NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “Biden Passed Gas” looks back at this past week of 11/15 – 11/19. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dave Ramsey, talk show host/CEO, Ramsey Solutions; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; and Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTV. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Salem Los Angeles Re-Ups Horn In AM Drive. A new contract agreement between Jennifer Horn and Salem Media Group will keep Horn as co-host of “The Morning Answer” on Los Angeles news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer.” Horn and Grant Stinchfield co-host the 6:00 am – 9:00 am show, which is simulcast in the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario) on Salem’s KTIE “AM 590 The Answer.” Salem vice president of spoken word Phil Boyce remarks, “Waking up Los Angeles is one of the most important jobs in radio – Jen and Grant have figured out the formula. They always have a smile, but can deliver the day’s top news with a dose of reality. Salem is very proud to showcase these hosts.” KRLA & KTIE program director Chuck Tyler notes, “Jen and Grant are the most talented team I have ever had the privilege of working with. They have the rare ability to cover and comment on serious issues, while having some fun at the same time.” Horn adds, “Once in a career you get a golden opportunity and this is it. It has been the ultimate honor working with Salem and our local team to develop a morning show that is making incredible strides in the Los Angeles market. Grant Stinchfield is the ultimate professional. He brings a background in journalism, a unique perspective, and sense of humor. It’s been so much fun to partner and build chemistry with him.” Newsmax host Stinchfield came aboard to join Horn on KRLA & KTIE six months ago (5/18).
Lieberman Lands In The IE as iHM’s Senior VP/Sales. Three-year Townsquare Media Tri-Cities, Washington market president Ryan Lieberman is named senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five-station cluster in Southern California’s Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Lieberman – whose appointment is effective immediately – spent almost two decades with CBS Radio (now Audacy) in both Los Angeles and Chicago. iHeartMedia San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario president Melissa Forrest states, “We look forward to having Ryan on board. His knowledge, leadership, and passion will be a tremendous addition to the region and to our team.” Lieberman adds, “I am thrilled to return to Southern California as part of the iHeartMedia family by joining the Riverside team. Having spent the better part of my career competing against iHeartMedia, and being envious of how their teams execute marketing solutions for their clients, I’m excited to lend my expertise to an already high-functioning team.” News/talk KFOO “1440 AM Black Information Network” and sports talk KPWK “AM 1350 Fox Sports” are among iHeartMedia’s Inland Empire outlets, as are rhythmic CHR KGGI; rock KTMQ; and alternative KMYT.
iHeart Pledges To Create 180 Jobs in Downtown Nashville. The iHeartMedia commitment would generate 180 jobs in downtown Nashville over the next five years. While the company’s “Music City” radio stations (news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 98.3 & 1510”; Black Information Network affiliate WNRQ-HD2; classic rock WNRQ-FM; CHR WRVW; urban contemporary WUBT; and country WSIX) are housed in a separate Music Row facility, the new jobs will be based in the company’s 40,000 square-foot downtown facility, which opened last year. As first reported by the Nashville Business Journal, the Tennessee Funding Board, “unanimously approved a $1.25 million grant to iHeartMedia [yesterday, 11/18]. The company was finalizing a lease as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early-2020.” At the time, iHM was billing the downtown location as a “second headquarters” for its digital division. The state grant reportedly equals 44% of the $2.85 million that iHeartMedia is spending on its Nashville expansion. Per the NBJ article and state records, “The grant will be used for building retrofit, fixture improvements, lease payments, and tenant improvements. A headcount did not become public until Wednesday’s meeting of the Funding Board.” State records indicate that the 180 jobs will pay an average of $51.82 an hour.
Report: WarnerMedia Planning An Audience-Measurement Data Operation. While this would be for television, Variety reports that WarnerMedia is directly targeting Nielsen Holdings, which – of course – has had a stranglehold on the TV ratings business for decades. According to Variety, WarnerMedia is talking to as many as 15 different measurement vendors with expectations it can test possibilities in next year’s first quarter. WarnerMedia data/research chief Andrea Zapata opines to Variety, “There has got to be a better alternative in measurement solutions.” At the same time though, she comments, “Nielsen is definitely a part of our business as usual and can earn a place in our future.” As the James Aycock-written Variety article mentions, “Nielsen has taken a number of hits from its media partners, particularly complaints of mismeasurement during the COVID-19 pandemic that culminated in losing its MRC accreditation.”
Today’s Homeowner Media Acquires On The House Media. After a 35-year home improvement media career, James and Morris Carey (The Carey Brothers, pictured at the right) are retiring to focus on their family remodeling business, and have sold their On The House Media to Today’s Homeowner Media. The final installment of “On The House with the Carey Brothers,” will air on its 100+ affiliates Christmas Day (12/25). Then one week later (1/1/2022), Today’s Homeowner Media will take ownership of On The House Media’s website, digital content, and social channels. Today’s Homeowner Media president/host Danny Lipford comments, “I’m both happy and sad about James and Morris’ decision to hang up their headphones and step down from their 35-year home improvement media career. They are legends in the business and will be missed. I’m glad they’ve enjoyed such a successful run, and grateful that I’m able to carry on their media tradition and legacy. Today’s Homeowner looks forward to featuring their articles, videos, and, hopefully, airing on the many radio stations they’ve earned during their career.” James Carey notes, “Morris and I have been moved by the tremendous outpouring that we have received since announcing our retirement. The positive comments, and expression of gratitude and support have been overwhelming and heartening.” Morris Carey adds, “Danny [Lipford] is a warm, pleasant and knowledgeable guy. I can’t think of anyone to whom I would rather pass on the torch.” Currently in its 13th year, the weekly, two-hour “Today’s Homeowner” is hosted by Lipford and author Joe Truini; it has 320 affiliates.
TALKERS News Notes. Recent Comscore data details continued growth of Newsmax’s online properties, including Newsmax.com. According to Comscore, Newsmax is now the #2 conservative news brand online, behind Fox News. Newsmax reports that its online increase mirrors “tremendous audience growth.” Meanwhile – per Nielsen – Newsmax TV is the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel … Syndicated host Erick Erickson’s annual three-hour “Erick Erickson Christmas Show” combines Erickson’s theological background; conversations about Christmas; and Christmas music. “Christmas is the perfect time to focus on the big picture and not the daily news headlines,” he comments. “[Our] Christmas show is designed so everyone can come together, exhale after a crazy year, and focus on the holidays.” Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM “Atlanta’s News & Talk” is the flagship for “The Erick Erickson Christmas Show,” which is available on a first come/first served basis. It can be broadcast anytime from 6:00 am -12:00 midnight on (Friday) December 24 and (Saturday) December 25 … The five-station Cox Media Group Tampa cluster – which includes news/talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” – is teaming with Metropolitan Ministries today (Friday, 11/19) to host “Feed The Bay.” All five CMG Tampa outlets are encouraging listeners to donate food items to Metropolitan Ministries’ donation location. Cox Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless notes, “This is the ninth consecutive year that Cox Media Group Tampa has been a partner with Metropolitan Ministries for the holidays. We are starting to get back to normal, but there is still a tremendous need to feed those in our community.”
U.S. Podcast Report. Top network reports are ranked by average weekly downloads and average weekly users in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast technical guidelines. They are measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics and cover the reporting period of October 4 – October 31 (2021). Stitcher Media remained first on the top networks report with 39.5 million average weekly downloads/10.7 million average weekly users. It was followed by NPR with 32.3 million average weekly downloads/7.2 million average weekly users. Coming in third was Audacy with 31.8 million average weekly downloads/10.2 million average weekly users. Among the top twenty networks, new podcast network ViacomCBS ranked ninth in average weekly downloads/tenth in average weekly users. New shows debuting this period include “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition” (ViacomCBS); “Over My Dead Body” (Wondery); “Fantasy Football Today” (Viacom CBS); and “The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe” (Audioboom). Full results of the U.S. Podcast Report can be seen at https://www.tritondigital.com/resources/podcast-reports.
IBA, Vipology Sign Multiyear Extension. The pact with the Independent Broadcasters Association retains Vipology as IBA’s exclusive digital consultant and partner. In its first year, Vipology created the IBA’s member site; scheduled/moderated over 60 info-webinars; and handled IBA’s national contesting. Independent Broadcasters Association chief executive officer Ron Stone comments, “There would be no IBA without Vipology’s vision, technology, and execution. I’m thrilled to continue to have Vipology on-board to advise and provide the best digital products and services.” Vipology chief executive officer Chris Peaslee notes, “We are thrilled to continue to work with the IBA; dedicated to the digital success of the IBA and its members; and offering the latest digital solutions at the industry’s lowest prices. We’re proud to be standing side-by-side with Ron [Stone] and IBA members.” The IBA was established last year (July 2020) to serve the needs of independent radio stations and groups across the country; it represents a membership base of 1,500 stations.
California Combo Rebrands From VPR To KVPR. As of this past Wednesday (11/17), Valley Public Radio (NPR affiliate) news/talk-classical KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield rebrands from “VPR” to “KVPR” and has a new logo. A driving force for the switch was a conflict with Vermont Public Radio, which uses the “VPR” name, as well. KVPR president and general manager Joe Moore states that, “Over the years, we’ve gone by so many different names – ‘KVPR,’ ‘FM-89,’ ‘VPR,’ ‘KPRX,’ ‘Valley Public Radio,’ and ‘NPR.’ It has led to clutter, and at times confusion. As more and more users access our content online, ‘FM-89’ has proven to be less than adequate as a name for the station. There are multiple ‘FM-89s’ across the country, and the term isn’t really relevant for non-broadcast content.” The rebranding includes a renaming of its Audiophile Magazine to the KVPR Magazine.
Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. “Make commercial copy you craft for local advertisers THIS crisp,” and, consultant Holland Cooke says, “you will make money.” In this week’s column, he rips-off…er, “compiles” examples. Read it here.
Pending Business: Checking In. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that you’re more likely get a renewal from that advertiser if you check in regularly instead of adopting the “no-news-is-good-news” approach to gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. “Great sellers are like commercial airline pilots, or cruise ship captains. Everyone is prepared with specific goals, timelines, and once the journey (schedule) begins, ready to control the mission.” Read his column here.
The ‘Todd Starnes Podcast’ Joins Salem Podcast Network. Beginning April 5, the “Todd Starnes Podcast” joins the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “SPN is delighted to join in this partnership with Todd Starnes, one of the leading voices in conservative America. His courage in saying what needs to be said is unmatched. His knowledge and ability to explain what is really going on is his forte.” With this deal, the Salem Podcast Network assumes distribution, marketing, and sales representation duties for the “Todd Starnes Podcast.” Starnes also hosts a daily, syndicated radio program and he previously spent more than a decade at the FOX News Channel, hosting a daily radio program on the FOX Radio Network. He comments, “Salem is known for its cutting-edge platforms and excellence-driven programming. I’m honored to join such a well-respected industry leader like the Salem Podcast Network.”
WJR-AM, Detroit Takes Station of the Year Honor. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM is named “Commercial Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the 17th time since 2000. The Cumulus Media station also received 17 other awards, including eight “Merit Awards,” as well as nine “Best Awards.” Some of the “Best Awards” include: Regularly Scheduled Broadcast Personality/Team – “The Guy Gordon Show”; Sports – “Lions Pregame: Around the League”; Special Show Broadcast Personality/Team – “War of the Worlds” live stream event; and Continuing News Coverage – COVID-19 Replay.
iHeartMedia Names Barbara Latham Area President for Central Florida. Sales and management pro Barbara Latham is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia Central Florida in which she’ll oversee the Orlando and Melbourne markets that include talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1,” news/talk WFLF “WFLA,” sports talk WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game,” plus 10 music brands. She’s most recently been serving the Orlando cluster as SVP of sales. Latham reports to division president Linda Byrd, who says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Barb to this position. We’ve worked together for 36 years and in many different capacities. She is one of the brightest and most competitive employees I know. Barb has always been a winner, and to her, there is no other option. No one deserves this opportunity more, and it makes me happy to put this team, that I’ve managed for the last 21 years in her capable hands.”
WABC, New York Recognizes Greek Independence Day. Pictured above (from l-r) are Chad Lopez, president of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC, and Renee Cassis, owner of RC Communications Marketing on March 25 as the radio station hosted a celebration for the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The event was held in WABC’s event space, Studio 77. During his opening remarks, John Catsimatidis noted the diversity of America and stated that the celebration was for every ethnicity and race.
Josh Innes Returns to iHeartMedia as Morning Host at WNRQ-FM, Nashville. Sports radio talk host Josh Innes is joining iHeartMedia’s Nashville classic rock WNRQ-FM “105.9 The Rock” as morning drive host, effective April 5. The station says “The Josh Innes Show” will be a Nashville-focused blend of classic rock, news, sports and commentary and will broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WNRQ program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Josh is wildly talented as a personality, idea generator, and storyteller. He’s unconventional, creative, and exceptionally compelling. We’re beyond excited to welcome him to Nashville and foster in the next great classic rock morning show!” Innes was most recently afternoon host on Gow Media’s sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston. He’s also served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME-AM, Houston, and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He hosts “The Josh Innes Show” podcast live on Twitch and heard on iHeartRadio.
iHeartMedia Issues Statement on FCC Ruling. The company’s statement issued on Friday (3/26) is in regard to the approval of its pending applications to acquire certain radio stations, and the temporary shareholder restrictions required by the FCC to be imposed upon Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd. The company says, “iHeartMedia values its shareholder relationships and we welcome all new shareholders to iHeartMedia. However, because GMEI is a foreign shareholder, its recent investment was inconsistent with the FCC’s foreign ownership rules and created an operating issue for us under the FCC’s regulatory framework. As background, GMEI’s purchase of an 8.7% position in our Class A Common stock, as reported in its Schedule 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 5, 2021, caused a violation of the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations and the FCC’s November 5, 2020 declaratory ruling related to the company’s foreign ownership, both of which limit a foreign investor in GMEI’s position to 5% without prior FCC approval. To address this issue, over which iHeartMedia had no prior knowledge or control, we filed a remedial petition for declaratory ruling requesting FCC approval for GMEI to have the ability to increase its ownership to up to 9.99%. Notwithstanding the GMEI investment, the FCC has approved iHeartMedia’s acquisitions of certain stations, including stations for BIN: Black Information Network. However, the FCC has required that the company impose temporary shareholder restrictions on GMEI as a condition of approving those radio station acquisitions. To comply with the FCC order, iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors resolved to take action consistent with the FCC’s conditional requirements. These actions include imposing temporary voting and other shareholder restrictions on GMEI which will apply during the pendency of the Petition. iHeartMedia respects the FCC process and will, as a matter of consistent policy, ensure the company’s compliance with the FCC’s foreign ownership and other regulations.”
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, CNN’s COVID War Special/WHO Origin Report, Suez Ship Jam, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Hedge Fund Failure-Financial Markets, Chauvin Trial, U.S. Afghanistan Operations, and Nashville Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., rising cases in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; CNN’s Sunday special featuring the six doctors leading the U.S. COVID program and the WHO’s report concluding the coronavirus likely came from an animal at a Chinese wildlife market; the status of the container ship blocking the Suez canal and its effect on the global economy; the crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the failure of a major hedge fund causes problems for Credit Suisse and Nomura that could reverberate through the global economy; today’s beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; the United States’ Afghanistan operations and the Doha agreement that calls for U.S. troop removal by May 1; and the historic floods in Nashville and Middle Tennessee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.