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

Our second annual Barrett News Media Top 20 series wraps up week one with a look at the Top 20 Mid 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 and sign up for our daily newsletter, ‘The Rundown‘ by clicking here.

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.

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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 69 program directors were eligible for votes in the Mid 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 once again to Scott Reinhart of 700 WLW on becoming a two-time category winner. Under Scott’s guidance, WLW has consistently delivered ratings and revenue success in Cincinnati, cementing its position as one of the top brands in mid markets let alone the entire talk radio format. A quick review of this year and last year’s Top 20 categories and you’ll see how well regarded the station and its weekday shows are by industry decision makers. We tip our cap to Scott on a job well done, as well as every other brand leader who landed on this year’s list.

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

Additional Notes:

  • Scott Reinhart won this category by twenty six (26) points ahead of KMOX’s Steve Moore. Scott also received the most first place votes with ten (10).
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to Sean CaseyJerry Bott, Levi MayLee Matthews and McGraw Milhaven.
  • The tightest races featured Peter Thiele finishing ahead of Jared Hart by two (2) points, Scott Voorhees nipping Blake Taylor by three (3) points, and Alan Furst holding off Kevin LaRue by six (6) points.
  • Of the 69 programmers listed on ballots, fourteen (14) received at least one 1st place vote.

* Anne Gress made this list but unfortunately was recently let go go by NJ 101.5.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BNM Top 20 of 2023.

  • Monday December 18 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market N/T Radio Stations of 2023
Jason Barrett
Jason Barrett
Jason Barrett is the President and Founder of Barrett Media since the company was created in September 2015. Prior to its arrival, JB served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He also spent time programming SportsTalk 950 in Philadelphia, 590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis, and ESPN 1340/1390 in Poughkeepsie, NY. Jason also worked on-air and behind the scenes in local radio at 101.5 WPDH, WTBQ 1110AM, and WPYX 106.5. He also spent two years on the national stage, producing radio shows for ESPN Radio in Bristol, CT. Among them included the Dan Patrick Show, and GameNight.You can find JB on Twitter @SportsRadioPD. He's also reachable by email at [email protected].

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