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Monday Memo: Argument? Or Assessment?

| April 5, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — While shutdown-weary listeners yearn for The American Comeback:

  • FOX News feeds gotcha questions to budding correspondents it sends to White House briefings, where this president’s press secretary is more diplomatic than her predecessors.
  • Once CNBC’s credible, iconic “Money Honey,” FOX News B-teamer Maria Bartiromo seems to have taken the baton from disgraced Lou Dobbs. Mark Levin’s pitch is approaching an octave only dogs can hear.
  • Prominent among cable news and talk radio catch-phrase accusations are that Democrats want “utopia” and “open borders,” words I have never heard Democrats utter.
  • Asian-Americans are being assaulted in broad daylight, after Donald Trump branded COVID-19 “The Chi-nah Virus” relentlessly, because he knows what our sales reps preach to advertisers: repetition works.
  • Gun sales are so brisk that ammunition – already price-gouged — is being rationed in some places. The U.S. Capitol grounds seem no safer than supermarkets and other modern day killing fields.
  • There aren’t enough mental health professionals to meet demand.

Read More

Monday, February 8, 2021

| February 8, 2021

Monday Memo: Pandemic Purchasing Habits. Consultant Holland Cooke says that as virus variants foretell #StayHomeTFN, he reckons that “life-disrupted suggests opportunities for the observant.”  In this week’s column he starts at the supermarket and ends up on the living room floor. Read it here.

Trump Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Package/Child Tax Credit, Smartmatic Lawsuit, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, Newsom Recall Effort, Bucs Beat Chiefs in Super Bowl LV Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. This week’s scheduled impeachment trial of Donald Trump; the declining number of COVID cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the debate over a federal stimulus package that could include a $3,000 child tax credit; the $2.7 billion Smartmatic lawsuit against FOX News and several personalities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection; the move to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Host Read Commercial. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about the renewed interest in the host read commercial. Over the years, the best talent in the business have made fortunes via host read spots. While there are plenty of things that can go wrong with this type of ad, it’s one of the most effective ways to market a product or service. Click here to read Lapa’s pointers for making the host read spots work for everyone.

FOX Business Network Drops Lou Dobbs Program. The Los Angeles Times broke the story and it’s now being reported in numerous media outlets. The “Lou Dobbs Tonight” show is off the air at the FOX Business Network (it aired twice daily at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm ET) and an interim program will fill its time slot. CNN’s Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy report that Dobbs’ show was the highest-rated program on the network but that advertisers shied away from it because of Dobbs’ “far-right programming choices.” They also report that sources at FOX News say the $2.7 billion lawsuit recently filed against FOX News and several personalities – including Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro – by voting tech firm Smartmatic is just one of the factors in the programming change. It is also being reported that while Dobb’s show is off, he remains under contract to FOX News.

Dobbs Commentaries Continue on SRN. Although Lou Dobbs (above left) is off of FOX Business Network, his “Lou Dobbs Financial Report” features continue to be provided three times daily by Salem Radio Network. SRN VP/News & Talk programming Tom Tradup (above right) says, “Lou’s SRN reports have always combined his unparalleled command of financial news with his trademark political insights, and I think it’s a safe bet that he will weigh-in on developments in the Trump impeachment trial as it unfolds.”

SummitMedia Inks Deal with Nielsen for Continuous Diary Measurement. The company enters into a long-term deal with Nielsen Audio for ratings service in the nine markets in which it operates: Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Honolulu; Knoxville; Louisville; Richmond, Virginia; Wichita; and Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa. The new deal between SummitMedia and Nielsen incorporates an expansion and enhancement of the service level to include Continuous Diary Measurement. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are looking forward to utilizing Nielsen’s measurement and data analytic capabilities to showcase SummitMedia’s value to the advertiser and agency communities. Consumers’ media habits are evolving at an incredibly rapid pace and having a faster read on audience trends is imperative. Continuous Diary Measurement will enable our teams to react more strategically and quickly.”

TALKERS News Notes. Financial experts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings announce that their financial literacy podcast, “Earn Your Leisure,” is partnering with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network. The podcast, which has amassed more than five million downloads, “applies an in-depth lens on the role money plays in sports, entertainment, and business.”…..Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis reveals that its 13th annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day Radiothon” raised a record-breaking $544,974 to benefit Second Harvest Heartland. Results from this year’s virtual event on February 4 brought the overall fundraising total to over $2.5 million since 2009. Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Second Harvest Heartland is on the hunger fight of our lives right now during this pandemic, and the WCCO Radio listeners have stepped up for the people who need us most. The actions of our listeners and our local team will help thousands of families in need. It’s a joyous day.”…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight,” hosted by Kate Delaney, adds new affiliate stations. Adding the program to their lineups are: KFXZ-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KLCJ-FM, Oak Grove, Louisiana; and WMIC-AM, Sandusky, Michigan.

Friday, November 6, 2015

| November 6, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5.  Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point.  “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves.  Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.”  And so it is with women on talk radio.  The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium.  One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman.  Read the entire piece here.

wtop logo NEW 1-15Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington.  TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED.  Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis RoseTALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.

entercomEntercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis.  This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.  As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report anfielddavid outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver.  While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising.  We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”

cumulus logoNew Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%.  Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures.  Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause.  The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago.  For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-bernermaryover-year.  Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million.  For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%.  Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people.  I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company.  While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3.  The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment).  In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat.  “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period.  Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter.  The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year.  “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period.  Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage.  The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130foxbusiness iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations.  FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.  The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.  iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.

beckerKMBZObama15Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event.  The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.  The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself.  Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.”  Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office.  Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day.  With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”

bobandtomBob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business.  Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end.  Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame.  Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.”  Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob.  He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”

ramseyCruzeHoF15Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5).  Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.

2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.  Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.