In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks veteran broadcasters (l-r) Mike McVay, Jay Philippone, Gene Valicenti, and Paul Gleiser: “How do you keep up this pace?” Clue: They have a genuine love of our craft. Read Cooke’s column here.
By Holland Cooke
Feel busy? Try keeping-up with these four:
— Like George Clooney’s character in “Up In The Air,” Mike McVay attained an elite status earned by only a handful when Continental Airlines was the principal carrier in Cleveland, his home base. And he’s still at it, consulting full-time since 1984.
— “Rhode Island’s anchorman” is ultimate split-shifter Gene Valicenti, who hosts 3 hours of radio on WPRO at 6AM (11 years), then at 6PM he co-anchors on NBC10 TV (31 years), both top-rated shows.
— For 10 years I’ve been riding 138 miles with owner Jay Philippone from his home in Pittsburgh to Connect FM + Sunny 106 in DuBois PA. He lived there when his children were young, then moved to the Burgh’ when he bought stations in nearer West Virginia; and “because you get home quicker from Pirates and Penguins and Steelers games.”
— And for 20 years I’ve followed owner Paul Gleiser “106.3 miles door-to-door” from his home in Dallas to KTBB + KRWR in Tyler-Longview. Why the trek? “My wife gets to do what she wants to do” in the culturally rich Metroplex, and where she is a university professor.
How DO they do it?
“On the cusp of my 65th birthday,” Jay laughs, “that’s a good question!” As bosses, he and Paul are innately motivated. Gene sets the alarm for 5AM, but – because “I just can’t wait to get on the radio — I find myself getting up earlier,” to execute a show he and his producers mapped-out the day before.
Their love for our craft is clear. Mike says he’s “up late and up early because l absolutely love what I’m doing. I really don’t feel like I’m working for the most part.”
Their routine seems anything-but
Gleiser has gone-though “a lot of tires” making his trans-Texas trek 4 days a week since 1991 (on Wednesdays in his ATW Creative Services studio in Dallas). And he makes the most of all those miles: “I’m in the News and Talk business, so I use that time to consume news and keep myself current.” As does Philippone; and all that back-N-forth time affords them an invaluable perspective listening in-car, where AM/FM radio is still #1.
Mike McVay travels 3 weeks a month (down from 48 weeks X 5 days pre-pandemic), unlike Gene Valicenti’s 6AM + 6PM gigs that keep him closer to home. And, yes, Gene naps between shows (“30 minutes, longer makes it worse”). But by 5PM he’s in the bustling NBC10 newsroom, where “I start to work on the 6P TV script” he’s given, “which I go through and rewrite almost every story and tease, to make the copy sound like me.”
Technology: Friend or foe?
“Yes!” Gleiser quips. “There are only tradeoffs.” On the plus side, the pandemic-necessitated telecommuting that has transformed so many other industries has shown radio new options.
Jimmy Failla’s first affiliate remote was from KTBB, where – minutes before airtime – Internet service failed. If I hadn’t seen it in person, I wouldn’t have believed that we fed New York via an iPhone hotspot. And as Failla’s frequent fill-in, Paul has hosted the show from KTBB and from home in Dallas and in-studio at Fox/NY, and my trained ear can’t hear the difference. And when Valicenti does his radio show at home Monday and Friday mornings, he can even do his live NBC10 TV simulcast hit there.
Philippone raves about the Radio.cloud automation system “that allows us to work and manage the product and diagnose transmitter problems from anywhere.” But he confesses that “I’m still working on a perfect way to manage my In box, to be able to keep-up” with the volume of communication and information, the velocity of which is “lots faster than pre-Internet/pre-Email days.”
During my 17 years as McVay Media news/talk specialist, I learned lots from Mike about keeping organized. “Obsessive about detail and staying focused on the job at hand,” he types meeting notes in real-time. “I do everything I need to do as quickly as it can be done,” which also means making the most of all that time in-flight. He warns managers to “prioritize properly, so the crisis of one person doesn’t become a crisis for someone else.”
It takes a team
Gene Valicenti admits “I got lucky with two good producers,” one at WPRO the other at NBC10. “They’re both fast and technologically-savvy,” and his radio producer “can quickly find something during commercial breaks.” He talks with both producers several times each day, and they talk to each other. “It’s all about cross-promoting, cross-purposing” on-air material from station-to-station, win-win.
Paul Gleiser IS his stations. He has a PD, but he himself is owner, GM, Sales Manager, Promotion Manager, and choosy endorsement spot talent. “It’s an unusual management structure,” in which “everybody is in Sales, and everybody knows their job, and has tenure, almost zero turnover” (the last couple openings were because two longtime staffers died suddenly, too young).
Jay Philippone is at his Pennsylvania stations Mondays (interacting with each staffer and finalizing his visit to-do list) and Tuesdays (“meetings day”) and Wednesdays (follow-through). He has a full-time GM and “she’s been on the job 30 years next month, someone to make sure things get done and ‘the trains run on time.’”
Mike urges “find time to turn it off. Let your brain be on rest, and entertain yourself.” He’s a sports fan, and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Jay will “take a half day and not work, just read,” and he calls that decompression “really, really worthwhile.”
But retirement? McVay: Nope. Gleiser: “And do WHAT?” Philippone: “I’ve been in radio since I was 19 and I love what I do.” When I ask “If you didn’t do this?” Jay admits “I don’t have an answer,” and he thinks “it would be easy to lose a sense of direction.” As did his retired friend who said “it sucks.”
Valicenti is struck by the reach of WPRO’s station stream: “You would not believe how many rely on it,” and when it hiccups “we hear about it!” And not just from locals using the station app and smart speakers. He has a big following in Florida, seasonal snowbirds and Rhode Island ex-pat retirees who are frequent callers. When the time comes? “Maybe doing a radio show from Florida,” where – vacationing recently in Naples – he was greeted by New England accents when spotted in restaurants callers had recommended.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) 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
Remote News Service and McVay Media announce a deal for the latter to consult the news providing organization. Remote News Service provides radio anchors and reporters for news and traffic content. McVay Media president Mike McVay says, “I was very familiar with RNS and the company that president Lesley Lotto has built. I like what they do and what they offer. Given the economic situation that media finds itself in today, the question has become how can we be cost effective without diminishing the quality of the content? Remote News Service is the answer to that question.”
Benztown and Envisionwise are hosting a free webinar for radio professionals titled, “Keeping it Real in the Digital Age,” with host Mike McVay, president of McVay Media, and guests Jackie Parks, founder/CEO of Envisionwise; Peter Smyth, former chairman and CEO of Greater Media, Inc; and Sheri Lynch, co-host of “The Bob & Sheri Show.” The 45-minute webinar on Friday (10/6) at 1:00 pm ET will provide specific tools and strategies for increasing stations’ digital revenue. You can register here.
Audacy announces an expansion of its relationship with Puck and the launch of “About a Boy: The Story of Vladimir Putin” – a five-part documentary podcast series exploring the forces that shaped Russian President Vladimir Putin’s childhood (and life) and why it’s critical to understanding what he might do next in the war against Ukraine. The series is written and narrated by Julia Ioffe, Puck founding partner and Washington correspondent, and one of the leading journalists covering Russia and Putin.
Salem Media Group says “Grace and Truth with Owen Strachan” is joining the Salem Podcast Network. Owen Strachan is provost and research professor of Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary and is the author of 20 books, including his latest, The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them (Salem Books, 2023). Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Salem Podcast Network continues to add multi-talented podcasters who share our worldview. Owen is an amazing voice for what is true and right in America, and adding him to our platform is a home run. I can’t wait to become a regular listener when he gets started.”
iHeartPodcasts announces the return of the “Work in Progress” podcast for its third season. The program features actor, producer, and activist Sophia Bush and in the first two episodes she interviews former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki along with an interview with actor Matthew McConaughey.
Pictured above is WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence morning host and WJAR-TV, Providence 6:00 pm anchor Gene Valicenti (right) with consultants Holland Cooke (left) and Mike McVay (center). Valicenti was one of those inducted into Rhode Island Radio & TV Hall of Fame last night (9/21). This year’s other radio inductee is former WPRO news director Chris Camp, who recently retired back to Rhode Island after 28 years as news director at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.
During the coming days, videos of all of TALKERS 2023’s numerous sessions conducted June 2 at Hofstra University will be posted, beginning today with the panel discussion “Programming News/Talk Radio in the Digital Era – Part 1.” The session, sponsored by Premiere Networks, is introduced by Larry O’ Connor, morning host at WMAL, Washington, DC and moderated by Mike McVay (pictured at right), CEO of McVay Media Consulting. Panelists (pictured below from left to right) include Joe Thomas, program director/host, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Eric Stanger, SVP operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Brett Winterble, host, WBT, Charlotte; Kevin DeLany, VP news & talk programming, Westwood One; and Tom Cuddy, program director, WOR, New York. (Note: Matt Meany, program director, WABC, New York who was originally scheduled to appear on this panel switched to the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the Digital Era – Part 2” session which will be posted tomorrow.) See the video of this session here.
By Holland Cooke
The first thing we heard was an earful from NAB president & CEO Curtis LeGeyt regarding automakers dropping AM receivers from new cars: “This is an issue we consider to be absolutely existential.”
Quoting Nielsen’s Fall 2022 survey results, Cumulus/Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard ticked-off what he called “82 million reasons to keep AM radio in cars”
— 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly.
— One out of three American radio listeners are reached monthly by AM radio.
— 57% of the AM radio audience listens to news/talk stations, the very outlets that Americans turn to in times of crisis and breaking local news.
As he presented “The State of Media, Audio and Marketing,” attendees were screen-shooting every slide in Pierre’s deck, so he offered to share (PBouvard@WestwoodOne.com). This must-see data explains and validates what he calls “The Two Jobs of Marketing: Converting Existing Demand and Creating Future Demand,” powerful ammo station reps can use to nudge advertisers who only tout special sales to instead use radio on-an-ongoing-basis.
— “If an apple orchard represents a brand’s entire customer base, converting existing demand = picking ripe apples (customers that are ‘in market’).” Those are, for instance, what he called the “3% who are looking to buy a car right now,” who will respond to the dealer’s caricature sale spots. As for the other 97%…
“If an apple orchard represents a brand’s entire customer base, creating future demand = planting new trees. It takes time and patience for new trees to bear fruit.” Thus, the worth of “emotional messaging that is designed to stand out and be enjoyed by consumers, creating positive memories of our brand that will influence future purchase decisions.”
Two discussions I took part in during the Small-Medium Market Forum echoed a unison I’m hearing everywhere: Where do we find on-air talent and salespeople?
— In the talent roundtable Mike McVay led, participants tended to think-young, swapping ideas for identifying entry-level candidates, possibly now podcasting. Or think-older. One participant mentioned a retired schoolteacher, comfortably pensioned, now cheerfully on-air, working fewer than 40 hours.
— The part-timer’s opportunity also came up on the sales side, in a roundtable led by Midwest Communications’ president Peter Tanz. As with industry in general post-pandemic, flexible arrangements help. And Tanz urged “Use your air, with ‘more cowbell.’” Meaning not only advertise for sellers on-air (where you’ll be talking to people who know the station); and he also suggested airing Employee Recognition salutes, of off-air staffers, which make the station sound like an appreciative employer.
— I read attendees a Help Wanted-Sales spot that has been productive at client stations, which I’ll share with you too. Simply Email me at email@example.com
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke
TALKERS 2023 to Feature Two Power-Packed News/Talk Radio Programming Panels
As the 26th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national gathering draws closer, details of its exciting day-long agenda begin to come into focus. TALKERS 2023 will feature two “Programming News/Talk Radio in the Digital Era” panel sessions.
The first, moderated by Mike McVay, president, McVay Media, will feature panelists (in alphabetical order): Grace Blazer, VP, national NTS brand coordinator, director of news and AM programming Florida region, iHeartMedia; Kevin Delany, VP, news & talk programming, Westwood One; Matt Meany, program director, WABC, New York; Eric Stanger, VP, operations, “The Sean Hannity Show,” Premiere Networks; and Joe Thomas, talk show host/program director, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA.
The second, moderated by Walter Sabo (a.k.a. Walter Sterling), president, Sabo Media/talk show host, “Sterling On Sunday,” will feature panelists (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group; ops VP, New York region/ WMCA/AM970 the Answer; Tom Cuddy, program director, WOR, New York; Michael Czarnecki, VP, programming, Binnie Media; Dan Mandis, talk show host/program director WTN-FM, Nashville; and John T. Mullen, GM, WRHU-FM/WRHU.org, Hofstra University.
The panels which will be scheduled during the morning and afternoon segments of the conference will tackle such questions and issues as: How much political programming is optimum for a news/talk station? When targeting a core audience, where do you draw the line between “super-serving” and affirming its opinions versus challenging them? How do you expand upon the AM or FM brand through the use of digital media platforms so as to grow the audience and not dilute the ratings? What is the role of podcasting going forward? How do you to maintain journalistic integrity in a highly polarized society? Is talent direction/coaching a lost art? Where does the new talent come from? How do you optimally integrate local and national programming? How do you work with a tight and/or shrinking budget? How can news/talk radio be significantly improved? plus more.
The details of other panels and sessions addressing sales, sports talk radio, podcasting, career navigation and more will be posted in TALKERS during the next few days and weeks.
TALKERS 2023 will take place on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island is on its way to an early sellout. You can see the list of in-person speakers and get registration and hotel information here.
The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce the 2023 National Board of Directors and Officers. AMW/F president Becky Brooks says, “The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in all facets of media. With our mission to advance all women in media, it is as vital as ever to have insightful, diverse leadership. This year’s directors are dedicated to investing their time and resources to guide us and foster growth for AWM and each of our programs.” The officer roles are: Annie Howell, chair, chief communications officer, Hallmark Media; Katina Arnold, incoming/vice chair, vice president, communications, ESPN; Heather Cohen, immediate past chair, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Brenda Hetrick, treasurer, president, Matrix Solutions; and Monica Bloom, treasurer-elect, VP of marketing for First Look Media. New directors serving on the board are: Cori Abraham, SVP, Entertainment Unscripted Development, Crime and Documentary Development, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming; Jayne Bussman-Wise, creator acquisition & growth, Amazon AMP; and Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, American Urban Radio Networks. The following leaders will continue serving on the AWM Foundation Board of Directors: Tim Clarke, SVP, digital audio content, Audacy; Vicki Lins, president and CEO, CTAM; Mike McVay, president, McVay Media; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink, RBR, and TVBR; Josie Thomas, former EVP, chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS (Retired); and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group.
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.
Jones Must Pay Nearly $1 Billion In Sandy Hook Defamation Case. A Connecticut jury has ordered “Infowars” talk show host Alex Jones to pay $965 million in total damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings and an FBI agent. Additional damages covering attorneys’ fees will be determined next month. The verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury. Not sounding remorseful on yesterday’s radio show (Wednesday, 10/12), Jones railed against the jury’s decision, urging listeners to send money or buy supplements sold on his website. He stated, “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland [but] we’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.” Jones actually cheered as the judge listed off millions in damages for each count. After one count was read, Jones said, “Get those numbers up.” At times he gave thumbs-up and raised his hand in the air. Jones and Free Speech Systems – parent of his Infowars content company – were held liable for defamation for spreading false stories that the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax and the victims were actually “crisis actors,” who were following a script written by the government to build support for gun control. Fifteen plaintiffs were awarded damages in the case, one of three suits against Jones from his conspiracy theories about the shooting. The largest single award of $120 million went to Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed in the shooting. Jones spent years mocking Parker as an actor. The plaintiffs also included an FBI agent who responded to the shooting; he was awarded $90 million in damages. An earlier suit in Texas awarded one victim’s parents close to $50 million. Another case is going to the damages phase after Jones lost the suit.
Jim Bohannon is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio superstar Jim Bohannon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Yesterday (10/10), the radio industry was shocked and deeply saddened at the announcement by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One in TALKERS that one of its longest running, most successful and universally beloved syndicated talk show hosts would be hanging up his headphones on Friday October 14th due to health issues. It was a surprise to many – but industry insiders were already aware that this broadcasting legend was suffering from an advanced case of esophageal cancer… and the prognosis was increasingly grim. His career that spanned more than five decades including the past 30 as host of his solid late-night syndicated show is one of the greatest of all time. His achievements include induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Radio Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. He has received the First Amendment Award from the Radio-Television Digital News Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS magazine; along with numerous other awards and honors. Michael Harrison interviewed Jim Bohannon this past Sunday (10/9) afternoon. It is candid, compelling and will no doubt be a historic audio document capturing a dramatic slice of radio history and culture – as well as deep insights into the human condition. After recording the interview and podcast, Michael Harrison stated, “It is with profound sadness and love that I have the honor of presenting this interview to the public.” Not to be missed! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Gracie Awards Opens Call For Entries. For nearly 50 years, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation-presented Gracie Awards have honored individual talent and exemplary programming created by women, for women, and about women in radio, television, and digital media in news and entertainment. AWMF president Becky Brooks comments, “We are more committed than ever to honor the remarkable work by so many in our creative community. As our most important fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Foundation to deliver on its promise to further the connection, education and recognition of women in media.” The 2023 Gracie Awards co-chairs are: The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen; McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay; and Hallmark Media chief communications officer Annie Howell. Emmy winner Vicangelo Bulluck has produced the Gracie Awards since 2016 and will return in that capacity for the 2023 awards. Entry eligibility air dates are January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022; deadline for all entries is January 12, 2023 at 11:59 pm (ET).
Live365, TuneIn Strike Distribution Deal. Through a distribution agreement between internet radio companies Live 365 and TuneIn, Live365 broadcasters can access TuneIn On Air distribution as part of Live365’s premium packages – or – as an add-on to any other package. TuneIn On Air allows internet radio broadcasters to expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million U.S.-based listeners via TuneIn’s app and 200+ connected devices. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern remarks, “This partnership with Live365 fits perfectly within our mission to reinvent radio for a connected world and democratize access to radio for broadcasters large and small. We believe great conversations are driven by the power of the human voice and we know our listeners rely on us to stay connected to the issues that matter to them most via our content catalog. We’re thrilled to help more broadcasters reach TuneIn’s expansive audience.” Live365 chief executive officer Jon Stephenson notes, “We’re excited to strike up this historic distribution deal with TuneIn to offer our Live365 broadcaster community access to TuneIn on air’s unparalleled distribution reach. As internet radio pioneers, this is an extraordinary opportunity to combine forces and allow broadcasters to utilize Live365’s easy-to-use tools and licensing coverage while reaching TuneIn’s millions of listeners. We’re proud to offer this to our community as we focus on expanding our distribution offering.”
TALKERS News Notes. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, visits his former aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor for an interview that airs tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) at 7:00 pm as an episode of Sirius XM’s “Crooked Radio” (SiriusXM Progress). It will then be issued Saturday as a podcast. The former President’s “Pod Save America” appearance will be replayed tomorrow night (Friday, 10/14) at 9:00 pm and throughout the weekend. It will be his first on the show in exactly two years (10/14/2020). … Following a 24-year tenure at Los Angeles’ KNX “News 97.1 FM,” morning co-anchor/senior political correspondent Dick Helton (pictured at right) will retire tomorrow (Friday, 10/14) from the Audacy facility. Prior to joining KNX, Helton spent 29 years anchoring in Chicago at co-owned/similarly-formatted WBBM-AM. … Per a report in The Lincoln Journal-Star, Damon Benning succeeds Matt Davison as analyst on University of Nebraska football radio broadcasts. Formerly a host on NRG Media Omaha sports talk KOZN “1620 The Zone,” Benning played for the Cornhuskers from 1992 – 1996. Davison had been a Nebraska analyst the past 19 years. … As part of an intra-Pennsylvania transaction, 34 full-power stations and 12 translators in five “Keystone State” markets are changing hands. Forever Media is the seller; Kristen Cantrell’s Southern Belle Media Family/Seven Mountains Media Family is the buyer. Among stations being sold include: sports talk WQWK, news/talk WRSC, W279DK, and W227DV (all in the State College market); Altoona market news/talk WFBG; news/talk WNTJ, W230BK, and W283CX, and news/talk WNTI (all in the Johnstown market); news/talk WMGW, W264DK, news-talk WTIV and W287DC, and news/talk WFRA and W251CL (all in the Meadville-Franklin market) news/talk WKST, W250CW, and W248DJ (all in the New Castle market); and Lebanon market news/talk WLBR. The complete transaction is for $17.375 million in assumption of promissory notes to Kerby E. Confer, the Judith M. Confer Irrevocable Trust, and Confermation, LLP. Kerby E. Confer is Kristen Cantrell father.
A Podcast With “More To It” Debuts Next Tuesday. Co-produced by syndicated sports talk host Dan Patrick; iHeartPodcasts; Workhouse Media; Dat Dude Entertainment; and Jam Street Media, “More To It With Marcellus Wiley” will drop next Tuesday (10/18) on The Dan Patrick Podcast Network. Former co-host of FS1’s “Speak For Yourself” and ESPN’s “SportsNation,” all-pro defensive end Wiley played ten seasons in the NFL for four different teams. Patrick opines, “Marcellus’ frequent appearances on my show always stood out because he never showed up with cliché comments. He’s never been boring and I love that he brings something new to every conversation. I’m looking forward to listening to his new show and thrilled that he’s officially part of our family.” Wiley notes, “I’m honored to work with the legendary trailblazer Dan Patrick, whose path of success perfectly embodies the title of this podcast. I’m so excited to share these amazing journeys of perseverance and success with the world to inspire the inner power we all possess.” Wiley’s podcast will feature conversations with athletes, entertainers, and people with surprising stories that prove there’s more to everyone’s reality than meets the eye. It kicks off with an interview with rapper Lil Wayne. Future scheduled guests include Anthony Anderson, Charles Barkley, Snoop Dogg, Andrew Yang, Deion Sanders and Ben Horowitz.
Confusion On FM Booster Geotargeting. Several Texas and Colorado broadcasters have filed letters with the FCC, requesting their names be removed as supporters of a GeoBroadcast Solutions petition that supports geo-targeting on FM boosters. Dan Balla and Andrew Devall, presidents of Texas entities Falls Media and Q-Media Group, respectively, wrote they “were entirely unaware of our participation in this proceeding and did not knowingly consent to having our name included on such filings. We are relatively small radio broadcast operators with enormous demands on our limited time and resources. In general, we do not have the bandwidth to personally monitor activities at the FCC. Given this highly unusual circumstance, [we] respectfully request that the Commission remove the prior filings indicating our support for GBS’s requested rule change from the record.” According to Colorado broadcasters Scott Poese (Ranchland Broadcasting) and Warren Epstein (Pikes Peak College), comments filed under their names “do not accurately reflect our views. Contrary to what the comments indicate, [we] do not support the GeoBroadcast Solutions petition or believe it would benefit our stations or the public.”
TALKERS 2022 Convention Explores News/Talk Programming. At the TALKERS 2022 convention held Friday, June 10 at Hofstra University, news/talk programming pros spoke on the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the Digital Era” panel, moderated by McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay (inset). Pictured above are (from l-r): Grace Blazer, VP, national NTS brand coordinator, director of news and AM programming, Florida region, iHeartMedia; Greg Stocker, program director, WPHT, Philadelphia; Kevin DeLany, VP, news & talk programming, Westwood One; Phil Boyce, SVP, spoken word format, Salem Media Group, Salem Radio Network/operations VP, New York region; and Dr. Asa Andrew, The Dr. Asa Health Network.
Complete TALKERS 2022 Session Videos Being Posted Today, TALKERS magazine begins posting complete videos of each session from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on Friday, June 10 at Hofstra University. The first video posted is the Breakfast Session during which KOA, Denver talk host Mandy Connell was presented the “Woman of the Year” award and WRVA, Richmond, Virginia talk host Jeff Katz was honored with the “Humanitarian of the Year” award. See the video here.
Steven Cohen Named VP of Business Development and Partnerships at Crossover Media Group. Radio and podcasting pro Steven Cohen joins Crossover Media Group in the newly created position of vice president of business development and partnerships. For the past seven years, Cohen has served with Audacy-owned podcast creator Cadence13. In his new role with Crossover Media Group, he’ll be tasked with developing new business opportunities and partnerships. Crossover managing member Sue Freund states, “Steven is one of the most recognizable faces in podcasting from both the advertising and content sides. Given his background in both the audio and the digital podcast space, he brings a wealth of experience to the team which fits ideally with our content lineup. He’s relentlessly client-focused and he ‘gets’ the business of podcast advertising.”
Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Celebrate One Year in Syndication. Today (6/21) marks the first anniversary of the national syndication of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” by Premiere Networks. Premiere says the show debuted on more than 400 affiliates last summer, marking one of the biggest launches in talk radio history and is continuing to experience rapid growth and success across multiple platforms. It also says that program’s total AQH audience has increased 32% since the launch in the key demo of Adults 25-54. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “We’re so proud of the program Clay and Buck have developed together over the past year. We knew they had the talent, passion and enthusiasm to deliver something new and exciting to the talk radio format. We couldn’t be happier with the result and we look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.” Pictured above at a private, intimate party in New York City to celebrate the anniversary are (from l-r): Dan Metter, Premiere Networks EVP, director of personality sales; Clay Travis; Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott; Buck Sexton; and Alan Korowitz, president of National Platforms at iHeartMedia Photo: Cate Groubert for iHeartMedia.
WRVA’s Jeff Katz Does Election Day Hit on ‘FOX & Friends.’ Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond, Virginia afternoon drive host Jeff Katz (left) on with Brian Kilmeade (right) from FOX News Channel’s “FOX and Friends” program broadcasting live from iconic Richmond diner McLean’s Restaurant. Katz, who tells TALKERS he “knows a thing or two about pancakes and coffee,” joined Kilmeade to talk Virginia Congressional primary races as well as efforts to roll back gas and grocery taxes in the Old Dominion.
KTAR, Phoenix Recognizes 100 Years of Service. Phoenix, Arizona news/talk station KTAR “News 92.3 FM” is celebrating 100 years as the “Trusted Voice of the Valley.” KTAR-AM began broadcasting the news/talk format that is now heard on KTAR-FM. Bonneville SVP and market manager Ryan Hatch comments, “As we reflect on a century of broadcasting for KTAR, we are honored to have such a tremendously talented team that continues to serve this community and innovate to keep our audiences connected and informed and deliver extraordinary results for our local business partners. While many voices have changed over the years, KTAR’s commitment to produce news that Arizonans can trust when it matters the most has never been stronger.”
Radio Personality Matt Pinfield Addresses Addiction in ‘Sound, Sobriety & Success’ Podcast. Radio & TV personality and rock journalist Matt Pinfield is partnering with Benztown + McVay Media Podcast Networks to host the new podcast “Sound, Sobriety & Success.” Pinfield says, “Living clean and sober is a beautiful gift for those of us who have struggled with addiction. Through this podcast, I am grateful to share the success stories of people in recovery to help others fight and understand their battles with alcoholism and addiction. I want to help people identify similarities in others’ stories to understand how they have successfully made their life changes. This podcast is a natural for me, as I have been transparent about my own struggles and journey in recovery and how it has completely changed my life for the better. I think this podcast is a great way to be of service through storytelling – sharing the faith, strength and hope that many of my contemporaries and friends have experienced.”
TALKERS News Notes. Joining the programming at DuPage Radio’s WCKG-AM, Chicago is the Chicago Bears program “The Sick Podcast,” hosted by the NFL Network’s Adam Rank. The program will air each Friday from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WCKG sports director Jon Zaghloul says, “Adam’s passion for the Bears makes for such quality content. I’m proud to bring his show to where it belongs – WCKG, Chicago. Listeners should look forward to Adam’s opinions, guests, and commentary on all things Chicago Bears. This is a great move for our brand, and I’m excited to get things started.”…..Public media producer GBH announces the hiring of Sandra Lopez Burke as managing director of community and government relations. In this new role, Lopez Burke will build on GBH’s community engagement efforts, creating greater diversity among audiences, thought leaders, and supporters, while managing strategic partnerships to further the organization’s goals…..“The BOB & TOM Show” raised $12,000 on Friday (6/17) to help send Indianapolis-area children to summer camp through its Pop-Up Comedy For A Cause event at the historic Irving Theater in Indianapolis. The program featured performances by Willie Griswold, Jeff Oskay, Josh Arnold and Pat Godwin.
The Economy, Primaries/Donald Trump & the GOP, SCOTUS Term, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, Israeli Government, and Heatwave/Western Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20). The high price of gas & food, the sinking financial markets, and concerns about a recession; today’s primary races for the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the Supreme Court prepares to end its term as the expected reversal of Roe v Wade looms and the safety of justices is debated; today’s continuation of the January 6 Committee’s hearings and speculation about prosecuting those – including former President Donald Trump – responsible for orchestrating the Capitol breach; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the world’s economy; Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett steps down and disbands the governing coalition, prompting new elections; and the heatwaves in the U.S. and abroad, combined with the drought facing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WMAL-FM, Washington Unveils New ‘O’Connor & Company’ Co-Hosts. The morning drive “O’Connor & Company” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington, DC announces the program’s new co-hosts. Joining host Larry O’Connor are: Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, Julie Gunlock, director of the center for progress and innovation at Independent Women’s Forum, and Patrice Onwuka, political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. The station says that the trio have been well received by WMAL listeners as guest hosts on the show in recent months. WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are excited to welcome these fresh voices to WMAL. Their varied life experiences, chemistry with Larry and with each other, and opinions on the issues of the day serve to create compelling content each weekday morning.” O’Connor adds, “Having a daily conversation with Julie, Amber and Patrice about what matters most to the people of our community is an absolute pleasure. From the halls of the Capitol to the vital debates at our local school boards, these intelligent and engaging women bring insights and humor that represent the best of Washington. It’s a genuine honor to team up with them every morning on WMAL.”
Livingston Named GSM for Cumulus Birmingham. Radio sales pro Todd Livingston is promoted to general sales manager for Cumulus Media’s Birmingham station group that includes the trio of sports talkers WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5,” WJQX-FM “Jox2 100.5,” and WJOX-AM “Jox3 690,” and news/talk duo WAPI-FM/WZRR-FM. Livingston is a 32-year media executive who joined Cumulus Birmingham in July 2021 as an account executive. Prior to that, he was local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Tuscaloosa. Cumulus Birmingham VP and market manager James Robinson states, “We are excited to have Todd on our team as general sales manager. Todd has deep roots and broadcast experience in Alabama and his ability to create actionable ideas for our client partners make him a valuable asset to our team in Birmingham.”
Audacy Adds Two Sales Pros to Performance Sales Function. Media sales pros Shirin Peykar and Dan Wolman join Audacy – Peykar in the role of SVP of performance sales and Wolman in the VP of performance sales position. In her new role, Peykar will lead Audacy’s performance sales team and sell across its portfolio of products, leaning heavily into the company’s robust podcast library. Peykar will also strategize to drive the business forward and expand Audacy’s relationships with performance-driven marketers. She will report to Ken Lagana, EVP of digital sales. Wolman will work with performance clients and agencies to sell across Audacy’s portfolio of digital audio brands, with a focus on its podcast business. Both Peykar and Wolman join Audacy from Stitcher, where Peykar was SVP of direct response ad sales and Wolman was VP of performance sales. Lagana says, “Shirin’s rich experience leading multi-faceted ad sales operations for premier media and entertainment companies makes her a valuable addition to our performance sales business. We’re equally as excited about the addition of Dan to the team, which will collectively strive to drive revenue, market share and profit performance for our portfolio of assets.” Peykar says, “I’ve been watching Audacy’s progression in the podcast space over the past couple of years and their commitment to building a world class podcast portfolio has really impressed me. When you couple that dedication to the podcast space and audio in general, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing this portfolio to our performance clients and agencies!” Wolman comments, “Audacy is the industry leader in audio while remaining innovative, representing chart-topping content, generating loyal listeners, and serving as the home to influential talent. This is a performance sellers dream! I am excited to leverage my linear, OTT, and audio experience with this role and celebrate many wins with Audacy and our client partners.”
Deadline for 2022 Gracie Awards Submissions Extended to January 27. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the final deadline to submit entries for the 47th annual Gracie Awards has been extended until January 27 – a seven-day extension from the original January 20 deadline. The Gracie Awards celebrate programming and individual achievement by, for and about women in television, radio/audio and digital media. Submissions from all facets of media are encouraged. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “We know the circumstances of the past two years led to delivering content to audiences in ways we never expected, which is why we are more committed than ever to honoring the remarkable work that has been created by, for and about women. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracie Awards enable the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media even during times of uncertainty.” The Gracie Awards Gala is still currently scheduled for an in-person celebration May 24 at the famed Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and Gracie Awards Luncheon for June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street. AWMF extends gratitude to its ongoing donors and sponsors committed to furthering the mission of the organization including Crown Media Family Networks, CNN, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association. The Gracie Awards are also honored to have the leadership of Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, chief communications officer, Crown Media Family Networks; and Mike McVay, McVay Media Consulting as Gracies co-chairs and Vicangelo Bulluck serving as executive producer. You can find entry details here.
COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Voting Rights, MLK Holiday, Inflation/Supply Chain, Synagogue Attack, and Tonga Eruption Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The high rate of COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant, masks, and vaccine mandates; the potential loss of power for Democrats after the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s hold over the GOP; the fate of the Voting Rights Act without support from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; high prices at the pump and at retail outlets combined with supply chain woes; the aftermath of the attack on the Texas synagogue; and the volcanic eruption near Tonga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.