The Presidential Race, Gender-Bathroom Issue, Islamists Kill Canadian/Battle Against Islamic State, Obama European Trip, and Tom Brady Suspension Reinstated Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/25). The activities of the candidates for president, the debate over the delegate process and today’s Northeast primaries; controversy over laws affecting public restroom use by transgender citizens; the death of Canadian John Ridsdel at the hands of Philippine Islamists; President Obama’s visit to European nations; and the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady is upheld by a federal appeals court were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hannity Re-Ups with KDWN, Las Vegas. Nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity sews up his Las Vegas affiliate for another three years. The Premiere Networks personality will continue to be heard on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk KDWN through 2019. Station program director John Shaffer says, “We’re ready and eager to continue what has been a very positive partnership with one of the greats in the talk industry.”
WPRO, Providence Personality John DePetro Emcees Trump Rally. Ahead of today’s Rhode Island primary election, the Trump campaign held a rally at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. WPRO, Providence late morning personality John DePetro served as emcee for the event. He’s pictured here (right) with Donald Trump (center) and DePetro’s son Daniel (left).
Odds & Sods. Eighteen-year Las Vegas radio pro JB King is promoted to operations manager for the CBS RADIO cluster there that includes: news/talk KXNT and sports talk KXST, as well as CHR KLUC, hot AC KMXB, alternative KXTE, and urban contemporary KXQQ…..iHeartMedia fires up new translator W292EG in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to carry the signal of news/talk WMEQ, Menomonie. The 34-watt translator at 106.3 FM lies between the Menononie and Eau Claire centers…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk show host Keith Larson is organizing his 14th annual motorcycle ride to help kids battling life-threatening illnesses and their families. It’s called Keith’s Ride and it takes place this Saturday (4/30). The event is escorted by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit and supported by several other law enforcement agencies…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” radio show adds Shamrock Communications’ KNEZ, Reno “107.3 KNEWS” as its latest affiliate station…..CBS RADIO’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is hosting “Allegheny Health Network’s Senior Life Today presented by LubriSyn HA” this Saturday (4/30). The event will feature vendors with informational booths and break-out sessions. KDKA personalities will be onsite throughout the day and the station will broadcast its Saturday programming live from site from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “for every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”
Public Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because, “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.
“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98” and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”
Henner Among hivio Highlights. To punctuate his point of the “power of audio,” Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey played several seconds of the unmistakable bumper from Jerry Seinfeld‘s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which debuted in May 1990. It had its last telecast just over eight years later (September 1998) – thus has been in syndication longer than its original NBC primetime run. That and classic clips from Orson Welles‘ legendary “War of the Worlds” (including how purposeful “dead-air” is a potent way of using audio) were cleverly woven in by Ramsey yesterday (Thursday, 6/4) in his scene-setting opening remarks of hivio 2015, the two-day Los Angeles confab focusing on compelling content in a world of limitless distribution. Eight segments – including three 30-minute presentations – followed Ramsey’s 20-minute introduction in a fast-paced four-hour seminar at Hollywood’s landmark comedy venue, the Improv. One of those eight segments was a one-on-one interview Ramsey conducted with Marilu Henner, in which the author, sitcom actress (“Taxi,” “Evening Shade”), “Celebrity Apprentice” participant, Food Network host, and memory expert discussed her daily radio project. Downplaying her celebrity status, Henner insists she is just “a neighborhood girl from Chicago” and in many ways simply “the girl next door.” Enamored with radio’s spontaneity, she states she is “a very auditory person” and that has “always been” her passion. This past May 13 commemorated the one-year anniversary of the radio show fronted by effervescent Los Angeles-based Henner. The daily talk entity is executive-produced by Sun Broadcast Group, which handles affiliations and national sales as well; Genesis Communications Network provides satellite delivery and streaming audio for the show. Unique in today’s talk radio landscape on multiple levels, the three-hour (9:00 am – noon PT) project is female-targeted (rather than geared to angry, white men); it is non-political; and the host, while still relatively new to radio, has amassed sterling accolades on several entertainment platforms. In other words, Henner is anything but a one-trick pony. Perhaps the greatest surprise she encountered in the first year of doing the radio program is the extent of her love of it. “I knew I would like it a lot but I am really passionate about it,” she stresses. “I feel like people are letting me into a very ‘cool-kids’ club.” Missing from Henner’s daily radio program though is a political concentration because, “That’s not what I am here to do,” she points out. “I love to talk with celebrities, do lifestyle things, and play ‘Defend Your Gender.’ I try to stay away from politics and religion.” Each of her programs features as many as seven guests and Henner actually enjoys doing the copious associated daily research. “I can always find that little nugget from their past or a connection I might have with them,” she boasts. Some of her peers might be afraid to do a daily radio show because, as Henner opines, “They feel it is a lot of work and takes a lot of energy. It is hard work and you have got to love it.” Paramount in her role as a host is to be a good listener, especially given that “things happen so quickly and you don’t want to miss” anything important. Recalling what she stated as a keynote speaker at last month’s NAB, Henner says, “Of all the great things I love to do in my life, radio is the best of all of it. It has the immediate feel of a live performance; the personal expression of writing a book; the storytelling of a movie; global reach of a long-running sitcom; and it is like opening night on Broadway – every single day. This is what I get to do.” Each morning, she wakes up wondering how she “can make my show better” and as soon as she gets off the air, she maintains that she cannot wait until the next day’s broadcast. One of the best pieces of advice Henner has received so far came courtesy of veteran talk host Dick Cavett, who suggests she view on-air discussions with guests as “conversations” rather than “interviews.” Another popular talk host’s name was invoked when Henner mentioned her fond admiration for David Letterman. “I did his show many times and he was very good at ‘riding the wave,'” she remarks. “He might have had questions [prepared for him] but being able to be “in the moment” made him such a genius. He did not let anything slide.” Henner’s candor in Thursday’s 20-minute hivio conversation with Ramsey is consistent with her radio persona. “I had a baby on national television, so I have no secrets,” she proclaims. “You can ask me anything; I will talk about anything; and I will remember anything. I am genuinely interested in people.” Her unique memory capabilities have been frequently chronicled, including several times on “60 Minutes” and Henner comments, “Developing a stronger autobiographical memory is really your [best] line of defense against meaninglessness that you have. You can figure out what is from your past; how to bring it to your present; and how you can inform a better future. Everything you have been through is already on your emotional hard drive. Whether or not you acknowledge it, it’s making you behave in certain ways.” Anticipating there is “a whole new frontier” for her, Henner declares she, “loves radio,” and moreover, she is “obsessed” with it. Also featured on Thursday’s agenda were similar one-on-one Ramsey-conducted discussions with Scott Baker of The Blaze; Mike Schneider of TV Guide; Jake Shapiro of PRX; and Richard Laermer of RLM PR; hivio 2015 concludes later today (Friday, 6/5) with another four-hour block at the Improv.
I Want to Be a Part of it, New York, New York. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is gearing up for next Friday’s Talkers New York 2015 conference at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District and he has some thoughts about how to maximize your trip to New York, from a professional standpoint. Take it from an intrepid radio pro, there are smart ways to get the most out of industry events such as this one. Cooke says, “”Reach out NOW to those you’d like to tag-up in New York, and schedule some face time. If it’s only a latte at that Starbucks diagonally across from India House, you’ll have a more meaningful conversation than ad hoc in the din within. I’ve been scheduling my Talkers time for weeks now.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
iHeartRadio Reports 70 Million Registered Users. The digital audio platform of iHeartMedia is reporting it has hit the 70 million registered users threshold. Claiming it has reached that mark “faster than Facebook or any other digital music or streaming service,” the company says “its digital footprint alone spans nearly 80 million social media followers across its network, significantly more than any of its competitors and are integrated on 60+ devices (and counting).” iHeartRadio says that its social engagement (Facebook and Twitter) share is 68% — topping Spotify’s 17%, Tidal’s 12%, Pandora’s 2% and Rdio’s 1%.
Odds & Sods. The newest podcast from Compass Media Networks features college football and NFL star Craig James. Titled, “Airing It Out with Craig James,” the weekly program will deliver “unique and compelling insights into the world of college and NFL football.” The inaugural episode features guests Art Briles – Baylor University football coach – and NFL legend Roger Staubach…..KFI, Los Angeles’ Mo’ Kelly show will broadcast live from Comic-Con at the FOX Sports Grill San Diego on July 11. The Mo’ Kelly show airs on the iHeartMedia news/talk station Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Last year’s broadcast from Comic-Con featured Orlando Jones of “Sleepy Hollow,” Iron Mike Tyson, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” creator/executive producer Christopher C. Rogers and even Comedy Central’s super duo of Key & Peele…..NFL Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen will be back as part of the radio play-by-play team for Washington Redskins Radio Network broadcasts this season. Red Zebra Broadcasting says Jurgensen, who’s been part of the team’s broadcasts since 1981, will join Larry Michael and Chris Cooley in the booth.
Jim Blasingame Wins Axiom Business Book Award. Talk show host and small business and entrepreneurship expert Jim Blasingame is being honored with the Axiom Business Book Award for his third book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (SBN Books 2014). The book has reportedly sold 40,000 copies. Blasingame, whose radio show is nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA, states, “It’s a great honor to receive the Axiom Business Book Award. Of course, we’re also pleased at the response from business leaders of all size companies, who’re using my book to transport their businesses to where their customers already are, in the Age of the Customer.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is now airing on Salem Media Group–owned KYCR, Minneapolis “Business 1570” from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily…..“Legends of Success with John Resnick” joins the lineup at KJCE, Austin, Texas and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..Tim Constantine’s “The Capitol Hill Show” is now airing on WMEX, Boston in the early evening slot.
From Sardi’s in Times Square, Joan Hamburg’s Tony Awards Show. Pictured here at the iconic New York City eatery is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (right) with actresses Tyne Daly (left) and Harriet Harris (center). The two are up for Tony Awards for the show “It Shoulda Been You” and joined Hamburg for the special event that took place on Thursday (6/4). The taped show features special Broadway guests who dropped in to talk about their shows, nominations, and much more. One hundred of Hamburg’s loyal listeners joined her for the sold-out production. It will air on WABC on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5. The growing list of candidates for president in 2016 – including the just-announced candidacy of Republicans Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was ISIS’ military progress in Iraq and Syria. Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton email issue followed by the expiration of the Patriot Act tied with the TSA failing the explosives detection tests 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. View this week’s entire chart here.