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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

| April 13, 2022

Cindy Rollison to Lead Cumulus Tri-Cities, Tennessee. Sales and management pro Cindy Rollison returns to Cumulus Media to serve as vice president and market manager for the Tri-Cities, Tennessee station group that includes news/talk WJCW-AM and sports talk WXSM-AM plus two music brands. Rollison takes over for Debbie Caso, who is retiring after 43 years in the market. Rollison served as VP and market manager for Cumulus’ former station group in Blacksburg, Virginia from 2007-2018. She’s been serving as regional marketing consultant for Mel Wheeler, Inc. Radio and Digital Advertising since 2019. Cumulus regional VP Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thankful to Debbie Caso for making such a valuable contribution to the community and company for so many years and wish her much happiness in her retirement. At the same time, I’m very pleased that we have someone of Cindy Rollison’s caliber and experience joining our team. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work alongside Cindy again, after many successful years working together with our cluster in Blacksburg. I’m looking forward to many successes together.”

 

Justin Schaflander Named Director of Sales for ‘ESPN LA.’ Radio sales pro Justin Schaflander is named director of sales for Good Karma Brands’ sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710 AM.”  He was most recently a region president with iHeartMedia. In the early 2000s, Schaflander was a director of sports for CBS, running the Dodgers Radio Network. He says, “I’m thrilled to join ESPN LA and Good Karma Brands. To return to LA, work with some of the most iconic brands in sports and have it wrapped up in Good Karma Brands’ culture makes this a bucket list experience! I would like to thank the team for making this process and transition seamless and fun, and I can’t wait to start learning and working with this special group of teammates.” Good Karma Brands acquired “ESPN LA 710 AM” and “ESPN 1050 AM in New York” earlier this year. The company also took over the agreement to perform ESPN’s obligations under the Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN” in New York.

 

Kidney Transplant a Life-Changing Event for WHUB, Cookeville’s Brent Carl Fleshman. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes today about Cookeville, Tennessee talk radio host Brent Carl Fleshman who recently underwent a lifesaving – and life-changing – kidney transplant. Fleshman serves with Zimmer Broadcasting’s Cookeville station group where he hosts the morning drive show on news/talk WHUB “News Talk 107.7 and 1400 The Hub” and serves as program director, among other duties. In May of 2014, Dr. Barbara Fleming was doing a segment on Fleshman’s program when she noticed something about Fleshman that concerned her. She prompted him to seek treatment at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University and he got into the hospital’s kidney transplant program. Fleshman says, “I’ve been given a second chance with this kidney and am grateful to the man who signed that donor card [making it possible for me to] continue doing what I love every day. I intend to make the most of it. I look forward to getting back on the air soon and have asked Dr. Fleming to be on my first show. If [the host of WHUB’s 30-minute Saturday health program, ‘Your Best Health Connection’] hadn’t noticed my symptoms eight years ago and gone to Vanderbilt with me, I would never have seen this day. Radio saved my life.” Read his story here.

 

Gordon Smith Joins Beasley Board of Directors. Former NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith is nominated by the Beasley Media Group board of directors to be added to the slate of directors to be presented at the annual shareholders meeting on May 25. The official unanimous vote took place during the company’s board of director’s meeting on March 31, 2022. Smith, who served two terms as a Republican U.S. Senator representing Oregon, led the NAB from 2009 through 2021. Beasley board chair and CEO Caroline Beasley says, “It is such an honor and a privilege to welcome Gordon to the Beasley Media Group board of directors. His outstanding leadership, dedication and service to broadcasters and our nation is unparalleled. His understanding of Washington and how to navigate the halls of power will serve our board well for years to come. I look forward to working closely with Gordon and our board as we continue to evolve our company forward.”

 

47th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 47th Annual Gracie Awards which will return in-person on May 24 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles with local and student awards given on June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. AWMF says the event will honor some of the most talented women in television, radio and digital media. AWMF chair Heather Cohen says, “Throughout this past year we have seen a number of remarkable projects by and about inspirational women.” AWMF president Becky Brooks adds, “We are honored to shine a spotlight on these women, whose stories have driven cultural awareness, offered entertainment that has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. This year, we will be returning to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and are delighted to return to an in-person format so that we can properly celebrate together.” Some of the national radio honorees include Allison Keyes, CBS News Weekend Roundup; Cheri Preston, ABC News Radio; Jen Horn, Victoria Keelan, and Jai Kershner, “The DJV Show”; Heather Hunter, WMAL-FM, Washington’s “O’Connor and Company”; Jeana Gondek, WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, “Jacksonville’s Morning News”; Judi Franco, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs, KTMY-FM, Minneapolis “The Lori & Julia Show”; MalaniKai WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, “Word on the Street”; and Rita Cosby, WABC, New York. See the complete list of honorees here. Pictured above at the most recent in-person ceremony (2019) are (from l-r): country artist Kelsey Ballerini, Heather Cohen, and Becky Brooks.

 

Comrex to Unveil Gagl Remote Contribution Solution at NAB Show. The newest remote contribution solution from Comrex will be showcased at the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 23-27.  Dubbed Gagl, this new cloud service delivers conferenced audio from multiple contributors in high-quality. Gagl allows between one and five users to send and receive audio from computers and smartphones. Participants can connect and send audio by simply clicking a link using any common web browser. Their audio is conferenced (if there’s more than one user) and delivered to a Comrex hardware codec such as an ACCESS or BRIC-Link. All participants can hear other participants, and the codec can send audio back to them. Comrex says Gagl could be used as the hub for a round-robin reporting program or for a large-cast radio show to support multiple simultaneous connections at once. Because it offers low latency, it’s appropriate for call-in talk radio. Gagl could also be used to allow a single contributor to connect back to the studio from a computer or smartphone. Designed with audio quality in mind, Gagl provides stable connections with limited bandwidth. Gagl uses the Opus audio encoder, with a bit rate that delivers both voice and music in excellent quality. Gagl also delivers audio directly to a Comrex codec with all the stability enhancements, pro-grade audio connections, and features that hardware codecs provide. With a simple user interface, Gagl is easy for users with any level of technical expertise to use. Gagl works with Comrex hardware IP audio codecs including the AES67-compatible ACCESS NX Rack IP audio codec and ACCESS MultiRack multi-channel IP audio codec as well as the BRIC-Link series – a sneak peak of the next addition to the BRIC-Link codec line will also be featured at the 2022 NAB Show. LiveShot (a bonded IP solution for live video) and other IP audio solutions for IFB and POTS and /ISDN replacement can be found at the Comrex booth C3024 in Central Hall along with a “behind the curtain” look at some new concept products.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden/Rudy Giuliani Investigations, Inflation/Recession Fears, Brooklyn Shooter Search, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Severe Southern Weather, and Gilbert Gottfried Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s use of the term “genocide”; the investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures and the investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s potential violation of foreign lobbying laws; high gas and consumer goods prices in the U.S. and fears the inflation will cause a recession; the search for the man who opened fire in a Brooklyn subway injuring 26 people; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the reinstating of mask requirements in some places in the U.S. as the BA.2 variant dominates and the brutal lockdowns taking place in China; the severe weather affecting the Southern U.S.; and the death of comic Gilbert Gottfried were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

| February 1, 2022

Start Your Own Business. Consultant Walter Sabo says, in a piece for TALKERS magazine, “‘Get fired from your corporate job and start your own business.’ That is the advice shared with air talent and radio executives when they are kicked out of corporations; start your own business. Working for yourself is a seductive thought. The challenge is that very few corporate employees know how to embrace the frame of mind and tools of self-employed entrepreneurs.” For those considering a move into self-employment, Sabo has some advice to share. “This article is not about ‘how to be successful working for yourself’ because success is never guaranteed. This article is about the ingredients needed to start any business.” Read it here.

‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ Joins SportsMap Radio Network. The sports business show from Bloomberg Radio and syndication company Key Networks titled, “Bloomberg Business of Sports” is expanding its reach with its addition to the SportsMap Radio Network. The one-hour radio show is airing on Saturdays at 12:00 noon ET and Sundays at 9:00 am ET on the network heard on 100 stations across the U.S. “Bloomberg Business of Sports” is hosted by Michael Barr, Scarlet Fu, and Mike Lynch, and “takes listeners inside the business end of the sports world and explains what it means to fans and their pocketbooks. The show follows the money in the world of sports and the decisions that power the multi-billion-dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show reports on sports trades, salaries, endorsements, contracts, collective bargaining and more – all from an insider’s perspective and explains the money behind the final score.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “Sports business is as important as the games that take place between the lines. Working with our partners at SportsMap and having them add the one-hour version of the ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ program on their network brings this important content to listeners every weekend.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “We are thrilled to expand our collaboration with Bloomberg. The daily 60-second ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ report has been well received by our audience. We know our affiliates and listeners will enjoy hearing the long-form ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ show. This move reflects our commitment to providing great content, whether our own or through partnerships.”

Doug Stephan’s ‘DJV Show’ Adds 10 Affiliates. The nationally syndicated radio program “The DJV Show,” anchored by Doug Stephan, adds 10 new stations to its roster of affiliates. Adding the program to their schedules are: KTLR, Oklahoma City; WCAP, Lowell, MA; KUJ-AM/FM, Walla Walla, WA; WKCT-AM/FM, Bowling Green, KY; KLID-AM, Poplar Bluff, KY; KDXU, St. George, UT; and WGVA and WAUB, Finger Lakes, NY. This bumps the program that airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET hosted by Stephan and co-hosts Jennifer Horn, Victoria Keelan, and Jai Kershner presenting the What’s Trending Report, to more than 325 affiliates nationwide. Stephan comments, “It’s exciting to see the show continuing to grow after all these years. We welcome these new stations to a new and different way to start their day.” Keelan adds, “Creating the show has been a labor of love and a dream come true! We’ve blended my background of pop culture, fashion, and beauty with Jennifer’s vast knowledge of politics, world events, and her incredible sense of humor under the guidance of our fearless leader Doug, one of the most highly-regarded and versatile radio personalities. Together we have created a totally unique listening experience.”

Mark Grote to Host Overnights on WSCR, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Mark Grote will host the overnight show on Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM “The Score.” After the recent passing of overnight host and legendary Chicago sports media personality Les Grobstein, the station is continuing to offer live and local sports talk in the daypart. Grote, who serves as Chicago Bears reporter, will host from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am three nights per week with other WSCR staffers handling the other weeknights. In a memo to staff, station PD Mitch Rosen says, “There will never be another Grobber. Mark Grote was as close to Les as anyone on our team.”

RTDNF Names Recipients of 2022 First Amendment Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Foundation announces the recipients of the 31st annual First Amendment Awards, which “honor individuals and organizations that exemplify responsible journalism and who practice their constitutionally guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.” This year, RTDNF honors 10 individuals and organizations, an expanded group that recognizes the 2021 and 2022 recipients of the First Amendment Awards. Honorees will be recognized at the First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 9 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. This year’s recipient of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award is NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of “All Things Considered.” The 2021 recipient was Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group. See all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Independent Broadcasters Association opens sign-up registration for its fourth bi-annual IBA National Cash Contest. IBA president Ron Stone says, “The IBA National Cash Contest has been one of the strongest benefits of being an IBA member. To be able to participate in a fully managed program like this, with up to three $1,000 winners daily, cannot be beat for the minimal investment of $300 per station. No other national program even comes close.” IBA member station volunteers will fully produce the contest. Vipology will serve as an independent source for all random drawings…..Public media outlet WNYC announces that news pro Phil Corso is joining the organization on February 14 as night editor for the Day-of News desk. WNYC says, “Phil’s arrival is a big step in the newsroom’s transformation and integration, giving us late-night support during the week and on Sunday nights for the first time. It’s a role that Phil is uniquely qualified to fill. He comes to WNYC from the New York Post, where he was a news editor for six years, overseeing that newsroom’s late-night operations and coverage decisions.”…..Veteran radio broadcasters Jim Harrington (WCBS-AM, New York; WBZ-AM, Boston; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh) and Bill Knight (WUNI, Mobile; KWKH, Shreveport; WQDR Raleigh) are partnering to create a new information and entertainment podcast titled “It’s Another Day.” The “roughly” half-hour show is produced three days per week with the possibility of it becoming a daily program. Harrington says, “We figured we’d start the show and keep a low profile until we ironed out the rough spots. To our surprise, there were very few rough spots. Bill and I enjoy working together and it’s obvious to the listener. And what’s amazing is that the audience, even without that marketing, still found the program. We’ve had an amazing response.”…..iHeartMedia and Frolic Media announce the debut of “LoveStruck Daily,” a 20-minute daily podcast series hosted by romance experts that “dives into the addicting world of love, sharing a new real-life love story everyday guaranteed to give listeners all of the feels.” This is the first podcast from iHeartMedia and Frolic Media with plans to launch additional shows in the future…..Alec Baldwin and his company El Dorado Pictures, along with Cavalry Audioand iHeartMedia, announce a partnership on the new true crime podcast, “ART FRAUD.” The eight-episode series chronicles the fall of the one of the oldest and most revered galleries in New York City: The Knoedler. Narrated by Baldwin and containing never-before-heard interviews with the mastermind behind the years long con, “ART FRAUD” goes deep to paint the clearest picture yet about the greatest deception in the history of American art. It is written by Michael Shnayerson and is based on his Vanity Fair article…..Audacy adds “The BOB & TOM Show” to the weekday programming lineup on KFH-AM/FM, Wichita, beginning today (2/1). Tom Griswold says, “We’ve had a long and successful history in Wichita and we’re happy to be back. Let’s have a few laughs and have some fun again! Many thanks to Jackie Wise and Tony Duesing. What a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of KFH.”

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Spotify & Joe Rogan, January 6 Investigation, Supreme Court, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Beijing Olympics, and Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). The diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and mask & vaccine mandates; Spotify’s challenges over controversy from Joe Rogan’s podcast and music artists leaving the streaming platform; the January 6 investigation and reports of Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short’s cooperation with the House Select Committee; President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman for the U.S. Supreme Court; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the political and COVID aspects of the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the Cincinnati Bengals’ and Los Angeles Rams’ Sunday victories that put them in Super Bowl XVI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

| June 10, 2021

TALKERS Magazine’s 2021 Heavy Hundred Published . The 2021 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – a.k.a. The Heavy Hundred – has been published. This highly anticipated ranking of America’s talk radio hosts from the editors of TALKERS is published annually. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This is one of the most challenging projects TALKERS undertakes each year. The large number of quality talk radio hosts working in America makes this job a very difficult one. While longtime talk pros tend to dominate the list, each year the Heavy Hundred reveals some new faces that prove there is fresh, new talent eager to undertake the hard work necessary to build a successful talk radio career.” TALKERS magazine congratulates the members of this year’s Heavy Hundred. See the list here.

Michael Cohen Exploring Wider Audience for ‘Mea Culpa’ Program. TALKERS learns that Krantz Media Group’s Gary Krantz is feeling out major groups and networks about a project featuring former Donald Trump attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and successful podcaster Michael Cohen, who is eyeing a wider, diverse, and immediate live audience for his “Mea Culpa” podcast. KMG is in the process of talking with the major groups/networks for a Monday – Friday show on terrestrial radio stations, networks, and platforms across the United States. The new show is an obvious extension and progression of Cohen’s podcast. “Mea Culpa Radio” is an insider’s discussion of the major news of the day in politics and government today and not biased to the right or the left. Recent guests have included Stormy Daniels, Donny Deutch, CNN’s Don Lemon, Rosie O’Donnell, Ben Stiller, and Adam Carolla. Krantz says, “We’ve been talking to Michael since before his book and podcast came out and the response is explosive. The time is right to take it to radio. He is the ultimate insider to the current narrative in our country and his perspective, knowledge, and ability to converse with the biggest newsmakers in the world make for extremely compelling radio.” “Mea Culpa Radio” will launch in the third quarter of 2021. Check out the podcast here.

Former RI Trump Chair Alleges WPRO’s Dan Yorke ‘Defamed’ Him. According to a piece in the Providence Journal, former Donald Trump Rhode Island campaign co-chair Gerald Zarrella is alleging that WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence afternoon drive talk host Dan Yorke defamed him. Though no suit has been filed, Zarrella’s attorney has filed a miscellaneous petition in Rhode Island Superior Court seeking to issue subpoenas and depose Yorke. This comes after a political fundraiser Zarrella was planning for Democratic Governor Dan McKee was canceled because McKee wanted nothing to do with anyone associated (or formerly associated) with Donald Trump and this was apparently discussed on Yorke’s WPRO program. The court petition says that Yorke “while on air, made defamatory and offensive statements about Gerald Zarrella which painted Gerald Zarrella in a false light and was stated with the intent to cause harm to his name, reputation and ethnic group from which he derives.” Zarrella tells the Journal, “I’m proud that I’m an Italian-American from Rhode Island. To portray us all as Mafia or crooked people, we’re not crooked people. We’re not crooked people. We’re sensitive people. We have families. We raise children. We pay our dues. I want to get the tapes.” Cumulus Media, WPRO, and Yorke have not commented on the matter.

Doug Stephan Show Adds Seven Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – hosted by Doug Stephan – announces it has added seven new radio stations to its roster of affiliates. The program features Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan, along with Jai Kershner anchoring the daily “What’s Trending Report,” in addition to Stephan himself. It now airs in more than 325 markets nationwide. Stations adding the program to their lineups include: KTLR, Oklahoma City; WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts; KUJ-AM, Walla Walla, Washington; WKCT-AM/FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky; and KLID-AM, Poplar Bluff, Kentucky. The program is syndicated by Radio America and is repped by Sun Broadcast Group and AdLarge Media. Doug Stephan comments, “It’s exciting to see the show continue to grow after all these years. We welcome these new stations to a new and different way to start their day.”

Bloomberg Beefs Up Washington, DC Coverage. There are a number of personnel moves to report from Bloomberg. Global head of television and radio Al Mayers announces that Jodi Schneider is taking over as Bloomberg TV and Radio’s political news director while Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu are joining as Washington correspondents covering the White House and Capitol Hill. Bloomberg government senior congressional reporters Emily Wilkins and Jack Fitzpatrick will continue to contribute to daily coverage and round out Bloomberg’s air team with contributors Rick Davis and Jeanne Zaino. Mathieu joins Bloomberg from public media’s WGBH Radio in Boston where he was the host of “Morning Edition.” Prior to that, he was the morning anchor at WBZ-AM, Boston. Hordern returns to the U.S. from London where she was most recently anchor of “Bloomberg Daybreak Europe.”

Salem VP Phil Boyce is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio executive, Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Boyce, who also serves as Salem’s operations VP, New York region, which includes WMCA and WNYM “AM970 the Answer,” is one of the most influential news/talk radio programmers of the past quarter century having been a significant influence in the careers of dozens of leading personalities including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Before joining Salem, Boyce served as program director of such major stations as WJR, Detroit and WABC, New York in addition to an influential stint as VP of programming for ABC Radio. In a candid wide-ranging conversation, Harrison and Boyce discuss the basic tenets of talk radio as well as political aspects of social media bias, “cancel culture” censorship and principles of the First Amendment. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here. Phil Boyce will be one of 50 industry speakers at TALKERS 2021 tomorrow (6/11).

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WLS-AM and WGN-AM talk show host Roe Conn has joined the Office of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart as a senior project manager in which he’s currently working on a crime analytics team specializing in vehicular hijacking and roadway shootings. Conn tells Feder, “It’s definitely an unexpected pivot, but Chicago is where I’m from and where I always want to be. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of Chicago’s radio landscape – especially on two of the continent’s most legendary stations. But our town is facing a tough battle ahead and I couldn’t be more proud to get the chance to work alongside these amazing men and women who try to make our streets safer and our city better.”…..At 12:00 noon ET today (6/10), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated personality, political commentator and podcaster Ben Ferguson makes an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered.” He’ll be the #OneLuckyGuy to discuss the latest news stories and headlines for a full hour with the hosts, Harris Faulkner, Emily Compagno, Kayleigh McEnany, and Kennedy…..The Digital Division of Nexstar Media announces the promotion of Susan Parker to chief strategy officer/EVP strategy & data for the division. In this newly created role, Parker will oversee all data and strategy functions for the division that extends Nexstar’s audience insights into the digital realm…..PodcastOne announces it is now producing and distributing the “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” podcast hosted by  Jordan Harbinger and television host and lifestyle expert Chelsea Briggs, who will trade hosting duties through the limited run series. “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” is a weekly podcast that explores the cutting edge of Internet innovation and pop culture trends. Each of the ten planned episodes will dig into how people are currently using the web to innovate, notable ways in which it’s evolving, what its future might look like, and how we can create that future together.

Joe Biden’s European Trip, Kamala Harris’ Latin America Trip, COVID-19, Critical Race Theory, Ransomware Attacks, Keystone XL Project Abandoned, Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). President Joe Biden’s meeting with European allies and his coming meeting with Vladimir Putin; Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and her glib response to why she hasn’t visited the U.S.-Mexico border yet; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy and criticism of Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails; the blowback against Critical Race Theory in U.S. schools; the recent ransomware attacks and concerns about the vulnerability of America’s digital infrastructure; the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline drops the project; the controversy over the FDA approval of an Alzheimer’s drug that some experts say is largely ineffective; and the worsening California drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

| February 11, 2021

NYTimes Piece Pins Capitol Attack on Talk Radio. The piece in The New York Times titled, “How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege,” comes on the heels of a story published by the Washington Post several days prior that attempts to assess the state of talk radio and where its future lies in the 21st century American media landscape. The two stories are at the forefront of an effort by the mainstream media to determine why U.S. citizens aligned with Donald Trump were willing to break into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In the Times story, the writers quote statements by leading talk hosts, some of which show sympathy for the “stolen election” allegation, others that directly claim it to be true, and still others that use language that advocates protest but falls short of encouraging law breaking. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted saying, “We always had shock jocks. But then we had a shock president.” Harrison, one of the most vocal proponents of the First Amendment in radio over the past half century, elaborates by stating, “Democracy and free speech as reflected and discussed on political news/talk radio constitute the major hardball league in the marketplace of ideas. Neither democracy nor free speech are tidy processes and can get real mean, loud, and even dirty – but both are vital to the very foundation of liberty as we understand it as being the American way. It takes courage to stake out a controversial opinion in the media and willingness to face the negative blowback of critics and political opponents from other platforms – even to the point of economic boycotts – keeping in mind that negative reaction comes with the territory of a healthy First Amendment in action under which they are all fair game. From this perspective, media practitioners such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity and Mark Levin are among the most important commentators in America today and they should be cut some slack from being demonized for performing their jobs. That being said, we should never confuse the difference between being a pre-meditated liar for personal gain and simply being wrong in our interpretation of the evidence and news at hand in a swirling, ever-changing political environment. We should also not forget that there is a HUGE difference between being a non-elected media pundit and being the President of the United States. The fact that these talk show hosts are being compared to the President of the United States as being responsible for his statements and their real-world consequences either shows how incredibly important this profession has become or just how low Donald Trump – the first ‘shock president’ – has sunk the presidency and is pulling his loyal media followers with him down the rabbit hole. These hosts will have to decide for themselves if they want to stay on the Trump train or get off at the station being offered by the Senate trial. History WILL eventually be the judge of the wisdom of their decisions going forward.”

Root: I Was ‘Disappeared’ by Twitter. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root writes an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine today in which he decries his Twitter account being shut down. Root is one of a number of conservative media personalities who’ve lost their Twitter accounts, many of which were suspended or shut down for supporting election fraud theories, and liberal media figure Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just lost his Instagram account for his anti-vaxxer posts. Of course, not everyone in conservative talk radio takes Root’s position that private social media platforms are obligated to carry materials or opinions with which they disagree or believe to be harmful. After all, if the Fairness Doctrine was repressive to talk radio, isn’t imposing a similar obligation on Twitter equally repressive to the First Amendment? The First Amendment protects private platform owners from being obligated to run content with which they disagree and only protects free speech from government censorship. You can read Root’s piece here.

NAB Comes Out Against Geo-Targeting Using FM Boosters. The National Association of Broadcasters is filing comments with the FCC on its inquiry into whether to amend its rules to allow FM booster stations to originate programming. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, GeoBroadcast Solutions received permission for its fourth test of its technology that enables FM radio broadcasters to use boosters to air geo-targeted content, independent of a broadcaster’s primary signal, within different portions of a station’s market – what the company calls ZoneCasting.  But the NAB says that after a careful and thorough review of the Notice, it is strongly opposing revising the booster rule that forbids them from airing unique content, a requirement for ZoneCasting. The NAB says, “A close review of the Notice suggests that rather than bolster the industry’s economic outlook, GBS’s proposal would instead undermine the industry’s fundamental business model. The vast majority of broadcasters – from a wide array of perspectives – agree that permitting program origination on boosters will almost certainly drive both advertising rates and revenues down even further as advertisers push to purchase geo-targeted ads. The outcome is unavoidable, given the obvious business incentives for advertisers to purchase spots that cherry-pick what they view to be their most desirable customers and at a lower cost. Further inspection also leads to the inevitable conclusion that broadcasters will not be able to recoup such losses through sales of any additional spot inventory that is created on boosters. Based on their considerable advertising expertise, most station owners predict that existing advertising customers will likely substitute, rather than supplement, market-wide ads with cheaper, geo-targeted ads. They also agree that potential sales of geo-targeted ads to new customers are purely speculative. Broadcasters do not by and large see pent-up demand by small businesses in their local markets that have not previously purchased advertising time, and even if such demand exists, it would not be economical to undertake the substantial investment to capture the additional business.”  The NAB goes on to say, “Amending the booster rule could very well produce a race to the bottom of ad rates and revenues and NAB is concerned that ZoneCasting will only increase the leverage of larger broadcasters and consolidated groups at the expense of smaller stations. Minority- and women-owned stations could be hardest hit if they cannot afford the expense of selling geo- targeted ads or absorb lower advertising rates and new competition for ad dollars from the boosters of larger stations.” It also questions the effect the technology could have on listeners. “Broadcasters are extremely concerned that the interference caused by geo-targeting where the boundary of a primary station meets a booster airing different programming will spur listeners to change to an alternative platform and reflect poorly on the reputation of FM radio service. Even if an individual station is willing to risk that loss, listeners may not limit their disdain to one station or group; rather, they may become so disenchanted with the reliability of terrestrial radio that they seek out a plethora of other options.” You can see the NAB’s complete comments submitted to the FCC here.

MIW Group’s Gender Analysis Report Card Shows Improvement and Room for Growth. The annual MIW Gender Analysis Study for the year 2020 is released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. Each year it compiles and analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting who are rising to the ranks of management – specifically tracking the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions. MIW says the figures and percentages in the study’s conclusion are reflective of 11,158 AM and FM radio stations across America, as accounted for by PrecisionTrak as of December 31, 2020. Looking at the general manager position, the study finds that in 2020 19.9% of stations had women in that role, up from 19.5% in 2019. MIW says this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female GMs was only 14.9%. Moving to sales managers, MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management. 33% of stations had a woman sales manager in 2020, that figure was basically flat from 33.1% in 2019. MIW says that although there continues to be progress, the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director. Women currently program 12.2% of stations versus 11.6% last year. This is the second year in a row this number has increased, as it has remained stalled for fourteen years. MIW Group national spokeswoman Ruth Presslaff comments, “In a year as challenging as 2020, any growth should be celebrated. However, our mission is advocating for the advancement of women to senior radio positions in radio. If not flat, the 2020 numbers reflect only slight increases. This fuels our passion for mentoring and inspiring women in the industry and drives our dedication to seeing these numbers rise in 2021 and beyond.”

Two New Affiliates for Erick Erickson Show. The syndicated, midday “Erick Erickson Show” adds two new affiliates to its roster of stations. RadioJones LLC’s WVOP, Vidalia, Georgia (yes, the home of the Vidalia onion!), that covers a significant portion of the southeast part of Georgia, adds the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm time slot. Also, QBS Broadcasting’s WBQO, Brunswick, Georgia, covering the Georgia coastal area, picks up the show, airing it live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Doug Stephan’s DJV Show Adds Jai Kershner as Air Personality and Social Media Director. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan, Jen Horn, and Victoria Keelan – announces the addition of Jai Kershner to the program as an air personality social media director. Kershner was most recently with Saga Communications’ country WVVR-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee “The Beaver 100.3” where she was air personality. Prior to that she was co-host of the nationally syndicated “Dawson McCallister Show.” Stephan says, “Jai brings a contemporary feel to the show and keeps the audience abreast of what’s trending. She fits in nicely with Jennifer, Victoria, and me.” Kershner comments, “It’s a great responsibility and challenge, which coupled with the great reach of the ‘DJV Show,’ presents an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Former ICE Acting Director Joins FAIR as Senior Fellow and Spokesperson. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan joins the organization as a senior fellow and an additional spokesperson. FAIR says that Morgan “brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to the immigration policy debate and, in his new capacity at FAIR, he will continue to be an important voice in the ongoing debate about immigration enforcement and border security.” FAIR executive director Bob Dane adds, “Mark’s experience and unwavering commitment to enforce our nation’s laws has made him one of America’s most respected experts on immigration. His expertise and ‘tell it like it really is’ approach are needed now more than ever as the Biden administration is whittling away interior and perimeter controls at breakneck speed. As Mark has done so many times during his decorated career, he once again answers the call to serve his nation as senior fellow at FAIR. Quite simply, Mark is the right guy, at the right time, in the right place.” Speaking about his new role, Morgan states, “I’m honored to serve as a senior fellow with FAIR, which is dedicated to engaging in meaningful dialogue to influence, formulate and promote responsible immigration policies for the 21st century and beyond. I am delighted to be part of the effort to seek out solutions to mitigate the tremendous burden and negative impact of uncontrolled immigration on our country’s national security and economic prosperity.”

Rachel Rollar Joins Newsmax TV’s Morning Show. The newest addition to the on-air staff at Newsmax TV is broadcast journalist Rachel Rollar, who is now part of the “Wake Up America” morning program hosted by Rob Finnerty. Newsmax says Rollar will deliver national and international news and social media updates. The program will include her feature, “Rachel’s Rapid Reactions,” in which she’ll “show what people are talking about in real time on social media in hope of bridging the gap between the audience and the newscast.” Speaking about her new position she says, “I’m excited to be joining the Newsmax TV team and its growing number of media professionals. This is a great opportunity to speak to viewers who are passionate about news.”

Hats Off to Radio Pioneers Edwin Armstrong and William Lear. The confluence of National Inventors Day (2/11) and World Radio Day (2/13) is a great time to remember the accomplishments of two of radio’s technology pioneers: Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio, and William Lear, inventor of the first practical car radio. Aaron Bennett of the National Inventors Hall of Fame writes a piece published today in TALKERS to help us remember these men – both inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame – whose inventions helped make radio the 20th century media powerhouse that it became. Read his piece here.

Trump Impeachment Case/Georgia Criminal Probe, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media & Censorship, Robinhood Lawsuit, Springsteen OUI-Jeep Spot, and Larry Flynt Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the state of Georgia’s probe into Trump’s call to its secretary of state seeking changes in the presidential vote totals; the number of positive COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; conservatives’ complaints about being censored by social media platforms and anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is banned from Twitter; the family of college student Alex Kearns sues trading firm Robinhood over his suicide; Bruce Springsteen’s Jeep spot is pulled after his November OUI becomes public; and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies at 78 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

| January 26, 2021

Programming Consultant Greg Moceri Working with ‘Our American Stories.’ News and talk radio programming consultant Greg Moceri joins American Private Radio – producer of the extremely successful “Our American Stories” program – as strategy and content consultant. The “Our American Stories” nightly program is currently heard on more than 300 stations, including new affiliate KEIB-AM, Los Angeles “The Patriot AM 1150.” American Private Radio CEO and show host Lee Habeeb says, “We’re thrilled to have Greg as a part of the team. We’ve long admired his well-earned standing in the business, his ability to help stations and talent be better versions of themselves, and his all-around excellence and cheerfulness, too. He is already making a real difference.” Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media, LLC, comments, “I have always been about content. ‘Our American Stories’ exemplifies this. Uplifting, wonderful stories about our nation’s most connecting and emotionally gravitating people in our amazing past and present. Just uplifting daily reminders, from people you may know, and people you don’t. A perfect antidote to division, politics, and the anger of day. Honored to be part of this brand and product.”

It’s Official: Kim Gordon Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor. Yesterday (1/25), TALKERS reported a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder that Windy City news pro Kim Gordon had exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM and would sign with Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM. Today, Cumulus announces Gordon’s joining the station as afternoon drive news anchor. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor states, “Finding the facts and reporting the news has never been an easy job. Doing it in this environment hasn’t made it any easier. You need experience and grit to craft a meaningful, accurate newscast and Kim Gordon has both of those qualities in spades. I’m delighted to have Kim join our 890 WLS-AM news team as the PM drive anchor. Her attention to facts and detail will enhance our news product and yes, she can probably teach John Howell a thing or two about golf.” Gordon comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the WLS news team and to be working with John Howell in the afternoons. It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of John Dempsey. I’ve long admired his integrity and passion for news. I hope to continue that legacy at WLS.”

WECK-AM, Buffalo Owner Puts Republican Assemblyman’s Show on Hiatus; Denies Station Was Threatened by Antifa. The weekly, hourlong program on WECK-AM, Buffalo hosted by Republican New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro was put on hiatus by owner Buddy Shula but not because he received any threats from “leftists” to “burn the station down.” Shula tells the Buffalo News that it was a miscommunication between him and DiPietro over his rationale for the show’s hiatus. After DiPietro posted comments on Facebook suggesting that “leftists” threatened the station and forced Shula to cancel his show, Shula said, “I wanted to make sure I make it perfectly clear that Dave DiPietro did zero wrong in terms of me putting his show on hiatus. It was me being spooked by the Capitol events. That’s it. Nothing more.” Shula indicates he was speaking hypothetically about the station being attacked in the aftermath of the Capitol assault and believes DiPietro misunderstood him to mean that threats were actual. He adds he’d like to bring DiPietro back to the air with a Democrat on the other side of the table for balance.

New Affiliates Join Doug Stephan’s DJV Show. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan and featuring Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan – adds new affiliate stations: WPMO, Pascagoula, Mississippi; KFOW, Waseca, Minnesota; KOMY, Santa Cruz-Monterey; KHOB, Hobbs, New Mexico; WTGB, Brownsville, Texas; WDOC, Pikeville, Kentucky; KBST, Big Spring, Texas; and KMAX, Colfax, Washington. Doug Stephan states, “I’d like to thank all of these new affiliates of the show. Our goal is to make our listeners lives better. We want them to be informed without having to sift through the vitriol.” McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay adds, “What I like most about the ‘DJV Show’ is that it’s a talk show that is truly balanced in their opinions. It’s informative and fun. They’re a great first place to find what’s trending every day.”

Entercom Launches BetQL Audio Network; Unveils ‘The Bet’ Stations in Denver and LA. On the heels of Entercom’s acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group, the company is launching the BetQL Audio Network. The network is headlined by two daily shows – “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley and “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker.  Additionally, Entercom is debuting two radio stations to carry gambling-oriented programming. KEZW-AM, Denver is now “The Bet 1430AM” and KCBS-HD3 is now “The Bet 93.1 HD3.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With our acquisition of QL Gaming Group in November, we committed to leveraging our national scale to amplify the rapidly growing sports gambling landscape and deliver smart, data-supported sports-betting content to our listeners. By combining the BetQL brand and our deep collection of expert talent, this new network complements our industry-leading local sports broadcast portfolio and will further enhance our position as a leader for sports betting programming.” The new network is being promoted across Entercom’s 39 all-sports stations including WFAN-AM/FM, New York; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”

Newsmax TV and FreedomWorks Partner for ‘Save the Nation’ Program. A new, Sunday morning program titled, “Save the Nation,” is debuting on Newsmax TV via a partnership with FreedomWorks. The hour-long program – co-hosted by FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon and economist Stephen Moore – will premiere on February 7 at 11:00 am ET will provide “Americans with critical information they need on the economy, government policies, and the latest news.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “We look forward to bringing our rapidly-growing audience exclusive content from respected economist Stephen Moore, Adam Brandon, and the team at FreedomWorks. It is one of the nation’s most effective and respected grassroots organizations in touch with the issues Americans care about.”

New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards Open for Entries. Entries for the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards are now being accepted. NYF Radio Awards says that each year it carefully evaluates and updates the category roster to provide the most current categories to reflect the innovative content produced today. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “In a year marked by disruption of every kind, New York Festivals is implementing additional categories for social justice across all genres. These categories spotlight storytellers who are using all of their creativity to engage with their listeners on this critical topic.” New categories for 2021 include: Best Social Justice Report, Social Justice Reporting, Social Justice Documentary, Best Regularly Scheduled Social Justice Program, Best Social Justice Special, Social Justice Promo, Best Digital Social Justice Program, Social Justice Podcast, and Social Justice Student Content. See all of the 2021 Radio Awards Categories here. The New York Festivals is partnering with the NAB Show for the 11th year and again NYF will honor the winners in Las Vegas in October. Anderson adds, “Combined with our TV & Film Winners, it will be a celebration of innovative storytellers across all platforms.” For more information and to enter visit here.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Ray Appleton returned to the air on Cumulus Media‘s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno on Monday (1/25) after a two-week suspension for a comment about news coverage of the January 6 Capitol attack in which he stated some news editors should be “hanged – maybe.” He said his words were tongue-in-cheek but station management meted out the suspension nonetheless…..New York news/talk outlet WABC is adding a new weekend program to its schedule. Fashion designer Joseph Abboud is joining the lineup of the Red Apple Media station beginning Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 pm as the host of “Threads,” a one-hour lifestyle program that looks at our world through the lens of fashion and design. WABC says, “From super models and fashion shows to the new world order of post pandemic fashion, Abboud will explore the evolution of one of the most creative and fascinating industries on the face of the earth, and how it weaves through our culture and our lives.”…..KQED, San Francisco “Forum” host Michael Krasny is retiring after his final broadcast on February 12. Krasny’s broadcasting career began in the late 1970s. He joined KQED in 1993 as host of “Forum.” To help commemorate his career on February 12, Krasny will be joined in his final broadcast by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving who will co-host…..Two new affiliate stations – KCPS, Burlington, Iowa and KLMB, Roundup/Billings, Montana – add the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” feature to their programming…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” program picks up new affiliates as KCPX-AM/K290CS, Spanish Valley, Utah and WHIR-AM, Danville, Kentucky add the show to their lineups.

COVID-19 & Vaccines Rollout, Senate Power Sharing/Battle Over Filibuster, Trump Impeachment, Social Media & Censorship, Dominion Sues Giuliani, and Biden Reverses Trans Troops Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variant strains, and the vaccine rollout problems; Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree to a Senate power-sharing deal and Democrats don’t have the votes to eliminate the filibuster; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is permanently banned from Twitter; election process firm Dominion sues Rudy Giuliani for defamation and seeks $1.3 billion; and Joe Biden reverses Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.