Industry News

The “Taylor Swift Effect” on Edison Research’s Q4 Podcast Chart

Edison Research publishes its Top 50 U.S. Podcasts chart for the fourth quarter of 2023, based on total audience reach from its Edison Podcast Metrics. “The Joe Rogan Experience” remains ranked #1, with audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” steady at #2 and The New York Times’ “The Daily” maintaining the #3im spot. But the big story is the rise of WSE Originals’ “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce” shooting from #67 in the Q3 2023 report to #6 in the Q4 chart. (The show was not in the top 100 in the Q2 2023 survey.) Edison says the show starring Taylor Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce “gained four and a half times the number of listeners and saw a change in composition to 50% female listeners.” Other noteworthy moves from radio-related podcasts include The DailyWire’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” rising from #17 in Q3 to #9 in Q4 and Cumulus Podcasts Network’s “The Dan Bongino Show” climbing from #29 in Q3 to #26 in Q4. Edison’s Q4 2023 ranker was conducted from October 9, 2023 to December 23, 2023, and is based on surveys of 5,356 weekly podcast listeners age 13+.

Industry News

Yesterday’s (2/7) Top News/Talk Media Stories

The U.S. migrant crisis and Congress’ failure to pass border control and aid to Ukraine and Israel legislation; SCOTUS to hear the Donald Trump election eligibility case; the Fani WillisNathan Wade relationship; the Israel-Hamas war and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza; the Russia-Ukraine war and Tucker Carlson’s claim he’ll interview Vladimir Putin; U.S. military strikes on an Iran-backed militia in Iraq; Super Bowl LVIII and MAGA’s Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theory; the atmospheric river bringing floods and mudslides to Southern California were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Industry News

Yesterday’s (2/5) Top News/Talk Media Stories

House Republicans reject a bi-partisan plan to stop migration at the border in exchange for aid to Ukraine; today’s House vote on impeaching Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; the 2024 presidential race; Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with Saudi crown prince to drum up support for Gaza cease fine; the heavy rains and mudslides in Southern California; MAGA’s Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theory; Donald Trump’s legal battles; the Fani WillisNathan Wade relationship; Toby Keith dies at 62 after a battle with cancer; and King Charles III steps away from official duties to undergo cancer treatment were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Industry Views

Pending Business: One Special Person

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imOne person can make a difference.

I thought my first boss invented that quote. Seems he borrowed the first half of JFK’s “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” It seems in 1964 former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy was describing JFK’s philosophy to a historian as opposed to offering a direct quote. Ultimately, the press attributed the quote to JFK. It’s the thought that counts.

Fast forward to my first management job in Buffalo, New York and the quote became a goal. Consider the GOATS we see in professional sports. Michael Jordan or Tom Brady could put a team on their back and 13 World Championships followed.

Now we see the phenomenon in the explosive intersection of pop culture and sports. Stand back fans, this is a lot bigger than Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. This is about the two biggest brands on the planet today joining forces to move the needle in every measurable media metric and drive the commercial value of a partnership through the stratosphere while staying within the confines of good taste.

This is about Taylor Swift and NFL future hall of famer Travis Kelce. This storyline has driven the average ticket to Super Bowl 58 to over $6,000, gameday VIP treatment will run over $35,000.

What does all this heady superstar stuff have to do with us everyday radio/audio sellers and managers watching at home? The “one person can make a difference” theory can work for you.

Here is how:

1. Practice makes perfect. Ever think about how many hours Taylor Swift rehearses? Rumor has it she sings while jogging on a treadmill. Pass the oxygen. When Payton Manning worked out at full speed on an inclined treadmill, we asked him about that grueling drill. His answer was classic, “Ever been chased by a 300-pound lineman who can run 40 yards in 4.6 seconds?” How about you? What is your sales practice routine?

2. The need to be different. Every great athlete, performer, scientist, and innovative businessperson told themselves and anyone who would listen they had the need to achieve. What would your manager say if you said, “I am ready to deliver more sales than anyone else who ever worked here!”

3. The long haul. On the way to achieving their goals, the great ones have no clock, just focus. Even the great James Madison, the youngest framer of our Constitution would “sit for ideas” waiting until he could clearly process and communicate the concepts he was developing.

Too many sellers and managers take short cuts, give up before the 9th contact or move on to other jobs thinking the grass is greener. Be the one person who makes a difference and enjoy the game!

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

Monday Memo: Calculating Taylor Swift

By Holland Cooke

imNow that every single thing is a political argument, the angry social media conversation about Taylor Swift is unsurprising. And with the Super Bowl looming, the decibel level amps-up.

So, kudos to SiriusXM and CNN host Michael Smerconish. I’ve previously cited him here as technique worth emulating when it comes to:

– Polling the audience on an ongoing basis (a sponsored feature on smart radio stations)
– Leveraging social media to give audience ownership of the show; and
– Genuine curiosity. His centrist approach earns him scorn from both sides in this Cold Civil War we’re living through. I can relate. When I managed WTOP, Washington, the quickest way to make the phone explode was to announce a crowd estimate for an abortion rally. Both sides jammed the lines to damn the number.

This preposterous Swift kerfuffle had been all heat until Smerconish shed light on it this past weekend. Noting rumors shared by FOX News that she would photobomb the Super Bowl with a Joe Biden endorsement, his poll question was “Could Taylor Swift determine the outcome of the presidential election?”


Just now, you answered that question in your own mind. But – for our purposes – the more useful approach is to consider information Smerconish curated unfiltered by personal politics:

– Swift has 279 million Instagram followers
– She has (so far) sold 4.35 million pricey tickets for The Eras Tour. Its “record-shattering revenue” (so far) is $1 billion+
– $200 million (so far) in tour merchandise. Her gray $45 T-shirt is now sold-out in all but 3XL and 4XL.
– 26 billion+ Spotify streams in 2023.
– SSRS polling: 59% of USA adults identify as Swift fans, 63% of women; and her fans are evenly divided 50/50 between Democrat or Dem-leaning and Republican or GOP-leaning.
– On her urging, several hundred thousand Americans younger than 25 have registered to vote.

Add it all up? “Taylor knows your social media interactions, where you saw her on tour, how much merch’ you’ve bought from her website, she knows the size of your T-shirt, the number of downloads you’ve made. We’re embarking on an election cycle which will be (a) the most expensive in history, and (b) will see much of the money spent on ‘micro-targeting,’ the use of online data to tailor – pun intended – advertising messages to individuals based on the identification of recipients’ personal vulnerabilities and interests. In order to target effectively, data is essential. And Taylor’s got lots and lots of it, and on a demographic that is exactly what the Biden team needs the most: disproportionally female, young, and passionate. With truly the touch of a button Taylor Swift is uniquely situated to use the data at her disposal to impact the presidential race.”

Leave it to your nerdy consultant to ask: Are WE using OUR listener data to OUR benefit?

Bigger-picture issues:

– Privacy: We have all volunteered LOTS of information about ourselves. Look what pops up in your email and your social media.
– Vulnerability of the Electoral vote process: The last two Republican presidents took office after losing the popular vote. Taylor Swift is my coastal Rhode Island neighbor, and if she votes here, neither of us matter. Our state has four electoral votes. Just 40 thousand-some popular votes in three key states gave Biden his 2020 win.
– Tone: The measurable appeal of Swift’s sunny disposition vs. “I am your retribution.”

Good for us. News/talk radio is in the suspense business. “What JUST happened??? What happens NEXT???” So, we should wish Nikki Haley well.

Inquisitive Smerconish sounds like dispassionate Mr. Spock: “What [Swift detractors on the right] should be worried about is her data.”

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 and connect on LinkedIn.

Industry News

Top News/Talk Media Stories Over the Weekend

Negotiations in Congress over border legislation and aid to Ukraine and Israel; the U.S. military strikes Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria; MAGA’s Taylor Swift-NFL conspiracy theory; the 2024 presidential race; Donald Trump’s legal battles; the Fani WillisNathan Wade relationship; Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards; an atmospheric river drenches Southern California; and Apple’s Vision Pro headsets hit stores were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Industry News

Yesterday’s (1/30) Top News/Talk Media Stories

The U.S. migrant crisis and the House votes to move forward with Articles of Impeachment against Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; the 2024 presidential race and MAGA versus Taylor Swift; the deadly attacks on a U.S. military base in Jordan that Joe Biden blames on Iran; the Israel-Hamas war and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza; the U.S. battle against Houthi rebels in the Red Sea; the Fani Willis allegations; former President Donald Trump’s legal battles; and the FBI announces Chinese hackers threaten critical U.S. infrastructure were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.


TALKERS News Notes

Edison Podcast Metrics data from Edison Research indicates that the podcast, “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce,” has skyrocketed in listening over the last two months. Since Travis’ romance with Taylor Swift became public, the show has experienced a staggering four-and-a-half times increase in weekly reach among podcast listeners age 13 and older in the U.S. The influx of Swifties appears to have contributed to these numbers. Not only has the high-profile romance between Kelce and Swift helped grow the show’s weekly reach, but it has also significantly changed the gender breakdown of the show’s listeners. Before the pairing, the show’s listening base was 32% female, now the much-larger audience is 50% women.

AdLarge Podcast Network announces that three programs are joining the network. The company says the inclusion of “The Moments Podcast” featuring Lexi Hidalgo, “Dear Young Married Couple,” and “The Mother Daze ” exemplifies AdLarge’s ongoing dedication to championing and elevating the voices of women in podcasting.

Virtual News Center adds new affiliate KTNK, Lompoc, California to its growing roster of radio stations. Jared Cerullo provides local newscasts for the Sticks Media, LLC station.

Industry Views

Pending Business: A Little Change Can Do You Good

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imLast week, with little time left on the clock, Disney and Charter Communications made a deal so that Charter customers could continue to watch Disney programming. Phew! Just in time for 15 million Charter cable customers to have access to that 53-year-old American institution called “Monday Night Football.”

It’s amazing how the two sides came together just in time to preserve the TV viewing habits of millions of football fans and all those millions of ad dollars sold into the broadcasts. Although both Disney and Charter lobbed streaming options at viewers to help ease the temporary pain, in the end, cooler heads prevailed, and a deal was struck.

Not so fast, somebody buried a headline.

Just before Labor Day, the Charter guys were claiming the current cable TV bundling model ain’t what it used to be, in effect acknowledging the nearly 5 million people a year who cut the cable. The cable bundle value proposition is changing before our blurry gameday eyes, and more options are becoming accessible every day. Does any of this “I can get this somewhere else” ring familiar?

Try this at home. Ask any Gen Z people you know how often they listen to the radio. (Gen Z are roughly between nine and 26 years old.) Now ask the Millennials you know (roughly 27 to 42 years old). The results will frighten you as you realize the greatest freebie electronic entertainment ever invented is losing the future faster than cord cutters on steroids.

If you have been in the terrestrial radio business for longer than five years, you are aware of the melting ice cube future of radio. Even our friends in the newspaper business are changing with the times, looking for writers who will report specifically on Taylor Swift and Beyonce. They tour the world generating crazy numbers in ticket and music sales. Their appearances and social media impact everything from fashion to politics. How is that for changing a future value proposition?

Sports fan or not, are you in touch with the Coach Prime phenomenon happening at the University of Colorado? The story was featured on the soon-to-be 56-year-old “60 Minutes.”

Deon Sanders is changing college football in Boulder as fans gobble up seats at over $500 a piece.

The point of this column is simple. From cable to pop culture to Coach Prime, leadership is innovating, finding new ways to re-invent and re-package a premise as old as song and sport, a premise much older than the terrestrial radio business. Maybe we can all learn from what we sell.

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

Yesterday’s (1/24) Top News/Talk Media Stories

The classified government documents found in the possession of President Joe Biden and the news that classified documents were also found in possession of former Vice President Mike Pence; House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocks Democrats from Committees; Tuesday’s U.S. Senate hearing addressing Ticketmaster parent Live Nation and the fiasco selling Taylor Swift concert tickets; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on an AP African American studies course; Germany agrees to join the U.S. in sending tanks to Ukraine to help in the battle against Russia’s invasion of the country; the deadly shootings in Northern California; and the ongoing media coverage of Congressman George Santos’ backstory were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.