The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone. This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode. It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN). For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
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, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Derek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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 iHeartPodcast 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.
Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”
The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”
Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”
Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.
Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.
TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.
COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. There was a lot of news and controversy during Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey (August 13-September 9) during a period that is usually sleepy in non-election years and that could account for the fact that 62% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes in his analysis that gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.6), Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” (+1.4), and Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.3). Looking at year-over-year ratings improvements, WISN was the most-improved news/talk station putting up a 5.5 share gain from September 2019 to September 2020. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City was close behind (+4.5), followed by WCBM Maryland’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.5). iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles was again the news/talk station with the highest cume (742,800). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
New Midday Sports Talk Program Debuts on Radio and Online. The new sports talk program “The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes, and Eytan” will launch on Monday (10/19) starring former NFL lineman Barrett Brooks (bottom), Harry Mayes (top right), and Eytan Shander (top left). The program, produced by JAKIB Media Partners, will air live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on PhillyVoice.com and WBSS-AM, Pleasantville “AM 1490 Sports Betting Radio” in South Jersey. It is also available via the SportsMap Radio Network. PhillyVoice CEO Hal Donnelly says, “This exciting partnership brings together two of the city’s top sources for Philly sports news, making it easier than ever for fans to consume the content they crave on the platform of their choice. We look forward to welcoming JAKIB Media’s audience to PhillyVoice.com.”
October Is the Time to Reexamine ‘The Scare On the Air.’ With Halloween just weeks away, what better time to take a look at the genre that produced some of radio’s most revered programs – the horror drama. University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon writes for TALKERS about the great horror dramas of radio’s Golden Age (the 1930s through the 1950s). Proof of radio listeners’ love of stories that thrill and chill exists today in the numerous scripted podcasts being produced in the horror genre. In his piece, Weldon chronicles some of the great radio horror dramas, explains the importance of sound effects (and how they were made!), and gives credit to some of the writers that made those great programs as successful as they were. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Dueling Town Halls, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Emails Probe, COVID Stimulus Negotiations, California Wildfires, and NFL’s COVID Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The November presidential election and controversy over two networks’ competing presidential town hall broadcasts; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus concerns about a full-blown fall/winter second wave; the Hunter Biden emails that could implicate him in benefiting from access to then-Vice President Joe Biden; the negotiations in Washington over a new COVID stimulus package; the status of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID tests among players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (10/16), Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” present the daylong “Back the Blue” special – a tribute to “honor the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep the New York Metro Area safe.” Listeners are being encouraged to tie a blue ribbon on trees, bushes, park benches – everywhere around the tri-state area – to show their support for the men and women in blue. The program will feature current and former law enforcement officers as well as family members of officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty. WABC and Red Apple SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi says, “As New Yorkers, we want to let the police know that we appreciate all that they do for us. The 77 WABC ‘Back the Blue’ special is one way we can honor police officers across the New York Metro Area.”…..The program “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Community Health Center, Inc, is celebrating the 11th anniversary of its first broadcast featuring an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is leading the COVID-19 response at the National Institutes of Health. The nationally syndicated show is co-hosted by Mark Masselli, founder and CEO, and Margaret Flinter, SVP and clinical director of CHC, Inc. The program initially launched to explore the transformation of American health care in the 21st century, spurred by technological advances and passage of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the show’s first guest in the fall of 2009…..The New Haven Register reports that radio’s Clark Smidt has purchased WATX-AM, Hamden, Connecticut, (the former WQUN) from Quinnipiac University. Luther Turmelle writes that Smidt purchased the station via his Clark Media LLC and the amount – not revealed by Smidt – is estimated to be a portion of the school’s legal bills for the transaction. The station is currently dark and it’s unknown what if anything Smidt intends to do with the signal…..It may mean nothing at all but Kevin Kinkead writes in Crossing Broad that WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive host Mike Missanelli has changed his Twitter handle from @MikeMiss975 to @MikeMiss25. Kinkead says, “One would assume that removing the 975 reference would allow him to continue to post partisan political tweets and call other people idiots and dolts without any of that coming back to Beasley Media Group. It’s like saying ‘views don’t represent those of my employer’ without actually saying it. Maybe Beasley suggested he do this, or maybe not. Just speculating on that.”
Charlie Kirk Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The founder and president of Turning Point USA and host of a newly launched daily Salem Radio Network show, Charlie Kirk is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, The Michael Harrison Interview. At 26, Charlie Kirk was the youngest speaker at the recent Republican National Convention and is already a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Regardless of one’s personal partisan leanings, this young communicator commands respect for his ability to articulate a compelling case for traditional conservative ideology. He is the founder and president of Turning Point USA – a national student movement with the mission of “identifying, organizing, and empowering” young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government which are – or at least are supposed to be – the foundation of American conservative thinking. With a presence on over 2,000 high school and college campuses nationwide, 250,000 student members, and over 150 full-time staff, Turning Point USA is the largest and fastest growing conservative youth activist organization in the country. Kirk is also a New York Times best-selling author whose presence on social media reaches over 100 million people per month and according to Axios he is one of the “top 10 most engaged” Twitter handles in the world behind only President Trump among conservatives. His new midday talk show on the Salem Radio Network debuted two weeks ago. 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.
Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good – A Profile of Talk Radio Host Michael Berry. Houston-based talk radio host Michael Berry – heard on KTRH, Houston locally and on stations across the nation in syndication – is the subject of a profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Michael Berry is an attorney, former real estate broker, former six-term Houston city council member, and former Houston mayor pro tem who got his start in talk radio doing a weekend real estate program. From there he transitioned into hosting a news/talk radio program. Berry’s current programs are heard on some 20 affiliate stations in addition to home base KTRH. He says, “We have not aggressively sought markets. Folks find our shows on podcasts, streaming, or when they’re driving in another town. They reach out to me through my website and literally ask what it would take to get me on their station. We don’t actually in the technical, literal sense ‘syndicate.’ I don’t sell an ad to a nationwide company that we place into the show. It’s not syndication in the purest sense. We give stations the show and all the resources they need. If a station makes money from the show, they are going to keep it. I’m still in the building phase and doing it on my own. You lose money for a long time to get a big footprint.” Read the entire piece here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Fort Smith, Arkansas radio personality Darren Miner, a.k.a. Maverick, has been fired by iHeartMedia for a tweet about a University of Arkansas female basketball player. Miner worked on air at country KMAG-FM. Responding to player Erynn Barnum’s tweet of four pictures of herself in uniform sitting on top of the announcers table at the school’s arena, Miner tweeted, “Now they just need to install a pole.” iHeartMedia area president Clyde Bass tells KFSM-TV that as soon as they became aware of the tweet, Miner was let go…..Beasley Media Group names Tradia McCoy the new midday personality at hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville “Foxy 99. ” She was most recently with Radio One’s hip hop WCDX-FM, Richmond, Virginia. “Foxy 99” program director and brand manager Kenny J says, “We’re extremely excited to welcome Tradia McCoy to the ‘Foxy’ family. Tradia’s energy, passion, and social media knowledge made her the fit for middays on WZFX/Foxy 99.”…..Skyview Networks announces that Raul “Rico” Colindres joins the company as vice president, content development and syndication. In this role, he’ll lead the company’s syndication initiative, working to develop current shows such as “The Dana Cortez Show” and “Nick Cannon Radio,” and discover and develop additional programs. As part of the new relationship, Colindres’ “Carmen’s Calls” prank phone call bit service joins the Skyview syndication lineup, effective January 1, 2021…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s urban contemporary WDAS-FM, hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze” announce the fourth annual “Sista Strut” breast cancer walk taking place virtually Saturday (10/17). A portion of the proceeds for the event will benefit the American Association for Cancer Research.
More on Talk Radio Covering the Coronavirus Challenge. On Monday (3/9) TALKERS magazine reported on how radio stations and media companies are addressing the coronavirus epidemic. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison wrote, “Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events. Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the ‘weaponization’ of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth. Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.” On Thursday of this week (3/12), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present a special Town Hall broadcast to confront the worldwide novel coronavirus crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents. “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott says, “As a corridor state and international arrival hub, the challenges of dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak are unique in New Jersey. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation being disseminated to the public. Our Town Hall broadcast will help New Jersey residents separate fact from fiction and allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Lincoln Miller, infectious disease specialist with RWJBarnabas Health; Ken Kamen, president of Princeton-based Mercadien Asset Management; and a representative from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Scott and guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour. At the national level, ABC Audio today begins producing the daily program, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” as a podcast. It’s being hosted by anchor and correspondent Aaron Katersky and features the latest headlines and updates on the coronavirus outbreak as well as chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answering questions from social media. Back at the local level, KSCO, Santa Cruz, California general manager Michael Olson says the epidemic is affecting listeners’ lives. “The situation in our broadcast area (South San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas) is rapidly evolving. Santa Clara County is now a community spread hotspot, Stanford University has closed its classrooms, and Santa Cruz County now has three confirmed cases. One of the area’s big fears is the possible consequence of when and if the virus hits the homeless community, which is extensive and vulnerable.” Olson says from a station operations standpoint, they have taken the following steps to protect the staff so KSCO can continue to serve the public. “To protect ourselves, we have established a to-the-extent-possible ‘no touch’ policy throughout the station and set up cleaning stations at each broadcast station so hosts can clean their surfaces before use. We are also reducing the number of people who actually come into the studios – 89 voices at last count – and are employing a remote studio adjacent to the main broadcast facility. To continue broadcasting should the virus take hold and we are quarantined, we have agreed to establish an ad-hoc KSCO broadcast staff of those able to stay at the station and continue broadcasting.”
Lee Abrams Re-Launches Consultancy. Consultant and media executive Lee Abrams announces he’s relaunching his consulting business under the name MediaVisions. Abrams has been consulting and working as an executive in the media industry for more than 40 years. During that time, he’s worked with hundreds of radio stations, major networks, and leading corporate clients. Abrams says the focus of the firm will be: a new radio format; complete reimagination of video content, news and information; creative driven 40+ music innovation for entertainment and media leaders; innovative podcasting; and working with companies looking for creative direction and new ways to prosper. MediaVisions’ goal is to generate revenue for what’s on the horizon for media and entertainment entities. Abrams says, “Not data driven, very creative driven. I don’t do research, I interpret it…news and information is what is steering our 21st century world – the equivalent of what rock ‘n’ roll was 40 years ago. MediaVisions will merge this passion for information, knowledge, and insight with the revolution in technology. We are positioned to help companies navigate and prosper in traditional media, today’s digital landscape, and evolving disruptive technologies.”
Bill O’Reilly Visits Affiliate WCBM, Baltimore. Pictured above is Bill O’Reilly, host of the Key Networks-syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” (left) along with some of the staff of affiliate station WCBM, Baltimore as they enjoy a private dinner at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland. Seated with O’Reilly are (from l-r): WCBM morning co-host Bruce Elliott, his wife Vivian Elliott, WCBM midday host Derek Hunter, Robyn Casey, and her husband WCBM morning co-host (and station PD) Sean Casey.
Coronavirus Epidemic/Trump Chief of Staff Self-Quarantines, Financial Markets Sell-Off, Trump Payroll Tax Cut Proposal, Oil Price War, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The status of the coronavirus epidemic and incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows self-quarantines; Monday’s stock market sell-off brings Dow down 7%; President Trump’s proposal of a payroll tax cut to help U.S. businesses; Saudi Arabia launches an oil price war putting oil stocks at the top of the sell-off; and the Democratic primary battle between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. There are more primary elections taking place across the country today (3/10) and FOX News Radio is providing hourly updates in addition to a two hour “Democracy 2020” special tonight from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET anchored by FNR national correspondent Jared Halpern. Joining him will be political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR correspondents around the country. FOX News Podcasts is offering a special edition of the daily morning podcast, “The FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Brett Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What,” hosted by Dana Perino and FNC politics editor Chris Stirewalt…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that DuPage Radio’s WCKG-AM is dropping its FOX Sports Radio affiliation and will re-brand the station as “Sportsbook Radio,” although there’s no word yet on what programming will fill the airwaves. WCKG station manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re planning to develop long-form and short-form ‘Sportsbook Radio’ content on WCKG, with local casino and media partners to be announced. That work is underway, but rather than have sports personalities cover gambling, we’d prefer to have gambling experts on air. Ultimately, we will see our studio inside a Chicago-area sportsbook to get as close to the action as possible.” Also from Robert Feder, radio news pro John Dempsey is moving to afternoons on WLS-AM for the Big John Howell show. As a result, anchor Lauren Cohn is moving to the midday slot…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers are sticking with iHeartMedia for their radio play-by-play this season but games will air on alternative KYSR “ALT 98.7” instead of news/talk KFI, where they aired last season. Some games will be simulcast on the company’s sports talk KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new adult contemporary outlet debuts in the Shreveport, Louisiana market as Cumulus Media flips KRMD-AM and translator K264AS to “Lite Rock 100.7.” Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “We’re excited to launch a fresh at-work listening station in the Shreveport metro. Since he has arrived, operations manager Jay Michaels has done a great job increasing audience levels with our top 40 station KQHN-FM. With this format flip from sports to the lite rock format, I am anticipating similar results.”…..Yesterday (3/9), TALKERS reported that Brian Zepp is returning to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis as a member of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard. Now, we learn that Zepp is filling the role that co-host Michele Tafoya held for the past four years. Tafoya is exiting the show and tells the Star-Tribune she’s in talks with NBC about more work for the network in addition to her NFL sideline reporting…..On-air pro Kimmie Caruba joins Pacific Media Group to co-host mornings with Keola Lui-Kwan on CHR KDDB, Honolulu “102.7 Da Bomb.” Caruba was most recently evening personality at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99.”…..Programming pro Casey Daniels is named operations manager for Adams Radio’s Tallahassee station group and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.” Daniels was most recently on-air at WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana.
WCBM, Baltimore Announces Programming Changes. Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM “Talk Radio 680” announces a number of coming programming changes. Starting in morning drive, longtime newsman and co-host Frank Luber exits the show but will stay with the station to help with special projects and to continue to serve as a spokesman for some of its major advertisers. WCBM says that Luber and Nicholas Mangione were “instrumental in establishing WCBM as a major news/talk presence in Baltimore.” Beginning November 4, late morning talk host Bruce Elliott joins Sean Casey (who continues to serve as the station’s PD) for “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott.” Stepping into the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host role is Derek Hunter, who returns to Baltimore after having served in recent years with the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and as managing editor at The Daily Caller. The station also adds “The FOX News Rundown” for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour and Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update” with Bill O’Reilly to air from 11:45 am to 12:00 noon.
Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers. How-you-say what-you-say makes a difference, and (obvious) former high school English teacher Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column. Read it here.
ISIS Leader Dead, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Katie Hill Resigns, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, and Brexit Extension Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is reported by President Trump; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of illegal actions against Trump, and Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to the Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigns her seat after being accused of improper relations with a campaign staffer; the wildfires in California and PG&E’s shutting off electricity to almost 1 million customers; and Boris Johnson gets an extension to January 31 for Britain’s exit from the EU were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Newsmax TV Presents Presidential Town Hall. In conjunction with the League of United Latin American Citizens, Newsmax TV presented a two-hour Presidential Town Hall with top Democratic candidates last Thursday (10/24). Taking part in the Newsmax Town Hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines were candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro. The live Newsmax TV production reached 70 million cable homes.
FOX News Radio Makes ‘Rundown’ Available for Radio Stations. “The FOX News Rundown” launched in 2017 as a podcast hosted by Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, and Jessica Rosenthal. Now, FOX News Radio is making the program available as an early morning weekday news hour “perfect for setting the stage for your local morning show.” FNR says, “‘The Rundown’ takes a deeper dive into the stories that are important to you and your listeners. Hosted by the anchors of FOX News Radio, the ‘Rundown’ also features voices from FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and the world of politics and entertainment.”
Ben & Skin Exit ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. The midday duo Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – have resigned their positions with Entercom’s sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas for an opportunity elsewhere. They are being replaced in the station lineup by evening duo Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors. It’s not known if this is a permanent move or not. Regardless, morning drive co-host Shan Shariff tweeted that the duo was not fired and was moving on to another opportunity.
TALKERS News Notes. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Todd Starnes Faith and Freedom Celebration to be held at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia on April 18, 2020. The annual event has raised more than $300,000 in scholarship money for students at the Christian school. Starnes says, “I can’t say enough great things about Sarah. Our media company is committed to super-serving the communities that broadcast my programs and bringing nationally known speakers to our event is a part of that effort.”…..WODS, Boston morning drive personality TJ Taormina has launched a podcast on Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform called, “Meet My Wife.” Taormina tells TALKERS, “It was an opportunity for me to step up to a blank canvas and create something from scratch. It starts in a music recording studio with a full band and travels from grocery store parking lots, to the middle of Boston Common, to my home living room. I wanted to take a unique approach to the rapidly growing podcast arena and make it something that could complement my daily live radio show.”…..Entercom’s board of directors have approved a clawback policy for five of its highest-paid executives. A clawback is a provision in an employment contract that states money paid to an employee may have to be returned. It’s usually for highly compensated executives and is intended as a sign of goodwill toward investors. In Entercom’s case, stock ownership guidelines were included with this move and require president and CEO David Field to hold Entercom shares equal to at least six times his base salary. It requires CFO Rich Schmaeling, COO Weezie Kramer, chief revenue officer Robert Philips, and EVP/general counsel Andrew Sutor to hold shares of at least two times their base salaries…..Boston public radio news/talk WGBH-FM is adding the NPR-distributed program “1A” to its lineup, airing from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The program is hosted by Joshua Johnson and focuses on First Amendment issues “related to policy, politics, technology, pop culture, sports, and humor.” The program’s goal is to “act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.”
WHAT IS REAL? Former WWE Champion Mick Foley Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most theatrical professional wrestlers of the modern era who blurred the line between reality and fiction as much as anyone who ever played the game, Mick Foley, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Foley created several of wrestling’s most memorable characters, including Cactus Jack and Mankind, participating in physically damaging stunts that took his body past the limits of safety and protection. Although he played brutish, psychotic characters, Foley went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker, and articulate supporter of a variety of charities and social causes. In a fascinating one-on-one conversation, Harrison and Foley discuss the nature of reality TV and the role it plays in today’s political circus citing Donald Trump’s participation in the WWE prior to his presidency as an early example of the Commander in Chief’s penchant for mixing over-the-top theatrics with the semblance of real life storylines. Don’t miss this! 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 of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Steve Hoffman is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS-FM and assistant program director for sister urban contemporary KOAS, effective October 14. Hoffman has been consulting for the past few years. He was previously on air at KSWD, Los Angeles and programmed KCAL, Riverside for 15 years. Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton states, “We have been interested in bringing Steve into the fold for quite some time. I had the pleasure of working with him in Los Angeles for five years. Hiring Steve allows us to continue to surround ourselves with the best in the industry.”…..At Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles, Chris Booker shifts from the afternoon drive show to AM drive where he’ll work with co-host Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee. The new show replaces Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo. He’d been paired with Brian Moote and Briggs. Briggs exited the station in August. Taking over Booker’s afternoon drive show is midday personality Yesi Ortiz. Moving to middays from weekends is Christen…..iHeartMedia names Adam Rivers program director for its four-station cluster in New Haven. He’d been serving as APD and music director at CHRs WKCI “KC101” and WKSS “KISS 95-7.” He’s now also programming news/talk WELI and sports talk WAVZ “ESPN 1300.” iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “Over the past several years, Adam has truly been the backbone here at ‘KC101’ and a staple in Connecticut radio. Adam’s years of experience and the way he engages with his listeners go far beyond his afternoon drive show and we couldn’t be happier to see him evolve into this new role here in New Haven, Connecticut.”
Steve Bannon Launches Impeachment-Focused Radio Show and Podcast. Politico is reporting that former Breitbart executive and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon has launched a daily, one-hour radio show and podcast called, “War Room: Impeachment.” The story indicates that show is airing on six conservative talk stations in Virginia and Florida, though no call letters are cited. Bannon tells Politico that “the show will be about the impeachment process, specifically the witnesses and the evidence, and ‘is going to get very granular.’” Bannon says he aims “to break news and make the show an outlet for people to leak information related to impeachment.” The program includes two co-hosts – former Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller and former Breitbart London bureau chief Raheem Kassam. Bannon hosted a daily morning political talk show on SiriusXM when he was with Breitbart.
Todd Starnes to Moderate SRN Political Event. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Starnes is moderating Salem Radio Network’s “Countdown 2020: The Race to the White House” on November 5 in San Antonio. The panelists include SRN talk show hosts Dennis Prager and Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Starnes – a best-selling author and syndicated political columnist who recently left FOX News – is launching his new, three-hour talk radio program via Hamilton Strategies on Monday, November 4. Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Report: Stephen A. Smith to Leave ESPN Radio as Part of New Contract. The New York Post is reporting on the story broken by The Big Lead that ESPN and Stephen A. Smith are negotiating a contract extension that would pay him $40 million to $50 million over a five-year period. According to the Post, Smith will continue his “First Take” duties, add more “SportsCenter” appearances, and host his own edition of “SportsCenter” on Wednesdays before NBA games. He would, however, exit his daily midday show on ESPN Radio. The story also says that ESPN talent who might take over the radio show include Max Kellerman or Mina Kimes.
KYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg Named Journalist of the Year. KYW, Philadelphia community affairs reporter and on-air host Cherri Gregg is named Journalist of the Year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. Gregg is recognized by the organization in the broadcast and online category and will be honored at the PABJ’s annual Awards and Scholarship Gala on November 2 in Philadelphia. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Cherri is extremely deserving of this award. She is a champion of the community who is constantly searching for and reporting on the stories and issues that matter most to KYW Newsradio listeners across the Philadelphia area. I’m proud to call her a member of our team.” Gregg joined KYW Newsradio as a reporter in 2010 and has served as the station’s community affairs reporter since 2013. In addition to that role, Gregg hosts “Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg,” a weekly program that focuses on the most relevant issues affecting the Philadelphia area. The program airs on five Entercom Philadelphia stations. Earlier this year, Gregg was recognized with two National Association of Black Journalists Salute To Excellence Awards for radio investigative reporting and podcasting.
TALKERS News Notes. On November 15, the Black News Channel will debut in 30 million American homes and one of the personalities on the new network will be Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder. BNC hasn’t specifically stated what program or daypart Elder will host, just that he’s a “show host/commentator.” Vibe.com says, “Everyone loves a wildcard and BNC has found one in Larry Elder. The radio staple and attorney has over 25 years in the industry from news programs on NBC and ABC News & Talk. He also starred as a judge on ‘Moral Court,’ an early production by TMZ creator Harvey Levin in 2001.”…..Gone from the air on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is afternoon drive personality Mac Watson – one half of the “Mac & Gaydos” show. The station made no announcement about the change, but Larry Gaydos continues in the daypart as solo host of “Gaydos in the Afternoon.” Watson had been partnered with Gaydos since 2008…..In Cleveland, Good Karma Brands announces two new staffers for its sports talk duo of WKNR-AM “ESPN 850” and WWGK-AM “ESPN 1540 KNR2.” Brock Thompson joins from MAVTV where he was VP of media sales to become general sales manager for Good Karma. At the same time, Amy Crossman is named marketing director for the stations. She was most recently director of partnerships for the Pro Football Hall of Fame…..The Radio America nationally syndicated “Passport Mommy” program, hosted by veteran talk show host and mom Michelle Jerson, welcomes WGCH-AM, Greenwich, Connecticut to its growing list of affiliates. “Passport Mommy” is heard on more than 50 radio stations nationwide. On the show, Jerson covers the topics on everyone’s mind as a new parent. This nationally syndicated lifestyle, interview format show for women, features interesting guests with cool products and advice for parents.
Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Feud, A Warning Book to Be Published, U.S.-Syria Policy, Hong Kong Extradition Bill, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The status of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor regarding allegations President Trump would withhold military aid to Ukraine until it opened an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden; the Democrats hoping to challenge Trump in 2020, speculation Hillary Clinton will join the race, and Clinton’s feud with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; the anonymous Trump administration official announces November 15 for publication of tell-all book, A Warning; the U.S.’ military exit from Syria; Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces extradition bill is dead; and the U.K.’s Brexit chaos were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise at Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as Maria Knight and Chad Mitchell exit the morning show months after moving over from the company’s classic hits KOOL. It’s not clear what the station’s plans are for replacing the duo but the show is now called “Country Music Mornings.”…..On-air pro Ryan Lacosse is exiting the Cumulus Media Peoria station group at the end of this month to pursue a career outside of the radio business. Lacosse hosts the morning show on rhythmic CHR WZPW “Power 92.3” as Oryan and the midday show on sister rock WIXO “105.7 The X Rocks” as Ryan Black.….Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting “A Salute to Our Military Veterans,” the annual Veterans Day special that honors “generations of men and women who answered the call to serve in the U.S. armed forces.” The show is hosted by Kix Brooks, host of “America’s Country Countdown,” and includes appearances from Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, and more. The program can air any time on Saturday, November 9 through Monday, November 11, 2019, between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight…..Yesterday (10/22), WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert was honored as one of the 2019 inductees into the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Annual Walk of Fame. Other honorees included the Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Jody Gerson, and Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton.
WLS-AM, Chicago Moves Big John Howell to PM Drive. Friday’s announcement by Cumulus Media solidifies the afternoon program schedule, but the question still remains who will end up hosting mornings on news/talk WLS-AM in the New Year. Current morning drive personality Big John Howell is moving to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot – he’s following Westwood One syndicated talk host Ben Shapiro who’s on from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Howell’s co-host Ramblin’ Ray Stevens appears headed out the door. Rumors in the Windy City are that Erich Mancow Muller is negotiating to be the station’s next morning show host. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “As part of the new lineup at WLS-AM 890, keeping an experienced Chicago talent like John Howell solidifies the lineup and will give our audience a reason to stay tuned throughout the entire day. John has been entertaining Chicagoland for over 30 years and his program will be the perfect way to wrap up the day on your way home.” Before joining WLS-AM four years ago, Howell served with Salem Media Group on news/talk WIND-AM. Prior to that he spent 17 years as a jock on country WUSN-FM. He says, “I’m very excited about hosting the new afternoon show at WLS-AM 890. I intend to present Chicago with a quick-paced, informative, honest, and intelligent summary of the day’s biggest stories – an afternoon wrap of the day’s biggest events featuring prominent newsmakers, reporters, experts, and stars. Of course, our town’s most colorful characters will also be welcome. In addition, I’m looking forward to (finally) golfing when the sun’s in the east.”
Media Action Center Targets Alex Jones Saying Radio Show Violates FCC’s Hoax Rules. The Media Action Center was founded by journalist and activist Sue Wilson. She was instrumental in forcing Entercom to give up the license for KDND-FM, Sacramento in the wake of the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest. Now, Wilson’s MAC is encouraging people who live in markets that carry the Alex Jones radio show to file a complaint with the local station and the FCC that accuses Jones of violating the FCC’s hoax rules by insisting that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. You can see the form letter here that outlines the FCC’s language: “Section 73.1217 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217, prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.” Wilson cites the parents of some of the victims whose pain has been worsened by harassment they’ve suffered from Jones’ listeners, thus the public harm. MAC notes the FCC rules would permit Jones’ comments if the stations airing the program aired a disclaimer before the program clearly characterizing it as fiction. See the MAC site here.
WQAM, Miami Names New Midday Show. Replacing Orlando “The Big O” Alzugaray (who exited early last month) in the midday slot at Entercom’s WQAM, Miami is the duo of Alex Donno (left) and Josh Friedman (right). The “Donno & Friedo” show airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Friedman moves over to WQAM from sister sports talker WAXY-AM where he was evening host. Alex Donno has been hosting the evening program on WQAM. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley states, “Alex and Josh both bring unique experiences that will lead to great content for this new show, which will touch on sports and beyond. Their vast knowledge of Miami sports and high energy will undoubtedly resonate with South Florida listeners.”
Spector Upped to Program Director at Sports Talk KCSP, Kansas City. Rising from assistant program director and afternoon show producer to program director at Entercom’s KCSP-AM “610 Sports Radio” is Steven Spector. Entercom Kansas City regional president and market manager Dave Alpert says, “I am very pleased to announce Steven Spector as the next program director of ‘610 Sports Radio.’ This is a well-deserved and well-earned promotion and I’m confident that Steven will continue to elevate ‘610 Sports Radio’ in the Kansas City market.” Spector joined Entercom Kansas City in 2013 as a producer for 610 Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning.” He began his radio career with WTEM, Washington in 2008.
Chuck Peterson Rises to Area President for iHeartMedia. Executive Chuck Peterson is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia’s Winchester, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia markets, effective immediately. The markets contain 16 news/talk, sports and music-formatted stations. Peterson is promoted to area president after serving as market president for the Winchester and Harrisonburg markets. He began his career at WFTR, Front Royal, Virginia and is a graduate of American University and William & Mary Law School. He says, “iHeartMedia is the leader in the audio and mulit-platform space and I am thrilled to step into my new role in the Virginia/Carolina region. I am proud of our company’s commitment to growing our advertiser’s businesses and serving our communities.”
PPM Analysis: November’s Top-Ranked Stations. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a tip of the hat to the stations that finished first and second (6+) in their respective markets in Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey. In this report, you’ll find charts detailing the performances of the top two stations in each market, as well as a look at the top performers arranged by format. Spoiler alert – adult contemporary stations comprised 22% of the #1 stations in the PPM markets while classic hits accounted for 22.9% of the #2-ranked stations. See the full report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally-syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KLIF-AM, Dallas, beginning in the New Year. KLIF-AM and WBAP program director Kevin Graham says, “We’re thrilled to bring Dana to 570 KLIF. Dallas-Fort Worth listeners are really going to connect with her honest opinions and authenticity. And the fact she lives here in the Metroplex will also allow our listeners to easily relate to her.” “The Dana Show” is syndicated nationally via Radio America…..Premiere Networks’ syndicated Buck Sexton show begins airing on WCBM, Baltimore in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart, effective January 1. The show will be followed by the Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin program in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot. The station currently airs Michael Savage in evenings and he departs the station after 16 years as his three-hour show is re-configured into a one-hour live show and a one-hour podcast. WCBM program director Sean Casey adds, “This is the next chapter in our endless pursuit to bring the most powerful names in talk to Baltimore. We’re really pumped to add Buck, an up-and-coming star and to have Levin, a Hall of Famer anchor our evenings! I’d like to thank Michael Savage for a great run and continued success in his new venture.”…..The unique town of Tangier Island, Virginia – population 460 and shrinking – is the subject of a five-part podcast series from Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington titled, “Going Under: The Story of Tangier Island.” The series, hosted by WTOP’s Michelle Basch, takes an in-depth look at the “quirky, isolated place located smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay” that is gradually vanishing and could be uninhabitable in 25 years…..First Media Services closes on its purchase of two AMs and four FMs in the Bluefield, West Virginia market from Alpha Media for $1.8 million. The stations are: news/talk WHIS-AM, hip hop WKEZ-AM, hot AC WHAJ-FM, country WHQX-FM, country WHKX-FM, and classic rock WKOY-FM. First Media managing partner Bob Spencer says, “We feel extremely blessed and honored to have the torch passed to us from well-respected former owners, including Mike Shott and the Shott Family, and David Benjamin of Triad Broadcasting Company. In my opinion, these stations have one of the best and most talented staffs in the region. Many, of whom, have worked there for over two and even three decades. It’s an amazing opportunity to continue great radio and first-class customer service throughout our corner of the Virginias.” Kalil & Co., Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..WNIC, Detroit morning personality Jay Towers and Capedwonder.com founder Jim Bowers are co-hosting a podcast series dedicated to all things Superman in “The Caped Wonder Superman Podcast.” In the third podcast of the series, the hosts released never-before-heard audio of iconic Superman actor Christopher Reeve.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall-Government Shutdown, the Trumps vs the Media, ObamaCare Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Concerns, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s threat to allow the federal government to shut down if congress doesn’t fund the Mexico border wall; President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s complaints about the media’s treatment of them; a federal judge rules the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional; Friday’s Dow drops 400 points and talk about a recession in 2019; the new Aquaman film; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jay Cruze joins the morning show at Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver alongside current morning host Jenny D. Program director Jim Lawson says, “Jay’s experience, energy, and authentic personality is exactly what we were looking for to create compelling content in the morning. Jay has been on our part-time staff and has been a tremendous asset. He’s a natural fit.”…..An apparent abundance of programmers in the Entercom Philadelphia cluster has forced the company’s hand and longtime hot AC WBEB “B101” PD Chuck Knight exits the station. Entercom acquired the station from Jerry Lee Radio back in September…..KDGS-FM, Wichita APD, music director, and afternoon host “Rolls” Royce Stevenson re-ups with Entercom to continue his work at the rhythmic CHR outlet.
Mark Wainwright Returns to WSYR, Syracuse Morning Show. Morning show personality Mark Wainwright is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s Syracuse news/talk WSYR after a 10-month absence while he battled throat cancer. Wainwright says, “This thing hit me out of nowhere. It was discovered last April, almost by accident, and it’s been an ongoing medical odyssey ever since. It was eventually diagnosed as an aggressive form of throat cancer. It was nasty and had already begun spreading to lymph nodes in my neck. The recuperation period was long and frustrating. Even when I started to feel a little better physically, my voice was still a train wreck. It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I started to sound better, and my doctors eventually cleared me to try hosting a daily show again.” Wainwright says his voice is still not 100% and he’ll host from 6:00 to 9:00 to start and hopefully return to doing the full 5:00 to 9:00 show. Meanwhile, he says he’s thankful for his colleagues who filled in while he was out. “Dave Allen, Ian Wheatley, Jim Donovan, and Nick Russo were put in a very tough spot for months, especially after the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Kevin Schenck. They had to scramble, rearrange their lives, and pull double and even triple duty to keep the morning show running and cover all the vacant slots. Thank you, gentlemen. Fine work, and very much appreciated.”
Bloomberg: iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Allows Lenders to Entertain New Offers. According to the Bloomberg piece by Emma Orr, Eliza Ronalds-Hannon, and Steven Church, certain lenders can discuss any offers presented to them during iHeartMedia’s bankruptcy process. The story says that creditors “fought hard for language in the restructuring support agreement that lets them continue to explore ‘consistent alternative proposals.’” It also reports that this language was “heavily contested” in the discussions that led up to the Chapter 11 filing. That means any prospective buyers, such as Liberty Media, could attempt to strike a deal with senior creditors. Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Yes, Alexa Is Laughing…But Not at You. Consultant Holland Cooke says radio should smile about smart speakers. Writing after the news about NuVoodoo’s recent research that reports one-third of its 3,000-plus, 14-54 survey respondents own a smart speaker, Cooke says, “we’re still early-on in the adoption curve, so this will only become more opportune for broadcasters.” The data also indicates that almost half of likely PPM panelists own one. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
McCabe Fired from FBI, Threats to Robert Mueller Investigation, Putin ‘Re-Elected’/U.K.-Russia Diplomatic Tensions, Miami Bridge Collapse, Rihanna vs Snapchat, Facebook Data Misuse Allegations, First Weekend of March Madness, NFL Free Agency, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and President Trump’s weekend Tweets; Trump attorney John Dowd calls for end to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign-Russian agents matter; Russian president Vladimir Putin wins “re-election” for new six-year term and Putin’s crumbling diplomatic relations with the U.K. and the West; the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami; Rihanna’s criticism of a Snapchat ad for an app that makes light of domestic violence; investigations into allegations of Facebook’s misuse of user data; the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament; the beginning of the NFL free agency period; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Broadcast Engineer Eric Small Dead at 71. An accident at a Publix store in Delray Beach, Florida took the life of Eric Small last Thursday (3/15). Small was exiting the grocery store when an 80-year-old woman lost control of her car and hit Small before driving into the front of the store. It’s believed the woman had a heart attack while driving. Small’s accomplishments in radio engineering are numerous. He’s famous for having co-invented the Orban Optimod FM processor that became ubiquitous in the industry. He began his career in 1964 at WNCN, New York. In 1969, he became a member of the technical department at A&R Recording under Phil Ramone. He later served as chief engineer at WXLO-FM, New York. In 1981 he founded Modulation Sciences that developed and manufactured innovative products for radio and TV.
TALKERS News Notes. Former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore weekend talk show host Jimmy Mathis was dealt a blow by a judge who says Mathis cannot run for the Maryland State Senate representing the 42nd district because he is not a resident of the district. According to the Maryland Daily Record, Mathis is saying he’ll appeal the ruling…..WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Jeff Wagner announces that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and a number of other Wisconsin leaders will be speakers at the upcoming live “Jeff Wagner Insight 2018” on March 28 at Country Springs Hotel in nearby Pewaukee. The annual conservative political event and live radio show will also include Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and a number of conservative candidates for statewide office…..The regionally syndicated Illinois talk program “The Michael Koolidge Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cromwell Radio Group’s WCRA, Effingham, Illinois in afternoon drive. Koolidge’s program is now heard on 14 signals in the state. WCRA program director Sheila Myers says, “We’re very excited to be adding the Michael Koolidge show to our lineup. We heard he was doing great things in the afternoon on our sister station, WZUS “Talk 101FM” in Decatur, so we think he’ll be a great addition first thing in the early morning for our Greater Effingham audience on our three separate signals.”…..KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle” podcast has been announced as a nominee for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards. “Your Last Meal” is an original podcast hosted by Rachel Belle, host of KIRO Radio’s “Ring My Belle,” and is produced by Aaron Mason. James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards winners will be announced on April 27, 2018…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (center) with directors Andy Erwin (left) and Jon Erwin (right). The duo scored the third-most-viewed film this past weekend as the faith-based film I Can Only Imagine generated $17 million behind weekend leaders The Black Panther and Tomb Raider. Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that this week SRN News is repeating a multi-part series it produced on the film that tells the back story behind MercyMe’s triple-platinum song, “I Can Only Imagine.”
More Than 50 Industry Leaders Scheduled to Speak TALKERS magazine Conference in NYC in June; Great Hotel Deal Arranged for Attendees. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – announce the Friday, June 8 program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers currently scheduled to appear here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – whichever comes first. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible. An early sellout is imminent! For the latest details about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! please read the story below. To make hotel reservations, please click here.
Cool Job Opportunities. Entercom Charlotte is seeking on-air personalities for its three stations. “If you live to connect with your audience on air, online and in person— you’ll love it here! We are looking for experienced on-air talent. Are you a passionate storyteller who’s authentic, entertaining and a team player? Do you have a strong hand in social media? The ideal candidate should possess strong work ethic, solid show prep and the ability to deliver creative and compelling content. Experience is preferred. Entercom Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer. To be considered for these positions, please apply online at www.entercom.com and click on ‘Careers.’ No phone calls.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After parting ways with Scotty Lindy on Friday (3/16), Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing programmer Brian Thomas to Atlanta to serve as PD for WKHX “Kicks 101.5.” Thomas has been program director for the company’s classic hits WLS-FM, Chicago as well as a member of the corporate programming team for the country format and is vice president, programming, classic hits. Thomas says, “It was always my dream to program WLS-FM in Chicago, but I started in country and everyone knows I love it. And although I am corporate program director for country at Cumulus, it’s not the same as having a country station down the hall. I’m beyond thrilled that Sean Shannon, Mike McVay, and Charlie Cook have confidence in me to program ‘Kicks,’ one of America’s leading country stations.”…..Also from Cumulus Media, the company announces that Jim Kurdziel is being promoted to regional vice president, programming – rock, in which he is overseeing the rock and alternative formats for Cumulus’ stations in the Northeast. Kurdziel continues to serve as program director and midday personality for alternative WEDG-FM, Buffalo “103.3 The Edge” and will now support stations in markets including: Buffalo; Syracuse; Harrisburg, PA; Wilkes Barre, PA; Saginaw, MI; New Orleans, LA; and Appleton, WI…..Pamal Broadcasting flips sports talk WINU, Albany “Win 104.9” to alternative as “ALT 104.9 Albany’s NEW Alternative.” Pamal’s Albany Broadcasting general manager A.J. Bodden states, “Broadcast radio remains the number one medium as it relates to new music discovery and Albany Broadcasting is thrilled to be in a position to now give that opportunity to alternative listeners in Albany. My team and I, along with our local ownership, could not be more proud to be launching this new format and filling a void that has existed here for a long time.”…..iHeartMedia promotes Echo Robinson to director of marketing and promotions for its Chicago Region. Robinson joined iHeartMedia Chicago in 1995 and rose from intern to senior promotions coordinator before her appointment to promotions director in 2001. As director of marketing and promotions, Robinson is responsible for managing the planning and execution of marketing, promotion, sales partnerships and imaging campaigns for the region. She reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region.
WISN, Milwaukee’s Mark Belling Reverses Course on Trump. Usually, who a talk show host says he or she is going to vote for in a presidential election is not news, but WISN, Milwaukee personality Mark Belling is one of six Wisconsin talk show hosts who gained national attention for vigorously opposing Donald Trump during the contentious Wisconsin GOP primary race. Recently, Belling wrote a piece for the Waukesha Freeman in which he explained that his decision to now support Trump is because he believes Hillary Clinton is a worse candidate. At WISN’s crosstown rival WTMJ, host Charlie Sykes – one of the six aforementioned personalities – tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s still against both Trump and Clinton. “So I’ll probably be spending a lot of time this fall talking about the Packers.”
WJOX-FM, Birmingham Drops Evening ‘Matt and Scot’ Show. The Cumulus Media sports talker cuts ties with evening duo Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison. The two worked for Cumulus at KTCK, Dallas before moving to Birmingham to host at WJOX-FM. According to AL.com, the station is airing repeats of the syndicated Paul Finebuam show during the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot for now. McClearin tweeted the following to listeners, “JOX is a phenomenal station with a lot of talent, very thankful we were able to be a part of it for 3½ years, love my time here in BHam.”
Police Violence Against Blacks Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Deadly police violence against blacks was the most-talked-about story in the wake of the deaths of men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Dallas cop slayings. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race followed by the Hillary Clinton email case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill Kristol Show to Launch on PodcastOne. Leading conservative media voice Bill Kristol — editor of The Weekly Standard and an ABC News contributor – is launching a new podcast titled, “The Kristol Clear Podcast,” on PodcastOne. Kristol will be joined by Media DC creative director Michael Graham in the weekly conversation about politics. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Bill is a tremendous voice in the world of politics, which makes bringing an additional program to his fans each week all the more important this election season. Michael and Bill have built great content across The Weekly Standard brand and we’re excited to launch this next MediaDC show with Bill’s well-known personality.” Earlier this year, MediaDC and PodcastOne announced a partnership, kicking off with the launch of podcasts “Weekly Standard Confab” and “Washington Examiner’s Examining Politics.”
Odds & Sods. Portland and nationally syndicated talk show host Lars Larson is hosting a fundraiser today (7/15) to benefit the Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The event at Paradise Harley-Davidson in Tigard, Oregon is in partnership with Leader Capital and prominent Portland businessman Harry Merlo. Leader Capital is pledging to match total donations up to $15,000, while Harry and Flo Merlo have pledged to match total donations up to $5,000 for a combined pledge to match total donations up to $20,000. Larson will broadcast both his regionally syndicated Pacific Northwest show – based at KXL, Portland – and his nationally syndicated program from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm PT…..Alpha Media Amarillo’s three stations – including news/talk KGNC-AM – set a record with 332 units of blood collected during the June 24 “Boots vs Badges Blood Drive.” This is an annual blood drive and this year local law enforcement and first responders cooked for the community and set up emergency vehicles for display and tours during the drive…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Hearst-owned stations news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY are extending their deal to have the two stations serve as the flagship for the team’s radio broadcasts for another six years. This season, every Ravens game will continue to be called by the radio team of play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky and analysts Stan White and Qadry Ismail. The team will also handle pre-season television broadcasts…..FOX News Radio will be in Cleveland broadcasting live from the Republican National Convention. Jared Halpern and analyst Tony Sayegh will anchor primetime coverage throughout the week. Live hourly updates, interviews and special feature reports will air on Fox News Headlines 24/7 on SiriusXM…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago is presenting its “Sixth Annual Taste of WVON” neighborhood festival tomorrow (7/16) from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park. The event will feature more than 100 food and craft vendors, live entertainment, a children’s pavilion and much more!…..The folks who run the charity Kars4Kids are launching a cool promotion based on the notoriety of their ubiquitous radio and TV jingle. They write, “After receiving death threats to our jingle writer and being bombarded with cries for help from the torture our listeners are enduring, we decided to create a platform that would give our listeners an outlet to vent out all that anger and frustration…We just launched the official Kars4Kids Jingle Fever Game at karsforkidsjingle.com. Listeners can now actually get a chance to kill the jingle once and for all and truly bring back peace of mind to mankind. Our jingle plays in all major markets across the US with a reach of an estimated 80 million listeners/viewers.” Check out the creative video that promotes the game – and the charity – here