Connoisseur Media Connecticut has an opening for a part-time, fill-in swing talk show host to substitute weekdays on WICC-AM/FM, Bridgeport. This position will work unique weekday hours filling in for our talk show hosts. The ideal candidate will be able to execute either two- or four-hour air-shifts on WICC, along with booking guests, creating compelling local content, fielding listener phone calls, and pivoting subject matter as the news cycle dictates. This position will have different hours based on need. Find out more about the position here. Please send your resume and 3-minute demo to firstname.lastname@example.org with “SWING TALK SHOW HOST” in the subject line.
Connecticut probate judge Lisa Wexler – who also hosts the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Connoisseur Media’s WICC-AM, Bridgeport – is being honored with the 2023 Liberty Bell Award from the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association. Wexler will receive the award at the GBBA’s annual Law Day event on May 1. The Liberty Bell Award is given to an individual who “is really good at providing services to our community, for betterment of our community, and has demonstrated over time a desire to serve our community vis a vis rule of law.” Wexler comments, “I’m very grateful to receive this distinguished award. I try every day to promote respect for the rule of law and encourage civic engagement. It’s the cornerstone of my mission as a talk radio host and a primary value I bring to my role as probate judge.”
There’s a lot being said lately about podcasting but much of it is from the consumer or amateur perspective. Within the talk radio business, podcasting plays an important but idiosyncratic role that has specific ties to talent, sales, and the extension of branding. The forthcoming TALKERS 2023 conference on June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island will present a panel discussion charged with tightly focusing on the relationship between the talk radio industry – specifically its talent, stations and networks – and the burgeoning-but-murky world of podcasting.
Moderated by Lisa Wexler, talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT, the panel will consist of (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, SVP, The Weiss Agency; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Ron Hartenbaum, managing partner, WYD Media; Chris Oliviero, market president, Audacy New York; David Pakman, talk show host/commentator, The David Pakman Show; and Larry Young, talk show host, The Larry Young Podcast.
The session will aggressively address such questions as: What are the different types of podcasts associated with radio and what are their purposes? How can radio companies utilize podcasting to expand their brands while not watering down ratings or personnel energy? What are the developing models for podcast monetization? How can a talk talent use podcasting to forge an independent career? Plus a whole lot more.
The details of other panels and sessions addressing programming, sales, sports talk, career navigation, news and more will be posted in TALKERS during the next few days and weeks leading up to the big event.
TALKERS 2023 will take place on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island is on its way to an early sellout. You can see the list of in-person speakers and get registration and hotel information here.
Lisa Wexler, a woman of many accomplishments and talents, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Wexler hosts the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on Connoisseur Broadcasting’s western Connecticut news/talk giant WICC, Bridgeport. In 2013, she was elected Westport/Weston Connecticut Probate Judge – and re-elected two more consecutive times as a Republican and recently a fourth time as a Democrat…. all by wide margins. Wexler has been the recipient of numerous broadcasting awards and accolades, including the prestigious Gracie Award. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the New York University School of Law. She is admitted to the New York and Connecticut Bars. She co-wrote the international best-seller, Secrets of a Jewish Mother (Penguin/Dutton, 2010) with her mother, Gloria Kamen (an advice columnist) and her sister, Jill Zarin (one of the original Housewives of New York City). Listen to the podcast here.
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, is now posted. This new episode titled “Juries & Judgements” looks back at this past week of 10/10-10/14. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Gary Nolan, talk show host, 93.9 The Eagle, Columbia, MO/USA Radio Network/Talk Media Network; Jack Heath, talk show host, the Pulse of NH; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte, NC; Ethan Bearman, attorney/commentator; and Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on 100-plus broadcast signals and networks across the U.S. and U.K as well as having developed a significant international following as a podcast. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is 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.
Report: Continued Growth In Spoken-Word Audio Consumption. According to the NPR and Edison Research “Spoken-Word Audio Report,” the number of spoken-word audio listeners has increased by 26 million in the last eight years. Scheduled in two weeks (Thursday, 10/27), a 2:00 pm webinar presentation of the findings from the fourth annual such report explores specific types of spoken-word content, various spoken word platforms, and devices used to consume spoken-word content. National Public Media vice president of sponsorship marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research vice president Megan Lazovick will take part in the live webinar. Among topics they will cover are: how spoken-word audio fits into this country’s overall landscape; how “Gen Z” listeners consume spoken-word audio; how daily spoken-word audio listeners consume audio; which devices and platforms are used to listen to spoken-word audio; and how podcasts continue to impact the growth of spoken-word audio. The report includes trending data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, which measures daily listening habits of Americans using a 24-hour diary.
Cumulus Media Transfers Divello To Montgomery As VP/MM. The four-year vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media Abilene (Texas), Paula Divello (pictured at right), shifts to the company’s Montgomery (Alabama) stations in the same capacity. Cumulus Media Montgomery’s five-station cluster includes news/talk WLWI “News Radio 1440” and sports talk WMSP “Sports Radio 740.” Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Mark Sullivan remarks, “I’m excited for Paula’s next leadership role in Montgomery, as she has been such a positive force in [our] company. I look forward to working alongside her as she continues her track record of delivering strong results.” Divello comments, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead Cumulus Montgomery [and look forward] to joining the team [there]. I look forward to working in collaboration with our great employees on our next chapter of growth and success, making a positive impact on our staff, listeners, and advertisers alike.” Divello joined Cumulus Media’s Shreveport (Louisiana) stations five years ago as director of sales. She previously had similar responsibilities for Townsquare Media Lufkin, Texas and was digital marketing manager and senior account executive for Raycom Media.
Connecticut Senator Slams Jones. “I mean, Alex Jones is a clown.” That declaration was made by Senator Chris Murphy (pictured at right) during an interview on Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast. “I can’t understand what goes on inside the brain of somebody like that. I can’t understand [how] any human being would delight in torturing the parents of dead children. I don’t know how you live with yourself if that’s what you do every day.” The Connecticut Democrat called on top Republican and conservative leaders to publicly denounce Jones in the wake of Wednesday’s (10/12) jury verdict that the “Infowars” talk show host must pay nearly $1 billion to the families of children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. From 2007 – 2013, Murphy represented the Connecticut district where Sandy Hook is located; he has a long relationship with the families of the victims. “I want the focus to be much more broadly than on Alex Jones,” Murphy commented. “I’m not going to change Alex Jones’ business model, but man, why aren’t there more Republicans out there condemning this guy? Why is he still invited to all of these conservative conferences until the political right decides that these conspiracy theorists, these Sandy Hook harassers, are going to be purged from the right? Somebody will replace Alex Jones, because there’s a market there for it. So the culpability here is on Jones, but it is also much more broadly on the Republican Party that continues to celebrate Alex Jones.” In 2015, – three years after the Sandy Hook killings – then-presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on “Infowars” and praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.
Donnolo Drops “Positively Sex” Podcast. Intimacy specialist Lila Donnolo’s weekly 46-episode iHeartPodcast Original “Positively Sex! with Lila” premiered yesterday (10/13). The series explores intimacy of all kinds through a sex-positive talk show on timely, tender and taboo topics. According to Donnolo, “As a society, we’ve become aware – more than ever before – of just how much we need intimacy in order to thrive. Most of us were indoctrinated with sexual shame, and this shame is detrimental to all aspects of our lives. The world desperately needs sex-positivity now. That’s why I’m so incredibly delighted to have iHeartRadio in my corner. iHeartRadio has given me a global megaphone: To paraphrase my psychiatrist friend, I’m so excited for the world to get to hear these perspectives.” Donnolo will host a multitude of episode formats including editorialized segments; “on-the-street” style interviews; intimate one-on-one conversations; and “kiss-and-tell” storytelling. Her five-year “Horizontal with Lila” podcast of conversations about sex, love, and relationships, which concluded earlier this year, was entirely recorded while she was lying down.
TALKERS News Notes. In a memo to his fellow WCBS-AM staff members, reporter Peter Haskell reveals that a rare voice disorder – spasmodic dysphonia – is causing him to exit the Audacy New York all-news outlet. Describing his 30-year career at “News Radio 880” as “the journey of a lifetime,” Haskell notes he has “come to the realization” that what he’s been doing “is unsustainable” and as much as he has tried, he “just can’t overcome the problems” with his voice. … Nine industry figures – including iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and Cromwell Media president Bayard “Bud” Walters – will be honored next month (11/15) for lifetime achievement by The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation. Hosted by ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang, LABF’s annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” luncheon ceremony at New York’s Gotham Hall will be produced by the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. In addition to Pittman and Walters, this year’s “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronics Arts” honorees are: TV chef Julia Child (honored posthumously); Standard Media Group chief executive officer Deb McDermott; CBS Sports chair Sean McManus; multi-award winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson; E.W. Scripps president/chief executive officer Adam Symson; ; recently-retired NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams; and CNN anchor/Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria. The LABF event honors creators, innovators, performers and journalists who have left an indelible mark on the field of electronic arts. Proceeds from the luncheon support the work of LABF, which includes the Library of American Broadcasting, housed at the University of Maryland.
Ross Rises to CPB Chair. By unanimous vote, former chief of staff to a New York State attorney general/retired attorney Laura G. Ross has been elected chair of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. Meanwhile, onetime Wyoming PBS general manager and Wyoming PBS Foundation president Rubydee Calvert is elected vice chair. Ross comments, “It’s an honor and a privilege to work with my fellow board members; CPB’s leadership and staff; and our public media colleagues in support of our mission to serve the American people in communities across the country. As a result of our combined efforts, Americans of all backgrounds support the content and services of public media.” Ross has been CPB’s vice chair since 2020 and has been on the board since 2018. Four-year board member Calvert adds, “I second Laura’s statement of commitment to the outstanding work of CPB and its support of the mission of public media. I want to thank my fellow board members and the superb CPB staff for their dedicated service to public media.”
KWAM Seeks News Staffers. KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” is expanding its local news coverage. KWAM has promoted Ben Deeter – executive producer of “Wake Up Memphis” – to full-time news anchor and anchor of the radio station’s political coverage. KWAM owner Todd Starnes says there are plans to add more reporters and anchors. Email resumes to: email@example.com.
FOX News Media Seeks Freelance Radio Anchor. This onsite position in either Los Angeles, Chicago or New York is a freelance radio anchor for the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Learn more about this position here.
Reporter Position Open at FOX News Media in Washington, DC. For this onsite reporter position FOX News Media is looking for an experienced, full-time reporter to join the Washington DC team. You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgment and the ability to break important news stories. Learn more and apply here.
Freelance Producer/Editor Opportunity at FOX News Media. This exciting opportunity is based in New York for a freelance producer/news editor to supervise the staff for our network radio news operations (terrestrial and FOX News Headlines 24/7 – Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this role you are our editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. This is fast-moving news environment! Your ability to thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven newsroom allows you to deliver top-quality segments/newscasts. You excel at multi-tasking and pay close attention to details. Your writing and editing skills are excellent and your editorial judgment is first-rate. Find out more here.
Jones Must Pay Nearly $1 Billion In Sandy Hook Defamation Case. A Connecticut jury has ordered “Infowars” talk show host Alex Jones to pay $965 million in total damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings and an FBI agent. Additional damages covering attorneys’ fees will be determined next month. The verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury. Not sounding remorseful on yesterday’s radio show (Wednesday, 10/12), Jones railed against the jury’s decision, urging listeners to send money or buy supplements sold on his website. He stated, “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland [but] we’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.” Jones actually cheered as the judge listed off millions in damages for each count. After one count was read, Jones said, “Get those numbers up.” At times he gave thumbs-up and raised his hand in the air. Jones and Free Speech Systems – parent of his Infowars content company – were held liable for defamation for spreading false stories that the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax and the victims were actually “crisis actors,” who were following a script written by the government to build support for gun control. Fifteen plaintiffs were awarded damages in the case, one of three suits against Jones from his conspiracy theories about the shooting. The largest single award of $120 million went to Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed in the shooting. Jones spent years mocking Parker as an actor. The plaintiffs also included an FBI agent who responded to the shooting; he was awarded $90 million in damages. An earlier suit in Texas awarded one victim’s parents close to $50 million. Another case is going to the damages phase after Jones lost the suit.
Jim Bohannon is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio superstar Jim Bohannon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Yesterday (10/10), the radio industry was shocked and deeply saddened at the announcement by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One in TALKERS that one of its longest running, most successful and universally beloved syndicated talk show hosts would be hanging up his headphones on Friday October 14th due to health issues. It was a surprise to many – but industry insiders were already aware that this broadcasting legend was suffering from an advanced case of esophageal cancer… and the prognosis was increasingly grim. His career that spanned more than five decades including the past 30 as host of his solid late-night syndicated show is one of the greatest of all time. His achievements include induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Radio Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. He has received the First Amendment Award from the Radio-Television Digital News Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS magazine; along with numerous other awards and honors. Michael Harrison interviewed Jim Bohannon this past Sunday (10/9) afternoon. It is candid, compelling and will no doubt be a historic audio document capturing a dramatic slice of radio history and culture – as well as deep insights into the human condition. After recording the interview and podcast, Michael Harrison stated, “It is with profound sadness and love that I have the honor of presenting this interview to the public.” Not to be missed! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Gracie Awards Opens Call For Entries. For nearly 50 years, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation-presented Gracie Awards have honored individual talent and exemplary programming created by women, for women, and about women in radio, television, and digital media in news and entertainment. AWMF president Becky Brooks comments, “We are more committed than ever to honor the remarkable work by so many in our creative community. As our most important fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Foundation to deliver on its promise to further the connection, education and recognition of women in media.” The 2023 Gracie Awards co-chairs are: The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen; McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay; and Hallmark Media chief communications officer Annie Howell. Emmy winner Vicangelo Bulluck has produced the Gracie Awards since 2016 and will return in that capacity for the 2023 awards. Entry eligibility air dates are January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022; deadline for all entries is January 12, 2023 at 11:59 pm (ET).
Live365, TuneIn Strike Distribution Deal. Through a distribution agreement between internet radio companies Live 365 and TuneIn, Live365 broadcasters can access TuneIn On Air distribution as part of Live365’s premium packages – or – as an add-on to any other package. TuneIn On Air allows internet radio broadcasters to expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million U.S.-based listeners via TuneIn’s app and 200+ connected devices. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern remarks, “This partnership with Live365 fits perfectly within our mission to reinvent radio for a connected world and democratize access to radio for broadcasters large and small. We believe great conversations are driven by the power of the human voice and we know our listeners rely on us to stay connected to the issues that matter to them most via our content catalog. We’re thrilled to help more broadcasters reach TuneIn’s expansive audience.” Live365 chief executive officer Jon Stephenson notes, “We’re excited to strike up this historic distribution deal with TuneIn to offer our Live365 broadcaster community access to TuneIn on air’s unparalleled distribution reach. As internet radio pioneers, this is an extraordinary opportunity to combine forces and allow broadcasters to utilize Live365’s easy-to-use tools and licensing coverage while reaching TuneIn’s millions of listeners. We’re proud to offer this to our community as we focus on expanding our distribution offering.”
TALKERS News Notes. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, visits his former aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor for an interview that airs tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) at 7:00 pm as an episode of Sirius XM’s “Crooked Radio” (SiriusXM Progress). It will then be issued Saturday as a podcast. The former President’s “Pod Save America” appearance will be replayed tomorrow night (Friday, 10/14) at 9:00 pm and throughout the weekend. It will be his first on the show in exactly two years (10/14/2020). … Following a 24-year tenure at Los Angeles’ KNX “News 97.1 FM,” morning co-anchor/senior political correspondent Dick Helton (pictured at right) will retire tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) from the Audacy facility. Prior to joining KNX, Helton spent 29 years anchoring in Chicago at co-owned/similarly-formatted WBBM-AM. … Per a report in The Lincoln Journal-Star, Damon Benning succeeds Matt Davison as analyst on University of Nebraska football radio broadcasts. Formerly a host on NRG Media Omaha sports talk KOZN “1620 The Zone,” Benning played for the Cornhuskers from 1992 – 1996. Davison had been a Nebraska analyst the past 19 years. … As part of an intra-Pennsylvania transaction, 34 full-power stations and 12 translators in five “Keystone State” markets are changing hands. Forever Media is the seller; Kristen Cantrell’s Southern Belle Media Family/Seven Mountains Media Family is the buyer. Among stations being sold include: sports talk WQWK, news/talk WRSC, W279DK, and W227DV (all in the State College market); Altoona market news/talk WFBG; news/talk WNTJ, W230BK, and W283CX, and news/talk WNTI (all in the Johnstown market); news/talk WMGW, W264DK, news-talk WTIV and W287DC, and news/talk WFRA and W251CL (all in the Meadville-Franklin market) news/talk WKST, W250CW, and W248DJ (all in the New Castle market); and Lebanon market news/talk WLBR. The complete transaction is for $17.375 million in assumption of promissory notes to Kerby E. Confer, the Judith M. Confer Irrevocable Trust, and Confermation, LLP. Kerby E. Confer is Kristen Cantrell father.
A Podcast With “More To It” Debuts Next Tuesday. Co-produced by syndicated sports talk host Dan Patrick; iHeartPodcasts; Workhouse Media; Dat Dude Entertainment; and Jam Street Media, “More To It With Marcellus Wiley” will drop next Tuesday (10/18) on The Dan Patrick Podcast Network. Former co-host of FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” and ESPN’s “SportsNation,” all-pro defensive end Wiley played ten seasons in the NFL for four different teams. Patrick opines, “Marcellus’ frequent appearances on my show always stood out because he never showed up with cliché comments. He’s never been boring and I love that he brings something new to every conversation. I’m looking forward to listening to his new show and thrilled that he’s officially part of our family.” Wiley notes, “I’m honored to work with the legendary trailblazer Dan Patrick, whose path of success perfectly embodies the title of this podcast. I’m so excited to share these amazing journeys of perseverance and success with the world to inspire the inner power we all possess.” Wiley’s podcast will feature conversations with athletes, entertainers, and people with surprising stories that prove there’s more to everyone’s reality than meets the eye. It kicks off with an interview with rapper Lil Wayne. Future scheduled guests include Anthony Anderson, Charles Barkley, Snoop Dogg, Andrew Yang, Deion Sanders and Ben Horowitz.
Confusion On FM Booster Geotargeting. Several Texas and Colorado broadcasters have filed letters with the FCC, requesting their names be removed as supporters of a GeoBroadcast Solutions petition that supports geo-targeting on FM boosters. Dan Balla and Andrew Devall, presidents of Texas entities Falls Media and Q-Media Group, respectively, wrote they “were entirely unaware of our participation in this proceeding and did not knowingly consent to having our name included on such filings. We are relatively small radio broadcast operators with enormous demands on our limited time and resources. In general, we do not have the bandwidth to personally monitor activities at the FCC. Given this highly unusual circumstance, [we] respectfully request that the Commission remove the prior filings indicating our support for GBS’s requested rule change from the record.” According to Colorado broadcasters Scott Poese (Ranchland Broadcasting) and Warren Epstein (Pikes Peak College), comments filed under their names “do not accurately reflect our views. Contrary to what the comments indicate, [we] do not support the GeoBroadcast Solutions petition or believe it would benefit our stations or the public.”
WKNR Contest Puts $30,000 Ad Campaign Up For Grabs. This marks the third consecutive year that Good Karma Brands sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland” will give away a $30,000 WKNR advertising schedule to one local business. To qualify for “Moving Business Forward,” the establishment must be owned by a veteran, minority member, or woman. The promotion runs through this Friday (7/29) and is open to Northeast Ohio businesses incorporated and active for at least two years with annual revenue under $15 million in fiscal year 2021. Entrants must submit an under 300-word statement saying why their business deserves to win. Judging criteria will be on passion for the business; innovation during – and response to – the COVID-19 pandemic; employee loyalty; impact on business’ neighborhood/community; and overall business culture. According to Good Karma Brands Cleveland vice president/market manager Amy Crossman, “We are excited to partner with Keybank and the Cleveland Cavaliers to continue this powerful program for the local business community. We look forward to connecting our passionate sports fans with these deserving Cleveland-based businesses to help them thrive in the future.” The winner will have use of a private suite for one Cavs game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. WKNR will buy $2,500 in gift cards, divided among veteran, minority, and women-owned businesses, to be given away throughout the year.
NAB Appoints Hall to Leadership Foundation Board. Talk host/journalist/producer/author Tamron Hall is appointed to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Leadership Foundation. In addition, Hall assumes the newly-created position of industry ambassador, where she will work with NABLF on campaigns and fundraising efforts. NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke comments, “Tamron Hall exemplifies the values of NABLF through her commitment to service, advocacy, and diversity. Her strong record of public service and leadership make her uniquely-qualified to serve as a champion for the Foundation and for broadcasting. We look forward to her partnership and working with her to make our industry better.” Hall adds, “I am so excited to help the NAB Leadership Foundation continue its mission of attracting and developing the next generation of innovative broadcast executives. More than ever, we need to ensure that the broadcast industry has a pipeline of future leaders that reflect our diverse audiences. It’s been an honor to work with the Foundation in the past; I look forward to furthering this work as a member of the Board.” As industry ambassador, Hall will help NABLF honor broadcast radio and television stations’ community service efforts through the Foundation’s annual Celebration of Service to America Awards, which she hosted two years ago.
KO’s “Countdown” Continues as an iHM Podcast. Beginning August 1, former longtime ESPN and MSNBC anchor; author; and three-time Edward R. Murrow Award winner Keith Olbermann will launch a daily iHeartMedia podcast series. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will include a news-driven mix featuring a “Special Comment” political analysis and his popular MSNBC “Worst Person In The World” segment. As part of the podcast, the one time sports anchor at Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX will do a regular sports bit, as well as a daily call to help a suffering dog. In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Olbermann declares that podcasts have, “replaced radio and to a large part television. Why not present something that is there every day for people? My goal is that you’ll be able to listen and get everything that happened. It won’t be, ‘here we are reacting to last week’s news.’ I’m doing the work for the work. I stopped predicting my next career development around 1997.” Former “Today” anchor Katie Couric and Fox News host Megyn Kelly launched post-television audio broadcasting careers. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien signed a deal with SiriusXM earlier this year to start a podcasting venture. Olbermann covered the 1980 Olympics “Miracle on Ice” and anchored the 2009 Super Bowl pre-game show.
Hobbs To Helm MundoNow’s Óyenos Audio. Multicultural podcasting veteran Stephen Hobbs is named chief audio officer of MundoNow’s Latino podcast network, Óyenos Audio. Hobbs will oversee the development of new original scripted series and audio entertainment concepts that will focus on topics including true crime and inspirational stories. MundoNow chief executive officer Rene Alegrias remarks, “Latinos expect smart, highly sophisticated podcasts that provide a culturally-accurate connection to their heritage. Óyenos will provide this and it will be driven by the renowned Stephen Hobbs. In the world of multicultural podcasting, Stephen’s caliber and experience is unmatched.” MundoNow chief revenue officer/partner Andrew Polsky notes, “I immediately recognized the impact this platform can make in expanding meaningful podcasting for the underserved bilingual/bicultural market. This impact will be maximized with the hiring of Stephen. I’ve worked with him before on multiple brand partnership executions. I’m excited to collaborate with him again to not only elevate Óyenos, but the offering of Latino streaming content as a whole.” Hobbs states that bilingual digital media company MundoNow, recently rebranded from Mundo Hispanico, is “exceptionally well-positioned to become a leader in multicultural podcasting. It has the audience, it has the growth strategy under superior leadership from Rene and Andrew, and it has the production capacity. My job is to create content that will have listeners on the edge of their seats, or perhaps making an emotional connection.” Hobbs co-founded reVolver Podcasts; was Univision’s vice president of podcasts and experiential; and during his three-year tenure at Spanish Broadcasting Systems launched AIRE Radio Network. MundoNow generates ten million unique visitors each month, along with 70+ million pageviews and more than a quarter-billion served ad impressions.
TALKERS News Notes. In a Facebook post, Sammy Simpson reveals, “I am going to be transitioning out of the brand/content manager role at Capitol Broadcasting [Raleigh]. The company has started the search for a new sports [talk] program director and I would encourage you to apply or help spread the word if interested in a truly great opportunity.” Simpson joined Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh two years ago to oversee sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan”; sports talk WCMC-HD2 “Buzz Sports Radio”; and sports talk WDNC “620 The Ticket.” The cluster also includes adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5” and triple A WCLY “That Station.” … Meanwhile, in another sports talk-related Facebook post, we learn that Waterloo Media Austin flips Spanish contemporary KLZT-HD2 (1.2, #22, June 2022, 6+) to sports talk as “102.7 ESPN Austin.” In addition to ESPN programming, the on-air lineup will include: Jason Dick and CJ Morgan (from alternative cluster-mate KROX); Ed Clements (from co-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM); and Bryan Bymark (from rock cluster-mate KLBJ-FM). … Per USA Today‘s Mike Organ, Nashville media personality Mark Howard has died at the age of 65. In 2004, Howard became co-host of “The Wake Up Zone” on Nashville sports talk WGFX “The Zone 104.5”; he left the show in 2020. The Connecticut native most recently worked as a part-time host at cross-town Cromwell Group sports talk WPRT-FM “The Game 102.5.” Howard spent several years hosting a Tennessee Titans post-game show and co-hosted Nashville Predators pre-game and post-game programs. … The first five recipients of the Friends of Georgia Radio’s “Georgia Radio Legends” honors are: Media Ventures Partners founder (the late) Charles Giddens; Georgia Association of Broadcasters president/National Alliance of State Broadcasters Association president Bob Houghton; Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB legislative reporter Sandra Parrish; Atlanta Public Schools public radio news/talk WABE host Lois Reitzes; and University of Georgia radio studio host/WSB-AM & WSBB director of marketing & research Neal “Hondo” Williamson. They will be recognized at a Jeff Foxworthy-hosted event next month (8/27) in Alpharetta.
Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Tracking data of podcasts for Podtrac-measured shows indicates that downloads are down 9% (July 18 – 24) over the previous week, but up 53% over the corresponding period last year. All categories are down week-to-week, with “History” and “Society & Culture” showing the most significant week-to-week decline (-12%). Meanwhile, “Health & Fitness” registers the strongest year-to-year growth, a robust +179%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth (July 19, 2021 – July 24, 2022) was up 53%, while week-over-week download growth (July 18 – 24, 2022) was off 9%. For the 52-week period (July 19, 2021 to July 24, 2022), “Health & Fitness” is +179%; “Comedy” is +100%; “Sports” is +64%; “True Crime” is +54%; “Science” is +52%; “Business” is +51%; “News” is +43%; “Society & Culture” is +39%; “History” is +32%; and “Arts” is flat. Week-over-week download dips (July 18 – 24, 2022) included: -12% (“History”); -12% (“Society & Culture”); -10% (“News”); -10% (“Sports”); -10% (“True Crime”); -9% (“Science”); -7% (“Business”); -7% (“Comedy”); -6% (“Arts”); and -6% (“Health & Fitness”).
SiriusXM, NFL Extend/Expand Their Broadcast Agreement. Under terms of the new five-year extension, SiriusXM becomes the exclusive third-party audio provider of every National Football League game across North America. NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp remarks, “SiriusXM continues to be an important part of the NFL family. [It provides] fans access to live game audio, as well as all news and information around their favorite teams.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein notes, “The popularity of the NFL, and the passion of their fans, is extraordinary. Since 2004, the NFL has been an important component of SiriusXM’s programming lineup as we deliver those fans exceptional access to all their favorite teams. We couldn’t be more pleased to now be expanding our relationship with the league, ensuring our listeners will continue to get comprehensive access to the NFL.” Subscribers will continue getting access to every NFL game through Super Bowl LXI (2027) on SiriusXM radio and on the SXM App. The SXM App offers 32 NFL team channels, each dedicated to carrying the official radio broadcast for each NFL team. The satcaster will offer additional team-focused content, including coaches shows, and press conferences to subscribers.
America Amplified “Election 2022” Launches This Week. Funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the America Amplified “Election 2022” initiative helps public media stations in 25 states, including Michigan Radio, ensure that citizens are properly informed to participate in this fall’s local, state and congressional elections. Corporation For Public Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Pat Harrison comments, “Voting is the foundation of a democracy. We want to ensure that all eligible citizens have the information they need to exercise their right to vote. With more than 1,500 locally managed and operated stations, public media is ideally situated to engage all citizens. America Amplified’s listening-first approach will help build trust in the process.” Michigan Radio program director Matt Shafer Powell remarks, “Joining America Amplified gives Michigan Radio the chance to build on our long-standing commitment to engaging and informing our community. We are excited to bring additional resources to better understand what our communities need to know about election processes and election security.” Among the initiative’s community engagement activities is an online tool that allows the public to submit questions related to the election voting process. Questions will be answered using nonpartisan election information sources.
New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazin
iHM Jacksonville Boosts Lawrence To Senior VP/Sales. Two-and-a-half-year iHeartMedia Jacksonville vice president/sales Stacey Lawrence advances to senior vice president/sales of that Florida cluster. Lawrence will report to iHeartMedia North Florida area president Paul Rogers, who comments, “When I joined the market [in March 2021], I took a long time to evaluate our team, including our management team. I wanted to learn their values, their work ethic, and observe their commitment to our team, our customers, and to iHeart. Stacey flat-out earned it, and her strong working relationship with vice president/digital sales Brooke Adams is going to be crucial and what takes us over the top.” Lawrence remarks, “I’m thrilled to step into my new role with this incredible team in Jacksonville. Although I’ve been with iHeartMedia less than three years, it did not take me long to realize this was where I belonged. [It’s] a forward-thinking company that is customer-centric at its core. Jacksonville is exploding and I plan on leading this team to their fullest potential. I look forward to making a difference in our community and helping businesses achieve their marketing goals through our world- class, multi-channel offerings.” Lawrence spent 14 years with Hibu (formerly YellowBook USA). She later held sales management positions for two Jacksonville TV stations, including Graham Media Group’s WJXT-TV. Among the stations in iHM Jacksonville is Spanish news/talk WFXJ “Acción 97.3.”
Moore Becomes MAB’s Main Man. Most recently the vice president of programming for iHeartMedia New Hampshire, Tim Moore is named president/chief executive officer of the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Moore succeeds Suzanne Goucher, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. MAB board chair/WMTW-TV, Portland president/general manager David Abel states, “The Board was looking for someone with deep experience in Maine broadcasting and extensive relationships throughout the state; Tim stood out among some very qualified candidates. There is much to be done to position the MAB for the future and we are excited to have Tim lead that effort.” According to Moore, “I’ve loved the MAB for years and believe in the mission to advocate for broadcasters on every level. My thanks to David Abel; incoming chair Corey Garrison; and the entire board of directors for placing their faith and trust in me. I’m beyond excited to lead the MAB into the future and cannot wait to get started.” Moore began his Maine radio career in Bangor at WKSQ. He later went to Portland as operations manager of WHOM and WJBQ. A former MAB board chair, Moore is a member of the MAB Hall of Fame and was awarded the inaugural (2010) “Broadcast Achievement Award.” The Maine Association of Broadcasters was formed in 1947 to “cultivate a friendly spirit of cooperation in matters of common interest” to radio and television stations throughout the “Pine Tree State.”
Wexler Wins NFPW’s Top Spot For Best Radio Interview. Just hours after Jim Himes spent a marathon day and night at the U.S. Capitol following the January 6 (2021) riot, Connoisseur Media Bridgeport news/talk WICC’s Lisa Wexler interviewed the Connecticut congressman live on her 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show. That January 7 interview enabled Wexler to win first-place for “Best Radio Interview” in the National Federation of Press Women’s Awards. Wexler comments, “Interviewing congressman Jim Himes after he experienced all that transpired on January 6 felt like history in the making. I urge all to listen to it now, with the benefit of hindsight.” Connoisseur Media senior vice president Kristin Okesson remarks, “The role of radio is as vital as it’s ever been, and Lisa Wexler is a fantastic example of what makes the medium so critical right now. Lisa has developed a deep connection to her audience through her no-nonsense interview style and down-to-earth storytelling. Through these stormy past few years, Lisa was there to help guide her listeners through. She remains a reassuring voice during an uncomfortable time in our nation and the world. Connecticut and WICC are lucky to have Lisa Wexler behind the microphone.” NFPW is a nationwide organization of women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum, including radio, television print, electronic journalism, freelancing, new media, books, public relations, marketing, graphic design, photography, and advertising. Winners from throughout the country were honored this past Saturday (6/25) during the National Federation of Press Women communications contest ceremony in Fargo, North Dakota. Nearly 2,000 entries were judged in a wide variety of categories. Only first-place winning entries at the state level are eligible to enter the national contest. All entries were published or broadcast between January 1 – December 31 (2021). “The Lisa Wexler Show” took first place for the Jim Himes interview at the Connecticut Press Awards.
“Share Of Ear” Q1 2022 Findings. Among this week’s Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group blog highlights is that among registered voters, terrestrial radio has a 75% share of ad-supported audio. Meanwhile, AM/FM radio’s audience is 13 times bigger than Pandora and 19 times that of Spotify. Trending ad-supported audience shares from Q1 2020 to Q1 2022, terrestrial radio sees little change (78% to 76%). As podcast shares bump up from 7% to 11%, Pandora’s shares are down 25% (8% to 6%). Also in single-digits are Spotify (4%) and SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics; podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined. In the car, AM/FM radio shares have been in the high-80s the last six years. Most Americans only listen to terrestrial radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify. Over six years, the proportion of terrestrial radio listening occurring through online streaming has nearly doubled (8% to 15%). More radio listening is occurring via stream (15%) than the entire AM dial. With a 43% share, terrestrial radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker. Edison Research’s quarterly “Share of Ear” study surveys 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio.
TALKERS News Notes. The first-ever “Black Effect Podcast Festival” is set to take place August 28 at the Avant Gardner in Brooklyn. Premiere Networks’ “Breakfast Club” co-host Charlamagne Tha God will join the festival, along with some of the Black Effect Podcast Network’s most popular personalities for a day of live podcast tapings and discussions aimed at aspiring podcasters in the black community. According to Charlamagne Tha God, “The Black Effect Podcast Network was created to amplify black voices for new and established content creators and storytellers, giving them a space to showcase their creative vision in the ever-growing podcast game. I’m excited to celebrate the first-ever Black Effect Podcast Festival, where talented black creators and aspiring podcasters will come together for a day to uplift and inspire one another. This festival is for the culture and is one of many events the network will host for the black community.” Launched in September 2020 and curated by Charlamagne Tha God, the Black Effect Podcast Network has debuted 32 shows. Black Effect Podcast Network partners include AT&T, BetterHelp, Hulu, Molson Coors, Nissan and State Farm … Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is coming back to the organization to be part of this year’s radio broadcasts on iHeartMedia Charlotte. A first-round pick by the Panthers in 2012, Kuechly will be in the booth for six home games and the road trip to his hometown of Cincinnati. He comments, “I just love the Panthers. I want to be attached to the team and the game. I think it could be a lot of fun.” Kuechly played eight seasons in Carolina and retired following the 2019 season. Other members of the Panthers radio team are Anish Shroff; Jordan Gross; Jake Delhomme; Kristen Balboni; and Jim Szoke … Among the three specials ABC Audio will provide to affiliates this July 4th weekend is ABC News Radio’s three-hour Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” Nathanson and ABC News correspondents venture across the country thrill-seeking and learning new skills.
Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Downloads for Podtrac-measured shows (June 20 – 26) are up 1% over the previous week and gain 70% versus the corresponding period last year. Whereas “Health & Fitness” displays the strongest week-over-week growth (+9%), “Comedy” registers the weakest week-to-week loss (-4%). The category with the strongest year-over-year improvement is “Health & Fitness,” climbing 183%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth for the 52-week period (June 21, 2021 – June 26, 2022) was up 70%, while week-over-week (June 20 – 26, 2022) download advancement was up 1%. Year-to-year download growth was +183% for “Health & Fitness”; +116%, “Comedy”; +87%, “True Crime”; +83%, “Sports”; +64%, “News”; +62%, “Business”; +60%, “Society & Culture”; +47%, “Science”; +44%, “History”; and +12% for “Arts.” Download week-over-week gains are made by “Health & Fitness” (+9%); “Arts” (+3%); “News” (+3%); “Society & Culture” (+3%); and “Sports” (+2%). “History” remains even, while “Comedy” is -4%; “Science” and “True Crime” are both -3%; and “Business” is -2%.
Bingham Promoted at Salem Media Group. Rising from his vice president of mobile and digital acquisitions position to vice president of operations and business development at Salem Web Network is David Bingham. In this new role with Salem Media Group, Bingham will oversee operations of Salem Web Network and continue to drive business development. Bingham has been with Salem for ten years, initially as director of mobile before being promoted to vice president of mobile and digital acquisitions in 2017. Salem Web Network EVP Rick Killingsworth says, “Since joining us in 2012, David Bingham has been exceptional at spearheading numerous mobile app acquisitions and brand growth initiatives that have expanded Salem’s presence in the mobile computing space. David has proven himself to be a passionate leader and negotiations professional who has a legacy of coaching high performing teams and generating results for the business and our clients.” Bingham comments, “It is a time like no other in our company to work on exciting new initiatives. There are so many opportunities in video, subscription services, podcasting, as well as the continued tradition of outstanding content, to support our users in their daily walk. I am so fortunate to get to work with a high-level group of dedicated individuals. The future is very bright for Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.”
Tavis Smiley and KBLA, Los Angeles to Mark Anniversary of Rodney King Verdict with Live Remote Broadcast. Station owner and air personality Tavis Smiley – with co-host Dominique DiPrima – will host a live remote broadcast on April 29 to remember the 30th anniversary of the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King. The KBLA, Los Angeles broadcast will take place at the intersection of Florence and Normandie which is considered “ground zero” of the civil unrest that followed. Smiley says, “Historic anniversaries, to my mind, are only worth pausing to commemorate if our reflections are instructive, informative and empowering for how to make America a nation as good as its promise.” KBLA says that Smiley and DiPrima will be joined by family members of King, community organizers, faith leaders, elected officials and everyday people to discuss, dissect and deliberate on the factors that led to a boiling point of civil disturbance, and if the city has healed from it. DiPrima adds, “We want to take this opportunity to amplify the voices of the African American community in this moment of solemn reflection and continue the quest for accountability.”
TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday at 7:00 pm ET, Townsquare Media’s “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW-FM) is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents navigate life in the Garden State. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott will lead a panel of economists, business leaders, policy experts, and business owners to explore how the workplace has changed since the start of the pandemic, and how it will function moving forward. Scott says, “Both the physical workplace and the dynamic between employer and employee has changed. There are lessons to be learned from both sides.” The program’s on-air panel will feature Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Peter Chen, senior policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective; and Maria Heidkamp, director of program development and a senior researcher at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University…..“The Lisa Wexler Show,” heard daily from 10:00 am to 12:000 noon on Connoisseur Media’s WICC-AM/W297CP, Bridgeport, Connecticut, wins five awards from the Connecticut Press Club’s 2021 Communications Contest. The program won First Place for Best Newscast: Radio; Second Place for Talk Show; and three Third Place awards for On the Scene Reporting, Radio & Television Interview, and Electronic Newsletter. Lisa Wexler comments, “I am thrilled that our show was honored by my colleagues at the Connecticut Press Club on a variety of topics. When Congressman Jim Himes came on our show the morning after he experienced what happened at the Capitol on January 6th, I felt that history was being made in real time. When callers related their stories of near-drowning incidents, we shared the importance of water safety. I thank the judges at the Connecticut Press Club for recognizing the importance of storytelling in the talk radio format.”…..Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc., announce that the 14th annual Rising Through the Ranks will be held in 2022 as a hybrid event. The program will begin with two virtual sessions taking place on July 26 and August 2, prior to participants meeting in person August 9-11 in Nashville. As in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. The scholarships will cover the cost of the professional development course, which is geared to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers in broadcast radio. BMI VP, industry relations Dan Spears says, “BMI continues to be proud supporters of Rising Through the Ranks and the work our partners at the RAB and MIW do to support rising female executives in the radio industry. The scholarships provided by BMI give these talented women invaluable training from some of the top executives in the business. We’re so thrilled to have everyone back together again in Nashville this year and look forward to a successful event.” Find out more about Rising Through the Ranks here.
Washington, DC News Personality Wendy Rieger Dies at 65. Longtime WRC-TV, Washington “News4” anchor and reporter Wendy Rieger died on Saturday (4/16) after a long battle with brain cancer. Rieger, who had recently retired from News4 after 20 years as anchor of the 5:00 pm news, also worked in radio earlier in her career, serving at both public radio WAMU-FM and all-news WTOP in Washington. See News4’s video montage of Rieger’s career here.
Russia-Ukraine War, Mask Ruling/COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Extreme Weather/Climate Change, School Curriculum Battles, Elon Musk vs Twitter, and Weekend Shootings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18). Russia’s intensifying attacks on Ukraine, NATO’s response, and the global economic effects of the war; a U.S. judge rules the airline mask mandate is illegal, keeping an eye on the BA.2 variant, and lockdowns in Shanghai and Hong Kong; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; recent extreme weather events in U.S. and the debate over anthropogenic climate change; policies in several states designed to prevent discussion about non-traditional gender & family situations and critical race theory; Elon Musk’s continuing attempt to take Twitter private; and the weekend’s spate of shootings were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.