Pending Business: Beam Me Up, Scotty. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you sell talk radio for a living, take a minute to thank William Shatner.” Why? “For years talk radio sellers used the anecdotal examples of iconic figures who crossed into the older demographic with faces and lifestyle that made the older demo more advertiser friendly. From Mick Jagger and Joe Namath, to Cher and Goldie Hawn, these were the easy-to-reference examples leading the path to older demo acceptance. And now a new normal has fallen into our collective talk radio lap, William Shatner who at age 90 touched the sky as the planet logged on.” Read more here.
Monday Memo: Speaking of Vaccine Mandates. “Until we can come up with something else to argue about,” the latest COVID controversy offers what consultant Holland Cooke calls “new evidence demonstrating the importance of choosing our words carefully.” In this week’s column HC bullet-points some fresh research. Read it here.
Matt Sheeder Promoted to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Radio sales pro Matt Sheeder is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes KTLK-AM, sports talk KFXN “KFAN,” and news KQQL-HD2/W227BF “BIN 93.3,” plus five music brands. Sheeder was most recently serving the cluster as local sales manager. Sheeder started in the media industry in 2015 at Comcast Spotlight. He joined the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team as an account executive in 2018. Sheeder says, “I feel fortunate to be able to help expand and lead this high-performing team. The past three years of my career at iHeartMedia have been incredibly enriching and have only helped me grow both professionally and personally. Thank you to the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team for this exciting new opportunity!”
WTOP, Washington’s Chris Roth to Acquire WNAV-AM, Annapolis from Pat Sajak. The Annapolis, Maryland radio station owned by “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak – oldies intensive, full-service outlet WNAV-AM – is being acquired by partners Chris Roth and Frank Brady for $1,000. Roth is currently a staffer in the WTOP-FM, Washington production department. WTOP has the story and notes that Roth and Brady will have to trim some of the payroll but hope to keep as many of the two dozen staffers as they can. The station will have to move from land that Sajak owns but Sajak is committing up to $100,000 to help with the move and a new lease. Roth says he will keep his position with WTOP as he transitions to his new role as co-owner of the station. Meanwhile, Sajak comments, “I am indebted to our advertisers and, of course, our loyal listeners. As I move toward retirement over the next couple of years, I’ll always look back at my ownership of WNAV with great pride and satisfaction.”
AdLarge Releases 2021 Podcasting Buying Guide. The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 has been released by AdLarge. The company says this guide features “essential information on the rapid evolution of the marketplace including the latest resources and tools for measurement, analysis, and attribution available today. While similar to the first three guides by remaining simple to follow and understand, the fourth edition goes beyond the basics of buying and delves into the specifics behind content selection, measurement efficacy, and targeted delivery.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek adds, “As more buyers continue to experience the unmatched ROI of podcast advertising, we recognized the opportunity to provide guidance and context to the quickly evolving landscape of attribution, measurement, and delivery. The unprecedented growth we are witnessing today is a true testament to the power of podcasting.” AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas states, “Working with a broad range of shows and clients has uniquely positioned AdLarge as an authentic resource to buyers. Our spectrum of knowledge has enabled us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which we’ve outlined in this playbook. Our goal is to provide everyone with the tools to make the most informed advertising decisions possible. The substantial increase year-over-year in advertiser spend has proven the audience is attentive, engaged, and ready to take action.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM morning drive personality Steve Cochran has kicked off the fourth season of his podcast “Live From My Office.” Guests on the twice-weekly podcast this season are expected to include: Tom Waddle, Mark Giangreco, Lou Piniella, Bill Leff, Spike O’Dell and comedians Kathleen Madigan and John Da Cosse…..Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT-FM, Nashville “ESPN 102.5 The Game” and the NHL’s Nashville Predators agree to a multi-year extension that continues WPRT’s role as the official flagship station and broadcast partner of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Cromwell Media president Bud Walters says, “For over 10 years the Predators have been the ‘best’ to work with. They’ve brought such excitement to Nashville, and we look forward to continuing our partnership together. We are very proud to be the flagship home of the Nashville Predators Network.”…..Townsquare Media’s KHOM, Hannibal, Missouri “NewsTalk 1070” adds Premiere Networks’ “Glenn Beck Program” to its daily lineup, effective today (10/18). Beck’s show airs locally from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden vs Progressive Democrats, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Bannon Subpoena, U.S. Missionaries Kidnapped, and Ahmaud Arbery Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The effects of the global supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden’s challenges bringing progressive Democrats aboard his agenda; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., and mask & vaccine mandates; the January 6 investigation and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s defying a subpoena to testify before a congressional committee; the kidnapping of 17 U.S. missionaries by a gang in Haiti; and the trial of three Georgia men in the slaying of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
William Shatner did for sellers what Donald Trump did for talents. They drove talk radio to another level and we all benefited.
I remember the 2015-2016 undercurrent evident on countless sales calls. It was all about how talk radio had run its course and the end was near. Five years ago the theory was talk radio listeners were aging out and the demographics were growing so old, soon there would be no value for advertisers in reaching those older, outdated listeners. Nothing left of relevance in talk radio to attract listeners and advertisers. Enter Donald Trump and arguably his persona helped make talk radio relevant, influential and on fire again.
Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday. The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters. But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency. “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.” Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.
Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More. The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business. CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio. The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations. The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year. This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few. Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial Global – NBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate. We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.” Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months. It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.” That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington. Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.
Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando. ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent. Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.” And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor. He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.
Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor. And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor. First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim. Who is Larry O’Connor? The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network. Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts. Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience. I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast. By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.” The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace. “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success. But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis. The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled. But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.” Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation. He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer. Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things. They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think. They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event. News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year. At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers. Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels. CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”
‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22. The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee…..Compass Media Networks’ Free Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
BOSTON — Yesterday (6/21/12) the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on the FCC’s indecency standards for broadcast radio and television and the decision hardly seems worth the wait.
In a decision that reminded me of a story about the comedian Professor Irwin Corey, who billed himself as the world’s foremost authority, he was asked, “Why do you wear sneakers?” He replied by saying that this actually was two questions. The first question was “Why?” and he went on to a long philosophical discussion of “why.” Then he went on to the second question, “Do you wear sneakers?” and he promptly responded, “Yes.”
In this case the Supreme Court was asked whether or not the FCC’s indecency rules were in violation of the First Amendment. However, rather than answer that question, the court merely determined unanimously, after much discussion, that the standards were applied retroactively and therefore they could not be enforced against ABC and Fox. As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.