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Thursday, February 4, 2021

| February 4, 2021

Round Four of Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The 2020 election aftermath created news and controversy that largely kept news/talk listeners tuned to their favorite stations during the month of December, a period that typically reflects lower 6+ weekly AQH share for talk stations due to Christmas music listening and altered listening habits due to the holiday season. Although Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis lost more than two full shares from the December to the Holiday surveys (10.0 – 7.6), it still finished as the #2 station in the market. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM finished in the #3 spot on the strength of an 8.2 share and Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ-AM wrapped the Holiday survey with a 6.0 share good for the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence dipped just one-tenth to a 5.4 share but rises to the #4 spot. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville slid from #1 to #2 after losing 1.6 shares to finish the month with an 8.4 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.

Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay to Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. On the heels of the promotion of Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier to the afternoon drive daypart, Entercom announces that Washington, DC sports media pros Brian Mitchell (right) and JP Finlay (left) are the new midday co-hosts. Mitchell – who played 10 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Washington Football Team – served for years as a host on Entercom’s recently acquired WTEM “980 The Team.” He also serves as an analyst on NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team pre-game and post-game coverage. Finlay has been NBC Sports Washington’s Washington Football Team beat reporter since 2016, and created and hosted the “Washington Football Talk Podcast.” Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay are two of the most high-profile, opinionated, and respected sports voices in the DC area. True friends off the air, ‘BMitch’ and JP’s show will feature natural chemistry, great sports information and opinion, and a lot of fun.”

New WTEM, Washington “980 The Team” Schedule Revealed. Concurrent with the story above regarding Brian Mitchell’s move to WJFK-FM, Entercom announces the new weekday program schedule for recently acquired sister sports talk station WTEM-AM “980 The Team” that goes into effect on Monday (2/8). Joining the station is Washington and Baltimore sports media pro Travis Thomas who will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Thomas most recently hosted “DC Sports Live” and “Wizards Extra” on NBC Sports Washington, as well as a Saturday afternoon radio show on “106.7 The Fan.” Reese Waters is the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. He hosted “Get Up DC” for WUSA-TV since 2017 before transitioning to a new nightly show this month. He was previously a correspondent for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and a host on the Versus network. For afternoon drive, market pros Chris Russell and Pete Medhurst join together for the “Russell and Medhurst” program. Russell has appeared in a variety of roles for “106.7 The Fan” and “980 The Team” since 2009 and is Sports Illustrated’s Washington Football Team correspondent. Medhurst joined “106.7 The Fan” as an update anchor in 2009 and has been the station’s primary fill-in host, Nationals post-game show host and fill-in play-by-play talent. Longtime market pro Kevin Sheehan remains in morning drive joined by a rotating cast of contributors.

Cumulus Media San Francisco Exec Doug Harvill to Retire. Radio executive Doug Harvill announces that he will retire from his vice president and market manager position with Cumulus Media’s San Francisco cluster – news/talk KGO-AM, news/talk KSFO-AM, sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, and classic rock KSAN-FM – on May 14. Harvill’s 46-year radio career includes spending the past 24 leading station groups in San Francisco and Sacramento. Harvill comments, “I’m leaving a wonderful and satisfying career in an industry I’ve wanted to be a part of since I was a kid. Local radio has been and continues to be a tremendous and enriching experience, but I’ve achieved my goals and exceeded my dreams. Whoever steps into the market manager role at Cumulus San Francisco is going to inherit a tremendous team of professionals and lead some of the most legendary radio stations in broadcast history.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner states, “Doug Harvill has had an amazing career in our industry and I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him these past three years. His talents run deep and he has helped so many grow and flourish in radio over the years. Congratulations, Doug – we wish you the very best in the next chapter of your life!”

Emmis Promotes James Connor to VP of Sales for Indianapolis. Rising to the vice president of sales position at Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis cluster is James Connor. He takes over for Taja Graham, who was elevated to market president last month. Connor will oversee sales efforts for news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” plus adult contemporary WYXB “B105,” country WLHK “Hank FM,” and Network Indiana. Graham says, “We are fortunate to have James’ expertise as a GM with a track record of maintaining positive cash flow and delivering creative client solutions. James’ focus on details has helped us in the restructuring of our sales force and optimizing of our inventory, which has resulted in higher market share. He is a well-known and a well-respected figure in Indiana radio, and I’m thrilled he will be leading our sales efforts.” Connor spent 20 years in Terre Haute, leading the former Emmis stations there first in sales and then as general manager, before returning to Indianapolis in 2017 to continue with Emmis when the Terre Haute Emmis cluster was sold. He has been serving as general sales manager of the Indianapolis cluster and as general manager of Network Indiana since early 2017. He will retain the title of general manager for Network Indiana. He comments, “I’m excited to lead the most dedicated, talented sales team in Indiana radio. I have tremendous respect for Taja, who has positioned us for enduring success, and I know the transition will be seamless as we continue to grow our market share despite the global challenges the pandemic presents.”

Roe Conn and Richard Roeper Partner for New Podcast. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are getting back together to host a new podcast backed by the global digital agency AmericanEagle.com. That company recently built state-of-the-art studios at its world headquarters in suburban Des Plaines where the podcast will be recorded. The “Roe and Roeper” program will be produced twice weekly with new episodes on Tuesday and Thursday focusing on pop culture and current events. Feder quotes Roeper saying, “We’ll have new shows covering pop culture, movies, TV, streaming shows, sports, and interviews with major filmmakers and actors every Tuesday and Thursday, with the goal of expanding to a daily podcast later in 2021.” The two first teamed up together co-hosting afternoon drive at WLS-AM, Chicago in 2010. Conn recently exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM after a five-year stint. Roeper is a long-time film critic for the Sun-Times and contributes to WLS-TV. AmericanEagle.com CEO Tony Svanascini says, “It’s fitting a long-time client like Richard Roeper is part of the first podcast launched from AmericanEagle.com Studios. He and Roe Conn are true talents that will bring their unique sense of humor and wit to what I’m sure will be an extremely popular podcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” personality Mike Rhyner is moving into the video streaming space via VOKAL Media Inc where he’ll host a program called “Your Dark Companion.” VOKAL says, “This weekly series features Rhyner’s musings and tales covering a wide range of topics and a variety of guests including Rangers general manager Chris Young and Dallas Morning News reporter David Moore, to name a few.” Rhyner says, “‘Your Dark Companion’ is a show I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. Streaming is the wave of the future, so when I saw the technology that VOKAL has developed I knew this is what I wanted to do. I look forward to engaging with my audience again and working with the great team at VOKAL.” The first episode premieres on February 11 at 5:00 pm CT…..iHeartMedia and the Clinton Foundation announce a new podcast hosted by President Bill Clinton titled, “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” The first episode, “How Jazz Explains Democracy” with guest Wynton Marsalis, drops today (2/4). iHeartMedia says each episode will feature Clinton’s “wide range of interests and well-known intellectual curiosity through conversations and stories with some of the most interesting people he knows about the ideas and issues that shape our interconnected world.”…..ESPN is reporting that its podcasts experienced strong growth in 2020, with downloads growing 28% to nearly half a billion. ESPN senior director, digital audio programming Pete Gianesini says, “It was another big year for ESPN Podcasts, yet another with new records and offerings. As sports return to their customary place on the calendar, we expect our momentum to continue.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Les Levine, who passed away recently at the age of 74 after complications from diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease. Levine began his sports media work handling play-by-play at WHK, Akron. He later started hosting his own sports talk show on WTAM-AM (then WWWE) following Ohio State games and Indians ballgames. Later he developed the “More Sports & Les Levine” program that was heard on WERE and WHK. The program later moved to local television. Most recently, Levine was hosting his program on Cleveland.com and was handling fill-in work at Entercom’s sports talk WKRK-FM “92.3 The Fan.”

THE ABCs of GAMESTOP MADNESS: Cybercrime Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Law professor Steve Weisman of Bentley University in Boston, founder of the groundbreaking website Scamicide.com, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Weisman provide a basic overview of the situation that led up to the events last week that rocked Wall Street by exposing just how vulnerable the stock market is to the manipulation of bad actors on social media, shady rigging by the big players, and the stark shortcomings of algorithms that dominate the second-to-second decisions that drive prices up and down – often without any regard for the actual value of companies based on their actual merits. According to Weisman, this is a very dangerous set of circumstances that threatens to create a disastrous situation potentially worse than the events of 2008. Harrison states, “I am not an expert on the stock market, and I suspect by the way that this story is being covered in the media that most reporters, commentators, and talk show hosts aren’t either. Nor am I a big fan of investing in markets I don’t reasonably understand, and I am even more averse to the idea of gambling – which I suspect is the basis of much of today’s Wall Street trading on the part of small, individual investors. So I turned to one of my most valued resources and go-to guys in the media – respected attorney Steve Weisman – for a point-by-point explanation about just what the hell is going on regarding this story and its meaning to our nation’s wealth, economy, and financial stability… not to mention what it says about the state of our values and ethics.” 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.

Biden-GOP Stimulus Negotiations, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, GOP on Cheney and Greene, Social Media and Censorship, Deadly Florida FBI Raid, Putin Jailing Critics/Navalny Sentenced, Morgan Wallen Dropped by Label & Radio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The negotiations between the Joe Biden administration and GOP leadership over a new stimulus package; the looming Donald Trump impeachment trial; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; Republican leadership in Congress deals with the attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; complaints from conservatives that they are being censored by Big Tech; the deaths of two FBI agents and wounding of three others in a Florida investigation into child porn; Vladimir Putin increases the arrests of his critics and Alexei Navalny is sentenced to two years in prison; and country artist Morgan Wallen is dropped by his record label and many U.S. radio stations for a racial slur incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

| May 28, 2020

PPM Analysis: The Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents augmented analysis of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM ratings with a look at how spoken-word stations performed (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share data). During the April survey, Washington, DC was the strongest spoken-word market with its stations combining for a 28 share. Boston was close behind with a 27.6 share and San Jose followed in third place with a 25.5 share. PPM markets showing the most improvement from the March survey to the April survey were led by Milwaukee (+4.6 shares), New York (+3.8 shares), and Salt Lake City (+3.6 shares). Conversely, markets that lost the most spoken-word share were Kansas City (-1.6 shares), Hartford (-1.4 shares), and Raleigh (-1.3 shares). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Re-Opening Across America, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Twitter, Minneapolis Protests, China’s Hong Kong Policy, and Michael Flynn Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The gradual re-opening of the economy in states across the nation; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens executive action against Twitter for ‘fact-checking’ his tweet; protesters clash with police in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police; China continues its aggressive policies in Hong Kong; and the process of “unmasking” is reviewed in the wake of the Michael Flynn case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia online publication Crossing Broad reports that sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli has been suspended a day after an on-air spat with producer Tyrone Johnson and air personality Natalie Egenolf. Missanelli, explaining his absence from the show, tells reporter Kyle Scott that he’s taking vacation time. Scott further reports that sources tell him fellow staffers at ‘The Fanatic’ are “fed up” with Missanelli and want him fired, but Scott writes that Missanelli’s show is crucial to the station’s bottom line and doubts management would take such a step…..WHAM-AM, Rochester evening host Shannon Joy tells Spectrum Local News that she had a “scary encounter” with a local man while leaving a recent re-open Rochester protest. Joy, who hosts a nightly 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on WHAM, says the man blocked her exit from a narrow street with his car, got out and screamed and ranted at her before returning to his car, taking out a large bottle of hand sanitizer and dumping it on her car. Police later arrested 40-year-old Morgan Bida and charged him with menacing…..A new date of June 15 has been set by Townsquare Media as the date it will release its first quarter 2020 financial data. The company says that the new June date will give it, along with its former and current independent accounting firms, the additional time it needs to complete the Form 10-K annual report for 2019 as well as the Form 10-Q for the quarter that ended March 31. Townsquare will hold an earnings call on that date and plans to present updates from its reporting segments for April and May…..WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee producer Rachel Frye is announced as the recipient of the first-ever Results Broadcasting Education Grant. The grant was created to provide student debt relief for broadcasters working in Wisconsin. Recipients get $1,000 for that purpose. Frye has been with WTMJ since June of 2014. She is a 2013 graduate of Western Illinois University. Good Karma Brands VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “She’s hard-working, sets a very high bar of expectations for herself and our team and sweats the details.”

WBT, Charlotte Afternoon Drive Host Brett Winterble Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the rising stars of news/talk radio, Brett Winterble of WBT, Charlotte is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” After spending nearly a decade with Rush Limbaugh as a producer, Winterble – a seasoned pro – began his own conservative talk show in 2008. Since then he has been heard on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, plus KFWB, Los Angeles and until recently KFMB-AM, San Diego before joining WBT. He’s a graduate of Emerson College and American Military University with degrees in Political Communication and Homeland Security Intelligence Studies. Among the subjects Harrison and Winterble discuss include the growth and dynamism of the Carolinas, the US military, changes in technology and the radio business, the politics of COVID-19, and the uncertain state of the Republican National Convention scheduled for Charlotte August 24-27. The interview was produced on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend with an addendum recorded immediately following President Trump’s Monday morning threat to move the convention elsewhere if the governor of North Carolina fails to guarantee the arena be opened to full capacity. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located on the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, Entercom flips WODS-FM from CHR to adult hits as “BIG 103 – Music Unleashed.” The company had cancelled “The TJ Show” starring TJ Taormina back in early April. Now, the station goes jockless at least for a while as it transitions to a format focusing on music from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with core artists including: Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears, and Blink-182, among others. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners. ‘BIG 103’ will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.” The station says it will feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time…..Beasley Media Group promotes Sherri Powers to chief engineer at its Detroit cluster that includes rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and hip hop WMGC “105.The Bounce.” Powers was most recently assistant chief engineer. She says, “It’s been incredible working in radio over the past 29 years. I’ve had the great fortune and privilege of spending a great majority of my career with the incredible Beasley Media Group stations in the Motor City. I’d like to thank Mac Edwards and the incredible people I work with every day for their support!”…..Key Networks is launching the new country radio show “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on Monday (6/1) in 16 markets across the U.S. The program’s inaugural affiliates include: WGSQ-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee; KBCR-FM, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; WAKX-FM, Palm Coast, Florida; and WYOT-FM, Rockford, Illinois. Key Networks says the show is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. It is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Friday, October 26, 2018

| October 26, 2018

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)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

| September 27, 2018

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 CarnevaleFred 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.”