By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Today wraps the (virtual) convention reporters are scolded for calling “the Consumer Electronics Show.” Years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association changed its name to Consumer Technology Association, as tech things became mere vessels for user experiences.
Radio first-timers I’ve nagged-into attending CES were, at first, intimidated. Even before the pandemic turned life upside-down, technology was changing our lives, every day, in almost every way. Then came 2020, and while many industries took a brutal hit, tech sales grew 5% last year, to $442 billion in retail value.
Detroit Talk Radio Legend Frank Beckmann to Retire. Detroit radio personality Frank Beckmann will retire from Cumulus Media’s WJR-AM on March 26, wrapping a 48-year career with the heritage Motor City station. Beckmann has hosted the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WJR for the past 18 years. During his career, he’s broadcast play-by-play for all four of Detroit’s professional sports teams and is credited for creating the market’s first sports talk program, “Sportswrap,” in 1981. Beckmann joined WJR in 1972. In 1981, he succeeded Bob Ufer as the University of Michigan football play-by-play announcer, a position he held for 33 seasons. Beckmann says, “I will be forever grateful to WJR for helping all of my boyhood dreams to come true. As a youngster growing up on the east side of Detroit, I always imagined sitting behind a microphone, announcing Lions and Tigers games. It was surreal for me to actually have been able to do that, along with experiencing the other great opportunities this radio giant known as WJR provided me. I only hope I’ve met some of the expectations of me, and I thank every person I’ve worked for, or with, at WJR… My co-workers and our clients are not only my friends; they are my family. I’d like to thank them, along with our loyal audience. Without their support, I would not have had this run. Finally, I’d like to give thanks to my family: my wife, Karen, son Jon, and daughter Tori, for the selfless sacrifices they’ve made through the years. And now that my professional sunset beckons, and while I say so long to my job, I say thanks to all of you for making my career and life more complete. My best wishes to my WJR colleagues and listeners.”
CES2021: “Eat, Drink, Play, Pay – Will We Ever be the Same?” Like many other events, the Consumer Electronics Show has gone virtual. Confessing that he misses the perennial January in Las Vegas trek, consultant Holland Cooke writes, “This session alone would have been worth the trip!” In today’s column: Data from a recent Harris Poll/MasterCard joint study about the pandemic shutdown’s impact on commerce. Four trends that on-air content should address and our advertisers’ messages should exploit. Read it here.
SRN News and TOWNHALL News Providing Coverage of Impeachment Debate. When the U.S. House of Representatives begins debate today over the Democrats’ Article of Impeachment against President Donald Trump, Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News will provide unanchored, live coverage. SRN News begins coverage at 9:00 am ET and that will continue for an undetermined amount of time. Salem Radio Network says this live coverage is part of the Salem Radio Network’s ongoing commitment to provide O&Os and affiliates with complete coverage of breaking news 24/7.
KFI, Los Angeles Produces New Documentary on Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles news/talk KFI and correspondent Steve Gregory are launching a new iHeartRadio Original News Documentary and Podcast, “The Death and Life of Kobe Bryant.” This two-hour documentary will air Sunday, January 24, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KFI-AM 640 and will be syndicated across iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News radio affiliates. The limited, eight-episode companion podcast will also debut on January 24 and be distributed via the iHeartPodcast Network and can be heard on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are available. It includes interviews and audio excerpts from live news coverage surrounding the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his daughter and several others and will explore the void Bryant’s death left in the business world and the Black community. Exclusive program content also includes the NTSB’s investigation and controversies surrounding the incident, including illegal photos taken at the crash site by law enforcement. “The Death and Life of Kobe Bryant” is produced and hosted by award-winning journalist Steve Gregory. The series is co-produced by the KFI-AM 640 news department, Jacob Gonzalez, and Eric Sklar.
Entercom Study: Audio Has Highest Consumer Engagement Level. A recent study by market research firm Alter Agents and neuroscience experts at Immersion, commissioned by Entercom, concludes that audio content connects and engages audiences at a much deeper level than other media types, forming emotional connections and capturing attention. Entercom is presenting the results of the study during a session at the virtual CES2021 show this week called “Amplified Audio Defining Engaged Impressions.” Entercom SVP, research and insights Idil Cakim says, “In an uncertain world, and a cluttered media environment, people are seeking new experiences and looking for mediums that provide trust and certainty. Our study found that audio not only captures attention and moves people on an emotional level, but also inspires action through a sense of community and belonging.” The study consisted of a survey of a nationally representative population of adults, coupled with a neuroscience study by Immersion of individuals from the major U.S markets of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Alter Agents compiled the data to result in an examination of consumer experiences with audio versus various other mediums such as TV, video, social, and pureplay platforms. The primary metric tracked in the study was immersion, a scientific measure of emotional connection and attention. Audio was found to have the highest level of immersion among all the platforms with a score of 57 out of 100. Entercom says additional key findings included that consumers are listening to or watching seven different media platforms in a given week; one-third of broadcast over-the-air listeners have taken action after hearing an advertisement or a host recommendation as part of a commercial or an audio show; and local audio content and host trust are the largest influencers of listenership.
AWMF Announces New Categories and Extended Deadline for 2021 Gracie Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the deadline to submit entries for the 46th Annual Gracie Awards at the regular rate has been extended until January 21. AWMF is also offering a further extended deadline of January 28 at an additional cost. The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, celebrate programming and individual achievement by, for and about women in television, radio and digital media. Submissions from all facets of media are encouraged. The AWMF says that because of the tireless work and bravery of journalists covering the unprecedented events in the first two weeks of 2021, it has added 10 new categories specifically dedicated to January 2021 Frontline Special Reports for on-air talent and programming in television, radio and digital media. See the categories here. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks comments, “We know the circumstances of the past year led to delivering content to audiences in ways we never expected, which is why we are more committed than ever to honoring the remarkable work that has been created by, for and about women. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracie Awards enable the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media, even during turbulent times.” The Gracie Awards Gala, previously scheduled for May 2021, has been postponed to September 20, 2021, and the Gracie Awards Luncheon, previously scheduled for June 2021, has been postponed to July 21, 2021.
TALKERS News Notes. Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM helped raise more than $30,000 to combat human trafficking on Monday (1/11) – Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S. The Cumulus Media station partnered with local non-profit Breaking The Chains for the fundraising event. KMJ general manager Patty Hixson says, “Our loyal listeners always amaze me how they generously step up for great causes, especially one like human trafficking which has brought so much heartbreak and violence into our community. Well done! We will not stop fighting.”…..At next week’s NobleCon17 – Noble Capital Markets’ Seventeenth Annual Investor Conference taking place on Tuesday (1/19) – Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson will deliver a presentation at approximately 4:30 pm ET. The conference is virtual, with no cost, obligation or restrictions to attend…..CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA – unveils its 2020-2021 broadcast schedule for coverage of 20 regular season men’s basketball games that begins with tonight’s Texas Tech at Texas contest and ends with the Final Four and National Championship games on April 3 and 5, 2021…..Cadence13, a part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces a partnership with bestselling author Sarah Knight for a weekly podcast based on her No F*cks Given Guides self-help book series (The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, etc.). Her “No F*cks Given” podcast is a series of 30-minute episodes on topics ranging from getting organized and surviving the daily grind to making big life changes and improving your relationships with family and friends that debuts on January 26…..AdLarge Media makes its first foray into the international market in an agreement with The Podcast Exchange for exclusive Canadian ad sales representation of its cabana podcast portfolio. AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Czukas says, “Working closely with the team at TPX, we are opening the door to international revenue for cabana podcasts. We’re enthusiastic about the opportunities this brings to our podcast partners.”
Trump Impeachment/25th Amendment Push, Capitol Attack Investigation/Arrests, State Capitals Increase Security, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media and “Free Speech,” and U.S. Executes Lisa Montgomery Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12). The U.S. House plans to move forward with Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump in the absence of invoking the 25th Amendment by Mike Pence; the federal investigation into the assault on the U.S. Capitol and the arrests of some of those involved; state capitals across the country prepare for possible future attacks; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; YouTube joins Twitter and Facebook in banning Donald Trump plus the battle between Parler and app stores as Americans debate the concept of “free speech”; and the U.S. executes Lisa Montgomery, the first woman to be executed in 70 years were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter. The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York. She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina. She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016. Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack. Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team. I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”
Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was December 5 through January 1. As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns. That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market. And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.
New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show. New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920. In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage. Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics. New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio. TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology. The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.” The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here. For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.
TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio. In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.” WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met. We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career. Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.” This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month. CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”
Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November. Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group. AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there. They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market. Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.” They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show. There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations. The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — In his opening keynote, Consumer Technology Association President/CEO Gary Shapiro told us that:
- In 1960, one third of Americans lived in cities.
- Today half do.
- In 2050, two-thirds will.
He introduced Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett, who reckons that “roads that were built for cars replace streets that were built for living.” Hackett’s mission is “a total redesign of the surface transportation system.” In his view, “these already stressed systems are collapsing.” And “the living street” depicted in his multimedia presentation foretells gentrified urban space that’s a throwback to more convivial times. A key component in this transformation will be autonomous vehicles.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — As some 180,000 of us – from 150 countries — swarm Las Vegas this week, we media are under strict instructions FROM the Consumer Electronics Show not to SAY “Consumer Electronics Show” in our reports. They want us to say “C.E.S.,” which, to me, sounds like a disease.
The Consumer Electronics Association even changed its name to “Consumer Technology Association,” because the way we use smartphones and Amazon and Uber and AirBnB – and with Bitcoin and presidential Tweets grabbing headlines – it’s clear that technology is no longer just gadgets.