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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

| June 23, 2021

The Power of Talk Radio Has Never Been Stronger. Sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr writes in a column today that in order to make the title this piece a reality, talk radio sellers must use all the weapons in their arsenal. “We are radio, but we are most effective when we take advantage of all the new technology that is now available to us. As an industry, we need to keep up with all the advanced marketing vehicles and provide them to our clients to increase their business and stay current with the times. We need to supplement the live reads with text messages, social media, and eblasts. The live reads should be synchronized with the blasts and texts. Adding your clients’ ads to your podcasts gives them an added bang for their buck.” Read more here.

Rose Tennent Show Gone from WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a story at Patch.com, the Rose Tennent program has exited St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh after three months on the air. Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” is now airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Tennent. Both Tennent – a longtime Pittsburgh radio personality who worked alongside Jim Quinn on “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM – and Wendy Bell joined the station in March. Bell, a former KDKA-TV newscaster and former KDKA-AM talk host, exited the station in April and was replaced in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot by Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck. St. Barnabas Broadcasting has not issued a public statement about the change and it’s unclear what the reason was for the change.

iHeartMedia Pre-Pays $250 Million of Term Loan Facilities. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., is voluntarily prepaying a portion of both its $2.075 million Term Loan and its $447 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased to announce that we will voluntarily pay down $250 million of our Term Loan facilities, demonstrating the encouraging momentum we are seeing across all of our businesses. At iHeart, we are committed to deleveraging and strengthening our balance sheet, reducing interest expense and further increasing our free cash flow while still maintaining ample liquidity. We continue to evaluate all possible opportunities to reduce our cost of capital, and we have taken advantage of the current favorable market conditions to reprice our Incremental Term Loan as well.” The prepayment, which will be applied to the two Term Loan facilities on a pro-rata basis, and the repricing, are each expected to close in mid-July, subject to customary closing conditions.

Bill O’Reilly Programs Hit 250-Station Threshold. The Key Networks nationally syndicated programs featuring Bill O’Reilly hit the 250-station mark in just over two years with the addition of news affiliates including: WRNN-FM, Myrtle Beach; WDAY-AM, Fargo; KLJY-HD3, St. Louis; KDXE-FM, Little Rock; and WBOB-AM, Jacksonville. O’Reilly comments, “We are very pleased with our expanding radio lineup. In this time of political and societal chaos, ‘The O’Reilly Update’ brings clarity and honest reporting. We also have fun with the ‘something you might not know’ segment. Sometimes the good guys actually win and that’s what’s happening with the ‘Update.’” Key Networks offers three O’Reilly programs – “The O’Reilly Update” in middays, “The O’Reilly Update Morning Edition” and “The O’Reilly Update Weekend Edition.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Two Hundred fifty stations in two years shows that Bill O’Reilly’s popularity remains strong. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ provides commentary unlike anyone in media today. The information is timely, topical and most importantly, sellable as local stations are generating revenue from content that is second to none. For those stations that have not signed up for The O’Reilly Update, the time is now!”

Voting Rights Bill Killed, COVID-19/Delta Variant, Spike in Violent Crime, Critical Race Theory, Employer Woes, Iran Politics/Nuclear Deal, Russian War Games, and NYC Mayoral Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). Republicans use the filibuster to block Joe Biden’s For the People Act voting bill; the slowing rate of vaccinations and concerns about a fall/winter rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant; the spike in violent crime and gun violence in America’s urban areas; the pushback against the teaching of “critical race theory” by parents; hospitality industry employers’ desperate need for workers; the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president and his refusal to meet with Biden over Iran’s ballistic missile program; Russia’s largest military exercises program since the Cold War; and the New York City mayoral primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

| May 11, 2021

Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year.  Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.

KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.

Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.

Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.

COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

| March 24, 2021

Wendy Bell Promoted to Full Time Talk Host at WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh; Rose Tennent Added to Afternoons. According to a story in the Beaver County Times, St. Barnabas Health System-owned news/talk WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh bumps talk personality Wendy Bell to full time in which her 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show will air Monday through Friday. The station has also added Pittsburgh media personality Rose Tennent to the program schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Bell was a host on Entercom’s KDKA-AM until she and the company agreed to part company early last fall. Bell had been criticized for suggesting on her show that park rangers shoot anyone seen defacing a monument in a public park. Tennent co-hosted “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh with Jim Quinn. St. Barnabas Health System SVP J.D. Turco says, “Both women have very distinctive styles. WJAS is the only station featuring six hours of back-to-back conservative female programming. We are proud to have strong, intelligent, and informed talk radio with Wendy from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and Rose from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.”

Round Two of February PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s February 2021 survey period covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations benefitted from the January 6 Capitol attack and its aftermath as well as from the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration during the post-holidays period that is traditionally down from a ratings standpoint. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rose by one-tenth to a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and the #4 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM was unchanged with a 9.9 share good for the #2 rank. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s WRKO was steady at a 5.2 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM dipped seven-tenths but remained ranked #1. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM lost just one-tenth, finishing the survey with a 7.3 share good for a repeat at the #1 rank. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s crosstown all-news KOMO-AM/FM dropped half a share to a 5.2 and slipped to the #5 rank. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets here.

Former WFLA-AM, Tampa Morning Host Tedd Webb Enters Hospice. Longtime Tampa Bay radio personality Tedd Webb has entered hospice, according to a statement from his son Lee Ruiz. He says his father’s dialysis and dementia have been “particularly taxing.” Webb co-hosted “AM Tampa Bay with Jack Harris from 1994 through 2017 when he retired. Webb has been dealing with health issues for some time. Ruiz says, “This wasn’t an easy decision for him to make and obviously no one wants to lose him, but there’s only so much one person can endure. He feels the time is right and, ‘that’s how he sees it’ as he would say… I know a lot of people would like to spend one more time with him, and as much as we would like to accommodate all of those wishes, it’s just not possible. Given his current state, and that this came about rather abruptly, we have a very tight window of time left which makes it difficult to pull off.”

Jeanna Berge Rises to Market President for iHeartMedia Eau Claire/Rochester. Radio sales pro Jeanna Berge is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota markets, effective April 1. She takes over the role from Rick Hencley who is retiring after 27 years with iHeartMedia. Berge will retain her role as SVP of sales for the Eau Claire market. She says, “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am beyond ecstatic to lead and learn from these incredible, dedicated, multi-talented teams in the Eau Claire and Rochester markets. Rick has been an inspiring leader throughout my career at iHeartMedia and I’m honored to have had him as my mentor. His passion to have his employees always strive to be the best is evident with the success of his career, and I am determined to share that same motivation, positivity and creativity to help these ambitious teams excel. My mission is to continue to build on our already strong connection while having a positive impact on our employees, listeners, advertisers and our communities.”

Gaby Dunn Partners with Westwood One for Podcast. Comedian and New York Times best-selling author Gaby Dunn is partnering with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to bring her podcast “Bad With Money” to the Westwood One Podcast Network. The podcast will “unapologetically examine the intersection of finances and social justice. Every week, Gaby will bring a queer, feminist, and unabashedly radical point of view to conversations with top journalists, student loan experts, tax specialists, and mutual aid organizers.” Dunn says, “At a time when so many people are scared and out of work, I’m thrilled to be able to provide helpful and actionable advice for long-term financial security. Furthermore, ‘Bad With Money’ will now sit alongside other like-minded shows on Westwood One, where it can reach those who need to hear it most.”

Cumulus Media’s WSBN-AM, Washington to Air Baltimore Orioles Games. When the 2021 Major League Baseball season begins, Baltimore Orioles games will be heard in Washington, DC on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus says the multi-year deal keeps the Orioles Radio Network on the Washington, DC airwaves and adds to ESPN 630 AM’s stable of sports broadcasts – which also includes the Washington Football Team and the University of Virginia. Cumulus Washington SVP and market manager Ken Roberts says, “We are thrilled to be associated with the Baltimore Orioles. From their classic venue, Oriole Park at Camden Yards to their Hall of Fame heritage, the Orioles have a rich history with the League and with the City of Baltimore.”

Traveling with 46. Pictured above (back to the camera, wearing headphones) is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston covering President Joe Biden’s tour of the new, state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Department at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University yesterday (3/23). Clugston traveled frequently on Air Force One during the Trump administration. Tuesday was his first flight accompanying the 46th president.

Deadly Colorado Grocery Shooting/Gun Control, COVID-19-Spring Break, Border Crisis-Immigration, Capitol Attack-Sedition Controversy, and Deshaun Watson Sexual Assault Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The shooting at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store that left 10 dead and the related issue of gun control; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, concern about variants, the rollout of vaccines, and the chaos in Florida related to spring break revelers; the large number of child migrants appearing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the pressure on the Biden administration to deal with immigration policy; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the controversy over a justice department lawyer’s suggestion sedition charges may be leveled against some; and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces 14 sexual misconduct lawsuits were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

| January 21, 2021

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Amy Anderson AM Drive Co-Host. Kansas City news/talk outlet KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM bring Amy Anderson aboard to serve as a member of the news team and as co-host of the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program. The Entercom station says, “Amy is a familiar face and is well-known in her hometown of Kansas City, spending nearly 18 years working as a television news anchor and reporter for KCTV-5… Amy brings strong news ‘chops’ and news sense to the KMBZ newsroom, and will form a power team with Will Sterrett, building on KMBZ’s tradition of delivering credible, factual news to listeners in Kansas City and beyond. Amy says she is excited to make the transition from TV to radio! And thrilled she gets to continue to work in Kansas City.” The “Kansas City’s Morning News” show airs on KMBZ-FM and is simulcast on KMBZ-AM “Talk980am.”

Wendy Bell Returns to the Air in Pittsburgh Market. In Western Pennsylvania, Patch.com reports that former KDKA-AM talk show host Wendy Bell is launching a new talk program on St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM on Monday (1/25). Her program will air from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Monday through Thursday and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays. Bell was taken off the air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM back in September and a month later it was announced the two sides had mutually agreed to part company. This came as the result of Bell stating on air that park rangers should shoot anyone attempting to vandalize monuments of historical figures. Numerous statues and monuments across the country had been vandalized during Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. Bell posted on her Facebook page, “America needs common sense conservatism. Let’s roll!”

Salem Radio Network Unveils ‘Rebuilding the Right’ Program. This new, weekly special program from Salem Radio Network is titled, “Rebuilding The Right,” and premieres on Wednesday, January 27 at 4:00 pm ET. SRN says the program is “designed as a freewheeling roundtable and exchange of ideas hosted by former White House national security strategist and SRN talk host Dr. Sebastian Gorka.” The press release adds, “With Joe Biden now inaugurated as our 46th president and Democrats in control of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, conservative voices may literally encounter difficulty even being heard… How do conservatives nationally recover from this and rebuild…even as the Left tries to silence us all? ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will harness the combined input of nationally syndicated SRN talk hosts Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder, and Eric Metaxas on a rotating basis each week…as well as voices of groundbreaking conservative podcasters like Dinesh D’Souza.” Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Our SRN hosts on ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will represent the best way forward for America. Their ideas and intellect will help conservatives avoid any sadness over recent events and create positive, actionable steps for crafting a new direction for the nation.” The program will also be repurposed as videos on YouTube and Rumble and a podcast version will also be made available after each weekly broadcast.

Ashes of Late CBS Reporter Dave Barrett to Launch into Space. Late, longtime CBS News Radio correspondent Dave Barrett will have his wishes honored as his cremains will be launched into space on Friday (1/22), assuming the weather is suitable for the 9:24 am launch of the Space X Falcon. Barrett is pictured here in 2011 covering the final Space Shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center. Barrett, who died suddenly in 2018 at the age of 63, was a lifelong space enthusiast and dreamed of traveling into space. Friday’s launch will contain a payload of private and government satellites as well as the cremains of not only Barrett but a number of other people. CBS News’ Peter King will report on the launch.

WABC, New York Extends Clint Arthur Program. New York news/talk outlet “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” announces it has extended its deal with celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur to continue airing his program, “The Greatest Show of All Time.” Arthur says, “The mission of this show is a personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”

Tom Goslowski Exits Townsquare’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany. According to a report in The Daily Gazette, Tom Goslowski has been let go from Townsquare Media’s sports talk outlet WTMM, Albany “104.5 The Team” where he was brand manager and co-host of the “Levack and Goz” program with Jeff Levack. At the time of his Monday dismissal, Goslowski told The Daily Gazette, “I can’t say I was too shocked. It’s been a tough year, a tough stretch for radio companies. I wasn’t too shocked by it because it’s been a brutal year for the sports media business.” But Townsquare Media Albany market president Kevin Rich later explained to the paper via email, “While we do not comment on any particular person’s situation or performance, what I can share is that the decision was specific to Goz and not related to COVID nor any economic backdrop. To that point, we have already been recruiting for a replacement and we are already receiving strong interest in the opportunity to serve the local sports community in the Capital Region. ‘104.5 The Team’ is the only Albany radio station with great daily local sports content, rather than just being fully syndicated.” That’s not sitting well with Goslowski, who tweeted the following: “The unnecessary and intentionally vague comments have sadly put my character, performance as a brand manager/host, and employee into question.” He’s launching a podcast titled “Getting There with Goz” and promises to talk about his exit from the station on the first episode on Monday (1/25). Meanwhile, the station has partnered Charlie Voelker with Jeff Levack in afternoon drive in the interim.

Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell Sentenced to 41 Months for Mail Fraud. According to a story in the Des Moines Register, former sports talk host Marty Tirrell was sentenced to 41 months in prison with three years of supervised release to follow after he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Tirrell is also ordered to pay $1.46 million in restitution to those he defraud – including American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, and five individuals, although it doesn’t appear Tirrell has the assets to pay restitution any time soon.  Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence instead of the almost three-and-a-half he received. The FBI’s investigation revealed that Tirrell’s scheme revolved around buying luxury ticket packages to sporting events and re-selling them at a profit. But investors’ money never went into buying tickets. Instead, Tirrell spent the cash on a luxurious lifestyle and to pay off gambling debts. When he could no longer find new investors, he stole credit cards, kited checks, and lied to banks to get more money.

Changes in Cumulus Media’s Sales Leadership Announced. With the departure of Bryan Forbes from his Westwood One president of sales position for another opportunity, Cumulus Media makes changes to its sales leadership structure. Ron Russo is appointed to the president, sales post at Westwood One. He was most recently Westwood One’s EVP of sales for the Northeast region. At the same time, Rafe D’Amico is promoted to SVP, president of national sales in which he’ll be responsible for leading the Cumulus Radio Station Group’s national spot team and managing the relationship with Katz Radio Group. D’Amico joins Cumulus from Beasley Media Group where he was VP of strategic partnerships and national sales. Brandon Berman, EVP sales and sports partnerships at Westwood One, adds responsibility for the Northeast region to his current oversight of the Midwest region and Westwood One sports sales. Kim Bryant, EVP of sales for the West and Southwest regions at Westwood One, picks up responsibility for the Southeast region. And Adam Shifrin is promoted to VP, sports sales and marketing at Westwood One. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One is extremely fortunate to have a group of sales executives poised to lead the team forward seamlessly. I’m thrilled to announce these well-deserved promotions that will enable us to manage through this challenging pandemic with confidence, commitment, resilience and results.”

WPHT, Philadelphia Mainstay Dom Giordano Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Described by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as “American talk radio’s leading advocate for education renewal,” Philadelphia broadcasting icon Dom Giordano is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Giordano has been a mainstay of local Philadelphia talk radio since 1987, where he has developed a national reputation in the media industry for his intelligence and even-handedness. He offers a dependable “guy next door” sensibility that’s as comfortable as your favorite chair. Born and raised in South Philly, his local flavor makes him one of the region’s best-connected media personalities. His mix of compelling topics, great local callers, and provocative guests produces fascinating talk radio. He has also written and hosted several critically acclaimed exclusive WPHT talk radio specials this past year addressing hot topics such as COVID-19, the national mood, and the economy. But there’s even more to this perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred than just the fact that he’s a dependable survivor of decades of broadcasting and is regularly turned to by major networks as a reliable substitute for several national hosts such as Jim Bohannon and Michael Savage. He’s an expert on one of the hottest topics in the national conversation and one that promises to be around for a long time to come – the education crisis that has been brewing in America for years and has now been terribly exacerbated by the COVID-19 disruption of our schools and learning processes. Giordano began his unique path to broadcasting as a high school teacher in the Delaware Valley where he received widespread media coverage for his innovative teaching and motivational techniques. He was hired at WWDB-FM, Philadelphia in 1987, becoming the country’s first high-profile teacher-turned-talk show host. In 2000 he joined then-CBS owned-and-operated WPHT (now owned by Entercom) where he has been ever since. He currently is heard weekdays between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon. And now, as part of his call to duty to address the education crisis at hand, WPHT is launching an ambitious weekly podcast hosted by Giordano totally dedicated to the subject of education in America with commentary, news reports, and interviews with experts and leaders in the field representing a variety of viewpoints. The podcast is titled “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason.” On this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Harrison and Giordano take a deep dive into the education crisis that promises to challenge the United States for years to come and threaten its standing among nations as an economic, scientific, and cultural world leader. 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 every page on Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Central New Jersey news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick is being credited with helping the City of New Brunswick with receiving a special award from the NJ State League of Municipalities, the NJ Municipal Management Association, and the Rutgers University Center for Government Studies for outstanding coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Former WCTC-AM program director and morning host Bert Baron – now serving as public information officer for the city – says, “Our coverage of the pandemic was, and continues to be, multi-faceted. The city’s existing communication platforms all provided high engagement levels. What helped us to directly reach the community with the messaging was a 30-minute update aired weekdays on WCTC.” The “New Brunswick COVID-19 Report” aired each weekday morning on the Beasley Media Group station from March through September and was hosted by Baron and City of New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill…..SiriusXM and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship are teaming up to launch a new show hosted by Bare Knuckle FC’s newest star, Paige VanZant. Yesterday (1/20) at 5:00 pm ET VanZant debuted as the host of a new four-episode SiriusXM show, “Knuckle Up Radio with Paige VanZant,” that will chronicle her journey from the MMA octagon to the BKFC “Squared Circle.”…..PodcastOne secures the distribution and advertising sales rights to Todd and Julie Chrisley’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast. The “Chrisley Confessions” podcast launched in 2018 with hosts Todd and Julie Chrisley. In each episode, the duo play audience voicemails and offer advice, suggestions and opinions on all things faith, family, food and just about everything else. Todd Chrisley says, “Julie and I are looking forward to being part of the long tradition of outspoken and irreverent hosts in the PodcastOne family. And anyone who knows me knows that family means more to me than anything.”

Biden Inauguration, Biden Executive Orders, Trump Farewell/Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media and Censorship, and Capitol Attack Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; Biden signs 17 executive orders intending to undo Trump administration projects including the Mexico border wall and the Keystone XL pipeline; Donald Trump’s farewell address from Andrews Air Force Base and the article of impeachment against him; the stabilizing number of COVID cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the suspension and banning of some by social media platforms and cries of censorship; and the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

| December 2, 2020

Entercom Names Rick Dayton Afternoon Host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. Almost three months after former afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell was taken off news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s air for suggesting park rangers shoot people caught defacing public monuments (she was officially fired on October 16), Entercom names local news pro Rick Dayton host of “KDKA Radio Afternoon News hosted by Rick Dayton,” effective December 7. Dayton has worked in television news in North Carolina, at WOWK-TV, Charleston, West Virginia; and at KDKA-TV, Pittburgh. He’s most recently been a fill-in host for the station. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rick is ingrained in the local community and has a tremendous news reputation in the market. He is a beloved personality who will engage the listeners daily with content and information and I’m excited to welcome him to our weekday lineup.” Dayton adds, “After spending more than a decade back home in western Pennsylvania, I am honored to join KDKA Radio and build on its iconic legacy. To talk with KDKA’s loyal listeners each day and to discuss important issues is something I do not take lightly. I cannot wait to get those conversations started on Monday afternoon.”

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Fires Morning Host Marc Farzetta. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, morning drive host Marc Farzetta is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” after a little more than two years in the daypart. Farzetta let fans know about his departure via Twitter in which he said: “I was informed a few hours ago that today was my last day hosting the Morning Show at 97.5 The Fanatic… I’m so proud of the work we did taking that time slot to heights it hadn’t seen in the station’s 15-year history in the sports format.” Farzetta had been hosting the show with Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. At this time, it’s not clear if they remain with the station or not.

OPINION: Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility. In the response to the on-air statement by Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova about former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales president Ron Hartenbaum pens a piece for TALKERS explaining his take on the responsibilities of broadcasters who find themselves in such a position. diGenova, while appearing as a guest on “The Howie Carr Show,” said, “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Read Hartenbaum’s response here.

UNCF First Recipient of iHeartMedia’s Media Grant Program. The new iHeartRadio Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program from iHeartMedia is designed to “support organizations that are making a positive impact within the communities iHeart serves and to use iHeart’s multi-platform media network to deliver messaging that is timely, relevant and hyper-targeted to most effectively serve impacted communities.” The company says that the inaugural Spotlight Grants will provide a nationwide platform for Black-focused community organizations to “inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice; celebrate Black excellence, achievement, and culture; help members of the Black community express themselves and address the unique needs of their communities; and invest in educational programs and individuals that are inspiring the next generation of Black journalists and leaders.” Long-time partner UNCF, an organization that helps fund 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has been named the first partner and will receive a minimum media grant of $350,000 to be used through the end of the year. The all-new PSA airs now through the end of the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations and will bring attention to the many social, financial, educational and mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to communities of color and the threat to America’s progress for a more equitable society. UNCF is asking listeners to donate $10 online at UNCF.org/donate to help HBCU students who had to withdraw from school because of COVID-19 challenges get back to college in the spring. Additionally, iHeart will again host UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax as a guest on the iHeartRadio Communities public affairs show in the coming weeks.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new sports channel coming to SiriusXM as the satellite radio company and NBC Sports have partnered to create NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM that will launch tomorrow (12/3). Sirius XM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “The NBC Sports Audio channel is a terrific addition to the SiriusXM lineup. Fans of NBC Sports’ great programming and talent will get access to an outstanding sports talk lineup every weekday, and our subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of many top events on the sports calendar.” Shows airing on the channel will include: “PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “Brother From Another with Michael Holley and Michael Smith,” and more…..Entercom Chicago is presenting its 25th annual “Good Neighbor Radiothon” on all-news WBBM Newsradio (WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM) to raise money for The Salvation Army. Hosted by WBBM Newsradio news anchor Pat Cassidy, the live program will encourage listeners to donate through the station’s phone bank or online via the station’s website…..Prior to Thanksgiving, Cox Media Group Atlanta’s radio stations – including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations to supply holiday meals for local families in need and collected a grand total of 2,127 pounds of dry food, 1,325 pounds of frozen turkey, and monetary donations that will provide 25,816 meals for hungry children, hardworking families and struggling seniors…..Entercom Milwaukee is presenting WSSP-AM  1250AM The Fan’s 14th annual “FAN Toy Drive,” to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. This year’s 24-hour virtual on-air event will aim to raise funds and toys for the hospital’s patients. Listeners will be encouraged to donate via the station’s website…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division and Pegalo Pictures are premiering the podcast, “American Coyote” that tells the true story of America’s most successful coyote, Elden Kidd. While active, Elden was responsible for ushering over a thousand people across the border — and was unfazed even after cheating death multiple times and spending two years incarcerated in a Mexican prison…..iHeartMedia Stockton’s “Fox Sports AM1280, Stockton’s Only Sports Station,” announces an extension of its broadcast agreement with the University of the Pacific to continue to broadcast the university’s men’s and women’s Pacific Tiger basketball games through the 2020-2021 basketball season.

COVID-19/Vaccines, Trump Tactics/Barr Statement, DOJ Pardon Bribery Investigation, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Nuke Scientist Death, and the NFL’s COVID Problem Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, concerns about private gatherings fueling the pandemic, and the promise of soon-to-be-available vaccines; Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to call the election results into question and Attorney General William Barr’s public statement that his agency had found no evidence of widespread election fraud; the DOJ’s investigation into a possible bribery scheme involving pay for pardons; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fallout from the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; and the NFL’s strategy for dealing with growing COVID-positive players 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. In a move that’s not too surprising to the staffers at the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting, the company’s two radio stations – hip hop KZGO-FM and alternative KQGO-FM in Minneapolis – are being sold to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed sum. The Pohlad family owns MLB’s Minnesota Twins and until 2018 games were broadcast on KQGO. Now, with Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM, the family has little use for the signals. Both stations will flip to religious formats in the New Year. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..SiriusXM and the family of Bob Marley announce a new, exclusive year-round channel dedicated to the legacy of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio launches tomorrow (12/3) and will feature the cultural icon’s entire music catalog, both live and recorded, including rare recordings, some of which have never been made available to the public. The channel is being curated by the Marley family and will include a wide range of Caribbean music from its inception to present day.