Talk radio host Joe Madison – also known for much of his career as The Black Eagle – died on Thursday (2/1) at 74 after a battle with cancer. His family released the following statement: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved husband and father, Joe Madison. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family. Joe dedicated his life to fighting for all those who are undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized. On air he often posed the question, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Although he is no longer with us, we hope you will join us in answering that call by continuing to be proactive in the fight against injustice. The outpouring of prayers and support over the last few months lifted Joe’s spirits and strengthened us as a family. We continue to ask for privacy as we gather together to support each other through this difficult time.” Madison had been hosting the morning drive program on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel since 2008. Before he went into radio, Madison had become the youngest Detroit NAACP chapter leader at 24 years old. While Madison dabbled in radio while at Washington University in St. Louis, he first worked in commercial radio at Detroit’s WXYZ. From there he hosted a show on WWDB-FM, Philadelphia before moving to Washington, DC for a long stint at WWRC. He moved across town to Radio One-owned WOL, Washington where he hosted the afternoon drive show and served as program director. At this time, Radio One began syndicating his show nationally and it was simultaneously added to the lineup at SiriusXM. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Joe Madison was one of the greatest of the greats among radio talk show hosts of the modern era. He transcended the role of ‘talent’ to rise among the ranks of America’s most influential civil rights thought leaders. His devoted following crossed the boundaries of race, age, gender, and politics. During his illustrious career, in addition to receiving countless awards in the fields of broadcasting and activism, he was a recipient of TALKERS magazine’s two most important honors, the Freedom of Speech Award and the Humanitarian of the Year Award. I am humbled to have had the privilege of this great man’s friendship for more than three decades and will treasure his inspiring memory for the rest of my days.”
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, “Take a Hike,” looks back at this past week of 6/13 to 6/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Paul Gleiser, talk show host/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Joe Thomas, talk show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Matthew B. Harrison, VP/associate publisher, TALKERS/media law professor; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford, CT; and Daliah Wachs, M.D., physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network. The show airs weekends 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; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; 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 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.
TALKERS magazine Presents Annual Awards at TALKERS 2022 Convention. After two years of not presenting annual awards (2020 and 2021) at the TALKERS convention due to COVID-19 interruptions, TALKERS magazine presented four awards to talk media broadcasters on Friday, June 10 at Hofstra University at the TALKERS 2022 convention. As we reported on Wednesday (6/15), WOLB-AM, Baltimore morning host Larry Young was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Breakfast session, KOA, Denver talk host Mandy Connell (pictured below) was presented with the Woman of the Year Award.
WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive personality Jeff Katz (above) was honored for his charity work dedicated to children with developmental challenges and to organizations supporting law enforcement with the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
At the convention’s Closing Reception, “Free Talk Live” co-founder Mark Edge (above left, being congratulated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, right) accepted the 2022 Freedom of Speech Award for the program’s co-founder and lead host Ian Freeman, whose work fighting for what he sees as the freedoms we all should enjoy as Americans has earned him accolades as well as the ire of those – including some New Hampshire and federal authorities – who see him as a troublemaker, or worse.
Audacy Teams Up ‘Bernstein and Holmes’ for Middays at ‘The Score.’ The new midday show at Audacy’s WSCR-AM, Chicago “670 The Score” features two of the station’s longtime hosts – Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes. As part of a station programming update, the new “Bernstein and Holmes” show will air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, beginning June 20. The morning drive “Mully and Haugh” show adds an extra hour and will be heard from 5:30 am to 10:00 am. Leila Rahimi, who had been co-hosting with Bernstein but accepted a new gig as lead sports anchor at NBC 5 in Chicago, will continue in her role on “Leila Wednesdays” on “Bernstein and Holmes.” WSCR brand manager Mitch Rosen states, “Our all-star Chicago lineup improves with ‘Mully and Haugh’ extending later into the morning and two teammates who have worked together for 20-plus years finally sharing a microphone on a regular basis. We couldn’t be more excited for this updated lineup.” Bernstein had previously hosted late mornings on the station. Holmes previously served as host from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Unveils New ‘Bump & Stacy’ Midday Show. Seattle sports talk personality Stacy Rost is getting a new partner as Michael Bumpus joins her for the new “Bump & Stacy” program on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports,” airing from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Station program director Kyle Brown comments, “We’re thrilled Michael Bumpus will be stepping in to join Stacy Rost as a full-time host from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm each weekday. Bump has spent years preparing for this opportunity and I have no doubt he’s ready for this moment. ‘Bump & Stacy’ will bring four hours of unending fun to ‘Seattle Sports’ listeners daily.” Michael Bumpus –who played football at Washington State University before going on to a pro career with the Seattle Seahawks and BC Lions – now serves as the host of the Seahawks pregame, postgame and halftime shows and as a television analyst for the PAC12 Network. Stacy Rost joined “Seattle Sports” as a staff writer and Seahawks Insider in 2017. She has spent the past three years as a talk show host with “Seattle Sports” and producing daily Seahawks Insider reports.
Mike Conti Named Brand Manager for ‘92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. News and sports radio pro Mike Conti is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s sports talk WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.” Audacy says that in this role, Conti will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. He will continue in his current role as radio play-by-play announcer for the station’s flagship coverage of the Atlanta United FC and as host of the Atlanta Hawks Radio Network. Audacy Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey comments, “Mike has stepped up to the challenge of leading our programming team on an interim basis since February and he has earned this opportunity to lead WZGC. We are excited to have his leadership as we continue to build on our performance of providing the very best in entertainment and sports content for our audience and business partners.” Conti joined “92.9 The Game” in October 2012 from WGST-AM, Atlanta where he served as assistant news director. At WZGC, Conti has served as managing editor, overseeing coverage and production of live sports events. He says, “I want to thank Rick Caffey and my teammates at ‘92.9 The Game’ for the opportunity to lead such a talented group of content creators. As someone who has been with ‘The Game’ since the day we signed on 10 years ago, it has been remarkable to see us evolve into Atlanta’s go-to source of sports information and entertainment, and I look forward to continuing that evolution.”
Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 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 May 2022 sweep covered April 28 – May 25. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK-FM dips two-tenths to finish with a 7.2 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slips to the #4 rank, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF loses half a share for a 1.5 share finish and landing in the #17 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee remains in the #1 spot after adding four-tenths to wrap the survey with a 10.3 share. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN puts up a 2.1 share increase to finish with a 9.6 share that vaults it into the #2 rank. Although dipping by two-tenths and finishing with a 5.9 share, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville climbs to the #4 rank. After losing a full share, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville wraps the survey with a 9.6 share and falls from #1 to #2. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.
NPR and Edison Research Reveal Results of 2022 Smart Audio Report. The 2022 Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research was released on Thursday (6/16). The report highlights the increased usage of voice technology, with 35% of Americans 18-plus now owning a smart speaker. This year’s study compares the most recent survey results with the 2017 Smart Audio Report, and also revisits families who were interviewed in 2017, creating a comprehensive picture of the changes over the last five years. Some of the key findings from the study include: 1) Voice technology is everywhere: In 2022, 62% of Americans 18-plus use a voice assistant on any device, and those devices can include: smart speakers, smartphones, TV remotes, in-car systems, a computer/laptop, tablet, among others; 2) Overall usage of voice tech is increasing: In 2022, 57% of voice command users use voice commands daily. Twenty percent of smart speaker owners spend most of their audio time listening through a smart speaker, up from 18% in 2017. The weekly number of tasks is increasing: In 2022, smart speaker owners request an average of 12.4 tasks on their device each week, up from 7.5 in 2017. Smartphone voice assistant users request an average of 10.7 tasks weekly, up from 8.8 in 2020; and 3) Ad messages delivered via voice tech are heard: Half of smart speaker owners have heard an ad on their smart speaker. Fifty-three percent of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device agree they are likely to respond to ads on their smart speaker. Almost half (48%) of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device say that compared to hearing an ad in another place, hearing it on their smart speaker would make them more likely to consider the brand. Find out more here.
TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (6/21), Newsmax will present a live New York Republican Gubernatorial Primary Debate at 8:00 pm at the famed Kodak Center in Rochester. Moderating the debate for Newsmax will be Eric Bolling and the leading candidates – Rob Astorino, Andrew Giuliani, Harry Wilson, and Lee Zeldin will take part. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy states, “People across New York are hungry to learn about the Republican candidates as they make their choice in this critical primary. Newsmax is glad to be actively involved across the nation a series of debate and town hall events to further voter awareness.”…..Audacy announces the launch of a new show, “Hey Mayne,” from its sports podcast studio 2400Sports, premiering June 23. Longtime ESPN host Kenny Mayne leads the program that “blends the sports culture with entertainment, politics, music, comedy, and beyond.” Mayne says, “I want to ask guests not just about their work, but who they are. I want to know what people were like in kindergarten. Because I think who you were then is basically who you are today.”…..Nineteen students just successfully completed the Kellar Radio Talent Institute’s broadcast radio training program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. The return of the in-person, 10-day immersive professional development course for college students also marks the first institute to be produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau since it acquired the National Radio Talent System in August of 2020. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “An integral part of the RAB’s mission is providing the industry with the tools and resources to help broadcasters attract new sales talent to the medium and enhance radio’s professionalism through training and support. Bringing back the talent institutes was a top priority for RAB, and we are excited by this year’s Kellar graduating class, all future broadcasters.”…..iHeartMedia’s WDAS-AM, Philadelphia “FOX Sports Radio, The Gambler” announces that the popular sports podcast “The Divide Live” will make its official broadcast radio debut on the station’s Sunday afternoon drive lineup, effective June 19. Airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, “The Divide Live” features two longtime friends – Mike, a diehard Mets fan and Corey, a diehard Yankees fan. Together, the dynamic duo hash it out about all things sports, life and current events…..NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” will remain the flagship home for the NCAA Men’s College World Series through 2026. The new five-year contract extension with Westwood One begins this year. NRG Media has been the radio home of the Men’s College World Series in Omaha since 1997…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that sports media executive Len Mead will join the VSiN team as general manager. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger states, “Len has excelled at creating original content and growing audience across all platforms throughout his career, and we’re thrilled to add his expertise to our leadership team. Not only does Len bring a wealth of media experience from his prior roles at ESPN, NBC Sports, NESN and others, but he also brings sports betting industry knowledge from his time as head of content for PointsBet. We believe this combination will help VSiN deliver its premium sports betting content to even more bettors, on more platforms, in new ways.”
The Economy and the National Mood Tie for Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 13-17. The state of the U.S. economy, including the sinking Dow & NASDAQ, soaring gas & food prices, and fears of a recession – combined with the unsettled national mood – came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics tied with Tuesday’s midterm election primaries, followed by the January 6 Committee hearings 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 Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.