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Fox News Led Coverage for Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Verdict

Fox News Channel led the cable news outlet in verdict coverage with 2.22 million total viewers and 436,000 within the key 25-54 demographic.

Douglas Pucci

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The long-awaited verdict was finally in.

After a near-two month defamation trial between actors and former spouses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, the jury officially made their decision in a Virginia courtroom on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 1. Depp emerged victorious, as his former wife Heard was ordered to pay him a net total of $8.3 million, based on the damages (as claimed by Depp’s legal team) her 2018 Washington Post op-ed (alleging domestic abuse by Depp) had done to his career.

Within the 3-4 p.m. Eastern hour, Fox News Channel led the cable news outlet in verdict coverage with 2.22 million total viewers and 436,000 within the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. While CNN, with 1.18 million viewers, drew almost half of FNC’s total audience, the news network posted a closer margin in adults 25-54, drawing 314,000 of the demo — CNN’s peak performance among adults 25-54 for the week (thru June 5). MSNBC trailed behind with 713,000 viewers and 72,000 adults 25-54.

As a gauge of how much interest there was in the announcement of the Depp-Heard verdict, each cable news outlet experienced a significant boost compared to their previous hour of news (in the 2-3 p.m. ET hour on June 1):

  • Fox News Channel: (June 1, 2022 @ 2-3 p.m. ET) 1.579 million viewers; 323,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox News Channel: (June 1, 2022 @ 3-4 p.m. ET) 2.219 million viewers; 436,000 adults 25-54
  • Difference: +0.640 million viewers (+40 percent); +123,000 adults 25-54 (+35 percent)
  • CNN: (June 1, 2022 @ 2-3 p.m. ET) 0.586 million viewers; 143,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: (June 1, 2022 @ 3-4 p.m. ET) 1.178 million viewers; 314,000 adults 25-54
  • Difference: +0.592 million viewers (+101 percent); +171,000 adults 25-54 (+120 percent)
  • MSNBC: (June 1, 2022 @ 2-3 p.m. ET) 0.495 million viewers; 59,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: (June 1, 2022 @ 3-4 p.m. ET) 0.713 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
  • Difference: +0.218 million viewers (+44 percent); +13,000 adults 25-54 (+22 percent)

On Thursday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET, President Biden addressed the nation on gun control in the wake of recent notable mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Tex. Upon repeated utterances of “Enough!”, Biden fervently urged Congress to act with legislation to curb gun violence. He went so far to use the label of “unconscionable” for those GOP senators who’ve failed to even bring such proposals up for debate.

ABC led all outlets in coverage for Biden’s June 2nd address, delivering 5.1 million total viewers. CBS (4 million) was runner-up, followed by NBC (3.11 million). Nielsen did not offer a separate time slot designation for Fox News and CNN but based on the 7-8 p.m. hour, Fox News averaged 2.675 million while CNN drew 758,000. From 7:31-7:49 p.m. ET, 1.2 million tuned in to MSNBC (“The Reidout”, which led out of the speech, was the network’s most-watched telecast of the week). 1.1 million watched the Spanish-language version of Biden’s speech on Univision.

Cable news averages for May 30-June 5, 2022:

Total Day (May 30-June 5 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.330 million viewers; 203,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.556 million viewers; 58,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.458 million viewers; 96,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.177 million viewers; 53,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.127 million viewers; 34,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.120 million viewers; 23,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.105 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.100 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (May 30-June 4 @ 8-11 p.m.; June 5 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.010 million viewers; 290,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.800 million viewers; 71,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.603 million viewers; 122,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.223 million viewers; 74,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.205 million viewers; 69,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.154 million viewers; 27,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.112 million viewers; 17,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.083 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.046 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54

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

1. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.326 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/31/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.236 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 6/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.095 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 6/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.087 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.055 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/31/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.053 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.050 million viewers

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 6/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.705 million viewers

9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Thu. 6/2/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.675 million viewers

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 5/31/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.671 million viewers

91. The Reidout (MSNBC, Thu. 6/2/2022 7:49 PM, 11 min.) 1.223 million viewers

104. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Wed. 6/1/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.178 million viewers

167. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 602” (HBO, Fri. 6/3/2022 10:01 PM, 58 min.) 0.740 million viewers

310. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 6/5/2022 11:00 PM, 35 min.) 0.469 million viewers

339. Very Scary People “Ken And Barbie Killers: Pt2” (HLN, Sun. 6/5/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.438 million viewers

375. The Daily Show (CMDY, Wed. 6/1/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.366 million viewers

376. Kudlow (FBN, Tue. 5/31/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.365 million viewers

396. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1107” (CNBC, Tue. 5/31/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.323 million viewers

441. Deep Water Salvage “(201) End Of The Line” (TWC, Sun. 6/5/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.269 million viewers

470. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Fri. 6/3/2022 12:58 AM, 30 min.) 0.254 million viewers

658. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 5/30/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.183 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.548 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/31/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.500 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/31/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.466 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.465 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.455 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 6/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.450 million adults 25-54

7. The Story (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.436 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 6/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.414 million adults 25-54

9. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 6/1/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54

24. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Wed. 6/1/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.314 million adults 25-54

78. Very Scary People “Ken And Barbie Killers: Pt2” (HLN, Sun. 6/5/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.200 million adults 25-54

134. The Daily Show (CMDY, Wed. 6/1/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.144 million adults 25-54

143. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 6/5/2022 11:00 PM, 35 min.) 0.140 million adults 25-54

147. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1107” (CNBC, Tue. 5/31/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.139 million adults 25-54

151. Presidential News Conference “President Biden Gun Violence Address” (MSNBC, Thu. 6/2/2022 7:31 PM, 18 min.) 0.137 million adults 25-54

175. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 602” (HBO, Fri. 6/3/2022 10:01 PM, 58 min.) 0.127 million adults 25-54

259. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Fri. 6/3/2022 12:58 AM, 30 min.) 0.099 million adults 25-54

403. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Fri. 6/3/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.067 million adults 25-54

555. How America Works (FBN, Sat. 6/4/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.049 million adults 25-54

741. Newsnation Prime (NWSN, Sun. 6/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.034 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Airing The Tyre Nichols Video Was A Necessity

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, hard sounds to hear. But they aired.

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Far be it for me not to address this outrageous and embarrassing instance in humanity. After the videos of Memphis police brutally beating Tyre Nichols were shown on television there really seemed to be more outrage emerging from society this time than from the media, for a change. One would think that’s how we wish things to be.

In instances like this, where the video and audio images are far from brief but are instead chaptered as they unfold, there are few options other than to let them run their course. Clocks — breaks hard and soft — are out the window, just as in live coverage.

Because that’s what this was, only the live this time was us, and as we all absorbed and reacted to actions disapprovingly familiar yet somehow foreign at the same time, the impact was still becoming apparent even though we already knew the outcome.

It’s happened before.

Not always like this but we’ve seen it before, police encounters shown on the news overtakes and become the news.

It takes effect as the sights and sounds are digested, dissected, and discussed, often before their potential impact could really be imagined.

In 1991, when the Handycam footage crossed screens for the first time and we learned Rodney King’s name, we didn’t know then but we had a feeling.

We were on the right track, though as newsrooms evolved and street reporting incorporated a different type of storytelling.

I was a cop in 1991. Changes came. Some.

It’s 2023, I’m no longer a cop. Changes will come again. Some.

Turning points — or the overused watershed moments — mean just as much to the news media as they do to law enforcement.

The “why’s” that make this a turning point are more society and community based this time around than they were in 1991.

At least I think so. And I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who’s involved this time.

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, and hard sounds to hear. But they aired. Where they couldn’t air, they were described in great detail; descriptions sometimes can be worse than the real thing. Sometimes, not this time.

And they should air, they shouldn’t stop airing. This is what happened and this is what people need to see and hear and this is exactly why we are here.

Warn them, provide them with a heads up that they’re not going to like what happens next. It’s life and we show life, and we show what some of us do with it when it’s someone else’s.

Overall, I would say the news platforms held their composure, even after the videos were released. I saw, read, and heard some refreshingly neutral coverage, even from outlets where I expected hard turns into the lanes on either side of the road.

Legitimate questions were asked by anchors and reporters and much of the time, the off-balance issues were raised more by those on the sidewalks and those on the other side of the cameras and microphones.

As much as I find myself in disagreement with what I often see on the cable networks — all the cable networks — I did find a sense of symmetry watching CNN’s Don Lemon speak with Memphis City Council Chair Martavius Jones in the hours after the videos were released.

Regular protocols be damned, Lemon and producers lingered patiently as Jones, visibly overcome by emotion, struggled to regain breath and composure enough to be able to speak. Rather than cut away or move to other elements, they stood fast and it became an example of what often requires no words.

There were fewer punches pulled on other platforms as well.

The sounds of the screams, the impacts, and the hate-filled commands were broadcast through car radios.

As were Tyre Nichol’s calls for his mom. They aired. They had to.

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BNM Writers

Does the Republican Establishment Get It?

For many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections.

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In a move that seemed to go against the wishes of the patriotic American grassroots, the Republican party on Friday re-elected RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel. 

The media immediately took notice, as many on television and radio are now wondering why the party would re-elect a chairperson who has been so unpopular with the base of its party. 

Grant Stinchfield discussed this issue Friday night on his program, Stinchfield Tonight, which airs on Real America’s Voice network.

“Ronna McDaniel holds on to her chairmanship of the Republican Party. By a whopping total of — what were the numbers– 111 to 54. Harmeet Dhillon only received 54 votes. Mike Lindell 4 votes. This is proof to me that the Republican establishment is dug in,” Stinchfield — formerly of Newsmax — said. “Don’t tell me they’re out of touch. See, you tell me they’re out of touch, that implies ignorance. They’re not ignorant about anything.”

As sentiment for Dhillon grew in the days leading up to Friday’s vote, many influential politicians and party donors publicly offered her their support and endorsement. These included Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), as well as donors Mike Rydin, Dick Uihlein, and Bernie Marcus.

Also on board were musician and outspoken conservative John Rich, along with the state GOP of Nebraska and Washington State. Countless journalists and media personalities, such as Charlie Kirk, Miranda Divine, and Lou Dobbs, also came out publicly in support of Dhillon. Former President Donald Trump remained neutral, not making a public choice of either of the three candidates.

For many of Dhillon’s supporters, the deciding factor was public sentiment across the party’s base.

“They’re reading the same chat boards. They’re getting the same emails I’m reading. I will literally post something about this race when I was supporting Harmeet Dhillon. There was not one comment – not one – that supported Ronna McDaniel. Everyone wanted change,” Stinchfield said, noting that the party elite saw the same groundswell of support for change.

“Now, nobody has an issue as Ronna McDaniel is some evil kind of person. I don’t believe she is. I believe, though, that she is part of the establishment. She’s been around too long as far as the establishment goes. And she’s been ingrained in doing business as usual. It’s not working.”

In making their choices known, many Dhillon supporters simply pointed to the scoreboard during McDaniel’s reign.

“Think about where we are. 2018, we lost the House. 2020, we lost everything. 2022, we won the House, but we should have really steamrolled the House and we should have taken back the Senate, which we didn’t do,” Stinchfield said. “That means we’re on a real losing track since she took over. I don’t like being on a losing track. I like being on a winning track.

“Something has got to change when you talk about all of this. So how does Ronna McDaniel get 111 votes and Harmeet Dhillon only get 54 votes, when everyone, every Republican voter I talk to said it was time for change?” pondered Stinchfield.

And even more than the losses, for many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections. The most recent example of which came in Arizona, where presumptive gubernatorial favorite, Kari Lake, was “defeated” when countless voting irregularities occurred in some of the state’s most deep-red areas.

“Under her watch, Democrats instituted a mail-in ballot scheme. That may be even worse than losing, when you talk about the House and the Senate and all these things. The fact that we now have a junk mail-in ballot scheme across the country under Ronna McDaniel’s watch is serious trouble. Very serious trouble,” Stinchfield said on Friday. “And so the reason it is is because the Democrats are rigging the system.”

For years – until Donald Trump descended the golden escalator and took the world by storm – the Republican party had the reputation of being the party of the rich. Rush Limbaugh used to refer to this wing of Republicans as “the country club crowd.” President Donald Trump flipped the narrative completely, offering a clear vision of hope and patriotism to working-class America.

Reputable polling — such as Richard Baris’ Big Data Poll — consistently showed Trump running well ahead of almost every Republican candidate during the 2022 mid-term election cycle. In other words, Trump still maintains considerably more support across the country than most of the individual Senate or House candidates experienced.

Many experts believe this is because voters still view Trump as an outsider, while they view the Republican party much less favorably.

“Let’s tell you how out of touch they are, how elitist they are,” Stinchfield said, calling out the GOP establishment. “This meeting that went on, do you know where it is? It’s at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch in California. One of the most expensive resorts in America. You’re lucky if you get a room for a thousand dollars a night down there on Dana Point. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel, but why is the Republican Party holding an event there? Then I went back and I looked at what RedState did. RedState went back and looked at some of the expenses that the Republican Party under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership was spending money on.

“Take a look at this. $3.1 million on private jets. $1.3 million on limousine and chauffeur services. $17.1 million on donor mementos. $750,000 on floral arrangements. Now you compare this to the Democrats. The Democrats spent $35,000 on private airfare. A thousand dollars on floral arrangements. A thousand. Not $750,000. A thousand. And the $17.1 million they spent on donor mementos, the Democrats spent $1.5 million.

“Democrats know where to put the money. It’s not giving donors gifts. Donors shouldn’t want gifts. If you give money, give money. You don’t need the fancy pin to put on your lapel.”

Following her loss, Dhillon warned her party that it must listen to the base, saying, “if we ignore this message, I think it’s at our peril. It’s at our peril personally, as party leaders and it’s at our peril for our party in general.”

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BNM Writers

The State of the Radio Industry and Technology

“As the industry continues to evolve, radio broadcasters must find new ways to monetize their digital offerings and adapt to changing listener habits.”

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After writing some three-dozen columns for Barrett Media, I often hear that I don’t provide a balanced view of the radio industry. Therefore, this week, I will write about the strengths and weaknesses of the radio industry. It may be a little simplistic, but it will make sense at the end. I promise.

The radio broadcasting business continues to evolve in the digital age, with strengths and challenges to consider. One of the most significant strengths of radio is its ability to reach a broad audience. Radio waves can travel long distances, allowing local stations to reach listeners beyond their immediate area. This makes radio a powerful tool for both local and national advertisers. Radio also reaches audiences in their cars, at work, and at home, providing advertisers with multiple touchpoints. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio reaches 93% of adults in the United States each week, making it one of the most widely consumed mediums. Furthermore, radio is a cost-effective form of advertising, with lower ad rates than other media forms. This allows small businesses to reach a large audience without breaking the bank.

Another strength of radio is its role in emergency communication. In times of crisis, radio can provide important information to listeners quickly and efficiently. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all radio stations to have emergency alert systems, allowing them to disseminate critical information to the public promptly. Radio can be a lifeline for communities during natural disasters, power outages, or other emergencies, providing updates on road closures, evacuation orders, and other important information. Radio can reach remote areas where other forms of communication may not be as reliable. This makes radio a vital tool for emergency responders, who rely on it to coordinate responses and disseminate information.

Despite these strengths, the radio industry faces several challenges in the digital age. One of the biggest challenges is competition from other media outlets, such as streaming services and podcasts. The rise of these digital platforms has led to a decline in traditional radio listening, which is likely to continue. 

According to a Nielsen report, traditional radio listening among adults aged 18-34 has dropped by 20% over the last decade. Additionally, many radio stations are struggling to monetize their digital offerings, which has led to a decline in revenue. However, radio has been able to adapt by incorporating streaming services, podcasts, and other digital platforms, which allows them to reach a wider audience and cater to changing listening habits.

Another challenge is the consolidation of the radio industry. In recent years, there has been a significant amount of it, with a small number of companies owning multiple stations. This has led to less programming diversity and less market competition. This can lead to a homogenization of content, with less local flavor and less opportunity for new voices in the industry. However, many smaller independent stations have survived by providing unique and localized content catering to the needs of their community.

Despite these challenges, the radio industry continues to generate significant revenue. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) says that radio advertising revenue in the United States reached $18.9 billion in 2019. The radio industry has been able to adapt to the changing market, with many stations now offering a combination of traditional and digital programming. The industry has also been able to monetize digital offerings by incorporating targeted advertising, sponsorships, and other revenue streams.In conclusion, the radio broadcasting business is facing challenges in the digital age, but it continues to have an enormous audience reach and role in emergency communication. 

Additionally, the industry continues to generate significant revenue. As the industry continues to evolve, radio broadcasters must find new ways to monetize their digital offerings and adapt to changing listener habits.

If my analysis seems a little simplistic or this column doesn’t seem like my typical style, it’s because I didn’t write it. The column was written using artificial intelligence (AI). More specifically, by the hottest tech trend these days, ChatGPT.

How hot? Here are a couple of data points from a report in Axios.

  • In June, generative AI was covered in only 152 articles. Just six months later, the topic has generated roughly 12,000 news stories, according to MuckRack data.
  • At this year’s CES trade show, 579 exhibitors were listed under the show’s “Artificial Intelligence” category — more than double of those categorized as “Metaverse” (176), “Cryptocurrency” (19), and “Blockchain” (55) combined.

ChatGPT is AI technology that allows you to have regular conversations with a chatbot that can answer questions and help with tasks such as writing columns. 

ChatGPT is what Siri wants to be when she grows up.

ChatGPT is currently open and free while it’s in its research and feedback collection phase. If it’s not perfect, it’s certainly a lot of fun. It is also quite helpful when researching a topic (as long as the information you need is pre-2021). It is much more efficient and precise than Google, any other search engine, or Siri. I find myself obsessed with seeing what it knows and can do. If you try it, you probably will be too.

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