Thursday, May 30, 2024

Poll: Radio's Best Decade..The 90s, The Worst..Now

It’s fascinating how our perception of different decades in radio programming can vary. According to a recent YouGov survey, conducted from February 29 to March 5, 2024, a majority of Americans believe that the current era of radio is the worst1. Let’s break down the findings:

Best Decades for Radio Programming:

  • The 1990s emerged as the most favored decade, with 12% of respondents considering it the best. This preference was notably higher among younger age groups and Hispanics, with 19% of the 18-29 age group and 16% of Hispanics favoring the 1990s.
  • The 1980s came in a close second, with 11% considering it the best. This sentiment was particularly strong among those aged 45-64 and Republicans.
  • The 2000s received a favorable nod from 10% of respondents, especially among the 18-29 age group and those with higher family incomes.

Worst Decade for Radio Programming: The dubious honor of being the worst decade for radio programming goes to the 2020s. This view was especially pronounced among older age groups and those identifying as Independents and Republicans. The 1930s and 1940s also received some criticism, with 9% and 3% of respondents respectively viewing these decades as the worst.

Other Insights:

  • Alongside radio, the 2020s were overwhelmingly viewed as the worst decade for both music and news reporting. However, interestingly, it is considered the best decade for television.
  • Fortunately for radio, despite these findings, AM/FM radio remains America’s number one mass reach medium. Nielsen’s Q3 2023 Total Audience Report ranks over-the-air radio as America’s most widespread media among adults 18 and older, surpassing social media, online video, and various TV formats. Among 18-49-year-olds, radio ties with social media for the highest weekly reach.
Results of the Polling were first psoted at RadioInk.

Radio Remains Top Audio Platform

Podcast reach continues to grow in the US, with almost half of Americans ages 12 and older now listening to podcasts on at least a monthly basis. Along with this audience expansion, podcasts are increasing their share of ad-supported audio listening time in the US, according to data from Edison Research in collaboration with Nielsen.

The researchers examined the share of US adults’ daily time spent with various ad-support audio types, noting that ad-supported audio “represents the most important part of the audio landscape to advertisers.”

The analysis reveals that podcasts occupied 20% share of US adults’ daily ad-supported audio time during the first quarter of the year, ahead of ad-supported streaming audio (10%) and ad-supported satellite radio channels (3%).

Radio was by the far the dominant form of ad-supported audio listening, at 2 in every 3 minutes (67% share).

However, when narrowing to adults ages 18-34, the data shows that podcasts are growing to rival radio. Indeed, young American adults spent 37% of their daily ad-supported audio time with podcasts during Q1, close behind radio (45% share).

FNC Adds More Viewers YOY Than Any Other Cable News Network

FOX News Channel (FNC) finished the month of May as the highest-rated cable news network, sweeping CNN and MSNBC in all categories during the month of former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial.
Notably, FNC claimed nearly every cable news telecast in the top 100, occupying the top 97 shows in the 25-54 demo and 94 shows among total viewers, while CNN netted zero. Throughout the month, FNC posted double-digit increases versus last year as the competition managed to lose younger viewership despite the intense news cycle. 

In fact, FNC added more viewers year-over-year than any other cable news network, solidifying its place as the go-to destination for breaking news. 

As FNC nearly quadrupled CNN, the network hit a new low, marking the lowest-rated month in primetime younger viewership dating back to 1991. 

Reaching 40 months as the number one channel in primetime and 39 months as the most watched in total day, FNC was the largest audience in all of cable television in total day viewers and third largest in 25-54 demo, finishing behind only sports driven TNT and ESPN. Additionally, FNC occupied its largest share of audience in cable news since March 2023, with more than half or nearly half of the genre’s consumers tuning into the network during primetime in viewers, 25-54 and 18-49 viewers. While remaining the home to the most politically diverse audience with more Democrats and Independents watching FNC than CNN and MSNBC, FNC continued as the number one cable news destination for Hispanic 25-54 demo viewers in primetime.

In Total Day:  FNC delivered 1.3 million viewers and 147,000 in 25-54 demo, beating CNN by 176% and MSNBC by 58% with total viewers. During primetime (7-11 PM/ET), FNC averaged 2 million viewers and 190,000 in 25-54 demo, garnering a 267% advantage over CNN and 77% advantage over MSNBC with total viewers. 

Notably, FNC posted double-digit growth in every category versus same time last year and showed the largest increases among the competition. FNC was up 32% in primetime viewers and 37% in the 25-54 demo, while CNN and MSNBC were both down in the 25-54 demo, losing 14% and 9% of their younger audience, respectively. In total day, FNC was also the only network to see growth in both categories, up double digits (+19% P2+ and 18% A25-54) while CNN and MSNBC both lost younger 25-54 viewership.

Throughout the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City, FNC has attracted the highest viewership in every category. Beginning on April 15th through May 26th, FNC’s total viewership drew 1.3 million viewers and 149,000 in the 25-54 demo, crushing CNN and MSNBC again by double digit percentages. In comparison to the prior month, FNC was the only network to post growth versus April 2024 in total viewers, while CNN and MSNBC both lost viewers in both categories. In primetime, CNN and MSNBC also lost viewership with CNN shedding 16% of its total viewership and 15% in 25-54 demo, while MSNBC was also down in both categories.

Edison: Where Audio Ads Can Reach Potential Voters

A new report ftrom Edison Research has shed light on the impact of audio advertising in reaching voters, particularly as election campaigns gear up for November. Let’s dive into the findings:

Audio Ads Reach Voters:

The Share of Ear dataset reveals that 84% of the voting-age population engages with ad-supported audio daily. This highlights the continued potency of audio ads as a communication tool.

Republicans stand out as heavy supporters of AM/FM radio, with 9% higher engagement compared to the average population. This preference provides a targeted avenue for reaching Republican listeners with tailored political messages.

Democrats, on the other hand, demonstrate a significant affinity for podcasts, indexing 21% higher than the norm. The focused nature of podcast topics and their engaging format make them ideal for campaigns aiming to appeal to Democratic voters with specific interests or concerns.

Independents, a pivotal group in tightly-contested elections, exhibit diverse audio preferences. They engage most with ad-supported streaming music and YouTube music videos, which offer both visual and auditory stimuli.

R.I.P.: Bob Mackowycz Sr., Legendary Canadian Radio Personality

Bob Mackowycz Sr (1969-2024)

Bob Mackowycz, Sr., a legendary broadcaster and radio programmer, passed away on Wednesday morning. His contributions to the Canadian radio industry are significant, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy.

Broadcast Dialogue was first to report this story. (H/T: Connie Thiesse)

Mackowycz is perhaps best known for his time at Toronto’s Q107 (CILQ-FM), where he joined in its first year of operation in 1977. During his tenure, he created popular segments such as “The 6 O’Clock Rock Report” and “Psychedelic Sundays.” His influence extended beyond the microphone, as he was promoted to program director in 1987. However, that same year, he left Q107 to work for Standard Broadcasting and later joined CKFM in 1988.

His career continued to flourish, and he held leadership positions at other notable stations, including CFRB and The Fan 590 (CJCL-AM). Mackowycz also played a pivotal role in bringing Sirius satellite radio to Canada, working on the application for its launch. During his time in Washington, D.C., he served as the program director for SiriusXM’s USA Today channel.

Buffalo Radio: Cumulus Stations Raise$430K+ For Children's Hospital

Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) announces that Cumulus Buffalo radio stations 103.3 The Edge/WEDG-FM, Classic Hits 104.1/WHTT-FM, and 97 Rock/WGRF-FM joined forces with its listeners on Tuesday, May 21st, to raise over $430,000 for Buffalo’s John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH) through the first-ever Giving Day for OCH Radiothon. 

The successful 24-hour fundraising effort leveraged Cumulus Buffalo’s popular on-air and online music platform and passionate listener community to raise funds for critical programs, services and care for the most vulnerable moms, kids, and babies in Western New York.

Stephen Turkovich, MD, President, Oishei Children’s Hospital, said: “It was such an honor and an incredible opportunity to share all of the stories of the patients we have the privilege of caring for here and the tales of the teamwork that helps get kids back to being kids. It was such an emotionally charged, amazing day to see the community come together for Oishei Children’s Hospital.”

Turkovich noted: “The energy was just phenomenal. The energy from all of radio stations, from the callers, the social media reactions. Even being in the room with the radio stations in our New Era Pavilion, it was just such a warm, exciting day. We didn’t know what to expect, as it was our first Giving Day. I think it just exceeded everyone’s expectations. It really was because of the energy that was brought to the room and brought to the radio from all of our partners at Cumulus.”

He added: “Thank you can’t go far enough. The money that people donated is going to go far and wide to help kids, not only with their medical needs, but their psychological needs, social needs and making sure that children, when they come to the hospital, have the absolute best experience, the best technology, the best care providers, the best talent. We can’t do this without the support of the community.”

Beth Coughlin, Regional Vice President, Cumulus Media, commented: “Cumulus Media was extremely proud to be a part of the first Giving Day for Oishei Children’s Hospital and we thank our listeners and partners for their generosity and support. Oishei’s team mission helps kids, every day, to get back to being a kid. We are honored to use our airwaves and digital marketing to help build a better future for families and children.”

5/30 WAKE-UP CALL: Jurors To Resume Deciding Trump's Fate

Former President Donald Trump’s fate rests in the hands of 12 Manhattan jurors in his historic hush money trial, with the verdict carrying the potential to alter the 2024 presidential campaign. The jury sent a note shortly before 3 p.m. EDT requesting to review four sections of testimony from the trial, three from media executive David Pecker, and one from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Almost an hour later, the jurors sent a second note asking to re-hear the jury instructions. Jurors were sent home for the day at 4:07 p.m. EDT. They will resume deliberations Thursday.

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday after hearing six weeks of testimony from a parade of 22 witnesses, including a felon convicted of perjury, a porn actress, and the former head of the parent company for the National Enquirer tabloid.

➤TRUMP CONSIDERS ADVISORY ROLE FOR MUSK:  Donald Trump is weighing an advisory role for Elon Musk should the presumptive Republican nominee reclaim the White House. The two men discussed ways to give the Tesla CEO formal input and influence over policies related to border security and the economy, issues Musk has grown more vocal about, people familiar with the talks said, though they added it might not happen. It’s the latest sign that Trump and Musk’s once-frosty relationship has thawed. Musk, along with the billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, briefed the former president on their plan to invest in a voter-fraud prevention project, according to some of the people. The two also told Trump about gatherings that Musk and his political allies host to try to convince powerful business leaders not to support President Biden’s re-election campaign.

➤TRUMP, GOP FAVORED TO WIN: Trump, GOP, favorites to win White House, Congress . . . Former President Trump and the GOP are the favorites to win the races for the White House and for both chambers of Congress a little more than five months before Election Day, according to a forecast model released Wednesday by Decision Desk HQ and The Hill. The model gives Trump a 58 percent chance of winning the presidency and shows him with slight leads in most of the key swing states in the presidential race. Republicans are a more comfortable favorite in the House and Senate, the model says. The GOP holds a 79 percent chance of winning the Senate majority and a 64 percent chance of holding its House majority.

Some Creditors Worry About iHM's Revenue Slump

Some creditors to iHeartMedia Inc., including Pacific Investment Management Co., have retained financial and legal advisers as they eye a drop in revenue at a time when other indebted media companies are pushing ahead with debt restructurings.

Bloomberg reports the radio broadcaster and podcasting platform’s lenders are working with financial adviser Evercore and law firm Milbank, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. Their holdings are weighted toward term loan debt that comes due in 2026, they said.

IHeartMedia shares fell to a record low earlier this month after the San Antonio, Texas-based company reported first-quarter revenue that missed analyst expectations. The stock is down more than 60% this year, and its debt trades at distressed levels.

Richard Bressler
The company has “no material maintenance covenants and no debt maturities until May 2026,” iHeart Chief Financial Officer Richard Bressler said on the latest earnings call. “We continue to be opportunistic in responding to market developments and are evaluating all opportunities surrounding our capital structure.”

The slump in the company’s performance comes as demand for radio advertising has shriveled, with audiences turning to new options like Spotify to discover new music. Other industry players have responded by striking bargains with creditors to cope with their borrowing levels: Cumulus Media Inc. completed a debt exchange earlier this month, while Audacy Inc. filed for bankruptcy in January after reaching a pact with creditors.

IHeart had more than $5.2 billion of debt as of March 31 spread across various secured and unsecured facilities, according to regulatory filings. A roughly $1.8 billion term loan due in 2026 trades around 77.5 cents on the dollar, Bloomberg data show. An $800 million 6.375% note maturing in 2026 traded Wednesday at about 70.75 cents, down from around 86.5 cents on May 6, according to pricing source Trace.

IHeart filed for bankruptcy in 2018 after a leveraged buyout saddled it with debt as the digital era was already heaping pressure on the company. It emerged from Chapter 11 in 2019.

Boston Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, NFL Patriots Sign Longterm Deal

The New England Patriots and Beasley Media Group announce a multi-year broadcast extension with Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM/98.5 The Sports Hub Wednesday. The station has been the official flagship station of the New England Patriots since its inception in 2009.

The New England Patriots games will continue to be broadcast through the 2033 season on Boston’s #1 sports station, and can also be heard in most of New England on 98.5 The Sports Hub, or online at or on any mobile device by accessing The Sports Hub app.

“Patriots fans throughout New England have come to rely on the sound quality, reach and overall coverage that 98.5 The Sports Hub has delivered since they launched 15 years ago,” said Murray Kohl, Vice President of Corporate Sponsorship Sales. “Bob Socci and Scott Zolak are perfectly paired to deliver all the action to Patriots fans throughout the region. We are happy to extend this partnership for another 10 years and hope it will continue for decades to come.”

“The Patriots are a religion in New England,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice President and Market Manager, Mary Menna. “We are honored to continue broadcasting the games to our fans for at least the next decade!  The Kraft family, the Patriots staff and the entire team are such amazing partners.”

“The Patriots have been a cornerstone of our programming since we launched the Sports Hub,” said station Program Director, Rick Radzik. “As the team enters this new era, I’m thrilled that 98.5 The Sports Hub will be the home of the game broadcasts for the next decade, while also continuing to provide an outlet for Pats fans to talk football year-round.”

Game Day Patriots action will start three hours before each kickoff with “Patriots Preview.” Jim Murray will once again serve as the main pregame host, with Marc Bertrand also hosting some select games. Chris Gasper, Boston Globe columnist and co-host of the popular “Gasper & Murray Show,” will return for his 10th season as the pregame co-host.

FOX Business Beats CNBC in Business Day, Total Day Viewership

FOX Business Network (FBN) closed the month of May as the highest rated business network during the critical business day hours (9:30 AM-5 PM/ET) for the third consecutive month with 184,000 viewers and in total day on a 24-hour basis with 121,000 viewers for the second consecutive month, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

FBN programs including Larry Kudlow’s eponymous Kudlow (4-5 PM/ET) and market-open program Varney & Co. (9 AM-12 PM/ET) once again outranked their competition with viewers, marking the 27th straight month the network placed the top two business programs. Additionally, all of the network’s business day programs ranked among the top 20 shows in business news viewers. Notably, CNBC posted historic lows, netting its lowest rated month in total day viewers since 1994 (114,000 viewers) as well as its lowest rated month with the younger 25-54 demo since 1992 (25,000 A25-54).

Once again, FBN’s post-market program Kudlow drove ratings as the most-watched program in business television, crushing its CNBC competition for the 32nd consecutive month. The program netted 270,000 viewers, a 64% advantage over CNBC’s Closing Bell. For the 23rd straight month, Stuart Varney’s three-hour market-open program Varney & Co. outranked Squawk on the Street delivering 229,000 total viewers, a 30% advantage over CNBC’s 176,000 viewers.

NAB Withdraws Honor For Robert DeNiro

Robert De Niro, announced as the winner of the NAB’s Leadership Foundation’s Service to America Leadership Award the day before, will not get the award, according to a reportreport from . The NAB noted that the June 4 awards event is “proudly bipartisan,” and said the actor’s “recent high-profile activities will create a distraction.”

De Niro clashed May 28 with supporters of Donald Trump outside the New York courthouse where the former president’s trial is going on. 

“The Celebration of Service to America Awards is dedicated to honoring the vital local journalism and public service that local radio and television stations provide to their communities,” the NAB said in a statement. “This event is proudly bipartisan, uniting those from across the political spectrum to celebrate the impactful work of local broadcasters and our partners.

Radio History: May 30

May 30

➦In 1894...John Florence Sullivan was born (Died – March 17, 1956).  Known professionally as Fred Allen, he was a comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.

His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it was only part of his appeal; radio historian John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote that Allen was radio's most admired comedian and most frequently censored. A master ad libber, Allen often tangled with his network's executives (and often barbed them on the air over the battles) while developing routines whose style and substance influenced fellow comic talents, including Groucho Marx, Stan Freberg, Henry Morgan and Johnny Carson; his avowed fans also included President Franklin D. Roosevelt, humorist James Thurber, and novelists William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Herman Wouk (who began his career writing for Allen).

From 1942...

Allen has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: a radio star at 6713 Hollywood Blvd. and a TV star at 7001 Hollywood Blvd

➦In 1908...Melvin Jerome Blanc born (Died – July 10, 1989). He was a voice actor and radio personality. 

Mel Blanc & Characters
After beginning his over-60-year career performing in radio, he became known for his work in animation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation. He voiced all of the major male Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by fellow radio personality Arthur Q. Bryan, although Blanc later voiced Fudd, as well, after Bryan's death.

He later voiced characters for Hanna-Barbera's television cartoons, including Barney Rubble on The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons. Blanc was also the original voice of Woody Woodpecker for Universal Pictures and provided vocal effects for the Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Chuck Jones for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, replacing William Hanna. During the golden age of radio, Blanc also frequently performed on the programs of famous comedians from the era, including Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, Burns and Allen and Judy Canova.

Having earned the nickname The Man of a Thousand Voices, Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice acting industry.

Blanc began his radio career at the age of 19 when in 1927 he debuted as a voice actor on the KGW (Portland OR) program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to Los Angeles in 1932, where he met Estelle Rosenbaum (1909 - 2003), whom he married a year later, before returning to Portland. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and co-host his Cobweb And Nuts show with his wife Estelle, which debuted on June 15. The program played Monday through Saturday from 11:00 pm to midnight, and by the time the show ended two years later, it appeared from 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm.

With his wife's encouragement, Blanc returned to Los Angeles and joined Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show.

Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer. The first role came from a mishap when the recording of the automobile's sounds failed to play on cue, prompting Blanc to take the microphone and improvise the sounds himself. The audience reacted so positively that Benny decided to dispense with the recording altogether and have Blanc continue in that role.

By 1946, Blanc appeared on over 15 radio programs in supporting roles. His success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie.

Blanc also appeared on such other national radio programs as The Abbott and Costello Show, the Happy Postman on Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime. During World War II, he appeared as Private Sad Sack on various radio shows, most notably G.I. Journal. Blanc recorded a song titled "Big Bear Lake."

He passed away on July 10, 1989.