Industry News

ESPN Chicago Unveils Chicago Bears Programming

With the move of Chicago Bears radio play-by-play moving from Audacy’s WBBM Newsradio to Good Karma Brands’ WMVP-AM “ESPN Chicago” beginning this season, Good Karma announces the programming and talent lineup for Bears coverage. In the booth calling the games will be Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, and Jason McKie. The pre-game show will be hosted by Marc “Silvy” Silverman, Dionne Miller, and Lance Briggs. Silvy will also host the halftime show that Good Karma says “will provide a fresh, fan-focused take on what fans expect from a typical halftime show. The new Network Halftime Show will incorporate fan reactions to the first half of each game, as well as a new segment called ‘The Celebrity Spotlight,’ highlighting a conversation with a well-known celebrity guest with Chicago ties.” The post-game show will be hosted by John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Peggy Kusinski. Coverage will also include a daily podcast hosted by Chicago-based YouTube personality Pat the Designer with station personalities joining him on a rotating basis. ESPN Chicago director of content Danny Zederman says, “I am ecstatic for ESPN Chicago to enter a new era for exclusive Bears content 365 days a year while bringing together a diverse, energetic, and passionate group of talent with a deep knowledge of Chicago sports. Our talent has a real understanding of the importance of the Chicago Bears and what the team means to the fans because our team is made up of fans. We are counting down the days until kickoff!”

Industry News

Justin Shackil Joins WFAN’s Yankees Broadcasts

Audacy announces Justin Shackil is joining WFAN, New York’s flagship broadcast coverage of New York Yankees baseball as the station’s primary postgame show host for the Yankees Radio Network. He will also fill in for legendary play-by-play voice John Sterling for approximately 30 games, alongside Suzyn Waldman, during the 2023 season. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero states, “Justin is no stranger to the Bronx and his passion for the pinstripes make him the ideal person to join the iconic duo of John and Suzyn in the booth. His contributions to the broadcast last season were terrific and well received, so we’re excited to see him return in this enhanced role.”

Industry News

Michael Kay Renews to Continue ESPN New York Show

As reported by the New York Post, afternoon drive personality Michael Kay has signed a contract extension with Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York” that is a “seven-figure deal per year and is for multiple years.” The Post reported in January that the 62-year old Kay was seriouslyMichael Kay - New York Yankees considering retirement. Kay announced the deal on his program yesterday (3/16) saying,  “When the story in The Post came out, I was pretty certain that was going to be it and I would leave the show after 21 years in September. It had been a great run, a long run. I just said, ‘That’s it. I’m probably too old to do it.’” Kay is supported on the show by co-host Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg. The show is simulcast on the YES TV network. Kay also serves as the television play-by-play announcer for New York Yankees baseball games. Read the Post story here.

Industry News

Salem Executives Oppose Daylight Saving Time Legislation

Salem Media Group chairman of the board Edward Atsinger III and CEO David P. Santrella signed letters to Congressional leaders opposing a bill (H.R. 1279) that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent in the U.S. The executives point out how a late sunrise – especially in the winter months – would affect the reach of AM signals. They write that their stations “are in jeopardy of suffering a massive blow to their operationsEdward G Atsinger III - Salem Media Group through a bill that is before you now. AM radio stations continue to be the backbone of many communities. They serve their audiences with programming features like news updates, traffic/weather reports, sports play-by-play, and talk programs. In some municipalities, AM radio stations also cater to a specific immigrant community, reaching their listeners with a specific foreign language or other programming elements like music or sports.” They go on to say, “H.R. 1279, as it is written, would make Daylight David P. Santrella - Salem Media GroupSaving Time permanent, thus impacting AM radio stations’ power and, therefore, coverage in the crucial morning drive daypart. This issue would be even more detrimental during the darkest days of November, December, January, and February, when AM stations would not be at full power until at least 8:00 am. From a programming and revenue standpoint, the morning drive daypart is still one of the most significant dayparts on an entire radio station. It’s the daypart that generates the most amount of revenue and is a cornerstone for the rest of the programming day. AM radio is facing a multitude of challenges. Radio, in general, faces constant headwinds from an ever-changing media landscape. This challenge might likely be the death blow to many AM radio stations. I am confident you don’t want to see that happen. Simply put, H.R. 1279 would significantly hinder AM broadcasters nationwide from effectively serving the communities they have been licensed to reach.”

Industry News

San Jose Earthquakes to Air on “810 AM The Spread”

Cumulus Media announces that Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes matches will air on KGO-AM, San Francisco “810 AM The Spread,” which will serve as the club’s new English-language flagship radio station. Matches were previously aired on sports talk KNBR. The Earthquakes will also continue to be heard inKGO - San Francisco Spanish on “La Kaliente” 1370 AM/KZSF-AM. KGO program director Kevin Graham says, “Cumulus San Francisco is thrilled to continue our partnership with the San Jose Earthquakes for the seventh straight year and broadcast their matches this season on the all-new KGO-AM. With The Spread’s powerful signal and strong digital assets including the station’s app, more Quakes fans in Northern California will be able to listen and engage than ever before.” Ted Ramey – KCBS-AM reporter and host of KGO-AM’s “The Soccer Hour” – will serve as the primary play-by-play voice for home and away broadcasts and Joe Cannon will serve as the color analyst for home matches.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Your Trial Balloon

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

Talk radio - Talkers MagazineIf you float a trial balloon, expect it to be shot down.

And to make the story driving the news headlines a better metaphor for our sales world, it should be noted that gathering information is always part of our mission. Sellers and managers should be floating trial sales balloons all the time.

Consider how many times we talk to our best advertisers to float an idea, a package, picking up a known talent or play-by-play rights to a popular team. But here is where the news story and our sales world take different forks in the road. Although the woods are full of downed sales balloons, it’s a good thing. Because in our sales world downed trial balloons mean we’re trying new things, communicating with our advertisers and not rocking along in the comfort zone. It also means some of these trial balloons make it to reality and become innovative ideas and viable sales opportunities.

I have certainly floated my share. There is a strategy behind floating a trial sales balloon to help you get the result you need. How do you improve the odds of a trial balloon becoming a sales reality? Here are some field tested tips:

— Determine your goals before you start. It’s so important to know what you’re looking for. Pricing input? Viability? Excitement? Sometimes sellers are so excited they misread the advertiser’s enthusiasm level. The reverse is also true. Sellers can be lukewarm as they focus on the transaction ahead instead of the first stage advertiser input.

— Ask permission. This is very important yet most sellers and managers never think about the advertiser reaction. What if they just don’t want to be surveyed? Always ask first.

— Confirm the confidence. Be sure everyone in your loop understands the trust you show in seeking their input.

— Keep your “ask” simple. You are asking for input. The simpler the ask, the cleaner the input.

— No commitments. Be clear the conversation you are having is early-stage preliminary to test the waters only. You are not even close to asking for a commitment, just sharing ideas and looking for input.

— Who wants to know? Be ready with the right answer.

Sellers and managers have been in the trial balloon business since the first ad was sold. Be sure to review your pre-flight check list before launching that next trial balloon.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at:

Industry News

Audacy Adds Two to Mets Broadcasts on WCBS-AM, New York

Audacy announces the addition of Keith Raad and Pat McCarthy to WCBS-AM’s flagship broadcast coverage of New York Mets baseball, beginning with the upcoming 2023 season. Raad will join as play-by-play and color commentator, teaming up with the voice of Mets’ radio, Howie Rose. McCarthy, the son of former MetsVehicle registration plate - Text announcer Tom McCarthy, will serve as pregame and postgame host for broadcasts along with providing play-by-play for select games. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero states, “As we round the bases towards Spring Training, we’re proud to officially welcome Keith Raad and Pat McCarthy to our popular coverage of Mets baseball alongside Mets Hall of Famer Howie Rose. Once again, the Mets offseason has created anticipation and optimism for the 2023 Amazins’ and we’re looking forward to being the audio home for every moment on-air and digitally.”

Industry News

iHeartMedia and Miami Dolphins Announce Partnership

iHeartMedia Miami announces a new, multi-year deal to become the Miami Dolphins flagship radio broadcast partner. iHeartMedia and the Dolphins partnered for broadcasts previously from 2010-2015. Beginning in the 2023 season, live gameday broadcasts will air on classic rock WBGG “BIG 105.9 FM” and sports talk WINZ-AM “FOX Sports 940 AM” with plans to expand affiliate stations in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico to makeiHeart - Logo Dolphins games accessible to fans in new markets. The stations will carry all Miami Dolphins football game broadcasts and play-by-play coverage as well as a pregame show, postgame show and weekly radio show featuring exclusive interviews with Dolphins’ personnel and guests from around the league. Game broadcasts will feature former Dolphins wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo handling play-by-play duties, former Dolphins tight end Joe Rose providing color commentary and former Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper giving analysis and updates from the sidelines. iHeartMedia Sports president Kevin LeGrett says, “We are excited about this partnership and honored to be the new broadcast home of the Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins are the city’s premiere sports team and with the massive multiplatform reach and scale that iHeartMedia can provide, we have the ability to deliver great programming and coverage to millions of fans across the state and beyond.”

Front Page News Industry News

Monday, August 15, 2022

Monday Memo: News = Dog, Talk = Tail. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “events now unfolding around us can be ratings GOLD,” if news/talk stations “re-balance both aspects of the format franchise.” Read it here.


Pending Business: Worst Cold Call Ever. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about an absurd cold call that happened to him and reminded him that every now and then it’s a good idea for radio sellers to revisit some of the cold call basics. He has seven thoughts on the subject to share with readers here.

Cumulus Names Casey Bartholomew Host at WBAP, Dallas/Fort Worth. Talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew is joining Cumulus Media’s Dallas/Fort Worth news/talk WBAP as host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. He takes over for Ernie Brown who was recently promoted to co-host of the station’s morning drive show. Bartholomew joins Cumulus DFW from Cumulus Columbia, Missouri, where he’s been serving as program director for news/talk station KFRU-AM/FM. WBAP and KLIF program director Bruce Collins says, “Casey is the ultimate pro and understands the top stories of the day that affect our listeners. We are excited to have him on the News Talk 820 WBAP team.” Bartholomew comments, “WBAP is a legendary station and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Looking forward to the challenge – This is going to be fun.”

iHeartMedia and ASU Agree to Hockey Broadcasts Deal. The new broadcast agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and Arizona State University puts play-by-play of the school’s men’s hockey games on sports talk KGME-AM “FOX Sports 910,” beginning October 11. The deal also includes a weekly coach’s show featuring head coach Greg Powers. Sun Devil for Life Tyler Paley returns to his roots as the first-ever play-by-play voice of Sun Devil Hockey Radio. A three-time ASU grad, Paley covered the ASU men’s ice hockey team extensively during his tenure at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2014-18. His experience spans years of various communications roles including multimedia journalist, anchor and reporter, social media strategist, commentator for Pac-12 Network and freelancer for CBS, FOX Sports and ESPN. iHeartMedia market president Linda Little says, “‘FOX Sports 910’ and iHeartMedia Phoenix are proud to partner with Arizona State University as they launch their inaugural radio broadcast for hockey play-by-play.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Mourns Passing of Jim Thompson. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the passing of its longtime president Jim Thompson. The BFOA says Thompson, who fought a valiant struggle against throat cancer for nearly a year, passed away last night (8/14) in Summit, New Jersey, at the age of 75, surrounded by his family.  The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, which has been established by the Broadcasters Foundation in honor of Thompson’s dedication and service to the broadcasting industry and to the Foundation’s charitable cause of providing financial aid to radio and TV professionals in acute need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “I am very proud to have known Jim for nearly 40 years as a colleague and a friend. Jim believed deeply in helping others and his passion and enthusiasm for life always lit up a room. Broadcasting has lost a great man, who always saw the positive in every person and every situation. He will be sorely missed.” Thompson took over the reins of the Broadcasters Foundation in 2009, guiding the charitable organization to more than quadruple the amount of financial aid it distributes to radio and TV professionals from $400,000 to nearly $2 million last year. BFoA chairman emeritus Phil Lombardo says, “When the board of directors was searching for a president, Jim’s reputation as a leader combined with his compassion for others and his ability to rally people together made him the perfect choice. His accomplishments over the past 13 years helped the many TV and Radio professionals who found themselves in unthinkable circumstances and in need of aid. Our sincere sympathies go out to his family.” Last October, Thompson announced he would be retiring at the end of 2022. Thompson had been president and CEO of Group W Radio, the second largest radio company in the country during his leadership, and along with Mike Craven was co-owner of Liberty Broadcasting, a nineteen-station radio group concentrated on the east coast. He began his broadcasting career as an account executive at KYW-TV, Philadelphia in 1971, where he rose to vice president and general manager. Thompson is survived by his wife Cindy, his five children, Meghan Cima, Shannon Gardiner and her husband James, Katie McElwee and her husband Tommy, James Thompson and his wife Madison, Molly Thompson, seven grandchildren, and his brothers John and Thomas. To make a donation to the Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, please click here:

FSR’s Doug Gottlieb Broadcasts from LA Football Training Camps. Pictured above (right) is FOX Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb chatting with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (left) during Gottlieb’s broadcast from the team’s training camp on August 9. Gottlieb broadcast from the Rams’ and the Los Angeles Chargers’ camps as part of the network’s annual NFL Training Camp Tour.

PodcastOne Strikes Deal with ActionPark Media. This new relationship between PodcastOne and Kevin Connolly’s boutique media network ActionPark Media gives PodcastOne exclusive distribution and advertising sales rights for APM’s current slate of podcast and vodcast programming. In addition, it allows for the two media companies to co-develop future podcast/vodcast based intellectual property, produce advertiser-sponsored live streaming and touring opportunities for host/talent and create exclusive licensing for podcast specific branded merchandise. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “Kevin and APM clearly have a knack for producing quality podcast content with ‘Victory the Podcast’ being one of the first shows giving a behind the scenes look at a hit television series and ‘The Morning After with Kelly Stafford’ consistently charting as one of the top shows for parents and families. This joint venture now gives us the ability to work together to grow the audience for a slate of incredible existing shows. Additionally, with LiveOne’s streaming partnerships, live event capabilities and merchandising division, we are excited to further enhance branding opportunities for the star-studded roster of hosts.”

Gunhill Road Spoken Word Music Video on Display as “Work of Art” in Show at Florida Gallery. The internet hit, “I Know You’re Real,” by talk-radio-friendly pop music band Gunhill Road, featuring TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as lead spoken word vocalist, has broken new ground in the genre of music video being recognized as fine art. The official video of the song which appears on Gunhill Road’s 2021 album, What Year Is This! addresses the subject of animal welfare celebrating all aspects of the deep relationship between human beings and other precious life forms on Planet Earth. The art show, being presented at the prestigious Martin Arts Court House Cultural Center Gallery in Stuart, FL, is cleverly titled, “Dog Days of Summer (and other pets too!).” The show centers on animal-related fine art (paintings and sculpture). It runs through October 1 and features a virtual gallery as well as a live presentation and includes charitable community outreach initiatives such as animal rescue and pet adoption. Martin Arts spokesperson Rickie Leiter tells TALKERS, “I grew up in the Northeast listening to Gunhill Road on the radio and was delighted to hear about this beautiful video with its sweet music, moving words and stunning images. It is indeed a work of visual, not to mention audio and poetic, art.” Gunhill Road co-founder (and devoted cat lover), Steve Goldrich tells TALKERS, “We are beyond honored to have our video on display among paintings at a fine art show of this caliber.” In addition to Goldrich and Harrison, Gunhill Road’s current lineup includes longtime member Paul Reich and famed Broadway instrumentalist Brian Koonin. An advance single (and video) titled, “Idiots,” from the group’s forthcoming album, spotlighting the danger of societal ignorance and also featuring Harrison on lead vocals, is scheduled to drop later this week. Both videos are produced by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison. For more information about the show and Martin Arts please click here. To view the video, please click here

FBI Raid/Bureau Threats, Inflation Reduction Act/The Economy, Salman Rushdie Attack, Immigration/Baja Violence, Midterms/2024 Race, Afghanistan Situation, and Anne Heche Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the subsequent threats against FBI offices; the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act spending, the falling price of oil, and the still climbing price of food; the attempted assassination of author Salman Rushdie; the migrant issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the weekend’s cartel violence in Baja cities near the border; the primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan a year after the U.S. military’s exit from the nation; and actress Anne Heche dies a week after a fiery car wreck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.