Monday Memo: Curing the Radio Advertising Pandemic. “Local-Local-Local” has been the desperate plea of programmers, as corporate bloodletting whacked station staffs. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke debriefs an independent station owner – in the eye of the storm in Texas – who weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than absentee-owned competitors, with a grassroots sales strategy focused on the service retailers deemed “essential” during the shutdown. Read it here.
COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russia-Taliban Bounties Allegation, Presidential Race/Trump ‘White Power’ Tweet, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues/Mississippi Flag Change, BET Awards, and Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states, the total cases around the globe, and projections for future cases; the report that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American soldiers; the November presidential election and President Trump’s tweet including a supporter shouting, “White power!”; the protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement; the controversy over the status of Confederate and Colonial-era statues and Mississippi’s state flag change; Sunday’s BET Awards show; and the state of professional and college sports leagues as they attempt to launch or re-start their seasons 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 Great Ones Have This Trait. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that more important than product knowledge, planning & organizational skills, and a “Rolodex” of contacts, is one trait that the best salespeople share: Enthusiasm. So, how do you stay enthusiastic during these challenging times? Lapa offers three tips in his column you can read here.
FOX News Channel Welcomes Will Cain. As had been predicted, Will Cain’s exit from ESPN and his ESPN Radio show on Friday (6/26) is being followed by his joining FOX News Channel as co-host of “FOX & Friends Weekend” (Saturdays & Sundays 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET). Cain will make his official debut on Saturday, August 15 alongside co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth. FNC VP of morning programming Gavin Hadden says, “Will has a unique ability to connect with an audience on a wide variety of topics and will make an excellent addition to the ‘FOX & Friends’ franchise.” Cain, who was a political analyst for CNN and co-hosted “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer prior to joining ESPN, says, “I am excited to join the team at ‘FOX & Friends Weekend’ and look forward to building upon my experience in sports, news, and politics on the number one morning show in the country.”
Eric Johnson Named Program Director at AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington. Programming pro Eric “EJ” Johnson is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s Wilmington, Delaware adult contemporary WJBR-FM. Johnson was most recently PD at the company’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” a position he left last November. Prior to that he spent almost 20 years programming news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” In his new role, Johnson will be in charge of content for WJBR-FM’s on-air and digital platforms as well as hosting the afternoon drive show. He says, “Thank you to Joe Bell, Justin Chase, and Bruce Beasley for bringing me back to the family. I’m looking forward to working with the Beasley management team and the talented staff at ‘Mix 99.5’ WJBR in serving our listeners and the community! The station has such a rich heritage in Wilmington and the tri-state area and has a tremendous signal. We will make it shine!”
Newsmax TV Live on fuboTV. Cable television news channel Newsmax TV joins the channel lineup on fubo Standard – the basic package of live streaming TV platform fuboTV. The package offers subscribers more than 100 sports, news, and entertainment channels. Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “fuboTV is offering TV viewers an exciting and growing platform for watching content across genres — news, sports, and entertainment. Newsmax is happy to bring a fresh voice to their subscribers, especially when demand for news is so strong.” fuboTV’s Mihir Shah comments, “Adding Newsmax to the fuboTV platform will give our users access to even more news programming, which is critical during these times as cord-cutters are looking for a variety of both national and local news to stay informed.”
Chris Jones Promoted to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Atlanta. Rising from his general sales manager post at iHeartMedia’s Atlanta cluster to senior vice president of sales is Chris Jones. He’ll oversee all sales operations for the Atlanta market and report to iHeartMedia Atlanta market president Justin Schaflander. Jones states, “Atlanta has been my home for 38 years, having grown up in Lithonia, attending UGA and residing in Marietta with my beautiful bride, Shell, and my two amazing daughters, Maggie and Kate Belle. I am blessed to have called Atlanta home. I love everything that is Atlanta — the energy, excitement, and diversity. I am excited to lead the charge for iHeartMedia Atlanta and the incredibly talented group of sellers, support, talent, and leadership I get to work alongside.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former University of South Carolina and NFL player Rick Sanford announces he’s leaving the South Carolina syndicated radio program “SportsTalk” due to worsening effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The State reports that Sanford addressed his listeners on Friday (6/26) saying he’s leaving the talk program he co-hosts with Phil Kornblut and Matt Smith because the neurocognitive disorder from which he suffers makes it difficult to perform his duties on the radio. “I struggle with keeping my train of thought, finding the right words, and remembering how to do things. My fuse has gotten shorter and my filter has lessened… This is a progressive condition and the time has now come for me to step away from the (microphone).”…..Red Apple Media’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC in New York is partnering with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to present the “All American Weekend” on Saturday, July 4, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (and replayed on 7/5 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm). WABC says, “The show harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll when 77 WABC was a music station and its catchy jingle was known to every New Yorker.” The show is being hosted by DJ Vinnie Medugno and will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani conducting special interviews with Tunnel to Towers heroes…..Entercom says that its Podcast Network is the “top commercial network for the second month in a row, according to Triton. From May 11 through June 7, the network had more than 22.6 million average weekly downloads… In addition, Triton’s latest four-week ranker featured 22 shows from Entercom’s Podcast Network in the Top 100, the most of any publisher for the third month in a row despite new networks joining the report.” Entercom notes that “Pod Save America” was its highest-ranking show at #9.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, Vuolo Video’s Art Vuolo alerted TALKERS magazine that legendary Boston disc jockey Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg passed away at the age of 93. Vuolo says Ginsburg was a broadcast engineer at both WBOS and WBCN but he is best known for his work as night jock on WRKO and WMEX. Ginsburg’s show was called “The Night Train” and the train whistle sound effect gave him his nickname, “Woo Woo.” Later in his career he was EVP of Pyramid Broadcasting, which owned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 FM.” Vuolo archived the WRKO reunion that took place in 2017. You can see that video here…..iHeartMedia moves WZEE, Madison “Z104” afternoon host, MD and APD Sean Strife to the company’s Detroit cluster to serve as afternoon host and APD/MD at CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”
Cumulus Media Appoints Dimick Vice President/Programming Operations. Former Lincoln Financial Media senior vice president of programming and operations John Dimick joins Cumulus Media as vice president of programming operations. Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay remarks, “John Dimick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position. He joins Doug Hamand and Greg Frey as a [vice president of programming operations]. Those three, along with our format specialists and analysts, will provide even more tools to our managers and program directors to employ when programming their stations.” Dimick – who begins his new assignment next Wednesday (6/1) – jokes, “I am very happy that Mike McVay would not buy my ‘retirement from the industry’ thinking. The new senior management team at Cumulus is building [something that] is extraordinary and compelling. I am flattered [corporate believes] I can help advance the growth and success of the stations and the remarkable Cumulus platform. Joining the corporate programming team with people like Greg Frey, Doug Hamand and the other pros at Cumulus is very exciting.” For the past 11 months, Dimick was franchise owner of the Dimick Automotive Group. In addition to Lincoln Financial stations in San Diego, Dimick has programmed Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97,” New York; KPLZ, Seattle; KISN, Salt Lake City; and WNCI, Columbus.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Donates $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. This year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”), Harry Hurley of WPGG, Atlantic City, capped off his acceptance speech last Friday (5/20) at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations by making a donation of $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). For almost a decade, Harry Hurley has used his successful morning show in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a platform for the numerous fundraising activities of his Hurley Morning Show Foundation that have raised more than a half million dollars in support of more than 100 New Jersey charities and service organizations. And he has an outstanding track record of philanthropic activities going back years prior to that. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Hurley as, “The quintessential local radio talk show host – entertaining, community-involved, well-connected and philanthropic – a veritable charity machine!” Harrison recently email blasted a powerful video plea on behalf of the BFOA to thousands of industry professionals that has drawn strong reaction and donation pledges of thousands of dollars. According to Harrison, “Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvement are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate. I know this for a fact, not just by reading press releases, or going to golden mic dinners and golf tournament fund-raisers – but by the personal experience of seeing, on more than one occasion, the Broadcasters Foundation of America step in and rescue sick, destitute and almost-completely broken people – who were, at one time, important players in this game – from literally being thrown out into the street.” To view a video recording of Harry Hurley’s acceptance speech and donation to the BFOA, please click here. To view Michael Harrison’s personal message on behalf of the BFOA, please click here.
Edison Research Webinar on Podcasting: Podcasting Now “Mainstream Media.” The firm Edison Research presented a webinar yesterday (5/26) on the state of podcasting conducted by its VP Tom Webster and covered for TALKERS by media consultant Holland Cooke. During the webinar, Webster stated, “It’s safe at this point to call podcasting ‘mainstream media.’” Cooke comments, It’s always puzzled me how talk radio demonizes that term, while sales reps have been telling prospects that their stations ARE mainstream. What advertiser wants to utilize FRINGE media?” Admitting he’s wary of making predictions, Webster did venture that “Podcasting has been a medium of slow, steady growth. This year, we saw a spike we haven’t seen before. If we’re looking for that ‘hockey stick pattern,’ I’m willing to give you a confident ‘maybe’.” For full details of the information-packed webinar, see Holland Cooke’s coverage by clicking here.
MLB Flagships: Part Two. In the second of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. Whereas all five NL Central key stations can be found in the April 2016 top ten (6+), no AL West flagship finishes higher than #20. Three AL East flagships reach the top ten in April 2016 (6+), as do three key stations of AL Central teams. See the second edition of this exclusive special feature piece about MLB flagships here.
“Sugar Mom” Marshall’s Meaningful Marking. While “voiceover artist,” “audio producer,” and “author” are apt summations of Robin Marshall, the most important depiction of the Dallas-based talent is that she is a one-year cancer survivor. Marshall will release recordings of “Lemons to Lemonade” blogs, which she wrote while undergoing aggressive ovarian cancer treatment. Those episodes will be part of the “Sugar Mom” podcast, leading up to National Cancer Survivors Day next Sunday (6/5). Starting next month, Marshall will distribute her audio book “The Diary of a Sugar Mom: Don’t Tell the Kids” free via her “Sugar Mom” podcast on various podcast directories. Marshall comments, “I want women and men who subscribe to my podcast and/or visit my Facebook page to understand what the concept of a ‘Sugar Mom’ really is, and more importantly, what it is not. If you can try one new thing a day, you are headed towards becoming who you used to be and now want to be again.” The “Sugar Mom” podcast releases new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marshall spent 20 years as a New York City on-air talent and she is the imaging voice for several radio stations. Since being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, she underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments in Dallas; she is in full remission.
Millennials Account For 66.5 Million Radio Users. This is not a homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests, and behaviors; ungrouping millennials can help advertisers, agencies, and radio stations understand each group more closely. Nielsen‘s Q4 2015 “Total Audience Report” separated 18-34s into three groups: “Dependent Adults” (those living in someone else’s home); “On Their Own” millennials (those living in their own home without children); and “Starting a Family” millennials” (those living in their own home with children). The data shows 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home. By their mid-30s, 90% of millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Radio is an important part of a millennial’s life and they listen to it in many ways. In the average week, radio reaches about 92% of “Starting a Family” millennials; 90% of “Dependent Adult” millennials”; and 89% of “On Their Own” millennials. CHR is the number one format for all three groups, but “Dependent Adult” millennials, who tend to live at home with their parents or another adult, listen to more classic rock, classic hits-oldies, and urban AC than the overall millennial group. “Dependent Adult” millennials listen to these formats because they are exposed to them by older adults in the home. “On Their Own” millennials are the least ethnically diverse group and they show a preference for non-ethnic formats like hot AC and alternative. They also listen to sports stations more than the other two millennial groups. Radio reaches 90% of all 18-34 African-Americans each week with urban AC the top format among this group. “Starting A Family” millennials include the highest percent of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking listeners. In this group, regional Mexican has the third-highest share of listening time. Overall, 16% of this group’s listening is spent with a Spanish language format. That is more than three times the amount of “On Their Own” millennials.
All Roads Lead to the “Pothole Derby.” A constant critic of the legislature’s “lack of action” regarding South Carolina road conditions – which station executives classify as being a “wreck” – Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg talker WYRD-FM “Word” announces a contest focusing on the Upstate’s pothole crisis. Operations manager Mark Hendrix remarks that his station’s listeners are “fed up with our terrible roads, huge potholes, and auto damage, so we are paying them to document how bad our roads really are. We are grateful to have the support of First Class Halt to help us with the ‘Pothole Derby.'” Listeners who submit photos of the biggest, deepest, potholes could win $500 in repair services from the station and their promotion sponsor. Approved pothole pictures will be posted on the WYRD-FM “Word” website. In addition, listeners are encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Transportation to file complaints about potholes. Only eight stations (four owned by SummitMedia and four iHeartMedia properties) are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book for Greenville-Spartanburg (market #59). SummitMedia urban AC WJMZ “107.3 Jamz Today’s R&B” ranks first with an 11.0 (12+).
Getting Together with Smaldone. For almost 24 years, Valerie Smaldone was the mid-day talent at market dominant adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM,” New York. More recently, she has been hosting/producing a variety of projects. The latest for the imaging voice of CBS Radio New York all-newser WINS is “Hit Makers: Music Icons in Performance and Conversation”; Tommy James (“Tommy James & The Shondells“) was her first guest and he sang several of his hits. In addition, Smaldone interviewed him about his book “Me, The Mob, and the Music,” as well as his days with Roulette Records. For the past two years, Smaldone’s weekly, three-hour Envision Networks’ talk show “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone & Friends” is heard in 15 markets.
KCMO-AM Slots Mysterious Saturday Morning Show. The unusual and the unexplained will be explored on the weekly, one-hour (6:00 am – 7:00 am) Wendy Garrett-hosted “Wendy’s Coffeehouse” that debuts next week (Saturday, 6/4) on Cumulus Media Kansas City talker KCMO-AM. Garrett “guarantees” the program will, “cover information and material you will not hear in the normal run of the news. It will address the unusual, under-reported, unexplained, and the mysterious.” Topics to be covered include UFO sightings, near-death experiences, innovative living strategies, and government disclosure issues. Among those already booked are “Children of Roswell” authors Thomas J. Carey & Donald R. Schmitt, who will discuss the aftermath and lifetime impact Roswell has had. Robbie Holz (“Secrets of Aboriginal Healing”) will explain beliefs and principles of the 60,000-year-old healing practices of the Australian Aborigines, who claim their techniques can help cure arthritis and cancer. Nick Redfern (“Weapons of the Gods”) will provide “evidence” that ancient civilizations developed and thrived until they “moved to self-destruction, using weapons with terrifying power.” Prior to working for KCMO-AM, Garrett – who claims to live in a haunted house – has been a reporter, host, and anchor on Kansas City outlets KCKC, KFKF, and KRVK. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2016 PPM ratings period, KCMO-AM is in a three-way tie at #20 and is down or flat for the fifth straight time (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2); Entercom hot AC KZPT is at #1 (6.9, 6+).
Presidential Race/Trump Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of May 23-27. The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2, the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s investigation of Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe for alleged campaign finance improprieties were tied. And following at #3 was President Obama’s trip to Vietnam and the related increase in Chinese naval activity. 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcast Group Board Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. It is for $0.045 per share of its “Class A” and “Class B” common stock. The dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record on June 30. While Beasley Broadcast Group intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.
Odds & Sods: WHO, Des Moines afternoon driver Simon Conway pulls off a triple play today. In addition to doing his 9:00 am – 11:00 am show on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) and hosting his 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm program on WHO, Des Moines, he will fill in on Joe Pagliarulo‘s syndicated “Joe Pags Show.”
Smartphones drive ‘mainstreaming + mass-adoption of’ Internet audio; in-home AM/FM has ‘hardware concerns.’
TALKERS’ analysis of Edison Research/Triton Digital “Infinite Dial 2016” study
By Holland Cooke
Edison VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster and Triton president/market development John Rosso walked a well-attended webinar though a slide deck which you can download – free and in its entirety – here. And if you work in AM/FM radio, you should.
In January and February, they surveyed 2,001 Persons 12+, “as representative of the USA population as possible.” Grab the arm rest: