Talk Show Boot Camp 6 Looks At Format's Challenges
February 9, 2015 at 4:55 AM (PT)
The sixth TALK SHOW BOOT CAMP, hosted by DON ANTHONY's TALENTMASTERS and GABE HOBBS MEDIA and held FRIDAY and SATURDAY (2/6-7) at the W ATLANTA BUCKHEAD in ATLANTA, packed a busy agenda with several of the format's top programmers and personalities into its schedule.
SAGA VP/Programming STEVE GOLDSTEIN's "Big Data" presentation opened the schedule FRIDAY by offering sobering statistics on how the industry is changing, including how digital revenue is not helping print and "won't save radio," the rise of podcasting (and how only DAVE RAMSEY represents commercial broadcast radio among the top 27 podcasts on iTUNES but public radio has 18 of them), the importance of mobile ("eating the world"), and how 80% of streaming use is with pure-play options and not radio station streams.
Nevertheless, he noted, using EDISON RESEARCH statistics, AM and FM radio still have huge reach, even with the growth of alternatives, but he warned that radio needs a new way of thinking, telling radio that its tasks are to make good content, make it available on all platforms, and work to figure out monetizing digital.
LORI LEWIS followed with advice on using social media, pointing out the different uses of FACEBOOK versus TWITTER and why people use each (FACEBOOK to connect with friends and family, TWITTER to "follow" people of interest) and offering guidelines on the best ways to connect with audiences (not, for example, using "radio speak" in tweets but rather to emulate how real people speak) and stressing the value of shareable content.
A panel moderated by the RAB's ERICA FARBER brought some of the format's top executives together for a "Talk From the Top" session, including ABC NEWS' STEVE JONES, CBS RADIO's CHRIS OLIVIERO, COX MEDIA GROUP's KIM GUTHRIE, PREMIERE NETWORKS' JULIE TALBOTT, and ALPHA MEDIA's LARRY WILSON. TALBOTT took on the WALL STREET JOURNAL's negative story last week on talk radio's "advertising problem," noting that it took the reporter six months to do the story and that in her view, when "18 of 25 advertisers (come) back for renewals... it's a win!"
She noted that radio people will dwell on the negatives but that television executives at NATPE talk about the positives despite similar challenges. GUTHRIE stressed that talk radio, despite the controversy that leads to advertisers being targeted by activists, gets results, and TALBOTT added that the protests, according to PREMIERE's research, are coming from a small number of people who tend to be outside the markets they target ("80% of social media activity (protesting talk radio) is from 10 accounts").
OLIVIERO urged that "this is a pro-active fight. We were passive- we didn't fight back." JONES noted that the disruption from new competition is "across all media... the challenges we face are being faced by all of our colleagues" in the media, "not just radio." Also discussed were the growth of sports radio (WILSON wondering if a saturation point is coming, but OLIVIERO saying that it only shows the appetite for that programming), non-political talk (GUTHRIE noting the success of COX Talk WHPT (102.5 THE BONE)/TAMPA in that regard), talent development (OLIVIERO saying that finding new hosts "is not going to happen if we don't take chances and be willing to take epic failures along the way," like CBS' FREE FM experiment which he said ultimately led to the company's commitment to moving sports to FM), and podcasting (JONES noting the need for improved measurement of whether listeners actually hear the spots embedded therein).
After WESTWOOD ONE host HERMAN CAIN spoke at the event's luncheon, additional panels included a session on non-political talk moderated by CAROLYN FOX and including MANCOW MULLER, iHEARTMEDIA News-Talk WOAI-A/SAN ANTONIO host "JOE PAGS" PAGLIARULO, syndicated hosts DR. DALIAH WACHS and DOUG STEPHAN, ENVISION NETWORKS' DANNO WOLKOFF, and ALL ACCESS VP/News-Talk-Sports and NERDIST INDUSTRIES Dir./Programming PERRY MICHAEL SIMON; A panel on branding and imaging moderated by CUMULUS' MIKE MCVAY; and a lively panel on Sports Talk with WESTWOOD ONE/CUMULUS' BRUCE GILBERT moderating and CBS RADIO Sports WZGC (92.9 THE GAME)/ATLANTA PD TERRY FOXX, hosts AMY LAWRENCE (CBS SPORTS RADIO), STEVE GORMAN (FOX SPORTS RADIO), RICH SHERTENLIEB (CBS RADIO Sports WBZ-F (THE SPORTS HUB)/BOSTON), CHRISTOPHER RUDE (DICKEY Sports WCNN-A (680 THE FAN)/ATLANTA), and a late-arriving STEPHEN A. SMITH (SIRIUSXM RADIO/ESPN) discussing the format. THE BLAZE's ROBYN WALENSKY closed the day with a one-on-one interview with NANCY GRACE.
SATURDAY morning's sessions started with an emotional interview of KERRI KASEM by THE WEISS AGENCY's HEATHER COHEN, covering the story of KERRI's father CASEY KASEM and the battle between his children and wife over his care and disposition, followed by a focus group of actual local ATLANTA News-Talk radio listeners conducted by NUVOODOO's CAROLYN GILBERT and LEIGH JACOBS and a panel that wrapped up the conference which featured GABE HOBBS running through more statistics about the decline in shares and cume for traditional AM News-Talkers over the 2011-2014 period but either less steep losses or some growth in non-political talk and public radio over the same time, then included COX MEDIA GROUP News-Talk WDBO-F/ORLANDO PD DREW ANDERSSEN, iHEARTMEDIA ORLANDO VP/Programming CHRIS KAMPMEIER, HUBBARD Talk KTMY (myTALK 107.1)/MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL PD AMY DANIELS, and former iHEARTMEDIA News-Talk-Sports national VP/Programming KEN CHARLES.