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Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco

| August 16, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Next month we will be noting that “It’s been TWENTY years!” We’ll invite callers’ where-were-you-when-you-heard stories. They will recall how — in the days following 9/11 – we were all…Americans, actually being nice to each other. And we were angry enough at whoever-did-this that we bungled into Iraq. Cue Lee Greenwood.

We were galvanized by a human enemy. Yet now, as we’re under attack by a super-human enemy – a virus that has killed over a half million in the USA, and is now resurging – we argue.

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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, February 5, 2021

| February 5, 2021

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, “Freedom of Screech,” looks back at this past week of February 1-5, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkJoyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanySteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The 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; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer 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.

Rudy Giuliani Says WABC Radio Disclaimer ‘Rather Insulting.’ Former New York City mayor and recent Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York after the station aired a disclaimer at the end of a commercial break during Giuliani’s one-hour afternoon radio show on the station. On the heels of the announcement by voting systems firm Smartmatic that it is suing FOX News, some of its hosts, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and Giuliani for defamation for $2.7 billion, WABC added the disclaimer to his program that stated, “The views, assumptions and opinions expressed by former U.S. attorney, former attorney to the president of the United States, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his guests and callers on his program are strictly their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs or policies of WABC Radio, its owner Red Apple Group, its other hosts or its advertisers.” Giuliani expressed his surprise at the disclaimer stating on the air, “I would have thought they would have told me about that before just doing what they just did. Rather insulting. And gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone. And how they frighten everybody. I mean, we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany… They’ve got to warn you about me? I’m going to have to give that a lot of consideration. I also think putting it on without telling me ― not the right thing to do. Not the right thing to do at all.”

Holiday PPM Ratings Highs & Lows. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today reports on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM ratings and says, “Virtually nothing in any facet of life was ‘normal’ in the just-concluded calendar year, so it wouldn’t have been a monumental shock if Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 numbers strayed from past scripts. Pandemic-caused modified radio listening habits, combined with a completely out-of-the-norm presidential campaign/election/aftermath, accounted for some strange wobbles compared to past Holiday survey periods. Read his complete report here.

Donald Trump Resigns from SAG-AFTRA. As requested by the union after a Disciplinary Committee meeting, Donald Trump has resigned from SAG-AFTRA. However, the former president did not go quietly into the night. He wrote, in part, “Your organization has done little for its members, and nothing for me – besides collecting dues and promoting dangerous un-American policies and ideas – as evident by your massive unemployment rates and lawsuits from celebrated actors, who even recorded a video asking, ‘Why isn’t the union fighting for me?’ These, however, are policy failures. Your disciplinary failures are even more egregious. I no longer wish to be associated with your union. As such, this letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me.” You can read the entire text of his resignation here. For its part, the union responded, “Thank you.”

TALKERS News Notes. In the Twin Cities, Entercom and the Minnesota Timberwolves announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement that keeps WCCO-AM as the flagship station for Timberwolves basketball. The station has served as the radio home of the team since 2011. Entercom Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “This season we are excited to not only expand our distribution, but also try new content platforms that utilize our incredible talent and give fans an insider’s view into the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are an organization that’s forward-thinking and innovative, and it’s a perfect partner for 830 WCCO and the unparalleled signal coverage we provide to the Upper Midwest.”…..iHeartMedia is partnering with Paris Hilton to produce a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts as well as a series of PodPosts, what the company calls “a new format that merges social media into voice, and podcasting into a social environment.” The new series will launch February 22 with the “This is Paris” podcast hosted by Hilton herself, “which puts her own creative spin on the podcast format — releasing a blend of both playful, emotional and authentic scripted, scheduled episodes as well as spontaneous, shorter ‘social’ audio episodes each week between segments. This unique audio format will entertain audiences with content that includes candid interviews with influential and inspiring guests around the globe, discussing topics such as beauty, wellness, fashion, pop culture, travel, entrepreneurship, relationships and more.”…..Entercom’s C13Originals announces season three of the Gangster Capitalism documentary podcast franchise: Jerry Falwell Jr. The company says that “Gangster Capitalism, Season 3: Jerry Falwell Jr. and Liberty University” will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The series will launch in the spring and the investigative docuseries will feature more than 30 exclusive interviews from current and former students, staff, faculty, administration, and insiders, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians, some going on the record for the first time to reveal new stories and information that is explosive and revealing…..WNYC Studios and The Atlantic introduce, “The Experiment: Stories From an Unfinished Country,” a weekly podcast that will “give listeners the context they need to understand our country right now.” In each episode, host Julia Longoria is joined by The Atlantic’s writers and editors to “explore America’s promise through riveting, surprising, and even surreal stories that uncover powerful and sometimes invisible forces of history.”

Trump Impeachment, Capitol Insurrection Investigation, and GOP Cheney and Greene Issues Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The looming impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the investigation into the Capitol insurrection, and the GOP’s dealing with attacks on Senator Liz Cheney and the conspiracy theories of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of February 1-5, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 stats, rollout of vaccines and concern about variants. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the Biden-GOP stimulus negotiations, and the financial markets activity. At #4 was race relations tied with police reform and the Morgan Wallen racial slur case. #5 was the cable TV ratings war tied with social media censorship and the cancel culture. Following at #6 was climate change tied with immigration reform. At #7 was U.S. relations with China and Russia tied with the Myanmar coup. #8 was the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the FBI agents slain while investigating a child porn case. Finally, at #10 was the countdown to Super Bowl LV. 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.