By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio consultant
Here’s why I predicted Cain’s success oh-so-publicly at the recent Arbitron Client Conference:
1. He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer. Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker. And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio. During Q+A following his Arbitron keynote, I noted that, after their Romney landslide predictions, Dick Morris and Karl Rove had been benched by Fox News Channel. I asked Cain why, and what he thought of that. Without hesitation, he said “Their credibility has gone into the toilet. It was a smart business decision.” He didn’t say “they’ve lost credibility,” he said “toilet.” Stuff like that is certain to be quoted, and would lodge in a diarykeeper’s memory. He also said “business decision,” exploiting his resume.
2. He’s NOT angry; which is refreshing, with ratings now so clearly demonstrating talk radio scolders’ diminished appeal. A pal of mine who hosted a Cain fundraiser in his home tells me it’s no act. The guy’s a charmer; and that will be a real affiliate relations asset. If you’re clearing Cain’s show, get him into the market.
3. He’s also not as-predictably reciting the weary “Democrats bad, Republicans good” narrative. Cain’s they’ve-both-got-it-wrong rap rings true, and his private sector war stories are credible.
4. Herman Cain is well-known, not just a gifted stranger. His book-tour-disguised-as-a-campaign was “earned media” money can’t buy.
5. His timing is opportune, with syndicated radio’s version of congressional redistricting looming. Who DOESN’T think Limbaugh/Hannity/et al will jump from WABC to new Clear Channel/Premiere mother ship WOR? And ditto exits from WLS, WBAP, WJR, WMAL, and other Cumulus sticks? Listen for lots of crosstown traffic in 2013, as prime hours open up on plumb sticks.
6. Cain has a running start, offered by A-List Dial-Global, and taking-over the Neal Boortz affiliate list.
7. And he’ll likely grow that list. Like his predecessor, Cain will be based at WSB,Atlanta. But he’s a national figure with national focus, and will sound less-Southern absent familiar Boortz references like “…up in Washington.” And cheerful Cain seems less-prone to shock jock shtick like Boortz’ June outburst that “We need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta.”
8. And, as P.T. Barnum is said to have observed: “There is no such thing as ‘bad publicity.’” So when Ginger White’s forthcoming book details the 13-year affair she accused Cain of, there’ll be buzz. If I’m an affiliate, I’m giving away copies. ;)
See/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.