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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

| July 27, 2022

This Massachusetts “Marathon” Is Forced To Run Elsewhere. In what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the most knuckle-headed public relations mis-steps” he’s ever witnessed in a local situation, the Springfield, MA-based Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has kicked up a dust-storm of bad will for itself.  (Note: TALKERS headquarters are also based in Springfield, MA.) For over two decades, a charitable Thanksgiving initiative known as the Mayflower Marathon has held its November charity event to raise money for the Open Pantry at the famed  hoops museum in the Western Massachusetts city where basketball was invented. A consistent partner and main engine for the event over the years has been Saga Communications’ WAQY “Rock 102 – Springfield’s Classic Rock,” which does its own “marathon” by broadcasting from the venue for 52 consecutive hours. The long-running goodwill synergy though seems to have hit a speedbump. Citing “capacity issues,” the Basketball Hall of Fame says the event will no longer be held at its location. Declaring he’s in “shock” by the HOF’s decision, “Rock 102” morning talk show co-host and local radio legend  Mike Baxendale (“Bax”) points out that – for 28 years- the station has helped the Mayflower Marathon raise several million dollars for the Open Pantry. Mirroring Baxendale’s astonished sentiment is Open Pantry executive director Terry Maxey who elaborates, “We are the largest food pantry in Western Massachusetts.” Not having the Mayflower Marathon in Springfield, he laments “would be truly disappointing.” Replying in a prepared statement to Western Mass News, Basketball Hall of Fame president/chief executive officer John Doleva notes, “The Hall of Fame has been pleased to offer this space at no charge for over 20 years for the Mayflower Marathon. As a ‘landlord,’ the Hall of Fame’s first obligation is to make certain that [the needs of our tenants], including adequate and convenient parking, are met. The growth in our tenant base and the very positive organic growth of existing tenants has made this change necessary.” Things further escalated in the last several days when Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent a letter to the Basketball HOF, asking Doleva to reconsider. Part of Sarno’s letter reads, “This event has been held for over 25 years and has caused no prior disruptions and/or complaints from your establishments.” It’s Doleva’s contention that the choice to pull the plug on housing the event was actually made nine months ago. To show support for the event as it establishes a new home, Doleva responded on behalf of Hall of Fame board chair Jerry Colangelo and Colebrook Realty’s Jack Dill by writing that the HOF is “happy to commit a gift of $5,000 to the Marathon. Our property management group, Colebrook, has committed an additional $2,500 for a total of $7,500 to the event.” Meanwhile, Baxendale maintains to Western Mass News that the Mayflower Marathon “is going to happen one way or another. We are looking at alternative sites [and] have a lot of suggestions. [Unfortunately], this shows that there’s a disconnect between the Hall of Fame and the community.”

GCN Vindicated in Sandy Hook Case. A defendant in Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation case – Ted Anderson-owned Genesis Communications Network – was vindicated when the plaintiffs unilaterally withdrew all legal claims against GCN. The action was taken one month prior to jury selection and effectuated without settlement, release, or other consideration by GCN. According to Anderson, “This means we can continue to serve the hundreds of radio programs as we have over the years, programs from a wide array of political viewpoints. Including us in the suit was an attack on talk radio as an institution. It was totally unjustified. My heart breaks for those families – but yes – I feel this was the right result.” GCN attorney Mario Cerame states, “We are, of course, pleased with the recognition that GCN was not a proper defendant. Genesis does not monitor the content of the radio shows it works with. These are the sound engineers, ensuring professional sound quality, balance, and the like. They make space in the recording for commercials. They do not factcheck the words any more than your phone company does, or the people who sell you a keyboard check to see what you type. They just deliver the sound, like a radio version of the United States postal worker. We had to vigorously litigate the case up to the eve of jury selection but, the plaintiffs ultimately acknowledged this and walked away on their own, without a dime from GCN. We were caught in a battle between two Goliaths [but] after a lot of hard work, we managed to come out unscathed.”

 

Ippolito In As iHeartMedia San Diego Market President. Concurrent with iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest transitioning to a consultant role on August 1, senior vice president of sales Noreen Ippolito becomes her successor. Ippolito will report to division president Tom McConnell who comments, “Noreen is an incredible talent with an outstanding track record. She has strong business acumen and understands how to build and cultivate high performing teams. She is the perfect choice to lead our San Diego and Riverside markets.” In addition to San Diego news/talk outlets KOGO “News Radio 600” and KGB-AM “AM 760”; sports talk KLSD “Fox 1360”; and Riverside Black Information Network news outlet KFOO “BIN 1440”, Ippolito will oversee San Diego classic rock KGB-FM; rock KIOZ; CHR KHTS; hot AC KMYI; and rhythmic CHR KSSX.

Steele To Receive MIW’s Annual Airblazer Award. Five-year cancer survivor/Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM morning drive co-host Patty Steele is the recipient of the eighth annual Mentoring and Inspiring Women’s Airblazer award. Steele will be honored during next month’s (8/18) Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “It’s such a privilege to be the conduit for this very special award recognizing top on-air talent. Congratulations to Patty Steele, a wonderful talent and an even better human.” As is tradition, the “Airblazer” is carefully selected by the prior year’s honoree. The recipient is recognized for her dedication/contributions to the broadcast industry and to the communities she serves. Syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” host/2021 MIW “Airblazer” DeDe McGuire remarks, “It is my honor to select Patty Steele as the next recipient of the MIW Airblazer award. Patty has worked on some of the most successful radio shows alongside some of the biggest names in our industry. Her voice, humor, and insights were key to the successes of these shows on some of the country’s most legendary stations. So many of us in the industry admire her ability to always be the best and work through difficult times, both personally and professionally. She always comes out on top.” Steele adds, “I can’t tell you how proud and delighted I am to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Airblazer award. My passion for radio and for the young women coming up in this business make this a truly special honor. Being chosen by DeDe is icing on the cake – she’s a survivor and [thrives] in our ever-changing business.” At WCBS-FM, Steele is reunited with Scott Shannon. She has also worked with Elvis Duran, Danny Bonaduce, and John Lander at a number of other well-known New York City stations, including news/talk WOR, news WCBS-AM, WHTZ, and WPLJ. In April, Steele was one of thirteen podcasters to receive a 2022 Gracie award for her “Deep Six” series. The two-part episode featured Steele’s interview with her 26-year-old son, Jake, about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Three other Audacy-owned stations aired the show. Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting. In addition to DeDe McGuire, previous “Airblazers” include: Angela Yee (2020); Kellie Rasberry (2019); Mercedes Martinez (2018); Roula Christie (2017); Angie Martinez (2016); and class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Ellen K (2015).

iHM Portland Boosts Burgess To Market President. The promotion of iHeartMedia Portland senior vice president of sales Marshal Burgess to market president for the company’s eight-station Oregon cluster is effective immediately. He will report to iHM Multiplatform Group division president/Black Information Network president Tony Coles, who states, “It has been incredible to witness Marshal’s growth and success over the years. Few leaders [have] the kind of experience, integrity, and vision that Marshal brings to the table. We look forward to Marshal building upon our history of success in Portland.” University of Oregon alum Burgess notes, “I’ve spent my entire life in Portland and grew up listening to [several stations in this iHM cluster]. The support and positive energy I’ve received from Tony Coles and the entire team here in Portland have been unbelievable. I’m very excited for the future and am truly humbled by the opportunity.” Burgess began his career at CBS Radio in 1996. He joined iHeartMedia the following year and has been with the company (then known as Clear Channel) ever since. In that time, he has progressed from being an account executive; local sales manager; general sales manager; and vice president of sales. In addition to news/talk KEX “News Radio 1190” and sports talk KPOJ “Rip City Sports Radio 620,” iHeartMedia Portland consists of adult contemporary KKCW; classic hits-oldies KLTH; classic rock KFBW; CHR KKRZ; alternative KKRZ-HD2; and rhythmic CHR KXJM.

Cannabis Advertising Legislation Introduced. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Advertising Act, would clarify that local radio and television broadcasters can air cannabis ads without the threat of FCC administrative action in states where pot is legal. SAFE was introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján (Democrat-New Mexico) and follows the House passage of FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Language in that bill would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis commercials. In a prepared statement, NAB president/chief executive officer Curtis LeGeyt notes, “Due to outdated government regulations, only local radio and television broadcasters face legal exposure for advertising cannabis products permitted under state law. The SAFE Advertising Act would finally level the playing field and create necessary regulatory certainty for broadcasters. We thank Senator Luján for his leadership on this issue and we will continue working with policymakers to ensure there is a permanent resolution to this competitive disparity.” New Mexico Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paula Maes comments, “The members of the NMBA appreciate the efforts of Senator Luján and his staff. Their work on this bill which would allow cannabis advertising to air on New Mexico broadcasting is in step with state law and [is] long overdue. The Senator’s legislation helps remedy this unfair situation by recognizing the importance of state law in addressing cannabis issues.” New York State Broadcasters Association president/Safe Advertising Coalition member David Donovan adds, “We applaud Senator Luján’s efforts to allow local radio and television broadcasters to accept cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed. We look forward to working with the Senator’s office to move this important legislation forward.”

Horowitz Headed To Raiders P-B-P Booth. The search to find a successor for the iconic Brent Musberger as radio play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders concludes: Jason Horowitz is the choice. Horowitz, who will be this year’s game-caller with returning analyst Lincoln Kennedy, reflects that, “As a kid, I used to pretend I was the voice for a team calling an epic interception, or the game-winning touchdown. I want to thank [Raiders controlling owner/managing general partner] Mark Davis and the Raiders organization for making that dream become a reality. I am humbled to join an historic franchise, following in the footsteps of the legends who have called games of the ‘silver and black’ to the sport’s greatest fanbase.” Horowitz most recently has been Westwood One’s NCAA football and basketball studio host and CBS Sports Network’s announcer of Army football games. Musberger signed a contract four years ago (July 2018), making him the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders and the inaugural season (2020) when the franchise relocated to Las Vegas. He continued those duties through the 2021 season. Compass Media Networks syndicates Raiders games which air on Las Vegas sports talk flagship, Lotus Communications-owned KRLV “Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.”

BIN Listeners Offered Free Career Coaching. A “100,000 Careers” service from CareerBuilder will provide Black Information Network (BIN) listeners with a gratis 45-minute session. BIN and CareerBuilder have joined forces to launch the platform created to connect 100,000 BIN listeners looking to advance their careers. As part of the initiative, jobseekers have access to personalized career guidance through a complimentary coaching session. BIN listeners will have the opportunity to meet with an expert within their industry and receive individually tailored advice and actionable feedback to help promote their career growth. According to iHeartMedia Multiplatform group division president Tony Coles, “The Black Information Network and CareerBuilder are committed to giving jobseekers the tools and resources they need to stand out from the crowd. These sessions help match jobseekers and experts to help [them] prepare for [their] interview. We are excited to offer this service to get one step closer to helping 100,000 listeners find the career of their dreams.” CareerBuilder chief marketing officer Kristin Kelley comments, “We are thrilled to offer this hyper-customized experience in hopes that the community will receive practical feedback relevant to their industry to help them either find a job filled with purpose, or grow into their current role. Careers start with mentors and support, which is why expert coaching is one of the many ways that the 100,000 Careers initiative can transform the way job seekers find a role.” Through the use of AI technology and responses from an initial questionnaire, jobseekers will be matched with more than 5,000 available coaches. During the one-on-one session, jobseekers can ask questions, identify strengths, and work to define a career path that fits their needs. Participants will receive an individualized report that includes actionable advice and a video recording following the online session.

Newsmax Signs Multiple International Programming Distribution Deals. Through one of the agreements, Zee Entertainment’s Zee5 will carry Newsmax’s news feed 24/7, as well as VOD content. Zee will also post content from Newsmax.com in its news section. Zee5’s initial distribution of Newsmax content will be in India, with eventual expansion to the Middle East and North Africa. Earlier this month, Newsmax signed a distribution pact with Canal+-owned European satellite, cable, and OTT provider M7 and is now available in The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Rounding out Newsmax’s recent global expansion efforts is its July 19 deal in Australia with Foxtel-owned streaming platform Flash News. Newsmax chief executive officer Chris Ruddy states, “The demand for high-quality journalism is growing worldwide as citizens everywhere look for real news to help understand a complex world. We are delighted to be working with Zee, M7, and Foxtel to deliver our content to the world’s largest democracies and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our global reach.” M7 group vice president/platform content services Bill Wijdeveld remarks, “We are welcoming Newsmax on board of our TV platforms, allowing the channel to launch into multiple European markets in ‘one go.’ We thank Newsmax for its trust in our service provisioning and look forward to a fruitful cooperation over the coming years.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL. According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.”

Monday, July 25, 2022

| July 25, 2022

Monday Memo: Save Those Benjamins. Even with gas prices now inching down, almost everything else is “SO expensive that listeners (and we) are coping.” Wrapping-up his month-long series – “Inflation Hacks” – Holland Cooke presents 9 money-saving tips, “AND a fabulous radio prize!” Read it here.

Pending Business: The Great Resignation. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says “The Great Resignation” is having an effect on the radio/audio sales business, too. He writes, “The Pew survey says the top three reasons for ‘The Great Resignation’ are: low pay, lack of advancement opportunity, and feeling disrespected at work. Does it sound like the grumbling before the Monday morning sales meeting? My marketing work puts me in direct contact with sales reps across the country and ‘The Great Resignation’ did extend into our radio/audio sales community. On the radio side more so in the larger market stations.” He offers some suggestions for navigating this era of economic uncertainty. Read it here.

Radio HOF Welcomes Nine Inductees. A voting participant panel comprised of more than 800 industry professionals honorees determined six honorees; the other three were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee. Radio Hall of Fame co-chair Kraig Kitchin comments, “Our forthcoming inductees have made a wonderful impact on the lives of their listeners and our industry. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate their respective careers and honor them with an induction to the Radio Hall of Fame.” According to co-chair Dennis Green, “This was our highest voter participation ever. The radio industry picked an amazing, diverse class of broadcasters and executives that we are proud to call Hall of Famers. These individuals have made a lasting impact on this amazing industry, cementing their place as part of the legacy that makes radio special.” In alphabetical order, the nine inductees are: radio executive Marv Dyson; “Country USA” host Lon Helton; iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” morning personality Ellen K; Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “New York’s Greatest Hits” afternoon drive talent Broadway Bill Lee; “Gospel Traxx” host Reverend Walt “Baby” Love; iHeartMedia New York classic rock WAXQ “Q 103.4” talent Carol Miller; Sirius XM sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo; Emmis Communications president/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan; and New York Yankees Radio Network announcer Suzyn Waldman. The 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be honored in-person  November 1 at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The Radio Hall of Fame was founded by the Emerson Radio Corporation in 1988; The Museum of Broadcast Communications took over operations in 1991. This year’s confidential ballot was conducted by Votem.com and overseen by Miller Kaplan’s Andrew Rosen.

Radio Resources Unit Debuts Today. Tailored for medium to small market owners and operators, Radio Resources was launched today (Monday, 7/25) by parent company Gen Media Partners. Director of products and services Alex Quintero notes, “Until now, radio station owners and operators had to deal with multiple providers and retrofit the pieces together. The Radio Resources toolkit offers broadcasters one central point of contact and stewardship for a wide array of products and services, streamlined across critical departments to deliver a more efficient, productive, and seamless experience. We’re the only company that can aggregate such a broad range of radio products and services and provide this level of multi-resource support. Our independent standing gives us the freedom to seek out the best providers to service our radio clients.” Among other things the Radio Resources suite includes: Programming and Content; Workflow Solutions; IT and Cyber Security; 24/7 Formats; Sales Strategy; Imaging and Production; Research; Online and Digital Integrations; and Back-Office Operations. Radio Resources products and services are available for cash, barter or a combination of both.

Pickup Truck Slams Into Cumulus Media Indy Building. Two vehicles were involved in a crash last Thursday (7/21) at approximately 5:45 pm with one, a pickup truck (pictured above), striking the Cumulus Media Indianapolis building on North Shadeland Avenue. No one in that structure was hurt, although the building received extensive damage. According to a Facebook posting, Cumulus Indianapolis continued from its backup studio. The driver of one vehicle in the accident was taken to a hospital and is listed in serious condition. In addition to sports talk WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” Cumulus Indianapolis consists of WFMS “95.5 The Country Station”; classic hits-oldies WJJK “Classic Hits 104.5”; WNDX “93.9 X – Indy’s Rock Station”; hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix”; and CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL.”

Windy City Readying For Rock Radio Revisited. Longtime “The Larry King Radio Show” executive producer Pat Piper is producing The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ “Rock Radio Revisited,” which will be held August 14 at 3:00 pm at The Des Plaines Theatre. Museum of Broadcast Communications board chair David Plier notes, “The heyday of rock radio in the 60’s and 70s’ was centered around the booming personalities of [Chicago on-air talents such as] Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott and Steve King. Every city had their favorite local radio station and the voices behind them. This will be an incredible celebration of the personalities and music that made that era of rock and roll so memorable.” Landecker, Tommy Edwards, Bob Stroud and Dyana Williams will reminisce about “the golden age of rock radio.” In addition, there will be vintage airchecks, as well as stories about the on-air personalities, fans, and gimmicks. Those making special appearances include: Gary Burbank; “Cousin BrucieMorrow; Kris Erik Stevens; and Connie Szerszen. Among the “presenters” of the Wendy Snyder-hosted event is Nexstar Media Group Chicago news/talk WGN “Radio 720”; cross-town Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS-AM “890 AM” is one of the “sponsors.”

TALKERS News Notes. Most recently working as ABC Audio’s manager of digital audio, Josh Cohan is promoted to director of podcast programming for ABC News. His first venture into podcasting was as part of the team that launched “10% Happier with Dan Harris” in 2016. He also helped create ABC’s flagship daily news podcast, “Start Here,” which won the 2022 Webby Award for “Best News and Politics” podcast. Cohan joined ABC News Radio in 2007 as an intern and served as a producer and coordinating producer before transitioning to podcasting … As a result of signing a multi-year contract, WHPT “102.5 The Bone” 6:00 am – 10:00 am talent Mike Calta continues his role at the Cox Media Group Tampa news/talk outlet. Regional vice president/general manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Mike is arguably one of the most successful and talented broadcasters on the air in America today.” WHPT’s director of branding & programming, John Brennan, comments, “Mike Calta is simply the best radio talent in Tampa. I couldn’t be more excited that he will continue to call ‘102.5 The Bone’ home for many years to come.” Calta – who joined WHPT in 2007 – adds, “I’m grateful and proud to be continuing my radio career with CMG in my home of  Tampa Bay. At 50 years old, my window to being a male dancer has surely closed, so this contract is extra special to me and my family.” … Two-year Max Media Norfolk vice president/operations and programming Eddie Haskell exits the five-station cluster, which includes sports talk WVSP “94.1 ESPN” and business talk WGH-AM “Money Talk 1310 and 100.9.” He formerly was senior vice president/programming for nine iHeartMedia stations in Ft. Collins (Colorado).

 

 

Salem Media Group Seeks Producers. Attention producers! Salem Media Group is looking for producers. Salem has great radio stations, the Salem Radio Network, the Salem Podcast Network, and the Salem News Channel, and we always need producers to help us create our great products. If you have experience producing radio or TV shows, please send your resume and keep ‘em coming to: Phil Boyce, Senior VP of Spoken Word Formats, Salem Media Group Philip.boyce@salemmedia.com. Salem is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

| June 16, 2021

Where Have All the Sales Reps Gone? That’s the question radio sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr asks in a column published in TALKERS today. Carr notes that during her tenure selling at WRKO, Boston, the in-person training sessions and sales meetings were invaluable to sellers, as was the intense competition among the sales staff. “We had a lot of fun, but it was a serious sales atmosphere. With so many people working from home [now], I fear that this environment of training, support, jealousy and rage may be gone forever. How motivated are you really when you don’t know what your colleagues/competitors are doing? Those meetings with managers were inspirational and we had constant training.” Read her column here.

WTMJ, Milwaukee Morning Host Gene Mueller to Retire. Longtime Milwaukee radio personality Gene Mueller is retiring from the radio business after more than 40 years on the air. Mueller is currently host of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” on Good Karma Brands’ “Newsradio 620 WTMJ.” He’ll continue to host the morning program through February of 2022. Mueller recently told listeners, “As hard as it may be for some to believe, the thrill of getting up at 1:45 am each weekday morning has finally worn off after 44 years. I hear there’s this thing called ‘sunrise’ that I’d really like to witness in person on a regular basis as I live in a world where there are no deadlines and every day feels like Saturday. I’ve been blessed with fantastic opportunities over the course of my career, not the least of which was the one I had the past 14 years to host ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News,’ accompanied by so many talented teammates and such supportive management.” Good Karma VP and market manager Steve Wexler comments, “Gene has informed and entertained generations of listeners. He is beloved by so many people in our community because of the authentic, personal connection he’s made with them over the air and in person. We can’t thank him enough for his years of early wake-ups, his commitment to our stations and our community, and of course his sense of humor.” Mueller is expected to continue his work with select advertising partners on WTMJ and contribute occasional content to the station after he leaves the morning show.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Signs Contract Extension with iHeartMedia. WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” morning host Russ Rollins and iHeartMedia agreed to a multi-year contract extension for the leader of the ensemble show titled “Monsters in the Morning.” Rollins says, “I am so very happy and proud of the show we have now. The program has always made a lot of changes and now is very enjoyable for me. I truly love this company and the cast members that make me look good every day. The overwhelming talent of Angel, Carlos, Ryan, Angelique, Savannahand D-Strong keeps me excited to keep broadcasting here at iHeartRadio. I am ‘Real Radio’ for life!” iHeartMedia Orlando SVP of programming Rick Everett says, “I’m excited for the next chapter of the ‘Monsters in the Morning’ on ‘Real Radio 104.1.’  I’ve been amazed over the last 24 years that I’ve worked with Russ and watched him reinvent the ‘Monsters’ brand and see the show continue to perform as one of the top morning shows in Central Florida.”

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

Pictured above taking part on the “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Bruce Avery, general manager, WRHU Radio; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Walter Sterling, talk host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Gary Krantz, CEO Krantz Media Group; Chris Oliviero, SVP/market manager, Audacy New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Dr. Ira Nash, SVP/executive director, Northwell Health Physicians Partners, who introduced the panel. (Not pictured is panel moderator Michael Harrison)

Pictured above taking part on the “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Rich Zeoli, talk host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Juliet Huddy, talk host, WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk host, Genesis Communications Network; Lisa Wexler, talk host WICC, Bridgeport, CT/Connecticut Probate Judge; Larry Young, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; and Lee Harris, morning drive news anchor, WINS, New York.

Mark Chernoff to Guest Host Saturday Show on WCBS-FM, New York. Longtime Audacy programming executive – PD and brand manager for sports talk WFAN and CBS Sports Radio – Mark Chernoff is leaving the company after June 30. Before he goes, however, he’ll get a chance to spin records once again on Audacy’s classic hits WCBS-FM this Saturday night (6/19) from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Although he’s associated with WFAN, Chenoff began in radio playing records while a student at Rutgers University. He says, “I’ve always had a love for classic rock, oldies, classic hits – any kind of rock and roll – and having been a DJ for many years, I thought it would be a lot of fun as my days wind down at WFAN to get the opportunity to be a music jock one more time on our extremely successful classic hits station. WCBS-FM is a station I’ve long admired and respected through the years, having had an array of great jocks and program directors and played a lot of great music throughout all of their formats.” During his time with the company, Chernoff was responsible for programming the former WNEW-FM and the former “K-Rock.” Chernoff adds, “I’ve always been in these two worlds of music and sports, but for me, it’s getting back to my roots, where my first passion in radio was on the music end. Things developed nicely into 28 great years at WFAN, but I’ve always loved being on the music end. Having my roots as a DJ from 1976 until even into 1993, I thought a fun way to end my days with the company would be to go back to my roots and play some rock and roll records.”

Salem Unveils Salem Influencer Network. The sales division of Salem Media Group – Salem Media Representatives – announces the formation of the Salem Influencer Network, a new entity focused on connecting brands with the fans of leading Christian social media influencers. The company says the Salem Influencer Network “is a powerful vehicle to help clients reach the 18-34 young adult generation who are establishing their brand loyalties that will likely continue for decades.” Salem Media Representatives SVP Mike Reed states, “For years, Salem Media Representatives has been helping our advertising clients reach Christian and politically conservative consumers through multi-media advertising campaigns. A frequent request for our clients is to bring them more influencers. Over the last few years, we’ve been meeting the leading Christian YouTubers and Instagrammers who told us they needed representation they could trust to present them to major brands. We decided we needed to get into this world, and www.SalemInfluencers.com was born.” The company says that influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing areas in the advertising world. In 2020, influencers and paid content took the biggest share of digital ad budgets (20%) according to Sarah Bolton, Advertiser Perceptions VP/business intelligence. According to Business Inside Intelligence based on Mediakix data, by 2022, brands are expected to spend $15 billion in influencer marketing. Brands such as CVS, Felix Gray, Kroger, Steve Madden, Bose, Prison Fellowship and World Vision have already tapped into various Salem Influencer Network influencers.

Biden-Putin Summit/Russian War Games, COVID-19, Soaring Housing Market, Cryptocurrency, Juneteenth Holiday, Kamala Harris Latin America Trip, and Western Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Today’s summit between President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Russian Navy’s war games taking place near Hawaii; the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and speculation about the Wuhan Lab origin of the coronavirus; the hot housing market and concerns about a bubble reminiscent of 2008; the up and down value of the world’s cryptocurrency; the U.S. Senate makes June 19 – Juneteenth – a federal holiday; criticism of Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the intense heat affecting much of the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

| September 29, 2020

Good Karma Brands to Launch ‘101.7 The Truth’ Targeting Milwaukee’s Black Listeners. A new radio station dedicated to serving the Black community in Milwaukee is being launched by Good Karma Brands. The company says “101.7 The Truth” will debut this year and “will feature local shows with authentic conversations about news and current events, a celebration of Black culture, and information created by and for the Black community with an emphasis on empowerment, family, faith and community. Translator W269DL (at 101.7 FM) is licensed to New WRRD LLC and currently relays that company’s progressive talk outlet WRRD-AM. Good Karma tells TALKERS that it will operate WRRD-AM/W269DL under an LMA and will file to purchase the signals. Milwaukee market sales pro Cherie Harris is joining Good Karma to serve as general manager for the station and Kyle Wallace signs on as operations manager. Harris, who’s served with iHeartMedia as an AE at urban contemporary WKKV “V-100” and WITI-TV, says, “I am thrilled to join Good Karma Brands and build a new home for Milwaukee that has been sorely missing. We are going to put together a meeting place – a place for honest and real debate, as well as welcoming conversation, and a place for celebration and connection within the Black community.” Kyle Wallace adds, “We have already started the search for the voices that will make ‘101.7 The Truth’ a destination for the stories and experiences that are relevant to the Black community. We have the resources to make sure that our new station really is a local marketplace for ideas and commerce. This isn’t a nationally syndicated project, it’s home-grown.” Good Karma Brands CEO Craig Karmazin comments, “At Good Karma Brands, we believe every voice matters. But as the events of this past year unfolded we realized there were underrepresented voices that had so much to say and needed to be heard. We believe there is a unique opportunity for us in Milwaukee to launch a station that can make a real impact across the city, and within our company. I’m excited to see how the station grows and evolves and look forward to meeting the strong demand for compelling and targeted content for Milwaukee’s Black community.” The station is actively seeking staff for several positions, including talk hosts, producers, news reporters, as well as sales and marketing coordinators. See more about those positions here.

Pending Business: Your Next Sales Meeting. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the important relationship between sales manager and seller, most specifically as it relates to what sellers take away from sales meetings. He says that is the responsibility of the manager to visualize the end – or what the seller will take away – and build the path to get there. Read his column here.

Profile: KFI, Los Angeles Keeping Listeners Engaged in Unusual Times. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KFI is the subject of today’s profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Like most every radio station in the country, the iHeartMedia news/talker has had to do its job of informing and entertaining with most staffers working from home – a challenge for any station but an especially difficult one for a station dedicated to presenting a quality news product as well as an almost entirely live-and-local talk show lineup. And KFI has succeeded at this task under the guidance of program director Robin Bertolucci and assistant program director Neil Saavedra. KFI is the nation’s highest cuming news/talk station based on Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey. Read more about how KFI is keeping Angelenos tuning in during this time of unprecedented disruption here.

Westwood One Renews ‘Chris Plante Show.’ The Washington, DC-based Chris Plante show and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One sign a new deal to continue their business relationship for several more years. The program airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and is heard on 130 affiliate stations, including flagship WMAL-FM, Washington; WLS-AM, Chicago; KCMO-AM, Kansas City; and more. Cumulus Media EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “WWO is excited to renew our partnership with Chris, as his unique perspective and strong journalistic background create an invaluable listening experience for his loyal fans. As we enter one of the most interesting and impactful elections of our time, it is more important than ever to provide the insights that inform a nation that is hungry for information.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new Pew Research Center study that looks at the news landscape on YouTube indicates that “about a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say they get news on YouTube.” PRC says it found “an ecosystem in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side – and, consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch.” About one-in-five YouTube news consumers (23%) say they often get news from YouTube channels affiliated with external news organizations, while an identical portion of consumers (23%) say they often get news from independent channels, defined in this study as “news channels that do not have a clear external affiliation.” See the study here…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” helped raise $105,972 for the Dallas non-profit organization Cornerstone Clothes Closet through its 7th annual “Drop Your Pants Clothing Drive.” Afternoon personality Bob Sturm, who spearheads the effort, says, “Absolutely floored that our listeners got behind this in such a big way and helped us manage a virtual Drop Your Pants this year. I could not believe we broke $100,000 in donations after our initial goal of about $30,000. The listeners of this radio station never cease to amaze me with their generosity in supporting incredible causes in our community.”…..In Fresno, Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM/FM “NewsTalk 580/105.9” recently teamed with local agriculture company Gar Bennett to raise money for The Central California Food Bank, and listeners came through with amazing generosity, donating $361,000. Gar Bennett Inc. matched every donation with 50 cents on the dollar to the tune of $180,500 for a grand total of $541,500. The funds will help the Central Valley’s less fortunate residents by providing more than 3.6 million meals…..Virtual News Center has adds by Statesville Family Radio Corporation’s country WAME-AM/W255BD to its roster of affiliate radio stations…..DWCommunications, LLC announces today that the national sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with host Donal Ware begins airing on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio on Friday, October 2. The program focuses on Historically Black College and University sports and will air each Friday at 7:00 pm ET. Ware says, “There are so many untold stories within the HBCU sports world and more known stories that need to be reemphasized and that’s what we plan to bring to the ESPNU Radio listening audience each week.”

The Presidential Race/Tonight’s Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Trump Tax Story, Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The November presidential election and tonight’s Donald TrumpJoe Biden debate in Cleveland; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns for the fall-winter seasons; the New York Times piece detailing Donald Trump’s tax history and personal financial situation; the negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin over a new stimulus package; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various U.S. cities; and the California wildfires 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. Programming pro Andy Winford is named program director for Cumulus Media’s KSKS-FM, Fresno “93.7 KISS Country.” He’s been serving as program director for KATM-FM, Stockton-Modesto “KAT Country 103” since 2016 and will continue in that role as well. Cumulus Fresno VP and market manager Patty Hixon says, “I am thrilled to have Andy join our team in Fresno. ‘KISS’ is a formidable brand in Central California and having Andy take on this new challenge along with programming ‘KAT Country’ in Modesto will provide a wonderful synergy never before seen in Central California. Two very historical brands will be super-serving our listeners during this most critical time in our lives. Andy has great knowledge of both markets and platforms. He’ll be a great asset to KISS!”…..The WHTZ, New York-based, Premiere Networks-syndicated “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” is the new morning program on Evanov Communications’ CIRR-FM, Toronto “Proud-FM 103.9,” effective October 5. The addition marks the program’s first Canadian affiliate and is a result of Premiere’s partnership with Orbyt Media…..Cox Media Group Orlando today announces Spanish hits WOEX, Orlando brings Epi Colon and Bebo Adames aboard to host the “Epi & Bebo In The Morning on Exitos 96.5.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

| August 11, 2020

O’Reilly Set To Land at WABC? It certainly looks as though former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly could soon be in-place to join Red Apple Media New York City’s WABC “Talk Radio 77.” O’Reilly’s attorney, Fred Newman – through his assistant – tells CNBC, “We are in the final stages of a contract and a program should be on in the fall.” O’Reilly’s representative also confirmed the talks were being held with WABC, which New York businessman John Catsimatidis acquired from Cumulus Media in June 2019. Catsimatidis tells CNBC, “I will confirm that; I think he is one common-sense American.” The 70-year-old O’Reilly has been accused by multiple former Fox News employees of sexual harassment. The network ended his “O’Reilly Factor” show three years ago, after the revelation of several costly settlements for the alleged harassment. His follow-up “No Spin News” airs on his website; YouTube; and The First, a conservative streaming channel. O’Reilly has been maintaining a strong radio presence on Key Networks’ syndicated daily feature “The O’Reilly Update,” which has roughly 225 affiliates. WABC’s current weekday lineup consists of: “Red Eye Radio” (1:00 am – 5:00 am); “Fox News Run Down” (5:00 am – 6:00 am); “Bernie & Sid” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Brian Kilmeade (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Curtis & Juliet” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Rudy Giuliani (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Ben Shapiro (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Mark Levin (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and John Batchelor (9:00 pm – 1:00 am).

WBT, Charlotte Morning Host Pat McCrory is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former North Carolina governor turned WBT, Charlotte talk show host Pat McCrory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  McCrory is heard weekday mornings on the Entercom-owned heritage station with co-host, newsman Bo Thompson, 8:00 – 10:00 am on a highly-rated show that addresses local, regional and national topics along with a blend of pop culture items and a heavy dose of “fun.”  He has successfully held that position since 2017 after serving a four-year term as the Republican governor of North Carolina.  His gubernatorial service was a wild ride during which he garnered a tremendous amount of national attention, both positive and negative, due to the controversy surrounding his signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – also referred to as”HB2″ – and became embroiled in the issue of transgender use of public rest rooms.  There was a political backlash against that move which resulted in North Carolina being the target of numerous economic boycotts that resulted in the loss of revenue and jobs for the state.  McCrory, who refers to himself as one of the first victims of the “cancel culture,” lost his bid for re-election following that episode by a razor thin margin.  Prior to that, he had a long track record of being one of North Carolina’s most popular political figures.  Before being elected Governor, he served seven consecutive terms as mayor of Charlotte and presided over the Queen City’s notable growth as a business and cultural center during that period.  Harrison and McCrory candidly discuss a variety of topics from the impact of hyper political correctness on public discourse to current political issues.  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 Wrap” located in the right-hand corner on every page of Talkers.com.

Bubba Launches New Podcast – Inks with Crossover Media Group Sales for Ad Representation.  One of the most colorful and, at times, controversial personalities in the talk radio industry, Tampa-based Bubba Clem, is on a positive roll with a revamped nationally syndicated show, “The Bubba Army,” and a brand new podcast titled “The Bubba Army Podcast.”  One of the industry’s fasted rising rep firms, NYC and LA-based Crossover Media Group Sales, has announced signing the podcast to its growing roster of programs. Dropping his longtime “Love Sponge” moniker, Clem now goes by the mononymous handle “Bubba” and has evolved into a more “polished” performer on both his syndicated show and new daily podcast focusing on top-tier guests and pertinent commentary.  The radio show and new podcast are produced and syndicated by his in-house Bubba Radio Network.  Bubba tells TALKERS, “We’re looking forward to delivering a guest-driven podcast that is fresh, current, relevant and that will become a daily destination for folks who want to have a little fun.” Commenting on his new podcast sales deal, Bubba adds, “The Crossover Media team has a great track record; they know the advertising marketplace and they’ve assembled a powerful portfolio of programs.  It’s great to be working with them.” Bubba’s daily morning show is carried on radio stations in Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Phoenix and more.  It has a significant social media presence and is carried as an audio and video program on Twitch which confirms it is that platform’s number one radio show.  “Over his decades on air, Bubba has regularly shaken up the audio landscape and, along the way, he has attracted a massive and loyal listenership and high-profile celebrity guests who understand the power of his platforms,” says Sue Freund, Crossover Media Group Sales managing member. “And now Bubba brings that loyal audience to an entirely new, highly polished and potentially game-changing podcast that promises to take him to new heights.  Whether they’re fans or not, people are talking about Bubba – and we expect they’ll be talking about him even more once they hear the new podcast.”

Hewitt Lands Presidential Interview. It happened this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) as Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt scored an exclusive on-air interview with president Donald Trump. Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup remarks, “We are thrilled that Hugh Hewitt got to share President Trump’s views on breaking news with our nationwide affiliates today. In the 2016 election cycle, Hugh interviewed Donald Trump 16 times. With today’s interview completed, he only has 15 more to execute between now and November to tie his record.” Among other things, the wide-ranging discussion between Hewitt and Trump covered presidential politics; a potential Supreme Court vacancy; and international relations.

Miraldi Boosted to iHM’s EVP/Digital Content Strategy. Relocating to Nashville where he will oversee iHeartMedia’s new digital content hub, senior vice president of digital content strategy Paul Miraldi is promoted to executive vice president of digital content strategy. “During Paul’s time overseeing the national editorial, social & photo team, our monthly digital audience has enjoyed record growth, hitting a new all-time high last month,” notes iHeartMedia Networks group president Darren Davis. “Under his direction, the iHeart daily newsletter program has grown from four to eight daily mailings, most recently with the launch of the ‘Coronavirus Update,’ which has become our most successful newsletter. Paul will continue to lead the national editorial/social/photo team. The digital content hub will improve the efficiency and quality of our digital and social content across all of our local markets, as well as increase digital audience and social engagement.” Miraldi previously was vice president of editorial operations in New York and Clear Channel’s senior VP/digital programming & marketing. Eight years ago, he and Don MacLeod teamed to create full-service marketing agency Miraldi & MacLeod. The former director of marketing for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) New York CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-04.3,” Miraldi was executive producer of several major station events. His resume also includes stops at New York City’s WPLJ and WCBS-FM; Minneapolis’ KDWB and KEEY; and KSAN, San Francisco.

Entercom Division Cadence13 Launches “Pod Is A Woman.” Three former officials in the Barack Obama administration have initiated “Pod Is A Woman.” The weekly Cadence13 political podcast featuring former White House deputy director of Hispanic Media, Alejandra Campoverdi; ex White House director of press advance, Darienne Page; and former White House director of veterans outreach, Johanna Maska, started yesterday (Monday, 8/10) with Dr. Jill Biden as the first guest. According to Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran, “Campoverdi, Page, and Maska’s powerful and diverse voices couldn’t be more important to bring to the larger political conversation as we enter the home stretch to the 2020 presidential election and look ahead to the next four years. With their singular White House and campaign experiences, they will inform and engage listeners with wit, wisdom, and candor; we are thrilled to partner with them for this one-of-a-kind show.” In a joint-quote press release, the hosts state, “Throughout our years working in the White House for President Obama, we saw just what was possible when people of all backgrounds come together under a common mission of equality and opportunity. We also experienced firsthand the leadership role women played in getting the job done. This moment will be no different. At this pivotal time for our country, we’re thrilled to partner with Cadence13 to create space for honest, unapologetic, and representative conversations that will cut through the political noise and bring the focus back to the issues that really matter.”

NAB Show’s “Collectively Speaking” Kicks Off Next Month. The NAB online forum will look at issues facing the media and entertainment industries in the pandemic. NAB executive vice president/conventions and business operations Chris Brown comments, “‘Collectively Speaking’ will provide our global community new opportunities to collaborate, explore, and learn about trends and innovations as they develop. We look forward to the conversations that emerge and are committed to making the series an immersive and educational experience for all participants.” The series will debut September 2 with “Collectively Speaking: Production During a Pandemic.” It will feature USC Entertainment Technology Center‘s Erik Weaver discussing the use of advanced technology to re-open television and film sets and implement virtual sets. The series will include pre-recorded and live material in each session with audience questions.

Edison Research Ranks Top 30 Q3 2019 – Q2 2020 Podcasts. As it has been since Edison Research’s “Podcast Consumer Tracker” (PCT) was established last summer, “The Joe Rogan Experience” continues to be America’s number one podcast. The podcasts are ranked by reach – not downloads – among weekly podcast consumers. “Reach” is the percentage of weekly podcast listeners who say they have listened to any one of these shows in the last week. Edison Research senior vice president Tom Webster states, “Even with the work and life disruptions caused by COVID-19, people did continue listening to their favorite podcasts. We ultimately saw little to no reduction in reach among weekly podcast listeners.” The PCT Top 30 ranker is based on 8,080 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers (18+) in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Sampling was conducted continuously from July 7, 2019 to June 24, 2020.The top five podcasts include: “The Joe Rogan Experience”; “The Daily”; “This American Life”; “My Favorite Murder”; and “Crime Junkie.” All respondents were instructed to enter the names of all podcasts they listened to the week before the interview into an online diary and were provided instructions to obtain that information from their podcast client/player of choice.

TALKERS News Notes. Last Thursday (8/6), Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO “News Radio 1000 & FM 97.7,” news/talk KVI “Talk Radio 570,” hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” and KOMO-TV held an all-day “Wishes in Flight” airline miles campaign for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. In addition to $3,700 in cash, the effort brought in nearly ten million miles, which includes a 750,000 match from Alaska Airlines. One couple donated more than 200,000 miles that they were saving for a trip of their dreams, but decided the “wish kids” needed it more. After spending more than a year in isolation for treatment, “wish kid” Brianna visited Hawaii in 2018 with her family. She describes her wish as “a chance to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, instead of the darkness that surrounds [kids facing critical illnesses].” Over the years, this annual drive has helped to raise over 1,700 plane tickets donated by listeners and partners; however, hundreds of wishes are on hold due to COVID-19. “Make-A-Wish” will book flights as soon as it’s safe for wish kid travel to resume. The local organization continues to grant “safe” wishes, including virtual meetings with celebrities, online shopping sprees, and items that can be delivered to a child’s home … Effective one week from this Thursday (8/24), Premiere Networks/Fox Sports Radio’s weekday, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (ET) Dan Patrick Show” will begin to be streamed on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. The show’s current YouTube streaming will end coinciding with the Peacock simulcast. Peacock executive vice president/chief revenue officer Rick Cordella comments, “We are excited to welcome Dan and his devoted following to Peacock. Dan adds a distinctive voice to Peacock as we continue to build our live topical sports offering.” Patrick added, “I’m thrilled to be coming back home to the NBC family to continue the show with the ‘Danettes’ and the rest of my talented team. A huge factor in partnering with Peacock is that our loyal fans can watch us for free. Who doesn’t love free? We can’t wait to get started.” His simulcast on AT&T’s Audience Network ended earlier this year … The National Hockey League’s expansion team Seattle Kraken names its first broadcaster – Cincinnati Cyclones (East Coast Hockey League) voice/director of media relations & broadcasting Everett Fitzhugh. While the team says his precise radio and television role “will be crafted as he works for the franchise,” Fitzhugh begins with the Kraken in three weeks (9/1). Prior to his five-year Cyclones tenure, Fitzhugh called games for the United States Hockey League’s Youngstown Phantoms. According to The Kraken, he will be the first full-time black play-by-play announcer in NHL history … Former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl joins Bonneville Denver sports talk KKFN “104.3 The Fan” as a Nuggets analyst for the remainder of the regular- and post-season. KKFN program director Raj Sharan opines, “I’m not sure anyone in Denver was more excited about basketball restarting than Coach Karl. We’re thrilled to have him appearing on all of our shows to give his opinion on what he’s seeing from the Nuggets, delivering the honesty that he’s known for.” Karl previously worked as an analyst at ESPN and TNT … The revised lineup at Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” includes Jason Martin-hosted “The Wake-Up Zone” (6:00 am -9:00 am); Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky “Midday 180” (9:00 am -1:00 pm); Blaine Bishop & Mickey Ryan (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The “Midday 180” returns from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm for the “180 at 6.” Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren remarks, “Since its inception, ‘104.5 The Zone’ has been a leader in live and local sports, and the appetite for sports programming keeps growing. With this lineup, ‘104.5 The Zone’ continues to offer the best and most comprehensive sports coverage and local play-by-play sports action to Middle Tennessee fans.” Program director Paul Mason notes, “I am excited that ‘104.5 The Zone’ now has four local shows for our listeners every Monday – Friday. The new lineup will give our on-air talent a larger spotlight to reach their full potential individually and as a team.” …  A central-Texas high school “Football Game of the Week” will air Friday nights on Entercom Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370.” Its partnership with high school sports media company Vype Media includes content sharing on websites and social media platforms and other year-round programming. Entercom Austin senior vice president/market manager Bob Mackay remarks, “High school sports have been a big part of our local programming for the past decade. We are proud to team up with Vype to expand our efforts and take our coverage to the next level. We look forward to bringing to life the stories behind the sports, shining a spotlight on exceptional student athletes across central-Texas and sharing high-quality high school sports coverage with our audience across all of our platforms.” Vype Austin editor Thomas Bingham adds, “[We are] heading into our third straight school year covering the Austin area and central-Texas. This opportunity allows our local web, digital and broadcasting coverage to reach new audiences and continue to promote local high schools, athletes, and coaches across the region.”

DuBois Debuts “Dead Life” Podcast. Medium Allison DuBois, whose aid to the Maricopa County (Arizona) district attorney’s office inspired the television series “Medium,” launches “The Dead Life,” a YEA Networks podcast. YEA Networks president Shawn Nunn notes, “We are so excited to welcome Allison DuBois to the YEA Networks family. Allison’s journey is quite unique and we are excited to bring her voice to a more intimate setting.” DuBois adds, “I wanted to start my podcast so I could reach more people and open people’s minds to life after death. My show will focus on teaching listeners everything I know about the dead, interviewing people who have insight into the afterlife, and our own soul’s journey.” The podcast began today (8/11) – with “Johnjay & Rich” co-host Rich Berra the first guest – and will post each Tuesday at 8:00 am (ET).

Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards Nominees Announced. These awards will honor those in radio who used their brands and platforms in creative/innovative ways to better serve their listeners, partners, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsors Benztown, P1 Media Group, Radiodays Europe, Radiodays Asia, and RDE Podcast Day are asking radio and podcast individuals worldwide to vote for the best ideas presented by the nominees. Online voting began this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) at 9:30 am (ET) and continues through September 17. Benztown chief executive officer Andreas Sannemann comments, “To all the people who nominated their station, themselves or their ideas, we salute you and we are sorry we couldn’t have all of you as nominees, as the field was incredibly strong. As an industry, we can be proud of how we have supported people in this worldwide pandemic.” Roots of The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards can be traced to  Benztown and P1 Media Group’s Coronavirus Radio Ideas Facebook group, launched March 26. P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson remarks, “When we joined Benztown to open this page, we knew the world of radio and podcasting was full of innovative people with a special connection to their audiences and listeners. What has emerged from these awards is that radio is more than ever at the heart of communities and is a place in which listeners put their trust.” The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards will recognize the best ideas in ten categories: “Best Social Media Video Content”; “Best Virtual Event”; “Best Parody”; “Best Virtual Concert”; “Best On-Air Promo”; “Best Community Service”; “Best Social Media Visual”; “Best Community Spirit”; “Best Sales Promotion”; and “Best Mega Promotion.” Also part of the awards are “Best Podcast” and “Best Journalistic Content.” Nominees were selected from more than 300 ideas from industry professionals around the world. Awards will be presented in four months (12/14) at the Radiodays Europe conference in Lisbon. US nominees include: Cumulus Media Dallas country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” (“Best Station Promo”); Entercom New York news WINS (“Best Station Promo”); Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle country KNUC “98.9 The Bull” (“Best Community Spirit”); Beasley Broadcast Group Fort Myers CHR WXKB “B-103.9” (“Best Community Spirit”); iHeartMedia Dallas (“Best Sales Promotion”); iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100” (“Best Mega Promotion”); and iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPR “Power 96.1” (“Best Mega Promotion”).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Labor Day Weekend Marks Cousin Brucie’s WABC Homecoming. The words “icon” and “legend” are often overused; however, they definitely apply to Bruce Morrow, affectionately referred to by millions of fans as “Cousin Brucie.” The 2019 recipient of TALKERS’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” returns to New York’s WABC beginning September 5 for the weekly, three-hour “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party.” Although now a Red Apple Media-owned news/talk outlet, WABC is where “Cousin Brucie” introduced listeners of the then Top 40 powerhouse to the Beatles, Motown, and surf music. Morrow’s Saturday night extravaganza will be simulcast in Hampton Bays, New York on WLIR-FM, as well as streaming nationwide on the WABC app. In typical exuberant style, Morrow proclaims, “Cousins, this is literally one of the most exciting projects of my life. It completes a circle – a career circle. It all started at WABC, and here we are all these years later, and the magic is still here. What magic we’re going to make.” According to Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis, “Brucie is a national treasure and talent. Listeners everywhere can now hear their favorite music from the early days of rock and roll on our radio stations and streaming on our digital platforms. Red Apple Media is about bringing the best in information and entertainment to New York and all of America however they want to listen – on their phone, radio, smart speaker or computer.” Catsimatidis is busy in securing another major broadcasting talent to WABC, Bill O’Reilly (see separate story above). Regarding Morrow, Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez comments, “It’s an honor to be part of these two legendary brands coming together and to welcome Cousin Brucie home to WABC.” Senior vice president of programming for Red Apple Media and WABC Dave LaBrozzi notes, “We’re excited to bring ‘Music Radio’ back to WABC every Saturday night with Cousin Brucie. Everyone across America can stream him.” The debut show will be replayed on Labor Day (Monday, 9/7) from 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm (ET). Most recently, “Cousin Brucie” was heard on SiriusXM satellite radio, where he hosted Wednesday and Saturday night programs since 2005. In the 1980s and 1990s, Morrow was a mainstay in New York City on WCBS-FM … The fifth installment of Entercom Los Angeles smooth AC KTWV’s social change “Justice Now! – Communities 2 Unity” (subtitled “Politics to Policy”) airs tomorrow night (Wednesday, 8/12) at 6:00 pm. In addition to being broadcast on “94.7 The Wave,” it will stream nationally via Radio.com and on the station’s website. This particular show will feature candidates for Los Angeles district attorney – incumbent Jackie Lacey and challenger/former San Francisco district attorney George Cascon. It’s expected the two will discuss the American legal system in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer … Hundreds of listeners to KRWM “Warm 106.9” who drove through the Coal Creek YMCA this past Saturday (8/8) were welcomed with “Warm” virtual bearhugs as the Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle adult contemporary station gave away sealed teddy bears from its “Teddy Bear Patrol.” A second such event – emceed by morning talent “Seth” – is scheduled for this Saturday (8/15) … Nineteen-year Cumulus Media Buffalo WHTT “Classic Hits 104.1” program director Joe Siragusa adds similar duties at co-owned alternative WEDG. Also at “103.3 The Edge,” afternoon drive talent/music director Tiffany Bentley takes on assistant program director duties. Cumulus Media Buffalo vice president/market manager Jim Riley remarks, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Joe Siragusa will be taking the reins at WEDG. Joe has been part of Buffalo’s programming leadership for most of [the station’s] 25-year history. His understanding of its heritage and the Buffalo market make him the perfect choice for this opportunity. With Tiffany Bentley as APD, I think we have a formidable team.” Siragusa comments, “‘The Edge’ is a heritage brand with a tremendously talented and passionate staff. I am thrilled to expand my role at Cumulus Buffalo and be part of the future of such a remarkable radio station.” Bentley adds, “I feel honored to work with such a great team and to be able to continue to contribute to and grow such a strong brand in this expanded role.” Siragusa previously programmed WRCL, Richmond; KGOR, Omaha; and WRQN, Toledo. Prior to joining “The Edge,” Bentley did mornings on crosstown alternative WLKK and has held programming and on-air positions in Syracuse and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania …Former morning talent at Radio One Dallas rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat,” Veda Loca, returns to the Radio One Dallas cluster to host “Veda Loca’s House Party” on urban AC KZMJ “Magic 94.5.” The six-hour Friday and Saturday night show will air 6:00 pm – 12:00 midnight …When the contract of morning co-host Brooks Williams expires early next year, he will not be returning to Griffin Communications-owned KVOO “98.5 Tulsa’s Country,” opting instead to pursue a real estate career. Griffin Communications director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter notes, “We’re sad that Brooks will be leaving us, but we’re excited for him as he starts this new chapter in his life.” Shortly after joining KVOO four months ago to do afternoons, Williams segued to morning drive where he is teamed with Amber Glaze … An Albany, New York format flip finds Pamal Broadcasting hot AC WKBE “107.1 The Point” transitioning to classic country as “Big Country 107.1 – Country’s Biggest Legends.” Pamal Broadcasting general manager Tom Jacobsen remarks, “We are proud to bring these great country memories to the Capital region and north country on a great signal; we expect listeners to really love our new station.” WKBE’s lineup includes: Kevin Richards (mornings); Jacobsen under the air name Jake Thomas (middays); and Sean McMaster (afternoons) …  Work songs, summertime anthems, and current hits are part of Tim McGraw-hosted “Workin’ Hard Country,” a four-hour Labor Day special from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville. Among those sharing stories about jobs they had before they became successful playing music for a living are: Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line, and Carrie Underwood. Also featured are songs from McGraw’s “Here on Earth” album, and his recent single, “I Called Mama.” … Following a 49-year radio career – including 26 years at the same station – Forever Media Johnstown, Pennsylvania adult contemporary WKYE “Key 96.5” morning host Jack Michaels retired yesterday (8/10), owing to health issues. Forever Media Johnstown music director Brian Wolfe succeeds Michaels … Fishnet Syndication’s weekly “The Red Dirt Flirt” names Rita Ballou host. Afternoon co-host with Eric Raines on Genuine Austin Radio’s KOKE “Austin’s Country Alternative,” Ballou appears on KOKE’s morning show and manages the station’s social media and digital.