Industry News

Facebook Postings: Rock Radio Legend Mary Turner Has Died

At the time of this publication’s posting of the story, reactions from a number of her radio colleagues on Facebook indicate that just a half-year after the death of her husband, Westwood One and PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz, legendary radio personality and dedicated substance abuse counselor Mary Turner has died. Turner was one of the top personalities at the iconic album rock powerhouse KMET, Los Angeles, where she served on-air between 1972 and 1982. She later achieved national radio prominence hosting theim Westwood One syndicated series “Off The Record With Mary Turner” in which she presented interviews with and personality profiles of some of the biggest musical stars of the day. Turner and Pattiz were married in the early 80s and the two shared what friends described as a happy relationship until his death this past December at 79 due to throat cancer. Turner had her own health issue battling substance abuse in the early 90s, which she bravely overcame. She became a UCLA-certified drug and alcohol counselor and received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She went on to be appointed chairwoman of the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Hospital in Rancho Mirage. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who worked with Turner at both KMET and Westwood One says, “Mary Turner was one of the main pillars upon which the great KMET was built.  Nicknamed ‘The Burner,’ she was a pioneer in album rock radio and an iconic role model for women in the industry.  She was solid on the air – providing music fans a panoramic window into the culture.  She related to artists with an authenticity that engendered trust and they really opened up to her.”  As of press time, further details on this story are not available.

Industry News

Michael Harrison Guests on “Chachi Loves Everybody” Podcast

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover, programming, podcasting and jingles, announces the release today (4/13) of two new episodes of “Chachi Loves Everybody,” an original podcast produced by Benztown and featuring Benztown president and audio brand builder Dave “Chachi” Denes. The first new episode features Chachi’s recent chat from Benztown’s Los Angeles studios with Michael Harrison, founder and publisher, TALKERS.  In the second new episode, Chachi talks to Wayne Johnson, founder and owner of Rockaway Records in Los Angeles.

“Chachi Loves Everybody” takes listeners with Denes – better known as “Chachi” – as he sits down for candid conversations with radio’s legends, master brand builders, up-and-comers, and innovators in the burgeoning audio space, revealing the true stories behind their successes and their insights into building iconic brands through audio. According to Harrison, “Chachi is one of the most effective media platform interviewers I’ve ever encountered. He pulled stuff out of me that I’ve never said publicly. Radio freaks are going to love this podcast.”

Today’s Benztown press release states: Before founding TALKERS, radio innovator and thought-leader Michael Harrison worked at legendary radio stations from coast-to-coast, including WNEW-FM in New York, KMET in Los Angeles, KRPI in San Diego, WTIC in Hartford, CT, and WCBS-FM in New York. He also founded the AOR format, hosted several syndicated shows, and was the first managing editor for Radio & Records. Harrison has been a columnist for Billboard, a radio station owner, and member of the band Gunhill Road.

Harrison shares with Chachi and his listeners:

— How he started his career by creating one of the first progressive rock radio stations on Long Island with his colleague Richard Neer

— What it was like to work in NYC radio for three different formats at once – and teach at NYU at the same time

— About his move to San Diego and his instrumental role in the creation of the AOR format

— Stories behind the syndicated shows he hosted and what it was like working with Norm Pattiz in the early days of Westwood One

— How he published his own radio/music charts in his Goodphone publication and being bought out by Billboard

— Moving to talk radio and founding TALKERS magazine, and the TALKERS Convention

— Joining the band Gunhill Road and releasing music with them

— What the radio industry must do to stay relevant

— And more!

Listen to the new podcast episodes here.

Industry News

KBLA Talk 1580 Founder Tavis Smiley to Be Honored

Prolific author and veteran talk media purveyor of current events with a focus on African American perspectives, Tavis Smiley, has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board to be the 2023 recipient of the highly prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. The award is presented each year to a talk media practitioner whose work sets an example for the exercise and preservation of the First Amendment. Smiley, who has hosted shows on a diverse array of platforms such as BETCNNABCPBS, KABC Radio, and KGFJ Radio among others, joins such former recipient of the award as Rush LimbaughSean HannityBill O’ ReillyMark LevinMichael SavageGlenn BeckBob GrantThom HartmannAlan ColmesJoe MadisonKaren HunterAl FrankenBrian LambNorm PattizIan Freeman and others dating back to the origins of TALKERS in the late 1980s. Some 21 months ago, Smiley’s media company acquired an AM radio station in Los Angeles, the former hip hop legend KDAY, and transformed it into a new station and format – KBLA Talk 1580 – where he’s assembled an outstanding on-air staff, including himself, with the passionate mission of, as he puts it, “unapologetically serving people of color and who are politically progressive.” In making the announcement of this year’s recipient, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is our longest-running and most-important award. Mr. Smiley has risen to the enormous talk radio challenge of providing underserved African Americans and progressives with a major commercial platform in the nation’s second largest market with a worldwide reach. In today’s political environment and struggling AM radio industry, it doesn’t get any more ‘First Amendment’ than that.” Tavis Smiley will be presented the award at the forthcoming TALKERS 2023 convention on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island where he will be one of 60 talk media luminaries scheduled to speak.  For more information about TALKERS 2023, see the story below.