A Good Listen to a Good Guy
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.
It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).
Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.
Talkers New York 2014 – Powerful Agenda and Speaker Lineup Now Being Unveiled. The 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering – Talkers New York 2014 – will take place on Friday, June 20 at the India House Club, located in the world famous India House at One Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan. India House is the architectural and historic centerpiece of Hanover Square — the cultural hub of New York’s financial district in Lower Manhattan. The day kicks off with a morning keynote address by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar Sean Hannity following his “Breakfast with Hannity” opening gala which has become a tradition at the yearly event. That is followed by a sports talk radio keynote by WFAN, New York legend, Mike Francesa. RAB CEO/president Erica Farber reprises her role as moderator of the “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel which features a roster of management/marketing heavyweights including Sound Mind, LLC CEO Kraig Kitchin and more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderates the popular “Big Picture” panel featuring Journal Broadcast Group VP, news/talk programming and VP/GM, WTMJ/WLWK, Milwaukee Tom Langmyer; Cumulus Media SVP, programming Mike McVay; Saga Communications EVP, Steve Goldstein; KARN, Little Rock PD Dave Elswick; WMCA/WNYM, New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley; ABC News, director business continuity & crisis management, Howard B. Price; and WYD Media Management CEO Ron Hartenbaum. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey moderates the “State of Talk Radio Programming” panel featuring Salem Communications VP spoken word Phil Boyce; Gabe Hobbs Media CEO Gabe Hobbs; WABC, New York PD Craig Schwalb; WMAL, Washington, DC PD Bill Hess; and operations manager for SportsRadio 94WIP, CBS Sports Radio 610 and Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Andy Bloom. TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian moderates the “State of Talk Show Hosting” panel featuring Fox News Radio host Alan Colmes; WYD Media host Thom Hartmann; WGAU, Athens, GA/KRMG, Tulsa/ Georgia News Network host Martha Zoller; Stephan Multimedia host Doug Stephan; WDBZ, Cincinnati host Lincoln Ware; and WestwoodOne host Jim Bohannon with more to be announced; Consultant Holland Cooke provides an informational “takeaway” presentation and Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano appears as a special guest delivering the closing wrap-up. A number of headline speakers and surprise guests have yet to be announced including the esteemed recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award, Humanitarian of the Year Award, Woman of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and the presenter of the Annual State of the First Amendment Address. In all, more than 65 speakers are participating and 500-plus attendees will pack the facility. The event also features technological displays of the latest equipment by Comrex Corporation and Broadcasters General Store. According to Michael Harrison, “This is the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it deals with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It is not to be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the high quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is certain. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS – “Sorry, I quit paying attention!”
What attention span can we ask for these days to sell something? One of my clients created a 40-second video for an email project, and I was momentarily concerned it was too lengthy to keep people watching. Another client buys two :60 spots back-to-back on TV to show mini-documentaries.
And yet … we’re still offering to sell :60 spots, loaded up back-to-back, as if it’s 1990.
Good luck selling a lengthy ad online. When YouTube lets us skip the rest of an ad a few seconds in, and Facebook measures your ad in characters instead of columns or inches, don’t six-minute sets of :60s make you at least a little nervous? Roy Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” says “Clarity is the new creativity.” Or, if I lost you during that last sentence, “Less is more.”
By Walter Sabo
1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs. HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.) HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Neither long ago (relatively speaking) nor far away in some remote galaxy, teenagers were so routinely enthralled by their local radio station of choice that summoning up the courage to actually go visit it was a personal seminal moment.
When one Dayton high school junior made such a trek in 1978, nothing short of a series of mind-boggling events followed.
Eager to see what his favorite facility looked like, this 17-year-old requested a tour, and what immediately caught his attention wasn’t a piece of equipment or seeing someone involved in the on-air process. Rather, it was a bulletin board memo, which read that the station was “still looking for a young talk-master.”
Completely fearless, he knocked on the program director’s door and confidently declared he could do that. As luck would have it, the night talent at the talk station was out with the flu.
Improbable reality number one was that, while the PD had planned to fill-in for his ailing talent, he remarkably, inexplicably said the young visitor should go ahead and give talk radio hosting a try – that night.
Either the program director was one of the foremost assessors of raw talent imaginable or, at the other end of the spectrum, had temporarily taken leave of his senses.
Regardless, the high school student did a four-hour shift and was so impressive in what was – in essence – an on-air audition that, defying logic, he was hired.
By David Bernstein
NEW HAMPSHIRE — At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest. Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex.
As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Angie has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening.
By Jerry Del Colliano
Inside Music Media
EXCLUSIVE TO RADIOINFO AND TALKERS
Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.
Except technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.
Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.
Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.
The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.
But the damage was already done.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “In this multi-tasking radio world, who in the station should be responsible for online content?” That’s a question I got from a smart guy I used to work with. It’s a great question.
You need only two particularly strong people with this plan I’m going to give you. You may be surprised about who they are.
Set it Up
Who should handle your online content? Here are the staffing requirements for this focused plan:
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — Around Labor Day, I wrote an article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?” I was inundated with responses, which is why it has taken me so long to write a follow up article. Obviously, I hit a nerve with everyone. I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland. Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed. That, and I’ve been working on a large project with not much time to put electrons to the screen.
Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses. Broadcast engineers are a unique group. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business. We take it personally. The station becomes part of us and is what we do. And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally. I can relate.
By Chris Pendl
SEATTLE — It goes without saying you probably have a YouTube Channel for your show or station. And yes, there’s a lot of talk around what makes a video good – but how can you get the most out of the video you’ve posted on YouTube? In this column, we’ll look at how to make money from your videos, how to get users who find your video on YouTube to tune-in to your show, and other tips to make the most of your online video efforts.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND — Especially after last week, talk radio should heed the words of a media giant we now mourn: “They want to trust whatever voices they’re listening to.”
Allen H. Neuharth was the Gannett chairman who founded USA TODAY, and later helped create a The Newseum, the museum of news, which warrants adding an entire day to your next trip to Washington.
His 1989 autobiography “Confessions of an S.O.B.” is still canny advice.
Al was a bigger-than-life figure, always influential, often controversial. He died Friday at his home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, 89.