Monday Memo: Help Wanted, Local Host. “Radio’s best years were between network programming that ended at the end of the 1950s and syndicated longform that now dominates talk programming and robotic music formats that displaced local DJs.” And, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke suggests how that same business model can restore the local programming “which will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet against digital competitors.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Pack Your Bags. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says the demand for summer travel is very high and this category of advertiser is still adjusting to new protocols. “Consider the total packaging concept you can deliver. Many marketers in the travel industry look for strong inquiry and booking accountability. Be prepared with multiple options always considering easy access for your audience to respond. As categories regroup from pandemic business paralysis new opportunities will emerge. Adjust your thinking, planning and preparation now.” Read his column here.
KVI, Seattle Names Ari Hoffman Afternoon Drive Host. After joining Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle earlier this year to fill in after Kirby Wilbur’s retirement, Ari Hoffman is officially named the permanent afternoon drive host, effective today (4/26). The station says Hoffman is a local businessman and civic activist who ran for Seattle city council in 2020 who has also appeared on FOX News, Newsmax, “The Dr. Drew Show,” “60 Minutes,” and the KOMO News documentary “Seattle is Dying.” He also reports regularly on Northwest issues in The Post Millennial. He says, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at KVI. If I had known how much fun this gig would be, I would have started 20 years ago. I look forward to bringing common sense ideas and a fresh take on news, politics, and the culture wars to our listeners.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “Our new afternoon host was right under our nose. What’s important to you is important to Ari. He has an engaging and entertaining perspective on local and world issues that’s enlightening and fun to hear!”
Rhode Island News/Talk Pro Ron St. Pierre Launches New Podcast. A story at RINewstoday.com highlights the new podcast being launched by Rhode Island talk radio pro Ron St. Pierre (right). The new program, “Ron and Jen’s Great Escape” – co-starring Jen Brien (left) – launches on May 3. St. Pierre was most recently hosting the morning drive show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence until the company declined to renew his contract back in December and, in an effort to save money, put the WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based Jim Polito show in WHJJ’s morning drive slot. During his career, St. Pierre has also served with crosstown WPRO-AM and WABC, New York, among other media outlets. Of his new podcast, St. Pierre says, “Our goal is to provide an escape from the negativity that can overtake conversation about the day’s hot topics…an escape from the banal repetition all too often associated with talk radio. Our goal is a positive approach to news and lifestyle topics with an infusion of humor across the board.”
Westwood One’s Hoops Coverage Generates 19.2 Million Listeners. Citing an IPSOS national audience study conducted April 9-11, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says its exclusive live coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship generated 19.2 million listeners to the play-by-play action from all 66 men’s basketball games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. WWO president Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are thrilled that audio audiences for our NCAA March Madness audio coverage returned so strongly. College basketball fans were excited to experience NCAA Men’s basketball and listened across our streaming, smart speaker, and broadcast platforms.” The IPSOS study also found that listening audiences were equally distributed across demographics with 31% of listeners aged 18-34, 41% 35-64 and 27% over the age of 65. Additionally, the coverage attracted a highly educated audience that was 6% more likely than average to be college graduates and 46% more likely to have an advanced degree. 56% of the audience was employed and nearly half (47%) had household incomes of $75,000 or more.
TALKERS News Notes. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first speech to a Joint Session of Congress marking his 100th day in office. Salem Radio Network News is covering the speech for affiliate stations. SRN coverage will be anchored by SRN News U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and he’ll be joined by TOWNHALL News Capitol Hill correspondent Bernie Bennett…..Coverage of this year’s NFL Draft begins this week and ESPN“SportsCenter” anchors Elle Duncan and Kevin Negandhi are kicking off the network’s coverage on their “Get Up” morning show on April 29 and 30. They will also lead ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft broadcasts alongside NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN Radio’s Bart Scott and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons. ESPN Radio’s coverage will continue Saturday, May 1, with host Jason Fitz, NFL Draft analyst and Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, Tannenbaum and Fitzsimmons…..C13Originals, a division of Audacy’s Cadence13, has signed on critically acclaimed bestselling author Shawn Levy for “Glitter and Might,” a documentary podcast franchise about power and influence originating from Hollywood. Season One will explore the relationship between legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, a young actor named Ronald Reagan, and notorious labor lawyer Sidney Korshak, and the story of how they came together, and rose to become, respectively, the most powerful executive in Hollywood, the most powerful man in the world, and the most powerful lawyer in the country, forever changing the entertainment industry and the country itself.….The Independent Broadcasters Association is supporting COVID Remembrance Day on May 25 as a day of honor and reflection for those who have been lost to the pandemic. A special IBA members-only webinar is set for 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 29 to provide how-to instructions and outline the tools and resources that will be available to participating radio stations. COVID Remembrance Day is being produced by Paige Nienaber and CPR Promotions, in conjunction with partners MannGroup Radio, Benztown and P1 Media Group. Nienaber, who will host the webinar, says, “On COVID Remembrance Day participating stations and their listeners can reflect on the events of the past year, honor and give tribute to the victims, heroes, and people in their communities who have stepped up and been a part of the response effort. We hope every radio station in America will join us.”
Free-Form Radio Pioneer Bob Fass Dies at 87. The New York Times has the obit for legendary free-form radio personality Bob Fass, who died on April 24 at his home in Monroe, North Carolina. Fass hosted the “Radio Unnameable” overnight program on WBAI, New York for more than 50 years. Fass’s program could include any program element – avant-garde music, political talk, calls from listeners, and drop-in guests. He would have guests such as Abbie Hoffman or a young, still-largely unknown Bob Dylan. He once told an interviewer, “I’d put anyone on, because the idea was if you didn’t like what I was doing, three minutes later I’d be doing something else.”
COVID-19, Biden’s First 100 Days, Chauvin Verdict Aftermath, Border Crisis, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the severe outbreak in India; President Joe Biden’s administration approaches its 100-day mark; the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict and the larger issue of race relations in the U.S.; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Mark Levin Comments Cited in Atlantic Piece About Trump-GOP Relationship. The story by David Frum in The Atlantic is titled, “The Republican Revolt,” and addresses the “frustration” rank-and-file GOPers are having with longtime party leaders and how that’s affected Donald Trump’s candidacy. In the piece, WABC, New York-based and Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin is quoted from a segment on his radio show. Levin is quoted, in part, saying, “Senator Mitch McConnell and Representatives John Boehner and Karl Rove and their ilk …. You’re sick of them. You’re sick of them not doing what you elected them to do. You’re sick of them lying to you. You’re sick of them attacking everybody who doesn’t agree with them through their surrogates. You’re sick of how they treat people who dare to challenge them in Republican primaries… You’re tired of so-called conservative commentators on TV and elsewhere who serve as their surrogates… You don’t feel you have a home and you don’t feel that there’s a party that stands up for you.” This consternation within the GOP has been an underlying theme on conservative news/talk radio since before Donald Trump announced his candidacy, although talk hosts who broach this topic and reference Trump now that the nation is in campaign mode, are often labeled in the consumer media as “Trump supporters.” Read The Atlantic piece here.
WW1 Podcast Study Cited in AdAge Piece. A story in Advertising Age by Felicia Greiff cites a study commissioned by Westwood One titled, “State of American Podcasting.” The piece notes that WW1’s study consisted of data from an Ipsos custom study and Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” quarterly study. Edison created “a cross tabulation of 500 podcast listeners using three recent studies that showed the audio source, time of day, demographic profile, devices used to listen and types of content used by consumers.” WW1’s Pierre Bouvard says the study confirmed that podcast listening is led by Millennials as it concluded the median age of podcast users is “30, versus 45 for AM/FM radio and 57 for broadcast television networks.” Further, “personalities and talk shows are the leading content consumed by podcast listeners, taking up 66% of total podcast listening, followed by news podcasts with 22%.” Read the whole AdAge story here.
Nielsen Audio Announces 2015 Radio Market Survey Rankings. Some of the changes in rank for radio markets as defined by Nielsen Audio include major markets Atlanta and Philadelphia swapping positions – Atlanta slides up to #8 and Philly drops to #9. Las Vegas makes another leap, moving from #38 to #31. Raleigh-Durham moves up from #42 to #40. Milwaukee slides back to #41 and Oklahoma City dips from #48 to #50. Another diary market – the growing Chattanooga area – jumps from #110 to #88. See the entire Nielsen report here.
PodcastOne Adds Six New Shows to Menu. On-demand audio content giant PodcastOne announces six new programs that are being added to its menu of shows. New sports programs include: “Name Dropping with Ian Fitzsimmons,” “Total Soccer Show,” and “Mohr Sports Los Angeles” with Jay Mohr. Two new programs in the fitness category are: “Bulletproof Radio” and “Ben Greenfield Fitness.” The final addition is a podcast called “NRP” featuring celebrity blogger Nik Richie. All six shows will be available at PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes.
Joey Harrington Assumes PM Drive Co-Host Gig at ‘750 The Game’ in Portland. Former Oregon Ducks and Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington joins Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM” 750 The Game” (also heard on K275CH at 102.9 FM) to co-host the afternoon program from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm alongside Fletcher Johnson. Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “We are thrilled to add Joey’s Ducks and NFL expertise and analysis to our afternoon drive show.” About his new gig, Harrington adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to join the ‘750 The Game’ team and Alpha Media. What a perfect way for me to be able to share my passion for all things football and Portland, than over the airwaves on the best station in town.”
Odds & Sods. More additions to the CBS RADIO podcast platform Play.it are announced. New shows include “Cosmo Happy Hour” hosted by Elisa Benson of Cosmopolitan.com; a weekly one-hour show from comic Tom Green; “The Brouhaha with Ana Marie Cox” from the Wonkette founder; a weekly football podcast hosted by Jason Fitz; and “The Global Travel Conspiracy” with Gary Arndt, who has been traveling non-stop since 2007 and has visited more than 100 countries across all continents…..WGN, Chicago legend Orion Samuelson will go in for heart valve surgery on Monday (9/14), according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. The 81-year-old Radio Hall-of-Famer says he hopes to be back on WGN by September 25, his 55th anniversary with the station…..ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike kicked off their 4th annual Fall Football Tour today with a live broadcast from the New York Jets training center. In honor of the anniversary of 9/11, New York City first responders were in attendance for the closed-door broadcast, and hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic welcomed attendees at a special brunch after the show.
Donald Trump Candidacy Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 7-11. The top-polling presidential candidacy of Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton emails controversy and her apology. Coming in at #3 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates followed by the Iran nuclear deal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Benz To Depart WEEI-FM. Revealing on Twitter that he “underestimated the difficulties that go along with working a job in one city while trying to maintain a home and marriage in another,” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston mid-day “MFB” co-host Tim Benz will return to Pittsburgh early next month. Boston-born Benz joined WEEI-FM approximately 14 months ago from iHeartMedia Pittsburgh. In addition to being sports director of that company’s six-station “Steel City” cluster, Benz did morning drive on alternative WXDX “The X.” According to Benz, Boston was “every bit the city” he wanted to experience; however, he notes that it is best for him “personally and professionally” to be back in Pittsburgh with his wife Kate. No details were released about his new assignment in Pittsburgh, where the two sports outlets are iHeartMedia’s WBGG “970 ESPN” and KDKA-FM “The Fan,” owned by CBS Radio – the parent of WEEI-FM format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub.” Benz – who angered many locals by remaining partial to the Pittsburgh Steelers – will do his final “MFB” show tomorrow (Thursday, 7/30). The other members of “MFB” are former Boston Red Sox super-sub Lou Merloni, and ex- New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria. Benz’ father is Dr. Edward Benz Jr., the president and chief executive officer of Boston’s renowned Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
WW1’s Bouvard: What If Brand Advertising Were Based on ‘Cost Per Awareness?’ In the current edition of his regular blog post, Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard uses recent data from an Ipsos study of the media campaign for the July 15 Amazon Prime Day Sales event to illustrate the effectiveness of radio versus TV and online in this campaign. Bouvard notes (as TALKERS published last week) that Ipsos reports “radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%).” He goes on to say that, contrary to what one might expect, radio did a better job of targeting 18-34s than TV or online. But what Bouvard really gets at is how much was spent by Amazon on each medium and he posits that if brand advertising were sold on cost-per-awareness basis, radio would have come out on top in this case. Here’s why: Amazon spent $6 million on TV for a 34% ad recall (among 18-34s), resulting in a $177,000 cost-per-awareness point, while it spent $1.4 million on the radio campaign for a 14% ad recall that results in just $100,000 for each cost-per-awareness point. Read Bouvard’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Radio consultant Kipper McGee’s new book, Brandwidth: How Big Broadcasting Missed the Mediamorphosis, is out and ready for shipment. McGee describes the book saying he “reveals the common traits of the biggest failures and offers powerful takeaways for ANY brand planning to thrive in the ever-changing digital world order.”…..Former North Carolina State tight end and NFL player Mark Thomas is leaving sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 FM The Fan” after almost eight years to join the marketing and ad firm Krash Creative. Thomas hosts the Mark and Mike show with Mike Maniscalco…..The NHL’s Florida Panthers radio play-by-play broadcasts will continue to be heard on flagship WQAM, Miami after CBS RADIO reached an agreement to extend their deal. “Red Deer” Randy Moller will continue to call the action from the booth. As part of the partnership, WQAM will air a 30-minute pregame show and a 15-minute postgame show. The station will also broadcast weekly updates, and exclusive interviews with Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant, Panthers players and other hockey personalities. A 60-minute “Panthers Insider” program hosted by Moller will air on Saturday mornings. The Panthers will also receive comprehensive promotion on CBS RADIO stations country WKIS and hip hop WPOW…..Greater Media sports talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” will be the radio outlet for the Arena Football League’s 2015 East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul as it enters the playoff round of competition. The station’s Joe DeCamara and Soul general manager Tom Goodhines will provide color commentary…..Univision takes over Spanish-language broadcasts of Chicago Bears games from SBS as its WVIX and WVIV simulcast and WRTO-AM have acquired the rights in a new multi-year deal. Hector Lozano and Omar Ramos will be in the booth for play-by-play duties.
Former WWL and WRNO, New Orleans Host Andre Trevigne Dead at 66. Longtime New Orleans TV and radio personality Andre Trevigne got her start in radio in Chicago but rose to prominence after moving back to her hometown of New Orleans and shifting from radio to television. She worked at WWL-TV where she partnered with Eric Paulsen to co-host that station’s morning news program. She went back to radio as a talk show host at WWL-AM in 1999 and stayed there through 2004. She hosted a radio talk show on WRNO from 2006 through 2009. Trevigne died in hospice after a long illness.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Charlie Brennan Spearheads Ferguson Clean-Up. As the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri approaches, KMOX, St. Louis mid-morning personality Charlie Brennan came up with the idea of a community clean-up to help the community bounce back. Almost 400 volunteers turned out for a massive clean-up of West Florissant, the street that became ground zero for the protests, looting and fighting that would occupy the area for weeks. Pictured here is Brennan (standing) broadcasting from the station’s remote base during the clean-up.
2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Obama’s ‘Could Win Third Term’ Comment, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Minnesota Dentist Lion Hunt Controversy, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy-Syrian Refugee Influx, Tom Brady Suspension Upheld Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; President Obama’s statement that if he could run again, he’d win; the ongoing controversy over the videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for body parts from aborted fetuses; the ballooning allegations of rape against Bill Cosby; the case of a Minnesota dentist who paid to kill and African lion; the uncertain state of the nuclear deal with Iran; ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy and concerns over an influx of Syrian refugees; and the upholding of the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On. The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings. Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes. Broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening. The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats. Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM. Read it here.
Cumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day. The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.” The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazon Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%). Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases. The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”
Dave Ramsey Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The Dave Ramsey program will air in the evening daypart, immediately following the Howie Carr afternoon drive show on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, effective July 27. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “After a long day reporting and talking about hard news, Dave’s show invites our listeners into the homes of America’s working class to hear their stories, struggles and triumphs. It’s radio ‘comfort food’ ideally suited to New England values.” This addition comes shortly after other changes to the station’s program lineup that include the move of former morning host Jeffrey Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and the addition of Kim Carrigan as host of the “Boston.com Morning Show.”
WTEM, Washington Inks Clinton Portis for Redskins Coverage. Washington Redskins great Clinton Portis is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting to serve as an analyst for the upcoming football season. Portis played seven seasons for the Redskins. WTEM “ESPN 980” says that in addition to joining afternoon show personalities Chris Cooley, Steve Czaban, and Al Galdi every Monday during the football season, Portis will also co-host a monthly one-hour show, Fridays during the season, where he’ll provide a detailed look at the Redskins performance. Portis comments, “I am so excited to finally be on the air covering the team I love. Chris Cooley was a great teammate and close friend and we promise to make it as memorable as we did during our playing career.”
Odds & Sods. After a Tweet from ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo, we now know that the 10-year ESPN personality will remain with the sports media giant. Russillo reports “I’m staying at ESPN” after his status with the company was being questioned. His former radio partner Scott Van Pelt recently leaving the radio gig for new roles in ESPN’s cable programming and other highly publicized cuts at the company had industry watchers wondering if Russillo would remain…..At Calvary-owned Pittsburgh news outlet KQV, Bruce Sakalik resigns from the station after 15 years — the last 10 as morning news anchor. He leaves radio for a position with Comcast.
Boomer & Carton Host Daniel Bryan. WFAN, New York morning hosts Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for s photo with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on the show’s set today (7/23). Bryan appeared on the program to plug his new book, Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (St. Martin’s Press 2015). During the interview Bryan spoke about his career, his marriage to Bella Twin, Brie Bella, and his story of the couple’s house being robbed.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood Videos, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Chattanooga Slayings Aftermath, ISIS Threat, and Sandra Bland Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the state of the deal with Iran over its nuclear program; fallout over the two recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for human tissue from abortions; the conversation about the immigration policy in the U.S. and the cases of sanctuary cities; the memorials to the Marines slain in the Chattanooga attacks and questions about the radicalization of shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez; the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the threat posed by ISIS; and scrutiny of the arrest and death of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.