The Randy And Walter Show Closes 2011 Talk Media Conference/Talk Show Boot Camp
October 31, 2011 at 4:47 AM (PT)
SATURDAY sessions at the TALK MEDIA CONFERENCE/TALK SHOW BOOT CAMP in DALLAS included panels on developing talk talent, sports radio, and syndication, plus a luncheon featuring MERLIN MEDIA's RANDY MICHAELS and WALTER SABO.
Michaels, Sabo Talk About Taking Risks, Having Fun
MERLIN MEDIA's RANDY MICHAELS and WALTER SABO were the main attractions at the event's closing luncheon.
MICHAELS said that bad press about his recent DUI arrest doesn't bother him, because "I've had so much fun that hasn't been reported." He outlined the genesis of MERLIN's plan to bring spoken word formats to FM and later said that the company will be buying "media that won't necessarily be radio." while SABO spoke of his admiration of MICHAELS as a "world class programmer" who had risen to top management positions without working in sales. In turn, MICHAELS said he went to SABO when planning MERLIN because he wanted someone "not of the traditional mindset."
On the MERLIN stations' rocky start, MICHAELS said he does not pay attention to critics and said that the "end game" is not something that would be apparent right now. SABO said that the launch "goes under the banner of doing something new" and noted that while Australian radio bestows awards to "best new format," American radio does not reward new formats and risk-taking. MICHAELS criticized radio's reaction to PPM numbers by cutting back on talk, noting the continued success of BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE and asserting that the meters have "exposed " some talent and shows.
SABO said that "when it comes to the. Internet, nobody knows anything," but MICHAELS disagreed, saying that "it's not about distribution, it's about interactivity" and pointed out that successful Interactive companies use data to put seller together with buyers and make money as third parties.
Asked by JACK SWANSON about the pressure of carrying the burden of making the format work ("If you two cowboys f--k this up, does that speed up our demise into syndication hell?"), SABO said that the economics make the format extremely attractive whatever the outcome.
The morning's initial session included consultants GABE HOBBS, DAVID BERNSTEIN, and RANDALL BLOOMQUIST along with CUMULUS Talk WLS-A/CHICAGO OM DREW HAYES, CUMULUS Talk WABC-A/NEW YORK PD LAURIE CANTILLO, and EMMIS Talk WIBC/INDIANAPOLIS PD ALAN FURST, moderated by THE WEISS AGENCY's HEATHER COHEN. CANTILLO discussed her use of weekends to try out and develop new talent, while HOBBS discussed the fear many PDs have about trying out new talent. BLOOMQUIST advised aspiring talent to expand their horizons by learning how to effectively use social media and other new outlets -- "you're narrowing your prospects by defining yourself as 'I'm a radio talk show host,'" he said. ENTERCOM Rock KISW/SEATTLE morning man BJ SHEA, speaking from the audience, made a plea for radio to pay attention to younger demos and to be aware of the topics and cultural touchstones that resonate with that demographic.
Sports radio was covered in a session moderated by ENTERCOM's KEN BECK with CUMULUS Sports KTCK-A (THE TICKET)/DALLAS OM/PD JEFF CAPLIN, CBS RADIO/DALLAS VP-News, Talk and Sports Programming BRUCE GILBERT, ESPN RADIO Senior Manager/Senior Director II-Radio Content SCOTT MASTELLER, and CBS RADIO Sports KRLD-F (105.3 THE FAN)/DALLAS morning "NEW SCHOOL" co-host SHAN SHARIFF on the panel. The talk addressed the migration of sports talk to FM and the effect of the PPM on programming, with GILBERT noting that the meter numbers emphasize the value of "get(ting) to the freakin' point" instead of meandering and joking around.
Sessions closed with a roundtable of syndication and network figures, including THE WALL STREET JOURNAL RADIO NETWORK's NANCY ABRAMSON, DIAL GLOBAL's AMY BOLTON, PREMIERE NETWORKS' JULIE TALBOTT, TALK RADIO NETWORK's MARK MASTERS, CUMULUS MEDIA NETWORKS' JOHN ROSSO, FOX NEWS RADIO's BOB FINNERTY, SALEM RADIO NETWORK's TOM TRADUP, UNITED STATIONS RADIO NETWORKS' ANDY DENEMARK, and SUZANNA SIMMS of the DAVE RAMSEY show.
Rick Scott Honored With Ashwood Award
Sports radio consultant RICK SCOTT was presented with the annual ANDREW ASHWOOD Award by GILBERT.