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, “If I Had a Hammer,” looks back at this past week of April 5-9. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Gene “Bean” Baxter, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; Jim Blasingame, talk show host, Small Business Advocate; Noel Paul Stookey, musician / activist, Peter, Paul and Mary; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Salem Radio Network Host Charlie Kirk Joins WABC, New York for Early Afternoon Hour. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show host Charlie Kirk is taking over the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm hour at Red Apple Media’s legendary WABC, New York on Monday (4/12). Kirk is founder of Turning Point USA, a best-selling author, and host of a popular podcast who joined Salem Radio Network in October of 2020. He says, “I am thrilled and honored to take the same time and station where my friend and American hero Rush Limbaugh launched his national radio show in 1988. I am so impressed with what John Catsimatidis has done since he bought this great station and will commit to doing my part to keep this as one of the top talk stations in America.” Catsimatidis says, “Charlie Kirk has proven to be one of the bright lights of the conservative movement. He’s young, energetic, articulate, and proving to be a great radio talent.” Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “I was fortunate to be the PD at WABC for 14 years. I am thrilled to see WABC once again affirm its status as one of the truly iconic talk stations in the nation, and so blessed to be able to add our newest star Charlie Kirk to their all-star lineup.”
Radio America’s Dana Loesch Featured in The Hill Piece. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Dana Loesch is featured in a story by Thomas Moore in The Hill. The piece, titled, “Dana Loesch has Limbaugh-like aspirations for conservative talk,” explores Loesch’s move to add new affiliate stations in the aftermath of the death of former fellow midday talk host Rush Limbaugh. Loesch is quick to say Limbaugh was a pioneer whose importance to modern talk radio can’t be underestimated and says the idea of being his “heir” is “crazy.” But Radio America and Loesch herself are aggressively working to gain new affiliate stations during this period when news/talk stations that carry “The Rush Limbaugh Show” are examining their options. She tells The Hill her “happy warrior” approach makes her different than her competition. “I don’t like the nonstop, let’s be angry 24-7. And I just don’t even know how that can be maintained, nor do I have any interest in doing that kind of radio. We have fun. And I think that that shows.” Read the piece here.
La Crosse Sports Radio Voice Mike Kearns Passes. La Crosse, Wisconsin television station WXOW reports that longtime La Crosse sports media personality Mike Kearns passed away recently. Kearns worked his entire radio career at Midwest Family Broadcasting’s WKTY Radio doing play-by-play for high school and college football and basketball games. Kearns also hosted “The Lead Balloon Show” weekday mornings from 1981 until his retirement in 2016. Kearns assumed hosting duties for that show from his father Charlie who launched the program in 1948. It’s estimated that between Mike and his father, they called more than 1,200 football and 6,000 basketball games for WKTY over a 68-year period. Kearns, along with his father, was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Tom Wynn Dies at 83. Fargo news/talk station KFGO reports that former morning drive host Tom Wynn has died at age 83. Wynn, who served with the station for 37 years after arriving in Fargo from Lansing, Michigan in 1979, retired from the station in 2017. Wynn hosted “Tom Wynn and Friends” from 5:00 am to 8:00 am with Bonnie Amistadi and Doug Leier until his retirement. Prior to that, he partnered with the late Larry Ristvedt for “Tom and Larry in the Morning.” No cause of death was included in the report.
PodcastOne Content Available on Samsung Free. As the result of an agreement between LiveXLive Media’s PodcastOne and Samsung, all PodcastOne content will be available for the first time ever via the Listen tab within Samsung Free on compatible Galaxy S21, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 series devices. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne strives to make our content some of the most easily accessed content in the podcasting genre. Listening to your favorite hosts and shows shouldn’t be more than a one-tap process and our agreement with Samsung brings fluid accessibility to podcast fans in a new way.”
COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story This Week. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the status of variants combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial and the related issues of race relations and police reform. Following at #3 was gun violence and President Biden’s gun control measures. 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.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Responsibility, Integrity, and Credibility,” looks back at this past week of January 4-8, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / talk show host, regional syndication; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Anne Eller, talk show host / station owner, WCRS, Greenwood, SC; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
KMJ, Fresno’s Ray Appleton Under Scrutiny for “Hanging” Comment. Fresno talk radio host Ray Appleton – heard daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM – is being taken to task, at least by the Fresno Bee, for saying on his program that “certain news editors should be hanged… maybe.” Appleton’s comment came during a monologue in which he complained about the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol compared to coverage of protests and riots in Portland and other cities, implying that reporting on those events was more sympathetic. He posted a clarification to his Facebook page that was later removed. In it, he says the comment was “clearly tongue in cheek.” On his program Thursday, he said, “So if you were upset by that, I didn’t mean it. I humbly apologize. I’m not talking about taking every news editor and hanging them. I mean, come on. Get with it.” The Bee reports that a call to KMJ for comment on Appleton’s comment was not returned.
Del Colliano: Cumulus Corporate Flips on Election Talk Mandate. According to InsideMusicMedia publisher Jerry Del Colliano, who cites an internal memo from Cumulus Media EVP of content Brian Philips, the company did an about-face on Wednesday as the assault on the Capitol building was taking place in Washington, DC. Del Colliano says that contrary to what many of the company’s talk hosts were saying up to that point about the legitimacy of the election results, Philips’ memo ordered all Cumulus and Westwood One personalities not to continue presenting any illegitimacy claim. He wrote, “We need to help induce national calm NOW. Cumulus and Westwood One will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’” He adds, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Del Colliano writes, “Some employees felt the sudden change in direction was so onerous that it in effect dictated what air talent could not broach on the air even after many years of tolerating if not encouraging controversial political talk for the purpose of increasing ratings.”
WFAN, New York Debuts Craig Carton-Hosted Gambling Addiction Program. The program is titled, “Hello, My Name is Craig,” and will air on WFAN-AM/FM, New York on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The 30-minute program is being hosted by Craig Carton and is being presented by 1-800-GAMBLER. In the program, Carton will “drive candid conversations with listeners about different aspects of gambling and provide resources and outlets to those seeking help or looking for ways to help their loved ones.” Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be a regular contributor and the program will feature various guests to share stories of indulgence, falls from grace, and the fight to overcome gambling addiction. Guests will include medical and therapy experts, members of the 1-800-GAMBLER team, founders of rehabilitation treatment centers, and more. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Legalized gambling is a growing part of the modern sports experience and the everyday fans’ conversations. Our obligation and commitment are to serve not only the audience that can responsibly enjoy these gaming elements, but also in a meaningful way help those, like Craig, who have an addiction. With Craig’s voice and unique perspective, along with outstanding partners and the influence of the WFAN platform, we will do just that.” Carton adds, “Each week, we will tackle different aspects of what for some is a fun recreation but for others is an addiction that forever alters and sometimes ends lives. The show will be a raw and revealing look into the fastest-growing vice in the country and I look forward to providing my first-hand perspective for both those dealing with the grip of their gambling compulsions as well as the loved ones in their lives.” Carton, who hosted mornings on WFAN with Boomer Esiason from 2007 to 2017, was convicted of fraud he perpetrated in order to pay off gambling debts. He served a year of a three-year sentence in prison. He returned to WFAN this fall to host the WFAN afternoon show with Evan Roberts.
WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Talk Host Dave Lee Announces Retirement. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning drive personality Dave Lee announces he’ll retire from the Entercom news/talk station at the end of April. Lee joined the station in September of 1989 from KFGO, Fargo where he was program director and afternoon drive personality. He first joined the station as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. Lee took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.
“Free Talk Live” to Migrate from GCN to Talk Media Network. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman announces that his New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated program will move from current syndicator Genesis Communications Network to Talk Media Network, effective January 18. Freeman says that while GCN has been “a great radio syndication partner” since 2004, for a few reasons (some of them technical) he’s made the hard decision to sign up with TMN. He says, “Talk Media Network is, like GCN, an affiliate-focused network. They don’t have makegoods or cramdowns or other undesirable, unfriendly corporate syndication crap. TMN’s CEO Josh Leng came up through the industry and has himself been a successful talk radio programmer. He knows what it’s like in the trenches and has built his company with the desires of radio stations and programmers in mind. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Josh and I appreciate his passion for radio.” Freeman continues, “TMN’s also an interesting new take on a syndicate – they don’t have a network studio. Their shows feed directly to Westwood One’s uplink facility. That means that TMN’s overhead is reduced and the potential for failures is lower. It also means we had to start producing our show 100% from the FTL studio, which was no problem, since I’ve had that capability here for years but never used it until now. Since we’re now fully in charge of our program content, phones sound better and our feed on XDS should be a little higher quality as the audio won’t be re-encoded and re-processed at the network studio, since there isn’t one… We will stay on GCN for some time in order to give our stations plenty of time to make the jump. I’m grateful to the crew at GCN for their professionalism and support over the years and especially now. I don’t ever want to burn a bridge and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ted, George, Adam, and the rest of the crew there and wish them only the best.”
SportsGrid Content to Air on SiriusXM. There’s a new sports betting-oriented channel on SiriusXM as the satellite broadcaster inks a deal with SportsGrid. The new SportsGrid Radio channel will feature personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith plus expert contributors and guest analysts. The channel streams live from its production facilities adjacent to New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook. SportsGrid says its real-time reporting includes the daily odds, lines, matchups, injury reports, news and more across pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer.
iHeartMedia Completes Warrant Exchange for Stocks. The company announces that it has completed an exchange of iHeartMedia Warrants (financial instruments that give the holder the right to buy underlying shares at a specific price on or before a specified date) into shares of iHeartMedia Class A Common Stock, the Company’s publicly traded equity, or Class B Common Stock. The company reports that as of December 31, 2020, there were approximately 65 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 7 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 75 million Warrants outstanding. Following the exchange, there will be approximately 110 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 29 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 7 million Warrants outstanding. The exchange was authorized by a previously issued Declaratory Ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving an increase in iHeartMedia’s authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100%. Certain shares of Class B Common Stock and Warrants were not converted into Class A Common Stock due to current regulatory restrictions applicable to certain shareholders. iHeartMedia expects additional conversions of Class B Common Stock and Warrants into Class A Common Stock.
Attack on Capitol Building Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 4-8, 2021. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol Building in Washington by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing denial of the election results combined with his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss there. Coming in at #3 was Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election that saw both Democrats beat their Republican opponents. 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.
When You Walk Through a Storm: Cox Media Group Expresses Empathy and Interest in Talk Radio Pros Upended by iHM Layoffs. The news/talk format coordinator of Cox Media Group, who also serves as the company’s senior operations & program manager for WSB and Cox Media Group Atlanta, has informed TALKERS that there could be employment opportunities available at Cox for displaced broadcasters down the road. Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS, “With the depth of recent layoffs, a lot of incredibly talented people are finding themselves in a new position – out of work. Please just know that we’re thinking about each of you and are always interested in speaking about future opportunities within CMG, especially in spoken-word formats.” Anderssen invites people who lost their jobs to contact him at either Drew.Anderssen@cmg.com or 404-897-6233.
Monday Memo: He Saw This Coming on Stilts. In the aftermath of – and fearing aftershocks from – last lweek’s iHeart talent cull, consultant Holland Cooke warns “you will get CHILLS” when you read how specifically this was predicted…in 1995. And Cooke explains why times remain opportune for stations and their ex-employees. Read it here.
Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Virginia Gun Rights Rally, Putin Power Grab, and SAG Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process and the selection of President Trump’s legal team; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the protests that have rocked Iran in the aftermath of the down of a passenger jet and the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions; the gun rights rally taking place today in Richmond, Virginia; Vladimir Putin’s move to change Russia’s constitution to extend his rule; and Sunday evening’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Journalist John Solomon Launches New Digital News Outlet. Award-winning journalist John Solomon announces he’s creating a new media outlet called Just the News, that he says will “address the growing need for fact-based, impartial news and compelling digital content.” Solomon, who has served as a journalist and executive at such new organizations as The Hill, The Washington Times, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, says, Just the News will “deliver exclusive news, podcasts, books, polling, and video content showcasing some of the most respected and trusted journalists and editors in news media today.” Longtime Washington Times senior editor Daniel Wattenberg is the news outlet’s managing editor. Senior contributing writers include David Brody, the long-time correspondent from the Christian Broadcast Network; former CNN political director Christine Dolan; and Lee Smith, author of the best-selling book The Plot Against The President. Solomon says more hires and partnerships are expected to be announced in the next few weeks and the JusttheNews.com website is slated to launch within the next month. He adds, “True journalism has been on the decline for years as major media companies have built business models that push agenda-driven news, click-bait content and opinion masquerading as fact, fueling mistrust and contempt from the American people. As the fallout from the recent Russia collusion narrative exposed, journalists today too often rush to get their stories first and then are left to hope they are right.” Just the News will be headquartered in Washington D.C. and consist of four divisions dedicated to web-based reporting, video journalism, podcasting, and long-form nonfiction book publishing.
Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Celebrated. On Friday night (1/17), iHeartMedia produced the second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards live at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. The program was also streamed live via LiveXLive. Winners this year included “The Dropout” from ABC News taking Podcast of the Year honors, The New York Times winning Best News Podcast for “The Daily,” and Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People” taking home the Best Political Podcast honors. Pictured above is Conan O’Brien celebrating his winning the Best Comedy Podcast for “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” See all the winners here. Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio
TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio pro Scott Ferrall exits his late-night show with CBS Sports Radio to join SportsGrid to host two new video streaming programs. “Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast” streams from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, followed by “In-Game LIVE” streaming from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Both shows emanate from SportsGrid’s Meadowlands Studio and debut on January 29. SportsGrid says, “‘Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast’ and ‘In-Game LIVE’ will serve the obsessed frenetic sports fan with live pregame and in-game wagering odds, moneylines, statistics, strategies, and insights with expert gaming analysis from Scott and his many guests.”…..Today (1/20), “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” debuts in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET daypart on ESPN Radio and simulcast on ESPNEWS. ESPN says, “The show will further the most-timely conversations from that morning’s edition of ESPN’s marquee debate show, “First Take,” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and host Molly Qerim Rose. Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show to provide his unique brand of commentary. A powerful lineup of sport-specific experts, as well as callers, will also add their reactions to propel the discussion.”…..Entercom names the new radio broadcast team for Boston Red Sox baseball on flagship WEEI-FM, Boston. Handling play-by-play will be 37-year Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione along with Will Flemming, Sean McDonough, and Lou Merloni…..iHeartMedia Delaware air talent Scott Klatzkin is named 2019 Delaware Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Klatzkin is the voice of the University of Delaware Blue Hens. This is the fourth time he has won the honor, having previously been selected in 2016, 2012, and 2009.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Hubbard Radio does a talent shuffle on heritage rock outlet KSHE. Twenty-nine-year station personality Guy “Favazz” Favazza moves from afternoons to morning drive with current morning personality John “U-Man” Ulett (who joins the show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am). Lauren “Lern” Elwell heads from mornings to the afternoon drive daypart, and Mark Klose – who hosted mornings at KSHE from 1977 to 1983 – takes over the midday show. Station brand and content director Marty Linck comments, “These moves pair The U-Man and Favazz (both KSHE’s longest-running talent) together in morning drive, and gives Lern a great platform to connect with our fans as a standalone on-air personality. In addition, having Mark Klose re-join the staff during the work day and bring back ‘Klose’s Cut Above’ at noon will really help further cement our position as the rock music authority in St. Louis.”…..Pictured below is Coldplay performing at RADIO.COM’s brand new, state-of-the-art HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles Friday night. The inaugural RADIO.COM Live event featured the band playing some of its classic hits, as well as some songs from the new album, Everyday Life. The special performance was attended by a small audience of Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles listeners and was streamed nationwide on RADIO.COM. Photo: Tim Norris/Getty Images for RADIO.COM
WBZ-AM, Boston Cuts Four Air Staffers in ‘Employee Dislocation.’ News of which on-air personalitiesiHeartMedia has let go in its “employee dislocation” program continues to become known. The Boston Globe reports that Boston’s heritage all-news WBZ-AM is losing four news staffers. Gone are political commentator Jon Keller (who continues to serve with CBS TV at WBZ-TV), morning drive news anchor Deb Lawler, sports anchor Tom Cuddy, and talk show host Bradley Jay. It’s not clear yet if the station will ask other staffers to share those duties or if they will be handled remotely.
More iHeartMedia Cuts. In addition to the downsizing noted in the story above, here are more of the broadcasters who lost their gigs with iHeartMedia stations whom TALKERS magazine has learned about: Joe Concha, “WOR Tonight” host, WOR, New York; Cliff Avril, sports talk host, KJR, Seattle; Chris Merrill, talk host, KOGO, San Diego; Marilyn Harris, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Jarred Diglio, APD, WRKO, Boston; Dale Donovan, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Lori Schmidt, sports reporter, WTVN, Columbus; Dario Melendez, sports talk host, WRNW, Milwaukee; Shea Raftus, producer, WRNW, Milwaukee; Dan Nawrocki, PD and host, WSPD, Toledo; Jerry Pickering, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Don Zellers, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Joe Gallagher, weekend host, WGY-AM/FM, Albany; Tank Spencer, host and news anchor, WWNC, Asheville; Tony Bristol, program director, WTAG, Worcester; Carl Falk, sports talk host, WHTK, Rochester; Cameron Hendricks, news director, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Dianne Zanin, reporter, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Alex Womer, host, asst. production director, WFNN, Erie; Bill Hickok, sports talk host, KBMR, Bismarck; and Steve Bortstein, program director, KCQL, Farmington, New Mexico.
iHeartMedia Ups Three Programmers to EVP. In conjunction with iHeartMedia’s new Markets Group structure, the company promotes three of its senior programming executives to division executive vice presidents of programming for the iHeartMedia National Programming Group, effective immediately. Jeff Hurley, Tony Travatto, and Angela Watson Charles join current EVPs of programming Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, Maynard, and Gene Romano. They report to National Programming Group COO Brad Hardin. Each member of the EVP of programming team will partner with the company’s division presidents, “collaborating with each Division to provide national programming assets, services and resources.” Here’s how it breaks down: Mitchem and Jeffries will work with Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck and the Region Division, comprised of the company’s largest markets (i.e. New York and Los Angeles); Romano and Maynard will work with division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd and the Metro Division. Travatto, Hurley, and Watson Charles will work with division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford and the Community Division. iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “We’re excited to add Angela, Jeff and Tony to our already extremely talented executive vice president of programming team. They each have deep experience building great local brands with a blend of math and magic, and they’ll provide excellent leadership to our programmers in our Community Division markets.”
Doug MacGunnigle Rises to PD for WPRO and WPRV in Providence. At Cumulus Media’s Providence station group, programmer Doug MacGunnigle is promoted from assistant program director to program director for news/talk stations WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM under new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske. MacGunnigle has been APD since October of 2017. Cumulus Providence VP and market manager Holly Paras says, “Doug MacGunnigle is a tremendous asset to our news/talk stations. With 20 years’ experience in Providence radio, Doug knows the market and stations inside and out. He was the natural choice to lead WPRO and WPRV moving forward.” MacGunnigle comments, “I grew up listening to WPRO and it is truly a humbling honor to be given an opportunity to lead this legendary radio station. I look forward to helping bring these stations into the future, while continuing to protect and grow WPRO’s legacy as one of the great news/talk stations in the country.”
Joe Pags Fills Afternoon Role at KXNT, Las Vegas. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is the new host of the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas. Pags’ program is based at iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio and is syndicated via Compass Media Networks. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring the energy and passion of Joe Pags to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. With Americans facing another crucial election year in 2020, his common-sense approach to current events and natural ability to navigate breaking news will fit perfectly in our already superstar KXNT lineup.” The Joe Pags Show also recently added iHeartMedia’s WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio and Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Phil Valentine’s New Podcast Takes Off. WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive host Phil Valentine says his newest podcast, “I’m Calling Bovine Scatology,” is already charting on news and politics formats on Apple Podcasts. He reports the show is ranked at #130 on the news chart and #35 on the politics chart. Valentine jumped into podcasting a year ago with his son, Campbell, on their podcast, “The PodGOATs.” It was a top 10 History podcast for all of 2019 on Podbean. Valentine says, “Look, podcasting is to radio what FM was to AM in 1968. I worked for the first FM talker in the country – the late WWDB in Philadelphia. WTN, where I am in Nashville, was one of the first FM talkers. I’m used to being on the cutting edge. Trust me, podcasting is where everything is going.” Valentine, who says his show finished 2019 as the #1 talk show in Nashville with a 12.9 share with Men 25-54, inked a new deal with Cumulus Media last year that includes a deal to sell advertising on his podcasts.
WSB, Atlanta Broadcasting in HD. Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is now broadcasting in HD on the 95.5 frequency. Cox Media Group moved WSB’s transmitter and antenna in August of 2019 from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta. WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “Combined with the recent transmitter and antenna move, listeners will get an even more enhanced sound coming from their speakers on HD-enabled radios. The addition of HD is another part of the ongoing strategic move WSB has made to offer our listeners the best possible listening experience and our advertisers the best possible exposure for their goods and services.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth is serving as guest host on the nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” today and tomorrow (1/16-17). Hayworth served six terms in Congress and for years hosted his own daily talk radio program in Phoenix. He’s also filled in for such national hosts as Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Mike Huckabee. The “Todd Starnes Show” is heard on some 60 affiliate stations and is distributed by Hamilton Strategies…..WGCL-TV, Atlanta reports that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has named talk radio personality Martha Zoller – along with two other appointees – to a seven-year term on the Georgia state Board of Education. The body makes policy for Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students. Martha Zoller currently hosts the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia. In addition to her radio career, Zoller was an aide to U.S. Senator David Perdue from 2014 to 2018. She served on Governor Kemp’s campaign. She left her radio career to run for Congress in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to Doug Collins, who won the seat…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on what he calls the “musical chairs” in the news department at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. He says the station wanted to move current afternoon drive news anchor Lauren Cohn to middays, along with news director John Dempsey’s move from mornings to afternoons and Nick Gale’s move from middays to mornings. But Cohn apparently viewed the move as a demotion and fought it. As it turns out, Dempsey will move to middays and Gale will anchor during Erich Mancow Muller’s morning show…..Nationally syndicated host and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 22nd radio anniversary on February 1. She’s also the author of The Selfish Path to Romance (2011, Winans Kuenstler Publishing, LLC) and she can be booked for interviews in advance of Valentine’s Day by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org…..Affiliates of Envision Networks’ nationally syndicated financial talk show “The Jared Dillian Show” – hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian – can receive the show’s podcasts to include as part of their program offerings on their websites. Dillian says, “I’m pleased we’re able to make parts of the show available in one of my favorite formats.” “The Jared Dillian Show” is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks.
Dan Brady Promoted at Dr. Laura’s Take On the Day LLC. Media pro Dan Brady is promoted to director of podcast operations & program audio for Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Take On the Day, LLC. In this role, Brady will be responsible for managing the Dr. Laura podcasts, including the “Call of the Day,” as well as the Dr. Laura Family Premium podcasts. Take On the Day co-owner Geoff Rich says, “Dan has been critical to the success of Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ podcast, growing it to over 2.5 million listens per month in two years and making it a top 10 podcast in Apple Podcasts Kids and Family and Parenting categories. It’s a thrill to tap into Dan’s knowledge, experience and creativity.”
British Broadcaster Graham Mack Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran British talk personality and program director of FIX Radio in London, Graham Mack, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Mack take a deep dive into the major international news stories emanating from the United Kingdom – including the rise of Boris Johnson and the latest developments regarding Brexit as well as Megxit – the crisis facing the Monarchy in the wake of the Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex bombshell. Don’t miss this fun, fascinating, and informative conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Impeachment Moves to Senate, Presidential Election, Putin Power Grab, U.S.-China Trade Deal, Record Dow/The Economy, and MLB Sign-Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate and Lev Parnas’ interview on CNN; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the row between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; the Russian government resigns as Vladimir Putin seeks constitutional changes to remain in power; Trump’s trade deal with China; the Dow closes over 29,000 and the roaring U.S. economy; and the MLB’s sign-stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Studios for Griffin Communications’ Radio Stations in Tulsa. The five Tulsa, Oklahoma radio stations owned by Griffin Communications have moved to the company’s eight-year-old facility on North Boston Road. The stations – including news/talk KFAQ and four music brands – join the company’s television properties. The facility was constructed in 2011 for the television stations with room left over for the future expansion that it would ultimately use for the radio stations. Griffin CEO David Griffin says, “We are very excited to bring these stations home. Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites, and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market and provides an unmatched footprint. Additionally, it provides these radio stations with new, state-of-the-art studios and synergy opportunities so that they can continue to serve Green Country with exceptional content and broadcasting capabilities.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow night (1/17), Coldplay will perform at the inaugural RADIO.COM Live event series in front of a small audience of KROQ, Los Angeles listeners to mark the grand opening of the new HD Radio Sound Space – a state-of-the-art entertainment hub – in the heart of Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard. Entercom’s RADIO.COM will stream the special performance live nationwide starting at 7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm. RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We’re honored Coldplay will kick off the RADIO.COM Live event series at the grand unveil of the HD Radio Sound Space. We are excited to offer fans exclusive access to this once-in-a lifetime performance, live via the RADIO.COM app and website nationwide as well as on select HD Radio stations. This is the first of many events that we will be hosting live from the heart of the city and we are looking forward to giving fans everywhere insider access.”…..Entercom names “Nick and Kristen” (pictured at left) the new morning show on country KWJJ, Portland “99.5 The Wolf,” effective January 22. The duo was most recently the morning drive show at Bonneville International’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco. They say, “We are so thrilled to work alongside [SVP/MM] Kim Martinez and [OM/PD] Scott Roddy. Both are dynamic and inspiring leaders in our industry who elevate their staff and their stations. We’re equally as excited to share our lives and bring the best new country to Portland.”…..Air personality Kacie Kozman is officially named midday host at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB Phoenix. Kozman has been hosting the daypart since Ian Camfield exited last month to join Entercom’s alternative KVIL, Dallas.
ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER: Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout! The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out. The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity. We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency. That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.” To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Names Mary Sandberg Boyle Director of News and Operations. In Chicago, Tribune Broadcasting is promoting Mary Sandberg Boyle – executive producer of the Steve Cochran morning show – to the position of director of news and operations. Sandberg Boyle assumes the role left open when Stephanie Tichenor jumped across the street to take on the program director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM. Sandberg Boyle began her service with WGN Radio in 2015 and helped to launch the station’s weekday morning business show, “The Opening Bell.” WGN-AM station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley says, “Mary brings us years of success managing high profile talent and a fresh vision for the next generation of WGN Radio.”
KTSA, San Antonio to Tweak Lineup. The talk show lineup at Alpha Media’s news/talk KTSA, San Antonio changes, effective June 17. Trey Ware remains in morning drive from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and will be joined by current KTSA air personality Sean Rima from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Rima then goes solo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. New to the lineup is the “Markley and Van Camp” program (featuring Jamie Markley and David Van Camp) for the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Dave Ramsey remains from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and longtime midday personality Jack Riccardi moves to the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Check out the station’s promotional video here.
Nielsen Audio Podcast Investigates Neuroscience and Radio Ads. In a two-part podcast titled, “Your Brain on Audio,” the Nielsen Audio Podcast features communications professor Dr. Rob Potter from Indiana University to share his findings from a career spent researching how the brain responds to sound, and what it takes to capture listener attention and create memorable commercials. Nielsen Audio says, “The first step in that process is understanding how the brain works and how it’s evolved to process information. This knowledge is important all along the marketing cycle, particularly in today’s cluttered media world. There are distinct differences between automatic attention and controlled attention when it comes to our physiology, and different tools radio producers can use to trigger those parts of our brain. Everything from the music bed in a commercial to the pitch and number of voices used affects how consumers pay attention to a particular message. Then, once attention has been captured, creative shoulders the important task of imprinting the message into memory networks. One simple way to affect memory is to play on emotion using words or music, and the cutting edge of neuroscience marketing research is exploring the specific ties between music and emotion for use as a tool in making better ads.” Check out the first podcast here.
WSB, Atlanta Presents Video Documentary of the Jamie Dupree Story. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the story of WSB, Atlanta-based Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree’s battle with tongue protrusion dystonia that’s left him unable to speak. Now, the station is featuring a video documentary telling Dupree’s story on its website. Titled, “Voice of Reason,” the program details Dupree’s story and reveals how Cox Media Group identified a new, pioneering approach to return Dupree’s voice to radio. CMG worked with Edinburgh-based speech synthesis firm CereProc. It sent hours of his archived radio reports to Scotland where engineers and audio specialists digitized and recreated his voice so that Dupree can write a script for a report that is converted into an audio file that sounds nearly identical to his natural voice. Dupree says, “My health is fine, but my voice is not – and I honestly don’t know if I will ever speak normally again. I’ll be forever grateful to my WSB and CMG family for getting me back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0.” See the video, directed by WSB Radio videographer Jesse Brooks and produced by Cox Media Group digital content manager Zac Morgan, here.
Glenn Johnson Named OM for Cumulus Pensacola. The five-station Cumulus Media cluster in Pensacola has a new operations manager. Glenn Johnson moves from the company’s NASH studios in Nashville where he was executive producer for “The Ty Bentli Show” to serve with the cluster that includes news/talk WCOA-AM and four music brands. Cumulus Media regional VP Pete DeSimone says, “This is a win-win – a homecoming for Glenn and an opportunity to retain a very talented broadcaster. We are extremely excited to have him leading the Pensacola programming team.”
Guaranty Media Brings Elliott Aboard as OM for Baton Rouge Stations. Programming pro Chris Elliott joins Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge as operations manager for the cluster that includes: news/talk WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3,” sports talk duo WNXX-FM/KNXX-FM “ESPN Baton Rouge,” and two music-formatted stations. Elliott comes to Baton Rouge from his most recent position as brand manager for Manning Media’s hot AC WAFY, Frederick, Maryland. Guaranty president and CEO Flynn Foster says, “Because great radio should reflect the ever-demanding needs of a local market, we are happy to announce the installment of our new OM to help us meet these demands. Chris will be a powerful addition to our team. He will lead our five stations, enhance our existing programming, develop new local talent, and expand our digital platforms. We are very excited to have Chris join us.”
Digital Talk Brand MoJo 5-0 to Support Veterans Causes. Digital talk radio station MoJo 5-0 – a new station focusing on conservative and libertarian content – is involved in two Memorial Day programs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to assist veterans. MoJo 5-0 was founded by late talk radio host Doc Thompson, who had a passion for veterans’ causes. First, Matt Locke, host of the “Conservative Cartel” on MoJo 5-0, will broadcast live from the Warrior Tent on the 16th hole of Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge. There he’ll interview numerous veterans to help bring attention to non-profits that benefit them. Second, the 2019 Memorial Day Celebrity Softball Classic, benefitting CarryTheLoad.org, will be held on Saturday (5/25) at Airhogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas. MoJo 5-0 hosts Matt Locke and Rocci Stucci are scheduled to play alongside professional athletes, musicians, celebrities, and military heroes. Locke says, “The Dallas-Ft. Worth area is a huge part of what we are at MoJo 5-0, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to give back via both of these events. We’ve been very vocal about honoring our military heroes and continuing the legacy that Doc Thompson established, and we’re thrilled to support these non-profits that play a vital role in veterans’ causes.” MoJo 5-0 was developed, launched, and is managed by Cuddle Me Buff, LLC, a partnership of broadcasting experts encompassing all areas of the production spectrum, from operations to talent, business to sales. Within six months of launch, MoJo 5-0 went from 0 listeners to 110K unique sessions weekly, and recently celebrated its one millionth download. MoJo 5-0 is distributed by iHeartRadio, and broadcasts from custom studios near Fort Worth, Texas.
iHeartMedia Appoints Kareem Chin to Investor Relations Position. Now that iHeartMedia is listed on the NASDAQ following its exit from Chapter 11 reorganization, it is naming media industry pro Kareem Chin SVP and head of investor relations. In this position, Chin will manage iHeartMedia’s relationship with the investor community to ensure the company strategy is aligned with the needs of its equity holders. Chin will work closely with COO and CFO Rich Bressler, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, EVP and general counsel Paul McNicol, and leaders of iHeartMedia’s finance and communications teams, and will oversee the company’s investor conferences, investor meetings, and quarterly earnings releases and financial filings. He spent the last three years as VP of investor relations for Viacom.
iHeartMedia Boston Appoints Adam Ralston VP of Marketing. Boston marketing pro Adam Ralston is named vice president of marketing for iHeartMedia’s station group there that includes: news/talk WRKO, news/talk WXKS-AM, all-news WBZ-AM, and five music brands. iHeartMedia VP of programming Dylan Sprague says, “Adam’s leadership, programming and sales strategy, event experience, knowledge of the market and long history of success coupled with his strong local relationships stood out and I know he is the perfect fit. I’m thrilled to have him lead our best-in-class marketing team and contribute to our brands’ ongoing success.”
Raiders Games to Air on KYMT-FM, Las Vegas. For the 2019 NFL season, Oakland Raiders’ games will air on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KYMT “93.1 The Mountain.” Raiders games are produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks. The play-by-play is being called by broadcasting legend Brent Musburger. Former All-Pro tackle Lincoln Kennedy is handling color analysis and Chris Townsend serves as sideline reporter. This is the team’s last season playing in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before it relocates to Las Vegas in 2020.
Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, New Anti-Abortion Laws, ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). A federal judge rules President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over documents requested by congress; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; reports Iran has heightened production of enriched uranium as the U.S. warns of possible military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; the finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; and NBA/NHL playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pictured below is CMT personality Cody Alan (second from right) with members of Little Big Town at the second-annual “Live in the Vineyard Goes Country” three-day music and wine festival. Alan chatted with all of the artists appearing at the festival and interviewed Little Big Town for the syndicated radio show “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” on June 3.