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Scott Anez Has Lasted Decades In Radio For Being a Good Guy

“I’ve been in the same building for 33 years,” Anez said. “That just doesn’t happen. I attribute that to being decent at what I do. I’ve always done my job.”

Jim Cryns

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Orlando Sentinel

The man has been at WDBO Orlando for 33 years. Not dog years, human years. That’s longer than most marriages, nearly two cicada cycles and the lunar moon cycle. On the radio, it’s probably more uncommon than those events. So how did he do it? Partly because he’s a good guy.

“I’ve been in the same building for 33 years,” Scott Anez said. “That just doesn’t happen. I attribute that to being decent at what I do. I’ve always done my job.”

Anez has stayed under the radar; he refuses to create waves. 

“In this business, many people have large egos, but I never wanted to be that person,” Anez said. “I would hope if you asked my coworkers if that’s the way I was, they’d say yes.”

Anez has worked in the same building off North John Young Parkway since 1989. He interned at Channel 9, the local ABC-TV affiliate while attending the University of Central Florida. Today he is at the helm of Orlando’s Morning News, 5-9. 

“When I first moved to Orlando, it was still a small southern town. This was in the early 80s, and the NBA Magic did a lot to change the area. We finally had a big-time sports franchise. From that time on, Orlando transitioned to become a major metropolis. When I moved here, they were still calling me a Yankee in school.”

Unfortunately for Anez, not a ball-playing Yankee. 

Born in Rhode Island, Anez and his family moved to Orlando when he was 14 years old. At Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, he was a varsity starter in basketball and baseball.

His father owned the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A minor league team of the Boston Red Sox, from 1975-1976. 

“It wasn’t a money-maker,” Anez explained. 

In those days, few minor league franchises made a profit. 

“Dad lost his shirt. But as a sports-crazed kid each summer, I was living a fantasy. I was a bat boy for my heroes. This was shortly after the Jim Rice and Fred Lynn era. I did spend some time with Bo Diaz. He was the first Venezuelan to play catcher regularly in the Major Leagues.”

His focus switched from being in the games he loved to covering them. 

“I took my first accounting class in college at the University of Central Florida, and knew it wasn’t for me,” Anez said. “My father told me to do something I loved and could feed a family.”

Anez took his father’s advice and strolled across campus to the radio station, WUCF, and decided to pursue the play-by-play dream. Then, as now, those jobs aren’t easy to come by. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to do some with the Orlando Magic. Those jobs on a full-time basis were and still are very few and far between.”

After graduation, he decided to stay in Orlando and wore a bunch of different hats at the beginning of his career.. 

“Because of my love of sports, I think I’ve always seen the work environment as a team environment,” he said. “A team atmosphere. Sports teaches you a lot about teamwork, and I applied a lot of that thinking in the work I did. 

Anez said he had had a unique opportunity early to travel with the NBA’s Orlando Magic basketball club. On the road, he’d have to broadcast from local stations, and it’s there he noticed a distinct difference from home. 

“Sometimes, just walking in the door of the station, I could feel a different vibe,” Anez said. “That’s something just wasn’t right, like a ‘Debbie Downer’ ambiance. Then I came home to Orlando and felt entirely the opposite. I liken this building to that shining city on a hill. In this business, if you find something good, you stick with it.”

He loves Central Florida and knows what an anomaly he is in terms of longevity at a station. “Even though Orlando has changed greatly over the years, my roots are here. In this business, that’s difficult to find. I’ve done so many things here, and versatility is the spice of life.”

He’s been referred to (by WDBO’s website) as opinionated, fair-minded, and entertaining.

If you’re one of those folks who like to flap your gums and sputter your opinions, Anez said his show has got just the thing. He said with the contentious nature of the country right now; he’s come to realize how salty people have become in their opinions. 

“We run an open-mic segment where people can record their thoughts or, in some cases, rant,” Anez explained.

“We immediately get their comments on tape. Sure, we have to bleep something out now and again. But they’re done on the fly, and make germane content fodder for the show. Sometimes a comment can carry us through an entire segment and beyond. A comment may cause you to see an angle you’d never thought about before. It’s also exciting because you can’t control what they say. You can choose not to air it, but it’s raw content. I think doing something like this is vital to staying connected with the community. I tend to use the bites as liberally as possible.”

Podcasts have opened up an entire new avenue for Anez. When his podcast  Anez Sez originated, he went into it kicking and screaming. 

“My morning show is information-based more than anything,” he explained. “I didn’t really want to be known as an opinion guy. The more I got into it; I realized I had carte blanche to convey a lot of my thoughts, whereas I couldn’t do that as much on the morning show. We’ve done about 275 episodes so far, and It has been cathartic. Rarely do you get to espouse your opinion and get paid for it.”

With his podcast, he said he could figuratively let his hair down, and it feels great. 

While covering sports, Anez said he got to know some of the members of the Magic.

“I knew Shaquille O’Neal from day one, right after he signed his first deal,” Anez said. “As O’Neal walked in, he hit his head on one of the speakers. He was just about 22 years old, a great kid.”

He said Shaq always wanted to be ‘the man” on the team. This was a recurring theme with Penny Hardaway, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant. He always wanted Kobe to be the Robin to his Batman. 

“On one of our shows with Shaq, we must have done an hour. He got his first endorsement for a company that made desks. This happened right in front of us, and now he’s America’s pitchman. 

Since that tiny deal with a desk company in Orlando, O’Neal has worked out endorsement deals with companies such as IcyHot, Buick, The General, Macy’s, Zales, Arizona Beverage Co, Papa John’s, Epson Printers, and Carnival Cruises.

What about the sparks between O’Neal and Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA?

“I think it’s real,” Anez said. “I think Barkley knows how to get under Shaq’s skin. It’s marvelous. I like Barkley. I don’t agree with everything he says. But whenever I see Barkley on the air, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and watch. He’s very genuine. 

“It’s always challenging to get to bed at a decent time,” Anez said. “My wife is working, and dinner is almost always at 8:00 pm. I always wanted to make my schedule doable for my wife. So she has some kind of home life. I know this business has destroyed a few marriages. 

His daughter has left the house, and Anez has pondered whether his nearly constant schedule has affected her development. 

“I ask her a lot,” he said. “She said it hadn’t affected her negatively.” He’s grateful for that. “For me, it’s God, then family, then work.”

The man doesn’t have a lot of time to relax or for recreation. But he loves a game called pickleball. At 56, he had to give up playing competitive basketball, so why not pickleball? It’s a combination of tennis and racquetball on a smaller court. 

 “I love to compete. Five or six years ago, I had knee surgery, and I had to find something else.”

After playing pickleball for a year and a half, he and his racquetball-playing partner went to Michigan for a tournament. 

“My playing partner Bryan Lafferman and I have a good time together,” Anez explained. “We played a couple of tournaments closer to home.” 

Just last week, he said a friend invited them to stay in his home for a tournament in Michigan. 

“We figured we’d see how we’d do, even though we had to step up a weight class. 

Collapsing more than the 1969 Cubs, a newspaper headline following the tournament would have read: ‘CHOKED.’ That’s putting it as succinctly as possible.

“There were three sets in the first match,” Anez said. “We lost the first, won the second set. We were up 8-3 in the final set and got beat 11-9. We should have beaten them. My buddy and I pored over each point, asking, how could that have happened? The team that beat us went on to win the whole thing.”

But that’s not the end of the pummeling. 

“It gets better. We moved on to the consolation round, and some severe weather was coming in, and we knew we had better get a move on,” Anez said. “You can only win if you’re on serve. We needed just one point to win, leading 14-9. We lost 17-15. Bryan had a clear overhead shot. The ball nicks the net and goes sideways out of bounds. Again with the headline: ‘CHOKED.’

Somewhere, Leo Durocher must be having a good laugh. 

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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