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Bill McMahon: Perhaps We Should Focus on What We are Good at and That Which the Public Still Wants and Needs. In a new opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (9/23) by veteran radio consultant and talent coach Bill McMahon, the following questions are presented to radio broadcasters: What business are you in? Does your business have a future? He says, “These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.” In it McMahon adds his voice to the chorus of industry opinions supporting the preservation of audio-only media as one of — if not the — major products of “radio” in the emerging unified multi-media platform marketplace. McMahon sarcastically says, “This vision for the future seems perfect for radio broadcasters who create precious little content of any kind. It makes total sense to go compete with everyone in the entertainment business. Sure, why not? Go take on Disney and Live Nation. You have all kinds of talent and experience creating video entertainment. You’ll be great at creating and promoting massive concert events. This is the kind of stuff your current customers have come to expect from you. You have lots of resources ready to commit to these enterprises. They’ll no doubt drive lots of additional listening to your AM and FM radio stations. Like Nike says, you should ‘just do it!’” He concludes on a serious note, “Yikes! Let’s get real! What’s wrong with the business you’re in right now? What’s wrong with the audio entertainment business? Doesn’t it have a future? Audio entertainment is unique and powerful. It involves the consumer in creating the experience it provides. Sound generates pictures and emotions in minds and hearts. The effect is deeper and more memorable than anything on a screen. When you hear someone laughing or crying you don’t need to see them to fully experience their joy or sorrow. Music can change your mood instantly. The sound and the lyrics create a vibe. Music is mind altering, heart penetrating, and memory making. Audio entertainment can be consumed while you’re doing other things like walking, running, driving, or making love. Audio entertainment will never go out of style. Americans spend more than four hours per day with audio entertainment according to the “Share of the Ear” study from Edison Research. Audio entertainment has an enduring future as long as great audio entertainment is created. Radio broadcasters are in the audio entertainment business. Why not stay there? Why not focus your limited resources on creating extraordinary audio entertainment? Why not be really good – even exceptional – at something, rather than average or mediocre at everything. Your current consumers are predisposed to using and appreciating audio entertainment. Why not concentrate on creating new audio entertainment content that surprises, amazes, and delights them. Hire gifted artists who love creating content for the theater of the mind. Create content in all shapes and sizes and distribute it on the platform that fits it best. That’s a future that makes sense for radio broadcasters. To read Bill McMahon’s entire piece, please click here.
iHeartMedia Goes Business Talk with Bloomberg on KNEW, San Francisco. With the move of Premiere Networks talk shows Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO on Monday, September 29, the fate of the shows’ soon-to-be former affiliate station – KNEW, San Francisco – is now known. The station will begin carrying Bloomberg Radio programming on Monday. The station will also be simulcast on KOSF-FM’s HD2 channel. Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers comments, “As part of Bloomberg’s new consumer media strategy, we’re excited about expanding Bloomberg Radio into the San Francisco Bay Area, a vital market for those who create, move global business and shape conversations about the innovations of tomorrow.” iHeartMedia San Francisco market president Kathryn Wilcox adds, “Teaming up with Bloomberg was a natural fit. It provides high-quality content and aligns nicely with the local business talk on KKSF 910.”
iHeartMedia Takes on More Debt. The company formerly known as Clear Channel Communications – iHeartCommunications (and its radio-centric subsidiary iHeartMedia) – announces it is selling $250 million of 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes (PGNs) that will come due in 2022. Rating agency Fitch Ratings reports that the “notes are being issued as part of the same series as the $750 million of PGNs due 2022 that were issued on September 10, 2014, and rated ‘CCC/RR4′. Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to prepay $245.9 million in Term Loan B due 2016 and $4.1 million in Term Loan C due 2016 and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering.” The iHeartCommunications debt stands at approximately $21.1 billion according to Fitch but the rating company reports it believes that the company has “adequate liquidity (including cash on hand, monetization of repurchased and outstanding notes, and asset sales) to meet its debt service obligations,” although it does foresee free cash flow to be negative over the next few years.
Lionel to Make Return Appearance at The Cutting Room in New York City. Multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com has again been booked to play an evening of what he calls “Outspoken Word” sprinkled with bluegrass music at New York City’s famous nightclub, The Cutting Room. The iconoclastic radio performer presents his difficult-to-categorize brand of stand-up commentary/observations along with several musical numbers by his Americana roots trio, Lock-n-Load in a program described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “fascinatingly original and intelligently eclectic to the core.” The booking is set for Saturday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the mega-hip showcase venue located at 44 East 32nd Street in the Big Apple. Tickets are on sale, $30 in advance, $35 day of show, with a $20 food/drink minimum. To reserve tickets, call 212-691-1900. To view a video of Lionel discussing the forthcoming performance, please click here.
Celebrating Success. Getting together to celebrate a year of success at Salem Communications’ New York properties news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA (and to celebrate the latter’s anniversary as a Christian talk station) are four talk hosts heard on the stations (from left to right): talk personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough; Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher; GCN-syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne; and WNYM morning personality Joe Piscopo. McCullough comments, “While the style and content of the shows couldn’t be more different nor come from more diverse perspectives, the camaraderie instilled by GM Jerry Crowley and VP Phil Boyce could not be more clear! Fun people, doing fun radio, and having fun doing it!”
Odds & Sods. Houston sports talk personality Barry Warner joins Yahoo! Sports Radio where he’ll serve as a national contributor and host of the “Barry Warner Classic Minute” daily feature heard on KGOW and KFNC-FM in Houston…..WGN, Chicago announces the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony honoring Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes to take place on Wednesday, September 24 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm. The ceremony will include a live broadcast interview with Hughes conducted by host Dave Eanet…..Internet talk radio platform LA Talk Radio announces it is adding live streaming video to its content options. Founder Sam Hasson says LA Talk Radio “has waited until it could define how to deliver a polished radio broadcast that also appeals to the audience visually, with professional studios and eye-popping graphics. The results are great-looking as they are streamed smoothly in high-definition to any computer or mobile device.” The video function debuts October 1.
White House Intruder Case, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections/Congressional Majority, NFL Domestic Violence Troubles, U.S. ISIS Policy, Iran Nukes Talks, Ebola Pandemic Threat, and Lois Lerner Politico Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The man with a criminal past who hopped the White House fence and entered the building before being stopped; the prospects for a presidential bid by Hillary Clinton in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and discussion about the potential for majority changes in Congress; the NFL’s domestic violence issues; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry’s nuclear talks with Iran; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; and the Lois Lerner Politico interview addressing the IRS scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Goes into Emergency Mode in Oklahoma City. The EF5 tornado that moved through the Oklahoma City area on Monday reportedly has taken at least 24 lives, including 9 children trapped in an elementary school in the suburb of Moore. But officials are saying the death toll could have been worse had it not been for the local radio stations that went into action warning residents about the storm almost 30 minutes before the tornado touched down. As the twister approached and cell service began to overload, local radio outlets remained on air. Reports to TALKERS indicate most stations went into wall-to-wall storm mode using either audio from a news/talk outlet or by using audio from a local TV station. Radio’s role has just begun as many of those who are seeking information about emergency services will rely on radio. Numerous broadcasting companies are already organizing relief efforts for those affected by the tornado. As storms moved across the Plains states on Sunday, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth was cited in an Associated Press story crediting local TV and radio stations’ wall-to-wall broadcasts covering the storms for keeping the death toll low.
KNTH, Houston’s Sam Malone Goes Multi-Platform. Morning drive host Sam Malone, heard daily on Salem Communication’s news/talk KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer,” is now broadcasting his program in multi-media fashion, making it available to fans in a video format. Malone partnered with Houston-based tech company Phonoscope to develop the web-based video component. As you can see in the photo here, Malone’s set is able to deliver some of the aspects of a television broadcast that news/talk audiences can use: a news crawl, the ability to identify guests/callers via chyron, a backdrop for photos/video, and other promotional messages. For example, today (5/21) he’s able to constantly provide the toll-free number to donate to victims of the Oklahoma tornado. From a sales perspective, the format obviously allows for still photos and video in commercial spots.
Play Ball: Fun with Flagships. Baseball season is well underway and the recent April 2013 PPM data from Arbitron gives TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian the opportunity to delve into the numbers and get a glimpse of where the flagship stations for most of the Major League Baseball teams stand at this point. As Kinosian notes, baseball is a very important programming element for many stations, “Sandwich a typical three-hour game between pre-game and post-game programming and a station can devote approximately 20% of its 24-hour broadcast day to being a MLB flagship.” Baseball has a reputation of being a cume-builder and baseball fans certainly know where their team can be heard on the radio. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the nation’s baseball radio broadcast flagship stations here.
Five Secrets to Hiring Excellent Digital Sellers. “Made you look!” teases Sabo Media chairman and TALKERS magazine columnist Walter Sabo. The truth is that finding effective digital media sellers is exceedingly difficult and anyone who’s tried to hire digital sales pros knows this. Walter Sabo writes that the reason is digital buyers don’t know how to buy digital advertising. Who’s fault is that? According to Sabo, the rules for return on investment for a digital ad do not exist – or at least there’s no industry-wide agreement on how to measure ROI. Read more about this vexing problem that is hampering the sale of digital ads here.
NAB Announces Ginny Morris to Receive National Radio Award. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Ginny Hubbard Morris, chair of Hubbard Radio LLC, will receive the National Radio Award during the Radio Show Luncheon on Friday, September 20 at 2013 Radio Show in Orlando. NAB EVP of radio John David states, “Ginny Morris is highly regarded for her leadership and success. It is a tremendous honor to recognize Ginny for her continuous dedication to radio and for her many accomplishments and contributions to the business.” The NAB notes that Morris has more than 30 years of broadcast industry, business and general management experience. As chair of Hubbard Radio LLC, Morris is responsible for managing the strategic direction for Hubbard’s 21 radio stations throughout Chicago, Washington D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis and Cincinnati. As part of the company’s growth strategy, in 2011, Morris led Hubbard’s acquisition of 17 radio stations from Bonneville International Corporation, strengthening Hubbard’s national reach and significantly expanding its industry footprint. Morris originally joined her family’s broadcasting business in 1982 and worked her way to management positions before becoming president and general manager of KSTP-FM and KSTP-AM in 1995.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media sports talk WNKT, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” re-ups with IMG College on a new four-year deal to serve as the flagship for University of South Carolina Gamecocks play-by-play. The package includes football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball…..Sports USA announces the first five games of its 2013 NFL broadcast schedule. The season will kick off with the Cincinnati Bengals at the Chicago Bears on September 8. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are thrilled with the first part of our schedule. These matchups are second to none. Additionally, Sports USA will be the only Sunday afternoon NFL broadcasts to feature a sideline reporter at every game in order to offer insights and quicker access to injury reports.”…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO and 99.7 FM in Providence announce a series of summer radio shows hosted by New England area tradesmen Dean Marsico and Derek Stearns – both nationally known for their TV shows “Rock Solid” and “Indoors Out” on the DIY Network and their appearances on the PBS Series “Victory Garden.” The duo will host a monthly program, the first episode airing on Sunday, May 26.
Oklahoma Tornado, IRS Targets Conservatives, Benghazi Investigation, and DOJ Investigates Fox News Channel Journalists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The devastation from the EF4 tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City area yesterday; the allegations of the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS; the ongoing investigation into how the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was handled; and the Department of Justice’s investigation of Fox News Channel journalists were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rhythm & Shmooze. Las Vegas based-nationally syndicated medical talker Dr. Daliah Wachs of KDWN, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and GCN is known to occasionally get up on the stage during musical performances, grab the mic, and belt out a tune. True to form, she is pictured here doing exactly that at her son Stone‘s recent Bar Mitzvah. Wachs (l) is singing Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with the band Vegas Underground. Wonder if they do the Electric Slide.