Industry News

Talk Host Mark Simone Inks New Deal with WOR, New York

New York City talk radio personality Mark Simone signs a new, three-year deal with iHeartMedia’s news/talk 710 WOR to continue hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Simone says, “There’s no betterim place to be in the radio world than iHeartRadio. Thanks to the finest broadcasting executives around, Tom Cuddy, Thea Mitchem and Bernie Weiss for making it all happen. Walking to work every day is like walking through the Radio Hall of Fame. Just to get to my studio, I pass Elvis Duran, Jim Kerr, Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee and other all-stars.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy adds, “When I joined WOR almost 11 years ago, Mark was my first hire. Since then, it’s been a blast watching Mark grow into becoming the highest-rated radio talk host in his time slot, along with digital numbers that are among the highest in the country.”

EDITOR’S APOLOGY:  The above story about Mark Simone’s new contract at WOR originally ran yesterday (9/5) in TALKERS.  Unfortunately, our art department utilized a combination of hand-rendered illustration, CGI and AI in creating a headline banner image that apparently missed its mark.  The premise was to depict Simone as the proverbial “800 pound gorilla” of New York radio in which his avatar – a Simone lookalike – inspired by the legend of King Kong, was depicted as a determined figure climbing the Empire State Building.  As it turned out, the King Kong reference was not clear to our readers because there was no actual ape depicted and Simone received a large number of emails telling him that TALKERS ran a photo of the wrong guy.  We meant it to be a caricature but our creative plan backfired.  Simone was upset by the image telling TALKERS, “I have had dozens of caricatures done of me in the past. They are usually somewhat cute.  Never had a problem with them. Yours looked hideous and really cheap. When radio people try to do it, they have no skill at it… no one thought it was a caricature and no one thought it was me. The 13 emails I got from radio execs asked me why you used a picture of someone else, so they never thought for a second it was supposed to be a caricature and no one noticed anything to do with the Empire State Building.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement, “Simone is right.  Looking back at it now, with the increased objectivity of having a full day to think it over, I can understand why he was upset, although there was nothing specifically disparaging about the image. It just wasn’t clear that it was meant to be him and that he was supposed to be climbing a building in an iconic scenario.  After all, a media personality’s sound and image are their brand and they must be protective of its depiction.  We have subsequently pulled the banner from the website and replaced it with a more standard format with the same copy but a different graphic (see above).  The irony is Mark Simone and I have been friendly for more than three decades and I’ve often stated that he is one of the greatest and most successful radio personalities in New York and the nation, not to mention a top notch human being. I still think that.  All of us at TALKERS deeply regret this mistake which was the result of an overly-zealous attempt at being creative. In the world of publicity there’s the old saying ‘as long as they spell your name correctly.’ Well, I guess in this case we spelled Mark Simone’s face wrong.”

Industry News

News Pro Larry Mendte Joins WOR, New York

iHeartMedia announces that Emmy Award-winning news anchor Larry Mendte is joining news/talk WOR, New York as news director and morning news anchor. In this role, Mendte will anchor news during the station’s “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” and during the late morning “Mark Simone Show.” Mendte takesim over the position after news director Joe Bartlett retired from the station on May 31 after 37 years with the WOR. Mendte had most recently been news director and host at WJLP-TV, Middletown, New Jersey “Me-TV.” Mendte says, “WOR is iconic in radio history, and I’m honored to accept this position. Len Berman and Michael Riedel are smart, entertaining, and informative. It’s the morning show I listen to, and I’m elated to now be part of it.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy states, “I’ve been a fan of Larry’s for many years. So, when the opportunity popped up for him to work with Len and Michael, I was truly pumped up that we were able to bring in a talent of his caliber.”

Industry News

WOR, New York News Director Joe Bartlett to Retire

Longtime WOR, New York news pro Joe Bartlett announces he will retire as a full-time member of the iHeartMedia news/talk station’s staff on May 31 after a 37-year career with the station. Bartlett – who’s been serving most recently as morning news anchor and news director for 710 WOR – says he planned to retire three years ago, but when the Covid-19 pandemic hit he decided to postpone it. In addition to his newsim anchoring and reporting work, Bartlett has also hosted talk shows on the station, including the long-running “WOR Saturday Morning Show.” He comments, “I loved my job and have been fortunate to have been part of this great station for all these years. I could have gone on much longer, but the time had come, where I just needed more free time. Sadly, this is not a job you can do only six months a year. I have been blessed to have had a caring radio ownership, extremely talented co-workers and a very loyal audience.” Bartlett and his wife have relocated to South Carolina where he looks forward to having more time for golf, seeing his grandchildren, and supporting the New York Giants. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “It’s rare in this business to encounter as versatile a radio personality as Joe: anchor, news director, and talk show host…not to mention an all-around nice guy. He will be missed not just by our listeners but by our staff.”

Industry News

TALKERS 2023 Features 2 Power-Packed News/Talk Programming Panels

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, iHeartMediaKevin Delany, VP, news & talk programming, Westwood OneMatt 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 MediaDan Mandis, talk show host/program director WTN-FM, Nashville; and John T. Mullen, GM, WRHU-FM/, 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.

Front Page News Industry News

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

MIW Reveals Gender Analysis Study Results. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization reveals the results of the 22nd MIW Gender Analysis Study that tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director/brand manager titles. MIW says the study reflects data from the calendar year 2021 and was accounted for by PrecisionTrak. In the general manager category, women hold the position at 20.79% of U.S. radio stations. This is an increase of almost a full percentage point from 2020, which was 19.9%. Notably, this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%. Looking at sales managers, 33.59% of stations had a woman in the position last year. MIW says the management position that poses the greatest challenge for women is program director/brand manager. Only 12.09% of U.S. stations had women in the position in 2021, versus 12.2% in 2020. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “If the glass is half full we should celebrate any upward movement, even if it’s incremental, as jobs continue to be eliminated in the continuing pandemic. However, it’s disappointing that the glass isn’t filling faster for those in programming and MIW is paying close attention to this issue. We encourage you to register at to learn about our multiple opportunities for mentoring and career development!”

iHeartMedia to Celebrate WOR, New York’s 100th Anniversary. WOR-AM, New York owner iHeartMedia is preparing to celebrate the news/talk station’s 100th anniversary of its first broadcast on February 22, 1922. Next Tuesday (2/22), “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will kick off the tribute by interviewing on-air hosts from WOR’s history to share memories of their time at the station. WOR will also air audio of historic moments and invite listeners to call in with their favorite WOR recollections. On February 23, the Empire State Building will light up in the colors of the station’s logo beginning at 5:40 pm. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “A station broadcasting for over a century is truly incredible. 710 WOR has a strong connection with the communities we serve, and as the media landscape continues to evolve, it’s exciting to see our reach has continued to grow as WOR listeners adopt streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.” WOR was initially launched to sell radios and other merchandise at Bamberger’s department store in Newark, New Jersey.

Talk Host Mark Kaye Announces 15-Year-Old Sickle Cell Patient as New Voice of the Program. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville-based, syndicated radio talk show host Mark Kaye (left) names 15-year-old Quincy Chapman (right) the new voice of “The Mark Kaye Show.” Kaye met Chapman during his “Kaye’s Kids” charity event called “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Kaye says, “Every Christmas we surprise local children who are battling life-threatening illnesses with dream gifts. This past December, Quincy was one of those kids.” Chapman suffers from the painful Sickle Cell Disease that’s required several blood transfusions, spleen removal, and a recent hip transplant. “Quincy lives in constant pain,” says Kaye. “But you would never know it if you met him. He has an incredible personality, an amazing smile, and as soon as he spoke on the air we were blown away by the power of his voice. He sounds incredible!” After being at the station, Chapman posted a message on Instagram describing how much fun he had on the show and how he was “hooked” on radio. Kaye saw the post and came up with the idea of bringing him back into the studio to record elements for his show. Kaye says, “As soon as he walked in the studio you could tell by the look on his face how happy it made him. We asked him to record some liners and promos for us. Dude was a natural.”

Alpha Media’s Chris Schmidt Named NSMA’s Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Lincoln, Nebraska radio personality Chris Schmidt is named the National Sports Media Association’s 2021 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Schmidt serves with Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR-AM and sports talk KLMS-AM as play-by-play announcer, host of the “Hail Varsity” program, and cast member of the “KFOR Morning Show.” Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Katie Philipi says, “Chris is an exceptional broadcaster and his passion cannot be rivaled. He is so deserving of this award. The entire Alpha Lincoln family celebrates his achievement.” Schmidt comments, “I’m humbled and honored by this award. Thank you to the many folks I have worked with over the years and get to work with today. I have fun going to ‘work’ every day, talking about news and sports.”

Edison Research to Host Black Podcast Listener Report Networking Event. On February 28, Edison Research is hosting an online “networking” event to further the discussion of the results of the Black Podcast Listener Report it, SXM Media, and Mindshare released in October of 2021. Edison says the virtual event will give podcasters and other interested parties a chance to network and discuss various relevant podcast topics, such as key findings from the Black Podcast Listener Report, feedback for the next report, and other topics helpful to creators in the space.  The study participants consisted of over 2,500 Black Americans age 18+. It concluded that 36% of Black Americans now listen to podcasts monthly. Black listeners are closing the gap with the general market. In 2020, 17% of Black Americans were listening to podcasts weekly, compared with 24% of all Americans. Just a year later, the number of weekly Black listeners jumped to 26% (while the general market grew slightly to 28%). Also, 42% of Black monthly podcast listeners say they’ve been streaming shows for one year or less. You can read the report here and you can register for the networking event here.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Durham Probe, S.F. School Board Recall, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Palin-NYTimes Case, Alec Baldwin Suit, and Beijing Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The threat of war over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the planned relaxing of mask mandates in numerous states, and the truckers’ protests; special counsel John Durham’s investigation into allegations of Hillary Clinton’s digital spying on Donald Trump; the successful recall of three liberal San Francisco School Board members; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; a judge tosses Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against The New York Times; Alec Baldwin is sued in connection with the shooting death on the Rust set; and the politics behind the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.