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Thursday, November 17, 2022

| November 17, 2022

Saga Communications Names Chris Forgy President and CEO; Wayne Leland Rises to SVP of Operations. The company announces that it is promoting Christopher Forgy to the leadership position president and CEO effective December 7, 2022. Forgy has been serving Saga Communications as SVP of operations since 2018. He assumes the role after the passing of longtime chief Ed Christian, who passed away on August 19. Forgy states, “I am honored, humbled, excited and ready to begin my new role as only the second president and CEO Saga has ever known. We have an elite group of leaders and staff. I have often said you don’t have to be on all the time, only when it’s time. The time is right now for all of us to step up and shine for our customers, our listeners, our employees and our shareholders. As we embark on this ongoing adventure that is Saga, I would like to thank Warren Lada and the Saga board of directors for this opportunity.” The company also announces the promotion of Wayne Leland from president and general manager of its radio stations in Norfolk, Virginia to SVP/operations, effective January 3, 2023. Leland comments, “To become the new senior vice president/operations for Saga is a dream come true. I look forward to working with Chris, our corporate staff, our market managers and all of Saga’s staff to continue Saga’s journey into the future.” Lada has been serving as interim president and CEO since Christian’s death. He adds, “Chris Forgy stood out from all the others considered for the president and CEO role. His leadership will provide an opportunity to bring new ideas and change to Saga. Saga’s core values, performance standards and culture will remain as the foundation to our success. Also, promoting Saga veteran Wayne Leland provides a smooth transition and an opportunity to explore and implement strategic operational changes to enhance Saga’s ongoing performance.”

McVay Media Brings Ryan Kershner Aboard. Consulting firm and content creating company McVay Media announces that “Nights with Elaina” executive producer Ryan Kershner joins to work with McVay Media clients in enhancing the consultancy’s services to audio platforms. His focus will be on producing podcasts, branded audio for the music industry, artists and product-oriented projects, branded content, audio specials and longform programming for radio and streaming platforms. McVay Media president Mike McVay says, “Ryan and I have worked together on multiple projects before he joined Westwood One and I worked with him during our mutual time there. McVay Media has grown our business to where we’re engaged with multiple premium companies that are seeing meteoric growth. They can benefit from having another pair of ears and a skilled set of hands on their audio projects.” Kershner comments, “I’ve loved my time working at Westwood One and working with Elaina Smith, first on “Nash Nights Live” and then “Nights with Elaina.” I’m proud of what we’ve built and will always applaud her success. I want to thank Brian Philips, Susan Stephens, Charlie Cook and truly everyone I worked with for the opportunity to grow and learn. After much consideration, the opportunity to be surrounded by family, work with my longtime mentor and to continue my career growth, was too hard to pass up.” Kershner leaves Westwood One after 10 years with the network. He departs at the end of the year.

Triton Digital Releases Podcast Ranker for October. The latest Top Podcasts report from Triton Digital for the U.S. in the month of October has been released. Based on Average Weekly Downloads and including participating networks, NPR’s “NPR News Now” remains in the #1 spot and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” keeps its #2 position. Moving into the #3 rank is NBCUniversal News Group’s “Dateline NBC,” followed by Wondery’s “Morbid” at #4. NPR’s “Up First” rises to #5; Cumulus Media Network’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” is at #6, followed by Cumulus’ “The Dan Bongino Show” at #7. You can check out the Top 100 Podcasts from Triton Digital’s October 2022 ranker here.

New York Festivals 2023 Radio Awards Adds New Categories. The New York Festivals Radio Awards for 2023 is open for entries through January 31, 2023. The winners will be announced at the 2023 Storytellers Gala that will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 18, 2023. In 2022, the New York Festivals Radio Awards added 12 Social Justice categories to the competition. For 2023, two new categories are added: Best Nonfiction Documentary Series and Best Investigative Journalism Documentary. You can find more information and enter the competition here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new book from David Stockman, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration, is being published by Newsmax‘s Humanix Books. It’s titled, The Great Money Bubble: Protect Yourself From the Coming Inflation Storm, and in it Stockman writes, “Inflation showers windfalls on the rich, while it penalizes workers, savers, retirees, small businesses, and most of Main Street economic life.” He offers strategies to not only protect one’s hard-earned savings and investments, but how to grow them during this time of inflation and economic crisis. Stockman is available as a guest on talk radio. Reach out to A.J. Rice at: aj@publiuspr.com…..The American Advertising Federation, the “unifying voice for advertising,” announces the launch of a new podcast series, “Future Legends of Advertising,” co-produced by iHeartMedia and Known. The AAF says the podcast is being launched on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement and will pair advertising luminaries with this year’s AHOA inductees in an eight-part series that will explore issues of interest to the industry. Among the topics to be explored: branded content, data science, DEI and social impact, the war for talent, public service, the future of the CMO and more. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman says, “Who better to talk about the issues affecting our industry today and tomorrow than those advertising luminaries who have been there, and those who are plotting the course of our future. Marketing geniuses like these deserve the biggest stage in podcasting. That’s why we’re excited to help them drop their advertising wisdom on the #1 iHeartPodcast Network.”…..Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios formally recognized the Writers Guild of America, East as the collective bargaining representatives of the staff’s writers, producers, editors, engineers, and other storytellers. A card-check conducted by an independent third-party confirmed that a majority of the 42-member bargaining unit signed union cards in favor of the union. The Pineapple Street Union says, “We are so proud to have won voluntary recognition from management at Pineapple and Audacy. This victory is a direct result of months of hard work and dedication to building solidarity across our organization. We’re excited to carry this momentum forward into a collaborative bargaining phase, focused on pay and protections, accountability, consistency and unity at the company. We’re very pleased that Pineapple and Audacy have moved quickly and respectfully in this voluntary recognition process. We hope that this not only sets the tone for our upcoming bargaining process, but also sets an example for leaders across our industry – that working with employees to achieve more equitable workplaces can and should be a collaborative and straightforward experience on both sides of the table. We stand in solidarity with other producers, editors, writers, engineers, and staff across the industry in the continued effort to make audio a more fair and equitable field.”

Midterm Aftermath, Trump in ’24/Legal Issues, Pence Town Hall, The Economy/FTX Meltdown, Russia-Ukraine War, U.S. China Relations, N. Korea Sabre Rattling, UVA & U. Idaho Slayings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The Republicans take control of the U.S. House in January while the Democrats hold on to the Senate; former President Donald Trump’s announced bid for the White House in ’24 combined with the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson before a Georgia grand jury looking into Trump’s actions after the ’20 election; former Vice President Mike Pence speaks on CNN Town Hall; inflation and fears of a recession combined with the crash of crypto exchange FTX; Russia’s intensified shelling of Ukraine and the question of the origin of the missile that hit Poland; the relations between the U.S. and China after Biden’s meeting with Xi Jinping; North Korea’s missile launches and threats against the U.S.;  and the slayings of students at the University of Virginia and the University of Idaho were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 17, 2021

| September 17, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “East Side, West Side,” looks back at this past week of 9/13 – 9/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Jimmy Failla, talk show host, FOX News RadioRudy Giuliani, talk show host, WABC, New York/former Mayor of New York City; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

Be the Best Talent Coach: Maximize Potential. Radio consultant Jon Quick says that many programmers just don’t do it, “though it’s the most important part of their role, or at least it used to be. Coaching talent for great preparation, powerful execution, compelling communication, audience retention, and better relating to the listener is something many PDs say they just don’t have the time for. Programmers are often so caught up in corporate matters or minutiae that they really don’t have the time by the end of the day.” He adds that “surprisingly, many programmers and personalities believe coaching is beneath them or they don’t know how to coach, because many PDs never actually learned how to do it.” Read his advice here.

WBZ-AM, Boston Celebrates Centennial on Sunday (9/19). Boston all-news outlet WBZ-AM “NewsRadio” is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Sunday (9/19). The iHeartMedia station says it will cap its celebration with a day of vignettes spanning memorable moments from its first 100 years. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “For a station to broadcast for 100 years is nothing short of amazing. Listeners and advertisers consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued ratings and revenue success. People lean into objective news sources to remain informed and none has been more dependable than WBZ NewsRadio.” iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez says, “‘WBZ NewsRadio’ is defined by our strong, unmistakable presence in the communities we serve. As the media landscape continues to evolve, our reach has only increased as WBZ listeners have adopted streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.” The station also received an official commemoration letter from President Joe Biden, who wrote, “I send my warmest greetings to ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ as you celebrate your 100th anniversary. As one of America’s oldest radio stations, ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ has kept generations of listeners informed with the latest stories and breaking news. Radio has long been an important aspect of American life – narrating the triumphs and tragedies that have defined America – as well as the day-to-day news that keeps listeners engaged with their communities. Over the decades, radio stations like ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ have been on the forefront of journalism, providing entertainment and valuable information to the people who tune in throughout the day.”

‘NPR News Now,’ ‘Crime Junkie,’ and ‘Ben Shapiro Show’ Top Podcasts for August According to Triton Digital. The August 2021 U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital ranks the top 100 podcasts based on average weekly downloads and NPR’s “NPR News Now,” AdLarge/cabana’s “Crime Junkie,” and Cumulus Podcast Network’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” were the top three U.S. podcasts, respectively. Other programs from radio-affiliated podcast divisions that made the chart include: “The Dan Bongino Show” (#8, Cumulus Podcast Network), “Pod Save America” (#12, Audacy Podcast Network), “FOX News Radio Newscast” (#13, FOX News Podcasts), and “The Charlie Kirk Show” (#15, Salem Podcast Network). See more, including the report’s ranking of the top 15 podcast networks (based on average weekly downloads) here.

iHeartMedia’s Panama City News/Talker Announces New Frequencies. Panama City, Florida news/talk outlet WFLA has new dial positions. iHeartMedia says that “FOX Sports NewsRadio WFLA” changes dial positions and rebrands to the new “96.3-102.5 WFLA Panama City’s Talk Radio,” effective immediately. The station’s signal emanates from WPAP-HD2 and is heard on translators W242BF at 96.3 FM and W273DU at 102.5 FM. The station’s lineup includes: “The Morning Show with Preston Scott,” “The Glenn Beck Program”, “The Schnitt Show”, “The Joe Pags Show,” “The Jesse Kelly Show,” and “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming John Lund comments, “We are excited to continue providing Panama City with the quality news and information that they have come to expect from the WFLA brand. Now it’s available on two broadcast signals and in HD, rather than just one.”

NAB Produces PSAs Promoting the Importance of Local Broadcast Journalism. The National Association of Broadcasters unveils new spots designed to underscore the importance of fact-based broadcast radio and television journalism “at a time when misinformation is running rampant on social media. The new spots highlight the work of broadcasters to deliver trusted, reliable coverage of the local, national and global events that affect our lives.” NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith adds, “At a time when misinformation and disinformation are all too common online, the local journalism broadcasters provide is more important than ever – we deliver the facts Americans need to know without fear or favor. We want to remind the public and our nation’s leaders about the indispensable role broadcasters play in our local communities every day as the most trusted source of news.” Stations can download the spots here. The NAB says, “The new spots were created in response to research showing the business practices of big tech companies prevent local stations from recouping their investment in local journalism, as these platforms exert enormous influence over what online content is eligible to be monetized. At the same time, the tech giants are contributing to the spread of misinformation as their algorithms favor controversial content over high-quality journalism, the study shows. The new ‘We Are Broadcasters’ spots seek to remind policymakers and the public that TV and radio stations invest significant resources in local journalism for their communities, whether they are shining a light on corruption or preparing the public for a weather emergency.”

October 5 Announced as Date for Virtual Gracie Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation will hold the 46th Annual Gracie Awards program virtually on Tuesday, October 5, at 7:00 pm ET at @AllWomenInMedia on Facebook. Hosted by actress and comedian Lauren Ash, the annual gala will feature performances by GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel and GRAMMY award-winning American Gospel Singer CeCe Winans, honoring this year’s award winner’s whose work continues to influence and further the achievements of all women in media. This year’s awards coincide with AWM’s 70th anniversary, which includes the launch of a VOICES OF COURAGE digital tapestry, a commemorative logo and a social media campaign using #VoicesOfCourage and #70YearsOfCourage. Since its inception in 1951, AWM, originally known as American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), has been committed to inspiring, educating, celebrating accomplishments and expanding networks of women across all segments of media. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Lauren’s comedic spirit and incredibly talented performers will create a Gracies to remember…and worthy of our 70th anniversary celebration. We will inspire and entertain our friends, fans, and followers with this year’s virtual event, and look forward to raising a glass together, in person next year to celebrate the accomplishments of women in media.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago news/talker WLS-AM is adding a travel show to its weekend program schedule. The Cumulus Media station debuts “Let’s Go with Catie Keogh” Sunday at 7:00 pm. Keogh is an Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer who is also a digital contributor for Travel + Leisure Magazine and National Geographic Magazine. Keogh says, “I am so excited to be back on WLS with my new show, ‘Let’s Go with Catie Keogh.’ My show is a place to escape, a place to learn and a place to dream about your next travel adventure around the globe and close to home. I am looking forward to sharing Chicago’s best-kept secrets again, too!”…..According to data from Comscore, FOX News Digital earned the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views in August, reaching nearly 1.8 billion multiplatform views and approximately 3.7 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX News says that breaking news coverage surrounding the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, led by FOX News Channel’s national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and foreign correspondent Trey Yingst, helped drive FOX News Digital to its second-best month of the year, following January 2021…..Audacy’s C13Features announces that critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated actress Kate Mara and SAG Award-nominated actor Adam Scott have signed on to star in the psychological thriller, “Ghostwriter,” that is currently finalizing all production plans and will debut worldwide on Monday, December 6. C13Features partnered with Best Case Studios on the project and Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “Kate Mara and Adam Scott are incredible actors whose abilities and voices make them the perfect fit for this multi-layered thriller. C13Features is looking for the best material, with ambitious expectations and vision, with the high-quality content and production of this feature, and with Kate and Adam leading the way, we believe that ‘Ghostwriter’ will leave listeners on the edge of their seats.”

COVID-19 Boosters, Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 13-17. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., debate over COVID-19 boosters, and vaccine & mask mandates combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the California recall election that was won by Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the January 6 Commission investigation into the attack on the Capitol tied with Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally in Washington. 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 complete chart here.

95.5 WSB, Atlanta Seeks Assistant PD. Atlanta news/talk outlet WSB-AM/WSBB-FM “95.5 WSB” has an opportunity for an assistant program director. The station says, “95.5 WSB, one of the most successful and respected news & talk radio brands in the country, is looking for an assistant program director. This person assists the director of branding and programming in executing the 95.5 WSB programming and news strategy to include managing and developing news & talk talent, hosts, producers, the operations team, imaging producers, as well as coordinating strategic goals and input with the news director, manager of traffic operations, and digital content lead. This role requires a strong balance of strong people skills, initiative, creativity, and strategic and tactical command; it includes handling of assigned administrative duties, personnel management, coordination of schedules, and promotions (sales and marketing).” See more about this position and apply here.