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Friday, July 24, 2020

| July 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “BLM and MLB!” looks back at this past week of July 20-24, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Lars Larson, talk show host KXL, Portland/Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaSteve Trevelise, talk show host, New Jersey 101.5/WIP, Philadelphia; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/commentator, “MD Edge Psychcast.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Mike Francesa Announces Retirement from WFAN and RADIO.COM. New York City sports talk legend Mike Francesa announced on Thursday’s program that this afternoon’s program (Friday, July 24) would be his last regularly scheduled show on “The Fan.” He told his listeners, “Tomorrow night will be my last regularly scheduled broadcast on ‘The Fan.’ I have been discussing this with the company for a while. We agreed I would stay until sports came back. The reason – I have cut back dramatically. This has been a very strange year. It has made me think about different things and do different things.” Francesa has been at Entercom’s WFAN for 33 years. He left the station at the end of 2017 when his contract ran out and WFAN replaced him with Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, but Francesa returned four months later and resumed his afternoon show, bumping the trio to middays. At the end of 2019, Francesa’s schedule was dramatically changed as he began hosting a half-hour program on WFAN and a full hour on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM. Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moved from middays into the afternoon drive slot. Senior vice president and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Mike has been the heart of WFAN for over 30 years, and though his day in and day out presence has come to an end, that bond happily will continue. The future of WFAN as the premiere sports platform in New York is bright, and that is in large part to the foundation that Mike has helped build.”

WHUB-AM, Cookeville, Tennessee Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above (from l-r) are Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, WHUB program director and morning drive host Brent Fleshman, and Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter recognizing the 80th anniversary of the Zimmer Broadcasting station. It went on the air on July 20, 1940. Fleshman – a 2016 NAB Marconi winner for Small Market Personality of the Year – tells TALKERS magazine that the company recently built a brand-new studio specifically for the news/talk station to accommodate more guests.

iHeartMedia Adds Sports Talker to Eau Claire, Wisconsin Market. There’s a new sports talk outlet in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin market as iHeartMedia drops the classic hits simulcast on WBIZ-AM/W254CN and launches “98-7 The Fan” on the two signals The station cherry-picks sports talk shows heard in other Wisconsin and Minnesota markets for its programming. Morning drive “The Power Trip” and 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show “The Common Man” emanate from the company’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” and late morning “Nine to Noon with John Kuhn” and afternoon drive “Drew & KB” are based at WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming Dave DeVille says, “The Chippewa Valley is often a house divided when it comes to Wisconsin and Minnesota sports teams. We’ve curated a home base station for all sports fans to enjoy.” The station will air Chippewa Valley area high school sports and professional sports including Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings and Milwaukee Bucks.

TALKERS News Notes. WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the air. Walt Palmer is director of broadcast operations, engineering, and programming for the Resort Broadcasting Co station. He tells TALKERS magazine, “‘Sunny 92.7’ music morphed to ‘The TALK of Delmarva,’ providing 20 hours of live programming, 10 of which are live and local. Resort Broadcasting has assured listeners it is committed to serving the local communities with news, talk, sports, and information.” The station features local hosts Mike Bradley in AM drive, Jake Smith in late mornings, and Duke Brooks in afternoon drive…..SmartTalk Radio Network and WCGO, Chicago talk radio personality Blanquita Cullum – host of “The Hard Question” – is the moderator of the Voices Against Trafficking international human rights forum that will stream via Facebook Live on July 29 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Cullum tells TALKERS magazine, “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest-growing, multibillion-dollar criminal industry exploiting men, women, and children across the globe. This program will feature leading national and international human rights activists sharing details on many aspects of the current state of human trafficking.” Guest speakers include: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, numerous U.S. members of congress, internet safety leaders, law enforcement experts, and survivors who are forging a new path for human rights…..Entercom’s St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” renews to serve as an outlet for Kansas City Chiefs football play-by-play and will simulcast broadcasts from sister station WDAF-FM, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf,” the team’s flagship station.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WCXI, Detroit to News/Talk. Detroit outlet WCXI-AM flips from oldies to conservative talk using a lineup of conservative talk shows from Premiere Networks and FOX News Radio. Branded “Freedom 1160 WCXI” by owner Birach Broadcasting Corporation, the station’s lineup consists of: “FOX News Rundown” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Guy Benson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Buck Sexton from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Dan Bongino from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” in overnights.

Schools Opening Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 20-24. The debate over how to safely open schools this fall was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spike in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was talk about health care, vaccine development, and the $1.95 billion deal for Pfizer to develop a vaccine, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the GOP-crafted stimulus package 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 complete chart here.

Independent Broadcasters Association Organizes. The new Independent Broadcasters Association announces that it has filed articles of incorporation in the State of Minnesota and is “officially in business.” Founding organizer Ron Stone of Adams Radio Group says, “We filed the articles last Friday, on a day where we were 96% of our 3,000-station goal. 2,877 stations had signed up, represented by just under 600 owners / operators. We continue to have additional owners signing up every day.” He adds that the initial board of directors has been selected and includes: Deborah Barrera, R Communications; Kristin Cantrell, Seven Mountains Media and Cap City Communications; Darrell Calton, Iliad Media Group; Allen Dick, Dick Broadcasting; Mike Flood, Flood Communications; Kenneth Forte, R&F Communications; Charles Johnson, Northstar Broadcast; Kimberly Martinez, All Pro Broadcasting; Gregory Pretko, Southern Stone Communications; Kelly Radandt, Woodward Radio Group; Tony Renda, Renda Broadcasting; David Stephens, Stephens Media Group; Ron Stone, Adams Radio Group; Tony Richards, Kensington Digital; Cindy Taylor, Ohio Midland Newsgroup; Rebecca White, Salem Media (of Indiana); and Sandra Woodruff, Northwest Indy Radio. Stone adds, “Our first board meeting will be scheduled for next week, to decide mostly organizational matters and to approve our business plan. We will have a conference call with everyone that has signed up on www.radioiba.org schedule shortly after the board meeting to review the business plan and goals of the IBA.” New members are still being accepted.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes the 2020 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine announce the publication of the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We are proud to publish the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in way that puts them among the “most important.” See this year’s Heavy Hundred here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bringmethenews.com reports that Northern Lights Broadcasting has let go of alternative KQGO “Go 96.3” morning show “Ben and Dana” – Ben Holsen and Dana Wessel – in a budget-related move. Wessel tweeted to listeners: “Got some news to share. I was let go by ‘Go963.’ Covid is having a big impact on a lot of businesses and radio is no different. I wanna say thanks and send love to all my colleagues, especially Ben for putting up with me every morning. I have been at ‘Go’ since the day it launched and poured my heart and soul into it.”…..Cox Media Group Orlando moves CHR WPYO afternoon host Danie B and evening personality Kevin Kon to the morning drive daypart as “Danie & Kevin Mornings on Power 95.3.” WPYO brand manager Will Calder says, “I have been watching their chemistry for years and they truly are the best of friends and have the kind of relationship with each other – and our listeners – that make those deep memorable, emotional connections. Moving them to mornings felt like such a natural fit as they will definitely take over Central Florida.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Christopher Squire vice president of sales for its Philadelphia station group, effective immediately. Squire was most recently general sales manager for Townsquare Media’s Trenton-Princeton stations. Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore states, “I am thrilled to add Chris to our team. He is someone that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years and have been impressed by his leadership qualities, his ability to build meaningful relationships with client partners and his dedication to helping the people he works with succeed. His positive outlook and enthusiasm are contagious and I can’t wait to continue to build on our team’s success with his help.”…..Sales and management pro Johnette Cochran has been director of sales for Adams Radio Group’s five station Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland operations consisting of five music brands since December of 2019. Now, she rises to vice president and general manager for the cluster. She says, “I’m delighted to grow into this position with Adams Radio Group. Becoming a general manager has always been my goal and I am blessed to have this opportunity on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. I have been connecting to the community in a limited way during Covid, and now I’m free to truly get out and get to know the people in this great market.”

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Radio’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”