Weekend Talk: 2 Problems, 2 Solutions

2 reasons brokered hosts cancel?
2 ways to save the business, and pump-up tune-in (and digital)…

Weekend ask-the-experts shows CAN be a gold mine, and pay-for-play hours CAN be solid, habit-forming radio.
Too bad too few stations accomplish both.

Listen to what-passes-for Saturday/Sunday programming — on some otherwise-respectable stations, some in big markets – and you’ll hear why weekend ratings stink, and why subsidized hosts come and go, and stations lose credibility, familiarity, and (forgive me) “stationality.”

You might not expect to hear this from the consultant, but “brokered” is not a four-letter word.
Listeners understand that programming is sponsored.
It matters less whether it’s sponsored by the minute or by the hour than whether it’s interesting.
“There is no such thing as an attention span. This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”
Jerry Seinfeld

So one of the things I do for client stations is aircheck reviews with weekend warriors.
Heck, in some markets where I don’t even have a client station, I’m working directly with pay-for-play talent, delivering the coaching their short-sighted stations don’t.
I’m selling real estate agents a dang $299 E-book – soup-to-nuts on-air + online strategy + tactics — which, if implemented, can multiply leads they harvest from their radio investment.

But even a well-tweaked show won’t ROI for the client if not enough people hear it.
And that’s how many — maybe most — Talk stations disappoint pay-for-play hosts, and invite churn.
try_this_bubbleRead: In a meaty November HC newsletter, a fix SO-obvious, SO-in-tune-with modern media consumption, that you’re probably overlooking it.
Oh, and this quick-fix costs NOTHING.

Research: Talk radio listeners are burning-out on Politics.

“Duh!” you say?
download_bubbleAs if poor ratings for so many major market stations hadn’t already made the point, Bridge Ratings’ recently-released “News/Talk Radio & The Oversaturated News Cycle” study concludes:
“Oversaturation, ever-shortening of news cycles and repetition of hard news with too-little updated information, is wearing thin on consumers who are seeking alternative sources for information that is fresh, entertaining and positive.”
Read: the report

“Blacklist;” and Blacklisting

2014: Year of The Selfie.
2015: Year of The Podcast?

hear_bubbleIn-step-with an undeniable media consumption trend, Ed Schultz joined other prominent broadcasters who walked-the-talk, from on-air to on-demand.

052114Hear in Ed’s podcast we discuss:
My Top 2 Talk Radio FAQ:
1. Whassup with Rush Limbaugh?
2. How do I podcast?
And NPR exec makes intriguing disclosure…

Demographic Freight Train: Is radio snoozing on the tracks?

Many are still signing-checks-on the back.
Soon, they’ll be signing-on-the-front.

Literally! 63% of young adults cite “care for parents in old age” among their chief concerns.
conference_notes_bubbleWho are “Millennials?”
And why is radio business-as-usual not for them?
Read: my column in Talkers magazine and RadioInfo.com.

More: University of Florida/Arbitron “Class of 2015″ project

Discover Your Next Game-Changing Idea

That was my standing-room-only session. Read my convention notes in what’ll be a meaty October newsletter.

“Podcasting will be the savior of radio. There’s no showbiz now” on AM/FM.
Network pioneer and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz, who says his Podcast One shows are now producing north-of 120 million downloads per month. Norm spoke at RAIN Summit Indianapolis, the-day-before Radio Show kicked off.
Hear: RAIN session audio

Read: my Talkers magazine RAIN/Radio Show coverage, from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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