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By Kevin Casey
IRVING, Tex. — The last few years have brought enormous change to the media landscape and one of the bright lights in the sea of change is what’s been happening at Salem Media Group. Officials at the company say its rise to prominence in the conservative media arena has been building for more than 10 years. In fact, in April 2019, The Hollywood Reporter published an article titled, “How Salem has Quietly Become a Giant in Conservative Media.” In the three-plus years since, the Irving, Texas-based company has continued that trajectory and in many eyes verifies the claims in that piece. When it comes to conservative media, it’s impossible not to see Salem’s giant footprint.
Monday Memo: Inflation Hacks. Inflation is changing listeners, advertisers and OUR lives, in almost every way. Consultant Holland Cooke vows that, “Rather than joining the blame-game unison, I will be using this column for the entire month of July to offer solutions, dozens of ways you can share on-air, and use yourself.” He begins a week early, with “a renegotiation hit list.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Roe v Wade. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could present opportunities for talk radio. He asks, “As the ruling to reverse Roe v Wade works through societal and financial issues, could 50 years of history be reversed? Could the impact change the next 50 years of talk radio? He suggests three possible shifts. Read about them here.
TEACHING NEW GENERATIONS ABOUT “RADIO.” New C. Crane Emergency Radio a Big Hit at TALKERS 2022. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Walter Sterling of “Sterling on Sunday” scored a home run with his grade-school-aged daughter Samantha (shown above) upon returning from TALKERS 2022 with a magical device known among communications wizards as the CCRadio Solar. The first 200 registrants to arrive at the June 10 TALKERS 2022 convention were surprised and delighted to find a real special premium, individually handed to them by iconic radio manufacturer/distributor C. Crane for their conference goodie bag. Each attendee received an amazing CCRadio Solar radio unit – valued at $99.99 retail – and the result was raves all around. The CCRadio Solar is a small digital portable radio that is successful as an emergency radio, but the form and format function invite its owner to use it daily. When placed in a sunny window, it’s perfect for the morning news. Audio quality is a surprise; it’s accurate, pleasing and has two modes. A miser mode to conserve battery power in a true emergency and a high-power mode for an even better audio experience. Reception is good for the size. The almost brick-size depth and unique UV resistant rubber perimeter is concave on the bottom which makes it inherently stable. The flashlight is above average in brightness and color because of the selected high-quality LED. The hand crank folded (that’s right, it can be cranked for power) and inlaid on in the back is the only visible clue that it’s an emergency radio. The included lithium-ion battery can be recharged by wind-up, solar panel, your USB port, or optional AC power adapter (not included). When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the radio will run more than 50 hours or charge your phone from the approximately 50% level to 100% level. It can also be powered by three “AA” alkaline batteries (not included) for approximately 50 hours in low power mode or 35 hours in high power mode. C. Crane founder Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “I brought the first CCRadio Solar home and my wife absconded with it until our designer/illustrator had to beg to get it back for documentation. To get it back from him was also overly arduous. I have never seen a radio so coveted. It is about hand-size and it stays charged in a sunny window with an oversize solar panel which means it may not need a power assist for years.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “The radio industry owes a great debt of gratitude to C. Crane for keeping the appliance known as a ‘radio’ alive in the consumer electronic marketplace and ever-innovative for decades after the business itself abandoned the idea that it would be a good thing to promote and support the appliance as being at least as important a device as a can opener. Shame on the NAB as well as the rest of us for committing this potentially lethal negligence.” To learn more about this fabulous device and enjoy a TALKERS discount on C.Crane purchases, please click here.
New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazine posts the latest in an ongoing series of video presentations from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on June 10 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Today’s video addition features RAB president/CEO Erica Farber moderating a panel session titled, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World.” Panelists include Erik Hellum, chief operating officer, Townsquare Media, New York/RAB Chad Lopez, president, Red Apple Media; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks, and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York/RAB. Introduction provided by Gary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group. You can watch the video here.
Introducers Play Vital Role at TALKERS 2022. Last week, TALKERS began highlighting the talk media professionals who introduced the panel discussions and presentations at the recent TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University. Today, we continue to give a little digital ink – as well as our tremendous thanks for their outstanding efforts – to those who took the time to prepare brief speeches that provided informative and relevant information prior to the conference presentations. Pictured below is Rich Zeoli, morning drive host at WPHT, Philadelphia, who introduced the panel titled, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”
“NPR News Now” Tops Triton Digital’s May Podcast Report. The latest (May 2022) U.S. podcast report from Triton Digital finds “NPR News Now” leading for average weekly downloads. In descending order, the top ten in that category includes: “NPR News Now”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “Crime Junkie”; Dateline: NBC”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; “Up First”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; “My Favorite Murder”; “Fresh Air”: and “Last Podcast On The Left.” Meanwhile, the top 10 podcasts by average weekly users are: “Crime Junkie”; “Up First”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; Dateline: NBC”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “NPR News Now”; “Smartless”; “My Favorite Murder”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; and Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.” Rankers indicate Stitcher Media is the top network based on average weekly users. That top 10 includes: Stitcher Media; Audacy Podcast Network; Audioboom; NPR; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; NBCUniversal News Group; Warner Media; Kast Media; and Paramount. Extremely similar to this list is the top 10 networks by average weekly downloads: Stitcher Media; NPR; Audacy Podcast Network; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; Audioboom; NBCUniversal News Group; Paramount; Warner Media; and Kast Media. The top three highest indexing shows for women 18+ are: “Watch What Crappens” (Stitcher Media); “Something Was Wrong” (Wondery); and “The Viall Files (Kast Media). The top three highest indexing shows for men 18+: “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” (Stitcher Media); “The Fighter & The Kid” (Kast Media); and “2 Bears 1 Cave with Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer” (Stitcher Media). Based on downloads, top podcast genres were: “News” (27%); “True Crime” (20%); “Comedy” (18%); “Society & Culture” (7%); and “Sports” (6%). More than nine of ten (93%) episodes were downloaded on mobile devices; 1.8% occurred on a desktop or laptop. Numbers do not include all shows and exclude those not participating in this particular measurement system. The entire report is available on TritonRankers.com.
Legislation Gains Steam To Allow Cannabis Ads on Radio. Language on a House Appropriations committee bill advanced last Friday (6/24) would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters accepting cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state or jurisdiction in which the station is licensed. NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano comments, “We are pleased to see this bipartisan language has advanced in the House. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years. While we welcome [Friday’s] progress, local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David Donovan adds, “We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro; subcommittee chair Mike Quigley; and members of the committee for recognizing the unfairness of the present situation with respect to cannabis advertising. The provision in this appropriations bill is a major step forward for leveling the playing field for local broadcasters. We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising, if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.” In states that have approved cannabis for medical and/or adult use, local radio and television stations have been unable to accept advertisements from legally-authorized cannabis distributors. Meanwhile, cable; satellite; internet; print; magazine; billboards; and social media platforms are free to accept and transmit these ads.
Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Award Winners Announced. Honorees were cited by the Society of Professional Journalists in a video presentation last Thursday (6/23). In Sigma Delta Chi’s category of “Radio Breaking News Reporting, Market 1-100 or Network Syndication,” CBS News Radio’s staff won for “Assault on the U.S. Capitol.” Other winners included: Chicago Public Media-owned public radio news/talk WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, Susie An, and Alden Loury for “Fertile Soil For Abuse: A Reckoning at Covenant Fellowship Church” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Large Market”) and Virginia Tech public radio news/talk WVTF, Roanoke’s Sandy Hausmang for “COVID-19 in Virginia Prisons” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Small Market”). NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang won for “Immigration Hard-Liner Files Reveal 40-Year Bid Behind Trump’s Census Obsession” (“Radio Feature Reporting, Large Market”), while Wichita State University public radio news/talk KMUW’s Suzanne Perez won for her piece on 3,000 Kansas kindergartners (“Radio Feature Reporting, Small Market”). Elsewhere, University Radio Foundation public radio news/talk WFAE, Charlotte’s David Boraks was victorious in the “Radio Documentaries, Large Market” category for “Asbestos Town.” Reports regarding healthcare mistreatment in Maine State Prisons by Maine Public Radio’s Susan Sharon and Mark Simpson won in “Public Service in Radio Journalism.” The award for “Narrative Podcast” went to NBC News’ Ayman Mohyeldin and Preeti Varathan for “American Radical.”
Lee Named to Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. On October 5, Kristi Lee – the co-host and news director of Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” – will be among six Hoosiers to be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Indiana Broadcasters Association executive director Dave Arland notes, “The 2022 Hall of Fame Class is comprised of well-known broadcasters who pushed the boundaries of innovation and made the Indiana communities they served better, more informed places to live. For decades, our newest group of Hall of Famers have provided critical eyes, ears, and voices for listeners and viewers in Indiana and beyond. They have told wonderful stories and are each also active members of their communities. We are honored to add our 2022 honorees to the honor roll of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.” Lee – who has covered sports for ESPN and the Indiana Pacers – comments, “I am humbled and honored to be included amongst these prestigious honorees. As a lifelong Hoosier, I have been lucky enough to spend my entire career in my home state. I cannot imagine a more meaningful award.” Over 100 stations carry “The Bob & Tom Show.”
BetMGM Becomes Exclusive Sportsbook of the BetQL Network. The partnership is a multi-year agreement that expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. Audacy chair, president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to expand our strategic partnership with BetMGM, highlighted by their new exclusive position with the BetQL Network. Barely a year old, the BetQL Network has a bright future ahead of it as legalized sports betting continues to expand over the next decade.” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Provost notes, “We’re excited to further our strategic partnership with Audacy and to bring our market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment content to millions of listeners nationwide across the entire BetQL Network platform.” Since its launch last June, the BetQL Network has expanded from two markets to 31. Beginning in September, BetMGM will have category exclusivity of the network’s full slate of programming, including flagship “You Better You Bet” and “BetQL Daily,” “The Daily Tip,” and “BetMGM Tonight.” Audacy will produce content for live audiences at various MGM Resorts across the country. Audacy first announced a partnership with BetMGM in March 2021. The BetQL Network is a live, linear digital channel that distributes approximately 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms and YouTube.
TALKERS News Notes. Ramifications on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade will be discussed tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, 6/28) on Boston public radio news/talk WGBH’s “Community Conversation: The Roe v. Wade Ruling” (2:00 pm – 3:30 pm). WGBH general manager/news Pam Johnston comments, “The Supreme Court’s opinion on Roe v. Wade will impact our lives in Massachusetts in ways we haven’t even begun to understand yet and opens up a host of questions for people across the Commonwealth. We invite people to gather at the ‘GBH Studio inside the Boston Public Library to discuss and unpack these critical and far-reaching issues.” WGBH hosts Callie Crossley, Margery Eagan, and Paris Alston will be joined by Reproductive Equity Now executive director Rebecca Hart Holder and Suffolk University professor Renee Landers … Taking effect this Friday (7/1) will be a ten-year extension between Learfield and the University of Oklahoma athletics department. Learfield executive vice president/university partnership group Mike Hamilton notes, “We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue representing the Sooner brand. We appreciate Oklahoma University Athletics’ longtime trust in us. The unprecedented agreement commencing in July speaks to the forward-thinking, strategic decisions necessary in today’s rapidly evolving college sports landscape.” Oklahoma University vice president/director of athletics Joe Castiglione comments, “As with any challenge and change our industry experiences, we intentionally seek cutting-edge collaborations to move us forward in the marketplace. [Learfield’s] leadership continues to help our administration navigate through areas such as evolution in the content game and digital innovation.” Sooner Sports Properties’ newly-named vice president/general manager Kelly Collyar remarks, “We are genuinely excited about this extension and how it will transform the way our brand partners integrate with our fans. Through the expansion of categories and assets, sponsorship will truly take on a new meaning at Oklahoma University.” Meanwhile, pending finalization of a deal first reported by The Grand Forks Herald, radio rights to University of North Dakota athletics broadcasts will be awarded to iHeartMedia, which currently airs Fighting Hawks sports. According to the report, Leighton Broadcasting also bid on the radio package … Several major media and entertainment companies such as Comcast, Discovery, Disney, Meta, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Last week was one for the media history books. For stock market watchers, last Friday was a nauseating roller coaster ride. In case you were off the grid, here’s just a taste.
Netflix lost $50 billion in value, CNN+ shut down after a month, Meta (Facebook) has already lost almost half its value, and Elon Musk may still wind up with Twitter. A top 50-market radio station we use in my marketing work raised rates by 250% as ratings slid.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
William Shatner did for sellers what Donald Trump did for talents. They drove talk radio to another level and we all benefited.
I remember the 2015-2016 undercurrent evident on countless sales calls. It was all about how talk radio had run its course and the end was near. Five years ago the theory was talk radio listeners were aging out and the demographics were growing so old, soon there would be no value for advertisers in reaching those older, outdated listeners. Nothing left of relevance in talk radio to attract listeners and advertisers. Enter Donald Trump and arguably his persona helped make talk radio relevant, influential and on fire again.
By Holland Cooke
NBC uses affiliates’ air to ask viewers to watch Peacock instead. They even cannibalize their own linear channels. As President Trump recently addressed Congress, Lester Holt anchored on NBC, while MSNBC “Morning Joe” stars anchored coverage on Peacock. As if Brian Williams + talking-heads on MSNBC and Shepard Smith + talking-heads on CNBC weren’t splintering viewership already.