Two months after receiving a heart transplant, longtime Dallas radio personality Hal Jay returns to “WBAP Morning News” on the Cumulus Media news/talk station. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that in early January, Jay suffered two ventricular tachycardia events within a week of each other and doctors at Baylor Scott & White Hospital told him, “Your heart is done.” He was placed on the transplant list and told his expected wait would be two to six months for a new heart. Fortunately, it didn’t take that long and on February 3, Jay received a call informing him a heart had become available and he would be going into surgery that night. He received the new heart on February 4 and went home nine days later. Today (4/3), Jay returns to the air alongside his WBAP co-host Ernie Brown. Jay has been a key personality on the station for the past 42 years.
Longtime WBAP-AM, Dallas-Fort Worth morning personality Hal Jay has received a heart transplant. Jay suffered several ventricular tachycardia events during the second week of January and was admitted to Baylor Scott & White University Medical Center where he was told he needed a new heart. His wife Ann reports to the “WBAP Morning News” team that Jay underwent transplant surgery early Sunday morning (2/5) and is recovering. Jay made a brief appearance on the show today (2/7) speaking with fellow hosts Ernie Brown and Brad Barton via phone from the hospital and says he feels good and may be allowed to go home sooner than expected. He also says he expects to be able to return to work within three weeks or so, depending on what his doctors say.
Monday Memo: News = Dog, Talk = Tail. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “events now unfolding around us can be ratings GOLD,” if news/talk stations “re-balance both aspects of the format franchise.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Worst Cold Call Ever. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about an absurd cold call that happened to him and reminded him that every now and then it’s a good idea for radio sellers to revisit some of the cold call basics. He has seven thoughts on the subject to share with readers here.
Cumulus Names Casey Bartholomew Host at WBAP, Dallas/Fort Worth. Talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew is joining Cumulus Media’s Dallas/Fort Worth news/talk WBAP as host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. He takes over for Ernie Brown who was recently promoted to co-host of the station’s morning drive show. Bartholomew joins Cumulus DFW from Cumulus Columbia, Missouri, where he’s been serving as program director for news/talk station KFRU-AM/FM. WBAP and KLIF program director Bruce Collins says, “Casey is the ultimate pro and understands the top stories of the day that affect our listeners. We are excited to have him on the News Talk 820 WBAP team.” Bartholomew comments, “WBAP is a legendary station and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Looking forward to the challenge – This is going to be fun.”
iHeartMedia and ASU Agree to Hockey Broadcasts Deal. The new broadcast agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and Arizona State University puts play-by-play of the school’s men’s hockey games on sports talk KGME-AM “FOX Sports 910,” beginning October 11. The deal also includes a weekly coach’s show featuring head coach Greg Powers. Sun Devil for Life Tyler Paley returns to his roots as the first-ever play-by-play voice of Sun Devil Hockey Radio. A three-time ASU grad, Paley covered the ASU men’s ice hockey team extensively during his tenure at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2014-18. His experience spans years of various communications roles including multimedia journalist, anchor and reporter, social media strategist, commentator for Pac-12 Network and freelancer for CBS, FOX Sports and ESPN. iHeartMedia market president Linda Little says, “‘FOX Sports 910’ and iHeartMedia Phoenix are proud to partner with Arizona State University as they launch their inaugural radio broadcast for hockey play-by-play.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Mourns Passing of Jim Thompson. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the passing of its longtime president Jim Thompson. The BFOA says Thompson, who fought a valiant struggle against throat cancer for nearly a year, passed away last night (8/14) in Summit, New Jersey, at the age of 75, surrounded by his family. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, which has been established by the Broadcasters Foundation in honor of Thompson’s dedication and service to the broadcasting industry and to the Foundation’s charitable cause of providing financial aid to radio and TV professionals in acute need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “I am very proud to have known Jim for nearly 40 years as a colleague and a friend. Jim believed deeply in helping others and his passion and enthusiasm for life always lit up a room. Broadcasting has lost a great man, who always saw the positive in every person and every situation. He will be sorely missed.” Thompson took over the reins of the Broadcasters Foundation in 2009, guiding the charitable organization to more than quadruple the amount of financial aid it distributes to radio and TV professionals from $400,000 to nearly $2 million last year. BFoA chairman emeritus Phil Lombardo says, “When the board of directors was searching for a president, Jim’s reputation as a leader combined with his compassion for others and his ability to rally people together made him the perfect choice. His accomplishments over the past 13 years helped the many TV and Radio professionals who found themselves in unthinkable circumstances and in need of aid. Our sincere sympathies go out to his family.” Last October, Thompson announced he would be retiring at the end of 2022. Thompson had been president and CEO of Group W Radio, the second largest radio company in the country during his leadership, and along with Mike Craven was co-owner of Liberty Broadcasting, a nineteen-station radio group concentrated on the east coast. He began his broadcasting career as an account executive at KYW-TV, Philadelphia in 1971, where he rose to vice president and general manager. Thompson is survived by his wife Cindy, his five children, Meghan Cima, Shannon Gardiner and her husband James, Katie McElwee and her husband Tommy, James Thompson and his wife Madison, Molly Thompson, seven grandchildren, and his brothers John and Thomas. To make a donation to the Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, please click here: https://bfoa.app.neoncrm.com/forms/jimthompsonfund.
FSR’s Doug Gottlieb Broadcasts from LA Football Training Camps. Pictured above (right) is FOX Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb chatting with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (left) during Gottlieb’s broadcast from the team’s training camp on August 9. Gottlieb broadcast from the Rams’ and the Los Angeles Chargers’ camps as part of the network’s annual NFL Training Camp Tour.
PodcastOne Strikes Deal with ActionPark Media. This new relationship between PodcastOne and Kevin Connolly’s boutique media network ActionPark Media gives PodcastOne exclusive distribution and advertising sales rights for APM’s current slate of podcast and vodcast programming. In addition, it allows for the two media companies to co-develop future podcast/vodcast based intellectual property, produce advertiser-sponsored live streaming and touring opportunities for host/talent and create exclusive licensing for podcast specific branded merchandise. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “Kevin and APM clearly have a knack for producing quality podcast content with ‘Victory the Podcast’ being one of the first shows giving a behind the scenes look at a hit television series and ‘The Morning After with Kelly Stafford’ consistently charting as one of the top shows for parents and families. This joint venture now gives us the ability to work together to grow the audience for a slate of incredible existing shows. Additionally, with LiveOne’s streaming partnerships, live event capabilities and merchandising division, we are excited to further enhance branding opportunities for the star-studded roster of hosts.”
Gunhill Road Spoken Word Music Video on Display as “Work of Art” in Show at Florida Gallery. The internet hit, “I Know You’re Real,” by talk-radio-friendly pop music band Gunhill Road, featuring TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as lead spoken word vocalist, has broken new ground in the genre of music video being recognized as fine art. The official video of the song which appears on Gunhill Road’s 2021 album, What Year Is This! addresses the subject of animal welfare celebrating all aspects of the deep relationship between human beings and other precious life forms on Planet Earth. The art show, being presented at the prestigious Martin Arts Court House Cultural Center Gallery in Stuart, FL, is cleverly titled, “Dog Days of Summer (and other pets too!).” The show centers on animal-related fine art (paintings and sculpture). It runs through October 1 and features a virtual gallery as well as a live presentation and includes charitable community outreach initiatives such as animal rescue and pet adoption. Martin Arts spokesperson Rickie Leiter tells TALKERS, “I grew up in the Northeast listening to Gunhill Road on the radio and was delighted to hear about this beautiful video with its sweet music, moving words and stunning images. It is indeed a work of visual, not to mention audio and poetic, art.” Gunhill Road co-founder (and devoted cat lover), Steve Goldrich tells TALKERS, “We are beyond honored to have our video on display among paintings at a fine art show of this caliber.” In addition to Goldrich and Harrison, Gunhill Road’s current lineup includes longtime member Paul Reich and famed Broadway instrumentalist Brian Koonin. An advance single (and video) titled, “Idiots,” from the group’s forthcoming album, spotlighting the danger of societal ignorance and also featuring Harrison on lead vocals, is scheduled to drop later this week. Both videos are produced by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison. For more information about the show and Martin Arts please click here. To view the video, please click here.
FBI Raid/Bureau Threats, Inflation Reduction Act/The Economy, Salman Rushdie Attack, Immigration/Baja Violence, Midterms/2024 Race, Afghanistan Situation, and Anne Heche Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the subsequent threats against FBI offices; the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act spending, the falling price of oil, and the still climbing price of food; the attempted assassination of author Salman Rushdie; the migrant issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the weekend’s cartel violence in Baja cities near the border; the primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan a year after the U.S. military’s exit from the nation; and actress Anne Heche dies a week after a fiery car wreck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael La Crosse to Lead Programming at iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group that includes news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE and five music outlets. La Crosse will continue to oversee the iHeartMedia Portland market as vice president of programming and will serve as program director for adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.” iHeartMedia National Programming Group EVP Maynard says, “Michael is an outstanding programmer and human. He has worked closely with Sacramento and many other iHeartMedia markets over the past few years and I couldn’t be more excited to formally expand his leadership responsibilities and influence.” La Crosse comments, “I’m very humbled to get the chance to work with the amazing team in Sacramento. With a brand-new station like ‘KISS 107.9’ and a station like NewsRadio KFBK, that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, our stations are as diverse as Sacramento itself.”
Ernie Brown Moves to Morning Drive on WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. News and talk radio pro Ernie Brown moves from his late morning daypart to morning drive on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. Brown joins Hal Jay as co-host of “WBAP’s Morning News” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. WBAP program director Bruce Collins says, “Ernie is exactly what we were looking for. He’s the ultimate professional broadcaster that knows how to relate to the audience and understands the biggest stories of the day that resonate with our target audience. We’re excited to have him as our new morning show leader.” Brown comments, “We’ll talk about the issues that matter to WBAP listeners: inflation, gas prices, grocery prices, supply chain shortages, your money, covid, and of course the Cowboys! I’ve worked at great stations and organizations all over the country including KOGO in San Diego, ‘America’s Radio News’ in Washington, D.C., Western Journal – Phoenix, and KOMO in Seattle and hosted a national late night talk show called ‘America at Night.’ This is an incredible opportunity to get to work with Hal Jay and the talented WBAP morning team. I want to thank Cumulus DFW RVP/market manager Dan Bennett and PD Bruce Collins.”
Podtrac Announces Top Podcast Publishers for June 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers for June of this year from Podtrac based on unique monthly audience (UMA) has been released and iHeartRadio holds down the top spot with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 30.3 million. At #2 is Wondery with a UMA of 23.8 million. NPR follows at #3 (UMA 18 million), The New York Times is #4 (UMA 11 million), and NBC News is #5 (UMA 9.1 million). You can see the complete ranking of the top 20 here.
Audacy Unveils Updates to App and Website. The company announces that it has begun to make updates to its digital platform in the form of new features on the Audacy app and website. The company says, “We’ll be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks and months, with each release focused on positively impacting Audacy’s digital, podcasting, data, analytics, and ad tech capabilities. At the heart of these updates lives truly interactive radio. We’re giving our listeners even more control over streaming radio with additional interactivity to both live and on-demand content. We’re also improving the discovery and curation of our radio and podcast content, presented seamlessly together within an evolved interface and user experience.” Initial updates include: 1) enhanced rewind in which listeners can rewind live news, sports, and news/talk stations and hear it all again; 2) curated discovery of content in which listeners are immersed into a personalized, interactive experience that is customizable, based not just on their favorite stations or podcasts, but also on their topical interests across news, sports and music; and 3) enriched podcast listening giving listeners access to nearly 3 million podcasts plus exclusive binging of Audacy Originals. The app also now presents radio and podcast content together, allowing listeners to consume the latest content from the shows they love along with the topics they’re interested in.
NAB Reveals 2022 Marconi Award Finalists. The finalists for the NAB’s 2022 Marconi Awards in numerous categories have been revealed. In the category of Legendary Station of the Year, three spoken-word stations made the cut: Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; Audacy’s all-news KRLD-AM, Dallas; and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year nominees include: Ramsey Media’s Dave Ramsey, Premiere Networks’ George Noory, and Premiere’s Dan Patrick. News/talk and sports talk personalities making the finalist round include, in the Major Market Personallity of the Year category: Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston; and Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago. In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore and Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. In the Medium Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas and Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho. The five finalists in the News/Talk Station of the Year category are: Audacy’s KNX-AM, Los Angeles; Hubbard Radio’s KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton; iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. And the five finalists in the Sports Station of the Year category are: Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM, San Francisco; Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Audacy’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Mike Missanelli to Co-Host Eagles Postgame Show. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime Philadelphia sports media personality Mike Missanelli, who exited Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in May of this year, is working with JAKIB Media Partners to co-host a Philadelphia Eagles post-game show beginning this fall. The paper says that Missanelli and former NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Seth Joyner are joining Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney on JAKIB’s YouTube channel. The program will stream after each Eagles game this fall. As the Inquirer notes in its story, JAKIB Sports streams three daily live programs including “Birds 365,” hosted by John McMullen and WIP host Jody McDonald; “Sports Take,” hosted by Gunn, Barrett Brooks, and Rob Ellis; and “The National Football Show” hosted by Dan Sileo.
Audacy: Study Confirms Ad Engagement Increases with Each Audio Exposure. The results of an audio study conducted by independent market research consultancy Alter Agents in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, show that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. Audacy says that this distinctive content peak study shows that “exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign.” Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services and QSR industries. Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times. The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix. Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”
Squad SCOTUS Protest, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Probe/Bannon Trial, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/2024 Race, The Economy, House Same-Sex Marriage Bill, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Heatwave/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest at which U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others were arrested; the ongoing January 6 hearings, the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 election results, and the contempt of congress trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2024 presidential nominees; the state of the U.S. economy as inflation and falling financial markets affect Americans; the U.S. House passes a bill protecting same-sex marriages; the rising rate of BA.5 subvariant COVID-19 cases; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the record-setting European heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.