The latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group presents more information from the Cumulus Media-Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download Fall 2023 report conducted by MARU/Matchbox. Some of the findings of this survey of 608 weekly podcast consumers include: 1) Podcast consumers connect with their favorite hosts on social platforms. Podcast consumers are looking to connect with their favorite hosts and shows on social media. Half of weekly podcasts consumers follow their favorite podcast hosts on one of the social platforms; 2) Younger 18-34 podcast consumers are more likely to follow their favorite hosts on social media. Compared to 35-49 and 50+ podcast consumers, 18-45 podcast consumers are more engaged socially with podcast hosts. 68% of podcast consumers 18-34 follow their favorite hosts on social media. 55% of 35-49s follow favorite hosts on social. 40% of those 50+ follow favorite podcast hosts on social; and 3) YouTube towers as a podcast discovery platform: 19% of weekly podcast consumers use YouTube to find podcasts. When asked which social platform they’ve used to find podcasts, 19% of podcast consumers are turning to YouTube, more than all other social media platforms combined. See the blog post here.
Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is the official network audio broadcast partner of the NFL and will present comprehensive live coverage and play-by-play of Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday (2/11) as the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs play the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. This will be the 51st time Westwood One will broadcast America’s biggest sporting event. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties for the 14th straight year, with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner returning for the sixth consecutive year as lead analyst. Dean Blandino joins the radio broadcast booth as rules analyst. For the fifth time, Laura Okmin will patrol the sidelines, along with former defensive lineman Mike Golic, who returns for his third Super Bowl with Westwood One’s broadcast crew. Scott Graham and three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty will host Westwood One’s pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage, with Devin’s twin brother and fellow Super Bowl champion Jason McCourty and former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker also contributing to the pregame coverage.
This week’s Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog looks at the results of 17 attribution studies the company commissioned from LeadsRX for AM/FM radio campaigns for various goods and services. Some of the conclusions drawn from these studies include: 1) On average, AM/FM radio campaigns generated a +14% lift in site traffic across the 17 campaigns. Campaigns are measured against LeadsRx benchmarks to determine the performance of attributed lift. The scale ranges from a small attributed lift (0% to +3% lift) to excellent (+15% or more). Across the 17 campaigns analyzed, the average attributed lift was +14%. Three tax preparation service campaigns achieved “excellent” status ranging from a +30% to +48% attributed lift; 2) On average, the 17 AM/FM radio campaigns saw the highest percentage of impressions at the start of the week, peaking on Mondays and Tuesdays. Compared to the Nielsen impressions, the AM/FM radio campaigns outperformed on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Advertisers should increase their use of AM/FM radio on the weekends. AM/FM radio campaigns on weekends drive impact and results; and 3) On average, evenings have a greater share of attributed web sessions due to available devices and free time of consumers. Mornings historically underdeliver their share of impressions since consumers are busy getting ready for work and school. This expected pattern should not be a reason to move campaign weight out of morning drive. Morning drive exposure results in web sessions during later dayparts when consumers have the time and available devices to respond. Read the full blog post here.
The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Blog says the changes to auto download policy in Apple’s iOS 17 will benefit content creators as well as advertisers. It used to be that if a consumer subscribed to a podcast and signed up for auto downloads, their iPhone would often download all, of the back episodes published before they subscribed. Since many if not most of those were never listened to, the data about listening habits was inaccurate. As the blog notes, podcasts that publish frequently will be most affected. “This is a crucial reset for the podcast industry, a much-needed rightsizing of audience data. This is a defining moment advertisers and podcast creators should both welcome. As hosts look at their downloads and reach for the Advil, they should know Apple is putting the podcast industry on the road to more accurate data. Better audience data inspires more confidence among advertisers and agencies.” Another new feature in iOS 17 is that users who haven’t listened to five downloaded episodes over the past two weeks will stop getting automatically downloaded podcasts. See the blog post here.
OutKick announces that FOX News contributor, New York Times best-selling author and former professional wrestler, Tyrus, a.k.a. George Murdoch, joins the platform to host the new show, “Maintaining with Tyrus.” The first episode launches on February 1 featuring a sit-down with talk TV host Piers Morgan, followed by interviews with Wolf of Wall Street inspiration Jordan Belfort, and “How America Works” host Mike Rowe.
ESPN is expanding the reach of its ESPN podcast offerings starting January 29 as ESPN2 will televise an ESPN video podcast every weekday from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. The premiering lineup will include: “First Draft,” “The Hoop Collective,” “The Lowe Post,” “The Mina Kimes Show” and “The Elle Duncan Show.” Mike Foss, ESPN SVP, production says, “This strategic content initiative provides our ESPN podcasts with a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and audience expansion, while simultaneously lending compelling content to our ESPN2 television lineup.”
New England Public Media promotes Elizabeth Román to managing editor – daily and digital news. NEPM says, “Although her title did not dramatically change, her responsibilities have evolved and Román will now be taking the lead on delivering daily news programming on the radio, NEPM website and social media channels.” Román says, “As a lifelong Springfield resident and Western Massachusetts native. I’m excited to continue working with our skilled news department to bring you even more stories that highlight the needs, concerns and successes of the people living and working in this community.”
Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting play-by-play coverage of this weekend’s NFL Conference Championships presented by lead sponsor Intuit Turbo Tax. Doubleheader coverage begins with the pregame show at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday before the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens meet for the AFC Championship game and the Detroit Lions battle the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
Westwood One’s Audio Active Group blog presents data from the Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download report. The companies retained MARU/Matchbox to conduct an in-depth study of 608 weekly podcast consumers in October 2023 and this blog post focuses on podcast ads. The study finds that podcast consumers prefer funny and entertaining ads but 78% say they currently hear more ads that communicate dry features/benefits. Additionally, research indicates that converting existing demand and creating future demand require different creative/copy approaches and different media strategies. Converting existing demand is most efficiently achieved by tightly targeting those “in the market” with rational messaging of product and price information that persuades them to choose the advertiser’s product over others. Creating future demand is most efficiently achieved by targeting very broad audiences of “all category buyers” with emotional messaging that is designed to stand out and be enjoyed by consumers, creating positive memories of the brand that will influence future purchase decisions. Finally, podcast consumers are invested in the success of their favorite shows. Half of weekly podcasts consumers said they wouldn’t mind a couple of extra ads per show so their favorite podcasts could continue. See the full blog post here.
Cumulus Media announces that Westwood One’s daily news magazine program, “America in the Morning,” is joining the Cumulus Podcast Network. The John Trout-hosted program presents “up-to-the-minute news reports from around the country and across the globe, with the latest overnight developments in business, breaking news, politics, sports, entertainment, and weather.” This year, “America in the Morning” celebrates its 40th anniversary and adds the “America in the Morning” podcast to its distribution. The program was originally hosted by the late Jim Bohannon beginning in 1984. He hosted the show through December of 2015, when Trout took over. The show has been recognized multiple times as Best News Magazine by the New York Festivals Radio Awards, and John Trout is a two-time recipient of the Achievement in Radio Award.
Audacy Buffalo raises $117,000 for the SPCA Serving Erie County during its SPCA Radiothon, held on December 13 and hosted by news/talk WBEN-AM and country WLKK-FM. Audacy Buffalo SVP and market manager Tim Wenger says, “We’re thrilled to have been able to spearhead the radiothon effort for the SPCA in 2023 and excited we exceeded the goal and expectations for the event. The money raised is a testament to our listeners’ commitment to community and will go a long way toward helping the SPCA meet a growing need.”
ARC Software, Inc announces that RADIO.CLOUD enters into an agreement establishing ARC as its primary affiliate research and maintenance platform. RADIO.CLOUD account director Andrew Scaglione says, “Switching to ARC is a no brainer. Speaking from experience using both ARC and other systems in the past, it’s hands down the best CRM for the radio industry with reliable contact information and a seamless digital contract process. It’s going to play a key role in our future growth across the North American radio landscape.”
SiriusXM announces it is presenting 46 games this college football postseason. SiriusXM will carry live play-by-play of every Division I FBS bowl game – including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship – as well as the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship game and other postseason All-Star games. SiriusXM will carry Westwood One’s broadcast of the FCS Football Championship on January 7.
Today’s blog post from Westwood One’s Audio Active Group looks at the results of Edison Research’s Q3 2023 Share of Ear study of the reach and time spent with all forms of audio. Some of the takeaways from the study include: 1) the proportion of AM/FM radio in-car listening rose 9% year-over-year and is on par with pre-pandemic levels of listening; 2) spoken-word content listening is at an eight-year high with 39% of ad-supported listening (including AM/FM, streaming and podcasts) devoted to news/talk, talk, and sports; and 3) looking at Persons 25-54, the share of ad-supported audio time spent with personalities/talk shows has increased the most – from 11% of ad-supported listening in Q4 2016 to 19.4% in Q3 of 2023. See the blog post here.
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.” 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 Steve@Lapcomventures.com.
Saga Communications, Inc’s board of directors declares a special cash dividend of $2.00 per share. The dividend will be paid on January 12, 2024, to shareholders of record on December 20, 2023. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $12.5 million.
Westwood One is presenting exclusive national audio coverage of the annual Army–Navy Football Game presented by USAA. This year’s game is being broadcast live from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts tomorrow (12/9) at 2:00 pm ET.
Skyview Networks and SnoCountry renew their partnership for the former to handle network audio sales for the latter’s targeted ski reports.
Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces that talk host Dan Bongino extends his contract to host both his eponymous syndicated daily radio program and his podcasts, including the unique podcast “The Dan Bongino Show,” on the Cumulus Podcast Network for multiple years. This comes a couple of years after Bongino said he would not renew his contract when it ran out because of his very public protestation over Cumulus’ mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. Bongino says, “It’s been a fascinating couple years of ups and downs both personally and in the political space. I love what I do, and I’m ecstatic that we’ve agreed to move forward with the show after changes were made. I want to thank all the shows’ supporters, the stations, and program directors for their continued support. I promise to keep my foot on the gas pedal.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “‘The Dan Bongino Show’ is one of the greatest growth stories in network syndication, with Dan delivering programming unlike anyone else. As we head into what will surely be an unpredictable election cycle, we know Dan will be always insightful, sometimes provocative, and never disappointing, which is why our listeners are wildly engaged, and our advertisers have flocked to the show.”
Cumulus Media announces that Collin Jones adds the role of president of Westwood One to his responsibilities, effective January 1, 2024. Jones, who also holds the title, EVP of corporate strategy & development for Cumulus Media, takes over for Suzanne Grimes who has decided to “embark on the next chapter of her career after eight years.” Jones has served with Cumulus Media since 2011 and is responsible for leading the company’s strategy, corporate development (including major partnerships and M&A), and investor relations efforts. Jones has led the Cumulus through several strategic transactions and growth initiatives including the acquisition of Westwood One in 2013. Additionally, he oversees IncentRev, the company’s e-commerce and daily deal platform. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner comments, “With his deep understanding of both Cumulus Media and Westwood One, Collin is uniquely qualified for this role and is well-prepared to harness the full power of our platform to help Westwood One grow. Collin has consistently demonstrated his savvy business acumen, effective management style, and collaborative spirit, and I have full confidence that he has the skills and the vision to build upon Suzanne’s considerable accomplishments.” Berner adds, “I would like to thank Suzanne for her invaluable contributions and her pivotal role in our success. Under her leadership, we launched the top-rated Cumulus Podcast Network, built the multi-platform Westwood One News/Talk franchise, and established the industry-leading Audio Active Group. Throughout her time with Cumulus, she has been a remarkable leader, colleague, and mentor to many, and we are certain she will accomplish great things wherever she chooses to share her talents next.”
Cumulus Media announces its Cumulus Podcast Network is now providing brand suitability and safety measurement through Barometer, which provides brand-suitability measurement and contextual targeting unique to the podcast space. Cumulus says that this allows marketers and media agencies to be able to review podcasts to ensure they meet their brand’s safety and suitability standards. Brands are also able to monitor their ad-buys during and after the campaigns to ensure their standards are being upheld. Westwood One SVP, sales and digital partnerships David Cohn comments, “We are proud to provide Barometer’s transparency and accountability to the marketplace. Brand marketers now represent 61% of U.S. podcast revenue. Advertisers deserve a brand-suitability solution that is designed for the unique attributes of podcast content rather than the legacy systems that were designed for display and online video.”
The latest blog post from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group contains data from five studies that indicate AM/FM radio is a good medium to advertise tax preparation services. Some of the findings include: 1) AM/FM radio is an ideal medium for the tax preparation category: Heavy AM/FM radio listeners are 39% more likely to pay $301+ to have their taxes prepared and show greater familiarity, interest, consideration, and usage of tax category brands; 2) AM/FM radio ads drive site traffic for tax preparation brands: In the LeadsRx attribution study of a tax preparation service’s multi-wave campaign, AM/FM radio generated between a 43% to 47% increase in website traffic; 3) Branding early and often in tax preparation service ads drives more site traffic: LeadsRx found the top three creative executions that drove site traffic for a tax preparation service had the marketer’s brand name within the first five seconds of the ad; and 4) compared to other radio formats, a 2023 tax prep campaign on news/talk and sports stations realized a higher percentage share of interactions than the percentage share of their Nielsen ad impressions. See the blog post here.
This week’s Westwood One Audio Active Group blog reports on a study by System1 investigating the effectiveness of talent-read ads on podcasts or AM/FM radio. The study is based on the assumption that a host-read ad on a podcast or AM/FM radio show drives powerful brand impact and sales effect and positive emotional impact is what measures a successful campaign. System1 studied host-read ads and devised a rating system that correlates creative quality with long-term share growth – in layman’s terms, “the more you feel, the more you buy.” But the study found that only 17% of the ads tested rated high enough to have the sufficient emotional impact necessary to lift long-term brand share by between 1% and 3%. See the complete blog post here.