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Friday, July 16, 2021

| July 16, 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, “Hot Stuff,” looks back at this past week of July 12-16. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Zwerling, talk show host/station owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; 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.

Alpha Media Emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. The company announces that it has successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 with a significantly improved capital structure. In addition to substantially reducing its debt, Alpha Media says it “raised incremental capital to pursue growth opportunities and further enhance its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster across 44 local markets in the United States.” Alpha Media chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt adds, “This is an important achievement for Alpha Media as we strengthen our company’s ability to grow. Today Alpha Media begins its next chapter, with an improved financial foundation, new capital and enhanced competitive positioning. We have greater financial resources and flexibility, and we will continue to invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities across our local markets. I am so proud of all that our teams at each of our radio stations have accomplished during this period. Our unique culture continues to be key to Alpha Media’s success, and I thank the entire Alpha Media family for their dedication and hard work. We are thrilled to continue our mission to deliver dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.” The company adds that it has received all necessary court and regulatory, including FCC, approvals, and all customary conditions have been satisfied.

Round Three of June PPMs Released. The third or four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland remains ranked #5 after dropping three-tenths for a 4.8 share (6+ weekly AQH share). Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte slips four-tenths to finish with a 3.5 share and falls to the #12 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio sheds nine-tenths and posts a 3.7 share as the station falls from the #10 rank to #13. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK-AM/FM dips just one-tenth and posts an 8.5 share but the station still falls back to the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati shoots up 1.4 shares for a 12.5 share finish and the #1 rank in the market. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two groups) here.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Launches Podcast with Matt Doherty. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM announces the debut of “The Rebound Podcast with Coach Matt Doherty.”  Doherty, the renowned former University of North Carolina basketball player and coach follows his best-selling book, Rebound: From Pain To Passion, Leadership Lessons Learned with “The Rebound Podcast,” a 10-episode series in which he speaks with highly successful individuals in the fields of business, entertainment, politics, sports and more that have had to rebound from failure. The station says, “After being forced to resign from his dream coaching job at UNC in a very public manner in 2003, Matt embarked on a personal leadership journey and was able to rebound by turning his pain to passion. Now in a straight-forward and authentic manner, Matt invites you to a front row seat inside the journey of special guests that faced adversity and worked to rebound from failure. Through engaging and riveting stories of these failures Matt drills down on personal and eye-opening experiences from his guests that everyone will find fascinating and inspiring.” Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landess adds, “Matt’s journey is truly inspiring. His insights, and those of his guests, are relatable no matter what field you’re in. We are thrilled to partner with him to bring his leadership skills to the Charlotte market and beyond, first through his appearances on WBT with ‘The Brett Winterble Show,’ and now through ‘The Rebound Podcast!’”

Nielsen Reveals Findings from Consumer Study. This data found in the Westwood One blog, was revealed by Nielsen at a client webinar this week comes from the company’s sixth COVID consumer-tracking study since the pandemic. 1,000 Americans 18+ were surveyed last month and Nielsen says its findings are validated by just-released June data from Apple Maps, GeoPath, Google Trends, and Moody’s Analytics. The blog outlines the very encouraging findings from the study and lists the five things advertisers need to know: 1) It is time to advertise: The three-month period from March 2021 to June 2021 saw an extraordinary jump in consumer confidence pointing to things getting back to normal. The “ready-to-go” segment only grew six points from June 2020 to March 2021. From March 2021 to June 2021, the optimistic “ready-to-go” consumer segment grew an astounding 29 points; 2) Brands need to capitalize on this positive consumer outlook: On the economy, more consumers feel things will improve versus get worse (48% improve versus 23% get worse). The story is the same for consumers and their household finances: 35% improve versus 13% get worse; 3) Americans are back in their cars and listening to AM/FM radio: The majority of workers are commuting. Families are driving their kids to school. Time spent listening to AM/FM radio is up; 4) Commuters are still leery about public transportation, a positive for AM/FM radio: 32% of consumers say they will spend less time on public transport versus 17% who will spend more time; and 5) Retailers need to continue to invest in ecommerce and ensure their AM/FM radio ads drive to web as shopping will be omni-channel: While stores are open, the convenience of hybrid shopping approaches remain: buy online and in-store or curbside pickup.

iHeartMedia Names Tony Yip SVP of Sales for Miami-Fort Lauderdale. Radio sales pro Tony Yip is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Miami/Fort Lauderdale cluster, effective immediately. He’s been serving the cluster as VP of sales. In this new role, Yip will be responsible for overseeing advertising sales revenue for the market. He will report to market president Shari Gonzalez. She says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Tony to this position. Tony has played an important role in leading our team and our two brands WMIA and WHYI over the past eight years and now takes on the entire cluster for Miami Ft. Lauderdale. I am very confident that Tony will lead our team with continued and even higher levels of success for years to come.” Yip launched his radio career at the age of 16 as an intern at WIOD-AM.

Radio News Pro Bob Costantini Relaunches Ear on the White House Service. Former Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is relaunching his Ear on The White House news service. Using the slogan, “Context You Need, Right From the Scene,” Costantini says he can “give your news/talk station an upfront seat in the going’s on at The White House, with three decades of experience covering six presidents. If you want to dig deeper into the news of the day, Ear on The White House is your chance, including daily debriefs that can be sponsored locally.” Find out more by visiting EaronTheWhiteHouse.com.

TALKERS News Notes. On Monday (7/19), the USA Radio Networks-syndicated sports talk program “The Dan Sileo Show” will be added to the program schedule at JVC Broadcasting’s “Florida Man Radio” format heard on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach. “The Dan Sileo Show” will air from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..The cast of the Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” kicked off the summer with a night of live comedy at the historic Irving Theater in Indianapolis, raising $10,000 in one night to send Indianapolis area children to summer camp. The benefit event featured performances by three stand-up comedians from the cast of “The BOB & TOM Show” and was co-hosted by the Hall of Fame morning show’s Tom Griswold and Chick McGee…..Superadio Networks and Reatro Ventures announce that the former is agreeing to use Reatro’s ARC Software as the primary affiliate research and automation tool for the network. ARC was developed by SBG founder and former CEO Jason Bailey. Reatro says the software is the media industry’s only SaaS that allows producers, affiliate sales, and network operations to connect digitally, streamlining the affiliation and reporting process…..Quu Inc. and Bonneville International announce a new deal in which all of Bonneville’s markets will use Quu’s patented software to publish synced programming and advertiser messages on vehicle dashboards. Dubbed “Visual Quus,” they are designed to boost station and advertiser branding, recall, and retention. Paired with on-air content, Visual Quus offer a better user experience and generate immediate incremental revenue by adding text, logos, and images to on-air advertisements. Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “We are pleased to be able to enhance the listening experience of our loyal audiences and to provide better branding for both Bonneville’s brands and those of its advertisers. This partnership with Quu across Bonneville’s markets positions us well to take advantage of new opportunities in the automobile and beyond.”

The COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccines, and Long COVID Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 12-16. The rise in the number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. in several states, the stalling rate of vaccinations, and the cases of long COVID combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the publication of books about the Trump administration, including I Alone Can Fix It by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. Following at #3 was the House committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack, tied with last weekend’s CPAC and the controversy over Critical Race Theory. 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.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

| April 1, 2021

Lee Habeeb, Host and Producer of Our American Stories, Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. At a time when appreciation for the art of storytelling is clearly on the ascent in talk media, Lee Habeeb, the host and producer of “Our American Stories” makes a return appearance as a guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Since its launch six years ago, the weekly two-hour syndicated program has been added, mostly in the evenings, to the menus at more than 315 news/talk radio stations across the nation including some really big ones. It is a highly researched and meticulously produced story-based overview of contemporary American life and cultural history that Michael Harrison describes as being “one of the most promising inventions to come down the commercial talk radio pike in years… a program that illuminates history, popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people, and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America.” Harrison and Habeeb take a deep-dive into the subjects of American history and the nation’s centuries-old mission to overcome its problems and form a more perfect union, in addition to discussing the positive tenets of capitalism, the differences between legal and illegal immigration, and the need for the media focus on the positive as well as the negative. Habeeb explains new ways of expanding the boundaries of the standard news/talk radio format as well as its conventional business model. 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 on every page of Talkers.com.

NPR and Edison Study Identifies Six Unique Radio Segments. Data from a recent study from NPR and Edison Research – titled Radio: Live On Air and Everywhere – will be revealed in a webinar on April 15. The study examines the role radio plays in Americans’ lives in 2021 and reveals listening behavior among the six unique radio audience segments. In teasing the webinar, Edison says the study finds 63% of those in the U.S. age 18+ are reached by radio every day, and 41% of all daily audio time in the U.S. is spent with radio. The study explores listener attitudes about advertising on radio and other media, and provides insight into NPR listeners and how they occupy a unique place in this context. Edison and NPR says the webinar will reveal: What the six types of radio listeners are and how they engage with radio; which type of listener is most open to radio advertising content; how radio listeners feel about advertising on radio versus other platforms; and where NPR listeners fit into the six segments of listeners, and their attitudes toward sponsorships.

‘Todd Starnes Show’ Added to KBDT, Dallas and KQSP, Minneapolis. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is being added to the program schedule at USA Radio Networks’ KBDT-AM, Dallas and KQSP-AM, Minneapolis in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. USA Radio is also adding the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” daily feature to 18 stations including KBCF-AM/FM, Muscle Shoals, Alabama; KPKY, Terrell, Texas; KVNN, Victoria, Texas; and seven stations in the Nevada Talk Network.

‘ESPN 102.5 The Game’ in Nashville Adds Caroline Fenton to PM Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WPRT-FM “ESPN 102.5 The Game” brings Caroline Fenton aboard as part of the “Stillman & Company” afternoon drive show led by Jared Stillman. Ryan Porth is program director for the Cromwell Media-owned station. He says, “We are extremely excited to be able to add Caroline to our talented team. Caroline will pair well with Jared in the afternoons, becoming 102.5 The Game’s first full-time female on-air host in our nine-plus years of existence. She will also greatly assist the show and the station with our digital efforts across all platforms.” Fenton was most recently digital video/social content producer with ESPN. In that role, she helped integrate content strategies and produce digital shows such as “Baseball Tonight Live” and “Countdown to College Gameday.” She says, “As the daughter of two Tennessee natives, this state has always felt like home to me and I couldn’t be happier to be here representing some of the best sports fans in the country. It’s an honor to learn from and work with Jared and the entire team at ‘102.5 The Game’ and to continue our reputation as Nashville’s best sports talk.”

iHeartMedia Cleveland Launches ‘The Jimmy Malone Show.’ A new, local program is launching on iHeartMedia Cleveland’s sports talk WARF-AM “FOX Sports 1350 The Gambler.”  “The Jimmy Malone Show” – hosted by longtime Cleveland radio personality Jimmy Malone. It debuts today (4/1) airing each Thursday and Friday morning from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. The program will also air on sister adult contemporary WMJI-FM “Majic 105.7” on Saturdays from 6:30 am to 9:00 am. iHeartMedia Cleveland says, “Each week Jimmy will host conversations with politicians, community and business leaders, journalists and others, all with the goal to make a difference in Northeast Ohio. The debut show on April 1 will feature Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, along with author and justice advocate Andrea Thome, who is a native Clevelander and wife of former Indians slugger Jim Thome.  Friday’s show reunites Jimmy with his longtime, now retired, radio partner John Lanigan.”

Charlie Thomas Named Area President for iHeartMedia’s Mid-North. Thirty-six-year radio pro Charlie Thomas is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia’s Mid-North area. He was most recently area president for North Dakota. In this new position, he’ll oversee markets including Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota as well as Bismarck, Dickinson, Minot, Grand Forks and North Dakota markets that comprise 29 stations. Thomas will report to Shosh Abromovich, division president for iHeartMedia. Abromovich says, “We are very excited for Charlie to oversee these six markets. His proven leadership helped the North Dakota area be among the top performers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m confident that his forward thinking will guide and grow these communities to the next level.”

Heather Cohen Among Honorees at Inaugural ‘Sheroes in Media’ Awards. The inaugural “Sheroes in Media” awards from the Multicultural Media & Correspondents Association were held virtually last night and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen was one of the recipients. The MMCA event honored “women who promote and exemplify diverse media excellence.” Also honored were: Julie Burton, executive director, Women’s Media Center; Francine Compton, president, Native American Journalist Association; Michelle Lee, chair, Asian American Journalists Association; Nora Lopez, president, National Association of Hispanic Journalists; Lisa Matthews, president, National Press Club; and Dorothy Tucker, president, National Association of Black Journalists. MMCA president David Morgan says, “At this critical time in our country it is more important than ever to have greater diversity in who, what, where, when and how stories are told. MMCA is beyond honored to launch this annual event by celebrating the powerful ‘sheroes’ currently leading the organizations at the spear of the fight for media diversity while also building support for our ongoing effort to increase diverse media ownership.”

Radio One Names Yonni Rude Executive Producer of ‘The Morning Hustle.’ Moving from his operations manager role at Radio One’s Cleveland station group  to executive producer for Reach Media’s “The Morning Hustle” is Yonni Rude. In this new role, Rude will work with the team to create captivating content.  He will oversee all aspects of the show both on-air and digitally. He’ll focus on daily operations while overseeing the entirety of the brand. Rude says, “The Morning Hustle is the next evolution of morning radio and I’m excited to lead the team and help grow the brand. Thanks to Colby Colb, Mitch Henry and David Kantor for the opportunity to lead this amazing team.”

TALKERS News Notes. On April 6, ABC Audio will debut the first episode of its new podcast, “Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth,” written and hosted by ABC News senior national correspondent Steve Osunsami. The podcast examines the racially motivated attacks on Black residents of Tulsa in 1921 in which as many as 300 Black Americans died. Featuring archival audio accounts from witnesses and interviews with historians, “Tulsa’s Buried Truth” brings listeners through the painful history and into the modern-day quest for closure and healing…..iHeartMedia launches “COVID-19 Immunity in Our Community,” an iHeartRadio Original limited podcast series produced in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to share timely and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. The show is hosted by iconic ABC News television broadcaster Robin Roberts. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne states, “With more and more Americans getting access to vaccines as supply increases, it is important the public has the facts about the vaccines in order to understand how important they are to ending this pandemic. ‘COVID-19 Immunity in Our Community’ will provide listeners with reliable resources and information rooted in science, so they’re equipped to make decisions about their lives – and the lives of those around them.”…..Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios unveils two new original documentary podcasts series – “My Fugitive,” in which Emmy Award-winning documentarian Nina Gilden Seavey uncovers disturbing secrets hidden away by the FBI for decades that shed new light on one of the most famous cases in American history; and “Stay Away from Matthew MaGill,” the story of a mysterious man who died alone in the backwoods of Georgia leaving behind a treasure trove of clues, papers, and remnants of his stranger-than-fiction life of crime, luxury, and scandal – and how reporter Eric Mennel’s five-year journey to uncover the truth led him to question his own path…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the debut of the “Politics of Food” podcast, an in-depth look into the intentional politicization, economics, and community impact of food on a global scale. Political strategist and organizer Cristina González hosts the show and talks with restaurateurs, executives at major food companies, farmers, consumers, and experts on a wide variety of issues. She also explores the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants, social issues like racism in food media, and the different ways political decisions work as a force to drive hunger across the globe…..The Tampa Bay Rays announce an extension of their comprehensive broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia Tampa Bay to keep play-by-play broadcast on sports talk WDAE through the 2025 MLB regular season.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Biden Infrastructure Plan/Tax Increases, Derek Chauvin Trial, Border Crisis/Immigration Policy, Matt Gaetz Allegation, Violence Against Asians, and Voting Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and the tax increases necessary to pay for it; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the allegation of sexual relations with a minor against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz; the rise in violence against Asian Americans; and Georgia’s stricter voting rules plus the Congressional Democrats’ bill to expand voting rights were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

| January 20, 2021

Nick Gale Named News Director at WLS-AM, Chicago. Award-winning journalist Nick Gale is promoted to the news director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. Gale is elevated into the role on the heels of the retirement of news director John Dempsey. Gale also serves as morning drive news anchor, a position in which he’ll continue. During his career, Gale has served as news director at a five-station radio group in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, as a reporter and anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville, and a reporter with the Illinois Radio Network before joining WLS-AM full time in 2013. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “There’s a spot in Chicago, below Michigan Ave, where the sun rarely shines, and the conversation is always flowing. It’s the Billy Goat Tavern, a haven for the kings and queens of Chicago print and on-air journalism, and it’s where for the past eight years, Nick Gale has ordered a fried egg sandwich to go as he began the short walk to the NBC Tower to start his news shift at 890 WLS-AM. Nick, like the Billy Goat Tavern, is reliable, relatable, and fulfilling. That is why he’s the perfect person for the news director position at 890 WLS-AM. He is exactly what Chicago news needs right now and I look forward to working with him to enhance our news product for our listeners.” Gale comments, “I have big shoes to fill and look forward to working with our newsroom team in keeping the ‘Big 89’ a place where Chicago can turn to for all the news and information they need through the day. Thank you to Stephanie, Marv [Nyren] and the rest of the management team at Cumulus for the opportunity.”

Emmis Indianapolis Names Taja Graham to Take Over for Bob Richards as Radio Market Manager. Current vice president of sales for Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis radio stations Taja Graham is being promoted to market president effective on March 1. Until that date, Graham will be deputy market manager as she and current market president Bob Richards work together to make the transition. Emmis owns and operates news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB, and country WLHK-FM. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Bob approached us last year with this plan and strongly endorsed Taja to succeed him in the role. Taja has been a huge part of creating our winning culture at Emmis. Her commitment to building and developing great teams is directly correlated with our top-ranked position in the Indianapolis market. I’m thrilled to see our home-grown talent like Taja succeed and look forward to the impact she will have on our great brands in the years to come.” Richards has been with Emmis for 11 years, the past three-and-a-half years as market manager. Smulyan says of Richards, “I can’t thank Bob enough for his contributions over the past decade and in particular his leadership as market manager. His passion and desire to win have been hallmarks of his leadership and positioned our team for a great future. I wish Bob every success as he charts the course for his next career adventure and thank him for all he’s meant to Emmis.”

USA Radio and Todd Starnes Partner. Author and talk media personality Todd Starnes and USA Radio Networks enter into a partnership for the latter to syndicate Starnes’ eponymous talk radio program and his commentaries. USA Radio assumes this syndication role effective Monday, January 25.

Doug Schoen Joins Newsmax TV as Analyst. Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen is joining Newsmax TV as an analyst. In a press release, Newsmax says, “Schoen, a longtime Democrat who helped shape Bill Clinton’s successful 1996 campaign and who has worked on dozens of major senate and gubernatorial races, will be a regular on Newsmax TV giving vital analysis on the new Biden administration and the national political landscape.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy adds, “Doug is a Democrat who plays it fair and square and calls it as he sees it. Since our founding over two decades ago, Newsmax has striven to give our readers and viewers ‘both sides’ and we’re now lucky to have one of the very best joining our roster.” Schoen, who has served as a contributor to FOX News and has been a frequent columnist for Newsmax, comments, “In a short time, Newsmax TV has become one of America’s leading news networks, and I am glad to join such a strong group of news professionals.”

SAG-AFTRA Board Orders Disciplinary Hearing for Donald Trump. The union representing television and radio employees announces that its national board has voted to hold a disciplinary hearing for Donald J. Trump. SAG-AFTRA says that national board “voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of a violation of SAG-AFTRA’s constitution by member Donald J. Trump and ordered the matter to be heard by SAG-AFTRA’s disciplinary committee as required by the SAG-AFTRA constitution. If found guilty by the committee, possible penalties include reprimand, censure, fines, suspension from the rights and privileges of membership, or expulsion from membership in SAG-AFTRA.” In a press release, SAG-AFTRA says the board acted on charges initiated by national executive director David White at the request of president Gabrielle Carteris. “The charges specifically cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members. The charges request the imposition of the most severe penalty available to SAG-AFTRA: expulsion from membership.” Carteris comments, “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press. There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Programming Changes at Sports Talk ‘Sports Talk 99.5’ in Mobile. Monday (1/25) will see a number of programming changes take place at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRKH-HD2/W258AY, Mobile “Sports Talk 99.5.” AL.com reports the station’s current morning drive program, “The Randy Kennedy Show” – with co-host Creg Stephenson of AL.com – is moving to the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and debuting in morning drive will be “The Press Box,” hosted by broadcasters Mike Grace, Chris Stewart (the voice of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball and host of  the Nick Saban and Nate Oats TV shows), and J.D. Byars (the voice of the South Alabama Jaguars). Kennedy, who is also program director for the station, says, “We couldn’t be more excited about our new lineup and the opportunity to partner with three tremendously talented and entertaining broadcasters like Mike, Chris and J.D. Creg and I always thought our show was best suited for the afternoon. Now that we have a chance to introduce ‘The Press Box,’ we feel great about the chance to make the move without missing a beat during the morning drive time slot.”

John Skipper and Dan Le Batard Reveal New Firm is Meadowlark Media. According to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter, the new venture from former ESPN president John Skipper and longtime ESPN radio and television personality Dan Le Batard will be called Meadowlark Media. Financing for the new media brand comes from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, the company behind the DAZN sports streaming service at which Skipper had served as chairman. Skipper tells THR that their first goal is to “to find Dan a new home for his wildly popular audio programs.” Le Batard is quoted in a statement saying, “We hear the term ‘free agency’ a lot, but our fans, as loyal and rabid as any in sports, just gave us the freedom to exert the agency. John Skipper is a visionary, an industry leader and also the most powerful person in sports across the decade when our show rocketed to national acclaim. I can’t wait to see what he builds, and what we build together.”

TALKERS News Notes. Production pro Jeff Kelly is named West Coast commercial production director for Benztown. Kelly was most recently production director for iHeartMedia’s Albuquerque station group where he was honored with nine New Mexico Broadcasters Association Awards over the course of four years…..ESPN Podcasts is launching a new weekly offering, “First Take, Her Take,” featuring three prominent female sports media figures – ESPN’s Charly Arnolt, Kimberley A. Martin, and Chiney Ogwumike. ESPN says the three will discuss “the biggest sports stories but also provide insight into their unique backgrounds and personalities as they delve into other topics about their lives and culture.” Additionally, Jalen Rose and David Jacoby are returning to their podcast roots with the relaunch of “Jalen & Jacoby” as a twice-weekly offering. This is in addition to the podcast version of their daily ESPN TV show…..The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation and iHeartMedia, are launching “Sharing Solutions: A Virtual Nationwide Tour” to drive business-led solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 40 states report increases in opioid-related mortality amid COVID-19. As part of the campaign, the Foundation and its partners will convene 50 virtual events in 50 states to showcase innovative workforce solutions and support employers as they tackle growing substance misuse in their communities and in the post-COVID workplace. iHeartMedia vice president of strategic partnerships & government initiative Alexandra Cameron says, “As a co-founder of the National Opioid Action Coalition, iHeart has been committed to combating the opioid crisis affecting communities across America. By collaborating closely with the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are bringing public and private sectors together in this mission, and including pop culture influencers who can bring attention to this important issue.”

Trump’s Final Day in Office/Pardons and Commutations, Trump Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Attack Investigation, and Social Media & Free Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The final day in office for Donald Trump and his issuing of pardons and commutations; the impeachment of Donald Trump; the preparation and security process for today’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., the 400,000 death mark, and the rollout of vaccines; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and the suspensions and bans of some by social media platforms and the issue of free speech were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

| April 4, 2018

ABC Radio and Skyview Networks Expand Radio Syndication Efforts.  A statement from both companies says ABC Radio and Skyview Networks are “further aligning” their resources to “identify, develop and syndicate talent and programs to broadcast radio.”  For its part, ABC Radio will seek out talent syndication opportunities – for both music and news/talk formats – and will handle the affiliate sales angle, while Skyview Networks will take care of national sales and distribution.  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones states, “We are building on the momentum and tremendous success we’ve already seen in our existing partnership.  ABC Radio has always represented creative and innovative programming and we are excited to offer programmers and talent a new, stable business environment to grow and monetize their brands.”  Skyview Networks president Ken Thiele adds, “The timing of our syndication partnership couldn’t be more perfect.  We’ve heard from a significant number of programs and clearly there is a need for another syndication option in the marketplace.  We’re growing and continue to make substantial investments in technology and our staff, and it’s paying off.  This new venture is really a reflection of the dynamic synergies between ABC Radio and Skyview, and our positive business trajectory.”  In July 2016, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks renewed their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.

Cumulus and Merlin Strike a Deal for WKQX, Chicago.  On Tuesday evening, Cumulus Media announced that it has arrived at a deal to acquire Chicago alternative rock WKQX from Merlin Media.  Cumulus has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement, but when it filed to reorganize under Chapter 11, it asked the court to void a number of its prior agreements that it considered onerous.  The WKQX LMA included a “put-and-call” that would have allowed Merlin to force Cumulus to buy the station at a predetermined price (the “put”). The combo deal included WLUP-FM, but Merlin found another willing buyer in Education Media Foundation, which is acquiring WLUP for $50 million.  As part of this deal, Cumulus Media is also getting the intellectual property of “The Loop.”  The speculation in Chicago is that the company will transform classic hits WLS-FM into “94/7 The Loop.” Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, “After operating the station for the past four years, we are delighted to be able to bring this beloved station under Cumulus’ ownership on economic terms that make sense for our business.  We look forward to continuing to deliver the best alternative rock programming to our devoted listeners in the Chicago area for years to come.”  Though no price for WKQX in included in the press release, media trade RBR-TVBR is reporting the price tag is $18 million.

Janet Bro Named COO at USA Radio Networks. Rising from vice president/general sales manager to chief operating officer at USA Radio Networks is Janet Bro.  The company announces that this promotion comes as the company completes its corporate relocation from Phoenix to its flagship station offices at KBDT-AM, Dallas. USA says that in this new position, Bro will lead the networks, including the company’s stations in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis, as well as five properties in Nevada.  USA says, “Bro comes from a distinguished career in media and advertising.  She began in radio/TV at Bradley University, has owned and operated three FM stations in Illinois and managed others before embarking on a two-decade adventure with Verizon’s Yellow Pages.”  USA Radio Networks CEO Fred Weinberg says, “Our goal is to create news and programming that we and our affiliates can be proud of. We’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans and that’s how we see the news.  Janet is the perfect person to push this forward.”  USA Radio Networks provides news and long-form talk programming for some 500 affiliates across the country.

Still No Kevin Klein at ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego.  Yes, Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” is still playing rock music and comedy bits during morning drive, five days after air personality Kevin Klein was to debut as host of the new station’s AM drive show.  He’s still listed on the station’s website, so it’s unlikely he’s been let go.  What is likely is that Entercom is still negotiating with the San Diego Padres over the station’s role as flagship for the MLB club.  The Padres either stay or they go.  If they stay, one line of thought is that the station veers from the guy talk/sports hybrid to a pure sports talk station (in order to assuage the team). But if the Padres take their play-by-play elsewhere, perhaps Kevin Klein takes to the air as morning host and the station keeps its “edge.”  It’s hard to imagine Entercom letting this go beyond this week and it must be very difficult to sell time on a station thats format is in question.  In case you’ve missed the backstory, Klein posted a promotional Tweet for his show that poked fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides.  That upset many San Diegans, as well as the Padres.  But, that wasn’t the only issue.  According to comments made to the San Diego Union Tribune by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, the club hasn’t been happy with the station’s general tone. Fowler told the paper that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.

Larry Kudlow to Do Regular Guest Spot on WABC’s John Batchelor Program. The new director of the National Economic Council – Larry Kudlow – is going to join John Batchelor each Tuesday evening at 9:00 as a guest on Batchelor’s WABC, New York radio program.  The station says that the Tuesday night guest spots “will include other colleagues and will cover topics including the economic health of the U.S. and its allies and trading partners.”  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Kudlow and Batchelor have been working together on-air each week since 2004.  It is a joy to learn that the Trump administration is willing to make the country’s new economic adviser available to the national and global audience of ‘The John Batchelor Show.'”

Cooke: The Class of ’68 Turns 68.  Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the value of Baby Boomers to talk radio.  On the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cooke notes many of the cultural touchstones that affected the generation.  He says that while Millennials now outnumber the Boomers, the Baby Boom generation outspends the Millennials at retail.  That’s an important fact for radio sales people who are selling upper-demo radio formats like news/talk.  See his piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. We have a new date in the legal saga between Bubba the Love Sponge and Nielsen Audio.  After suddenly postponing Monday’s scheduled start of the courtroom proceedings, the two sides are being called in for a status conference on April 10.  Perhaps we’ll learn more about the trial schedule after that. Nielsen is suing Bubba for $1 million in damages for his part in a PPM ratings manipulation plot in the Tampa market…..Salem Media Group re-brands KDZR, Lake Oswego, Oregon from its former “Talk 1640” to “AM 1640 The Patriot.” Also, in Oregon, Salem rebrands KPAM, Portland – the station it’s operating under an LMA – to the familiar “AM 860 The Answer.”  Some programming adjustments take place on KPAM as the SRN-syndicated Dennis Prager grabs an hour from the local Tim Hohl and Terry Travis morning show.  Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham show replaces Clark Howard in middays, and the afternoon drive show featuring Michael Herrington and Eric Peterson changes from “Afternoon Northwest” to “The Afternoon Answer.”…..Today (4/4) Alpha Media is joining World Concern to raise funds to “Cure 1 Million Kids.”  As part of World Health Week, Alpha Media stations in 49 markets are working to raise money to cure children living in developing countries of parasites that can cause blindness, malnutrition, disease and even death.  Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt remarks, “We are so proud and honored to work with World Concern for this one-day push to help save children’s lives.  We are passionate to use the power of our Alpha community of listeners and business clients to do what we can to help those less fortunate.  World Concern is a wonderful organization that will take what we raise and make a difference in a young person’s life.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches ‘Broadcasting Hope’ Campaign.  A new industry-wide campaign is being launched by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, called, “Broadcasting Hope.” The goal of the initiative is to reach broadcasters across the country with trade ads, social media, and more to ensure that broadcasters in acute need know they can apply for aid from the Broadcasters Foundation.  It is the only charity devoted exclusively to providing financial assistance to broadcasters whose lives have been devastated by illness, accident, or disaster.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “There are broadcasters in local markets across America who may qualify for aid, and it’s imperative that they know the Broadcasters Foundation can be a life support.  The radio and TV trade publications and members of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations have been very supportive in helping us expand awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission.”

U.S.-China Trade War, Trump-Russia Probe, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, YouTube Shooter, U.S.-Mexico Relations/Illegal Immigration Battle, Spotify Stock Market Debut, Villanova Beats Michigan, MLB Action and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The brewing trade war between the U.S. and China as both countries impose tariffs; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and Robert Mueller’s notice to President Trump’s lawyers that the investigation continues but the president is not a target right now; the feud between FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; the woman shooter who injured four before taking her own life at the YouTube campus in California; the relations between the U.S. and Mexico and President Trump’s threat to use the military to guard the border; digital audio giant Spotify goes public; Villanova beats Michigan to claim the NCAA title; the first week of MLB action, and NBA action 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.  Newly flipped country KNUC, Seattle re-brands as “The NEW 98.9 The Bull.”  Lisa Adams is the program director at the Hubbard Radio station and she says, “Welcome to the next evolution of 98.9, a personality all its own.  More BULL, more MUSIC, more FUN.”  She also says the station plans to make its final additions to the air staff soon…..Also from Hubbard Radio, the Chicago cluster announces that sales pro Nancy O’Brien is promoted to director of sales for hot AC WTMX, classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WSHE, and in-house digital media services arm 2060 Digital.   O’Brien has most recently been serving as national sales manager Midwest region for the company…..Neuhoff Media tweaks CHR WWHX-FM, Bloomington, Illinois to a rhythmic CHR station with the new brand, “HOT 100 The Beat of BloNo.”  Neuhoff Media Bloomington vice president and general manager Danielle Outlaw says, “‘HOT 100’ is the only station designed specifically for the 18-34-year-old audience in Bloomington-Normal.  The music, the connection, the interactivity, the engagement and the beat.  Bloomington-Normal was ready for ‘HOT 100,’ we’re thrilled by the reaction, the future has arrived, it’s ‘HOT 100.’”

Monday, August 22, 2016

| August 22, 2016

Bernadette Duncan’s Highly Anticipated Book About Talk Radio, Yappy Days, Released Today.  The long-awaited book is provocatively titled, YAPPY DAYS: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016) and it is receiving rave reviews from readers inside and outside the industry.  For example, Westwood One syndicated personality Jim Bohannon writes, “How good is a bernadettebookquarterback without the left tackle who has his back?  For 26 years, producer Bernadette Duncan was left tackle for some of the biggest quarterbacks in talk radio.  From the Super Bowl egos to bone-jarring clashes, Bernadette takes you inside the talk radio huddle. Yappy Days is an MVP – most valuable publication.”   Written by the veteran talk show producer and wife of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, it chronicles her 26-year career in the trenches of big-time talk radio during its most dramatic decades (1983-2009) – set against the backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 realities when in one fateful day, talk radio went from its post O.J. Simpson default of covering celebrity murder mysteries (Gary Condit, Jon-Benet Ramsey, etc.) to an obsession with the reality and ongoing threat of civilian mass murder at the hands of terrorists.  She worked for some of the biggest names in the business during their glory days – Sally Jessy Raphael, Larry King, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more.  She captures through anecdotes and gentle analysis her experiences being a news/talk producer at ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and United Stations Radio Networks as well as local New York City radio landmarks, WMCA and WOR.  In addition to dishing insights into “the character of characters,” including literally hundreds of industry and newsmaker names in this extremely candid account, Bernadette makes a compelling case on behalf of the importance of the position of radio producer – which she describes as being “the most under-rated, under-paid and under-appreciated job in commercial media.”  Fox Radio and TV star Alan Colmes comments, “Yappy Days is a must read for anyone who ever produced or wants to produce media – and for anyone who ever consumes it.  More than a producer’s manual, as you travel with Bernadette on her exciting journey, you realize it’s a life manual as well.”  WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley adds, “I couldn’t put the book down.  Rarely, if ever do you learn about the radio and television industry from the inside out versus the outside in.  With integrity and a flair to properly tell a great story, Bernadette’s Yappy Days delivers the goods.”  Although she never worked directly with or for Rush Limbaugh, she interviewed him early in his career for the New York Daily News and crossed paths with him at several key junctures in his career, presenting a compelling study of his evolution in the chapter, “Brushes with Rushes,” that media consultant Holland Cooke describes as “nothing short of poignant.”  Bernadette kicks off a national radio/media tour this evening with a guest shot on the Jim Bohannon Show.  Producers and hosts interested in booking Bernadette Duncan on their shows can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To read a special review and feature story about the book by TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey posted today (8/22), please click here.   The book is available at Amazon.com.

Stigall Re-Ups with CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philly.  Signing a new, multi-year contract to continue hosting thestigallchris morning drive show on CBS RADIO’s WPHT is Chris Stigall.  Under the terms of the deal, Stigall will continue in his current role, as well as being the face of “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT” with charitable endeavors, events, and digital content creation.  Stigall says, “In a blink, five-and-a-half years have come and gone since we launched our show at WPHT.  In an ever-evolving industry, I can’t express how grateful I am to CBS RADIO Philadelphia’s leadership for their unflinching support and unwavering commitment.”

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty Show Added to Four New Cumulus Stations.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty” show adds four new Cumulus Media-owned stations to its growing roster of affiliates.  iHeartMedia produces Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty’s program which landed its first Cumulus affiliate earlier this year when venerable KGO, San Francisco added the morning drive program.  Now, KKAT, Salt Lake City; KTBL, Albuquerque; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; and KVEN, Ventura, California are picking up the program.

Cross Platform Media Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  Former USA Radio Networks owner Cross Platform Media has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.  The Sam Hassell-owned Cross Platform sold USA Radio Networks to Liftable Media back in October of 2015.  USA Radio Networks syndicates the growing “Trending Today with Rusty Humphries” program.  Triangle Business Journal lists Cross Platform’s assets at $1,200 with near $1.5 million in liabilities.

Former WJBO, Baton Rouge Morning Host Kevin Meeks Dies in Motorcycle Accident. The accidentmeekskevin that took the life of 60-year-old Kevin Meeks took place on Friday evening (8/19) in Baton Rouge.  The Advocate reports that Meeks turned in front of an oncoming vehicle while riding his Harley Davidson.  Meeks worked at WJBO from 1996 through 2015.  He co-hosted the morning show on the station with partner Matt Kennedy for 14 of those years.  Meeks was let go from the station in 2015.

The Presidential Race, Turkish Wedding Terror Attack, U.S. Race Relations/Milwaukee Cop Shooting Aftermath, Lochte Scandal/Rio Olympics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the deadly attack on a wedding party in Turkey that claimed 51 lives; the state of race relations in the U.S. and the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man in Milwaukee by police; the unfolding truth about U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “holdup” in Rio de Janeiro and the wrap-up of the Olympic Games; and the Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck is taking part in the American Gospel Celebrationbeckglenn taking place in Louisville September 1-3.  The event is organized by Pastor John Hagee, founder of the San Antonio mega-church Cornerstone Church.  The Premiere Networks talk host will speak on September 3.  Hagee says, “Glenn Beck stands on the front lines of key issues facing America today and speaks boldly about the value of faith and freedom.  I can think of no one more fitting to join us as we celebrate these two foundational pillars of our nation at the American Gospel Celebration and as we schnitttoddhonor those who have sacrificed for us.”…..At CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas, the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Todd Schnitt show is added to the program lineup for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..KEIR, Idaho Falls host Mark Richardson is giving up the daily version of his “Probing America” show that airs from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm for a teaching gig at a local high school.  He’ll continue to host “Probing America” on the station Saturdays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am…..Southern Illinois Radio Group flips simulcast WINI, Murphysboro/W228DC, Carbondale, Illinois from news/talk to oldies as “COOL 93.5 and 1420.”…..KBET, Las Vegas talk show host Wayne Allyn Root is joining the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a columnist, appearing in the Nevada local section every Wednesday and Sunday, beginning September 7.

kinosianmikeProfile: Multi-Media Industry Player Jennifer Horn.  TALKERS magazine managing editor profiles industry pro Jennifer Horn, whose curricula vitae includes: vice president of affiliate sales & marketing for CRN Digital Talk Radio; cast member of “Good Day” with Doug Stephan; co-host ofhornjennifer “The Jen & Don Show” (with Don Dix); and cast member on KRLA, Los Angeles’ “The Morning Answer” with Brian Whitman, Ben Shapiro, and Elisha Krauss.  Horn, daughter of CRN founder Mike Horn, juggles all of these on-air gigs with her CRN position because she’s a radio lover going all the way back to her childhood, and because she enjoys being a woman on the radio able to express her opinions.  She says, “With experience on the air, you own your opinions and explain them in an eloquent way.  I feel as though I am just getting to that point in my career.”  Read it all here.