Industry News

Audacy Releases Guide to Busting Media Myths

Audacy’s new Marketer’s Guide to Audio says it will “bust the biggest myths in media and promote theim Audio advantage.” The guide provides data to counter prevailing myths that marketers often believe. Some examples include: 1) the notion that “apps have all the audience” is not true as “ad-supported platforms are key to marketer’s winning and Audacy’s 200 million+ is miles above Spotify (48.6M) and Pandora (41.2M)”; 2) “young people don’t listen to audio” isn’t true as 96% of Gen Z listen to audio daily – with 44% being daily radio users; and 3) “I can’t measure audio” is also false because marketers can “track, measure and analyze results for both broadcast and digital campaigns.” See more about the guide here.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Non-Compete

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imIt’s complicated, this whole Federal Trade Commission ruling potentially banning the non-compete. Considering where you stand on the non-compete concept, it’s really all about evaluating the five “C” profile of your media business.

Personally, I sit at a roundtable where all sides are given equal consideration. More about that roundtable later.

First the five Cs of your media business: Company, Culture, Customers, Competition, Compensation. Let us define each.

1. Company – What is the image and reputation of your Company (management) internally?

Externally? Is your Company viewed as a destination or last resort for employment?

2. Culture – Is the atmosphere on your sales team or in your talent pool upbeat, positive performance driven, supportive, with access to key management? Is there a feedback loop that makes employee voices valued in this new world of Zoom, Teams, etc.? Is achievement recognized in a positive manner? Do sellers and talent have input into goals? Are missed goals treated like broken glass or the start of a learning curve?

3. Customers – Advertisers and audience are important customers. Advertisers, the cash register of any ad-based media model, move in only three directions – increase their spend, decrease their spend, flatline spending. Audience scale is the currency of your performing talent. Audience, like advertisers, can only go in three similar directions – increase, decrease, level off. If you are a subscription-based media entity, pay close attention to overdelivering subscriber expectations and lowering churn.

4. Competition – Keep a close eye on what your competitors are paying, how they are recruiting and what they are changing.

5. Compensation – My favorite. Have the courage to pay for performance at the high end and many of your non-compete clauses may not be needed.

Check the boxes on all five Cs in the model as outlined. Now back to my roundtable.

When you consider your company’s view, the non-compete in any media business that provides training (sales, talent, and other personnel), promotional investment, exposure to confidential research and strategies, is not simple to eliminate.

Consider the following:

1. The talent/show that is backed with a six-figure promotional campaign. Should the talent/show be allowed to seek employment at a competitor who is smart enough to realize, your company invested the money to make the talent/show a success, and all the competitor needs to do is revise compensation and lift a few restrictions? Your company’s investment could never be paid back.

2. Ever sit in on a focus group project? When the participants open the perception spigot, the bucket can fill up with verbal gold. Whomever gains access to that research and the resulting strategic change in direction has their hands on confidential information that can help drive results off the charts. How is the company’s investment in that research protected? What about the employees learning how it all works?

3. Good sales training, seminars, and off-site are not cheap, and considered an investment in all sellers and management. Should you really be permitted to walk across the street with no notice and all that expensive training in your laptop?

I’m writing this column as a roundtable, considering all sides and it is still complicated.

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:

Industry Views

Pending Business: Do You Know?

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imI’m no expert, but I do have a theory.

The American media business is the most competitive and advanced in the world. Many other countries directly or indirectly control their airwaves and print publications. Not here, no way, not as long as the First Amendment protects freedom of the press. Yet with that historic, awesome guarantee in place, why are newspapers failing, magazines gutting staff and many of the newer dot coms hitting the wall?

It is inevitable that daily print publications like the LA Times and the Washington Post cut back. We’ve come a long way since Guttenberg, but low-tech printing presses, paper and ink are just not fast enough to keep up with the 24/7 information cycle. I can understand the financial woes caused by bloated staffs at Buzzfeed, Vice and most recently at Business Insider. But when Sports Illustrated gave notice to its writing crew, now you are messing with arguably the most successful sports magazine of all time.

S.I. knew how to attract great writers delivering iconic story lines. We’re talking writers like Rick Reilly, the late Frank Deford, J.F.K. – yes, the late president – Carl Sandburg and one of my favorite characters of all time the late cigar chomping New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin. Martha Stewart on the cover, not for me.

What happened here? The simple answers are: Too much debt, too much overhead, and too slow to recognize and act on shifting dynamics.

Yet People magazine, which has been around for 50 years and if you believe Statista, now reaches over 82 million readers a month! Can you name the last time People won a Pulitzer for a story? Yet we can all learn a critical lesson from the continued success of People. Even those of us in management in the radio/audio business.

Here comes my big theory which you can apply to content, sales, sales management, and everything else important in life.

1) Know your audience. People is focused on celebrities and rarely gets a story wrong.

2) Keep it simple. People is about pictures and easy to understand storylines.

3) The original target was women 18-34. As the target demo shifted and lifestyles changed, the content of People adjusted.

Let’s connect the dots in our programming, sales, and sales management world.

1) Are you in step with your audience? Listeners, and advertisers are all part of a dynamic environment. What’s in your planner that forces you to know the “audience” you sell or market to?

2) Do you keep your proposals simple and easy to understand? Fast and focused is the name of the game.

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:

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Five Golden Actions for 2024

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imResearch shows that readers to trade publications like articles with five bullet points. Here are my five bullet points for 2024. If these were to be deployed, you could be thriving by the end of the year. These actions would increase sales and audience share.

1. Radio should be easy to buy. It’s not. Easy fix: Look at your website. Based on the website how would you buy time on your station? It should be as simple as a realtor’s website. Put up pictures of your salespeople with ALL of their real contact information – not a FORM. Offer their email and cell number. Offer a “tour” of the offerings with information about the talent and the audience. What does the host sell best? How about a very brief audio message from each host to your potential advertiser?
2. Every medium creates its own stars. Example – David Caruso, good on TV, bad in movies. Your hosts, good on radio, lousy at original podcasts.  Sure, edit up the interviews or bits and make them into a podcast. But don’t ask a host to get off the air and make brand new content for a podcast. Engage locals who are good at making original podcasts and offer them a stage.
3. Sell the biggest number. Your morning show probably has more listeners than the “Tonight Show” has viewers in your city. 1010 WINS has more listeners in New York than FOX News has viewers nationwide. Go check. Those are the numbers that put radio in perspective!  Stop selling the smallest number, TIME SPENT LISTENING. Who came up with that!?
4. Don’t make potential advertisers jump through hoops. If you have spent your career in programming, you may not know the tyranny of MEDIA CREDIT. New radio advertiser: Good buy, high rate, longterm business. Sounds great. Not so fast. At most companies, new business still has to go through the gauntlet of a MEDIA CREDIT CHECK. End that.
5. What’s wrong with the hosts? Many hosts use a content formula that MUST generate a diminishing audience size and older and older and older demos.  Repeat. WHY? If you start to trust that what you talk about socially, with your friends, your audience will grow and grow younger. Be more like Bruce Collins, PD at WBAP, Dallas. Bruce just hired James Parker who has been featured for years on “Sterling On Sunday.” James is going to talk about life, fatherhood and funny. He joins “New Jersey 101.5” alumnus, Casey Bartholomew, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, who talks about life, fatherhood and funny.  It’s working so well that WBAP will now be simulcast on Class C2 FM, KLIF.

Five bullet points. Goals: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Walter Sabo was a founding architect of SiriusXM and began the recruitment of Howard Stern. He has consulted RKO General, PARADE magazine, Hearst Broadcasting, Press Broadcasting, and other premium brands. He launched the first company to engage online video influencers, Hitviews. As an executive, he was EVP of NBC FM RADIO giving Dr. Ruth Westheimer her first media job and fostering the creation of adult contemporary. As VP ABC Radio Networks, Sabo hired Ringo Starr to be a DJ for a 24-hour special.

Industry News

Nielsen Audio Releases Audio Today Report on the Black Audience

The most recent edition of Nielsen Audio’s Audio Today report focuses on Black consumers and concludes that of all audio services – both ad-free and ad-supported – AM/FM radio dominates in drawing Black listeners. For Blacks 18+, AM/FM reaches 89% of the population monthly, compared to itsim next best competitor – YouTube Music – at 31%. When it comes to Blacks 35-49, AM/FM reaches 90% of that demographic. The Nielsen report dips into Edison Research’s Share of Ear study and notes that when it comes to share of daily time spent listening to all audio sources (Black adults 18+) 44% of that time is spent with AM/FM radio compared to its next best competitor – streaming audio – with 14%. Not surprisingly, when it comes to the top radio formats listened to by Blacks 18+, rhythmic music stations rank at the top. However, out of the 20 radio formats Nielsen lists in its study, news/talk comes in as the 6th most-listened-to format with a monthly reach of almost 2.4 million. That comes out ahead of sports talk with a monthly reach of almost 1.98 million. See the study results here.

Industry Views

Ten Things You Need to Know to Be a Successful Talker (on or off the air)

By Michael Harrison


10. Have a flight plan before taking off on a monologue.  Know where and when you intend to land the plane.  This is true of any point you’re trying to spontaneously make in the course of a conversation. There’s nothing worse than a talker bloviating in search of a point.

9. Know what you’re talking about.  Don’t just go with half-baked information for fear of being late to the party or are desperate to fill time.  You can’t be an effective talker if you are not an equally effective listener. Also be careful about assuming you are the first to notice or know something when you might actually be the last.  Respect the fact that some of the people you are addressing might be more knowledgeable than you.

8. Take an extra fraction of a second to edit yourself.  Loose lips sink careers. Especially today!  The art of being an effective talker is like being a quarterback.  Get rid of the ball quickly… but not too quickly.

7. Don’t try to be funny if you’re not. This relates to the point above.  However, humor is an effective communications tool when used properly.  The key is to use it properly with an honest assessment of your own “talent.”  Everyone needs a director.

6. Don’t pander to your target audience (too much).  The daily dance of affirmation – telling people exactly what you think they want to hear and never deviating – eventually leads to a happier but ever-shrinking audience that will eventually turn on you. Super-serving the wrong-headed beliefs (or bad taste) of the target audience can lead to slow-but-sure audience erosion.  Don’t be afraid to occasionally piss-off the core. Its good for the soul as well as the cume. Always have an exit strategy. Don’t endeavor to deceive.

5. Don’t deviate too far from the course and point of the conversation.  Tangents disrupt the flow of a meaningful conversation and make people forget what they are talking about.  (This is equally important in off air conversations.)  If mid-conversation someone asks “do you have time for a quick story,” your first impulse should be to say no.

4. Don’t interrupt.  And don’t allow anyone to interrupt you.  If you must interrupt, do so with surgical finesse. Avoid conversations with wind bags.

3. Avoid worn out talking points. Be original.  Always bring something new to the table. Otherwise you deserve to be replaced by AI.

2. Don’t waste people’s precious time. In today’s world, time is as precious as money.  There’s no such thing as “free” media.  It costs people time to listen to you.

1. Know when to keep your mouth shut.  This is one of life’s most valuable lessons, on and off the air.

Michael Harrison is the publisher of TALKERS.  He can be emailed at

Industry Views

Merchandize Your Show!

Mark Kaye, host of the WOKV-FM, Jacksonville-based “The Mark Kaye Show,” writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the value of selling merchandise to your P1s. He says, “We have a saying around ‘The Mark Kaye Show’ studio: ‘If the audience likes it on the air, they’re gonna LOVE it on a t-shirt!’” He gives examples of how they come up with creative ideas to sell merch to their listeners that strengthens the bond between them and his show. He says, “Merchandise isn’t just an additional stream of revenue, it’s a bond that can connect you and your audience eternally. They love you. They love your show. They love it for the three hours a day you offer it to them. Unless you offer them something tangible that doesn’t drift off into the ether after you turn off the microphone, they can’t show their fandom the other 21 hours of the day.” Read the full story here.


Merchandize Your Content!

By Mark Kaye
Talk Show Host
Cox Media Group

imWe have a saying around “The Mark Kaye Show” studio:

“If the audience likes it on the air, they’re gonna LOVE it on a t-shirt!”

Just last month, after moving to vacate Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Representative Matt Gaetz turned around to a House Chamber full of angry, howling Congresspeople and bellowed back…

“Oh BOOOO all you want!”

As we played that clip over and over on my show, all I could think was, “This would make a fantastic Halloween t-shirt!”

Within 24 hours our online store was printing and shipping shirts and hoodies with an AI-generated Matt Gaetz cartoon character standing before a chorus of screaming ghosts with his newly coined catchphrase lingering above: “Oh Boo All You Want!”

It was the hottest-selling item so far this year.

When the feds raided Donald Trump’s mansion in South Florida, I had a friend create an “Remember the Alamo” themed logo that prompted listeners to “Remember Mar-A-Lago.”

We still get orders for those weekly.

And it isn’t just clothing…

My current book The Untold Story of Christmas was born of an annual holiday tradition that began on my show. Many of my listeners pleaded for a copy they could share with their families and loved ones. Not wanting to disappoint them, I published a beautifully illustrated book this year and offered it to my fans. It’s already in its second printing and is quickly climbing up the Amazon charts! (I expect it to be #1 by Black Friday!) And the best part is, they are thanking me for making it available to them.

People want to show their support for you in any way they can and they will give you money if you let them.

The richest guys at the Trump rally are Donald Trump and whoever is selling MAGA hats outside.

The merch line at the Taylor Swift concert is longer than the Great Wall of China.

And if you attend a major sporting event without your team’s logo emblazoned on some article of clothing, well, you just look weird.

But merchandise isn’t just an additional stream of revenue, it’s a bond that can connect you and your audience eternally. They love you. They love your show. They love it for the three hours a day you offer it to them. Unless you offer them something tangible that doesn’t drift off into the ether after you turn off the microphone, they can’t show their fandom the other 21 hours of the day.

Your listeners want to wear your merch and read your books while sipping your signature energy drink and watching your bobblehead nodding along with them as they listen to your show.

If you love and value your audience, and want to keep them listening as long as possible, then simply give them what they want. Create tangible representations of your content. Let them be fanatical about your show even when you’re off the air.

Mark Kaye is the morning drive host at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. His program is syndicated to other CMG news/talk stations in markets around the country. He can be emailed at: 

Industry Views

Pending Business: Persistence vs Passion

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imWhich is the more important “check the box” trait – persistence or passion?

Is it easier for your air talent to answer that one? Of course, we want passionate on-air talent – those who live for the opportunity to get behind the mic, break it all down for the audience or deliver the critical information that can save lives and calm the fears of an anxious audience.

In a week, for the 22nd time we will remember the events of 9/11. During that historic window of time, I had the privilege of experiencing firsthand the passion that drives great on-air talent to power through the most difficult unknown to stay close to their audience and calm the fears of an audience in shock.

But we must also consider the day-to-day. How about your on-air talent and their producers who compete every day for that exclusive interview that will surely drive audience levels, advertiser results, and maybe a bonus or promotion?

They power through the multiple calls that are not returned, the polite put-off and unkept promises. Especially stinging is when a competitor winds up with the prize.

Persistence or passion? Stop. Right there you must consider the Abraham Lincoln theory of persistence. His mother died when he was nine, he went bankrupt at 27, had a nervous breakdown before he was 30, lost eight elections, finally in 1860 was elected president of the United States and one year later faced the greatest internal conflict in the history of our country – the Civil War.

Let’s go to sales.

Anyone passionate about selling? My number one theory in recruiting sellers from South Florida to San Francisco was and still is, nobody grows up wanting to sell radio advertising. On the other hand, many of us were and still may be passionate about being ON the radio (before or alongside podcasting, YouTube, Rumble, Tik-Tok and Instagram). The passion to perform runs deep through all media, music, theatre, sports, the law, medicine, even business. The passion to sell? Now that is one complicated conversation.

For what it’s worth, here is my theory. It takes both passion and persistence to be great. What attracts any high achiever to a long-term career typically begins with a passion play. A love for the game and the need to achieve. The harder you chase the dream, the more persistence comes into play. The more you learn the ins and outs of refining persistence, the more you will hit your stride in performing.

And there you have it! Touch those three magic “Ps” every day, passion, persistence, performance and the fourth will come your way: Profit!

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:

Industry Views

They Simply Don’t Like You

By Michael Harrison

imaMany years ago, I received a late-night call from a legendary radio talk show host who had just been let go by management at the iconic major market station where he had been presiding over the airwaves for several decades. His ratings had begun to downtrend a bit, but he still was a big draw for audience and advertisers. He was one of the biggest names in talk radio history and his still-sizable audience loved him. Thus, the unexpected news of his severance blindsided him with a wallop and surprised the heck out of the biz.  Everyone was buzzing about it.

The usually jaunty and confident personality asked me in an uncharacteristically despondent tone of voice, “Why do you think they fired me?”

My initial response, “I don’t know.”

He answered, “C’mon, you know everything… why do you think they fired me?”

“What does it matter what I think?  I’m not sure you really want to know my opinion about this.”

“No I do, I do… tell me the truth.”

Tapping into Aaron Sorkin, I quipped, “You can’t handle the truth!”

“No I can! Dammit! Tell me what you think.”

I took a deep breath and answered, “In my opinion, they let you go… because they don’t like you.”

“What?” he replied with irritation. “You’re kidding!!”

“No, I’m not kidding.  They don’t like you and they’re using your minor ratings downslide and the subjective determination that you are no longer a fresh new voice as an excuse to get rid of you.”

I then attempted to explain to him that quite often in this business, when the question arises, should he stay or should he go, whether it is a matter of ratings, budget, or heated controversy – it comes down to the margins. Do they like you or do they dislike you?

“That’s not true!” he blurted with anger, “They LOVE me! I’m very popular with management and my co-workers. When I walk around the halls the people adore me!”

“I’m afraid they don’t… you are disliked at the station. That’s what I hear.” And that was the last time we spoke.

Fast forward to the two major buzzes currently emanating from FOX.  Everyone’s speculating about why the company dumped the mononymic talker widely known as Tucker. IMHO, it comes down to the moral of the above tale. They don’t like him.  Or more specifically, among the widespread rumors of “they,” Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like him. So much for the adage content is king. In today’s media business and perhaps all the way back to Gutenberg, platform is king. Or at least co-king.

And by the way, also IMHO – in a related story – the simple reason FOX settled with Dominion? Murdoch didn’t want to go through the discomfort and inconvenience of personally testifying in court. Everything else is filler.

Michael Harrison is the publisher of TALKERS.  He can be contacted at You can meet Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2023 on June 2 at Hofstra University.

Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

— ESPN and SiriusXM are teamed up to give listeners nationwide access to ESPN’s live audio coverage of select UFC events on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation channel. Subscribers will hear the live call from the UFC audio on ESPN networks. ESPN vice president Matt Kenny states, “We are constantly looking for new ways to give fans more access to our content. SiriusXM’s expansive reach will help us bring the excitement of UFC to a broader audience and provide additional ways for these very passionate fans to stay connected to the action.”

— iHeartMedia announces that new episodes of the program “Navigating Narcissism with Dr. Ramani” are available on its iHeartPodcasts platform. The podcast is hosted by clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula and focuses on narcissism and its impact on relationships. iHeartmedia says, “Through powerful conversations with survivors and experts, Dr. Ramani breaks down classic patterns of narcissistic abuse including love bombing, gaslighting, control and manipulation to help millions who are suffering. Each eye-opening episode demystifies feelings of betrayal, shame, confusion and pain for a tremendously transformative and healing experience.”

Industry News

WBAL, Baltimore Names T.J. Smith Midday Host

Hearst Television’s WBAL-AM/W268BA “NewsRadio 1090/FM 101.5” announces that T.J. Smith is its new midday talk host. Smith is a familiar voice to the WBAL audience. He served as spokesperson for the Baltimore City Police Department from 2015 to 2018 in which he appeared regularly on the “C4 Show” spotlighting unsolved cases. He later served as press secretary for Baltimore County executive John Olszewski and ran for mayor of Baltimore in 2020. He takes over the midday show after Kimberly Klacik exited the position following seven months on the job. WBAL director of programming Jeff Wade says, “The WBAL audience has known and respected T.J. for years for his frank and honest dialogue on the issues that matter most to people living and working in Baltimore. Whether it’s policing, politics, or talking Orioles and Ravens, we can’t think of anyone better suited to sit behind the WBAL microphone weekdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.” Smith comments, “As a native Baltimorean who has gone to school, worked, run for office and even suffered loss in the city, I’m very familiar with the feel of the public from west Baltimore to the waterfront. I couldn’t be more excited to join the WBAL Radio family. I look forward to delivering straight talk and sharing my opinion based on my experience working in government and in law enforcement. I’m ready to ‘tell it like it is’ in a reasonable manner.”

Industry News

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and Host Brett Winterble Agree to Extension

Urban One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte signs afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble to a multi-year contract extension. WBT says, “Winterble arrived at WBT in February of 2020 at a critical time in the U.S. The country was in the middle of one of the most news-worthy election cycles in history and the early stages of a global pandemic. His expertise in national and global affairs was immediately recognized and appreciated by the WBT audience, but it was his fair analysis of the day’s news and his whole-hearted support of the Charlotte community in those difficult times that allowed him to become a welcomed part of the lives of the audience.” Winterble comments, “From the moment I walked into the legendary WBT Radio it felt like home. I am so thankful for the welcome and support I received from our clients, listeners, and incredible staff over these past three years. I am truly honored to continue this relationship with the best creators in the business. I am particularly grateful for the support of Urban One/Radio One, and Marsha Landess, Alfred Liggins, David Kantor, Mike Schaefer, and Kraig Kitchin in helping me to realize this professional dream. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.”

Industry Views

The Daily Dance of Affirmation

By Michael Harrison

Talkers Magazine - Talk radioThe embarrassing situation and accompanying financial vulnerability being faced by our colleagues at FOX News is a high-profile example of the consequences of audience “targeting” that has become the common positioning strategy in today’s competitive media marketplace.  The process is simple: You give the specifically targeted audience what it wants, not necessarily what it needs, even if what it wants is of dubious quality or unhealthy and – in the case of political talk media – untrue. It is a problematic, unsavory practice that has been brewing in our industry for years and, in the case of FOX, the proverbial toxicity has just hit the fan.

However, those in both the talk and print media, who are sanctimoniously gloating over FOX’s self-imposed misfortune, had better take a real hard look at themselves in the mirror. The strategy of serving up red meat to highly defined core audiences is practiced almost religiously by both the left and the right (not to mention purveyors of sports talk, specialty subjects and even music) – and the tolerance for talent deviation from this course by management has dwindled to almost zero. Today’s overworked and fear-driven managers have no stomach for audience complaints or ratings dips resulting from hosts saying things that do not resonate with the almighty “core.”

Smart programmers over the decades (and I’ve known some) understand that doggedly super-serving the low-hanging fruit of the core eventually yields diminishing returns. You wind up with a happier-but-shrinking audience of increasingly off-kilter zealots who eventually viciously turn on you when you stop feeding them the red meat they crave in what I call the daily dance of affirmation. It is that philosophical gray area between flat out lying or simply being wrong. What it comes down to is this inconvenient truth: programming for ratings, sponsorship support and audience approval isn’t simple.

Heaven help the progressive host who finds fault with Saint Biden or the conservative host who goes against the insidiously pervasive Trump factor. Or the sports talk show host who complains about the downside of betting. Or the music jock who actually engages in music criticism. This is the industry’s elephant in the room.

It’s time to acknowledge the beast.

Michael Harrison is the publisher of TALKERS.  He can be reached by email at

Industry News

Steve Sanchez Moves to Afternoons at KDWN, Las Vegas

Las Vegas talk radio host Steve Sanchez moves from the early evening daypart at Audacy’s news/talk KDWN-AM to afternoon drive beginning Monday (2/6). He moves from host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot currently held by Westwood One talk host Mark Levin. Sanchez says, “It is a thrill to be dominating my daypart in the format and I feel my audience growing exponentially right now. It’s a pleasure serving the Las Vegas market with the legendary station KDWN as my flagship.”

Industry Views

Is Eliminating AM Radio from EVs a Serious Threat to Talk Radio?

An in-depth article by automotive writer Dale Buss published today (2/2) in Forbes is adding volume to radio industry chatter about the seemingly ominous trend toward elimination of AM radio from the dashboard of electric cars based on the premise that the already-static-sensitive band’s listenability would be obliterated by these vehicles’ intense electromagnetic fields. The article titled, EV Makers Are Eliminating AM Radio, Infringing On Iconic Medium, quotes TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who also contributed to some of the piece’s “background” information and premises. In the article, Harrison supports the observation that the sale of EVs constitutes a small fraction of the current automotive marketplace and it will be years before they achieve a critical mass to impact the health of AM radio. In the meantime, Harrison asserted at this morning’s meeting of the TALKERS editorial board, “There are far more immediate existential threats to AM radio, not to mention FM radio, with which the broadcasting industry must contend.” He points out, “Relevance and identity! AM radio being dumped from dashboards is an innocuous thing to worry about. FM radio will be dumped from the dashboard as well… the entire idea of a radio-exclusive appliance is on the verge of obsolescence… and we’re not just talking about electric vehicles – we’re talking about all vehicles! We’re faced with an all-encompassing computer system at the fingertips and voice control of the driver and passengers.” Harrison continues, “In the meantime, today’s media consumers are savvy enough to know how to find their entertainment and information brands via the combination of Bluetooth and smartphone. Thus, the challenge facing both AM and FM radio – two increasingly irrelevant designations – is to maintain the importance, distinguishability and brand of the medium itself – R-A-D-I-O – and not let it get lost in an endless ocean of options available to the potential audience.” Read the Forbes piece here.

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Baseball Bonanza, Part 2

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 ( 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

Industry News

Westwood One Unveils NFL Postseason Audience Data

Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group releases its comprehensive analysis of the NFL postseason audience using 2022 data from Nielsen Scarborough USA+ and MRI Simmons USA. WWO says, “The data revealed that the AM/FM radio audience is far more passionate about football compared to the more casual sports fan found in the TV audience.” Westwood One is the official network radio partner of the NFL, and this year’s Super Bowl coverage marks the 50th time that the network will broadcast the game. Some of the key takeaways from this study are: 1) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are a desirable group of consumers: They are more likely to work full time and have higher disposable incomes compared to NFL postseason TV viewers; 2) The NFL postseason AM/FM radio audience is more engaged with sports: MRI Simmons finds NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners attend more sporting events, seek out sports information on their phones more often, and play more fantasy sports than NFL postseason TV watchers. The higher levels of engagement translate into greater advertising effectiveness; and 3) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to make purchases across key consumer categories: Compared to the NFL postseason TV audience, AM/FM radio delivers more consumers who are likely to buy a new or used vehicle, start a new business, or hire a financial advisor.  You can see the complete report here.


Pending Business: Sell Carefully

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — As I write this week’s column, events in Russia, the Ukraine, and around the world are driving the content on news/talk radio stations everywhere. Whether it’s all-news, a local talk show, or a nationally or regionally syndicated program, the world is talking, watching, listening, posting, tweeting, documenting and sharing.