TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
By Holland Cooke
The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.
This has been a long time coming. Over a decade ago, we were plugging-in iPods. Ford’s ground-breaking Sync system is now in 10 million cars in the USA, and lets you take the apps you use on your phone and iPad on the road. In catch-up mode here at CES, General Motors is showing off their souped-up OnStar system.
Talkers coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Radio take note: Some of what’s-new here is…what’s-old. Big signs all around the Convention Center boast, “When people think instant, they think Polaroid,” a brand that’s leveraging its 50-year product position for the selfie era. Its smartphone-size Zip Mobile printer prints without ink. The color is embedded in the paper. And new-tech has updated old-fashioned pinball machines, with WWE and other now-popular themes.
Today, Ford’s CEO will keynote, and I’ll give you his connected car update in tomorrow’s TALKERS. CBS CEO Les Moonves will also keynote.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show Coverage
By Holland Cooke
More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.
When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.
When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, “The Interview” was released on YouTube.
Wall Street Journal to Shutter Radio Division at Year’s End. Inside sources tell TALKERS magazine that the Wall Street Journal is going to shut down its radio division at the end of the calendar year. The announcement was made to staffers today (11/12). The WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks division has produced money and finance-focused feature reports as well as the daily morning drive program, “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” hosted by Gordon Deal and Gina Cervetti plus a weekend edition of that program. It’s unclear how many staffers this change will affect but the company has employees in New York, Washington and South Brunswick, New Jersey.
WSJ Radio Demise a Repercussion from Anti-Limbaugh Campaign? The above story about the end of the Wall Street Journal’s radio products is bringing some strong reactions from within the news/talk radio industry. Former WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming and current principal of Florida-based News Doctor, Inc, Jim Farley, suggests people are missing the connection with this story. He says, “Since the high-powered leftie campaign against Rush Limbaugh advertisers after the Sandra Fluke controversy, spoken-word brands as benign as AccuWeather and Charles Osgood have been on ‘Do Not Buy’ lists from ad agencies. The announced shutdown today of Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch Radio makes them collateral damage in this chilling war on the First Amendment which is crippling non-controversial, fair and accurate radio news and information outlets.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to Farley’s comments as well as other buzz generated around the industry per the alleged Limbaugh connection to the demise of WSJ Radio stating, “With all due respect to Jim – a past recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award – industry observers and the trade press have been connecting these dots for quite some time now. Consultant Holland Cooke even ran a big headline in his newsletter distributed at our conference in June proclaiming, ‘THE BOYCOTT WENT TOO FAR.’ The problem is nobody seems to know what to do about it or has the clout to do anything about it….or worse, wants to do anything about it. This whole issue is wrought with a social disease common in political circles left and right – namely hypocrisy… the pursuit of victory at the cost of truth… and it is proving extremely detrimental to one of America’s most vibrant platforms of public policy conversation. Perhaps the folks at the NAB and the RAB (and even Media Matters) – if they really care about free speech and fairness, not to mention the beleaguered radio industry as a whole — should mount a unilateral campaign to educate the advertising community that has been unjustly persecuting the ‘innocent’ in its broad-brush blitzkrieg against political controversy. Perhaps the rest of us (meaning anyone even loosely associated with talk radio) should be more vigorously defending Rush instead of conveniently making him the scapegoat for our mounting economic woes, because looking at the big picture – it would be the right thing to do. This whole thing stinks and we are all to blame.”
Glenn Beck Opens Up About Health Issues. Now that he’s feeling better and recent medical treatments have him on the mend, Premiere Networks syndicated talk host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck told his audience on Monday that his health issues go back almost five years to when he was still hosting a show on Fox News Channel. Beck said he thought he had a painful form of neuropathy that was affecting his vision, his vocal chords, and his limbs but it turns out that was not the case. He also was not sleeping well, if at all, and says he’s been told he hadn’t had any real REM sleep in 10 years. Since going to the Carrick Brain Centers in Irving, Texas, he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue and since undergoing hormone treatment, physical therapy, and making changes in how he eats, sleeps, and works, he’s “reversed the process.”
WMMS, Cleveland’s Rover Sets Up Fundraiser for Former Producer’s Family. Former producer of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” program on rock/talk hybrid WMMS, Cleveland – Rob Garguilo – exited that show recently to take a similar position with WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta program. Tragedy entered his life as his girlfriend Sarah and the couple’s children, 5-year-old Ben and five-week-old Serena were hit by a car while crossing a Largo, Florida street. The three are in critical condition in a Tampa hospital and Garguilo Tweets that Serena is on life support with no signs of brain activity. Now, Shane “Rover” French has set up a GoFundMe.com donation page to assist the family of his former producer. As of Wednesday morning, almost $18,000 has been raised for the family.
What Listeners Will Find Under the Tree. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke spends a week in early January in Las Vegas attending and reporting back to TALKERS readers about the technology being displayed at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. 2015 will be no different and recently Cooke was in New York for the annual preview show called CES/Unveiled. He writes that the top five wish-list items for this holiday season are (in order): tablets, notebook computers, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles. Find out more of what’s being touted as big consumer electronics spending decisions during the next year here.
WAKR, Akron Names Bourquin Afternoon Host. Moving from his most recent position as host and sports director at WHBC, Canton, Sam Bourquin joins Rubber City Radio Group to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at WAKR. RCRG president and general manager Thom Mandel says, “Having Sam become available is very serendipitous for us. We think he is smart and talented. He really understands how to communicate with a radio audience. We like that he is committed to our Akron-Canton area and Northeast Ohio.” Bourquin adds, “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in radio with a wonderful radio family at the Akron Radio Center. This is a great way to remain connected with old friends, make new friends and remain a part of the greater Akron-Canton community.”
Tough Q3 for Radio One as Radio Division Posts Net Revenue Decline of 8.1%. The company as a whole saw net revenue dip 5.3% but the radio division alone was hit worse as net revenue sank 8.1% compared to the same period a year ago on $112.2 million in net revenue. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “Our radio business experienced a very soft quarter. We had a perfect storm of weak market revenues and soft ratings in our four largest markets, and political revenues were less than anticipated. We had some ratings challenges in Washington DC, Baltimore and Atlanta in addition to the new competitor in Houston. Management has taken steps to remedy these issues, including a format change in Houston from news to classic hip hop. The initial ratings for our new station, ‘Boom 92,’ are extremely encouraging, and should mean we reverse the annual $1.5 million of losses that we were incurring on the news format. Outside our top four markets, radio revenues for the third quarter were +1.5% against a flat market. Overall Q4 radio revenue is currently pacing 1.9% and I believe we will have positive momentum going into the New Year. Reach Media experienced a similarly weak third quarter, but is performing better in 4th quarter, consistent with the radio division.”
U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Deal, Lame Duck Congress, Iran Nuclear Talks, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS, Upper Midwest Cold and Snow, Net Neutrality Debate, and Kim Kardashian Mag Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). Controversy over the carbon emissions deal struck between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinping; the possible legislation to be addressed by the lame duck congress; uncertainly about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing fight against ISIS and the organization’s potential alliance with al Qaeda; the early cold and snow hitting the Upper Midwest; debate over the “net neutrality” issue and President Obama’s public statement about it; and Kim Kardashian’s recent nude magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — Even before Thanksgiving, we know what will be in Santa’s sleigh, if just-released Consumer Electronics Association research nails it as well as in recent years. The outlook is good generally, according to CEA chief economist & director of research Dr. Shawn DuBravac, who observes that “consumer credit is accelerating, and lower gas prices will help.” He predicts 2.5% growth over last year’s holiday spending, consistent with other improved economic indicators.
His forecast came Tuesday at CES Unveiled/New York, the perennial press event previewing January’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, tech gifts will be big again this year, with 63% of USA adults surveyed planning to buy accordingly.
The Consumer Electronics Association has asked that news media here NOT call this event the “Consumer Electronics Show.” They prefer “International CES,” reflecting its global draw, and because the ways digital technology is changing everyday life go way beyond gadgets. I tried, with mixed emotions, since “CES” is lingo to “real people” listeners. I felt less-guilty reverting when I heard CBS News lapse.
NMX is short for “New Media Expo,” formerly Blogworld, which also pulls an impressively international crowd of bloggers and podcasters. If you missed my notes from NMX Saturday/Sunday sessions: http://www.talkers.com/2014/01/06/2014-nmx-lots-about-branding-not-a-word-about-benghazi/
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — Even before Manhattan could dust off its cheery Christmas decorations, it got a dusting of snow Tuesday. A fitting backdrop for the Consumer Electronics Association’s annual Holiday Sales and End-of Year Trend Analysis, a perennial forecast that, year-after-year, reckons whassup at The North Pole.
This research is released each November at the CES Unveiled press event that previews January’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which I cover for TALKERS and RadioInfo.
Again this year, we’re giving gadgets.
As in 2012, expect the #1 electronic gift for adults to be tablet computers, 21% more of ‘em than last Christmas. For kids, smartphones.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Remember that riveting scene in “Mission Impossible III?” At a swank Vatican City reception, the MI force kidnaps Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villainous character…and nobody knows. The switcheroo is high tech. In a back room, a 3D printer creates a mask that enables Cruise to masquerade as the abducted Hoffman, and walk right out the front door.
Don’t shrug this off as something you only see in the movies. Elsewhere in Hollywood, one Jay Leno has spent a small fortune on high-end 3D printers, to produce otherwise-unavailable engine parts for his couple hundred collectable cars. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, there’ll be an entire Tech Zone dedicated to 3D printing; so look for my CES coverage here in January, and listen for my reports on “America in the Morning” and my client stations.
Back when ex-DJs my age got into radio, we played the hits. And “a hit” was a song, on a 45-rpm vinyl disc, sold in brick-and-mortar storefronts. Now, songs are digital downloads from Amazon and iTunes. And the definition of “television” has broadened to include Hulu, Netflix, and other interlopers investing aggressively in their own hits. Real soon, “a hit” will be 3D print software code. You’ll order the part or gadget you need from Amazon or iTunes, and the author will print-and-ship to order.
If I had a 3D printer, the first thing I’d print is another 3D printer. But I digress.
Here’s what all this means to radio…
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Remember how iPod changed the way we collect and consume music? Decades earlier, Walkman had already rendered songs portable and empowered the listener-as-DJ. Then Apple obsoleted its own game-changer. As lines snaked around the block, again, for 2012’s iPhone 5 debut, sales of iPod and other mp3 players were plummeting 22%. We now tote our tunes on smartphones…which have also disrupted cameras, GPS, etc., etc., etc.
And again this week, 150,000 attendees here oooh’d-and-ahhh’d at 20,000 new products, many seeking to obsolete last year’s 20,000 shiny objects. That alone makes this a useful trek for radio folk. The CES conversation about what’s-new/what’s-next is a real pump-up compared to the “What’s left?” that haunts too much of radio’s shop talk.
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — You’ve seen those lines whenever a new iPhone came out? During the recession, and now in recovery, consumer electronics (CE) has been a conspicuous bright spot, and will continue to be. On-track to grow 5.9% to a $206.5 billion business in the USA alone in 2012, CE is projecting a 4.5% increase to $215.8B in the new year.
Each November, the Consumer Electronics Association does a press preview of its Consumer Electronics Show, the mammoth, mind-boggling January convention I cover each year for TALKERS. Here are my notes…and radio should take note, for four reasons: