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It’s Time for News Talk to Embrace Social Media

As much as “big tech” can be an evil phrase for some in news talk, it’s still our best bet to build our own brands.

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(Kentucky Broadcasters Association)

Social media has become a staple for most in the media. But as someone who has spent time in sports talk and news talk, the former certainly has much more commitment to its social media game than the latter. Admittedly, a large part of that is the age of those in the format. Sports talk attracts lots of young people out of the college ranks who are already very active on social media and understand it. For those who aren’t part of the younger wave, even they get the value of being on Twitter during a big game, hitting up Instagram live after your team blows a fourth quarter lead, or seeing the latest from star athletes on TikTok. 

For news talk, there isn’t nearly the pull, and there’s multiple reasons for it. The age of the hosts oftentimes skew older, and many have spent their careers not having to bother with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Also, a news talk host is more likely to send out a regrettable tweet or Facebook post that can be a job ender. We’ve all seen plenty of examples, and for some who already may be hesitant to join the social media ranks, reading on Barrett News Media that a host in another city lost his job over a stupid tweet only encourages some to continue to avoid it. Meantime, with President Trump now banned from Twitter, which became a daily topic(s) for news talk for the last four years, there may be less incentive for some in the business. 

However, those in the news talk space who might be of this opinion are being short sighted and are wrong. 

We know budgets are tight and there aren’t billboards all over town for our stations or shows in 2021. So what can we do?

We need to get creative and be our own best marketers and advertisers. As much as “big tech” can be an evil phrase for some in news talk, it’s still our best bet to build our own brands.

A recent personal example took place this past weekend. There was a protest on Friday night in Kansas City to protest police brutality. At this “rally”, protestors marched a coffin to the Kansas City Police Department headquarters. This coffin had a pig dressed as a cop in it, with the words “The Other White Meat” on the coffin. I had some of my sources at KCPD send me exclusive photos of the coffin and I posted them all over my Twitter and Facebook pages. 

On my “Pete Mundo on KCMO Talk Radio” page, these photos and my commentary organically (unpaid) reached 210,000 people (as of this writing), with over 1,600 shares. On Twitter, my tweet with the same photos and commentary, received nearly 30,000 impressions and was retweeted by multiple U.S. Congressmen around the KC metro.

How much would it have cost through a paid campaign via digital media, billboards, or TV to reach nearly a quarter of a million people in just 2-3 days? I can’t answer it for certain, but I know my cost on these social media posts: $0.

The Facebook post and the show was then credited and linked back to by The Kansas City Star in their lead editorial this week, while local TV stations have also asked to use the photos and credit the show. 

I could have received these photos and talked about them all day on my show, but it would have been unlikely I would’ve reached any new audience out of it, unless I got lucky and some new folks were flipping around the dial and happened to hear the story. 

How many thousands of Kansas Citians saw my Facebook and Twitter posts, saw our mentions in The Kansas City Star or TV credits on local news, and might now be curious enough to check out my content via the radio, stream or podcasts? I’m hoping and thinking at least a handful!

So while the social media game can be dicey at times, anyone in the news talk space is still doing themselves a massive disservice by not utilizing these platforms effectively.  It’s the best, and in some cases, only way, to continue to push our brands, find new audiences and communicate with others beyond our time “on air”. 

And yes, think twice before you tweet. I don’t want to read your name on Barrett News Media for the wrong reasons. 

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BNM Writers

Biden Already Polling Poorly Six Months Into Presidency

Biden’s honeymoon is already over, if any such thing still exists.

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Most of the media wants you to believe that the country is unified in support of the job Joe Biden is doing as president.

As usual, don’t believe the nonsense.

Biden’s honeymoon is already over, if any such thing still exists. From day one, regardless of how the country felt about the legitimacy of his “win,” voters had already dug in their heels. And the results are quite alarming – both for Biden and for supporters of his extreme policy agenda.

On last week’s episode of What are the Odds, pollster and media personality, Richard Baris, shared some topline numbers on his recent national polling. The overall trend is that as the pandemic recedes, so does Biden’s job approval rating. The data indicates his fate may be tied to this one fading issue. A mere six months into his presidency, his approval numbers are already nearing dangerous territory for Democrats hoping to have an enduring electoral impact.

Overall, Baris has Biden at 51 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove. Approval is trending down, with disapproval on the upswing. But he notes that without the reliably leftward-leaning northeast states, Biden would “be in deep, deep, deep trouble with his approval rating.” Voters seem keenly attuned to the rapid downturn in conditions, as they watch rising inflation, increasing food costs, gas shortages, cyberattacks, violence in the Middle East, etc. 

Biden’s relatively high early disapproval is clearly linked to the continuing election investigations ongoing in numerous states. Increasingly, these recounts and audits are turning up multiple inconsistencies, adding more doubt in voters’ minds.

“Whether the media or social media want to admit it, there are a lot of people who question the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s win. That’s a reality, whether you want to agree with it or not. That’s irrelevant, it’s what the country thinks,” Baris said.

Biden saw an uptick in approval over the spring, a trend Baris attributes to the distribution of the vaccine rushed to completion and handed to him by President Donald Trump. 

“How do we know?” Baris asked rhetorically. “Because we asked about the other issues and you saw it. He was underwater on immigration, badly. He was underwater on the economy, a couple of points. He’s underwater on US/China relations. He’s underwater on foreign policy.” And this was before last week’s disastrously weak showing at the G7 meetings for Biden.

Many Americans are finding it hard to believe the country’s fortune has changed for the worst so quickly. And remember, these polling results were captured by Baris, one of the best in the business, whose work has been extremely accurate over the past decade. His polling in 2020 was very close to the election’s final outcome. 

“It’s a general feeling of, what a minute, what the hell is going on?” Baris said. “None of this was happening under Donald Trump. Why is the world falling apart now? And the media wants to hide that, that’s fine. But it’s happening. The blue checks on Twitter want to ignore it, that’s fine. But it’s happening. The fake poll readers who think they are gauges of pollsters in their ratings of accuracy and trustworthiness, fine. But it’s happening!.”

And Baris’s numbers might be some of the best for Biden, as a similar Monmouth poll has the president sitting at only 48% approval.

Some of the other notable takeaways from Baris’s polling, which seem to show the Democrats increasingly out of step with mainstream American sentiment…..

56% of the country feels that social media bans are too often used to crush dissenting views and represent a grave threat to free speech rights. Only 23% disagree.

Americans do not support the Democrats’ Critical Race Theory teachings in schools. By a spread of 67-21 respondents said children should be taught to be merit based, racially color blind and capable of being whomever if they work hard, not that they are disadvantaged based on the color of their skin.

63% of all Americans support the 2nd Amendment, but only 47% of Democrats support it.

China is viewed to be the biggest threat to the United States, by a commanding 42% to 22% margin ahead of Russia. Among Democrats, Russia was the top choice at 36%.

Most voters side with Israel over the Palestinians, 34%-13%, while Democrats favor Palestinians 21%-18%. 26% of all respondents support Palestinian statehood, 24% do not. Half of Americans are unsure or don’t care.

86% of voters agree (with Trump) that policy should put the needs of U.S. citizens ahead of U.S. allies and the global community.

58% of Americans said they would much rather have a leader who always keeps their promises and shares their views, even if they have perceived moral flaws.

25% of respondents do not intend to get vaccinated for COVID-19. 45% of Democrats have a great deal of trust in the vaccine, while only 24% of Republicans do.

Things don’t look great right now for Biden or his policies. Baris summed up his current polling, saying “This is the weakest margin since he put his hand on the Bible and took the oath of office, so it’s safe to say the honeymoon period is now over.”

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BNM Writers

News Talk Should Open the Door to Some Sports Content

However, there are ratings and revenue reasons to open the door to some sports content in our format and it should not be overlooked or underappreciated.

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Have you listened to sports radio lately? Does it sound to you like every other commercial is somehow tied to the booming industry of sports betting and daily fantasy? Well, it’s not quite that often, but it sure is a huge part of sports radio sales, and as state legislatures continue to legalize it around the country, there is a lot of revenue for stations and their sales team to go after.

For news talk, I understand that we often get caught up in making sure we aren’t “doing sports”, as that isn’t why most of our audience is there. They usually have two or three other places to find that content on the dial, and thousands of other options on podcasts. 

However, there are ratings and revenue reasons to open the door to some sports content in our format and it should not be overlooked or underappreciated. 

First, the content side: While not every town is a “sports town”, many are. And if you’re a news talk station, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with talking about the Chiefs game in Kansas City, the Cowboys game in Dallas or the Steelers game in Pittsburgh, the Friday leading up to the game or the Monday after a big win or big loss. 

No, the audience doesn’t need our X’s and O’s breakdowns, as we likely aren’t going to do a better job than the sports talk hosts, but talking about the game, your experience, are relevant to your audience. Maybe you went to the game, or took it in at a special location in your community, those are stories to tell that relate to your audience.

Coming in on a Monday morning after a huge win for your local NFL team in a sports town and just going into the latest rant about Joe Biden isn’t what your audience was doing over the weekend, at least not the majority. They were watching the game. They were cheering and booing with the big plays and big mistakes. They were around friends and family enjoying food and drinks as well. It’s relatable and it’s talking about what was going on around town and directly discussing what your audience was doing as well. 

This doesn’t require three or four hours of your show on your team, but picking a dedicated segment or two, weaving it into your discussion or making analogies relevant to the game (“Joe Biden looks as confused as Derek Carr did yesterday against the Chiefs defense!”), is fun and engaging.

Then, there’s the revenue side. If you are able to tap into your local sports teams from a content side, whether it’s a game preview segment on Fridays and recap on Mondays with a guest who knows the team inside and out, a picks segment, or whatever it might be that fits your market, there is easy money to be made. This allows news talk stations to tap into the huge revenues that are coming to stations from sports betting outlets and daily fantasy companies. It won’t be the same as the sports talk money, but a small piece of the pie is better than no piece of the pie. 

So at a time when programmers and hosts can be at odds with sales (although this has been going on forever), this is a no-brainer for all involved. If there’s a chance to provide great, local, relatable content for your audience, and tap into a revenue stream that is getting gobbled up by the sports stations, go for it.

Your audience will thank you and so will your sales manager. Is there anything better than that? 

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BNM Writers

NYC Mayor Race Lifts WABC; FOX News Remains Ahead Nationally

“There was one clear victor from the four Democratic primary debates on the TV ratings front – WABC.”

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Photo Credit: ABC 7 New York

The 2021 race for New York City mayor may be the most important election in the city’s history. Within the past year, New York City (among many other major cities) has seen an uptick in crime, while attempting to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues like education, affordable housing and transportation are also vital on the minds of New Yorkers.

According to New York City’s Board of Elections, there are nearly 5 million actively registered voters within the five boroughs of New York City; 3.38 million of them labeled as a Democrat, making the hotly-contested Democratic primary for NYC mayor of high focus.

Some of the top contenders include Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, former head of the city’s Department of Sanitation Kathryn Garcia, former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley.

While the race is far from predictable especially with New York City’s recently-installed ranked choice voting system, there was one clear victor from the four Democratic primary debates on the TV ratings front. By far, the June 2nd debate on the ABC affiliate WABC was tops, with a 4.8 local household rating and a 10 share (meaning 10 percent of the households in the New York market watching TV were tuned in to this telecast), according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating translated to 514,000 viewers; also, among adults 25-54, the Democratic debate delivered a 2.2 rating/10 share.

At a distant runner-up was the June 10th debate on CBS affiliates WCBS and WLNY. Combined, it posted a 2.74 rating and an 8 share; WLNY (0.14 rating/0.3 share) provided a Spanish language simulcast.

Interestingly enough, the figures from WABC and WCBS approximately paralleled what each perform on a nightly basis during the 7-8 p.m. hour. WABC regularly airs game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”; WCBS airs newsmagazines “Inside Edition” and “Entertainment Tonight”. While data for these syndicated shows were not specifically available for solely the New York TV market, its national household ratings were, as follows for the week of May 31-June 6, 2021: “Jeopardy!” 4.9, “Wheel of Fortune” 4.7, “Inside Edition” 2.0 and “Entertainment Tonight” 1.9.

Data for the first debate on cable news network NY1 from May 13, the mayoral candidates’ forum on CW’s WPIX from May 27 and the fourth debate on NBC’s WNBC and Telemundo’s WNJU from June 16 were not available at post time.

WNBC normally airs entertainment newsmagazine “Access Hollywood” in the 7:30 p.m. time slot; its national rating was 0.8. For June 7-11, Telemundo’s athletic competition “Exatlón Estados Unidos” averaged a 0.6 U.S. household rating from 7-9 p.m.

CW’s prime time combo of dramas “Walker” and “Legacies” averaged a 0.5 U.S. household rating on Thursday, May 20; a 0.3 U.S. household rating on May 27.

On another New York-based note: former Comedy Central “news” hosts Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart reunited on-air once again for the June 14th edition of CBS’ “The Late Show”. It was the first taping of the late-night talker at Manhattan’s Ed Sullivan Theater in front of a live studio audience in 460 days. It led late night with 2.32 million viewers, according to Nielsen preliminary data – the show’s largest audience since May 11. CBS research projects the telecast may grow to 3.18 million viewers based on live plus three day figures, which would be Colbert’s best since Feb. 8.

As for the nationally-televised networks, here are the cable news averages for June 7-13, 2021 — cable’s best mark for the week in total viewers based on total day was by Fox News Channel; the 17th consecutive week FNC has accomplished this achievement:

Total Day (June 7-13 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.193 million viewers; 197,000 adults 25-54 
  • MSNBC: 0.781 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.557 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (June 7-12 @ 8-11 p.m.; June 13 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.157 million viewers; 331,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.376 million viewers; 175,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.776 million viewers; 177,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.974 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 6/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.866 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/10/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.850 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 6/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.801 million viewers

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.735 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 6/11/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.694 million viewers

7. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 6/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.690 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.640 million viewers

9. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 6/9/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.635 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 6/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.529 million viewers

11. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Thu. 6/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.516 million viewers

52. Anderson Cooper 360 “Obama Interview” (CNN, Mon. 6/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.408 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.506 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 6/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.454 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/10/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.448 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 6/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 6/11/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.437 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 6/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.420 million adults 25-54

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.417 million adults 25-54

8. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 6/7/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.380 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 6/11/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.371 million adults 25-54

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 6/9/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.366 million adults 25-54

17. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Thu. 6/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.333 million adults 25-54

30. Anderson Cooper 360 “Obama Interview” (CNN, Mon. 6/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.279 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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