Longtime morning drive talk host Tom Roten exits iHeartMedia’s news/talk WVHU-AM, Huntington, West Virginia. Roten posted the following to social media: “For 22 years, my morning talk radio show was the #1 show in the Huntington, WV market. The most recent ratings period showed the station overall at #5 in the market, #1 for AM stations (highest ever ranking). Unfortunately, iHeart is going in a different direction and I was dismissed. While my future is uncertain, you can still access my podcasts from Spotify and other streaming services.”
According to a report in The State, Heath Cline exits Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina sports talk outlet WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game.” Cline has hosted the afternoon drive show since December 2007. Cline says he and the company were unable to come to terms on a new deal. He had the chance to speak about it with station PD Terry Ford on the air. He told his audience, “It’s not a money thing. I just hit 50 this year. There are some things in my career I still want to do. They really wanted to keep me in Columbia and focused on that, and we just couldn’t get to where we needed to… This isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s just how radio and how business works sometimes.” Meanwhile, Cline says he’ll serve as executive producer and sub host for Chuck Oliver’s regional, college football-focused show and will continue the weekend hosting and fill-in work he’s been doing for Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” Read The State story here.
According to a report by KUSA-TV, Denver, former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe has exited Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” where he co-hosted the afternoon show with Darren “Dmac” McKee. Wolfe posted the following to his Instagram account: “Hello everyone! I wanted to share some news with you first. I have made the tough decision to step down as co-host of The Drive on the Fan due to persistent scheduling conflicts. It has been an incredible journey with my radio crew, and this choice was not easy to make. Lately, my passion for outdoor pursuits has taken me on an exciting and unexpected journey, prompting me to continue chasing my dreams. I genuinely appreciate your understanding and support throughout this process!” The station paired Wolfe with McKee in October of last year.
WGR, Buffalo Morning Host Howard Simon Pares Back Work Schedule. As reported in the Buffalo News, WGR-AM morning drive sports talk personality Howard Simon is cutting his work schedule back from five to three mornings per week. Simon – who’s co-hosted the morning show with Jeremy White for the past 18 years – tells the paper there are a couple reasons for the change: “He turned 60 in June, has been in sports radio for 30 years and the job isn’t as easy as many listeners believe it is to talk about sports for four hours daily.” Simon adds, “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. It has been difficult to live up to the demands of the job. It’s a lot of work, a lot of preparation.” The News reports that WGR personality Joe DiBiase is expected to co-host with White on Wednesday and Thursday, with Simon on the air on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. As far as his future plans, Simon says he and the station will address the situation after the football season.
Brian Kelly Exits Audacy St. Louis. According to a report from KSDK-TV, St. Louis, the staff cuts taking place across the country at Audacy-owned radio stations have hit the company’s St. Louis cluster and among those let go is Brian Kelly, a reporter and weekend host of “Total Information AM” for news/talk KMOX-AM. The report notes that Kelly first served with KMOX from 1997 to 2002. He returned to the station in 2009.
FOX News Digital Leads News Brands in July Tally of Multiplatform Minutes and Views. According to data from Comscore’s July 2022 ratings, FOX News Digital wrapped the month as the top-performing news organization in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes and views. FOX News Digital says it closed out the month reaching over 2.8 billion total multiplatform minutes (topping CNN’s 2.2 billion total platform minutes), 1.4 billion total multiplatform views (beating CNN’s 1.25 billion total platform views) but was far behind CNN’s 113 million multiplatform unique visitors with its 81 million multiplatform unique visitors. FOX News Digital also says it topped The NewYorkTimes.com with multiplatform unique visitors for the first time since January 2022.
Diversion Audio Partners with Gemini XIII for Talk and Fiction Podcasts. This partnership between podcast creator Diversion Audio and Gemini XIII brings new shows in the talk and fiction genres to podcast platforms. New programs being readied for this fall include: “The Shows We Watched,” hosted by TV/film critic and author James King and lifestyle influencer Emily Johnston; “War Queens,” featuring “Game of Thrones” and “Fast & Furious” actress Nathalie Emmanuel; “The Ali Rogin Show,” hosted by the PBS “NewsHour” correspondent and author; and the romantic fiction podcast, “The Royals of Malibu” based on the popular romance book series, The Royals by Erin Watt.
FBI Raid/Documents Investigation, Primaries/2024 Presidential Race, Migrant Busing, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy, Extreme Weather, and Tony Fauci to Leave NIAID Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and documents investigation; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for the 2024 presidential race; the immigration troubles at the U.S.-Mexico border and Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s busing migrants to Washington, DC; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, the “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the inflation making food and consumer goods expensive and activity on the world’s financial markets; the drought affecting much of the U.S., Europe & China and the flooding in Texas; and Dr. Tony Fauci’s December exit from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Larry Elder Exits Salem Radio Network Talk Show. Longtime Salem Radio Network personality Larry Elder exits his role as host of his eponymous nationally syndicated talk program, effective immediately. Salem Media Group says that Elder has decided to move on from the Salem Radio Network after a six-year run hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET program and that it expects to announce a replacement for Elder in this slot very soon. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Larry is an icon as a radio talk show host and is a powerful voice as a leading black conservative, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I hope there will be future opportunities for us to work together.” Boyce adds that this was “completely, 100% Larry’s decision.” Salem continues to be a major platform for Elder’s documentaries like Uncle Tom, released two years ago, and will be providing a platform for the sequel, Uncle Tom 2, coming out in a few months. SalemNow.Com will be hosting that movie, as it did in the past. During Elder’s three-month hiatus to run for governor California in the recall election of Gavin Newsom, Orlando-based personality Carl Jackson hosted Elder’s program. Jackson will resume hosting the show for the foreseeable future. Jackson says, “It was an honor for me to sit in Larry’s chair last summer for a few months, and it will be another honor to continue his tradition on the radio now.”
Monday Memo: Good News. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “pandemic/inflation/Ukraine-weary listeners NEED some” and, in his view, “many syndicated shows earn news/talk radio a reputation for negativity” which local content can balance, “something listeners will appreciate, and advertisers will notice.” In this week’s column, HC links to video examples that illustrate. Read more here.
Pending Business: The Talk Radio Metaverse. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa asks you to imagine a political debate game in the metaverse in which “players pick political parties, moderators, topics, questions, debaters, venue and media coverage.” Now imagine this town hall debate in the metaverse will include advertisers and sponsors. He says, “The gaming wizards are a new generation more comfortable with commercial integration and the flexibility of working towards content that is profitable at all levels. There is a lot to be learned here. If you can open your thinking to the future, you could be in for a fun and energetic exchange in your next sales meeting.” Read more here.
Andrea Darlas to Host Arts & Entertainment Podcast for WLS-AM, Chicago. Chicago media personality Andrea Darlas is hosting a new podcast for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM called “Show and Tell with Andrea Darlas.” The weekly local arts and entertainment podcast will showcase the hottest cultural experiences in the Chicago area, including new plays, musicals, museum exhibits and more. Darlas is currently senior director of constituent engagement for the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, based at the Illini Center in Chicago. She was a news anchor and reporter at WGN Radio for more than 22 years and a news reporter and weekend break/features reporter for WGN-TV for 10 years. She currently is a regular contributor to WGN-AM, WLS-AM, WCPT-AM, WCIU-TV, and the nationally syndicated home improvement TV show “House Smarts,” as well as other radio and TV shows/programs across Chicago. Cumulus Media says this new podcast will present “Chicago arts and entertainment news and information at its best, curated by one of the most trusted and well-known media figures in Chicagoland. Each week, listeners get a backstage pass to every experience and show Darlas covers, with insights and information typically reserved for arts and entertainment insiders. Darlas will interview actors and actresses, curators and docents, organizers and artists, producers, directors, stars – and everyone in between. Darlas comments, “I am so excited to bring my love for theatre, musicals, museums, arts and culture – and all things Chicago – to the legendary Big 89! I want the WLS listeners to have their very own immersive ‘backstage pass’ to the arts and entertainment community – in the greatest city in the world!”
Bill O’Reilly Appears at Live Event for Affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Bill O’Reilly – whose program “The Bill O’Reilly Update” is syndicated by Key Networks – appeared at the Genesee Theatre in suburban Waukegan, Illinois on March 31 for a live Q&A event produced by affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): Dennis Green, COO, Key Networks; Jeff Hill, director of sales, Cumulus Media Chicago; O’Reilly; Marv Nyren, vice president/market manager, Cumulus Chicago; Stephanie Tichenor, program director, WLS-AM; and Bruce St. James, morning host, WLS-AM.
Midday Shows Flip at WMVP-AM, Chicago. Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” is flipping its midday programs, effective today. The Good Karma Brands station is moving “Carmen & Jurko” – Carmen DeFalco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot and the station will air Mike Greenberg’s ESPN Radio program “Greeny” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. WMVP program director Danny Zederman says, “We are very excited for the future and the new station lineup.”
Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden Investigation, COVID-19, Gas Prices/Inflation, January 6 Committee, Deadly Sacramento Shooting, Jackson Confirmation Vote, and the Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and accusations of war crimes against Vladimir Putin’s military; the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures; relaxing mandates across the U.S. and concerns about new sub-variants sparking a new wave of cases; the still-high price of gas at the pump and the high cost of consumer retail goods; the January 6 committee’s recent testimony from Jared Kushner; the shooting in Sacramento that left six dead and 12 wounded and precipitated calls for gun control from President Joe Biden; this week’s confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.