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Thursday, November 5, 2020

| November 5, 2020

Cumulus Media’s Q3 Financial Report Reveals Net Revenue Down 30.1%. Reporting its earnings for the third quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 30.1% from the same period in 2019. The company also reports a net loss of $15.8 million compared to the $16.3 net income reported for the third quarter of 2019. Same station net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 29.4% from Q3 of 2019. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the company continued to focus on maximizing revenue performance, executing meaningful expense reductions, protecting cash through efficient working capital management and strengthening our balance sheet. Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating through a pandemic, we have reduced debt by $269 million and increased cash by $316 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018 (a net debt reduction of more than $585 million or 46%.) We believe that these actions, along with record-setting political revenues, will allow us to navigate through and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with considerable ability to support our growth initiatives and capitalize on strategic and operating opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”

Bakersfield Talk Radio Personality Inga Barks Dies. According to a report by KERO-TV, Bakersfield, former market talk radio personality Inga Barks has died unexpectedly at age 53. At this point details are few, but it appears Barks passed away on November 4. KERO-TV quotes Barks’ friend Cindy Andrews – who worked with Barks at American General Media news/talk outlet KERN-AM – saying, “I am deeply saddened over the death of my former coworker and friend, Inga Barks. Not only was she a talented talk show host, but she was also very devoted to her family. We shared many laughs and unique experiences as female broadcasters for American General Media. She will be missed by many.” You can see KERO-TV’s report that includes tributes from former co-workers – including KMJ, Fresno’s Blake Taylorhere.

WTIC-AM, Hartford Morning Co-Host Joe D’Ambrosio to Leave Station in June. According to an account in the Hartford Courant, WTIC-AM, Hartford morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio says he’s frustrated with his “inability to speak his mind on the air and will leave his position when his contract expires in June.” The paper reports that D’Ambrosio told co-host Ray Dunaway, “At this radio station at this time, I’m not allowed to let my opinions be known. I’ve told management, when my contract is up in June, my time with WTIC will be over.”  It’s not clear if D’Ambrosio is upset with a directive from management or just with the general tenor of host and caller opinions. Reporter Susan Dunne says that when reached later, D’Ambrosio declined to elaborate on his comments.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Over the last eight PPM surveys going back to March, the global pandemic, racial tensions/protests, and the election year have provided the news/talk format with ample hot-button issues to discuss and the format’s performance has improved over the same period in 2019, based on Nielsen’s 6+ weekly AQH share data. In the October 2020 survey, 61% of news/talk stations were up over the September 2020 survey with gainers being led buy iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix (+1.4) and Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.3). Comparing year-over-year data, 68% of news/talk stations were up in October 2020 compared to October 2019 with gainers being led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+6.2), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+4.4), and WCBM Inc’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.7). In the October 2020 survey, seven news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets. Find out which stations were ranked #1 by reading Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Mid-West Family Madison Donates $900k in Advertising. The Madison, Wisconsin station group of Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave $900,000 in free advertising (more than 31,000 commercials) to hundreds of local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic between March 21 and July 21 through its “NOW OPEN” program. Mid-West Family Madison president Tom Walker says, “Our company was formed in Madison, we’ve been here for 91 years, and our commitment to the community and local businesses is our top priority. ‘NOW OPEN’ gave us the chance to connect businesses with consumers when they needed it most.”

Report: ESPN to Lay Off 300. According to a report by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, sports giant ESPN is laying off 300 staffers and will not fill some 200 positions that had been open. This comes as parent company ABC/Disney deals with the effects of the pandemic and the changes in media consumption behavior. Marchand’s report indicates that the cuts will be “spread across the network” but will largely spare on-air personalities. Marchand adds, “As is the case across Disney, ESPN is trying to shift more of its business to direct-to-consumer. It has created ESPN+. It had reported 8.5 million subscribers as of this summer. The pandemic has also created new ways to deliver programming with less people.”

The Road to 270 Electoral Votes/Promised Legal Challenges, Portland Violence, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, European Lockdowns, New Islamic Terror Threats, U.S. Exits Paris Climate Accord, Prop 22 Passes in California, Watch on Hurricane Eta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The counting continues as Donald Trump and Joe Biden each hope to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to claim victory and the gearing up of legal challenges to some states’ vote totals; the National Guard is called in to Portland, Oregon after a riot is declared; the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for the fall/winter seasons; the lockdowns being ordered in numerous European nations to combat the rising number of COVID cases; concerns about new terror attacks by actors sympathetic to the Islamic State; the United States officially exits the Paris Climate Accord; California passes Proposition 22 which allows Uber and Lyft to treat drives as contractors and not employees; and the possibility that Hurricane Eta will gain steam and head for Florida were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive podcast partnership for the series “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” that will debut Friday (11/6), the day before the 35th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony airing on November 7 on HBO. The series covers iconic induction speeches and will debut with The Beatles inducted by Mick Jagger, N.W.A inducted by Kendrick Lamar, The Eagles inducted by Jimmy Buffet, and Stevie Nicks inducted by Harry Styles. New episodes will premiere every Friday through the end of the year and a second season will premiere in early 2021. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Over the past 35 years, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies have become renowned for their impassioned and sometimes outrageous acceptance speeches. We’re thrilled to bring the most iconic moments of past and present music infamy to fans around the world and continue to share what’s made the event special in the past and for years to come.”

Thursday, October 15, 2020

| October 15, 2020

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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

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.

Monday, October 28, 2019

| October 28, 2019

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 CitizensNewsmax 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.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

| October 23, 2019

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 media@hamiltonstrategies.com 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.