According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, longtime pro football writer and broadcaster John McClain – who retired from the Chronicle in 2022 – is being let go from his role with Audacy’s sports talk KILT-AM “SportsRadio 610.” McClain’s role with the station included appearing on the station’s programs, writing stories for its website and co-hosting a podcast with station personality Sean Pendergast. The 72-year-old McClain tells the Chronicle that he’s not ready to leave the Houston radio market, adding, “I’ll see if people are interested. I’m a free agent now.” Read the Chronicle story here.
Audacy’s Houston radio stations helped raise more than $100,000 for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation during the 4th annual Giving Week campaign. Audacy’s five stations – including sports talk KILT-AM Sports Radio 610 – launched the campaign in support of one of the Foundation’s signature programs, My Home Library, which raises funds to provide home libraries to economically disadvantaged children in Houston. Audacy Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Through the power of community and compassion, we’re delighted to help provide a brighter future for underserved children. We are proud to support the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation in their critical mission once again.”
Cumulus Unfriends Podcast Movement After Ben Shapiro Incident. After an incident at Podcast Movement’s recent Dallas convention at which Westwood One talk host Ben Shapiro made an impromptu appearance that bothered an attendee, prompting them to complain to the organizers, and Podcast Movement actually issuing an apology, Cumulus Media announces it is severing its relationship with the organization. Shapiro has one of the most-listened-to podcasts in the U.S. based on numerous surveys. It is published by The Daily Wire and repped by Cumulus Podcast Network. Cumulus was a sponsor of the event based on its purchase of a booth and Shapiro says he stopped by while in town on other business. This, according to The Washington Examiner, caused one attendee to tweet: “Hey @PodcastMovement what the f***. As a trans person, as a queer person, as someone with a uterus, this does not make me feel welcome. This does not make me feel safe.” Podcast Movement then tweeted an apology. Both of those tweets have since been deleted. On Tuesday (9/6), Cumulus issued the following statement: “At Cumulus Media, our tenet is that Every Voice Matters and we support conferences and trade events where differing political viewpoints can be expressed and received with respect. As such, we were dismayed and disappointed by Podcast Movement’s handling of the reaction to our partner, top podcaster, and conservative talk leader Ben Shapiro’s mere presence at Podcast Movement. After giving the leaders of Podcast Movement sufficient time to appropriately address their misstep, we are disassociating from Podcast Movement, including canceling our 2023 sponsorship plans.” Meanwhile, The Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing states, “I’m glad to see our longtime partner Cumulus/Westwood One taking such a strong and public stand against Podcast Movement’s outright and abject bigotry. Though Podcast Movement quietly removed their bigoted tweet thread over the weekend, they still have yet to retract and publicly apologize for their hateful comments about Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire. In an illiberal moment such as the one we’re currently living in, if we don’t stand up to this kind of bigoted behavior it’s only going to get worse. I certainly hope Cumulus’s strong response to Podcast Movement is the first of many others like it.”
Houston Sports Media Figure John McClain Takes on Senior Columnist Role at ‘Sports Radio 610.’ Longtime Houston sports columnist and KILT-AM contributor John McClain takes on the new title senior Texans columnist for “Sports Radio 610.” The Audacy station says that in this role, McClain will provide weekly postgame observations, team report cards and Texans-driven columns throughout the season. He’ll also continue to appear regularly on its programs “Payne and Pendergast,” “In the Loop with John Lopez and Landry Locker,” and “Clint Stoerner and The Show.” McClain will also co-host the Houtopia Football Podcast alongside “Sports Radio 610” morning show host Sean Pendergast. KILT-AM brand manager Parker Hillis says, “To officially bring a Houston legend in John McClain onto our team is incredible. John has always been one of our biggest proponents in the market and I’m thrilled that Texans fans will now be able to read his observations and opinions at SportsRadio610.com, on top of his weekly radio appearances.” McClain adds, “I’ve been doing sports talk on 610 for 23 years, and I’m fired up about the opportunity to write for the station’s website. I’m especially excited to work with Brandon Scott, one of my favorite reporters in Houston. I think Brandon does a terrific job covering Houston sports, and it’s an honor to cover the Texans with him.”
SummitMedia Appoints Justin Ragland Corporate VP of Events and Promotions. Promoted from his role managing SummitMedia LLC’s Birmingham market promotions department to the corporate position vice president of events and promotions is Justin Ragland. He’ll now oversee events and promotions at 46 stations in nine markets nationwide. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are very pleased to have Justin leading our events and promotions efforts. He has done an outstanding job for us in Birmingham, and we are excited for him to bring his unique skillset to the entire company.” Ragland, who will remain based in Birmingham, comments, “My goal is to be an instrumental team member in every SummitMedia market to help grow each brand in both ratings and revenue. Joining the leadership team for this company is a privilege and one that I am excited about.”
Round One of August PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen’s August 2022 sweep covered July 21 – August 17. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York, Red Apple Media Group’s news/talk WABC/WLIR-FM tacks on two-tenths for a 4.3 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish but drops back to the #8 rank. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR adds one-tenth to wrap with a 2.0 share and remains ranked #18. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles rises to the #4 rank after climbing three-tenths for a 4.8 share finish, while Audacy’s crosstown all-news KNX-AM/FM adds three-tenths for a 3.3 share that lifts it to the #10 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM is up three-tenths for a 3.3 share that pushes it up to the #8 rank, while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is steady with a 4.6 share that keeps it ranked #5. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.
Robin Sloan Named EVP of Audio Sales for AdLarge. Audio sales pro Robin Sloan joins AdLarge as executive vice president of audio sales. In this new role, Sloan will work directly with chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith on revenue strategy development and agency relationships. She will also focus on driving revenue with the audio sales team and managing the day to day activity. Most recently, Sloan was the director of national partnerships at Westwood One. AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas comments, “I’m delighted to have Robin join our team. She’s a veteran recognized in the audio industry for bringing her exceptional relationships and in-depth experience in sales, management and sports to the AdLarge audio sales efforts. I could not find a more perfect person to fit this role and continue to help us grow our business.”
TALKERS News Notes. Revisions to its 2022 third quarter revenue estimates are being announced by Salem Media Group, Inc. The company says that taking into account the postponement of the forthcoming book, 2000 Mules by Dinesh D’Souza, until the fourth quarter, lower than expected revenue on SalemNOW, and the impact on advertising revenue due to the weakening economic environment, the company now expects third quarter 2022 total revenue to be between flat and an increase of 2% over third quarter 2021 total revenue of $66 million…..A new podcast by Bloomberg News and iHeartMedia that investigates a massive transfer of wealth a century ago, out of Osage hands and into White ones – facilitated by the United States government — and how the Osage Nation is fighting to reverse decades of land loss today is being produced. The podcast, called “In Trust,” is hosted by Bloomberg reporter Rachel Adams-Heard, who says, “A hundred and fifty years ago, the Osage Nation bought a stretch of prairie the size of Delaware, in what’s now Oklahoma. The Osage owned the land and everything beneath it. Today, much of present-day Osage County has left Osage hands. In some cases, appropriation was swift and brutal: Dozens of Osages were murdered for their share of lucrative mineral rights to this oil-rich land, a period often referred to as the Reign of Terror. But other transfers of wealth played out more subtly—dollar by dollar and acre by acre, over decades—helped along by policies created by the US government. ‘In Trust’ is the story of that system. A system that moved wealth from Native hands to White ones. One that three brothers learned to operate, laying the foundation for a modern American dynasty of land and influence that continues to this day.”…..iHeartMedia announces that chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference on Tuesday September 13 at 1:45 pm ET. A live webcast of the session will be available to the general public at the start of the session through a link on the Investors homepage of iHeartMedia’s website.
Special Master Ruling, Georgia Election Investigation, Midterms & 2024 Presidential Race, Russia-Ukraine War, Saskatchewan Stabbings Investigation, and Western Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/6). Controversy over federal Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling to appoint a Special Master to review the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence; the investigation into Donald Trump’s and Lindsey Graham’s interactions with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the breach of that state’s voting system allegedly by fake Trump electors; Tuesday’s primary races for the November midterms and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and concerns about the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; the investigation into the deadly stabbings in Saskatchewan; and the brutal heatwave affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Larry Elder Joins Epoch Media Group (EMG) Hosting Live TV Show and Other Projects. Speculation has been growing as to what recent GOP California gubernatorial candidate and TALKERS Heavy Hundred radio star Larry Elder’s next talk media move would be since leaving his nightly program on the Salem Radio Network. The wait is finally over as Epoch Media Group (EMG) announces that Elder has joined EMG, publishers of the rapidly growing American international newspaper, The Epoch Times, and will continue hosting the Larry Elder Show on Epoch TV, NTDTV and other platforms associated with EMG. Elder will host a live, streaming show four times per week on which, according to EMG sources, he will “continue to give the audience his take on the latest and most important issues facing America.” He will also host a podcast for EMG. Based in Los Angeles, Elder is known to his following as “the Sage from South Central” and “America’s truth detector.” He was the front-running GOP challenger to Governor Gavin Newsom in the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election. Elder is also an attorney, author, and accomplished documentary filmmaker. EMG CEO John Tang tells TALKERS, “Larry Elder is an advocate of the principles of The Epoch Times newspaper – truth and tradition – and is inspired by its mission to bring the readers accurate information so they can form their own opinions about the most significant topics of our time.” Tang adds, “In a day and age of sensationalist and emotionally charged news coverage, Elder uses the facts – with humor and insight – to break down the nation’s current events and most urgent issues.” Commenting on this new association, Elder states, “I’m excited to join The Epoch Times. I’m impressed by the newspaper’s courage and willingness to speak the truth to promote liberty and freedom.”
Hillis Returns to Audacy as Brand Manager for KILT-AM, Houston. Sports radio pro Parker Hillis is named brand manager for Audacy’s KILT-AM, Houston “Sports Radio 610,” effective June 6. Hillis was most recently assistant program director for Bonneville’s KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan.” He previously served with Audacy’s KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” in a number of producer roles. Audacy Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Parker is a rising star. He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.” Hillis comments, “I’m excited to join the ‘Sports Radio 610’ team in Houston. The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”
‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Memorial Day Weekend Programming. Programmers seeking shows for this Memorial Day weekend should reach out to the folks at Fisher House about carrying “The Fisher House Story: Peace of Mind and a Place to Hear.” The free show is available in numerous lengths, including three-hour, two-hour, one-hour (all with 20 mins of avails), 30 minute non-commercial, and 25-minute content segment for news/talk radio. As you are probably aware, the Fisher House provides free housing for the families of military personnel who are undergoing treatment at VA hospitals that allows them to be near their loved ones. At the Fisher House site, you will find the shows, as well as a marketing & social media toolkit and year round PSAs.
Matt McGill Returns to WVON, Chicago for Midday Show. Windy City media personality Matt McGill is coming back to Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON to host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program, effective June 1. McGill stepped away from his afternoon drive show he co-hosted with Kimberly Egonwman last year. Egonwman currently co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Atiba Buchanan. “The Matt McGill Show” – which the station says will be a mix of local news, entertainment and human-interest topics – will replace “Keeping It Real with Al Sharpton” which will move to the station’s website and air live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Midway Broadcasting CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “Al Sharpton will always be a member of our family here at WVON, but Matt’s program will focus on longform, sponsor-driven content that is designed to boost revenue and ratings.”
TALKERS News Notes. Texas media firm Ramar gets back into the TV business after being a radio-only company for some time as it closes on the construction permit for low power television station K26PJ-D in Lubbock, Texas. Ramar is acquiring it from Mako Communications LLC for $30,000. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker for the seller.…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the 106th Indianapolis 500 live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday (5/29). Throughout this week, SiriusXM will present more Indy racing content leading up to Sunday’s race…..The GCN-syndicated “The Dr. Daliah Show” – starring Dr. Daliah Wachs– is added to the weekend program schedule at WBIN Media’s New Hampshire news/talk trio WTPL, Hillsborough; WTSN, Dover; and WEMJ, Laconia that is branded “The Pulse of New Hampshire.”
Deadly Texas Shoot Shooting/Gun Control, Primary Races/Trump & the GOP, the Economy/Baby Formula, Russia-Ukraine War, North Korea Missile Tests, and ISIS Plots Bush Assassination Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/24). A gunman in Uvalde, Texas kills 19 children and two teachers leading to debate over gun control; the midterm primary races in Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, & Georgia and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the falling tech sector on Wall Street, the high price of gas & food, and the baby formula shortage; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the global economy; North Korea conducts missile tests on the heels of Joe Biden’s Asia trip; and the feds foil a plot, allegedly by ISIS, to assassinate George W. Bush were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.