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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

| August 25, 2021

ESPN Radio Unveils New Weekday Programming; Max Kellerman Joins Morning Drive Show with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams. The rumored move of ESPN personality Max Kellerman from the “First Take” TV program to the morning drive radio show becomes a reality as ESPN Radio unveils its new fall weekday lineup. Kellerman will become part of the new “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” show (6:00 am to 10:00 am ET) with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams on September 7. ESPN says Kellerman will host a new ESPN television series with details on that to come soon. He’ll also continue to host his weekly boxing show, “Max on Boxing,” on ESPN2. The midday “Bart & Hahn” show hosted by Bart Scott and Alan Hahn adds an hour expanding to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. The afternoon drive show loses WNBA star and co-host Chiney Ogwumike whose ESPN duties will change to roles including college and professional basketball analysis on various platforms such as “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “Get Up,” and more. Joining Mike Golic Jr. on the ESPN Radio afternoon show is Chris Canty for the “Canty & Golic Jr.” show that expands by an hour to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The rest of the ESPN Radio lineup remains the same. ESPN SVP, production David Roberts says, “We are excited about these next steps as we continue to build upon the impactful lineup we debuted last year. These enhancements create even more cross-platform chances for hosts to better engage with fans throughout the day, while delivering timely, compelling content.”

Dan Patrick and iHeartMedia Announce 2nd Annual ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Contest. This year’s “The Next Great Podcast” contest is open for submissions through September 17. iHeartMedia and sports broadcasting legend Dan Patrick are again partnering on the contest that will give the winner the opportunity to produce a new podcast series of any genre – from comedy to true crime, sports to pop culture – and to work with the iHeartPodcast Network and Patrick to launch the new series. Last year’s contest – in collaboration with content creation platform Tongal – received nearly 1,800 submissions from creators of all ages from Albania to Zimbabwe and all geographies between. The 2020 winners were creators Lianna Holston and Siena Jeakle’s “Tossed Popcorn,” a new movie review podcast from a pair of friends who “don’t really like movies,” which debuted earlier this month. Dan Patrick says, “Our first year of ‘The Next Great Podcast’ exceeded my wildest expectations. What I most love from our contest is the incredible diversity of voices and range of stories that our amazing fans submitted from across the planet. I know that our second year is going to be just as incredible as the first. The Danettes and I can’t wait to hear them.” Creators are asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson comments, “Podcasting as a creative medium and launch pad for new talent continues to thrive. After the impressive results from last year that brought us ‘Tossed Popcorn’s’ fresh approach on movie reviews, we are excited to collaborate for a second year with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for 2021’s next great podcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000, Chicago’s Home for Sports” announces a new multi-year agreement with Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana as the new naming rights sponsor of the White Sox Radio Network. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas states, “Partnering with the Chicago White Sox late last year was monumental for ESPN Chicago! Now, to partner with Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana to present the naming rights of the White Sox Network to White Sox fans throughout Illinois, Indiana and Iowa is remarkable. I want to thank Matt Schuffert and Joe Branchik and the Hard Rock team! I can’t wait to hear Len Kasper say: ‘The ESPN 1000 Hard Rock Casino White Sox Network’ each game for years to come.”…..Digital audio boutique Price Brothers announces that it has been tapped for creative and production services by voice dialogue platform Instreamatic. Price Brothers, a spinoff of longtime radio ad shop Oink Ink, was formed to meet the need for creative solutions for brands growing increasingly interested in new digital tools such as interactive audio. Co-founder Dan Price comments, “We’d been developing campaigns in the digital space for four years now and decided to carve-off a new entity that would focus solely on initiatives like dynamic audio and interactive, as well as podcasting. We wanted to position ourselves as the guys already doing great creative by the time brands would eventually become comfortable implementing the new technologies.”…..Motor Racing Network adds two content producers to its production team. Julian Council comes to the Concord, North Carolina studios of the Motor Racing Network from nearby Charlotte where he was an on-air host and producer at Audacy’s WFNZ “Sports Radio 610 and 102.5.” Trey Downey joins the MRN production team from Tampa Bay Buccaneers flagship radio station WDAE, Tampa where he was an executive producer, reporter, and host. The first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is the “Cook Out Southern 500” Sunday, September 5 from historic Darlington Raceway and will be carried live by approximately 350 radio station partners across the United States.

Larry Elder Campaign Gets Support from Street Artist Sabo. The boxing match-themed poster pictured above was recently published by Breitbart in a piece about the support Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder is getting from street artist Sabo in his campaign for governor in the recall election of Gavin Newsom. The posters have been spotted in numerous places around Los Angeles.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, SCOTUS Keeps ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy, Dems Pass Voting Act, Herschel Walker Senate Run, Kamala Harris Vietnam Trip, Western Wildfires, and Charlie Watts Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). President Joe Biden sticks to the August 31 date for withdrawal of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan as critics charge him with leaving Afghan allies behind; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Pfizer’s vaccine gets FDA approval, & mask and vaccine mandates; the Supreme Court refuses to block the Trump administration policy requiring amnesty seekers to remain in Mexico during their application period; House Democrats pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act; former NFL star Herschel Walker announces bid for Georgia Senate seat as a Republican; Vice President Kamala Harris criticizes China’s “bullying tactics” during trip to Vietnam; the wildfires scorching parts of California; and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies at 80 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 3, 2020

| August 3, 2020

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words. Your Mom and Dad were right. “Please” and “Thank you” will distinguish you, particularly in these coarse, troubled times. And in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke makes the case for “two more ‘Magic words’” broadcasters and podcasters should use as often as possible. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Stimulus Bill, Presidential Race/Vote by Mail, Portland Protests, Tropical Storm Isaias/SoCal Apple Fire, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, and Pro Sports Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the stalled stimulus talks in Congress as the previous package expires; the November presidential election and President Trump’s remark that it should be delayed due to concerns about vote-by-mail fraud; the violent protests continuing in Portland; Tropical Storm Isaias hits the Southeast Coast and thousands are evacuated in Southern California due to the Apple Fire; Microsoft’s deal to acquire TikTok from its Chinese developer; and COVID-19 takes its toll on U.S. pro sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Gone Too Soon. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about two radio professionals who passed away last week: Herman Cain and Bob McCurdy. Lapa says he knew both men and learned a lot about leadership, sales, and radio from them. Read it here.

Convention Coverage Unlike Any in History. News and management pro Tom Tradup (pictured below at the 2016 RNC) writes in an exclusive opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the challenges facing radio news and radio talk show hosts covering the 2020 national political conventions. The Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Programming says, “Pity the responsibility of my network as well as our colleagues at ABC Audio, CBS Radio, and the soon-to-be-defunct Westwood One radio news as we have dodged and weaved as COVID-19 impacted the venerable institutions known as National Conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties. (Full disclosure: most of us have long understood that the actual ‘news value’ of political conventions was zero, but we nevertheless turned out every four years to provide coverage of delegates from Wisconsin wearing dopey yellow foam triangles shaped like cheese on their heads as we dodged screams and urine from various protest groups.)” Read his entire piece here.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Jamie Samuelsen Dies at 48. It was just last week that WXYT-FM, Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announced to listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer since January of 2019 – something he kept to himself until the very end. On Saturday (8/1) Samuelsen passed away at age 48. The Detroit Free Press shares comments from Samuelsen’s friends and co-workers – a number of whom got the chance to visit with him last week after he made his diagnosis public. The Free PressAnthony Fenech writes that Samuelsen – who had been working from home since the COVID-19 outbreak – was not in pain toward the end but his energy was very low. He leaves behind his wife Christy and three children: Caroline, 16, Josh, 14, and Catherine, 11. Samuelsen had been co-hosting the morning drive show with Mike Stone on the Entercom sports talk station since August of 2016.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Adds Jesse Kelly Show. The nationally syndicated “Jesse Kelly Show” is now airing on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Key Networks-syndicated show debuted in April and airs live weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. WBT-AM/FM brand manager Mike Schaefer says, “Jesse Kelly represents the evolving sonic landscape of news/talk. Jesse’s informed, funny, and brings unique experience and wisdom to the listeners that has been earned as both a Marine Corps combat veteran and a congressional candidate. We’re excited to bring Jesse’s show to the listeners of WBT!”

Jim Bryant Leaving Hubbard Radio’s 2060 Digital. After heading up Hubbard Radio’s digital marketing agency 2060 Digital for the past eight years, Jim Bryant announces he leaving the company and his role as president of the division. He says, “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and feel like we’ve now built the business to a day-to-day operating level. My goal was to build the business, and I think we did that…and, quite honestly, 44 years in this business is about as much fun as one guy can handle. I appreciate the huge vote of confidence Ginny Morris and Hubbard Radio afforded me, allowing me to stretch out, take smart chances, and surround myself with the terrific talent required to keep moving this business forward.” Hubbard EVP and CFO Dave Bestler says, “There is no way our digital platform would be where it is today without Jim. His vision and leadership have made 2060 Digital one of the leading digital agencies in each of our radio markets. During the past two years, Jim has focused on expanding 2060 Digital services beyond our radio footprint to new markets, including Indianapolis, Nashville, Detroit and Columbus. His vision has come to life and we look forward to continuing to grow the 2060 business on top of the strong foundation that Jim built.” 2060 Digital general manager and Hubbard SVP of digital strategies Steve Goldstein is assuming Bryant’s duties.

Air Talent Shuffle at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reports that Entercom’s Charlotte sports talk station WFNZ-AM is swapping midday and afternoon drive shows. Effective today, “The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey” moves to the midday daypart (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell move to the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. According to the piece, Bailey is pleased with the move to middays saying it “aligns with a lot of things in my life right now.” Bailey also hosts the Charlotte Hornets pre-game show on the station.

Farkas Exits ‘101.3 The Game’ in Burlington. At VOX AM/FM’s Burlington, Vermont sports talk outlet WCPV-FM “101.3 The Game,” program director and air personality Brady Farkas exits after four years. Station GM Ken Barlow tells the Burlington Free Press, “These things are never easy. (Farkas) is a very good guy, a very knowledgeable sports guy, and in many aspects of the job he did just fine. But we felt the station was mired in the position it’s in and we need revenue to be able to have it grow an audience and the program director is one of the primary people responsible for that.” Farkas tells the paper he’s proud of his time at the station, “We went through an affiliation switch from ESPN to FOX Sports Radio in fall of 2018 and delivered a number-one-rated station in fall of 2019. I am proud of the work our staff accomplished in order to achieve that.”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles sports talker KSPN “ESPN 710” unveils its new programming lineup that takes effect on August 17. The changes were necessitated in part by owner ESPN’s decision to promote Keyshawn Johnson to host of the network’s national morning show called “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” and co-starring Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti. KSPN will air that program via delay (it’s to air live in morning drive Eastern Time) and Travis Rodgers – formerly part of the KSPN “Keyshawm, LZ and Travis” show – will serve as the local host. “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Max Kellerman from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Steve Mason and John Ireland move from afternoons to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart and the new afternoon drive show is LZ Granderson and Jorge Sedano. San Diego-based Scott Kaplan hosts evenings when there is no play-by-play…..From August 10-14, legendary Chicago disc jockey John Records Landecker will fill in for Bob Sirott hosting the morning drive show on Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Sirott says, “Listeners are going to discover that John’s middle name truly is ‘talk!’”…..Roanoke.com reports that the “Big Dawg Sports Talk” show with Rick Watson returns to the New River Valley for morning drive on Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM/FM. The program aired in the market from 2001 to 2010 when the previous station owner canceled the show. Watson serves as director of broadcasting for Radford University and that includes his work as the voice of RU athletics…..iHeartMedia Orlando announces the launch of “Financial Fix” – an online financial resource hub where financial advisors, realtors, tax professionals, bankruptcy lawyers, and more can be featured for the local community to connect with. iHeartMedia Orlando’s Chianna Ray says, “‘Financial Fix’ will be an important resource for our community. Many people do not know where to start when it comes to unexpected financial situations such as refinancing, retirement funds withdrawal, grants qualifications, and more. This hub will be a great place for the community to find solutions in one centralized place.” iHeartMedia Orlando is promoting “Financial Fix” on-air on all of its stations, as well as on social media and the stations’ websites.

iHeartRadio Announces ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Search. In conjunction with the content creation platform Tongal, iHeartRadio unveils its search for “The Next Great Podcast.” Now through August 27, creators around the world can pitch for the chance to produce a new podcast series of any genre and to work with The iHeartPodcast Network to launch the new series. Creators will be asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge and broadcaster Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. One winner will be crowned “The Next Great Podcast,” featured on iHeartRadio stations across the country and work closely with Patrick and iHeartRadio’s team of expert podcast producers to develop their podcast into an original series for distribution by The iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Audio is thriving and is the breeding ground for some of the best IP out there right now. Podcasting has always been an ideal place for cultivating new talent and we are excited to join forces with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for the next great podcast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Milwaukee, the iHeartMedia cluster that includes urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7,” country WMIL, classic hits WRIT “95.7 BIG FM,” sports talker WRNW “97.3 The Game,” and WOKY-AM “The BIG 920” are launching “Brilliantly Black” – a community resource initiative to support local Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and non-profits. iHeartMedia Milwaukee president Colleen Valkoun says, “I want to congratulate our team on this grassroots opportunity to support Black-owned businesses. Please join us in supporting the Black business community. I am thrilled we can use our stations to impact and inform the public about this much-needed community resource.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative WHKF, Harrisburg “ALT Rock 99.3” adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the morning drive daypart…..Condolences to the family and friends of Riverbend Communications CHR KFTZ, Idaho Falls morning drive personality Tara Longmore Moss, who died over the weekend after a brief, unexpected illness. Moss’ co-host Brad Barlow tells KPVI-TV, Pocatello, “Tara is that host that I never heard anyone say anything bad about. All I ever heard was how much people loved her and how much people thought of her as a friend.”