SiriusXM announces that talk media personality Megyn Kelly signs a new contract to continue hosting “The Megyn Kelly Show” live on the platform. SiriusXM says, “Under the multi-year deal, the veteran journalist and legal expert will deliver her signature commentary and hard-hitting interviews through the 2024 election season and beyond. ‘The Megyn Kelly Show’ will premiere exclusively on SiriusXM Triumph channel 111 on weekdays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET, with the program later available on all major podcast platforms. The program will also air a special edition on September 14 when Kelly interviews former President Donald Trump. Kelly comments, “I’m thrilled to continue my relationship with the great people at SiriusXM who have been tremendously supportive of our show from the start. In an age where conversations are being stifled and news skewed to please the politics of only a small set of people, it is a privilege to work with a company that values free speech and open, respectful, elevated debate.”
FOX News Channel is adding another weekend program starring talk media personality Mark Levin. Levin has been hosting his “Life, Liberty & Levin” program on Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm ET and will now add a Saturday edition of the program that will also air at 8:00 pm ET. FNC EVP of primetime programming Meade Cooper says, “Since joining the network in 2017, Mark has provided our audience with thought-provoking analysis on America’s core values and their impact on current events. We are looking forward to expanding his popular show to two nights a week.” Levin comments, “It’s an honor to join the other outstanding hosts on Saturday in bringing the most intelligent, informative and entertaining programming to the nation. Thank you to our loyal audience and FOX News.”
Last month marked the 33rd anniversary of the launch of TALKERS magazine – the talk media industry trade publication founded by Michael Harrison in July of 1990. The term “talk media” established and popularized by the journal refers to AM, FM, online and satellite talk radio, cable news/talk TV, and talk podcasting.
Marking this third-of-a-century milestone, TALKERS longtime VP/executive editor, Kevin Casey is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Casey, then a program director for Clear Channel’s WHYN, Springfield, MA, joined TALKERS as its managing editor almost a quarter-of-a-century ago in 2000. The big story during that pre-9/11 year was the excruciatingly inconclusive presidential election between Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore that took over a month to settle.
Michael Harrison states, “I’ve been blessed with a tremendous group of media professionals who operated and built TALKERS into the established communications vehicle that it has proven to be in many ways paralleling the growth of talk radio and its offshoots for more than three decades. One of the key individuals who has been responsible for its growth and longevity is my dear colleague, Kevin Casey.”
In a casual conversation between longtime friends and co-workers, Harrison and Casey take stock of the publication’s journey which parallels the historic role of talk radio’s modern era. Hear the complete podcast here.
Prolific author and veteran talk media purveyor of current events with a focus on African American perspectives, Tavis Smiley, was honored by the TALKERS editorial board at the TALKERS 2023 conference as the 2023 recipient of the highly prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. (The presentation was sponsored by The Todd Starnes Show) 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 BET, CNN, ABC, PBS, KABC Radio, and KGFJ Radio among others, joins such former recipients of the award as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’ Reilly, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Bob Grant, Thom Hartmann, Alan Colmes, Joe Madison, Karen Hunter, Al Franken, Brian Lamb, Norm Pattiz, Ian Freeman and others dating back to the origins of TALKERS in the late 1980s. Some two years 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 was presented the award by Harrison at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island. See the presentation and Smiley’s acceptance speech here.
For 10 exciting hours on Friday, June 2, Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York became the center of the talk media universe as some 250 professional broadcasters and dedicated students of communications gathered to hear more than 60 speakers in addition to networking with each other at TALKERS 2023. It was the 26th annual installment of the talk show field’s longest running and most important national conference. Speakers included such luminaries as WABC, New York/Red Apple Media CEO, John Catsimatidis; Newsmax Media CEO,
Christopher Ruddy; Connoisseur Media CEO, Jeff Warshaw; KBLA Talk 1580, Los Angeles CEO (and Freedom of Speech Award recipient) Tavis Smiley; Sound Mind, LLC CEO (and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) Kraig T. Kitchin; and WDUN, Gainesville, GA talk show host (and Woman of the Year recipient) Martha Zoller. There was a special, exclusive video appearance by iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman. The iconic conference included panel discussions addressing such topics as programming news/talk and sports talk radio, podcasting, generating revenue, artificial intelligence in broadcasting, navigating a talk show hosting career, AM radio and automobiles, the challenges facing the ratings process, and the future of technology and media. Speakers included major talk show hosts, program directors, brand managers, agents, syndicators and radio station owners. Look for extensive stories and photos from the conference in TALKERS over the next days and weeks including full video coverage of every speech, panel and presentation. All of us at TALKERS are grateful to the talk media industry for making TALKERS 2023 a tremendous success!
WABC, New York/Red Apple Media CEO, John Catsimatidis is set to deliver the closing keynote address at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island. The speech, titled, “AM Radio and the Automobile Industry,” will be the highlight of the event’s closing reception and tackle the existential issue facing the industry as a number of car manufacturers unveiled controversial intentions to eliminate AM radios from the dashboard of electric and even gas vehicles going forward. In making the announcement about this additional agenda element, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “The automobile issue is rocking the industry and John Catsimatidis has been stepping up to the plate in defense of both radio and good sense. He brings his formidable influence into the arena and we are delighted that he will be delivering a major address to that effect on June 2 at the conference. He has become a radio hero, and this will be another key moment in his growing legacy… and hopefully in prolonging the valuable life of both the AM and FM bands.”
Historic conference nearing sellout
The 26th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important gathering set for Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island is nearing an advance sellout. Conference organizers estimate it will reach that point at any time within the next two weeks. Thus 5:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 23 has been set as the absolute cutoff point – although it could reach the limit any time before that. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “Industry professionals who have attended the TALKERS conference in the past enjoy it and find it to be a valuable experience for a number of reasons beyond the remarkable quality of the speakers and pertinence of the agenda. They appreciate the intimacy of the environment and outstanding ‘who’s who’ in talk media makeup of their fellow attendees. We work very diligently to keep this event within those parameters. Thus, it is only open to people who work within or are associated in some way with the media industry – there is no online open registration – and it all happens within one power-packed day with absolutely no down time.” More than 60 luminaries from the talk media industry are set to speak at a power-packed day of fireside chats, solo addresses, panel discussions, workshops, award presentations, new equipment showcases and endless networking opportunities. All in a beautiful indoor/outdoor state-of-the-art environment conducive to one-on-one conversations. The time to register is now. See more about the agenda, registration, sponsorship and hotel information here.
One of the most popular sessions at the annual TALKERS Conference is “The Big Picture” panel and this year’s planned installment of the discussion promises to continue in that tradition of perspective and pertinence. The panel will be introduced by TALKERS associate publisher/media attorney, Matthew B. Harrison, Esq. and moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Arthur Aidala, Esq. founding partner, Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, PC/host, AM 970 The Answer, New York; Dr. Asa Andrew, CEO/host, The Doctor Asa Network; Lee Habeeb, host/producer, Our American Stories; Lee Harris, director of Integrated Operations, NewsNation; and Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC/chairman, Radio Hall of Fame. One more panelist has yet to be named. The issues that the session will cover include: the existential cultural, technological and financial issues facing radio and talk media; the medium’s role in the national political conversation and culture wars; the impact of artificial intelligence on intellectual property and creative originality; the evolution of ethics, justice and journalism in American society; and an examination of potential topics and concerns that will keep the medium vibrant as we move deeper into the 21st century. “It’s all about perspective,” says panel moderator Michael Harrison. “If we are to survive as an industry as well as a community, we have to step back and look at the big picture within which we operate… and it is getting bigger and bigger with each passing moment. We must avoid becoming smaller and smaller.” More than 60 luminaries from the talk media industry are set to speak at a power-packed day of fireside chats, solo addresses, panel discussions, workshops, award presentations, new equipment showcases and endless networking opportunities. TALKERS 2023 is nearing an advance sellout. See more about the agenda, registration, sponsorship and hotel information here.
With slightly less than a month to go, TALKERS 2023, the 26th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national gathering, is nearing an early advance sellout. The one-day, power-packed conference will take place on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island. It is presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra’s nationally acclaimed radio station, WRHU-FM/WRHU.org. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “There is particularly strong interest in the event this year – perhaps because of the huge influence talk media – especially news/talk radio, cable news/talk TV, sports/talk radio and podcasting – are exacting on the national conversation. At the same time, all of these platforms are facing major existential issues ranging from challenges generating revenue, navigating controversy, and competing against technologically induced cultural sea-changes.” Casey adds, “The magnificent setting of Hofstra really works well for this conference. The state of the art theater is wonderfully spacious – which means a lot during what will hopefully be the tail end of COVID; the broadcasting facilities for those attendees who’ll be doing their shows live from the site are second-to-none; the breakfast, lunch and closing reception events take place outdoors under an open tent in a delightful and health-minded setting; the agenda features more than 60 outstanding speakers and directly addresses the key questions facing the industry. Knowledge and connections are power. TALKERS 2023 will provide the latest information and it is a fantastic networking opportunity.” Conference director Michael Harrison says, “This industry conference is steeped in history, tradition and dynamic purpose. Careers and lives change at the TALKERS conference!” Register now to avoid being shut out. See more about the agenda, registration, sponsorship and hotel information here.
The agenda for TALKERS 2023 is now posted subject to daily updates. Please check it regularly. The 26th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important conference takes place on Friday, June 2, 2023 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio. TALKERS 2023 will boldly address key issues – some existential – facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture of rapidly accelerating technological and societal change, as well as identifying the remarkable opportunities inherent in these developments. It will also provide participants with unique and powerful networking opportunities. See the latest complete agenda here. The all-inclusive registration fee covering convention events, exhibits, food, and services for the day is $379. Attendance is only open to the working media and associated industries as well as students attending accredited learning institutions. Due to space limitations and the commitment to maintaining an intimate environment, the conference is again expected to be an early sellout. Don’t be shut out! See convention registration and hotel information here.
A special discussion exploring the delicate balance between local, national and cross-platform talk media elements is set as one of the many sessions comprising the forthcoming TALKERS 2023 conference on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Brian Kilmeade, John Caracciolo, and Harry Hurley will engage in a conference-closing conversation titled, “Cross Currents of Talk Media.” It will examine the delicate balance between local, national, and multiplatform elements of the ever-evolving talk media space. Brian Kilmeade is a nationally known talk star hosting separate shows on FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel (TV). His syndicated radio show is carried on Long Island (where he also lives) by news/talk WRCN-FM, Riverhead “Long Island News Radio.” The station which serves Eastern Long Island is owned by JVC Broadcasting of which John Caracciolo is president/CEO. Harry Hurley, morning host at WPG, Atlantic City, NJ (and regular guest host on FOX News Radio who occasionally fills in for Kilmeade) will serve as moderator of what promises to be a fascinating three-way conversation. See all the speaker, registration, and hotel information for TALKERS 2023 here.
Registration and Hotel Information Available
TALKERS 2023, the 26th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest running and largest convention is shaping up to be one of the storied event’s most important installments. The power-packed, one-day event will be presented by TALKERS on Friday, June 2, 2023 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2022, 2021 and 2016 events – and enjoy the remarkable resources that its Lawrence Herbert School of Communication brings to the table.” As was the case last year, this event will be held in a COVID-19 compliant environment based upon the circumstances at the time of the convention. TALKERS 2023 will boldly address key issues – some existential – facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture of rapidly accelerating technological and societal change as well as identifying the remarkable opportunities inherent in these developments. It will also provide participants with unique and powerful networking opportunities. The all-inclusive registration fee covering convention events, exhibits, food, and services for the day is $379. Take advantage of the early bird fee of $329 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, March 31. Because space will be limited and a sellout is anticipated, all registrations are non-refundable. You can see the list of in-person speakers and get registration and hotel information here.
A piece by Sara Fischer in Axios looks at the state of conservative talk radio two years after the genre’s putative founding father Rush Limbaugh passed away, leaving a literal and figurative void in the industry. Talk media practitioners are aware that the occasion of Limbaugh’s passing gave rise to a number of conservative talk personalities as they battled to fill the midday radio time slot occupied for so many years on more than 600 stations. In the bigger picture, Fischer writes, “Today, no one radio host commands the same level of power and influence that Limbaugh did, but a number of new voices are emerging — blending the reach of traditional and digital platforms — and collectively proving to be more powerful in shaping conservative opinion for younger audiences.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted in the piece saying, “The world is changing and there are questions as to how Limbaugh, had he lived and remained healthy — based upon his mindset and his approach to the business — would have remained as pertinent as he was. He was not as flexible when it came to social media and some of the other forms that it takes right now to be a media presence as opposed to just a radio presence.” Read the entire article here.
Progressive talk media host David Pakman is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Pakman is one of the relatively rare breed of progressive talk show hosts currently heard with a modest footprint on commercial radio. But beyond that, he has a significant and growing presence on his own YouTube channel where he has over a million-and-a-half subscribers, a commercially sold-out schedule, and is part of an emerging genre of progressive hosts seen regularly by loyal political talk media consumers. Only 39, Pakman has been a practitioner of progressive talk media since his early 20s. “The David Pakman Show” started in August 2005 as a community radio program called “Midweek Politics” in the basement of WXOJ’s studio in Northampton, Massachusetts. Today, it is a daily internationally syndicated politics and news talk show airing on radio, television, and the internet, as well as on Free Speech TV via DirecTV and DISH Network. Pakman is a naturalized citizen of the United States having moved here with his family at the age of five from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Harrison and Pakman discuss the rewards and challenges – financially and otherwise – of multi-platform digital broadcasting. Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.
TALKERS 2022 Exceeds Expectations. The 25th annual installment (and second pandemic-era edition) of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest, and most important national convention – TALKERS 2022 – took place this past Friday, June 10 and by all accounts significantly exceeded expectations. It was widely hailed by many of its longtime participants as “the best ‘TALKERS’ ever!” It was presented by TALKERS in association with Hofstra University’s award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org. Some 275 passionate media professionals from all over the country traveled to the beautiful campus of Hofstra on Long Island to see, hear and meet more than 60 luminary speakers – from talk media programming, management, station ownership, syndication, sales, marketing and technology – tackle the most compelling issues, opportunities and challenges currently at play in the industry. It was a power-packed day of non-stop panels, solo addresses, fireside charts, award presentations, exhibits and networking opportunities. The TALKERS editorial staff is now sifting through hundreds of photos and hours of video preparing extensive coverage of the conference and its enormous treasure trove of content that will be appearing in TALKERS magazine for days and weeks ahead. Please stay tuned for forthcoming stories, photos and complete video coverage of all sessions. TALKERS founder and convention producer/director Michael Harrison says, “We are deeply grateful to all the attendees and sponsors as well as our colleagues at Hofstra University for making TALKERS 2022 such a rewarding and memorable experience.” Photos: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo playing the National Anthem during the opening ceremony (above right), and (above left) WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley interviewing FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade.
Monday Memo: Identify ‘Piano Movers.’ In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks, “What is difficult for most people but comes easy to you?” It’s a new business brainstorm for sales reps, and what HC calls “a Side-Hustle Alert for on-air talent.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Happy Father’s Day. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa wonders if your station had a sales meeting solely focused on Father’s Day. “Unlike Mother’s Day where ‘natural’ categories like flowers, candy, dinner, spa days, even jewelry make the annual target list, what did your target list look like for Father’s Day? The irony is, the National Retail Foundation projects only an $80 difference in the average gift spends between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So how creative was your Father’s Day targeting? Was that list much different from your Christmas targeting for dad?” Read his column here.
NJBA President Paul Rotella’s Struggles, Courage and Imminent Victory Over Adversity. One of the most compelling stories in the radio industry has been the personal and professional journey of New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella. He is thankfully on the mend after suffering a terrible health struggle with rare form of meningitis that took him to the brink of death. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, seeing Paul Rotella at this past Friday’s TALKERS 2022 (6/10) bravely walking with the help of a cane and enthusiastically watching, absorbing, cheering and delighting in the comradery of being with his fellow broadcasters, was SO moved that he pulled together his sources, resources and data to pay tribute to the man as quickly as possible. Harrison states, “I consider Paul Rotella to be a spectacular human being, family man, broadcaster, attorney and spokesman not only for the broadcasting community of the Garden State – but a force of nature in spreading a prideful image of the State of New Jersey, in general, across America – not always an easy task.” Harrison penned a tribute to Rotella including a remarkably candid and personal print interview with him that appears in today’s TALKERS. To read it, please click here.
WWO Blog: Pharmaceutical Brands Realize Benefits of AM/FM Advertising. In this week’s blog from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group comes information from a comprehensive analysis of the pharmaceutical category that included data from Nielsen Media Impact, Nielsen’s media plan optimization tool; a MARU/Matchbox national study conducted over the course of two years from February 2020 through October 2021; and pharmaceutical ad creative testing results from the Advertising Benchmark Index. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes, says, “Pharmaceutical brands have discovered network radio, and it is one of our fastest growing categories. The big revelation for pharma brand advertising is that audio does all the heavy lifting, and the visuals are secondary. ABX creative testing reveals radio creative performs at 90% of the effectiveness of TV for 25% of the CPM.” Some of the highlights of the studies include: 1) According to Nielsen Media Impact, pharmaceutical/OTC brands see an average incremental reach increase of +38% when including AM/FM radio with TV; 2) Shifting 20% of an arthritis medication’s TV budget to AM/FM radio afforded the brand a significant reach advantage versus its competition (+29%) and increased its total share of voice from 22% to 39%; and 3) A pharmaceutical brand saw its TV reach drop -33% over a four-year period with the same spend due to the erosion of TV audiences. Shifting 30% of the October 2021 TV budget to AM/FM radio recovered the lost reach, generating a +51% lift in campaign reach. See more from the blog here.
Chris Williams Exits KXNO-AM/FM, Des Moines. Sports talk radio personality Chris Williams reveals via Twitter that he’s exited iHeartMedia sports talk outlet KXNO-AM/FM, Des Moines in order to focus on his family life. Williams has been serving as co-host of the afternoon drive program “The Sports Fanatics” with Ross Peterson. Williams tweeted, “When I was attending journalism school at Iowa State in the mid 2000s, my dream was to one day host a sports talk show on the iconic 1460 KXnO. For the last seven-plus years, I have had the privilege to live this dream. A lot has changed since then. I now have two beautiful daughters Cami (7) and Elyse (2), who I love more than I knew was even possible. Ross Peterson was my friend. He is now a brother who will be family forever. I recently made the decision to leave KXnO as a daily host to focus on my young family. The 3-6 time slot is an honor to fill, but also takes a major toll on family when you have young kids (especially when you have aspirations to be the best little league softball coach in the metro). I leave KXnO excited to be a better husband, son, friend and human being.”
The Economy, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, Gun Legislation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Western Heat-Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring price of gasoline and food, sinking tech stocks, and worries about a recession; today’s scheduled second January 6 Committee hearing; Russia’s advances in the war in Ukraine and the conflict’s effect on the world economy; the attempts at bi-partisan gun legislation; the ousting of San Francisco’s progressive DA, the November midterm elections, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the Western heatwave and drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.