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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

| January 26, 2022

Darren Moore Named Vice President/General Manager for Cox Media Group Ohio. Television sales executive Darren Moore is named vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group Ohio that includes heritage news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, two music formatted stations and WHIO-TV. Moore will oversee all operations at the outlets including news, programming, sales, digital, engineering, production and community affairs. Moore joined CMG 26 years ago as an intern for WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh. He served with WAXN-TV, Charlotte before returning to CMG Pittsburgh where he served in various sales management roles.  CMG EVP of Television Paul Curran says, “Darren’s passion for people, the broadcasting industry and CMG is infectious and inspiring. His strong track record of forging internal and external relationships will make a positive impact on our Dayton operations and in the Dayton community. I look forward to watching him excel in this new role as our approach to broadcasting in Dayton continues to evolve.” Moore comments, “I am honored to join the outstanding broadcasters at CMG Ohio, home to some of the most iconic TV and radio brands in the entire industry. I can’t wait to start working with the Dayton team, further enhancing our award-winning brands, serving our customers and viewers, and partnering with the local Miami Valley community.”

Steve Moore Promoted to OM for Audacy St. Louis. Programming pro Steve Moore is promoted to operations manager for Audacy St. Louis. In this role, Moore will oversee the markets’ six brands, including heritage news/talk KMOX-AM and news/talk KFTK-FM and its four music formatted sister stations. Audacy St. Louis VP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I am beyond delighted to have Steve ascend into this new role. He has been so instrumental in building operational alignment, collaboration, and synergy across our St. Louis footprint. I am looking forward to Steve helping us continue to grow our incredible brands.” Moore comments, “I couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity. I appreciate the trust that Becky Domyan and Audacy have shown me and I’m looking forward to working more closely with Derrick, Leo and the talented broadcasters on these incredible music stations.”

FOXNews.com Tops in Multiplatform Minutes in 2021. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Media’s FOXNews.com finished 2021 as “the top-performing news brand in the competitive set, delivering 38 billion total multiplatform minutes… FOXNews.com also toppled nearly every news organization in the competitive set, outpacing NYTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com in all categories for the entire year.” In its head-to-head battle with CNN.com, FOXNews.com had 37.8 billion multiplatform total minutes compared to CNN.com’s 35.5 billion. CNN.com topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform total views metric (20.3 billion versus 18.4 billion) and in the average monthly multiplatform unique visitors metric (139 million versus 86 million). FOX News says 2021 marked its highest non-election year on record in social engagement. The digital network hit a new high in Instagram interactions, reaching over 286 million, its best year to date. 2021 also was a record year for the highest amount of video views ever for FOX News, driving nearly 4 billion video views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The network saw increases of nearly 10% in YouTube Video Views versus the prior year, driving slightly over 3 billion views.

Round One of Holiday PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Nielsen’s annual Holiday PPM survey is traditionally not good to spoken word radio stations as so much listening is attributed to music outlets playing Christmas music. Bucking the trend, both of Audacy’s New York all-news stations were up compared to the December survey. WINS added six-tenths to finish with a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #5 rank while WCBS-AM added four-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #13 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP-AM tacked on two-tenths for a 3.0 share but remained in the #14 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dipped eight-tenths to a 5.8 share and sliding to the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Wendy Bell Gets Weekend Show on Newsmax. Longtime Pittsburgh television and radio personality Wendy Bell is joining Newsmax for a weekend program titled “Wendy Bell Common Sense.” The program will debut this Saturday (1/29) at 4:30 pm ET and “will examine the news of the day with a lively approach to national issues.” (It will air again on Sundays at 3:30 PM ET.) Bell says, “People are hungry for common sense in this country, and that’s what this new program is about. Telling the truth, having great conversations, talking about what really matters. It’s going to be outstanding.” Bell also hosts a syndicated talk radio program that airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy comments, “Wendy Bell has had a remarkable career as a television journalist and radio host, and throughout it all has been an advocate of common sense and American values. We are glad to have her on the Newsmax team.”

Salem Media Group Names Ron DeSantis ‘Culture Warrior of the Year.’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is named “2021 Salem Culture Warrior of the Year” by Salem Media Group. The honor is the result of voting by Salem listeners and DeSantis received 52% of the vote among the six finalists. Salem listeners were given the chance to nominate anyone who fits the category. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Governor DeSantis is well deserving of this honor, and it proves how strong he is not only in Florida, but also across the country. Last year this award was given to Candace Owens, so both honorees are well deserving of the respect and admiration of the Salem audience across the country.”

MIW Offers ‘Understanding Broadcast Law’ Program. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization – dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting – announces a new career enhancing program titled, “Understanding Broadcast Law,” sponsored by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth Law, PLC.  The “Understanding Broadcast Law” program is built to clarify the numerous legal issues inherent to the radio business. In addition to underwriting the program, which runs throughout 2022, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth partners Frank Montero and Kathleen Victory and their team will host a series of free and on-demand videos dedicated to answering questions and providing practical and applicable information as it pertains to radio law. From EEO to FCC license renewals and contracts, to conversations with corporate lawyers, each unique and informative video will be easily accessible on a variety of platforms. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Knowledge is power, and the opportunity to empower more women by demystifying legal issues is huge. We are beyond grateful for Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth’s sponsorship of this important series. Frank and his team are providing an invaluable opportunity to the MIW community and the industry.” To ensure that these instructive videos focus on areas of highest need and priority, MIW is asking for feedback from interested participants. They have created a survey that you can take here.

WhyHunger ‘Hungerthon’ Raises $920,000 from Holiday Campaign. The 36th annual Hungerthon campaign raised more than $920,000 “to support true solutions to hunger and build social justice for all.” The organization WhyHunger partnered with Audacy New York, iHeartMedia New York and SiriusXM to engage listeners and raise funds. Celebrity supporters like vitafusion Gummy Vitamins ambassador Tiffany Haddish, Yoko Ono Lennon and Bruce Springsteen lent their voices to the issue. The radio partners hosted live broadcasts featuring exclusive interviews on topics such as hunger and health, the root causes of hunger, women in food justice and COVID-19’s impact on hunger, while raising funds through auction items, donation drives and social media engagement. The Audacy New York stations – including sports talk WFAN, all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM – hosted a radiothon on November 23 raising more than $400,000. Items donated for auction included a Bruce Springsteen autographed guitar, a Bob Weir autographed guitar, a chance to sit in on WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” show, and more.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Receives Top Score from Charity Navigator. The Broadcasters Foundation of America proudly announces it has achieved a rating of 100 from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. The evaluation process takes place over a seven-year period and uses Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. The Broadcasters Foundation received a score of 100 in finance & accountability, reflecting its solid financial health (stability, efficiency, and sustainability) and commitment to governance practices and policies. In addition, the Broadcasters Foundation also received full credit at 72% for its Program Expense Ratio, which measures the percent of total expenses spent on the programs and services it exists to deliver. BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We are very proud to receive this high level of accreditation from Charity Navigator. We have worked diligently to maximize our budget to provide the aid that so many in our industry desperately need. Life-altering illness or accident can devastate a family’s financial situation, and the Broadcasters Foundation is committed to easing that strain for our colleagues who qualify.” For more information, visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Financial Markets/Inflation/Crypto Plunge, Urban Violent Crime Spike, Midterms/Trump & GOP, Boris Johnson Troubles, the Beijing Olympics, and Baseball Hall of Fame Snubs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The global tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus legal battles over mask & vaccine mandates; the skittish world financial markets, high retail and oil prices & the plunge in cryptocurrency; the spike in violent crime in America’s large cities; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the ropes for violating his own COVID regulations; the drama surrounding the Beijing Olympics; and the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t admit Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds on their final ballots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 3, 2021

| September 3, 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, “I Had a Cow,” looks back at this past week of 8/30 – 9/3. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Larry Elder, gubernatorial candidate, California; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio 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.

Salem to Debut ‘Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.’ On Tuesday (9/7), Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network will launch the “Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.”  Salem says the podcast is an audio companion to the Daybreak Insider Newsletter, which is currently distributed each weekday morning to more than 100,000 subscribers. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “It’s clear that podcast listeners are looking for informed reporting on what’s really happening in their world. Within Salem, we have a wealth of resources, both for newsgathering and for analysis. With the ‘Daybreak Insider Podcast,’ we’ll be pooling all of those resources into a single podcast to provide in-depth coverage from a conservative worldview. You’ll hear trusted voices from SRN News, Townhall.com, as well as the Salem Radio Network every day on this podcast, and it will all be pulled together by the experienced voice of Rich Thomason.” Thomason has served for more than 20 years with SRN News as an anchor, correspondent, and news producer.

‘710 ESPN Seattle’ Announces ‘The Matt Hasselbeck Show.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, “710 ESPN Seattle” announces “The Matt Hasselbeck Show” joins the programming lineup as a weekly program. The new, one-hour show will air each Wednesday at 9:00 am as Hasselbeck joins morning host Mike Salk, who says, “No one tells a story quite like Matt and he uses his incredible experiences to paint an extraordinary picture of what’s happening in the NFL. He’s as entertaining, knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in this business and his Seahawks credentials are second to none. I can’t wait to talk with him every week!” Kyle Brown is program director for the Bonneville station. He adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to add one of the most illustrious players in Seahawks franchise history to our team here at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Matt is among the premier football analysts in the country and his indelible ties to Seattle make him the perfect addition to our Seahawks coverage.” The inaugural show will air Wednesday, September 15 and it also be offered as a weekly podcast at 710Sports.com.

Erick Erickson Lays into Anti-Vaxxers. In a story published in Newsweek, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk host Erick Erickson lashed out at anti-vaxxers after a relative of his died from COVID-19. The piece says that during Erickson’s Wednesday broadcast, he referred to anti-vaccination activists as “idiots” after a healthy, unvaccinated relative of his died from COVID-19 after being influenced by anti-vaccine messaging. He’s quoted calling “organized efforts to undermine trust in the vaccines… a deeply evil thing” and “a sin.” He also chastised a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators who harassed health care workers and people waiting in line for vaccinations that led to the vaccination site being shut down. He said on his program, “Listen to this, you idiots. What I care deeply about though is that some of you are scared of getting [the vaccine] because you’ve heard people on the internet lie to you and you don’t know that they’re lying. I don’t care that you don’t want the vaccine, but if you’re out there spreading lies and misinformation and disinformation and willfully undermining people’s trust with a vaccine, I care about that a great deal.”

iHeartMedia Panama City Fills Three Trucks for Hurricane Ida Relief. Staffers at iHeartMedia Panama City and community volunteers worked together on the “iHeartMedia Operation Storm Relief” effort to collect enough items to fill three semi-truck trailers donated by Tarpon Dock Seafood owner Greg Abrams, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. The drive was held at a local Super Walmart on Wednesday (9/1). Two of the trucks are en route to south Louisiana, with the third going early next week. iHeartMedia general manager Darrell Johnson says, “Having been through a category 5 hurricane ourselves less than three years ago, we knew what the folks of South Louisiana needed. Even as our community is still recovering from that natural disaster while also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important for our community to step up and help our Gulf Coast neighbors.” In addition to the supplies, the drive also raised over $10,000 in monetary donations, which was used for purchasing additional critically needed items to fill the third truck for Hurricane Ida victims

NAB’s Gordon Smith to Be Honored with 2021 Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith is this year’s recipient of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award that is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Smith will be presented with the Award at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on October 12 during NAB Show. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Past recipients include: Ajit Pai, Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University Sign Five-Year Broadcast Extension. Chicago news/talk outlet WGN-AM and Northwestern Athletics agree to a five-year broadcast rightsholder extension to keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the station through the 2025-26 seasons. Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio has been the home of the Wildcats since 1996. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Athletics head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins will continue to make frequent appearances on the station’s shows. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “For the past 25 years, WGN Radio has broadcast Northwestern football and men’s basketball and I am thrilled to be extending our partnership for five more years, bringing Chicago’s Big Ten team play-by-play to our Chicago’s Very Own audience. WGN sports director Dave Eanet, who has handled play-by-play duties for Wildcats football since 1990, and basketball since 1996, says, “I’m excited to see our relationship with Northwestern Athletics continue. We’ve had so many great moments: Bowl games, two Big Ten Championship games, the NCAA Tournament, and I know many more thrilling moments are ahead. We look forward to bringing them to WGN Radio listeners for the years to come.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 30 – September 3. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the exit was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about the COVID-19 variants and the vaccines & mask mandates. Coming in at #3 was the greater topic of climate change along with the devastation from Hurricane Ida and the battle to stop the Caldor wildfire in California. 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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”

WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”

Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.”  WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.

Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”

Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”

Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

| August 4, 2021

Cumulus Media Q2 2021 Net Revenue Rises 54%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $224.7 million, an increase of 53.9% from the same period in 2020. During the second quarter of 2020, Cumulus posted a net loss of $36.3 million. That loss shrank almost 84% to $5.8 million in the second quarter of 2021. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “This quarter’s results clearly reflect the success we are having in accelerating our positive revenue trajectory. In addition to the continued improvement in the core radio business, total digital revenue grew by 55% year-over-year, with each of our digital channels posting new all-time highs. Additionally, we enhanced our considerable stronghold in the news/talk ecosystem with ‘The Dan Bongino Show,’ now on over 300 radio stations – the largest launch ever for a new and original syndication. We also significantly deepened our position in the fast-growing sports betting space with an innovative and expansive multi-year, multi-platform marketing and content partnership with WynnBET, which is poised to become one of our largest clients through this new relationship.” Cumulus breaks down its revenue into Broadcast and Digital segments. The Broadcast segment is further divided into Spot and Network (Westwood One) divisions. For the second quarter of 2021, Spot revenue was $120.8 million – up 67% from Q2 of 2020 – and Networks revenue was $55.3 million – up 32.5% from Q2 of 2020. Digital segment revenue was $31.4 million, an increase of 54.5% compared to the same period in 2020.

CMG Promotes Kris Hackett to Director of Sales for Atlanta Cluster. Radio sales pro Kris Hackett is promoted from general sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and three music-formatted outlets. In this new and expanded role, Hackett will be responsible for the oversight of all multimedia sales efforts for CMG Atlanta’s radio cluster. Hackett joined CMG Atlanta in 2013 as GSM. Prior to that, she spent seven years as GSM for the company in Richmond. Cox Media Group VP and market manager Jaleigh Long says, “Kris is a proven leader with a keen ability to grow market share, deliver enhanced revenues and develop high caliber sales teams while building relationships with key partners that fit perfectly with our customer-centric sales culture. I’m thrilled to have such a visionary and talented leader inside CMG to promote into this critical role.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM weekend news anchor Dave Marsett is retiring from the Audacy station after 20 years. Marsett is also an ordained minister and he’s retiring from that calling as well. The 74-year-old radio pro served with Satellite Music Network as news director for many years prior to joining WBBM…..Cumulus Media and Imperative Entertainment announce the new true-crime series “Fox Hunter” joins the Cumulus Podcast Network. Host Sean Kipe investigates the mystery surrounding the murder of 18-year-old Rhonda Sue Coleman in 1990 which has been a thorn in the side of the small community of Hazlehurst, Georgia, for over 30 years…..The content creators at New Hampshire Public Radio have voted to form a union and are being represented by SAG-AFTRA. NHPR is an NPR member station based in Concord, New Hampshire and covers nearly the entire state, as well as portions of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. The new 31-member bargaining unit of content creators includes producers, hosts, editors and reporters…..Pictured below are WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” air personalities Hardy, a.k.a. Rob Poole, Scott Zolak, and Marc Bertrand broadcasting live from Gillette Stadium for the start of the New England Patriots’ training camp. WBZ-FM is the flagship station for broadcasts of Patriots football games and Bob Socci and Zolak will once again call all preseason and regular season games. The duo will also get back on the road this season, traveling to each away game broadcast.

Former KYW, Philadelphia Reporter Ed Kasuba Dies at 74. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that former KYW, Philadelphia reporter Ed Kasuba died on August 1 of heart failure at the age of 74. Kasuba was the longtime South Jersey bureau chief for the station. He retired from the all-news outlet in 2008 at a time when the Great Recession was forcing then-owner CBS Radio to make cuts. He served as a shop steward and president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and left the radio station voluntarily so others would not be laid off during company cutbacks.

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Biden’s Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations, Pentagon Officer Slain, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in some parts of the U.S. and the battle over vaccination mandates and mask policies; President Joe Biden extends the eviction moratorium and critics question its legality; the numerous allegations of sexual improprieties against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and calls for his resignation; a Pentagon officer is slain by an attacker; the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles wins bronze in the balance beam at the Tokyo Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

| March 31, 2021

Watergate Co-Conspirator and Talk Show Host G. Gordon Liddy Dead at 90. Former talk radio host, author, and Watergate break-in architect G. Gordon Liddy died yesterday (3/30) in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 90. Liddy’s son Tom told The New York Times that his father had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and had been in declining health recently. G. Gordon Liddy famously made the transition into the talk radio business in the early 1990s after then-Infinity chief Mel Karmazin heard him subbing on a talk radio show and offered him the midday show at the company’s hot talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC – a station that at the time aired Howard Stern in mornings and Don & Mike in afternoons. Liddy’s program would later move into national syndication via Westwood One. He moved his syndication to Radio America in 2003. He retired from his regular radio program in July of 2012.

Remembering G. Gordon Liddy. On the occasion of the death of G. Gordon Liddy, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an overview of Liddy’s colorful career based on a profile piece he wrote while serving as special features editor for the radio trade publication Inside Radio in 2004. In the piece, speaking about his radio career, Liddy told Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.” Read Kinosian’s story here.

Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) presenting the Freedom of Speech Award to G. Gordon Liddy (right).

FLASHBACK 1995 – G. Gordon Liddy was at the Center of a Talk Radio First Amendment Award Controversy. In 1995, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) – a pivotal industry trade association that played an active role in the “modern era” rise of talk radio between the late 1980s through the 1990s – presented then-syndicated radio personality G. Gordon Liddy with its annual Freedom of Speech Award (the same award still presented annually by TALKERS magazine). The award was (and still is) non-partisan and has been presented over the decades to a variety of personalities ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Al FrankenMark Levin to Thom HartmannHoward Stern to Karen Hunter and Sean Hannity to Joe Madison. It has been awarded to broadcasters from both sides of the American political divide who have demonstrated through their words, deeds and courage the First Amendment in action, its purpose and how it operates.  Liddy received the award that year for facing a lot of heat in the aftermath of remarks he made on the air pertaining to the then-explosive controversy over how Americans can use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves from armed federal agents breaking into their homes with the intent of shooting them first and asking questions later. This grew out of the activities occurring at the time prompted by the tensions building during the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas and other related tragic events involving the BATF. Needless to say, it was wildly controversial and a major test for talk radio in establishing a standard for its position on the First Amendment. The award was presented that year at the NARTSH Convention in Houston. To view Liddy’s acceptance speech at the Kennedy Space Center (including attorney and then KABC, Los Angeles talk show host Gloria Allred’s one-woman protest demonstration) please click here. To view a clip from a luncheon that took place at that same contentious convention in which convention chairman Michael Harrison stood up to U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) over his call for NARTSH members to boycott the Liddy award presentation, please click here.

Update on Jail Status of ‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman. In an interview with “Free Talk Live” co-owner, co-host, and head of sales Mark Edge, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison gets the latest on the legal status of co-host Ian Freeman and the federal government’s charges against him. Yesterday (3/30), TALKERS published a summary of the story from the Manchester Union-Leader that included news of the government’s charges against Freeman that include fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. In addition to an update from Edge on the charges against Freeman, this interview contains some fascinating information, background, and insights into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Listen to it here.

Brad Lane Returns to Twin Cities as WCCO-AM Brand Manager. Programming pro Brad Lane is named brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, effective April 19. Lane was most recently serving Good Karma Brands as director of content for news/talk WTMJ-AM and sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee.” Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM in numerous capacities, including as program director. Audacy Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “WCCO Radio serves as an extremely important news brand for the people of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Brad brings a wealth of experience leading content teams and his leadership and vision will be instrumental to the success of our station. We’re looking forward to adding him to the team.”

KROF, Lafayette Adds ‘Todd Starnes Show’ for Early Afternoons. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program lineup at Townsquare Media’s KROF-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana “TalkRadio 960” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The program will also be broadcast on the company’s sister sports talk station KPEL-AM. Both stations will also air the short-form daily program “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

Ramsey Show Passes One Billion Downloads Mark. Over the course of the last 15 years, “The Ramsey Show” podcast with Dave Ramsey and his team of co-hosts has surpassed one billion downloads, what the Ramsey Network says is a rare milestone reached by only a handful of podcasts in the world. In addition, callers have paid off $500 million dollars in debt since the podcast began 15 years ago. Each weekday, “The Ramsey Show” podcast produces three episodes heard across every platform. Ramsey Network EVP Brian Mayfield says, “We’re teachers at the core. And podcasts are an extremely useful medium, giving us another megaphone to reach people. We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.”

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Takes Station of the Year Honors. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk outlet WSGW-AM/FM “100.5 & 790 Newsradio” is named Medium Market Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. This is the seventh time the Alpha Media station has earned Station of the Year honors from the MAB. Operations manager, Dave Maurer states, “This past year was challenging in our part of Michigan with a devastating flood that hit in May and captured the headlines for much of the year. This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections which were huge stories that demanded much of our staff’s focus. We are pleased that our team’s performance has won recognition for the quality of content gathered in difficult circumstances.” In addition to Station of the Year, WSGW won 12 other awards including six Best of Show and six Merit Awards in the MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards competition.

Jaleigh Long Officially to Lead Cox Media Group Atlanta and Athens. Sales and management pro Jaleigh Long has been interim market manager for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta and Athens, Georgia markets since earlier this year and now the company officially appoints her VP and market manager. The clusters include news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens; sports talk WREF-AM, Athens “960 The Ref”; and seven music brands. Long comments, “I am abundantly proud and honored to lead this group of industry-defining stations. The great work we do in all areas of the business every day is making an impact on our audiences, advertisers, and communities we serve. The power of radio is exhilarating and fortunately we get to experience that firsthand each day through the powerful programming, compelling promotions, and important community initiatives that define and underscore CMG’s purpose.”

Keith Lawless to Lead Cox Media Group’s Tampa and Houston Markets. Broadcast executive Keith Lawless is promoted to regional vice president of Cox Media Group Tampa + Houston. He’s been serving as VP and market manager for the company’s Tampa cluster since 2009. Cox Media Group Radio SVP Rob Babin comments, “I am thrilled to announce Keith Lawless as regional vice president over two of CMG Radio’s key markets, CMG Tampa and now CMG Houston. Keith has demonstrated an unwavering commitment for many years and has made an incredible impact on CMG Tampa and successfully led many CMG Radio strategic initiatives. His passion for his team, CMG Radio, and our industry make him the ideal leader to take on the role of RVP.”

Tampa Radio Figure Tedd Webb Dies at 72. Longtime Tampa radio personality Tedd Webb died on Tuesday (3/30), a week after entering hospice following a long illness. WFLA-AM reports Webb’s passing, noting that he was a host at the station for more than 30 years. He co-hosted the “AM Tampa Bay” program with Jack Harris beginning in 1994 and ending in 2017 when Webb retired. Webb was born Henry Ruiz – son of Cuban immigrants – in Tampa and began his radio career at the age of 14. He was a music DJ for the first 15 years of his career before transitioning to talk. He hosted a sports talk show, worked with Nanci Donnellan “The Fabulous Sports Babe,” and as part of WFLA’s “Gardner and Company” morning show before partnering with Harris for “AM Tampa Bay.”

COVID-19 Stats/Variants/Vaccines, WHO COVID Report, Biden Stimulus-Infrastructure Plan, Violence Against Asians, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Legislation, Trump Website, and Matt Gaetz Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The number of COVID-10 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; scrutiny of the WHO COVID origin report and criticism of China’s cooperation; President Biden’s $2 trillion economic stimulus and infrastructure plan; the brutal beating of a 64-year-old woman in New York and more reports of assaults on Asian Americans; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Georgia’s new voting rules and the Democrats’ push for expanded voting rights laws; Donald and Melania Trump launch a new website; and the allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.