Talkers Meet In Hollywood
October 11, 2013 at 4:44 AM (PT)
The TALKERS talk radio conference co-sponsored by TALKERS MAGAZINE and the LOS ANGELES PRESS CLUB took place YESTERDAY (10/10) at the STEVE ALLEN THEATER in HOLLYWOOD.
After MARILU HENNER spoke to promote her SUN BROADCAST GROUP syndicated talk show and TALKERS/RADIO-INFO owner MICHAEL HARRISON and a video greeting from PREMIERE's SEAN HANNITY welcomed the gathering, COURTSIDE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP/LAUNCHPAD DIGITAL MEDIA/PODCAST ONE founder NORM PATTIZ asserted that broadcast radio is still a viable business and explained his views on the growth of the podcast industry, noting that he is spending his own money to develop metrics for podcasting to make it advertising agency friendly.
A panel on sales moderated by RAB President/CEO ERICA FARBER addressed the difficulties facing the format in the present climate. 'We're selling without numbers," WYD MEDIA/WYM MEDIA MANAGEMENT CEO RON HARTENBAUM noted. "We're selling based not on numbers but on results," noting that direct response ads are "our lifeblood" in syndicated talk. "Network business as a whole sucks," SPORTS USA MEDIA President BOB MOORE said, adding that national advertisers are forcing cost per point numbers down and issuing no-buy edicts that are "killing network radio as it exists." But Talk WGDJ-A (TALK 1300)/ALBANY President/GM/host PAUL VANDENBURGH said that "business in radio is as good as we make it" and stressed the importance of local business, adding, "radio still really works if you work at it."
Asked on another panel what the most important issue facing radio in AMERICA today is, SOUND MIND, LLC CEO KRAIG KITCHIN cited measurement of audience, drawing applause from the audience. He noted that website audiences are measured by eight companies but radio is only measured by one and not properly funding that one. "We are living through a series of aberrations," KITCHIN said, pointing at the disproportionate effect of a tiny number of meters changing hands and adding that each station in the LOS ANGELES market is represented by fewer meters than the number of people at the conference. TOM LEYKIS touted the growth of online listening, predicting 80% of listening going in that direction. "It's about the appliance," LEYKIS said. CRN DIGITAL TALK RADIO CEO MIKE HORN defended CLEAR CHANNEL Talk KFI-A/LOS ANGELES against talk about its recent ratings drop, but LEYKIS challenged blaming the PPM system, saying that nobody from KFI challenged the numbers when they were high. SALEM VP PHIL BOYCE noted that Spanish-language stations have risen in the time that KFI dropped and suggested that ARBITRON moved its sample from English-language talk radio listeners to Spanish-language radio listeners. CBS RADIO NEWS' HARVEY NAGLER noted that several stations are still enjoying strong ratings and credited unique and compelling programming. BOYCE decried companies' assumption that listeners are loyal to stations and not hosts, and suggested that his company may pick up PREMIERE's SEAN HANNITY for his stations after CUMULUS drops the show at the end of the year.
The day included presentation of the "Woman of the Year Award" to THE WEISS AGENCY EVP HEATHER COHEN and a talk by ALPHA/L&L BROADCASTING owner LARRY WILSON, who stressed the value of "live and local" broadcasting, and talks by WYD MEDIA MANAGEMENT's PHIL HENDRIE and consultants WALTER SABO and HOLLAND COOKE. Panels looked at brokered and weekend programming, career management, and more general topics. And ALL ACCESS VP/Editor PERRY MICHAEL SIMON's talk about the lack of new ideas for decades in talk radio and the failure of the industry to develop new talent proved provocative with a panel of top programmers, including BELL MEDIA Talk CFRB-A/TORONTO PD MIKE BENDIXEN, CLEAR CHANNEL Talk KFYI-A-Business KOY-A-Sports KGME-A/PHOENIX PD NEIL LARRIMORE, CBS RADIO News KNX-A/LOS ANGELES PD ANDY LUDLUM, PEAK Talk KMJ-A-F/FRESNO PD SKIP ESSICK, JOURNAL Talk KQTH (104.1 THE TRUTH)-Sports KFFN-A-F/TUCSON PD BILL WHITE, and SALEM Talk KRLA-A (AM 870 THE ANSWER)/LOS ANGELES PD CHUCK TYLER debating the comments.
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