Tag: "The Authentic Personality"
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in TALKERS magazine on December 23, 2014. The release of Adnan Sayed from prison last week put the investigative podcast “Serial” back in the spotlight.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — I first learned about “Serial” the podcast from my Twitter feed. It was a day I was thinking a lot about the future of radio and audio entertainment. I was feeling pretty pessimistic. The current crop of news and talk programming on radio wasn’t giving me much hope. The headline style news delivered by most radio stations has become a commodity available on demand on multiple platforms. The superficial reports of common crime, ordinary human misfortune, politics and political process that dominate the radio news menu aren’t distinctive, interesting or relevant to the lives of most listeners. Talk programming is limited to conversations about sports and politics from a conservative political perspective. Digital audio initiatives from radio broadcasters are primarily repurposed radio programs offered as podcasts. The lack of imagination, innovation, and variety in audio content created by radio broadcasters left me feeling depressed about the future of the business to which I’ve dedicated most of my professional life.
Roland Martin Joins iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network. Journalist Roland Martin is becoming part of iHeartMedia’s BIN – Black Information Network – programming initiative as a commentator. His podcast “#RolandMartinUnfiltered” is also being made available on the iHeartPodcast Network. BIN: Black Information Network is iHeartMedia’s recently launched “24/7 comprehensive national audio news service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” In his role with BIN, Martin will exclusively curate custom commentary segments for BIN to be broadcast daily throughout the network’s 24-hour news feed. His commentary will be available on more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices, as well as on local AM/FM broadcast radio stations in numerous U.S. cities. Director of news operations Tanita Myers says, “When we launched BIN: Black Information Network, we knew how extremely important it was to provide a forum for trusted voices within the Black community and there’s perhaps no one more trusted and reliable in Black media today than Roland Martin. He has built a legacy that has paved the way for other Black journalists and continues to use his platform to bring a much needed perspective on topics that matter to both Black Americans and the nation in general.” Martin comments, “I am excited to provide daily commentaries to BIN. We are living in a time where we need more coverage about the issues facing African Americans. In addition, I am really thrilled to partner with the iHeartPodcast Network to distribute and market the ‘#RolandMartinUnfiltered’ audio podcast. We have seen tremendous growth with the daily video show, and we can’t wait to do the same with the audio podcast.”
TALKERS Magazine to Publish 2020 Heavy Hundred on Thursday (7/16). This Thursday (7/16), the editors of TALKERS magazine will publish the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We look forward to Thursday’s publication of the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in ways that put them among the “most important.”
Edison: COVID-19 Affects Morning Show Listening. According to data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, U.S. radio listeners 13 and older began their morning listening 75 minutes later that before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. Edison says that “pre-COVID-19, the point in the day when 50% of those in the U.S. age 13+ recorded their first entry of their audio day was around 7:15 am. During Q2 fielding of Share of Ear, it was not until 8:30 am that half of respondents had recorded any audio usage.” Edison Research director Laura Ivey says, “This finding challenges our thinking about how those in the U.S. listen to audio during traditional drive times. With many people staying at home or working from home during Q2, they did not engage with audio as early as they did pre-COVID. This data shows that if Americans continue current work patterns, audio strategies may need to be adjusted.”
Westwood One: Direct-To-Consumer Retail Sales Continues to Surge. The data comes from the second annual Direct-To-Consumer Media Attribution and Awareness study in which Westwood One with LeadsRx and MARU Matchbox is seeking to understand the marketing effectiveness of direct-to-consumer firms and the state of their brand equity. Noting that even before the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce was surging (e-commerce represented 11.8% of total U.S. retail sales up from 6.9% in the first quarter of 2015) the study sought to examine direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands who sell online and the marketing practices that lead to success. Cumulus Media|Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “Direct-to-consumer brands are entering their second act now, seeking to grow through market penetration and attract the masses via TV and AM/FM radio. This study validates the brand-building sales effect of broadcast media as TV and radio drive seven times the search and site traffic lift of Google and Facebook.” Another finding from the study is that AM/FM radio is a catalyst for increased effectiveness of Google and Facebook ads during the pandemic. During 2019, Facebook and Google ads saw a 15% increase in performance due to AM/FM radio advertising. During the pandemic in Q2 2020 radio’s impact on Google/Facebook performance surged to 20%. See more here.
IAB: COVID-19 Cuts Projected U.S. Podcast Revenue in Half. The U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study from IAB includes results from 2019, projections for 2020 and beyond, and a detailed industry analysis. The key revenue takeaway is that IAB had projected podcast revenue to rise 29.6% in 2020, but after the coronavirus pandemic struck, that figure has been revised to an increase of 14.7%. The positive news is that projections indicate the third and fourth quarters of 2020 should improve. That said, U.S. podcast revenue is nearing the $1 billion mark. Looking back, the study finds the total market year-over-year revenue estimate increased 48% to $708.1 million in 2019, from FY 2018’s total market estimate of $479.1 million. Another finding relevant to news and news/talk radio pros is that the calculation of 2019 podcast advertising revenues based on genre indicates that news podcasts grabbed 22% of the podcast revenue, leading the pack (comedy was in second place with 17% of the podcast revenue). See more here.
TALKERS News Notes. In Boston, Beasley Media Group is teaming up with RCN Business to award a total of $200,000 in marketing support to assist the Small Business Association Grant Program. The companies say they have created a customized program designed to help local businesses get back up and running, without having to worry about marketing budgets. The program is offering designated small businesses the opportunity to be considered for a $10,000 media schedule to use on one of five Beasley Media Boston radio stations – including sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”. A total of 20 small businesses will be selected to receive a grant to help advertise…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that conservative talk host Joe Walsh’s new program on suburban WCGO-AM, Evanston and the affiliated GAB Radio Network is moving from a delay broadcast slot to the live 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot. Walsh, a former U.S. Representative from Chicago and a former WIND-AM talk host, has been back on the radio for about seven weeks. WCGO general manager Chuck Duncan says, “I think this will probably come as welcome news for his Chicago listeners as they can now interact with him live versus having to listen via stream in order to participate. His call volume has been off the charts, with major activity from New York, Philly, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Miami, and his streaming audio numbers are the highest we’ve ever seen from any show on the station — averaging about 2,700 unique instances a day.”…..FOX Sports Radio is touting its success on digital platforms in the absence of live sports. Premiere Networks says June 2020 was FSR’s second-best month ever in terms of podcast listens. “Year over year, the network’s total podcast audience grew 88%, bringing the monthly total to more than 16.5 million for the FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network. On the streaming front, FSR’s audience grew 70% from April 2020 to May 2020. The following month, May 2020 to June 2020, FSR’s streaming audience grew an additional 13%. Year over year, FSR’s streaming was up 55%, marking the network’s second-best streaming month of all time.”
Radio Pros Paul Vandenburgh and Mimi Griswold Among 2020 Inductees in NY Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The board of directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association announces the Hall of Fame Class of 2020. This year’s class includes WGDJ-AM, Albany owner, general manager, and talk host Paul Vandenburgh; Galaxy Media Partners VP of programming Mimi Griswold; WNBC-TV, New York anchor David Ushery; and WVVH-TV, Hamptons owners Greg and Ernie Schimizzi. NYSBA president David Donovan says, “The Class of 2020 represents the best in the broadcasting profession. While the inductees represent a cross section of broadcasters from across the state, they share one key characteristic. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serve their local communities. We are honored to have them join the ranks of the legendary broadcasters from New York.”
COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Fauci, Schools Opening Debate/Foreign Students Lawsuit, Presidential Race, Portland Unrest, U.S.-China Tensions, Washington Redskins Name Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The soaring number of new COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future cases; President Trump’s divergence from Dr. Tony Fauci on the seriousness of the pandemic; the debate over opening U.S. schools in the fall and 18 attorneys general sue the White House over the foreign students ban; the November presidential election; the protests and clashes with police in Portland, Oregon; the U.S. challenges China’s claim to territory in the South China Sea; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change the name of the team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Providence, Hall Communications announces that it is elevating afternoon drive host and production director Kevin Palana to program director for country WCTK-FM “Cat Country 98.1.” Palana is taking over for company VP of programming Bob Walker who is moving south to lead programming at the company’s Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida operations. In this role, Palana will also program classic hits WNBH, New Bedford, Massachusetts “BIG 101.3.” Palana says, “I want to thank Tom, Bob, and everyone at Hall for this opportunity. I grew up in this market and there is no place I’d rather live. I look forward to working directly with Courtney Kelley and Brian Mulhern of ‘Cat Country’ mornings and the entire staff in Providence and New Bedford.”…..Townsquare Media’s hot AC KCIX, Boise “MIX 106” brings Angie Morales into the morning drive show alongside John Moug for the “Moug & Angie Mornings” program. Moug says, “Townsquare Media has given us this incredible opportunity to connect with the Treasure Valley in a real way. We’re here to have a ton of fun, laugh until we’re light-headed, but also not hide from the real-world issues that we’re all facing on a daily basis. Plus, the fact that I get to do this show with one of the funniest people I’ve ever met takes the cake!”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents are launching “Kiss 108’s Chromebooks For Kids” – a fundraising campaign to purchase Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. Now through Labor Day weekend, “Kiss 108” is encouraging listeners to make a donation and support students in the community.
New Afternoon Show to Launch at KIRO-FM, Seattle; Jason Rantz to PM Drive at Sister KTTH-AM. Talent changes take effect at Bonneville’s Seattle talk stations on Monday (1/14). The new “Candy, Mike and Todd” Show launches with hosts Candy Harper, Mike Lewis, and Todd Herman. Heather Bosch handles news updates twice hourly for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm show. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’ve put together what we feel is a winning team. Candy, Mike, and Todd are a fun, entertaining and intelligent trio. They will be a perfect complement to the news, traffic, and weather elements that ‘KIRO Radio’ listeners expect every weekday afternoon.” Candy Harper most recently served as the afternoon producer on KIRO-FM. Mike Lewis has worked at KIRO-FM as a reporter and fill-in host since 2016, and Todd Herman moves over from sister conservative news/talk KTTH where he’s been the afternoon drive personality. As a result of that move, Bonneville shifts KTTH morning show host Jason Rantz to the afternoon drive daypart and brings Saul Spady aboard to host the morning drive program. Spady is described as “very active in local politics” and an accomplished businessman. Candy Harper says of the new KIRO-FM show, “Mike, Todd, and I are three opinionated friends who may disagree on almost everything but love to talk about why. Turns out, people are quite capable of disagreeing on issues and still being decent human beings. This show is going to be unique.” About joining KTTH-AM for mornings, Spady comments, “I’m excited for this opportunity to create a new type of conservative talk radio show in mornings that gives a 21st century perspective both locally and nationally. I hope to connect with listeners both new and old, transplant and local alike in our quest to create a rational opposition to the rudderless leadership we have in Seattle and Olympia.”
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk. There’s wasn’t great movement up or down for public radio news/talk stations in PPM markets from November to December – 48% were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) and 41% were down. Year-over-year, 39% of those stations were up with 55% of them losing audience share. Three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in December – KQED, San Franciscio; WAMU, Washington; and KPBS, San Diego – while four other stations ranked #2 in their respective markets. Also in this report is a chart comparing the performances of all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk. See the whole story here.
Timeless Wisdom from Radio Legends. Consultant Bill McMahon, principal of The Authentic Personality, offers some advice to TALKERS magazine readers that he picked up a few years back that he says bears constant reinforcement:
TalenTrak was an annual event in Chicago created by The Conclave to inspire and educate radio personalities. The year I attended, it delivered big-time on both accounts.
Radio legends Larry Lujack and Jonathon Brandmeier were the featured speakers. They put on quite a show. Their passion for radio and its possibilities lifted the conference room at Columbia College. Their performance demonstrated radio’s unique ability to create intimate human relationships. The stories they told about their lives in radio — the ups and downs, the successes and failures — really resonated with the audience. Lujack and Brandmeier established a real connection and emotional bond with everyone in that room. It was great radio.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom for aspiring radio personalities from the success stories of Uncle Lar and Johnny B:
Don’t copy anyone. Be yourself and you’ll be distinctive. There is nobody exactly like you. Lujack said it this way. “One of my advantages was not being able to hear big-city radio growing up in Caldwell, Idaho. I never copied anybody because I didn’t have anyone to copy.” Here’s Brandmeier’s perspective: “I don’t know what’s going on in radio. I don’t listen to other shows. In my head, I’m the only guy on the radio.”
Constantly expand what you know. If you don’t know more than your listeners, you can’t add much to their lives. Lujack “read newspapers and magazines for seven hours a day” to expand his knowledge. Brandmeier said, “I read everything. You gotta to be aware of the world around you. The more you read the more you have to react to. It’s like filling a cooler with meat. I just keep filling it.”
Don’t present anything on the radio that you don’t really care about. If it doesn’t ring your emotional bell, if it’s not interesting, meaningful, or fun to you, forget it. It won’t matter to your listeners if it doesn’t matter to you. Brandmeier put it this way, “if you’re not curious about it or care about it, don’t talk about it. The audience knows.”
Find the right boss — someone who totally believes in you. Don’t go to work for people who want to change you and what you do. They’ll make your life miserable, destroy your confidence, and then fire you. Lujack and Brandmeier’s careers took off when they found PDs who believed in them. Lujack was fired repeatedly by bosses who didn’t understand or appreciate his often “cynical, sarcastic, negative attitude” on the radio and insisted he change. He refused because, “it was easier to be me than somebody I was not. I believed me would work.” It sure did once he found Pat O’Day at KJR in Seattle. “He was the first PD who encouraged me to be me.” Brandmeier found Don Benson who heard him breaking format doing a midday music show in Milwaukee. Brandmeier recalled, “I would start talking to listeners on the radio the minute the programmers left the building for lunch. I figured they wouldn’t hear me while they were eating.” Benson heard him. He called Brandmeier with an offer that changed his life. “There’s a voice inside you that wants to get out. How would you like to let that voice out on a morning show in Phoenix?” Brandmeier took the job at KZZP. The “voice” Benson heard attracted a few listeners. “They let me do whatever I wanted”, remembered Brandmeier, “and the ratings tripled.”
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the partnering of Chicago radio personality Kathy Hart with Frank Fontana on Tribune Broadcasting’s news/talk WGN-AM continues with a regular, Wednesday evening show. Hart, formerly the morning drive co-host on hot AC WTMX, has been sitting in with Fontana on his weekend show since October and now the two will have a regular, weeknight program…..According to a report by Maria Sciullo in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Laurel Highland Total Communications Inc. has flipped WAVL, Apollo, Pennsylvania (northeast of Pittsburgh) from news/talk as “Talk PA” to variety hits. It has changed the call letters to WXJX. The reason for the switch is reportedly due to the disappearance of Laura Ingraham’s daily live radio show and the re-configuration of Michael Savage’s program, combined with the loss of exclusivity for the “Quinn & Rose” show hosted by Jim Quinn and Rose Somma Tennent (pictured here). Their show is also heard on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh. Station executive David Waugaman states, “Then we found out Laura Ingraham would be quitting radio and staying with TV [and a podcast]. And finally, finding that Michael Savage was dropping away from radio as well. So without great replacements, we felt it was best to go with a music format and we have had great success with our ‘Jack’ programming at our radio station down in Morgantown.”
Beasley and UNLV Hackathon Initiative Winners. Pictured above are the winners of Beasley Media Group’s Media Innovation Hackathon initiative at CES 2019. Done in collaboration with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the initiative was launched in October 2018 with the goal of generating potential commercial products and services utilizing existing media technology, data, and infrastructure, as well as to conceptualize the kinds of transformative, disruptive technologies that will become mainstream in the next 20 years. The first-place team (pictured above) won $5,000 for its work using AM/FM frequencies to charge devices. The second- and third-place teams won $2,500 and $1,000, respectively. Pictured are (from l-r): Bruce Beasley, UNLV’s Dr. Mary Croughan, Consumer Technology Association senior director of Innovation & Trends Ben Arnold, Beasley’s Buzz Knight, UNLV students Erick Serrano and Yuria Mann, UNLV’s Zach Miles, UNLV provost Diane Chase, and Brian Beasley.
Celebrating ‘The Sopranos.’ Pictured above is “The Sopranos” actor Steve Schirripa (center), who played Bobby Baccalieri on the iconic HBO series. He stopped by the WOR, New York studios yesterday (1/10) to talk about the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the show with morning drive team Len Berman (left) and Michael Riedel (right).
Trump Border Wall Address Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 7-11. Tuesday evening’s Oval Office address by President Trump about the border wall issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the ongoing federal government shutdown. Coming at #3 was the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, followed by the potential 2020 presidential candidates 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Multi-Platform Performer Kate Delaney Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. She is a woman of many platforms and talents who casts a wide net. Kate Delaney is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, top business and motivational speaker, best-selling author, and a weekend host for the NBC Sports Radio Network. In addition, she hosts a long-running news/talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called “America Tonight” and a weekly online feature with Forbes Books showcasing movers and shakers in the business world. Her most recent book published by Forbes is titled, Deal Your Own Destiny: Increase Your Odds, Win Big and Become Extraordinary. Delaney is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Delaney discuss sports, politics, business, and breaking the glass ceiling. Harrison says, “More people in the talk media industry should know about this hard-working renaissance woman and we are so pleased to launch this podcast’s fifth year by spotlighting her views and accomplishments.” 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 daily newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Go Media’s alternative KQGO, Minneapolis “GO 96.3,” evening personality Jordan Alamat gets to take the “assistant” off his music director title. In a statement, station program director Christy Taylor says, “Jordan has been a key member of Go 96.3’s programming since before I returned. His knowledge of music as a fan and a musician gives him a passion I’ve rarely seen in a music director. With great pride ‘GO Radio’ is happy to announce that Jordan Alamat has been officially elevated to music director of ‘GO 96.3.’ Along with his music director duties he will continue to host the most interactive night show in the cities.”…..Sarkes Tarzian’s Fort Wayne, Indiana alternative outlet gets another signal to expand its presence in the region. The company bought WGBJ-FM, Auburn, Indiana last year and now adds its class A 102.3 FM signal to the “ALT 99.5” format airing on WAJI-HD2, Fort Wayne. Sarkes Tarzian Fort Wayne VP and market manager Lee Tobin comments, “This expands the reach of Fort Wayne’s only alternative station beyond Allen County into the surrounding counties of northeast Indiana.”…..The syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio” show – distributed by YEA Networks – adds two new stations to its affiliate roster. KORQ, Abilene, Texas and KHQT, Las Cruces, New Mexico pick up the program. It’s currently heard on almost 40 stations nationwide.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — The surest way to attract and hold the largest and most loyal audience you can is to consistently create meaningful emotional experiences for your listeners. Experiences that make their lives more interesting, rewarding and fun. Experiences that challenge them to think, feel, and grow.
Creating magical moments for your listeners flows naturally from recognizing and fully understanding meaningful emotional experiences in your life. Here’s a process for doing just that:
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho – Competition, ownership and on-air personnel changes, misguided attempts to attract a younger audience and location on the AM band combined to reduce a former major market-leading news station to an also-ran. There was hope that moving the station from AM to FM might help things. Nope. That’s when the rebuild began.
By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
EAGLE, Idaho — I’ve been coaching radio personalities and studying gifted artists for over 25 years. I’ve been privileged to work with some remarkable performers like Kidd Kraddick, Jeff of Jeff and Jer, Rush Limbaugh, and Dr. Laura. I’ve observed successful songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and creators of TV shows. I’ve learned a lot about where great artists get their inspiration and how they create.
I’ve discovered successful artists across the media spectrum — those who’ve created hit songs, blockbuster movies, best selling books, top-rated TV shows, and the most listened to radio shows — are guided by a common force I’ve come to call “The Artist’s Secret.” It has three elements.