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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

| July 28, 2021

WSB-AM & WSBB To Host Its 21st Annual Care-A-Thon. Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 5:00 am and extending through 6:00 pm Friday (7/30), Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB’s 37-hour event benefits the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The “Care-A-Thon” helps fund family support services and research at the facility’s fellowship program. It will feature stories of hope and inspiration from patients, families and staff from throughout Georgia. WSB-AM & WSBB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen comments, “Community service is at the heart of what we do at WSB-AM & WSBB. Our entire team looks forward to this event year after year because of the uplifting and emotional positivity it generates in all of us – including our generous listeners.” On-air talents including Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Erick Erickson, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, and Brian Kilmeade will focus on the positive impact the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has on patients and their families. Listeners can donate by phone (888-750-2772); texting WSB-AM & WSBB “Atlanta’s News & Talk” (24587); or online (wsbradio.com/careathon/).

WKXW’s “Help Wanted, Help Needed” Airs Tomorrow Night. That’s the title of the latest in a series of town hall broadcasts by Townsquare Media Middlesex-Somerset-Union news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5.” The one-hour program begins tomorrow  (Thursday, 7/29) at 7:00 pm and is presented to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. Eric Scott – who hosts WKXW’s early-morning news show “New Jersey’s First News With Eric Scott,” as well as its monthly “Ask the Governor” – will lead the conversation in helping New Jersey businesses and workers navigate the ongoing labor shortage. He states, “The economic recovery is underway, yet many businesses are struggling to hire; many workers face challenges reentering the workforce.” Scott and his guests will explore what can be done to help both businesses and workers who are struggling in a post-pandemic world. The program’s on-air expert panel will feature: Rutgers University professor/economist Dr. James W. Hughes; New Jersey Business & Industry Association chief government affairs officer Chrissy Buteas; and New Jersey Policy Perspective senior policy analyst Peter Chen. In addition, the program will feature experts from New Jersey’s struggling restaurant, hospitality, and daycare industries. Scott and his guests will answer call-in questions throughout the hour.

NPR Boosts Lara To CCO. Executive director/media relations Isabel Lara is elevated to NPR’s chief communications officer. NPR president/chief executive officer John Lansing comments “[Lara] is known across the organization for her deep commitment to NPR’s staff and mission. Her tenure at NPR is evidence of a communications expert who understands the unique needs of a media organization. She is always ready to take on a complex communications challenge and find strategic solutions that will benefit our brand and future.” Lara notes, “NPR and its member stations bring millions of listeners the news they need about the world and their communities, as well as art, music and science stories that enrich and give meaning to their lives. It is a privilege to support the people who work around the clock to ensure this. Transparent, accurate, and timely messaging is vital in a media organization. I am eager to continue working with our very strong and effective internal and external communications teams in this new role.” With NPR since 2014, Lara previously worked at The National Education Association; Smithsonian; and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation/Univision.

UNC Football and Men’s Basketball Shifting To WPTF. Under a multi-year agreement with Learfield’s Tar Heel Sports Properties, Curtis Media Group Raleigh news/talk WPTF “AM 680 – FM 98.5” will become the flagship for the University of North Carolina radio network. Curtis Media Group president/chief operating officer Trip Savery remarks, “As the largest privately-owned radio group in North Carolina, we understand the power of the Carolina brand. We are very pleased to welcome Carolina alumni and fans to listen to Tar Heel football and basketball on WPTF this fall.” UNC associate athletic director for external communications Robbi Pickeral Evans adds, “We are excited about this partnership with Curtis Media Group, which will help us tell the great stories of Carolina athletics in the Triangle area and across the state. We know that Carolina fans are excited about the year to come; Curtis Media’s wide reach will help us connect and stay connected with our supporters.” The first gameday broadcast on WPTF will be September 3, when UNC plays Virginia Tech. The station will broadcast coaches’ shows for football and men’s basketball, and the weekly show “Primetime in the ACC.” Longtime Tar Heels radio voice Jones Angell will return to call the games. WPTF takes over as UNC’s flagship from iHeartMedia-owned crosstown news/talk WTKK “106.1 FM Talk.”

Top News/Talk Radio Story for Tuesday July 27: January 6 Congressional Committee Hearings. The launch of the January 6 Congressional Hearings dominated conversation on the nation’s news/talk radio stations yesterday (7/27), followed by the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccine Hesitancy/Denial, and debate over mask mandates. This was followed by conversation about the Olympics and U.S.- China Relations. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Per Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), changes at Salem Media Group Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer” as of August 16 include Charlie Kirk (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Sebastian Gorka (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Shaun Thompson (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Sean Hannity (moves from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and Sebastian Gorka (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am) … To recognize unique circumstances, the Radio Mercury Awards is presenting two new categories: “Purpose-Driven Spot” or campaign to celebrate efforts that advance cause-related and societal issues, and “Insightful Voices Spots” that portray the values, culture, and lifestyle of specific audiences in an authentic voice. Call-for-entry deadline for all categories is (Monday) August 23; the awards ceremony takes place (Wednesday) November 17 … To be streamed on August 25, “All Audio Is Not Alike: What Each Type Brings To Listeners And Advertisers” is the next webinar in the Radio Advertising Bureau‘s “Business Accelerated” program. To be presented by Signal Hill Insights president Jeff Vidler, the webinar will offer data from the company’s “Radio On The Move 2021 Update” survey of Canadian listeners … Welcoming seven new affiliates, Robert & Mary Carey-hosted “RMWorldTravel” now airs weekly on over 480 stations across the country. As part of its “Let’s Go America Tour,” the show will soon do remote broadcasts from Chicago for the 150th anniversary of the Palmer House Hotel; Washington, DC; and from the Four Seasons Maui. There will be ten stops on the tour through late-February 2022 … Added to the affiliate roster of Radio America’s “The Dana Show” are: WMBD, Peoria, Illinois; WRTA AM & FM, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee; WTIB, Williamston, North Carolina; WRHT, Morehead City, North Carolina; and WKST, New Castle, Pennsylvania. She replaces Rush Limbaugh in three Pennsylvania markets: WPSN, Honesdale; WNTI, Somerset; and  WNTJ, Johnstown … Former WFSU, Tallahassee state government reporter Blaise Gainey will join Nashville Public Radio news/talk WPLN, Nashville on August 16 as political reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner comments, “Blaise’s experience covering the Florida legislature, and his reporting interests outside of that, will be a huge asset to WPLN News listeners.”  Gainey notes, “I can’t wait to become fully immersed in Tennessee government and start relaying news to Middle Tennessee listeners about what’s taking place at the Capitol.”

Cumulus Media, WynnBET Agree To Multi-Platform Sponsorship Deal. The multi-year advertising and sponsorship pact includes broadcast, podcast, digital, social, and on-site elements. It will enable Wynn Resorts to promote its WynnBET sports betting app on Cumulus Media radio stations and Westwood One. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “With Wynn’s focus on exceptional quality and high-touch customer experiences, we believe WynnBET will be a leader among the sports betting apps. We are excited to deploy our unique assets to grow its business. The sports betting market is now the fastest-growing advertising category – this innovative partnership solidifies Cumulus’ position in this exciting arena.” Wynn Interactive chief executive officer Craig Billings remarks, “This partnership with Cumulus Media provides WynnBET the ability to deliver specific, customized messaging to targeted markets throughout Cumulus’ network of hundreds of stations. In addition, WynnBET will have a significant advertising presence on Westwood One’s nationally syndicated programming, including football pre-game and play-by-play. We will work with Cumulus to create some exciting, branded content over the life of the partnership.” Under the terms of the deal, WynnBET becomes one of Cumulus Media’s largest advertising and marketing partners.

SiriusXM’s NFL Training Camp Tour Kicks Off Today. The annual SiriusXM series will feature 32 two-hour shows, one for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. SiriusXM hosts will interview players, coaches and franchise executives as they deliver breakdowns of every roster. The tour commences today (Wednesday, 7/28) with a visit to New York Jets training camp. Hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan broadcast from Florham Park, New Jersey (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Tomorrow, Miller and Kirwan will be in Flowery Branch, Georgia for an update from the training facility of the Atlanta Falcons. This Saturday (7/31) at 1:00 pm (ET), the satcaster will air a special edition of “Training Camp Today: Back Together Saturday.” Hosted by Bill Lekas, it will feature appearances by NFL Network talent and guests from team camps across the country. The show will lead into James Lofton and Alex Marvez broadcasting from the Los Angeles Chargers camp in Costa Mesa, California (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Meanwhile, SiriusXM NFL Radio will broadcast induction ceremonies of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Classes of 2020 (Saturday, 8/7) and 2021 (Sunday, 8/8) from Canton, Ohio. Coverage of the Centennial Class of 2020 Enshrinement was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; an historic class of 20 will be enshrined. Eight more of football’s finest will be inducted in the Class of 2021 ceremony.


 

The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. Having 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting into over 53 countries – The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747 www.sonsoflibertymedia.com.

Monday, July 19, 2021

| July 19, 2021

Monday Memo: Selling The Sorehead Show. Because “we live in a divided America” in which many use talk radio to validate grievance, consultant Holland Cooke sees sales opportunity: “Affinity = entre.” In this week’s column, HC suggests an approach to kindred prospects, and recommends four packages and specific copy points for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: Wobbles. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges of selling when the ratings wobble. He says, “After over a year of COVID craziness, the last thing you want to deal with is game planning for more negativity. Business should be accelerating, yet here we are looking at many large market news/talk radio stations down trending after lineup changes designed to improve audience levels have been slow to show upticks. Maybe a little too soon to judge, maybe sampling wobbles, maybe work-life patterns shifting, maybe we should start dealing with what we can control – our game plan.” Read more here.

Round Four of June PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM loses nine-tenths for a 4.0 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises six-tenths, finishing with a 5.8 share good for the #6 rank in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM tacks on one-tenths for a 7.0 share and rises from #3 to #2 in the market. In the Milwaukee market, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ remains in the #1 rank even though it lost three-tenths. It finished with an 8.9 share on the strength of Brewers baseball and Bucks basketball and easily topped iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN, which lost one-tenth and finished with a 6.5 share and the #4 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the first three groups) here.

FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Event Sets Record Attendance. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event is taking place this year on September 29 and 30 at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The annual event in which talk radio hosts from around the nation gather to broadcast from Washington and discuss the issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts is almost completely booked. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “Thanks to Biden’s border crisis – and apparently the itch to just get out after a year of being isolated – this year’s 14th Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row has set record attendance with 70 hosts now confirmed to broadcast September 29 and 30. After 14 years of doing this, I guess next year, we’ll need a bigger boat!” Inquiries can be made to Matt Tragesser at mtragesser@fairus.org

California Recall Controversy as Larry Elder Left Off Official List of Candidates. The official list of candidates in California’s recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom was released Saturday and Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder – who’s taking a leave from his nationally syndicated talk radio program in order to run – was not on the list. KCRA-TV reports that state officials say Elder’s filing did not include complete tax returns for the past five years, which are required to run. The report does not explain what was missing from Elder’s filing. In response, Elder tweeted the following: “Politicians know I’m the only candidate who will beat Gavin Newsom — and that’s why they don’t want me on the ballot. They’re using shenanigans that they invented to block the doors to the Governor’s Office and make sure they stay in power.”

WPTF, Raleigh’s Tom Kearney Retires. Longtime evening talk radio host Tom Kearney has retired from Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF, Raleigh after almost 40 years with the station. Kearney joined the station in 1982 and in 1988 he began his full-time role as evening talk host. The Raleigh Observer says Kearney didn’t copy political hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, but “chose a folksier path: garden chats, computer repair tips, stamp collecting, Friday night trivia. He picked guests who could pass on something useful: the astronomer who explained Pluto’s non-planetary status, or the assistant attorney general who offered advice on fighting elder fraud.” WPTF VP of content Rick Martinez is quoted saying, “Whether he’s talking to a political leader or an auto mechanic. Tom always seems to know what questions the listeners want answered. Tom has always put the listener first.”

iHeartMedia Miami Promotes Mark McKenzie to Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Mark McKenzie is promoted from account executive to sales manager for iHeartMedia’s Miami station group in which he’ll be responsible for overseeing all sales operations for “103.5 The Beat,” “Throwback 105.5 Miami” and Miami’s BIN 880 WZAB “Black Information Network.” iHeartMedia Miami market president Shari Gonzalez says, “Since joining iHeartMedia, Mark has led our team in multiple capacities. It is wonderful to make it official. As sales manager, I am confident that Mark will take this brand and team to new heights.”

Opinion: Mama, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Sportscasters. Author Michael Levin writes an opinion piece after reading Julie DeCaro’s new book, Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America, which he says, “details what a slime pit the world of sports broadcasting really is.” He says, “DeCaro is an attorney turned sports talk radio host who, in her book, decries the piggish nature of virtually all men in the world of sports, from the male broadcasters to the executives who run teams and broadcast outlets, to many of the players, and certainly to the fans.” But, Levin says, DeCaro is guilty of the legal concept called, “coming to the nuisance.” Read his piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. WSGW, Saginaw operations manager Dave Maurer is being inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Maurer has also served as the host of news/talk WSGW’s morning show for the past 42 years. The station lists Maurer’s accomplishments during his time with the station: Maurer and his news team were named AP Station of the Year for 25 consecutive years; in 2005, he received the Michigan AP Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2016, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for his coverage and contributions to humanitarian causes in Northeast Michigan. Under his leadership, WSGW was awarded the 2020 NAB Crystal Award for Community Service and the 2020 NAB Service to America Award for the Sharing Hope Radiothon…..NuVoodoo Media Services, is revealing findings from its recently completed Ratings Prospects Study 18 that indicates more than 40% of those 14-54 year-old radio listeners most likely to participate in ratings say that they have gotten out of the habit of listening to local morning radio shows. NuVoodoo will be presenting results from the study in a series of webinars beginning on Wednesday July 21. Interested attendees can sign up for free at NuVoodoo.com/webinars…..Triton Digital, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry, announced today the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the June 2021 reporting period (May 31 – June 27, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. In this reporting period, Stitcher Media remained in the #1 spot with 31M Average Weekly Downloads and 9M Average Weekly Users, followed by NPR with 30M Average Weekly Downloads and 7M Average Weekly Users. The Audacy Podcast Network ranked #3 with 16M Average Weekly Downloads and 6M Average Weekly Users. See the whole report here.

COVID-19, Facebook Anti-Vax Charges, January 6 Investigation/Sentencing, Critical Race Theory, the Economy/Inflation, Trump and the GOP, Voting Bills, European Floods, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and the debate over restrictions; Facebook is called out by President Joe Biden who says it is “killing people” by allowing anti-vax posts; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of those who’ve pled guilty; the furor over the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools; the state of the U.S. economy, the shortage of workers, and concerns about inflation; the relationship between former President Donald Trump and the GOP; the various voting laws recently passed and the controversy over Texas Democrats leaving the state to avoid voting on that state’s bill; the devastating floods in Europe; and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

| June 22, 2021

Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+).  Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.

Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot.  Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.

Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.

TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and  Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways  Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.

Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.

Friday, March 26, 2021

| March 26, 2021

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,“The Borders of Our Lives,” looks back at this past week of March 22-26, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling On Sunday”; Dana Loesch, talk show host, Radio AmericaBernadette Duncan, author/former talk show producer; Lee Habeeb, talk show host/producer, “Our American Stories”; Bobbie Winston, artist/American ex-pat, Brazil; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

Round Four of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s February 2021 survey covered February 4 – March 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds a half share to finish the survey with a 6.2 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and remains ranked #4 in the market. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM falls to the #5 rank after losing a full share to finish with a 6.0 share, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF dips two-tenths for a 2.3 share and the #14 rank. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis falls from #1 to #3 after shedding seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish. And in Milwaukee, despite losing 1.6 shares, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM remains in first place on the strength of a 9.4 share while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ-AM slides down a half share for a 6.0 share finish good for the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets – as well as the previous three rounds – here.

NYPost: Carton’s Restitution Out of Her Hands. The New York Post reports that one of WFAN, New York afternoon drive personality Craig Carton’s fraud victims will not get restitution any quicker – at least for the time being. Gerard LoDuca – owner of Dukal Corp – had petitioned the court to increase Carton’s restitution to him since he’s employed at Entercom’s sports talk outlet and therefore making substantial money. But federal Chief Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that because Carton is still in custody of the Bureau of Prisons while serving his year of home confinement, it’s out of her hands. Carton has a restitution debt of $4.8 million, of which LoDuca is owed $435,000. So far, LoDuca has received $25,000. Carton’s attorney told the court that 15% of Carton’s paycheck goes to his restitution responsibilities. He also must pay property liens and child support payments for his four children. Carton’s home confinement ends on June 9, after which he’ll be supervised by the Southern District Probation Department.

KNZR-AM/FM, Bakersfield Adds Dennis Prager for Late Mornings. Bakersfield news/talk KNZR-AM/FM fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart previously occupied by the Rush Limbaugh program with Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager. Alpha Media Bakersfield general manager Jeremy Price says, “KNZR is thrilled to announce that ‘The Dennis Prager Show,’ along with the massive PragerU audience, has now been added to the lineup.” Prager’s nationally syndicated program is heard on more than 400 affiliate stations nationwide. Prager is also the founder of PragerU – an online video channel with more than five million subscribers.

iHeartMedia Colorado Raising Funds for Boulder Shooting Victims. All day today (3/26), the 26 iHeartMedia radio stations in the state of Colorado will conduct the “We are iHeart Colorado. Boulder Strong” on-air broadcast fundraiser to benefit the victims and the families of Monday’s mass shooting. Funds raised from the event will be distributed through the Community Foundation of Boulder County, a local nonprofit responding to immediate needs and anticipating future challenges of the community. The iHeartMedia stations will encourage listeners to help the victims of Monday’s tragic event and their families through monetary donations. iHeartMedia Denver Region president Brenda Egger says, “Words cannot express the grief that our community has experienced as a result of this horrific event. Together, with Community Foundation of Boulder County, we are proud to help with the healing process and provide assistance to those who were impacted by Monday’s tragedy.”

Entercom Announces Deal with Rush Street Interactive. Online casino operator Rush Street Interactive and Entercom are partnering for a number of sports betting audio initiatives. RSI operates the BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse mobile platforms and as part of this deal, BetRivers will be the official title sponsor of the “You Better You Bet” podcast hosted by Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley that recently relaunched as part of Entercom’s “BetQL Audio Network.” Kostos will also be a brand ambassador for BetRivers and serve as the voice of the “BetRivers Sports Betting Minute,” heard on Entercom’s sports talk stations in legalized sports betting markets across the country. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee says, “RSI is an ideal partner for ‘You Better You Bet.’ The company’s authentic approach to the sports betting marketplace aligns well with Nick, Ken, and the hardcore betting audience that consume the nation’s No. 1 fully dedicated daily sports betting podcast.”

WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air and Stream Brewers Games. When the Major League Baseball season opens next Thursday (4/1), Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ will air the games and will make them available via WTMJ.com and the WTMJ app. The streaming will be available in the five-county Milwaukee metro area — Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Ozaukee and Washington counties only, due to MLB restrictions on audio streaming. Good Karma Brands VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “We’re thrilled to offer fans in the Milwaukee metro area another way to enjoy the excitement of Brewers baseball with Bob Uecker, Jeff Levering, and Lane Grindle. Brewers baseball is the soundtrack of summer, and now it will be available in more ways than ever before.”

WWOJ, Sebring Morning Host John Meder to Retire. Capping a 62-year radio career and 35 years on WWOJ, Sebring, Florida is morning host John Meder. He’ll hang up his headphones after his final program on April 1 – his 85th birthday. Radio pro Jay Clark serves as programming consultant to Highlands Radio Group’s four stations in the Sebring market. He says, “John is a true professional who has entertained and informed his listeners in Highlands County Florida for years. He is the last of the breed of great hometown morning personalities, a true neighbor and community leader for 35 years. He will be sorely missed by his listeners and me.”

Shooting Violence and Gun Control Top News/Talk Story for March 22-26. The shooting deaths in Atlanta and Boulder and the larger topic of gun control combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19, vaccines, variants, prevention, and stats. Following at #3 was the border crisis and the related topic of immigration reform. 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.

Monday, February 11, 2019

| February 11, 2019

Legendary Talk Show Host Bruce Williams Dead at 86.  “Welcome my friends, welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host legend Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died on Saturday (2/9), at his home near Tampa, FL after a brief illness.  Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership of hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice.  But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ National Radio Hall of Fame career is that it did not begin until he was well into his 40s.  Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, NJ.  Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made.  After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For 70 years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey.  On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs.  There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, NJ Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975.  It was the weight and wealth of these life experiences that Williams relied on throughout his accomplished radio career and gave depth to his on-air persona.  His outstanding career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called “At Your Service.”  After some time, his success took him to WMCA, New York where his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams’ growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed.  That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history.  The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. TALKERS magazine also honored Williams in 2002 by including him at Number Six in its list of the Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time.  He authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money.  Bruce Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.”  Upon learning of Williams’ death, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison stated, “He was one of a kind and represented a breed of radio talk show host that made the genre truly special among all formats – a seemingly ‘regular guy’ who simply knew the answer to just about every problem that people face in day-to-day life and was happy to share it in completely understandable terms when asked for advice.”  Radio consultant Valerie Geller shared the following thoughts about Williams with TALKERS, “Bruce influenced my career. In the early days he kindly and generously spent time encouraging me.  This man was the original radio late night ‘companion, personality and  expert…’ helping thousands of listeners with personal advice, business advice and more importantly, being a ‘friend in the night.’ A powerful storyteller and powerful communicator, we have lost  a true talent.”

More on the Great Bruce WilliamsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the profile piece he did on Bruce Williams years ago while writing for Inside Radio.  In the piece, Williams is very frank about the success he achieved in the talk radio business and talks openly about the ups and downs he experienced in radio.  Williams told Kinosian at the time, “I don’t know many people who’ve been successful who haven’t also failed.  We’re blessed to be in a society where failure isn’t a condemnation.” Read this insightful piece here.

Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked. Consultant Holland Cooke presents this week’s Monday Memo in which he offers some advice on station identification and keeping listeners in order to maximize ratings.  In some circles, post-PPM thought was that the meter diminished – or even eliminated! – the need to say the calls/frequency because now the meter registered “true” listening.  Cooke says there are still very good reasons to ID the station.  Read his memo on this matter here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Program Director Peter Bolger to Retire. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, five-year WLS-AM operations manager and program director Peter Bolger announces he’s retiring from the station and the radio business, effective March 15.  There is no predestined successor to Bolger.  Cumulus Media Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am for all that Peter has done for this station over the years and the recent rebuild of the on-air lineup.  I can only thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best as he enjoys life.  With many years in radio…he has been a proponent of our medium and we will miss his calm personality and talent in the hallways.” As Feder notes, the last five years have seen a lot of change at the venerable AM signal and there’s nowhere else to go but up for struggling news/talker.  Read Feder’s thoughts on the matter here

Raj Sharan Rises to Program Bonneville’s Denver Sports Talk Duo. Assistant program director and executive producer Raj Sharan is promoted to program director for Bonneville’s Denver sports talk stations KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver 1600,” effective immediately.  The PD position opened after Armen Williams joined Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston.  Bonneville Denver VP/market manager Bob Call states, “I couldn’t be happier to give Raj the opportunity to program Denver’s biggest sports brand, ‘104.3 The Fan.’  Raj has a natural leadership quality that is apparent the moment you meet him.  His creativity, superb coaching skills, and knowledge of winning sports content makes him the perfect choice to lead ‘104.3 The Fan’ into the future.”

Chris Ganoudis to Lead Curtis Media’s Raleigh News/Talk and Oldies Duo. Moving from JVC Broadcasting’s Orlando operations to Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh offices is radio sales and management pro Chris Ganoudis.  He assumes the general manager position for the company’s news/talk WPTF, oldies WPTK-AM/W284CP “Just Right Radio,” and Triangle Traffic Network.  Curtis Media Group president/COO, Trip Savery comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Chris to North Carolina and Curtis Media Group.  Chris brings a proven track record of success and is a great addition to our Raleigh management team.  I am confident he will lead these brands to even greater success.”

Entercom Launches Digital Sports Platform ‘Radio.com Sports.’ A new digital sports platform is being unveiled by Entercom called RADIO.COM Sports.  Entercom says this will serve “to magnify the company’s unmatched local business to a more prominent national scale in order to better serve its listeners and advertisers.  RADIO.COM Sports will sit atop Entercom’s deep roster of leading local sports stations and will also be fully integrated into RADIO.COM.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee adds, “RADIO.COM Sports is a strategic initiative to further elevate our existing portfolio of local brands and personalities and provide a more robust and unified experience for fans coast to coast.  The platform also offers our advertisers an efficient way to tap into Entercom’s scale and multiplatform content.”  As part of the launch, RADIO.COM Sports will kick off its RADIO.COM Sports Insiders program, a network of experts across all major sports who will make appearances on Entercom sports stations nationwide to provide insight and commentary.  This premium content will also be available on demand.  Sports Insiders will include Joe Girardi, former Major League Baseball player, manager and current analyst for the MLB Network; Ross Tucker, former National Football League offensive lineman and current national sports broadcaster; Bob Nightengale, USA Today MLB columnist; Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com NFL columnist; Armando Salguero, Miami Herald sports columnist; as well as others who will soon be added.  Dee says, “We are going to be aggressive to expand our depth chart of new talent as well as use our existing stars in new ways on multiple distribution channels outside of their home market, and in many cases, on our expanding digital and editorial platforms.”  Entercom inks Mercedes-Benz as its launch partner.

Beasley Reveals Q4 2018 and Full-Year Financial Data; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.9%. The fourth quarter and 2018 full-year financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc indicates net revenue for Q4 was $75.6 million, an increase of 29.1%.  For all of 2018, net revenue was $257.5 million, an increase of 10.3% over 2017.  These numbers reflect the sale of Beasley’s six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster, the exchange of WMJX-FM and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM in Boston, and the acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom.  The company’s pro forma net revenue cited here reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017.  Beasley’s pro forma net revenue for Q4 was up 9.4%.  For the full year of 2018, pro forma net revenue was $263.5 million, an increase of 4.7% over 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our record 2018 fourth quarter and full-year revenue and strong operating results, despite the benefit of non-cash transaction related and tax items in the 2017 period, highlight the value being created as we execute strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix, and leverage the value of our local brands in our core and ancillary verticals.  Actual fourth quarter revenue rose by 29.1% on a year-over-year basis driven by net revenue increases at 10 of our clusters, recent acquisitions and station swaps and approximately $3.9 million of fourth quarter gross political revenue.  While we remain focused on diversifying our operating base, our fourth quarter pro-forma revenue rose an impressive 9.9%.  Fourth quarter net income declined from 2017 levels solely because of gains and tax benefits in the year-ago period that did not recur in the 2018 fourth quarter.”

Jeff Foxworthy Visits Old Pal Jim Villanucci on ‘101.7 The Team’ in Albuquerque. Pictured above is comic Jeff Foxworthy with afternoon drive talk show host Jim Villanucci at Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM, “101.7 The Team” studios. Foxworthy is an old friend of Villanucci’s from the stand-up circuit and stopped by to chat on Villanucci’s radio show while appearing in the Albuquerque area.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Villanucci, Foxworthy, show special correspondent Sam Hauser, and show producer Robert Maler.  Hauser is new to Villanucci’s show, officially joining today as special correspondent from his most recent gig with Alpha Media’s Austin, Minnesota station group where he managed the sports department at its news/talk outlet for three years.

Border Wall Battle, New Government Shutdown, Warren in Iowa/2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Ilhan Omar Anti-Israel Statements, Virginia Political Chaos, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the threat of another federal government shutdown; Senator Elizabeth Warren announces presidential campaign and the related story of the Democratic field of contenders; the flap over Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s accusation AIPAC buys off U.S. politicians to support Israel; the political chaos in Virginia over the blackface scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring and the sexual assault accusation against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the unstable political situation in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SEAN HANNITY TO KEYNOTE: 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  It has just been confirmed that Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his long-standing role as the morning breakfast host and kickoff speaker for this convention.  Hannity will be joined by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison in the event’s annual one-on-one opening keynote conversation.  The rest of the stellar agenda of speakers and sessions will begin to be announced next week.  The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new rock outlet debuts in Columbus as iHeartMedia flips WXZX-FM from sports talk to classic rock as “105.7 The Brew, The New Generation of Classic Rock.”  iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy says the station’s playlist will focus on rock from the 80s into the 2000s, including songs from core artists such as AC/DCFoo Fighters, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Guns N’ Roses.  The station is bringing Columbus radio personalities Mark Blazor and DaveMan aboard.  McCoy says, “We are excited to offer a unique station for Columbus’ rock listeners.  The Brew’s mission is to provide one great rock song after another and that’s why we call it the new generation of Classic Rock.”…..Programmer Randy Hawke is promoted to vice president of programming at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster.  He’s been serving as PD for rock WJJO and OM for the cluster that includes rhythmic CHR WJQM “93.1 Jamz,” alternative WRIS “106.7 The Resistance,” and sports talk WOZN. In this new role, he’ll serve as PD for adult contemporary WMGM “Magic 98,” country WWQM “Q106,” and classic country WHIT “Hank.”  At the same time, the company ups APD/MD Jennifer “Ski” Crowell to program director for WJJO…..On-air pro Bill Mitchell adds to his morning gig on Magnum Media’s country WMBZ, West Bend, Wisconsin by also handling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the company’s country WVTY, Racine, Wisconsin.   Magnum Media owner Dave Magnum says, “Factoring in market-wide remote broadcasts and promotions, we wanted some personality cross pollination between ‘Buzz Country’ and ‘VTY Country.’  With [morning host] Mitch Morgan and Bill Mitchell on both stations, we’ve achieved that objective.”…..A number of staff changes take place at Griffin Communications’ Tulsa cluster.  First, Dave “Wavy Davy” Michaels joins the company as PD and afternoon personality at classic hits KBEZ “92.9 The Drive.”  Wavy Davy comes from Cox Media Group’s crosstown classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle.” Second, Tanner Messer is promoted to host of the afternoon drive shift at classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” and the evening jock at country KVOO.  Finally, Nikki Reid is now host of afternoons on KVOO and night jock at CHR KHTT “K-HITS 106.9.”…..Pictured below is the staff of rhythmic oldies XHRM, San Diego “Magic 92.5” bestowing the first-ever “Magic 92.5 Lifetime Achievement Award” to radio legend Art Laboe.  The award recognizes Laboe’s many achievements over his legendary 75-year radio broadcasting career and was presented in front of an audience of more than 6,000 people at the station’s 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam concert on February 9.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Magic 92.5’s Greg Mack, Rick Nuhn, Xavier “The X-Man,” R Dub!, Laboe, Jagger & Kristi, Sheryl Love, Hurricane Andrew, Jammin’ Jay Michaels, Kelly Cole, and Billy Blast. Photo: Alan Hess