Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9: Sports Talk Radio Users Big on New Media. There’s a logical trend among frequent users of sports talk radio: being comprised largely of younger men, they are very attached to their smartphones/cell phones and they are far more likely to be regular Twitter users than primary users of other radio formats. While this may not surprise sports talk programmers, the numbers, according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9 are impressive. When it comes to technology usage, 69% of sports talk fans own a smartphone – up 14% over last year’s study; 42% own a tablet device – up 55% over last year; and 24% subscribe to SiriusXM – a hike of 16% compared to a year ago. Other takeaways from the study:
- Sports talk radio users are far more likely to check their email or turn on the TV as their first media occasion of the day than those who listen to other radio formats.
- Twitter usage increased among sports talk users compared to the previous year and continues to be the preferred social media platform for sports talk fans.
- Sports talk fans are heavy internet users.
- When it comes to reasons why sports talk fans give for listening to less AM/FM radio and throwing out the #1 response (lifestyle change), the second most cited reason is not enjoying the programming (25%) and third, listening to SiriusXM (23%).
- Linked In is also a very popular social media site for sports talk radio users.
Employing Digital-Only Sales Reps: Radio Business Lags Behind Other Media. From the recently released Borrell Research “2013 Update: Assessing Local Digital Sales Forces,” comes the news that radio stations are last among media in employing digital-only account executives with merely 11% of respondents to the study saying they employ such sellers. For perspective, among television station respondents, 44% state they have digital-only sales people. It appears some in radio have a less-than-rosy feeling about selling digital as one respondent stated, “We should be focusing on our strength, audio advertising, not selling our clients the pipe dream of ‘interactivity’ that digital has promised but seldom delivers.” The following is for all media – not just radio – but Borrell states it appears local media companies with digital-only reps: 1) average twice the online revenue of those without digital reps; 2) have a sales staff that exhibits greater ability to consult with and educate advertisers; and 3) have a sales staff with stronger capabilities to understand and sell digital products. Respondents to the study also indicate that having digital-only account executives allows them to respond and that those reps perform very well “with a ‘consultative approach’ to fit our products and services to the needs of our advertisers,” as well as having a very good “understanding of how our digital products and services can serve an advertiser’s needs.”
TALKERS Spotlight: Pharmacist Ben Fuchs Emerging as Interesting, “Alternative” Talk Host on the Rise. As host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” Ben Fuchs has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by being an outspoken-but-charming advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.” In an article posted today (5/30), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay writes about this unusual host whom a number of radio movers from Michael Zwerling to Ted Anderson to Michael Harrison all think is worthy of being on the industry radar. Read the entire piece here.
TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award to be Renamed in Honor of Gene Burns. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has announced that it has unanimously voted to rename the publication’s long-running annual Freedom of Speech Award to “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.” The award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio began to emerge and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. In making the announcement, TALKERS VP and executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award and the Annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at our national convention were developed. It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.” The 2013 edition of the award and the first to bear the name of Gene Burns will be presented to Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck on Thursday, June 6 at Talkers New York 2013. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish will deliver the Annual State of the First Amendment Address at that same ceremony.
Compass Media Networks Announces Expanded Football Schedule. The slate of college and NFL football play-by-play available from Compass Media Networks this fall is being expanded with company general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore saying, “We will broadcast at minimum one Saturday college game each week plus a minimum of three NFL games every Sunday afternoon. If there are additional NFL games of interest, then we will add broadcasts as we deem necessary.” Compass opens the NCAA football season with Georgia at Clemson on August 31 and begins coverage of the NFL season on September 8 with three contests: Seattle at Carolina, Oakland at Indianapolis and Green Bay at San Francisco. Compass founder and CEO Peter Kosann says “The schedule speaks for itself. We are pleased to offer radio stations, our listeners, and our national advertisers such compelling games and breadth and depth of coverage.”
United Stations Radio Networks Ups Margaret Verghese to VP of Comedy and Prep Services. Margaret Verghese has been with United Stations Radio Networks since 2001 when she joined as an executive assistant. Most recently she’s been the managing director of Pulse content — the division that provides prep services, talent tours and web content — but now moves up to vice president/comedy and prep services. In this new role, Verghese will also lead the creative team that generates the dozens of comedy services produced by USRN. USRN president and COO Jim Higgins states, “Margaret has been single-handedly responsible for much of the growth in both our comedy product and our prep services over the years, and this appointment is well deserved. She is a tireless executive who brings creativity and dedication to her efforts every single day, and we’re thrilled to hand the reigns of these important areas of content creation over to her.”
More Investor Money for TuneIn. Audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has raised another $25 million led by Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. At the same time, the company reports that it surpassed one billion listening hours in the first four months of 2013, with more than 227 million listening sessions in the month of March alone, “solidifying the company’s position as the world’s number-one service for listening to live, online radio.” TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “This investment gives us the capital to accelerate the development of new technologies and support our ongoing expansion. We will use this funding to leverage our momentum, with a particular focus on growing ad revenues for our broadcast partners.” The company recently announced the release of its TuneIn Live, a major platform redesign that it says “provides a personalized way to find relevant radio stations, songs and live events from all over the world.” It also reports that “since its launch in March 2013, TuneIn Live has spurred a large uptick in listener engagement.” The company released TuneIn Live for its popular iPhone apps last week, making the updated interface available across all Android and iOS devices and web browsers.
WFAN, New York Morning Co-Host Craig Carton to Publish Book. The digital edition of Craig Carton’s new book Loudmouth: Tales (and Fantasies) of Sports, Sex, and Salvation from Behind the Microphone (Simon & Schuster 2013) comes out on June 4 and tells the story of Carton’s youth, his entry into the radio business and the career that brought him to WFAN’s morning show alongside Boomer Esiason in 2007. Like Carton’s radio personality, the book promises to pull no punches. According to a preview at BobsBlitz.com, Carton has plenty of WFAN stories to share, including how both midday host Joe Benigno and PM drive legend Mike Francesa both wanted Carton and Esiason to fail.
KYZZ, Salinas Deal Worth $1.15 Million. The sale of KYZZ-FM, Salinas, California that sends the station from Buckley Broadcasting to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters is for $1.15 million in cash. Buckley has been simulcasting sports talk on KYZZ and KIDD. Buckley is keeping KIDD and it’s expected that Mt. Wilson will change the format of KYZZ to music but it’s not known at this time what Saul Levine’s plans for the signal are.
Odds & Sods. Doug Urbanski sits in for Rush Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk show today and tomorrow (5/30 & 31)…..Cable news/talk TV ratings are seeing dramatic changes from a year ago. The Hollywood Reporter, citing Nielsen numbers, indicates there’s been a big slide for MSNBC and much-needed gains for CNN. For Total Day, MSNBC drops 10% (Total Viewers) from May 2012 to May 2013 while CNN rises to second place behind first place Fox News Channel with a 61% increase. In Prime Time, MSNBC falls 20% during the same period (Total Viewers) and CNN is up 70%. The 8:00 pm ET slot was down 32% in Total Viewers for MSNBC. The network now airs “All in with Chris Hayes” where “The Ed Show” hosted by Ed Schultz used to air.
Cumulus All-News 106.7 Atlanta Celebrates One Year Anniversary. Pictured here is the programming, production and news staff of Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7” enjoying a lunch party to celebrate the station’s one-year mark as an all-news outlet. In May of 2012, Cumulus flipped classic hits WYAY to all news to capitalize on the lack of such a station in the Atlanta market with CEO Lew Dickey stating at the time, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.”
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference to Feature Programming Roundtable. The two-day 66th Annual Conference and Gala produced by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association in Atlantic City June 18 and 19 will feature, among its enticing agenda items the “Super Programming Session: The Future of Broadcast!” The session is being moderated by NJBA board member Salem Communications vice president/director spoken word format Phil Boyce. The roundtable will include: Scott Herman, EVP operations CBS Radio; Joe Puglise, president and market manager Clear Channel New York; Eric Johnson, program director Townsquare Media; Jeff Smulyan, CEO Emmis Communications; Walter Sabo, chairman of Sabo Media; Joseph Kerry, chief of staff, Mercury Radio Arts and the Glenn Beck Show; Steve Jones, SVP ABC News Radio and Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates.
Cool Job Opportunity. Marshalltown Broadcasting seeks a news director – theirs is retiring in July. Marshalltown Broadcasting operates news/talk KFJB, Marshalltown, Iowa and sister country outlet KXIA “Kix 101” in the Des Moines market. If you are ready to be a news director at a strong small market news operation and maybe do a little sports, too, call Clark Wideman at 641-753-3361 or send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOJ Journalists Investigation/Holder Off-the-Record Meeting, IRS Scandal, Arizona Mom Held in Mexican Prison, Syria Tensions, and Jobless Claims Rise Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29). Attorney General Eric Holder’s offer to meet off-the-record with news organizations about the DOJ’s investigation of journalists; the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status; an Arizona mother being held in Mexico on allegedly manufactured drug charges; tensions over the ongoing violence in Syria; and the rise in jobless claims were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.