left an indelible mark on the field of electronic arts. Proceeds from the luncheon support the work of LABF, which includes the Library of American Broadcasting, housed at the University of Maryland.

Ross Rises to CPB Chair. By unanimous vote, former chief of staff to a New York State attorney general/retired attorney Laura G. Ross has been elected chair of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. Meanwhile, onetime Wyoming PBS general manager and Wyoming PBS Foundation president Rubydee Calvert is elected vice chair. Ross comments, “It’s an honor and a privilege to work with my fellow board members; CPB’s leadership and staff; and our public media colleagues in support of our mission to serve the American people in communities across the country. As a result of our combined efforts, Americans of all backgrounds support the content and services of public media.” Ross has been CPB’s vice chair since 2020 and has been on the board since 2018. Four-year board member Calvert adds, “I second Laura’s statement of commitment to the outstanding work of CPB and its support of the mission of public media. I want to thank my fellow board members and the superb CPB staff for their dedicated service to public media.”

 

KWAM Seeks News Staffers. KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” is expanding its local news coverage. KWAM has promoted Ben Deeter – executive producer of “Wake Up Memphis” – to full-time news anchor and anchor of the radio station’s political coverage. KWAM owner Todd Starnes says there are plans to add more reporters and anchors. Email resumes to: info@kwamradio.com.

FOX News Media Seeks Freelance Radio Anchor. This onsite position in either Los Angeles, Chicago or New York is a freelance radio anchor for the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Learn more about this position here.

Reporter Position Open at FOX News Media in Washington, DC. For this onsite reporter position FOX News Media is looking for an experienced, full-time reporter to join the Washington DC team. You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgment and the ability to break important news stories. Learn more and apply here.

Freelance Producer/Editor Opportunity at FOX News Media. This exciting opportunity is based in New York for a freelance producer/news editor to supervise the staff for our network radio news operations (terrestrial and FOX News Headlines 24/7 – Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this role you are our editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. This is fast-moving news environment! Your ability to thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven newsroom allows you to deliver top-quality segments/newscasts. You excel at multi-tasking and pay close attention to details. Your writing and editing skills are excellent and your editorial judgment is first-rate. Find out more here.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

| October 13, 2022

Jones Must Pay Nearly $1 Billion In Sandy Hook Defamation Case. A Connecticut jury has ordered “Infowars” talk show host Alex Jones to pay $965 million in total damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings and an FBI agent. Additional damages covering attorneys’ fees will be determined next month. The verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury. Not sounding remorseful on yesterday’s  radio show (Wednesday, 10/12), Jones railed against the jury’s decision, urging listeners to send money or buy supplements sold on his website. He stated, “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland [but] we’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.” Jones actually cheered as the judge listed off millions in damages for each count. After one count was read, Jones said, “Get those numbers up.” At times he gave thumbs-up and raised his hand in the air. Jones and Free Speech Systems – parent of his Infowars content company – were held liable for defamation for spreading false stories that the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax and the victims were actually “crisis actors,” who were following a script written by the government to build support for gun control. Fifteen plaintiffs were awarded damages in the case, one of three suits against Jones from his conspiracy theories about the shooting.  The largest single award of $120 million went to Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed in the shooting. Jones spent years mocking Parker as an actor. The plaintiffs also included an FBI agent who responded to the shooting; he was awarded $90 million in damages. An earlier suit in Texas awarded one victim’s parents close to $50 million. Another case is going to the damages phase after Jones lost the suit.

Jim Bohannon is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Longtime talk radio superstar Jim Bohannon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Yesterday (10/10), the radio industry was shocked and deeply saddened at the announcement by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One in TALKERS that one of its longest running, most successful and universally beloved syndicated talk show hosts would be hanging up his headphones on Friday October 14th due to health issues. It was a surprise to many – but industry insiders were already aware that this broadcasting legend was suffering from an advanced case of esophageal cancer… and the prognosis was increasingly grim.  His career that spanned more than five decades including the past 30 as host of his solid late-night syndicated show is one of the greatest of all time.  His achievements include induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Radio Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. He has received the First Amendment Award from the Radio-Television Digital News Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS magazine; along with numerous other awards and honors. Michael Harrison interviewed Jim Bohannon this past Sunday (10/9) afternoon.  It is candid, compelling and will no doubt be a historic audio document capturing a dramatic slice of radio history and culture – as well as deep insights into the human condition.  After recording the interview and podcast, Michael Harrison stated, “It is with profound sadness and love that I have the honor of presenting this interview to the public.”  Not to be missed!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Gracie Awards Opens Call For Entries. For nearly 50 years, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation-presented Gracie Awards have honored individual talent and exemplary programming created by women, for women, and about women in radio, television, and digital media in news and entertainment. AWMF president Becky Brooks comments, “We are more committed than ever to honor the remarkable work by so many in our creative community. As our most important fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Foundation to deliver on its promise to further the connection, education and recognition of women in media.” The 2023 Gracie Awards co-chairs are: The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen; McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay; and Hallmark Media chief communications officer Annie Howell. Emmy winner Vicangelo Bulluck has produced the Gracie Awards since 2016 and will return in that capacity for the 2023 awards. Entry eligibility air dates are January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022; deadline for all entries is January 12, 2023 at 11:59 pm (ET).

Live365, TuneIn Strike Distribution Deal. Through a distribution agreement between internet radio companies Live 365 and TuneIn, Live365 broadcasters can access TuneIn On Air distribution as part of Live365’s premium packages – or – as an add-on to any other package. TuneIn On Air allows internet radio broadcasters to expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million U.S.-based listeners via TuneIn’s app and 200+ connected devices. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern remarks, “This partnership with Live365 fits perfectly within our mission to reinvent radio for a connected world and democratize access to radio for broadcasters large and small. We believe great conversations are driven by the power of the human voice and we know our listeners rely on us to stay connected to the issues that matter to them most via our content catalog. We’re thrilled to help more broadcasters reach TuneIn’s expansive audience.” Live365 chief executive officer Jon Stephenson notes, “We’re excited to strike up this historic distribution deal with TuneIn to offer our Live365 broadcaster community access to TuneIn on air’s unparalleled distribution reach. As internet radio pioneers, this is an extraordinary opportunity to combine forces and allow broadcasters to utilize Live365’s easy-to-use tools and licensing coverage while reaching TuneIn’s millions of listeners. We’re proud to offer this to our community as we focus on expanding our distribution offering.”

TALKERS News Notes. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, visits his former aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor for an interview that airs tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) at 7:00 pm as an episode of Sirius XM’s “Crooked Radio” (SiriusXM Progress). It will then be issued Saturday as a podcast. The former President’s “Pod Save America” appearance will be replayed tomorrow night (Friday, 10/14) at 9:00 pm and throughout the weekend. It will be his first on the show in exactly two years (10/14/2020). … Following a 24-year tenure at Los Angeles’ KNX “News 97.1 FM,” morning co-anchor/senior political correspondent Dick Helton (pictured at right) will retire tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) from the Audacy facility. Prior to joining KNX, Helton spent 29 years anchoring in Chicago at co-owned/similarly-formatted WBBM-AM.  … Per a report in The Lincoln Journal-Star, Damon Benning succeeds Matt Davison as analyst on University of Nebraska football radio broadcasts. Formerly a host on NRG Media Omaha sports talk KOZN “1620 The Zone,” Benning played for the Cornhuskers from 1992 – 1996. Davison had been a Nebraska analyst the past 19 years. … As part of an intra-Pennsylvania transaction, 34 full-power stations and 12 translators in five “Keystone State” markets are changing hands. Forever Media is the seller; Kristen Cantrell’s Southern Belle Media Family/Seven Mountains Media Family is the buyer. Among stations being sold include: sports talk WQWK, news/talk WRSC, W279DK, and W227DV (all in the State College market); Altoona market news/talk WFBG; news/talk WNTJ, W230BK, and W283CX, and news/talk WNTI (all in the Johnstown market); news/talk WMGW, W264DK, news-talk WTIV and W287DC, and news/talk WFRA and W251CL (all in the Meadville-Franklin market) news/talk WKST, W250CW, and W248DJ (all in the New Castle market); and Lebanon market news/talk WLBR. The complete transaction is for $17.375 million in assumption of promissory notes to Kerby E. Confer, the Judith M. Confer Irrevocable Trust, and Confermation, LLP.  Kerby E. Confer is Kristen Cantrell father.

A Podcast With “More To It” Debuts Next Tuesday. Co-produced by syndicated sports talk host Dan Patrick; iHeartPodcasts; Workhouse Media; Dat Dude Entertainment; and Jam Street Media, “More To It With Marcellus Wiley” will drop next Tuesday (10/18) on The Dan Patrick Podcast Network. Former co-host of FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” and ESPN’s “SportsNation,” all-pro defensive end Wiley played ten seasons in the NFL for four different teams. Patrick opines, “Marcellus’ frequent appearances on my show always stood out because he never showed up with cliché comments. He’s never been boring and I love that he brings something new to every conversation. I’m looking forward to listening to his new show and thrilled that he’s officially part of our family.” Wiley notes, “I’m honored to work with the legendary trailblazer Dan Patrick, whose path of success perfectly embodies the title of this podcast. I’m so excited to share these amazing journeys of perseverance and success with the world to inspire the inner power we all possess.” Wiley’s podcast will feature conversations with athletes, entertainers, and people with surprising stories that prove there’s more to everyone’s reality than meets the eye. It kicks off with an interview with rapper Lil Wayne. Future scheduled guests include Anthony Anderson, Charles Barkley, Snoop Dogg, Andrew Yang, Deion Sanders and Ben Horowitz.

Confusion On FM Booster Geotargeting. Several Texas and Colorado broadcasters have filed letters with the FCC, requesting their names be removed as supporters of a GeoBroadcast Solutions petition that supports geo-targeting on FM boosters. Dan Balla and Andrew Devall, presidents of Texas entities Falls Media and Q-Media Group, respectively, wrote they “were entirely unaware of our participation in this proceeding and did not knowingly consent to having our name included on such filings. We are relatively small radio broadcast operators with enormous demands on our limited time and resources. In general, we do not have the bandwidth to personally monitor activities at the FCC. Given this highly unusual circumstance, [we] respectfully request that the Commission remove the prior filings indicating our support for GBS’s requested rule change from the record.” According to Colorado broadcasters Scott Poese (Ranchland Broadcasting) and Warren Epstein (Pikes Peak College), comments filed under their names “do not accurately reflect our views. Contrary to what the comments indicate, [we] do not support the GeoBroadcast Solutions petition or believe it would benefit our stations or the public.”

Thursday, September 15, 2022

| September 15, 2022

Rush Limbaugh Book to Be Published Next Month. A book Rush Limbaugh was working on prior to his February 17, 2021 death will be published on October 25 by Threshold Editions. Titled, Radio’s Greatest of All Time, and credited to Limbaugh, his widow Kathryn Limbaugh, and brother David Limbaugh, Threshold says the book is “a collection of Rush Limbaugh’s greatest on-air moments, with special commentary and personal stories.” Threshold’s promotion of the book states: “Rush’s passing the following year sent shock waves through the conservative and broadcasting communities. In this timeless collection of his best work, his triumphant legacy as the greatest voice for conservatism is cemented in history. When Rush’s dear friend Vince Flynn first suggested the idea of this book, Rush considered the task daunting. ‘How can I possibly select the best of the best,’ he joked, ‘from all the years of pure genius?’ Over time, Rush came to love this project immensely, and recalled incredible details from his childhood and early career. Featuring commentary from loved ones, family, friends, and prominent figures such as President Donald Trump, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Governor Ron DeSantis, and more, Radio’s Greatest of All Time is the ultimate gift for any devoted listener and leaves no doubt about his profound impact on this country.

Management Promotions at iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network. The company announces two management changes at the BIN: Black Information Network. Andrea Coleman is elevated to vice president of news operations and Mike Stevens becomes BIN’s first-ever managing editor. iHeartMedia says, “As vice president of news operations, Coleman will lead the charge in keeping BIN: Black Information Network front and center while guiding newsroom operations to optimize the network’s reach, scale and influence. Coleman previously served as news director of BIN. In the new managing editor position, Stevens will work closely with Coleman to guide newsroom operations, as well as assign and coordinate national and local news coverage. The shift in leadership structure comes after the passing of Tanita Myers, a seasoned network and local news manager, producer, broadcaster and anchor who joined BIN in June 2020 and was most recently serving as vice president of news operations. BIN president Tony Coles adds, “A major part of Tanita Myers’ legacy at the Black Information Network will forever be the incredible depth of talent she hired. Following her passing, Andrea and Mike not only helped us to continue her work but have built upon this foundation. It only felt natural to elevate both to these leadership positions and trust them to continue bringing BIN to new heights. I am excited to see two of our best journalists advance into these new roles, and I am confident we will continue to grow under their leadership.”

KFBK, Sacramento Celebrates 100th Anniversary; Plans October Live Event. Sacramento news/talk KFBK-AM/FM is celebrating 100 years since its first on-air broadcast on September 17, 1922 all this week. iHeartMedia says of KFBK: “Signing on less than two years after the very first U.S. radio station, KFBK News Radio was first licensed to the Kimball-Upson department store located at 607 K St., which sold radios. The station’s first broadcast that Sunday evening began at 8:00 pm with “Song of the East,” played on the piano by a local musician. Additional songs and local news announcements followed to complete the evening’s first-ever radio broadcast. That inaugural day began Carlos McClatchy’s mission for KFBK to serve the Sacramento Valley and Northern California with local news, information, and entertainment. KFBK News Radio has been a springboard for talent who would go on to become nationally famous, including Rush Limbaugh and Tom Sullivan.” In celebration, the station is featuring rare historic audio highlights as well as a published timeline of the station’s history, rare photos, audio, video, and special podcasts, from the last 100 years. KFBK program director Bill White says, “The founding principle of KFBK News Radio remains the same today as it did in 1922, to provide relevant local news and information. Through the generations, KFBK’s team of talented news anchors, reporters, and talk hosts continues to proudly uphold that mission, to serve the listeners of Sacramento and Northern California.” iHeartMedia Sacramento will present a KFBK Centennial Celebration Event on Friday, October 21. It will be hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty from “The Armstrong and Getty Show” and will include appearances by current KFBK on-air talent including Cristina Mendonsa, Sam Shane, Tom Sullivan, Kitty O’Neal, John McGinness, Pat Walsh, and many KFBK alumni from the station’s previous years.

WSYR, Syracuse Celebrates 100 Years of Service. Another iHeartMedia station celebrating its 100th anniversary is Syracuse news/talk WSYR. A local proclamation from Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, along with local video greetings and dignitaries, can be seen at WSYR’s website today (9/15) to coincide with the station’s historic launch. In addition, News Radio 570 WSYR will reveal an online museum featuring previously archived photographs and biographies of past on-air personalities and more. iHeartMedia Upstate New York president Robert J. Morgan says, “From its earliest days, News Radio 570 WSYR has been an integral part of this community. Generations of Central New Yorkers have depended on News Radio 570 WSYR for relevant, accurate and up-to-the-minute coverage of the topics that matter most to the local community. We intend to build on this legacy in the next 100 years and will always be here with news, conversation, and companionship in times of crisis and celebration.” While WSYR was first licensed in 1926, the origin of its founding was September 15, 1922, when WMAC was started. WMAC would later be merged with WSYR.

Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Visit Affiliate KLBJ-AM, Austin. Last week, “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” visited affiliate KLBJ-AM, Austin “NewsRadio KLBJ – 590 AM/99.7 FM,” broadcast live from the station on September 8 and 9, and hosted a client and listener meet-and-greet. The duo also took in the Alabama vs Texas football game at Texas Memorial Stadium. Pictured above (from l-r) at the game are: Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Sexton, Senator Ted Cruz, Travis and Texas oil executive Bill Holmes.

TALKERS News Notes. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning is switching its radio flagship from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA, Tampa to Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT-FM, Tampa “The Bone.” In making the announcement, the club cites WHPT’s strong signal as a benefit to fans. Vinik Sports Group president Mark Pitts says, “As we continue to grow our brand and fan base throughout the state, the Lightning are excited to partner with Cox Media Group to provide Bolts fans throughout Central Florida and beyond, the opportunity to hear all games on 102.5 The Bone…..PromoSuite announces it is promoting Nia Addison to the newly created position of customer success & renewal contract manager. In this role, Addison will manage the contract renewal process in collaboration with PromoSuite’s sales and customer success teams. She will also continue to work directly with PromoSuite customers to ensure their success utilizing PromoSuite Next, PromoSuite Mail and the all-new PromoSuitePlus workflow platform which includes PromoSuite Digital and PromoSuite Production…..Virtual News Center adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Adding the service for local newscasts and weather reports are BiCoastal Media’s news/talk KELA-AM and country KMNT-FM, Centralia-Chehalis, Washington.

Inflation/Financial Markets/Freight Rail Strike, Trump vs DOJ, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Immigration/Migrant Busing, Abortion Legislation, January 6 Investigation, Russia-Ukraine War, and Asian Leaders Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The still-rising price of food and consumer goods, the activity on the financial markets, and a potential freight rail strike; former President Donald Trump’s battle with the Department of Justice over classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for president in 2024; Biden Administration immigration policy and the relocating of migrants; Senator Lindsey Graham’s national abortion bill; former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows complies with a subpoena from the January 6 committee; Russia’s recent losses in the Ukraine invasion; and the summit of Asian leaders, including Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, in Uzbekistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

| September 13, 2022

Sales vs Customer Service. Longtime radio sales professional Kathy Carr, president of the Howie Carr Radio Network, writes today in an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine that in radio’s halcyon days of the 1990s, a salesperson could make a good living filling agency avails. “Those were the days of sitting in front of that huge desktop computer and typing out a schedule in Tapscan to make the cost per point. But was that really sales or was it mere customer service?” Carr says real salespeople will always be able to find a job and reveals five questions she asks a prospective seller to determine if they are really a salesperson. Read it here.

Salem Media Group To Boost Power. In a promotion that takes effect at the beginning of next year, Salem Media Group senior vice president Allen Power will be elevated to president/broadcast media. Chief executive officer David Santrella comments, “Allen Power and I have worked and collaborated closely for 18 of my 21 years with Salem. His keen operational experience, combined with his strong hand of leadership, provides a perfect combination to build a better future for the broadcast division.” Power notes, “My years with Salem have been the most rewarding of my career. Our dual focus on doing well – while doing good – provides a culture unique in media. I’m grateful for the leadership of our founders, Edward Atsinger and Stuart Epperson, and to Dave Santrella for the opportunity to play this role as our company continues to grow as a multimedia platform.” In other SMG news, senior vice president of operations Linnae Young is upped to executive vice president of operations & revenue development. “Linnae has been my go-to person every time we’ve had an opportunity to sell multiple marketing elements from several divisions to new clients,” Santrela states. “Her work in our industry on Salem’s behalf with many clients made this an easy decision for me. Linnae brings out the very best from those she works with; I look forward to seeing her touch across the entire division.” Meanwhile, Salem’s Chicago general manager/regional vice president Jeff Reisman is upped to senior vice president/operations, where he will oversee the company’s stations in eastern markets. According to Santrella, “Allen [Power] and I have worked closely with Jeff for many years. His track record in Chicago speaks for itself. He was the first building block to what is now our digital marketing agency, Salem Surround. These three promotions [of Power, Young, and Reisman] are all from within our Salem team, which is further proof that Salem appreciates/believes in our employees and rewards hard work and success.”

Remembering Lowry Mays. The founder and chief executive officer of what is now iHeartRadio, Lowry Mays, died yesterday (Monday, 9/12) at the age of 87. Mays co-founded San Antonio Broadcasting Company with Red McCombs 50 years ago (1972). They purchased their first radio station, San Antonio’s KEEZ-FM; three years later (1975), they bought a second San Antonio outlet (currently iHeartMedia news/talk) WOAI. The company became Clear Channel Communications then iHeartRadio. Born in Harris County Texas on July 24, 1935, Mays graduated with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University in 1957 and enlisted in the United States Air Force. Upon his discharge, Mays earned an MBA from Harvard University and became an investment banker. Mays continued his affiliation with Texas A&M by serving two non-consecutive terms (1985 -1991 and 2001- 2007) on the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, including as chair from 2003 – 2005. In 2002, the school renamed its business school after Mays. Texas A&M University System chancellor John Sharp comments, “A really big tree fell in the Aggie forest. We will never forget what he did for Aggieland.” Texas A&M’s school of business was endowed by Mays in 1996 with a $15 million gift and was renamed the Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business. The university renamed the school once more in 2002 to Mays Business School. In 2017, the Mays Family Foundation gifted an additional $25 million, the largest single commitment in the business school’s history. Both gifts were part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million. A 1999 Texas Business Hall of Fame inductee, Mays served as chair of the United Way of San Antonio and was a member of the associates board at Harvard Business School. In 2003, Mays testified before the Senate that the deregulation of the telecommunications industry had not hurt the public. In an interview that same year with Fortune Magazine, however, he remarked, “We’re not in the business of providing news and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.” Mays was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004, but suffered a stroke the following year. He stepped down as Clear Channel’s chief executive officer and was succeeded by his son, Mark.

Bloomberg Media Chief Mayers Is Retiring. Having joined the company in 2001 as Bloomberg Radio’s station manager, Bloomberg Media global head of radio and television Al Mayers is retiring from the company. Announcing the news in a staff memo, Bloomberg Media chief executive officer M. Scott Havens and Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait write, “Al has been a tireless leader at Bloomberg for over two decades, first in radio and now in his wider broadcast role. During COVID, it often seemed as if Al was single-handedly keeping us on the air. His retirement is a prompt for us to redesign the editorial side of Bloomberg Media – both in line with that philosophy and the broader changes in journalism and the media world. The lines between audio, video, print and live events have become ever harder to distinguish, especially as our audience decides when they want to watch, read or listen to our content. We need a unified approach not just to fit this world, but also to reflect the fact that Bloomberg Media is now an integrated global business, which surged almost 50% last year and has just realized another 24% increase in the first six months of 2022. So after Al leaves this month, David Merritt will become head of a new position, Bloomberg Media Editorial. [He] will oversee the editorial side of all of our media platforms – the website, all our audio and video, including BTV, radio, Quicktake, podcasts, events and our magazines. We are forever grateful for what Al has done for this company and wish him all the best in his next chapter on Cape Cod.” Mayers previously was general manager of Bloomberg Radio, overseeing the station’s programming, syndication and business operations. Michael Bloomberg named Mayers chief of Bloomberg’s global TV division in 2015.

Omnipresent air talent/media executive Nick Cannon will host next month’s (10/19) Marconi Radio Awards dinner during the NAB Show in New York. The ceremony returns in-person after a (COVID-caused) two-year hiatus. NAB executive vice president/industry affairs April Carty-Sipp comments, “NAB is excited to be joined by the talented Nick Cannon to honor the on-air voices and local stations that have shined brightest over the past year. We look forward to welcoming the broadcast community to this crowd-pleasing and lively celebration of the best in radio.” Ryan Seacrest will be presented with the NAB “Distinguished Service Award”; Paul and Fred Jacobs will receive the “National Radio Award.” Established in 1989 and named after inventor/Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. Nominees for “News/Talk Station of the Year” include: KNX, Los Angeles; KRMG, Tulsa; KTMY, Minneapolis; WKXW, Trenton (New Jersey); and WLW, Cincinnati. “Sports (Talk) Station of the Year” nominees include: KNBR, San Francisco; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WMFS, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. Finalists for this year’s awards in all categories can be found here.

TALKERS News Notes. “Game Time With Boomer Esiason,” the syndicated TV interview show done by Audacy New York sports talk WFAN’s morning co-host, now has a podcast version. Introduced via Audacy’s 2400 Sports podcast studio, the standalone product will feature material not included in the broadcast version. Esiason remarks, “I’m really excited about the opportunity to expand our in-depth conversations with some of the biggest stars in sports through the launch of this new podcast. This show will enable us to dig deeper into what makes these icons tick and will deliver can’t-miss content for listeners across the country.” … Co-host of the podcast “For Colored Nerds,” Brittany Luse, succeeds Sam Sanders as host of NPR’s “It’s Been A Minute.” Vice president of programming & new content development Yolanda Sangweni notes, “Brittany is one of the most exciting and essential voices in pop culture podcasting. She brings deep curiosity, empathy, and joy to the mic and to her storytelling. We are beyond thrilled to be re-imagining ‘It’s Been A Minute’ with Brittany at the helm.” Luse states, “I’ve spent the entirety of my eight-year hosting career helping audiences to connect the dots between culture and current events. I look forward to continuing and expanding that work at my new home.” Formerly host of podcasts “The Nod” and “Sampler,” Luse will begin her new duties next month (10/7). … Following four months of being interim local host for New Hampshire Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” Julia Furukawa has the job permanently. New Hampshire Public Radio president/chief executive officer Jim Schachter notes, “In Julia, we have a serious journalist in the ‘All Things Considered’ anchor chair. [She] connects with listeners across a broad, diverse spectrum; loves exploring New Hampshire; and understands that reporting the news is both a joy and a responsibility. Everyone at our studios knows she’s fun to be around, and now ‘ATC’ users can hear that.” Furukawa adds, “I came to NHPR [two years ago] thinking I’d mostly be behind the scenes, not behind the microphone. The team here has given me the chance to grow into a role I’ve always dreamt of being in; I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for what’s to come.” … Best known for her many reports from the front lines of world events, NPR international correspondent Anne Garrels has died at the age of 71. When Garrels arrived at NPR in 1988, she already had ten years of experience in television news at ABC, where she was bureau chief in both Moscow and Central America. Her NPR backdrops included the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. … VSiN launches three-hour (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) weeknight sports betting content on iHeartMedia Providence news/talk WHJJ “News Radio 920.” In addition, Brent Musburger’s “Action Updates” will air twice a day. Meanwhile in Kansas City, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM “Talk Radio 710 AM” is airing short-form VSiN-produced betting features throughout the weekend. VSiN’s betting analysts will breakdown betting lines for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC West and other big games on that week’s slate. Elsewhere, Salem Media Group Honolulu sports talk KGU & K236CR “Hawaii Sports Radio Network AM 760 & 95.1 FM” airs VSiN’s “Final Countdown with Stormy Buonantony & Matt Brown” at 11:00 am. … For the second year in a row – and fifth time overall – Syndicated Solutions’ “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” earns the SATW Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Award in the “Travel Audio – Radio” category. The hosts comment, “Week after week, [our team] helps us create the most diverse and engaging network radio program. Collectively, we love the world of travel and all that it encompasses; we’re truly thankful to the wonderful sponsors who are aligned with us. We look forward to continuing to keep engaging, enticing, entertaining and empowering travelers to go explore the world. When that happens, it has such a positive impact on travelers, the travel industry and our society in general. The powerful megaphone we have to successfully impact travel is a blessing that we don’t take for granted.” The program is heard on 495 affiliates.

Nine To Be Inducted Into The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association HOF. Among those to be honored are Eric Jackson from Boston public radio news/talk WGBH; former Boston Red Sox television play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough, most recently doing a select number of games on the Red Sox Radio Network; and one-time Boston Celtics Broadcasting president Gerald Walsh, who helped create Boston sports talk (and Red Sox radio flagship) WEEI. Massachusetts Broadcasters Association chair/Beasley Media Group Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna remarks, “The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association is thrilled to be able to gather in person to celebrate these individuals’ lifelong achievements and contributions to our broadcasting community and to welcome them into the Hall of Fame.” Other inductees include Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien (“Bax & O’Brien”), who partnered together for over twenty years in Springfield on WAQY “Rock 102”; Laura Carlo, who did mornings for more than 25 years on Boston classical WCRB; Nancy Quill, a 38-year veteran on Boston adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7”; WCVB-TV, Boston journalist Jorge Quiroga; and broadcast executive Paul Kelley, the recipient of the 2022 “Pioneer Award.” Hall of Fame committee chair Peter Brown explains that award is given “to an individual who has distinguished himself/herself over decades for lasting contributions made to the broadcast industry and through a leadership role in his or her particular craft. The award was established to recognize individuals who do not appear on-air, but their role helped influence and inspire the Massachusetts broadcast community to reach a pinnacle of excellence.” The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held next Thursday (9/22) at the Boston Marriott Quincy Hotel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

| November 16, 2021

Audacy Names Brand Managers for Pittsburgh’s News/Talk KDKA-AM and Sports Talk KDKA-FM. Programming pro Dave LaBrozzi leaves his position as vice president of programming for Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to join Audacy’s legendary Pittsburgh news/talk outlet KDKA-AM as brand manager. At the same same, Audacy announces it is promoting afternoon drive producer Kraig Riley to brand manager for sister sports talk station KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.” Both begin their new positions on November 29. Audacy Pittsburth SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As both KDKA and ‘The Fan’ continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day, it is clear that both stations need focused leadership. The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.” LaBrozzi says, “I am thrilled to be back in my favorite city and second home. I consider it an honor to lead KDKA, a true legend in the industry. Thank you to Michael Spacciapolli for the opportunity to return to the city I love and lead an amazing group of talent on such a legendary station.” Riley comments, “I’ve had a passion for ‘93.7 The Fan’ since joining the team as a producer on its first day on the air in 2010. Growing into a role that now gives me an opportunity to influence the station and move it into the future is something I’m equally excited about and proud of.”

Alex Jones Loses Connecticut Defamation Cases by Default. This story is being reported by a number of consumer news outlets, including this story by The New York Times. In this suit, the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sued media personality Alex Jones and his Infowars organization for defamation after they were cruelly harassed by Jones’ fans who believed Jones’ consistent claims that the mass shooting was a “false flag” to assist the government in taking away citizens’ guns. The victims’ families claimed in their suit that Jones’ business profited from his conspiracy theory – something that Jones denied but didn’t back up after failing every time to comply with the rules of discovery by not turning over requested documents. For that reason, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on default. Jones also lost a similar case in Texas. Juries in both cases will decide how much Jones will pay the families in damages. Jones said through his attorneys that he will appeal and that this is a First Amendment case. Attorney Chris Mattei, lawyer for the Connecticut families, is quoted in the Times piece saying that Jones had every opportunity to argue his First Amendment strategy but chose to be defaulted. “He deliberately chose to prevent us from collecting evidence that would prove how his business works and why he engaged in this extended campaign against the families, and the relationship between that and his profitability.”

Alpha Media Names Brian Foster and Les Tuttle to Regional VP Posts. Radio executives Brian Foster and Les Tuttle are being named to regional vice president positions with Alpha Media. In their new roles, Foster will oversee Alpha markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while Tuttle will handle Missouri, Minnesota, and select markets in Iowa. Both will report to chief operating officer Larry Bastida. (Alpha recently announced that Zoe Burdine-Fly has joined the company as a regional president.) Bastida – who has served in the Chicago market as a GSM and market manager for the past 20 years – says, “We are excited to have Brian and Les join Zoe as we continue to evolve the senior leadership team. Throughout our extensive search to fill the regional president position, it became clear that Brian and Les could play crucial roles. In recent weeks, the added collaboration from these three has enhanced the discussion as the company gains momentum going into 2022.” Foster comments, “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories. This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.” Tuttle has been market manager for Alpha’s Moberly-Farmington-Festus, Missouri market for the past 11 years. He states, “Having worked for many companies during my 45 years in this business, I enjoy the style of the Alpha leadership team. Their commitment to people sets them apart from other companies, and I look forward to being part of the senior management group.”

Gonsales Appointed SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Twin Cities. Radio sales and management pro Jeff Gonsales joins Audacy as senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis market. He’ll oversee the station group that includes news/talk WCCO-AM and two music brands, beginning December 6. Prior to joining Aduacy, Gonsales served with Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities cluster as director of sales. Audacy regional president Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Gonsales to oversee our Minneapolis market and the operations of our three stations. Throughout his tenure in the Twin Cities, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a leader with integrity who cares about his people and his business partners. We trust that invaluable quality coupled with his rich experience in this area will set Audacy Minneapolis up for continued growth and success under his leadership.” Gonsales comments, “I am excited to join the Audacy team in Minneapolis. After starting my radio career at 830 WCCO, I look forward to returning to move this group of local favorites forward in the digital audio world.”

Nadia Cowart Rejoins Cumulus Media as Digital Sales Manager. Media sales pro Nadia Cowart is back with Cumulus Media as digital sales manager for the company’s Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana clusters. She served as promotion manager for the clusters from 2002 through 2008 and was most recently marketing director for KBMT-TV, Beaumont. The Beaumont cluster includes sports talk duo KIKR-AM/KBED-AM and the Lake Charles group includes news/talk KAOK-AM “Super Talk 1400” and sports talk KXZZ-AM. Cumulus Beaumont/Lake Charles VP and market manager Elizabeth Blackstock says, “Nadia is an experienced marketing and sales professional in both of our markets, and we are excited that she is returning to Cumulus to help lead our digital sales department. She understands what our communities need to grow and has worked with area businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their objectives through effective digital strategies.”

SportsMap Radio Network Launches ‘Fred Nation’ Program. A new midday sports talk program from SportsMap Radio launches titled “Fred Nation” starring Fred Davis (right) and Fred Faour (left). The program is scheduled to debut on November 29 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Faour says, “I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio. It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.” Faour was a co-host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN Houston” until August of 2021 and served as the editor of SportsMap Houston. Former KILT-AM Houston personality Fred Davis says, “The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced. And what’s better than one Fred? Two Freds.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “These two have amazing chemistry. Locally, they each have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”

iHeartMedia Renews ‘BOB & TOM Show’ on 17 Stations. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with iHeartMedia to continue airing on 17 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S., including: WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis; WKQQ-FM, Lexington, Kentucky; WIBA-FM, Madison; and WTUE-FM, Dayton. iHeartMedia national programming group COO Brad Hardin says, “It’s an honor to continue our great relationship with Tom Griswold and his team. How often do you get to say you’ve worked together for decades? Listeners across the country have become accustomed to starting their day laughing along with The BOB & TOM Show’s irreverent humor, and we’re excited that they are continuing to bring the laughs with this extended partnership.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from FOX News Media that cites Comscore data, FOX News Digital notches the number one spot for the month of October in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 1.8 billion multiplatform views and over 3.3 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX says its digital network surpassed CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the eighth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. Further, FOX says that for the 86th consecutive month, it continued as the most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), driving 49 million total social interactions. FOX News was also the top performer in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors, with more than 19 million Facebook interactions and over 27 million on Instagram, according to Socialbakers. FOX News also finished the month as number one among news competitors with YouTube video views, with over 319.8 million, up 37% year over year, delivering the network’s second highest month in history in YouTube video views…..Newsmax is reporting “tremendous growth” in its social media audience, viewership, and engagement for the month of October. Newsmax says it finished third on Twitter in overall monthly interactions (2.14M), behind only CNN (2.39M) and NY Times (2.34M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is fifth in total Twitter interactions (17.6M), behind CNN (30.8M), NY Times (28.58M), MSNBC (20.53M) and ABC News (17.76M). Newsmax says it finished third in monthly Facebook impressions (10.58M), behind only FOX News (20.09M) and Breitbart (17.56M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is third in total Facebook impressions (153.84M), behind only FOX News (331.8M) and Breitbart (194.16M). Newsmax says it set a new all-time monthly high in Instagram monthly interactions in October with 9.33 million. It finished third on Instagram in total Interactions (9.33M), behind only FOX News (27.2M) and CNN (18.9M)…..Public media organizations GBH and PRX announce the appointment of Dan Lothian as executive producer of “The World,” public radio’s daily global news program. Lothian assumes the role of executive editor after serving as interim editor since March 2021. GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott comments, “Dan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to ‘The World.’ Over the past eight months, he has demonstrated his exceptional journalistic skills and deep commitment to the mission of GBH and public media. We’re excited to support the continued development of ‘The World’ with Dan’s vision and dedication.”…..FEMA and Bonneville Seattle are hosting the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday (11/19). The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. KIRO-AM is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

Funeral Services Set for Al Herskovitz on Thursday, November 18. The funeral for industry veteran Al Herskovitz who passed away last week (11/11) at the age of 90 will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 am at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221.  For more details about Al Herskovitz’s passing, please see the story below originally posted 11/12.

January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Supply Chain, COVID-19, Biden-Xi Summit, Infrastructure Bill, Russia’s Military Intentions, the Poland-Belarus migrant conflict, and Rittenhouse Case Goes to Jury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Steve Bannon is formally charged with contempt of Congress; soaring retail, food, and fuel prices and the broken supply chain; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the court battle over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Monday’s virtual meeting between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping; Biden’s trillion dollar Infrastructure bill and its implementation to be handled by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; concerns over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border; and the jury gets the Kyle Rittenhouse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

| September 2, 2021

Scott James Matheson – Mayor and Radio Broadcaster – is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. It is not uncommon for longtime AM drive local radio personalities to be dubbed the “morning mayor” of the cities in which they broadcast. Scott James Matheson, the morning host at Talk 92.1 WDDQ, Valdosta, GA, actually is the mayor of the South Georgia city in which he is heard daily! In addition, he is the owner of WDDQ and its parent company, Smalltown Broadcasting, LLC.  He is also this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.” Matheson was inaugurated mayor of the Deep South city of 60,000-plus residents in early 2020 and has a very interesting story to tell juggling both demanding jobs. Harrison and Matheson discuss small town America politics and the view of today’s national conversation from Valdosta’s key geographic perspective located right near the Florida-Georgia line. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

KFAQ-AM, Tulsa’s Flip to Sports Talk Happens Tuesday. Tulsa news/talk outlet KFAQ-AM will flip to sports talk on Tuesday (9/7), according to owner Griffin Communications. The company says it “is excited to announce ‘The Blitz 1170 AM’ – Tulsa’s new sports talk station covering Oklahoma and national sports by the folks who know sports best, the experts from Oklahoma’s Own.” Griffin VP of content Todd Spessard says, “We are so excited to bring the best local sports radio to Tulsa. From high school to college to professional – Tulsa has so many great sports stories to tell, and we can’t wait to bring them to Green Country. We’re putting together a local lineup of some of the best and well-known Tulsa voices and are ready to start talking sports!” The station will be live and local from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Its lineup is as follows: University of Tulsa hoops play-by-play announcer Rick Couri from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dan Hawk from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Big Al & Friends from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Jeremie “Pop” Poplin from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Colby Daniels from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Barstool Sports from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Griffin says the station will also feature content from the KOTV-DT “News On 6 Sports” team led by veteran sports director John Holcomb and appearances by KWTV-TV “News 9” sportscaster Dean Blevins covering all things OU, OKC Thunder reporter Steve McGehee, and college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek. KFAQ director of programming Jeremie Poplin adds, “I am incredibly excited for this opportunity with The Blitz. A lot of hard work has gone into all the stages of planning for a station that will reach a variety of different fan bases. We will strive to present a product everyone can be proud of and help fill the local sports void in Tulsa.”

WOKY-AM, Milwaukee Pulls Bill Michaels Show After Audacy Cries Foul. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison, Wisconsin-based sports talk host Bill Michaels’ program has been removed from the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM after two days because Michaels’ former employer Audacy is claiming his being on WOKY violates his non-compete. Michaels’ show aired on Audacy’s crosstown WSSP-AM until January of this year when he was let go. His program is currently based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison and it launched on WOKY on Monday (8/30) in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Michaels tells the paper, “Audacy sent a cease-and-desist to iHeart. What they’re claiming is that no station in Milwaukee can carry me.” He says the question is whether his contractual obligation to Audacy allows him to appear on a Milwaukee station as a syndicated talent versus as an employee. It’s not clear when the non-compete period expires.

El Dorado Broadcasters Unveils Hyperlocal News Platform in Yuma. The owner of news/talk KBLU-AM, Yuma, Arizona and two music outlets – El Dorado Broadcasters – announces the debut of a hyperlocal news website for Greater Yuma called Yumadailynews.com. The company is calling it a “new newsroom focused on the local happenings in southwest Arizona.” It will distribute its content via Yumadailynews.com, its radio stations, social media platforms and daily e-news headlines. El Dorado executive president Chris Fleming says, “We serve our local market with our broadcast stations, but this is a logical expansion of services for the market. It seems like an opportunity for our company to step into this space and make an immediate impact for the community we serve.” The newsroom is being managed by news director Andrew Caravella.

WLS-AM, Chicago Debuts Weekend Travel Show. A new travel show is launching on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. “Round Trip With Colleen Kelly” will air on Sunday (9/5) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Kelly is a digital contributor to National Geographic and Travel + Leisure and is host, creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, “Family Travel With Colleen Kelly.” She says, “I am thrilled to be working with the legendary WLS team and Cumulus Media, bringing audiences the latest in travel news, tips, and destinations on ‘Round Trip with Colleen Kelly.’ It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with and create work at the WLS-AM radio station. What a fantastic opportunity to connect with not only dedicated Chicago listeners but also listeners from across the U.S.”

New Lexington, Kentucky Sports Talker Launches. Flipping from country to sports talk, Clarity Communications’ WZNN-FM, Stamping Ground, Kentucky re-launches as “Sports 96.1 The Zone” using content from FOX Sports Radio. The station’s press release says, “The station will feature the only live and local afternoon drive show hosted by program director Terry Ford, Big Blue reports daily, extensive live pre- and post-game UK coverage before and after every Wildcat game, play-by-play of high school football and basketball, play-by-play of regional and national college football and basketball and play-by-play of the biggest NFL games every week. Clarity CEO Charlie Cohn says, “Clarity Communications is pleased to bring local sports talk to FM in Lexington. We will not only have the only local afternoon sports talk show in the market, but we plan to expand all our local coverage of the sports teams and topics that matter in Central Kentucky. Plus, we are pleased to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to Lexington. And our partnership with FOX Sports Radio means Lexington and the surrounding areas can expect the best sports coverage 24/7.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new program from ESPN Podcasts hosted by former NFL coach Rex Ryan and former NFL linebacker Bart Scott will debut on September 12. Titled, “Organized Chaos,” new episodes will drop each Monday and will “provide listeners with expert insight and analysis on everything happening around the league featuring trending stories from on and off the field.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a new 13-episode podcast series called, “9/11 & Sports: 20 Years Later.” It looks back at the impact of that day’s events on the world of sports and the reaction by leagues, players and fans in the hours, days, weeks and years that followed. SixiursXM SVP of sports programming & podcasts Steve Cohen says, “We’ve produced this series to tell the story of how the events of 9/11, one of the most tragic days in our history, reverberated through the world of sports through the days and months that followed the attacks, and in ways even now 20 years later. We remember lives heartbreakingly lost that day, the way our country responded, and the impact on citizens and public figures alike.”

KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas’ Paul Berry Dead at 52. Longtime KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas news and operations director Paul Berry died on Tuesday afternoon of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. The station says, “Berry joined KTBB more than 20 years ago after having previously been the program director and morning air personality on KTBB’s then sister station, KDOK. In addition to overseeing the editorial operation of the KTBB newsroom, he also managed the day-to-day technical operations of KTBB 97.5 FM, 600 AM and 92.1 FM, The TEAM Sports Radio.” Station owner Paul Gleiser adds, “Paul and I really loved the radio business. We spent a lot of time talking about the work of the great broadcasters that we both admired, and we also spent a lot of time looking for just one more way to make this station better. Somewhere in all of that an employment relationship morphed into friendship. I’m going to miss him.”

Gen Media Partners Launches Multicultural Initiative. In an effort to “champion the power and influence of certified minority-owned and -targeted radio stations to advertisers and agencies,” Gen Media Partners announces the formation of a strategic task force that will “advocate on behalf of the largely overlooked multicultural-owned and -targeted radio stations across all market sizes, including non-metro, and demonstrate multicultural radio’s remarkable power to connect with audiences.” The company says that Ann-Marie Figueira, whose promotion to SVP of Hispanic platforms and multicultural initiatives was announced recently, will lead the initiative. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity adds, “Our goal – our job – is to make sure advertisers and their agencies look beyond the large-scale companies and include independent, certified minority-owned and -targeted radio groups in their plans. We’re already seeing a receptiveness to learning more about these stations and their effectiveness at reaching multicultural audiences with content that is relevant to their specific lifestyles, tastes, and cultures.” The company says it represents 1,176 radio stations in 168 markets, either minority-owned or -targeted to Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Indigenous audiences and has one of the strongest multicultural platforms in radio, reaching  95% of the multicultural segment of the US population.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Devastation/Caldor Wildfire, Texas Abortion Law, Social Security Insolvency, January 6 Investigation, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). Criticism of President Joe Biden and Pentagon leaders over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the stress on ICUs in several states, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the devastation in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida and the flooding in the Northeast & the battle to keep the Caldor wildfire from Lake Tahoe; the Supreme Court votes 5-4 not to block the restrictive Texas abortion law; the report that the U.S. social security system will be insolvent by 2034; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that might comply with the January 6 committee’s investigation for phone records; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.