Steven Crowder – who does a talk show streamed on YouTube and other digital platforms – is causing controversy and raising questions about the public’s right to know after releasing what is purported to be the “manifesto” of Audrey Hale, whom authorities say is responsible for the Covenant School shooting in Nashville last March that claimed the lives of three children and three adults. YouTube removed the video saying it violates its community guidelines that “prohibit linking to content containing manifestos from individuals who have committed violent attacks.” Crowder issued a notice on X regarding the removal of the content, saying, “YOU determine what matters. YOU determine the content. Not YouTube, not the rest of BigTech, not their lackies, and not a gaggle of sponsors who don’t have the b***s to stand behind the kind of content you actually want to see.” According to a report by Newsweek, “The Metro Nashville Police Department has not confirmed that the screenshots shared by Crowder are Hale’s manifesto. A department spokesperson told Newsweek Monday that police were ‘unable to confirm the authenticity of what has been released, although we are looking into that at this very moment.’” Read the Newsweek story here.
By Michael Harrison
Many 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can meet Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2023 on June 2 at Hofstra University.
Pending Business: When Controversy Strikes. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you’ve been selling or managing talk radio for a longer than you would like to admit, there is a good chance you’ve experienced the pushback when a talent inadvertently steps over a line. When it becomes a deal breaker or a cancellation, you’re not alone. Sometimes a talent will make an honest mistake and your management will step in to right the ship. Sometimes not, and we all know how that ends.” Read more here.
Monday Memo: The Resourceful Podcaster, Parked. The pandemic shutdown forced radio and TV broadcasters into working remotely. Many in radio continue to. “They’re podcasters with transmitters” consultant Holland Cooke quips. In this week’s column, his scrappy tip for giving podcasts the polish that broadcast listeners expect. Read it here.
iHeartRadio Tops Podtrac’s July 2022 Top Podcast Publishers Chart. The Top Podcast Publishers chart for the month of July has been published by Podtrac. The chart, based on unique monthly audience (United States), places iHeartRadio in the #1 spot with a UMA of 29.5 million. Wondery comes in second place with a UMA of 21.2 million, followed by NPR at #3 with a UMA of 17 million. Other podcast publishers of note making the Top 20 chart include: PodcastOne at #8 (UMA 6.1 million), FOX Audio Network at #11 (UMA 4.4 million), and Cumulus Podcast Network at #15 (UMA 3.6 million). See the complete chart here.
Joe Benigno Returning to WFAN, New York in Part-Time Capacity. During an appearance on the afternoon drive “Carton & Roberts” show on WFAN, New York on Friday (8/5), former midday talk host Joe Benigno revealed he’s going to be returning to WFAN to host a regular Saturday morning show on the station as well as a Monday segment with midday hosts Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney. He says he’ll also do some fill-in work on “The Fan.” Benigno, who co-hosted the midday show with Evan Roberts, retired from the Audacy sports talk station last November.
Inflation Reduction Act, CPAC 2022, China’s Taiwan Threats, Alex Jones Trial, Gaza Fighting, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19/Monkey Pox Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act that moves to the House this week and President Joe Biden’s claim of victory for American families should it become law; the CPAC 2022 weekend convention highlighted by a keynote speech by former President Donald Trump; China ramps up military exercises near Taiwan in the aftermath of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the island; the Texas jury in the Alex Jones defamation case levies $45.2 million in punitive damages against him; the fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S. and the global spread of Monkey Pox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
A little help here, I’m getting lost.
Abortion laws will quickly become a leading topic again as states begin to weigh in on laws. Social media is already buzzing about Brittney Griner’s sentencing and what about her stance on honoring our National Anthem? The January 6 hearings continue to produce new fodder for talkers as the Russia-Ukraine-China-Taiwan storyline is on the radar — literally. Those topics don’t touch what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Somewhere along the way one of your local talent or nationally syndicated talent will say something that will offend listeners, sponsors, or both.