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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

| August 3, 2022

Testimony in Damages Phase of Alex Jones Sandy Hook Case in Texas Wraps. Plaintiffs in the Texas suit against InfoWars chief Alex Jones had won their defamation case and yesterday testimony in the damages phase of the trial wrapped up. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $150 million for Jones’ false claims that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a staged event and their children were “crisis actors.” Plaintiffs testified that they have been threatened and harassed for years by Jones’ followers. The case, reported here by CNN, is being complicated by Jones’ attempt to file for bankruptcy for his Free Speech Systems (parent of InfoWars) which plaintiff attorneys claim is an attempt to hide his money from the courts. Plaintiff attorneys also say that Jones has drawn $62 million in assets from Free Speech Systems over the past two years in an attempt to hide assets from the courts. Jones was also found liable for damages in a Connecticut court and jury selection for the damages phase of that trial began yesterday.

Wayne Allyn Root Expands Television Presence. Las Vegas-based talk host Wayne Allyn Root, host of the “Wayne Allyn Root: Raw & Unfiltered” program syndicated by USA Radio, announces he’s launching a new, daily video program on the Mike Lindell TV platform. The program is to broadcast at 7:00 pm ET and is tentatively set to start on August 15. Root also promises another new show – a video and audio podcast – to be announced in the near future. He comments, “Why is my brand exploding? The American people have woken up. They want real news and raw truth. I hold nothing back. I just give my opinions and tell raw truth. I don’t sugar coat it or worry about who I offend. Truth is truth. That’s the only way we’re going to save the greatest nation in world history, ever blessed by God. With truth, action and courage.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” adds new affiliates as WJFN-AM, Norfolk, Virginia (part of the John Fredericks Radio Network) puts the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Also, Lotus Communications KVI, Seattle adds “The Rob Carson Show Weekend” program to its Sunday schedule. Newsmax launched the program into syndication 10 months ago and it is now heard in 19 markets across the country…..Milwaukee talk radio host Dr. Ken Harris is of three radio personalities among the numerous journalists and broadcasters who will serve as a members of the broadcast team for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s debates for the state’s gubernatorial and senate races. The organization has been producing the debates for the past 32 years. Dr. Harris is the afternoon host at Good Karma Brands’ talk WGKB-AM/W269DL, Milwaukee. Also on the team is Brad Williams, anchor/reporter at Mid-West Family’s news/talk WIZM-AM, La Crosse and Jonathan Krause, director of multimedia journalism at Woodward Radio Group in Appleton.

INTERESTING – A Talk Radio Listener Wrote to TALKERS on Facebook: “Can I give your industry a clue? Lots of people still listen to the radio every day at work. You think because nobody calls the station anymore that you have no listeners. Businesses nowadays have all their employees under video surveillance and if they see you on the phone you are subject to disciplinary action. We still hear you, but we can no longer interact with you.”

RIP Vin Scully. In recognizing the passing of the legendary Dodgers play-by-play man, consultant Holland Cooke writes: “He was the voice of the Dodgers, from Jackie Robinson to Clayton Kershaw. Though LA listeners knew him best, fans everywhere remember his historic World Series calls. 1988 Game 1 was one for the ages. Working solo for decades as two- or three-voice broadcast teams became the norm, Vin Scully sounded like he was watching the game sitting next to you. The Athletic called him ‘the solitary voice emanating over the airwaves. He was renowned for his spellbinding monologues, his folksy wisdom and his sense of the moment — some of Scully’s most famous calls revolved around silence, his usage of the crowd to tell a story that words could not justify.’”

Public Radio Syndication Pioneer Larry Josephson Dies at 83. The Washington Post has the obituary here for longtime public radio personality, producer and syndicator Larry Josephson, who passed away on July 27 at age 83. A computer engineer by trade, he joined the volunteer staff at fledgling public radio outlet WBAI, New York in the mid-1960s. He quickly transitioned to the morning drive host. As the Post notes, Josephson “went on to create five decades of public radio programs, reviving the popular and influential “Bob & Ray” comedy team for a new generation of fans, hosting a nationally syndicated series of discussions between conservative thinkers and an argumentative but charming liberal (himself), and producing marathon readings of James Joyce’s Ulysses and a documentary history of the Jews.” He built a radio studio in a bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment from which he would produce his own shows and a number of other public radio programs.

Pelosi Taiwan Visit, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Abortion Laws, The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, and Vin Scully Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s reaction; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation over the nominees for president in the 2024 race; the abortion laws being enacted in various states in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v Wade; the high price of gasoline and food and the ManchinSchumer authored Inflation Reduction Act; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the global economic impact; and legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

| January 4, 2022

Good Karma Brands to Sell Wisconsin Signals. Two Southeastern Wisconsin radio signals will change hands, pending FCC approval, and will air a news/talk format. Wisbusiness.com reports that Good Karma Brands is selling WAUK-AM, Waukesha and FM translator W266DR  at 101.1 FM to New WTTN, LLC, led by Wisconsin broadcaster and company CEO Michael Crute. The terms have not been announced. The signals are currently airing sports talk but will flip to news/talk when New WTTN takes control. Crute is co-host of the Madison-based “Devil’s Advocates” program heard on the company’s WTTN-AM/W224EG, Madison “Devil Radio 92.7.” WAUK will be branded “The ‘SHA” and will “broadcast Waukesha-first news, sports, traffic, and weather in 2022 and beyond.” Initially, the station will simulcast the Madison programming that includes: “Matt Flynn Direct” from 6:00 am to 8:00 am; WYD Media’s “Thom Hartmann Program” from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Dueling Tangents with Luke Mathers and Bryan Kelly” from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm; “The Devil’s Advocates” from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Earl Ingram Show” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It intends to add locally hosted programming in the spring. Bryan Kelly will serve as operations manager for the station. WAUK has leased an office space and will immediately build a studio location in downtown Waukesha. Crute says, “We are excited to serve Waukesha, a community lacking a locally focused news/talk commercial radio station. WAUK Radio will immediately offer $50,000 total in ‘Good Neighbor’ small business or non-profit grants to help serve the Waukesha community from day one. The grants are for advertising on WAUK. They will be awarded throughout January to locally owned, Waukesha businesses. We will begin accepting applications for our Good Neighbor grants on January 3, 2022.”

Westwood One Blog: Strategies for Successfully Advertising in Local Radio. This week’s CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog outlines what it calls “five strategies to help build a successful local audio plan.” Stating that due to the “shift of TV audiences to advertising-free video platforms, local advertisers are turning to audio to build their brands and drive sales,” the Audio Active Group proposes the following: 1) Allocate the budget to align with how people use audio: A well-balanced audio campaign puts 63% of the budget into over-the-air AM/FM radio and 11% into AM/FM radio streaming. 26% of the budget goes to a combination of pureplay streaming and podcasts; 2) Determine the monthly campaign objective (minimum, maintenance, high impact, or launch/grand opening) and budget accordingly: To determine the monthly budget, multiply the market cost per point against the GRP levels. In a market with a $10 cost per point, the minimum monthly campaign would be $2,000. The grand opening campaign would be $5,000 per month; 3) Align impressions and media weight with listening by time period to get the largest possible campaign reach: Per Nielsen, 60% of AM/FM radio listening occurs outside of morning and afternoon drive. Spread media weight across all days and dayparts. About a quarter of media weight should run in middays. Place 20% of the budget respectively into weekends, mornings, and afternoons. 8% goes to nights and 5% to overnights; 4) Find the right audience with AM/FM radio programming formats: While the audience composition of TV shows can vary widely, AM/FM radio station programming formats are very cohesive, appealing to the same audience around the clock. Find the AM/FM radio programming formats that match your target using either median age, total reach, gender skew, presence of children, or household size; and 5) Based on the marketing objective, determine the weekly number of ads to run on a station from four types of schedules (very light, light, medium, or heavy): A very light station schedule reaches one-third of a station’s audience an average of 1.4 times. A light schedule reaches half of a station’s audience two times. A medium schedule reaches two-thirds of a station’s audience three times. A heavy schedule reaches 78% of a station’s audience 4.3 times. See more here.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Unveils ‘Leaving a Legacy’ Podcast. A new podcast from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle “News Radio 97.3 FM” launches today (1/4). KIRO-FM late morning personality Gee Scott hosts the “Leaving a Legacy Podcast” in which he “takes listeners on a journey to discover how some of our most influential public figures want to leave their legacy on this world, and how his own experience can be contributed to the shoulders of giants that came before him.” Scott says, “My father always talked about legacy, and this podcast connects me to him now that he’s gone. I’m so excited to learn from these powerful influencers to see what they’re passionate about and what they want their legacy to be. It’s a powerful question, and one that truly puts into perspective our why during the short time we’re all here on Earth.” The inaugural program features former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and current “CBS Mornings” host Nate Burleson. Other guests include author, activist and journalist Amanda Knox, the ‘King of Twitter’ Josiah Johnson, and Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who famously decided to pay all his employees a $70,000 minimum salary.

CES 2022: 5G, 4 Wheels, 3Days. This year’s show wraps a day early, on Thursday, “as an additional safety measure” and COVID concern has scared-off major exhibitors and what TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke estimates is “less than half of 2020’s 170,000-some.” But he says “there’s still lots to see (if not touch)” and that he is “among longtime attendees who appreciate the elbow room.” Read more here.

Audacy Announces Deal with Samsung for Podcast Distribution. A new content partnership between Audacy and Samsung will make Audacy’s entire podcast library available on Samsung platforms, including the Samsung Free platform that comes on Galaxy smartphones. Users will have access to content from Audacy’s Cadence13, Pineapple Street Studios and 2400Sports podcast studios, along with hundreds of other Audacy podcast titles. Audacy EVP of strategy and corporate business development Tim Murphy says, “We’re delighted to expand the reach of our robust podcast library to Samsung Free users across the country and put our award-winning titles on more devices for more consumers.”

TALKERS News Notes. After 12 years of leadership under Gordon Smith, the National Association of Broadcasters has a new president and CEO as Curtis LeGeyt assumed the role on January 1. NAB Joint Board of Directors chairman David Santrella (CEO of Salem Media Group) says, “The broadcasting community is extremely grateful to Gordon for his many years of service as an influential advocate for our industry. We are excited to now have Curtis at the helm to guide the organization into its next chapter. He is a proven leader and skilled fighter on behalf of broadcasters, and we are thrilled to have him serve as our voice in Washington and around the world.”…..Later this month, Newsweek will build on its in-depth coverage of the British Royal Family with a new podcast. “Royal Report” will be hosted by Newsweek’s British royal correspondent Jack Royston and American culture critic, royal watcher and author Kristen Meinzer. New episodes will appear every two weeks and will provide American royal watchers with fresh reporting and analysis of the House of Windsor…..The board of directors of New England Public Media announces that Matt Abramovitz is named the new president of NEPM.  “In his role as president, Abramovitz will be responsible for leading NEPM’s efforts across radio, television, and digital media platforms, furthering its mission of serving the people of western New England by providing trustworthy journalism, cultural content, events and initiatives, educational services, and community engagement.” Abramovitz has been serving as vice president of programming for New York Public Radio‘s classical station WQXR-FM.

USA Radio’s Brad Bernards Passes. Sad news from USA Radio Networks as the organization reports that USA Radio night and weekend anchorman Brad Bernards has died.  USA Radio COO Janet Porter Bro says Bernards was a key component of USA’s quality broadcast team. He was a school teacher in the Valentine, Texas school district who launched an internet radio station to cover local news in Presidio County, teaching the broadcast business to student interns. Bro adds, “It has been a very trying four months for the USA Radio Networks family. We lost CEO Fred Weinberg in September and long-term Christian interest news anchor John Clemens last month.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Trump Family Subpoenas, Filibuster-Voting Rights Battle, Epstein Fallout, Holmes Verdict, and Southeastern Snow Storm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The fast-spreading Omicron variant and battles over school attendance policies; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the New York attorney general subpoenas Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump in the investigation into the Trump Organization; Senate Democrats threaten to change floor rules regarding the filibuster if it doesn’t take up voting rights legislation; Prince Andrew’s battle with U.S. courts over his relationship with Jeffery Epstein and Virginia Giuffre; Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of three of 11 charges in the Theranos case; and the Southeastern U.S. is pounded by rare snow storms were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

| April 23, 2020

The Nitty Gritty of Online Listening.  WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk show host Phil Valentine writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about news/talk listening habits in the current coronavirus crisis and how online listening is affecting ratings.  Valentine says some of his fellow hosts were concerned about losing listeners since fewer people are commuting and therefore are not in their cars to listen.  But, he says, that’s not what happened.  His show’s ratings, as well as the station’s overall, went up.  “What’s really interesting is our ‘universe’ in PM drive only shrank 4% overall with listeners 6+.  Even more interesting is our weekly cume with adults and men 25-54 actually went up. So did our time spent listening, which is understandable. If people are listening, they’re primarily listening from home without the constraints of a commute. This same scenario is being replicated on talk stations in many places all across the country. If they’re listening at home, it probably means more people are moving their listening to the Internet rather than listening to the on-air signal.  The big question is, if more people are listening online are we getting credit for it?”  Valentine contacted Nielsen Audio to find out.  Read the column here to find out what he learned.

Las Vegas-Based Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizing ‘Patriot Caravan’ on Las Vegas Boulevard. Talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root – heard in Las Vegas on KBET-AM and syndicated nationally via USA Radio – is organizing what he calls the “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan” up Las Vegas Blvd. tomorrow afternoon (4/24) at 3:00 pm.  Root says, “We will have biggest caravan in Vegas Strip history on Friday to demand our governor re-open the economy.”  He calls it a “massive show of force by WAR Army – made up of small business owners, patriots, conservatives, capitalists, and every employee left penniless by closure of the entire Strip.”  Root says he has designed it to adhere to government guidelines about social distancing as all participants will be in cars.  He will broadcast his entire show from his car at the head of the “parade.”  He adds, “This event is a political version of drive-in church service.”

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Owner Explains Morning Duo’s Departure.  On Monday (4/20), TALKERS magazine published a summary of the East Idaho News’ report on the resignation of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team of Neal Larson and Julie MasonRich Broadcasting owner Richard Mecham tells TALKERS their decision to resign “had nothing to do with a disagreement with the owner [which is how TALKERS phrased it in our coverage].  What it had to do with was the fact that their comments were irresponsible, they were challenging the governor’s order, and could have potentially put our license in jeopardy.  I invited them to discuss the issue over lunch and they quit with no notice.”  Mecham shares his email to Larson and Mason and further explains what happened in a piece you can read here.

SmartTalk Radio Network’s ‘CoronaLert’Airing on 300-plus Stations. The month-old “CoronaLert” program hosted by Cary Harrison and syndicated by SmartTalk Radio Network and Sun Broadcast Group is airing on more than 300 stations across the country.  SmartTalk says Harrison “presents slickly produced, 60-second rapid-response features that draw from the top scientific and medical minds available today.  ‘CoronaLert’ is the first of its kind with both volume of daily segments and a custom fleet of professionally produced companion videos for stations’ websites.”  SmartTalk CEO Chuck Duncan comments, “‘Facts Not Fear’ is the basis for ‘CoronaLert’ and provides listeners on all platforms and devices with a daily topic or development that is covered in a solution-oriented, easy-takeaway format.  SmartTalk Radio Network presents a forum for discussion, info, and entertainment covering myriad life topics, including COVID-19 and its lasting effects on our world.”

Entercom Expands Relationship with Sonos for RADIO.COM. Content from Entercom’s RADIO.COM will soon be available via the new Sonos Radio streaming service from Sonos.  Numerous Entercom stations are currently available as an integration on the Sonos platform.  Entercom corporate business development VP David Rosenbloom states, “Sonos provides a premier listening experience and we’re pleased to expand our relationship with them and bring RADIO.COM’s stations to millions of listeners across the country.  Through this partnership, Sonos customers can access RADIO.COM’s music, sports, and news content on their Sonos system, providing them with an enhanced listening experience of their station of choice from the comfort of their homes.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new American Uncensored News Network (AUN-TV) has launched with the goal of creating “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots producers.  Currently, AUN-TV shows air on seven stations in Northern California, including in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fort Bragg, Santa Rose, and more.  The network has appointed Rick Trader CEO, general manager and president of program development.  He says, “I am thrilled and excited at the prospects of AUN-TV!  Now, many great shows, views and voices will have a television platform to call their own.  The AUN-TV Network is badly needed to report on the stories the alphabet networks do not want the American people to know of.  Our goal is to bring original, thought-provoking programs to the viewing public that has a thirst for the truth, and to return our country to the principals of Liberty, Rule of Law and Judeo-Christian ethics our founding father created it for.”…..JVC Media is bringing infectious disease expert Dr. Rajeev Fernandez aboard as a contributor to its radio programs in three of its markets.  Dr. Fernandez joins “Steve and Leeana Mornings” on CHR WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3,” “The Shannon Burke Show” on “Florida Man Radio” (talk WDYZ, Orlando and WYGC, Gainesville), and news/talk WRCN, Long Island “103.9 LI News Radio.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “When we founded JVC, the goal was to be hyper-local and community focused.  Having Dr. Rajeev Fernandez available to our loyal listeners does so much good for the communities we serve.  The doctor is so relatable, likable, and easy to listen to.  It’s like a friend giving us the answers to this crazy puzzle called coronavirus.  I’m grateful to Dr. Fernandez and our hard-working JVC family for working together to super-serve our hard-hit communities.  It can’t be said enough, we WILL get through this together.”…..The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program with host Lee Habeeb adds new affiliate stations including: Entercom’s KRLD-AM, Dallas; Second Amendment Foundation’s KITZ-AM, Seattle; KBNP, Portland, and KSBN, Spokane; Futures and Options Inc’s KFNX-AM, Phoenix; Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Fargo; and STARadio’s WTAD-AM, Quincy, Illinois.  Habeeb, who is also CEO of producer American Private Radio, says, “There is no question people are starving for positive, original radio programming that celebrates this great country.  Partnering with one of the great stations in America, the legendary KRLD, means so much to our team at American Private Radio.  Now, we can bring our great stories to more people of not one, but two of America’s greatest cities under the banner of the 50,000 watt blow-torch of KRLD-AM.”…..Sports betting information network VSiN is partnering with Skyview Networks for the latter to handle affiliate sales.  Skyview CEO Ken Thiele states, “Skyview is in a strong position to partner with content creators as a full-service audio shop and is actively engaging in deals that bring exciting, high-demand content, like VSiN’s programming and analysis to the industry.”…..Radio’s “Best Friend” Art Vuolo handled editing duties for a film called iPot made by retired radio personality Joey Reynolds back in 2014 about the marijuana-growing industry in Humboldt County, California.  Reynolds’ daughter is in the growing business and that piqued his curiosity to investigate the newly legal industry.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly is among a number of special guests who appear in the film that you can see here.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Southern States Re-Opening Plans, COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign, Transferred HHS Doc Controversy, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Glut, U.S.-Iran Tensions, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases; several Southern states announce plans to begin re-opening their economies, clashing with President Trump’s advice; allegations that China, Russia, and Iran are mounting a social media disinformation campaign blaming the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic; the controversy over Dr. Rick Bright’s transfer from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for opposing widespread use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; the world’s financial markets’ response to the pandemic and the oil crash; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

American Urban Radio Networks DC Bureau Chief April Ryan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington, DC bureau chief and White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, veteran journalist April Ryan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Ryan, who is also a political analyst for CNN, is an African American single mother of two who has been covering the White House since Bill Clinton’s second term.  She was thrust into the national spotlight with the advent of the Trump Administration when she attracted controversy for standing up to the president and his press secretary at White House briefings and press conferences by asking tough questions and holding her ground for follow-ups.   Among her many awards and honors, the National Association of Black Journalists named Ryan its “Journalist of the Year” in 2017.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Westwood One-syndicated urban AC morning show “Rick and Sasha” is the new morning show on WNBM, New York.  The program airs in more than 30 markets.  Cumulus Media vice president of urban programming Kenny Smoov states, “The ‘Rick and Sasha’ show is growing fast and going BIG! New York is going to love this show!  There is nothing like getting a historic first-year report card.  Rick and Sasha, with George Willborn, not only sounds better than it ever has but is also showing remarkable ratings growth – extraordinary for a second-year show.  It is refreshing when the actual numbers match my ear test. This show is poised for long-term greatness.”

Thursday, February 20, 2020

| February 20, 2020

Key Networks to Launch Jesse Kelly Show in National Syndication. Syndicator Key Networks says Jesse Kelly is a “fresh voice in conservative talk.”  The U.S. Marine veteran, former congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host will launch his new, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show on April 6.  Key Networks says network advertising is included within the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.  Currently, Kelly hosts a two-hour version of “The Jesse Kelly Show” on KPRC, Houston as well as the “I’m Right” program on The First TV, a news and talk channel on Pluto TV.  Kelly was deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine during the Second Persian Gulf War and received an honorable discharge after four years.  In 2010, he ran for congress and was narrowly defeated by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The race initially ended in a vote recount.  After his congressional run, Kelly continued to be a major voice among conservatives, using his large social media following as a platform to continue many of the conversations started on the campaign trail.  He says, “I love talk radio and I’m beyond humbled that Key Networks realizes that I’m a generational talent.  While my background might be more blue collar than other radio hosts, I’m confident my huge ego will help make up for my lack of education.  I’m excited to bring something new to stations nationwide.”  iHeartMedia Houston region president Eddie Martiny comments, “Listeners won’t be able to see that Jesse Kelly stands 6 foot 8, but his towering humor and intellect will absolutely captivate the listening audience.  Jesse is an Iraq War veteran who will win the hearts and minds of listeners with the wit of a stand-up comic.  He’s been featured on most major TV networks, especially FOX News with Tucker Carlson who says, ‘Jesse cracks me up.’  Jesse is a fresh voice of a rational conservative for a new generation.  My listening audience and advertising community in Houston embraced Jesse immediately.  Informative, entertaining, but most importantly, unique!”

Kevin Battle Joins KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Morning Show. Radio programmer, host, and journalist Kevin Battle is joining “The KDKA Radio Morning News with Larry Richert” as co-host, effective March 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As we celebrate the centennial of KDKA Radio, the world’s first radio station, we were focused on adding a host that can reflect the energy and pulse of where Pittsburgh is in 2020 and beyond.  Kevin Battle is the perfect person to join Larry Richert on the KDKA morning show and tell the story of our great city.”  During his career, Battle has served as program director and air personality for Entercom’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” been director of marketing and promotions and on-air personality for rock WDVE-FM, and was a member of the inaugural staff of “FOX News Headlines 24/7.”  The Pittsburgh native comments, “There have been three morning hosts at KDKA Radio in my lifetime – Jack Bogut, John Cigna, and Larry Richert, and I am thrilled I get to work with one of them.  Larry is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh.  I have been a fan of KDKA for a long time and fondly remember listening with my family each morning.  I cannot wait to help our listeners start their day off well-informed.”

FCC Permanently Dismisses License Renewal Applications for Four St. Louis Signals. An administrative law judge has ruled that the applications for license renewal for four radio stations owned by Entertainment Media Trust are “dismissed without prejudice due to the applicant’s failure to prosecute.”  Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin states in the ruling that Trustee Dennis J. Watkins’ failure to respond to a January 24 Order that was a final attempt to get information from EMT was the last straw in a series of non-compliances on the part of Watkins.  The stations in question are: KFTK-AM (formerly WQQX-AM), East St. Louis, Illinois; WQQW-AM, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ-AM, St. Louis; and KQQZ-AM, DeSoto, Missouri.  The case goes way back to 2012 when Mark A. Kern filed a petition to deny the license renewals, alleging that talk host and convicted felon Robert Romanik actually controlled the stations, in violation of FCC regulations.  Romanik’s Insane Broadcasting Co. operates the stations under an LMA, but is not allowed to own stations.  The ruling notes that the Media Bureau investigated the allegations and “found evidence that it concluded supports the claim that Mr. Romanik exercises defacto control over the stations.  The Media Bureau also adduced evidence suggesting that Mr. Romanik, who hosts a weekday talk show on one of the stations, has held himself out as the stations’ owner and is personally involved in station business.”  Romanik hosts a show on KQQZ-AM and positions himself as a local raconteur, calling himself “The Grim Reaper of Radio.”  Read the judge’s ruling here.

New Afternoon Show Among Lineup Changes at Sports Talk ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. With WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Scott Garceau named the new play-by-play broadcaster and pre-game and post-game host for Baltimore Orioles broadcasts on cable’s MASN-TV, he leaves his daily talk show duties at the Entercom sports station.  His co-host Jeremy Conn moves to evening show duties and host of “Orioles Baseball Tonight.”  Beginning March 9, the new afternoon drive show is “Inside Access” with co-hosts Jason La Canfora and Ken Weinman.  La Canfora is a RADIO.COM Sports and CBS Sports insider.  Weinman is a longtime WJZ-FM air personality.   Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “This revamped programming schedule will allow us to continue providing around-the-clock content for Baltimore’s biggest sports fans.  Adding Jason and Ken to our already successful lineup is a big win for our market.  We are also excited about Scott and Jeremy’s new roles.  All are an integral part of the success of ‘105.7 The Fan.’”

Presidential Race/Las Vegas Debate, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic/Deadly Flu Season, Germany Mass Shooting, and Grenell to Lead Intelligence Agencies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and last night’s debate in Las Vegas; the controversy surrounding the sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr’s leading of the Justice Department; the status of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly influenza season in the U.S.; the slaying of nine people in the German city of Hanau by a reported right-wing extremist; and President Trump’s naming Ambassador Richard Grenell acting director of national intelligence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Two of January PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Rebounding from the challenging Holiday 2019 survey, a number of spoken-word stations performed well – weekly, 6+ AQH share – in January.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rises 1.9 shares from the Holiday survey to post a 6.9 share and climbs to the #5 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 7.4 share and the #2 rank.  In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO tacks on seven-tenths to finish the survey with a 3.5 share, while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.2 share and the #3 rank in the market.  Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle breaks out with 1.1 share increase to finish the month with a 6.0 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KDFD-AM, Denver adds eight-tenths to finish the January survey with a 3.3 share, its best since it flipped from sports talk in July of 2019.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine his Newsmax TV show, “The Wayne Allyn Root Show: Raw & Unfiltered” is moving to a new air time – 10:00 pm ET – effective March 3.  Root says, “It’s a great honor to be part of Newsmax TV’s primetime lineup.  When I first began hosting my show in June 2017 on Newsmax TV it reached 15 million homes.  Then 30 million. Then 50 million. Then 60 million. Now just under 80 million.  And Cox cable added Newsmax TV a few weeks ago – so now my television show reaches the entire Las Vegas area, my hometown!  Kudos to Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, for building America’s fastest growing cable news network.”…..SiriusXM announces its MLB Network Radio channel presents its annual MLB Spring Training tour beginning Saturday (2/22) and running through March 13.  MLB Network Radio’s experts and insiders will visit all 30 MLB team camps to give fans an in-depth preview of every ball club.  It will consist of 30, two-hour shows, each focused on a single MLB team.  SiriusXM’s hosts – many of whom are former general managers or players – will be on location at each spring training ballpark to interview managers, players and executives, and share an insider’s view of each club as it prepares for the 2020 season…..iHeartMedia announces that it has partnered with Flatiron Books on a book imprint based on iHeartRadio’s popular curiosity podcasts.  The imprint, named “Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook,” launches with STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, to recognize “Stuff You Should Know” – one of the first podcasts to reach one billion downloads.  iHeartMedia says it believes that this is the first line of podcast-based books between a major book publisher and leading podcast network.

Pop Music Historian and Curator Barry Scott of “The Lost 45s” Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the true legends of oldies radio, Barry Scott, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Scott is the host of the long-running, Boston-based music radio show, “The Lost 45s,” which has been on the radio since 1981 and in national syndication since 1993.  The premise of the show is that top 40 radio of the golden era (1960s – 1990s) missed a tremendous number of valid hit records that deserved airplay due to faulty research, closed-mindedness and a lazy, follow-the-leader mentality.  (“It’s not on the list suggested by our consultant.”)  Many of these songs have gone on to be completely forgotten within music radio culture.  Harrison states, “I had the pleasure of programming Barry’s flagship station in Boston back in the 80s and was amazed at the loyal following this weekend show generated – even within the context of a classic rock format.  Barry’s excellent curation and fascinating storytelling created tremendous interest in songs that were either obscure or considered unprogrammable within standard format categories. In today’s music radio desert, where pop music history is largely ignored or generally forgotten, this show is a priceless beacon of the culture that originally illuminated music radio.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Detroit rock outlet WRIF, Beasley Media Group promotes Jade Springart to assistant program director and midday host.  She has served with WRIF for the past 12 years, most recently as music director and weekend personality. Springart says, “This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with.  It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry.  I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”…..Air personality J.R. joins Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa Bay to host “Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R. and Melanie,” effective March 2. He’ll join station air personality Melanie Mineau for the 6:00 am to 10:00 am program.  He was most recently co-host of the “J.R. & Beth Show” on Cox Media Group’s country KCYY, San Antonio “Y100.”  He also currently serves as the host of United Station Radio Networks’ syndicated “Twenty Country Countdown.”  J.R. says, “This is a very exciting time for me.  To be able to build a show under the direction of [operations manager] Travis Daily and alongside a talented co-host like Melanie Mineau is the opportunity I have been looking for.  We are going to have a lot of fun in an amazing city!  I am very grateful to Travis and the Beasley family for this opportunity and can’t wait to create live, local, and unique radio for the Tampa area.”…..Entercom stations and staffers are honored with three Academy of Country Music (ACM) Radio Awards.  KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull” (KILT-FM) was named Major Market Station of the Year and WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” was named Medium Market Station of the Year – the 8th time the station has received this honor.  WYCD, Detroit’s afternoon drive show “Rob and Holly” program was given the Major Market Personality of the Year honor.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

| January 8, 2019

iHeartMedia Reorganization Plan Awaits Confirmation. The Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for iHeartMedia is awaiting confirmation by United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur.  Yesterday’s filing of the confirmed plan will allow iHeartMedia to erase $10.3 billion in debt off its books, leaving it with $5.75 billion in debt once Judge Isgur has signed the order.  Last month, the court approved iHeartMedia’s separation from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings as part of the reorganization plan.  Yesterday’s filing will permit iHeartMedia to begin to implement the plan without seeking authorization from the court.  As is usual in bankruptcy cases, once the plan is confirmed by the court, most other claims against the debtor are discharged.  In this case, the judge rules that certain liabilities the company is required to honor after the effective date – called a Cure Claim – and that includes the BMI license agreements, an almost $600,000 payment to SoundExchange LLC, and its Framework Digital Distribution Agreement with Sony Music Entertainment.   Additionally, the new iHeartMedia must honor all SAG-AFTRA contracts and must assume all contractual agreements with the Denver Broncos.  Once signed, iHeartMedia will be in a period between Confirmation and the Effective Date.  There are several hearing dates scheduled and they are: January 10 to consider all confirmation issues other than those scheduled to be heard on January 17, and January 22; January 17 to consider all issues concerning the CCOH separation settlement, other than those issues scheduled to be heard on January 22, and any issues continued from the January 10, hearing; January 22 to consider all remaining issues concerning consideration of the class action settlement related to the CCOH Separation Settlement and the GAMCO Motion; and January 23 to consider all remaining confirmation issues.

‘Our American Stories’ Surpasses 160-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program adds a number of new affiliate stations and now has 163 total affiliates. The program is hosted by Lee Habeeb who is also president of program producer American Private Radio.  He says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly they love the topics we share every night and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  The program is described as “a two-hour, daily radio magazine program that showcases Americans from various industries, including sports heroes, musicians, film performers, political or cultural icons, business leaders, military heroes and more.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is extremely fond of this program stating, “I fully expect ‘Our American Stories’ to be the surprise breakout program of 2019. It is the classiest, best-researched, meticulously produced, dependable piece of quality content to come down the pike in years.  It is conservative news/talk’s knock out answer to public radio and will become an institutional part of the genre for years to come.”

Wayne Allyn Root: I ‘Got the Ball Rolling’ on Trump’s Wall Option.  Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root says he first talked about the idea that President Trump can declare a national security emergency and use $25 billion from the Pentagon budget to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Root points to his November 17 column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that details, among other things, that the president can declare a “national security emergency” and use military money for the project.  Root says, “I shared this column and my idea with my audience on both my Newsmax TV show and USA Radio show in the days before publication.  Then I flew to Wyoming as keynote speaker for the Wyoming GOP annual dinner on Friday 11/16/18.  I shared my idea with that audience.  Result. Two standing ovations.  That column was handed directly to President Trump by my great friend Lee Lipton at Mar a Lago on 11/18/18.  President Trump has talked about this exact option all week in the media.  It’s the hottest topic in the country.  My idea started this all… I’m sure it will come up in Tuesday night’s national presidential address.”

Mike Gallagher Films LifeLock Ad on NYC Streets. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Mike Gallagher is pictured above on the streets of New York filming commercials for identity theft prevention firm LifeLock.  Gallagher has been voicing spots for LifeLock – as have many talk radio hosts since LifeLock is a big advertiser on talk radio – but not long ago he needed the company’s services.  The Salem Radio Network talk host was the victim of a personal security breach when someone accessed his personal information, changed his cellphone number, and tried withdrawing $25,000 from Gallagher’s checking account.  He credits LifeLock with alerting him to the compromises and acting to protect his personal assets.  He says, “I’ve proudly done their commercials for years.  But after seeing for myself how they swing into action, I believe anyone is stupid not to have LifeLock protection.”

Eric Zane Launches Daily Podcast.  After being let go by Cumulus Media last week due to the format flip of WBBL, Grand Rapids from sports talk to country music, morning personality Eric Zane tells Mlive.com he’s doing a daily podcast designed to pick up where his radio show left off.  He’s offering the show to listeners for free and for a fee with various options, including video.  Zane tells MLive he hopes to reach a sizable audience via his 18,000 Twitter followers.  He says, “Most people get some content via podcast or streaming content and they’re a different audience.  They’re zeroed in because of the programming. They seek it out as opposed to background noise.  I won’t ever say radio has no place because it’s still great to get in your car and push a button and there it is.  This medium (podcasts), which was laughed at five, 10 years ago, isn’t laughed at anymore because it’s very viable.”

Steve Triplett to Lead Beasley’s Tampa Stations. Sales and management pro Steve Triplett is named vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group’s Tampa cluster that includes financial talk outlet WHFS-AM and six music radio stations.  Triplett has been serving as interim market manager and director of sales for the Tampa operations.  He says, “Over the past four years, Beasley Media Group has created something truly special in Tampa.  We have a team of the finest media professionals in the industry and it’s an honor to continuing serving them in this new capacity.”

PodcastOne Partners with LadyGang for Podcast Network.  “The LadyGang” podcast recently celebrated its 200th episode and 40 millionth download.  Now, PodcastOne is entering into a deal with the brand for a podcast development, production, and marketing deal to launch The LadyGang Network on PodcastOne.  The network will feature a female-driven, all-star lineup of pop culture, reality television, and motherhood trend-setters.  PodcastOne says the deal combines its vast resources and reach with The LadyGang’s brand power and curated talent lineup.  The inaugural program under this new network will be “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna,” hosted by Jamie Lynn Sigler and Jenna Parris. Additional programs will be announced soon.

Hogenson Communications to Rep Americans for Tax Reform Campaign. Talk media is the target for Americans for Tax Reform and it has hired Hogenson Communications to represent the organization to talk media for its 12-month campaign.  Scott Hogenson states, “We’re proud to have been selected by Americans for Tax Reform as their talk media partner.  As America’s preeminent tax policy organization, ATR brings a lot to talk media audiences by breaking down complicated policy issues in a way that everyone can understand.”

KNUS, Denver Hosts Boyles and Tubbs to Broadcast from Vancouver, BC During Fact-Finding Mission.  Talk show hosts Peter Boyles and Steffan Tubbs – air personalities on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – will broadcast live from Vancouver, British Columbia during their fact-finding mission to the city’s safe injection sites.  The Denver City Council passed an ordinance that will create safe or supervised injection sites for users to inject heroin, opioids and cocaine in locations that will employ trained medical personnel.  The KNUS remote broadcasts will take place on Friday (1/11).

iHeartMedia Unveils New iHeartRadio Features at CES. The company announces a number of new consumer technology integrations for its digital platform, iHeartRadio.  At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, iHeartMedia unveiled new integrations including the Honda Dream Drive Platform, the new Bixby from Samsung, Roku devices, and Google’s Android TV and Android Auto.  It also launched the fully redesigned iHeartRadio Family app on Amazon Fire Tablet with iOS and Android coming soon.

Border Wall-Government Shutdown, U.S.-Syria Policy, Tlaib Israel Statement, Kim Jong Un-Xi Jinping Meeting, NCAA Football Championship, and NFL Playoffs Action Among Top News-Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The battle over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the related government shutdown; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria; the controversy over freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s comments that GOP senators are more loyal to Israel than the U.S.; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping; Monday night’s NCAA football championship game; and the NFL playoffs 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. The nationally syndicated Ty Bentli show is off Cumulus Media’s New York City country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.”  What was originally called “America’s Morning Show” back when Blair Garner was lead host and has twice morphed since then has been the only morning show on the stations since its inception.  Now, afternoon drive host Jesse Addy is sitting in hosting mornings as the station teases a new program…..In Los Angeles, “volunteer” air personality Greg Beharrell is named evening host on Cumulus Media’s classic rock 95.5 KLOS…..Afternoon drive host, APD and music director Mark Razz is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia.  With this new role, Razz will move from afternoon drive to middays.  Beasley Philly market manager Joe Bell comments, “Nobody deserves this opportunity more than Razz.  He has been an integral part of 92.5 XTU’s success for years and has demonstrated the leadership, commitment and creativity that you look for in a PD.  Plus, he’s an amazing talent, is loved by listeners and respected within the industry.”…..Midday personality Corey O’Brien is named assistant program director and music director at Broadway Media’s alternative KXRK, Salt Lake City “X96.”…..Buffalo market radio pro Joe Chille is named morning drive host at Townsquare Media’s adult contemporary WMSX, Buffalo “96.1 The Breeze.”  Chille was a longtime personality at WJYE prior to its becoming WMSX.  Most recently, he’d been handling part-time duties at Radio One Buffalo’s oldies WECK-AM…..Beasley Media Group names Sean Varicalli host of the “KICKS Wake up Crew” morning show on country WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia.  Varicalli was most recently midday jock and APD at Curtis Media Group’s country WQDR, Raleigh…..Alpha Media’s WKXI, Jackson, Mississippi “107.5 Kixie” replaces the Tom Joyner show with the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.”