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BNM Top 20

Barrett News Media’s Top 20 Major Market News/Talk Radio Morning Shows of 2022

Jason Barrett

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Welcome to day two of our inaugural BNM Top 20 series presented by Steve Stone Voiceovers. This series runs a total of seven days, and is designed to recognize News/Talk radio’s top shows, hosts, brands and programmers for the 2022 calendar year. To stay informed on each day’s results please bookmark our website, follow BNM on Twitter at @BNMStaff, visit us on Facebook at Barrett News Media or sign up for our daily newsletter, ‘The Rundown‘ by clicking here. The support is greatly appreciated.

The seven categories we are examining this week and next include the industry’s top national and original digital shows, as well as the best morning, midday and afternoon shows, and the best stations and programmers in both Major (#1-#20) and Mid-Sized (#21-Below) markets. We separate large and mid-sized cities since the opportunities and challenges they face are different. Not included in our lists are NPR brands and shows. Maybe down the line we’ll change that or add an extra category but for now, terrestrial outlets are our main focus.

As a format, News/Talk radio is delivered on over two thousand stations. Only the country format is larger in size. We try our best to make sure the top shows, hosts, programmers and brands are listed for voting consideration and also allow room for our voters to add nominees if for some reason someone isn’t listed on our document.

As you review these results, please keep in mind that they represent the collective opinions of forty four industry programmers and executives. I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate in our voting process. Altogether we had representation from fifteen companies and thirty six different cities, which was outstanding.

As it pertains to the voting, here are a few things to be aware of.

#1 – Our executive voters were asked to pick their Top 20 selections for each category based on a few key factors; quality of show (ear test), originality, ability to entertain-inform-connect across multiple platforms, ratings success, clearance (national shows) and industry buzz. Remember, our voters live in different cities, have different tastes, work for different groups, and value certain factors higher than others. This isn’t a perfect system but it’s the best one we’ve been able to create to showcase the industry’s best. Having done this for seven years for the sports talk format, we’re going to stick with it until another approach makes more sense.

#2 – Our executive panel consists of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, Cox Media Group, Radio One, Alpha, Bonneville, FOX News Radio, Hearst, Federated Media, Zimmer Communications, and Westwood One. We involve a large number of people in order to receive feedback from all parts of the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one company.

#3 – A total of 43 shows appeared on ballots turned in by our executive panel in the Major Market Morning News/Talk Shows category.

Which brings us to today’s category – Major Market News/Talk Morning Shows. These shows kickstart the day for news/talk stations across the country, being counted on to deliver ratings, revenue and relevance for their respective brands. Many enjoyed exceptional years but the top spot can only be occupied by one.

Congratulations is in order for KFI’s Bill Handel. The broadcasting legend and radio hall of famer received eight (8) 1st place votes from our executive panel to prevail over a talented field. BNM congratulates Bill, Robin Bertolucci and the entire KFI staff on earning this year’s top honor, as well as every other show which landed on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BNM’s Top 20 Major Market News/Talk Morning Shows of 2022!”

Additional Notes:

  • Bill Handel finished 35 points in front of WTOP’s Morning News, thanks to a category high eight (8) first place votes.
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to 1010 WINS Morning DriveIan Bush & Carol McKenzieHouston’s Morning NewsWayne Cabot & Paul Murdane and Ted & LaDona.
  • The closest contests saw WTOP Morning News edge Bernie & Sid by 2 points, and Len Berman & Michael Reidel hold off LA’s Morning News by 1 point.
  • Of the 43 shows to appear on submitted ballots, eight (8) received at least one 1st place vote.

*** Bernard McGuirk of ‘Bernie & Sid’ passed away in early October.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BNM Top 20 of 2022.

  • Wednesday December 14 = BNM Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Midday Shows of 2022
  • Thursday December 15 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Afternoon Shows of 2022
  • Friday December 16 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Program Directors of 2022
  • Monday December 19 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Stations of 2022
  • Tuesday December 20 = The Top 20 Original N/T Digital Shows of 2022

A reminder, BNM will have a big announcement following the Top 20 series on Wednesday December 21st. Make sure to visit the website that day to learn what else we’re up to.

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BNM Top 20

Barrett News Media’s Top 20 Major Market News Talk Radio Stations of 2023

“A total of 51 news/talk radio stations received votes in our Major Market News/Talk Radio Stations category.”

Jason Barrett

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BNM Top 20 Major Market Radio Stations

Welcome to the finale of Barrett News Media’s Top 20 of 2023 series. If this is your first time visiting our website and you missed the prior Top 20 announcements, click here to see who performed best among local and national shows, and the format’s top program directors. We also encourage you to bookmark our website, follow BNM on X at @BNMStaff and on Facebook at Barrett News Media and to sign up for our daily newsletter, ‘The Rundown‘ by clicking here.

For those who are unaware, the News/Talk radio format is offered on more than two thousand radio stations. We try our best to make sure the top shows, hosts, programmers and brands from the News/Talk world are listed for voting consideration on our ballots, and though we triple check everything before publishing the lists and hope to present a perfect layout, sometimes mistakes happen. If you see an error, please let us know. We want to shine the light on the format’s best brands and shows in a way that makes them feel proud to be recognized, not frustrated by an incorrect detail.

As you review the results, please remember that they represent the collective opinions of fifty four (54) news/talk radio programmers and executives. We try our best to make sure the top shows, hosts, programmers and brands are listed for voting consideration. Industry decision makers are then asked to vote on categories based on where their stations/shows operate. BNM’s role in the voting process is to gather the feedback, add it up, and present the results.

I want to thank Barrett Media’s Digital Director Alex Reynolds for doing an awesome job on this year’s graphics, as well as each PD and executive who participated in this process. We had representation from fourteen companies and forty different cities, which was even better than last year. For those who didn’t vote and were invited to do so, I hope you’ll change your mind next year. It’s good for the format if you’re involved, and depending on the final votes, it can benefit your staff, sales team, and company, and excite your audience and advertisers.

Moving on to the voting, here are a few things to keep in mind.

#1 – Our executive voters are asked to rank their Top 20 selections for each category based on a few key factors; quality of show (ear test), originality, ability to entertain-inform-connect across multiple platforms, ratings success, clearance (national shows) and industry buzz. Remember, our voters live in different cities, have different tastes, work for different groups, and value certain factors higher than others. This is not a perfect system but it’s the best one we’ve come up with to showcase the industry’s top performers. Having done this for eight years with the sports talk format, we’re going to stick with it until a better option arises.

#2 – The executive panel consisted of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Hubbard, Cox Media Group, Townsquare Media, Salem Media Group, Radio One, Alpha Media, Bonneville, FOX News Radio, Westwood One, Federated Media, and Zimmer Communications. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to receive feedback from all parts of the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one group. Given the variety of people in this process, it means there’s no guarantee that last year’s success will be repeated this year.

#3 – A total of 51 news/talk radio stations received votes in our Major Market News/Talk Radio Stations category. Many of these brands hold dominant ratings positions in their respective markets, delivering timely information, expert opinion, and world class entertainment to large audiences. Additionally, they are trusted by key advertisers to increase brand awareness and sales through over the air and digital content associations. Many on the list have a strong case for the top spot, but only one gets to hold it, so let’s get to the results.

Claiming the top spot this year is KFI in Los Angeles. The dominant news/talk brand has won every major market honor this year, including moving up one spot in this category from last year to unseat WTOP as the format’s best brand. The race was extremely close, a mere two (2) points separated first and second place. Congratulations is in order for Robin Bertolucci and her entire team, as well as every other news/talk station which earned a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BNM’s Top 20 Major Market News/Talk Radio Stations of 20223.”

Additional Notes:

  • KFI prevailed over WTOP in a very tight race. The Los Angeles talk station won this category by only two (2) points. They did however secure the most first place votes with six (6).
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to WLS in Chicago, KTAR in Phoenix, KIRO in Seattle, WIOD in Miami, and WPHT in Philadelphia.
  • The closest contest outside of the battle for 1st and 2nd was between WABC and WSB. The New York news/talk station held off the Atlanta brand by three (3) points.
  • Of the 51 radio stations to gain votes from our panel, fifteen (15) received at least one 1st place vote.
  • Among broadcasting companies, Audacy performed best with nine (9) of the top twenty (20) stations being under their ownership.

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BNM Top 20

Barrett News Media’s Top 20 Mid Market News Talk Radio Stations of 2023

“A total of 79 news/talk radio stations appeared on ballots for voting consideration in our Mid Market News/Talk Radio Stations category.”

Jason Barrett

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on

BNM Top 20 Mid Market Radio Stations

Welcome to the finale of Barrett News Media’s Top 20 of 2023 series. If this is your first time visiting our website and you missed the prior Top 20 announcements, click here to see who performed best among local and national shows, and the format’s top program directors. We also encourage you to bookmark our website, follow BNM on X at @BNMStaff and on Facebook at Barrett News Media, and to sign up for our daily newsletter, ‘The Rundown‘ by clicking here.

As you review the results below, please remember that they represent the collective opinions of fifty four (54) news/talk radio programmers and executives. We try our best to make sure the top shows, hosts, programmers and brands are listed for voting consideration but if you notice a mistake, please let us know. Industry decision makers are asked to vote on categories based on where their stations/shows operate. BNM’s role in the voting process is to gather the feedback, add it up, and present the collective results.

I want to thank Barrett Media’s Digital Director Alex Reynolds for doing an awesome job on this year’s graphics, as well as each PD and executive who participated in this process. We had representation from fourteen companies and forty different cities, which was even better than last year. For those who didn’t vote and were invited to do so, I hope you’ll change your mind next year. It’s good for the format if you’re involved, and depending on the final votes, it can benefit your staff, sales team, and company, and excite your audience and advertisers.

Moving on to the voting, here are a few things to keep in mind.

#1 – Our executive voters are asked to rank their Top 20 selections for each category based on a few key factors; quality of show (ear test), originality, ability to entertain-inform-connect across multiple platforms, ratings success, clearance (national shows) and industry buzz. Remember, our voters live in different cities, have different tastes, work for different groups, and value certain factors higher than others. This is not a perfect system but it’s the best one we’ve come up with to showcase the industry’s top performers. Having done this for eight years with the sports talk format, we’re going to stick with it until a better option arises.

#2 – The executive panel consisted of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Hubbard, Cox Media Group, Townsquare Media, Salem Media Group, Radio One, Alpha Media, Bonneville, FOX News Radio, Westwood One, Federated Media, and Zimmer Communications. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to receive feedback from all parts of the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one group. Given the variety of people in this process, it means there’s no guarantee that last year’s success will be repeated this year.

#3 – A total of 79 news/talk radio stations appeared on ballots for voting consideration in our Mid Market News/Talk Radio Stations category. Many of these brands hold dominant ratings positions in their respective markets, delivering timely information, expert opinion, and world class entertainment to large audiences. Additionally, they are trusted by key advertisers to increase brand awareness and sales through over the air and digital content associations. A large number of them can make a case for #1, but only one gets to occupy the top spot, so let’s get to the results.

Finishing in first place once again is 700 WLW in Cincinnati. This is the station’s fourth category win of this year’s series, matching the station’s performance in 2022. Congratulations to DJ Hodge, Scott Reinhart, and the entire staff on the well deserved recognition, as well as every other news/talk station which earned a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BNM’s Top 20 Mid Market News/Talk Radio Stations of 20223.”

Additional Notes:

  • WLW won this category soundly by thirty eight (38) points over WBEN. The Cincinnati news/talk powerhouse also recorded a category best five (5) first place votes.
  • Spots 21-25 were occupied by NJ 101.5 in Trenton, Talk 99.5 in Birmingham, WTIC in Hartford, WISN in Milwaukee, and KCMO in Kansas City.
  • The closest races in this category saw WBT hold off KXL by one (1) point, and WTAM nip WTMJ by two (2) points.
  • Of the 79 stations to earn votes from our panel, seventeen (17) received at least one 1st place vote.

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BNM Top 20

Barrett News Media’s Top 20 Major Market News Talk Program Directors of 2023

“A total of 39 program directors received votes in the Major Market PDs category.”

Jason Barrett

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BNM Top 20 Major Market Program Directors

Our second annual Barrett News Media Top 20 series wraps up week one with a look at the Top 20 Major Market News/Talk Program Directors for 2023. If you missed our Morning, Midday or Afternoon Show releases or the Top 20 National shows, click here to visit the Top 20 section and access the lists you’re interested in. In the meantime, please bookmark our website, follow BNM on X at @BNMStaff or on Facebook at Barrett News Media or sign up for our daily newsletter, ‘The Rundown‘ by clicking here to stay updated.

This year’s series focuses on six categories; Major and Mid market news/talk radio morning, midday, and afternoon shows, program directors, radio stations, and the format’s best national talk shows. Major Markets represent shows, stations, and PDs operating in markets #1-#20. Mid Markets cover markets #21 and below. Not included are NPR brands and shows. Maybe in the future we’ll change that or add an extra category but for now, mainstream news/talk radio outlets are the main focus.

As you review the results, please remember that they represent the collective opinions of fifty four (54) news/talk radio programmers and executives. We try our best to make sure the top shows, hosts, programmers and brands are listed for voting consideration. Industry decision makers are then asked to vote on categories based on where their stations/shows operate. BNM’s role in the voting process is to gather the feedback, add it up, and present the results.

I want to thank Barrett Media’s Digital Director Alex Reynolds for doing an awesome job on this year’s graphics, as well as each PD and executive who participated in this process. We had representation from fourteen companies and forty different cities, which was even better than last year. For those who didn’t vote and were invited to do so, I hope you’ll change your mind next year. It’s good for the format if you’re involved, and depending on the final votes, it can benefit your staff, sales team, and company, and excite your audience and advertisers.

Moving on to the voting, here are a few things to keep in mind.

#1 – Our executive voters are asked to rank their Top 20 selections for each category based on a few key factors; quality of show (ear test), originality, ability to entertain-inform-connect across multiple platforms, ratings success, clearance (national shows) and industry buzz. Remember, our voters live in different cities, have different tastes, work for different groups, and value certain factors higher than others. This is not a perfect system but it’s the best one we’ve come up with to showcase the industry’s top performers. Having done this for eight years with the sports talk format, we’re going to stick with it until a better option arises.

#2 – The executive panel consisted of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Hubbard, Cox Media Group, Townsquare Media, Salem Media Group, Radio One, Alpha Media, Bonneville, FOX News Radio, Westwood One, Federated Media, and Zimmer Communications. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to receive feedback from all parts of the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one group. Given the variety of people in this process, it means there’s no guarantee that last year’s success will be repeated this year.

#3 – A total of 39 program directors received votes in the Major Market PDs category. These talented men and women help guide America’s top brands, often avoiding the spotlight so their teams can reap the rewards. But whether they like the public attention or not, they’re getting it because their hard work deserves to be recognized.

In order to avoid complaints and confusion, please understand that some folks hold titles such as Vice President of News/Talk, Director of Operations, Brand Manager, etc.. We’re not trying to discredit anyone’s credentials or change anyone’s titles but to keep it simple we’re using the common term ‘Program Director’ since it’s existed for decades and describes how managers are viewed by those inside of programming departments.

And that brings us to this year’s winner. Congratulations goes out once again to Robin Bertolucci of KFI in Los Angeles on becoming a two-time category winner. Under her leadership, KFI has been one of the most successful brands in all of talk radio. One glance at this year or last year’s Top 20 series and you’ll quickly see how well the station and its shows are seen by industry decision makers. We applaud Robin on a job well done, as well as every other brand leader who earned a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BNM’s Top 20 Major Market News/Talk Program Directors of 2023!”

Additional Notes:

  • Robin Bertolucci won this category by a slimmer margin this year than in 2022. Nineteen (19) points separated her and Ben Mevorach. She did also received the most first place votes in the category with eight (8).
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to Greg StockerMarcus Brown, Ann ThomasDave Tepper and David Darling.
  • The closest races saw Ken Charles finish in front of Julia Ziegler by two (2) points, and Kristina Koppeser slip by Brad Lane by three (3) points. Bryan Erickson also held off Greg Stocker by three (3) points for the final spot.
  • Of the 39 programmers to earn votes from our panel, twelve (12) received at least one 1st place vote.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BNM Top 20 of 2022.

  • Monday December 18 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Stations of 2023

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