Rush Limbaugh: Losing, but doing the right thing.

You’ve seen the ratings. Still big-in-small-markets, Rush Limbaugh is now small-in-big-markets.
In New York, his affiliate is trailing several non-English-language stations. Ditto a bunch of ‘em in LA, where his station also trails several college stations.
Other top tens? Top teens in rankers.

In his heyday, Limbaugh helped make stations #1.
Now, to find a #1 major market Rush affiliate, you have to drill-down to WSB/Atlanta and KMOX/St. Louis.
What both have in common? They’re great stations, surrounding and infusing Limbaugh’s show with quality local content, and plenty of it.

Adding-insult-to-injury, Clear Channel — PARENT COMPANY of Limbaugh’s own syndicator — is taking his show off their own stations in some pretty big markets. In San Francisco, CC just killed-off its “The Patriot” station and let the Beck/Limbaugh/Hannity shows migrate to arch-rival Cumulus, which won’t even play ‘em all live. And CC gave up the Talk format entirely in Pittsburgh, where competitor KDKA-AM’s local programming, whupped the Beck/Limbaugh/Hannity line-up on an FM that recently switched to Country.

If I were advising Rush, I’d tell him to do exactly what he’s doing.
Run the shockjock playbook. Every day, there’s a new outrage, something that’ll offend women, minorities, someone, and get quoted.
Goal, in ratings-speak: “horizontal maintenance.”
Translation: Build/maintain Share via same-time-tomorrow listening.
Why: At this point, no minds are being changed.
Accordingly: Keep the like-minded — and those who find Limbaugh an amusing buffoon — coming-back-for-more.

I have two Rush playbooks:
If, in any given market, my client is the Limbaugh affiliate, “he’s the biggest star in Talk Radio,” and we both leverage and hedge the franchise, proven tactics.
In other markets, including the smalls, our local hosts can beat Rush, by being more affable and engaging.

“Thank you, Don Pardo!”

DonPardo-1945He took a pay cut to leave his factory job at Brown & Sharpe in Rhode Island to become a $30-a-week announcer at WJAR/Providence.

RIP Don Pardo, 96, who intro’d “Saturday Night LIVE” for 38 seasons, including this one.

DonPardoHe had us howling at his R.I. Radio Hall of Fame induction 5 years ago [video] when he disclosed that only he and Bob Hope had “Lifetime Contracts” at NBC. “NOW they tell me!” he roared, then 91. He tried to retire from SNL, but they wouldn’t let him.

Old TV technology was the back-story on Pardo’s trademark elongated announcing style.
The New York Times quoted his explanation, based on how “The Price Is Right” was shot:
“The cameras are moving so slowly, and that’s the way I had to describe [the prize merchandise displayed on the show, the-price-of-which contestants tried to guess]. Those cameras were large then. You want to make sure you describe what the camera is on.”

“Iconic announcer” defined:
Video: When the TV station puts the booth announcer ON-CAMERA
History, including NBC “lost footage:” Pardo announces JFK assassination
Video: GREAT advice for all speakers and writers

Many radio stations are now robots…

…and others which are more diligent are more conspicuous.
Video: Two local broadcasters who get it.

Howdy from the Texas Broadcasters’ convention.

TshirtVideo, ICYMI: My session here was “Remarkable + Resourceful: 21st Century Success Templates.”
Follow my real-time Tweets from TAB2014 @HollandCooke

And look for my convention notes in what’ll be one darn-meaty September issue of my monthly newsletter.

ARE you ready?

August Mega-Issue: Fall Book Tune-Up
Calling it “a book” seems quaint, with ratings data delivery paperless for so long now.
With THE WORLD gone-digital, business-as-usual is no longer a business.

Read: What you need to be up-to THIS MONTH.

Are your station’s promos THIS “typical?”

Real estate agents themselves see-the-humor in this caricature in the AT&T Wireless commercial.
ATTrealtorsThe ad demonstrates a common marketing mistake agents make:
It’s look-alike.
Ever seen an agent who DOESN’T have his/her picture on business cards…heck, ANY marketing?
And typically, it’s that self-assured pose that the actors in this funny spot strike.
Is your station’s imaging as-typical?
Page 3 in my August newsletter addresses the TWO THINGS a station’s on-air imaging needs to accomplish…and warns-against a real common mistake News/Talk/Sports stations make this time of year.

Got Local?

“I’d be confused if I didn’t live here. That’s good.”
That’s Leighton Broadcasting Operations Manager Matt Senne, during an aircheck review session we did with a host who had made a local reference on-air.
Have you ever noticed this? You finally HEAR a successful legacy station, in another market, a station you’ve heard-ABOUT for years…and it sounds…odd? It’s because they’re talking-to-THERE, not where-you-are.

“Pittsburgh news, Pittsburgh talk, with people here IN Pittsburgh.”
That’s a promo liner on KDKA, which used to have Rush Limbaugh, before Clear Channel snatched-him-back to launch its own FM talker several years back…a station whose Share KDKA (AM) more-than-doubled…before Clear Channel — Rush Limbaugh’s OWNER — eventually ditched the Talk format entirely and flipped to Country.
If you can say it, spray it.