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Friday, July 9, 2021

| July 9, 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, “Heating Up,” looks back at this past week of July 5-9, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/Physician; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, scamicide.com; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beaches; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel; Mark Simone, talk show host, WOR, New York; 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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.

Cumulus Media Promotes Dave Milner and Bob Walker to President of Operations. Executives Dave Milner and Bob Walker have both been promoted to the newly created positions president, Cumulus operations. Both Milner and Walker report directly to Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary G. Berner. Both previously served the company as EVP, operations. Mary Berner says in a statement, “This elevation is a well-deserved recognition of their respective contributions to the company’s success. Over the past several years, not only has the scope of both Bob’s and Dave’s direct responsibilities grown beyond their market portfolios, they also play a significant and vital role in the operations of the company overall. Moreover, in addition to being terrific executives, they are terrific colleagues as well.”

Courtney Cox Named Co-Host of WEEI, Boston’s ‘Greg Hill Show.’ WEEI’s Alex Reimer writes a piece on the station’s website in which he talks with Courtney Cox, the new co-host of the “Greg Hill Show” heard in mornings on Audacy’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston. She comes to the station after spending the past five years with regional sports cable outlet NESN in which she hosted programs across the network’s platforms and covered three Super Bowls, one World Series and one Stanley Cup Final. Cox sat in for a couple of audition shows and Remier asks her about the move from TV to radio and why she felt good about her auditions. “I felt like I was able to be more myself and show my personality. I’m still getting used to that – not being so buttoned up. It’s hard to train your brain to kind of relax a little bit when you’re told to hold your personality back a bunch for seven years, and then it’s a free-for-all in a two-hour live slot. But that feeling of, ‘I can be myself; I can talk sports; I can also talk about other things that really interest me.’ I can talk about things going on in the community; I can talk about Bravo and the ‘Real Housewives,’ and these guys will find it funny and not, ‘Ugh, here’s a female who likes sports, but reality TV.’ I think there’s so much more overlap with pop culture and sports than people notice.”

Triton Digital Releases May 2021 Streaming Rankings. The monthly Webcast Metrics Global Ranker and the regional U.S., LATAM, and EMEA Streaming Rankers from Triton Digital have been released for May 2021. Triton says its rankers “provide insight into the top-performing streaming audio stations and networks around the world for the month of May.” Triton’s Global ranker is inclusive of publishers that subscribe to Triton’s enhanced measurement service, Webcast Metrics, which requires publishers to meet a broader set of technical and operational requirements which are subject to a third-party audit. The results of the U.S. streaming ranker (6:00 am to 8:00 pm M-F) puts the top 20 services in order based on Average Active Sessions (Total Listening Hours divided by the hours in the period). At the #1 rank is iHeartRadio with almost 393,000 Average Active Sessions. Rounding out the top five are: NPR Member Stations (100,560), Audacy (86,904), Cumulus Streaming Network (60,220), and EMF (35,696). See the complete report here.

Posting of Video Content from TALKERS 2021 Conference to Resume Next Week. TALKERS magazine has been posting videos, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the recent TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on June 11. So far, we’ve posted on-demand video of the first seven sessions. We’ll continue making new sessions available next week. Have an enjoyable weekend!

TALKERS News Notes. The Tampa operations of Beasley Media Group are launching the first episode of their new podcast, “Experience Tampa Bay in 10 Minutes or Less.” The podcast, is hosted by “MJ Morning Show and Geno Knight” personality Roxanne Wilder and is designed to help locals and visitors discover Tampa Bay in 10 minutes or less. Beasley says, “Each episode is a journey across Tampa Bay, describing all that this city has to offer led by the biggest tastemakers in Tampa Bay. From the biggest to the smallest community events, hottest places to eat and local hidden gems, the podcast will make sure listeners know what is going on in the area in one easy-to-digest weekly podcast episode.”…..iHeartMedia launches a new true-crime podcast, “Murder in Illinois,” hosted by writer and producer Lauren Bright, best known for co-hosting, narrating, and producing true-crime podcast hits like “Happy Face,” “Murder in Oregon,” and “The Murders at White House Farm: The Podcast.” This true-crime podcast investigates Christopher Vaughn, a man convicted in 2007 for the murder of his wife and three children and shares never heard before details about his conviction/trial and case. In addition, “Murder in Illinois” features exclusive interviews with the family of Christopher Vaughn, including his parents, siblings, and extended family members…..SiriusXM is covering Major League Baseball’s 2021 All-Star Week, delivering comprehensive coverage to listeners around the country and featuring live broadcasts of the 91st All-Star Game Presented by Mastercard, the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the MLB Draft, plus other special programming live from Denver, Colorado.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccines and Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 5-9. The highly contagious and now dominant COVID-19 Delta variant, the slowing rate of vaccinations, and the politics surrounding the pandemic combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the GOP and Trumpism tied with the formation of the House January 6 Committee. Following at #3 was Donald Trump’s announcement he’s suing Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube for violating his First Amendment rights tied with the issue of Internet security. 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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

| May 19, 2020

Report: WIND-AM, Chicago’s Amy Jacobson Barred from Governor’s Pressers. A report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder reveals Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered reporter Amy Jacobson barred from his daily COVID-19 press briefings after she was one of the prominent speakers at Saturday’s Freedom Movement USA-sponsored protest of his stay-at-home order. Jacobson is news anchor and morning co-host on Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM. The governor’s press secretary emailed Jacobson saying her participation in a political rally “attended by people holding hateful Nazi imagery” means she’s forfeited her status as an impartial journalist. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman told Feder he’s disappointed the governor is trying to limit the scope of questions at the briefings and hopes Pritzker will change his mind.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Experiencing ‘Double-Digit Growth’; Launches App Updates. According to Entercom, its digital platform RADIO.COM is experiencing “continued double-digit audience growth.” The company says, “Demand for RADIO.COM’s premium audio content continued to grow and in March, time spent listening increased by 22% month-over-month. It also delivered double-digit growth in total listening hours (TLH) for nine straight months continuing in April. And Entercom’s portfolio of all-news and news/talk stations are up 61% year-over-year in TLH. Updates to the app include new personalized recommendation features to the platform. “The update elevates the audio consumption experience by offering users a personalized homepage tailored with additional stations and podcasts based on listening habits. The enhanced experience will allow advertisers the opportunity to target listeners more precisely than ever before and serve more contextually relevant messages. The platform has also added a new discovery experience where users can easily browse hundreds of radio stations and over 15,000 podcasts grouped by themes, category and location, as well as ‘City’ pages for the top 25 U.S. markets that aggregate local news and sports content, local stations and relevant podcasts to the respective city.”

WWO: Five Strategies Using Apple Metrics. If you are a podcast producer using Apple metrics, Westwood One Podcast Network executive editor John Wordock has some tips for you in this week’s Westwood One blog. He says the best way to fight the misperception that podcast consumption is declining is with Apple’s metrics that give you a look at past episodes, duration, devices, total time listened, time per device, and average consumption (a.k.a. completion rates). He boils it down to five strategies: Strategy #1: Focus on storytelling and preparation. If publishing an interview podcast, podcasters should do their homework, know their questions beforehand, and anticipate the answers. If producing a scripted show, podcasters should do table reads with their producer, pick apart their episode, and look for ways to improve their story. Strategy #2: Get creative with pre-roll ads. Because listening decisions are made so quickly, podcasters should avoid starting an episode with ad copy if possible. Strategy #3: Experiment. Podcasters can use Apple metrics as instant insight into how content performs, how listeners react, and how ads are received. Strategy #4: Hold the audience. Podcasters should strive to hold 80% of their audience to the mid-roll position and use it as a draw for advertisers. Strategy #5: Deal with dips. Through the Apple dashboard, podcasters will spot potholes in the listening pattern. How can podcasters stop listeners from fast-forwarding through the ads and leaving large divots on the data screen? The best podcast reads are often seamless and connect with the topics being discussed. See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. As commercial radio celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, CBS News Radio and the National Press Club are producing “Celebrating a Century of Sound,” a 10-part series that marks the role audio has played in the lives of Americans for the past 100 years. The feature is a part of CBS’ “World News Roundup,” anchored by CBS News correspondent Sam Litzinger and consists of 10 one-minute chapters, plus a mini-documentary, chronicling the history of radio from crystal sets to digital platforms, and from soap operas and symphonies to rock-n-roll, all-news, talk, and sports radio…..iHeartMedia produced a series of speech highlights from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” – the special podcast event it created for America’s graduation month that features commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. The “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast was released last Friday (5/15) and, following its digital release, iHeartMedia’s more than 850 broadcast radio stations across the country aired featured clips from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” every hour, culminating Sunday night with a series of 30-minute on air commencement specials on all music stations and 60-minute specials on all talk stations…..Lemonada Media debuts its sixth weekly podcast series titled, “In Recovery with Dr. Nzinga Harrison, M.D.” Dr. Harrison co-founded and serves as chief medical officer of Eleanor Health, a revolutionary, evidence-based, outpatient approach to treatment. Lemonada says, “From substances to sex to work, each week Dr. Harrison addresses why addiction should be treated like other chronic medical illnesses and the many complex aspects surrounding treatment and recovery.”…..A new study released by AdLarge Media reveals that NASCAR broadcasts stand to attract a significant number of new fans this year. AdLarge says that fans hungry for live play-by-play “are getting their fix from NASCAR races, which are broadcast live on 435 U.S. radio stations from the Motor Racing Network: The Voice of NASCAR and the Performance Racing Network.” AdLarge partnered with radio research firm NuVoodoo Media Services for the study that concluded: 84% of those who intend to tune in to the live broadcasts this season are existing NASCAR fans; 16% are new to NASCAR this year; and 28% of those new to NASCAR this year share positive impressions of sponsors and advertisers associated with a NASCAR event.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Michael Flynn Case/Russia Inquiry, IG Firing, Pressure on China, Trump vs WHO, and MLB’s Opening Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The concerns about re-opening states’ economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; the DOJ’s decision to drop charges against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and allegations Barack Obama was responsible for the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick at the request of Mike Pompeo; some 100 nations pressure China for more transparency on the origins of the coronavirus; President Trump threatens to exit WHO permanently; and Major League Baseball’s proposal to begin the 2020 season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Randi Kirshbaum Exits Saga Portland; Station Disputes Her Use of the Word ‘Terminated.’ According to an account in the Portland Press Herald, programmer and air talent Randi Kirshbaum wrote on Facebook that she’s been terminated by Saga Portland for refusing to resume working from the company’s offices. Kirshbaum was programming triple A WCLZ, hot AC WMGX, and worked on air at WCLZ and country WPOR. Saga says she was not terminated but laid off for not following the terms she agreed to for working remotely. Kirshbaum says her doctor recommends she work remotely to prevent contracting pulmonary fibrosis as the result of coming in contact with COVID-19. She says she’s been able to do everything she needs to from home, but Saga Portland SVP of operations Chris Forgy tells the paper it’s “virtually impossible for her to be a supervisor and not come back.” He says her work-from-home deal required the company assess the situation every two weeks and it would be the company’s call when she was to return. Kirshbaum says she did not agree that her return would be up to Saga.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Nashville, Cromwell Media names Chris “Crate” Atticus program director, brand manager, and midday host for rock WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.” Atticus has been serving as APD and imaging director at iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Atticus was assistant program director and imaging director for WBUZ from 2010 through 2014. He comments, “I’m stoked to come home to Cromwell Media. It’s a dream come true to return to ‘The Buzz’ and take the reins of ‘Nashville’s Rock Station.’” Cromwell also promotes afternoon personality Hayley St. John to assistant program director…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces that Spanish Hits WBZY “Z105.7” is now also broadcasting on WRDA-FM at 96.7, a signal licensed to Union City located southwest of Atlanta. The company says the signal expansion will “reach thousands of new listeners in the Atlanta community, allowing a larger audience to enjoy its Spanish contemporary hit radio programming.”