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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

| February 24, 2021

Entercom Q4 Revenue Down 25.7%; Full Year 2020 Declines 33.6%. The third major radio company to present 2020 fourth quarter and full year financial data is Entercom (Beasley and Cumulus have already posted their financial results and iHeartMedia is scheduled to do the same tomorrow). The company reveals 2020 Q4 net revenue was $319.5 million, down 25.7% from the same period in 2019, and 2020 full-year net revenue was $1.06 billion, a decline of 33.6% from 2019. Entercom notes that since the depths of the pandemic revenue dip in the second quarter of 2020, business is trending up. Its 2020 Q4 revenue was up 19% from Q3. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to drive strong sequential operating improvement with revenues up 19% and EBITDA more than doubling vs. the third quarter. Digital, podcasting, sports betting and network radio all posted strong double-digit growth over prior year and we are continuing to drive innovation across these businesses to enhance future growth potential. While the pandemic continues to hobble a large number of our advertisers, particularly locally, we are optimistic about a strong recovery in our local ad sales later this year driven by vaccinations, fiscal stimulus and pent-up consumer demand in heavily impacted categories.” Entercom breaks down its revenue by segments and some of the noteworthy data in this report includes that spot (local and national) revenue was down 27.7% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020; year-over-year spot revenue was down 42.9%. On the positive side, digital revenue (including podcasting) rose 20.5% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020 and was up 26% year-over-year. Looking at radio revenue by format, while Entercom’s music formats took the biggest hit in 2020 – revenue was down 44% — sports talk revenue declined by 39.3% and news/talk was off by 21.7% during the year.

Round One of Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 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 January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round. In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations both saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares increase – WINS added four-tenths to finish with a 4.0 share and the #8 rank and WCBS-AM added two-tenths for a 2.9 share and the #12 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacked on three-tenths for a 5.0 share and remains ranked #3. In Chicago, Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM added half a share to re-claim the #1 rank with a 7.3 share. Across town, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM added four-tenths for a 4.1 share and the #7 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here

Talk Programmer Bob Shomper to Retire in April. Longtime news/talk programmer Bob Shomper announces he’ll retire from the radio business on April 2. Shomper is currently program director at NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska. During his career he’s served at some of America’s great news/talk stations, including: WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; KTAR-FM, Phoenix; WLS-AM, Chicago; WGN-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Fort Worth/Dallas; and more. Shomper tells TALKERS magazine that his decision to retire is entirely his own and he’s grateful to be doing so on his own terms.

Robbie Stevens Posts Powerful Commentary to TalkersRadio About Honoring Truth in Media Discussions About Politics.  Noted record producer Robbie Stevens, one of TalkersRadio’s roster of “out-of-the-box” talk talents has posted a powerful new commentary yesterday (2/23) titled, “My Mistake(s),” that takes a candid look at a problem radio talk show hosts wrestle with all the time – staying true to core principles, maintaining a healthy sense of skepticism, and being honest about mistakes when making them. Stevens, who was the first talent signed for TalkersRadio – a service of TALKERS magazine – when it launched in the fall of 2013, has agreed to perform as a commentator on the platform for a “limited engagement” that will run through June of 2021. The Bronx-based New York City native is well-known in the music industry for his years of innovative studio work with a wide variety of high-profile artists, most recently on behalf of the estate and fans of the late John Lennon, for which he has achieved critical acclaim for his “raw” remix of the legendary artist’s Imagine album. He also most recently executive produced 13 Billboard #1 Dance Chart singles in a row, for Yoko Ono’s innovative ensemble Ono. He also recently produced (with Yoko Ono) the “John Lennon Anthology,” a four-CD set of unreleased material that was Rolling Stone magazine’s boxed set of the year. During his colorful career, he’s played on, mixed, or produced records by Herbie Hancock, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other high-profile musicians going back decades. During this time, Stevens has developed an alternative career as a talk radio host and commentator heard occasionally via on-air and online outlets provided by heritage NYC stations WOR and WNYM (in addition to TalkersRadio). Commenting on Stevens’ latest posting, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations (and former WOR PD) David Bernstein says, “Robbie is raw, fresh, and as real as the urban streets that gave rise to his gritty philosophy and we always get strong response to his work on our exciting platform. This new installment of his show is a grand slam home run because it strikes at the very core of our deepest personal conflicts in arriving at and sticking with our truths as talk radio hosts operating in a swirling ocean of changing information.” To listen to Robbie Stevens’ new series of commentaries on TalkersRadio, please click here. TalkersRadio is an “experimental” talk radio platform launched in 2013 to provide the industry with a “workout space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts.” Since its launch it has been a temporary home to a number of spoken-word talents – both high-profile and obscure – who’ve used it to work and showcase concepts that have gone on to achieve terrestrial radio exposure and even national syndication. In addition to Stevens, current TalkersRadio hosts include Claire CarterMeg McDonald, and UK sensation, Graham Mack. At the time of his passing, Alan Colmes was working on a series concept called “Healed Planet” heard on TalkersRadio which offered a glimpse into the late FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel star’s metaphysical interests. Files of that fledgling show remain archived on TalkersRadio as a tribute to Colmes. For more information about TalkersRadio, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Cool Operations Manager Opportunity. Locally owned southern-based radio group seeking a full-time Operations Manager with strong technical and digital skills. The ideal candidate MUST have experience operating OP-X and managing satellite operations for syndicated programs. Applicant must have at least 5 years of experience. Proven experience in managing social media branding, digital marketing, and video production. Proficient in digital automation systems, digital audio editing and production is a must. EEO. Send resumes to dalton@starnesmediagroup.com

TALKERS News Notes. A new channel from Newsmax TV officially launches on VIZIO SmartCast, the award-winning Smart TV platform available to millions of viewers. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Launching on VIZIO SmartCast allows our viewers to simply plug in their new televisions and play Newsmax TV. Newsmax is experiencing exponential growth and provides a much-needed perspective on the issues that many VIZIO viewers care about.”…..A new partnership between iHeartMedia and independent UK podcast company Novel will result in the debut of 11 original podcast series over the next three years. The relationship begins with the release of two podcast series, “The Assault on America” and “Deliver Us From Ervil.” “The Assault on America” tells the inside story of the insurrection at the Capitol by working with open-source investigative journalists Bellingcat. “Deliver Us From Ervil” is an investigative true-crime series in which a groundbreaking team of journalists enters a lawless town on the border of Mexico run by a secretive religious sect living in exile and outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government since 1924…..Content creation company Mean Ole Lion Media adds three new lifestyle-based podcasts to its portfolio. The podcasts are: “Conversations with Dr. Ian Smith,” all about people and discovering their back-story; “Business First with Sonia Alleyne,” that shines a light on brilliant and successful business people in a variety of industries; and “The History of Being Black” with host Eunice Elliott.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Riot Public Testimony, Biden Cabinet Nominees, Biden Migrant Policy, Trump Tax Returns, Rochester Protests, Russian Sanctions, China’s Hong Kong Loyalty Oath, and Tiger Woods Car Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the testimony before the U.S. Senate about the January 6 Capitol insurrection; the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, embattled White House budget office nominee Neera Tanden, and Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland; the Biden administration’s continued use of Trump policy turning away migrants at the Mexican border; the SCOTUS’ ruling Donald Trump must turn his tax data over to New York AG Cyrus Vance Jr.; the protests in Rochester, New York over the decision not to prosecute police in the death of Daniel Prude; the Biden Administration’s sanctions on Russia for the SolarWinds hack and the Navalny poisoning; China’s instituting loyalty oaths for Hong Kong politicians; and Tiger Woods is hurt in one-car accident in California were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

He’s Was Talk Radio’s Premiere Songwriter

| February 18, 2021

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS magazine
Managing Editor

 

LOS ANGELES — Arguably the leading voice of the conservative movement over the last several decades, 70-year-old Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday (2/17) after a battle with advanced lung cancer.

His diagnosis was announced to listeners of his radio show exactly one year ago (February 2020).

News of his passing was delivered by his wife, Kathryn, on Wednesday’s Premiere Networks radio broadcast.

Read More

Thursday, February 4, 2021

| February 4, 2021

Round Four of Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The 2020 election aftermath created news and controversy that largely kept news/talk listeners tuned to their favorite stations during the month of December, a period that typically reflects lower 6+ weekly AQH share for talk stations due to Christmas music listening and altered listening habits due to the holiday season. Although Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis lost more than two full shares from the December to the Holiday surveys (10.0 – 7.6), it still finished as the #2 station in the market. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM finished in the #3 spot on the strength of an 8.2 share and Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ-AM wrapped the Holiday survey with a 6.0 share good for the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence dipped just one-tenth to a 5.4 share but rises to the #4 spot. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville slid from #1 to #2 after losing 1.6 shares to finish the month with an 8.4 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.

Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay to Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. On the heels of the promotion of Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier to the afternoon drive daypart, Entercom announces that Washington, DC sports media pros Brian Mitchell (right) and JP Finlay (left) are the new midday co-hosts. Mitchell – who played 10 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Washington Football Team – served for years as a host on Entercom’s recently acquired WTEM “980 The Team.” He also serves as an analyst on NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team pre-game and post-game coverage. Finlay has been NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team beat reporter since 2016, and created and hosted the “Washington Football Talk Podcast.” Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay are two of the most high-profile, opinionated, and respected sports voices in the DC area. True friends off the air, ‘BMitch’ and JP’s show will feature natural chemistry, great sports information and opinion, and a lot of fun.”

New WTEM, Washington “980 The Team” Schedule Revealed. Concurrent with the story above regarding Brian Mitchell’s move to WJFK-FM, Entercom announces the new weekday program schedule for recently acquired sister sports talk station WTEM-AM “980 The Team” that goes into effect on Monday (2/8). Joining the station is Washington and Baltimore sports media pro Travis Thomas who will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Thomas most recently hosted “DC Sports Live” and “Wizards Extra” on NBC Sports Washington, as well as a Saturday afternoon radio show on “106.7 The Fan.” Reese Waters is the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. He hosted “Get Up DC” for WUSA-TV since 2017 before transitioning to a new nightly show this month. He was previously a correspondent for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and a host on the Versus network. For afternoon drive, market pros Chris Russell and Pete Medhurst join together for the “Russell and Medhurst” program. Russell has appeared in a variety of roles for “106.7 The Fan” and “980 The Team” since 2009 and is Sports Illustrated’s Washington Football Team correspondent. Medhurst joined “106.7 The Fan” as an update anchor in 2009 and has been the station’s primary fill-in host, Nationals post-game show host and fill-in play-by-play talent. Longtime market pro Kevin Sheehan remains in morning drive joined by a rotating cast of contributors.

Cumulus Media San Francisco Exec Doug Harvill to Retire. Radio executive Doug Harvill announces that he will retire from his vice president and market manager position with Cumulus Media’s San Francisco cluster – news/talk KGO-AM, news/talk KSFO-AM, sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, and classic rock KSAN-FM – on May 14. Harvill’s 46-year radio career includes spending the past 24 leading station groups in San Francisco and Sacramento. Harvill comments, “I’m leaving a wonderful and satisfying career in an industry I’ve wanted to be a part of since I was a kid. Local radio has been and continues to be a tremendous and enriching experience, but I’ve achieved my goals and exceeded my dreams. Whoever steps into the market manager role at Cumulus San Francisco is going to inherit a tremendous team of professionals and lead some of the most legendary radio stations in broadcast history.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner states, “Doug Harvill has had an amazing career in our industry and I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him these past three years. His talents run deep and he has helped so many grow and flourish in radio over the years. Congratulations, Doug – we wish you the very best in the next chapter of your life!”

Emmis Promotes James Connor to VP of Sales for Indianapolis. Rising to the vice president of sales position at Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis cluster is James Connor. He takes over for Taja Graham, who was elevated to market president last month. Connor will oversee sales efforts for news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” plus adult contemporary WYXB “B105,” country WLHK “Hank FM,” and Network Indiana. Graham says, “We are fortunate to have James’ expertise as a GM with a track record of maintaining positive cash flow and delivering creative client solutions. James’ focus on details has helped us in the restructuring of our sales force and optimizing of our inventory, which has resulted in higher market share. He is a well-known and a well-respected figure in Indiana radio, and I’m thrilled he will be leading our sales efforts.” Connor spent 20 years in Terre Haute, leading the former Emmis stations there first in sales and then as general manager, before returning to Indianapolis in 2017 to continue with Emmis when the Terre Haute Emmis cluster was sold. He has been serving as general sales manager of the Indianapolis cluster and as general manager of Network Indiana since early 2017. He will retain the title of general manager for Network Indiana. He comments, “I’m excited to lead the most dedicated, talented sales team in Indiana radio. I have tremendous respect for Taja, who has positioned us for enduring success, and I know the transition will be seamless as we continue to grow our market share despite the global challenges the pandemic presents.”

Roe Conn and Richard Roeper Partner for New Podcast. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are getting back together to host a new podcast backed by the global digital agency AmericanEagle.com. That company recently built state-of-the-art studios at its world headquarters in suburban Des Plaines where the podcast will be recorded. The “Roe and Roeper” program will be produced twice weekly with new episodes on Tuesday and Thursday focusing on pop culture and current events. Feder quotes Roeper saying, “We’ll have new shows covering pop culture, movies, TV, streaming shows, sports, and interviews with major filmmakers and actors every Tuesday and Thursday, with the goal of expanding to a daily podcast later in 2021.” The two first teamed up together co-hosting afternoon drive at WLS-AM, Chicago in 2010. Conn recently exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM after a five-year stint. Roeper is a long-time film critic for the Sun-Times and contributes to WLS-TV. AmericanEagle.com CEO Tony Svanascini says, “It’s fitting a long-time client like Richard Roeper is part of the first podcast launched from AmericanEagle.com Studios. He and Roe Conn are true talents that will bring their unique sense of humor and wit to what I’m sure will be an extremely popular podcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” personality Mike Rhyner is moving into the video streaming space via VOKAL Media Inc where he’ll host a program called “Your Dark Companion.” VOKAL says, “This weekly series features Rhyner’s musings and tales covering a wide range of topics and a variety of guests including Rangers general manager Chris Young and Dallas Morning News reporter David Moore, to name a few.” Rhyner says, “‘Your Dark Companion’ is a show I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. Streaming is the wave of the future, so when I saw the technology that VOKAL has developed I knew this is what I wanted to do. I look forward to engaging with my audience again and working with the great team at VOKAL.” The first episode premieres on February 11 at 5:00 pm CT…..iHeartMedia and the Clinton Foundation announce a new podcast hosted by President Bill Clinton titled, “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” The first episode, “How Jazz Explains Democracy” with guest Wynton Marsalis, drops today (2/4). iHeartMedia says each episode will feature Clinton’s “wide range of interests and well-known intellectual curiosity through conversations and stories with some of the most interesting people he knows about the ideas and issues that shape our interconnected world.”…..ESPN is reporting that its podcasts experienced strong growth in 2020, with downloads growing 28% to nearly half a billion. ESPN senior director, digital audio programming Pete Gianesini says, “It was another big year for ESPN Podcasts, yet another with new records and offerings. As sports return to their customary place on the calendar, we expect our momentum to continue.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Les Levine, who passed away recently at the age of 74 after complications from diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease. Levine began his sports media work handling play-by-play at WHK, Akron. He later started hosting his own sports talk show on WTAM-AM (then WWWE) following Ohio State games and Indians ballgames. Later he developed the “More Sports & Les Levine” program that was heard on WERE and WHK. The program later moved to local television. Most recently, Levine was hosting his program on Cleveland.com and was handling fill-in work at Entercom’s sports talk WKRK-FM “92.3 The Fan.”

THE ABCs of GAMESTOP MADNESS: Cybercrime Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Law professor Steve Weisman of Bentley University in Boston, founder of the groundbreaking website Scamicide.com, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Weisman provide a basic overview of the situation that led up to the events last week that rocked Wall Street by exposing just how vulnerable the stock market is to the manipulation of bad actors on social media, shady rigging by the big players, and the stark shortcomings of algorithms that dominate the second-to-second decisions that drive prices up and down – often without any regard for the actual value of companies based on their actual merits. According to Weisman, this is a very dangerous set of circumstances that threatens to create a disastrous situation potentially worse than the events of 2008. Harrison states, “I am not an expert on the stock market, and I suspect by the way that this story is being covered in the media that most reporters, commentators, and talk show hosts aren’t either. Nor am I a big fan of investing in markets I don’t reasonably understand, and I am even more averse to the idea of gambling – which I suspect is the basis of much of today’s Wall Street trading on the part of small, individual investors. So I turned to one of my most valued resources and go-to guys in the media – respected attorney Steve Weisman – for a point-by-point explanation about just what the hell is going on regarding this story and its meaning to our nation’s wealth, economy, and financial stability… not to mention what it says about the state of our values and ethics.” 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.

Biden-GOP Stimulus Negotiations, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, GOP on Cheney and Greene, Social Media and Censorship, Deadly Florida FBI Raid, Putin Jailing Critics/Navalny Sentenced, Morgan Wallen Dropped by Label & Radio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The negotiations between the Joe Biden administration and GOP leadership over a new stimulus package; the looming Donald Trump impeachment trial; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; Republican leadership in Congress deals with the attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; complaints from conservatives that they are being censored by Big Tech; the deaths of two FBI agents and wounding of three others in a Florida investigation into child porn; Vladimir Putin increases the arrests of his critics and Alexei Navalny is sentenced to two years in prison; and country artist Morgan Wallen is dropped by his record label and many U.S. radio stations for a racial slur incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

| January 26, 2021

Programming Consultant Greg Moceri Working with ‘Our American Stories.’ News and talk radio programming consultant Greg Moceri joins American Private Radio – producer of the extremely successful “Our American Stories” program – as strategy and content consultant. The “Our American Stories” nightly program is currently heard on more than 300 stations, including new affiliate KEIB-AM, Los Angeles “The Patriot AM 1150.” American Private Radio CEO and show host Lee Habeeb says, “We’re thrilled to have Greg as a part of the team. We’ve long admired his well-earned standing in the business, his ability to help stations and talent be better versions of themselves, and his all-around excellence and cheerfulness, too. He is already making a real difference.” Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media, LLC, comments, “I have always been about content. ‘Our American Stories’ exemplifies this. Uplifting, wonderful stories about our nation’s most connecting and emotionally gravitating people in our amazing past and present. Just uplifting daily reminders, from people you may know, and people you don’t. A perfect antidote to division, politics, and the anger of day. Honored to be part of this brand and product.”

It’s Official: Kim Gordon Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor. Yesterday (1/25), TALKERS reported a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder that Windy City news pro Kim Gordon had exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM and would sign with Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM. Today, Cumulus announces Gordon’s joining the station as afternoon drive news anchor. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor states, “Finding the facts and reporting the news has never been an easy job. Doing it in this environment hasn’t made it any easier. You need experience and grit to craft a meaningful, accurate newscast and Kim Gordon has both of those qualities in spades. I’m delighted to have Kim join our 890 WLS-AM news team as the PM drive anchor. Her attention to facts and detail will enhance our news product and yes, she can probably teach John Howell a thing or two about golf.” Gordon comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the WLS news team and to be working with John Howell in the afternoons. It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of John Dempsey. I’ve long admired his integrity and passion for news. I hope to continue that legacy at WLS.”

WECK-AM, Buffalo Owner Puts Republican Assemblyman’s Show on Hiatus; Denies Station Was Threatened by Antifa. The weekly, hourlong program on WECK-AM, Buffalo hosted by Republican New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro was put on hiatus by owner Buddy Shula but not because he received any threats from “leftists” to “burn the station down.” Shula tells the Buffalo News that it was a miscommunication between him and DiPietro over his rationale for the show’s hiatus. After DiPietro posted comments on Facebook suggesting that “leftists” threatened the station and forced Shula to cancel his show, Shula said, “I wanted to make sure I make it perfectly clear that Dave DiPietro did zero wrong in terms of me putting his show on hiatus. It was me being spooked by the Capitol events. That’s it. Nothing more.” Shula indicates he was speaking hypothetically about the station being attacked in the aftermath of the Capitol assault and believes DiPietro misunderstood him to mean that threats were actual. He adds he’d like to bring DiPietro back to the air with a Democrat on the other side of the table for balance.

New Affiliates Join Doug Stephan’s DJV Show. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan and featuring Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan – adds new affiliate stations: WPMO, Pascagoula, Mississippi; KFOW, Waseca, Minnesota; KOMY, Santa Cruz-Monterey; KHOB, Hobbs, New Mexico; WTGB, Brownsville, Texas; WDOC, Pikeville, Kentucky; KBST, Big Spring, Texas; and KMAX, Colfax, Washington. Doug Stephan states, “I’d like to thank all of these new affiliates of the show. Our goal is to make our listeners lives better. We want them to be informed without having to sift through the vitriol.” McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay adds, “What I like most about the ‘DJV Show’ is that it’s a talk show that is truly balanced in their opinions. It’s informative and fun. They’re a great first place to find what’s trending every day.”

Entercom Launches BetQL Audio Network; Unveils ‘The Bet’ Stations in Denver and LA. On the heels of Entercom’s acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group, the company is launching the BetQL Audio Network. The network is headlined by two daily shows – “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley and “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker.  Additionally, Entercom is debuting two radio stations to carry gambling-oriented programming. KEZW-AM, Denver is now “The Bet 1430AM” and KCBS-HD3 is now “The Bet 93.1 HD3.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With our acquisition of QL Gaming Group in November, we committed to leveraging our national scale to amplify the rapidly growing sports gambling landscape and deliver smart, data-supported sports-betting content to our listeners. By combining the BetQL brand and our deep collection of expert talent, this new network complements our industry-leading local sports broadcast portfolio and will further enhance our position as a leader for sports betting programming.” The new network is being promoted across Entercom’s 39 all-sports stations including WFAN-AM/FM, New York; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”

Newsmax TV and FreedomWorks Partner for ‘Save the Nation’ Program. A new, Sunday morning program titled, “Save the Nation,” is debuting on Newsmax TV via a partnership with FreedomWorks. The hour-long program – co-hosted by FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon and economist Stephen Moore – will premiere on February 7 at 11:00 am ET will provide “Americans with critical information they need on the economy, government policies, and the latest news.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “We look forward to bringing our rapidly-growing audience exclusive content from respected economist Stephen Moore, Adam Brandon, and the team at FreedomWorks. It is one of the nation’s most effective and respected grassroots organizations in touch with the issues Americans care about.”

New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards Open for Entries. Entries for the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards are now being accepted. NYF Radio Awards says that each year it carefully evaluates and updates the category roster to provide the most current categories to reflect the innovative content produced today. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “In a year marked by disruption of every kind, New York Festivals is implementing additional categories for social justice across all genres. These categories spotlight storytellers who are using all of their creativity to engage with their listeners on this critical topic.” New categories for 2021 include: Best Social Justice Report, Social Justice Reporting, Social Justice Documentary, Best Regularly Scheduled Social Justice Program, Best Social Justice Special, Social Justice Promo, Best Digital Social Justice Program, Social Justice Podcast, and Social Justice Student Content. See all of the 2021 Radio Awards Categories here. The New York Festivals is partnering with the NAB Show for the 11th year and again NYF will honor the winners in Las Vegas in October. Anderson adds, “Combined with our TV & Film Winners, it will be a celebration of innovative storytellers across all platforms.” For more information and to enter visit here.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Ray Appleton returned to the air on Cumulus Media‘s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno on Monday (1/25) after a two-week suspension for a comment about news coverage of the January 6 Capitol attack in which he stated some news editors should be “hanged – maybe.” He said his words were tongue-in-cheek but station management meted out the suspension nonetheless…..New York news/talk outlet WABC is adding a new weekend program to its schedule. Fashion designer Joseph Abboud is joining the lineup of the Red Apple Media station beginning Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 pm as the host of “Threads,” a one-hour lifestyle program that looks at our world through the lens of fashion and design. WABC says, “From super models and fashion shows to the new world order of post pandemic fashion, Abboud will explore the evolution of one of the most creative and fascinating industries on the face of the earth, and how it weaves through our culture and our lives.”…..KQED, San Francisco “Forum” host Michael Krasny is retiring after his final broadcast on February 12. Krasny’s broadcasting career began in the late 1970s. He joined KQED in 1993 as host of “Forum.” To help commemorate his career on February 12, Krasny will be joined in his final broadcast by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving who will co-host…..Two new affiliate stations – KCPS, Burlington, Iowa and KLMB, Roundup/Billings, Montana – add the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” feature to their programming…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” program picks up new affiliates as KCPX-AM/K290CS, Spanish Valley, Utah and WHIR-AM, Danville, Kentucky add the show to their lineups.

COVID-19 & Vaccines Rollout, Senate Power Sharing/Battle Over Filibuster, Trump Impeachment, Social Media & Censorship, Dominion Sues Giuliani, and Biden Reverses Trans Troops Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variant strains, and the vaccine rollout problems; Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree to a Senate power-sharing deal and Democrats don’t have the votes to eliminate the filibuster; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is permanently banned from Twitter; election process firm Dominion sues Rudy Giuliani for defamation and seeks $1.3 billion; and Joe Biden reverses Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

| January 20, 2021

Nick Gale Named News Director at WLS-AM, Chicago. Award-winning journalist Nick Gale is promoted to the news director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. Gale is elevated into the role on the heels of the retirement of news director John Dempsey. Gale also serves as morning drive news anchor, a position in which he’ll continue. During his career, Gale has served as news director at a five-station radio group in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, as a reporter and anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville, and a reporter with the Illinois Radio Network before joining WLS-AM full time in 2013. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “There’s a spot in Chicago, below Michigan Ave, where the sun rarely shines, and the conversation is always flowing. It’s the Billy Goat Tavern, a haven for the kings and queens of Chicago print and on-air journalism, and it’s where for the past eight years, Nick Gale has ordered a fried egg sandwich to go as he began the short walk to the NBC Tower to start his news shift at 890 WLS-AM. Nick, like the Billy Goat Tavern, is reliable, relatable, and fulfilling. That is why he’s the perfect person for the news director position at 890 WLS-AM. He is exactly what Chicago news needs right now and I look forward to working with him to enhance our news product for our listeners.” Gale comments, “I have big shoes to fill and look forward to working with our newsroom team in keeping the ‘Big 89’ a place where Chicago can turn to for all the news and information they need through the day. Thank you to Stephanie, Marv [Nyren] and the rest of the management team at Cumulus for the opportunity.”

Emmis Indianapolis Names Taja Graham to Take Over for Bob Richards as Radio Market Manager. Current vice president of sales for Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis radio stations Taja Graham is being promoted to market president effective on March 1. Until that date, Graham will be deputy market manager as she and current market president Bob Richards work together to make the transition. Emmis owns and operates news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB, and country WLHK-FM. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Bob approached us last year with this plan and strongly endorsed Taja to succeed him in the role. Taja has been a huge part of creating our winning culture at Emmis. Her commitment to building and developing great teams is directly correlated with our top-ranked position in the Indianapolis market. I’m thrilled to see our home-grown talent like Taja succeed and look forward to the impact she will have on our great brands in the years to come.” Richards has been with Emmis for 11 years, the past three-and-a-half years as market manager. Smulyan says of Richards, “I can’t thank Bob enough for his contributions over the past decade and in particular his leadership as market manager. His passion and desire to win have been hallmarks of his leadership and positioned our team for a great future. I wish Bob every success as he charts the course for his next career adventure and thank him for all he’s meant to Emmis.”

USA Radio and Todd Starnes Partner. Author and talk media personality Todd Starnes and USA Radio Networks enter into a partnership for the latter to syndicate Starnes’ eponymous talk radio program and his commentaries. USA Radio assumes this syndication role effective Monday, January 25.

Doug Schoen Joins Newsmax TV as Analyst. Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen is joining Newsmax TV as an analyst. In a press release, Newsmax says, “Schoen, a longtime Democrat who helped shape Bill Clinton’s successful 1996 campaign and who has worked on dozens of major senate and gubernatorial races, will be a regular on Newsmax TV giving vital analysis on the new Biden administration and the national political landscape.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy adds, “Doug is a Democrat who plays it fair and square and calls it as he sees it. Since our founding over two decades ago, Newsmax has striven to give our readers and viewers ‘both sides’ and we’re now lucky to have one of the very best joining our roster.” Schoen, who has served as a contributor to FOX News and has been a frequent columnist for Newsmax, comments, “In a short time, Newsmax TV has become one of America’s leading news networks, and I am glad to join such a strong group of news professionals.”

SAG-AFTRA Board Orders Disciplinary Hearing for Donald Trump. The union representing television and radio employees announces that its national board has voted to hold a disciplinary hearing for Donald J. Trump. SAG-AFTRA says that national board “voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of a violation of SAG-AFTRA’s constitution by member Donald J. Trump and ordered the matter to be heard by SAG-AFTRA’s disciplinary committee as required by the SAG-AFTRA constitution. If found guilty by the committee, possible penalties include reprimand, censure, fines, suspension from the rights and privileges of membership, or expulsion from membership in SAG-AFTRA.” In a press release, SAG-AFTRA says the board acted on charges initiated by national executive director David White at the request of president Gabrielle Carteris. “The charges specifically cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members. The charges request the imposition of the most severe penalty available to SAG-AFTRA: expulsion from membership.” Carteris comments, “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press. There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Programming Changes at Sports Talk ‘Sports Talk 99.5’ in Mobile. Monday (1/25) will see a number of programming changes take place at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRKH-HD2/W258AY, Mobile “Sports Talk 99.5.” AL.com reports the station’s current morning drive program, “The Randy Kennedy Show” – with co-host Creg Stephenson of AL.com – is moving to the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and debuting in morning drive will be “The Press Box,” hosted by broadcasters Mike Grace, Chris Stewart (the voice of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball and host of  the Nick Saban and Nate Oats TV shows), and J.D. Byars (the voice of the South Alabama Jaguars). Kennedy, who is also program director for the station, says, “We couldn’t be more excited about our new lineup and the opportunity to partner with three tremendously talented and entertaining broadcasters like Mike, Chris and J.D. Creg and I always thought our show was best suited for the afternoon. Now that we have a chance to introduce ‘The Press Box,’ we feel great about the chance to make the move without missing a beat during the morning drive time slot.”

John Skipper and Dan Le Batard Reveal New Firm is Meadowlark Media. According to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter, the new venture from former ESPN president John Skipper and longtime ESPN radio and television personality Dan Le Batard will be called Meadowlark Media. Financing for the new media brand comes from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, the company behind the DAZN sports streaming service at which Skipper had served as chairman. Skipper tells THR that their first goal is to “to find Dan a new home for his wildly popular audio programs.” Le Batard is quoted in a statement saying, “We hear the term ‘free agency’ a lot, but our fans, as loyal and rabid as any in sports, just gave us the freedom to exert the agency. John Skipper is a visionary, an industry leader and also the most powerful person in sports across the decade when our show rocketed to national acclaim. I can’t wait to see what he builds, and what we build together.”

TALKERS News Notes. Production pro Jeff Kelly is named West Coast commercial production director for Benztown. Kelly was most recently production director for iHeartMedia’s Albuquerque station group where he was honored with nine New Mexico Broadcasters Association Awards over the course of four years…..ESPN Podcasts is launching a new weekly offering, “First Take, Her Take,” featuring three prominent female sports media figures – ESPN’s Charly Arnolt, Kimberley A. Martin, and Chiney Ogwumike. ESPN says the three will discuss “the biggest sports stories but also provide insight into their unique backgrounds and personalities as they delve into other topics about their lives and culture.” Additionally, Jalen Rose and David Jacoby are returning to their podcast roots with the relaunch of “Jalen & Jacoby” as a twice-weekly offering. This is in addition to the podcast version of their daily ESPN TV show…..The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation and iHeartMedia, are launching “Sharing Solutions: A Virtual Nationwide Tour” to drive business-led solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 40 states report increases in opioid-related mortality amid COVID-19. As part of the campaign, the Foundation and its partners will convene 50 virtual events in 50 states to showcase innovative workforce solutions and support employers as they tackle growing substance misuse in their communities and in the post-COVID workplace. iHeartMedia vice president of strategic partnerships & government initiative Alexandra Cameron says, “As a co-founder of the National Opioid Action Coalition, iHeart has been committed to combating the opioid crisis affecting communities across America. By collaborating closely with the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are bringing public and private sectors together in this mission, and including pop culture influencers who can bring attention to this important issue.”

Trump’s Final Day in Office/Pardons and Commutations, Trump Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Attack Investigation, and Social Media & Free Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The final day in office for Donald Trump and his issuing of pardons and commutations; the impeachment of Donald Trump; the preparation and security process for today’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., the 400,000 death mark, and the rollout of vaccines; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and the suspensions and bans of some by social media platforms and the issue of free speech were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, December 21, 2020

| December 21, 2020

Monday Memo: “Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful…” in wint’rish New England, where consultant Holland Cooke reminds stations that – even with smartphones outnumbering radios in such regular use – information staples can still drive listening (and are sponsorable). Read his column here.

Pending Business: Pain Management. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that in 2021 we should eliminate the “pain point” from the radio sales process. “It makes no sense to me today or from the first day I was exposed to the ‘probe for the pain point’ strategy of selling. Discovering marketing solutions is a fluid, positive process anchored by a relationship built on trust, not finding the pain.” Read more here.

Bold Gold Media Group Honored with NY Senate Empire Award. The New York State Senate Empire Award is bestowed annually to “businesses or organizations that encourage other area businesses or have formed partnerships within the community, those that volunteer their time and services and demonstrate exceptional leadership in the community; or have contributed significantly to their community’s quality of life.” Bold Gold Media Group was recently honored with the New York State 2020 Senate Empire Award, presented by Senator Jenn Metzger. She says, “Bold Gold Media is deserving on so many counts, it’s hard to count them. You have been the voice of the Catskills; you have really been there for the community in a way that is really unusual for a media group. There are so many great community organizations that are doing such important work and you share information; you educate them especially with your local news.  In a rural area many people are isolated and they need to know day-to-day and emergency information, and you play a vital role for our communities in providing that. On top of that, your volunteer work and sponsorship with the ‘98.3 WSUL Heart-A-Thon’ and the ‘Thunder 102 & 104.5 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon’ is yet another way you give back to the community.  This is a way for us to recognize you and express our great appreciation for all that you do.” Bold Gold New York general manager Dawn Ciorciari comments, “Helping our community is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This award belongs to our amazing team of hard-working local professionals and a community that gives us amazing content to talk about everyday.”

Salem Radio Network’s Charlie Kirk Named to 1776 Commission. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk host Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point USA), is one of 18 Americans President Trump intends to appoint to his President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. A memo from the Office of the White House Press Secretary offers the purpose of the commission: “As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary of glorious Independence, many of America’s school children are tragically being taught to hate our founding, hate our history, and hate our country. This must stop. The 1776 Commission will help ensure that every American child learns that they live in the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. That is why it is absolutely vital to teach America’s young people all that is inspiring and unifying in our history. We want our children to become patriots who love their country. The 1776 Commission will share the story of our nation’s miraculous founding, proclaim the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence, and explain how these founding principles have helped our people overcome great national challenges throughout our history – and how these principles can guide us to a great American future. All Americans should pay close attention to this work.” About his appointment, Kirk states, “I’m incredibly honored to be named to the president’s 1776 Commission alongside so many other patriots. America is the greatest nation to exist in the history of the world. Our nation’s virtues and our accomplishments must be passed on to the next generation if it is going to survive into the future. I have devoted my life to that mission, and I am beyond humbled to be able to continue doing so in this new role.”

Retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Talk Host John Hancock Loses Foot to Infection. A story in the Charlotte Observer by Theoden Janes chronicles the recent health issues that retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock has been dealing with that resulted in the recent amputation of his right foot. Last fall, 68-year-old Hancock retired from Entercom’s WBT where he was afternoon drive host. He’d been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes more than three years ago and took steps to lose weight and change his diet. But by his own admission, he fell off the healthy food wagon and put some of the weight back on. Then this summer, he began to notice tenderness in his right foot. As time passed it became worse until it was diagnosed as an infection. It was shortly thereafter that one of his doctors recommended the foot be amputated. He’s been fitted for a prosthetic leg that he’ll be getting early in the New Year.

WWL, New Orleans Talk Host Kristian Garic Returns to Air After Rehab Stint. New Orleans sports talk host Kristian Garic recently returned to the air on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM after 29 days in a rehab program for alcoholism. Garic co-hosts the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Sports Talk” program with Bobby Hebert. On his return, he penned an editorial piece on the WWL website explaining his situation, what he’s been through and the challenges that lay ahead of him as he works to remain sober. He wrote, in part, “Getting help was perhaps the hardest decision I ever had to make. Here I was, pretty successful, with a good job. My bills were paid, my kids are healthy and I’m a father actively involved in their lives. Nothing the matter, right? Not so fast. Just to give you the insight into the depth of my drinking; I didn’t just drink three or four beers and call it quits. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a fifth of whiskey nearly every night for the past ten years… I want to thank my co-workers and management at WWL (Diane Newman and Kevin Cassidy in particular), and our parent company Entercom. The outpouring of support from the few who knew of my addiction leading up to treatment is sincerely appreciated. That support will help me tremendously in my life-long battle against alcoholism.”

Judy Pielach Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as Contributor. Former WGN-AM news personality Judy Pielach is now part of the WLS-AM morning show hosted by Bruce St. James. The program is being billed on the Cumulus Media station’s website as “The Bruce St. James Show with Judy Pielach.” Pielach accepted a buyout from former WGN owner Tribune Broadcasting in 2018 and left her afternoon drive post at WGN. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “Judy Pielach is a radio force majeure that has delivered the news to Chicago audiences for decades. Now, her strong voice, wit, and wisdom will be heard every weekday morning on 890 WLS-AM from 5:30 am to 9:00 am on ‘The Bruce St James Show,’ where she and Bruce will entertain and inform our Chicagoland listeners. Judy is a perfect match for Bruce. She’s local, she’s funny and she knows the news that Chicago is talking about.” Pielach adds, “When I left an iconic radio station two years ago seeking a new adventure, I never imagined I’d find it at another iconic radio station. It turns out, I just can’t stop talking. And, I especially like talking to Bruce. Really looking forward to the conversation on 890 WLS! A big thank you to Stephanie Tichenor for giving me this opportunity.“

Entercom Announces $1 Million Community Giveback Initiative. In an effort to help fellow businesses in the communities in which Entercom operates, the company is making a $1 million commitment to local restaurants, arts, and charitable organizations in the cities and towns where Entercom’s employees live and work. The employee-led initiative allows local managers to buy gift certificates and tickets that will then be disbursed to full-time staffers.

Congress Strikes COVID Relief Deal, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/New Strain Concerns, Trump Continues Election Fraud Claim/Martial Law Considered, Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Congress agrees to a $900 billion COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and the report of a new and more transmissible strain in Europe; Donald Trump continues to claim election fraud and reports of a White House meeting discussing martial law to stay in office; the breadth of the Russian hack of U.S. government computer networks; and the Georgia runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a holiday special program for Country top 40 affiliates as “Bob Kingley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” presents “Christmas In America with Fitz and special guest Carrie Underwood,” a six-hour Christmas music celebration. CT40 says, “This six-hour music-intensive radio special offers country music’s most loved Christmas songs – past and present, the stories behind them and wonderful memories and traditions of the holidays. This year we are honored to have Carrie Underwood join Fitz as we also feature music from her new Christmas album My Gift.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s WRFF-FM “ALT 104.5” is teaming up with Crew Nation – a global relief fund for live music crews – to throw a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Bastille on Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 pm, with a pre-show starting at 7:00 pm. All ticket sale donations will support Crew Nation/Music Forward Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that extends a helping hand to the touring and venue crews that have been impacted by the pandemic and depend on shows to make a living.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

| December 1, 2020

WLS-AM, Chicago News Pro John Dempsey to Retire. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago news director and afternoon drive anchor John Dempsey is retiring – or as Feder phrases it, “voluntarily stepping down” – after 38 years in broadcast journalism and the last 13 years with the Cumulus Media news/talk station. In a memo to fellow staffers, Dempsey says, “My career in news has been one of the highlights of my life, one that has allowed me to cover thousands of stories and meet people from every walk of life. The entire experience has made me a better person and enriched my life beyond anything I could have imagined, but now I want to step aside to give myself more time to think about my next chapter.”

Report: Clark Howard to End His Radio Show. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that consumer advocate Clark Howard is putting the wrap on his WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk radio program at the end of the year. Howard tells Ho, “Not being under the gun every week with how much content I have to generate for radio is something I’m so relieved not to do anymore. I’m at a point in my life I don’t need the money.” Howard will continue to contribute to WSB’s programming via commentaries and will also continue his WSB-TV work as well as his weekly column for the AJC. His program is syndicated by Westwood One and has approximately 250 affiliate stations.

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that covered October 8 through November 4 and included the markets of Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Some of the moves of note include iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding 0.8 shares to finish with an 8.5 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) good for the #2 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis claims the #1 rank after rising 1.7 shares to a 10.9 share. iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee was #1 for the third straight survey after tacking 1.5 share on in November for a 12.7 share finish. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville climbs from #6 to #3 after adding 1.2 shares to post a 6.8 share for the month. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville remains #1 with a full share addition to wrap the survey with an 11.7 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Atlanta news radio pro Jamie Dupree is exiting Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM after 30 years with the station. Dupree has been affected by the medical condition tongue protrusion dystonia for the past four-plus years that has robbed him of his ability to speak. He’s remained with CMG handling reporting duties and, through a text-to-speech program, has been filing reports for the station. He announced via Facebook, “I am looking for work. I had a great run, working with fantastic colleagues at our radio and TV stations. I may not be able to speak, but I can still report.”…..Sun Broadcast Group is now handling affiliate sales and distribution for i-News, a service that offers twice hourly news reports to radio stations. Sun Broadcast Group COO Danno Wolkoff says, “i-News Network has been specifically designed to help radio stations stay relevant in the news cycle. The network news service delivers content that your listener’s want and need every hour with a fresh new sound from experienced journalists. Plus, sales departments can still sell local advertising and sponsorships for each newscast delivered.”…..WTOP partners with local entrepreneur Elly Rowe – founder of Elly Jane Collective – for a new podcast called, “Women-Owned Wednesday By Elly Jane.” Rowe says, “I’ve always been passionate about supporting small business and, specifically, female-founded brands and the incredible women behind them. My podcast provides a platform where I can talk to those women about their journey and what motivates them to continue pursuing their dreams. My hope is that it inspires other women to do the same.” WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler adds, “I have been a fan of Elly Jane Collective and everything the brand stands for since its launch earlier this year. When Elly approached WTOP about partnering with her on this podcast, it was an easy decision. WTOP is proud to work with an exceptionally gifted local entrepreneur like Elly.”

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Announces Year-End Fundraising Campaign. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation launches a year-end fundraising campaign to continue its mission of using the media to create positive change while supporting educational programs and scholarships that benefit students of the media and allied fields. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks states, “The Alliance for Women in Media is approaching its 70th anniversary in 2021, and we hope to continue recognizing, educating, and connecting women in media for another 70 years. You can help us do that by donating to the Foundation. We still have work to do.” Donations can be made online at: https://allwomeninmedia.site-ym.com/donations/.

COVID-19 and Thanksgiving Effect, Vaccines, Biden Transition, Trump Tactics, SCOTUS Congressional Reapportionment Case, Georgia Runoff Elections, Australia-China Spat, and Iranian Scientist Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns the Thanksgiving holiday will amplify the spread; Moderna applies for emergency use authorization for its COVID vaccine; Joe Biden adds more names to his administration and Neera Tanden nomination appears dead in the water; Donald Trump continues to argue the election was invalid; the Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump’s wish to keep undocumented workers from congressional reapportionment figures; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; Australia and China spar over a Chinese official’s sharing of a deep fake video of an Australian solider killing an Afghan child; and the assassination of Iran’s chief nuclear weapons scientist 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. This Christmas season Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 14th annual broadcast of “An American Country Christmas” with Kix Brooks. Appearing on this year’s program are country superstars Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Kelsea Ballerini…..Beasley Media Group’s WMGK, Philadelphia “Classic Rock 102.9” and  morning star John DeBella announced a record- breaking grand total for this year’s John DeBella Turkey Drop: 12,509 turkeys! Beasley says the annual event is the largest one-day food gathering event in Philadelphia. DeBella says, “11,000 turkeys in 2019 was the biggest year we ever had. 12,509 turkeys truly proves that ‘The City of Brotherly Love’ is not just a saying… it’s a fact!”

Friday, November 20, 2020

| November 20, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, 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 “Let Me Take You Down…” looks back at this past week of November 16 – November 20, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT AmericaDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley RadioPodcast 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.

WLS-AM, Chicago Names Bruce St. James New Morning Drive Host. On the heels of Erich “Mancow” Muller’s recent announcement that he’s leaving Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago morning show because he’s tired of doing “radio without joy” during the pandemic, the station says it is hiring radio pro Bruce St. James to assume the morning show duties, effective December 14. Most recently, St. James had been midday talk host on Bonneville Media’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix until last February. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story here. Station program director Stephanie Tichenor says in a memo to staff that St. James “is here to have a conversation, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners.” It’s not clear from the memo whether St. James will move to Chicago or work from Phoenix.

Cox Media Group Names J.P. Hannan EVP and CFO. Media executive Joseph P. “J.P.” Hannan joins Cox Media Group as EVP & chief financial officer, effective immediately. Hannan, who previously served as CFO for Cumulus Media and Lincoln Financial Media, was most recently EVP/CFO for AutoWeb. CMG says that Hannan brings “three decades of deep functional expertise and technical knowledge in all aspects of corporate finance and financial planning across media and technology” to the company. “He has successfully completed $5 billion in career M&A and financing transactions as CFO; realized $250-plus-million of post-deal operational synergies across 16 separate transactions; and implemented numerous enterprise ERP systems for financial and human capital management. He is well versed in complex tax strategies to maximize operating cash flow and has leveraged his role on several executive leadership teams to help create expanded efficiency, innovation and growth.” Hannan says, “This is an exciting time to be joining CMG and I am energized by the potential for enhanced growth and value creation given the well-respected and dynamic content, products and people CMG is known for. I look forward to working with the team to drive a clear focus on delivering strong results that will help CMG continue to grow and gather momentum as an innovative industry leader that is shaping the future of media.”

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas talk radio host Heidi Harris moves from morning drive to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on Kemp Communications’ KMZQ-AM, effective November 23. Harris says, “I am excited about this change and am really looking forward to doing some things we haven’t been able to do in the past. We’ll still have a great mix of news and analysis, compelling guests, and of course my snarky take on what our elected and unelected ‘leaders’ are doing to our money, our rights, and our country.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will air during the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart…..New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick writes an interesting piece about the awkward dynamic between Entercom’s WFAN, New York afternoon personality Craig Carton – who served one year of a three-year prison sentence for a fraud scheme designed to pay off gambling debts – and the station’s recent $32 million acquisition of QL Gaming Group, as well as its relationship with FanDuel for which Carton’s partner Evan Roberts voices ads. In the piece, Mushnick references an on-air conversation Carton and Roberts had on Monday in which they discussed the fact that, as he puts it, “Gambling operations, even legal, are not out to make money for anyone other than themselves. We were therefore left to glean that the ‘make it rain’ and ‘get-rich-quick’ commercial promises, mostly aimed at young adults, target the vulnerable.”…..As part of a contract extension that runs through December of 2024, WGN-AM, Chicago’s Lou Manfredini, a.k.a. “Mr. Fix It,” is getting a fourth hour for his Saturday morning talk program on the Nexstar Media station, beginning in January. “HouseSmarts Radio with Lou Manfredini” will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WGN VP/GM Mary Sandberg Boyle is quoted saying, “We are excited to continue the legacy that Lou has built at WGN Radio the past 25 years. While his media empire looks a lot different now than when he first started here, one thing remains the same: Lou is here to serve the audience. He is patient and kind with every listener, while keeping his genuine sense of humor. He truly is the definition of the ‘helpful hardware man.’”…..Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis helped raise more than $330,000 to provide over 169,000 meals and care to those in need through its “2020 Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon” that took place on November 17. The amount raised during the 18th annual radiothon brings the overall fundraising total since 2003 to over $3.3 million. Entercom SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Entercom Minneapolis and 830 WCCO are proud to support the Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities and its local efforts to fight hunger, homelessness and addiction in Minnesota. During this pandemic, I’m incredibly proud of the selflessness and generosity of our listeners who stepped up to help us deliver another successful radiothon.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of former talk radio host Barbara Heisler, who passed away on Monday (11/16) at the age of 89. Heisler began her radio career in 1958 at WDEW-AM, Westfield, Massachusetts. She worked in radio for three decades, including stops at WREB-AM, Holyoke, Massachusetts; WPTF-AM, Raleigh, North Carolina; and finishing her talk radio career at WNNZ-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

SiriusXM Debuts New Podcast Destination. Satellite and online audio platform SiriusXM is making it easier for users to find podcasts as it creates a new category on its menu under which all podcasts can be found. SiriusXM says subscribers with streaming access “can enjoy a unique mix of exclusive, original, and popular podcasts via the SiriusXM mobile app or online. The launch of SiriusXM’s new podcast destination coincides with its latest “Listen Free” campaign, in which any non-subscriber in North America can sample SiriusXM for free from November 19 to December 1. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “As the popularity of podcasts continues to expand, we’re thrilled to offer our subscribers an amazing selection of podcast entertainment and expand on our unmatched variety of compelling, must-hear programming. With exclusive new series from entertainment powerhouses like Marvel and Kevin Hart, SiriusXM originals from some of our most popular hosts, and a curated collection of top shows from leading providers, subscribers now have direct access to our new destination for podcasts without ever leaving the SiriusXM app. And with Stitcher and their catalog of hugely popular original podcasts joining the SiriusXM family, this is just the beginning.”

IBA and MSN Partner to Help Out of Work Radio People. Radio pros currently out of work can take advantage of the partnership between Media Staffing Network and the Independent Broadcasters Association that is part of the recently announced IBA Rapid Response Opportunity. This partnership with MSN “gives jobseekers in radio access to valuable tools that will help them improve their story with more effective resumes and job search skills that can help them land more quickly. MSN plans to host informative webinars on how to research and target new opportunities, stand out in the hiring process, and conduct and navigate a search in a remote world.” IBA president and executive director Ron Stone says, “With many broadcasters needing to downsize because of the impact COVID has had on the economy, there are many radio professionals looking for work. Media Staffing Network’s expertise in the media business, especially radio, will be an asset to those seeking employment, as well as to those looking to hire. We’re very pleased that they are sharing their insights and knowledge as we work together to keep radio strong and help radio talent get through a very difficult situation.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Year-End Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is launching its annual year-end giving campaign, appealing to those in the broadcast industry for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative. The Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity and the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe. The annual Giving Campaign comes as more broadcasters than ever before are reaching out for monthly or emergency relief. This year, the Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.7 million in monthly and one-time emergency grants. Monthly grants have increased over 79% since 2016, and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 20 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed over $13 million to broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “Our only goal at the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide aid to those in our industry who need it most. Our grant recipients are hard-working broadcasters from across the country, who have been hit by challenging, often life-altering circumstances. Together, we can help them get through the toughest times.” Donations can be made by visiting www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, and Prevention Top News/Talk Stories for Week of November 16-20. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for future cases, vaccines and prevention combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election and the executive transition problems, followed by post-election 2020 politics and the Georgia runoff elections at #3. 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Wilhite and Wall” show is being syndicated nationally by Sun Broadcast Group. Starring Darren Wilhite and Tim Wall, the country radio program is being offered for all dayparts. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “We are excited to add high profile personalities Wilhite and Wall to our content line up. In these challenging times, it is important for stations to have flexibility in how and when they integrate programming into their local lineup. Wilhite and Wall provides multiple format options and dayparts for barter.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

| November 17, 2020

Howie Carr Radio Network to Launch ‘The Grace Curley Show.’ A new midday talk show is launching starring Grace Curley, currently the executive producer of the Boston-based Howie Carr show and a Boston Herald columnist. Curley’s program is being produced by The Howie Carr Radio Network and airs live daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The Howie Carr Radio Network says it has signed a deal with iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston to air “The Grace Curley Show” beginning January 4.   HCRN president Kathy Carr says, “We have full coverage in New England and many of our clients benefit from our wide reach and personal attention to their radio campaigns. Because we have no layers, we are able to turn around promotions swiftly and creatively. I’m excited to bring Grace’s show to my affiliates and clients and plan to implement many of the features we do with Howie’s show on Grace’s program. However, she is her own talent and will have many new elements to her daily program, too. You can’t launch a network without a major market affiliate and with WRKO, we now have that. Our working relationship with the executives at iHeart continues to be one of great collaboration and respect.” Howie Carr adds, “Grace Curley is a great talent and just the sort of host talk radio needs to take the industry to the next level — a young, articulate, conservative woman who already has years of experience in drive-time programming, state-of-the-art podcast and daily print journalism.” Curley, who also is producer of the “Dirty Rats” true crime podcast, states, “I am ecstatic for this huge opportunity to host a talk radio show and offer my perspective on politics, pop culture, and more. Over the last six years, I’ve been mentored by one of the best in the business. I look forward to putting the skills I’ve learned from Howie Carr to the test and creating a show that is interesting, unique and entertaining.” For more information on “The Grace Curley Show” and the HCRN, email Kathy Carr at: Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com.

Feder: Mancow to Leave WLS-AM, Chicago After November 25 Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Erich “Mancow” Muller is leaving Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after his November 25 show, saying he’s “tired of doing ‘radio without joy’ during a pandemic.” Mancow has been hosting mornings on WLS-AM for the past two years. He adds, “Much of the enjoyment I had left doing radio has been sucked out of it. Alone in an office building with no guests and endless rules is not my idea of a creative process… For me, no interaction has been the radio kiss of death. Talking during this political season and hearing endless tales of woe from my listeners has been radio without joy.” The station is going to feature guest hosts for the remainder of the year and Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren says he and PD Stephanie Tichenor have narrowed the field of replacements to three.

Gordon Deal Celebrates 15 Years as Host of ‘This Morning – America’s First News.’ On-air pro Gordon Deal is celebrating his 15th anniversary as host of “This Morning –America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” He says, “With a short attention span like mine, it’s hard to imagine doing the same thing for 15 minutes, let alone 15 years. There’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, especially now with 300 affiliates, but having an exceptional team to work with every day and the support of Compass Media Networks means waking up at 2:30 am can actually be interesting and exhilarating.” Compass says that “This Morning – America’s First News” airs on news/talk stations in 92 of the top 100 markets and is re-broadcast via all major podcast listening platforms including iHeartRadio, RADIO.COM, and TuneIn. Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann adds, “In the history of our medium, very few shows have achieved over 300 affiliates. Kudos to everyone at Compass Media Networks for reaching this goal and special thanks to Gordon Deal for his leadership and voice.”

TALKERS News Notes. Voice-over artist Cayman Kelly celebrates his continuing collaboration with ESPN as the first African American voice of ESPN Radio. He says, “Voice-over is my passion and I am so proud to be a voice for the ESPN network. It is a very fulfilling career. I am fortunate to have evolved and expanded my voice versatility after beginning this journey as a young man. I am also energized to do my part helping to diversify the voices in sports and continue to be a trusted voice.” ESPN senior vice president, production David Roberts comments, “Cayman brings an unmatched sound and prime-time feel to everything he does. We are excited to work with Cayman and look forward to his voice differentiating the sound of ESPN Audio.”…..The “KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter” is producing the station’s 15th annual “Stories of Light” fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma that takes place today (11/17) through Thursday. During the three-day “Stories of Light” event, KRMG will share heartwarming and inspiring stories from local wish kids as they strive to collect $300,000. The event has raised more than $3 million since its inception, thanks to the support of Green Country businesses and KRMG listeners. Station director of branding and programming Levi May says, “This is an unusual year for us because, while the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed donations and wish grants, it hasn’t diminished the number of children and their families in need. We are always motivated by these local kids, we are compelled to provide light during their darkest days, and we have never felt more driven to grant every wish we possibly can.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Holiday Gatherings, Trump vs Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections/Recount, Trump’s Iran Threat, Dow-S&P Record Highs, and Hurricane Iota Hits Central America Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases and the related positive news about vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and concerns about family get-togethers as superspreading events; Donald Trump’s efforts to stymie the Joe Biden administration transition; the runoff elections in Georgia for its two U.S. Senate seats and the presidential ballot recount; Trump consults Pentagon about strike on Iran nuclear facilities; the Dow and the S&P 500 hit record highs on vaccine news; and Hurricane Iota lashes Central America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Leo Baldwin is named brand manager for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY-FM “Y98” and adult contemporary KEZK in St. Louis. He says, “I’m so excited to join the amazing team in St. Louis and the incredible brands they have established in the market.” Baldwin most recently programmed Hubbard Radio’s AC WRMF and classic hits WEAT in West Palm Beach where he also served as operations manager for the seven-station cluster…..iHeartMedia Columbus drops the classic rock on WXZX-FM, Columbus and re-brands the station as “The New Columbus Alternative 105.7, Everything Alternative.” This comes in the wake of the former WWCD’s flip from alternative to Spanish music as signal owner Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting leases the 102.5 FM station (now WWLG-FM) to another operator. WWCD is continuing to air an alternative format online. Back to WXZX, the station names Rafferty afternoon drive personality and promises more jocks will join the station soon.