Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Stream to Success

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

imIn May 2007, I was enjoying the brand-new app called YouTube. Still independently owned, still relatively unknown. Some of the videos pulled millions of viewers, more viewers than enjoyed by ESPN or any cable network. More interesting, the videos with high counts were not made by NBC or ESPN or any traditional video source. High view count videos were being made by people with no experience in traditional media, they were experimenters producing in their basements and bedrooms.

As these new performers were pulling major view counts, they revealed that they worked at Starbucks, were going to school and wanting to make enough money to get out of their parent’s house. Wait. Some video creators were winning more viewers than ESPN and they were broke? Simultaneously major brands like Pepsi and Budweiser knew they had to enter the online video space and each attempt was a disaster. BUD TV! Online video entertainment was a brand-new medium; USG User Generated Content.

I started a company called HITVIEWS. The goal was to placed brand messages in User Generated Content. The first company. No one had ever done it. We gathered the top video performers and started to marry them with brands like Pepsi, FOX TVTimberlandMTV,  CBS TelevisionIBMLogitech, many more. A TALKERS conference introduced the first Influencer (we called them “Web Stars”), Caitlin Hill, to radio executives.

From this pioneering initiative into online video, I can share a significant amount of information about the ingredients of a successful video campaign.

  1. Use video stars, influencers, to deliver your message. It’s a different medium and requires different stars.
  2. Engage every capability of the platform. The videos with the highest view counts demand the most interaction with the viewer. Click now. Comment below. Make a response video. Send a text back. THEN answer all responses. Every single viewer response must be answered by you or it is wasted.
  3. It’s not radio or TV. Don’t bother putting up videos at a fixed day and time. Put up as many videos as you possibly can. Two days is too old!
  4. Funny works best.

Online video success makes the medium the message. The touch screen, mouse, keyboard. Audio, video capabilities must all be integrated into the entertainment. If full functionality is not part of the show, the show is boring.

Walter Sabo has consulted the largest media companies worldwide in digital initiatives. He was the on-site consultant for SiriusXM Satellite Radio for nine years. He can be reached by email at walter@sabomedia.com and his network radio show can be discovered at  www.waltersterlingshow.com.

Industry Views

Maximizing Impact for Sponsors

By Michael Berry
Host, The Michael Berry Show
KTRH, Houston – iHeartRadio
Independent Syndication

Beard - ForeheadGrowing up in a small town, “word of mouth” was the most powerful form of advertising. It could make – or break – a business.  Malcolm Gladwell’s important Tipping Point book explained that movements, pandemics, and other things that “catch on” do so because of the influence of “connectors” – people who are asked for their opinion. Today, the media world likes to call them “influencers.”

For 17 years, I’ve entertained listeners on the radio and on podcast. Our show has built what many in the industry tell me is an impressive business model. Like Gladwell, I created our own vocabulary and I am strident in enforcing the use of it. Because words matter. I explain to companies that they are our “sponsors,” not “advertisers.” I explain that they put their name behind our show, just as I do for them. In a commercial break stop-set that will be several “commercials” for “advertisers,” but only a couple of my “endorsements.” I don’t speak for a company unless I believe in what they do and how they do it. Likewise, I encourage listeners to send me feedback on their experience with my show’s sponsors. I forward those to the sponsors, either with a request that they address the shortcoming in the service or an attaboy for a job well done.

Listeners tune in to radio, particularly talk radio, to hear the opinions of the host. The host’s opinion matters. If he shares his opinion on movies he likes, foods he enjoys, political candidates he supports, that opinion can affect what the audience does. It is also true that – if his recommendation is trusted by the listener – it can affect the choices the audience makes when they buy something or hire someone to perform a service. But it has to be an “endorsement.”

The radio industry, for many, many years, failed to recognize the value and power of an endorsement. Sellers would sell advertising to clients and get the on-air talent to read the copy points the client (or agency) wrote. Often listlessly, just reading. That is not an endorsement. It is not a host suggesting to his audience where he would personally buy a new door for his home, or take his wife for dinner. If, however, the “read” (a term that reflects that the host is simply reading words someone else wrote) were instead an endorsement, he wouldn’t need all those details. Instead, with just the name of the company, and the owner, and the phone number, as well as what category they are in, he would be able to speak for 30 seconds about why that business is special, why he would (and hopefully has already) use them.

An endorsement is a stamp of approval. It says you believe in someone or something. If an endorsement is really an endorsement, it doesn’t need new copy points to be “freshened up.” It doesn’t include discount offers, seasonal sales, “get in quick before they run out” scares, or other silly tricks Americans long ago learned to ignore. Using that language kills credibility. If I ask you where I should buy my car, and you have a dealer you believe in, you’ll refer me to them, and, if you really like them, call them yourself and ask them to take care of me. “Hook me up” as the kids say. I’m not going anywhere else after an endorsement like that.

Radio (and podcast) has a big future, because of the connection audiences have with hosts. Why abuse that connection? Why cheapen it? Sales reps should understand that and make it part of their pitch. My best sales reps literally dial up companies in industries I identify and start with the question, “Do you listen to The Michael Berry Show?” If the answer is no, I don’t want them as sponsors. I want folks who understand why I’m controversial, why my audience listeners, what my values are.

Radio and podcast’s future is dependent on a sound business model that understands what makes us special, unique, and better than other forms of media.

Here is my list of suggestions to sellers and hosts, in hopes of facilitating better results for show sponsors:

— Sellers should never pitch a client without asking the talent first.

— Talent should not endorse a company without researching and approving them.

— Talent should tell sellers what sorts of things they WANT to endorse. Guns, cigars, home improvement, cars, medical. The best endorsement is something the talent will use himself. An avid gun owner is going to present a very compelling (and effective/profitable) endorsement for a gun range he visits once a week. Look at how weight loss sponsors have profited when the host follows their program and endorses it on air.

— If a sponsor isn’t committed to a yearlong relationship, don’t do it.  It ruins credibility to change the endorsement inside the same category. Again, credibility is everything.

— Talent should develop personal relationships with sponsors. They can help listeners this way and the sponsors become show content.

— The value of talent to the station is far more than just ratings. Half my audience is 55+, so the 18-34 or 25-54 rating is less useful to me.  But when show sponsors stay on air for 10 or more years, it is a ringing endorsement that what we do works. They vote with their dollars. The whole point of ratings was to show agencies how many people listened, in hopes that that vast listening audience would respond to the commercials they hear, thus monetizing the show, right? Why not go straight to the “dollars in (from the sponsor), dollars out (listeners spending money with sponsors)” model?  Show sponsors who get tangible results from their partnership with talent don’t cancel their buy.

— Openly discuss how much money a talent brings into the station. The programming side of radio loves to talk about things that don’t generate dollars, while the sales side is often disconnected from the actual product they are selling.  Fix that.

Michael Berry is a longtime, high-ranking member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s heard daily on KTRH, Houston and across the country on his own independent network.  Michael Berry can be emailed at MichaelBerry@iheartmedia.com.

Sales

Pending Business: The Anecdote

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — News and talk radio sellers are boring.

Sorry if I offended you. But that’s what I see in the marketing work I do.

It’s all about numbers on paper. If ratings are not part of the pitch, it comes down to a laundry list of predictable guests, a boilerplate bio, and whatever else is fast and easy.

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Front Page News Industry News

Friday, January 21, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Manchinian Candidate,” looks back at this past week of 1/17 to 1/21. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDave Elswick, talk show host, KDXE 101.1 The Answer, Little Rock; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale-Miami- Palm Beaches; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/Physician.  The show airs each weekend on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Steve Jones Named CEO and President for Skyview Networks. Network executive Steve Jones is promoted to CEO and president of Skyview Networks from his previous COO/president role. In this new role, Jones will lead the sales, content, broadcast distribution and technology company. Founder and CEO Ken Thiele transitions to founder and executive chairman of the board, in which he’ll continue to engage in a high-level advisory role for the company. Thiele says, “Over the last 25 years, Skyview has evolved into a dynamic solutions leader in network audio, and through our enduring growth, we have always maintained a commitment to innovation and quality. I have had the privilege of working alongside Steve both as a client and as a leader within our company — he embodies these characteristics, which are also matched with an unyielding drive for excellence, keen business sense, and distinguished experience. I am privileged to welcome him to the role of CEO.” Jones comments, “I am grateful to Ken for trusting me to steward the company he has built in partnership with longtime EVP, Jeanne-Marie Condo. During the last three-years, despite pandemic challenges, Skyview Networks has become the fastest growing leader in network audio sales, syndication and distribution. Our unwavering commitment to customer service and proven financial performance have convinced content creators and influencers to join Skyview, while simultaneously providing advertisers effective, efficient and creative campaigns that achieve their marketing goals. At the core of this success is our company culture built on integrity and transparency, resulting in employees committed to one another and to our customers.”

FOX News Channel Reveals New Weekend Primetime Lineup. Effective the weekend of January 29, FOX News Channel debuts a new Saturday primetime lineup. Lawrence Jones will host a new, one-hour show titled, “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” airing at 10:00 pm ET and Brian Kilmeade will host his eponymous show at 8:00 pm ET. “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino” moves to the 9:00 pm ET slot. The 8:00 pm ET hour was formerly hosted by Jesse Watters who was named solo host of the weeknight “Jesse Watters Primetime” program. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says the promotion renders Jones, 29, the youngest Black solo host of a program in cable news. In addition to this new role, Jones will continue as the enterprise reporter for the “FOX & Friends” franchise. “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” will focus on newsmakers from across the political and cultural spectrum, spotlighting the leading concerns facing Americans nationwide. Kilmeade remains a co-host of FNC’s morning franchise “FOX & Friends” while also hosting the three-hour daily “Brian Kilmeade Show” on FOX News Audio and “What Made America Great” on FOX News Media’s streaming service FOX Nation. Scott says, “Lawrence has been an impact player since joining the network in 2018 and we are thrilled to add his critical insights to our weekend lineup.” Kilmeade comments, “I am truly honored that Suzanne has given me another incredible opportunity at FOX News Media. My ultimate goal is to create a program that will always seek solutions rather than sow division.”

Triton Digital Publishes December 2021 Podcast Report. The U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital is released and ranks podcast networks and podcasts from participating podcast networks based on average weekly downloads in the U.S. For the period of November 29 to January 2, Stitcher Media was the #1 podcast network with 43.1 million active downloads. NPR was #2 with 31.7 million, Audacy Podcast Network was #3 with 28.7 million, and Cumulus Podcast Network was #4 with 18 million. The report also ranks individual podcasts by average weekly download and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” was #1. At #2 was “NPR News Now,” followed by Cumulus’ “The Ben Shaprio Show” at #3. You can see the complete rankers for the top 20 networks and the top 100 podcasts here.

SiriusXM Talk Host Joe Madison Ends Hunger Strike. In the aftermath of the failure of the Democrats to get the Senate to take up the Voting Rights Act, SiriusXM Urban View channel morning drive host Joe Madison ended his hunger strike. Madison spoke at length on his program about what, in the face of the Democratic leadership’s failure, his 74-day hunger strike accomplished. The SiriusXM PR staff transcribed his monologue and you can read it here.

Talk Radio Host Dr. Asa Pursuing Pro Wrestling Dream. Nationally syndicated talk radio and television personality Dr. Asa Andrew (right) is pursuing his dream of being a pro wrestler at the not-so-tender age of 50 – and he’s doing it with the help of WWE three-time World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page (left). But after turning 50 and being asked if he has any regrets considering his vast accomplishments in medicine and media, he said, “I started a professional wrestling career years ago, and due to several life events, I wasn’t able to finish. I finish everything that I start.” In 2000, Dr. Asa was invited to an open tryout at the original WCW Power Plant in Atlanta. There he was one of two out of 35 that made it and was offered a contract. Paul Orndorff and Jody Hamilton ran the facility and told him to go finish his doctorate, and then he would start. Dr. Asa had nine months left to complete his degree, and during that time Vince McMahon bought WCW, and the opportunity was gone. His next chance had to be passed on as Dr. Asa’s father was dying of cancer and Asa knew he had to be there for him. Years later, Dr. Asa and his friend Dallas Page – whose backstory is that he is the oldest to successfully start a career in professional wrestling – decided the time is now to start that journey. Dallas called Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall with AEW’s affiliated developmental school, The Nightmare Factory, in Atlanta, and Dr. Asa started their training camp in October. As Dr. Asa continues to pursue his dream, he and Dallas Page are filming a new documentary on helping others transform their health that will be released sometime in the upcoming year.

WWO: NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Reaches 33 Million. A study called the NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Report from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group concludes that 33 million people listen to NCAA Men’s Basketball each season on Westwood One. This report includes a just-completed Nielsen PPM analysis of season-long audiences and brand-new data from a MARU/Matchbox study tracking a day in the life of an NCAA basketball fan. The study also found that among persons 18-34, Westwood One reaches 59% of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Audience and is the number two platform, ahead of linear television (behind streaming video). The younger the NCAA audience, the greater the reach and resonance of Westwood One’s audio platform. It also concludes that its audio coverage maximizes the value of an NCAA television media plan, generating incremental reach (+19%) and frequency. Executive vice president of marketing for Cumulus Media and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “There is no denying the fervor of the NCAA basketball audience and the excitement March Madness generates. Our Westwood One broadcasts cater to everyone, from the casual fan to the diehard, and they all are just the kind of listeners advertisers want – upscale, employed, and listening on the go.” See the complete study here.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio talk host Dave Elswick signs a new, one-year extension with Salem Media Group’s KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” to continue hosting the station’s morning show. He’s been with KDXE for the past eight years after serving for 14 years with crosstown news/talk KARN-FM…..The Radio Mercury Awards, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and funded by the Radio Creative Fund, announces that Alejandro Ortiz, executive creative director, Campbell Ewald, is the 2022 chief judge for the 31st annual edition of the Radio Mercury Awards. In his role, Ortiz leads the creative teams in New York, for a number of clients, including Empire State Development, I❤️NY, Port Authority of NY and NJ, a number of spirits and beverage brands at Constellation, and the New York Power Authority, as well as Shamrock Farms. Call for Entry for the 2022 Radio Mercury Awards will open in a few weeks. Learn more information on this year’s Call for Entry guidelines and deadlines here.

Biden Anniversary Press Conference & Agenda Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 17-21. Wednesday’s press conference by President Joe Biden on the first anniversary of his taking office, criticism of his first year, and his agenda going forward were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, coming together atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Supreme Court denying Donald Trump’s request to keep White House notes from the January 6 House Select Committee tied with the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization. Following at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 Omicron variant cases, vaccine & mask mandates and the effect on the nation’s schools. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia Seeks Talk Show Host. KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia, Missouri is looking for a dynamic full-time, talk show host who will hit the ground running and immediately contribute to the successful community-based heritage radio station. The successful candidate understands the broadcast business and takes pride in their work. This candidate needs to be a strategic and pro-active thinker. We require creative idea generating skills to constantly put the station in a position to succeed. Candidate needs a deep understanding of on-air, digital, and social media branding as well as a passion for impacting listeners in the community. If you enjoy a fast-paced work environment and have the gift to talk, please apply. Send your information to: casey.bartholomew@cumulus.com