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Thursday, August 19, 2021

| August 19, 2021

California Political Expert Wayne Avrashow is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted Los Angeles-based, attorney, law professor, author, columnist and political insider Wayne Avrashow is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Avrashow is a regular contributor to RealClearPolics.com and is described by Harrison as “a wonderful ‘go-to’ resource for solid, non-partisan insights about what’s happening in Los Angeles and the entire Golden State.” Harrison and Avrashow take a deep dive into the state’s gubernatorial recall special election, explaining how it works and assessing talk show host Larry Elder’s prospects of becoming California’s next governor. They also discuss the issues of crime, homelessness and exodus of businesses and workers to Arizona, Nevada, Texas and even Florida that are challenging the nation’s most populous state addressing the question, is California losing its mojo? According to Harrison, “Elder’s role in this key recall is of major interest to the talk radio industry because it illustrates the importance and influence of the platform as a staging ground for a political career of consequence – similar to what we witnessed years ago with the rise of Mike Pence.” To listen to this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here.

The Radio Agency Points to TALKERS Heavy Hundred as ‘Goldmine’ for Brands Seeking Marketing Leverage. A blog post by The Radio Agency CEO Mark Lipsky highlights an advertising strategy for businesses that he says can be leveraged to dramatic effect with the recent shift in the talk radio landscape. Lipsky points to TALKERS magazine’s 2021 “Heavy Hundred” list as a “potential goldmine for brands looking to get valuable marketing leverage from some of talk radio’s brightest luminaries.” Lipsky goes on to say, “The death of Rush Limbaugh left a vacuum in conservative talk radio with no shortage of would-be successors to entertain Rush’s audience. That creates opportunity for new talk radio advertisers to buy primetime airtime for less than the premium rates that Limbaugh once commanded.” While noting that securing a talk host’s endorsement is not a simple task and requires professional representation, Lipsky explains, “Every market has influential talk show hosts able to present the benefits of your product or service with the earnest credibility of a trusted next-door neighbor. The challenge is securing their endorsements at a fair price that will deliver incremental sales to cover or exceed the incremental cost of their services as spokesperson.” Read Lipsky’s complete blog post here.

WBAL, Baltimore Traffic Reporter Jim Russ Dies Unexpectedly at 57. Longtime Washington, DC and Baltimore radio traffic reporter Jim Russ died suddenly yesterday morning (8/18) at the age of 57. WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM VP and general manager Cary Pahigian writes in a memo to the Hearst Television staff: “Jim is the unquestioned Dean of Baltimore traffic reporting, keeping watch on the roads in the WBAL/98 Rock listening area for the past decade, with many more years of experience at WTOP in Washington and later the service we know today as the Total Traffic & Weather Network.  Along the way he helped mentor a generation of traffic reporters in the DC/Baltimore area… NO ONE loved the job of reporting traffic more than Jim did. He saw it as his duty to keep people in Baltimore moving to their destinations as quickly as possible and attacked that responsibility with passion and dedication. The sterling reputation of WBAL as a news and information leader was strengthened throughout Jim’s tenure, and his departure leaves a void both professionally and personally for his colleagues who enjoyed his company and commitment to excellence.”

Cumulus/Westwood One’s Suzanne Grimes Talks About the Value of Radio to Advertisers with Forbes. In a piece by Brad Adgate for Forbes, Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes answers six questions about the radio industry – from how the hosts who’ve filled the midday slot formerly occupied by Rush Limbaugh to how shifting a portion of media buys to radio provides a lift in return on investment. Addressing the latter, Grimes says, “The acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen made the introduction of ROI and sales-effect studies possible for brands and marketers. For the first time, Nielsen’s credit card and grocery shopper card data can be matched to Portable People Meters to prove the impact of radio advertising. Across a large variety of categories, Nielsen found that for every dollar of radio advertising, ten dollars of incremental sales are generated. CPG and QSR return three to one. Retail sixteen to one.”

iHeartMedia Selling Portsmouth, New Hampshire Broadcast Facility. According to a story at InDepthNH.org, iHeartMedia is putting its Portsmouth, New Hampshire studios at 815 Lafayette Road on the market with a current asking price of $3.67 million. A number of the company’s Portsmouth stations are located in the building, including news/talk WQSO-FM “Newstalk 96.7.” The piece cites a “reliable source” indicating that the live and local broadcasts will emanate from the company’s Manchester, New Hampshire studios by the fall. The two cities are about 40 miles apart.

Report: Max Kellerman to Move to ESPN Radio Mornings. According to a story by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Max Kellerman will be leaving the ESPN television show “First Take” that he currently co-hosts with Stephen A. Smith and is expected to join the ESPN Radio morning drive show with Keyshawn Johnson. He would replace Zubin Mehenti. The report also indicates that Kellerman could also get a one-hour show on the TV side in the 2:00 pm ET hour.

NAB Show to Require Proof of Vaccination. The National Association of Broadcasters EVP of global connections and events Chris Brown announces the organization’s policy regarding attending the 2021 NAB Show taking place in October in Las Vegas. He says, “While the enthusiasm is building, we are keenly aware of health and safety concerns tied to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and want to assure you that we are putting in place a comprehensive, data-driven plan that prioritizes safety and creates a productive environment at these events. We have worked for the past several weeks to finalize protocols that will maximize the experience and safety of all members of the NAB Show community. This process has involved extensive consultation with health and safety experts, gathering feedback from a range of exhibitors and attendees, and review of the safety measures recommended by national and local health authorities, including Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s important announcement this week regarding large events. Taking this all into account, we will require all attendees and participants to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. We think this is a positive step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and will provide further details on implementation as well as other safety measures under consideration.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Newsweek launches titled, “The Diplomat,” hosted by former Middle East envoy for the Trump administration, Jason Greenblatt. The show is inspired by Greenblatt’s work in foreign affairs with the intent of fostering candid conversations on a wide set of global and domestic issues. “The Diplomat” will release one or two new episodes every week, featuring one or more guests with first-hand experience in a specific arena sharing their stories and insights. The show’s first guests will be former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the SXM original podcast “Huuuge Fan,” hosted by LaChina Robinson. The program features in-depth conversations with some of today’s biggest stars of stage and screen – famous actors, musicians and other celebs who are big sports fans – about their favorite team. Joining rabid sports fans Tracy Morgan, Ashley Judd, Nelly, Michael Bublé and Tim McGraw as guests on the show are Drew Carey, Monica, Adam Duritz, Michelle Williams, Anthony Ramos and many others…..Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “Jax Sports Radio” inks a deal with VSiN, The Sports Betting Network to bring more than 50 hours of sports betting news, analysis and insights to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida each week. Station president and GM Steven Griffin says, “It’s important for us to be on the cutting edge of the sports betting media revolution and to serve our audience with this new focus on sports betting content. We’re excited to collaborate with VSiN to bring the best programming in the business to Jacksonville’s sports fans and betting enthusiasts. In addition, we’ll feature VSiN’s industry-leading on-air talent on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, August through January, to offer insight and opinion on the biggest sporting events.”…..Good Karma Brands announces that it has struck a deal with Milwaukee Panther Sports Properties to broadcast University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball on WAUK-AM/W266DR “540 ESPN” beginning this fall. Scott Warras will continue to serve as play-by-play voice for the broadcasts.

Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Russia-Taliban Relationship, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, Southern Border Crisis, Newsom Recall, Tropical Storms & Flooding, Western Drought & Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s execution of the withdrawal; Russia’s relationship with Taliban leaders; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and full ICU beds in several U.S. states and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the migrant crisis at the U.S. Mexico border and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey extends the National Guard border patrol for another year; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom and talk host Larry Elder’s chances of winning; the tropical storms dumping rain on the Eastern U.S. and causing flooding; and the drought and wildfires affecting the Western U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 4, 2021

| January 4, 2021

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush? Consultant Holland Cooke says the short answer is, of course, nobody. However, he points out that affiliate stations may soon have to find a solution for those 15 hours per week that they didn’t have to worry about before. He also asks, “Who will replace Clark Howard?” Find out what he has to say here.

Pending Business: This Year in Review. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says that just many aspects of our daily lives changed after 9/11, so too has the pandemic changed much about our lives – including how we work and consume media. In today’s column, he offers some thoughts about how selling radio will be different this year. Read it here.

WTIC, Hartford’s Joe D’Ambrosio Exits Morning Show. After stating back in early November that he was disillusioned with management’s directives about political opinion on the air, WTIC-AM, Hartford, morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio said he would leave the station when his contract was up in June of 2021 after 28 years with the Entercom station. However, he and management reached an agreement on an early buyout and D’Ambrosio’s last shift was December 31. D’Ambrosio co-hosted the morning drive show with Ray Dunaway. The Hartford Courant reports D’Ambrosio saying he never adapted to waking up for the program’s 5:30 am start and he found it difficult to work within station’s conservative political framework.

Chris Ryan Takes Over ‘New Hampshire Today’ Morning Show. New Hampshire radio pro Chris Ryan is named the new host of the “New Hampshire Today” program heard on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth. Ryan fills the role previously held by Jack Heath, who exited “NH Today” to join Binnie Media’s three-station simulcast in New Hampshire for the late morning daypart back in October. iHeartMedia says that Ryan is an award-winning talk show host and political commentator based in Concord who most recently served as general manager for New Hampshire Family Radio’s news/talk WKXL, Concord. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It was of utmost importance that the new host of ‘NH Today’ would be a person of integrity and character, someone who would hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We are thrilled that Chris will be joining our iHeart NH team!” The “New Hampshire Today” program is also heard on WKXL.

Leila Rahimi Named Co-Host for WSCR, Chicago’s Late Morning Show. Radio and television sports personality Leila Rahimi is promoted to regular co-host of the late morning program alongside Dan Bernstein on Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score.” Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to be amplifying Lelia’s role at ‘The Score.’ She’s a seasoned professional with experience engaging with sports fans across multiple platforms and cities and has built a great reputation with Chicago’s sports fans. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for ‘Score’ listeners.” She assumes the role left vacant when Entercom let co-host Connor McKnight go back in April. Rahimi has appeared on “670 The Score” both as a contributor to various shows on the station, and as a co-host since 2017. She’s also hosted, reported and anchored for NBC Sports Chicago. She was a rink-side reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. She’s also served with NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Houston, the San Diego Padres, FOX Sports Southwest, and KLIF-AM and KTCK-FM/AM in Dallas.

Ian Beckles & Jay Recher New Afternoon Hosts on Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa. Sports talk WDAE, Tampa announces that Ian Beckles and Jay Recher are the new afternoon drive program co-hosts, taking over the daypart from retiring Tampa Bay radio icon Ron Diaz. WDAE program director John Mamola says, “We are thrilled to announce our new afternoon drive program featuring Ian Beckles and Jay Recher. Teaming Ian’s long-standing history in the market both as a player, entrepreneur, and radio personality with the knowledge and passion for Tampa Bay sports from Jay Recher will provide a dynamic program for sports fans in Tampa Bay to embrace. This announcement further enhances and strengthens WDAE’s standing as the voice for Tampa Bay sports fans.” Beckles was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles during his eight-year NFL career and he joined WDAE in 2002. Recher began his career at WDAE in 2014 and has served as executive producer of multiple programs including the previous “Ron and Ian Show.”

David Rubini Launches Conspiracy Radio Network. Former Art Bell and John B. Wells producer David Rubini is launching the Conspiracy Radio Network. Rubini officially leaves Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight In The Desert” to begin “his own unique vision” and take his “pioneering spirit to the all-new 24/7 digital streaming platform and subscription archive service in the new radio landscape of 2021.” Rubini is now hosting his own program titled “David Rubini After Midnight AM” that will broadcast “two to three live shows each week on alternating days from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET with “The Best of David Rubini After Midnight AM” on all Rubini off days. He says, “Unlike what we did with Art, we will get political at CRN, that’s for sure. The political climate has drastically changed since we left ‘Dark Matter.’ And with the 2020 election confusion and rise of ‘fake news’ awareness and questioning, uncensored alternative news, info, and talk are more in-demand right now than any time in modern history. Our staff of professionals are convinced CRN will absolutely fill this void in the digital content delivery space.” Terrestrial radio affiliate relations expert Ted Edwards says, “What programmers have to realize is that variety in political talk is hot right now and the political landscape has never been more fascinating to discuss and to share opinions about both like-minded and dissenting talk radio voices. CRN should have remarkable growth over the next four to eight years. I love David Rubini’s pioneering vision and I plan to help see it all the way through to fruition, responsibly performed by Rubini on-air in terrestrial syndication.” Joining this new venture are: Jordan Maxwell, Dr. Richard Alan Miller, Flat Earther Math Powerland, and controversial and polarizing YouTube sensation, Russianvids, as well as former Art Bell Network News anchor Leo Ashcraft, Ross Mitchell, Dr. John Illias, Michael Decon, Blake Walley, and Joshua Chaires

TALKERS News Notes. At Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis, Brodee Scott joins to serve as operations director. Scott previously served at iHeartMedia in Memphis. He is a longtime Memphis radio pro having also served at Flinn Broadcasting and Rebel Radio in Oxford, Mississippi. In this new role, Scott will also oversee KWAM’s growing podcast and digital platforms. KWAM general manager Dalton Glasscock says, “Brodee was born and raised in Memphis and he understands how important it is to have a locally owned, locally run news/talk radio station.”…..Indianapolis talk radio personality Tony Katz shifts his syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program from the late morning daypart to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Katz is host of the morning drive show at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. He says, “The numbers in Indianapolis have been incredible. The show has been doing great in its current setup, it was just in a weird place, bridging two standard time slots being 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This move shows a lot of faith in the show from WIBC and opens up a lot of opportunity.”…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble achieved what he calls a career milestone on December 30 when he filled in for Rush Limbaugh. About sitting in for Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks syndicated show, Winterble says, “I am just overjoyed at the chance to connect with the greatest audience in all of talk radio. It is a homecoming. I have kept in close touch with everyone at the Rush Limbaugh show over these years and nothing could be more special than to sit in that legendary seat for a man I consider a friend and mentor.” Winterble started his career with Limbaugh’s original syndicator EIB/EFM Media in 1995 and was with the show until early 2006…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is adds an hour to Big John Howell’s afternoon drive show. The program now airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Howell takes the 4:00 pm hour from Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro program that continues to air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston announces the new program schedule that takes effect with the new year that includes the addition of Grace Curley and Jesse Kelly. Curley’s program airs from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm and Key Networks’ syndicated Jesse Kelly airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (Kelly’s show will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart effective February 15. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, and sports Rob Sanchez says, “We’re excited about the addition of Grace and Jesse to WRKO’s lineup. Their talents complement the established success of Jeff Kuhner in the morning and the legendary Howie Carr in afternoons.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Jon Laing to vice president and market manager for its Cincinnati cluster. Laing rises from his previous role as vice president of sales for the station group. He takes the market leadership reins from Dave Crowl, who retired in December…..Salem Radio Network and TOWNHALL news White House correspondent Greg Clugston is traveling aboard Air Force One with President Trump today (1/4) to cover a campaign rally for the Republican U.S. Senate candidates ahead of tomorrow’s runoff elections. In addition to filing special reports for SRN News and TOWNHALL News, Clugston will also serve as White House pool reporter for all other national radio networks…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, expands its partnership with iHeartMedia by moving its dedicated streaming radio station to digital platform iHeartRadio. VSiN had previously broadcast its content via SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Skyview Networks OM Andy Luberda Passes After COVID Battle. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Skyview Networks operations manager Andy Luberda, who died on December 29 of complications from COVID-19. Luberda joined Skyview Networks in the broadcast operations department as a board operator in 2012. In 2015, Luberda was promoted to operations manager in which he focused on managing one of the company’s largest clients, TuneIn. In 2016, Luberda’s son, Kade, joined Skyview’s operations team as a board operator. Aaron Mellis, Luberda’s longtime friend and manager shares, “We were fortunate to have Andy on the team, and as his role grew, it made a positive impact on our company and our clients. Andy’s warm heart and genuine care for his colleagues will continue to be a part of the Skyview Networks culture.” Skyview has set up a GoFundMe page for his family to help raise funds for medical and memorial costs and to provide financial support for Kade during this difficult time.

GOP Senators to Challenge Election Results/Trump Georgia Phone Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pelosi Keeps Speaker Post, and Texas Church Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The move by a group of GOP senators to challenge the election results and the recording of President Trumpasking the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes in his favor; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Georgia runoff election for its two U.S. Senate seats; Nancy Pelosi retains her House Speaker position; and the fatal shooting at a Texas church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

| March 26, 2019

‘Free Talk Live’ Helps Ugandan Orphanage with Cryptocurrency Donations. The nationally syndicated radio program “Free Talk Live” — hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge — has rallied its listeners to assist children in a small, African village through the donation of cryptocurrency.  The listeners, with the help of matching contributors Cell411, Bitcoin.com, and Shire Free Church, raised more than $45,000 to construct the orphanage and another $35,000 to purchase farm land to help the orphanage become self-sustaining by growing crops and raising animals.  Listeners are able to share in this project by donating their choice of cryptocurrency to help fund the project through the program’s cryptocurrency “tip jar.”  Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge says they worked with The Foundation of Hope Uganda, the organization that coordinated the building of the orphanage.  Edge says the Foundation is now in the process of securing a piece of land with funding provided by “Free Talk Live” donors and sponsors.  He adds, noting there is a misconception among many that libertarians are self-centered misers, that this project is one of many instances that proves nothing could be further from the truth.

Chuck Knight Joins iHeartMedia as Regional SVP of Programming. Most recently serving as program director for hot AC WBEB, Philadelphia “B101,” Chuck Knight moves west to take on the regional senior vice president of programming position for iHeartMedia’s San Antonio and Austin markets that include news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio and sports talk stations KVET-AM, Austin and KTKR, San Antonio, in addition to some 12 other music brands.  Knight will also serve as program director for adult contemporary KQXT, San Antonio “Q 101.9.”  In addition to Knight’s new, elevated role, Brian Gann will continue to serve as the program director at WOAI and will focus on a variety of iHeartMedia’s spoken-word stations.

New Hampshire News Talkers Raise Cash for Veterans Organization.  New Hampshire news/talk stations WGIR-AM, Manchester “NewsRadio 610” and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth “NewsRadio 96.7” helped raise more than $153,000 for Veterans Count during the fifth annual “Make 12 Hours Count” radiothon held on March 20. The radiothon has been undertaken for the last five years by “New Hampshire Today” morning host Jack Heath (pictured here) for Veterans Count, an organization that provides financial assistance, services and resources to New Hampshire veterans, service members and their families.  During the day’s commercial-free broadcast, Heath conducted interviews with a variety of service members, ranging from World War II veterans to active members of the military.  He also addressed the challenges facing veterans today and discussed how Veterans Count helps local service members.  The event emanated from the iHeartMedia Manchester studios and was broadcast statewide on the New Hampshire Today Network, including WKXL-FM, Concord and WASR-AM, Wolfeboro.

TALKERS News Notes. On-air pro Kelly Cheesborough is becoming a cast member of the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated “Free Beer and Hot Wings Show,” effective April 1.  She was most recently known to Atlanta listeners as Kelly Cheese, executive producer of the WSTR “Star 94.1” “Jeff and Jenn Show.”  Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels says, “After an exhaustive national search, we are thrilled to have Kelly join ‘Free Beer & Hot Wings.’ Maybe it’s good karma that Kelly’s on-air name is Kelly Cheese – but the real reason we picked Kelly is that she is a total professional and our audience will appreciate the opportunity to hear a woman’s perspective on the topics ‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ covers every day.”…..Westwood One’s syndicated late-night show “Red Eye Radio” is celebrating its 50th anniversary at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.  The show’s golden anniversary celebration will feature a guest appearance by GRAMMY-winning country singer Gretchen Wilson and other artists throughout the three-day convention. Show host Eric Harley will be on site to introduce attendees to the lineup of country music artists who will mix and mingle, take photos, sign autographs, and engage with drivers…..iHeartMedia sports talk stations WGVL, Greenville, South Carolina “FOX Sports 1440” and WPEK, Asheville, North Carolina “ESPN Asheville” are joining the Atlanta Braves Radio Network to carry play-by-play of the National League club’s games, beginning March 28.

New York Radio Pro Bob Slade Dies After Battle with Kidney Disease. On-air pro Bob Slade – host of the long-running public affairs program “Open Line” on WBLS, New York – died recently after a long battle with kidney disease.  After originally setting out to be an actor, Slade got into radio, beginning his career on Long Island.  He became the news director at “98.7 Kiss FM” in New York and there developed the “Open Line” program with co-hosts attorney Bob Pickett and musician James Mtume.  The program moved to WBLS in 2012.  Most recently, Slade had been doing the show with Pickett and executive producer Fatiyn Muhammad.

Mueller Report Aftermath, Avenatti Arrest, Administration Obamacare Action, Green New Deal Vote, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, New Migrant Caravan, Brexit Redux, Us Film, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). The reactions to the Mueller report; former Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti is arrested on fraud and extortion charges; the Trump administration sides with Texas court on invalidating Obamacare; Mitch McConnell schedules senate vote on Green New Deal; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; reports of a new migrant caravan leaving Central America; the status of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan; the Jordan Peele film Us; and NBA and NCAA Tournament action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Comrex to Debut ACCESS MultiRack at NAB 2019. At the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Comrex will release ACCESS MultiRack – a new rackmount IP audio multi-codec. Comrex says that the ACCESS MultiRack occupies only 1RU and it can handle up to five full-duplex IP audio connections simultaneously.  It allows for five simultaneous full-duplex connections to ACCESS Portables (Classic, 2USB, and NX), ACCESS Racks (Classic and NX), and BRIC-Link (Classic and II) codecs as well as the FieldTap app.  The first codec features AES67 in addition to AES3 and standard analog I/O while the remaining four codecs all utilize AES67 I/O. MultiRack also supports a wide array of connection protocols and audio encoders. It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Say good-bye to “NASH FM” in New York City. It stands to reason that Entercom – now operator of country WNSH, New York after a swap with Cumulus Media – would ditch the “NASH” brand that is attached to so many Cumulus Media country stations and re-brand.  And so it does as WNSH is now “Country 94.7.”  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin states, “New Yorkers have a strong appetite for country music, and we’re excited to continue to deliver the greatest country hits with the rebrand of New York’s ‘Country 94-7.’  We have a great team and programming in place and look forward to remaining country’s home on the biggest stage in America.”…..Entercom announces the promotion of Andrea Burtscher to music director for country KMLE, Phoenix.  Burtscher will continue in her position as marketing and promotions director for the Entercom Phoenix cluster that includes classic hits KOOL-FM and CHR KALV “Live 101.5.” Burtscher says, “I’m excited to jump over to the programming world after being in promotions for over 12 years.  I look forward to pursuing my passion of country music and serving Phoenix listeners by curating their favorite hits each and every day.”…..On-air pro Chio Acosta moves from Philadelphia where he was most recently a morning personality at iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WISX-FM to New Hampshire as the new co-host of the “Chio and Kira in the Morning” program based as Townsquare Media’s country WOKQ, Portsmouth and simulcast on WPKQ, Portland, Maine.  Acosta takes over for the recently departed Bill Fox alongside current morning host Kira Lew.….Alpha Media programmer Ernie Martinez – the company’s new national director of digital content – is betting honesty is the best policy with the new positioning statement for CHR KTFM, San Antonio – ‘San Antonio’s #2 Hit Music Station.’  Martinez says, “People inherently smell B.S. a mile away.  Audiences are smarter than most programmers give them credit for and because of this we are taking a radical approach to branding.  We are going to tell the truth.  There is one thing that audiences crave today and that is authenticity.  We aren’t going to brag; we aren’t going to boast. What we will do is work harder than everyone else to show audiences that their attention is appreciated.”…..iHeartMedia expands its partnership with digital media firm LiveXLive Media, Inc that gives the latter exclusive global livestreaming rights for 17iHeartRadio marquee events, including iHeartRadio’s ALTer Ego, iHeartCountry Festival, iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Daytime Stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, as well as licensing and streaming rights for select iHeartRadio Theater shows.  The partnership will also feature new co-produced and co-promoted video content for fans, including a co-created iHeartRadio channel on LiveXLive built on an extensive library of content.