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 News

Tony Bruno Launching Sports Talk Network

Philadelphia sports site Crossing Broad shares a press release from sports talk media personality Tony Bruno that announces the debut of his new sports talk venture, the Tony Bruno Sports Network. The network will feature “The Tony Bruno Show” in afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET), along with “The Pete Sheppard Show” (7:00 am to 10:00 am ET), “Defo & Lubie” (10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET), andimMartinez & Company” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET), with the early afternoon daypart to be announced. The press release states, TBSN will debut October 30th  with LIVE programming every weekday with sports talk radio from 7am to 8pm to start. Additional time slots and weekend programming will be added over the following months. TBSN is available to listeners nationwide online via and on the ‘Tony Bruno Sports Network’ app for Android and iPhone.” Bruno adds, “I want to thank all of my fans who have followed and supported me through the years. I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to return and who still want to hear my daily fun approach to sports and current affairs, which has been my forté for over five decades in broadcasting; this time, I’m bringing friends! I hear over and over again that fans are tired of X’s & O’s sports radio. I plan to bring back exciting, sports talk radio again, with a Florida flair. What better place to launch a new nationwide sports network than in Florida, a true melting pot of fans from all over the nation.”

Industry Views

Monday Memo: What Aren’t You?

By Holland Cooke

imThanks to those who sent comments on last week’s column “Gradually, they know you,” which recommended brevity in explaining to listeners who you are.

Equally important: Clarity that you’re NOT what listeners DON’T want. If you’re a host or programmer, you want to understand listener turn-offs as well as Viking Riverboat Cruise Lines seems to know their prospects.

Promising that “We do not try to be all things to all people,” the Viking brochure promises:


No children under 18.

No casinos.

No nickel and diming.

No charge for Wi-Fi.

No charge for beer & wine at lunch & dinner.

No umbrella drinks.

No photography sales.

No art auctions.

No inside staterooms.

No smoking.

No waiting in lines.

No format lights, butlers or white gloves.

And the brochure details an “Environmentally Considerate” culture “reducing impact through design & technology,” i.e., solar panels, recycling & waste management, etc.

With SO many audio competitors, we can’t risk ambiguity.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio;” and “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Gradually, They Know You

By Holland Cooke

imThanks to those who sent comments on last week’s column “Beware The Banter.” For those asking how-much-is-too-much, this follow-up.

The old “Dick Van Dyke Show” depicted the life of TV writers. Collaborators Rob Petrie, Sally Rogers, and Buddy Sorrell spent their workdays in an office, riffing. The weekly script that emerged was careful with show host Alan Brady’s brand. He was a personality viewers came to know, one week at a time.

In offices like that, there’s a living document they call “The Bible.” For that first pilot episode, it might have been a single page of bullet points. A more recent example might have fleshed-out sitcom characters in broad strokes: Jerry is a comedian. He and Elaine used to date, now they’re friends. Elaine is from Maryland and she can’t dance.

Week-by-week, as we come to know these fictitious friends, new details humanize them further, and “The Bible” gets thicker. It guides writers, so they don’t burst our bubble by telling us Elaine is from Connecticut.


Similarly, your listeners come to know you, accruing your identity, one anecdote at a time. You may be as-surprised-as-flattered when you meet a listener who plays-back something about your life that you might not even remember sharing.

So, know that they know you. And when the boss or the consultant reminds you how mentally busy listeners are – and encourages you to keep-the-show-moving – you needn’t fret that you’ll sound like Sgt. Joe Friday in “Dragnet.” Final TV reference, I promise.

My point: The litmus test for whatever you share is relatability. I was born on the same day as one of the children of 50+ year WTIC, Hartford morning host Bob Steele, and my dad was forever bonded by his amusing baby stories. They were nuanced references, not longwinded rambles.

Remain humble about listeners’ attention.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio;” and “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

In Pursuit of Younger Demos

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

imThe persistent liability of most talk stations is that they attract a high percentage of listeners over the age of 65. Consider that many of those older listeners are attracted to radio shows that are talking for companionship and comfort.

There are simple, tested techniques to incorporate in an on-air presentation that will appeal to a younger listener. If put on the air these tips will also enhance a station’s PPM results.

— Bumper music is unnecessary, it makes breaks seem longer. If it is necessary to use bumper music it should have been recorded after the year 2000. 2000 was obviously 23 years ago. A 35-year-old was 12 in 2000.

— Young people are busy with work, kids, life. They are attracted to radio that matches their pace. The shorter the calls, the younger the callers will be. DO NOT thank callers for holding on – that’s a screener’s job. Thank a caller for holding on and you signal that it takes a long time to get on the air. Busy people won’t call to be put on hold!

— The editorial page of any newspaper has the lowest readership. Comics, horoscope, and entertainment have the highest. Quote the editorial page and you’ll wake up grandpa and scare away the new mom. Did you know Taylor Swift has a new boyfriend?

— Everyone is attracted to mirrors of their lives. We engage with people who have similar problems with their kids, in-laws, jobs, money, car. How would you make a friend at a party? Those techniques will work for you on the air. What did your mother tell you about party talk? “Don’t talk about politics or religion, talk about the weather and the shrimp”

— The easiest way to attract younger listeners and repel older listeners is to play music on the weekend. Targeted, researched music that appeals to the exact audience age you covet. WABC features several music shows on the weekend. Sabo Media’s charter clients include “New Jersey 101.5” and “Real Radio Orlando” They air music all weekend, talk all week.

BONUS: Music on the weekend puts a station on concert, movie, music, club, and bar buys!

Just like a music station, a talk station must present a consistent package of entertainment, topics, news stories, music selection, production elements must appeal to your target listener. No wavering.


Above is a picture of two of Sterling On Sunday’s loyal listeners. Steven and Casandra of Burlington, NJ. Steven owns the bakery, Casandra works there and is a junior in college.

Walter Sabo founded Sabo Media to work with innovative media companies such as RKO, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, PARADE magazine, Pegasus, Apollo Advisers and others. He produces and hosts the successful talk show, Sterling On Sunday. Last Sunday the topics included how to know what’s in the custard in Walter Sabo can be emailed at

Industry News

“Why Is KFI So Successful?”

iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles gets some love from the Los Angeles Daily NewsRichard Wagoner in his column. Reporting on the station’s recent #3 rank in Nielsen’s August PPM survey,im Wagoner writes, “Why is KFI so successful – isn’t conservative talk dead? Yes, it is… and it’s been decades since KFI was considered ‘conservative talk’ (even when it wasn’t). There have always been a balance of viewpoints on the station; as it moved away from politically centered topics to more general topics, it matched the mood of listeners who wanted to be entertained more than they wanted to be angry.” Read his column here.

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Embrace “Car Radio”

By Holland Cooke

imAs this week’s first Republican presidential debate looms, my FOX News Radio-affiliated client stations are irked. Thanks to their network, they’re carrying it live, and locally sponsored, and promo-ing it aplenty. A couple of my clients will travel to Milwaukee to wrap pre- and post-game color around the play-by-play. So, yuh, they’re irked.

Listen somewhere else

 FOX News Radio newscasts invite listeners to hear the debate live, at Hello?

I talked one client down-off-the-ledge, by reminding him that anyone who wants to watch the debate, and can, will. And that anyone who’s driving cannot and won’t likely drive distractedly-enough to somehow stream it from a website in-car.

For decades, I’ve scripted promos for events like this, and the Super Bowl and World Series, by offering that “if you’ll be in the car tonight,” and/or “if you can’t be near TV,” and/or “if you’ll be at work,” we’ve got it on radio.

Hey, if I was FOX News Radio, I’d do the same thing. But when one client called to complain and asked “could you at least add ‘…and many of these FOX News Radio stations?’” he was told they’d run-it-up-the-flagpole.


It could be worse. You’re not a TV station.

THEY should be livid, as NBC uses affiliates’ air to say watch Peacock. Channel-surf, and you will be lured to Paramount+ or Discovery+ or Disney+.

And this didn’t happen overnight, as I demonstrated several years ago in a TV report about the TV switch-pitch (

So, embrace radio’s preeminence in-car, and not just when plugging special coverage. Program and promote everything as though you’re talking to busy people behind the wheel. Nobody sitting stiller will feel rushed.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry News

Erick Erickson’s Gathering Draws Almost 1,000 to Atlanta


WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Erick Erickson presented “The Erick Erickson Show Gathering” in Atlanta last Thursday through Saturday (8/17-19) that drew almost 1,000 of Erickson’s listeners from his markets across the country. During the event, Erickson conducted 16 hours of interviews with GOP presidential candidates including Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Tim Scott, and Senators Tom Cotton (AR) and Joni Ernst (IA) plus Congressman Rich McCormick (GA); and Governors Brian Kemp (GA) and Glenn Youngkin (VA). Press from six countries covered the event and more than 90 local television and radio markets ran stories about the event. Erickson says, “Bringing my audience from across America together to be up close with presidential contenders and conservative leaders is something no one else does. This was my tenth time since starting my show on WSB. Since going into syndication with Compass Media earlier this year, it just made sense to expand the footprint of the Gathering to all my listeners and online readers nationwide. We kept the ticket price very low and relied on sponsors because we didn’t want to burden the audience. The conference isn’t intended to be a profit center. It’s to build lasting relationships with affiliates, listeners, and readers.” Pictured above is Erickson (left) interviewing Governor Youngkin (center) and Governor Kemp (right).

Industry News

Greenville’s News/Talk 98.9 WORD Adds Erick Erickson Show

Audacy announces that WYRD-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “News/Talk 98.9 WORD” adds the WSB, Atlanta-based, syndicated Erick Erickson show to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm time slot, effective tomorrow (6/21). Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “With the arrival ofim Erick Erickson as the new afternoon talk show host on WYRD-FM, an unsurpassed team of talent will serve the Upstate, north Georgia and western North Carolina. Erick’s thought-provoking discussions, unyielding insight and captivating presence will be a welcomed addition to our listeners and partners. Erick will complete News/Talk 98.9 WORD’s incredible lineup, allowing us to provide unmatched content for listeners and the largest and most effective platform for advertisers.” Erickson is syndicated via Compass Media Networks.

Industry News

“New Jersey 101.5” Presents Town Hall on Victim-Proofing

This Thursday (6/15), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents a town hall-style discussion titled, “Victim-Proofing Your Life.” The station says this presentation “will help New Jersey residents protect themselves from a tidal wave of scams, auto and home thefts, mass shootings, and identity theft thatim has reached epidemic levels.” Station senior political director Eric Scott will lead the discussion with safety and security experts to help listeners identify and safeguard themselves from these threats. He says, “From home break-ins, catalytic converter thefts and internet scams, there is no shortage of ways that bad actors try and take advantage of you. This program will help New Jersey residents protect themselves from bad actors who are operating throughout New Jersey.”

Industry Views

Pending Business: Thank You, Mr. President

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHow about a collective “thank you” to the 45th president of the United States for keeping your talk radio programming relevant, timely, unpredictable and most of all engaging?

The interpretation, speculation and compilation of facts, opinions and reporting will be non-stop until this chapter of the news cycle meets the next chapter. This is a never-ending saga that keeps the dial locked into your talk radio frequency. This is the content that keeps the electronic water cooler crowded with listeners who can’t get enough.

Whatever comes next in this chapter of history unfolding in front of our collective ears and eyes is the oxygen that keeps the talk radio world alive and well every day. By the way, the 45th president of the United States just may have pulled your typically soft talk radio summer sales out of the basement and pushed you into an express elevator to the penthouse.

Are you still feeling the drumbeat of the naysayers predicting how talk radio will age out? Or better yet, run its course? My prediction is talk radio is about enter a phase previously unmatched in American broadcast history. Seriously. When was the last time a former president of the United States owned the headlines and collective headspace of talk radio hosts and listeners worldwide for so many years? Never.

Let’s get ready to refresh our summer vacation schedules, seasonal sales packages, rates, and most of all strategies. Start here:

— Sell the concept. Leave the opinions and banter about indictments, politics and the law to your on-air talent. Focus instead on the unique value of the engaged audience.

— Experts are important. Chances are your talk radio hosts will be smart enough to break down the issues and lean on experts to help the audience understand the ramifications. Credibility and consistency can make your coverage stand apart. Show your advertiser what makes your coverage different and better.

— Talk radio goes where TV and video can’t – the car, the beach, even the backyard. Sell the need to know on the go.

— Unfolding the unpredictable. Your listeners want the “inside scoop” on what the next chapter of this saga looks like. Your on-air talent look for every opportunity to give their listeners a peek behind the opinion curtain. The seller’s job is to bring the value of that connection to life on every sales call.

Talk radio is alive and well every day. It’s up to you to show your advertisers the value of instant access to a trusted voice.

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 News

Status of WBZ-FM, Boston’s Fred Toucher Unknown

On Wednesday’s program, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” morning drive host Rich Shertenlieb spoke about the absence of co-host Fred Toucher on this week’s programs after Toucher’s concerning social media posts last weekend. Those posts have since been deleted but they made references to wishing to die. Shertenlieb told listeners that their desire to know what’s going on with Toucher is understandable but that hisim hands are tied as anything he could say has to be approved by management. The Boston Globe reports that Shertenlieb said, “The last time he was out for an extended period, I gave an update and was gently asked for a lot of different reasons that any statement regarding him has to be approved by management. There have been statements that have been submitted, some have been approved, some haven’t been. It just turns into asking, ‘What can I say? What can I say?’ Listen, no one wants to be in this position. Fred doesn’t want to be in this position, the station doesn’t want to be in this position, I certainly don’t want to be in this position, but as of now, all I’ve been approved to tell you, because you’re such great listeners and we love you, is that he’s not here today, I’m not sure exactly when he’ll be back, but I’ve been a friend of Fred’s for years and I hope the best for him.” Read the Boston Globe story here.

Industry News

“The Bettor Angle” Joins BetQL Network

Audacy announces the launch of “The Bettor Angle,” a new show that “takes fans of BetQL Network behind the numbers and uncovers the stories that shape the games.” The program is hosted by Kate Constable andim Camron Smith and airs Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET via the Audacy app and Twitch beginning May 13. BetQL Network brand manager Andrew Williams says, “‘The Bettor Angle’ is the latest example of the BetQL Network’s dedication to delivering top-quality Wagertainment to our listeners and viewers, seven days a week. Kate and Camron will take listeners behind the numbers and uncover the stories that shape the games. From injury reports to coaching strategies, they’ll help listeners understand the factors that can make or break their bets.”

Industry News

Audacy Releases Fourth State of Audio Guide

Audacy releases its latest “State of Audio” guide. This fourth installment of the company’s bi-annual e-book explores audio’s impact throughout the brand funnel, from awareness and intention to action. Highlighting case studies from today’s biggest brands, the guide gives advertisers a look into how they can use radio, podcastsim and streaming for everything from brand awareness to consumer purchase. Audacy chief marketing officer Paul Suchman says, “Audio holds the title as the undisputed leader of brand-building channels – working its magic with the one-two punch of massive reach and beloved and trusted personalities. But if you’re thinking of Audio as just a top-of-funnel play – good for sparking a conversation but not driving conversion – think again. The truth is the game has expanded in recent years and audio is now a truly multi-purpose platform. Thanks to precision targeting, authentic influencers whose listeners follow them across channels, and advanced measurement, marketers are uncovering the best-kept secret in media – audio’s ability to drive impact at every funnel stage.” See the “State of Audio” guide here.

Industry News

iHeartMedia Publishes the State of Podcasting 2023

This report from iHeartMedia looks into determining where the audiences for podcasts are coming from. The company says of the State of Podcasting study: “Aside from reach, time spent listening to podcasts is up 2x in the past five years with the number of Black and Hispanic listeners jumping 30% in the past two years. Weim wanted to see where the listenership was coming from and based on the research it looks like Americans are making more time for podcasts mostly by reducing time spent with streaming video, streaming music and social media. Video podcasts have been a big discussion lately in the industry – whether its needed and cost effective, which is interesting because this new data sample showed that podcasts are pulling listener share primarily from YouTube’s audience – a reasonable motivation for their heightened focus on video podcasting to drive retention.” Interestingly, the study also concluded that the majority of radio listening happens out-of-home (68%), while the majority of podcast listening happens in the home (69%).