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Determination and Innovation Led Kim Komando To The Hall of Fame

“If you don’t innovate, you’re going to evaporate,” Komando said. “The show you hear today is probably quite different than the show you heard two years ago.”

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At the crossroads of broadcasting and technology, Kim Komando found her niche in radio by creating her own network. She then used that network to bring knowledge to the masses and will soon be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

But Komando, who grew up in New Jersey, wasn’t planning a life in broadcasting.

Her connection to the tech world started with her mother who was with Bell Labs as a system analyst. Her father worked for United Airlines, giving the family plenty of free flights.

Komando’s first job out of school was for IBM. She tried her hand at television on Fox as Komando, an attractive blond, was told she had a face for the medium.

“I really didn’t like the scripted nature of it,” Komando told BNM. “I felt like I was just reading a prompter.”

However, some people would also say she had a “voice for radio,” and it all began with a Saturday late night call-in show about computers on Phoenix’s KFYI.

“As soon as I sat in front of a radio microphone, I was home,” Komando said. 

At the time, Komando was selling computers for Unisys as a district manager. Komando graduated from Arizona State University at the age of 19 in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems.

Networking

By her mid-20s, she was willing to leave a $150,000 a year salary on the table. Money notwithstanding, she wasn’t happy with the job and consulted with her parents. Komando quit to forge a radio career. There was no need to find a radio name, as Komando is her given name.

“People thought, in the beginning, that I had to make that up,” she said. “But I never took my husband’s name, not even legally, because I am Kim Komando.”

Despite the notoriously low pay, Komando wasn’t discouraged. In fact, she was quite determined. She had a sense of building her brand from the start— as Komando would write syndicated newspaper columns and formed the Komando Corporation in 1992.

Around that same time, Komando sold the “Komputer Tutor” training tapes via informercial that was a “screaming success.”

She landed a deal for running a computer section on AOL (America Online), but getting radio stations for the unproven commodity would prove to be more challenging.

“None of the big companies would syndicate my show, so I did it myself,” she said. “Those were pretty humbling beginnings,” she admitted. “Quite frankly, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Fortunately, her husband, Barry Young, a Phoenix on-air personality, did. By 1995, they had formed WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment, where ultimately her brand would come to life nationally. 

“He taught me radio formatics and he built our first studio,” Komando said.

Aside from her husband, Komando didn’t look to any broadcasters for help, although she credits Fred Weber, who gave her the first radio job, with a special bond. But she always listened to radio. Komando recalls taking her Walkman with AM/FM bands on a trip and would hear stations pop in and out from different markets.

“I thought that was so slick,” she said.

At her fledgling company, Komando was the talent, but also handled affiliate relations and sales.

The Kim Komando Show

Today, Komando’s three-hour weekend show is heard on more than 400 affiliates nationwide. A daily tech update airs worldwide but she does her best to “super serve” the stations. Komando will add a localized “tag” or outro for any affiliate that requests it, so listeners think she’s part of that particular radio station’s on-air team. She even provides an assist with station imaging and records any ad copy for free.

Generating multiple pieces of online content daily, Komando also distributes to station’s websites, “so it looks like they have a tech section.”

It was a slow incline for Komando as only two stations were initially on board—one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is still part of the network, another in Augusta, Georgia—WGAC,  which also remains loyal to Komando.

She gained traction when Tom Clendening, the former boss at KIRO in Seattle, asked for a demo tape of the show. He wanted the cassette overnighted, but Komando, paying out of pocket, didn’t want to spend extra for the sample to just sit on his desk.

After he hung up, Komando worried that she was too demanding. However, Clendening called with tape in hand the next day and enjoyed the demo so much he was willing to air the show on KIRO AM and FM, Saturdays and Sundays.

While Komando’s tech update is heard in the top market on New York’s WCBS-AM, they haven’t added her weekend show.

The show is done through barter, splitting the advertising time with affiliates. H sponsors include T-Mobile and LinkedIn.

As the technology space has grown in the past 20 years, so has Komando’s presence.

“I have no debt. I have no investors,” she admitted.

“The show is actually more relevant today than it ever has been,” Komando said. “It affects everybody in, pretty much, every aspect of their lives.”

Cars, Homes and The Hall

In an effort to keep her show as fresh as possible, Komando reviews shows every quarter.

“If you don’t innovate, you’re going to evaporate,” she said. “The show you hear today is probably quite different than the show you heard two years ago.”

These days, a major focus for Komando is giving back to callers. A woman spoke to Komando about a man stalking her college daughter after connecting on Tinder. The investigation hit a dead end with police, so Komando stepped in.

“I called in some forensics folks, and we should be serving an arrest warrant to this guy pretty soon,” she said.

Another time, a dad and 11-year-old daughter called the show. She was starting a Disney princesses-themed podcast and asked Kim for pointers.

“I told her how to do the podcast and make sure she smiles… because that comes through. So in my inbox now is her first podcast for me to listen to and critique.”

While the brand is all Komando and she is the only voice on her product, she is mentoring three people.

“I’m hoping that at some point they can have their own podcast first,” she said.

Mentoring is new for the veteran broadcaster, as she explains how important it is to tell the story.

“This is not a TED Talk,” Komando said. “You have to be entertaining and then you can be informative.”

Radio, unlike other mediums, is an intimate way for interaction. You may be speaking to millions at any given moment, but the hosts who do it well can talk directly to one person.

“I can have a great conversation in, like, 2 to 4 minutes, that’s it,” Komando said. “If it requires help afterwards, I call them. I use my personal cell phone number. I get emails and texts. They’re all really just good people.”

As many show hosts will do, Komando, at times, will bring the audience into her own personal experiences, including discussing her mother’s battle with cancer.

“They know who I am. It’s full transparency,” she said.  

However, delving into politics is one area that Komando avoids at all costs on her show.

In addition to her advice on the air and online, she also has been writing columns for USA Today for approximately 20 years.

“I probably work 40-50 hours a week. I don’t have to, but it’s just that I want to,” she said. “I could retire but I don’t want to. I still am having a ball.”

Her main studio is in Phoenix. It’s where her employees are based, although many have been working remotely since the pandemic started.

Komando is also fully equipped at her homes in Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills.

While she has reached the pinnacle of her profession, Kim says the hard work combined with expertise and personality were ingredients for success. One perk of that success is enjoying her hobby—collecting cars. She’s building a garage to hold 13 of them. Her favorite car — which she owns—the 2012 Mercedes Benz SLS.

She doesn’t like to discuss future plans until they come to fruition, but Komando is working on something “that will revolutionize the way that we’re disseminating some of the content right now and some of the broadcasting products.”

In the short term, Kim is excited to be immortalized in the National Radio Hall of Fame later this month.

“That was never a goal when I started out,” she admitted. “You start looking at all of the people who’ve been inducted, like Limbaugh, Hannity, Bing Crosby, all these stellar names. I’m up there too. How the hell did that happen? I’m very humbled.”

Looking at how far she’s come in the industry, she’s delighted to share her insight with so many listeners.

“I’ve been very blessed, I really have. By just doing a good, honest day’s work, I think everybody appreciates that,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s been a really great ride.”

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BNM Writers

60 Minutes Draws 10+ Million For Facebook Whistleblower Interview

“The October 3rd edition, which featured a conversation with former Facebook lead product manager Frances Haugen drew 10.32 million viewers, the show’s largest total audience in nine months.”

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It has been a tumultuous week for Facebook and its associated services like Instagram and WhatsApp. Their worldwide outage lasted the better part of the day on Monday, Oct. 4. On the night prior, CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” featured Scott Pelley’s interview with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. She had been Facebook’s lead product manager on the civic misinformation team. In the interview, she told Pelley, “The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world,” having cited the recent genocide in Myanmar as an example. Haugen added, “There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money… Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money.

This October 3rd edition of “60 Minutes” drew 10.32 million viewers, the show’s largest total audience in nine months (since 10.58 million from Jan. 17). Each of those editions significantly assisted by an NFL football lead-in: Steelers-Packers to most of the country on Oct. 3 and, previously, a Browns-Chiefs playoff on Jan. 17.

Top military officials in the Biden administration testified publicly on Sep. 28-29 for the first time before Congress since the full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan ended America’s longest war. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley both defended the administration’s decision to withdraw although they admitted surprise at how swift the Taliban government had taken over that county. One moment of the testimony that caught immediate attention by right-wing media was when Milley said he spoke with several journalists including Bob Woodward, Carol Leonnig, Philip Rucker and Michael Bender for interviews that were included in different books about the Trump administration, but he claimed to have not yet read any of those books.

Fox News Channel was the top cable news outlet in testimony coverage. Its nearly-5.5 hours on Sep. 28 averaged 1.86 million total viewers and 266,000 in the key 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research; its almost-4.5 hours in daytime on Sep. 29 drew an average of 1.82 million viewers and 274,000 adults 25-54. These figures more than tripled the total audience that tuned in to MSNBC’s coverage for each day (593,000 total viewers on Sep. 28; 574,000 total viewers on Sep. 29); approximately quadrupled in adults 25-54 (70,000 on Sep. 28; 62,000 on Sep. 29).

MSNBC attracted slight more total viewership for its airing of the Sep. 28 groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park in Chicago, Ill. — near where Michelle Obama had been raised and where Barack Obama began his political career. From 2:49-3:18 p.m. ET, it posted 652,000 total viewers.

For the week of Sep. 27-Oct. 1, Fox News’ late night talk show “Gutfeld” hailed from from Nashville, Tennessee — one of the show’s top-5 rated markets. It averaged 1.99 million total viewers and 379,000 with adults 25-54. Like most previous weeks, it bested NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” with total viewers and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” across both categories. Host Greg Gutfeld also delivered his second highest-rated week in adults 18-49, averaging 244,000 viewers within that demographic.

Here are the cable news averages for September 27-October 3, 2021.

Total Day (September 27-October 3 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.448 million viewers; 232,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.698 million viewers; 82,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.486 million viewers; 102,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.198 million viewers; 59,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.140 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.122 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.112 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.092 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (September 27-October 2 @ 8-11 p.m.; October 3 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.302 million viewers; 553,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.236 million viewers; 147,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.613 million viewers; 134,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.214 million viewers; 59,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.170 million viewers; 50,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.155 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.138 million viewers; 25,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.052 million viewers; 9,000 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. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.431 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 9/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.338 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.243 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.211 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.180 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.176 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.160 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 9/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.082 million viewers

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.984 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.889 million viewers

16. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 9/29/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.468 million viewers

153. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Wed. 9/29/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.919 million viewers

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

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.528 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.521 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.520 million adults 25-54

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 9/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.511 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.494 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.489 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.476 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.463 million adults 25-54

9. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.451 million adults 25-54

10. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Wed. 9/29/2021 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.436 million adults 25-54

26. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 9/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.352 million adults 25-54

98. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Wed. 9/29/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.226 million adults 25-54

153. Forensic Files “Wood-Be Killer” (HLN, Thu. 9/30/2021 1:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.153 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Big Guests Aren’t Necessarily the Best Guests

But even when we land the “big fish”, how often do they live up to the hype? Not as often as we all would hope

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How often do we as hosts and producers think about getting the “biggest name” guest we can get our hands on in order to create that appointment listening with the audience in hopes of landing just one more quarter-hour?

We all do it. And it’s our job to do it.

But even when we land the “big fish”, how often do they live up to the hype? Not as often as we all would hope. 

However, what if we started thinking about our supposed B-list or C-list guests as the stars they’re capable of being? Labeling guests based on their name recognition always seemed like a fool’s errand and I personally got a lesson in that last week.

Courtesy of the organization, FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, I was at their radio row event last week in Washington D.C. to discuss the most pressing issues surrounding illegal immigration and our southern border. Given the policies of the current administration, the timing could not have been more appropriate.

And while I worked hard to book some of the biggest names on the guest list, including many former officials who worked under President Trump, the best and most memorable conversations were with those who were unknown by the audience prior to the conversation beginning. I talked with border patrol agents who gave in-depth analysis and personal stories of what they’ve seen on the border. One mentioned how Native Americans, who own some land along the Arizona border, are working in tandem with the Mexican drug cartels on the issue of illegal immigration.

I talked with fourth-generation cattle ranchers who own land on the border that is home to a portion of former President Trump’s infamous border wall. They discussed seeing illegals walking across their property on a weekly basis and how some illegals have figured out ways through or around their wall. 

Then there was the impromptu conversation with the fellow talk show host from San Antonio, who was booked at my radio table after my show wrapped up, and I popped him on for a few minutes since he had recently been to a portion of the border that hasn’t gotten as much attention as some of the hot spots covered in national media. Oh, and he’s a first-generation Mexican American immigrant so that just adds another twist to his story and mine. 

As I wrapped up the radio row event, these were the kinds of conversations that stuck out in my head. These individuals were more transparent and not worried about misspeaking to possibly hurt any future political aspirations. They were real and raw. 

And boy was it great talk radio.

There’s no doubt that the big names may bring in some P2’s or P3’s, and even if the content isn’t as outstanding as the name, it brings people to your radio station.

But for those of us looking to create great content every quarter-hour, treating every guest with that same attention, and then trying to help them deliver entertaining and informative content for the audience is what matters. Let’s put the same attention into these folks as we do our supposed “stars”. They’re far more likely to exceed their expectations and provide great content, anyway.

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BNM Writers

Urban Meyer’s Coaching Future Depends On Winning, Not Being a Good Husband

“The NFL doesn’t have any morals, and the fans really don’t care. If the Jaguars were 3-1 or 4-0 and this same situation occurred, would we even be talking about Meyer losing his job? Let’s not pretend we are about anything other than winning.”

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If Urban Myer gets fired, it’ll be because he was a bad coach. If he keeps his job, it will be validation that he’s a really good coach. 

As I write this column, it’s the morning after news and video broke of the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on a bar stool, with a young blonde woman, who is not his wife, gyrating on his lap. In another video, he appears to be grabbing the crotch of the same woman.

Inappropriate? Absolutely. Fireable? Well, that depends on his record.  

Right now he’s 0-4, and it seems he’s in over his head. But he didn’t break any laws. It appears to be as consensual as consensual can be in 2021.

Nobody was at risk of any injury. The apology was, of course, comical. “I should have left”. Really? How would your wife or girlfriend handle that explanation?  He stayed behind and missed the flight back to Jacksonville so he could spend time with his grandchildren. It turns out he spent time with someone else’s grandchildren. But I digress. 

When all the laughing and schadenfreude is over, the bottom line is, it’s between Urban and his wife. However, he is 0-4, has created multiple distractions, and seems way in over his head. But he could turn it around. 

The Urban Meyer story follows the news from last week of Dr. Dre being a part of the Super Bowl halftime show. One doesn’t have to go too far on Google to find out how abusive Dr. Dre has been towards women, but apparently the NFL doesn’t care.  

If you search his history you’ll learn that he’s punched women in public. His wife has told stories of Dr. Dre holding a gun to her head on a number of occasions. He has also acknowledged his past behavior and apologized for it. However, he does make great headphones, so he does have that going for him. 

But regardless, the NFL has signed off on an admitted wife beater taking center stage at their signature event. Nobody seems too bothered by it. Yet five days later we want the Jaguars to fire Meyer for getting rubbed on at a bar after a game?

I’ve heard the most ridiculous commentaries. “Meyer might have broken the moral clause of his contract and thus might be fired, and don’t forget the USC job is open.”

So let me get this straight. Urban Meyer is unfit for the NFL but ok to teach college boys how to become men?

Can we just be honest. The NFL doesn’t have any morals, and the fans really don’t care. If the Jaguars were 3-1 or 4-0 and this same situation occurred, would we even be talking about Meyer losing his job? Let’s not pretend we are about anything other than winning.   

We love to give lip service to morals, especially when your guy’s morals don’t live up to my morals at any given moment in time. If my guy was seen with a farm animal, and was 9-0 with a unstoppable offense? We would giggle, and keep on cheering.  

Don’t believe me? You think there are some standards that we can all agree on?

Remember this, Tom Brady was booed on his return to New England. Yes some cheered, but many more were angry and mad at his decision to work in Tampa Bay. He brought a failing, miserable franchise, getting ready to move, six Super Bowls. Can’t the fans be satisfied and appreciate his past accomplishments? Nope. He got booed.

Meanwhile, Patriot’s owner, Robert Kraft, whose charges were dropped after visiting the Asian Day Spa twice before an AFC playoff game in Kansas City, continues to be a hero in New England. The woman who serviced Kraft twice that day, and until I lost count, 29 others, were charged with all sorts of criminal deeds. Makes sense, Kraft’s charges dropped. Jail and fines for the woman. Kraft gets cheered, and Brady is booed. What the $&#¥%##£%#.

Urban Meyer’s greatest sin this past weekend isn’t leaving his grandkids to his wife and being caught on video being an idiot. It’s his inability to coach his team to hold on to a 14 point lead, causing them to lose to the Bengals, and remain winless and in last place.

If Meyer gets fired, it’s because he’s 0-4, and in way over his head. If he keeps his job, it’ll be because he’s a good coach, not a good husband.

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