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Friday, June 12, 2020

| June 12, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “The Revolution is Being Televised!” looks back at this past week of June 8-12, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTVLee Habeeb, producer / host, Our American Stories; Colin Cowherd, talk show host, FOX Sports Radio-Television; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and notes that a number of the news/talk stations whose weekly, 6+ AQH shares had risen dramatically in March and April because of listeners’ desire for news and information about the coronavirus pandemic started to fall during the May survey. Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin lost nine-tenths to finish May with a 5.5 share and the #3 rank in the market. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” relinquishes 1.4 shares to wrap the month with an 8.9 share and the #3 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remains in the #1 spot even after dropping seven-tenths to finish with an 8.6 share. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville loses only one-tenth but drops to the #7 rank on the strength of a 5.3 share. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville loses three full shares but still finished the May sweep with a 10.4 share, good for the #2 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Kimberly & Beck Apologize for Racist Language. In a self-produced video, the former classic rock WAIO, Rochester morning show duo of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck apologized for the language they used on their radio show that caused iHeartMedia to fire them on June 3. WROC-TV, Rochester has the story with a link to the video. You may recall that during a discussion about two local shop owners who were beaten by a group of black youths as they tried to protect their business during the violence and looting that evolved out of the George Floyd protests, Ray didn’t use the “N-word” but suggested the young men were acting “N-word-y.” In the video, the two offer their apology. Ray says, “We owe it to our listeners and to our amazing community to speak out. Both Beck and I have spent the last several days engaging in soulful reflection. We said hurtful, offensive things, but we are not racist. We do not have hate in our heart. We have only love for everyone.” Beck says, “We apologize, not to get our jobs back, but to say we are truly sorry and want to sincerely apologize. We will not attempt to make any excuses or explain what we said, because it was wrong, it was ignorant and inexcusable.” Ray adds, “We want our listeners and clients to know we are sorry. We let you down. We’re sorry we let Rochester down. Moving forward we want to grow, learn, and change from this experience. Our apology is sincere, and we wish we could turn back time.” Beck closes saying, “But we can’t. Once again, we have no hate in our heart, and we apologize. Thank you.”

Radio America to Syndicate Tony Katz’s ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ Indianapolis-based talk radio personality Tony Katz’s new weekend radio program “Eat! Drink! Smoke!” is going into national syndication via Radio America, beginning the weekend of June 27-28. Radio America will also distribute and sell the podcast. Radio America says, “The two-hour weekly program combines good times and good friends, stepping away from the madness of each week with reviews of fine cigars, excellent bourbon, and interesting food. Hosted by award-winning radio host, writer, and regular cable news presence Tony Katz with a wide array of guests sharing their thoughts with humor and expertise.” Katz says, “Being able to bring ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ to cities across the country is just sensational. We’re not trying to be the final word on cigars and bourbon; we’re sharing the word. Distillers are artists, and so are the cigar rollers and master blenders in the US and around the world.” Katz hosts “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and the syndicated Tony Katz show that airs live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CT. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso says, “Tony is a phenomenal talent that knows how to connect with listeners and advertisers. Stations are going to love his knowledge of cigars and bourbon along with his conversational and humorous style.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, some ViacomCBS employees are demanding that the company end its relationship with streaming channel aggregator Pluto TV because it partners with The First which streams the “Bill O’Reilly No Spin News” program and they say O’Reilly has “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.” ViacomCBS doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes, telling the Times, “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”.…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of its Executive Committee Board of Directors. David Santrella, president of broadcast media, Salem Media Group, was re-elected Radio Board chair and Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer, Graham Media Group, was re-elected as NAB Television Board chair. Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media, Inc., was elected as Radio Board first vice chair and John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected second vice chair. Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee. The board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held virtually on June 9…..In the Joplin, Missouri market, Michael Day Landis-owned sports talk outlet WMBH “FOX Sports Joplin” moves the “Mic’d Up” show from Saturdays to weekdays, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. KSNF-TV, Joplin reports the show, hosted by Matt Miller, Mello, and Austin Cunningham will cover everything from “Mizzou football to KU basketball… emphasize sports around the Four States while also providing coverage of the NFL and other professional leagues.”

Black Lives Matter Movement and Police De-Funding Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 8-12. The protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calls from protestors to de-fund police departments in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., health care concerns, and coronavirus statistics and projections. Coming in at #3 was the state of the U.S. economy – now officially in a recession – and the stock market activity, followed by the opening of America, sports leagues news, and the status of public events at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020). There’s also an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The News-Gazette reports on the exit of morning personality Steve Holstein from Saga Communications’ country WIXY, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’d been host of the “Holstein and Company Morning Show” for 24 years and was recently let go for financial reasons. Holstein tells the paper, “These are tough economic times, and media is not an easy field to be in at all. The pandemic has certainly not helped anyone, especially media. That was their decision, and I accept it. I’m grateful for 24 years.”…..iHeartMedia Providence’s rock WHJY is celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Paul and Al Morning Show” with a special broadcast on July 15. The station says, “On-air veterans Paul and Al joined 94 HJY in the summer of 1990 and have been familiar, trusted voices to listeners around the Providence area ever since. Thirty years after its debut, ‘The Paul and Al Morning Show’ remains a top-rated morning show and ranks second in Rhode Island radio history for all-time in longevity for a morning show on the same station, playing a considerable role in the success of the station. Throughout their career, Paul and Al have been recognized for their on-air presence and were inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.” Station program director Doug Palmieri says, “I remember the day Paul and Al signed on as the new morning show hosts at 94 HJY, replacing iconic morning talent Carolyn Fox. They hit the ground running and never looked back, becoming a Southern New England institution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them over much of their 30 years on 94 HJY and their humor, generosity, and dedication to listeners are truly inspiring. Thirty years in one place performing at the highest level in this industry ain’t no joke, and these guys are the best in the business.”…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KEZK-FM, St. Louis adds Premiere NetworksDelilah for evenings beginning on Monday (6/15)…..Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of jazz WEAA, Baltimore air personality Tyra Phillips, a.k.a. Tyra Phillips Womack, who was shot to death outside her home in northeast Baltimore on Wednesday evening (6/10). WJZ-TV, Baltimore reports the 57-year-old host of the Sunday afternoon show “Gospel Grace Afternoon” died after being shot several times during an argument. Police report having identified a person of interest.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

| November 20, 2019

WIBC, Indianapolis Talk Host Tony Katz Speaks with VP Pence at White House Radio Row. In the photo above taken at yesterday’s White House Radio Row on the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning host and syndicated late morning personality Tony Katz (right) interviews Vice President Mike Pence (left).  Katz says he was one of just three talk hosts to interview Pence at the daylong event that featured a number of GOP members of Congress and Trump administration officials speaking with the invited group of radio hosts.  Pence’s comments to Katz on the China-Hong Kong tensions made national news, with the VP saying, “The president has made it very clear; it would be very hard to do a deal with China if there is any violence or if that matter is not treated properly and humanely.”

Lori Lewis Launches Social Media Consultancy. Social media and radio pro Lori Lewis announces the launch of her social media consultancy firm, Lori Lewis Media.  She says her firm offers “brands the most affordable way to finally put a social media strategy in play with proven, winning tactics to drive audience and revenue growth.”  Lewis served for three years as vice president of social media for Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  Prior to that, she was director of digital and social strategy at Jacobs Media.  She’s also worked in the radio industry as a programmer and talent.

FOX Sports Radio Reports October Audience Growth. The sports audio network cites October 2019 data for its radio and streaming ratings as well as podcast listens, reporting record audience totals.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – says that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd achieved its “single greatest month in average quarter hour audience, growing +31.4% with Adults 25-54 and +36.2% with Men 25-54.”  “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis” “had its best AQH month ever in October, increasing +38.3% with Adults 25-54 and +53.5% with Men 25-54.”  Also, FOX Sports says it posted its largest streaming audience in the history of the network with total listening hours increasing +21% year-to-year in October 2019.  The network also set another record for total monthly podcast listens in October, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.

Entercom Adds Local News Content on Google Assistant. Leveraging the power of its all-news radio stations, Entercom is adding local news audio content to the new “Your News Update,” on the Google Assistant.  Entercom says that through this partnership, local content from stations including 1010 WINS and WCBS 880 in New York, KNX 1010 News Radio in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, Newsradio 1080 KRLD in Dallas, WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit, KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia, KCBS All News in San Francisco and News Radio 1120 KMOX in St. Louis will be featured as part of the “Your News Update” platform.  This follows the stations’ exclusive participation as part of the platform’s beta-testing phase.  “Your News Update” will showcase a mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on users’ interests, location, history, and preferences, as well as the top news stories from publishers from around the world including Associated Press, FOX News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and more.

Vanessa Wojtusiak Named VP of Marketing for iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven. Marketing pro Vanessa Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven as vice president of marketing.  The markets include news/talk WPOP-AM, Hartford and WELI, New Haven plus sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford and WAVZ-AM, New Haven.  Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia from Nexstar’s WTNH-TV, New Haven where she most recently served as the director of audience development and executive digital producer.  She’s also served as national director of social marketing for iHeartRadio, an online marketing manager for WHTZ, New York “Z100” and the marketing assistant for WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  She says, “I am thrilled to be back home where I started my media career 18 years ago.  Radio has been my longstanding passion and a medium that still has a meaningful and powerful presence in local communities.  I can’t wait to keep elevating the iconic local brands alongside a very talented team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is continuing his watch over the sports talk radio scene in New York and reports that current WFAN 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm personality Bart Scott is expected to jump across town to ESPN-owned rival WEPN as co-host of the show in the same time slot.  ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith – currently hosting the ESPN Radio network show in that daypart – is leaving his radio duties with the company for more TV work, leaving that time slot open.  He also says sources indicate current WFAN midday team Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are odds-on favorites to assume the afternoon drive show on WFAN when Mike Francesa moves to the RADIO.COM platform.  Read his column here…..iHeartRadio launches a new branded podcast in collaboration with T-Mobile for Business, titled “This Time Tomorrow.”  In it, podcast hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss look closely at how innovations in 5G connectivity will revolutionize the way people work, socialize, and interact with the world…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa  launches its 14th annual Stories of Light fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma.  The goal is to raise $300,000 during the three-day radiothon.  The KRMG team moves its entire broadcast to LaFortune Park in Tulsa for the radiothon and encourages listeners to stop by with donations.  This event has raised more than $3 million since its inception…..SiriusXM and Amazon announce that SiriusXM’s On Demand library is now available to subscribers with Amazon Alexa and Echo devices, as well as several third-party devices with Alexa built-in.  The move allows subscribers with streaming access to simply ask Alexa to play their favorite SiriusXM shows and compelling content whenever they want it.

Edison Research Unveils ‘Podcast Consumer Tracker’ Report. This new report from Edison Research is what the company calls “the first successful endeavor to present a unified look at audience information at the publisher/network level.”  It says the Podcast Consumer Tracker also contains “competitive intelligence, audience demographics, and sales targeting information for podcast publishers and networks.  It currently has 10 charter subscribers, including NPRPodcastOne, Wondery, ESPN, WarnerMedia, and “other significant publishing and agency partners.”  While the comparative rankings of publisher networks are available only to subscribers, Edison offers some of the findings of its first report: “The Joe Rogan Experience” is the leading podcast in terms of reach amongst weekly podcast consumers; there are significant content consumption differences between iPhone and Android users, rendering ‘Top Podcast’ charts derived exclusively from users of either to be unrepresentative of total listening behavior; and while the study tracks the relative reach of the top podcast networks, 54% of weekly podcast consumers have listened to an unaffiliated, independent podcast in the last week.  Edison Reasearch SVP Tom Webster says, “This is the first study in the podcast space to tackle a universal measure of reach.  There are, of course, various charts of downloads that cover parts of the overall universe, but those either reflect only a portion of the podcast audience, or they only measure publishers that opt-in.  The Podcast Consumer Tracker’s goal is a truly inclusive measure of the comparative penetration of the leading publishers and networks.  In that, we have been highly successful.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Guards Charged, Israel-Syria Skirmish, and Hong Kong University Siege Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). This week’s impeachment testimony about the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Atlanta; the charges being filed against the Manhattan prison guards on duty when Jeffrey Epstein died are charged as the investigation continues; Israel fires at Iranian military targets in Syria; and the Hong Kong University siege were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

The Story of The Fisher House Foundation. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about the birth and growth of the Fisher House Foundation and its harnessing the “power in radio” to raise awareness of the organization’s mission.  As regular TALKERS readers are probably aware, the Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where family members of military personnel and veterans can stay while their loved one is in the hospital.  Since its inception, the Fisher House estimates it has saved families $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for housing and transportation.  How the Fisher House Foundation began and how its relationship with radio – especially news/talk radio – is an interesting story.  Read Mike Kinosian’s piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Los Angeles, entertainment, news & traffic reporter Lisa May announces she’s leaving the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank” morning show at Meruelo Media’s classic rock KLOS, effective December 13.  The longtime Los Angeles radio personality is moving to Palm Springs to work in the personal fitness business…..A surprise on Long Island as longtime adult contemporary WALK-FM morning drive personality Mark Daniels exits the station.  Newsday reports the 63-year-old Daniels has been with Connoisseur Media’s WALK since 1985.  Daniels’s on-air partner Jamie Morris is staying on and will be part of the new morning show set to debut in January…..YEA Networks announces that the “Tino Cochino Radio” show is being added to the programming lineup on hip hop KQKS, Denver “KS 1075,” its first Entercom-owned affiliate station.….On Friday (11/22), the iHeartRadio album release party with Coldplay, celebrating the release of Everyday Life takes place.  The hour-long on air special will feature a performance and an exclusive interview hosted by iHeartRadio on-air personality, Harms.  It airs at 8:00 pm local time on iHeartMedia alternative and triple A stations…..BMI announces the appointment of Nexstar Media Group president and CEO Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors, effective January 1, 2020.   Board chair Michael J. Fiorile says, “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors.  Perry has achieved incredible success at Nexstar and we know he will be a valuable addition to the board as we continue our mission of protecting the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and advocating for the value of music.”

Friday, August 30, 2019

| August 30, 2019

‘Mason & Ireland’ to Afternoons in KSPN, Los Angeles Program Changes. Longtime Los Angeles sports talk duo Steve Mason and John Ireland are moving from the early afternoon daypart to PM drive (3:00 pm to 6:30 pm) at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710,” effective Tuesday (9/3).  Current afternoon host Jorge Sedano’s “The Sedano Show” moves to early evenings and Sedano continues his NBA duties for ESPN TV.  New to the lineup is ESPN Radio’s syndicated Will Cain show, to air in the early afternoon slot.  “ESPNLA” VP and general manager Scott McCarthy says, “We are excited to further strengthen an already powerful talk lineup by moving ‘Mason & Ireland’ to afternoon drive and capitalizing on the momentum of ‘The Will Cain Show.’ These two shows plus ‘Keyshawn, LZ and Travis,’ LA’s only local sports morning show, and the always compelling Stephen A. Smith will keep listeners updated on local and national major sports stories.  Jorge Sedano’s NBA expertise will prepare listeners for the night’s action and takes on greater importance with the high expectations surrounding the Lakers and Clippers.”  KSPN says that the “Mason & Ireland” show “is the highest-rated sports talk show in LA in any daypart over the past three years and is delivering some of its best audience numbers ever in 2019.”

TALKERS News Notes. The next Democratic debate takes place on Thursday, September 12 and ABC News Radio is providing live coverage anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in Houston.  ABC News Radio will broadcast the debate in its entirety followed by post-debate analysis.  In the hour leading up to the debate, affiliates are being offered an exclusive one-hour program, “Preview to the Democratic Debate.”  Brad Mielke will host the award-winning podcast “Start Here” from Houston on Thursday and Friday (9/12-13), and a special edition of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, featuring Jonathan Karl and ABC News political director Rick Klein, will tape in Houston the week of the debate.…..The nationally syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program (10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET), starring Walter M. Sterling, will stay on top of the status of Hurricane Dorian this weekend.  Sterling says that citizen reporters are ready to phone in their reports and that he’s done this in the past with dramatic impact.  Sterling adds, “It would be irresponsible to present anything but hurricane information.  I don’t know how any station on the East Coast could run infomercials or yell at the Democrats when a hurricane is endangering lives, stopping air traffic to all of Florida, and blocking the interstates.  We will have eye level reports from people in Florida.”…..Kentucky sports media figure Matt Jones – who hosts the regionally syndicated “Kentucky Sports Radio” program based at iHeartMedia’s WLAP-AM, Lexington – is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Jones would run as a Democrat.  He tells “WAVE 3 News” reports that he is forming an exploratory committee to find out if he has enough support to challenge Democrat Amy McGrath in the primary and then incumbent Republican McConnell.  Jones says, “We’re in an era where people want you to be honest.  I think I said on the radio I almost wore a sweatshirt and shorts here today because that’s what I put on.  I think people like that.  It’s the biggest lesson of Donald Trump more than anything else.  It’s this idea that people like you to say what you think, be authentic.  Democrats don’t do that a lot.  I’m going to try to do it.”  Jones was let go by WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after his senatorial ambitions became known…..The recent changes at iHeartMedia’s sports talk KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” bumped “The Dan Patrick Show” off the schedule but the program is landing on another station in The Valley.  Hubbard Radio’s crosstown sports talk KDUS-AM “NBCSports 1060” is adding the show to the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart.

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Fire and Rain!” looks back at this past week of August 26-30, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London; Ross Kaminsky, morning host, KHOW, Denver; Dr. Mathew Knowles, CEO, Music World Entertainment (and Beyoncé’s father); and Bobbie Winston (“La Femme Bobbie”), American artist living in Rio De Janeiro.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Katz Scores One-On-One with VP. Pictured above is WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning drive host Tony Katz (right) with Vice President Mike Pence (left). Prior to his speech before the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis, Pence did a sit-down interview with Katz.  In addition to his WIBC morning show, Katz syndicates the “Tony Katz Today” midday show (11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET).  Earlier in his career, Pence was a WIBC talk host whose program was syndicated across Indiana.

‘98.7 The Fan’ Adds ‘James Connor Show’ to Steelers Coverage. Since Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided not to continue his radio show on Entercom’s sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” this year, the station is adding running back James Connor to its coverage of the team.  The Steelers player will join “The PM Team with Poni and Mueller” each Monday at 5:00 pm, beginning September 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “We are excited to welcome James to the ‘93.7 The Fan’ family this season. James is one of the most beloved personalities in the region and we know he will bring unique insight and inspiration to the show.”

U.S.-China Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The battle of tariffs between the U.S. and China was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the activity in the world’s financial markets and economic reports warning of a recession on the horizon. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of last weekend’s G7 Summit in France, followed by Boris, Brexit and the Queen at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Darlene Love Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most prolific singers to emerge from the 1960s-era “girl groups” of record producer Phil Spector’s legendary Wall of Sound – Darlene Love – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Since being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for the 2013 film, “20 feet from Stardom,” and the GRAMMY for its soundtrack, her remarkable career has been full steam ahead.  At 78, she sells out shows worldwide, captivating audiences with her warm, gracious stage presence and sensational performances.  The New York Times describes Darlene Love as having a voice “embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics.”  Harrison says, “I am truly thrilled to have Ms. Love as a guest on the podcast.  Her life story is truly amazing.  She went from being a pioneer of the girl group genre to an unheralded and underpaid voice that launched some of the most iconic hits of all time to becoming a housekeeper to make ends meet to climbing her way out of obscurity and finally gaining worldwide recognition for her truly special contributions to popular culture – along the way also performing as a Broadway and film actress in a career that spans six decades of dynamic history!”  Harrison and Love discuss the early days of rock and pop, along with the singer’s experience as the daughter of a minister growing up in Los Angeles and Texas as a young African American female trying to establish a career in the music business.  In addition to her insights into race relations in America, Love talks about how she keeps herself in shape in her late-70s for the rigorous career that she continues to maintain.  By the way, today marks the 57th anniversary of the release of, “He’s a Rebel,” by the Crystals on August 27, 1962 which was actually recorded by Darlene Love and the Blossoms and never officially credited to them until years later.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS daily email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Cool Talk Radio Sales Opportunity. In New York City, Salem Media Group is seeking an account executive for radio and digital sales.  Here’s the ad: Salem Media Group is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer” and the legendary WMCA “AM570/102.3FM The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.”  Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills.  This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America.  Ideal candidate has a proven track record of success with radio and digital sales.  Interested candidates should apply online and email cover letter and resumes to Jerry Crowley’s attention.

Tom Joyner’s 17th Annual Family Reunion Takes Place This Weekend in Florida. This weekend at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner is presenting the 17th annual “Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion.”  It is featuring performances and appearances from: Charlie Wilson, The Bonfyre, Brandy, Robin Thicke, Guy Torry, Erica Campbell, Rickey Smiley, Donald Lawrence, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard, Sir The Baptist, Tye Tribbett, DJ Standout, Lonnie Hunter, Shanice Wilson, Ollie Gabriel, Brownstone, Erica Campbell, Bebe Winans, Isaac Carree, DJ Kool, DJ Kev-Ski, DJ Flemingo and more. Joyner says, “I am so proud of the fun, entertainment-filled atmosphere that we created all those years ago to truly celebrate Black families and what we love.  We gladly continue this tradition, and I know it will be our best year yet.”  This year’s “Family Reunion” is part of Joyner’s year-long celebration of his 25-year career.  Joyner will retire from broadcasting in December.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Denver market, iHeartMedia names John E. Kage program director for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull” in addition to his current role as programmer for CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.”  Kage says, “I am beyond thrilled to make my return to country music on ‘106.7 The Bull.’  Country music has a special community with a unique bond between radio, the artists, and the listeners.  I missed it dearly and I’m very grateful for being able to be a part of it again.  A special thanks to iHeartMedia for giving me the opportunity and I look forward to working alongside the talented team here at ‘106.7 The Bull’ and contributing to the station’s ongoing success.”…..Chicago radio personality Erik Zachary leaves his position as evening host at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM.” He says, “I have nothing but appreciation for the opportunities that iHeart has afforded me in my seven-plus years on the air and look forward to seeing the continued success of the amazing team at KISS FM.  With that said, I’m excited to shift the full focus of my work to the television and digital video space.”

Thursday, August 1, 2019

| August 1, 2019

Urban One Posts Strong Q2 Numbers; Net Revenue Up 5.5%. It was “a very strong quarter from an advertising revenue standpoint,” says Urban One, Inc. CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III. The parent company of Radio One reports second quarter 2019 net revenue was approximately $121.6 million, an increase of 5.5% from the same period in 2018.  Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $46.3 million, an increase of 4.5% from the same period in 2018.  Urban One reports operating income of approximately $30.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared to approximately $24.8 million for the same period in 2018.  Net income was approximately $6.6 million or $0.15 per share (basic) compared to net income of approximately $23.6 million or $0.51 per share (basic) for the same period in 2018.  Liggins says, “Radio advertising was up 6.8%, TV advertising was up 9.4%, and digital was up 16.8%.  Our radio division is also pacing up approximately 8% for the third quarter, with robust demand for national business in our larger markets… Reach Media benefited from another successful cruise event, with the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage posting 12% year-over-year revenue growth… Overall, I am happy with our progress this quarter, and believe we can carry this positive momentum into the second half of the year.”

Sanchez Joins KDWN, Las Vegas for Evening Program; ‘The Vegas Take’ Moves to Mornings. Talk radio host Steve Sanchez announces he’s signed a four-year deal with Beasley Media Group to host the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm weeknight show on news/talk KDWN-AM/K268CS, Las Vegas, effective August 12.    Sanchez will continue to host his nationally syndicated weekend talk program distributed by Genesis Communications Network.  Sanchez’s arrival on the KDWN program schedule comes as the station moves “The Vegas Take” with Brian Shapiro and JD Sharp from evenings to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  Ray Lucia, who announced recently that he’s retiring from his radio show, had been heard in late mornings on the station.

Former KSL-FM, Salt Lake City Host Jay Mcfarland Running for Congress. Talk radio personality Jay Mcfarland gave up his “JayMac News Show” on Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City in order to run for congress in the Utah 4th Congressional District.  In a story posted at KSL.com, Mcfarland says he wants to become a national voice for conservatism.  He hopes to win the Republican primary to challenge the state’s only Democrat – Ben McAdams – and believes that this seat that is so important to Republicans will be a high-profile race nationally.  He’s quoted saying, “I got into radio to be able to impact the public debate.  Just over the last couple of years, I felt like our political discourse has degraded to such a horrific level, it’s not enough for me to talk about it.” Mcfarland hosted his radio show on KSL for the past nine years.

Bob Pittman Reminisces About MTV Launch on Michael Berry Show. Today (8/1) is the 38th anniversary of the launch of MTV. Back on August 1, 1981, 27-year-old Bob Pittman and his colleagues at MTV debuted the network that would transform television and music in ways that few had foreseen. The iHeartMedia chairman and CEO spoke on the KTRH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated Michael Berry program today about MTV and its place in history.  Pittman told Berry and his listeners “creating an identity for the NETWORK” was the most important reason for its success, sayin the one word which best described MTV was “cool.”  He also said MTV gave artists an identity to their fans.  Prior to that, with album covers largely artistic drawings, fans did not know what their favorite band looked like.  The video component gave them an insight into those bands, and their fashion.  Hear the whole interview here.

Kim Guthrie to Lead New Cox Media Group.  When Apollo Global Management agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cox’s radio stations earlier this year, it was assumed that most of its executives would remain with the new Cox Media Group since Apollo said it wanted to maintain the successful operating structure of the radio, TV, CoxReps and Gamut businesses.  Now, Cox is confirming that current Cox Media Group president Kim Guthrie will lead the new company as chief executive officer.

West Virginia Radio Renews with Nielsen Audio. After a time without subscribing to Nielsen Audio’s radio ratings service, West Virginia Radio Corporation reached a new agreement for measurement in the Charleston, West Virginia market.  Company president and CEO Dale Miller says, “In a time when audience metrics are so important, Nielsen remains the only ratings currency that consistently reflects the value of our radio stations.  Having reliable research is more important now than at any other time, and we feel that Nielsen Audio is a partner in our business, allowing us to generate true ROI.  We tried plan B for a time, but you can budget cut yourself out of the business.”

iHeartMedia Proposes Private Offering of $500M of Senior Secured Notes. Today, iHeartMedia, Inc. is offering – via its wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., $500,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due 2027 in a private offering.  The Notes and related guarantees will be offered only to persons reasonably believed to be “qualified institutional buyers.”  They will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility.  iHeartCommunications intends to use the proceeds from the Notes, together with cash on hand, to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.

TALKERS News Notes. WEPN-FM, New York personality and New York Yankees radio voice Michael Kay is being told to stay silent for at least another 10 days after his recent vocal cord surgery.  The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand writes that Kay had hoped to return to the broadcast booth tomorrow (8/2) but his doctor says he needs more time to heal. ESPN New York general manager Tim McCarthy says they want to be careful with Kay’s return and is fine with Kay “taking the whole summer.”  For Yankees games, Ryan Ruocco will sit in next week with Bob Costas calling one of the two Yankees-Red Sox games on Saturday…..In what is becoming an informal series of appearances, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh will join fellow Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk media star Sean Hannity on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” tonight (8/1) to talk about the Democratic debates and “the latest developments regarding former FBI director James Comey.”  Limbaugh – who appears to choose his television appearances carefully – has done several one-on-ones with Hannity during the past year.  Of course, Hannity rose to national fame filling in for Limbaugh back in the late 1990s…..CBS News Radio names Allison Keyes to the position of Washington, D.C.-based correspondent.  CBS News Radio VP and general manager Craig Swagler announces that Keyes will be integral to the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.  She will also focus on covering stories on diversity and equality issues.  Her reporting will be heard daily on CBS News Radio affiliates around the country.  She has served as a freelance reporter for CBS News Radio since 2014.  Prior to that, she was a reporter for NPR in Washington, where she was a guest host for the program, “Tell Me More with Michel Martin.”…..The nationally syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program is added to the air schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, effective August 5. Katz says, “With our Midwest focus, being with KFOR could not be more perfect.  Working with PD Rob Kelley, going into an election year and highlighting how big news stories affect us locally, this is gonna be amazing!”  In addition to his syndicated show, Katz is the morning drive personality at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn appoints Juliette Morris CEO.  She’s been with the company as chief marketing officer since March of 2018…..NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha “1620 The ZONE” remains the flagship radio station for Creighton University’s men’s basketball for the next three season and gives “The Zone” exclusive rights to broadcast play-by-play for all home and away games as well as pre-game and post-game coverage.  Creighton’s home games will also continue to be broadcast live on NRG’s sister classic rock KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg” as part of the contract extension.  KOZN afternoon talk host John Bishop continues to handle play-by-play duties while a number of former Bluejays, including FOX Sports Radio talk show host and national college basketball television analyst Nick Bahe, will continue to provide color commentary.

Rebecca Thomas Takes on More Duties at CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design as Media Affiliates Director. For the past 12 years, Rebecca Thomas has been doing voice work for projects and accounts at her husband’s well-known imaging firm.  Now, she adds the official role of media affiliates director to her responsibilities at her husband Sandy ThomasCore Voice Imaging and Sound Design as media affiliates director.  She tells TALKERS magazine that their audio branding company does imaging for all radio formats.  Rebecca can be reached at: CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com.

2020 Presidential Race/Detroit Debates, Reagan-Nixon ‘Monkeys’ Controversy, Immigration Policy/Border Conditions, Capital One Hack, and China-Hong Kong Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the debates in Detroit; the controversy over the recording of Ronald Reagan referring to blacks as monkeys in conversation with Richard Nixon; the Trump Administration’s immigration and asylum policies and conditions at border detention centers; the aftermath of the hack of Capital One; and the tensions between China and Hong Kong in the wake of the recent protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked Launch New Show. A new, two-hour weekly show from Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked is debuting on 50 iHeartMedia urban contemporary stations nationwide, in addition to iHeartRadio.   The show is “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee” and is co-hosted by Melyssa Ford and DJ Damage.  The program is targeted to hip hop fans by staying on top of hip hop culture and pop culture with “celebrity news, information and gossip, along with candid conversations with the stars who will bring truth to the latest stories and rumors.” Additionally, Lee’s podcast, “Hollywood Unlocked Uncensored,” which is also co-hosted by Ford and Damage and has more than 33 million views on its YouTube channel, is now available on iHeartRadio.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

| March 27, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  The period between the end of the NFL season and the start of the MLB season usually means a dip in ratings for sports talk radio stations and this year is no different as 73% of sports talkers see a decrease in their weekly 6+ AQH share from the January 2019 survey to the February 2019 PPM survey.  Comparing last February to this, about half of the sports talk stations on our panel are up with the other half down or unchanged.  Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” was the highest-ranking station (6+) during the February survey, finishing the month at #3 in the Boston market with a 6.4 share.  Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 FM The Fan” is the sports station with the highest 6+ share in February with a 6.5.  See all the data here.

Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network Renew Through 2023. Talk radio pro Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network will continue to work together through 2023 as Salem announces the company and Gallagher have agreed to a new contract.  Gallagher’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show is heard on more than 420 affiliate stations via SRN.  Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are honored to have had Mike Gallagher in our Salem family for over two decades and thrilled to continue our long and fruitful relationship with him.  Mike’s thoughtful and expert commentary is exactly what America needs in these turbulent times we live in, and it’s no wonder he is Salem’s highest-rated program.”  Gallagher comments, “Every broadcaster should be lucky enough to work for Salem Media Group.  I’ve worked hard and they’ve rewarded me with a partnership that will have spanned at least 22 years, a rarity in our business.  I’m so grateful to Ed Atsinger, Dave Santrella, and Phil Boyce for their support and visionary leadership.  And I will always appreciate Greg Anderson, who has since retired, for believing in me back in 2001 and bringing me into the Salem family.”

Jason Page Joins iHub Radio in Palm Springs. As the Palm Springs locally focused internet radio station iHub Radio approaches its first birthday, it announces that sports talk personality Jason Page is taking over the afternoon drive program, effective April 1.  Page has served with NBC Sports Radio, ESPN, and SiriusXM.  iHub Radio was founded by programmer John McMullen who asked Page to help with coverage of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.  McMullen says, “Jason brought his A-game for the entirety of his stay in February and March.  After two weeks of upsets on the tennis courts, I felt that the timing was right on our final broadcast from Indian Wells to wrap up with a positive surprise. We offered Jason a full-time opportunity to not only take our 3 to 6 pm weekday slot, but to join our management team and put his vision in play for social media and other multimedia opportunities that are likely to involve expanding some of our local talent beyond the iHub Radio platform and local market.” In addition to hosting afternoons, Page will be director of multimedia platforms for the media outlet.  McMullen is giving up hosting the afternoon show to focus on management responsibilities. McMullen says iHub Radio is hyper-focused on its local connection to a marketplace rather than proactively seeking a national or global audience.  He adds that as the platform nears its first anniversary and continues to increase its weekly unique audience numbers that rival the terrestrial competition and double the time spent listening of most traditional talk stations, the company will enter its second year with an eye towards creating a handful of programming products that could ultimately be part of the terrestrial radio landscape by 2020.

Cox Media Group: Study Shows Our Customers Are ‘More Satisfied.’ The results of a three-year study designed to measure advertiser expectations and perceptions of traditional and digital advertising at CMG indicates CMG customers rate many CMG advertising solutions at least two to three-times higher than non-CMG advertisers rate similar competitor services on return on investment.  The survey of more than 450 businesses – including CMG customers and non-CMG customers – was done by research firm Magid. The advertising solutions include programmatic advertising, digital video, native, and traditional media.  Cox Media Group EVP of content, digital strategy, technology, and research Marian Pittman says, “This is part of the culture and commitment at Cox Media Group.  Our entire team is focused on driving results for our advertisers, providing innovative solutions and being a true partner for our clients.  We have a relentless focus on tracking, monitoring and optimizing every advertisers’ campaign.  The results of the survey show our clients agree.”

Westwood One’s 2019 Audioscape Report Highlights Podcasting and Smart Speaker Data. The company says this report examines the podcast and smart speaker consumer, listener, and user trends, podcast consumption among smart speaker users, and marketer and agency sentiment for advertising in podcasts and smart speaker environments.  Westwood One reveals some of what it calls the key findings on podcasting and smart speakers: 1) The podcast audience is maturing with the median age advancing from 29 in 2017 to 35 in 2018.  However, 2) podcast listeners are far more engaged and one-and-a-half times more attentive than social media audiences.  3) Smart speaker ownership has tripled in two years with 23% of U.S. households owning a smart speaker, and 4) GenXers – adults between the ages of 35 and 54 – represent the largest segment of smart speaker owners (38%). See more here.

TALKERS News Notes.  WIBC-FM, Indianapolis-based, independently syndicated talk host Tony Katz adds Emmis Communications’ KLBJ-AM, Austin to his roster of affiliate stations for his “Tony Katz Today” program, effective April 15. Katz hosts the “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on WIBC-FM and his “Tony Katz Today” talk show airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.  KLBJ-AM program director Mark Caesar says, “We are very excited about Tony Katz joining the NewsRadio KLBJ lineup.  Tony is a great guy who knows how to blend his excellent sense of humor with his strong insight on the day’s biggest stories.”…..MSG Networks and ESPN O&O WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” announce a new multi-year agreement that ensures the station continues to serve as the radio home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.   WEPN has served in this role since 2004.  “ESPN New York” vice president and general manager Tim McCarthy says, “We are proud to continue our 15-year relationship with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.  As ‘98.7 ESPN’ continues to expand our listener base, the Knicks and Rangers serve as an integral component of our programming lineup.”…..Bonneville International’s sports talk KMVP-FM, Phoenix “Arizona Sports” inks a deal to serve as the radio and digital home for the Phoenix Rising FC for the 2019 season.  As part of the deal, “Arizona Sports” will stream all Phoenix Rising FC games live on ArizonaSports.com as well as air three Phoenix Rising FC games on sister KTAR-AM “ESPN 620,” beginning in June.  The partnership will also include a dedicated page of Rising coverage on ArizonaSports.com along with a weekly podcast hosted by Kellan Olson.

Mueller Investigation Aftermath, Obamacare Battle, Jussie Smollett Case, Green New Deal Vote, Israel-Gaza Tensions, Brexit Redux, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).The aftermath of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; the battle between the Trump administration and Democrats over the status of the Affordable Care Act; the Illinois state prosecutor’s decision not to charge actor Jussie Smollett; the U.S. Senate vote on the Green New Deal; the tensions in Israel over the missile strike from the Gaza Strip; the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit status; and NBA action and the NCAA Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charese Fruge is no longer with Radio One as the CHR format captain and program director for CHR outlets KROI, Houston and WNOW, Indianapolis.  Fruge had previously served with the old CBS RADIO in Houston as vice president of programming and operations manager as well as PD for KHMX and KKHH…..On-air personality Amber “Alabama” Cole is the new morning show contributor for iHeartMedia’s CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 Kiss FM.”  She exited the company’s Chicago country outlet WEBG “Big 95.5” where she was midday host back in December…..Griffin Communications announces that country recording artist Joe Diffie is joining the KXBL, Tulsa “Big Country 99.5” air staff, hosting the midday show.  Diffie is based in Nashville and will voice track the program, even when he’s on the road this summer.  Station program director Brian Jennings says, “Joe’s music is a reflection of the dominance of Oklahoma artists that have become part of the country music soundtrack across the nation. And ‘Big Country’ is the only station in Tulsa that is positioned to properly celebrate that legacy.  Think about the influence that Oklahoma music has on the nation: Joe Diffie, Reba,Garth, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood…shall I go on? Having Joe on as part of the team brings Tulsa pride to his national status.  I am so proud.”