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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

| September 1, 2021

KIRO-AM, Seattle Launches Mike Salk Morning Show. Seattle sports talk outlet KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” announces the launch of “The Mike Salk Show” that takes over the morning drive daypart on September 7. The move ousts the “Danny & Gallant” show hosted by Danny O’Neill and Paul Gallant. Salk is the station’s former program director. His show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and the “Jake & Stacy” show hosted by Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost adds an hour, starting at 10:00 am and airing until 2:00 pm. Bonneville says, “‘The Mike Salk Show’ will regularly feature influential and notable voices, past and current, within the Seattle sports landscape such as Jerry Dipoto, Scott Servais, Pete Carroll, Matt Hasselbeck, Brock Huard, Shannon Drayer, Michael Bumpus, and many more.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown comments, “We’re excited and fortunate to be able to add such a talented host back into our daily lineup. Mike is a passionate, opinionated broadcaster with long-standing connections to Seattle’s teams and fans. With daily appearances from Brock Huard and John Clayton and weekly interviews with Pete Carroll, Matt Hasselbeck and Jerry Dipoto, this show will be a can’t-miss destination for sports fans in the region.” Salk is also co-host of the “Brock & Salk” podcast with Brock Huard.  The “Brock & Salk Show” aired in various dayparts on “710 ESPN Seattle” from 2009-2019 and continues exclusively as a weekly podcast. For the new show, Salk will be joined by executive producer and on-air contributor Justin Barnes and producer Maura Dooley.

Michigan Sports Network Hosts Move to ‘The Game.’ A report at MLive.com says two of the Michigan Sports Network’s sports talk radio programs moved to a new flagship station – iHeartMedia’s WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “The Game 96.1.” “The Huge Show” featuring Bill Simonson and “X’s & Bro’s” with Anthony Bellino moved to “The Game 96.1” from Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJRW-AM/W291DJ this week. Simonson says in a statement, “The move to 96.1 means that I get back to reaching a wider audience on the FM dial. It’s good for all the listeners in West Michigan, our marketing partners based in West Michigan, the local charitable organizations we support and the community. The show hasn’t changed since I came on the air September 23, 2001, and I’ll always offer my Huge opinions on local, state, national and world-wide topics.”

Orlando Franklin Leaves KKFN, Denver to Join 49ers Coaching Staff. Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Orlando “Big O” Franklin is leaving Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to take a coaching position with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Denver TV station KUSA reports Franklin told his audience that he’s leaving the late morning show he’s been co-hosting with Sandy Clough for the past two years. Franklin said, “My coaching internship with the 49ers was a tremendous experience, and I was honored that Coach Shanahan offered me the opportunity to continue with the team this season. While it’s bittersweet leaving my radio show here on ‘The Fan,’ the chance to continue learning from Coach Shanahan and working closely with my father-in-law Bobby Turner was one I just couldn’t pass up.”

G-Networks Responds to Wolkoff Suit; Requests Complaint Be Dismissed. In a 12-page response to Danno and Laura Wolkoff’s breach of contract suit against it, G-Networks LLC basically says it stands by its actions when it terminated the Wolkoffs from their positions and accused them of costing the business some $1.8 million in damages due to “gross negligence” and “gross incompetence” in the performance of their duties as chief development officer and VP of business operations, respectively. The Wolkoffs sold their company Envision Networks to then-Sun Broadcast Group and entered into employment agreements to serve in the positions noted above. The Wolkoffs say in their complaint that they are owed $2.1 million based on the deal to sell Envision and their employment contracts. G-Networks is asking that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice and that the Wolkoffs be ordered to pay all costs, expenses and attorney’s fees.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Todd Starnes delivered a speech at the recent Donald Trump rally in Alabama. The former president also appeared on Starnes’ radio program on Monday (8/30) and made news by announcing that “he’s heading to Iowa,” hinting that he’s already considering a run for president in 2024…..Audacy Buffalo announces multi-year radio broadcast contract extensions with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. As part of the partnership sports talk WGR-AM will continue as the flagship radio station for the Bills and Sabres, airing all pre-season, regular and post-season games for both teams. Audacy Buffalo SVP and market manager Tim Holly says, “We’re delighted to extend our partnerships with the Bills and Sabres to continue delivering premier gameday and supporting content. These partnerships will allow WGR 550 to continue to serve as the home for everything fans need to stay up to date surrounding these two iconic franchises and we look forward to entertaining and informing our listeners throughout both teams’ seasons.” WGR 550 will kick off its Bills gameday broadcasts with three pregame shows, “Breakfast with the Bills Fantasy Style,” “Bills Game Day,” “Countdown to Kickoff,” and wrap up with two postgame shows “Bills Network Postgame Show” and “The Overtime Show.” In addition to gameday content, the station will air “Buffalo Bills Football Monday” and “Football Friday,” which will feature team-focused content with special guests. Morning show “Howard and Jeremy” will welcome Bills play-by-play announcer John Murphy on Monday and Friday mornings and Bills head coach Sean McDermott each Friday morning. Afternoon show “Schopp & Bulldog” will speak with former Bills center Eric Wood every Monday and professional football writer John Clayton every Thursday. WGR 550 will also air pregame and postgame shows for its Sabres gameday broadcasts. “Howard and Jeremy” will welcome head coach Don Granato each Tuesday morning. “Schopp and Bulldog” will speak with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams each month…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” radio program hosted by Chris Hill adds new affiliate New Hampshire Family Radio’s WKXL-AM/W280EC, Concord to its roster of stations…..Pictured below donating blood is GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs. Regular donating of blood – as well as the promotion of National Blood Donation Day (Sept. 4) and National Blood Donation Week (Sept. 1-7) – is something Dr. Wachs is passionate about and she encourages her fellow talk hosts to use their platforms to stress the importance of keeping our nation’s blood banks stocked.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, California Wildfires, Texas Abortion Law, January 6 Investigation, and Jeopardy’s Mike Richards Fired Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The criticism of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., states dealing with full ICUs, and mask & vaccine mandates; the Caldor wildfire threatens the California resort town of Lake Tahoe; the Texas law outlawing abortion after six weeks goes into effect; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that comply with the January 6 committee’s request for phone records; and Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is fired were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

| August 24, 2021

Emmis Announces Promotions at ‘The Fan’ and WIBC-FM in Indy. At Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, the company announces a series of promotions and changes in the programming department that largely affect sports talk “93.5 FM & 107.5 FM The Fan.” David Wood remains vice president of programming for the entire Emmis Indianapolis cluster and he adds programming responsibilities of both “The Fan” and news/talk WIBC-FM. Wood previously programmed “The Fan” from 2010-2013. Todd Meyer is promoted to assistant program director of “The Fan” from his previous role as executive producer. Matt Hibbeln continues in his role as assistant program director for WIBC-FM and will assume additional programming responsibilities. Emmis Indianapolis market president Taja Graham states, “Collectively, these three Emmis programming veterans have more than 60 years of experience at Emmis Indianapolis and have all shown an enduring commitment to these iconic Indianapolis brands. The continuity they bring, coupled with their creativity and hard work, will ensure Emmis Indianapolis continues to grow and serve as the market leader.”

Rachel Vigil Named Digital Host/Producer at ‘104.3 The Fan’ in Denver. Sports talk outlet KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” announces that Rachel Vigil joins the station as its new digital host/producer. Bonneville Denver says Vigil’s content will be distributed on the station’s social media platforms and website, DenverFan.com. She’ll also be making regular radio appearances with 104.3 The Fan’s on-air talent. Vigil was most recently serving with the Western Athletic Conference, where she spent the past three years as their on-air talent and broadcasting coordinator. Also, during the past three years, she worked as host and reporter for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment’s Colorado Rapids, including with Altitude Sports. KKFN-FM program director Raj Sharan says, “Rachel’s infectious personality and lifelong passion for Denver sports just explodes through the camera and onto your screen. We can’t wait to watch her creativity run wild creating all types of content as the face of The Fan’s digital brand.”

Edison Research: Streaming Accounts for 12% of Radio Listening. According to data from the most recent Share of Ear study from Edison Research, 12% of all AM/FM radio listening is being done via streaming, while 88% of listening is to an over-the-air radio signal. Edison Research director of research Laura Ivey says, “There are many outlets for Americans to listen to free broadcast radio, including the smartphones that we know are ubiquitous in our population. To realize growth, radio has to capitalize on its content being available beyond just a traditional radio receiver. We know that the pandemic has shifted U.S. listeners from their cars, where traditional radio is easily available, to their homes, where radio must be accessed on different devices. The challenge is how to convince listeners to follow radio content on different devices – radio not on ‘a radio.’” See more about Share of Ear here.

Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Inductees Plus 33 Legends of Radio to Take Their Place in the HoF. The Museum of Broadcast Communications reveals the eight new inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2021 as well as a new class of Legacy inductees. The 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the in-person 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, October 28, at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. This year’s inductees are: Brother Wease Radio 95.1, Rochester, Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Elliot Segal – DC 101, Washington, Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Dan Patrick – The Dan Patrick Show,  Longstanding Networks/Syndication (20 years or more); Kim Komando – The Kim Komando Show, Active Network/Syndication (10 Years or more); Javier Romero – WAMR-FM/Amor 107.5, Music Format On-Air Personality;  Preston & Steve – 93.3 WMMR, Philadelphia, Spoken Word On-Air Personality; Erica Farber, President and CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; and Bill Siemering, Founding Director of Programming and Founding Member of the Board of Directors, NPR. In addition, to honor the 100th year of radio, the Radio Hall of Fame has established a Legends induction, recognizing the talents and efforts of air personalities, programmers and operators who although they have died, spent their lives contributing their talents to the industry. While the industry celebrates 100 years of existence, the industry’s Hall of Fame is only 33 years into existence. The centennial milestone provides an opportunity to recognize the talents and efforts of 33 individuals in 2021, as well. Late spoken-word broadcasters in this group include: Dr. Joy Browne, syndicated talk radio air personality based from WOR-AM, New York; Barry Gray, talk radio air personality in 1940-1980s in New York on WOR and WMCA; and Toni Grant, talk radio air personality in Los Angeles in 1970-1980s on KABC-AM and others via syndication. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin states, “I’m thrilled to welcome this deserving Class of 2021 and look forward to celebrating their inductions in late October in Chicago. In addition, it’s my honor to announce and recognize the talents of individuals who provided the foundation for so much of our industry’s success but have not been yet recognized by this institution. These individuals have earned their place within the Radio Hall of Fame. We used the opportunity of this medium’s 100th anniversary to undertake a review of the industry’s past performers and operators, to identify a select group of industry legends that left us before they could be properly recognized. We honor their contributions and their memory by these inductions.” See more about the inductees here.

Glenn Beck Show Helps Raise $27 million for Rescue of Christians in Afghanistan. The nationally syndicated “Glenn Beck Program” is working with his Nazarene Fund to raise money to rescue the estimated 5,000 Christians – mostly women and children – trapped in Afghanistan. Last week, Beck asked listeners to his Premiere Networks show to “give until it hurts” with the goal of raising $20 million by Friday. Through Beck’s non-profit Mercury One, The Nazarene Fund works to rescue Christians and other religious minorities from persecution and slavery in the Middle East and across the globe. His listeners responded and by the end of Thursday’s radio program, donations reached $13 million, and by Friday morning, they exceeded $20 million. To date, the total raised is $27 million. Beck says, “In times like these, what I believe to be the greatest audience ever assembled, has given me, the Afghan people, and the world, something so important right now – HOPE. It’s the power of one.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (8/26), at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey get ready to return to the classroom after more than a year of remote and hybrid learning. He says, “From learning loss to social anxiety, students will be dealing with many issues as they go back to school. We will provide clarity on a variety of topics from mask mandates to after-school activities and sports.” The program’s on-air panel will feature: Richard Bozza, executive director at the New Jersey Association of School Administrators; Dr. Steven Tobias, a noted child psychologist and the director of the Center for Child & Family Development in Morristown; and representatives from the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour…..Independent Broadcasters Association members will have the opportunity to hear from Michael Doyle “The Sales MD” this Thursday (8/26) at 4:00 pm ET during a sales webinar. IBA CEO Ron Stone says, “Michael Doyle is the man behind many of radio’s biggest sales success stories over the past 25 years and he will share his thoughts on how radio can take advantage of the sales landscape post COVID-19 in this IBA members only webinar.”…..SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison will co-emcee this weekend’s March On For Voting Rights in Washington DC with R&B singer and radio host Al B. Sure! The two hosts will lead a day-long march through Washington, DC and the speaker’s program which will include human and civil rights leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and many others who will issue a call to action to pass federal voting rights legislation.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces 2021 Leadership Awards. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2021 Leadership Awards that are given annually in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at-large. The Awards will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast, 7:00 am, Tuesday, October 12 in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, during the NAB Show. This year’s honorees are: Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO, Allen Media Group; Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer, Cumulus Media; Ralph Oakley, president and CEO, Quincy Media; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group; and Dennis Wharton, retired, EVP, media relations, National Association of Broadcasters. The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast. That honoree will be announced shortly.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, Global Shipping Woes, Flooding & Wildfires, Newsom Recall, and Hochul Replaces Cuomo Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/23). The U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s takeover, and the blame being laid on President Joe Biden; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask and vaccine mandates, and the Pfizer vaccine gets FDA approval; the COVID-affected global shipping network and its effect on retail supplies; the deadly flooding in Middle Tennessee and the wildfires ravaging California; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and Kathy Hochul takes over for Andrew Cuomo as governor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

| July 15, 2021

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2021 survey period covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.6 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #11 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP also loses four-tenths, finishing the survey with a 7.7 share and falls to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds two-tenths for a 3.7 share but remains in the #9 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM also dips two-tenths for a 5.7 share and again finishes ranked #5 in the market. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls out of the #1 spot after losing seven-tenths and falling to a 5.9 share good for the #3 rank while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM adds 2.2 shares to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 6.5 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

FCC Denies Petitions by Larry Wilson and Paul Stone to Nix Alpha Media Applications for Assignment of Licenses. Minority stake holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed petitions with the FCC to deny the assignment of licenses for the stations that will comprise the new New Alpha, whose pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a ruling handed down on July 13, the FCC’s Audio Division, Media Bureau denied both petitions, paving the way for New Alpha to emerge as scheduled. Wilson argued two points: 1) that the FCC’s assigning the licenses would authorize the restructuring of the company thereby causing him economic injury as a minority stakeholder; and 2) that Alpha officers engaged in corporate misconduct by taking actions – including filing the prepackaged bankruptcy plan – without a vote of the board of directors. (Stone’s petition to deny centered around the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations.) In denying Wilson’s petition, the Media Bureau ruled that he (as well as Stone) has failed to show he has standing in the proceeding since his arguments center around his private interests and not the public interest with which the FCC in concerned. It adds that Wilson’s complaint about corporate governance is outside the Commission’s purview and belongs in a state court. You can read the ruling here.

WCNN-AM, Atlanta Unveils New Program Lineup. From a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM “The Fan” has made changes to its program lineup. First, joining the morning drive team of Brian Finneran and John Michaels are three station personalities from other dayparts. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak, Joe Hamilton, and Hutson Mason are joining the morning show on Monday (7/19) as the show changes names from “The Front Row” to “The Locker Room.” Midday host Buck Belue – currently paired with Mason – will go solo from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The new midday show will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and star Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. The afternoon drive show hosted by Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff moves to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and its producers, Brian Hoyt and Carlos Medina, will host a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Fun Bag” when Atlanta Braves games are not airing. Owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “We’ve got the deepest bench in town with local, live talent. It’s not about how many people are in the room. It’s about the right chemistry. It’s about the right energy. It’s about having the right diversity of voices to reflect the modern conversation about sports.”

Report: Good Karma Brands Talking with ESPN About New York and LA Radio Stations. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles owner ESPN is in “serious talks” with Good Karma Brands to have the latter operate those two stations as GKB is currently doing with ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Marchand writes, “ESPN would make such a move to reduce the head count on Disney’s books, which is nearly 40 people. In New York, it would also alleviate some of the massive cost that ESPN pays to Emmis Communications to lease the 98.7 FM signal. That would effectively put the local business sales and marketing in Good Karma’s hands, while ESPN would retain oversight of the station’s content.” Marchand asserts that ESPN’s interest in radio is taking a back seat to its efforts in the podcast genre.

WGFX Adds ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ to ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’ The new podcast platform branded “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” from Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville announces a new program hosted by NFL analyst Greg Cosell called, “The Install with Greg Cosell.” The podcast is being co-hosted by WGFX-FM midday personality Buck Reising. The show promises to bring “a different approach and sound to how Cosell covers film, as Cosell and Reising go through NFL film that Cosell has watched, through a Tennessee Titans lens.” The show also covers the rest of the NFL. Cosell, a nephew of legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, is the co-author of the book, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays (ESPN 2011) with Ron Jaworski and David Plaut. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “I am thrilled that Greg Cosell is partnering with Buck Reising to host ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ as the latest piece to the expanding 104.5 The Zone Network. ‘The Install’ along with Cosell’s weekly appearance on the Zone with ‘3HL’ will allow him to take Titans fans to even more places.”

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast, Sort Of. One of the most colorful members of the radio industry’s endangered species list – the independent local radio station owner/operatorMichael Zwerling is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling (known to his friends, employees and station listeners as “MZ”) has owned the 10,000-watt Central California heritage news/talk flamethrower, KSCO AM 1080 for the past 30 years. He is widely known in the radio industry for his eccentric personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, prowess in NTR marketing and unwavering commitment to local, community-involved broadcasting. Zwerling, himself, hosts a weekly two-hour, Saturday morning, commercial-free program titled, “The Saturday Special,” in which he tackles a wide variety of issues while taking listener calls and interviewing guests. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison joined MZ as a guest on the show this past Saturday for a half hour segment that candidly addressed political correctness, the First Amendment, the state of media and the future of talk radio. The provocative conversation between Harrison and Zwerling recorded on that broadcast is the basis for this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” So, in a sense, Harrison actually serves as Zwerling’s guest on this week’s podcast. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Vaccines, Trump and the GOP/New Trump Book, January 6 Investigation, Senate Democrats’ Budget, Cuba Protests, Voting Legislation, Western Heat and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The surge of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states and the stalling rate of vaccinations; former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party and the new Trump book, I Alone Can Fix It; the House panel to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget; the protests taking place in Cuba and in Florida’s Cuban community; controversy over the new, stricter voting policies enacted in several states; and the Western heatwave and wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

| March 9, 2021

WJFK-FM, Washington at Center of Washington Football Team Investigation Controversy. As Mike Florio reports in Yahoo! Sports, Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington reported on Friday (3/5) that the NFL-ordered investigation into the culture of the Washington Football Team organization – especially regarding allegations of sexual harassment from women – led by attorney Beth Wilkinson has concluded that owner Daniel Snyder should be forced to sell the team. However, yesterday (3/8) the station issued a retraction because the NFL says the story is untrue and it has not yet received the Wilkinson report. The question is whether WJFK-FM received a stolen copy of the report or if Wilkinson herself tipped the radio station. In its statement, WJFK-FM said, “We do believe in the authenticity of the documents we reviewed, and that they are from the Wilkinson investigation, but we are unable to confirm that the report was a final draft or that it had been delivered to the League Office. As soon as we are able to report anything further on this, we will let you know — both as to what occurred in our Friday report and regarding the Wilkinson investigation generally.”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces Nomination Period Is Open. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee is now accepting suggestions for 2021 nominees through March 31. Suggestions for Radio Hall of Fame nominees can be made in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more); Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Networks/Syndication (10 years or more); Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Music Format On-Air Personality; and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating the lifelong talents and career milestones of some of radio’s greatest! The first part of our annual process is fielding suggestions from listeners and industry members alike. It’s our priority to provide everyone the opportunity to be a part of this process.” Inductees will be honored at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with plans to be held live in Chicago at a date to be announced later this year.

AdLarge Promotes Two Executives. Two AdLarge vice presidents are being promoted to senior vice president. Donelle Brown rises to SVP of marketing insights & client relations and Ilwira Marciszek becomes SVP, head of revenue operations and digital sales. In her new role, Donelle Brown will continue to drive marketing strategy and messaging across terrestrial and digital audio channels, as well as overall company branding and communications. Ilwira Marciszek will continue to focus on sales operations, tech, and partner relationships that drive revenue for the company. AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “[Co-CEO] Gary [Schonfeld] and I are so fortunate to have not only one but two phenomenal leaders on our team that have played such a significant role in the success of this company. Their enthusiasm and diligence have been instrumental in our growth in both radio and podcasting. We could not be prouder to recognize their hard work, talent, and dedication.”

Edison Research: Ownership of Smart Speakers Up 22%. According to data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2021, 33% of all Americans now own a smart speaker, a 22% increase from 2020, with those working from home even more likely to own one of the devices. Forty-nine percent of Americans who work from home own at least one smart speaker such as an Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or other brand. Edison will reveal more data from the research project at Thursday’s 2:00 pm ET webinar. It says The Infinite Dial 2021 report “provides the most up-to-date research on U.S. digital audio and podcast consumption, while reflecting the effects of a global pandemic and quarantine restrictions on audio and other digital media behaviors.” You can register here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Unemployment Town Hall. News/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a digital-exclusive town hall this Thursday (3/11) at 7:00 pm to address the issue of out-of-work residents struggling to get unemployment benefits. The half-hour program will be hosted by New Jersey 101.5 morning news anchor and director of special projects Eric Scott featuring New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo answering previously submitted questions from residents. Scott says, “Despite New Jersey distributing over $30 billion in jobless aid since the pandemic began, there are still tens of thousands who have received no benefits. Our goal is to connect those individuals with the help they need to get their claims processed.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk host Larry Elder is the subject of a piece in the monthly magazine Chronicles, published by the Charlemagne Institute – dedicated to “defending and advancing Western Civilization.” Salem Radio Network’s Elder is profiled in the piece and author Roger D. McGrath praises Elder’s recent documentary film Uncle Tom…..According to a story in the New York Post, Greg Kelly is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to serve as early afternoon host while Curtis Sliwa is on a leave of absence while he runs for mayor of New York. Kelly is currently also host of the “Greg Kelly Reports” program seen at 7:00 pm ET on Newsmax TV…..iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during Deutsche Bank’s “29th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference 2021” tomorrow (3/10) at 1:00 pm ET.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Bill, Voting Rights Issues, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Migrant Surge, Capitol Riot Investigation, Derek Chauvin Trial, Harry & Meghan Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/8). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., worries about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the Biden COVID stimulus bill goes back to the House for a final vote; Joe Biden’s voting rights bill and bills being written to curtail voting accessibility in several states; the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; the Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin; and the Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.