NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Self-Evident Truths,” looks back at this past week of June 28 – July 2, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Buck Sexton, talk show co-host, EIB Network; Clay Travis, talk show co-host, EIB Network; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; and Brad Shepard, talk show host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Posting of Video Content from TALKERS 2021 Conference to Resume Next Week. TALKERS magazine has been posting videos, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the recent TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on June 11. So far, we’ve posted on-demand video of the first four sessions. We’ll continue making new sessions available next week. Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!
Report: Larry Elder Considering Entering California Recall Race. According to a report in Politico, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host and attorney Larry Elder is “seriously considering” getting into the California recall race. The report by Carla Marinucci indicates that Elder expects to make a decision about the September 14 recall election early next week. She goes on to say the 69-year-old media figure is looking for “support from conservative voters who may not be motivated by other Republican candidates, which include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, former Rep. Doug Ose, and reality TV star and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner. Elder spokesperson Steve Frank is quoted saying, “Should he get into the race, it will be a game changer because he’s well known, well-liked, and extremely knowledgeable about the problems of California and government. He has been articulate about expressing those views for years.”
WFAN, New York Honors Mark Chernoff with Studio Dedication. Pictured above is Mark Chernoff – longtime program director for legendary New York sports talk radio station WFAN – standing beside the plaque that designates the station’s sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” Wednesday (6/30), Chernoff retired from his position as program director of Audacy’s WFAN and CBS Sports Radio Network. Photo: Audacy
‘JOX 94.5’ in Birmingham Unveils New Morning Show. Birmingham, Alabama sports talk outlet WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5” combines two Alabama gridiron greats for its new 7:00 am to 10:00 am show. Greg McElroy, former University of Alabama quarterback and ESPN college football color commentator partners with Cole Cubelic, former Auburn University offensive lineman and captain and sports analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN. He joined WJOX-FM in 2018 as co-host of “3 Man Front.” Pat Smith, a 25-year sports media broadcaster with a TV and radio background, will be a contributor to the new morning show. Smith – who also serves as assistant program director for WJOX-FM – created the college football radio and television program, “Finebaum,” starring Paul Finebaum. He’ll also continue his hosting duties on the station’s “3 Man Front” late morning program. Damian Mitchell will serve as producer “while adding humor and wit to the program every morning.” Cumulus Birmingham operations manager Ryan Haney says, “This is a show that I have wanted to put together for a long time and I am excited to get started. Greg and Cole are two of the top college football minds in the country. Having them in mornings on ‘Jox 94.5’ in America’s number one college football market is huge.”
SiriusXM’s Michael Smerconish Debuts Duo of New Podcasts. Talk media personality Michael Smerconish is adding two new podcasts to his content for SiriusXM. Smerconish hosts his eponymous 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show on the satcaster’s P.O.T.U.S. channel and is launching “The Smerconish Podcast,” featuring his thoughts on the key issues of the day, and “Book Club with Michael Smerconish,” which will spotlight discussions with authors about a wide range of subjects. “The Michael Smerconish Podcast” will cull “the most poignant moments” from his daily program “whether it’s his opening commentary about a controversial topic, a deep-thought interview with newsmakers, insights from listeners’ calls, or more.”
WPG-AM, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Celebrates Anniversary. Morning drive talk radio personality Harry Hurley is celebrating his 30th anniversary hosting a radio show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hurley hosts the “Hurley in the Morning” program on Townsquare Media’s WPG-AM, Atlantic City. He says in a message posted on the WPG website, “I want to take this opportunity to thank my employer, Townsquare Media and my boss Michael Ruble, president of Townsquare Media South Jersey for the opportunity to be a talk radio show host for 30 years, today. Along with my employer and boss, my sincere thanks and appreciation to our loyal listeners and advertisers, many of whom have been with us for so many decades.”
COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccines, and Masks Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 28 – July 2. Discussion about the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, the slowing rate of vaccination in the U.S., and the inconsistent mask protocols combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the indictment of the Trump Organization by NYC District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, tied with the U.S. House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack. Following at #3 was the troubles affecting the ranked choice voting in New York City’s mayoral primary elections tied with the violent crime spike in America’s large cities. The Talkers TenTM 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 complete chart here.
Audacy Hiring in Promotions Department. There are a number of positions open in Audacy’s promotions department in several parts of the country. The company is seeking three regional promotions managers and it says the candidates must be “organized, detail-oriented and outgoing professionals to support our Promotions + Experiences team in promotions, contesting and prize fulfillment.” Those positions are open in Southern California, the Midwest, and the Tri-State area. Also, Audacy is searching for an event director and the location for that position is TBD. It directly supports the Director of National Experiences for all aspects of live events production for music, lifestyle, and sports events across the country. Find out more about it here.
Freelance Radio Anchor Opportunity. FOX News is seeking a freelance radio anchor to join the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As the freelance radio anchor, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/air check to be considered for this role. Click on the cities to find out more and to apply in New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
Longtime KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Talk Host Mike Pintek Dead at 65. Talk radio host Mike Pintek took leave of his radio talk show on Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh in late June after his treatment for cancer was interrupted by a stroke he suffered. He would not return to the air and the station reports that Pintek died early today (9/12). Pintek, who served with the legendary Pittsburgh news/talk station for more than 30 years, announced back in May of 2017 that he’d been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. KDKA-AM reports that after receiving the diagnosis, Pintek began “an aggressive form of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and participated in experimental drug studies to ward off the illness, all while continuing to entertain his thousands of listeners daily on KDKA Radio.” Pintek Joined KDKA-AM in 1982 as a reporter and in 1985 shifted to the role of talk host. During his career he also served with KDKA-TV as a news break anchor and as host of “Pittsburgh 2-Day.” See KDKA-AM’s obit here.
Bill Gentry to Lead Cumulus Media Birmingham. Radio management pro Bill Gentry is named vice president and general manager for Cumulus Media’s Birmingham, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WAPI-AM/WZZR-FM “Talk 99.5” and sports talk trio WJOX-AM, WJOX-FM, and WJQX-FM. Gentry was most recently SVP and market manager at Alpha Media’s Louisville cluster. Prior to that, he was regional market president for iHeartMedia overseeing Louisville, Lexington, and Nashville. Gentry says, “I am thrilled to join the Cumulus team in Birmingham and grateful to Mary and the leadership team for this opportunity. I am particularly excited to be starting just as college football is kicking off in the heart of the SEC, as we are the sports authority in the market. Given my experience within news/talk and recent time working within the urban arena, I can’t wait to get started! And I hope the staff won’t mind if I hang a UK jersey in my office. Looking forward to this new adventure. This is going to be fun!”
Report: Nielsen Exploring Sale of Entire Company. According to a report by Reuters, Nielsen Holdings Plc is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co and Guggenheim Securities LLC, “as well as law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, on an ‘expanded’ review of strategic alternatives.” Previously, the company said it was looking at selling its “Buy” segment, but pressure from hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. has it now exploring a sale of the entire company. (The “Buy” segment provides data on consumer behavior and the “Watch” segment is the TV, radio, and digital ratings side of the company.) Not unlike some radio companies, Nielsen is dogged by a 2006 leveraged buyout by six PE firms and its debt is tagged at $8.66 billion while its market capitalization is estimated to be around $9.4 billion.
Julie Talbott to Be Honored with MIW Radio Group 2018 Trailblazer Award. The honor from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group will be awarded to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott on September 26 at the RAB/NAB Radio Show in Orlando during the Wednesday Headliner “The Podcast Boom” session. The MIW Radio Group Trailblazer Award is presented annually to a woman who, through her leadership and success in the industry, creates opportunities for other women in radio to further their careers. In 2012, it was renamed the “Frances Preston Trailblazer Award” in honor of Frances Preston, longtime president and CEO of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Talbott started her career at BBDO Advertising, before moving on and becoming COO of MJI Broadcasting, which was bought by Premiere Networks/Clear Channel in 1999. After serving in various capacities at Premiere, she was named president of the company in January 2014. She has received numerous industry awards over the years, including TALKERS magazine’s Judy Jarvis Memorial “Woman of the Year” Award. MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “The highest honor the MIW Group bestows is our Trailblazer Award and Julie Talbott epitomizes its very essence. Julie is a powerful force that combines genuine Southern charm and graciousness with intellectual prowess and business acumen. She has blazed many trails throughout her career and continues today to leave her indelible mark on radio. We are grateful for her efforts.”
BFoA Prepares for Emergency Grants Due to Hurricane Florence. With the approach of Hurricane Florence, the Broadcasters Foundation of America says it is preparing for an influx of emergency grant applications. It reminds broadcasters whose personal lives or property are acutely affected by Hurricane Florence that they are encouraged to find out if they quality for an emergency grant by visiting https://broadcastersfoundation.org/hurricaneflorence/. The Broadcasters Foundation Emergency Grant Relief Program provides an expedited application process that is streamlined to deliver emergency funds as quickly as possible to qualifying individuals who work (or have worked) in broadcasting. Emergency grants are based on financial need. This year, the Broadcasters Foundation board of directors elected to double the maximum amount of an individual emergency grant from $1,000 to $2,000. This increase is particularly significant when considering that last year more than $300,000 was awarded to individual victims of a rash of disasters that included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as wildfires and floods.
TALKERS News Notes. Former WTEM, Washington personality Kevin Sheehan is launching an eponymous, daily podcast about the Washington sports scene. As the Washington Post reports, Sheehan – along with several other staffers – was let go from the Radio One sports talk station when his contract expired on August 1…..Crossover Media Group Sales reports that it has added four new political-talk programs to its growing roster of client shows and personalities. The first is “Honestly Speaking” with Tara Setmayer, a CNN political commentator, ABC News contributor, frequent guest host on “The View,” and a former Republican communications director. Her show “brings her voice of reason and signature ‘tell it like it is’ commentary to hot-button political and cultural topics from a ‘common sense’ conservative point of view.” The second program is “Roland Martin Unfiltered,” a newly launched, 60-minute show streamed live daily at 6:00 pm from Washington, D.C. on podcast and video-on-demand platforms including Facebook,YouTube, Periscope, and InstagramTV. Former CNN political analyst Martin “will cover news, politics, culture, entertainment, social justice, sports, education, business, and finance.” CMGS is assisting in the production of and handling advertising sales for the shows…..E.W. Scripps reorganizes its podcasting segment, making Stitcher the parent company. In addition to giving the podcast platform a new logo, Stitcher is now parent to advertising arm Midroll and comedy podcast segment Earwolf. Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn says, “Our combined brands and companies – Midroll, Earwolf, and Stitcher – were all individually early pioneers and leaders in podcasting. Earwolf was one of the first podcast networks; Midroll helped create and grow the podcast ad sales marketplace; and Stitcher was one of the first true podcast apps. Each of these has evolved and thrived individually and today we mark the beginning of those pieces coming together to form the world’s strongest end-to-end podcast company.”…..Pubcaster WAMU, Washington is announcing a new, two-year project in which 10 broadcast journalists will engage in a collaborative reporting effort on the role of guns in American life titled, “Guns & America.” The Audion Fellowship is being funded by a $5.3 million grant from the Kendeda Fund. The 10 fellows hired for the project are: Adhiti Bandlamudi at North Carolina Public Radio; Anthony Cave at KERA, Dallas; Heath Druzin at Boise State Public Radio; Lisa Hagen at WABE, Atlanta; Chris Haxel at KCUR, Kansas City; Jonathan Levinson at Oregon Public Broadcasting; Ryan Lindsay at Connecticut Public Radio; Leigh Paterson at KUNC, Greeley, Colorado; Matt Richmond at ideastream in Cleveland; and Alana Wise at WAMU. WAMU senior director of content and news Andi McDaniel says, “It’s hard to think of a conversation that’s more entrenched than the one around guns – Americans are polarized, frustrated, and stuck. With ‘Guns & America,’ we’ll have 10 talented journalists from diverse communities around the nation taking a deep and unflinching look at the role guns play in American life. We believe this kind of in-depth and nuanced storytelling has the potential to change the national conversation.”
‘Think! America with Terry Gilberg’ Is Added to KBNP, Portland and KTAR, Phoenix. The nationally syndicated Radio America show “Think! America with Terry Gilberg” continues to show healthy growth across the nation with two important Western states clearances – KTAR, Phoenix and KBNP, Portland. The Saturday evening show (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET) is produced and hosted by journalist-turned-commentator Terry Gilberg with regular on-air appearances by attorney Megan Porth. Gilberg has been a longtime news reporter and talk show host on a number of Southwest platforms including KFYI, Phoenix. She is pictured above (center) with conservative social media star pundits Diamond & Silk at last week’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC.
Hurricane Florence Approaches, Trump-Russia Investigation, Midterm Elections, 9/11 Anniversary, Positive Economic News, Bob Woodward Book, Russia-China War Games, Serena Williams Cartoon Backlash, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The preparation for Hurricane Florence as it approaches the Carolinas; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the midterm elections and the battle to control congress; the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks; the positive U.S. economic data; Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House; Russia and China take part in joint war games; the backlash over the racist depiction of Serena Williams in a Melbourne newspaper; the first week of the NFL season; and the Major League Baseball playoff push 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. At the Orlando cluster of Entercom, Dana Taylor is named program director for hot AC WOMX “MIX 105.1” and John O’Connell is appointed PD for alternative WQMP “FM 101.9.” Taylor has been with WOMX since 1994, most recently serving as APD/music director. O’Connell adds WQMP programming duties to his current responsibility as program director for country WKIS and alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” in Miami. Entercom SVP and market manager Claudia Menegus says, “I’m excited to elevate Dana and John to these roles. They are both talented leaders with infectious passion for our brands and I am confident they will continue to raise the bar.” Meanwhile, taking on the assistant program director position at WQMP is music director and midday host Melissa “Mel” Leigh-Sorrentino…..The KXTE, Las Vegas-based alternative morning program “The Dave and Mahoney Show” finds its first affiliate station in Townsquare Media’s alt rock WQSH, Albany “ALT 105.7.” The program – just beginning its syndication effort – consists of hosts Dave Farra and Jason Mahoney with cast member Sylvia Alvarado and producer Ian Schebel. Farra comments, “It’s a dream come true to be able to grow the program like this…we are thrilled to be working with Steve Richards and Townsquare Media and look forward to delivering a great morning show with compelling content to the Albany audience.”…..ABC Radio and Skyview Networks announce syndication of “The Deja Vu Show,” featuring WBLS-FM, New York afternoon personality Deja Vu. This new show for urban AC music formats “provides female listeners a mixture of entertainment, lifestyle, and positive affirmation that helps them find their passion and accomplish their dreams.” Skyview Networks EVP and GM Jeanne-Marie Condo says, “Deja is a diamond who instantly connects with her audience, especially the female audience. This is a strategic step towards the custom sales integrations that are vital to our agencies and their clients.”…..At iHeartMedia’s classic hits, KGOR, Omama, morning personality Tim Sheridan exits after a two-plus years stint with the station and its sister news/talk KFAB…..Albany Broadcasting alternative WINU “ALT 104.9” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Woody Show” to its program schedule for morning drive…..Cumulus Media alternative rock WKQX teams up with the local Church Street Brewing Company to introduce Q Street, a “righteously good” alternative India Pale Ale to Chicagoland’s craft beer fans. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Q Street beer go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention…..Cumulus country outlet WNSH, New York “NASH FM 94.7” is presenting a private, live album launch event for Carrie Underwood’s new album Cry Pretty at Opry City Stage in Times Square on Friday (9/14) at 1:00 pm. The event will be broadcast on all 82 “NASH” country radio stations…..iHeartMedia Detroit is presenting the “Who’s Got Next Hip Hop Conference” – a conference dedicated to showcasing and educating up-and-coming hip hop and R&B artists in the greater Detriot area. This inaugural music conference takes place on Sunday, October 14 and will feature educational music industry panels as well as a variety of performances from local breakout artists. Artists will be selected to perform at the conference during 97.9 WJLB’s “Who’s Got Next?” open mic nights that take place every Wednesday at 311 Ultra Lounge. WJLB program director Nate Bell says, “The hip hop scene in Detroit is on fire right now. We’re excited to bring our local artists, the community, and national label reps together to advance Detroit as a city and as a culture within the industry. As the heritage urban stations in Detroit, artists continually come to us for resources on how to get their music played and we want to help.”
Jay Barker to Host New Regional Sports Talk Show. At the end of February, Cumulus Media shuttered “The Opening Drive” morning show on its sports talker WJOX-FM, Birmingham that featured former Alabama quarterback Jay Barker, Al Del Greco and Tony Kurre. Now, via a deal with Audio Visual Excellence, Barker is producing a sports talk show that will air across some 10 signals, including Townsquare Media’s WTID-FM, Marion/W265CG, Tuscaloosa “TIDE 102.9/100.9.” “The Jay Barker Show with Lars Anderson” airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, and joining Barker and The Athletic writer Anderson is Barker’s former WJOX producer Kerry Adams. Barker tells AL.com, “This is something Lars and I started talking about probably a year-and-a-half ago or more. We talked about doing a show together. I had wanted to move to middays for a while as my kids were getting older; that would fit my schedule better. And I started talking to Lars and Kerry about it and we were able to make it happen. Once we left JOX, we started putting it together, how we would do a show together.” In addition to hosting the daily program, Barker will also appear on the “Tide Tailgate Show” prior to Alabama football games this fall.
Jamie Allman’s Complaint Against Emmis Ordered into Mediation. St. Louis talk radio host Jamie Allman’s complaint against Emmis Communications is being ordered to alternative dispute resolution – read, mediation. Federal judge Jean C. Hamilton wants the mediation sessions concluded by November 1 of this year. As you may recall, Allman was fired by Emmis (still owner of KFTK-FM, St. Louis) and Entercom (LMAing the station in advance of acquiring it in a sale from Emmis) after his crude social media comment about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg gained traction. He was let go from his commentary gig at Sinclair’s KDNL-TV, St. Louis before KFTK-FM fired him. Allman is claiming his dismissal violated the terms of his contract. Emmis/Entercom say that Allman’s action caused sponsors to cancel ad contracts and put the station in a bad light.
LSU Athletics Partners with Skyview Networks for Broadcasts. This new, multi-year deal between LSU Sports Properties (operated by Outfront Media Sports Inc.) and Skyview Networks allows the school to use Skyview’s distribution service, AdView inventory management, and Live Read capture for its radio play-by-play broadcasts. Skyview says this deal pairs the AdView system with its distribution to provide detailed tracking and reporting of all radio inventory, including on-air advertiser mentions, to generate instant affidavits for faster client billing. Skyview VP of business development Matt Stys says, “We believe the Tigers will realize ease and efficiency in contract management and tighter turnaround on revenue collection with AdView’s tracking and output capabilities. We look forward to partnering with the university and continuing our discussions on broadcast solutions.” LSU Tigers radio voice Chris Blair comments, “We are excited to partner with Skyview Networks. It’s one of the top distribution companies and, most importantly, they understand what we do in the sports broadcasting space. Their Adview system will provide our team with many more opportunities to make the LSU Sports Radio Network even better.” AdView also offers additional modules for clients that would like to manage all forms of their advertising media in one consolidated system. This includes radio, TV, web, print, signage, and more to give organizations complete reporting of all avenues of sales revenue.
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine he’s honored to welcome cable news/talk legend Bill O’Reilly to his eponymous USA Radio and Newsmax TV program. O’Reilly is appearing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the top of the show…..In the Burlington, Vermont/Plattsburgh, New York market sports talk outlet WCPV is switching affiliations from ESPN to FOX Sports Radio, effective September 4. Owner Vox AM/FM is also re-branding the station, using the “101.3 The Game” handle. The local afternoon show “The Huddle” with Rich Haskell, Arnie Spanier and Brady Farkas will air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and will be joined on the program schedule by Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, and Dan Patrick…..After recent reports about the changes coming to ABC TV’s “The View” this fall, it is being confirmed that former “FOX & Friends Weekend” host Abby Huntsman (daughter of U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman) will join the cast of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain when season 22 launches on September 4.
Tuesday’s Primary Races, Trump vs Google, Passing of John McCain, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-Mexico Trade Talks, Michael Cohen Guilty Plea, Texas Cop Convicted in Teen Death, Catholic Church Abuse Scandal, NFL Pre-season, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). Tuesday’s primary races in Florida and Arizona; President Trump claims Google searches are biased, promises investigation; the death of Arizona Senator John McCain, his funeral wishes, and the fate of his senate seat; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the trade talks between the U.S. and Mexico; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to campaign law violations; Texas cop Roy Oliver convicted of murder in shooting of unarmed black teen Jordan Edwards; the controversy surrounding the latest Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal; the NFL’s pre-season; and Major League Baseball action 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. On-air pro Ashley Nickels exits her midday jock and APD/MD role with Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington “MIX 107.3” after four years with the station…..Tomorrow night (8/30), Cumulus Media alternative WKQX is hosting the neXt2rock local challenge event at the Cubby Bear in Chicago. Five of Chicago’s top local bands will compete to determine who will be the Chicago neXt2rock winner and have a shot at going to the finals in Los Angeles on October 4. The winner of the finals will be awarded a record deal on John Varvatos Records under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella and will receive exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus stations nationwide. The five bands are: Friday Pilots Club, MIDWAVE, Like Language, The Giving Moon, and TAKE THE REINS. WKQX program director Troy Hanson is one of the judges and WKQX personality James VanOsdol is emceeing…..Alternative WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is presenting its free, “Endless Summer Show Presented by AllState” on Saturday, October 6 at XFINITY Live. The event will feature live performances from: Bleachers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, The Wonder Years, Two Feet, and The Unlikely Candidates. The New Music Discovery Stage will also feature performances from alternative-rock artists: Mo Lowda & The Humble, Castlecomer, and Cold Fronts, with more to be announced.
iHeartMedia Moves News/Talk Programming to New Signal in Boston. The lineup of predominantly Premiere Networks-syndicated news/talk shows moves from WKOX to WXKS-AM in Boston. WXKS-AM had been leased to Bloomberg for its news radio format, but that deal is not renewed and iHeartMedia elects to shift the conservative talk format from WKOX’s 1430 AM to WXKS-AM’s 1200. The station continues to be simulcast on WJMN-HD2. iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Boston Dylan Sprague comments, “We are proud to have the best talent in talk radio on ‘TALK 1200.’ With a more powerful signal, we can now reach a wider audience.”
Michael Holley Exits WEEI, Boston. Thirteen-year WEEI, Boston personality Michael Holley leaves Entercom’s sports talker for a larger role on cable’s NBC Sports Boston. His emotional farewell announcement on yesterday’s program probably shocked fans. The “Dale & Holley Show with Rich Keefe” has been a consistently high-performing show for the station and Holley was offered a multi-year contract extension, but he elected to focus on an expanded role on TV. For now, the afternoon drive show on the station will be co-hosted by Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe while Entercom seeks a replacement for him.
Cumulus’ WJOX-FM, Birmingham Replaces AM Drive Show with Midday ‘JOX Roundtable’ Program. “The Opening Drive” show starring Jay Barker, Al DelGreco and Tony Kurre has been canceled by Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham and is being replaced by the midday “JOX Roundtable” program that features Jim Dunaway (center), Lance Taylor (right) and Ryan Brown (left). The shift takes effect on Monday (3/5). Cumulus Media Birmingham VP and market manager David Walls says, “We are extremely excited and pleased to be able to put our most successful show in the mornings and introduce this fantastic program to more JOX listeners. These guys know how to win and with their work ethic and talent, we are expecting great things.” Program director Ryan Haney adds, “The listener response to the ‘JOX Roundtable’ has been exceptional over the years. We look forward to continuing to build upon the momentum and passion shared by both the show and its loyal fan base.”
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. It’s not surprising that 77% of stations in the panel saw their 6+ shares increase following the Holiday 2017 PPM survey that is so dominated by Christmas music listening. Comparing January 2017 to January 2018, 61% of stations enjoyed an increase in their 6+ shares. Just one sports talk station in PPM markets was ranked #1 (6+) during the January survey and that honor went to Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia – flagship of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM, Boston “The Sports Hub” ranked #2 in its market as did Minnesota Vikings flagship KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN.” See the entire report here.
iHeartMedia Misses More Interest Payments. Because it is expecting to enter into some form bankruptcy protection very soon, iHeartMedia has elected not to make interest payments totaling $138 million. That total is from outstanding 11.25% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2021 — $59.1 million due – and outstanding 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2021 — $78.8 million due. This kicks in a 30-day grace period before default, but as the company’s filing with the SEC indicates, it is in continuing negotiations with debt holders over a comprehensive debt restructuring to reduce its more than $20 billion in debt. This is the second non-payment of interest for the company. It’s February 1 non-payment on $106 million goes into default after tomorrow (3/2).
TALKERS News Notes. A new conservative television talk show will hit the airwaves on PBS – at least for an eight-week trial run. The program, called “In Principle” and starring columnist Michael Gerson and commentator Amy Holmes, debuts on April 13. As reported by AP, the program “will take its cue from William F. Buckley’s ‘Firing Line,’ which aired from 1966 to 1999.” It goes on to say that each show will feature interviews with two guests for in-depth discussions about such issues as race, gun control, and more. Gerson is quoted saying, “I think the Trump era has been a very difficult time for traditional conservative discourse. I think a lot of institutions and places have been co-opted in this era. I view conservatism not only as a belief but a state of mind, a respect for tradition but also a respect for facts.”…..Beasley Broadcast Group chief financial officer Marie Tedesco is presenting at next week’s Deutsche Bank Media, Telecom & Business Services Conference in Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to the presentation, Tedesco will meet with institutional investors at the conference…..iHeartMedia and entertainment industry publication Variety are teaming up to produce a new podcast titled, “PLAYBACK,” a film-focused program hosted by Variety awards editor Kris Tapley. The weekly podcast will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and feature exclusive, in-depth interviews with the talents behind many of today’s hottest movies.
Hope Hicks Resigns, Trump’s Televised WH Meeting, NRA vs Delta, Trump-Russia Investigation, Parkland Shooting Investigation, FISA Abuse Matter, Oprah Presidential Bid, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). White House communications director Hope Hicks’ announcement she’s resigning from her position; President Trump’s televised White House meeting during which he proposes new gun restrictions; the NRA’s battle with Delta over the termination of their business relationship and threats by Georgia politicians to punish the airline; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the ongoing investigation into the police response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting; President Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions for asking the Inspector General’s office to look into allegations of FISA abuse; Oprah Winfrey’s statement she’s waiting for a sign from God whether to run for president; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
BFoA to Honor Urban One’s Cathy Hughes. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 11, the organization will honor Urban One founder and chairperson Cathy Hughes as recipient of the 2018 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually upon an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Hughes’ unprecedented career has spawned a multi-media conglomerate across radio, television, and digital media. In 1980 she founded Radio One (now Urban One), which became the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation.
Michael Harrison Discusses Podcasting. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison appears as a guest on this week’s installment of the popular podcast, “Viral Podcasting,” hosted by media/financial consultant Kerry Lutz. Harrison and Lutz discuss the rise of podcasting and its relationship to terrestrial radio. Harrison says that podcasting (originally a term that originally related to the Apple iPod) is just a word that in a broader sense means “programming on demand.” He explains how the internet and digital age are undoing the culture of “mass media” that grew out of 20th century technology. He suggests that to be successful at podcasting “you can’t just mail it in as you could when consumers had fewer choices in terms of media products and platforms.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Three air personalities are returning to Westwood One’s 24/7 Formats division. The company announces that rock personality Marconi – who’s served with WKQX, Chicago; KUFO, Portland; and KNDD, Seattle – returns to the Rock 2.0 format. Well-known Los Angeles jock Jay Coffey returns to host middays on the classic hits service. Tony Scott, who has worked at KLOS, KRTH, and KSWD in Los Angeles, is returning to host the evening show on the classic rock service. Westwood One also announces that Lynn Briggs is taking on the afternoon daypart on its adult contemporary service. Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland says, “Hundreds of our affiliates, along with their listeners coast-to-coast, are hearing their old friends on radio once again, on a multitude of formats here at Westwood One. Marconi, Jay, Tony and Lynn are deeply experienced radio pros and I am very pleased to welcome them to the 24-Hour Format where they will bring great value to our customers.”