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.”
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.
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 | 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.