Industry News

The “Tavis Smiley” Show Expands into 11 Markets

The “Tavis Smiley” radio show is adding 11 new affiliate stations to its national syndication venture. SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. says the program will launch on WHBP-FM, Orlando; WGPR-FM Detroit; WNOV, Milwaukee; KMGG-FM, Albuquerque; WFOV-FM, Flint, Michigan: KLEK-FM, Jonesboro,im Arkansas; WUVS-LP, Muskegon, Michigan; WVBH-LP, Benton Harbor, Michigan; WUMO-FM, Montgomery, Alabama; WMIS-AM, Natchez, Mississippi, and KBWC-FM, Marshall, Texas. Tavis Smiley says, “The show’s expansion into media markets across the United States, including heritage stations in key battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin, represents the continuation of our vision for this innovative, unapologetically progressive programming. We will continue to provide our growing listener base with enlightening and empowering programming geared toward African Americans and other citizens of color, and we will cover topics that other radio shows are too timid to discuss.”

Industry News

KBLA, Los Angeles to Present Specials Addressing “The Tape”

SmileyAudioMedia’s talk KBLA, Los Angeles is presenting two drive time special programs a year after “‘The Tape’ that rocked L.A. City Hall became public.” The station says the leaked recording of three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council – then-council president Nury Martinez,im councilmember Kevin DeLeon and councilmember Gil Cedillo along with former labor leader Ron Herrera – reveals them uttering racist remarks, derogatory comments toward council colleagues, and disruptive, racially charged rhetoric about how the City Council could “skew” redistricting. The station says, “Now that a full year has passed, KBLA Talk 1580 will host two important conversations unpacking what transpired in the community since these divisive, hurtful comments were made and what the future holds for the City of Los Angeles.” Tavis Smiley will host a show featuring community voices on October 9 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Then on October 12 (from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm), the Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles will host “Days of Dialog: The Anatomy of Anti-Black Racism and Bigotry.”

Industry News

Tavis Smiley’s KBLA, Los Angeles Celebrates Second Anniversary

On Monday (6/19), Tavis Smiley’s SmileyAudioMedia, Inc celebrated the two-year anniversary of the launch of talk KBLA-AM, Los Angeles. The company says the station was built to “give disenfranchised citizens a voice in current political, social and cultural issues with empowering, sustainable and restorative language.” Tavisim Smiley adds, “We launched KBLA Talk 1580 on Juneteenth, two years ago, during the height of the COVID-19 health crisis. We’re extremely proud that in two short years, KBLA Talk 1580 has become a trusted community resource in Los Angeles and beyond. Our mission to enlighten, empower and encourage, resonates with our growing audience.” Additionally, over the past two years the company has launched SAM Digital, its own brand of white label products that are designed to help businesses and service providers reach an even wider audience, grow brand awareness, and increase sales by targeting specific audiences with direct messaging and by measuring the performance of their outreach campaigns. It also recently debuted the SmileyAudioMedia Podcast Network to expand beyond traditional radio broadcasting.

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

It’s Official: KEGL-FM, Dallas Flips to Hot Talk as ‘97.1 The Freak.’ After a cryptic message from longtime Dallas sports talk personality Mike Rhyner two weeks ago fueled speculation that iHeartMedia would flip rock outlet KEGL-FM “97.1 The Eagle” to sports talk, the company finally reveals that the change will actually be to hot talk. KEGL-FM is now “97.1 The Freak.” The company says that “The Freak” will be “a broad-based personality radio station that connects in a personal way with the DFW audience.” It will feature “The Speakeasy” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am starring Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs and Matt Cather, followed by “The Ben & Skin Show” with Ben Rogers, Jeff  “Skin” Wade, Krystina “K-Ray” Ray and Michael “Grubes” Gruber; and “The Downbeat” in afternoon drive hosted by former longtime KTCK personality Mike Rhyner, with Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber. iHeartMedia Dallas regional VP of programming Patrick Davis says, “We’re beyond excited to introduce “97.1 The Freak.” The level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas-Fort Worth!”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Legends of Radio Inductees. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022, “recognizing the talents and efforts of air personalities, programmers and operators who contributed with greatness to the radio industry and have since passed away.” They are: Doug Banks, nationally syndicated on-air personality; James Brown, legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE, Knoxville; Bob Coburn, host of the syndicated “Rockline” show; Chick Hearn, play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers; Bernice Judis, owner and general manager, WNEW-AM from the 1930s through the 1950s; Sid Mark, host of syndicated program, “Sounds of Sinatra”; Bobby O’Jay, on-air personality, WDIA-AM, Memphis; Pervis Spann, on-air personality, WVON-AM, Chicago; James Thompson, Group W Broadcasting president and president of the Broadcasters Foundation of America; and Rosalie Trombley, music director of CKLW-AM, Detroit in the 1960s–1970s. Radio Hall of Fame co-chair Kraig T. Kitchin says, “The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100-plus-year-old industry. I’m thrilled to see the nominating committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.” The Radio Hall of Fame recognizes its 2022 class of inductees at the in-person 2022 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Tuesday, November 1, at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Acqua Hotel.

Derek Wolfe Joins Darren McKee for Afternoons at ‘104.3 The Fan’ in Denver. Television station KUSA-FV “9News” is reporting that recently retired Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe joins Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” as co-host of the weekday afternoon sports show “The Drive” with Darren “Dmac” McKee. Wolfe takes over the co-host role on the afternoon drive show after the company did not renew the contract of fellow former Bronco and Colorado Buffalo Tyler Polumbus.

Cumulus Unveils New Morning Show at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. Beginning tomorrow (10/5), Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” features two new co-hosts alongside Ramon Foster. Kayla Anderson – who’s been sports anchor, reporter and more for WKRN-TV, Nashville “News 2 TV” – joins the program as does current WGFX-FM high school play-by-play voice, Titans post-game show host and fill-in host Will Boling. Station operations manager Paul Mason says, “Ramon Foster has a tremendous natural ability to connect with sports fans in morning radio, and our listeners love him. Bringing Ramon together with experienced television sports anchor and reporter Kayla Anderson and hometown broadcaster Will Boling creates a truly special dynamic that will make for some great morning sports radio!”

BFoA Delivers Aid to Broadcasters Puerto Rico, Florida, and Carolinas. The Broadcasters Foundation of America says it is providing emergency aid to qualifying colleagues in the radio and TV industry who have been personally hit hard by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian. BFoA says that so far, requests have come in from individuals who work at Spanish Broadcasting System, America CV Station Group, Telemundo, and Univision, with the first of those checks going out to qualifying individuals this week. BFoA president Tim McCarthy states, “Our Emergency Grant Program is set up with a streamlined vetting process that allows us to move quickly and get checks to those in desperate need quickly. Broken pipes, power outages, displacement, and more have brought devastation to many of our colleagues.” Broadcasters can apply for emergency aid and see if they qualify by clicking here.

AWM Names Gracies Leadership Awards Honorees. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the seven honorees for the Gracies Leadership Awards that will be presented on Monday, November 14 at Tribeca 360 in New York. Google News Initiative is a presenting sponsor of the awards. AWM says the annual event provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the significant impact women have made in the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening female leaders in attendance. The list of this year’s honorees include the following: Nancy Daniels, chief of content, TNets, Discovery, Animal Planet, & Science Channel; Marie Donoghue, vice president, Global Sports Video, Amazon; Kim Godwin, president, ABC News; Wendy Goldberg, chief communications officer, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, American Urban Radio Networks; Debra O’Connell, president, Networks, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution; and Dawn Porter, founder, Trilogy Films. AWM president Becky Brooksstates, “It is an exceptional honor to recognize and celebrate this strong lineup and powerhouse of women leaders in our industry. Soledad O’Brien as our keynote speaker will undoubtedly create an unforgettable event for everyone in attendance.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between SiriusXM and Dan AbramsLaw&Crime TV network adds the network to the satcaster’s streaming channel lineup. Abrams says, “I’ve loved being part of the SiriusXM family and am thrilled to be expanding our collaboration. We have been talking with SiriusXM for years about a Law&Crime channel that would bring compelling trial coverage and crime content to the platform, so it’s really exciting to see this come to fruition.” In addition to his Law&Crime network, Abrams is also the host of “The Dan Abrams Show” heard from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. channel as well as the host of “Dan Abrams Live” on NewsNation, the chief legal analyst for ABC News and host of “On Patrol: Live on Reelz.”…..NHPR will be celebrated on Thursday, October 20, 2022, as the recipient of The Nackey S. Loeb School’s Quill & Ink Award. This award is not given annually, but instead is reserved to honor significant contributions to the First Amendment. NHPR is being honored for continuing to produce high-quality accountability journalism in the face of legal threats and vandalism directed at some staff members and their families. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “This is a fitting tribute to our newsroom’s outstanding work and our journalists’ courage. I’m glad that it recognizes the entire organization, because it takes everyone at NHPR to make our journalism possible.”

Russia-Ukraine War, Hurricane Ian Aftermath, Inflation/Recession Fears, Trump Legal Issues, November Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Oath Keepers Trial, and Brazilian/European Politics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Russian president Vladimir Putin’s move to call up more troops and to attempt to annex parts of Ukraine; the destruction in southwest Florida left by Hurricane Ian; the record-setting inflation and fears of a recession; the legal issues facing former President Donald Trump and his defamation suit against CNN; the November midterm elections and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the Washington, DC trial of several Oath Keepers on seditious conspiracy charges relative to the January 6 Capitol riot; and the political situation in Brazil and in Europe were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Front Page News Industry News

Thursday, September 22, 2022

FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Radio Row 2022 Brings Hosts and Guests Together in Washington, DC. Today (9/22) is the second day of the two-day radio row presented by Federation for American Immigration Reform. The 15th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” began on Wednesday with more than 65 talk media personalities interviewing politicians and immigration experts and discussing the hot-button issue of immigration reform and the problems the nation faces with the recent surges of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Pictured above are two of the hosts taking part in the radio row. Above left is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island personality John DePetro flanked by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and above right is WRVA, Richmond afternoon host Jeff Katz with the media personalities Diamond and Silk.

WPHT, Philadelphia Talent Shuffle Includes New Morning Show; Zeoli Moves to PM Drive. A change in the programming schedule at Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia includes a new morning drive program titled, “Kayal and Company,” led by Nick Kayal and including Dawn Stensland and Greg Stocker (who also serves as station PD). Current morning drive host Rich Zeoli moves to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Dom Giordano remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and Stensland continues her solo program from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The changes become effective on October 3. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “For the first time ever, WPHT will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, which further cements this fan favorite as the voice of Philadelphia and a reliable destination for our listeners. We’re excited to welcome Nick, who is trading in his sports background for his passion for politics, to our morning drive, and move Rich and his highly-successful program to entertain and inform listeners as they wind down their days.” Kayal previously worked in the market on sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”

The Ramsey Network Launches ‘Smart Money Happy Hour’ Podcast. A new podcast from the Ramsey Network is launched titled, “Smart Money Happy Hour,” starring Rachel Cruze and George Kamel. The podcast is described as “a mix of solid advice and snark from two friends who also happen to be money experts.” The show joins the Ramsey Network roster of podcasts that includes “The Ramsey Show,” “The Dr. John Delony Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Fine Print,” “Borrowed Future” and “The EntreLeadership Podcast.” Ramsey Network EVP Blake Thompson says, “Rachel and George have such unique chemistry. One minute I was laughing along with them, the next I was thinking about money in a whole new way. People are going to love the pop culture references and the casual, pour-a-glass-of-wine environment these two have created in this new podcast.” Some of the “Smart Money Happy Hour” topics include: Is Convenience Culture Worth Being Broke?; HGTV: The Network That Brainwashed Us; How to Leave a Royal Legacy for Your Family; and Can the Middle Class Still Afford to Go to Disney?

SmileyAudioMedia Offering ‘Agenda for America’ Election Programming to Stations. As a part of its continuing election coverage, Tavis Smiley, SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. and KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” announce that they are offering exclusive election programming to urban stations nationwide. SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. and KBLA Talk 1580 are producing a live, four-part series titled, “Agenda for America: An African American Perspective” that is executive produced by Smiley and moderated by KBLA’s radio hosts. The company says these four national conversations featuring influential Black voices will be offered at no charge to other talk- and urban-formatted radio stations and audio platforms across the country. The four programs are: “The State of Black Women in America,” hosted by Areva Martin; “The State of Black Men in America,” hosted by Zo Williams; “The State of Black Youth in America,” hosted by Dominique DiPrima; and, “Why We Can’t Wait: The Urgency of Now,” hosted by Tavis Smiley. The series airs live on Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PT on KBLA “Talk 1580.” Smiley says, “KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ is not only a portal for talk and opinions for the progressive African American listening audience, but also a content provider of relevant programming for urban stations around the country. We intend for KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ to be the epicenter of election coverage, addressing local, state and national issues, affecting what matters most to our people.”

Audacy’s All-News WWJ, Detroit Unveils New Anchor Lineup. Beginning on October 3, the news anchor lineup changes at Audacy’s all-news WWJ, Detroit “News Radio 950.” The station says longtime anchor Jackie Paige (right) moves to mornings, joining Jonathan Carlson (left) from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Paige will also host middays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Brooke Allen follows from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Tony Ortiz takes over at 2:00 pm and is joined by Allen from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Ortiz also hosts from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erin Vermeulen remains the evening news anchor from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Audacy Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “We are excited to announce our new lineup, which is full of news anchors who are seasoned and well known in the community. This new slate will allow WWJ to continue its mission of keeping listeners informed of breaking news and the top stories of the day.”

BIA Advisory: WTOP Maintains Top Biller Spot for 2021. A report from BIA Advisory Services tallying radio’s top billers for last year reveals that Hubbard Broadcasting’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington stayed in the #1 position with an estimated $70 million in revenue in 2021. BIA Advisory says that figure was an increase of 12.9% from $62 million in 2020. It goes on to say, “This surpasses the overall growth rate of 10.3% that BIA forecasts for over-the-air radio from 2020 to 2021, as the industry started to pull out of the pandemic slump. WTOP-FM is also the only station on this list to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue figure of $69.8 million in 2019.” The spoken word stations on the 2021 list that showed improvement include Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago – up to the #4 spot from #5 in 2020 ($34 million); Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston rose from #6 to #5 ($33.4 million); Audacy’s all-news WINS, New York was up from #9 to #8 ($31.6 million); its sports talk WFAN, New York rose from #10 to #9 ($31.5 million); and its all-news WCBS-AM, New York entered the top 10 at #10 ($30.9 million). The big change from the 2020 list to the 2021 list was Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta falling from #4 to #12. BIA also ranked the top billing by radio companies. You can see both charts here.

Triton Digital Releases August 2022 U.S. Podcast Report. This report from Triton Digital ranks the most popular podcasts in the U.S. for the month of August based on Average Weekly Downloads. Changes from the July 2022 report include audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” rising from #3 to #1, bumping Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” from #1 to #3. Remaining in the #2 spot is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” You can see the complete list of the top 100 U.S. podcasts from Triton Digital here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York City Radio Committee, a joint partnership of all the major radio broadcasters in New York City, is developing a marketing campaign to promote the power of radio. The campaign includes radio messaging on over 20 of New York’s most-listened-to stations, digital and social media marketing along with trade media. The multi-media campaign runs through November. The focus of the initiative is on advertising agencies and businesses that purchase advertising. Audacy New York market president and chairman of the New York City Radio Committee Chris Oliviero says, “Radio has been and continues to be a critical and valued part of millions of New Yorkers’ daily lives. These iconic brands, from music to news to sports, provide the soundtrack of the city. This campaign offers a fresh, fun and innovative approach to highlighting the efficacy of radio for media planners and advertisers.  The collaboration of the city’s major broadcasters shows a clear commitment to our belief that local radio, consumed on FM or AM or streaming or in podcasts, is an essential tool in any overall marketing strategy in the media capital of the world.”…..iHeartMedia extends the contract of Michael McGuinness through June 1, 2027 and changes his title from EVP – finance and deputy chief financial officer to EVP, deputy chief financial officer of the company and chief financial officer – multiplatform and digital segments…..FOX News Channel names Trace Gallagher anchor of “FOX News @ Night.” Gallagher takes over for Shannon Bream, who was recently promoted to anchor of “FOX News Sunday.” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “When it comes to breaking news coverage, Trace Gallagher is one of the best in the business and having a seasoned journalist at the helm of this hour ensures our viewers unrivaled 24/7 news coverage.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate KHTS, Santa Clarita, California to its roster of stations.

Inflation/Interest Rate Hike, NY Sues Trump Org, Trump Documents Case, Immigration/Migrant Transportation, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Zelenskyy UN Speech, Iran Protests, and Hurricane Fiona Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). Inflation, the rising price of gasoline, and the Fed’s interest rate hike; New York Attorney General Letitia James files a civil fraud suit against Donald Trump, his children, and Trump Org officers; an Appeals Court rules DOJ can resume criminal probe of Donald Trump documents case; the immigration troubles at the U.S.-Mexico border and the transporting of migrants from Southern states to Northern cities; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for president in 2024; Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the UN General Assembly pressing for punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the protests in Iran over the death of a woman in custody of the country’s “morality police”; and the destruction caused by Hurricane Fiona were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.