NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” 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. The new episode titled “Get Me to the Church on Time!” looks back at this past week of June 1-5, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Bobbie Winston, American ex-pat / artist, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, The Thom Hartmann Show; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network. 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.
SportsGrid Launches Slate of Overnight Shows on SB Nation Radio Network. An overnight trio of sports talk shows from SportsGrid will launch on Monday (6/8) distributed nationwide across the SB Nation Radio Network. The programs are: Scott Ferrall’s “Ferrall on the Bench” (1:00 am to 3:00 am ET Tues.-Fri.); Gabe Morency’s “SportsRage Late Night” (3:00 am to 5:00 am ET Mon.-Fri.); Scott Wetzel’s “Bagels and Bad Beats” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET Mon.-Fri.) Gow Media COO and SB Nation Radio program director Craig Larson says, “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with SportsGrid. It’s truly an honor to help relaunch the legendary ‘Ferrall on the Bench’ show. We are also further solidifying the best lineup in the business with Gabe Morency and the return of Scott Wetzel to network radio.” Ferrall adds, “I’m looking forward to this dynamic new opportunity with SB Nation to reconnect with my loyal listeners all over the country. It’s perfect timing with the planned return of live major sports.”
Justin Kaufmann Named Interim Host of WBEZ’s ‘Reset.’ Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Justin Kaufmann – most recently host of WGN-AM, Chicago’s evening show – is serving as interim host of the midday “Reset” program on Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, effective June 15. The program’s host, Jenn White, is leaving WBEZ to take over the host role on NPR’s nationally distributed “1A” program produced at WAMU, Washington. This is a return to WBEZ for Kaufmann, who served there as a producer for 21 years before joining WGN-AM five years ago. Chicago Public Media is searching for a permanent host for the show.
SiriusXM’s Progress Channel Presents ‘A Call for Change’ Programming. All day today (6/5), SiriusXM’s Progress channel broadcasts a live marathon titled, “A Call For Change,” in which all programs will use that title as each show focuses on the current unrest in America, and the hosts talk to on-the-ground organizers and leaders to make sure their voices are heard in the media. Some of the topics addressed will include: the progress that’s been made in the civil rights movement and why acts of violence continue, systematic economic injustice, medical care injustice during the age of coronavirus, and more. Shows taking part include: “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program,” “The Michelangelo Signorile Show,” “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” and “Tell Me Everything hosted by John Fugelsang.”
Race Relations/George Floyd Case Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5. The state of race relations in America and the protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the civil unrest in cities across the country and President Trump’s invoking of the Insurrection Act to quell the destruction and looting. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race and the politics associated with it, followed by the state of the COVID-19 disease and health care in the U.S. at #4. 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.
Edison Research Releases Podcast Ranker for First Quarter of 2020. The latest Edison Research U.S. Top Ten Podcast ranker for Q1 2020 has been released. The survey – based on 2,013 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers in the United States, ages 18 and older – is “the only comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America,” according to Edison. The research firm says “the ranker lists the top ten podcasts in America by reach – not downloads – among weekly podcast consumers. Reach is the percentage of weekly podcast listeners who say they have listened to one of these shows in the last week.” “The Joe Rogan Experience” – to be exclusive to Spotify later this year – ranked #1. Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “Spotify’s recent deal with Joe Rogan stands a very good chance of increasing Spotify’s reach, since once again the ‘JRE’ is comfortably in the top spot of our national ranker. The top 10 are: 1) The Joe Rogan Experience 2) The Daily 3) This American Life 4) Crime Junkie 5) My Favorite Murder 6) Stuff You Should Know 7) (tie) Office Ladies 7) (tie) Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! 9) Planet Money 10) Pod Save America. The Top 10 is part of Edison’s subscription product The Podcast Consumer Tracker.
REMINDER: Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. REMINDER AND UPDATE ON THE TALKERS CONVENTION. As posted in TALKERS back in April, the 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday, June 5 remains officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the update of the convention’s status, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to yet be feasible almost five months from now. We are doing our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that have taken place and have yet to take place between now and then. If this crisis continues at this level through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. If we are able to hold the convention as planned, we will limit the number of registrations accepted to conform to the guidelines in place at the time. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will continue to cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of August out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals – not to mention the lingering uncertainty of this unprecedented situation.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Syracuse.com reports that longtime market radio personality and programmer Rich Lauber exits iHeartMedia’s cluster there. He served as operations manager for the station group that includes news/talk WSYR, adult contemporary WYYY-FM, CHR WWHT, urban contemporary WHEN-AM/W269DT, and country WBBS “B104.7.” Lauber was also the afternoon drive host on WBBS…..Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami “HITS 97.3” names Ian Richards director of branding and programming. Director of operations Jill Strada says, “Ian is a smart, passionate and competitive programmer. I feel confident he is going to tackle Miami’s competitive top 40 market and lead HITS 97.3’s talented on-air team to number one!”…..On-air pro Mark Manuel is promoted to program director at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities “Q106.5.” He currently serves as the station’s afternoon drive personality and as web content director for the entire cluster – both duties that he will continue to handle.
Monday Memo: Talkers, Listening. Cable television talk legend Larry King taught us that great talkers are good listeners. So, in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke asks a quartet of our talk media cohorts what they’re hearing as listeners cope. HC speaks with Westwood One nationally syndicated star Jim Bohannon, Providence radio and TV news and talk pro Gene Valicenti, and two hosts working in recreation meccas – Harry Hurley at WPG, Atlantic City and Heidi Harris at KMZQ in Las Vegas. Read it here.
Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening and Second Wave Threats, COVID-19 at the White House, U.S.-China Relations, Ahmaud Arbery Slaying, Michael Flynn Case, and Jerry Stiller Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections for future infections; some U.S. states cautiously begin re-opening amid concerns about a second wave of infections; the reports of White House staffers testing positive; the war of words between the U.S. and China over the origin of the coronavirus; the arrest of Gregory and Travis McMichael in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; and comedian Jerry Stiller dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Masks, Appointments, and Social Distancing. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s important to be smart about what and how you are selling. “As local business categories slowly come back to life, dealing with restrictive guidelines never before anticipated, marketing dollars may take a more cautious path to recovery. Some of your advertisers are dealing with the logistics of government-funded loans to bridge the gap and the new challenges that will arise. Will hours and operations ever be the same as before the coronavirus pandemic?” Read his column here.
Beasley Media Group Announces Re-Opening. The company says that today (5/11) it is beginning the approved gradual Phase One implementation of re-opening its radio properties in states that have reopened for business. Beasley Media Group states that “both the timing and safety measures for these re-openings will be based upon approved CDC, individual state, and local government recommended guidelines. During Phase One, no more than 25% of each cluster’s individual workforce will be in the workplace at any given time.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “We have taken a very conservative, thorough and thoughtful approach to our company’s gradual reopening plan to provide, first and foremost, a safe and healthy work environment for our employees. Our market managers have done an incredible job working closely with their individual state and local governments to ensure a safe transition process as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”
Evening Show Change at WLS-AM, Chicago. Windy City media personality Jenniffer Weigel leaves her early evening talk show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM and a sports-themed show hosted by Rob Martier debuts in its place. Chicago media writer Robert Feder breaks the story here. Martier has been with WLS-AM since joining as evening news anchor in 2018. He also hosts a weekend auto show and Illini football broadcasts. Weigel came aboard last March as a part of the Mancow Muller morning show before transitioning to late night host and then early evening personality.
Bob Matthews Retires from WHAM, Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that longtime WHAM sports talk host Bob Matthews did his last show for the legendary iHeartMedia signal on Friday. Matthews tells the paper he was not fired nor furloughed but that at age 73 and after serving with the station for 35 years, he admits “the coronavirus got the best of me.” He adds, “It’s been very difficult the last two months. It’s been tough talking sports for two hours when there’s no sports. I’ll be OK.” Matthews, a longtime columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle who left the paper in 2012, says he’s recently been diagnosed with diabetes and knows he’s susceptible to the virus. The station will replace Matthews’ 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage.
iHeartMedia Adds New Voices to ‘Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020’ Podcast. A podcast addressing students graduating this year titled, “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” is being produced by iHeartMedia and will be published on Friday (5/15) ahead of National Graduation Day on the 17th. The company announces that Bill and Melinda Gates; singer, songwriter and actor Becky G; actor and gender equality ambassador Freida Pinto; stand-up comedian George Lopez; director and actor Henry Winkler; New York Times bestselling author John Green; Mary J. Blige; T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert; actor, producer, singer and songwriter Rita Wilson; acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; T.I.; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and Emmy award-winning news anchor Tom Brokaw have joined the podcast event featuring commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” will also feature speeches from iHeartRadio personalities Ryan Seacrest, Enrique Santos, Angie Martinez, Bobby Bones, Jake Brennan, Angela Yee, Woody, and J Cruz. The speeches will be produced specifically for the podcast, through the iHeartPodcast Network, and are dedicated to all the graduating classes of 2020 who will miss their commencement celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard.
Alpha Media Presents ‘Tools for Difficult Times’ for Staff and Clients. Last Thursday (5/7), Alpha Media held a virtual keynote titled, “Now What? Tools for Difficult Times,” featuring author and Ted Talk alum Greg Bell and special guest Meghan Trainor. Alpha CEO Bob Proffitt states, “The goal of the event was to offer our employees and clients positive and actionable planning strategies to maximize personal and professional opportunities as we begin the re-entry phase of this crisis.” Close to 1,000 guests virtually attended to hear motivational speaker Greg Bell provide key insights and incredible tools for moving forward in this new era. Grammy Award winner Meghan Trainor discussed with Skyview Network host Dana Cortez how she is using her platform positively to help feed those in need at this time. They also tackled how to handle the pressure and fatigue from the constant influx of social media during the pandemic. Alpha Media says that it believes that innovation, creativity and connection are important now more than ever. To meet that need, the company says its Virtual Keynote series will continue throughout the year with new speakers and guests to be announced.
Radio One Philadelphia and MyPhillyLawyer Salute Frontline Workers. In an effort to give back to the front-line workers of the COVID-19 pandemic, Radio One Philadelphia joined MyPhillyLawyer for the “Salute on the Front Line” campaign that features video tributes and special lunch deliveries to men and women nominated by members of the community. Listeners to Radio One’s Philadelphia stations can submit video tributes to the radio stations highlighting the work and contribution of friends or family members who are essential workers in the Philadelphia area. The radio stations will feature the videos and each day will have lunch delivered to the workplace of the honorees to thank them and their co-workers for their service. Radio One Philadelphia general manager Ezio Torres says, “This partnership with MyPhillyLawyer recognizes not only the front-line workers who immediately come to mind, but also those who work in the grocery stores and drug stores, along with the delivery drivers, postal workers, SEPTA personnel, and many others. It’s just a great way to acknowledge those who continue to allow us to move forward. We want to send them a big thank you!”
Westwood One: Radio Listening Levels Ramping Up. The data presented in this week’s Westwood One Blog are culled from “a brand-new study of consumer COVID-19 sentiment and spending intentions” as well as “just-released audience data from the 45 Portable People Meter markets. The PPM data covered the period of March 27, 2020 through May 6, 2020.” The PPM data indicates that Americans are listening at a rate of 82% or pre-COVID-19 levels. A study conducted by Nielsen found that 32% of adult Americans consider themselves in the “ready to go” category and they have a greater intent to resume their spending habits. Read the blog here.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated radio program “Our American Stories” begins airing on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston, effective June 1. Lee Habeeb is the show’s host and CEO of program producer American Private Radio. He says, “The Astros, Johnson Space Center, NASA, and KTRH. We are thrilled to join this town of giants. After announcing our partnership with Entercom last week in Dallas on KRLD-AM, and now this partnership with the leading talk station in Houston, we are truly humbled. There are milestones and we have just crossed two really big ones.”…..NPR has struck an agreement with SAG-AFTRA that will allow it to temporarily reduce employee compensation due to an expected budget shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic. As reported at Current.org by Tyler Falk, employee salaries will be reduced on a sliding scale beginning next week, with a maximum cut of 9%. However, the move does not affect employees making less than $80,000. It will be in effect through the end of NPR’s fiscal year in September. The pact also prohibits NPR from laying off any workers for the rest of the fiscal year.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” promotes J. Steele to assistant program director. He joined the station in April of 2019 and hosts the afternoon drive show. Beasley Detroit director of programming Jerry Tarrants comments, “J. Steele brings extensive programming background to the position and has proven to be a valuable member of the team since joining the station last year as our afternoon drive talent at ‘The Bounce.’ I know J. will bring the same energy and dedication to this role as he does with his very entertaining afternoon show for his listeners in the Motor City!”…..The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated “Big D and Bubba” show is named the new morning program at country WCLT-FM, Columbus “T-100.” To make room, program director Wild Walley gives up the AM show and becomes host of the afternoon drive program…..At Max Media’s hip hop KFCO “Flo 107.1,” the morning duo of Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J are out. The company has made no official announcement, but the morning show’s info is gone from the station’s website.
By Holland Cooke
I asked for ADJECTIVES…
… to describe listeners’ mood while we’ve all been hunkered-down.
- Gene Valicenti gets it in both ears each day. After hosting morning drive on WPRO, Providence, he anchors top-rated NBC10 TV news at 6:00 pm. People are “in good humor,” he reckons, “but edging toward impatience.”
- “Frustrated. Suspicious” is what Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon hears. “And to a lesser extent I hear ‘determined’ (to gut it out).”
- Understandably, “the mood is stunned and confused” in Las Vegas, hardest-hit by the shutdown. KMZQ’s Heidi Harris says people there “aren’t getting assurances on when it will end. Will they go back to work? Will their old jobs exist? No one has clear answers.”
- Also surrounded by closed casinos, WPG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley describes folks there as “disgusted (with the stay-at-home order), ‘Anxious,’ ‘Depressed,’ ‘Scared’ (worried about becoming infected with coronavirus).” And like Las Vegans, “worried about whether or not they’ll be able to return to work.”