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Monday, August 26, 2019

| August 26, 2019

Joe Walsh Says He’ll Challenge Trump for GOP Nomination. As teased on Friday (8/23), former Illinois GOP congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh officially announced on Sunday that he will begin a GOP primary campaign to challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination.  Walsh hosts the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program on the Salem Radio Network. It’s not clear right now when he’ll leave his radio show, but it’s a safe bet it will be very soon.  As a politically conservative broadcasting company, the SRN and Salem Media Group brass can’t be thrilled about Walsh’s decision. However, conventional wisdom says Walsh has no chance to take the nomination from Trump since the president enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, weighing in on the syndicated host’s announcement states, “The extraordinary amount of press surrounding this development illustrates just how powerful talk media has become during the age of Trump.  We all know that talk radio and cable news/talk TV have been consistently influential platforms in the post-Fairness Doctrine decades.  However, the sheer measurable power this bubbling influence has amassed in the age of Trump is jaw dropping to say the least.  Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, the fact that the president of the United States is a huge talk media fan and constantly demonstrates it through his use of social media, shout-outs, and political appointments has been the most significant booster rocket imaginable in elevating talk media beyond junior status to equal-if-not-greater influence and prestige as the so-called mainstream media.  Look at the amount of attention his tweets garnered for Wayne Allyn Root last week.  The fact that Joe Walsh – a radio talk show host with a microscopically short resume of elective service – could get so much more coverage than former governors William Weld and Mark Sanford sends an important message.  Radio and TV talk personalities are, in a growing number of cases, on the same level as major elected officials.  In an industry where anecdotal qualitative influence is every bit as important as murky quantitative metrics, everyone in the talk business owes a debt of gratitude to President Trump.  All I can say is, Mr. President, ‘Keep listening and watching!’” Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated FOX News had ignored the story.  Actually, FOX News published this story on Sunday and devoted reports on FOX News Channel to the story.

Neal Boortz Ends WSB-AM, Atlanta Commentary.  Six years after retiring from his daily radio talk show, radio legend Neal Boortz does his last commentary feature for his old flagship station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM. In his final piece for the station, Boortz says he looks forward to paying less attention to the news because he believes the country is headed for disaster due to young people knowing more about LGBTQ history than American history.  He says, “I’m going to just enjoy my friends, family and my travels while the rest of you see if you can pull this country back from the brink.” Hear his commentary here.

LaDona Harvey Re-Ups with KOGO, San Diego. Longtime station personality LaDona Harvey signs a new contract with iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego to continue as morning personality through 2022.  Harvey served as news anchor and then midday talk host before being partnered with Ted Garcia in morning drive in 2014.  Station program director Brian Long says, “When we re-launched Newsradio 600 KOGO, it was clear that LaDona had the versatility needed to shift from a popular local news/talk host to become a strong morning news personality without missing a beat.  LaDona and Ted Garcia together every morning share a chemistry that connects with San Diegans and serves to entertain and inform KOGO listeners every weekday morning.”

New Affiliate Stations for ‘Our American Stories.’ The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” radio program announces the program is being added to the program schedules at stations including: iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver; Bustos Media’s KVOI, Tucson; American General Media’s KVEC, San Luis Obispo; Entercom’s KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita; and Kensington Digital Media’s WRSW-AM, Warsaw, Indiana.  Lee Habeeb is host of the program and CEO of American Private Radio, producer and syndicator of the show.  Habeeb comments that he’s “grateful for the new markets and the opportunity to bring more listeners together in a positive listening environment.  These stations, along with our 210 other affiliate partners are a testament that listeners want more than just political talk.  They want a positive experience that radio does really well, which is just what ‘Our American Stories’ delivers.

Ken Lagana Named EVP of Digital Sales for Entercom. Digital sales executive Ken Lagana is appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president of digital sales for Entercom, effective September 10.   Lagana was most recently head of sales and marketing for podcast technology firm Megaphone.  In this new role, Lagana will lead sales strategy for the company’s digital business, including RADIO.COM, and its newest podcast acquisitions – Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I have known Ken a long time and have immense respect for the large digital businesses he’s helped build.  Ken has an incredible reputation in the industry for creating innovative programs at scale that solve challenges for marketers.  We’re excited to welcome him to the team as we continue to help shape the rapidly growing digital audio marketplace.”

Envision and Radio PA State Network Partner for Sports Report. This partnership between Envision Networks and Radio PA State Network will result in EnvisionVirtualServices Sports Reports being distributed to more than 50 radio stations throughout the Keystone State.  The feature his presented by sports reporter Andrew Scaglione who delivers twice-daily reports (and one report on Saturday).   Scaglione says, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has such a rich sports history spanning from the high school level all the way up to the pros.  It’s a privilege to provide daily sports reports to stations around the state and keep folks up to date on Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College, Williamsport, and everywhere in between.”

Monday Memo: YouTube Tweaks.  YouTube is a powerful platform and it’s real crowded.  Every second, one hour of video is uploaded.  If you just “throw something up there,” you’re probably not capitalizing on the benefits of YouTube.  Consultant Holland Cooke suggests that before your video joins that torrent, take a look at some valuable tips here.

U.S.-China Trade War/G7 Summit, Hong Kong Protests, Joe Walsh to Challenge Trump in Primary/2020 Presidential Race, Israel Strikes Iranian Targets, and Andrew Luck Retires from NFL Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tariff battle between the U.S. and China, the world’s financial markets’ reactions to them, and the meetings that took place at the G7 in France over the weekend; the protests against Chinese aggression in Hong Kong; talk host and former congressman Joe Walsh announces his Republican presidential bid and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Israeli military strikes against Iranian targets near Damascus, Syria; and the shocking retirement from pro football by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Forever Media to Buy Lebanon, Pennsylvania Duo. The stations – news/talk WLBR-AM and adult contemporary WQIC-FM “Soft Rock 100.1” – are being sold by family-owned Lebanon Broadcasting Company to Forever Media.  The deal gives Forever 64 stations in 11 markets.  Lebanon president Lynn Deppen says, “WLBR/WQIC has been in the Etter family for over 70 years.  Since my sons have independent careers, I made the decision to sell to Forever Media. Forever Media is an excellent company consisting of community-oriented radio stations.  They empower local managers with key decision-making authority and encourage local community interests to be a factor in any decision.”  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented the seller in this deal.

Barr Bids Buck Bon Voyage. Pictured above is Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left) with U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right) at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. last Thursday night (8/22).  Sexton, host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” had an impromptu going away celebration at the hotel as he leaves Washington to move to New York City.  Barr made an appearance to wish Sexton well as he returns to his home state.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Josh Innes is launching a podcast.  The former KBME, Houston and WIP, Philadelphia sports talk host tells ForbesJonathan Berr that he intends to target sports fans in Philly and Houston with separate shows for each market.  He says he understands that there are a ton of podcasts out there and that compared to big stations, he’s a small business.  He says he plans to target local advertisers who can’t afford to advertise on major market radio stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Vivianne Linou  is promoted to executive producer of WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran morning show. The Tribune Broadcasting station promoted Mary Sandberg Boyle from that position to director of news and operations back in May.  Linou joined WGN as a producer back in March after having previously served with Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM…..Alpha Media’s Portland sports talk KXTG-AM drops the FM translator simulcast of its programming.  The station signaled the end of the broadcast on K275CH with the re-branding of its social media accounts that eliminate the 102.9 FM frequency…..Saga Communications swaps FM translators as a simulcast of news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland.  It goes from W288CU, PORTLAND at 105.5 FM to W253DA at 98.5 FM…..ESPN launches a new college football podcast featuring lead analysts Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack plus SportsCenter’s Kevin Negandhi.  The “ESPN College Football Podcast- Herbie & Pollack” publish three times per week through the season with Negandhi hosting all episodes. Herbstreit will co-host on Mondays and Pollack will do so on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. West Palm Beach country outlet WIRK names Moriah Daniels midday personality.  Daniels began her radio career eight years ago as an intern for the then-CBS Radio station, now owned and operated by Hubbard Radio.  WIRK operations manager and brand/content director Bruce Logan states, “As a program director, there is nothing better than inheriting great talent!  When I started the search to transition ‘New Country 103.1’ from a voice-tracked show to a live and local show in West Palm Beach, I was thrilled to find Moriah sitting mere feet from my office dutifully serving our sales team.  She expressed interest, I went through the entire search process and in the end, there was no one I’d rather have as WIRK’s At-Work host.”…..Air personality Pat Gallagher returns to the Madison market to assume the morning show duties on Mid-West Family’s alternative WRIS “The Resistance.”  Company VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “Pat helped define alternative music in Madison.  It’s so important to have him here and be a part of it.”  Gallagher worked in alternative radio in Madison for 27 years before joining Mid-West Family Madison for a brief time then heading to WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia to do mornings…..Radio personality and doo wop enthusiast Ron Farber appeared on WMTR-AM, Morristown, New Jersey over the weekend as guest and co-host on the station’s “Doo Wop Drive” program from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on August 23.   It was a homecoming of sorts as Faber hosted the Friday night doo wop show from 2005 through 2008…..Air talent Scotty Kay joins the new morning program at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago.  Kay was most recently on air at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  He joins morning show hosts Katie BrightJason Pullman, and Erin Creedon on the program…..In Los Angeles, Doug “Sluggo” Roberts is named assistant program director and music director for classic rock KLOS.  Roberts currently hosts weekend programs on SiriusXM’s “1St Wave” and “Lithium” channels.  He’s also worked at alternative KROQ and adult hits KABC-FM in Los Angeles.

Friday, February 1, 2019

| February 1, 2019

Anderssen Adds Atlanta Duties at WSB-AM. Continuing as Cox Media Group’s news, talk, and sports format coordinator, Drew Anderssen is appointed senior operations/program manager for the company’s Atlanta news/talk outlet, WSB-AM. Director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs notes, “Drew and I have worked in lockstep for the last five years as format leaders for all of our outstanding Cox Media Group news/talk stations. He brings an overwhelming amount of experience and passion and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure [WSB-AM] remains a dominant leader in the radio space.” Anderssen comments that WSB-AM is “one of America’s strongest and most iconic radio stations. It has been a career-long dream of mine to become part of this award-winning team. I am thrilled to work one-on-one with Pete Spriggs and the entire team to help shape the future of the WSB brand.” Anderssen previously oversaw programming, news, digital, and social media planning as OM/PD at co-owned WDBO-FM, Orlando. Prior to joining Cox Media Group in 1998 as Tulsa news/talk KRMG’s operations manager, he spent several years in promotions, research, and programming in Texas and Oklahoma. WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 Nielsen Audio sweeps – is a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+).

Thrall To Call Some Reds Ballgames. Seven-year Pensacola Blue Wahoos play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall bumps up from the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds to “the show,” joining the Reds’ broadcast team on iHeartMedia news/talk WLW and the Reds’ radio network. After 45 years of calling Reds’ games, Marty Brennaman will be retiring after this season; Jeff Brantley will continue working alongside Brennaman as color analyst. Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus notes, “Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our ‘utility’ broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the ‘Reds on Radio’ post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill-in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.” Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith comments, “We are incredibly proud of Tommy for taking this well-deserved step in his career. Since Opening Day 2012, he has been an invaluable part of our organization and we are grateful for his numerous contributions to ‘Hoosville.’” Thrall and Brantley worked together on three games last September. They are scheduled to call the Reds – Chicago White Sox spring training matchup later this month (2/27).

Applications Now Accepted For Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program. In its 18th year, this experience pairs up-and-coming women currently working in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Beasley Media Group is once again lead sponsor of the initiative for women interested in advancing their careers. Chair of the 2019 Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s mentoring committee/Entercom Chicago national sales manager Lindsay Cerajewski states, “This unique initiative provides an amazing opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and access to some of the most influential women in radio. It is very rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.” MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik adds, “We are absolutely thrilled Beasley Media Group has once again generously offered to serve as lead sponsor of MIW Group’s heritage Mildred Carter Mentoring Program; we look forward to another successful year.” Four candidates within the radio industry will be selected for this year’s program. At least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot for a digital candidate. The MIW Group Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter, who, along with her husband, Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, when they signed-on Kansas City’s KPRS in 1950. Deadline to apply for the mentoring program is in less than three weeks (2/20).

Blues Skating To Hubbard St. Louis. Effective with the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season, games of the St. Louis Blues will shift from Entercom news/talk KMOX to Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN.” According to Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski, “It has always been a dream to partner with the St. Louis Blues organization. The Blues management team is a class act and their fans are the best in professional hockey.” WXOS band content director Chris “Hoss” Neupert adds, “The ‘101 ESPN’ team is excited to be the new home for the St. Louis Blues. Our entire team is looking forward to our partnership with the St. Louis Blues and the opportunity to offer innovative content, exclusive interviews, analysis, and coverage for St. Louis fans.”

Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

FSR Sets Super Bowl Programming. Among the highlights on Fox Sports Radio’s schedule this Sunday (2/3) is a weekend edition of “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” who will be joined by betting experts Steve Fezzik and Brad Powers, as well as FSR personality Jonas Knox. Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is considered the biggest sports betting event of the year. The network’s complete lineup this Sunday includes: Andy Furman and Brian Noe (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Mike Harmon and Kelvin Washington (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm); Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Steve Hartman and Ephraim Salaam (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank (throughout the Super Bowl game); and Jonas Knox (11:00 pm – 2:00 am).

RTDNF Tabs Klobuchar As “First Amendment Defender.” This year’s First Amendment Defender award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be presented next month (3/13) in Washington, DC. RTDNF chair Scott Libin comments, “Senator Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts; worked to advance government transparency; and pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning of Attorney General-designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Senator Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.”

WBUR’s CitySpace Opens Later This Month. The 8,700-square-foot, high-tech multipurpose facility at The Lavine Broadcast Center officially opens to the public in several weeks (2/28), but Boston mayor Marty Walsh joined executives of Boston University-owned public radio news/talk WBUR for a ribbon cutting at the Commonwealth Avenue site on Wednesday (1/30). WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz comments, “CitySpace will be the home for public conversation in Boston. It brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it is a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives.” Mayor Walsh notes, “The city of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves. This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.” The calendar of events already includes discussions with Boston Marathon champions; authors and chefs; brown-bag musical performances by Boston University students; trivia nights with WBUR staff; and adult spelling bees. The venue accommodates up to 275 people and has state-of-the-art audio and robotic high-definition video technology for live streaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. First-year CitySpace guests scheduled to appear include comedian/former Air America host Janeane Garofalo, “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur, composer Philip Glass, and author Margaret Atwood.

Southern California Broadcasters Association Shares Its 2019 “Automotive Overview.” In an ongoing series, the Southern California Broadcasters Association delivers an in-depth analysis of a particular industry or topic directly relevant for its members and the radio industry. This particular report, available on SCBA’s website, “challenges the auto industry’s focus” on non-radio digital platforms by “making a compelling case” for broadcast radio and the influence radio advertising has on today’s car buyers. The overview reveals that “year-over-year vehicle sales have remained essentially flat to down the past four years, highlighting SCBA’s case that media reallocation and a true ROI analysis of current ad spending by the automakers is urgently recommended.” SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “Based on factual research, it is our view that broadcast radio is the underrated and undervalued workhorse for the auto industry. Not only will 23% of auto buyers visit a dealership after hearing a radio ad, but one in ten will actually buy a vehicle after hearing a dealer radio ad. The auto industry must reevaluate its dependence on digital since increased digital ad spending has not delivered increased retail sales. Spending 63% of automotive ad budgets with digital is not sustainable.” Previous SCBA reports include topics such as “E-Commerce Basics to Know,” “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Pandora,” and “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Digital and Social Media.”

Michael Harrison Addresses South Florida Art CommunityTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as special guest speaker addressing a gathering of approximately 70 emerging local artists last evening (1/30) at a workshop titled “The Thriving Art Exchange” at the CJR Fine Art Gallery in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  The event was presented by the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists and honored the work of Rickie Leiter, publisher of a Palm Beach County-based art industry trade publication, The Rickie Report.  In his speech, Harrison focused on opportunities available to independent artists in the rapidly evolving digital era in both the creative and marketing arenas.  He opened his talk with a humorous anecdote, “The last time I addressed a group of visual artists was when I served as keynote speaker at the first annual convention of the National Association of Cave Wall Painters.”  Harrison said, “It was a time when the standard method of painting was to put colored pigments on your hands and paint directly with your fingers onto the walls of caves.  The big issue that year was what to do about the introduction of a new gadget called the paint brush and whether images created with this new technology were truly ‘art.’”  Harrison concluded, “The argument became a non-issue when the stone tablet was invented shortly thereafter and paintings could be taken to places outside the cave.  That form of disruption was the first example of mobile media!”

 

“PodGOATs” Launches Today. The series of Comworld Media-produced “PodGOATS” podcasts features Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host Phil Valentine and his millennial son, Campbell Valentine. The elder Valentine remarks, “I can’t remember having this much fun doing something in a long time,” while recent University of Tennessee graduate Campbell counters, “You can’t remember – period.” The two will discuss everything from their top three picks of events that changed the world to what to do if an electromagnetic pulse took down the electrical grid. They talk spies, conspiracy theories, and anything else in today’s society and culture. Five episodes debut today (2/1) with a new podcast – available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, – released once a week each Sunday afternoon.

Grabbing Gronk. Preparing for its coverage of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday (2/3) when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s exclusive network radio partner – Westwood One – has been interviewing players, coaches, and special guests for their weeknight “Road to Super Bowl LIII” program; “Super Bowl Preview”; and “Super Sunday” shows airing prior to Sunday’s big game in Atlanta. Seen above is the voice of NFL Films, Scott Graham, chatting with New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. This is the 32nd consecutive year – and 46th time overall – that Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl.

CBS News Radio Offers Radio Version of “Intelligence Matters” Podcast. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 2/2), former CIA deputy director/intelligence analyst and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell begins hosting a one-hour radio version of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast, which emanates from CBS News’ Washington, D.C bureau. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler notes, “We are delighted to offer Michael Morell’s programs and expertise to our affiliates. Michael’s keen insight into the world of intelligence is a hot topic in today’s fast-moving world. It is the right time to bring his hugely successful podcast to radio audiences everywhere.” Leaders throughout the U.S. intelligence community will discuss national security policy and current events with Morell, a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terrorism efforts of the past two decades.

Rockcastle Media Networks’ Radio Nebraska Network Launches Next Monday. The national radio network expands by creating a Rockcastle Regional Networks division, with the Radio Nebraska Network scheduled to deliver its first newscasts via FTP download next Monday (2/4). Rockcastle Media Networks president/chief executive officer Will Sterrett comments, “When we learned the Nebraska Radio Network folded, our thoughts turned to serving those affiliates and listeners with high-quality radio news. We are excited to offer four newscasts each weekday with much more to come down the road.” As is the case with all other Rockcastle Media Networks programming, the Radio Nebraska Network is available on a market-exclusive, 100% self-contained barter basis. Prior to Rockcastle Media Networks, Sterrett worked in radio news at the CNN Radio Network; Texas State Network; Waitt Radio Networks, Omaha; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTRH, Houston; and WLW, Cincinnati.

Border Wall Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-February 1. The ongoing battle over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers Ten.  At #2 this week was Robert Mueller‘s Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump‘s attacks on intel chief Dan Coats over his report on North Korea and Iran, followed by the record Midwestern cold snap at #4.  The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

SiriusXM Finalizes Pandora Purchase. The $3.5 billion deal (at a ratio of 1.44 new SiriusXM shares for each Pandora share) creates a digital audio entity reaching 100 million North America listeners. The closing comes three days after Pandora stockholders approved the acquisition. The deal was okayed by the Department of Justice approximately six weeks ago (12/21). In a prepared statement, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer – who now leads the combined company – notes, “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences. We could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM is a subscription-based national service of curated and exclusive content and programming, and Pandora is the largest U.S. streaming music provider with its highly personalized free ad-supported service. This is a powerful platform under one roof for consumers, content creators, and advertisers. We look forward to creating unique audio packages that combine our strengths and offer an even wider range of content to our listeners.” Pandora’s 16-month chief executive officer and Sling TV founder, Roger Lynch, is leaving the company, as are general counsel Steve Bene, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson.

PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at “Holiday” 2018. Each month, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at four formats and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. Adult contemporary is in the spotlight today as Mike delves into the mostly ups – and occasional downs – AC experienced in the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period. The format that leads the way in the all-Christmas music programming strategy accounts for 77% of “Holiday” 2018 #1 finishers (6+). In addition, Bonneville-owned Salt Lake City AC KSFI is the only station in any PPM-market to reach the 20-share level (21.8, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018. Check out all the facts and figures here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas contemporary Christian KAWA “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” general manager Tim Dukes is named mid-south regional manager over parent company WAY Media properties in Nashville and Clarksville (Tennessee); Louisville and Bowling Green (Kentucky); and Birmingham and Huntsville (Alabama). WAY-FM Network chief operating officer Lloyd Parker states, “We are excited that Tim has accepted the role and challenge of managing our mid-south region. Tim is respected and uniquely-qualified for this position with his many years of mainstream radio experience, plus his time on the pastoral staff at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth and as chief operating officer of the Dallas-based Halftime Institute. He’s going to do a great job.” Dukes – who will continue to manage KAWA  until a new general manager is named – remarks, “Joining WAY-FM in 2015 has given me some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most fulfilling, years of my career. Louisville is my hometown. I went to college in Nashville and started in radio there, so this is an especially exciting appointment to me.” His past programming credits include Chicago’s WLUP and Cincinnati’s WEBN, as well as being director of FM programming for Jacor San Diego ….. Today (2/1) on his syndicated show, Tom Joyner announced the “One More Time Experience” multi-city tour, which begins May 10 in Washington, DC and continues throughout the summer. Joyner states, “I hope everyone will be as excited as I am to celebrate with good music, good fun, and good hugs. We have 25 years’ worth of partying to achieve, so let’s do it together.” Confirmed dates and places so far – in addition to May 10 in Washington – include Cleveland (June 7); Indianapolis (June 8); Columbus (July 12); St. Louis (July 13); Raleigh (July 19); and Charlotte (July 20). Also on today’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker announced he is running for president ….. Starting next Thursday (2/7), Afentra – who formerly did mornings at Entercom Kansas City alternative KRBZ “The Buzz,” (“Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz”) – will join cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative” for 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm duty. Cumulus midwest region vice president Donna Baker states, “Afentra has the gift of observing life in a manner that is real, whether hilarious or poignant, and sharing that in a way that truly connects.” Cumulus Media and Westwood One executive vice president, content & programming Mike McVay comments, “The opportunity to bring Afentra to the Cumulus Kansas City cluster was one we simply couldn’t pass up. A talent with her skills, experience and market heritage is a rare find.” KCJK program director Mike O’Reilly notes, “Sometimes in a lineup strategy, you get lucky and make a big splash. Adding Afentra is more along the lines of a tidal wave for Kansas City alternative, while Afentra explains that KCJK “didnʼt just say they wanted me, they showed me. Wanting me – my thoughts and my experience –  speaks to my soul. I’m rested, excited, and ready to win.” ….. Assistant music programmer Brian Denicola is promoted to program director of SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel. Senior director of programming Lou Simon writes in an internal memo, “Brian has exemplified a great level of care and focus and has developed relationships with each of you, making sure he has what you need and providing you with inspiration for added creativity. His copywriting; attention to detail in editing logs; and his creativity have all led to this appointment. I will remain in a position of oversight and Bond Collard will remain as the channel coordinator, doing a spectacular job in that role.” Denicola had been programming the channel on an interim basis ….. Three-year WRQX “Mix 107.3,” Washington, DC afternoon drive talent Jason Kidd exits the Cumulus Media hot AC. “Mix” program director/Cumulus Media vice president of hot AC programming Rob Roberts is seeking Kidd’s successor ….. Mainstream CHR KYYY “Y-93” Bismarck (North Dakota) program director Joey Dee transfers to iHeartMedia Omaha sibling KISO “96.1 Kiss FM Omaha’s #1 For All The Hits” as program director/afternoon drive host. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Omaha Erik Johnson comments, “We are extremely excited to welcome Joey Dee to the ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ team. His major-market experience and creative ideas will help make [KISO] a market leader.” Dee adds, “Making my pilgrimage to Omaha is a dream come true for me as a CHR programmer. I am incredibly excited to work with the entire iHeartMedia Omaha team and I look forward to taking ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ all the way to number one.” Dee previously was assistant program director for Hubbard Seattle CHR KQMV “Movin’ 92.5” and has programmed Bismarck’s KKCT ….. On-air lineup adjustments at Entercom Buffalo’s WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” find “Emily” in extended morning drive (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Brandi” middays (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Axe” handling 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight duties.