Comrex – the company that has been making innovative tools that allow broadcasters and content creators worldwide to connect with their audiences from anywhere – is offering free 30-day Gagl accounts to make it easy for broadcasters from around the world to share each other’s programming, join in on live talk shows, and demonstrate the power of radio in celebration of World Radio Day on February 13. Comrex says, “Tens of thousands of Comrex customers go ‘live and local’ every day to bring radio to life for their listeners. Customers that already have a Comrex IP audio codec can use Gagl to connect to their existing hardware. Broadcasters in the US that don’t have a Comrex ACCESS or BRIC-Link IP audio codec can even request free demo hardware if they would like to participate. Restrictions apply.” Comrex adds that using Gagl is as simple as clicking a link from an email. It opens a web browser on a phone or computer and connects with up to five other users. As long as the broadcasters are using headphones, everyone hears each other and the host back in the studio. Audio quality is much better than most web conferencing applications, and there is no complicated setup. For more information, contact Comrex at 800-237-1776 or email email@example.com.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Manchinian Candidate,” looks back at this past week of 1/17 to 1/21. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dave Elswick, talk show host, KDXE 101.1 The Answer, Little Rock; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale-Miami- Palm Beaches; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/Physician. The show airs each weekend on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; 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.
Steve Jones Named CEO and President for Skyview Networks. Network executive Steve Jones is promoted to CEO and president of Skyview Networks from his previous COO/president role. In this new role, Jones will lead the sales, content, broadcast distribution and technology company. Founder and CEO Ken Thiele transitions to founder and executive chairman of the board, in which he’ll continue to engage in a high-level advisory role for the company. Thiele says, “Over the last 25 years, Skyview has evolved into a dynamic solutions leader in network audio, and through our enduring growth, we have always maintained a commitment to innovation and quality. I have had the privilege of working alongside Steve both as a client and as a leader within our company — he embodies these characteristics, which are also matched with an unyielding drive for excellence, keen business sense, and distinguished experience. I am privileged to welcome him to the role of CEO.” Jones comments, “I am grateful to Ken for trusting me to steward the company he has built in partnership with longtime EVP, Jeanne-Marie Condo. During the last three-years, despite pandemic challenges, Skyview Networks has become the fastest growing leader in network audio sales, syndication and distribution. Our unwavering commitment to customer service and proven financial performance have convinced content creators and influencers to join Skyview, while simultaneously providing advertisers effective, efficient and creative campaigns that achieve their marketing goals. At the core of this success is our company culture built on integrity and transparency, resulting in employees committed to one another and to our customers.”
FOX News Channel Reveals New Weekend Primetime Lineup. Effective the weekend of January 29, FOX News Channel debuts a new Saturday primetime lineup. Lawrence Jones will host a new, one-hour show titled, “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” airing at 10:00 pm ET and Brian Kilmeade will host his eponymous show at 8:00 pm ET. “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino” moves to the 9:00 pm ET slot. The 8:00 pm ET hour was formerly hosted by Jesse Watters who was named solo host of the weeknight “Jesse Watters Primetime” program. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says the promotion renders Jones, 29, the youngest Black solo host of a program in cable news. In addition to this new role, Jones will continue as the enterprise reporter for the “FOX & Friends” franchise. “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” will focus on newsmakers from across the political and cultural spectrum, spotlighting the leading concerns facing Americans nationwide. Kilmeade remains a co-host of FNC’s morning franchise “FOX & Friends” while also hosting the three-hour daily “Brian Kilmeade Show” on FOX News Audio and “What Made America Great” on FOX News Media’s streaming service FOX Nation. Scott says, “Lawrence has been an impact player since joining the network in 2018 and we are thrilled to add his critical insights to our weekend lineup.” Kilmeade comments, “I am truly honored that Suzanne has given me another incredible opportunity at FOX News Media. My ultimate goal is to create a program that will always seek solutions rather than sow division.”
Triton Digital Publishes December 2021 Podcast Report. The U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital is released and ranks podcast networks and podcasts from participating podcast networks based on average weekly downloads in the U.S. For the period of November 29 to January 2, Stitcher Media was the #1 podcast network with 43.1 million active downloads. NPR was #2 with 31.7 million, Audacy Podcast Network was #3 with 28.7 million, and Cumulus Podcast Network was #4 with 18 million. The report also ranks individual podcasts by average weekly download and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” was #1. At #2 was “NPR News Now,” followed by Cumulus’ “The Ben Shaprio Show” at #3. You can see the complete rankers for the top 20 networks and the top 100 podcasts here.
SiriusXM Talk Host Joe Madison Ends Hunger Strike. In the aftermath of the failure of the Democrats to get the Senate to take up the Voting Rights Act, SiriusXM Urban View channel morning drive host Joe Madison ended his hunger strike. Madison spoke at length on his program about what, in the face of the Democratic leadership’s failure, his 74-day hunger strike accomplished. The SiriusXM PR staff transcribed his monologue and you can read it here.
Talk Radio Host Dr. Asa Pursuing Pro Wrestling Dream. Nationally syndicated talk radio and television personality Dr. Asa Andrew (right) is pursuing his dream of being a pro wrestler at the not-so-tender age of 50 – and he’s doing it with the help of WWE three-time World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page (left). But after turning 50 and being asked if he has any regrets considering his vast accomplishments in medicine and media, he said, “I started a professional wrestling career years ago, and due to several life events, I wasn’t able to finish. I finish everything that I start.” In 2000, Dr. Asa was invited to an open tryout at the original WCW Power Plant in Atlanta. There he was one of two out of 35 that made it and was offered a contract. Paul Orndorff and Jody Hamilton ran the facility and told him to go finish his doctorate, and then he would start. Dr. Asa had nine months left to complete his degree, and during that time Vince McMahon bought WCW, and the opportunity was gone. His next chance had to be passed on as Dr. Asa’s father was dying of cancer and Asa knew he had to be there for him. Years later, Dr. Asa and his friend Dallas Page – whose backstory is that he is the oldest to successfully start a career in professional wrestling – decided the time is now to start that journey. Dallas called Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall with AEW’s affiliated developmental school, The Nightmare Factory, in Atlanta, and Dr. Asa started their training camp in October. As Dr. Asa continues to pursue his dream, he and Dallas Page are filming a new documentary on helping others transform their health that will be released sometime in the upcoming year.
WWO: NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Reaches 33 Million. A study called the NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Report from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group concludes that 33 million people listen to NCAA Men’s Basketball each season on Westwood One. This report includes a just-completed Nielsen PPM analysis of season-long audiences and brand-new data from a MARU/Matchbox study tracking a day in the life of an NCAA basketball fan. The study also found that among persons 18-34, Westwood One reaches 59% of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Audience and is the number two platform, ahead of linear television (behind streaming video). The younger the NCAA audience, the greater the reach and resonance of Westwood One’s audio platform. It also concludes that its audio coverage maximizes the value of an NCAA television media plan, generating incremental reach (+19%) and frequency. Executive vice president of marketing for Cumulus Media and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “There is no denying the fervor of the NCAA basketball audience and the excitement March Madness generates. Our Westwood One broadcasts cater to everyone, from the casual fan to the diehard, and they all are just the kind of listeners advertisers want – upscale, employed, and listening on the go.” See the complete study here.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio talk host Dave Elswick signs a new, one-year extension with Salem Media Group’s KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” to continue hosting the station’s morning show. He’s been with KDXE for the past eight years after serving for 14 years with crosstown news/talk KARN-FM…..The Radio Mercury Awards, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and funded by the Radio Creative Fund, announces that Alejandro Ortiz, executive creative director, Campbell Ewald, is the 2022 chief judge for the 31st annual edition of the Radio Mercury Awards. In his role, Ortiz leads the creative teams in New York, for a number of clients, including Empire State Development, I❤️NY, Port Authority of NY and NJ, a number of spirits and beverage brands at Constellation, and the New York Power Authority, as well as Shamrock Farms. Call for Entry for the 2022 Radio Mercury Awards will open in a few weeks. Learn more information on this year’s Call for Entry guidelines and deadlines here.
Biden Anniversary Press Conference & Agenda Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 17-21. Wednesday’s press conference by President Joe Biden on the first anniversary of his taking office, criticism of his first year, and his agenda going forward were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, coming together atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Supreme Court denying Donald Trump’s request to keep White House notes from the January 6 House Select Committee tied with the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization. Following at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 Omicron variant cases, vaccine & mask mandates and the effect on the nation’s schools. 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.
KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia Seeks Talk Show Host. KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia, Missouri is looking for a dynamic full-time, talk show host who will hit the ground running and immediately contribute to the successful community-based heritage radio station. The successful candidate understands the broadcast business and takes pride in their work. This candidate needs to be a strategic and pro-active thinker. We require creative idea generating skills to constantly put the station in a position to succeed. Candidate needs a deep understanding of on-air, digital, and social media branding as well as a passion for impacting listeners in the community. If you enjoy a fast-paced work environment and have the gift to talk, please apply. Send your information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Rickard Exits WEEI-FM, Boston Brand Manager Role; Ken Laird Transitions to Operations Manager. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn Tweeted the news that Jeff Rickard has exited his role as brand manager for sports talk WEEI-FM and the station is moving “The Greg Hill Show” producer Ken Laird to operations manager. Rickard joined the station in August of this year, replacing Joe Zarbano, who had left that role in January of 2021. Finn cites a memo from Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas, who writes, “I want to thank Jeff Rickard for his time here and all the work he put into this legacy brand since arriving last August. Jeff is returning to Indianapolis to be with his family and pursue other opportunities. We wish him nothing but the best and appreciate what he did as brand manager of WEEI. A new brand manager will be named in the future. In the meantime, we are excited to announce the promotion of Ken Laird to a new role at WEEI. Ken will be the day-to-day operations manager. He will be coming off producing ‘The Greg Hill Show,’ so he has time in his day to work closely with me and the entire content team on WEEI. One of his first projects will be to work with Greg, Chris and I, to name his replacement on the show.”
Jim Colony to Retire from Full-Time Role at Sports Talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Longtime KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” personality Jim Colony is retiring from his full-time role with the Audacy sports talk outlet. The station notes that Colony has been “a constant in Pittsburgh sports media since the early 1990s” and has “been a critical part of ‘The Fan’ since we started over 10 years ago.” Colony says, “I have been pretty lucky since I stumbled into radio nearly 43 years ago, like when ‘The Fan’ came along just months after I’d been let go across town. It really was ‘right place/right time’ and it’s lasted for 12 years – an eternity in this business. While it’s not the right time for me to retire altogether, now that Linda is retired it is time for me to step back a bit so we can spend more time together but not too much time (she’d get sick of me)!” Colony will continue to work a fill-in role for the station. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Jim Colony is one of the great characters in Pittsburgh radio who is beloved by so many listeners. We are so appreciative for all of the work and entertainment he has brought to so many over the years. While we are excited for Jim and Linda (we think) as Jim moves to this next phase of his life we are just as happy that Jim will remain a big part of ‘The Fan’ in a variety of different ways.”
Talking About Michael Jackson – Producer Lyle Gregory is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The man who served as the late talk radio legend Michael Jackson’s producer for 30 years, Lyle Gregory, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Lyle Gregory is the official spokesperson for the Jackson family. Michael Jackson passed away this past Sunday (1/16) at age 87. Harrison and Gregory pay tribute to the legacy of a man who was one of the founding fathers of modern talk radio in a deep-dive discussion that covers his life and times… and offers the listener insights into the magic of one of radio’s most-golden eras. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Texas Sues Google Over Radio Talent Phone Endorsement Campaign. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a suit in Montgomery County, Texas against Google, alleging that the big tech firm struck a deal with iHeartMedia for some of its radio personalities in the Dallas and Houston markets to endorse its new Pixel 4 smartphones even though they were not on the market yet and the personalities had not actually used the devices. The complaint says Google sought out radio talent for the campaign in 2019 and that the endorsement of goods that they hadn’t used violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. The suit goes on to say that even though iHeartMedia told Google that endorsement-without-use violates regulations, Google did not provide phones for the personalities. Specific personalities are not named in the suit but a sample of the ad copy is included. Here’s one script:
“The only thing I love more than taking the perfect photo? Taking the perfect photo at night. With Google Pixel 4 both are a cinch. It’s my favorite phone camera out there, especially in low light, thanks to Night Sight Mode. I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything…my son’s football game… a meteor shower… a rare spotted owl that landed in my backyard. Pics or it didn’t happen, am I right? Pixel 4 is more than just great pics. It’s also great at helping me get stuff done, thanks to the new voice activated Google Assistant that can handle multiple tasks at once. I can read up on the latest health fads, ask for directions to the nearest goat yoga class (yes, that’s a thing), and text the location to mom hands-free.”
The complaint says any “customization” of the script had to be approved by Google’s ad buyer. Google has said it is reviewing the complaint but that it does not accurately represent what happened.
Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from SHOT Show. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher preparing to go on the air from the exhibit floor at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas where he is broadcasting this week. The Shooting/Hunting/Outdoor Trade Show is the largest professional event for the shooting industry…and Gallagher says he promises “high caliber” broadcasts on both radio and the new Salem News Channel.
TuneIn Offers New Program for Content Creators. Calling it a “new program that will provide emerging content creators, educational, and non-profit broadcasters in the United States with access to the same distribution tools as major broadcasters,” TuneIn unveils the TuneIn On Air program. TuneIn says the program “was created to empower emerging content creators by providing them seamless access to digital distribution capabilities. Immediately upon joining TuneIn On Air, broadcasters will expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million United States-based listeners. This new offering is aligned with TuneIn’s commitment to reinvent radio for a connected world by bringing radio distribution into the digital age and realizing its promise of an open platform for everyone.” The program costs $249 per quarter. TuneIn chief industry evangelist Andrew Bock says, “One of our aims with the launch of TuneIn On Air is to re-energize college radio stations and independent broadcasters around the US by providing them with a simple and easy-to-use way to dramatically increase their distribution through digital audio. College radio and independent broadcasters serve an important and irreplaceable role in their communities. Through the TuneIn On Air platform, we are giving these voices a clear path to expand and grow their audiences through digital distribution.”
TALKERS News Notes. On the heels of the recent retirement of partner Charlie Sislen, Research Director, Inc. announces staff changes and promotions. Kathryn Boxill creates and leads the new quality control team as the quality control team manager. She previously served as a senior sales research consultant. Nicole Somerville transitions to the production team manager position from her previous role as sales research consultant. Anne Doyle moves into the information systems administrator position from operations management. Nakia Smith and Hayden Waugh move from their sales research consultant positions to join the client service department as client service consultants.…..ABC Audio launches its new GMA channel on Apple Podcasts and announces three new podcast projects: a “Good Morning America” podcast, the second season of “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” and new entertainment podcast “Close Up,” hosted by Kelley Carter. ABC Audio’s free GMA channel will house these new projects, as well as all of ABC News’ lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content, including its popular “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson” podcast…..Audacy’s Cadence13 partners with @DeuxMoi – the pop culture and celebrity Instagram account hailed as “the new outlet of choice for the celebrity obsessed” by The New York Times – for “Deux U,” a weekly show featuring an extensive analysis of the most popular and controversial posts from the account…..iHeartRadio and Sports Illustrated Media unveil an original podcast series focused on iconic names in the sports industry called, “Sports Illustrated Weekly.” Hosted by SI senior writer John Gonzalez, the weekly series takes sports fanatics through untold moments, iconic interviews and the best stories in sports thus far.
Biden Press Conference, Voting Rights-Filibuster, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, U.S.-Russia Tensions, Inflation/Supply Chain, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). Reaction to President Joe Biden’s Wednesday press conference; Democrats fail to alter the filibuster and to take up voting rights legislation; the rate of COVID-19 cases, vaccine effectiveness, and schools’ policies; the Supreme Court nixes Donald Trump’s bid to keep records from January 6 Committee; the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; soaring retail and oil prices and the supply chain troubles; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; and China warns athletes about political commentary while at the Beijing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.