WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive co-host Tony Massarotti is off the air this week serving a suspension for his racially insensitive comments made on last Friday’s program. As TALKERS reported on Tuesday (2/21), Massarotti – who co-hosts the show with Mike Felger – on Monday (2/20) apologized for his comments. You can see TALKERS coverage of that here.
Tony Massarotti – one half of the afternoon drive duo of “Felger and Mazz” on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – apologized yesterday (2/20) for the racially “insensitive” and “hurtful” comments he made on Friday’s program. The Boston Herald reports that Massarotti’s co-host Mike Felger was broadcasting remotely from a business center in a New Orleans hotel in which two Black people were sitting behind him. Referencing a previous trip to New Orleans in which Felger’s vehicle was stolen, Massarotti asked Felger if the two could hear him and when Felger replied that they couldn’t, he said, “OK, so I would be careful if I were you because the last time you were around a couple of guys like that, they stole your car.” During his apology on Monday, Massarotti said he gets why the joke, intended to be poking fun at Felger, was wrong. “It didn’t come off that way. It came off as something far broader and ignorant, and I’m regretful of that… I sincerely apologize, and I will do my best to make sure it never happens again.”Read the story in the Boston Herald.
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, Scamicide.com; Greta Van Susteren, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Martha 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 Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.