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Kyle Wallace and 101.7 The Truth Are Breaking Glass Ceilings

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Timing is everything.

In December of 2020, Good Karma Brands publicly announced their plans to launch 101.7 The Truth, a talk radio station focused on embracing and telling the stories of Milwaukee’s black community.

Months of interviews, planning and hiring’s led to the first full day of broadcasts, Jan. 4, 2021.

After completing graduate school at Central Michigan, Kyle Wallace worked in the Milwaukee area as a high school football coach. He then followed that with a stint as a college recruiter for Marquette University.

On the side, Wallace was a part-time teammate at ESPN Milwaukee, working live radio remotes, producing shows and attending games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, collecting sound during post-game availability.

During a conversation with Barrett News Media, Wallace explained how he was overly happy with his position at Marquette. He took great pride in the reality that he was able to make a difference in the lives of prospective students.

However, he still had this itch. He wanted to be involved in sports media, and needed to create a lane for himself to thrive as an on-air contributor. So he continued working whenever he could at 540 ESPN Milwaukee, another station owned and operated by Good Karma Brands.

“In June of 2020, (Good Karma Brands Founder and CEO) Craig Karmazin reached out to me and asked what I thought about a black station. Really, where do African Americans go for news about the community?” Wallace recalled. “There’s not a station that people go to and can run to when they want to hear black voices, that’s something that’s absent from the Milwaukee media market.

“When he said that he had interest in potentially trying to start something I told him, ‘I am more than happy to help in any way that I can because I think it is very important that we provide a platform for African Americans to really voice their thoughts and opinions.'”

Throughout his time with ESPN Milwaukee, Wallace learned the ins and out of the media landscape in his city. He grew comfortable asking questions at press conferences, and networking with fellow media members. His experience allowed him to teach incoming intern classes, and other teammates, everything from running the board to cutting audio and using a recorder.

“I told (Karmazin), I am willing to do anything and everything I can to help you guys get this off the ground,” he said. “I know I’m just a part-time teammate, but I’m a teammate at the end of the day, and I want to make sure this is a success,”

“Whatever I have to do I am more than happy to do it.”

Little did Kyle Wallace know he would soon be named the Director of Content for 101.7 The Truth.

Wallace told BNM that before being offered the position he actually helped game-plan potential teammates to bring in, powerful black Milwaukee voices. He also gave input on who he thought would be a good fit as program director.

“It was a leap of faith,” he said after a tough decision to leave his role with Marquette. “Making that jump to a brand new radio station. The goal is to be around forever, but at the end of the day you have to make sure you are producing, not only on-air but also making money as well.

“I was a little bit nervous but I was excited as well because I knew it was a new challenge that could be very very special for Milwaukee’s community. Not just for the black community, but for everybody that is interested in great talk radio, and to hear a different perspective than they may be used to.”

The Truth is working tirelessly to break glass ceilings in media. The station is providing representation and opportunities for people of color who want to pursue and grow careers in the field, and fans who want exposure and coverage of their community.

“Covering the Brewers, I don’t think I ever saw another black reporter,” Wallace said. “(Covering the Bucks) there was maybe one or two, sometimes.”

On July 22, 2021, 101.7 The Truth was broadcasting live from downtown Milwaukee, during the parade for the NBA Champion Bucks.

During the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, The Truth provided a live broadcast experience.

“An audio platform that embraces Milwaukee’s black community,” reads the mission statement on the station’s website. “This is our marketplace where authentic conversations can challenge and inspire everyone. You won’t hear just one perspective. It’ll be raw, honest, and true to what’s really going on in our communities.”

Wallace discussed with BNM the impact his former career had on his ability to direct content at The Truth. He knows how to teach an aspiring producer how to produce a live show, because he did it himself.

As a recruiter, he had no idea the impact it had on students to see a black male care about their educational future, until they told him, ‘we wouldn’t be (in college) without you.’

At Whitefish Bay High School, Wallace doesn’t remember ever having an African American teacher during his four years there. An unfortunate common theme in education.

“It meant more to the kids, because it was more than just a recruiter,” he said.

Those recruiting skills came full circle after The Truth hired Zech Simmons as a producer. Wallace recruited him as a high school student to college, and they kept in contact over the years. Simmons was one of the first calls Wallace made when The Truth started drafting their roster.

“We are confident we chose outstanding leaders who have already made an impact on the city through their service, advocacy, and fight for justice and equality,” he said in the station’s initial press release.

The Truth isn’t even a year old yet, however, they are dreaming big. Wallace’s personal goals for the station are to continue creating an impactful on-air product. He hopes that momentum will carry over into the community, making the brand a destination for the black community to come together as one. That’s especially important as local and state elections take place in 2022. He aspires for The Truth to become an outlet where the black community can learn about prospective elected officials and each of their causes.

Of course, influenced by that background in education, Wallace said he eventually wants to create a college scholarship funded by the station, awarded to a local student.

Listen to 101.7 The Truth here.

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Nielsen Braces Clients For Potential Challenges As Covid-19 Surges

“Some delays in recruitment and slight volatility in intab levels could occur over the next month.”

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All Access is reporting that Nielsen has alerted its clients of potential difficulties due to the COVID-19 surge. The measurement company which works with the majority of the radio broadcasting business has also relayed details of how it plans to handle the situation in order to deliver accurate and consistent audience estimates.

In the letter, Nielsen says it will continue executing in-person field work while using its established multi-mode recruitment and remote installation and maintenance procedures. However, the company cautioned that some delays in recruitment and slight volatility in intab levels could occur over the next month.

Nielsen further shared that it expected to have intab levels stabilized and back to current levels by the end of February or early March, depending on Omicron recovery rates. In-tab levels are expected to be closely monitored and field resources will be evaluated and adjusted if necessary.

Being able to rely on accurate radio measurement is important to radio stations and their advertisers. Though Nielsen says it is actively monitoring COVID infection rates in key panel markets, and any possible impact to its PPM inventory due to global supply chain challenges, the admission of potential challenges in executing as expected is likely to give radio executives and sales professionals a few extra headaches. The company says that it is confident that its contingency plans will mitigate risk, allowing it to move swiftly to ensure the accuracy and representativeness of its audience estimates. Whether that holds true or not will be depend on a myriad of factors over the next month.

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Chicago Public Media Board Approves Sun-Times Merger

Last October, the two parties entered into a non-binding letter of intent to have the Sun-Times become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media once they finalized the deal. 

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The Chicago Public Media Board of Directors, the parent company of news/talk WBEZ (91.5), gave the green light to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Last October, the two parties entered into a non-binding letter of intent to have the Sun-Times become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media once they finalized the deal. 

“I’m deeply grateful to the Chicago Public Media Board of Directors for their work in leading us to this milestone,” Chicago Public Media Board Chair Piyush Chaudhari said in a release

“This new venture will be on its best path forward as we bring together two of Chicago’s most respected news organizations in our city and our region.” 

With the two forms of media coming together, it will create one of the nation’s largest local nonprofit news organizations and operate as a national example for the future of local journalism.

“This is an important step to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago,” Chicago Public Media CEO Matt Moog added. “A vibrant local news ecosystem is fundamental to a healthy democracy, informed citizens, and engaged communities.”

“Together, WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times aim to tell the stories that matter, serve more Chicagoans with our unbiased, fact-based journalism, and connect Chicagoans more deeply to each other and to their communities.”

The merger is expected to be completed by January 31.

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Howard Stern: Unvaccinated Shouldn’t Be Admitted to Hospitals

During “The Howard Stern Show,” a caller named Aaron went back and forth with Howard Stern over hospitals using resources to treat the unvaccinated.

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The United States has seen an uptick in Covid-19 cases coming off the holiday season as various states see a spike in patients coming into their hospital to treat the virus. 

California’s hospitalization rates are up 109-percent in the last two weeks, and southern states are also seeing a surge over the past couple of weeks, per NBC News

During a segment on Sirius XM’s “The Howard Stern Show,” a caller named Aaron went back and forth with Howard Stern over hospitals using resources to treat the unvaccinated. 

“If it was up to me, anyone unvaccinated would not be admitted to a hospital,” Stern said. The radio host went on to belittle the beliefs of the people who have decided not to get vaccinated. 

“[People who] don’t trust our government. They think that there’s some conspiracy to turn them into a magnet or something like this. They think they are going to become magnetized if they take the vaccine.”

“I’ve taken this vaccine three times, and the worst side effect is for a day, I had a little bit of a headache.”

Furthermore, Stern went after those who labeled the vaccine as part of some conspiracy, which is why they chose not to take it. 

“No one’s sitting there conspiring against you. Americans don’t want to create a vaccine that’s going to turn you into a robot or magnetize you,” Stern said. “There’s enough Americans now have taken it. Look at us as a sampling where nothing has happened to us. It’s time for you to get it.”

“Now, if you don’t get it, in my America, all hospitals would be closed to you. You’re going to go home and die.”

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