Trump Beats Obama! In one of the extremely rare occasions when someone other than the President of the United States tallies in as the most-talked-about person of the week on news/talk radio across America, TALKERS research indicates that Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has accomplished that very feat for the week ending today (8/10-14). According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The reason it is hard to top the president in this survey is because the chief executive is intrinsically tied-in to so many of the top stories and topics discussed in the medium. Plus, there are quite a few hosts who base their entire programs for weeks, months and years at a stretch either criticizing or supporting the sitting president.” Harrison continues, “But Trump did it this week and quite handily at that.” Harrison cites the following elements driving ‘Trumpmania’ among the nation’s radio yappers: “First, he makes good copy and fun content – he’s extremely entertaining – and, let’s face it, competitive talk radio needs to be – or believes it needs to be — compelling and easy to digest to attract listeners in this increasingly noisy world. It might not be the most academic and productive form of journalism – but talk radio doesn’t claim to be ‘journalism’ – it leaves that to the TV news networks and newspapers. What’s their excuse for feeding on Trump’s reality show-style bait?” Harrison cites Trump’s “respect for the medium” as being the second reason for his domination of airwave discussion: “He clearly respects talk radio and exploits it for grassroots exposure. Unlike so many of today’s big-time politicians and candidates, he is not afraid of its spontaneous nature. He thrives on it. We are receiving calls and press releases from stations and shows around the country touting their ‘exclusive’ interviews with Donald Trump – many saying he simply ‘called in.’” Harrison says, “Obama’s strength as a conversational focal point or lightening rod is rapidly diminishing as this early election frenzy crystallizes his position as a lame duck. Let’s face it, Obama-bashing is getting boring. ‘Boring’ is bad for talk radio. And the problem for talk radio with Hillary Clinton – even as a target of criticism — is similar. She’s been around so long and everyone knows exactly what they’re getting… making her – from the perspective of talk radio potency – a lame duck even before she potentially gets elected.” Harrison sums it up, “The election cycle starts too early for serious voters to take it seriously. Most of the candidates are relatively boring – except for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — from the almighty ‘entertainment’ perspective. Trump fills the vacuum quite beautifully. The other candidates would be wise to play this next few months very carefully and be prepared and in proper position for a run for the title for when the election becomes serious.”
Russillo, ESPN Radio Agree to Extension. Earlier this week, TALKERS reported details of Colin Cowherd‘s exit from ESPN Radio and his new deal at Fox Sports Radio. Now comes confirmation that ten-year ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo is remaining with the sports network to do “Russillo & Kanell,” a daily three-hour (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, ET) program with ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell. ESPN Radio senior vice president Mo Davenport remarks, “We are happy to have Ryen at ESPN for the long-term. We look forward to utilizing his creative energy as we forge a smart, engaging and entertaining show, born from the natural chemistry between Ryen and Danny.” According to Russillo, “Danny is the perfect partner for an everyday radio show. Former athletes get labeled as one-sport guys all the time based on what they played [but] that isn’t fair. Danny can talk all sports and is one of the best college football voices in the country. Staying with ESPN and this time slot is a challenge I have been ready for.” Russillo – who was named co-host of ESPN Radio’s “Scott Van Pelt Show” in May 2009 – will have an expanded ESPN television presence across multiple studio shows, with a focus on NBA programming. For the past two months, he has hosted “The Russillo Show” with a group of alternating co-hosts, including Kanell. In addition to airing on ESPN Radio beginning two weeks from Monday (8/31), “Russillo & Kanell” will be seen on ESPNEWS.
She Said “Yes.” Someone must have mentioned to Mark Brill that, when done correctly, radio is perhaps the most effective one-one-one communications platform. In just 22 warm-and-fuzzy seconds, the loyal partisan of Hubbard Washington, DC all-news operation WTOP fully underscored that unique strength of the medium. WTOP was clearly the centerpiece and most integral participant in this story – which has several moving parts – but a few other key players aided Brill in the performance of his life. This past Saturday (8/8) at precisely 6:07 am, Brill and his girlfriend, Phyllis Liebman, were in Bethany Beach, Delaware. While not out-of-the-ordinary for Brill to be tuned to WTOP (in this case, more accurately streaming the station online), Liebman, ostensibly, thought she was doing so at the request of her employer MRP Realty. Liebman’s boss asked that she listen at that specific time to verify that an ad the company purchased on WTOP ran as scheduled. One slight detail: There was no MRP Realty spot. What Liebman – and every other WTOP listener – heard at that time, however, was this marriage proposal from Brill (listen here). Brill first saw Liebman three years ago (7/16/2012) at the concession stand of a tennis match. “Later, I saw her sitting behind me and it looked like she was looking at me,” he recalls. “I did get up the nerve to give her my business card and said if she wasn’t dating anyone to call me.” Several weeks later, the two had their first date and Liebman informed Brill she wasn’t looking at him but at Michelle Obama, who was seated a few rows opposite him. WTOP sales manager Skip Quast‘s responsibility was to have Brill’s proposal air exactly at sunrise, which that particular day was 6:07 am. Many businesses contact Quast regarding advertising information on WTOP (the market’s #1 station for the seventh straight month, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM) but when he received Brill’s call in May, Quast states, “It was a first. Mark explained how WTOP was his favorite station and said he was planning to ask her [to marry him] in August. I let him know we might be able to help him out and asked him to give me a call when he was ready. I wasn’t sure I would hear back from him, but he called again in July and set a date. I am happy we were able to help and make it a special day for both of them.” Score another victory for the power of radio.
University of Vermont Partners with Learfield Sports. The pact between Learfield Sports and the University of Vermont will have the collegiate multimedia rights firm representing the “Catamounts” through 2025. School athletic director Dr. Bob Corran comments, “We are very fortunate to have developed such a wonderful partnership with Learfield Sports. This will allow us to focus greater efforts on promotions, communications, and brand building, while enabling Learfield staff to bring their considerable organization and experience to sponsorship and multi-media sales. We’re very excited about the future of Catamount athletics and Learfield’s role in helping securing that future.” Learfield is assembling staff for its local Vermont Sports Properties – under new GM Mike MacConnell – to work alongside Dr. Corran and his entire athletic administration. WVMT-AM, Burlington and WCPV “ESPN 101.3,” Burlington will continue to broadcast University of Vermont hockey and basketball games.
Historic Pop Media Figure Elliot Mintz Interviewed on Podcast One’s “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” One of the most complex and challenging processes in all of radio is the art of the interview. We hear interviews all the time – but how many of them are really good? How many of them bring the listener true insights into the mind and knowledge of the person being interviewed? How many truly represent the interests of the listener without ambushing or disrespecting the human dignity (or appropriate privacy) of the person being interviewed? Should an interview be a series of hard ball questions? Should it be conversational? Should it be confrontational? Should it be to promote a product? These are questions that any good interviewer faces every time they enter a public dance of dialogue with another human being… “Am I an adversary, an advocate or something in between?” The new installment of the hit weekly podcast geared to media freaks around the world, “Up Close and Far Out,” presents an interviewer (Michael Harrison) interviewing an interviewer (Elliot Mintz). Mintz was one of the original pioneers of FM rock radio back in the 60s – only he wasn’t a DJ, he was an interviewer – thus, he is also somewhat of a pioneering talk show host. Throughout the sixties and seventies, he became widely respected for the quality and prolific body of work (more than 2000 interviews) with the most famous and respected pop stars in the world of music, the performing arts, science and philosophy. In the 80s, he reinvented himself and became a consultant, advisor and publicist to some of the biggest names in the business including the John Lennon estate and a slew of others. He can truly be called a consummate show business insider and a legend in his own right. Now, Elliot Mintz has done something extraordinary. He spent more than a year of diligent detail work assembling his archives, that were packed away in fading and often unmarked boxes, into a museum-like website where the visitor can experience, at no cost, more than 150 hours of audio and video treasures culled from his encounters with some of the most fascinating characters of the 20th and early 21st centuries. It is www.ElliotMintz.com. To listen to the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Elliot Mintz, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Mugging it up for the camera from the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin are Westwood One Sports analyst/PGA member Charlie Rymer (left) and broadcaster Earl Forcey. Westwood One presents live, hole-by-hole coverage at 2:00 pm (ET) through Sunday.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio this Week (8/10-14). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Fox-Trump Feud, and the Iran Nukes Deal. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continued to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this past week and the media remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. Hot topics include the presidential election in general, the Fox News Channel-Trump feud stemming from the candidate’s dust up with debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, the Black Lives Matter movement, Jimmy Carter’s health issues and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of the yuan. To see the complete listing of the 10 most-talked-about topics and people for this past week please click here.