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Clay Travis is a Guest Worth Booking Sooner Rather Than Later

Clay remains well informed about the political, economic and sports news cycles.

Chrissy Paradis

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A champion of cutting through the ‘noise’ and recycled material that lacks factual material, has become inconsistently consistent for many news and sports audiences alike, Clay Travis has no qualms with exposing the dangers of promoting this toxic behavior in the media. Travis’s company, OutKick has been built by an individual that believes in his vision so strongly that he chose to go all-in and invest in promoting honest, objectivity, consistency, free speech and political opinions, whether or not they are unpopular at the time.

Travis has proven to be a fierce defender of free speech and insists on setting and honoring logical and practical precedents, and has no intention of abandoning this quest for providing the best possible content space in the broadcast industry.

The reports of a more reductionary broadcast entering the broadcast industry with the blueprint solely described as the “strategic opposite of Clay Travis’ Outkick” targeting specific members of the media for the business venture—individuals who’ve made their political agendas and tolerance for opposing ideologies clear.

“OutKick is straight down the middle. We cover sports and we cover it in an honest way and we give you our opinion on a wide variety of subjects. We seem like we are ‘right-wing’ because the rest of sports media is so far left-wing that there is a perpetual knife fight for the woke audience.” Travis addressed the reports immediately and unapologetically as he welcomed the competition as it would merely make OutKick stronger in the long run. “If anything it’s only going to make us look more reasonable the further left-wing the rest of the sports media community goes.” Signing off, Travis made sure to welcome and wish luck to what seems to be a reductionist amalgamation designed with OutKick at the forefront of the venture, as outlined in the report.

It is very clear that Clay Travis has no fear of competition as it pertains to the sports broadcast industry and there is a refreshing confidence that he brings to audiences that have felt alienated by other media outlets. Those who want a dose of sports news, current events, sharing opinions unapologetically on a wide range of topics from reverse sexism to the presidential election with a star studded guest lineup—look no further, Outkick is the landing space for you.

News talk stations that want to OutKick their own coverage by way of covering a sports/news or sports/politics story by bringing in one of the uniquely entertaining voices currently dominating the broadcast marketplace, try to book an interview with Clay Travis or arrange regular guest hits. The refreshing and thoughtful reasoning Travis has provided the broadcast media world is an appreciating asset that is worth investing in as soon as possible. The opportunity to up your game and promote the content that has been blocked on social media and attacked by other hosts because it doesn’t fit the normalized narrative to which they’ve confirmed—the answer is Clay Travis and OutKick. Here’s to OutKick for the commitment to developing a platform that provides a voice for those who have been silenced and surpassed the goalposts as outlined in the company’s mission: fearless and authentic coverage for an audience that has set the sky as the limit for the growth and expansion potential.

Why? Talking points below:

“Stupid stories seem to trend on a regular basis. Tom Brady’s friendship with Donald Trump became ‘huge controversy’ yesterday on Twitter. I don’t understand how this is remotely possible, and now all the talking heads out there are debating whether or not Tom Brady’s friendship with Donald Trump should be a major issue going forward. Since when did who you were friends with dictate whether you should be judged by whatever opinions they might have? This is all insanity. What’s going on is People are trying to slice and dice identities to such an extent; where you’re only allowed to have friendships with people who are exactly like you. It seems awfully boring to me. My family is half Donald Trump voters and half Joe Biden voters. This idea that you’re not allowed to be friends with a Democrat if you’re a Republican, or friends with a Republican if you’re a Democrat is pure insanity. This is where social media is driving us. This is why I keep circling around and our audience continues to explode. My precedents that I set are logical. I don’t think it’s smart, in football, for statements to be made about politics of any sort, in a uniform, at work. I think that’s bad for the overall interest in the league. It’s been my position ever since Colin Kaepernick took a knee. The same way I don’t think it would be smart for somebody to take a knee because they protest gay marriage. Or because they’re pro or anti-abortion or whatever you want to argue. If Tom Brady took a knee before this Super Bowl to protest Donald Trump losing the 2020 Election, people who have been defending Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the Anthem for years would immediately demand that Tom Brady no longer be allowed to be a quarterback in the NFL…”

“This is cancel-culture moving into who you can not be friends with. I think it is fundamentally broken. It is a failure of epic magnitude and I just think it’s shameful that stories like these are allowed to turn into massive controversies with controversies.. in quotations.” Clay Travis on the inability for those with different political opinions and ideologies to be able to coexist peacefully or be respectful enough to be friends with those who disagree with them on January 26.

Travis even managed to have a very candid and thoughtful interview with the President at OutKick, President Trump and Travis had a great conversation about a variety of topics.

Of Tom Brady, President Trump said, “He’s a winner. He knows how to win. He’s been a great quarterback with a great coach in a great organization, with a great owner in Bob Kraft, frankly. I think he’s going to do well in Tampa Bay.”

“You have to stand for the flag and respect your country you’re making millions of dollars a year to be playing a sport that you’d be playing anyway but they’d be playing on the weekends, and they have to respect their country. And if they don’t, frankly, if the NFL didn’t open, I’d be very happy; if they don’t stand for the flag and stand strongly I would be very happy if they didn’t open. And with that being said, I’d love to see them open.” Trump replied to Travis about the NFL and their season opener.

“Some sports I see, I think golf has not been hurt, in fact I think it looks more beautiful if you want to know the truth. UFC works really well, I watched that the other night. And they light up the stage, they light up the cage.” Trump shared with Travis, citing the details of the sports he has followed and supported, hitting all the major team sports, UFC and PGA.

In the final question, Travis asks the President,

“The number one sports fan among sports fans for the last ten years has been who is better as a basketball player—Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Which do you think—”

“Michael Jordan.” Trump replied, quickly.

“No doubt in your mind?” Travis asked.

“Well I’ve seen them both, plus he wasn’t political so people like him better.” Trump finished, both of them sharing a laugh.

Clay remains well informed about the political, economic and sports news cycles.

“One of the challenges of sports has been talking about serious topics and in general, I don’t think sports lends itself to talking about political topics. I think that’s been really exposed In the coronavirus era. One of the reasons why this show has grown so much is because we can talk about sports, but we can talk about the impact of sports particularly as it pertains to the virus. But one of the challenges is talking about difficult topics, in a smart and sophisticated way for large-scale audiences.” Travis identified the issues with sports media falling flat with audiences, especially with certain topics.

Travis tackles divisive issues like defunding the police, supporting Charles Barkley’s sincerity and his willingness to speak out about social issues.

“Maybe I shouldn’t be stunned by how poorly informed people are, but it’s the lawyer in me who always says ‘what matters is the facts, the facts the facts.’ I think sadly what you are coming to realize is that common sense isn’t so common, and that it’s rare.” Travis spoke of the willful ignorance that’s adopted by many issues and the number of those who have become entrenched with an unequivocally false narrative yet continue to advocate the defunding of the police. Largely due to what Clay so aptly identified as “the overwhelming political one-sidedness of the media.”

In his latest mailbag released Tuesday, Travis tackled this issue. “What you have is a broken marketplace of ideas where some people are not comfortable with sharing what they truly believe, for fear that it would cost them their jobs. And I understand that.”

Travis spoke on Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame snub saying, “It’s only left-wing political opinions that the sports media actually wants. If you share anything other than a far left-wing political option, in fact, not only will it be used against you but you won’t be able to make the Hall of Fame.” Travis defended the political discrimination and increasingly hypocritical dynamic that has exposed a serious flawed foundation that is covering the truth of why Schilling has been snubbed as a direct result of his unpopular comments amid his pursuit of a career as an analyst. The sheer implications of using your voice to share political opinions integrity “Why is there not a content neutral application here?” The athletes/analysts who have shared left-leaning political opinions have been rewarded while those with right-leaning views and opinions have been met with condemnation effectively eliminating the opportunity to have the conversations protected by the First Amendment. While Travis is well-aware with the reality of the climate and inability to pursue the challenges for non left-leaning individuals who have been thrust into a survival or self-preservation mode out of fear to retain their jobs and the ability to provide for their families but still want to be represented in the broadcast space will always have OutKick as a resource for the content that they feel is so neglected. Travis’ sincere pledge to the listeners makes him a genuine and long overdue hero to the average news/sports media consumer who’s felt alienated, silenced or forgotten due to fear of retribution or retaliation.

BNM Writers

Market Still Finding 2023 Footing

After some rigorous data analysis, the thoughtful, numbers-based host was able to formulate some potential conclusions.

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While it’s hard to imagine 2023 being as painful for investors as 2022, experts still cannot say for certain we are destined for blue skies ahead. Many in the media are starting the year by sifting through the stock market tea leaves; trying to figure out what historical data can tell us about probabilities and expectations for the next twelve months.

Some think the United States is poised for a market rebound, while others remain quite bearish, feeling that negative policy implications have yet to be fully realized.

Peter Tuchman of Trademas Inc. joined Neil Cavuto on his Fox News program Friday, to offer his thoughts about where the American stock market might be headed in light of the newly-divided United States Congress.

“Markets have a sort of a gut of their own,” Cavuto opened. “Today’s a good example. We’re up 300 points, ended up down 112 points. What’s going on?”

“Markets don’t like unknowns, and markets need confidence. The investing community needs confidence,” Tuchman said. “And I think it’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild that. And as we saw the other night with what went on in the House, it feels like people should get busy governing as opposed to all this posturing.”

Six months ago, Tuchman didn’t have a solid feel for the direction of the market. And just two trading weeks into the year, he still doesn’t believe any real trend has been established.

“The market has yet to find its ground. It’s yet to find its footing,” Tuchman told Cavuto. “And still, even coming into 2023, the first week of trading we have not found our footing. We have come in on a couple of economic notes that were a little bit positive. We opened up with a little bit of irrational enthusiasm. By the end of the days we were trading down.”

Meanwhile, some financial outlets, such as CNBC, have dug into the data showing what a market rise during the year’s first week – such as what we experienced this year – potentially means for the rest of 2023. They published a story last week with the headline, Simple ‘first five days’ stock market indicator is poised to send a good omen for 2023“.

On an episode of his popular YouTube program late last week, James from Invest Answers dug into 73 years of stock market data, to test that theory and see if the first five days of yearly stock market performance are an indicator of what the market might do over the full year.

“Some analysts pay attention to this, the first five trading day performance, can it be an indicator of a good year or a bad year,” James began last week, “I wanted to dig into all of that and get the answer for myself. Because some people think yes. Some people swear blind by it. Some people think it’s a myth or an old wive’s tale. Some people think it’s a great omen.”

After some rigorous data analysis, the thoughtful, numbers-based host was able to formulate some potential conclusions.

Based on James’ analysis…

If the gains from the first five market days of the year are negative, the market rises 86 percent of the time over the full year, with an average gain of 6%.

If the first five days are positive, the market increases 92% of the time, with an average yearly gain of 16%.

Most importantly, in this year’s scenario, where the first five days saw a jump of more than 1%, the market traditionally ends positive for the year 95 percent of the time. Those years see an average yearly gain of 18%.

“Is it a good omen, does it look bullish?” James asked. “Well, yes, based on history. But remember, there are factors like inflation, interest rates, geopolitical turmoil, supply chains, slowing economy. All that stuff is in play. But history also says that the market bounces bounces back before the market even realizes it’s in a recession. That’s an important thing to know.”

On his Your World program, Cavuto wondered if the recent House speaker voting drama has added to the uncertainty facing markets.

“Historically, Wall Street definitely is a bit more friendly to a Republican administration,” Tuchman said. “We’re in new ground, there’s no playbook, Neil. And I went over it with you the last time. There’s no playbook for coming out of a pandemic. No playbook for what’s gone on over the last two and a half years. Let’s think about it. March 2020, the market sold off so radically. We had a rally of 20 percent in 2020. 28 percent in 2021, in the eyes of a global economic shutdown due to the Federal Reserve’s posturing and whatnot.

“And now we’re trying to unwind that position. In tech, and in possible recession, and inflation and supply chain issues. So, there’s no way historically to make a judgment on what the future looks like in that realm, let alone what’s going on in the dis-functionality of what’s happening in Washington. I would like to disengage what’s going on in Washington and try and rebuild the confidence in the market coming into 2023.” 

So while the data might indicate a strong year ahead, the fact is that many analysts still won’t make that definitive call amidst such economic turmoil gripping the country. 

Along with U.S. markets, they remain steadfast in their search for solid footing.

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BNM Writers

Does Radio Need A Video Star?

If there’s revenue attached, the debate is over. If there isn’t a deal on the table, and there aren’t already orders to monetize a video stream, it’s likely coming soon.

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Last week numerous stories about using video with broadcasting or audio podcasting became a hot topic of discussion.

A Morning Consult poll found that 32% of Americans prefer podcasts with video, compared with 26% who like just audio better. Among podcast listeners, 46% said they favor them with video, compared with 42% who said they would rather listen without video. It’s worth noting that these are podcast listeners, not radio listeners.

Video has become the latest trend in audio. Almost everybody is trying to do some form of video. Many shows already stream online. A few others simulcast on a television or cable channel. It seems nobody believes in pure audio anymore. It’s a wonder everybody didn’t go into television instead of radio.

Before everybody else starts adding webcams in the studio, it’s worth weighing the reasons to move ahead versus slowing down.

The first person to realize they could use video of their show may have been Howard Stern. In June 1994, Stern started a daily half-hour show on E! network, featuring video highlights from his radio show. Stern added slick production values and faster pacing on the E! show.

Don Imus started simulcasting on cable during the same month. It’s possible others that I’m not aware of started earlier.

Stern’s E! show made sense. It answered the most common questions people asked about the show, in addition to what’s he really like; the first questions people usually asked were: 1) Are the women really as good-looking as he says? 2) Do they really take their clothes off? The E! show answered those questions. In addition, it gave a backstage glimpse of the show.

The same month Stern’s E! Show began, Imus began simulcasting his show on cable networks. I would have feared losing ratings. In fact, Imus’ program director did!

I spoke to my long-time friend and colleague Mark Chernoff (Current Managing Director of Mark Chernoff Talent and on-air talent 107.1 The Boss on the NJ Shore, Former Senior VP WFAN and CBS Sports Radio, VP Sports Programming CBS Radio) about the impact simulcasting Imus’ show had on WFAN. Chernoff may have the broadest range of experiences with simulcasting radio programs with video. 

Imus began on CSPAN but shortly afterward moved to MSNBC. Chernoff told me: “When we started simulcasting Imus, I suggested we’d lose about 15% of our radio audience to TV, which we did.” Chernoff added that there was a significant revenue contribution and that the company was content with the trade-off.

WFAN had a different experience simulcasting Mike and the Mad Dog on YES in 2002. “In this case, TV was helpful, and we increased listenership,” said Chernoff. WFAN also benefited financially from this simulcast.

Imus was on in morning drive while Mike & the Mad Dog were on in the afternoon. Keep the era in mind, too. Before smartphones and high-speed streaming, it was not uncommon for people to have televisions in the bed or bathrooms and have the tv on instead of the radio as they got ready for their day. In the afternoon, fewer people would have had video access in that era.

Ratings measurement moved to Portable People Meter (PPM) by the time WFAN started streaming middays on its website. Chernoff reported streaming had no ratings or revenue impact – positive or negative – on middays. However, the company did provide an additional dedicated person to produce the video stream.

The early forays into video by pioneers such as Stern, Imus, and Mike & the Mad Dog are instructive.

There are good reasons to video stream shows. Revenue is a good reason.

If there’s revenue attached, the debate is over. If there isn’t a deal on the table, and there aren’t already orders to monetize a video stream, it’s likely coming soon.

Another good reason is if the video can answer questions about the show, as the E! show did for Howard Stern.

On the other hand, audio companies are going to throw a lot of money at video, based on the notion that it’s what they “should” do because:

  • It’s the latest trend. Being late on this trend is different from missing the Internet or Podcasting. Industries already revolve around video; television and film come to mind.
  • Podcast listeners like it (by a slight plurality).

Before turning on webcams, see what viewers will see. The studios at many stations I’ve worked at were better not seen. Considerations include; the set, lighting, wardrobe, visuals, and a plan.

Too many video streams of studios feature the fire extinguisher prominently in the shot or the air personalities milling about during terminally long breaks.

Before going live, watch the video with no audio. Is it interesting? Compelling? Does the video draw you in, or is it dull?

With program directors now spread so thin handling multiple stations, a dedicated person to oversee streaming should be a requirement for stations streaming shows.

Other considerations:

  • How could this help us, and how could it hurt us?
  • How does the video enhance the show?
  • Will personalities do their radio show or perform for the cameras?
  • What production values are you able to add to the video?
  • What happens during those seven- eight-minute breaks if it’s a live radio show (vs. a podcast)? What will people streaming video see and hear? Does everybody on the show get along?

Do you have revenue attached? What do you expect will happen to the ratings?

WFAN earned significant revenue for two. Therefore, the company wasn’t concerned when the ratings took a hit for the first one and were surprised when they helped the second one. They didn’t see any impact on ratings or revenue the third time.

After all the budget cuts and workforce reductions over the past decade-plus, before audio companies invest in video, shouldn’t we get: people, marketing, promotion, or research monies back first?

Most of us decided to get into radio (or podcasting) instead of television or film. There’s a reason they said, “video killed the radio star.”

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BNM Writers

Streaming Platforms Cannot Be Forgotten By News/Talk Program Directors

BNM’s Pete Mundo writes that if you’re a News/Talk program director, you run two radio stations and what comes through the streaming platforms.

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If you’re a News/Talk program director, you run two radio stations. Didn’t you know that? Oh. Well, you do. 

I’m not just referring to our over-the-air broadcast but also what comes through our streaming platforms. Alexa, Google Home, apps, computers, etc., are all streaming platforms of our radio stations, which for most of us, are airing different commercial inventory than what is coming through the radio.

I understand none of us are unnecessarily looking to add to our plate, but our streaming platforms are the way we are getting more people to use our product. So neglecting, or forgetting about it, is a bad business decision, especially in the talk space. 

Across all clusters, talk radio is far more likely to have high streaming use when it comes to total listening hours. Listeners are more loyal to our personalities and often can’t get the AM dial in their office buildings during the day, or even if they can, they don’t want to hear our voices through static, so they pull up the stream. 

It’s never been easier to listen to talk radio stations, thanks to our station apps and websites (although welcoming some sites to the 21st century would be a good idea). So, given the challenges many of us face on the AM band, why not push our audience to the stream and make sure the stream sounds just as good as the over-the-air product?

The tricky part in putting together a quality stream sound is trying to balance what ads are programmatic, which ones are sold locally, where is the unfilled inventory and what is filling that gap?

And unlike your over-the-air product, where you can go into a studio, see what’s coming up, and move inventory around, that technology is not available in most cases. So yes, it’s a guessing game.

But as the talk climate continues to change, the best thing we can do to build our brand and trust with the next generation of talk radio listeners is to find them and engage them where they are, which may not always be next to a physical radio. That will be on a stream. How do I know that? Because if they have a smartphone, they have (access to) the stream.

Of course, the over-the-air product remains the massive revenue generator for our stations, as in most cases, the streaming revenue is not close to comparable. But then, if we look years down the road, that will likely start to change. 

To what degree? That’s unknown. But double-digit growth on an annual basis should not be out of the question when it comes to stream listening. It should be a very achievable goal, especially in our format. So our listeners who are P1’s, love the station and want to consume as much of the content as they can, can be on the AirPods in the gym, desk at work, or in their home office and listen to our radio stations. 

Heck, with Alexa and Google Home, they don’t even have to turn a dial! They just speak. So if they’re there, let’s keep them there.

There are simply too many media options today to lose our listeners due to sloppy streaming quality that makes us sound like a college radio station. Instead, listeners, who find us there should be rewarded with a listening experience that is just as high-quality as what they would get on the AM or FM band.

And if we play our cards right, it will be better, serving the industry incredibly well through a new generation of listeners.

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