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Nielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount. In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff. However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent. Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”
Talk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow. News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking place Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am. The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22. The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina. They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region. Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.” Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham. George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region. Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.
Bob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference. The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’” Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.” He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio. Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.
Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance. The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century. In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age – to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology. Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation – to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.” Byers told his listeners it was “smokin’” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up. I looked around and the rest of the room was electric. You could feel it in the air. I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.
WALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business. In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE. They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision. Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry. No vision, no growth.” Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results. Read this important column here.
Radio Sales Lead: ObamaCare. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it. He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB. In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders. Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’” Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
Continuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34. Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio. A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.” Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure. “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.” The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral. Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are. Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days. Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15). Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”
No More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo. Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon. WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.
Odds & Sods. Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice. Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up. Schnitt maintains it damaged his case. Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.
Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come? Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month. Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals: Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million. That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3. The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio. Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.
Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute. Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent. He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo. You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks? No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…” Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year. Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012. Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell. “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations. Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC. Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program. “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program. White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN. Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years. Adamski passed away suddenly last February. Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.
Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk. The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2. Premiere Networks’ Bob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.” Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather. It’s for them and what they have to say.”
CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended. Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January. Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.
2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27). The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade co-hosts the Fox News Channel morning show “Fox & Friends” and hosts his daily radio talk show, “Kilmeade & Friends,” on the Fox News Radio network. Kilmeade’s media experience prior to joining Fox News includes anchor/reporter positions in local TV news, sports reporting at the local and network level, co-host of the “Jim Brown Show” on the XTRA-AM sports radio network, sideline reporter for the MSG Network plus authorship of two books: The Games Do Count: America’s Best And Brightest On The Power Of Sports (It Books 2005), and It’s How You Play the Game: The Powerful Sports Moments That Taught Lasting Values to America’s Finest (It Books 2007). The TALKERS Interview was conducted by Michael Harrison.
TALKERS: You spent most of your early broadcasting career in sports. How would you describe the differences and similarities in sports broadcasting and news broadcasting?
BK: I have found sports and news to be similar for many reasons: First, they both require research and passion. Like news, it’s not enough to say Fred Wilpon should be forced to sell the Mets because the callers have a habit of asking, well…Why? And then, you gotta know what to say…Not enough to say, “John McCain is a hothead who didn’t have the composure to serve in the oval office”–– your audience needs to know you have facts to back up your opinion.
Unlike sports, I really sense the news and this talk network serves the core of people’s lives. Where sports is really the escape portion of their lives. People may cry and cheer when their team wins or their favorite player is traded. In reality, jobs, taxes, war and elections have a direct impact on how our audience lives rather than what jersey they choose to wear on Sundays. There is just much more on the line. As much as I love interviewing Bill Parcells and Phil Jackson –– the newsmakers I get on this show oftentimes affect world history –– fight wars, or fight against them.