Monday Memo: The Trump Show

| April 20, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Legend has it that – while he was willingly nudged-into running for president in 2000 – Governor George W. Bush really wanted to be commissioner of Major League Baseball.  And in his book, For the Good of the Game, Bud Selig reckons, “Had things been different, he could have been the ninth commissioner, not me.”

“He and I talked about it.”

Selig, who then owned the Milwaukee Brewers, admits “I told him at the time that I didn’t want to be commissioner, and I really didn’t.  George would have done a great job.  He had a great personality and he loved the game.”  But then a funny thing happened in Florida.

Fast-forward to Election Night 2016.  Shortly after polls closed at 8:00 pm, Don Jr. is quoted as saying his father “looked as if he had seen a ghost.  Melania was in tears — and not of joy.”  And Steve Bannon said he saw Trump morph from “a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump.”

Roger Ailes: If you want a career in television, first run for president.

“I can be the most famous man in the world,” Trump told aide Sam Nunberg at the outset of the race.  Encouraged by Ailes, The Donald was floating rumors about a Trump network. He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, “with a far more powerful brand.”

Had Mrs. Clinton courted voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, The Trump Show might be on the air now.  But stay tuned…

Back to the Future: 2020 is “a referendum on Trump.”

We know Edison Research as an authority on audio listening.  Their prescient ongoing “Infinite Dial” survey steers broadcasters as listeners’ consumption habits change.  And (nonpartisan) Edison is also THE exit poll-taker to the networks.

Edison president Larry Rosin just released “Portents for November,” based on 37,001 voter interviews, from the Iowa Caucus through March 17.  Among his conclusions:

  • “The uniting force within the Democratic primary electorate is anger with Donald Trump.”
  • “Like most presidential elections with an incumbent on the ballot, the race will tend to be more about that incumbent.”
  • “The Democrats appear largely to be unified around their candidate.”

With pandemic disruption tempting The Gipper’s old maxim “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” – and with “numbers guy” Trump seeing Approval/Disapproval scores as the daily briefing takes on his arena rally tone — WHAT IF…

“Trump Wanted a Radio Show, but He Didn’t Want to Compete With Limbaugh”

Lotsa buzz about the New York Times report that “on a Saturday in early March, Donald J. Trump, clad in a baseball cap, strode into the Situation Room for a meeting with the coronavirus task force.   He didn’t stop by the group’s daily meetings often, but he had an idea he was eager to share: He wanted to start a White House talk radio show.”

To-which El Rushbo quickly quipped: “We’re always looking for guest hosts here.  If the president wants to guest host this program one day, we’d be happy to run an audition.”

With affiliates I hear from asking so anxiously “Who takes over when…?” – and with Coronavirus surge data grading the administration’s early response – it’s worth a shot.

PS: I REALLY miss baseball.

Stay safe.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the e-book “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice

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