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, “Delta Blues” looks back at this past week of June 14-18, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jennifer Horn, morning show co-host (870 AM the Answer) KRLA, Los Angeles/co-host DJV Show; Harry Hurley, host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Bill O’ Reilly, commentator, Key Networks; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Travis & Sexton Set To Bow On 400+ Affiliates. Being billed as one of talk radio’s biggest-ever launches, Premiere Networks’ three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, ET) “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” debuts next Monday (6/21) on more than 400 stations. The program inherits the timeslot held for more than three decades by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott remarks, “The reaction from our radio station and advertising partners has been tremendous. Clay and Buck are proving to be a winning combination as we prepare to launch their new show in this highly-coveted timeslot.” Starting in September 2016, Travis began hosting Fox Sports Radio’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” on more than 350 affiliates. Travis founded Outkick.com, which he sold to Fox Corporation earlier this month; he currently co-hosts FS1’s first daily gambling TV show, “Fox Bet Live.” Meanwhile, former CIA officer/NYPD counterterrorism expert Sexton previously headlined Premiere Networks’ three-hour “Buck Sexton Show” on more than 200 stations. The NYC native appears on The First, a digital-first TV network available on more than 14 platforms. Charter “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” affiliates (all eleven owned by iHeartMedia) include: WOR, New York; KEIB, Los Angeles; KTRH, Houston; WXKS-AM, Boston; WIOD, Miami; KFYI, Phoenix; KTLK, Minneapolis; WFLA, Tampa; KDFD, Denver; KEX, Portland; and KFBK AM & FM, Sacramento. It will also be available as a podcast on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.
Cumulus Media D.C. Designates Boden Vice President/Market Manager. Inbound from Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was VP/market manager of Alpha Media’s four-station group, Jeff Boden is named to a similar position at Cumulus Media Washington (DC), where he will oversee news/talk WMAL “105.9 FM – Where Washington Comes To Talk” and sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus Media executive vice president of operations Dave Milner states, “WMAL and WSBN are exceptional stations and demand an exceptional leader at the helm. Jeff Boden is the perfect choice to take these legendary stations into the future. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on the Cumulus Media team. His deep experience and relationships in the market make him our ideal choice. Jeff is respected and appreciated by those in and out of the company and steps into the big shoes left by former VP/market manager Ken Roberts, who sadly and suddenly passed away in April.” Boden comments: “I am truly honored to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s wonderful to serve the local community and our advertising partners. I look forward to working with so many people I have known for years, as well as with newer additions to the team.” From 2005 – 2012, the American University alum and former president of Delmarva Broadcasting Company was president/general manager of WMAL (as well as then cluster-mates) WRQX and WJZW when the stations were owned by ABC Radio and later Citadel Broadcasting. Boden has served as board chair for the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and in the same capacity for the Greater DC/Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Round Two of May PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (DC); Boston; Miami; Seattle; Detroit; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 survey period covered April 29 – May 26. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM “97.3 FM” gains four-tenths (6.2 – 6.6, 6+) to jump from second to first, the lone news/talker from these 12 PPM markets to finish at #1 (May 2021, 6+). Its Denver sports talk sibling – KKFN “104.3 The Fan” – notches that format’s greatest (6+) improvement among these 12 metros (2.1 – 3.0, +.9, #18 to #12, 6+). There’s a bit of irony in San Diego as three iHeartMedia-owned news/talk properties each pick up two-tenths: KOGO “News Radio 600” (5.5 – 5.7, fifth to second, 6+); KGB-AM “760 AM” (1.8 – 2.0, #20 to #19, 6+); and KFI “AM 640” (1.6 – 1.8, #21 to #20, 6+). In addition to Seattle’s KIRO-FM, the only other station from these 12 PPM-markets to land on top (May 2021, 6+) is American University-owned public radio news/talk WAMU (10.2 – 9.5, -.7, 6+), which repeats at #1 the fifth straight month. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this second round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.
KHTK Extends Its Pact With The NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Continuing a partnership that dates back to 1994, Bonneville Sacramento sports talk KHTK “Sports 1140” will remain the radio flagship of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Bonneville Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim remarks, “We are excited to continue our relationship with the Sacramento Kings for years to come. Bonneville’s commitment to our local community continues to make KHTK the perfect home for our Sacramento Kings.” KHTK program director Jason Ross notes, “Having the opportunity to work on the radio broadcasts for the team and to work for the radio station, I feel the passion of this fanbase and the community.” Sacramento Kings president of business operations John Rinehart adds, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with KHTK, providing an incomparable experience for the best fans in the NBA. KHTK brings a shared passion for the community and their broadcast not only paints the picture of game action but also provides a high level of entertainment for listeners.” As part of the long-term deal, KHTK will have streaming rights within 75 miles of Golden 1 Center.
Quintet Welcomed To Colorado Public Radio’s Board Of Directors. Joining the CPB board this past Wednesday (6/16) are: Linda Appel Lipsius; Ricardo Baca; Lori Bergen; Steve ErkenBrack; and Sherisse Hawkins. Board chair Philip Johnson remarks, “We are happy to welcome these members to the board of directors. Each of them brings a passion for community and [Colorado Public Radio‘s] mission, along with professional and personal experiences that will enrich and inform the board’s efforts.” Lipsius joined the board of Denver Urban Gardens in 2020 and became executive director in 2021. She is co-founder and former CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas and was a vice president at Orange Glo International. Indigenous-born Colorado native Baca is a journalist, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur. He served as The Denver Post‘s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country. AdCann named Baca “Marketer of the Year” in 2019. Bergen is the founding dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she holds the James E. De Castro Chair in Global Media Studies. A former journalist, she has been a faculty member and served in academic leadership roles at Kansas State University, Texas State University and Marquette University. ErkenBrack served as president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Mesa County’s elected District Attorney; and Colorado’s chief deputy attorney general. He has founded two law firms in Grand Junction and Denver and is currently “Of Counsel” with Grand Junction’s Hoskin Farina & Kampf, P.C. He was president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council. Engineer/technologist Hawkins is founder/CEO of PageDip. The award-winning business owner has appeared in Vanity Fair and on ABC-TV‘s “Shark Tank.” She worked as a Walt Disney Imagineer, building theme park attractions around the globe, and a system architect specializing in digital video delivery.
NAB Show Accepting Nominations For “Product Of The Year.” The awards recognize the most significant and promising new products and technologies developed by NAB Show exhibitors. Award recipients will be selected by a panel of industry experts in 16 categories and announced October 12 during the official awards ceremony/reception. Nominated products and technologies must be available for delivery this calendar year. NAB executive vice president of global connections and events Chris Brown notes, “NAB Show is the premier venue to launch and demonstrate new products that sit at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. We look forward to exploring innovations from the past two years and celebrating their impact on our industry.” In addition to “Radio,” product categories for this year’s NAB Show “Product of the Year” awards are as follows: AI/Machine Learning; Asset Management, Automation, Playout; Audio Production, Processing and Networking; Camera Support, Control and Accessories; Cameras; Cloud Computing and Storage; Digital Signage & Display Systems; Graphics, Editing, VXF, Switchers; Grip Equipment; Hardware Infrastructure; IT Networking/Infrastructure & Security; Location/Studio Lighting; Monitoring and Measuring Tools; Remote Production; and Streaming. Nominations are being accepted through September 17; companies can submit product nominations here.
New FCC Rules Address Emergency Alerts. The latest FCC-adopted policies are aimed to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on radios, mobile phones, and televisions. The move is in response to a false 2018 emergency alert in Hawaii, which mistakenly warned of an incoming ballistic missile attack. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 subsequently directed the FCC, in consultation with FEMA, to adopt rules to strengthen emergency alerting in various areas. The Commission adopted a “Report and Order” to ensure that more people receive relevant emergency alerts, enable government agencies to report any false alerts, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts. Specifically, the “Report and Order” combines the current “Presidential Alerts” category with alerts from the FEMA Administrator to form a new non-optional alert class called “National Alerts.” Under the alert class, all states are encouraged to form State Emergency Communications Committees, which help administer alerting on the state level, or to review the composition and governance of existing committees, as well as require certification of annual committee meetings, while providing a checklist of information that should be included in annual state Emergency Alert System plans. It also specifies that government agencies may report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center and clarifies how alert originators can repeat their alert transmissions.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by The New York Post, former WNYC, New York City reporter Fred Mogul has brought a defamation and wrongful termination suit against the New York Public Radio news/talk station. Filed earlier this week in Manhattan Supreme Court, the suit claims that Mogul was falsely accused of plagiarism over two lines of AP copy included in a draft of a report for WNYC sister site Gothamist but not the completed January 28 piece, which credited AP. Mogul, who was fired February 5, alleges that editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper told over 50 staffers that Mogul failed to credit AP on the story’s byline and had “lifted another person’s words.” Mogul, however, claims the draft followed WNYC’s style guide … RAB senior vice president of insights, Annette Malave, successfully completed the University of South Florida Muma College of Business’ “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace” certificate. The 14-hour course focused on how companies and organizations can create more diverse workplaces while addressing equity issues and fostering inclusivity. Malave comments, “Multicultural efforts have always been a passion of mine throughout my career in the ad industry. The events of 2020 made me realize that I needed more than just passion, but an education on the role that diversity, equity and inclusivity play in our lives and in the workplace. I hope to take what I learned from this course and apply it to what I do in life and what we offer at RAB.” … Word comes from RobertFeder.com that Good Karma Brands Chicago sports talk WMVP “ESPN 1000” will add an FM HD2 simulcast, slated to be functional for tonight’s game between the White Sox and Houston Astros.
Art Lovers Go Hunting For A Bargain. In addition to hosting a daily three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) show on Cox Media Group Jacksonville news/talk WOKV-FM, Toronto-born Mark Kaye does a weekly program on Newsmax TV. When the New York University-educated Kaye heard that Hunter Biden had changed careers to become a professional artist, he decided to do some painting of his own. The subject of his effort was fellow Florida resident Donald Trump. Kaye remarks, “When we reported that Hunter Biden was painting full time, we laughed; [however], when we heard art dealers were prepared to offer [as much as a million dollars] for an original Hunter Biden painting, we cried. If Hunter Biden could get [that much money] for his paintings, so could we.” Kaye crowdsourced ideas from his listeners and asked them what he should paint. “If they asked for it, we painted it.” That’s how he ended up with the portrait of Trump. Kaye’s portrait is currently for sale via online auction with an asking price of $10,000 or best offer. Kaye comments, “We’ve seen Hunter Biden’s work and, quite frankly, this painting is way better. As far as the $10,000 asking price, we didn’t want to be greedy – plus, people love a bargain.” Kaye’s fans have driven the price to $2100. Kaye will announce the winner immediately after the auction concludes next Monday (6/21).
Nielsen-MRI Fusion Study: 37% Of Newsmax Viewers Identify As Independents. A recent Nielsen-MRI fusion study profiled Newsmax‘s audience and found 37% of its viewers described themselves as “independents”; CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News each drew 35%. In addition, 37% of Newsmax viewers label themselves Republicans; 26% say they are Democrats. Seven of ten (70%) report they always vote in national, state, or local elections. According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “This study shows that Newsmax attracts a very diverse group of Americans from all backgrounds. One thing they have in common is their appetite for real news delivered by objective journalists with no axes to grind – something that’s resonating with independent voters.” Top jobs held by Newsmax viewers include positions in education, office/administration, sales, management, construction, and farming. Newsmax attracts an equal mix of the sexes, with a 50/50 male-female split.
Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.
Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.
Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.
Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”
TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.
Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Mike Luery Named Assistant News Director for KFBK, Sacramento. Radio and television news pro Mike Luery joins iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento “News 93.1” as 24/7 News and KFBK assistant news director for iHeartMedia’s Pacific region. iHeartMedia Pacific region news director Jayson Campadonia says that in this role, Luery will “help oversee news in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska. He’ll report on everything from breaking news to politics to state fairs. With his vast experience in the news business, he will additionally play a critical role in developing young news talent.” KFBK program director Bill White states, “We look forward to Mike being an integral partner in contributing to the news content on ‘The KFBK Morning News with Cristina Mendonsa and Sam Shane’ as well as ‘The KFBK Afternoon News with Kitty O’Neal.’ Mike, with his decades of news experience in Sacramento, will be an excellent addition to our team of Northern California news veterans.” Luery served with Hearst Television’s KCRA-TV, Sacramento for 24 years. He began his career as news director at KZOZ-FM in San Luis Obispo, California.
WGY-AM/FM, Albany Adds Doug Goudie to Morning Show. Longtime Boston media figure Doug Goudie becomes part of the morning show at iHeartMedia’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany on Thursday (1/7), partnering with current air personality Kelly Lynch. Goudie assumes the role left vacant after Chuck Custer retired from the station in December following a 36-year career with WGY. Goudie, a.k.a. V.B. – short for Virgin Boy – got his nickname from Boston talk radio legend Howie Carr during his time working on Carr’s show at WRKO, Boston where he began his media career back in the late 1990s. WGY program director Jeff Wolf says, “With Doug’s rich experience as a recent midday talk host on iHeartMedia Boston’s WRKO, TV commentator on WFXT-TV, and long-stint on The Howie Carr Radio Show, I’m confident that he will satisfy the expectations of WGY listeners for years to come. The heart of what brings so many Capital Region listeners to WGY in the morning will remain unchanged. Doug and Kelly will both entertain and inform with meaningful conversations on the important local and national stories of the day but having fun will continue to be part of the show as well.”
Steve Czaban Exits WTEM, Washington; No Change to WRNW-FM, Milwaukee Gig. Sports talk host Steve Czaban announced via Twitter that he’s exited Washington, DC sports talk outlet WTEM “The Team” as his contract was up and new owner Entercom took control of the station from Urban One. While he won’t be doing a daily show in Washington, he will remain with Entercom on a part-time basis and will host a Saturday morning program on sister sports talker WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan.” The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that Czaban says the change in DC has no effect on his Milwaukee radio show heard daily in morning drive on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game.” Czaban calls his exit from WTEM a mutual one, telling the MBJ, “As my contract was coming to an end, I had been contemplating a change of pace and direction for some time now. This is the right move for me at the right time. I am very excited and thankful for this opportunity, and any others that may present themselves in the future.”
Beasley Media Group Begins 60th Anniversary Celebration. The logo you see here is being unveiled by Beasley Media Group to commemorate the company’s 60th anniversary. The company says, “On December 2, 1961, a young high school principal named George Beasley launched WPYB-AM in Benson, North Carolina with the vision of providing a voice for the voiceless in the local community! Today, Beasley Media Group is a multiplatform media company providing advertising and digital marketing solutions across the United States with 64 radio properties located in 15 large and medium markets across the country. Beasley also offers capabilities in audio technology, esports, podcasting, ecommerce, and events. Featured on the NASDAQ, BBGI is ranked among the publicly traded media companies in America.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “We are so thrilled to be able to celebrate the incredible legacy that our father, George, began back in 1961 when he built his very first AM station in Benson, North Carolina. It’s such a privilege to be able to build upon his forward-thinking vision and continue to blaze new innovative trails in today’s ever-changing industry with our outstanding employees and management team. Here’s to the next 60 years!”
Noted Record Producer and “Urban Philosopher” Robbie Stevens Rejoins TalkersRadio. The TALKERS editorial board announces the return of Robbie Stevens to the talent roster of TalkersRadio. 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). On the return of Stevens to TalkersRadio, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations (and former WOR PD) David Bernstein says, “Robbie brings a real East Coast urban perspective that is reflective of both the street and academia to the news/talk radio conversation. His ‘tell it like it is’ style is a provocative blend of gruff ‘everyman’ street talk and intelligent, eclectic inquiry into the mysteries of the universe, combining politics with pop culture, science and down-to-Earth sociology. You don’t hear his progressive position that often on today’s terrestrial news/talk radio and frankly, regardless of your politics, it is amazingly refreshing.” For example, Stevens has served as vice president of the board for a well-known youth basketball/education program that’s won national championships and helps kids from diverse backgrounds reach their academic goals. To listen to Robbie Steven’s new series of commentaries on TalkersRadio, please click here. TalkersRadio is an “experimental” talk radio platform launched in 2013 by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out 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 Carter, Meg 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.
Radio Advertising Bureau Updates Board of Directors. With the new year comes an update to the board of directors for the Radio Advertising Bureau. Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw is the vice chair and Townsquare Media COO Erik Hellum is the finance chair. The RAB also announces that Cumulus Media EVP corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes joins the executive committee. Neuhoff Media COO Mike Hulvey continues to serve as chair and Univision president and regional radio general manager Sabina Widmann is serving as secretary.
New York Public Media Names Nsikan Akpan Health and Science Editor. Joining New York Public Media’s WNYC Newsroom is Nsikan Akpan, who begins his role as health & science editor on January 11. Akpan was most recently serving with National Geographic as science editor, overseeing COVID-19 coverage in addition to other types of science, health and technology news. Prior to that, he served for more than four years at “PBS NewsHour.” He and his team won a 2020 Emmy for the PBS NewsHour series “Stopping a Killer Pandemic” and in 2019 received a George Foster Peabody Award for the PBS NewsHour series “The Plastic Problem.”
Georgia Runoff Elections/Trump GA Appearance, Trump’s Call to GA Sec. of State, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, UK Lockdown, China and Pandemic’s Origin, Iran Seizes South Korean Oil Tanker, and the NYSE’s Chinese Telecom Delisting About Face Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The buildup to today’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats and Donald Trump’s appearance to stump for the Republicans; the controversy over Trump’s call to Georgia’s Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss in that state; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the UK orders a lockdown to stem the tide of COVID cases; questions about China’s stifling the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; Iran seizes a South Korean oil freighter in the Persian Gulf; and the New York Stock Exchange reverses course on plans to delist three Chinese telecom companies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Grace Curley Show Adds Three-Station News/Talk Network in New Hampshire. The new Grace Curley Show is adding the three-station news/talk network consisting of WTSN-AM, Dover; WEMJ-AM, Laconia; and WTPL-FM, Hillsboro in New Hampshire operated by Binnie Media. The Grace Curley Show is being rolled out in syndication by The Howie Carr Radio Network and the Binnie stations join iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston which also begins airing the program on January 4. Binnie Media director of programming & operations Dave Andreesen says, “We are thrilled to offer our listeners The Grace Curley Show across our three news/talk stations in New Hampshire. The Howie Carr Show has been a popular mainstay in our lineup for years and I think Grace’s show will be the perfect addition to round out our weekday lineup. Anyone who has listened to Howie can tell you what a fine broadcaster and commentator Grace has evolved into. I’m looking forward to her fresh perspective on the issues everyone is talking about.” The Grace Curley Show will air live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Beasley Media Group Promotes Five Programmers. In the programming department of Beasley Media Group, five current staffers have been promoted. WMMR-FM and WMGK-FM, Philadelphia program director Bill Weston is upped to vice president of talent development in which he’ll work directly with certain personalities to help improve their content as well as assist the company’s PDs with talent assessment and recruitment. Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack adds VP of strategy & analytics to his role with the company. Beasley Charlotte director of operations John Reynolds rises to VP of music & entertainment in which he’ll serve as the company’s record label liaison for multi-market artist opportunities and company events. Beasley Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson adds VP of national content to his duties. He’ll now also work to identify opportunities for content sharing and manage a national database of talent. Beasley Augusta and Fayetteville OM Tee Gentry adds VP of brand strategies to his responsibilities and he’s charged with working to seek out creative ideas for imaging, promotions, and sales integrations to share with stations across the company. Beasley Media Group Justin Chase comments, “It is such a pleasure to elevate these first-class programmers within our company. Each of them has already made a major positive impact to our company as well as the industry. It’s a privilege to have them on our team!”
TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles news/talker KFI AM 640 announces that its 10th annual “KFI PastaThon” fundraiser that helps feed local children in need raised a record of more than $770,000 and 75,980 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce. The charitable organization Caterina’s Club – an organization that feeds more than 25,000 underprivileged children each week in over 30 cities throughout Southern California – was the beneficiary. Robin Bertolucci is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and she says, “We are in awe at the generosity of our listeners and so grateful for their support of this worthy cause. Over the past 10 years, they have helped us raise more than $3.5 million and over 586,000 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce in support of Chef Bruno Serato and his outstanding organization as they feed thousands of children in Southern California and help end the cycle of poverty.”…..Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas “News Talk 820AM” raised more than $225,000 (and counting!) for the Denton State Supported Living Center from its “42nd Annual Christmas Is for Caring Radiothon” that took place from December 7-11. Station PD Kevin Graham comments, “This is a testament to the giving nature of our listeners to find it in their hearts in such a difficult year to donate to those that are in desperate need of the holiday spirit. Big thank you to our passionate staff and those at the Denton State Supported Living Center for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful mission.”…..Also at Cumulus Dallas, news/talker KLIF partnered with Ed Wallace from KLIF’s Saturday morning show, “Wheels with Ed Wallace,” and Kwik Kar Industries for the “32nd Annual KLIF Kids Toy Drive.” Sponsors contributed $44,600, which the station will use to purchase toys for more than 800 underprivileged children attending two different schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…..Among the numerous year-end features listeners will find on spoken-word radio stations across the country this time of year is the WNYC 2020 Time Capsule from the Brian Lehrer Show. WNYC says that the show “plans to end the year doing what public radio is uniquely able to do: to capture the oral history of this year through the voices of the people who lived through it all.” The WNYC 2020 Time Capsule “is a place for listeners to voice their grief – but also their hopes for the future. In mid-March, a year from when the pandemic took hold in the region – the Time Capsule will be stored atop the Empire State Building next to the WNYC transmitter, not to be opened until 2030.” It will contain the voices of New Yorkers; an Audio Timeline of 2020 that tells the story of the year stitched together from listener calls; a reading of the names of the over 1,900 New Yorkers that died from COVID-19; listener-submitted photographs that best capture the year; and select news stories from the WNYC and Gothamist newsrooms.
Hartmann: Democrats Can’t Win If They Don’t Play. In a piece published in The Nation, progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann writes about the success Republicans have enjoyed winning political races with the help of the “roughly 1,500 right-wing talk-radio stations that saturate every corner, no matter how remote or rural, of America.” Hartmann says the takeaway from this is: Radio works. He adds, “Good talk show hosts know their job isn’t to find or interview ‘good guests’; it’s to build a trust relationship with their audience, cemented over years, caller after caller, day after day. Truly effective hosts like Limbaugh and Michael Savage talk to their listeners as if they’re close and trusted friends.” He notes that – aside from Bernie Sanders – most Democrats have avoided talk radio. And that, he says, needs to change. “If Democrats want to effectively counter the relentless spread of hard-right ideology in America, talk radio has to be part of that strategy.”
Ashok Sinha Joins Entercom as Head of Corporate Communications. Corporate communications pro Ashok Sinha is named SVP, head of corporate communications and PR for Entercom Communications. In this role, Sinha will lead the communications strategy and execution across Entercom’s entire portfolio of assets. He’ll have direct oversight of internal and external communications, media and press relations, corporate messaging, crisis communications and issues management, and executive thought leadership management. He will serve as a member of Entercom’s executive leadership team, reporting to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer. Sinha says, “As a lifelong consumer of music and the spoken word, I believe in the power of audio and its ability to engage, entertain and inform the world. I’m delighted for this opportunity to join Entercom and its award-winning corporate communications team, and lead the charge as we tell the story of audio in this dynamic time for media.” Sinha was most recently VP, communications lead, technology at WarnerMedia.
iHeartMedia Names Gabe Fleet EVP of Business Affairs and Chief Music Licensing Counsel. Attorney Gabe Fleet joins iHeartMedia as EVP of business affairs and chief music licensing counsel, effective January 11. Fleet transitions to iHeartMedia from his role as a partner at Greenberg Traurig law firm. In his new role, Fleet will lead iHeartMedia’s business affairs team and focus on strategic deals and relationships with the company’s music and entertainment partners and be responsible for business and legal affairs across the company’s divisions, multiplatform assets and tentpole events. Fleet will also spearhead the company’s music licensing strategy, including maintaining and renewing all music industry licenses for iHeartRadio’s digital services and performance licenses through PRO agencies.
COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, Economy & Shutdowns, Biden Transition/Nominations, Georgia Runoff Elections, Stimulus Negotiations, and U.S. Government Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of the distribution of COVID vaccines in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy, job losses, and mandated business shutdowns; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and cabinet nominations; January’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections; the ongoing stimulus negotiations; and the Russian hack of U.S. government computer systems 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. Details are few but WMC-TV, Memphis is reporting that Chris Jarman, morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX, Memphis “98.1 The Max” has died after a “tragic accident” at age 50. Jarman co-hosted the “Danni & The Jar” morning show. The report cites Cumulus VP Morgan Bohannon saying that Jarman was transported to a hospital in Batesville, Arkansas because no ICU beds were available in Memphis…..AL.com reports that triple A WZEW-FM, Mobile air personality Lee Ann Camp has died after a short battle with cancer. Camp, who along with her husband Tim Camp, hosted radio shows on the .Com+ LLC-owned stations, was first diagnosed earlier this fall after experiencing back pain and subsequent tests revealed she had advanced cancer. The couple have two children, ages 12 and 15…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX, Chicago “101.9fm THE MIX” announces that morning show cast member Melissa McGurren is declining a contract renewal with the station and will leave after a 22 years. Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England says, “Our plans for the future of ‘Eric in the Morning’ definitely included Melissa. We were disappointed by her decision not to renew her contract, but also know that this year has led all of us to assess our lives in different ways. When she informed me of her decision, she described her time at the station as ‘a privilege’ and that feeling is completely mutual. We wish her the best.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Tish Boden to vice president and market manager for its six-station Shreveport, Louisiana cluster. She was previously director of sales…..Sun Broadcast Group is now exclusively representing the syndicated urban AC afternoon drive program “The Jeff Foxx Show with Keke Brown and Nina” for network sales. The program was formerly syndicated on Superadio.