By Holland Cooke
Internet-based innovation is disrupting every legacy industry.
Ask an insurance agent or travel agent or stock broker or bookstore owner, if you can find one. Or the record labels or TV networks or cable companies. Or stores. This year, Black Friday happened on smartphones. Most AM/FM broadcast hours are now automated.
In today’s Gig Economy, the cabbies’ cartel was ripe for disruption. Now, hacks who haven’t yet defected to Uber (or Lyft) give you an earful. NOT making this up: As a New York cabbie crabbed that “there are 11,000 taxi drivers in the city and 14,000 Uber drivers!” an ad recruiting Uber drivers came on the radio!
Henner Among hivio Highlights. To punctuate his point of the “power of audio,” Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey played several seconds of the unmistakable bumper from Jerry Seinfeld‘s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which debuted in May 1990. It had its last telecast just over eight years later (September 1998) – thus has been in syndication longer than its original NBC primetime run. That and classic clips from Orson Welles‘ legendary “War of the Worlds” (including how purposeful “dead-air” is a potent way of using audio) were cleverly woven in by Ramsey yesterday (Thursday, 6/4) in his scene-setting opening remarks of hivio 2015, the two-day Los Angeles confab focusing on compelling content in a world of limitless distribution. Eight segments – including three 30-minute presentations – followed Ramsey’s 20-minute introduction in a fast-paced four-hour seminar at Hollywood’s landmark comedy venue, the Improv. One of those eight segments was a one-on-one interview Ramsey conducted with Marilu Henner, in which the author, sitcom actress (“Taxi,” “Evening Shade”), “Celebrity Apprentice” participant, Food Network host, and memory expert discussed her daily radio project. Downplaying her celebrity status, Henner insists she is just “a neighborhood girl from Chicago” and in many ways simply “the girl next door.” Enamored with radio’s spontaneity, she states she is “a very auditory person” and that has “always been” her passion. This past May 13 commemorated the one-year anniversary of the radio show fronted by effervescent Los Angeles-based Henner. The daily talk entity is executive-produced by Sun Broadcast Group, which handles affiliations and national sales as well; Genesis Communications Network provides satellite delivery and streaming audio for the show. Unique in today’s talk radio landscape on multiple levels, the three-hour (9:00 am – noon PT) project is female-targeted (rather than geared to angry, white men); it is non-political; and the host, while still relatively new to radio, has amassed sterling accolades on several entertainment platforms. In other words, Henner is anything but a one-trick pony. Perhaps the greatest surprise she encountered in the first year of doing the radio program is the extent of her love of it. “I knew I would like it a lot but I am really passionate about it,” she stresses. “I feel like people are letting me into a very ‘cool-kids’ club.” Missing from Henner’s daily radio program though is a political concentration because, “That’s not what I am here to do,” she points out. “I love to talk with celebrities, do lifestyle things, and play ‘Defend Your Gender.’ I try to stay away from politics and religion.” Each of her programs features as many as seven guests and Henner actually enjoys doing the copious associated daily research. “I can always find that little nugget from their past or a connection I might have with them,” she boasts. Some of her peers might be afraid to do a daily radio show because, as Henner opines, “They feel it is a lot of work and takes a lot of energy. It is hard work and you have got to love it.” Paramount in her role as a host is to be a good listener, especially given that “things happen so quickly and you don’t want to miss” anything important. Recalling what she stated as a keynote speaker at last month’s NAB, Henner says, “Of all the great things I love to do in my life, radio is the best of all of it. It has the immediate feel of a live performance; the personal expression of writing a book; the storytelling of a movie; global reach of a long-running sitcom; and it is like opening night on Broadway – every single day. This is what I get to do.” Each morning, she wakes up wondering how she “can make my show better” and as soon as she gets off the air, she maintains that she cannot wait until the next day’s broadcast. One of the best pieces of advice Henner has received so far came courtesy of veteran talk host Dick Cavett, who suggests she view on-air discussions with guests as “conversations” rather than “interviews.” Another popular talk host’s name was invoked when Henner mentioned her fond admiration for David Letterman. “I did his show many times and he was very good at ‘riding the wave,'” she remarks. “He might have had questions [prepared for him] but being able to be “in the moment” made him such a genius. He did not let anything slide.” Henner’s candor in Thursday’s 20-minute hivio conversation with Ramsey is consistent with her radio persona. “I had a baby on national television, so I have no secrets,” she proclaims. “You can ask me anything; I will talk about anything; and I will remember anything. I am genuinely interested in people.” Her unique memory capabilities have been frequently chronicled, including several times on “60 Minutes” and Henner comments, “Developing a stronger autobiographical memory is really your [best] line of defense against meaninglessness that you have. You can figure out what is from your past; how to bring it to your present; and how you can inform a better future. Everything you have been through is already on your emotional hard drive. Whether or not you acknowledge it, it’s making you behave in certain ways.” Anticipating there is “a whole new frontier” for her, Henner declares she, “loves radio,” and moreover, she is “obsessed” with it. Also featured on Thursday’s agenda were similar one-on-one Ramsey-conducted discussions with Scott Baker of The Blaze; Mike Schneider of TV Guide; Jake Shapiro of PRX; and Richard Laermer of RLM PR; hivio 2015 concludes later today (Friday, 6/5) with another four-hour block at the Improv.
I Want to Be a Part of it, New York, New York. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is gearing up for next Friday’s Talkers New York 2015 conference at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District and he has some thoughts about how to maximize your trip to New York, from a professional standpoint. Take it from an intrepid radio pro, there are smart ways to get the most out of industry events such as this one. Cooke says, “”Reach out NOW to those you’d like to tag-up in New York, and schedule some face time. If it’s only a latte at that Starbucks diagonally across from India House, you’ll have a more meaningful conversation than ad hoc in the din within. I’ve been scheduling my Talkers time for weeks now.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
iHeartRadio Reports 70 Million Registered Users. The digital audio platform of iHeartMedia is reporting it has hit the 70 million registered users threshold. Claiming it has reached that mark “faster than Facebook or any other digital music or streaming service,” the company says “its digital footprint alone spans nearly 80 million social media followers across its network, significantly more than any of its competitors and are integrated on 60+ devices (and counting).” iHeartRadio says that its social engagement (Facebook and Twitter) share is 68% — topping Spotify’s 17%, Tidal’s 12%, Pandora’s 2% and Rdio’s 1%.
Odds & Sods. The newest podcast from Compass Media Networks features college football and NFL star Craig James. Titled, “Airing It Out with Craig James,” the weekly program will deliver “unique and compelling insights into the world of college and NFL football.” The inaugural episode features guests Art Briles – Baylor University football coach – and NFL legend Roger Staubach…..KFI, Los Angeles’ Mo’ Kelly show will broadcast live from Comic-Con at the FOX Sports Grill San Diego on July 11. The Mo’ Kelly show airs on the iHeartMedia news/talk station Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Last year’s broadcast from Comic-Con featured Orlando Jones of “Sleepy Hollow,” Iron Mike Tyson, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” creator/executive producer Christopher C. Rogers and even Comedy Central’s super duo of Key & Peele…..NFL Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen will be back as part of the radio play-by-play team for Washington Redskins Radio Network broadcasts this season. Red Zebra Broadcasting says Jurgensen, who’s been part of the team’s broadcasts since 1981, will join Larry Michael and Chris Cooley in the booth.
Jim Blasingame Wins Axiom Business Book Award. Talk show host and small business and entrepreneurship expert Jim Blasingame is being honored with the Axiom Business Book Award for his third book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (SBN Books 2014). The book has reportedly sold 40,000 copies. Blasingame, whose radio show is nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA, states, “It’s a great honor to receive the Axiom Business Book Award. Of course, we’re also pleased at the response from business leaders of all size companies, who’re using my book to transport their businesses to where their customers already are, in the Age of the Customer.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is now airing on Salem Media Group–owned KYCR, Minneapolis “Business 1570” from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily…..“Legends of Success with John Resnick” joins the lineup at KJCE, Austin, Texas and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..Tim Constantine’s “The Capitol Hill Show” is now airing on WMEX, Boston in the early evening slot.
From Sardi’s in Times Square, Joan Hamburg’s Tony Awards Show. Pictured here at the iconic New York City eatery is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (right) with actresses Tyne Daly (left) and Harriet Harris (center). The two are up for Tony Awards for the show “It Shoulda Been You” and joined Hamburg for the special event that took place on Thursday (6/4). The taped show features special Broadway guests who dropped in to talk about their shows, nominations, and much more. One hundred of Hamburg’s loyal listeners joined her for the sold-out production. It will air on WABC on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5. The growing list of candidates for president in 2016 – including the just-announced candidacy of Republicans Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was ISIS’ military progress in Iraq and Syria. Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton email issue followed by the expiration of the Patriot Act tied with the TSA failing the explosives detection tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Nielsen Speaks to Investors About Arbitron Acquisition. Nielsen CEO David Calhoun reiterates he expects the deal for his company to close on the $1.3 billion cash acquisition of radio ratings giant Arbitron by Monday, September 30 after receiving FTC approval on Friday. As had been reported for some time, the holdup was the FTC’s scrutiny of “Project Blueprint” in which Arbitron worked with comScore on a cross-platform, out-of-home measurement system for client ESPN. The consent decree planted in this deal means that Nielsen will be required to provide PPM data to the software for eight years going forward. Nielsen chief legal officer James Cuminale says, “The obligation on the part of the licensee is to use the components that we’re providing solely for cross-platform service and cross-platform service is defined as the measurement of the audience across many number of platforms including radio, online, tablets and TV, but at the least online and TV.” But the relationship between Arbitron and ESPN changes now. As Cuminale states, “We will become a provider of capabilities to a licensee and in the case of ESPN — and assuming it’s comScore who is the licensee — comScore will be a party that delivers that service to ESPN. So, there is a difference there. It transforms that relationship as defined in the decree.” The bigger picture for Nielsen in explaining why it wanted to acquire Arbitron is, as Calhoun states, it gives them the ability to “blend radio audience data with retail data allowing us to demonstrate ROI for the radio clients in our world and for the advertising clients in our world” and supply more complete data in mixed marketing models. As for Arbitron employees in the aftermath of this deal, there will be job losses as Nielsen has stated it expects to achieve about $20 million in synergies, although David Calhoun says there is nothing that says anything has to be done immediately. “So we’re going to do this at a logical and steady pace as we move forward.”
Profile: Sun Broadcast Group Talk Show Host Marilu Henner. Most radio programmers and managers know actress, author and healthy lifestyle activist Marilu Henner from her television and movie career starring in such classics as TV’s “Taxi” and “Evening Shade” and big screen flicks “Johnny Dangerously” and “L.A. Story.” But Henner’s experience in hosting a talk show goes back to the mid-1990s when her TV program “Marilu” had its 165-episode run. Henner says she’s talk host material because, “I am a talker, I am a listener, and I love sharing information.” “Marilu” went off the air because producers said the way to success was tabloid content a la Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake and she didn’t want to go that route. Now, Henner describes her philosophy in delivering three hours of content daily for her Sun Broadcast Group produced, nationally syndicated show this way: “I call it ‘life through the prism of health.’ ‘Prism’ is kind of a cool word. When you put something through a filter, it is not just a single thing; it grows exponentially so it has many angles to it. I have many points of view. I have collected all this information in my head.” There’s probably a lot more you didn’t know about this teacher, author and actress who’s charging into the syndicated radio talk show biz. Read TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s profile of Marilu Henner here.
Remote Studio 101: $5 Ground Tester Can Save Your Life. “Freedom Feens” talk show co-host Michael W. Dean — nationally distributed by GCN – has been contributing columns to TALKERS on building and maintaining home and remote studios for radio pros who want to do it themselves. In this latest piece, Dean underscores the importance of getting the electric right from the very beginning. “Faulty grounding is more common than you’d think. In many states, a home or office can be sold without requiring ground testing. And many homeowners and businesspeople don’t think to test. They should, even where it’s not required by law. Compared to the other tests one would do when buying a property (foundations, termites, ground water, radon, etc.) testing for improper grounding of outlets is the cheapest, easiest test you can perform. You can do it yourself. And if you find any problems, hire a qualified electrician to fix things.” Read Dean’s entire column here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Jon Yinger – Broadcast Properties, LLC. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Jon Yinger of Broadcast Properties, LLC located in Eastern Michigan. Like many of the professional media brokers spotlighted in this feature, Miller is extremely friendly to displaced radio personnel looking to go into ownership for themselves as well as first-time buyers. In addition to being a media broker he also owns a group of radio stations under the corporate name, The Christian Broadcasting System, Ltd., and owns and operates CBSat, a satellite network. Yinger says, “Sales prices are still low. There are a lot of great opportunities out there for the savvy buyer. It is a great time to buy.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KNX Spotlight to Shine on South Los Angeles. CBS Radio Los Angeles’ KNX will devote a daylong string of South Los Angeles-focused special reports, as well as a 10-hour primetime live broadcast on Friday, October 18 as part of its ongoing “On Your Corner” series. The talk outlet will focus on local history, diversity, and stories of South Los Angeles neighborhoods, including Baldwin Hills, Crenshaw, University Park, Watts, and West Adams. Council member Bernard Parks is among the community leaders scheduled to appear. KNX will bring its broadcast operation to the headquarters of The Los Angeles Sentinel, the area’s community newspaper. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Frank Mottek hosts “The KNX Business Hour” (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm); and Diane Thompson and Chris Sedens will anchor a five-hour news block, starting at 2:00 pm. The KNX limelight on South Los Angeles is on the eve of one of Southern California’s largest family festivals – the eighth annual “Taste of Soul.” Talaya Trigueros of KNX smooth AC sibling KTWV “The Wave” will do her show live from the Sentinel alongside KNX from 5:00 am – 9:00 am. “KNX On Your Corner” profiles eight Southern California communities each year. In January, it won a Golden Mike Award in the category of “Best Feature – News” from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
New York Securities Firm Investigating Cumulus-Dial Global Deal. Stating in a press release that it is investigating the board of directors of Dial Global, Faruqi & Faruqi LLC, says it’s looking into the board’s actions “for potential breaches of fiduciary duties in connection with their conduct related to the sale of the company to Cumulus Media, Inc.” The firm says, “Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Dial’s stockholders will receive $0.155 for each share of Dial common stock they own. This is despite the fact that Dial has traded as high as $3.40 per share over the past year.” Keep in mind that no suit has been filed – this is an investigation – and Faruqi & Faruqi specializes in class action suits.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Begins Sales Classes Tonight. The Southern California Broadcasters Association begins its fall 2013 Radio Sales Training Classes tonight in Los Angeles. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We are thrilled with the innovative and interactive series of radio sales training courses that we have planned for new sellers to Southern California Radio this fall.” Based on input from SCBA’s General Sales Managers Council, the course will focus on a variety of topics taught by industry experts including Mary Beth Garber, EVP radio analysis & insights/KATZ Radio Group (product knowledge); Karl Meyer, EVP/integrated marketing solutions/Entravision Communications (integrated media sales); Jeff Thomas, VP of sales L.A./Clear Channel; Cynthia Gilmore, senior training service consultant, Radio Station Services/Arbitron-Scarborough (selling with numbers); Chet Thompson, general sales manager/870 KRLA (managing everyday business challenges); James Fink, CMO/SVP of sales/Converze Media (getting to decision makers); David Criscitelli, local sales manager/KPWR, (interactive selling skills) and Thom Callahan, president/SCBA (strategic selling and new business development.) KRTH, Los Angeles GSM Amber Perry states, “Our new SCBU sales training courses are a must for any new seller to our business or someone who wants to sharpen their skills or needs a refresher course in selling their radio and digital platforms. As a graduate of these sales training classes, I can tell you it works!”
ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, Immigration Legislation, Kenya Mall Siege, U.S.-Iran Relations and Emmy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The Republican move to defund the Affordable Care Act before aspects of the law kick in fully; wrangling over the details of the Gang of Eight immigration bill that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S.; the ongoing deadly siege of a mall in Nairobi, Kenya; the state of U.S.-Iran relations as the latter’s nuclear program continues to raise suspicions; and Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
There is the matter of the smartest person in the room, who regrettably tends to display Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s litany of quirky behaviorisms, an instant buzz-kill in the personality department, although massive ratings for CBS-TV’s “Big Bang Theory”.
Conversely, one particular attendee is bound to exude a certain magnetism that commands instant attention, making them the clear-cut focal point.
Often, although not always, an overwhelming contributing factor to that charisma is a person’s striking good looks and/or extraordinary talent.
One would hit the proverbial jackpot by inviting Marilu Henner, as she would be the most astute person in virtually any setting yet free of all baggage – social graces or otherwise. Unquestionably, she would be the most exuberant one there with numerous qualities including an indescribable spark that lures interest. If that were not already sufficient, the well-known actress remains extremely stunning.