News/Talk Sees Uptick in Post Holidays Audience. According to TALKERS magazine’s research as expressed in the monthly Top Talk Audiences chart found here, the audience for news/talk radio is growing again. Whether from post-election “burnout,” the popularity of holiday programming on music FMs or other seasonal factors, news/talk stations across the country in general, saw their audience appear to decline in December and through the Holiday ratings period. However, beginning with Arbitron’s February PPM data and following through to other sources, the trend of the news/talk audience appears to be on the upswing with nationally syndicated talk show host audiences in the first eight positions on the Top Talk Audiences chart rising .25 million or more. Also, a new addition to the Top Talk Audiences chart in April is Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean, whose ongoing addition of affiliates combined with performance has lifted him into the 1 million-plus listener tier.
Talk Show Personality Mary Walter Returns to the Air in New Jersey; Soon to Be Syndicated Nationally via WYD Media. Well-known media personality Mary Walter returns to the New Jersey radio waves on Longport Media’s classic hits “Kool 98.3” WTKU, Petersburg, New Jersey in the Ocean City market for an evening talk program beginning Monday, April 8. The show, “Life! With Mary Walter,” will air from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Walter is a New Jersey native who spent the majority of her career hosting “Passion Phones” on NJ 101.5 (WKXW) in Trenton. That show was a combination of relationship-based talk topics and relationship advice and was the first program to simultaneously impact both the Philadelphia and New York radio markets. She also became the state’s first female morning-drive radio host when she took over the morning slot at New Brunswick radio station, WCTC. Recently, Walter has been serving as a guest host for a variety of stations across the country including Fox News Radio filling in for Brian Kilmeade, Spencer Hughes, Tom Sullivan and John Gibson. She also appears as a guest on the Alan Colmes show. She’s is also seen on Fox News Channel as a guest commentator on the Sean Hannity show and “America Live with Megyn Kelly.” On the new program, Walter says, “I love the opportunities that being a guest host affords me, but there’s nothing better than being back on a regular basis so I can build a relationship with the listeners. With a full-time show, we can get to know each other and it becomes more personal for both them and me!” Longport Media is also partnering with WYD Media Management with plans to launch the show into national syndication in the coming months, with KOOL 98.3 serving as the flagship station.
WPRO, Providence’s Buddy Cianci to Be Inducted into the RI Radio Hall of Fame. WPRO, Providence and 99.7 FM talk show host and former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci is headed for the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. On May 9, Cianci will be inducted along with Bill Corsair, a popular personality from the 1960s and 1970s on WICE-AM, and Mike Gonsalves, who went by the radio name ‘‘Doctor Metal’’on WHJY. Gonsalves died in the fire at The Station nightclub in 2003. Prior to his work at WPRO, Cianci worked at WHJJ during the 1980s.
Digital Will Drive Radio’s Fortunes…Or Not. BIA/Kelsey last week reported radio’s over-the-air revenues edged slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% increase over the prior year, while online radio ad revenues reached $491 million, or 3.3% of the combined $14.791 billion. By contrast, the Radio Advertising Bureau in February reported total radio revenues (including over-the-air, digital, and off-air sources) totaled $16.482 billion, a 1% increase over 2011 numbers. In that report, the RAB said digital accounted for $767 million, or 8% of the radio industry’s total revenue. The differences in figures obviously are due to varying accounting methodologies, and whichever numbers you look at, the facts are clear: without the inclusion of digital advertising revenues in the overall mix, the radio industry would be experiencing low single-digit decreases every year instead of slight upticks. As the BIA/Kelsey analysis indicates, radio station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.
While many radio broadcasters still feel uncomfortable with the digital realm – often viewing it as “outside their core business” – the clear evidence shows that any real growth will be coming from online – and particular on-mobile – sources. With the U.S. economy improving at a 1-2% annual rate it is illogical to believe that over-the-air business will increase at a faster pace, especially when more and more marketers are shifting dollars from traditional budgets to digital platforms. In the long run, no matter whether the RAB figures or BIA/Kelsey numbers are more accurate, the fact remains that traditional advertising will continue to experience an upheaval over the next few years. As Google SVP and chief business officer Nikesh Arora recently said at the “D: Dive Into Media” conference in New York, 50% of ads will be online by 2018. “That’s a very large number, but online advertising accounts for less than $100 billion of that number, and there is a reasonable probability that over 50% of advertising goes online in the next five years. The big tipping point we’re waiting for is internet-connected televisions…We’re waiting for things going from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘must-have.’” Yes, radio reaches 92% of the 12+ U.S. population each week. And no, this percentage isn’t about to shrink dramatically in the near future. But the media world is experiencing epic change that’s occurring at a near-logarithmic pace, and the dollars that are shifting to new platforms aren’t suddenly going to return to traditional media. The radio industry is in a transitional phase that requires an ever-increasing mix of old and new thinking, and that means expanding well beyond the comforts of maintaining one’s core business to better serve listeners and advertisers. This situation is analyzed in detail in an article posted today (4/2) in RadioInfo written by veteran media executive Reed Bunzel, president of Bunzel Media Strategies, who joins RadioInfo as special business correspondent. To see Reed Bunzel’s entire article, click here.
Sabo Sez: Radio Should Learn About “Hyperlocal” Marketing. In an eye-opening piece posted today (4/2) about a relatively new digital sales and marketing concept known as “hyperlocal,” noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo explains how it is a perfect tool for the advertising initiatives of commercial radio. For example, if your station offers an app with hyper-local commerce capabilities, a listener carrying that app could pass by a Dunkin’ Donuts, and through GPS, the app could signal the listener that they can walk into DD and receive a free donut. That’s hyper-local marketing at its simplest. To read Walter Sabo’s entire article, click here.
The NAB Announces Radio Board Officers. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of the recent elections for the radio boards. The two-year term begins in June for the following officers: Mike Boen, managing partner, BL Broadcasting, Inc; Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio; Bill Hendrich, vice president and marketing manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville; Ed Henson, president and owner, Henson Media, Inc.; Julie Koehn, president, Lenawee Broadcasting Company; Jessica Marventano, SVP, government affairs, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Mike Novak, president and CEO, K-LOVE/Air1Radio; Frank Osborn, president, Qantum Communications; Bob Proffitt, president and COO, Alpha Broadcasting Company; Heidi Raphael, vice president corporate communication, Greater Media Inc.; Paul Tinkle, president, Thunderbolt Broadcasting; and Dana Withers, president, Dana Communications.
XtreMedia CEO and Talk Show Host Kevin McCullough Spearhead’s ‘Do Much Good’ Campaign for Clean Water in Haiti. Kevin McCullough, whose nationally syndicated talk show is heard across the country, also is CEO of XtreMedia which syndicates the weekend “Baldwin & McCullough” program (featuring actor Stephen Baldwin) and the weekly Dani Johnson program. McCullough announces the Do Much Good coalition he’s organized is setting its 2013 goal on installing three water purification systems in three of the hardest to reach areas of Haiti. He says the systems can pump more than 10,000 gallons per-day. And the manufacturer promises that on all systems installed they will guarantee the systems to work or to replace them at their own cost. McCullough says, “As a father whose very first son was adopted from Haiti, I’ve seen the tragedy of Haiti’s economy before the 7.3 earthquake that rocked the tiny nation. They were already the poorest nation in our hemisphere before losing 200,000 victims to the initial quake and its subsequent 59 aftershocks. The bacteria, chemicals, and fecal matter that have now poisoned the water sources as a result of the earthquake are now killing one in every eight children before the age of five. My son’s younger sister — who I was also attempting to adopt — lost her life because of something that we believe she drank. Helping these children hits very close to home for me!” McCullough welcomes nationally syndicated talk show host Steve Deace to the coalition of media personalities assisting in the effort. McCullough continues, “We invite our brothers and sisters in talk radio, regardless of their partisan viewpoints, to join us in doing something we can all agree on. And that is to end the suffering of children whose only crime was being born in the wrong place. $100 to give a child clean water for life? That’s like .0078 cents a day — just how stingy can we be?”
Producer Steve Ciaccio Exits WEEI, Boston AM Drive Show. The AM drive Dennis & Callahan program on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston loses producer Steve Ciaccio who takes a position outside of the radio business. Ciaccio had been with WEEI since 1997.
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North Korea Threats, Texas Lawmen Killings, Gun Legislation Proposals, Stockton Goes Bankrupt, March Madness/Gruesome Leg Injury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The increasing threats by North Korea; the rash of murders of Texas prosecutors and the possible link to Neo-Nazi groups; the plethora of gun legislation proposals across the country; the bankruptcy of Stockton, California; and the NCAA tournament and Kevin Ware’s gruesome on-camera leg injury were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.