Patch.com reports that KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 FM The Fan” air personality Ron Cook announced his retirement from the station yesterday (2/5). Cook is one of the original hosts who joined the station at its inception in 2010. Cook told his listeners, “It’s been a blast with you guys.” Cook is also a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He’ll leave that position after his last column appears on Sunday. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli comments, “From the first day ‘93.7 The Fan’ signed on the air, Ron brought instant credibility to the station with, not only with reputation as one of the top columnists in the market, but also a trusted voice that sports fans wanted to hear from. That is a rare combination, and to this day we are fortunate that Ron was here with us from the beginning.” Read it on Patch here.
On Tuesday (2/14) the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America officially bestowed the 2023 World Radio Day Award upon Audacy’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The honor is given annually to a station “that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small, commercial or non-commercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, as well as financial and ratings success.” World Radio Day was celebrated on February 13 in commemoration of the birth of United Nations Radio in 1946. This official international day was proclaimed in 2011 by the 36th UNESCO General Conference and adopted by the 67th United Nations General Assembly in 2012. Previous winners include Audacy’s all-news WINS, New York; Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, New York; and the inaugural winner Hubbard Broadcasting’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington, DC. Pictured below are (from left to right): Josh Miely, NAB director member experience; Dave LaBrozzi, KDKA-AM brand manager; Michael Spacciapolli, SVP and market manager Audacy Pittsburgh; and McVay Media president Mike McVay, who presented the award on behalf of the jury. Jurors included representatives of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth, Radio Ink, The Weiss Agency, TALKERS magazine, McVay Media Consulting, Audacy, and Radio World.
The Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America announces that Audacy’s news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX, Pittsburgh is the recipient of the 2023 World Radio Day Award. This special recognition commemorates World Radio Day, celebrated annually on February 13 in commemoration of the birth of United Nations Radio in 1946. It is the fourth annual award given to a U.S. radio station and honors the station that “exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry.” Recipients may be large or small, commercial or non-commercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The jury looks for stations that demonstrate “ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, as well as financial and ratings success.” Previous U.S. winners were Audacy’s WINS-AM, New York; Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY; and Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “This distinguished honor underscores not only KDKA’s unwavering commitment to delivering premier news coverage to the Pittsburgh communities, but the individuals who work tirelessly each and every day to make it happen. We’re proud to join the list of iconic heritage brands that represent the very best the radio industry has to offer.” Jurors included representatives of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth, Radio Ink, The Weiss Agency, TALKERS magazine, McVay Media Consulting, Audacy and Radio World.
Brad Gould to Lead SummitMedia’s Omaha Stations. Media executive Brad Gould joins SummitMedia, LLC as president of the company’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN” and four music brands. Gould was most recently EVP of business development at Arizona marketing agency LaneTerralever. He’s also served with iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor during his career. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “We are very excited Brad will be leading our outstanding team in Omaha. His success in various media management roles is exactly what we need as we continue to evolve the market president role in today’s environment.” SummitMedia CRO John Walker adds, “Brad’s understanding of media enables Summit to compete at an even higher level. Look for Brad and our Omaha team to become even more involved in the community, not only with business leaders but also in local non-profits.”
Joe Madison Inks New Deal with SiriusXM. Longtime SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison signs a new multi-year contract to continue hosting “Joe Madison The Black Eagle” exclusively on SiriusXM. Under the new agreement, Madison will continue to discuss the news of the day from his Washington, D.C. studio. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Joe’s legacy of work speaks for itself. Joe is a leader and a motivator who inspires his audience to raise their voices and get involved. I’m thrilled that Urban View listeners will continue to start their day with Joe for many more years.”
Former Pitt Football Star Dorin Dickerson Promoted at KDKA-FM ‘93.7 The Fan.’ Pittsburgh sports talk KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan announces that former University of Pittsburgh tight end and NFL veteran Dorin Dickerson is joining “The Fan Morning Show” alongside co-hosts Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack, beginning August 1. Dickerson has been a personality at the station since 2017. Audacy Pittsburgh VP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “It is always great to see someone grow within our organization, and through his time in various roles with us, Dorin has truly developed into a host who can entertain on topics well beyond the field. As a former All-American at Pitt and NFL player, Dorin has a perspective that our listeners truly appreciate, and we are extremely excited to welcome his thoughts on the sports world and all things Pittsburgh to ‘The Fan Morning Show’ every day.” Dickerson comments, “Excited is an understatement. I didn’t know what my purpose was after I retired from the NFL. Five years ago, I found myself sitting in the ‘93.7 The Fan’ studio doing a three-hour show, and immediately fell in love with sports radio. That opportunity wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for [KDKA-AM host] Larry Richert having faith in me and passing my name along to the station. I can’t thank Michael Spacciapolli and brand manager Kraig Riley enough for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I plan to bring positive energy, experience, and fun to ‘The Fan Morning Show.’ I can’t wait.”
New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted. A new video from the recent TALKERS 2022 convention at Hofstra University has been posted. This Lunch Session includes a “Welcome to Hofstra” speech from Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean Mark Lukasiewicz; a speech titled, “The Multi-Platform Talk Industry,” by Newsmax TV host Rob Schmitt; the Broadcasters Foundation of America presentation from WPG, Atlantic City host Harry Hurley; and the presentation of the TALKERS “Lifetime Achievement Award” to WOLB, Baltimore host Larry Young. See it here.
KKOB-AM/FM Named Station of the Year by New Mexico Broadcasters Association. The New Mexico Broadcasters Association presented its Excellence in Broadcasting Awards for 2022 and Cumulus Media’s Albuquerque station group took home 12 of the 19 honors. News/talk KKOB-AM/FM was honored with eight awards, including Station of the Year, Newscaster of the Year, Breaking News, Complete Newscast, Continuing Coverage, Feature News, Talk Show or Interview and Website. Sister sports talk station KNML-AM’s morning show “The Opening Drive” won for Sports Show or Interview. Cumulus Albuquerque VP/market manager Jeff Berry says, “We are tremendously proud or our entire Cumulus Albuquerque staff as we know it ‘takes a village.’ Each of the honored individuals brings a passion and commitment to excellence to our building each day and I am honored to work amongst them. With News Radio KKOB celebrating its 100th year of broadcasting, it’s especially sweet the station was recognized in so many areas.” KKOB news director John Summers adds, “I’m so proud of the enormous effort from our entire news team. When you have such a multi-talented and goal-oriented pool of broadcast pros under one roof, you’re bound to walk away with an armload of trophies!”
Edison Research to Increase Sample Size for Podcast Metrics. Beginning with its July podcast metrics reports, Edison Research announces that it is increasing the sample size by 150%. The company says that going forward, fully 5,000 interviews will be conducted each quarter, all among ‘weekly podcast listeners’ in the U.S. – those who say they have listened to at least one podcast in the week before they are contacted. Edison says this significant increase in sample size will allow Edison Podcast Metrics to have the ability to examine more cuts of the data, to generate detailed data on far more shows, and will lead to more frequent reporting. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche adds, “While we are already delivering data based on a very large sample size, Edison Podcast Metrics clients will now be receiving much more granular data. The 20,000 completed interviews each year going forward, on top of the tens of thousands of interviews we have completed since we started the service, will give us a storehouse of information on podcast listening that the podcasting industry can leverage to generate more advertising and insights.”
KTLK-AM, Minneapolis Mourns Death of PD/Host Drew Lee. News of the unexpected passing of KTLK-AM, Minneapolis program director and morning drive co-host Drew Lee was delivered in a YouTube post also found on the station’s website. Lee’s co-host Jon Justice recorded the announcement from the hospital where he’d been recovering from open heart surgery. Lee died on Saturday (6/25) at the age of 49. The cause of death has not been released at this time. The station issued the following statement on its website: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have been informed of the passing of our friend and colleague Andrew Lee on Saturday, June 25. Join us at ‘Twin Cities News Talk’ and iHeartMedia Minneapolis as we lift up Drew’s wife and two children with our thoughts and prayers.” Currently, Jason Lewis and producer Sam Sansevere are hosting the morning show as Justice continues to recover from his surgery.
January 6 Hearings, The Economy, Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, Maxwell Sentencing, Immigration-Migrant Deaths Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/28). Former White House aid Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the January 6 Committee; the still rising price of food & gasoline, activity on the world’s financial markets, and concerns about a recession; Tuesday’s primary elections for the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and the related issue of Finland and Sweden potentially joining NATO; the newest Omicron variant and calls for a specific vaccine to ready for the fall; convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell is sentenced to 20 years in prison; and the deaths of 51 migrants in a tractor trailer in San Antonio were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Jeff Rickard Exits WEEI-FM, Boston Brand Manager Role; Ken Laird Transitions to Operations Manager. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn Tweeted the news that Jeff Rickard has exited his role as brand manager for sports talk WEEI-FM and the station is moving “The Greg Hill Show” producer Ken Laird to operations manager. Rickard joined the station in August of this year, replacing Joe Zarbano, who had left that role in January of 2021. Finn cites a memo from Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas, who writes, “I want to thank Jeff Rickard for his time here and all the work he put into this legacy brand since arriving last August. Jeff is returning to Indianapolis to be with his family and pursue other opportunities. We wish him nothing but the best and appreciate what he did as brand manager of WEEI. A new brand manager will be named in the future. In the meantime, we are excited to announce the promotion of Ken Laird to a new role at WEEI. Ken will be the day-to-day operations manager. He will be coming off producing ‘The Greg Hill Show,’ so he has time in his day to work closely with me and the entire content team on WEEI. One of his first projects will be to work with Greg, Chris and I, to name his replacement on the show.”
Jim Colony to Retire from Full-Time Role at Sports Talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Longtime KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” personality Jim Colony is retiring from his full-time role with the Audacy sports talk outlet. The station notes that Colony has been “a constant in Pittsburgh sports media since the early 1990s” and has “been a critical part of ‘The Fan’ since we started over 10 years ago.” Colony says, “I have been pretty lucky since I stumbled into radio nearly 43 years ago, like when ‘The Fan’ came along just months after I’d been let go across town. It really was ‘right place/right time’ and it’s lasted for 12 years – an eternity in this business. While it’s not the right time for me to retire altogether, now that Linda is retired it is time for me to step back a bit so we can spend more time together but not too much time (she’d get sick of me)!” Colony will continue to work a fill-in role for the station. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Jim Colony is one of the great characters in Pittsburgh radio who is beloved by so many listeners. We are so appreciative for all of the work and entertainment he has brought to so many over the years. While we are excited for Jim and Linda (we think) as Jim moves to this next phase of his life we are just as happy that Jim will remain a big part of ‘The Fan’ in a variety of different ways.”
Talking About Michael Jackson – Producer Lyle Gregory is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The man who served as the late talk radio legend Michael Jackson’s producer for 30 years, Lyle Gregory, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Lyle Gregory is the official spokesperson for the Jackson family. Michael Jackson passed away this past Sunday (1/16) at age 87. Harrison and Gregory pay tribute to the legacy of a man who was one of the founding fathers of modern talk radio in a deep-dive discussion that covers his life and times… and offers the listener insights into the magic of one of radio’s most-golden eras. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Texas Sues Google Over Radio Talent Phone Endorsement Campaign. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a suit in Montgomery County, Texas against Google, alleging that the big tech firm struck a deal with iHeartMedia for some of its radio personalities in the Dallas and Houston markets to endorse its new Pixel 4 smartphones even though they were not on the market yet and the personalities had not actually used the devices. The complaint says Google sought out radio talent for the campaign in 2019 and that the endorsement of goods that they hadn’t used violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. The suit goes on to say that even though iHeartMedia told Google that endorsement-without-use violates regulations, Google did not provide phones for the personalities. Specific personalities are not named in the suit but a sample of the ad copy is included. Here’s one script:
“The only thing I love more than taking the perfect photo? Taking the perfect photo at night. With Google Pixel 4 both are a cinch. It’s my favorite phone camera out there, especially in low light, thanks to Night Sight Mode. I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything…my son’s football game… a meteor shower… a rare spotted owl that landed in my backyard. Pics or it didn’t happen, am I right? Pixel 4 is more than just great pics. It’s also great at helping me get stuff done, thanks to the new voice activated Google Assistant that can handle multiple tasks at once. I can read up on the latest health fads, ask for directions to the nearest goat yoga class (yes, that’s a thing), and text the location to mom hands-free.”
The complaint says any “customization” of the script had to be approved by Google’s ad buyer. Google has said it is reviewing the complaint but that it does not accurately represent what happened.
Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from SHOT Show. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher preparing to go on the air from the exhibit floor at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas where he is broadcasting this week. The Shooting/Hunting/Outdoor Trade Show is the largest professional event for the shooting industry…and Gallagher says he promises “high caliber” broadcasts on both radio and the new Salem News Channel.
TuneIn Offers New Program for Content Creators. Calling it a “new program that will provide emerging content creators, educational, and non-profit broadcasters in the United States with access to the same distribution tools as major broadcasters,” TuneIn unveils the TuneIn On Air program. TuneIn says the program “was created to empower emerging content creators by providing them seamless access to digital distribution capabilities. Immediately upon joining TuneIn On Air, broadcasters will expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million United States-based listeners. This new offering is aligned with TuneIn’s commitment to reinvent radio for a connected world by bringing radio distribution into the digital age and realizing its promise of an open platform for everyone.” The program costs $249 per quarter. TuneIn chief industry evangelist Andrew Bock says, “One of our aims with the launch of TuneIn On Air is to re-energize college radio stations and independent broadcasters around the US by providing them with a simple and easy-to-use way to dramatically increase their distribution through digital audio. College radio and independent broadcasters serve an important and irreplaceable role in their communities. Through the TuneIn On Air platform, we are giving these voices a clear path to expand and grow their audiences through digital distribution.”
TALKERS News Notes. On the heels of the recent retirement of partner Charlie Sislen, Research Director, Inc. announces staff changes and promotions. Kathryn Boxill creates and leads the new quality control team as the quality control team manager. She previously served as a senior sales research consultant. Nicole Somerville transitions to the production team manager position from her previous role as sales research consultant. Anne Doyle moves into the information systems administrator position from operations management. Nakia Smith and Hayden Waugh move from their sales research consultant positions to join the client service department as client service consultants.…..ABC Audio launches its new GMA channel on Apple Podcasts and announces three new podcast projects: a “Good Morning America” podcast, the second season of “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” and new entertainment podcast “Close Up,” hosted by Kelley Carter. ABC Audio’s free GMA channel will house these new projects, as well as all of ABC News’ lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content, including its popular “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson” podcast…..Audacy’s Cadence13 partners with @DeuxMoi – the pop culture and celebrity Instagram account hailed as “the new outlet of choice for the celebrity obsessed” by The New York Times – for “Deux U,” a weekly show featuring an extensive analysis of the most popular and controversial posts from the account…..iHeartRadio and Sports Illustrated Media unveil an original podcast series focused on iconic names in the sports industry called, “Sports Illustrated Weekly.” Hosted by SI senior writer John Gonzalez, the weekly series takes sports fanatics through untold moments, iconic interviews and the best stories in sports thus far.
Biden Press Conference, Voting Rights-Filibuster, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, U.S.-Russia Tensions, Inflation/Supply Chain, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). Reaction to President Joe Biden’s Wednesday press conference; Democrats fail to alter the filibuster and to take up voting rights legislation; the rate of COVID-19 cases, vaccine effectiveness, and schools’ policies; the Supreme Court nixes Donald Trump’s bid to keep records from January 6 Committee; the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; soaring retail and oil prices and the supply chain troubles; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; and China warns athletes about political commentary while at the Beijing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.