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Mike Broomhead Found a Home as Talk Radio Host

Mike Broomhead said he found a new home as a radio talker, adding he liked the platform and that it was exhilarating to cover so many topics.

Jim Cryns

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If you’re gonna be dumb, you better be tough.

That’s not only my personal mantra in life, it’s the title of Mike Broomhead’s book. 

When I spoke with Broomhead, he was driving from Fort Myers, Florida to Daytona. He’d just cleared all the Disney traffic in the Orlando area, and it was 58 degrees in Orlando. But nothing keeps people away from Mickey. 

Broomhead has been in morning drive for 15 years. You can hear him on weekday mornings, 8-Noon, on KTAR 92.3 FM, as a guest host on the nationally syndicated Glenn Beck Show.

He grew up in Florida. Not Miami, Palm Beach, or even Fort Lauderdale. Broomhead grew up in the murky and beautiful areas of the state. So pristine is the land you can still see God’s fingerprints. 

“I’ve always loved Florida,” said Broomhead, who now lives in Phoenix. “I miss driving to the middle of the state. I don’t miss the ocean and beaches so much. I like the swamps. I like the redneck central Florida. There is so much agriculture. My best friend’s dad owned some produce packing houses. We’re talking about a very rural area. Florida at one point had more beef cattle than Texas. The grass is so lush. We had tomatoes growing and orange groves. It’s really something to see.

The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Ian was hard to look at wherever you lived. Up close and by a native of the area, it can be traumatic.

“My brother is a Captain in the Sheriff’s office,” Broomhead explained. “He drove me out to Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. It’s really hard to fathom the devastation in the area.”

Broomhead said he’s confident the area will be rebuilt to its pre-hurricane condition. “It makes sense. Perhaps not everybody will rebuild who owned homes before the storm, but the area will see new people. There are so many big resorts that I know they’ll rebuild. The streets are cleared and work is already underway.”

A number of the big resorts are still closed, some had been flooded through the first and second floors. Immediately following the storm there was absolutely no power, no fresh water. The causeway connecting the island to the mainland was severely damaged and closed.

“When my brother was deployed to the search and rescue team right after the storm, his wife was home with the kids,” Broomhead said. “They had no internet or electricity, so from Arizona, I was telling them over the phone more information about their immediate area than they could find.”

The oldest of three brothers who were raised by a single mother, Broomhead got his first job by the time he was twelve. On his own by 16, he eventually earned his GED and, with dreams of being a cowboy, he moved to Arizona to become a bull rider.

Bull rider. Somehow I can’t see Hannity or Levin doing that.

“The first time you ride and you get to that eight-second whistle it doesn’t matter which bull or what your fear is, you feel 10 feet tall,” Broomhead explained. “It is the best feeling of accomplishment because it’s terrifying,” 

Broomhead decided early to go into the trades. Becoming an electrician sounded appealing. 

“I was just out of high school and knew I wasn’t going to college,” Broomhead said. “I worked since I was 12 and kind of fell into the trade. At 18, I knew absolutely nothing.”  Broomhead went to school to study to become an electrician.

He began electrical work on Sanibel Island and Captiva, cutting his teeth. 

“I did a lot of electrical estimation work and learned quickly,” he said. “I made decent money and had my own business, but I had to close it because of the economic crash of 2008.”

Even before his business went under, Broomhead had been voicing his opinions on a larger level. His brother Tom was killed in Iraq on Memorial Day in 2003, and Broomhead began to speak out at largest pro-troops rallies across the country. He was only two years older than Tom. 

“We fought like crazy as brothers do,” he said. “But we stuck up for each other. Our parents divorced when I was 14 years old. It was mom and the boys against the world. We were very tight knit and I have absolutely no regrets.”

He was called upon to debate against the anti-war crowd on both television and radio and is still highly requested around the country to speak at events. Mike joined the George W. Bush campaign as a volunteer in 2004 and has had the privilege of being the master of ceremonies for two Presidential visits to Arizona. 

For Broomhead, everything began around telling Tom’s story. 

“I was traveling with veterans groups, telling what I thought was a unique story about my brother,” Broomhead explained. “Then you get around the other families and learn what their kids did, what their siblings did. The veterans have done so much and aren’t asking anything for it.”

Broomhead was a regular caller to radio shows, still discussing the troops.

Fate decided to turn Broomhead from an electrician into a radio talker. A friend was called upon to do a shift at a small radio station and asked Broomhead to co-host. He didn’t know what he was doing. 

“She called me to co-host with her,” Broomhead said. “Apparently, I did well enough as I was asked to do a show on Saturdays for an hour. I had to learn to work the breaks, talk to people on the phone. It was so hectic I don’t recall what I said on the air.”

Broomhead felt he’d found a new home. He liked the platform and said it was exhilarating to cover so many topics that were running through his mind. 

“I was asked to speak at pro-troops rallies. I went on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox. Glenn Beck had me on.”  

In just a few years, Broomhead went from calling into a local radio show to hosting the number one morning drive show in Phoenix, as well as being a popular public speaker, TV host, and frequent guest host for Glenn Beck.

“Somebody was looking out for me,” Broomhead said. “I love what I’m doing, but I’d trade this career for another ten minutes with my brother. It opened doors, but it was laid in front of me, presented to me. It’s amazing to see what has happened, how blessed I’ve been with it all.”

Broomhead said his approach to his show and radio is, to be honest. 

“I wasn’t trying to get my own radio show, this was never anything I thought I’d do. I decided if I was going to do it, I had to take it seriously and I wanted to be honest. Glenn Beck became a good friend and I learned a lot from him. He was like a mentor. We’re very different in a lot of ways. He helped me learn the business side of things. He had a working man’s perspective.”

When Broomhead talks on the air, he said he envisions talking to some guy in a work truck. The way other announcers talked to him when he was on a job site.

“I always picture somebody listening while doing their job. We’d listen while we worked over lunch. Sometimes people get mad, sometimes they smile. My political leanings tend to come out. But I talk about issues people deal with. At the end of the day, people are just trying to feed their families. That’s the way I approach things on KTAR.”

His first radio station was very conservative and Broomhead said he was made to feel like a preacher. 

“I would say things to the listener congregation. They all believed the same thing. I think now I’m more of a missionary and I have to win my audience over.”

 He’s a conservative but not a whack-job.

“I try to be fair with people and I don’t try to take myself too seriously,” he said. “I want to understand people. I’m not saving the world. I’m not curing cancer. But I have to be compelling, have spirited conversations. I may not agree with some people but I’ll be respectful. I will ask them to come back if it has been a civil conversation. We are not going to agree on everything.”

His book, If you’re gonna be dumb, you better be tough, was written with writer and author Lisa De Pasquale. De Pasquale wrote for Townhall.com and wrote a piece on Broomhead.

“The publisher asked if I’d like to do a book; let me tell my story,” Broomhead explained. “I said yes, if Lisa was the person I’d work with. We talked on the phone for 45 minutes at a time. She’d tape me and transcribe my words. It was really cathartic. A lot of tears. We talked about my brother and I growing up together.” 

In the recent elections, Broomhead was called upon to host a debate in the gubernatorial election. He explained there’s an agreement with public access television and Citizens Clean Election Commission. If one candidate doesn’t show, as in this case, Katie Hobbs chose not to, there would be an interview with the other candidate. Kari Lake was the other candidate so Broomhead hosted an interview with Lake.

Hobbs, governor-elect for Arizona, refused to debate Lake saying, ‘Debating a conspiracy theorist like Kari Lake — whose entire campaign platform is to cause enormous chaos and make Arizona the subject of national ridicule — would only lead to constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling.”

“That’s how that interview came about,” Broomhead said. “I’ve discussed some of the election controversies. I’ve said on the air, ‘If you have a problem with voting machines, take a look at the maintenance records.’” 

Exactly. You want to check to make sure the pilot is sober before you take off.

“I’ve known Kari Lake for about 5 years,” Broomhead said. “I like her. We don’t agree on something. I don’t believe everybody cheated or was in on a conspiracy. At some point you have to say we’re moving on.”

Broomhead explained how John McCain always won by double-digits. 

“The problems tend to come from party leadership here in Arizona, inside the Republican party,” Broomhead said. “McCain was hated. There was such a disconnect with party voters and leadership. If election fraud is your lead issue, you’ve got a very small pool to draw from.”

Broomhead would like to see more agreement, or at the least more conversation. 

“It’s about right and wrong, not Right and Left. It doesn’t mean you call the other side out all the time. If you’re just chirping, it does no good.” 

Broomhead loves doing his show, but he would also love to do a stand-alone podcast. Right now they package his show into a podcast. 

“That kind of long-form platform would allow me to have conversations without constraints,” he said. “If I’m having a great conversation with someone I would love to stay with it. Extend the conversation.”

Looking back at his life, Broomhead said he finds he can become frustrated that he couldn’t do more. 

“I see people on the radio who have done well, but they give generously. I give my time when I can. I write checks when I can. I want to make a difference in people’s lives.”

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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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