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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

| July 13, 2022

Hannah Guile Named Executive Producer of Mark Kaye Show. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville air personality Hannah Guile is promoted to executive producer for Cox Media Group’s syndicated “Mark Kaye Show.” In her new role, Guile will handle affiliate relations for the program in addition to continuing her on-air role on the daily news/talk show. WOKV-FM director of branding and programming Jim Graci states, “I love the chemistry that comes through the speakers with Mark and Hannah. You can hear the passion and fun they have working together. I’m anxious to hear this next evolution of the ‘Mark Kaye Show.’” Guile has served with CMG Jacksonville since 2018, starting as a board operator and working her way to an on-air position as one of WOKV-FM’s traffic reporters. She joined the cast of the “Mark Kaye Show” in 2019. Guile comments, “I am overjoyed for this opportunity to expand my role on the ‘Mark Kaye Show.’ I’m super passionate about the show and its ingenious approach to talk radio.” Guile takes over for Josh McCarthy who moved to Orlando to assume the executive producer role for news/talk WDBO.

Round One of June PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s June 2022 sweep covered May 26 – June 22. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York City, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC slips from #10 to #11 after shedding two tenths for a 3.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WOR also loses two-tenths for a 2.0 share finish but rises to the #18 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles dips seven-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.3 share and falls from #3 to #5. Across town, Audacy’s all-news KNX-AM/FM slips one-tenth to finish with a 3.1 share good for the #11 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM rises three-tenths for a 5.0 share finish that pushes it from the #5 rank to #2. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas rises from #10 to #6 after adding four-tenths for a 4.0 share finish, while Audacy’s crosstown all-news KRLD-AM tacks on four-tenths for a 2.5 share and rises to the #18 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeways from this group of markets here.

Curiosity Audio Network to Debut. A partnership between factual media and entertainment company Curiosity Inc. and iHeartMedia launches the Curiosity Audio Network that will develop and release several podcast projects throughout the year. The companies say that Curiosity’s first foray into podcasting will feature original content as well as podcasts to complement programming from Curiosity’s library of documentary films, shows and series. iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson states, “We are thrilled to join forces with Curiosity Inc. to develop premium podcasts for an audience who loves to learn. The Curiosity team has built such an incredible library of knowledge for curious minds and are adding to it all the time, and we can’t wait to bring it to our millions of listeners across the globe.” The first podcast series available is the “One Day University” podcast series, showcasing fascinating lectures delivered by the most beloved professors from some of the world’s top colleges and universities, with episode topics ranging from “Eight Books that Changed the World” to “Abraham Lincoln: Fact vs. Fiction.”

Salem Personality Amanda Carroll Signs with Life Audio Podcast Network. Joining Salem Media Group’s Life Audio Podcast Network  is company air personality Amanda Carroll. She is heard on the company’s Sacramento Christian music station “The Fish” and in national syndication via Today’s Christian Music Network. She is founder of the “Get Your Brave On” podcast. The weekly podcast inspires “women to live a strong and courageous life while featuring guests like Joel Smallbone from King and Country, Tasha Layton, and Ben Fuller.” Carroll states, “I’m honored to partner with Salem to help inspire women going through plot twists in life to bounce back with the help of their faith. It’s exciting to see all the years of work growing the ‘Get Your Brave On’ digital platform recognized by Salem for its impact and potential.”

Brett Andrews Named SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Madison. Programming pro Brett Andrews is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee and Madison markets. In addition to serving as program director for two of the music-formatted stations, Andrews will be in charge of more than 12 stations including news/talk WISN and sports talk WRNW-FM and WOKY-AM in Milwaukee and news/talk WIBA-AM in Madison. Andrews will report to Colleen Valkoun, market president for iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Jeff Tyler, area president for iHeartMedia Wisconsin.

The Economy, Biden in the Middle East, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Abortion Controversy, Twitter vs Musk, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, Uvalde Video Leaked, and Webb Telescope Images Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/12). The inflation causing high prices for gasoline & food, sinking tech stocks, and concerns about a recession; President Joe Biden embarks on a trip to the Middle East; the November midterm elections and speculation about who will be the nominees for president in 2024; the contentious battle over abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade; the legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter over his attempt to acquire the social media platform; the ongoing January 6 hearings; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the global economy; a leak of the video from the Uvalde school massacre reveals police taking no action against the gunman; and the images from the James Webb Space Telescope were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

| December 8, 2021

Jim Bohannon to Be Inducted into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Achievement in Broadcasting event at NAB Show scheduled for April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. Bohannon’s eponymous Westwood One program is heard on some 300 affiliate stations across the country. Bohannon spent more than 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” for which he still provides interviews and his feature “The Offbeat.” He previously hosted the weekend news magazine “America This Week.” Bohannon began his radio career in 1960 at KLWT-AM in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri. Following college and military service during the Vietnam War, he returned to radio in the Washington, D.C. market, covering news at both WTOP-AM and WWRC-AM. He later worked as a morning anchor at WCFL-FM in Chicago and as a freelance reporter for CNN. Bohannon hosted his own Saturday night call-in program starting in 1984 and served as the principal back-up for Larry King on the “Larry King Show.” In February of 1993, Bohannon assumed the full-time role of the late night radio show that was launched by King. Bohannon’s relationship with Westwood One goes back to 1983. He’s anchored newscasts, political conventions and election night coverage in addition to his weekday programs. Bohannon is a recipient of a Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and was named by TALKERS magazine’s editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003, and into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2020. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Jim encompasses the spirit of radio. His distinct voice, humor and engaging programs have informed and entertained listeners for 50 years, while addressing historic milestones affecting our nation. I am grateful for his friendship and the opportunities I have had to be a guest on his show. We congratulate Jim on this befitting honor.”

Audacy Launches Sports Betting Station on WMC-AM, Memphis. Heritage Memphis AM signal WMC is being flipped to a sports talk and sports betting format as Audacy unveils “The Bet 790 AM” using content from the BetQL Network and CBS Sports Radio. The changes take place tomorrow (12/9). In addition to sports betting shows, the station will air CBS Sports Radio’s “The Jim Rome Show,” “Andy Gresh” and “Amy Lawrence.” Audacy Memphis SVP and market manager Dan Barron says, “Since launching in January 2020, the BetQL Network has given listeners a destination to obtain quality sports betting information and entertainment, while making them smarter, more well-equipped bettors in the process. We’re thrilled to add that rolodex of content to our portfolio here in Memphis and deliver that one-stop-shop that millions of listeners are enjoying to our local audience.”

iHeartMedia Names Daniel Lenz to SVP of Sales for Milwaukee and Madison. Radio sales pro Daniel Lenz is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee and Madison station groups. The markets include news/talk juggernaut WISN-AM, Milwaukee and WIBA-AM, Madison plus sports talk outlets WRNW-FM, Milwaukee and WTSO, Madison. Lenz was most recently VP of sales for iHM Milwaukee. iHeartMedia area president Jeff Tyler says, “We are thrilled to have a leader with Dan’s knowledge, leadership and credentials to lead the iHeartMedia sales organizations in both Milwaukee and Madison. Dan’s knowledge of the company will provide strong strategic thinking and results for our advertisers.” Lenz comments, “I’ve had a rewarding career in Milwaukee working alongside some really great media professionals and I am excited to take on this new role with iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Madison. I look forward to continuing the success we have established while contributing new ideas and leadership to the team.”

WGN, Chicago Announces Christmas and New Year’s Specialty Programming. WGN Radio announces it will broadcast special holiday programming on Christmas with 27-hours of “Christmas Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza with hosts Steve [King] and Johnnie [Putman] and John Landecker. “Christmas Radio Theatre” is curated by Amari who has selected half-hour holiday-themed selections from old-time radio programs including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Bing Crosby Show,” “The Burns & Allen Show,” “Gunsmoke,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Nero Wolfe,” and more. In addition to the 27-hour marathon, WGN Radio has added “WGN Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” to its weekend program schedule, airing Sundays 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning December 12. The show will feature programs from radio’s golden age. In the first few weeks, episodes from “The Jack Benny Program,” “Gunsmoke,” “My Favorite Husband” starring Lucille Ball, “Suspense,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” will be featured. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. On New Year’s Eve, Steve and Johnnie will host from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by John Landecker, who will lead the countdown to 2022. Steve and Johnnie were heard overnights on WGN Radio for 27 years before signing off in 2011. Landecker is currently heard Mondays through Thursdays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on WGN Radio.

Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Offers $100,000 Reward in Providence Murder Case. According to a story in the Providence Journal, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can provide “accurate and  direct” information that is deemed “crucial” to finding the person or persons responsible for the drive-by shooting death of 24-year-old Miya Brophy-Baermann that happened on August 1 of this year. The money is not coming from DePetro himself or the radio station, but apparently from anonymous donors. The Providence Journal piece states, “The situation raises lots of questions that DePetro didn’t answer thoroughly during a brief email exchange. Where exactly is the money? Is the money donated or pledged? If the case goes unsolved for say, 20 years, how would the money be disbursed if someone provides the information and breaks the case? ‘Twenty years from now?’ DePetro said in an email. ‘I admittedly am in new territory here. I will tell you the reward is very real.’ The donors ‘are real and have been vetted,’ he said.”

TALKERS News Notes. The podcast production and distribution deal between Audacy’s Cadence13, and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions – the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries” is extended. Season two of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast, based on the long-running hit television and popular Netflix streaming series, will come back next spring with 40 new episodes. The podcast is narrated by award-winning voice actor Steve French and presents all-new unsolved cases from the vast “Unsolved Mysteries” database – including unsolved crimes, missing persons, fugitives, mysterious creatures, and the paranormal – with each episode taking a deep dive into one specific mystery. Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer and the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ podcast, which became an instant fan favorite with a devoted following of listeners around the world. We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with this iconic show, and look forward to this new season.”…..Premiere Networks and Amy Brown, co-host of iHeartMedia’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and host of the popular “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast, announce the addition of “Here After with Megan Devine” to The Amy Brown Podcast Network. “Here After with Megan Devine” is a weekly podcast guiding listeners through one of the trickiest parts of being human: what to do when life goes horribly wrong. In each episode, best-selling author, psychotherapist, and grief advocate Devine shares her inclusive and realistic approach to grief. Devine says, “Grief is the foundation of being human: from the big losses to the everyday stressors, it’s hard to be here sometimes. I’m excited to use my experience as both a grieving person and a clinician to explore new ways to respond – and survive – when life goes horribly wrong.”

COVID-19 Omicron Variant, Biden-Putin Meeting, January 6 Investigation, Jussie Smollett Trial, the GOP and the 2022 Mid-Terms, Kim Potter Trial, Youth Mental Illness Crisis, and FOX Christmas Tree Torched Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The threat of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and the issue of vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Donald Trump loyalists who are refusing to cooperate; the trial of actor Jussie Smollett who’s accused of staging an attack on himself and blaming homophobia; Republicans, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley via her new book, promoting the party in advance of the 2022 mid-term elections; the manslaughter trial of former cop Kim Potter who killed black motorist Daunte Wright after mistaking her gun for a taser; Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s report on the pandemic-influenced rise in mental health issues among the nation’s youths; and authorities arrest a suspect in the burning of FOX News’ Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.  Don’t miss this!

WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”

KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”

Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.

RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.

iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.

Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 31, 2020

| August 31, 2020

Monday Memo: Announcers, You Have Been Replaced…for $47.  Seldom at a loss for words, consultant Holland Cooke admits he “won’t even TRY to describe” what he regards as a breakthrough, “after what we, as an industry, have suffered from failed consolidation, and as pandemic remote-broadcast mode has obsoleted the station workspace as we knew it.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The New-Talk of Sports Talk. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the dramatic changes in what sports talk hosts are discussing today compared to just a year ago. “Today, players and on-air personalities are tackling complex issues with newer topics up for discussion everywhere from social media to your station’s dial position. Let’s be clear, this is not about play-by-play, this is about selling your local sports talker hitting on topics that last year at this time weren’t up for consideration on a sports talk show sheet.” Read more here.

Madison Advertiser Pulls Ads from News/Talk WIBA-AM. A piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Daniel Bice indicates that Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin has pulled its ads from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison after talk host Vicki McKenna voiced support for Kyle Rittenhouse – the 17-year-old Illinois resident charged with homicide in the deaths of two protestors. Group Health Cooperative chief business development officer Allan Wearing tells Bice that McKenna has a right to her opinions and his  company has the right to pull its advertising. McKenna – whose show is also heard on sister station WISN-AM, Milwaukee – says she’s being “smeared” by the newspaper and that Bice wrote that she’s encouraging people to “murder protesters.” Bice says he wrote no such thing.

Cleveland, Tennessee Sportscaster Suspended After Insensitive Comment. Play-by-play broadcaster Gary Ownbey has been suspended by Hartline LLC for a comment made during a high school football game broadcast last week on “101.3 The Buzz” in Cleveland, Tennessee. After Ownbey stumbled over some of the players’ names during the broadcast, he said, “I don’t know where they’re getting these foreigners from.” Hartline and Bradley County Schools issued a joint statement that read, in part, “Now more than ever, it is critical for our organizations to reinforce our public commitment to equity for all. ‘101.3 The Buzz,’ Bradley County Schools, and Bradley Central High School will not condone this type of action or behavior. We believe this is contrary to our overall goals of empathy, affirmation, and creating a culturally responsive environment for all.” Hartline LLC owner Steve Hartline added, “The comments made during Thursday night’s game do not in any way reflect the culture nor views of the station. We respect our student-athletes, and their families and are proud to showcase their accomplishments on and off the field.”

Civil Unrest/Deadly Portland Shooting, Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Hurricane Laura Destruction, Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The civil unrest in cities where protests are ongoing and the shooting death in Portland; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools to students and the outbreaks on numerous college campuses; the destruction in Louisiana after the landfall of Hurricane Laura; and the death of actor Chadwick Boseman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Expands Black Information Network Across On-Air Signals. The new BIN: Black Information Network launched last month by iHeartMedia is adding four on-air signals to the group of radio stations carrying the 24/7 national audio news service “dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” The company has entered into Local Marketing Agreements with M-10 Broadcasting for WQLL-AM, Baltimore; Alexander Broadcasting Company for W257DC, Montgomery, Alabama; Beasley Media Group for WTEL-AM, Philadelphia; and an LMA with an Asset Purchase Agreement with Potomac Radio Group for WUST-AM, Washington, DC. BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is of course to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Baltimore, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and provide millions of listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Springfield, Illinois, Mid-West Family Communications announces that effective tomorrow (9/1) news/talk WMAY-AM begins airing on the 92.7 frequency in the market. Currently the home of country WUSY-FM, the move will put the company’s heritage news/talk station on three signals: 970 AM, 94.7 FM via W234CC, and the full-market class B1 FM WUSY. Station general manager Mike Paterson says in a press release, “Now more than ever, people across Central Illinois are relying on WMAY for breaking news and insightful coverage and commentary of important local, state, and national issues. Moving WMAY to 92.7 FM expands its reach into downtown office buildings and to inform consumers in surrounding counties. The pandemic, the rebuilding of the local economy, the election, statehouse scandals, and more – these are all reasons why people need a reliable way to stay informed and stay connected. Expanding our on-air reach, in addition to our streaming audio and our extensive online and social media presence, brings that vital information to every place that our audience needs it.”…..“The Armstrong & Getty Show” adds a new affiliate station to its roster as Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” begins airing the KSTE, Sacramento-based program. Starnes Media Group president Todd Starnes comments, “I’ve known Armstrong & Getty since my days at KFBK in Sacramento. I have no doubt that our KWAM listeners across the Mid-South will be thoroughly entertained by their show. Armstrong & Getty are making talk radio fun again.”…..In conjunction with the Seattle Police Foundation’s “Got Your Six” fundraising campaign, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s talk KVI, Seattle helped raise more than $50,000 earmarked for protective eyewear for Seattle police officers. The effort began on August 18 as KVI morning host John Carlson encouraged his listeners to donate funds in the aftermath of reports that police were being targeted with potentially eye-damaging laser pointers…..Former Georgetown University basketball coach and former WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” sports talk host John Thompson is dead at age 78. Thompson led the Georgetown Hoyas to the 1984 NCAA Championship. After leaving coaching in 1999, he began a 12-year career as a radio sports talk host on WTEM’s midday show alongside Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore hot AC WWMX-FM “Mix 106.5” announces its new morning drive team of Steve Kramer and Jessica Dutra, who will host the “Kramer & Jess” show beginning September 14. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Kramer and Jess are both optimistic, energetic and downright entertaining, which is exactly what Baltimore listeners are craving to start their day. Their undeniable passion will be a welcomed addition to our morning drive, and we look forward to introducing them to our audience, both locally and nationally.” The pair were most recently with iHeartMedia’s KHTS-FM, San Diego where Kramer was a morning co-host while Dutra served the station as co-host, producer, and social media coordinator for the morning show…..A new program is being offered in syndication from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in partnership with Oceanic Tradewinds and T & T Creative. The show, “Winning with Jekalyn Carr,” features hit music popular in both the inspirational and urban formats as well as interviews, creative features, and a plethora of video lifestyle content. The show premieres on Labor Day (9/7) in both video and audio formats and then launches with a regular hour-long, daily radio program and a two-hour-long weekend offering. All programs are barter free through September 27.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

| February 12, 2019

Alpha Media Deals in Chicagoland Market. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Alpha Media has been wheeling and dealing – recently selling entire clusters such as West Palm Beach and Bluefield, West Virginia.  Now it files to acquire two Chicagoland stations. FCC records indicate Alpha will pay $4.7 million for suburban classic rocker WFXF-FM, Dundee “103.9 The Fox” and adult contemporary WZSR, Woodstock “Star 105.5,” both serving the Northwest Suburbs. The company has been operating the stations under an LMA from Matrix Media, a company going through Chapter 11.  In order to comply with FCC ownership regulations, Alpha Media will turn around and sell WFXF to religious broadcaster Education Media Foundation for $900,000 and spin-off rock WRXQ, Coal City (far southwest side) to Walnut Radio for $300,000.  In the Chicago market Alpha also owns country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora “95.9 The River”; adult contemporary WSSR, Joliet “Star 96.7”; hot AC WXLC, Waukegan; news/talk/sports WJOL-AM, Joliet; news/talk WLIP, Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Spanish sports WKRS, Waukegan “ESPN Deportes 1220.”

WIBA-AM, Madison Adds Dan O’Donnell Show. The WISN, Milwaukee-based Dan O’Donnell show is now heard in the Madison market on news/talk WIBA-AM “News Talk 1310” as iHeartMedia simulcasts the late morning program.  The Dan O’Donnell show airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily.  On WIBA, O’Donnell takes over for Dan Conry, whostepped away from his daily show for health and family reasons.  Conry will continue to host his Sunday program and serve as a fill-in host at the station.  WISN program director Jerry Bott states, “Dan O’Donnell has made his mark with a hard-hitting show that is factually based, providing the foundation for Dan’s cutting-edge opinions, insights, and analysis.  He’s tough, yet fair, and Dan explores all elements of current events, politics, public policy, and pop culture with unmatched energy.”

‘TheDailyCentrist’ Digital Platform Launches Targeting Independents. A new multi-media platform called TheDailyCentrist is being launched in a joint venture by Crossover Media Group, 921 Associates LLC, and media personality Rick Ungar.  A press release says, “While there are no shortages of news and opinion destinations serving the interests of the far left and far right, there has – until now – been little available to appeal to those who identify in the middle: the center-right and the center-left of the political spectrum.”  They say the platform is “crafted to serve the wide plurality of Americans who identify as political independents and the even larger numbers who, regardless of party affiliation, can be considered center-right and center-left Americans in search of solutions.”  Rick Ungar will serve as editor-in-chief.  He’s a one-time senior political contributor at Forbes.com, political analyst at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and recently co-hosted the SiriusXM program “Steele & Ungar” with former RNC chairman and current MSNBC political contributor Michael Steele, who is among TheDailyCentrist’s contributors.  Ungar says, “If you like to find company online at the far right or left wings of the political spectrum, you’ve got plenty of places to go.  But when you look at the data it’s not simply a plurality but really a majority of Americans whose views are in the center-right/center-left bandwidth.  We plan to be the water cooler for that great silent majority of Americans who are underserved by political opinion – or attitude – that speaks to their sensibilities.  We will offer intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and fun conversation and engagement.  And we will scrutinize and criticize commentators, personalities, politicians and candidates who embrace either extreme political pole.”  TheDailyCentrist will offer daily columns, blogs, podcasts, and video clips from an array of political writers, commentators, and experts whose political perspectives reflect the center-right or center-left schools of American political thought.

Godwin Rises to SVP at Townsquare Media. Radio management pro Kevin Godwin is upped to senior vice president for Townsquare Media from his Northwest regional VP role and will leave his role as president of the Boise market operations.  In this new post he’ll have multiple market oversight responsibilities. The Boise cluster consists of news/talk KIDO and sports talk KFXD-AM “630 The Fan” in addition to four music radio outlets.  Taking over the Boise supervision duties is Grand Junction, Colorado market president Rick Carmean.  That move requires a new manager in Grand Junction and current director of sales Natalie Redding is promoted to lead that station group.

John Wordock Named Executive Editor, Podcasting for Westwood One. This is a newly created position for Westwood One and its new executive editor, podcasting – John Wordock – comes to the company from The Wall Street Journal where he held the title, executive producer, podcasts.  Wordock previously served as executive editor of The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch.com Radio Networks when they were syndicated by Westwood One. Most recently, the Wordock-led division at The Wall Street Journal grew total monthly audience over 2000%, guided the multi-department team that launched the chart-topping podcast “The Future of Everything,” and developed “many other successful shows from planning to distribution.”  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “As the fastest organically growing podcast network in the U.S. in 2018, Westwood One is thrilled to welcome John to the leadership team.  With almost 15 years of experience in podcast development, production, and distribution, coupled with his journalistic roots, John will help us expand our content portfolio with a commitment to quality and scale.”

Rare and Fascinating Air Check of Bruce Williams Surfaces.  Since the death of talk show host Bruce Williams was reported this past weekend, TALKERS has received more than a dozen personal stories from our readers citing experiences they’ve had with the legendary radio personality.  Among them, we received a fascinating air check submitted by KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris that she recorded back in 1995 when she called in to Williams’ NBC Talknet program seeking advice about the sale of her pet snake.  This took place prior to Harris’ radio career, when she was working as a cocktail waitress at a Las Vegas casino.  It captures the feeling, style and tone of Williams’ work, not to mention a glimpse back at the way talk radio sounded almost a quarter century ago.  To listen, please click here.

Federal Government Funding Deal, Trump El Paso Rally/Border Wall Battle, ‘Green New Deal,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Iran’s Anti-U.S. Rally, Rep. Omar Apology, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The tentative deal to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government; President Trump’s El Paso rally and the deal for 55 miles of U.S.-Mexico border fence; the controversial “Green New Deal” promoted by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the growing number of Democrats declaring their candidacy for president in 2020; the anti-U.S. sentiments expressed at Iran’s 40th anniversary celebration of the Islamic Revolution; Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Israel statement; the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. “The Big Interview” program hosted by legendary newsman Dan Rather is expanding into radio.  Krantz Media Group announces that, via a successful partnership with AXS TV and its own KMG Networks, they will a expand the reach of the AXS TV series, distributing additional episodes to radio.  Advertising sales will be handled by Westwood One.  As part of the agreement, stations will receive an audio version of the archived AXS TV series in addition to a corresponding video segment, that stations may post on their websites, mobile apps, and social media channels.  Radio stations will also receive customized promotional liners and promos from Rather. This year’s guest list features beloved music icons such as The Doobie Brothers, Geddy Lee, Steve Miller, Peter FramptonLindsey Buckingham, Robert Plant, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr, and members of The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Kansas…..Radio pro Gary Alan reports that his podcast “The Sunday Express” – heard for the past seven years on Tmvcafe.com – is now airing on Salem Media Group’s Miami business talker WZAB-AM “The Biz.” Alan says that over the years he’s welcomed such guests as Loretta Swit, Ray AbruzzoTim Robbie and more to the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk radio personality Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured below with the members of the Tenors of Rock at last Saturday night’s S.H.E.R.O Foundation Gala.  The S.H.E.R.O. Foundation provides resources needed to support, sustain, and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited.  Dr. Wachs served as emcee for the event.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Source magazine is out with its annual “Power 30” list of the most powerful players in hip hop culture and the nationally syndicated urban radio morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee – was on top of the list for the 6th year in a row.   Their entry says they “not only mix the music but also command the streets, represent their hoods, break new artists, deliver news and information, reign at the top of the ratings, and are social media influencers.”…..Blaine Thompson from Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Dave North exits his role as program director at Star City Broadcasting’s country WYCM, Attica, Indiana (Lafayette market) yet stays on with the company to serve as chief photographer for WPBI-TV.