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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

| July 27, 2022

This Massachusetts “Marathon” Is Forced To Run Elsewhere. In what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the most knuckle-headed public relations mis-steps” he’s ever witnessed in a local situation, the Springfield, MA-based Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has kicked up a dust-storm of bad will for itself.  (Note: TALKERS headquarters are also based in Springfield, MA.) For over two decades, a charitable Thanksgiving initiative known as the Mayflower Marathon has held its November charity event to raise money for the Open Pantry at the famed  hoops museum in the Western Massachusetts city where basketball was invented. A consistent partner and main engine for the event over the years has been Saga Communications’ WAQY “Rock 102 – Springfield’s Classic Rock,” which does its own “marathon” by broadcasting from the venue for 52 consecutive hours. The long-running goodwill synergy though seems to have hit a speedbump. Citing “capacity issues,” the Basketball Hall of Fame says the event will no longer be held at its location. Declaring he’s in “shock” by the HOF’s decision, “Rock 102” morning talk show co-host and local radio legend  Mike Baxendale (“Bax”) points out that – for 28 years- the station has helped the Mayflower Marathon raise several million dollars for the Open Pantry. Mirroring Baxendale’s astonished sentiment is Open Pantry executive director Terry Maxey who elaborates, “We are the largest food pantry in Western Massachusetts.” Not having the Mayflower Marathon in Springfield, he laments “would be truly disappointing.” Replying in a prepared statement to Western Mass News, Basketball Hall of Fame president/chief executive officer John Doleva notes, “The Hall of Fame has been pleased to offer this space at no charge for over 20 years for the Mayflower Marathon. As a ‘landlord,’ the Hall of Fame’s first obligation is to make certain that [the needs of our tenants], including adequate and convenient parking, are met. The growth in our tenant base and the very positive organic growth of existing tenants has made this change necessary.” Things further escalated in the last several days when Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent a letter to the Basketball HOF, asking Doleva to reconsider. Part of Sarno’s letter reads, “This event has been held for over 25 years and has caused no prior disruptions and/or complaints from your establishments.” It’s Doleva’s contention that the choice to pull the plug on housing the event was actually made nine months ago. To show support for the event as it establishes a new home, Doleva responded on behalf of Hall of Fame board chair Jerry Colangelo and Colebrook Realty’s Jack Dill by writing that the HOF is “happy to commit a gift of $5,000 to the Marathon. Our property management group, Colebrook, has committed an additional $2,500 for a total of $7,500 to the event.” Meanwhile, Baxendale maintains to Western Mass News that the Mayflower Marathon “is going to happen one way or another. We are looking at alternative sites [and] have a lot of suggestions. [Unfortunately], this shows that there’s a disconnect between the Hall of Fame and the community.”

GCN Vindicated in Sandy Hook Case. A defendant in Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation case – Ted Anderson-owned Genesis Communications Network – was vindicated when the plaintiffs unilaterally withdrew all legal claims against GCN. The action was taken one month prior to jury selection and effectuated without settlement, release, or other consideration by GCN. According to Anderson, “This means we can continue to serve the hundreds of radio programs as we have over the years, programs from a wide array of political viewpoints. Including us in the suit was an attack on talk radio as an institution. It was totally unjustified. My heart breaks for those families – but yes – I feel this was the right result.” GCN attorney Mario Cerame states, “We are, of course, pleased with the recognition that GCN was not a proper defendant. Genesis does not monitor the content of the radio shows it works with. These are the sound engineers, ensuring professional sound quality, balance, and the like. They make space in the recording for commercials. They do not factcheck the words any more than your phone company does, or the people who sell you a keyboard check to see what you type. They just deliver the sound, like a radio version of the United States postal worker. We had to vigorously litigate the case up to the eve of jury selection but, the plaintiffs ultimately acknowledged this and walked away on their own, without a dime from GCN. We were caught in a battle between two Goliaths [but] after a lot of hard work, we managed to come out unscathed.”

 

Ippolito In As iHeartMedia San Diego Market President. Concurrent with iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest transitioning to a consultant role on August 1, senior vice president of sales Noreen Ippolito becomes her successor. Ippolito will report to division president Tom McConnell who comments, “Noreen is an incredible talent with an outstanding track record. She has strong business acumen and understands how to build and cultivate high performing teams. She is the perfect choice to lead our San Diego and Riverside markets.” In addition to San Diego news/talk outlets KOGO “News Radio 600” and KGB-AM “AM 760”; sports talk KLSD “Fox 1360”; and Riverside Black Information Network news outlet KFOO “BIN 1440”, Ippolito will oversee San Diego classic rock KGB-FM; rock KIOZ; CHR KHTS; hot AC KMYI; and rhythmic CHR KSSX.

Steele To Receive MIW’s Annual Airblazer Award. Five-year cancer survivor/Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM morning drive co-host Patty Steele is the recipient of the eighth annual Mentoring and Inspiring Women’s Airblazer award. Steele will be honored during next month’s (8/18) Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “It’s such a privilege to be the conduit for this very special award recognizing top on-air talent. Congratulations to Patty Steele, a wonderful talent and an even better human.” As is tradition, the “Airblazer” is carefully selected by the prior year’s honoree. The recipient is recognized for her dedication/contributions to the broadcast industry and to the communities she serves. Syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” host/2021 MIW “Airblazer” DeDe McGuire remarks, “It is my honor to select Patty Steele as the next recipient of the MIW Airblazer award. Patty has worked on some of the most successful radio shows alongside some of the biggest names in our industry. Her voice, humor, and insights were key to the successes of these shows on some of the country’s most legendary stations. So many of us in the industry admire her ability to always be the best and work through difficult times, both personally and professionally. She always comes out on top.” Steele adds, “I can’t tell you how proud and delighted I am to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Airblazer award. My passion for radio and for the young women coming up in this business make this a truly special honor. Being chosen by DeDe is icing on the cake – she’s a survivor and [thrives] in our ever-changing business.” At WCBS-FM, Steele is reunited with Scott Shannon. She has also worked with Elvis Duran, Danny Bonaduce, and John Lander at a number of other well-known New York City stations, including news/talk WOR, news WCBS-AM, WHTZ, and WPLJ. In April, Steele was one of thirteen podcasters to receive a 2022 Gracie award for her “Deep Six” series. The two-part episode featured Steele’s interview with her 26-year-old son, Jake, about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Three other Audacy-owned stations aired the show. Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting. In addition to DeDe McGuire, previous “Airblazers” include: Angela Yee (2020); Kellie Rasberry (2019); Mercedes Martinez (2018); Roula Christie (2017); Angie Martinez (2016); and class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Ellen K (2015).

iHM Portland Boosts Burgess To Market President. The promotion of iHeartMedia Portland senior vice president of sales Marshal Burgess to market president for the company’s eight-station Oregon cluster is effective immediately. He will report to iHM Multiplatform Group division president/Black Information Network president Tony Coles, who states, “It has been incredible to witness Marshal’s growth and success over the years. Few leaders [have] the kind of experience, integrity, and vision that Marshal brings to the table. We look forward to Marshal building upon our history of success in Portland.” University of Oregon alum Burgess notes, “I’ve spent my entire life in Portland and grew up listening to [several stations in this iHM cluster]. The support and positive energy I’ve received from Tony Coles and the entire team here in Portland have been unbelievable. I’m very excited for the future and am truly humbled by the opportunity.” Burgess began his career at CBS Radio in 1996. He joined iHeartMedia the following year and has been with the company (then known as Clear Channel) ever since. In that time, he has progressed from being an account executive; local sales manager; general sales manager; and vice president of sales. In addition to news/talk KEX “News Radio 1190” and sports talk KPOJ “Rip City Sports Radio 620,” iHeartMedia Portland consists of adult contemporary KKCW; classic hits-oldies KLTH; classic rock KFBW; CHR KKRZ; alternative KKRZ-HD2; and rhythmic CHR KXJM.

Cannabis Advertising Legislation Introduced. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Advertising Act, would clarify that local radio and television broadcasters can air cannabis ads without the threat of FCC administrative action in states where pot is legal. SAFE was introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján (Democrat-New Mexico) and follows the House passage of FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Language in that bill would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis commercials. In a prepared statement, NAB president/chief executive officer Curtis LeGeyt notes, “Due to outdated government regulations, only local radio and television broadcasters face legal exposure for advertising cannabis products permitted under state law. The SAFE Advertising Act would finally level the playing field and create necessary regulatory certainty for broadcasters. We thank Senator Luján for his leadership on this issue and we will continue working with policymakers to ensure there is a permanent resolution to this competitive disparity.” New Mexico Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paula Maes comments, “The members of the NMBA appreciate the efforts of Senator Luján and his staff. Their work on this bill which would allow cannabis advertising to air on New Mexico broadcasting is in step with state law and [is] long overdue. The Senator’s legislation helps remedy this unfair situation by recognizing the importance of state law in addressing cannabis issues.” New York State Broadcasters Association president/Safe Advertising Coalition member David Donovan adds, “We applaud Senator Luján’s efforts to allow local radio and television broadcasters to accept cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed. We look forward to working with the Senator’s office to move this important legislation forward.”

Horowitz Headed To Raiders P-B-P Booth. The search to find a successor for the iconic Brent Musberger as radio play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders concludes: Jason Horowitz is the choice. Horowitz, who will be this year’s game-caller with returning analyst Lincoln Kennedy, reflects that, “As a kid, I used to pretend I was the voice for a team calling an epic interception, or the game-winning touchdown. I want to thank [Raiders controlling owner/managing general partner] Mark Davis and the Raiders organization for making that dream become a reality. I am humbled to join an historic franchise, following in the footsteps of the legends who have called games of the ‘silver and black’ to the sport’s greatest fanbase.” Horowitz most recently has been Westwood One’s NCAA football and basketball studio host and CBS Sports Network’s announcer of Army football games. Musberger signed a contract four years ago (July 2018), making him the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders and the inaugural season (2020) when the franchise relocated to Las Vegas. He continued those duties through the 2021 season. Compass Media Networks syndicates Raiders games which air on Las Vegas sports talk flagship, Lotus Communications-owned KRLV “Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.”

BIN Listeners Offered Free Career Coaching. A “100,000 Careers” service from CareerBuilder will provide Black Information Network (BIN) listeners with a gratis 45-minute session. BIN and CareerBuilder have joined forces to launch the platform created to connect 100,000 BIN listeners looking to advance their careers. As part of the initiative, jobseekers have access to personalized career guidance through a complimentary coaching session. BIN listeners will have the opportunity to meet with an expert within their industry and receive individually tailored advice and actionable feedback to help promote their career growth. According to iHeartMedia Multiplatform group division president Tony Coles, “The Black Information Network and CareerBuilder are committed to giving jobseekers the tools and resources they need to stand out from the crowd. These sessions help match jobseekers and experts to help [them] prepare for [their] interview. We are excited to offer this service to get one step closer to helping 100,000 listeners find the career of their dreams.” CareerBuilder chief marketing officer Kristin Kelley comments, “We are thrilled to offer this hyper-customized experience in hopes that the community will receive practical feedback relevant to their industry to help them either find a job filled with purpose, or grow into their current role. Careers start with mentors and support, which is why expert coaching is one of the many ways that the 100,000 Careers initiative can transform the way job seekers find a role.” Through the use of AI technology and responses from an initial questionnaire, jobseekers will be matched with more than 5,000 available coaches. During the one-on-one session, jobseekers can ask questions, identify strengths, and work to define a career path that fits their needs. Participants will receive an individualized report that includes actionable advice and a video recording following the online session.

Newsmax Signs Multiple International Programming Distribution Deals. Through one of the agreements, Zee Entertainment’s Zee5 will carry Newsmax’s news feed 24/7, as well as VOD content. Zee will also post content from Newsmax.com in its news section. Zee5’s initial distribution of Newsmax content will be in India, with eventual expansion to the Middle East and North Africa. Earlier this month, Newsmax signed a distribution pact with Canal+-owned European satellite, cable, and OTT provider M7 and is now available in The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Rounding out Newsmax’s recent global expansion efforts is its July 19 deal in Australia with Foxtel-owned streaming platform Flash News. Newsmax chief executive officer Chris Ruddy states, “The demand for high-quality journalism is growing worldwide as citizens everywhere look for real news to help understand a complex world. We are delighted to be working with Zee, M7, and Foxtel to deliver our content to the world’s largest democracies and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our global reach.” M7 group vice president/platform content services Bill Wijdeveld remarks, “We are welcoming Newsmax on board of our TV platforms, allowing the channel to launch into multiple European markets in ‘one go.’ We thank Newsmax for its trust in our service provisioning and look forward to a fruitful cooperation over the coming years.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL. According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

| July 19, 2022

WABC, New York Adds ‘Lou Dobbs Financial Reports’ to Programming Schedule. New York City news/talk WABC and sister Long Island signal WLIR-FM are adding G Accelerate Networks’ “Lou Dobbs Financial Reports” to air three times per day. The 60-second reports include a morning forecast before the opening bell, a midday snapshot of the day in full swing, and an afternoon recap with a look to the next day’s markets. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Lou is well renowned for his financial expertise and successful broadcasting career, which make him a perfect fit for WABC and WLIR-FM. In today’s uncertain markets, Lou’s insight and perspective into Wall Street throughout the day are more important now than ever. ‘The Lou Dobbs Financial Reports’ are a welcome addition to WABC and WLIR-FM listeners and advertisers.”

WMFN, Chicago Now Airing Black Information Network Programming. Chicagoland outlet WMFN-AM, Peotone, Illinois is now airing the 24/7 comprehensive national audio news service BIN: Black Information Network. The programming from iHeartMedia is “dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” The station features top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon, renowned journalist Roland Martin and Emmy Award-winning anchor Vanessa Tyler. WMFN-AM is owned by Birach Broadcasting Corporation. BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN: Black Information Network celebrated its second anniversary on June 30th, and the launch of Chicago’s 640 AM is a major milestone for the network. BIN brings Chicago the most trusted full-time news network for both local and national news by and for the Black community, and we’re looking forward to the network’s impact in the community for years to come.”

A Radio News Junkie’s Regret. Forty-two years ago this September, a college kid named Bruce Putterman fell in love with radio news after stopping by WVBR-FM, Ithaca at Cornell University. He writes, “I sign up for the station’s training program. Most trainees want to be DJ’s. I’m not that cool. I want to be a reporter. A radio reporter. Over those first few weeks of training my infatuation deepens into love. I love interviewing local dignitaries, writing stories, editing tape, creating news packages, and after about six weeks, delivering my first full newscast. It is the greatest sense of exhilaration I have ever experienced. I think I’ve found my calling.” Putterman continued to work hard at it during his college years and just prior to graduation scored an audition with the ABC News Network. But he flunked the audition and subsequently gave up on radio news as a career. It’s a decision he admits that he regrets. But this story has a happy ending. (Spoiler alert: He’s now in the news business after a very long career detour). Read Bruce Putterman’s honest and revealing story here.

‘Tips for Today’s Homeowner’ Airing on 450 Stations. The 90-second vignettes “Tips for Today’s Homeowner” from Danny Lipford’s Today’s Homeowner Media are now heard on 450 stations across the U.S. The company says 22 new stations have been added in the second quarter of 2022. Vice president of TV/radio distribution Scott Basilotta says, “These tips vignettes are extremely popular. They are short, concise and take up very little inventory. Many of our affiliate stations utilize them to generate a lucrative source of revenue when pairing a local advertiser or sponsor to one of the adjacencies.” Lipford and his team have strategically expanded the vignettes’ footprint over the last six months, which has resulted in more iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, Townsquare Media and Alpha Media USA stations joining.

Audacy Names Four to Regional Promotions Team. Four promotions pro join Audacy’s regional promotions team. The company says that Emily Pearce joins the Tri-State team as regional promotion director focusing on New York City and Wilkes-Barre. Ruben Pimentel joins the Northern California team as regional promotion director focusing on San Francisco and Sacramento. Erica Washburn joins the Pacific Northwest team as regional promotion director focusing on Seattle and Portland, and Veronica Weisenbach is promoted to the Great Lakes team as regional promotion manager focusing on Detroit and Cleveland. Audacy VP promotions and experiences Josh Pearlman says, “We’re thrilled to welcome Emily, Ruben and Erica, to Audacy and excited for Veronica to advance into her new role. They are game changers in the marketing and promotion space, and I look forward to their leadership and contributions to our leading local brands.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller announces that her “Sexy Liberal Save Democracy Tour” comics John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela will hit three cities this fall – Washington, DC on September 10, Chicago on September 24, and Los Angeles on October 22. Miller says, “The Sexy Liberals deliver a comedic punch in a knockout show encouraging us to get everyone you know to vote this November’s midterm elections…hand out water, bring chairs, shuttle people, and carry signs – VOTE!”…..Good Karma Brands’ WEFL-AM, West Palm Beach “Deportes Radio 760” announces that ESPN Spanish sports media personality Jose del Valle is joining the station’s “Comunidad Deportiva” once a week beginning on Wednesday, July 20 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. Station general manager Julian Zaldivar says, “As our ‘Deportes Radio 760AM’ station continues to gain popularity with Latino sports fans in the area, it’s very exciting to add Jose del Valle to our local programming. Jose is one of the top soccer broadcasters for ESPN Deportes and ESPN+, and he’s always stayed true to his roots in Palm Beach County. We’re proud to bring Jose del Valle back to West Palm to join our local show and share his soccer passion with the Hispanic community he calls home.”…..Virtual News Center adds new affiliate stations KHPQ-FM and KGFL-AM in Clinton, Arkansas to its roster of stations. Virtual News Center’s Lisa Rodman will anchor newscasts for the King-Sullivan Radio-owned stations.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Meets Rodeo Queens. Pictured above is KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (center) surrounded by the Western Rodeo Queens. The photo was taken during Miller’s live broadcast from the Buckaroo Breakfast in Nampa, Idaho.

The Economy/Biden Approval Ratings, November Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, January 6 Hearings/Bannon Trial, European Heatwave, Russia-Ukraine War, and Uvalde Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/18). The high price of gasoline and food and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings for his handling of the economy and inflation; the November midterm elections, Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP, and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the January 6 Committee hearings and former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s looming trial for contempt of congress; the record-breaking heatwave in Europe; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the official release of the Uvalde school shooting report were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

| July 14, 2022

KFNX, Phoenix Owner Bill Brady is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The veteran radio broadcaster who rolled up his sleeves in 2019 and fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning and operating a radio station by acquiring news/talker KFNX (1100 AM) in Phoenix is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Michael Harrison has known and closely followed the solid career of Bill Brady since hiring him as program director and afternoon drive host at WSPR, Springfield in 1986. Harrison says, “Bill Brady is one of the smartest, most-talented, and dedicated talk radio broadcasters on either side of the microphone that I have ever met, and I’m delighted to have him on the podcast this week to talk about hosting and managing in 2022.” In his steadfast career, Brady served in a number of key industry positions on air and in sales management in large market radio and television as well as the newspaper business. His resume includes stints with Clear Channel Radio, Citadel Communications, Comcast and the Miami Herald. His radio background includes the aforementioned WSPR, Springfield; WQBK, Albany and WPRO, Providence among others. When Brady purchased KFNX right before the pandemic hit, he vowed to upgrade the Phoenix talk outlet to competitor status by eliminating much of its brokered clutter, adding high-caliber syndication and local shows (including his own 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily program) bolstering the sales initiative, instituting a modern expansion of its digital presence and growing its community involvement and outreach. He is well on his way to achieving his goals. News/talk radio practitioners will find this interview illuminating. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cary Pahigian Named VP/GM of Salem News Channel. Broadcasting industry management pro Cary Pahigian is named vice president and general manager for Salem Media Group’s Salem News Channel (SNC), effective July 18. Pahigian was most recently president and GM for Hearst Television’s news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM in Baltimore. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “Cary has been an active, hands-on executive in radio for years, but his last eight years at Hearst Television prepared him well for the burgeoning OTT television market. In Cary we have a strong experienced general manager, who will help us get SNC to the next level. Cary was ready for the next adventure in his long and storied career, and we are extremely fortunate to have that opportunity to give him.” Salem says the new SNC platform “is providing news-oriented content using a combination of Salem Radio Network hosts, and new TV-only content, and recently began top- and bottom-of-the-hour news capsules.” Pahigian will supervise all elements of production on the network including talent, content, sales, marketing, and social media. He comments, “I have long admired Salem Media Group’s unique culture and dedication to community service, quality content and client partnerships. Salem News Channel has put Salem Media Group front and center in the fast-growing video streaming arena with a lineup of prominent hosts and straightforward news and analysis.”

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2022 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 2022 sweep covered May 26 – June 22. 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 adds two-tenths for a 4.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish lifting it up to the #7 rank, while Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP falls nine-tenths to a 6.9 share but remains ranked #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston dips eight-tenths to finish with a 3.4 share good for the #11 rank as sister all-news WBZ-AM is steady at a 4.8 share and stays ranked #6. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM is ranked #1 after adding four-tenths for a 7.3 share finish, while Lotus Communications’ all-news KNWN-AM/FM falls six-tenths for a 3.3 share finish good for the #14 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s round one) here.

Beasley Unveils New PM Drive Show for ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ in Philly. The new afternoon drive show at Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” is announced. In the wake of longtime PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s May departure, the station unveils “The Best Show Ever?” featuring (pictured from l-r) former MLB pitcher and NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ricky Bottalico, digital sports media influencer Hunter Brody, air personality Jennifer Scordo, and current “Fanatic” personality Tyrone Johnson. The 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program that will be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia debuts on August 1. Beasley VP and market manager Joe Bell says, “When you put long time ‘Fanatic’ personality Tyrone Johnson together with social media star Hunter Brody and former Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico, then mix in ‘Ring Master’ Jenn Scordo, you’re going to have some exciting afternoons on ‘The Fanatic.’” Station PD Chuck Damico adds, “Philadelphia fans are the best fans ever and they deserve ‘The Best Show Ever?’ We look forward to this diverse group of passionate sports experts providing some of the most entertaining sports talk in Philadelphia.”

Morgan Zegers Latest Addition to Salem Podcast Network. The latest addition to Salem Media Group’s growing slate of programs on its Salem Podcast Network is Morgan Zegers. Her eponymous podcast officially joins the platform on July 18. Salem Media Group VP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “When we talk to consumers about podcasts, they keep telling us to give them more young, female hosts. Morgan is a perfect example of the nation’s young females taking a stand in favor of America, and we could not be more pleased to add her to SPN.” The 25-year-old Zegers comments, “I am so honored to join the Salem Podcast Network with my show highlighting key issues and events in our nation from the perspective of a young conservative woman. Americans, especially members of my generation, are sold a heap of lies by our education system, media, and pop culture. To get America back on track, we must embrace our roots, rethink education and leadership, and take back control of ourselves, our families, and our country. I hope to inspire my listeners to join into this hopeful and mindful American mentality! I’m thankful to Salem for giving me the opportunity to grow with their support.”

Wayne Allyn Root Featured at FreedomFest Convention. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio Network-syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root is playing a couple of roles at this week’s FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas. The event, billed as “a big tent event that strives for attendees to come to a deeper understanding of freedom and important social issues through open conversations, debate and civil discourse by bringing together a variety of perspectives” will include Root on a Saturday (7/16) panel debate exploring the question “Was the 2020 election stolen and is Trump the best choice for the 2024 GOP nomination?” Root will also serve as the “judge” during a debate over the legalization of drugs.  Root tells TALKERS magazine that on Saturday he will also announce not one, but two TV deals he has signed.

Cox Media Group Sells CoxReps and Gamut. Noting that this sale will allow Cox Media Group to “focus on our core businesses,” the company announces it is selling national television rep firm CoxReps and multiplatform ad firm Gamut to private equity firm One Equity Partners. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. OEP managing director Andrew Dunn states, “OEP is thrilled to begin its investment partnership with these two superb teams leading two companies at the forefront of the television advertising and digital streaming industries. While both CoxReps and Gamut are leaders in their respective markets, and will continue to operate as sibling companies, we expect to foster even greater collaboration between them, increasing the flow of advertising dollars into local video. We will assist these efforts with increasing investment in technology and by capitalizing on OEP’s own deep expertise in the media industry.”

Industry Mourns Tanita Myers. Radio programming pro Tanita Myers – VP of news operations for iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network – died unexpectedly at age 49 on Tuesday (7/12). The Black Information Network posted news of her death on its website, including part of a memo from BIN president Tony Coles, who wrote: “Tanita was a passionate leader, a champion of women in journalism, and one of the driving forces behind the Black Information Network. We are a better organization because of her dedication to our mission, and we are better humans because of her love, her humor, and her spirit. While she took great pride in her work, it was her friends and family who brought her the most joy. Tanita’s smile always got a bit brighter when she spoke about her mom and her son Brandon.” Myers joined iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network in June 2020, following 15 years at Reach Media where she was senior director of radio operations. She previously served as director of operations for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and executive producer of “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island midday talk host John DePetro is now also heard on Audacy’s WPHT, Philadelphia on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. In addition to his radio work, DePetro is a frequent contributor to Newsmax TV…..The Independent Broadcasters Association announced it will conduct the IBA Fall 2022 National Cash Contest, its fifth since the birth of the IBA in 2020. IBA president and executive director Ron Stone says, “We fully expect this upcoming IBA National Cash Contest to be the most successful campaign we’ve done so far! IBA member stations invest $300 to leverage thousands of prize monies, making this the best ratings and revenue opportunity ever presented. But remember, stations must be an IBA member to participate. Nearly $3 million in sponsorship revenue has been generated for participating IBA member stations thus far, with an average of 14.7 to 1 ROI.”…..The Society of Broadcast Engineers is holding its national meeting, awards dinner, board of directors and committee meetings at the Ramada by Wyndham in Liverpool, New York on September 28 and 29. The event includes the SBE22 Broadcast and Technology Expo with a trade show exhibit hall and technical sessions.

The Economy, Biden in Middle East, January 6 Hearings, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Southern Border Crisis, Russia-Ukraine War, Abortion Battle, Musk vs Twitter, and COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The latest inflation report, pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates again, and fears of a recession; President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East; the ongoing January 6 hearings; November’s midterms elections and speculation about who the nominees will be for the 2024 presidential race; the migrant problem at the U.S.-Mexico border; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s potential arms deal with Iran; the abortion rights battles at the state level after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade; Elon Musk’s legal battle with Twitter over his canceled takeover bid; and the spread of the coronavirus BA.5 variant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

| February 3, 2022

WTOP, Washington’s Joel Oxley Testifies on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. At a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC on Wednesday (2/2), numerous media executives provided testimony as the subcommittee considers the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that “creates a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws for print, broadcast, or digital news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors (e.g., social media companies) regarding the terms on which the news companies’ content may be distributed by online content distributors.” Joel Oxley, general manager of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC testified on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters. He said, “Quality journalism delivered through our uniquely free service has only been made possible over many decades through advertising revenues. As you all are aware, these revenues have experienced a free-fall in recent years, due almost exclusively to the rapid, often anticompetitive, expansion of the dominant online platforms who have upended the advertising marketplace. The market power of the tech platforms undermines the online advertising model for local broadcast journalism in two important ways. First, the tech platforms’ role as content gatekeepers stifles our ability to generate user traffic. Second, anticompetitive terms of service and a ‘take it or leave it’ approach leave local broadcasters with a below-market sliver of those advertising revenues derived through their products. For local broadcasters and our viewers and listeners who rely on quality journalism, this is a real catch-22: To attract online user traffic, we must be accessible through the major platforms, yet the terms of access dictated by the online platforms devalue our product. For example, not only is WTOP not being compensated by Facebook and Google for its content, WTOP is actually paying to make sure its content is being accessed on their platforms.” He added, “The dominant online platforms have flourished, siphoning off huge amounts of advertising revenues that are the lifeblood of free, local journalism. Consider the big storm that just blew through the Northeast over the weekend – a nor’easter and blizzard conditions. Tons of work at a lot of cost and time for local broadcasters to cover it for millions of people. But not for Facebook, Google and the like. They simply take our coverage and profit from it, and virtually nothing comes back to us. But without local news, my guess is a lot of people would have not evacuated places like Cape Cod last weekend, and lives would have been risked. We just can’t have that.” You can read his complete testimony here.

Erick Erickson Show Adds New Affiliates; Reports Ratings Growth. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Erick Erickson announces the addition of two new affiliate stations as Audacy’s KXNT, Las Vegas and Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem, Oregon add the show to their program schedules. The show says, “In every Nielsen PPM market carrying his show, either live or delayed, Erickson is generating higher ratings than the show he replaced, including Rush Limbaugh’s show in Atlanta, Georgia on Erickson’s flagship station, WSB Radio. Erickson is also seeing robust digital growth. From June to December 2021, Erickson’s live-streaming audience increased 339% and his podcast audience grew 188%.”

Terry Foxx Named to Programming Role at Public Outlet KUT, Austin. Radio programming pro Terry Foxx is joining public radio station KUT, Austin as director of programming and audience. The organization says Foxx will oversee KUT 90.5’s on-air programming and KUT and KUTX Studios’ podcast strategy. He will collaborate with the KUT newsroom and sister station KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience, on developing audience-centered engagement strategies and expanding KUT’s reach. Foxx has most recently been serving as brand manager for Radio One’s sports talk WFNZ-AM, Charlotte and sister AC WLNK-FM. KUT and KUTX general manager Debbie Hiott comments, “Terry has deep knowledge and experience when it comes to identifying and expanding audiences. He grew up in Texas, has always had family in Austin, and understands how KUT can serve our community. With those things he will help us develop and provide programming that reaches into new areas important to Central Texas.” Foxx says, “KUT has a rich heritage and is part of the fabric of Central Texas. I look forward to joining the strong team at KUT and engaging new listeners in creative ways.”

BIN: Black Information Network Names Andrea Coleman News Director; Ramses Ja to Host New Daily Podcast. News pro Andrea Coleman is promoted from news anchor to news director for iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network. In this new role, Coleman will be responsible for leading day-to-day newsroom operations, reporter and anchor development, and coordinating live news and specialty programming. She’ll be based in Atlanta, reporting to Tanita Myers, VP/news operations for the Black Information Network. Coleman joined iHeartMedia as an anchor/reporter for the Black Information Network in the summer of 2020. She says, “I welcome the opportunity to serve as news director of the Black Information Network and to continue to be a part of the dynamic team of Black professionals who have made the Network a relevant, trusted source of news and information for our community. We look forward to keeping our listeners informed and educated on all matters important to the Black experience.” BIN: Black Information Network also announces that media personality Ramses Ja is joining the Network as the host of the new daily podcast, “Our Daily Story with Ramses Ja.” The program will feature Black journalists from across America telling the most meaningful stories of the day, from their perspective. The daily talk show-style podcast will premiere later this month, with new episodes launching every weekday morning. Ja says, “I’m excited to be partnering with BIN: Black Information Network. This partnership helps show the company’s commitment to helping create a more equitable experience for Black people in this country, and the other projects we have in the works are also sure to continue that trend.” BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles comments, “As BIN: Black Information Network continues to grow, I am thrilled to have Ramses Ja and Andrea Coleman as part of our team. They are incredibly talented, with proven track records, and dedication to delivering significant and trusted news coverage to the Black community. I know they will contribute to the network’s mission and ongoing success.”

Newsmax Claims Big Ratings for Trump Rally Coverage. Citing Nielsen data from last weekend, Newsmax says it was the big ratings winner with its exclusive cable coverage of former President Donald Trump’s rally in Texas. Newsmax reports “some 2.9 million cable viewers tuned in to watch the event live from Conroe — and 1.1 million of them were adults ages 35-64, the demographic craved by advertisers… though Newsmax is carried in 20 million fewer homes than FOX, total audience impressions for both networks during Trump’s speech was almost at parity, both drawing around 1.4 million viewers per minute, according to Nielsen.” Newsmax points to a piece in Business Insider that said, “Newsmax’s audience skyrockets during Trump rallies that other networks, including FOX News, ignore.’” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “We can’t speak to FOX News’ decisions, but we believe this rally was a significant news event that was worthy of coverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WIBC, Indianapolis talk host Greg Garrison has filed papers to run for prosecutor of Hamilton County, Indiana. According to the Indianapolis Star, the 74-year-old Garrison will face off against three-term Republican prosecutor D. Lee Buckinham in the primary. Garrison, who also had a long career as a personal injury lawyer, retired from his radio program in 2017. He was part of the prosecution team that helped convict boxer Mike Tyson of rape charges in 1992…..Reporter Mara Hoplamazian is named New Hampshire Public Radio’s energy and environment reporter, a role in which they will anchor NHPR’s “By Degrees” climate reporting initiative. NHPR news director Dan Barrick says, “Awareness and dialogue are the best tools we have to fight climate change. The work of journalists such as Mara are crucial not simply to inform but to create awareness of what is at risk, and what we can do together.” Hoplamazian came to NHPR as the Barbara and Dick Couch Fellow. Before joining NHPR, Hoplamazian worked as an investigative reporting intern at The Sacramento Bee and a media intern at the Smithsonian Institution.

Trump & the GOP/Midterm Elections, January 6 Investigation, Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Spotify’s Joe Rogan Controversy, Whoopi Goldberg Suspension, Financial Markets/Economy, CNN’s Zucker Resigns, Beijing Olympics, Winter Weather, and Washington Football Team Reveals New Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Former President Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP and November’s midterm elections; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and mask & vaccine mandates; the controversy over artists pulling their music from Spotify because of the conspiratorial tone of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast; ABC is slammed for suspending Whoopi Goldberg over her holocaust comments; the world’s financial markets and concerns about the COVID-hampered U.S. economy; Jeff Zucker resigns from CNN after failing to acknowledge his romantic relationship with an employee; the political aspects of the Beijing Winter Olympics; severe winter weather affecting much of the U.S.; and reactions to the NFL’s Washington franchise revealing its new Commanders moniker were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

| January 11, 2022

Attorney Arthur Aidala to Host Nightly Show on Salem’s ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” adds Big Apple attorney Arthur Aidala to the daily lineup with 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Aidala Power Hour: Making The Case For The City He Loves” program. Salem Media Group New York operations manager Matthew Sambolin says, “Arthur Aidala puts on a show in the courtroom, and now he gets to do it in front of the biggest judge of all – the New York City Tri-State region. Can’t wait to hear what he brings to afternoon drive, with no objections!” Aidala is the managing partner of the Law Offices of Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, P.C. and the former senior DA of Kings County, New York. He currently represents such high-profile clients as Alan Dershowitz, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Harvey Weinstein. He has been a recurrent guest on ‘The Joe Piscopo Show’ and ‘Radio Night Live’ with Kevin McCullough, as well as a legal commentator for 12 years on FOX News Channel. Aidala says, “I am honored and excited to join the talk radio team lineup at ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ With the ‘Power Hour’, we will be sitting down with the key New Yorkers to get to the heart of what makes this city tick.”

Vining Named PD at Cumulus Media’s ‘Talk 99.5’ in Birmingham. Talk radio pro Valerie Vining is named program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WZRR-FM, Birmingham “Talk 99.5.” Vining has been serving as morning drive co-host of the “Dixon & Vining” program (with Richard Dixon), a role in which she will continue. Prior to that, she spent more than 13 years as news director for Cumulus Birmingham. Vining says, “I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to take on the role of program director for WZRR ‘Talk 99.5’ Birmingham. My radio career, which spans over 30 years, has prepared me for this moment and challenge and I look forward to taking my team to the next level. Thank you to James Robinson and Ryan Haney for believing in me and my abilities. I’m so proud to work for Cumulus Media.”

Ramsey Solutions Hosts Free ‘Building Wealth’ Livestream. This Thursday (1/13), nationally syndicated radio star Dave Ramsey will host a free livestream at 8:00 pm ET titled, “Building Wealth in 2022.” Joining Ramsey will be New York Times bestselling author Rachel Cruze and host of “The Fine Print” podcast, George Kamel. According to Ramsey Solutions’ State of Personal Finance study, more than half of Americans (56%) feel behind on investing. And 42% aren’t saving for retirement at all. Dave Ramsey says, “There are a lot of investing trends right now claiming they’re the best way to get rich. But I’ve done stupid with a lot of zeros at the end, and I’ve coached people who hit bottom from bad investments. From my 30 years on the radio, I’ve seen over and over that real millionaires follow a proven plan for their money, not a get-rich-quick scheme. This free event will show you it’s possible for you too. Now is the time to prepare for your future.”

On-Air Changes at iHeartMedia’s ‘XTRA 1360’ San Diego. Drive time changes take place at iHeartMedia’s sports talk KLSD-AM, San Diego “XTRA 1360.” New to morning drive is “The Hartman and Rich O Show” with Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger and in afternoon drive, the “Jon and Jim” show with Jon Schaeffer and Jim Russell debuts. Hartman and Ohrnberger currently work together on FOX Sports Radio and have successfully hosted together on XTRA 1360’s “Loose Cannons” show. Schaeffer and Russell also host “The Wrap-Up Show” following San Diego Padres games. “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd continues to air weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by “The Darren Smith Show” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest says, “This exciting new lineup caters to the desires of sports fans in San Diego. In addition to providing the very best sports talk, we’ll also continue to provide our listeners with unparalleled access to the NFL, the Padres, San Diego State University athletics, and all San Diego sports news.”

BIN: Black Information Network Wins Innovation Award. The Black American-targeted radio format from iHeartMedia – BIN: Black Information Network – wins the 2022 BIG Innovation Award in the media category from the Business Intelligence Group. BIN: Black Information Network was launched in June of 2020 as a 24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective. It is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. It is heard over the air in 32 markets and is distributed nationally through the iHeartRadio app. Business Intelligence Group COO Maria Jiminez says, “Innovation is driving growth in the global economy. We are thrilled to be honoring Black Information Network as they are one of the organizations leading this charge and helping humanity progress.” BIN president Tony Coles comments, “Innovation has been one of BIN’s core values since our inception. It drives us to keep growing and creating spaces for the Black community to hear and contribute to the news that matters most to them. It’s an honor to be recognized with an incredible lineup of organizations and individuals who share the value of innovation and prove it in their work every day.”

AdLarge and G Networks Announces Sales Partnership. The two firms announce that they have entered into an ad sales partnership that will create “a new dynamic and impressive ad sales powerhouse in network audio.” In addition to continuing to represent content producers, AdLarge will oversee the management, sales, and fulfillment of the network audio ad sales inventory for both companies. G Networks will continue to offer and affiliate their premium programming and services through their existing affiliations team to radio stations across the U.S. G Networks president Warren Friedland states, “We’re excited to partner with AdLarge. AdLarge has a reputation for delivering innovative campaigns to help brands reach their media goals. AdLarge’s ad sales efforts coupled with our own extremely targeted networks will lead to a better return on investment for advertisers, brands, and agencies.” AdLarge co-CEO Gary Schonfeld adds, “This unique partnership will enhance our already robust ad sales networks, as well as generate greater critical mass and increased coverage of major markets. This is a win-win for the advertisers and the network audio community. The partnership with G Networks will greatly benefit the audio campaigns of our advertisers and agency partners.”

TALKERS News Notes. Personality Jesse Watters is named host of FOX News Channel’s 7:00 pm ET hour. The new program, “Jesse Watters Primetime” will launch on January 24. Watters will continue his current role as a co-host on “The Five.” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “Jesse’s versatility and hosting acumen has grown exponentially over the last five years, and he has developed a deep connection to the audience through two hit shows, ‘The Five’ and ‘Watters’ World.’ We look forward to watching him expand his connection even further through this new solo weeknight hour.”…..Cumulus Media and DCP Entertainment unveil the second season lineup for DCP’s award-winning podcast, “Say Their Name,” on the Cumulus Podcast Network. The series focuses on the stories of Black individuals who were assaulted and killed by police and in ‘Stand Your Ground’ states, with an emphasis on the women who often get overlooked. The first episode in the series marks the one-year anniversary of the attack on the United States Capitol with a look back at Miriam Carey, who was killed in 2013 by law enforcement.

Broadcasters Foundation to Honor Lesley Visser with Lifetime Achievement Award. Sports media legend Lesley Visser is being honored by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with its Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented during the Golden Mike Award gala and fundraiser, being held on March 14, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Visser is the only sportscaster – male or female – to have worked on network broadcasts of the Final Four, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Triple Crown, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, and the World Figure Skating Championship. BFoA Foundation chairman Scott Herman says, “Lesley has an extraordinary number of ‘firsts’ in her accomplished and impressive career. We’re very proud to recognize her many accomplishments, not only as a pioneering female sportscaster, but as a prominent leader in sports broadcasting, overall.” Visser says, “I am enormously honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which is vital to our colleagues who find themselves in need of help during times of unimaginable hardship. It’s essential that we acknowledge and support such a charitable endeavor.”

COVID-19, Voting Rights, January 6, Midterm Elections, Economy/Supply Chain, U.S.-Russia Relations, and Bob Saget Passing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, vaccine mandates, and school policies; President Joe Biden’s pressure to change filibuster rules for voting rights legislation; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the November midterm elections and Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the state of the U.S. economy and the ongoing supply chain woes; the U.S. and Russia negotiate over Ukraine; and TV icon Bob Saget dies unexpectedly at 65 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.