NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Air That We Breathe,” looks back at this past week of April 19-23. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Joan Michelson, talk show host / producer, Green Connections Radio; and Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT America. 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.
KMOX, St. Louis Unveils New Live and Local Midday Show. Legendary St. Louis news/talk outlet KMOX-AM/K254CR goes local in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart. Audacy’s “News Radio 1120AM / 98.7FM” will debut “St. Louis Talks” featuring KMOX personalities Carol Daniel, evening talk show host Ryan Wrecker, and longtime St. Louis radio personality Bo Matthews on May 3. Audacy St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Now is the time to expand our local content offering for the people of St. Louis, and we are thrilled to have three established, well known and trusted St. Louis voices to help usher in this new era for our station. We look forward to Carol, Ryan, and Bo working in tandem with the KMOX newsroom to report and react on local, regional and national topics that affect our community as we continue building on our position as the voice of St. Louis.” Daniel says, “This is a dream come true for me to host a show on a historic radio station with talented, funny, and curious people like Bo and Ryan. My goal is to bring listeners stories about the people, places and things in the region we all love but want so much more out of.” Wrecker states, “This is our chance to do something new and exciting through one of the most significant radio stations in America. I can’t wait to work alongside Carol and Bo.” Matthews, who’s been serving with the station part-time since 2019, adds, “Getting the opportunity to share the stories of St. Louis and hear about the people that make it the special place that it is will be an honor. To get to do that with Carol and Ryan makes it even better. This is proof that you can dream big, but God dreams even bigger and makes them come true.”
Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s March 2021 sweep covered March 4 – 31. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Although it drops 1.1 shares, Waterloo Media’s KLBJ-AM, Austin remains ranked #4 in the market with a 5.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis is steady at #3 losing a full share and posting a 7.2 share. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM declines 1.4 shares to finish the March survey with an 8.4 share and falls from #1 to #2 while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ-AM sheds four-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.6 share and stays in the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets – along with his Takeaways from the first three rounds – here.
Midwest Communications’ WMBD, Peoria Makes Programming Changes. Peoria, Illinois news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY is making changes to its program schedule. Effective May 3, the Peoria-based, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” show – hosted by Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins – moves to the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and former “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” producer Craig Collins returns to the station to host the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Additionally, WMBD is adding Radio America’s “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. About the changes, Midwest Communications Peoria VP and market manager Mike Wild says, “Trying to replace Rush Limbaugh with a similar type program is a really tall order. The approach of ‘Markley, Van Camp and Robbins’ is differentiated from Rush and we can clearly point to their very successful ratings track record.” He also addresses Collins’ new role in afternoons. “Craig was the natural choice for us there. Craig is passionate, he’s already a part of the community, and because he was part of our group in the past, we know how he can contribute to the culture and success of our entire operation.”
Salem and Charlie Kirk Renew Podcast Deal. The deal between Salem Radio Network and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk in which SRN distributes and handles ad sales for “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast is extended for multiple years. SRN says “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast has become one of the top 10 news podcasts in the country on the Apple Podcast rankings amongst nearly 1.7 million podcasts on the platform. Salem first began selling ‘The Charlie Kirk Show’ podcast in November and now will sell and manage the program through the Salem Podcast Network for years to come. Kirk says, “I am thrilled and excited to extend our relationship with Salem. Salem has become a giant in conservative media and is the perfect partner for our team.” Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce adds, “Charlie’s radio show is already doing a great job filling the void in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET daypart. This podcast already delivered over 100,000,000 downloads in the last 12 months, and is valiantly fighting the culture war that we face in conservatism.”
WKNR-AM, Cleveland Welcomes Back Danny Cunningham. Sports media pro Danny Cunningham is rejoining Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM, Cleveland “850 ESPN” as a content teammate in which he’ll handle producing, writing, hosting, reporting and social media duties. Cunningham comes to WKNR from his most recent position as Minnesota Timberwolves reporter and “Vikings Vent Line” co-host at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM, Minneapolis “SKOR North.” After launching his career at WKNR in 2015, he served with Mid-West Family’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin. ESPN Cleveland director of content Matt Fishman says, “We’re thrilled to add someone of his skill and experience to the team.”
Roy Masters Dies at 93. According to a Facebook post from his son Alan Taylor, Roy Masters a pioneer in the self-help talk radio genre died yesterday (4/22) at the age of 93. Alan Taylor posted, in part: “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father Roy Masters, author, teacher and radio counselor to millions worldwide for nearly six decades. Following a storied American tradition, Roy was an immigrant who fell in love with this country from afar. Looking across the ocean from war-torn Britain, he was determined to make the ‘land of liberty’ his home. Since 1963 Roy Masters has been a radio counselor and for more than 50 years, the foundation he created has served and has continued to serve seekers worldwide on their journey to the eternal Truth that seeks us all.” Roy Masters was also the founder, along with now-retired radio executive Alan Corbeth, of Talk Radio Network which syndicated Roy Masters’ radio show for a period, and launched the syndication of Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” as well as Michael Savage’s “Savage Nation. ” Masters’ son Mark Masters served as CEO of the company for many years.
Derek Chauvin Verdict and Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 19-23. The trial and verdict in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between police reform and the Columbus, Ohio police shooting death of knife wielding teen Ma’Khia Bryant and Lebron James’ threatening tweet, followed by mass shootings in America and gun control at #3. 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.
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 Franken, Mark Levin to Thom Hartmann, Howard 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.
Monday Memo: On the Air, In the Air. Repetition is a powerful radio tactic. As billion-plus-dollar lawsuits and corporate censorship edicts throttle toxic talk post-January 6, consultant Holland Cooke asks, “Should it take that?” In this week’s column, he cautions that credibility is on thin ice. Read it here.
Pending Business: Stop Fighting, Start Selling. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that the natural reaction from sellers who face objections is to fight. “Your overwhelming instinct is to defend the pitch as designed and sidestep the objections. The poise and discipline you’ve practiced when physically face-to-face with your advertiser is lost in the current fast-moving, rapid-response world of email and text. You push your point instead of ‘listening’ to the voice behind the words in the email, text, or other digital reply.” Read Lapa’s six steps for overcoming this urge here.
Round Four of January PPM Ratings Survey Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM rises 1.5 shares to finish with a 5.7 share and the #4 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh jumps from #5 to #3 after tacking on 1.6 shares for a 7.0 share finish. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM jumps to #1 after adding 1.3 shares to finish the survey with an 8.9 share. And in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM takes over the #1 rank after adding 2.8 shares for an 11.0 share, while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ-AM rises a half share to a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.
John Fredericks Expands Radio Network into Atlanta. In a Local Marketing Agreement deal with WMLB-AM, Avondale Estates, Georgia owner Delmarva Educational Association, the Richmond, Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network begins programming the station and launches a conservative talk format. Talk host and CEO John Fredericks says, “News/talk radio is the last bastion of free and unencumbered speech in America. It’s our final frontier of free speech, and it’s a community devoid of the cancel culture now stifling and squashing free and open discussion in our country. We are honored to bring our fresh and dynamic brand of news/talk radio and cutting-edge commentary to our Atlanta metro listeners.” In conjunction with the launch of the format, John Fredericks Radio Network announces the launch of the daily “Doug Collins Show” hosted by the former Georgia Congressman. It will air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on WMLB-AM. Fredericks adds, “We are very excited to have Doug as part of our radio syndicated network and I believe his show will become immediate must-listen radio not only in Georgia but nationally. Doug has always had his finger on the pulse of America.” Collins’ show will also air live on Fredericks-owned stations in WJFN-AM/W224EB, Chester, Virginia and WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia.
Entercom Makes Lineup Changes at Portland’s ‘1080 The Fan’; Brings AJ McCord Aboard as Midday Co-Host. Portland sports talk outlet KFXX-AM, Portland, “1080 The Fan” announces the addition of KOIN-TV sportscaster AJ McCord to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show alongside Dusty Harrah for the “AJ and Dusty” show. Harrah moves from morning drive as the midday “Dirt and Sprague” show with Andy “Dirt” Johnson and Brandon Sprague shifts to morning drive. FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” continues in the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm slot and “Primetime with Isaac and Suke” featuring Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec continues in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “I’m so excited about this enhanced lineup. With Dirt and Sprague making the well-deserved move to mornings and the addition of AJ McCord in middays, ‘1080 The Fan’ will continue to provide the best content and entertainment for our listeners, and results for our advertisers.”
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Morning Radio Host Russ Martin Dead at 60. Dallas morning drive personality Russ Martin – host of the “Russ Martin Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KEGL-FM, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” – was found unresponsive at his home in Frisco, Texas early Saturday morning after a friend performed a wellness check. Authorities say the cause of death has not been determined but say that at this point, there is no foul play suspected. Martin was a longtime North Texas radio personality. He hosted an eponymous show on then-CBS Radio’s “Free FM” hot talk format on then KLLI-FM prior to its flip to sports talk as KRLD-FM “The Fan” in 2008. He joined KEGL in 2010.
Key Networks Launches ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ on 100 SportsMap Radio Affiliates. The radio show “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” hosted by Michael Barr, is debuting today on 100 SportsMap Radio affiliate stations across the country. Key Networks is syndicating the program that “takes listeners inside the business end of the sports world and explains what it means to fans and their pocketbooks. The show follows the money in the world of sports and the decisions that power the multi-billion-dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show reports on sports trades, salaries, endorsements, contracts, collective bargaining and more – all from an insider’s perspective and explains the money behind the final score.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “In today’s world, sports and business align more than ever. There is no brand better equipped than Bloomberg to report on the news and events that impact the business side of sports. We are delighted to bring this content to the SportsMap network and their affiliates around the country.”
iHeartMedia Launches ‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ in Toledo. WCWA-AM, Toledo is now “FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler.” Station owner iHeartMedia announces the programming lineup will consist of content from FOX Sports Radio and VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network). The company says the lineup will offer listeners betting guides, handicapping and strategies plus signature programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” as well as highly respected Toledo sportscaster Anthony Bellino on weekday mornings. iHeartMedia Ohio and West Virginia SVP of programming Scott Sands says, “‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, assisting our growing audience in navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”
Trump at CPAC, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Biden’s Stimulus Bill/Minimum Wage Issue, Cuomo Allegations, Virginia Legalizes Pot, Myanmar Protests, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former President Donald Trump speaks at the final day of the CPAC in Orlando; the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is approved, and concerns about variants; President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package passes the House and the battle over the $15/hour minimum wage proposal; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and increasing calls for his resignation; Virginia becomes the 16th state to legalize marijuana; more violent protests break out in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s virtual Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” 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 on every page of Talkers.com. Don’t miss this!
WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”
KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”
Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.
RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.
iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.
Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Good Karma to Flip WKTI-FM, Milwaukee to Sports Talk as ‘ESPN Milwaukee 94.5.’ When Craig Kamazin’s Good Karma Brands takes ownership of country WKTI-FM and news/talk WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee on November 1, it will flip WKTI to sports talk as “ESPN Milwaukee 94.5.” Good Karma is buying the duo from E.W. Scripps for $16 million. In a press release, Karmazin says, “This is a natural evolution of our sports marketing, event and broadcast business in Wisconsin. 94.5 FM’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister station WTMJ-AM, will provide new and exciting ways for fans to stay close to their favorite teams and provide new ways for our marketing partners to engage with Wisconsin sports fans.” WTMJ-AM is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Good Karma’s WAUK-AM “540 ESPN” airs Marquette University basketball play-by-play. Initially, both WKTI and WAUK will carry the same programming, including the “Wilde and Tausch” show featuring Packers Hall of Famer Mark Tauscher and award-winning Packers writer Jason Wilde – as well as the “Homer & Gabe” show, hosted by Steve “The Homer” True and Gabe Neitzel. This move adds another station to the sports talk battle in Milwaukee with Entercom’s WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 The Fan” and iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM “The Big 920.”
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Evacuated After Mail Bomb Scare. After receiving a suspicious package at its Jenifer St. NW offices in Washington, Cumulus Media DC called authorities and the building was evacuated from about 4:00 pm to 5:45 pm on Thursday. WRC-TV reports that police arrived and after a period determined the package was not a threat. WMAL and sister WRQX-FM staffers were allowed to return to the offices. The package was addressed to WMAL personalities, according to afternoon host Larry O’Connor, who Tweeted, “Though it does not look like the other packages we have seen the past day or two, there were some similarities. DC police examined it and immediately ordered full evacuation.” Ultimately, WMAL reporter Heather Curtis Tweeted that the package appears to have contained pieces of the Berlin Wall intended as gifts to WMAL talk show hosts.
iHeartMedia Seeks Exclusivity Extension. The company is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston for more time in the exclusivity window – the period during which only it can submit reorganization plans – because it says it’s making progress after successfully negotiating with a “vast majority of creditors.” iHeartMedia’s current exclusivity window expires on November 24 but would like the court to give it until February 7 of next year. The company says it is seeking “a further extension to ensure that the Debtors can build upon the substantial progress made to date without distraction from other competing plans.” The company further states that although this Fifth Amended Plan has not been confirmed, it and its advisers are “diligently working toward the Confirmation Hearing on December 11, 2018 and are currently in the midst of the solicitation process.” This means it’s likely that iHeartMedia will not exit Chapter 11 until sometime in early 2019.
Jed Burns to Lead Bighorn Radio Network. Radio management pro Jed Burns is promoted to vice president and general manager for Legend Communications of Wyoming’s Big Horn Radio Network. Legend Communications owners Larry and Susan Patrick say, “Jed has been with us for nearly 10 years now and he has significant management and marketing experience. Jed’s leadership will enable the Big Horn Radio Network to continue to super serve our communities, our listeners, and our advertisers throughout the Big Horn Basin.” Big Horn Radio Network operates news/talk KODI-AM, Cody; news/talk KWOR-AM, Worland and six other music outlets.
Tampa Bay Times Runs Feature Piece on Bubba the Love Sponge. The story by feature writer Christopher Spata tells that tale of the rise and fall of Tampa-based shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a., Todd Clem. In the piece, Bubba is very honest about his standing in the radio industry, his huge legal bills defending himself in the Nielsen ratings tampering suit, and the fallout from the Hulk Hogan sex tape case. Though he recently said during a guest appearance on the Howard Stern show that he lost his house, the truth is that his St. Petersburg mansion is on the market for $1.3 million. Read the Times piece here.
Beasley Media Group’s Caroline Beasley Joins ‘Most Influential Business Leaders.’ The honor comes from Florida Trend magazine as the publication releases its list of 500 executives in the state it deems the “Most Influential Business Leaders.” Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley was named among the “500 executives selected based on extensive contacts in regional business circles, hundreds of interviews and months of research, culminating in a highly selective biographical guide to the people who really run Florida.”
Democrat-Targeted Mail Bombs Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 22-26. The 10 package bombs sent to high-level Democrats and CNN was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and Senate. Coming in at #3 was the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border, followed by global financial markets activity and the wildly fluctuating Dow at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Seeks Night Host. As the Bonneville station says, this is a “golden opportunity with one of the nation’s most established and respected news/talk stations. We’re looking for a fun, entertaining, and well-informed individual who can deliver remarkable content that attracts an adults 25-54 audience. In addition, qualified candidates should be able to regularly contribute to the various digital platforms including, but not limited to regular blogs, podcasts, and/or videos, online listener chats, and use of other social media platforms in addition to emerging digital technologies.” KIRO-FM would prefer candidates have one to two years of major market hosting experience. Check out the application info and full job description here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Three changes to report at Beasley’s country WSOC, Charlotte. First, Jack Daniel takes on the program director role for both WSOC and sister Americana WBCN-AM/W234BY “94.7 Smoke” in addition to his current role as afternoon host on sister adult contemporary WKQC “K104.7.” Second, Philip Tabakelis, a.k.a. Big Sexy, is named as assistant program director for WSOC in addition to his current role as evening personality. Finally, Mimi Wheeler adds WSOC music director to her responsibilities that include serving as co-host of the “Tanner in the Morning” show and her work as assistant digital PD. Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, we found the most ideal and experienced programming team for WSOC within the walls of the station. At Beasley, we always look for ways to promote from within. I’m proud that we were able to this time with Mimi, Phillip and Jack.”…..Programmer Chris Eagan is promoted to senior director of operations at Cox Media Group’s Atlanta cluster. In this new role he’ll oversee programming for CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97-1 The River,” and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1.” Eagan joined Cox Media Group in 2008 as the program director at WEZN. In 2012, he assumed the role of director of branding and programming, responsible for on-air programming for WSB-FM and WSRV-FM. In addition, he also provides expert consultation and collaborates with six of CMG’s radio markets as AC/hot AC format leader to achieve target ratings in the adult contemporary brand…..At Entercom’s Seattle adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound,” Jeanne Ashley joins to serve as morning show co-host and assistant program director. On air, she’s partnering with John Fisher for the “John and Jeanne” show. Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “Jeanne is an exceptional radio talent and we are happy to have her join The Sound’s air team because of her deep understanding of the values of the adult contemporary format, from the interests of its fans to its music library. She is fresh, engaging, and a great fit with John’s wit and local wisdom. Her music programming skills will provide us with greater creative power in packaging and presenting The Sound’s unique blend of relaxing favorites.”…..In the Akron/Canton, Ohio market, iHeartMedia names Scott Davidson program director country WHOF-HD2/W259BW “99.7 Canton’s New Country” and adult hits WHOF “My 101.7, The 80s and More,” effective immediately. Davidson will continue his morning host role on WHOF…..Hubbard Radio’s legendary St. Louis rock outlet KSHE is launching its first official podcast that will cull the archives of its more than 50 years of interviews with rock royalty. “The KSHE Tapes” is hosted by the KSHE Morning Rock Show’s John “The U-Man” Ulett and assistant program director and afternoon drive host Favazz. They will explore the back-stories and interviews heard on KSHE over the years. Ulett is a 42-year veteran of KSHE and Favazz has been with the station for 27 years. Ulett says, “It’s fun bringing back so many great interviews that were buried in storage for so many years. Now they can live forever in the light of day.” To date, the duo has produced two podcasts, one exploring a Sammy Hagar interview and one exploring a Paul McCartney interview. Slash and Duff from Guns n’ Roses is posted today (10/26…..iHeartMedia announces what it is calling the “first ever nationwide song roadblock” in which it will play Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” across its 650 radio stations and their websites at 9:00 am (local time) on November 1 to promote the November 2 release of the Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises film, Bohemian Rhapsody…..Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3” is adding the YEA Networks-syndicated nationally syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio” program for afternoon drive, effective October 29…..Sun Broadcast Group promotes interactive project manager Alex Quintero to affiliate content manager, effective immediately. In his new position, Quintero will affiliate stations for all SBG shows and services, maintain relationships with current affiliates, assist in development of marketing materials for new affiliates and monitor effectiveness of marketing campaigns, among other duties…..Last night (10/25), superstar singer Kelly Clarkson performed at an intimate event hosted by iHeartMedia at the Rosen Shingle Creek during ANA Master of Marketing in Orlando, Florida. The night also featured a fireside chat with Clarkson and iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. Pictured below are (from l-r): iHeartMedia president/COO/CFO Rich Bressler; iHM president, entertainment enterprises John Sykes; Clarkson; Pittman; iHM president, national programming group Tom Poleman; MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan. (Photo: Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Alpha Media to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard Radio. The press release notes that a definitive sales contract between Alpha Media and Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio has yet to be signed, but they have reached an agreement in principle to transfer Alpha’s six stations in the West Palm Beach market to Hubbard for a yet-to-be-disclosed sum. Alpha says it employs about 105 people at the cluster that includes: news/talk WFTL; sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha acquired the cluster in February of 2016 with its purchase of Digity LLC. After the deal is consummated, Alpha will own 213 stations in 46 markets. The company says it has been selling off assets to lower its debt leverage.
Good Karma Announces Investors in WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM, Milwaukee Acquisition. The recently announced acquisition of E.W. Scripps’ Milwaukee duo – heritage news/talk WTMJ-AM/W277CV and country WKTI-FM – by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands LLC is being fleshed out a bit more from the financial perspective. Good Karma announces that Wisconsin-based Morgan Murphy Media – owner of WISC-TV, Madison and WKBT-TV, La Crosse – is investing in the deal along with a group of local investors that includes: Ted Kellner, chairman and CEO of T&M Partners, LLC; Gale and Judi Klappa (Gale Klappa is chairman and chief executive of WEC Energy Group); David Marcus, CEO of Marcus Investments; and Greg Marcus, CEO of Marcus Corporation. Morgan Murphy Media EVP and COO Brian Burns states, “Craig and his team at Good Karma Brands truly understand what it means to serve a local community. We are excited to be in business with a group of people we’ve known for years who have an outstanding track record of success.” It’s already been announced that upon closing, Milwaukee broadcasting management pro Steve Wexler will assume the vice president and market manager role with the two stations as well as Good Karma’s sports WAUK, Waukesha “540 ESPN,” ESPN Digital, the Wisconsin Sports Awards, and the Tundra Trio. Craig Karmazin adds, “We’re thrilled to welcome longtime friends, business partners, and members of the community to the Good Karma Brands team. The addition of prominent local investors will further our relationship with the Milwaukee community and, paired with Steve Wexler’s leadership, will help guide our businesses to greater heights. Good Karma’s focus has always been serving our marketing partners, fans and teammates, and today’s announcement is a huge boost for all three.”
Rich Zeoli Hosts FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett for WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) with FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett (right) after Zeoli interviewed Jarrett at the sold-out WPHT Speaker Series live event that included a discussion of Jarrett’s book The Russia Hoax.
Seen & Heard at the Radio Show: Day 2. The National Association of Broadcasters reports that attendance at this year’s 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show is up 8% with 2,130 persons registered. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay is in Orlando reporting from Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. McKay says that monetizing podcasting, the connected car, the state of news/talk radio and more were topics of discussion. Read his report here.
TALKERS News Notes. From a report in Variety comes news that FOX News is unveiling a new tagline for its subscription service FOX Nation: “Opinion Done Right.” The story says, “The slogan would suggest the new service, said to be aimed at FOX News ‘superfans,’ will emphasize the opinion programming that brings top ratings to the 21st Century FOX cable news network’s primetime lineup.” FOX TV will promote the new service during tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast…..The NBA’s Boston Celtics and Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” announce a multi-year extension for the station to continue serving as the official flagship for the club’s radio broadcasts. Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell continue their play-by-play duties while Celtics general manager and president of operations Danny Ainge will appear on the “Toucher & Rich Show” Thursday mornings at 9:00 during the season and head coach Brad Stevens will join “Zolak & Bertrand” each Wednesday around 12:00 noon…..The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas acquires the papers of reporter and columnist Paul Colford – a journalist who, in addition to numerous accomplishments, wrote biographies of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. During his career, Colford reported for New York Newsday and the New York Daily News and served as vice president for media relations at the Associated Press. The papers include considerable research materials on the subjects of his biographies, The Rush Limbaugh Story (1993) and Howard Stern: King of All Media (1996). Colford says, “As a media columnist and biographer, I’ve often found gold and indispensable details in libraries and archives around the country, including the Briscoe Center. I’m honored and thrilled to know my files, photos, clippings, and other documents will be preserved and made available before long to media historians, students, and other journalists for their work in years to come.” The Briscoe Center’s news media holdings include the papers of New York newspapermen Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett, as well as those of social columnists Walter Winchell and Liz Smith…..ESPN senior writer Mina Kimes agrees to a multiyear extension with the sports media giant. Along with news of the signing comes the launch of her NFL-themed podcast, “Bootleg with Mina Kimes.” Kimes continues to write for ESPN The Magazine as well as continuing to appear on shows such as “Around the Horn”; as a co-host on “The Morning Roast on ESPN Radio with Domonique Foxworth and Clinton Yates”; guesting on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and “Highly Questionable”; as a debater on “First Take”; as a contributor to “E:6”; appearances on “Get Up”; and more…..iHeartMedia, in collaboration with HowStuffWorks, is launching a new, original podcast on October 3 called, “Unobscured,” that focuses on the Salem witch trials. Aaron Mahnke – host of the popular podcast “Lore” – is hosting “Unobscured.”…..California-based not-for-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is acquiring another Chicagoland signal – this time it’s WCPT-FM, DeKalb from WDEK Inc – and the purchase price is $1.6 million. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker. If you recall, EMF was the recent surprise buyer of heritage Windy City FM WLUP, for which it paid $21.5 million. WCPT-FM has been airing progressive talk, also heard on WCPT-AM, Willow Springs, Illinois…..SiriusXM is airing live, hole-by-hole coverage of the 2018 Ryder Cup tomorrow through Sunday from Le Golf National near Paris. Listeners will hear a combination of SiriusXM’s exclusive broadcast featuring calls by Earl Forcey, Mark Carnevale, Fred Albers, John Maginnes and Carl Paulson, as well as the IMG-produced broadcast led by longtime European golf broadcaster Richard Kaufman. After each day’s play, listeners will hear post-match shows hosted by SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour, John Maginnes and Ron Green…..Pictured below are some of the participants on the Wednesday Headliner Session at the 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The panel, moderated by PodcastOne founder and chairman Norm Pattiz, was titled, “The Podcast Boom.” From left to right are: Elaina Smith, co-host, “NASH Nights Live”; singer-songwriter Jewel; Suzanne Grimes, president, Westwood One and EVP, corporate marketing, Cumulus Media; and Kaitlyn Bristowe from television’s “The Bachelorette.”
Kavanaugh Hearing, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Trump’s China Election Interference Accusation/Press Conference, China Trade War, Midterm Elections, Fed Hikes Interest Rates, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26). Today’s Senate hearing for the accusation made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; President Trump’s claim during his UN speech that China is trying to interfere with U.S. elections and the president’s subsequent press conference; the tariffs being placed on U.S. and Chinese goods; the November midterm elections and which party will control congress; the Fed raises interest rates again and speculation about the strength of the U.S. economy; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push 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. Another entrant into the world of podcasting is iHeartMedia personality Mario Lopez. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says that the “iHeartRadio Countdown” host will launch a new podcast network this fall that will be available on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network platform. The network will feature several iHeartRadio Original podcasts including an up-close-and-personal look into the life of Mario Lopez. He’ll also executive produce an additional slate of podcasts to roll out in the near future…..Air personality Heather Davis joins Curtis Media’s country WQDR, Raleigh to host middays and serve as APD and music director. She comes to Curtis from Cumulus Media’s WKDF, Nashville…..At E.W. Scripps’ rock KQXR, Boise “100.3 The X,” morning personalities Jeremy “Nic” Nicolato and Jeremi “Big J” Schlader sign new, two-year deals to continue hosting “The Morning After.” Nic, who also serves as program director, says, “It’s an honor to wake up every morning and deliver this show to the Treasure Valley. Knowing we will be able to mark 13 years of doing it feels fantastic.”
Tom Langmyer to Exit WTMJ and WKTI-FM in Milwaukee; Steve Wexler to Lead the Stations for Good Karma. Management and programming pro Tom Langmyer will be replaced at heritage Brew Town news/talker WTMJ-AM and country WKTI-FM by a familiar face – former Journal Communications and E.W. Scripps executive Steve Wexler. He headed Journal’s radio division and stayed with the stations after they became part of E.W. Scripps. Buffalo native Langmyer – who rose from program director at KMOX, St. Louis to station manager, then served as GM of WGN, Chicago – will stay with the stations until Good Karma assumes control.
Francesa’s Mike’s On App Is Released. New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s new app – dubbed Mike’s On after the name of his new WFAN show – has been released. The new digital platform for Francesa is a collaborative effort between Francesa’s agency CAA and WFAN owner Entercom. In addition to giving listeners digital access to his daily radio show, it will include exclusive extras such as a Saturday college football show and a Sunday NFL show. Francesa also is promising to comment on sports stories as they happen, anytime day or night. The app is $8.99 a month – a price point that some are criticizing for being higher than the typical media app. In a press statement, Francesa says, “I wanted to create my own exclusive platform to provide fans and subscribers with fresh content to complement the WFAN program they have known and trusted for decades, but with a level of information and immediacy they have never experienced before. If it’s breaking news at 7AM or 1AM after a crushing defeat, fans will hear from me instantaneously. No barriers. No restrictions.”
KKNT, Phoenix Host Seth Leibsohn to Sue Political Consulting Firm Over Services. According to a report by the Arizona Republic’s Ronald Hansen, KKNT, Phoenix “960 The Patriot” afternoon drive talk show host Seth Leibsohn is suing political consulting firm Compass Strategies for its failure to assist him in getting enough qualified signatures in his bid to run for U.S. Rep. in Arizona’s 9thcongressional district. After ending his bid for congress – for which he was prepared to leave his radio show due to equal time concerns – Leibsohn spoke about the matter on his radio show and said he was assured by Compass that all was well with the nomination signatures. The paper quotes Leibsohn saying, “I am embarrassed about it and I am ashamed over it and I am committed to doing everything I can to give the donors to this campaign their money back. We were assured on multiple occasions all was going well and there was no problem. Indeed, some on the campaign staff joked…about other campaigns having problems but not ours. Well the joke as it turned out — the terrible, awful joke — was on me and on you. The others had the signatures and we did not.” The story notes that the Leibsohn campaign had raised $144,000 as of June. Read the Republic piece here.
Michael Harrison Says Trump Uses His Contentious Relationship with the Press to Political Advantage. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison participated in a discussion about media and news bias in covering President Trump in a conversation on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) yesterday (8/23) on “Across America with Carol Costello.” In a conversation with the show’s host, Carol Costello, and media analyst Bill Carter, former media reporter for The New York Times, Harrison says that there is blatant bias being perpetrated by both the pro- and anti-Trump media. He attributes it to the long-running trend of the media “targeting audiences for commercial purposes” and confirming people’s pre-determined opinions (pro and con) about the president in the process. Harrison states, “There is nothing wrong with political opinion – it’s a cherished tradition in journalism – as long as it is disclaimed as such and done in good spirit and good will. We’ve lost sight of that and a lot of people don’t know the difference.” As far as Trump complaining that 80% of the coverage of his presidency is fake news, Harrison says, “Trump uses the contentiousness [with the press] to his advantage with his base and wouldn’t want it any other way.” To view the entire segment, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Jack Phillips (second from left) – the Colorado baker whose refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on religious beliefs that was the subject of the recent 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court victory – visited the Salem Media Group Los Angeles offices seeking support for his Alliance Defending Freedom legal team. From left to right are: Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Phillips, SRN vp/news & talk programming Tom Tradup; and SRN talk host Larry Elder…..On today’s edition of the syndicated “John Fredericks Radio Show,” U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) – who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces – sat in as guest host…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WOKY “The Big 920” is going local in the midday, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd with Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play man Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, and former WAUK “540 ESPN” personality Mitch “Thunder” Nelles hosting “The Crossover” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm daily…..Entercom’s WWEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for football and men’s basketball play-by-play broadcasts. Additionally, the station will air the weekly “UMass Insiders Show” featuring UMass football head coach Mark Whipple, men’s basketball head coach Matt McCall and men’s hockey head coach Greg Carvel. WWEI-FM carries sports talk programming from Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston…..At the recent Beasley Media Group managers meeting, Jonathan Kraft, president of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, was the featured guest speaker. Kraft participated in a lunchtime “fireside chat” with WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Marc Bertrand at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Pictured below (from l-r) are: Dr. Bob Beasley, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Kraft, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman of the board George Beasley, COO/EVP Brian Beasley and president Bruce Beasley. Photo: HSA Photo.
Lars Larson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran radio talk show host, Lars Larson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Operating out of KXL in Portland, Oregon, he is an “iron man” hosting six hours of radio every weekday. He starts this daily marathon by hosting 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm PT on a network of about 20 regional stations, including KXL, on Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network. Then he immediately plugs into his Compass Media Networks coast-to-coast roster of about 150 radio stations and does a national show from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. He shows up to work every day prior to going on the air at around 6:00 am and puts in about six hours of prep time to be up to date on all the local, regional, and national issues. And he performs his shows standing up to attain proper breathing and projection! He’s been hosting radio shows in the Northwest for more than four decades since he was 16 years old and he just celebrated his 15th anniversary in national syndication. Along the way, he also did some top-notch work for 20 years as a television reporter and news anchorman… but radio is his first love. Larson is a highly regarded dyed-in-the-wool conservative who has received more than 70 awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Press Club, including two Emmy’s and a Peabody for his reporting and documentaries. Harrison and Larson take a deep dive into exploring the state of talk radio, the changing nature of journalism, the differences between radio and TV, and his personal recipe for on-air durability. 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 every page on Talkers.com.
Longtime Garden Show Host Paul Parent Dies Unexpectedly. Condolences go out to the family and friends of Boston-based garden show host Paul Parent. His son Michael contacted TALKERS magazine to let the industry know that Paul passed away unexpectedly last week. He’d been hosting a gardening show on the radio for the past 34 years. Beginning his “Paul Parent Garden Club” at WRKO in 1984 during the reign of talk radio greats Jerry Williams and Gene Burns, he worked there for 15 years before going into national syndication. At the time of his death, his show was syndicated by Genesis Communications Network.
Manafort Conviction and Cohen Guilty Plea Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 20-24. The conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on financial fraud charges and the guilty plea by former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to campaign finance violations tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia Investigation. Coming in at #3 was the Mollie Tibbetts murder case, followed by President Trump’s ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South Africa’s farm expropriation program and Trump’s Jeff Sessions criticisms tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Brian Paiz is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. He joins the company from IBX Media in Greenville, North Carolina where he was brand manager for WRHD-HD2. Paiz has also held several programming positions for iHeartMedia, including program director for iHeartMedia’s “100.1 The Beat” and director of urban programming for WIBB and “V101.7” in Macon, Georgia…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” picks up new affiliate stations as KEDB-FM, Des Moines; KRWN-FM, Farmington, New Mexico; KIWA-FM, Sioux City; and WRHL, Rockford, Illinois add the program to their lineup. Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Wolfman Jack is back and blowing up the airwaves again. In my 30-plus years of launching network programming for radio stations to broadcast, I have never seen these many affiliations so quickly. The Wolfman legend continues.”…..Univision’s hip hop KBBT, San Antonio “The Beat 98.5” is adding Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” featuring Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy for morning drive…..iHeartMedia announces Mike “McCabe” Kerr is named program director at CHR WERZ, Exeter, New Hampshire “Z107.” McCabe will also host the afternoon drive program. iHeartMedia New Hampshire SVP of programming Tim Moore says, “Mike’s talent and experience stood out immediately and we are thrilled to have him join the iHeartMedia New Hampshire team. He’s a true radio geek — which I love — from on-air to programming — and even engineering! This guy is the real deal and we can’t wait for him to help take ‘Z107’ to even greater heights!” McCabe joins the New Hampshire market from Saga Communications Ithaca where he most recently served as the program director and morning host for WFIZ “Z95.5.”