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Report from the RAIN Summit

| September 6, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

AUSTIN — The declining number of radios per household is a big deal, in the view of RAIN News publisher Kurt Hanson.  Smart speakers “are replacing the clock radio and kitchen radio.”

From his State of the Industry remarks at a well-attended event:

  • As sales plateau, “everyone who wants [a smartphone] now has one.”
  • New smart watches will have self-standing connections, not tethered to a nearby smartphone like Apple Watch.
  • Bluetooth headphones are selling well, having a big impact on users’ experience.
  • In-car? “Broadcast radio will be moved down to a second-class position in the center stack,” as so-called connected dashboards proliferate.  There are 38 thousand in the USA today; 118K+ are forecast by 2022.  Ford has open-sourced its groundbreaking Sync system, and will now handshake the driver’s smartphone, so familiar phone app icons appear on the dashboard.
  • For stations, streaming “simulcasts are not a strategy.” Consumption is down from last year.
  • “Podcasting revenue numbers are great.”

 For AM/FM broadcasters that’s whack-on-the-side-of-the-head stuff.  But RAIN Summit topic one was a name we’re hearing lots lately…

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

| September 11, 2014

cookeholland‘The Golden Age of Audio Consumption.’ Reporting from Indianapolis, media consultant Holland Cooke summarizes some of the sessions he’s attended at both the RAIN Summit and the 2014 Radio Show.radioshow14  Edison Research president Larry Rosin is quoted referring to the current era as the “golden age of audio consumption” noting that, according to his company’s research, Americans spend roughly a fourth of their day listening to some form of audio.  While this may be true, how this falls out for AM/FM radio is open to interpretation.  Is it an opportunity for AM/FM radio or just a sign that other forms – read: digital – are poised to overtake AM/FM’s dominance in the near future.  That is THE topic being discussed at the NAB/RAB-produced Radio Show this week.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire column here.

wheelermikeWheeler Named WJR, Detroit Program Director.  The new program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit is Mike Wheeler who joins the company from his most recent post as regional program manager for Clear Channel’s Connecticut properties.  The Detroit native has worked at numerous Motor City outlets including WNIC, WABX, WHYT and WCZY.  Over the course of his career he’s also served as PD for CBS RADIO’s “DaveFM” in Atlanta, and was RVP of programming for Clear Channel in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Toledo.  Cumulus EVP, programming and content John Dickey states, “We’re thrilled to have Mike Wheeler join Cumulus.  His proven skill as a programmer combined with his Detroit roots makes him the perfect choice to lead the legendary WJR.  Mike’s years of multi-format experience also makes him a great asset to the Cumulus programming team.”  Wheeler comments, “WJR is a part of the fabric of Detroit.  The station is deeply connected to the people of Detroit and widely intertwined with the local business community.  I look forward to nurturing and building on that tradition.” Wheeler replaces Kevin Metheny who now programs the company’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco stations.

rogginfredLA Sports Personality Fred Roggin to Host ‘The Beast 980’ Program.  New Los Angeles sports talk outlet KFWB “The Beast 980” adds a local program hosted by LA radio and TV sports personality Fred Roggin to the daily schedule airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, to start later this month.  In a statement, the station says Roggin is well known nationally for his work with NBC Sports and a winner of more than 50 awards for broadcast excellence, and has been part of the Southern California sports landscape since 1980, including his work as the longtime sports anchor at KNBC-TV “NBC4.”   Roggin comments, “I’ve been fortunate to be on NBC4 for over 30 years and I look forward to it every day.  I started my career in radio and can’t wait to be part of one of the most exciting things to happen on LA radio in years.  I’m ready to go Beast mode!”

murphymattAlabama Pol Learns Lesson About the Digital Age.  Democratic candidate for governor of Alabama Parker Griffith learned the hard way that the “mic is never off,” in a metaphorical sense.  Griffith didn’t like the line of questioning he was presented with by WAPI, Birmingham host Matt Murphy during a recent appearance on Murphy’s radio program.  When Griffith tore into Murphy off the air using salty language, Murphy Tweeted the candidate’s comments to his followers.  Needless to say, Griffith didn’t like that either and accused Murphy of making public a “private conversation.”  Whatever one may think of Murphy’s actions, Griffith should know that a candidate for office should always assume his words are for public consumption unless expressly agreed upon as a private conversation.

robinsontedSan Francisco 49ers Suspend Ted Robinson for Ray Rice Commentary.  In a case that is another example of the sensitivity organizations are feeling about their employees offering opinions about hot-button topics, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers announce radio play-by-play voice Ted Robinson is suspended for two games after he commented on the Ray Rice case on sports talker KNBR, San Francisco.  During the segment, Robinson said, speaking about Rice’s wife Janay, “How does she marry him after that?  How does she go in front of Goodell?  That’s pathetic to me.”  Hardly the stuff of outrageous opinion, but it was enough to bring the skittish football club to suspend Robinson.

wmgc sportslogoOdds & Sods.  Detroit Lions football gets some insider expertise on Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” as the station brings active players Golden Tate and Stephen Tulloch aboard to appear on Tuesday programs.  Tate will be part of the Ryan and Rico show to talk about the offense and Tulloch will appear on the Matt Dery program to talk about the defensive game.  Also, Lions great Herman Moore returns to wgwg logoserve as the station’s “Lions Insider” to appear on a number of the station’s programs…..In Chicago, Tribune Radio’s WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” bolsters its football programming with a number of weekend shows including former Vegas oddsmaker and current Fox Sports 1 personality Todd Fuhrman’s “Who You Playin’,” Saturday’s college football show “Campus Tailgate” with Pete Fiutak, Howard Griffith, Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein, Tribune Radio’s Dave Eanet, Jordan Bernfield, and Sam Panayotovich, and Sunday’s “Double J Show,” Jason Goch and former Chicago Bears fullback Jason McKie, among others.

bohannonemceeRS14Master of Ceremonies.  Doing one of the many things he does so well is Westwood One syndicated personality Jim Bohannon, pictured here at the 2014 Radio Show emceeing the Westwood One Branding Party put on by the syndicator.  In addition to the crowd being entertained by country acts Chase Rice and Montgomery Gentry, numerous WW1 personalities were on hand to mingle with guests and network partners.  The network gave away a pair of tickets to Super Bowl XLIX and a pair of tickets to the NCAA Final Four.

stockatlaspremiereKDWN, Las Vegas Hosts Premiere for Atlas Shrugged 3.  The third installment of the movie adaptation of the Ayn Rand classic Atlas Shrugged saw its world premiere take place in Las Vegas last week and Beasley Broadcasting news/talk KDWN hosted the event.  Pictured here at the premiere is the cast of the film with emcee and KDWN morning host Alan Stock (center) standing with them.

President Obama’s ISIS Address, Ray Rice Case-NFL’s PR Troubles, Mid-Term Elections/2014 Presidential Prospects, 9/11 Anniversary, Immigration Issues, and Ferguson City Council Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10).  Analysis of President Obama’s ISIS Address and the US’ military policy in the Middle East; the media backlash against the NFL in the wake of the Ray Rice suspension and questions about when the elevator video was first seen; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the observance of the anniversary of 9/11; the state of immigration reform in Washington; and the protests at the first Ferguson, Missouri city council meeting since the death of Michael Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

| September 25, 2013

nielsenarbitronNielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount.  In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff.  However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent.  Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”

wmyt logoTalk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow.  News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking placewrightcurtis show logo Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am.  The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22.  The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina.  They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region.  Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.”  Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  The station also features Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham.  George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region.  Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.

pittmanbobBob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference.  The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’”  Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.”  He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio.  Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.

mhNAB2013Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance.  The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century.  In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age — to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology.  Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation — to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.”  Byers told his listeners it was “smokin'” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up.  I looked around and the rest of the room was electric.  You could feel it in the air.  I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.

sabowalterWALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business.  In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE.  They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision.  Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry.  No vision, no growth.”  Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results.   Read this important column here.

cookehollandRadio Sales Lead: ObamaCare.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it.  He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB.  In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders.  Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’”  Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

kassof coContinuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34.  Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio.  A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.”  Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure.  “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.”  The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral.  Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are.  Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days.  Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15).  Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s  music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”

wbenNo More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo.  Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon.  WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice.   Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up.  Schnitt maintains it damaged his case.  Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.

Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Radio Show Wrap-Up

| September 23, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

ORLANDO – It sure WAS worth the trip, for both reasons.

  • The NAB/RAB Radio Show passed the convention agenda litmus test: agonizing choices among concurrent sessions.  And…
  • The crowd, which was up from last year, and fairly chipper…NOT the funereal 2009 vibe.  And, after all, isn’t the principal value in any convention the convening?  Make new contacts, tag-up with old amigos, swap ideas?  2013: Mission accomplished.

If you couldn’t be with us in Orlando – or even if you could, because those concurrent sessions posed tough choices – you can peruse Talkers.com and Radio-Info.com, for my day-by-day notes, and other Talkers/RadioInfo reports.  “It’s Team Coverage you can count on!”

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Friday, September 20, 2013

| September 20, 2013

marconiawardBig Day for All-News at Marconi Awards: WBBM-AM, Chicago Wins Legendary Station Award.  The NAB/RAB Radio Show is the site of the annual Marconi Awards and this year, CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM, Chicago took home the Legendary Station Award.  Other news and talk-related winners included:  Cox Media Group’s KRMG-FM,wbbm Tulsa taking home Medium Market Station of the Year; CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston winning News/Talk Station of the Year; Brian Byers of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois winning Medium Market Personality of the Year; and KTCK, Dallas taking home Sports Station of the Year.  This year’s “NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show” was hosted by “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of CBS Radio’s KRTH-FM in Los Angeles. The show also featured a performance by Grammy Award-Winning band The Mavericks from Big Machine Label Group.

limbaughNABRush Limbaugh Tells Affiliates Taking Show to Satellite Radio Would Be a “Betrayal.”  Speaking at a party in his honor to celebrate 25 years in national syndication hosted by syndicator Premiere Networks, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh told industry insiders – many of whom were station owners and programmers who carry his program – that “I can’t thank you all enough because without you and all of the people who run the radio stations I’m on, I wouldn’t be possible.”  Speaking about the importance of the relationship between the personality and the radio station, Limbaugh said from his earliest days in radio, he’s always believed that “it takes the radio station to make the personality, the personality can’t make the radio station.”  He said that at industry gatherings such as the Radio Show he is invariably asked if he would ever go to SiriusXM and he said, “The first moment the question was asked, I’ve always looked at that as a betrayal, if I were to do that because of the opportunity to be on your radio stations has provided me and I honestly believe it’s a lifetime commitment.  I don’t think it’s a debt I can ever fully repay.”  Limbaugh went on to allude to the controversial nature of talk radio – and his image in particular – when he added, “And Lord knows, I’ve put you through hell.”  (The room responded with rousing laughter.) “Probably more times than even I know!  I’m aware of the times I know.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me that whatever the obstacle or controversy – whenever it pops up – that you all hang in there.  One thing that’s such a blessing of freedom: I don’t have to worry when those things happen that you’re going to be affected by whatever the media is attempting or whatever detractors are attempting.  The one thing that fuels me and gives me confidence and strength is I know I’m not going to lose you all…and I’m going to be forever grateful.”

brennan25thKMOX, St. Louis Personality Charlie Brennan Celebrates 25 Years at CBS News/Talker.  St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (pictured here at left) celebrated his 25th anniversary on news/talk KMOX today (9/20) with a live broadcast in front of a packed audience at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten.  Brennan first began broadcasting on KMOX on September 20, 1988.  He was joined on the air this morning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – his very first guest on KMOX.  Also calling in with kudos today were:  Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Larry King, Morley Safer, Juan Williams, Jennifer Griffin, Senator John McCain, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, singers Ricky Skaggs and Michael McDonald, Tony La Russa, Joe Garagiola, Bob Pettit, Ted Koppel and George Vecsey.  Through a proclamation, Mayor Francis Slay declared today “Charlie Brennan Day” in St. Louis.

hillangelaHill Joins WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans.  Former WWL-TV, New Orleans news anchor Angela Hill will come out of her short-lived retirement September 30 to begin 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm duties on Entercom news/talk station WWL-AM/FM.  “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus states.”  Angela is one of the most respected, popular, and beloved personalities in New Orleans.  Hill retired from WWL-TV earlier this year and comments that she was “always looking for the next chapter” of her life.  “Radio allows you to connect with and engage people on a more personal level.  When you add the power and reach of WWL radio, we can do great things.  My show will be engaging, fun, and attract big-time guests – the sky’s the limit.”  According to WWL operations/program director, Diane Newman, “Angela Hill is a trusted journalist, an amazing interviewer and a great listener.”  Hill will succeed “Talk Gumbo with John ‘Spud’ McConnell,” but Claus points out McConnell, “isn’t going anywhere.  We have big and exciting plans for him” that apparently will be announced on-air on Monday, September 23.

noorywhoopiPremiere’s George Noory Appears on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg.  On Thursday, September 19, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory made an appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” for the debut of a new segment called “Out of this World with Whoopi,” which showcases Whoopi Goldberg’s fascination with the paranormal.  During the segment, Noory shared a few stories of ghost sightings and cursed objects, and told the audience how his fascination with the paranormal began as a child.  Goldberg asked him about peoples’ fascination with the unexplained and Noory said, “People want to know why we are here, who we are, and is there life after death….and that’s what we do, we try to find answers.”

westcottpaulOdds & Sods.  ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – co-host of the “Mike & Mike” morning drive program – is named grand marshall of Northwestern University’s Homecoming Parade.  Greenberg is an alumnus of the school and will revisit the campus the weekend of October 4-5 and be an honored guest during the festivities…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean tonight (9/20, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) on his Premiere Networks program “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett signs a deal to become an on-air personality on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago where he’ll make weekly appearances on the “Boers and Bernstein” show at 5:00 pm every Monday during football season, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

U.S.-Russia Tensions Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20.  Scrutiny over the Obama Administration’s relationship with Russia and president Vladimir Putin relative to the Syria issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the deal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to Russia to avoid a U.S. strike.  At #3 was the Washington Navy Yard slayings, and at #4 was the ongoing debate over the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is posted every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.