TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Brian Kilmeade Keynote Address. The sixth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the conference’s Keynote Address delivered by FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel talk media star Brian Kilmeade. The introduction is provided by talk show host Frank MacKay of “Long Island News Radio” WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.
Audacy to Hire 50-Plus Journalists as Part of Multiplatform Transformation. In a move it calls “a multiplatform transformation for its news brands,” Audacy says the transformation will allow it to “offer more original digital news content as well as in-depth reporting to complement breaking news broadcast coverage.” The company says it will launch a new centralized digital team dedicated to news and add over 50 journalists in eight of its newsrooms across the country. “This coordinated, multi-platform focus will allow the company to produce an array of fresh audio and local reporting that will be distributed across the Audacy network. The new resources will enable the creation of original podcasts and other specialty digital content that will add to the body of trusted local reporting that Audacy news and news/talk brands deliver to millions of listeners daily.” Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano comments, “The past year has underscored the crucial role of journalism and the demand for trusted quality content has never been higher. Audacy’s local news brands have been delivering on-demand news and information for decades and are now poised to build on that foundation. While other news organizations are downsizing, this further investment will allow us to leverage the credibility of our news brands to expand our reach and engagement while continuing to deliver the premier coverage our audience is accustomed to and relies on.” The company adds that the multiplatform transformation will also see the launch of original longform podcasts from local news brands; an original national weekly podcast that highlights the most pressing story of the week and draws on reporting and interview content from across the Audacy network of news brands; daily in-depth podcasts and on-demand audio that explore local stories and issues that most affect listeners’ lives; as well as custom newsletters and in-app experiences that offer audiences a chance to explore areas of interest and interact directly with Audacy brands.
Dom Giordano Moves to Rush’s Old Slot on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal (7/6) reports Audacy has made a major move to turn WPHT’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, held for years by Rush Limbaugh, into a local program showcasing the talents of market mainstay Dom Giordano. Thirty-year veteran of the Philly airwaves, Giordano, is rightly considered by many to be “the dean of Philadelphia talk radio.” A former high-profile schoolteacher, he is one of American news/talk radio’s leading advocates for education reform, not to mention a household name in the City of Brotherly Love where he is plugged-in to the full spectrum of local issues. (He’s also quite astute about national issues as evidenced by his being the longtime go-to guy to sit in for Jim Bohannon on that legend’s Westwood One show.) Giordano moves to his new noon start from WPHT’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Morning host Rich Zeoli has taken over an extra hour until 10:00 am and WPHT has been utilizing the services of several locally known talents in the still open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon position.
WABC, New York Brings Constantine Maroulis Aboard for Dual Role. Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor Constantine Maroulis is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to launch a new variety entertainment program called “The Constantine Maroulis Show – Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!” and airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning this Saturday (7/10). Additionally, Maroulis will serve as 77 WABC Radio’s entertainment reporter. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.” He’s worked on Broadway and was twice nominated for Tony Awards – one for his leading role in Rock of Ages. His new program will feature music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s plus interviews with some of the most noteworthy musicians, artists, and influencers. He says, “I will be bringing the high energy and music that fans enjoyed from my ‘American Idol’ performances and starring roles on Broadway. What will be new for fans are my interviews. I look forward to having artists on my show and sharing behind the scenes stories with the audience while I spin amazing songs.” On Mondays and Fridays, Maroulis’ entertainment reports will be heard on “Bernie & Sid In The Morning,” and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, he will deliver a weekend-focused segment titled, “Pop Rocks 60.” Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Constantine is an immense talent both as a performer and storyteller. 77 WABC has worked with him on several specials and charity events, so we are sure ‘The Constantine Maroulis Show — Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!’ will be a homerun with audiences in New York and around the world. We look forward to sharing this new show and his other contributions to our schedule all week long.”
News/Talk WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Changing Hands and Calls. According to a report in Northern Virginia Daily, heritage Winchester, Virginia radio station WINC-AM is in the process of being sold to by Centennial Broadcasting II to Colonial Radio Group for $25,000. The station is operating under new call letters WZFC. It will continue to operate as a news/talk outlet. Centennial previously sold WINC-FM, Berryville and WZFC-FM to Metro Radio and Centennial president and CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper it offered WINC-AM to Metro Radio for free as part of the deal, but that Metro didn’t want it. Shaw says Colonial managing member Todd Bartley has what it takes to make the standalone AM work. “He’s very dynamic and very smart. He believes in local programming and community involvement.” The report goes on to say that “the sale of Centennial’s Winchester-area stations doesn’t include the building on North Pleasant Valley Road that houses their operations. Centennial is allowing Colonial and Metro Radio to occupy the building temporarily. Both companies are seeking new locations for the stations, and Centennial is discussing with real estate brokers possibilities for the approximately 7,000-square-foot building,” according to Shaw. “Those possibilities include demolition, he said, if the building can’t be sold and redeveloped eventually. WINC-AM’s tower on the property will be taken down at some point.”
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (7/8), the Key Networks nationally syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” – starring Bill O’Reilly – will feature an interview with former President Donald Trump. O’Reilly says Trump will appear in the “Message of the Day” segment. “The 45th President of the United States will have the opportunity to comment on rising gas prices, rising violent crime, and a disintegrating southern border.”…..In the wake of recent attacks on journalists, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith issues the following statement: “NAB is gravely concerned by recent incidents of violence directed against broadcast journalists who are covering local news. A cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the free press to document the stories and events shaping our communities and our nation. Journalists should be afforded the respect to safely provide this valuable service to the community without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”…..PodcastOne signs a multi-year partnership with Empire Media Group chairman and CEO Dylan Howard to produce a slate of original scripted and non-scripted podcast and vodcast series. Some of the shows that have been green-lighted include: “The Firm: Blood, Lies & Royal Succession,” a multi-part historical non-scripted drama looking at the British royal family; “My Favorite Scandal,” a weekly series where nothing is NSFW when you work at one of the nation’s leading tabloid magazines; and “You’re Fired,” a weekly series, in which you find out what really happens when the axe falls in the media, Hollywood, politics, television, or off-stage? PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne is thrilled to build our relationship with the Empire Media Group team on their upcoming podcasts. Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin have a proven track record of success in the space, and we are proud to join forces on their exciting new slate of shows.”…..iHeartMedia announces four new shows launching this month from My Cultura, its new podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, while also sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. The network’s initial lineup will include: “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama,” “Exactly Amara,” “Transportista” (published in both English and Spanish) and “Life As a Gringo.” iHeartMedia says, “With a driven commitment to the creation of a platform that helps amplify the Latinx community, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Walgreens will be My Cultura’s inaugural sponsors, building connectivity amongst this growing audience.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association announces this year’s inductees into its NBA Hall of Fame, and this year’s class includes longtime morning personalities Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler, a.k.a. Todd-N-Tyler. The nationally syndicated duo are based at SummitMedia’s rock KEZO, Omaha.
COVID-19 Delta Variant, Soaring Big City Crime and Gun Violence, House January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Tropical Storm Elsa Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). Concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading through the U.S. and the low rate of vaccination in some parts of the country; the skyrocketing rate of violence and gun crimes in America’s big cities; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to appoint Republicans to sit on House January 6 investigation panel; the status of President Joe Biden’s $970 billion infrastructure package; the war of words over the issue of teaching “critical race theory”; the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Delta Blues” looks back at this past week of June 14-18, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jennifer Horn, morning show co-host (870 AM the Answer) KRLA, Los Angeles/co-host DJV Show; Harry Hurley, host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Bill O’ Reilly, commentator, Key Networks; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Travis & Sexton Set To Bow On 400+ Affiliates. Being billed as one of talk radio’s biggest-ever launches, Premiere Networks’ three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, ET) “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” debuts next Monday (6/21) on more than 400 stations. The program inherits the timeslot held for more than three decades by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott remarks, “The reaction from our radio station and advertising partners has been tremendous. Clay and Buck are proving to be a winning combination as we prepare to launch their new show in this highly-coveted timeslot.” Starting in September 2016, Travis began hosting Fox Sports Radio’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” on more than 350 affiliates. Travis founded Outkick.com, which he sold to Fox Corporation earlier this month; he currently co-hosts FS1’s first daily gambling TV show, “Fox Bet Live.” Meanwhile, former CIA officer/NYPD counterterrorism expert Sexton previously headlined Premiere Networks’ three-hour “Buck Sexton Show” on more than 200 stations. The NYC native appears on The First, a digital-first TV network available on more than 14 platforms. Charter “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” affiliates (all eleven owned by iHeartMedia) include: WOR, New York; KEIB, Los Angeles; KTRH, Houston; WXKS-AM, Boston; WIOD, Miami; KFYI, Phoenix; KTLK, Minneapolis; WFLA, Tampa; KDFD, Denver; KEX, Portland; and KFBK AM & FM, Sacramento. It will also be available as a podcast on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.
Cumulus Media D.C. Designates Boden Vice President/Market Manager. Inbound from Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was VP/market manager of Alpha Media’s four-station group, Jeff Boden is named to a similar position at Cumulus Media Washington (DC), where he will oversee news/talk WMAL “105.9 FM – Where Washington Comes To Talk” and sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus Media executive vice president of operations Dave Milner states, “WMAL and WSBN are exceptional stations and demand an exceptional leader at the helm. Jeff Boden is the perfect choice to take these legendary stations into the future. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on the Cumulus Media team. His deep experience and relationships in the market make him our ideal choice. Jeff is respected and appreciated by those in and out of the company and steps into the big shoes left by former VP/market manager Ken Roberts, who sadly and suddenly passed away in April.” Boden comments: “I am truly honored to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s wonderful to serve the local community and our advertising partners. I look forward to working with so many people I have known for years, as well as with newer additions to the team.” From 2005 – 2012, the American University alum and former president of Delmarva Broadcasting Company was president/general manager of WMAL (as well as then cluster-mates) WRQX and WJZW when the stations were owned by ABC Radio and later Citadel Broadcasting. Boden has served as board chair for the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and in the same capacity for the Greater DC/Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Round Two of May PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (DC); Boston; Miami; Seattle; Detroit; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 survey period covered April 29 – May 26. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM “97.3 FM” gains four-tenths (6.2 – 6.6, 6+) to jump from second to first, the lone news/talker from these 12 PPM markets to finish at #1 (May 2021, 6+). Its Denver sports talk sibling – KKFN “104.3 The Fan” – notches that format’s greatest (6+) improvement among these 12 metros (2.1 – 3.0, +.9, #18 to #12, 6+). There’s a bit of irony in San Diego as three iHeartMedia-owned news/talk properties each pick up two-tenths: KOGO “News Radio 600” (5.5 – 5.7, fifth to second, 6+); KGB-AM “760 AM” (1.8 – 2.0, #20 to #19, 6+); and KFI “AM 640” (1.6 – 1.8, #21 to #20, 6+). In addition to Seattle’s KIRO-FM, the only other station from these 12 PPM-markets to land on top (May 2021, 6+) is American University-owned public radio news/talk WAMU (10.2 – 9.5, -.7, 6+), which repeats at #1 the fifth straight month. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this second round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.
KHTK Extends Its Pact With The NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Continuing a partnership that dates back to 1994, Bonneville Sacramento sports talk KHTK “Sports 1140” will remain the radio flagship of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Bonneville Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim remarks, “We are excited to continue our relationship with the Sacramento Kings for years to come. Bonneville’s commitment to our local community continues to make KHTK the perfect home for our Sacramento Kings.” KHTK program director Jason Ross notes, “Having the opportunity to work on the radio broadcasts for the team and to work for the radio station, I feel the passion of this fanbase and the community.” Sacramento Kings president of business operations John Rinehart adds, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with KHTK, providing an incomparable experience for the best fans in the NBA. KHTK brings a shared passion for the community and their broadcast not only paints the picture of game action but also provides a high level of entertainment for listeners.” As part of the long-term deal, KHTK will have streaming rights within 75 miles of Golden 1 Center.
Quintet Welcomed To Colorado Public Radio’s Board Of Directors. Joining the CPB board this past Wednesday (6/16) are: Linda Appel Lipsius; Ricardo Baca; Lori Bergen; Steve ErkenBrack; and Sherisse Hawkins. Board chair Philip Johnson remarks, “We are happy to welcome these members to the board of directors. Each of them brings a passion for community and [Colorado Public Radio‘s] mission, along with professional and personal experiences that will enrich and inform the board’s efforts.” Lipsius joined the board of Denver Urban Gardens in 2020 and became executive director in 2021. She is co-founder and former CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas and was a vice president at Orange Glo International. Indigenous-born Colorado native Baca is a journalist, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur. He served as The Denver Post‘s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country. AdCann named Baca “Marketer of the Year” in 2019. Bergen is the founding dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she holds the James E. De Castro Chair in Global Media Studies. A former journalist, she has been a faculty member and served in academic leadership roles at Kansas State University, Texas State University and Marquette University. ErkenBrack served as president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Mesa County’s elected District Attorney; and Colorado’s chief deputy attorney general. He has founded two law firms in Grand Junction and Denver and is currently “Of Counsel” with Grand Junction’s Hoskin Farina & Kampf, P.C. He was president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council. Engineer/technologist Hawkins is founder/CEO of PageDip. The award-winning business owner has appeared in Vanity Fair and on ABC-TV‘s “Shark Tank.” She worked as a Walt Disney Imagineer, building theme park attractions around the globe, and a system architect specializing in digital video delivery.
NAB Show Accepting Nominations For “Product Of The Year.” The awards recognize the most significant and promising new products and technologies developed by NAB Show exhibitors. Award recipients will be selected by a panel of industry experts in 16 categories and announced October 12 during the official awards ceremony/reception. Nominated products and technologies must be available for delivery this calendar year. NAB executive vice president of global connections and events Chris Brown notes, “NAB Show is the premier venue to launch and demonstrate new products that sit at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. We look forward to exploring innovations from the past two years and celebrating their impact on our industry.” In addition to “Radio,” product categories for this year’s NAB Show “Product of the Year” awards are as follows: AI/Machine Learning; Asset Management, Automation, Playout; Audio Production, Processing and Networking; Camera Support, Control and Accessories; Cameras; Cloud Computing and Storage; Digital Signage & Display Systems; Graphics, Editing, VXF, Switchers; Grip Equipment; Hardware Infrastructure; IT Networking/Infrastructure & Security; Location/Studio Lighting; Monitoring and Measuring Tools; Remote Production; and Streaming. Nominations are being accepted through September 17; companies can submit product nominations here.
New FCC Rules Address Emergency Alerts. The latest FCC-adopted policies are aimed to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on radios, mobile phones, and televisions. The move is in response to a false 2018 emergency alert in Hawaii, which mistakenly warned of an incoming ballistic missile attack. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 subsequently directed the FCC, in consultation with FEMA, to adopt rules to strengthen emergency alerting in various areas. The Commission adopted a “Report and Order” to ensure that more people receive relevant emergency alerts, enable government agencies to report any false alerts, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts. Specifically, the “Report and Order” combines the current “Presidential Alerts” category with alerts from the FEMA Administrator to form a new non-optional alert class called “National Alerts.” Under the alert class, all states are encouraged to form State Emergency Communications Committees, which help administer alerting on the state level, or to review the composition and governance of existing committees, as well as require certification of annual committee meetings, while providing a checklist of information that should be included in annual state Emergency Alert System plans. It also specifies that government agencies may report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center and clarifies how alert originators can repeat their alert transmissions.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by The New York Post, former WNYC, New York City reporter Fred Mogul has brought a defamation and wrongful termination suit against the New York Public Radio news/talk station. Filed earlier this week in Manhattan Supreme Court, the suit claims that Mogul was falsely accused of plagiarism over two lines of AP copy included in a draft of a report for WNYC sister site Gothamist but not the completed January 28 piece, which credited AP. Mogul, who was fired February 5, alleges that editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper told over 50 staffers that Mogul failed to credit AP on the story’s byline and had “lifted another person’s words.” Mogul, however, claims the draft followed WNYC’s style guide … RAB senior vice president of insights, Annette Malave, successfully completed the University of South Florida Muma College of Business’ “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace” certificate. The 14-hour course focused on how companies and organizations can create more diverse workplaces while addressing equity issues and fostering inclusivity. Malave comments, “Multicultural efforts have always been a passion of mine throughout my career in the ad industry. The events of 2020 made me realize that I needed more than just passion, but an education on the role that diversity, equity and inclusivity play in our lives and in the workplace. I hope to take what I learned from this course and apply it to what I do in life and what we offer at RAB.” … Word comes from RobertFeder.com that Good Karma Brands Chicago sports talk WMVP “ESPN 1000” will add an FM HD2 simulcast, slated to be functional for tonight’s game between the White Sox and Houston Astros.
Art Lovers Go Hunting For A Bargain. In addition to hosting a daily three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) show on Cox Media Group Jacksonville news/talk WOKV-FM, Toronto-born Mark Kaye does a weekly program on Newsmax TV. When the New York University-educated Kaye heard that Hunter Biden had changed careers to become a professional artist, he decided to do some painting of his own. The subject of his effort was fellow Florida resident Donald Trump. Kaye remarks, “When we reported that Hunter Biden was painting full time, we laughed; [however], when we heard art dealers were prepared to offer [as much as a million dollars] for an original Hunter Biden painting, we cried. If Hunter Biden could get [that much money] for his paintings, so could we.” Kaye crowdsourced ideas from his listeners and asked them what he should paint. “If they asked for it, we painted it.” That’s how he ended up with the portrait of Trump. Kaye’s portrait is currently for sale via online auction with an asking price of $10,000 or best offer. Kaye comments, “We’ve seen Hunter Biden’s work and, quite frankly, this painting is way better. As far as the $10,000 asking price, we didn’t want to be greedy – plus, people love a bargain.” Kaye’s fans have driven the price to $2100. Kaye will announce the winner immediately after the auction concludes next Monday (6/21).
Nielsen-MRI Fusion Study: 37% Of Newsmax Viewers Identify As Independents. A recent Nielsen-MRI fusion study profiled Newsmax‘s audience and found 37% of its viewers described themselves as “independents”; CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News each drew 35%. In addition, 37% of Newsmax viewers label themselves Republicans; 26% say they are Democrats. Seven of ten (70%) report they always vote in national, state, or local elections. According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “This study shows that Newsmax attracts a very diverse group of Americans from all backgrounds. One thing they have in common is their appetite for real news delivered by objective journalists with no axes to grind – something that’s resonating with independent voters.” Top jobs held by Newsmax viewers include positions in education, office/administration, sales, management, construction, and farming. Newsmax attracts an equal mix of the sexes, with a 50/50 male-female split.
KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque Names John Summers News Director. Radio news and programming pro John Summers is named news director for Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque. Cumulus says Summers is an award-winning journalist who was most recently brand manager and news director for Saga Communications’ WHCU-AM/FM, Ithaca, New York. Prior to that, he was regional program director and news director for the Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart says, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the News Radio KKOB family. He’s a great fit to lead this iconic Albuquerque station into an exciting new chapter and to help capitalize on our recent expansion of the KKOB brand.” Summers says, “I’m thrilled to become part of the awesome Southwest legend, KKOB. I really appreciate Jeff Berry and Jared Hart’s confidence in my journalistic vision for the giant AM/FM signals involved – and I love New Mexico. This is going to be fun.”
Disruptor Radio LLC Acquires WNTW-AM, Richmond. Virginia media company Disruptor Radio, LLC announces it has closed on the purchase of WNTW-AM and translator W224EB – both licensed to Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Disruptor Radio is operated by John Fredericks, whose radio show airs in morning drive on the simulcast and is based at Disruptor’s WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia. It’s distributed by the John Fredericks Radio Network. Fredericks says the combination of the three signals “gives JFRN the largest footprint and most coverage in central Virginia.” John Fredericks says, “As of June 17, we have the most dynamic and engaging news/talk network lineup in America right here in central Virginia. Our combined three-stick radio reach now goes to Petersburg in the south, Fredericksburg to the north, west to Charlottesville, southwest to Longwood University in Farmville and east to Newport News and the Northern Neck. We now have a bigger footprint then-rival legacy station WRVA in Richmond and we look forward to the opportunity to offer central Virginia radio listeners an exciting alternative in the news/talk arena.” Fredericks adds he’s not shy about further expansion potential and he’s bullish on the future of talk radio.
Firings at U.S. Agency for Global Media Draw Rebuke from Democrats. The U.S. Senate confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and his subsequent firing of four news organization chiefs has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats. According to Edward Wong’s story in The New York Times, those let go on Wednesday evening were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund. The story adds that Pack also “disbanded the bipartisan boards that govern and advise those five organizations. He replaced the members, which are the same across the organizations, largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman.” On Monday of this week, Radio Free America director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned their positions.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Obviously, without any sports contests being played since March, the format has suffered, but the downward trend the format experienced in March and April is leveling off. Sixty-two percent of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up, led by Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver (+1.0, 3.1share). Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, just 32% of stations are up with 65% down. The year-over-year gainers are led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (+1.8, 5.9 share). No sports talker came close to ranking #1 in its market in May. Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia was the top ranker in the format, finishing at #4 with a 5.9 share. Read Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
John Bolton Book, BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Case, Trump Police Reform Order, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, Aunt Jemima Retired, Presidential Race, China-India Clash, and Return of the NBA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The controversy and legal battle over former national security adviser John Bolton’s yet-to-be-released book; the Black Lives Matter protests and the officers being charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks; President Trump issues a police reform executive order; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S., the states seeing increases, and the outbreak in Beijing; the Aunt Jemima brands are retired by PepsiCo; the November presidential election; the deadly clash between China and India over a disputed Himalayan border region; and the NBA prepares to return to action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Scott Herman Elected Chair of Broadcasters Foundation of America. The board of directors of the Broadcasters Foundation of America elects radio executive Scott Herman chair of the charitable organization. Herman served for years with CBS RADIO and Group W and he’s currently CEO of SHH Media Management. He takes over for Dan Mason, who remains on the board of directors. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb is re-elected as vice chair. Additionally, Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones is elected to the board. Dan Mason says, “It has been an honor to serve the broadcasting industry as chair of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement as a board member of this unique charity that helps our colleagues. I am pleased to turn over the chair seat to Scott, who I know to be both capable and caring. He loves this industry as much as I do and will work tirelessly to help those in our business who need it most.” Herman is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board and has served as vice chair since 2017.
DOUBLE HEADER: ‘Two Men, Two Games’ – Sean Spicer and Colin Cowherd Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former White House press secretary and current Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer and FOX Sports Radio/Television host Colin Cowherd are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a two-part program titled, “Two Men, Two Games,” Harrison discusses a wide array of current issues with two of the most colorful individuals in talk media focusing on the impact that today’s turbulence is having on media, business, sports, and society. Harrison and Spicer talk about the seismic changes that have taken place in the relationship between the presidency and the press during the Donald Trump administration in addition to ongoing debate over government regulation of social media. Spicer also offers his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and offers a few tips on how to approach this president in an interview or ask him questions at a press conference. Harrison and Cowherd (who is ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on professional sports, the delicate art of simulcasting a talk show on radio and television, the responsibility team owners have to the fans, as well as a fascinating breakdown on the political leanings of sports talk radio listeners. Don’t miss this power-packed installment of one of the world’s most-respected, media-oriented podcasts. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After last week’s exit from SummitMedia by SVP of programming Beverlee Brannigan, the company announces that Randy Chase is joining the company in the same capacity. SummitMedia says Chase joins the leadership team and will oversee all country music stations. He’ll report to EVP of programming Bill Tanner. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “Randy’s experience across all formats and his passion to serve our listeners make him an excellent addition to our team. His ability to innovate in our industry and drive consumer engagement are attributes we are particularly excited about.” Chase has served with the Educational Media Foundation as VP of radio for the past seven years. Prior to that he led national country branding and programming for Cox Media Group. Chase will be based in Knoxville and will also serve as program director for country WCYQ, Knoxville “100.3 The Wolf.”…..Hubbard Radio makes changes to the air staff at Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 THE MIX.” Eric Ferguson remains in mornings but everything else changes. Sixteen-year afternoon drive personality Kevin “Koz” Koske leaves that daypart and will be director of creative services for both WTMX and sister AC WSHE. He’ll also handle some weekend and fill-in shifts. Taking over afternoon drive is evening host Chris Petlak and midday jock Lisa Allen. Taking over Allen’s midday slot is music director Nikki Chuminatto. Weekend personality Jordan “Dash” Weiss is upped to evening personality…..In Charlottesville, Virginia, Saga Communications lets classic rock WWWV morning host and imaging director Max Hoecker go and replaces his show with the Westwood One syndicated “Bob & Tom” Show…..United Stations Radio Networks announces a new program hosted by Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Kenny Loggins. Titled, “Kenny Loggins: The Real Thing,” the program will debut at a yet-to-be-finalized date this summer and will be delivered as completely flexible segments allowing stations to build their imaging and music around voice tracks supplied by Kenny Loggins.
iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17). Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement. The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego. iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well. Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018. That deal was for $325 million. Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.
TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing. Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years. Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19. The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”). Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more. The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions. The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue. Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources. The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.” Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters. To sign up, please click here. To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.
WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits. Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed. DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos. The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens. DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community. I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years. I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.” DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ. Reach him at email@example.com.
First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released. The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26. See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets. Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.
SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo. Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future. Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”
Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home. With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years. The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house. Walter himself prefers the laundry room. Read his advice here.
Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president. The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands. Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands. She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg. She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.” Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.
The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?” Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles. WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality. The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history. The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic. WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world. We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences. We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right). Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today. ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’” Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming. In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.” Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster. She’ll retain her WSHK duties. Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station. Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best. Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.