Industry News

Kylie Moore Promoted to PM Drive Co-Host at “New Jersey 101.5”

Townsquare Media promotes PM drive producer and fill-in host Kylie Moore to co-host of the afternoon show alongside Jeff Deminski. This move comes shortly after the company cut Deminski’s longtime partnerim Bill Doyle from the co-host role. The new “Deminski & Moore” show airs from 2:00pm to 7:00 pm. Deminski states, “The stupid robots in grocery aisles, your phone that fell in a toilet, the governor’s hairstylist somehow avoiding charges, the fact that Kylie still doesn’t understand how to eat M&Ms, the neurosis we all have and never dare talk about. Kylie is fun, smart, and unique. I love the wide range of topics we’ll be able to cover.” Moore says, “I’m excited to partner with Jeff Deminski. He’s one of the hardest-working and most genuine people I know, and you can hear his passion through the airwaves. He can make me laugh, think critically, and argue with him all before we hit our first traffic break!”

Industry News

Talk Host Pat Egan Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia

Sports talk host Pat Egan is another victim of budget cuts at Beasley Media Group sports talker WPENim-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic.” Egan posted confirmation of his exit on X, saying, “So last night I got laid off from the Fanatic. I figured it was coming when I heard there were cuts, & the writing was on the wall when I got moved to nights.” As Crossing Broad notes, “Egan was one of the longest-tenured employees remaining at the station. He began as an intern in 2011 and then became a street teamer and producer.” Read the Crossing Broad story here.

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Five Golden Actions for 2024

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imResearch shows that readers to trade publications like articles with five bullet points. Here are my five bullet points for 2024. If these were to be deployed, you could be thriving by the end of the year. These actions would increase sales and audience share.

1. Radio should be easy to buy. It’s not. Easy fix: Look at your website. Based on the website how would you buy time on your station? It should be as simple as a realtor’s website. Put up pictures of your salespeople with ALL of their real contact information – not a FORM. Offer their email and cell number. Offer a “tour” of the offerings with information about the talent and the audience. What does the host sell best? How about a very brief audio message from each host to your potential advertiser?
2. Every medium creates its own stars. Example – David Caruso, good on TV, bad in movies. Your hosts, good on radio, lousy at original podcasts.  Sure, edit up the interviews or bits and make them into a podcast. But don’t ask a host to get off the air and make brand new content for a podcast. Engage locals who are good at making original podcasts and offer them a stage.
3. Sell the biggest number. Your morning show probably has more listeners than the “Tonight Show” has viewers in your city. 1010 WINS has more listeners in New York than FOX News has viewers nationwide. Go check. Those are the numbers that put radio in perspective!  Stop selling the smallest number, TIME SPENT LISTENING. Who came up with that!?
4. Don’t make potential advertisers jump through hoops. If you have spent your career in programming, you may not know the tyranny of MEDIA CREDIT. New radio advertiser: Good buy, high rate, longterm business. Sounds great. Not so fast. At most companies, new business still has to go through the gauntlet of a MEDIA CREDIT CHECK. End that.
5. What’s wrong with the hosts? Many hosts use a content formula that MUST generate a diminishing audience size and older and older and older demos.  Repeat. WHY? If you start to trust that what you talk about socially, with your friends, your audience will grow and grow younger. Be more like Bruce Collins, PD at WBAP, Dallas. Bruce just hired James Parker who has been featured for years on “Sterling On Sunday.” James is going to talk about life, fatherhood and funny. He joins “New Jersey 101.5” alumnus, Casey Bartholomew, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, who talks about life, fatherhood and funny.  It’s working so well that WBAP will now be simulcast on Class C2 FM, KLIF.

Five bullet points. Goals: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Walter Sabo was a founding architect of SiriusXM and began the recruitment of Howard Stern. He has consulted RKO General, PARADE magazine, Hearst Broadcasting, Press Broadcasting, and other premium brands. He launched the first company to engage online video influencers, Hitviews. As an executive, he was EVP of NBC FM RADIO giving Dr. Ruth Westheimer her first media job and fostering the creation of adult contemporary. As VP ABC Radio Networks, Sabo hired Ringo Starr to be a DJ for a 24-hour special.

Industry News

Longtime WCCO, Minneapolis Host Jearlyn Steele Signs Off

Bring Me the News reports that longtime Sunday evening host Jearlyn Steele ends her weekly show,im “Steele Talkn’” after 27 years on the air at Audacy’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. She told listeners on last Sunday’s final program. Steele made the announcement during her final broadcast on Sunday, saying: “It’s been a blast. I want someone else to come and do a great job and learn, hopefully as much as I have learned. I have been a part of your lives and you have been a part of mine for many years. And I will not forget that.” Read the full story here.

Industry News

Fisher House Offers Free Veterans Day Weekend Radio Show

Fisher House Foundation is offering to news/talk radio stations a free Veterans Day Weekend edition of “The Fisher House Story.” This program is provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. The programs are hosted by radio pro Larry O’Connor (AM drive host at WMAL-FM, Washington, DC) and featuresim stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during medical care. The inspiring and patriotic radio show features an exclusive interview with Jessica Lynch who recounts her harrowing experience as a prisoner of war during the early days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. She reveals details of her treatment during her captivity, her rescue, the ensuing years of medical treatment and the special role Fisher House played (and continues to play) in her recovery. Hear the demo and register for the show here.

Industry News

NRG Media’s Iowa Talking Points Goes on Remote

The cross-platform program “Iowa Talking Points” – produced by NRG Media and Mudd Advertising, took to the road last Friday (10/20) for a remote broadcast that featured GOP presidential candidatesim Gov. Ron DeSantis, Amb. Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, Gov. Doug Burgum, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Ryan Binkley. “Iowa Talking Points” is produced for live video stream, imvideo and audio on-demand playback, and radio rebroadcast by NRG’s “News/Talk 1540” KXEL, Cedar Rapids-Waterloo and is hosted by KXEL program director and host Jeff Stein. Previous programs in the series have been produced in front of a live studio audience from Mudd’s state-of-the-art “Studio5@Mudd” facility in Cedar Falls. Last week, the team arranged a special live broadcast from the annual tailgate fundraiser sponsored by Iowa State Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Stein says, “There are very few opportunities to have access to this many candidates at one time. Engaging with them in this way gives our audience the best information free from sound bites and media filters.” Pictured here is Stein with DeSantis (left) and Haley (right).

Industry Views

Monday Memo: What Aren’t You?

By Holland Cooke

imThanks to those who sent comments on last week’s column “Gradually, they know you,” which recommended brevity in explaining to listeners who you are.

Equally important: Clarity that you’re NOT what listeners DON’T want. If you’re a host or programmer, you want to understand listener turn-offs as well as Viking Riverboat Cruise Lines seems to know their prospects.

Promising that “We do not try to be all things to all people,” the Viking brochure promises:


No children under 18.

No casinos.

No nickel and diming.

No charge for Wi-Fi.

No charge for beer & wine at lunch & dinner.

No umbrella drinks.

No photography sales.

No art auctions.

No inside staterooms.

No smoking.

No waiting in lines.

No format lights, butlers or white gloves.

And the brochure details an “Environmentally Considerate” culture “reducing impact through design & technology,” i.e., solar panels, recycling & waste management, etc.

With SO many audio competitors, we can’t risk ambiguity.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio;” and “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry News

The Damning Myth of Spoken Word Radio: High Time Spent Listening (TSA) and Low Cume

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imDependency upon a PPM panel to deliver high time spent listening is a bad business model. Would you rather count on one person listening for one hour or four people listening for 15 minutes? Right.

A good music format program director knows exactly how to program talk radio in a PPM environment. Oddly, when a music programmer has the privilege of programming a talk station they seem to forget all of their programming knowledge. Both formats are measured by exactly the same technology and therefore if it “works” in music, it works in talk.

The reason “New Jersey 101.5” quickly became the highest cuming FM talk station in the world – for 20+ years – is because when Bob McAllanJay SorensenPerry SimonJohn Dziuba and I designed it, we had a simple process: Build a music station that takes a lot of phone calls. It was always programmed like a top 40 station and 33 years later it obviously worked.

The reason “Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando” was the only Howard Stern station that did not suffer the expense of having to change format when he was recruited to SiriusXM Satellite Radio was because the station was built as a heavily formatted music station that took a lot of phone calls. Note that Real Radio 104.1 and New Jersey 101.5 both air music non-stop on the weekends for the single purpose of targeting a specific cume demographic. It obviously worked.

What are the key elements of a music format that should be applied to talk in order to build cume?

  • Please, god, don’t flag the “breaks.”
  • Every show had a specific pace based on topic set up time and call length time which gave the station a consistent rhythm and sound.  All day.
  • No “records” from home!  No personal sound effects, jingles or that crap.
  • Constantly sell ahead. No yesterday calls, yesterday references. Sell what’s next.
  • Assume every single listener just tuned in. Explain the topic and give the phone number obsessively.
  • Listener driven not host driven. Every host is valuable and gifted but if a host makes the mistake of quitting, the interest needs and tastes of the listener are constant and can be reflected by the next host. A constant.

Mickey Luckoff, the brilliant president of KGO, San Francisco for decades explained why he hired most of his hosts from top 40  radio because, “I can teach them TALK but I can’t teach them radio.”  BTW yes, even 34-year morning host Jim Dunbar worked at WLS and KQV as a top 40 jock immediately before joining KGO to host a talk show.

Walter Sabo was a pioneer in the concept of targeted talk which allows a station to precisely reach a chosen demographic. He has had a robust list of consulting clients including, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Conde Naste, CBS, Press Broadcasting, RKO General, Hearst, Fred Silverman Productions, and many more. His company HITVIEWS was the first major player to recognize and monetize online video stars known as “influencers.” He is on the nominating board of the Radio Hall of Fame. Reach him at 646.678.1110 or  Discover Sabo’s network radio show here:

Industry News

Texas Longhorns Voice Craig Way to Host Show on “The Zone” in Austin

iHeartMedia announces that Craig Way – the voice of University of Texas Longhorns athletics and play-by-play – joins KVET-AM, Austin “AM 1300 The Zone” as host of the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Austin and San Antonio Jason McCollim says, “We’re thrilled to share that Craig Way, theim iconic voice of the Texas Longhorns, is now part of our team. Every day from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, he’ll be diving deep into UT sports, sharing insights only he can offer. It’s a new era for afternoon radio, and we couldn’t be prouder to bring this experience to our listeners.” Way joins iHeartMedia Austin from Austin Radio Network, where he most recently served as the sports director. He comments, “I was honored to be a part of the launch of ‘AM 1300 The Zone’ as Austin’s first all-sports station in October of 1998, and am thrilled to return as host of a daily show on ‘The Zone’ once again at a station that I called home from 1997-2017.”

Industry News

WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Show Host Additions

Good Karma Brands makes some changes to the talent hosting its talk shows on news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. Sandy Maxx moves from her co-anchor role on the station’s “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” program to late mornings where she joins talk host Steve Scaffidi on the renamed “WTMJ NOW” show airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. At the same time, WTMJ sportscaster Greg Matzek joins the “Wisconsin’sim Afternoon News” program as co-host alongside John Mercure. WTMJ interim market manager Emily Dillinger states, “I am looking forward to fun and lively conversation about the news of the day, what it means and why it matters on ‘WTMJ NOW.’ Both Sandy and Steve are genuinely curious people who also have an infectious energy and the ability to relate to a variety of people, and I’m sure that will resonate with fans across Wisconsin.” Another tweak to the lineup it that “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Vince Vitrano and Erik Bilstad” will now air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am with a local news report at 5:00 am.

Industry Views

Better Than a Tornado – What You Can Control

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling on Sunday

The whining is non-stop. Many in radio mourn the advent of consolidation, corporate dictates, staff cuts. They miss the way the industry was – before.

A few reminders about – before. Half the radio stations in the U.S. lost money. Voice tracking? Yes, it was called automation, analog automation and it was a technical nightmare. The meta forces that control our industry today were not created by your current boss. They were created by irresponsible venture capitalists who only looked at the fifth-year projections. A budget projected to the fifth year is at best a guess, but it is most probably a lie.

What can you control? If you are a host, you can control your next show. If you are a program director, you can control your next promo, next break, next collection of shows. You control the product and that makes you the most powerful person in the radio ecosystem. You control the product. Let’s improve the product right now. Listeners know or believe that all radio is live. Live means surprises, the unexpected, the urgent!

— Prep the surprises. Rather than sourcing the New York PostDaily Mail and your local newspaper, try throwing them away for just a day and tap brand new, unexpected sources. Search “Siberia news” and “Alaska news.”  You will be stunned at the unique menu of stories and fresh material. Surprise! Did you know the biggest challenge in Siberia is rampant forest fires? How about the fact that melting permafrost has given up well preserved woolly mammoths and new breeds of humanoids? Live means surprise.

— Build the stage. Your station or network has a vast, digital production library that you don’t use. Take the time to sit with that library for a whole day and let your creativity explore the sounds and SFX. You will discover new beds, sounders and dramatic effects to build your show’s image and present the unexpected. Already use production? Scrap it and start fresh.

— Water in the basement is the most urgent news in a listener’s life. Not the debt ceiling or January 6. Water in the basement! Other urgent news is: The moving van is two days late. The mother in-law is speaking. Logan died on “Succession.” Give yourself permission to talk about what happened to you over the weekend rather than what happened in Washington, DC.

Your current list of topics is old news, no surprises, nothing urgent. Stop, it’s not working. The typical talk radio topics reach people who typically cannot stand up to change the dial. Surprises, the unexpected and the urgent could boost the survival probability of the AM band — better than a tornado.

Walter Sabo was the youngest Executive Vice President in the history of NBC. The youngest VP in the history of ABC. He was a consultant to RKO General longer than Bill Drake. Walter was the in house consultant to Sirius for eight years. He has never written a resume. Contact him at or mobile 646-678-1110. Hear Walter Sterling at www.waltersterlingshow.comMeet Walter Sabo at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2.

Industry News

Cumulus Names David Kelly PD for KCUB-AM, Tucson

Cumulus Media names David Kelly program director for sports talk outlet KCUB-AM, Tucson “Wildcats Radio 1290.” Kelly will also host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program beginning June 12. Kelly joins Cumulus from KVOA-TV, Tucson, where he’s been serving as sports anchor and reporter. Kelly has also been radio network anchor and play-by-play announcer for the University of Arizona. Kelly’s won five Associated Press first place honors for his work in radio. Cumulus Tucson operations manager Herb Crowe says, “I couldn’t be happier to welcome David to the Cumulus family. His experience covering all of the University of Arizona athletic programs for television, combined with his years of radio experience, make him the perfect person to lead ‘Wildcats Radio 1290.’” Kelly comments, “When I came here to Tucson 15 years ago, my hope was that I’d have the chance at some point to lead coverage of the high-profile collegiate sports program at UA. The opportunity to head programming for ‘Wildcats Radio 1290’ gives me the chance to do that, as well as set the pace for delivering the best sports, news and information to our listeners in Southern Arizona.”

Industry News

Justin Shackil Joins WFAN’s Yankees Broadcasts

Audacy announces Justin Shackil is joining WFAN, New York’s flagship broadcast coverage of New York Yankees baseball as the station’s primary postgame show host for the Yankees Radio Network. He will also fill in for legendary play-by-play voice John Sterling for approximately 30 games, alongside Suzyn Waldman, during the 2023 season. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero states, “Justin is no stranger to the Bronx and his passion for the pinstripes make him the ideal person to join the iconic duo of John and Suzyn in the booth. His contributions to the broadcast last season were terrific and well received, so we’re excited to see him return in this enhanced role.”

Industry Views

According to Research…

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling on Sunday

Oh, excuse me, hold on. Here it is! The hourly report from quasi research companies or real research companies like Nielsen declaring that radio is just fine, thank you! Massive surveys (choose one) reveal that radio works! Radio appeals to younger demos! Radio moves product! Radio has more listeners in AM drive than the “Tonight Show” has viewers! A landslide of data proves that after 100 years of success, radio is a viable medium.

Crazy stuff.

As both a radio executive and host, I don’t need to know that radio works. I see the sales results from your show and from “Sterling On Sunday.” No advertiser gives us money for the heck of it. The checks clear; there’s your proof. The research that is desperately needed would support innovative, disruptive programming. Radio will grow its place in American media by surprising listeners with new formats, new forms of presentation and things that are… new.

Radio exists today because of innovations like Top 40! Urban! Progressive Rock! AOR! Modern Country! FM Talk! and The Seven-Second Delay!

Today, however, there is nothing harder than selling a radio executive a new idea. Any new idea. It is hard for a very good reason. Radio stations are major investments and failure is expensive. In 1977, the most expensive radio stations in history sold for $11 million. (WMAL/WRQX-FM, Washington DC.) In absolute dollars, experimentation was a minor financial risk. Risk would be manageable if owners had sophisticated research tools to test new ideas.

State-of-the-art new product research is required to take radio safely onto the golden path to innovation. How’s your research and development budget? Oh.

Each television network invests about $100 million a year in developing and testing new shows. Those networks deploy stunning techniques to find and test new ideas. There will be new formats and techniques when the collective “we” is finally convinced that radio is a success. Then our research investments can be focused on cutting-edge product research tools that can guarantee a successful pilot season and future.

Walter Sabo, consultant, can be contacted at Sabo Media: Direct phone: 646-678-1110.  Check out Meet Walter Sabo at TALKERS 2023 on June 2 at Hofstra University.

Industry News

Benztown Unveils Expanded and Updated News/Talk Library

The company breaks out its new Benztown News/Talk audio imaging library for radio stations, that focuses on bringing updated and more frequent caller and host audio, an accelerated update schedule, and more daily topical promos and sweepers designed exclusively for news/talk stations. Benztown says the updates include a refocused approach based on caller/listener interaction and daily topical pieces. It adds, “The Benztown News/Talk Library is created by the industry’s top imaging and production specialists, led by imaging director, Adam “Ketch” Kecskemeti, and imaging voice, Mike Hansen. Paired with Benztown’s Ambush News/Talk Library, led by imaging director Scott Phillips, and format voice JJ Surma, and housed on Benztown’s industry-leading platform, news/talk radio stations have every imaging tool and solution at their fingertips.” Benztown VP, sales & operations Masa Patterson says, “We are incredibly excited to bring America’s best news/talk stations an enhanced and expansive toolset they need now more than ever. Benztown News/Talk is all stations need to produce what their listeners count on them for, from conservative talkers to straight-up traffic and weather. With this increase in caller interaction and daily topical elements, it has everything news/talk stations need to get a jump on tomorrow’s news today – and more.” Listen to a composite of the expanded Benztown News/Talk Library, paired with Benztown’s companion library Ambush here.

Industry Views

Maximizing Impact for Sponsors

By Michael Berry
Host, The Michael Berry Show
KTRH, Houston – iHeartRadio
Independent Syndication

Growing up in a small town, “word of mouth” was the most powerful form of advertising. It could make – or break – a business.  Malcolm Gladwell’s important Tipping Point book explained that movements, pandemics, and other things that “catch on” do so because of the influence of “connectors” – people who are asked for their opinion. Today, the media world likes to call them “influencers.”

For 17 years, I’ve entertained listeners on the radio and on podcast. Our show has built what many in the industry tell me is an impressive business model. Like Gladwell, I created our own vocabulary and I am strident in enforcing the use of it. Because words matter. I explain to companies that they are our “sponsors,” not “advertisers.” I explain that they put their name behind our show, just as I do for them. In a commercial break stop-set that will be several “commercials” for “advertisers,” but only a couple of my “endorsements.” I don’t speak for a company unless I believe in what they do and how they do it. Likewise, I encourage listeners to send me feedback on their experience with my show’s sponsors. I forward those to the sponsors, either with a request that they address the shortcoming in the service or an attaboy for a job well done.

Listeners tune in to radio, particularly talk radio, to hear the opinions of the host. The host’s opinion matters. If he shares his opinion on movies he likes, foods he enjoys, political candidates he supports, that opinion can affect what the audience does. It is also true that – if his recommendation is trusted by the listener – it can affect the choices the audience makes when they buy something or hire someone to perform a service. But it has to be an “endorsement.”

The radio industry, for many, many years, failed to recognize the value and power of an endorsement. Sellers would sell advertising to clients and get the on-air talent to read the copy points the client (or agency) wrote. Often listlessly, just reading. That is not an endorsement. It is not a host suggesting to his audience where he would personally buy a new door for his home, or take his wife for dinner. If, however, the “read” (a term that reflects that the host is simply reading words someone else wrote) were instead an endorsement, he wouldn’t need all those details. Instead, with just the name of the company, and the owner, and the phone number, as well as what category they are in, he would be able to speak for 30 seconds about why that business is special, why he would (and hopefully has already) use them.

An endorsement is a stamp of approval. It says you believe in someone or something. If an endorsement is really an endorsement, it doesn’t need new copy points to be “freshened up.” It doesn’t include discount offers, seasonal sales, “get in quick before they run out” scares, or other silly tricks Americans long ago learned to ignore. Using that language kills credibility. If I ask you where I should buy my car, and you have a dealer you believe in, you’ll refer me to them, and, if you really like them, call them yourself and ask them to take care of me. “Hook me up” as the kids say. I’m not going anywhere else after an endorsement like that.

Radio (and podcast) has a big future, because of the connection audiences have with hosts. Why abuse that connection? Why cheapen it? Sales reps should understand that and make it part of their pitch. My best sales reps literally dial up companies in industries I identify and start with the question, “Do you listen to The Michael Berry Show?” If the answer is no, I don’t want them as sponsors. I want folks who understand why I’m controversial, why my audience listeners, what my values are.

Radio and podcast’s future is dependent on a sound business model that understands what makes us special, unique, and better than other forms of media.

Here is my list of suggestions to sellers and hosts, in hopes of facilitating better results for show sponsors:

— Sellers should never pitch a client without asking the talent first.

— Talent should not endorse a company without researching and approving them.

— Talent should tell sellers what sorts of things they WANT to endorse. Guns, cigars, home improvement, cars, medical. The best endorsement is something the talent will use himself. An avid gun owner is going to present a very compelling (and effective/profitable) endorsement for a gun range he visits once a week. Look at how weight loss sponsors have profited when the host follows their program and endorses it on air.

— If a sponsor isn’t committed to a yearlong relationship, don’t do it.  It ruins credibility to change the endorsement inside the same category. Again, credibility is everything.

— Talent should develop personal relationships with sponsors. They can help listeners this way and the sponsors become show content.

— The value of talent to the station is far more than just ratings. Half my audience is 55+, so the 18-34 or 25-54 rating is less useful to me.  But when show sponsors stay on air for 10 or more years, it is a ringing endorsement that what we do works. They vote with their dollars. The whole point of ratings was to show agencies how many people listened, in hopes that that vast listening audience would respond to the commercials they hear, thus monetizing the show, right? Why not go straight to the “dollars in (from the sponsor), dollars out (listeners spending money with sponsors)” model?  Show sponsors who get tangible results from their partnership with talent don’t cancel their buy.

— Openly discuss how much money a talent brings into the station. The programming side of radio loves to talk about things that don’t generate dollars, while the sales side is often disconnected from the actual product they are selling.  Fix that.

Michael Berry is a longtime, high-ranking member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s heard daily on KTRH, Houston and across the country on his own independent network.  Michael Berry can be emailed at

Industry News

Howard Simon to Retire from WGR, Buffalo

Sports talk WGR, Buffalo announces that its longtime morning drive host Howard Simon is retiring from his position with the station on March 3, after a radio career of more than 33 years. After attending college in Buffalo, Simon launched his radio career in 1989 on WJJL, Niagara Falls. He eventually left to work in Toledo, Ohio but returned to Western New York and has spent the last 18 years with Jeremy White as his co-host in mornings on Audacy’s WGR. Simon says, “I’ve been very lucky to have worked alongside some wonderful people at WJJL, WBEN, Empire Sports Network and finally at WGR. I wish I could list everyone by name, but that isn’t possible. Let me just say, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my many co-workers over the years. I’ve made some great, lifelong friendships, while getting a chance to do something I truly loved. I would like to mention my co-host for the last 18 years at WGR, Jeremy White. That is the longest I worked with anyone by far! Jeremy is super talented, extremely creative, and has a great feel for what topics will be of most interest to our listening audience.”

Industry News

David Pakman is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast

Progressive talk media host David Pakman is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Pakman is one of the relatively rare breed of progressive talk show hosts currently heard with a modest footprint on commercial radio. But beyond that, he has a significant and growing presence on his own YouTube channel where he has over a million-and-a-half subscribers, a commercially sold-out schedule, and is part of an emerging genre of progressive hosts seen regularly by loyal political talk media consumers. Only 39, Pakman has been a practitioner of progressive talk media since his early 20s. “The David Pakman Show” started in August 2005 as a community radio program called “Midweek Politics” in the basement of WXOJ’s studio in Northampton, Massachusetts. Today, it is a daily internationally syndicated politics and news talk show airing on radio, television, and the internet, as well as on Free Speech TV via DirecTV and DISH Network. Pakman is a naturalized citizen of the United States having moved here with his family at the age of five from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Harrison and Pakman discuss the rewards and challenges – financially and otherwise – of multi-platform digital broadcasting. Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Front Page News Industry News

Friday, August 12, 2022

Pioneering Broadcaster, Anti-Ageism Activist and TALKERS Principal Carole Marks Dies at 86.  The longtime host of the groundbreaking, upper-demo syndicated radio talk show, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups,” Carole Marks Scott of Mystic, CT passed away this past Sunday (8/7) at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. She was 86. Ms. Marks was the host and founder of the groundbreaking and long-running upper-demo-targeted radio talk show, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” and a principal in Talk Media, Inc., the parent company of TALKERS – a partner in both ventures with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and radio executive Shelley McBreairty. Ms. Marks graduated from Oxford School and attended Connecticut College. She had four children. As a newly single mature woman, she went back to school and earned her college degree from the University of New Haven when three of her four children were adults. She found her passion as director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of New London. In that position, Ms. Marks was interviewed in the media about issues concerning senior citizens on WSUB, New London and was invited to start her own radio show, “Senior Focus with Carole Marks” in the mid-nineties. The idea of a radio show aimed at an older demographic was unique at the time, and upon joining forces with Michael Harrison as her partner and co-host, her show was syndicated nationally with a new name, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups.” The show ran for two decades accruing thousands of listeners and establishing Ms. Marks as one of America’s leading experts on upper demographic issues as well as a champion in the battle against ageism.  She waged a relentless campaign on a number of media fronts to make, as she put it, “the lives of the 50-plus generation as meaningful, fulfilling and as productive as possible.” Her mission was to counter negative senior stereotypes and she spoke before civic groups, professional associations, and industry conventions all across the country as a supporter of the group she liked to call “seasoned citizens.” At its peak, “A Touch of Grey” was heard on more than 50 stations across America, including at different times, New York City’s WOR, WABC and WNYM.  Her guests included the biggest names in health care, politics, sports and the arts, including presidents of the United States.  She boldly tackled such problems as the rising cost of prescription drugs, the future of Social Security and Medicare, challenges facing the “sandwich generation” who must take care of young adult children on one side and elderly parents on the other, planning retirement during difficult economic times, the best ways to choose a nursing home, safe and effective ways to diet and exercise, understanding leading edge technology, and countless other subjects. Ms. Marks would often take her show on the road and broadcast live from such diverse places as the United States Senate Office Building, the jungles of Africa, the Taj Mahal, the North American Orient Express, or a glacier in Antarctica. She was proudest of being in the White House press room and on Air Force One with President Obama. She said, “I want people to know that just because you’ve put on a few years doesn’t mean you can’t go out and explore the world and life, and, most importantly, continue to learn and grow.” Travel became a second passion, as she went on worldwide trips to all seven continents and had a map in her kitchen showing all of the places she had visited, including Dharamshala, India where she met the Dalai Lama. In 2004, Ms. Marks found love again and was married for the second time, to J Irving Bird Scott. In 2005. She wrote the book Modern Aging: A Guide for Seasoned Citizens to Achieve Health, Happiness and Purpose (Talkers Books 2005). TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “Carole was one of the finest human beings I have had the privilege to know in my life.  Her role as my friend and business partner were invaluable in contributing to the longevity and success of our media enterprises.  She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a consequential thought-leader, businesswoman, humanitarian and philanthropist who supported numerous public service organizations and non-profits.” Her business partner Shelley McBreairty adds, “Carole was more than a beloved colleague and source of guidance and inspiration. She treated me and my daughters as a mother and a grandmother. We all love her dearly.” A public celebration of life for Carole Marks Scott will be announced in the near future. In lieu of flowers, please consider a charitable donation to The Garde Arts Center, 325 State Street New London, CT 06320, or Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, 365 Montauk Avenue, New London, CT 06320.

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, “Vic or Perp?” looks back at this past week of 8/8 to 8/12. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Murray Sabrin, emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College, NJ; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder,; Greta Van Susteren, talk show host, Newsmax TVMartha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; and Holland Cooke, media consultant. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on almost 100 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. To view the latest TALKERS topic research, 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.

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2022 sweep covered June 23 – July 20. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM is steady with an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) that keeps it locked in the #3 rank, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF is up one-tenth for a 1.8 share good for the #15 rank. Although it sheds 1.5 shares, Emmis’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis remains ranked #2 after posting a 7.9 share. The news/talk battle in Milwaukee flips as iHeartMedia’s WISN leaps into the #1 rank after adding nine-tenths for a 9.9 share finish, while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops 1.8 shares, finishes with a 9.6 share and falls to #2. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville dips seven-tenths for a 6.2 share finish that drags it from #4 to #6, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WLAC rises eight-tenths to a 2.5 share good for the #13 rank. In West Palm Beach, Hubbard Broadcasting’s news/talk WFTL spikes by 2.4 shares for a 3.4 share finish that moves it from #13 to #7, while iHeartMedia’s talk WZZR dips three-tenths to a 2.1 share good for the #10 rank and sister news/talk WJNO rises three-tenths to a 1.7 share and the #11 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

RTDNA Announces 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners. The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the national winners of the 2022 Edward R. Murrow Awards in recognition of outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories. RTDNA president and CEO Dan Shelley says, “The Edward R. Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism. More than 750 Regional Murrow winners advanced to the national competition, and over the past few months, an expert panel of journalists has meticulously reviewed and deliberated over every entry. That’s why I’m confident in saying today’s winners represent the absolute best of the best. So, let me be the first to say congratulations to our newest National Edward R. Murrow Award winners.” RTDNA chair Allison McGinley adds, “Thank you to every journalist who played a role in the pieces that were submitted. Not everyone can be a Murrow Award winner, but all of you make a difference in your communities. Thank you for the work you do.” See all the winners here.

LATimes: No One Listens to Sports Talk Radio in L.A. Why the People in Charge Aren’t Worried. Los Angeles Times writer Bill Shaikin looks at the question of why Los Angeles – of all the major markets – has the lowest listenership to sports talk radio, according to Nielsen Audio ratings. In the piece, Shaikin talks to WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive hosts Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti – and others – about why East Coast cities like Boston and Philadelphia have huge sports talk listener audiences while Los Angeles pales in comparison. Read his story here.

TALKERS News Notes. The new permanent host of FOX News Channel’s “FOX News Sunday” program is Shannon Bream. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says Bream – the first woman to host the 26-year-old program – will start on September 11. She will continue as the network’s chief legal correspondent. Scott says, “Shannon is an outstanding journalist, reporter and anchor who has cultivated a strong and enduring relationship with the FOX News Media audience.”…..The National Sports Network is partnering with in USA Radio Network to offer a slate of NCAAfootball games for radio stations. Beginning the schedule this season is the September 3 game Alabama vs Utah State. Other September games include Tennessee at Pitt and Oklahoma at Nebraska. See the whole schedule here…..iHeartMedia Nashville is presenting the 20th annual Wine on the River event on September 10. This year, the funds raised will go to The DISTRICT’s initiative 2ndavestrong, which helps restore the vitally important historic district of 2nd Avenue. The initiative was created in response to the damage resulting from the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville in 2020. News/talk WLAC and its sister stations are promoting the event…..WBUR, Boston unveils its fall season for CitySpace at The Lavine Broadcast Center, “a state-of-the-art live event venue for cutting-edge conversations, adventurous art and innovative ideas. Bringing WBUR’s journalism alive on stage, CitySpace conversations feature some of the nation’s leading thinkers on timely topics such as the changing media landscape, the state of national politics, climate change and the challenges of American motherhood.”

FBI Raid/Trump Legal Issues Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 8-12. The FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago as well as his legal battle with the State of New York combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics and the week’s primary elections, followed by urban crime, gun control, and policing issues at #3. 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 See this week’s complete chart here.


Monday Memo: Review Airchecks… Later.

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The radio coaching concept seems quaint now:

  • The single-station PD (remember them?) met with local talent (remember them?) at regular intervals to review a recent show. As a young DJ, I was fortunate enough to work for two PDs who sat me down weekly.
  • Most important thing I learned? Each bit has a beginning, middle, and end.

Back to the future:

  • Whole-cluster “Brand Managers” have replaced PDs, mostly managing feeds from syndicated and/or voice-tracked talent.
  • For remaining station-based talent, routine critique is unlikely. That manager is just TOO busy, and might lack the chops.
  • The product suffers, from content of questionable interest, and unkempt execution that tests listeners’ patience.



Monday Memo: Talk Radio 101 – LISTEN

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Talk radio isn’t just different than music radio. It’s better. Talk radio is never on in the background. And streaming has music radio on its heels, because The Sentence Never Spoken is “Alexa, please play six commercials.”

Yet talkers should avoid taking false comfort that we’re less vulnerable to digital competitors, because people are using social media to talk to each other without us. So joining the conversation there is now table stakes. But defending the towers remains Job One.