Industry News

TALKERS 2024: Radio and Beyond Set for Friday, June 7


TALKERS 2024, the 27th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national conference is set and going to be one of the storied event’s most important installments. The power-packed, one-day event will again be presented by TALKERS on Friday, June 7, 2024, on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2023, 2022, 2021 and 2016 events – and enjoy the remarkable resources that its Lawrence Herbert School of Communication brings to the table.” TALKERS 2024 will boldly address key issues – some existential – facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture of rapidly accelerating technological and societal change as well as identifying the remarkable opportunities inherent in these developments. The focus, as always, will be on talk radio and its changing relationship with the larger arena of “audio” and “video” including podcasting, satellite, and digital venues. News/talk, sports talk, all-news, and general talk will be amply covered. The conference will also provide participants with unique and powerful networking opportunities. There will be over 50 top industry speakers and registration will be limited to insure intimacy. Attendance at the conference is limited to members of the working media and directly associated industries as well as communication students enrolled in accredited learning institutions. All attendees will be required to register in advance on the phone payable by credit card. Because attendance will be limited and the agenda outstanding, the conference is again expected to be an early sellout. The all-inclusive registration fee covering convention events, exhibits, food, and services for the day is $379. Take advantage of the early bird fee of $279 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, March 15. Because space will be limited and a sellout is anticipated, all registrations are non-refundable. To register for TALKERS 2024 or to obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. Nearby hotel information will be posted here shortly.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Q2

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHave we passed the disappointment of 2023?

If ad sales at your radio station finished last year up double digits (excluding digital) please skip past the next few paragraphs. If you’re in the same boat as most radio ad sellers across the country at various levels – i.e. local, national, syndication, network – last year was a struggle.

Now then, how is Q1 shaping up?

Are you making up for lost ground, like the airline business, automotive business, restaurants or are you still pushing that boulder uphill? Here is some straight-from-the-field unfiltered feedback:

1. Valentine’s Day at most restaurants was one of the busiest on record. People at the packed-in table next to ours waited two hours after sitting to be served. So much for a 6:45 pm reservation. They got free dessert. Seriously?

2. Travel is back, make no mistake about it. Discount airfares are a thing of the past on the big-name airlines. At 6’2” I really believe my knees should not be touching the seat in front of me in comfort class on most major airlines.

3. Try negotiating a new car deal this month. No, not the incentives on the 2023 models, I’m talking 2024 in 2024. As the goodfellows said back home, fuhgeddaboudit.

There is nothing wrong with trying to make up for the lost income of the Covid years. After all, testing the pricing upside in business is the American way. We pay more, tip more, and adjust. It is the Darwin theory eating into our wallets every day. So why are most broadcast radio sales teams at all levels still throwing it against the wall to see what sticks? I see it every day in my marketing work. We have lost touch with the excitement, the “wow” factor, the customizations, the basic intangibles of selling the great talent we represent.

Let us learn from other successful businesses. Travel pitches pent-up demand, restaurants make sure you will get the special occasion marketing message no matter where you are, and the auto business, well the ships and chips are in!

What do we not understand about the current weakness in our broadcast radio sales strategy?

1. How current is your value proposition? Successful podcasters like Joe Rogan and Alex Cooper along with YouTubers, Facebook, Instagram, and all social media have changed the game-forever. How does your value proposition stand out today?

2. Talk radio will not go away. Programmers and talent will learn what they need to adjust to refocus one of the great radio formats ever created since someone said, “Let’s play the top 40 songs over and over.”

3. Let us start re-thinking what broadcast radio sellers need to prioritize to make a difference-today.

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

Wayne Allyn Root, “We Did This!”

Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root celebrates the 8th anniversary of his talk radio show (2/7). The anniversary coincides with the Nevada GOP primary that saw GOPim candidate Nikki Haley come in behind “None of the Above Candidates.” (“None of the Above Candidates” is choice that has been on Nevada ballots since 1975.)  Root tells TALKERS that he came up with the strategy of convincing his audience to vote “None of the Above” to support Donald Trump and claims, “This is Exhibit A for the power of talk radio. Look at the vote totals. The number of ‘None of the Above’ voters almost exactly matches the number of listeners to my Vegas and statewide Nevada radio show. We did this. My Nevada audience almost single-handedly ended Nikki’s presidential ambitions.”

Industry News

Crossover Media Group Acquires Equity Interest in Take On The Day LLC

Production and audio ad rep firm Crossover Media Group announces it is acquiring an equity interest in Take On The Day, LLC, owner of the “Dr. Laura Program” on SiriusXM and the “Dr. Laura’s Call of the Day” and “Dr. Laura’s Deep Dive” podcasts, all hosted by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. This transactionim follows a multi-year advertising sales and production partnership between the two organizations. Terms were not announced. Crossover Media Group managing member Sue Freund states, “Throughout her more than four decades in talk radio and now podcasting, Dr. Laura has amassed an enormous following with her frank, direct, captivating style, which is sometimes provocative, always interesting and insightful, and never dull. After many years of working with her and her team at Take On The Day, we’re proud to expand our relationship and commitment to her programs, and to continue to grow our presence as a leading partner to the nation’s top audio-talk hosts.” Take On The Day LLC president Geoff Rich comments, “Crossover Media Group’s investment in Take On The Day adds so much to our ability to reach more listeners and help more sponsors. With Sue and her partners Ron Hartenbaum and Scott Calka joining the management team, we are supercharging the future of the Dr. Laura programming and brand.”

Industry News

Bonneville Pairs St. James and Gaydos; Adds New Midday Show on KTAR-FM

Bonneville Phoenix makes changes to its daily programming on news/talk KTAR-FM “News 92.3 FM,” effective February 5. The station moves Chad Benson from his afternoon drive co-host role to evenings and brings Phoenix market pro Bruce St. James and former KTAR personality aboard to co-host the PM drive show with Larry Gaydos. At the same time, the station adds a new midday program hosted by talkim radio pros Chris Merrill and Joe Huizenga. Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Ryan Hatch says, “We are thrilled to add new shows that will keep our community informed and connected at such an important time. In addition to being one of the most dynamic and fastest growing cities in the country, Phoenix is also the epicenter of the 2024 election with Arizona being a key battleground state.” St. James served with KTAR-FM from 2010-2020. Merrill hosted a local show on the station from 2014-2017. Huizenga is currently the assistant program director and is a familiar voice as a fill-in host. Station PD Martha Maurer adds, “I am excited to welcome back Bruce and introduce Chris and Joe to our already impressive news and talk teams. This new lineup will bring exciting new energy and depth to our live and local coverage, both on-air and on our growing digital platforms.”

Industry News

CES100th, Radio Roots

By Holland Cooke

imIf you’ve been seeing CES coverage on network and cable newscasts this week, you’ve heard it called “the Consumer Electronics Show,” despite we-the-media being told not to. They want us to say “CES,” although, years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association, not its first rebrand.

Back in 1924, it was the Radio Manufacturers’ Association, and eventually it became the Radio & Television Manufacturers’ Association. For all those years – and for decades after it morphed into the CEA – this organization advocated for companies that made… things.

Back-to-the-future: Many of the big stories at CES2024 aren’t about products that come in a box. Artificial Intelligence is big here this year, nonchalantly referred to as “AI.” But – because we should avoid initials that aren’t self-explanatory – you’re hearing CES called “the Consumer Electronics Show;” and smart reporters use “Artificial Intelligence” on first reference.

And one particularly insightful session I attended got me thinking about radio’s “initials.” When we say our call letters, do listeners think about what we were, or what we can do now do?

“All Media is Social Media” panelist Isabel Perry, VP of emerging technology at pioneering digital agency DEPT said a mouthful, in a savvy British accent: “Your brand is not what you tell your customers. It’s what your customers tell each other about you.” And declaring that “media is now communal,” fellow panelist and former TikTok executive Melissa Eccles urged “Invite people to participate.”

Robotic music stations with too many commercials are disadvantaged. Swifties don’t need FM to hear Taylor. She’s already on their phones…and Alexa, and SiriusXM, and YouTube, and streams. Talk radio that’s I-talk-you-listen is a caricature. Media consumers expect to interact. As Larry King said, “I never learned anything while I was talking.”

Yes, there are huge TVs and flying cars here, and CES is still gadget heaven. But 100 years ago – when families sat around large AM receivers, seeming to watch what they were hearing – simply broadcasting at-them was a business. I leave Las Vegas reaffirmed that ENGAGING people is now, in gambling parlance, table stakes.

Covering CES this week for TALKERS, I’m also offering stations 60-second reports. Help yourself at

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

Industry Views

Pending Business: Ad Count

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHow many times will we research the same subject and come to the same conclusion?

This time it is the podcast. How many ads will the average listener consider “appropriate” in a 60-minute episode?

If you read the recent research from Cumulus/Signal Hill, you know the answer. For the rest of you, survey says under four minutes per 60-minute episode. The same survey says the magic number for a 30-minute episode is under three.

How ironic is that? The typical talk radio hour runs more ads in one break than an entire 60-minute episode of a podcast. Could it be because we have been integrating radio commercials into hour-long broadcast content for over 100 years? Have we conditioned news/talk listeners to accept more commercials per hour? Our TV friends have been at for over 80 years with an even bigger hourly spot load. Anyone ever see audience research that says add more commercials?

Seriously, unless you pay for the ad-free experience of Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, etc., like most consumers of media, you are comfortable with the ad-supported media model.

So, how has the podcast world been so successful with a model that would leave most traditional radio and TV owners, execs, and sellers dumbfounded.

Here is some insight from my experience.

1) CPM is higher in podcast. The hard facts are when you work with higher CPM you can adjust the commercial load. Demand for digital/social media and podcasts with marketable scale is greater than terrestrial radio. The demand curve for podcast advertising is greater than terrestrial radio. Time to wake up, shake up and shout out loud about our 100-year-old sleepy giant!

2) Survey said 62% of podcast listeners prefer the host read. Talk radio sellers should improve this pitch every day. Today, podcast sellers are simply better at it. Podcast sellers get the intimate relationship between host and listener better than most radio sellers get host and audience. Podcast hosts seem more one-on-one savvy. What will Joe Rogan’s next guest say? What will we hear when your talk talent interviews their next guest?

3) Quality. When your local production director is overloaded and needs to get commercials completed on the air yesterday, what wins: quantity or quality? Be honest here. Where is the next audio creative genius like Dick Orkin or Chuck Blore? Do you know those names?

4) Can you really compare ad load levels between the 60- or 30-minute podcast episode to the average three-hour daily talk radio show?

Traditional molds need to be revisited regularly. My experience with YouTube is showing me even newer models for monetization, different from audio podcasts. Does your 2024 planner have any room for innovation?

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

Houston’s KYST-AM to Become Conservative News/Talk in January

Hispanic Broadcasting Inc will flip Spanish talk KYST-AM, Houston to English-language news/talk on January 1. The company says, “An all-new sound is coming to talk radio in Houston! Beginning January 1, 2024, an exciting new lineup of conservative talk radio personalities are coming to KYST 920 AM.”im The lineup includes Westwood One talk hosts Dan Bongino, Chris Plante and Rich Valdes; Starnes Media Group’s Todd Starnes; FOX News Radio’s Guy Benson, Newsmax’s Rob Carson, and longtime Pittsburgh TV and radio personality Wendy Bell. It will also use FOX News Radio for network news. Hispanic Broadcasting president Matthew Velasquez says, “We’re excited to bring Houston listeners a better choice in news/talk radio. The mission of ‘Patriot Talk 920 AM’ is to become the leader in conservative talk radio with programming that reflects our core values of family, faith and freedom.” For more information, contact Steve Lapa at

Industry Views

Pending Business: Coffee Talk

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHave you tried the $7 cup of coffee at Starbucks?

A recent visit to my neighborhood location was an eye-opener. The demographics were broader than a trip to Disneyland. The service was average, as the baristas gave a hearty Moe’s welcome shoutout, heads down cranking out the orders.

A recent study showed 63% of millennial coffee drinkers are good with that $7 price because the coffee experience made them feel good. I was wowed at the acceptance of the price point. If the average consumer goes to Starbucks 16 times a month, that is over $100 a month on coffee. No wonder there more than 16,000 locations in the U.S. We just can’t get enough!

Yes, I am a student of successful marketing no matter what the product or service is. Tide, Starbucks, iPhone – what is it about the product that drives the value proposition? Quality? My gym socks do just as well in the less expensive laundry detergent. Dependability? My iPhone needs rebooting more than I would like to admit. Consistency? Ever taste Pike Place when it is from the bottom of the canister? No product or service is flawless, yet we consistently pay more for some over others. Is it marketing, packaging, or genuine performance? A little of everything.

Let us connect to our sales world.

1) There is no shortage of Tide. Yet it is still the most expensive brand on most supermarket and big box store shelves. Consumers have paid a premium for nearly 80 years because we trust the product. And therein lies the lesson for talk radio sellers. The trust your audience has in your on-air hosts is hard-earned equity reinforced every day.

2) The sit-down experience and service in a Starbucks is unique. From Manhattan to Carmel, California, locally owned coffee shops try, and some may succeed but the overall sit-down experience and service at Starbucks is consistently high-quality, meeting our expectations no matter where you are and so price barriers come down. Lesson #2 for sellers. Is your buyer-seller exchange always at a consistent important level no matter how close your relationship with your advertiser? Even when business is down?

3) There is no way to Google that answer. Put yourself in the shoes of your advertiser, especially a first-time advertiser when the wrong copy runs, an invoice is incorrect, or another issue comes up. Is it quick and easy to resolve a discrepancy? Will you invest the time and patience to ease the process?

Our talk radio business rarely integrates intangibles when it comes to pricing. Competitive, efficiencies and demand traditionally drive pricing. Yet the talk radio personalities are the ones with all the intangibles. From political influencers and offering emergency weather information to life changing news storylines that need interpretation to become more acceptable. Yet through it all, we are still the $1 cup of coffee.

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

JD Hayworth to Host Afternoon Show on KFNN, Phoenix

Former congressman and talk media personality JD Hayworth is returning to the radio business inim Phoenix as host of the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm talk show “All Right Now!” on CRC Broadcasting Company’s KFNN-AM. CRC founder Ron Cohen says, “JD coming home to KFNN is a watershed moment for our station and all Arizona radio listeners. With so much interest in the 2024 election and Arizona’s growing notoriety as a key battleground state, the timing could not be better to bring JD back to host a daily show. No Valley radio host possesses JD’s credentials in both broadcasting and politics.”


How News/Talk Radio Should Adapt to Attract and Retain a Younger Audience

By Bill Bartholomew
Talk Host/Podcaster/Journalist/Musician

imFolks in the Gen Z and millennial demographics are heavily engaged in political issues, care about news in their communities and the world, and are constantly bombarded with content.  So why are they less likely to tune into and interact with news/talk radio than older demographics?

Talk radio has historically skewed older, and from an ad portfolio standpoint, is often targeted at the coveted 35-54 and 55+ demographics.  However, in a world where social media influencers and podcasters supply information to millions of young consumers, news/talk radio should be able to effectively compete for the ears of younger generations in a comparable, if not expanded way.

For all of the anecdotal and hard evidence that terrestrial radio may be trending in a downward direction, the format continues to have a vast reach.  It is convenient to engage with it in automobiles, and occasionally in home or office settings.  Yet, while younger generations listen to radio, news/talk is not the format that they turn to by and large.

Unlike many digital-first content producers, radio retains a unique quality: authority.  By virtue of editorial standards, FCC regulation and brand – things that social media and podcasts often lack – radio has the unique ability to deliver credible, vetted, nuanced and universally trustworthy content that can instantaneously adapt to meet the needs of the moment.  This is true in everything from natural disasters to rapidly evolving breaking news stories, providing a channel for immediate, reactionary insight and analysis.

There are several steps that news/talk radio should pursue in earnest to adapt to the current climate of content consumption, particularly by younger listeners, that can reach, and most importantly, retain broader, younger, more diverse and more engaged audiences.

  1. Introduce younger people into the conversation.

Too often, Gen Z and millennials are skewered by older hosts, mocked for their perceived naivety, unchecked optimism and me-first approach.  While some of these qualities can be accurate, that approach reflects a disconnect between older generations and the experience of younger ones.  Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a post-9/11 world replete with “endless wars”, the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, runaway student debt, a massive housing crisis, the mental health stressors of social media, Covid19’s impact on traditional youth experiences, climate change, a deeply bifurcated political environment and a constantly evolving quest for social justice.  Through these experiences, younger generations offer an important perspective that should be assigned the same news value as experts from older generations.

Are you discussing shifts towards electric vehicles?  Bring on someone from Gen Z to share their perspective on why steps towards carbon neutrality are important to them.  Engaging a conversation on the president’s approval rating?  Perhaps younger conservative and leftist voices should be included in the conversation.  Discussing immigration?  How about the perspective of a younger member of a Latino organization?

By giving younger generations and more diverse guests a platform, stations can simultaneously expand their content and reach.  With consistency, the station’s brand will become more familiar to younger potential listeners who may be inclined to tune in to hear someone who shares their identity and perspective on – here’s that word again – a platform of authority.  Let the guest do the work of establishing the credibility and importance of your station or talk show to younger audiences by posting about their appearance on social media, sharing audio clips and mentioning to their peers.  It will build familiarity and trust among those generations, who in turn, will begin to tune in on a more regular basis.

Stations should also consider bringing more younger, competent voices into on-air roles, whether that be through reporting, segments, fill-in hosts, weekend shows or full-time hosts.

  1. Meet the audience where they are: their phones. 

As mentioned above, the convenience of simply turning on AM/FM radio is highly appealing in automobiles, though as Apple Carplay continues to adapt and evolve, digital-first content is likely to become as simple and convenient in the near future.

Talk radio needs to make consuming their product on smartphones as simple and direct as turning on a traditional radio.  This means no clunky websites, no lengthy pre-roll spots, a reliable stream connection and a “one touch” means of turning on and off the station.  This should also mean expanding talk shows to high-quality video livestreams, following in the footsteps of the top YouTube and Twitch performers; developing unique content for TikTok and Instagram; building podcasts that are focused on specific issues, and; providing interaction via text and chat.

Radio has the ability to be the ultimate livestreamer, social media influencer and podcaster, but rarely harnesses these platforms in a meaningful way.

It is not enough to simply strive to “expand a digital presence”; stations and shows must engage in the hard work of building platform-specific content with their brands.

  1. Music, cultural references and themes for the modern age.

A few weeks ago on a seemingly benign episode of the TV show FOX NFL Sunday, panelists Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw offered an example of the type of cultural adaptation that sophisticated writers and producers provide their brands.  While describing a fight between two football players, Mr. Johnson said something to the effect of “when it comes to these two, what’s that Taylor Swift song?”, and then in synch with Mr. Bradshaw, “bad blood!”.  It is highly unlikely that these two 70+ men listen to Taylor Swift’s music with any regularity or would simultaneously pull the “Bad Blood” reference.  Yet, with excellent preparation that played into the greater cultural moment as well as the specific, current Taylor Swift/NFL overlap, in a six-second span, FOX NFL Sunday was able to give the illusion that their panelists are contemporary, hip and plugged into “what is going on”.  Is your station or show plugged into what’s going on?  Do you use contemporary music for bumps?  Are your images – including headshots and social content – modern, interesting and engaging or are they more akin to a miscellaneous real estate agent?  You are a performer in an entertainment business that, while certainly paying homage to the past and lineage of the industry, must be contemporary in aural and visual presentation.  This goes for everything from wardrobe on video and in photo to fonts on graphic design.

How often do you or your producer read Pitchfork to learn about new music that is breaking this week?  How often do you or your producer read Variety to understand major trends that are happening in the broader entertainment industry?  What live events are you broadcasting from, covering and building partnerships with?  You should strive to be cutting edge.

  1. We need a friend now more than ever.

This is something that goes for all audiences, but particularly for younger ones.  It’s OK, in fact, great to be yourself, present yourself from your generation and retain the authoritative stance that has built your brand.  Take a look at the success that sports talker Mike Francesa enjoyed by leaning into his persona – and in turn – developing legions of younger listeners that fell in love with his dad-like delivery and frequent meltdowns.

Few things are as uncomfortable to see as a 40+ person dressing or acting like a teenager.  Younger listeners want that senior, experienced, trusted friend to entertain them, inform them, and at times, tell them that everything is going to be OK.  You can help make sense of the world for younger audiences, something that is absolutely essential in the modern era.

Through attracting younger listeners by including them in the conversation, effectively delivering content on smartphones, presenting a cutting-edge entertainment product and continuing to serve as a trusted friend, news/talk radio can greatly expand its reach, relevance and revenue.

To that point, some younger listeners who discover a radio station or show via any of the above entry points will likely work backwards to the traditional AM/FM dial.  Like the resurgence of vinyl records, AM radio in particular has the opportunity to become a hip delivery format for discerning younger listeners.

The big question is: are radio companies, stations and hosts prepared to do the hard work of reimaging their product?


Bill Bartholomew is a talk radio and podcast host/producer, journalist and musician based in Providence, Rhode Island. Email him at: 
Industry News

Newsweek Launches Josh Hammer Weekly Radio Show

Newsweek is launching a weekly talk radio version of its podcast, “The Josh Hammer Show” with Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH-AM, Seattle as its flagship station. The program debuts on Saturday (11/4)im anchored by Newsweek senior editor-at-large Josh Hammer. Newsweek says the program’s goal is to “navigate the converging realms of politics, law, and culture while deliberating on the evolution of American conservatism. Hammer, with his background as a constitutional lawyer, intends to present commentary accompanied by interactions with contemporary conservative thought leaders.” Newsweek director of radio and podcasting Jesse Edwards adds, “Josh Hammer is going to be the next big voice in conservative talk radio, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring his powerful message to the airwaves of Seattle, and beyond.”

Industry Views

Pending Business: AI vs the Personal Connection

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imReady to go back to the future?

We may need more than Doc Brown and Marty McFly to understand this one: product reviews written by A.I., not humans.

It’s the subject of a debate happening between the mighty Gannett company, owner of Reviewed, and a group of writers and editors who work there. According to The New York Times, the writers and editors group claims several reviews were A.I. generated. The posted reviews in question were run through A.I. detection software and the results were a slim to none chance humans wrote the reviews in question. Gannett says, not so fast, the reviews in question were authored by real humans.

Now here is where we need a time machine to take us a few years into the future. Let’s look at the reviews on our favorite go-to shopping, restaurant or travel review websites. How do we know who really wrote those reviews? This could be a whole new level of truth and proper disclosure in advertising.

Consider the possibilities of A.I.-generated reviews. Is every consumer offering feedback comfortable sharing their name on a Google review when many businesses ask for a positive review? There is a simple alternative to the A.I.-generated product review debate, and it’s right in front of you.

The answer should be part of your daily talk radio local sales mission statement. Demonstrate to your advertisers and prospects the proven results your on-air talent delivers every day. Chances are you may be taking for granted how to bring to life the credibility and trust your local on-air talent earns with each show. Global events, roller coaster economies and shifting political dynamics are all part of the daily conversation on your talk radio station. As your air talent distills the issues for the audience, take a few calls and engage in an energetic dialogue, they develop a bond that is unique to talk radio.

So, imagine the difference in the mind of the consumer when they hear the review or referral from a trusted source versus wondering if the review or referral they read is from a human or A.I. generated.

Is that the DeLorean time machine I hear?

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

Harry Hurley is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast

WPG, Atlantic City, New Jersey legendary host Harry Hurley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Hurley has been at the helm of the heritage station’s wildly successful morning show for more than 30 years. He is also known to talk radio audiences nationwide as a special guest host making numerous appearances on FOX News Radio. Before he made an indelible mark in radio, Hurley was an accomplished executive in Atlantic City’s hotel and banking industries. Michael Harrison describes Hurley as being “a remarkable combination of business savvy and emotional intelligence – not to mention, extremely talented.” One of the notable accomplishments this outstanding broadcaster has achieved in his career has been on the philanthropical front. During the past 16 years, Hurley’s 501c3 charitable foundation, which annually presents both a gala civic dinner and a charity golf tournament, has raised and distributed more than $1.4 million to worthy causes across the State of New Jersey and beyond. His most recent dinner took place on September 29. It alone raised over $100,000. Hurley is a public service dynamo and in Harrison’s words, “a role model for local hosts and stations to emulate in establishing a positive brand within their market.” Hurley is the recipient of numerous radio industry and local New Jersey honors. Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Industry News

The Damning Myth of Spoken Word Radio: High Time Spent Listening (TSA) and Low Cume

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

imDependency upon a PPM panel to deliver high time spent listening is a bad business model. Would you rather count on one person listening for one hour or four people listening for 15 minutes? Right.

A good music format program director knows exactly how to program talk radio in a PPM environment. Oddly, when a music programmer has the privilege of programming a talk station they seem to forget all of their programming knowledge. Both formats are measured by exactly the same technology and therefore if it “works” in music, it works in talk.

The reason “New Jersey 101.5” quickly became the highest cuming FM talk station in the world – for 20+ years – is because when Bob McAllanJay SorensenPerry SimonJohn Dziuba and I designed it, we had a simple process: Build a music station that takes a lot of phone calls. It was always programmed like a top 40 station and 33 years later it obviously worked.

The reason “Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando” was the only Howard Stern station that did not suffer the expense of having to change format when he was recruited to SiriusXM Satellite Radio was because the station was built as a heavily formatted music station that took a lot of phone calls. Note that Real Radio 104.1 and New Jersey 101.5 both air music non-stop on the weekends for the single purpose of targeting a specific cume demographic. It obviously worked.

What are the key elements of a music format that should be applied to talk in order to build cume?

  • Please, god, don’t flag the “breaks.”
  • Every show had a specific pace based on topic set up time and call length time which gave the station a consistent rhythm and sound.  All day.
  • No “records” from home!  No personal sound effects, jingles or that crap.
  • Constantly sell ahead. No yesterday calls, yesterday references. Sell what’s next.
  • Assume every single listener just tuned in. Explain the topic and give the phone number obsessively.
  • Listener driven not host driven. Every host is valuable and gifted but if a host makes the mistake of quitting, the interest needs and tastes of the listener are constant and can be reflected by the next host. A constant.

Mickey Luckoff, the brilliant president of KGO, San Francisco for decades explained why he hired most of his hosts from top 40  radio because, “I can teach them TALK but I can’t teach them radio.”  BTW yes, even 34-year morning host Jim Dunbar worked at WLS and KQV as a top 40 jock immediately before joining KGO to host a talk show.

Walter Sabo was a pioneer in the concept of targeted talk which allows a station to precisely reach a chosen demographic. He has had a robust list of consulting clients including, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Conde Naste, CBS, Press Broadcasting, RKO General, Hearst, Fred Silverman Productions, and many more. His company HITVIEWS was the first major player to recognize and monetize online video stars known as “influencers.” He is on the nominating board of the Radio Hall of Fame. Reach him at 646.678.1110 or  Discover Sabo’s network radio show here:

Industry News

Denver Talk Host Steffan Tubbs’ to Exit Salem’s KNUS in November

News and talk radio pro Steffan Tubbs announced last month that he’ll exit his 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm KNUS-AM, Denver talk show on November 3. Tubbs, who has served in Denver with iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA as well as Salem Media Group’s KNUS, has been producing documentaries in addition to his radioim work. In a Westword profile, Tubbs talks about his ascent in the news business, his plans for the “final chapter” of his working life, and his current film project about the deadly drug fentanyl. Locally, Tubbs has caused controversy with his 2020 documentary, Denver in Decay. About that film, Tubbs tells Westword, “That documentary kind of put me on the map as being one of the most hated media members by local politicians in Colorado in recent memory, and I embrace that. But with all the hate and praise, the one thing no one has ever said is that Denver in Decay is inaccurate. You can say all you want if you don’t like the messaging, but you can’t attack the accuracy or the credibility.” Read the full story here.