Sean Hannity Show Surpasses 650-Affiliate Mark. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sean Hannity Show officially surpasses the 650-affiliate benchmark and currently has 667 affiliate stations. The program is approaching its 20th anniversary in syndication on September 10. A statement from Premiere says, “The Marconi Award-winning program, which has experienced audience growth of +9% with Persons 12+ and +19% with Adults 25-54 year-over-year, continues to drive top rankings for stations across the country… As host of ‘The Sean Hannity Show,’ Sean’s provocative, informed and passionate commentary on politics has amassed a dedicated following that includes millions of listeners. Hannity’s political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him one of the most popular talk radio hosts ever.”
Pending Business: Appointments, Test Drives and Weekends. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that getting an appointment to open some new business may be easier than you think if you open your thinking to what’s in front of you, and he points to your weekend specialty shows as something too many sellers overlook. Lapa says that show content ties into sales categories and “categories have cousins.” You can wrap that weekend show in a unique package to bring in new business. Read more here.
Glenn Beck’s Charity-Funded Charter Planes Grounded by Taliban. According to numerous media stories, including this one in Newsweek, six jets chartered by Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck are being grounded in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif by the Taliban while the U.S. State Department negotiates for the release of some 1,000 people – about 100 of whom are American – from Afghanistan. Beck’s Mercury One charity recently raised about $28 million to help “evacuate Christians and other vulnerable religious minorities from Afghanistan.” Each of the six jets costs approximately $750,000 for the charter flight out of Afghanistan. Non-governmental-organization officials quoted in the story say the planes were grounded after negotiations with the Taliban broke down but they are saying the Taliban may be trying to “shake down” the U.S. for cash before letting the evacuees leave.
StreamGuys Offers Broadcasters Custom Development of Google Actions. In a move that parallels the company’s Alexa Skills that it has been providing for years, StreamGuys announce they are now offering custom development of Google Actions that enable listeners to access stations’ live and on-demand content on Google smart speakers and other Google-enabled devices through intuitive voice commands. StreamGuys’ Google Actions creation service allows broadcasters who don’t have their own in-house development capabilities to take advantage of the growing ecosystem of Google smart devices for engaging their audience. Once enabled on a smart device, the custom Actions allow listeners to verbally access not only live streams and podcast episodes, but also additional on-demand content offered by the station. Broadcasters can choose the unique words that users speak to launch their programming, as well as tailoring the interactive experience surrounding their content with customizations such as using their own DJs’ voices for device messages and prompts. StreamGuys director of technology Eduardo Martinez says, “In today’s media-saturated world, it is important for broadcasters’ brand voices to be presented consistently to their audiences across all listening platforms. The ability to create tailored experiences also helps them forge deeper relationships with their listeners than the typical ‘cookie cutter’ approach available through third-party aggregators. Our customers have enjoyed using Alexa Skills to better engage their audiences, and our new Google Actions offering lets them extend these benefits onto Google-enabled devices while providing consistent, cross-platform listener experiences.” Martinez adds, “Many consumers use voice-activated commands to quickly and easily access functionality on their mobile devices. The new Google Actions give broadcasters access to this important part of the market without requiring a dedicated app.”
Audacy Announces Fifth Annual ‘I’m Listening’ Broadcast. On September 23, Audacy will broadcast its fifth annual “I’m Listening,” special, “a live national broadcast bringing together artists, athletes, medical specialists and others with intimate conversations about mental health through authentic, open dialogue led by some of the nation’s top influencers.” The two-hour special will air nationwide from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm local time across more than 230 Audacy stations and will be livestreamed via its digital app. Partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this year’s “I’m Listening” program continues Audacy’s support of mental health awareness by amplifying the personal mental health stories of artists, athletes and celebrities, along with those of listeners, with the insights of AFSP medical health experts. Topics covered include mental health and children, the intersection of mental and physical health in the age of COVID-19, calls for social equity, coping techniques and more. Co-hosted by Carson Daly (left), host of “TODAY POPStart” and “The Voice,” and radio personality and vocal advocate for mental health awareness, and by Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble (right), a pioneering psychologist, author, scientist and founder of mental health nonprofit the AAKOMA Project, the show serves as one of the largest national resources for those looking to better understand mental health, connect, heal, share, and ultimately remind people that it’s ok to not be ok. Listeners are encouraged to call in for advice or to share their experiences. Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Shakira, Justin Bieber, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff are among those participating.
TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters is launching a new NAB Show Diversity Symposium at the 2021 NAB Show on Sunday, October 10 from 11:00 am – 2:30 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The two-part program will cover strategies for developing and fostering corporate diversity, equity and inclusion in the media industry. NAB chief diversity officer Michelle Duke says, “The value of this new program cannot be overstated. The last year has made it clear that businesses need to take a more active role in creating and developing more inclusive and diverse workplaces, and we are excited for the role NAB has to lead a culture of change.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia announces today that WDAS-AM, “FOX Sports Radio Philadelphia” is now the official broadcast partner of Villanova University Football and Men’s Basketball. It will also broadcast the “Talking Villanova Football with Head Coach Mark Ferrante Presented by Miller Lite” show. In addition, play-by-play announcer Ryan Fannon and analyst Kevin Reilly will call all the Wildcat football action…..Motor Racing Network will look back at how NASCAR and the nation responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 during Saturday night’s broadcast of the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway. An extended pre-race program starting at 6:00 pm ET will look at the 2001 race at Richmond the week prior to the attacks, the events on that fateful day, and NASCAR’s decision to postpone the next scheduled race at New Hampshire in reverence to a grieving country. NASCAR Champion and former NASCAR on FOX TV broadcaster Jeff Gordon and NASCAR Hall of Fame Member and MRN lead analyst Rusty Wallace will share their remembrances.
COVID-19, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Support Rally, 9/11 Anniversary, Texas Abortion Law, Newsom Recall Election, and Florida Family Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concern about overcrowded ICUs, the new Mu variant, and mask & vaccine mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the September 18 support rally for those being charged in connection with the event; the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11; the new Texas law banning abortion after six weeks; the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and a former Marine kills four in Florida were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.