By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — He told us that, first-and-foremost, he was an entertainer. And was he ever. As was the late gritty iconoclast G. Gordon Liddy, second-in back when political talk radio found traction. Either of them probably could’ve read the phone book and held our attention. Local hosts chimed-into what became a conservative chorus. Yet, as they still share the same sheet music, it’s not the same without the lead singer.
Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.
NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”
Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.
Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.
The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis 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. See this week’s complete chart here.
Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”
Chris Carlin Exits WFAN, New York. Sports talk personality Chris Carlin (left) was one-third of the team brought in to host the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s WFAN, New York after Mike Francesa left at the end of 2017. Now, a year and a half later, Carlin announces he’s leaving the midday “CMB” show he’s co-hosted with Bart Scott (right) and Maggie Gray (center). Regular TALKERS readers are aware that when Mike Francesa returned to WFAN in April of 2018, station brass placed him in PM drive and bumped “CMB” to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. This appears to be a fiscal move on Entercom’s part but it’s not clear why Carlin drew the short straw. He tweeted news of his departure on Wednesday: “I’m sad to say today was my last day at WFAN. I want to thank CBS Radio and Entercom for giving me an incredible opportunity for the last 2 years. I’m proud to count Bart and Maggie among my closest friends. They truly are what my brother calls ‘back alley people,’ those who you want with you in the toughest situations. I’ll always know we had a chance to do something special, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you hope. Still, we bonded and responded, and I’m so proud of what we accomplished by finishing in the top 3 in four consecutive ratings books. I can’t wait to see them take the show to the next level and finish what we started.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news stations. After a down survey for the format in July, almost 70% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares improve from July to August, led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+1.1). Year-over-year numbers are a mixed bag, with half the stations on our panel improving and the other half declining. During the August survey, not a single all-news station ranked #1 in its market, however two – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 (6+) in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
New Programs Debut at WTLA, Syracuse. Sports talk WTLA “ESPN Syracuse” adds two new shows to the late morning daypart. In place of the now defunct Daniel Baldwin show, Galaxy Media launches “The Seth Everett Show” featuring Seth Everett and Paulie Scibilia (10:00 am to 11:00 am) followed by “Centers of Attention,” co-hosted by former Syracuse University basketball players Etan Thomas and Danny Schayes (11:00 am to 12:00 noon). As Syracuse.com reports, the additions complement the other local shows on the station, including: “Orange Nation” hosted by Steve Infanti and Seth Goldberg (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) “In the Booth” with Matt Park and Brian Higgins (2:00 pm to 3:00 pm), and “On the Block” starring Brent Axe (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm). Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine tells the paper the station has plans for the 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot, saying, “We will be doing something that to the best of my knowledge has never been done.”
Bolton Leaves Trump Administration/Iran Relations, 9/11 Anniversary, 2020 Presidential Race/NC Special Election, SCOTUS Asylum Ruling, Bahamas Devastation, Brexit Chaos, Vaping Illnesses-Deaths, and Antonio Brown Rape Allegations Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). National Security Advisor John Bolton’s exit from the Trump Administration and its effect on U.S.-Iran policy; the anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11; the Democrats and Republicans vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the results of the North Carolina special congressional election; the Supreme Court’s ruling that nixes a lower court stay on President Trump’s “third country” asylum ban; the refugee status in the Bahamas; the political chaos in Great Britain over Brexit; the rash of illnesses and deaths blamed on vaping; and the rape allegations being leveled at Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new podcast from Cadence13 titled, “Campaign HQ,” hosted by former Obama campaign manager and White House senior advisor David Plouffe. Cadence13 says that on the weekly show, Plouffe will offer insight and seasoned analysis on the strategies and decisions driving the Trump re-election efforts and the presidential campaigns of the Democratic challengers. It premieres on September 19, 2019…..ESPN is reporting that in August its podcasts garnered more than 7 million listeners. The company says the total represents an increase of 49% over August 2018. It credits the “30 for 30: The Sterling Affairs” series for driving growth, saying the podcasts registered a unique audience of more than one million, a first, and an increase over the same month last year of 172%, according to Podtrac…..PodcastOne is celebrating the success of Tip “T.I.” Harris’ “expeditiously” podcast after it reached #1 on the Apple Podcasts chart for all podcast categories. The first two episodes feature conversations with LL Cool J and Ice Cube…..iHeartMedia is also popping the champagne after Podtrac released its August 2019 publisher rankings of the top 10 podcast publishers and placed its iHeartRadio as the #1 podcast publisher by US unique monthly audience, surpassing NPR. iHeartRadio says it has seen a more than 300% increase in unique podcast visits year-over-year. Note that ranking data only includes publishers that participate in Podtrac measurement for the full month for which the ranking is being released…..Beasley Media Philadelphia personality Kathy Romano – cast member on WMMR-FM’s “Preston and Steve” show – is also host of the weekly “Her Story” program that airs on the company’s adult hits WBEN-FM on Sunday mornings. Next Wednesday (9/18), she’ll host the “3rd annual Her Story Luncheon” that will feature ABC News and “Good Morning America” chief meteorologist Ginger Zee as keynote speaker. Attendees of the event will include CEOs, influencers in arts and cultural worlds, directors of non-profit organizations, and public relations professionals, as well as WBEN-FM listeners who won tickets to the event. The “Her Story” program showcases dynamic women that are making a significant impact in the community via their business, their charity work, or a combination of both.
Music Mogul Mathew Knowles Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Music World Entertainment, college professor, best-selling author and cannabis industry entrepreneur, Mathew Knowles, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Knowles was the creator and manager of the historic female singing group Destiny’s Child and is the father of pop stars Beyoncé and Solange. He is also the father-in-law of rap giant Jay-Z (Shawn Corey Carter). Knowles, who recently earned his doctorate, and is a widely respected college professor and lecturer who has written books about entrepreneurism as well as racism, recently became involved in the burgeoning cannabis industry as an investor and chief marketing officer of a publicly-traded company called Bangi (which means marijuana in Swahili). Harrison and Knowles discuss a wide range of topics and issues including music, marijuana and race relations. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the San Francisco operations of Bonneville International, programmer Brian Figula adds to his current role as PD of adult contemporary KOIT and classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 K-Fox.” Effective immediately, he is programming urban contemporary KBLX-FM and CHR KMVQ. Bonneville San Francisco vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “Fig will continue his direct programming responsibility over KOIT and KUFX. In addition, he’ll take a bigger role overseeing digital content, digital audience development, and serve as a senior member of our programming and marketing brain trust for each of our four brands. We’ve all come to respect and rely on his keen thinking about how to win in a competitive marketplace.”…..Programming pro Nick Cash exits iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf” where he was PD and afternoon drive personality. He also served as brand manager for sports talk KCBL-AM “FOX Sports Radio 1340” and religion KRDU…..iHeartMedia reveals that alt rock icons Green Day are joining the lineup of the 2019 iHeartRadioMusic Festival taking place September 20 and 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas…..Condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of rock WRBR, South Bend, Indiana “103.9 The Bear” program director Ron Stryker, who passed away. The Federated Media station posted the following message on the WRBR website: “It is with incredible sadness and heavy hearts that we announce that our friend and colleague Ron Stryker has passed away. Ron has been a part of 103.9 The Bear and Federated Media family as long as any of us can remember. His personality and passion are irreplaceable. Out of respect for his family, friends and coworkers who are grieving his loss we are asking for privacy at this time.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI – “Pander.” That is your one-word, sure-shot ratings success strategy.
Ten years ago, Limbaugh was a mature act. Some stations that branded as “Rush Radio” eventually re-branded. Now, buoyed by Trump, his 30th anniversary. During El Rushbo’s recent Three-Oh show, the president called to gush congratulations.
Gallup Poll: How many people feel that the media “report the news fully, accurately and fairly?”
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — After nearly two years of campaign noise, many Americans were eager “for it to end.” But November 8 was a beginning. And with the manners our parents preached now scorned as political correctness, the noise will only get louder. In the social media era, broadcasters’ challenge is to cut through that clutter.
Donald Trump will be President of The United States, and the implications for radio’s top format are profound.