One of the most colorful figures in the modern radio industry, Dave “Chachi” Denes is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Denes is president and co-founder of Benztown, a Southern California-based, multi-faceted firm specializing in high-quality imaging support for music and spoken-word radio stations across the nation. Denes co-founded Benztown in 2008 with international radio producers Andreas Sannemann and Oliver Klenk, both based in Stuttgart, Germany. Since 2008, the company has grown to include an international syndication arm, Benztown Radio Networks that provides radio stations around the world with top-of-the-line programs by such talent as Rick Dees, Todd-N-Tyler, R Dub! and more. Today Benztown has studios in Los Angeles, New York, and Stuttgart, Germany. Denes is also executive producer of the more recently launched Benztown + McVay Media Podcast Networks establishing a beachhead in the burgeoning podcasting industry. Through Benztown, Denes hosts his own radio industry-oriented podcast titled, “Chachi Loves Everybody.” Denes began his radio career in the late 90s at great music stations including KFMB-FM, KIIS-FM, KOST-FM and KBIG-FM in Southern California where he worked as a producer and eventually a renowned program director. Harrison and Denes talk about their respective careers as well as the past, present and future of radio. Don’t miss this! Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.
The satellite service announces that it is adding three new weekend programs to the schedule on its Urban View channel. Political consultant, writer, and commentator Shermichael Singleton hosts the Saturday 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. He’s a former contributing host of Vox Media’s “Consider It” and the host of “ScreenShare” on MSNBC’s Peacock. The program features diverse guests and conversations that “tackle the biggest issues in culture, entertainment, media, and politics.” Best-selling author, advocate, speaker, and strategist Reecie Colbert hosts the Saturday 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm program that addresses politics, culture, current events, entertainment, and lifestyle topics. And broadcaster, news analyst, business executive, college dean, university professor, lecturer, entrepreneur, and advocate Dr. Rashad Richey is host of the Sunday 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm hour that SiriusXM calls “your one-hour Sunday ‘all things’ political, social, and economic empowerment show!”
Radio sales pro Jeff Clewett is promoted to the director of sales position at Bonneville Denver, which operates sports talkers KKFN-FM “Denver Sports” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver,” plus two music brands. Clewett has been serving the company as general sales manager for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports.” Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Katie Reid says, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jeff join our sales team. I know he will show our clients exceptional results and take Denver sales to the next level through his keen strategic thinking, business acumen and strong focus on community.” Clewett comments, “I am humbled and excited to work with such a talented team and iconic brands that are so meaningful to the market. The Bonneville Denver sales team has a track record of tremendous success and I look forward to finding new ways to maximize revenue, deliver extraordinary results for our partners and develop our people.”
CNN Audio announces that Steve Lickteig joins the network as the executive producer of podcast and audio content, managing production and strategy. Lickteig is the co-founder of Small Good Thing, a podcast consulting and development company. Prior to that, he was the executive producer of podcasts and audio for NBC News and MSNBC. Lickteig will report to Katie Hinman, CNN’s vice president of development. He begins on February 6.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is not interested in the potential afternoon drive opening at WEPN-FM “ESPN Radio New York.” James Kratch sums up Russo’s feelings about the idea at Elite Sports New York, writing, “The WFAN legend told Newsday he is happy at SiriusXM and speculation he could return to terrestrial radio to replace Michael Kay is ‘probably not realistic.’ ‘I’m not going to leave Sirius, let’s put it that way,’ Russo told sports media columnist Neil Best. ‘I love Sirius so much. They’ve been good to me. … I’m going to do that as long as they’ll have me, to make a long story short.’” ESPN Radio New York PM drive host Michael Kay’s contract is up and, after 23 years there, it’s expected he may move on.
At SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, this week is the annual “Players Week” in which several current major league players and top prospects join SiriusXM hosts for special extended feature segments. During this special programming, players have a “national platform, an hour of airtime, and the freedom to guide the conversation and discuss the teams and topics both on and off the field that most interest them.”
Chris Haynes, senior NBA Insider for TNT and Bleacher Report, and Marc Stein, veteran NBA reporter and publisher of The Stein Line on Substack, announce they’ve partnered for the new iHeartPodcast program, “#thisleague UNCUT.” The two insiders “break down the latest hot topics with candor and bold opinions” twice per week.
The classified documents investigations and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s request of investigation documents from the DOJ; Ukraine’s plea for fighter jets to prevent Russia from continuing its invasion; security failures at the U.S.-Mexico border; the aftermath of the police beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis; former President Donald Trump’s legal issues in Georgia relating to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election and in New York City for allegedly paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels; May 11 is set as the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency; and the winter storm moving across the country and affecting air travel were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia’s “NewsRadio 610” WIOD, Miami is searching for a talk show co-host for their midday show to complement Manny Munoz. The ideal candidate will be well-rounded and well-informed. They must be passionate about South Florida, news savvy, and have a strong interest in current events, politics, and lifestyle issues affecting their target audience. A strong digital platform and social media skills are vital for this role. In addition, all candidates must be proactive and work well in a team environment.
- 3-plus years of on-air radio experience required
- Audio demo of on-air interviews, commentary, announcements, etc.
- 4-year college degree, preferably in Communications or Broadcast Journalism
You can find out more about this position and apply here.
The nationally syndicated talk radio program is seeking a sales professional. It asks, “Are you picky? We are. ‘The Erick Erickson Show’ is growing nationally and needs to grow its sales team. We’ve got inventory to fill, but we have a real problem. Our host doesn’t like to take money from advertisers who he doesn’t believe in. He thinks he sells best what he likes best. Want to work with a host who doesn’t want to just sell anything but the right thing? Reach out to us. firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This afternoon (1/30), Audacy launches the new “LA’s Afternoon News” on “KNX News 97.1 FM.” Audacy says, “Longtime Los Angeles news personality Rob Archer (above, far left) joins co-anchor Karen Adams (second from right) and veteran traffic and breaking news reporter Brian Douglas (second from left) to keep Southern Californians up to the minute on the most relevant local and national news of the day. KNX News senior content director Charles Feldman (far right), host of ‘KNX In Depth,’ expands his role and will contribute live interviews and reporting throughout ‘LA’s Afternoon News’ to add depth and context to the stories being covered. Archer joined KNX News in 2015. Before moving to afternoons, he anchored the weekend morning news. He also publishes short stories and poetry and writes and records music. Adams has anchored afternoons on KNX News since 2019. She joined the station in 2017 as a street reporter covering the presidential inauguration in Washington, several major wildfires, and the 2017 Montecito mudslides. Douglas joined KNX in 2016 covering traffic as both an anchor and airborne reporter. He has been telling stories on the radio for about 27 years, with stops in New York, Chicago, and Phoenix, and hosted a national afternoon radio show on Westwood One for seven years. Feldman is co-host of ‘KNX In-Depth’ and served as the station’s investigative reporter for several years. He was a CNN investigative correspondent in New York and Los Angeles for two decades before joining KNX and has won several local and national awards for both his radio and television work.” Audacy Southern California regional president Jeff Federman says, “Rob, Karen, Brian, and Charles are the perfect team to take afternoons on KNX News to the next level in 2023 and beyond. They bring enormous reporting experience, perspective and humanity to the news that impacts our lives every day.”
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts the updated sales facts below are nowhere to be found in your radio station’s collateral material. This bold challenge is in front of you today as a wakeup call before the calendar becomes your frenemy.
The traditional calendarized selling events are about to begin starting with Valentine’s Day and you need to be current. Ratings, on-air lineup, and outside marketing may be out of your control but sharpening your selling skills and updating presentation materials is totally a selfie.
I’ve used many “wow” stats on sales calls – sometimes together, sometimes separately – but they’re always an important part of the pitch. Radio metric showstoppers with local appeal are mission critical in today’s fast-moving sales environment. Here’s a three-point, freshen-up to be integrated strategically when packaging or in stand-alone radio presentations. Use them or lose them, but at least choose to consider them.
— Nearly 80% of listeners say they would try a product or service recommended by their favorite radio personality, so says The Power of Local Radio Personalities study published by Katz last year. Now that is one heavy duty number! Careful about making this a universal, across-the-board statistic. Recommending a retirement community to the Gen Z audience is a non-starter. But when the radio talent is talking to that 55+ crowd in the right talk radio environment, that sound you hear is the phone lighting up with leads. When great creative is delivered by a great radio personality the audience comes alive.
— “79% of on-line searches are initially prompted with hearing an ad on radio,” according to Harvard Media, a Canadian marketing firm. The hard number may seem high for many of us, but the concept of using radio to enhance a multi-platform campaign, especially at the local level, is a tried-and-true formula. Call the concept what you will – media mix, multi-channel/platform – consistent messaging across the board delivers results.
— Digital disconnects. Ad blockers are in. According to a recent Hubspot survey update, 64% of ad blocker users say ads are intrusive while another 54% say ads are disruptive. Talk about negativity compared to the nearly 80% of radio listeners who consider their favorite personalities a trusted friend. We all want to hear what our friends have to say!
Chances are your basic sales materials are 2022 rollovers. Freshen up your look and give yourself a new reason to make the next call.
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com
By Holland Cooke
In last week’s column, we outlined the playbook for selling radio’s 2023 baseball season. This week, how smart stations leverage the franchise to build Time Spent Listening.
Plan now to OWN the games
They’re also on SiriusXM, where you can decide which team’s feed you want to hear. And “The MLB is back on TuneIn, and this year TuneIn Premium is the destination for all things baseball. With a Premium plan, listeners get access to live play-by-play of every single game — with no blackouts.” Here in New England the NESN 360 app, “in partnership with the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Major League Baseball,” $30 per month, “with a first-month promotional price of $1.”
So – post-exclusivity – what’s an AM/FM affiliate to do?
— Goal: Be KNOWN FOR having the games, by embracing the team. Waving the flag conspicuously, regardless of where fans hear it, can score you diary credit. Don’t quote me.
— During Spring Training, I’m wary of airing games Mon-Fri 6A-7P. But nights and weekends, why not? It’s conspicuous, also useful in diary markets, where ratings measure what’s NOTICED. And, hey, in March, every team is in first place.
— Can you go to Arizona or Florida? Admittedly not-inexpensive but ask your team network about Spring Training packages and arrangements. Some stations bring advertisers who commit early, hosted by the rep who sold the most.
— As Opening Day approaches, count-it-down in your on-hour ID. Then…
Avoid the banana syndrome
Use baseball to recycle audience in and out of games.
— Dumbest-thing-I-hear-most-often on baseball stations: During the game, when the network calls for a station ID, the station announces that it’s “your [name-of-team] station. Ugh. It’s like printing the word “banana” on the yellow peel.
— Your station’s on-hour ID – in any hour – is beachfront property. It’s where you sign your name, where you explain yourself to listeners you’ve trained to “check-in for a quick FOX News update, every hour, throughout your busy day.” Games invite listeners who might not otherwise cume your station, so use those 10 seconds to tell them why/when to come back for something else useful.
— “CATCH-up when you WAKE-up, with a quick morning update and your AccuWeather forecast, on your ONLY local news radio, [dial positions, call letters, city of license].” Opportune, since the game might be the last thing they near at night.
— Then in NON-game hours, use top-of-hour to wave the flag. Plug team-and-time of the next game you’ll air.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke
Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talk WLS-AM is launching a new Sunday night talk radio show hosted by Larry Kudlow who – in addition to his previous media experience served as Director of the National Economic Council of the United States during the Trump administration from 2018-2021. “The Larry Kudlow Show” debuts on February 5 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WLS says, “In the weekly one-hour show, Kudlow shares with 890 WLS-AM listeners his perspective on the state of the markets, the economy, and politics. An unapologetic supporter of capitalism and free markets, he shares his insight and expertise to better navigate tomorrow’s evolving economic and political terrain.” Kudlow also currently hosts the FOX Business television show “Kudlow” weeknights from 4:00 pm-5:00 pm ET and is the host of “The Larry Kudlow Show” on WABC, New York, heard Saturdays from 10:00 am-1:00 pm. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are delighted to welcome back to 890 WLS-AM, a listener favorite, Larry Kudlow. Larry’s financial expertise will be a perfect addition to our weekend lineup.”