30 May Wednesday, May 30, 2018
This Week in The Lund Letter:
> News-Talk Underachieves on Cable TV vs Radio
> Improving Station Imaging
> NFL Ratings Take A Knee
Lund Management Memo: News-Talk on Radio vs. TV
America’s second most popular radio format behind Country music is News-Talk. It has six times the audience of the three Cable News television channels combined – Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. Today’s Talk Radio format was born when the FCC eliminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and Rush Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated show launched in 1988.
Today, the top rated national radio talk shows are (in order) Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, George Noory and Laura Ingraham, according to Talkers Magazine research.
The Birth of Cable News
CNN was created by Ted Turner in 1980 as an all-news channel. It became popular with live coverage of major breaking world events like the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protest in China and the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq.
The Fox News Channel was created in 1996 by Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes to compete with CNN, following the success of Murdock’s Sky News in the UK launched in 1989. As opposed to airing All-News, Fox programmed the more cost-efficient format of News-Talk shows (while calling itself a “news channel”). Original anchors were personalities like Bill O’Reilly, Hannity and Colmes, Paula Zahn, and John Gibson. FNC passed CNN in ratings in 2002. MSNBC was also launched in 1996, and it beat CNN in 2010, thanks, in part, to original personalities Don Imus and Rachel Maddow.
How’s Cable News Doing Today?
By one account, very good. In the recent May 14-20 ratings week, Fox News averaged 2.4 million viewers, and about one-fifth of that was 25-54. MSNBC had 1.7 million, and CNN just 940,000. Thus, together, these three cable “news” networks have about 5 million viewers. These channels actually program a News-Talk format similar to radio with personality anchors, guest panelists and “experts” (detailed last week in the Lund Letter). For comparison, the viewership of ABC World News Tonight is 8.2 million, NBC Nightly News 7.8 million, and CBS Evening News 5.7 million.
TV News-Talk Ratings Dwarfed by Radio
The three cable TV networks have achieved a fraction of radio’s News-Talk audience. Nielsen reports that close to 34 million people 6+ listen to News-Talk and All-News radio stations, and 20 million are 25-54. The News-Talk radio format has nearly 700% more audience than its TV counterparts 6+, and 1000% more 25-54s.
News-Talk Radio Reality
Syndicated radio shows dominate News-Talk ratings. Rush Limbaugh’s 6+ audience alone is estimated by Talkers to be 14 million. That’s nearly 300% larger than the three cable news networks combined, and almost 600% larger than Fox News. On Fox, Sean Hannity has 3.3 million viewers, while his radio show has 13.5 million (400% larger). Laura Ingraham’s FNC show has 2.6 million viewers while her radio show has 8 million.
Sean Hannity is radio’s #2 syndicated talk show, and he is Fox’s biggest star. In the weekly Nielsen TV ratings, he had four shows in cable network’s top ten (the top five were NBA playoffs). Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) and Laura Ingraham (Fox) were rated between #11 and #20. Tucker Carlson (Fox) was below #20.
There should be no surprise that the three highest rated cable news anchors started in radio (Rachel was on Air America), and two are still on radio daily (Sean and Laura), which likely benefits their TV ratings.
The Cable News Challenge
Why do these TV cable channels lag so far behind News-Talk radio? Radio’s portability, personalities, access, and programming format are some of the reasons for the larger audience shares. Potential TV viewers can certainly watch TV news on their mobile and digital devices, but News-Talk radio still has a far greater draw. There is a lot that TV broadcasters can learn from the continuing success and format model of News-Talk on radio.
Lund Programming Clinic: Better Imaging Equals Better Branding
How does imaging build your brand?
+ You’re shopping in your grocery store and see the big yellow cereal box. You immediately know it is Cheerios.
+ You’re in an unfamiliar locale and you notice golden arches. You immediately think of pulling over for a Big Mac.
+ You’re channel surfing and in the lower right of the screen you see a peacock image, you immediately know you are watching NBC.
+ You’re driving down the road and see a big brown truck. You know it’s a United Parcel Service (UPS) truck.
With the emergence of the Nielsen PPM methodology in larger markets, many stations have decreased the number of times they image themselves. Some programmers view imaging as a negative that causes listener tune-out. Rather than re-focusing their imaging, some stations eliminate it based upon the thinking brand recall is unnecessary in the metered environment. Having a unique brand is vital. This is certainly the case for listeners who utilize smart speakers.
Here are nine ways to improve your imaging:
1. Make your brand name unique and sell it often on-air and off (website, stream, app, etc.).
2. Effectively promote your position. How is your brand different from your competitors’? Sell your brand’s qualities to your target listener – entertaining morning show, music quality (variety), music quantity (fewer commercials).
3. Take advantage of the power of frequency. Never give up an opportunity to brand the station name. Eliminate cold segues between songs, and don’t go into stopsets without your brand name.
4. Utilize all the resources for imaging. Beyond a station voice, use a variety of imaging – jingles, air staff voices, audio clips of listeners, celebrities, local leaders, television and movie clips, and clips of music to enhance the imaging.
5. Write entertaining imaging copy beyond the basic station’s brand and positioning statement. Humor and other forms of entertaining copy cut through the clutter and are memorable, like Progressive, Farmers, and Geico insurance TV ads.
6. Frequently freshen your imaging. People will tune out uninteresting, repetitive messages. Newness works in getting resonance. Update your imaging often.
7. Edit your imaging. With the average attention span under 10 seconds, you want to get to the meat of your imaging message in the opening lines.
8. Schedule your imaging strategically. You don’t want to schedule a music imaging piece before commercials, have a station promotion piece between songs in a long sweep, say “the station that rocks” going into a ballad, or schedule a “we play your favorites” imaging piece before a new song.
9. Don’t overuse imaging in music sweeps. Rotate produced imaging with the talent’s voice and jingles.
We Want Your Opinion!
Thanks to our readers who responded to our brief survey about what they like and would like more of in the weekly Lund Letter. We are keeping our survey open for another week. To recap, The Lund Media team wants to know which Lund Letter information has the most value and interest for you. These weekly topics include The Management Memo, the Trend Watch, Programming Clinic, the Promotion of the Week, latest music, Programming Planner, etc.
Because your opinion and your time are so important to us, if you take our very brief survey, we will enter you in a drawing. Ten participants will receive our updated and idea packed 2018 Contest and Promotions Guide – a million dollar value which we sell for only $89.00! We thank you in advance for participating in our short survey.
Promotion of the Week: Stuff A Bus Food Drive
Remind listeners that people aren’t only in need during the holidays. Fill a vehicle with food for the hungry. Drive it around to different locations. Sounds great when you get so many donations you “need a bigger bus!”
For 100 more great contests and sales promotions, see the Lund Contest and Promotion Guide.
Lund’s Top 3: Morning Show Relatability Basics
Here are three Basics that should be part of every morning show:
1. Have at least one benchmark every half hour.
2. Keep breaks succinct for flow; leave listeners wanting more (not less).
3. Back-announce and promote ahead music; show music passion.
Another Lund Top 3 will appear next week in the Lund Letter. Visitwww.lundradio.com for more Top 3’s!
Are you marketing to General Managers or Program Directors and want to reach the 9,400+ readers of the Lund Letter? Email John Lund.
This Week’s Music:
The top song in CHR this week is Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same.” Luke Combs leads in Country with “One Number Away.” Zedd/Maren Morris/Grey continue their reign of Hot AC with “The Middle,” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is the leader in Bright AC. Muse’s “Thought Contagion” is the chart leader for Alternative. Lund clients receive weekly music research information on current music plus regular updates on the best-testing recurrent and gold titles.
Would you like a best-researched music library list for your format? Email John Lund.
Lund Trend Watch:
Touchdown Or Just Down?
How is televised football really doing? The Nielsen 2017-18 TV season ratings show that NFL game viewing is down dramatically over last year.
> NBC Sunday Night Football is down 11% year over year
> Thursday Night Football, CBS/NFL, down 3%
> Thursday Night Football, NBC/NFL, down 20%
> Fox’s The OT fell out of the top ten
Among 18-49 year old viewers, ratings decline even more.
Streaming Continues To Gain Steam
According to The Nielsen Local Watch Report, 65.3 million US households own devices that can stream content from the internet to a TV. That’s 59% of the total US population. In 2017, streaming device owners watched streaming content about 10 days out of every month. During those 10 days, they averaged a total of about two hours and 38 minutes per day viewing the streamed content via their TVs. The top streaming TV services are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Sling TV.
While streamed content is a great and growing way to reach American consumers, it doesn’t mean advertisers should give up on traditional TV just yet. Nielsen’s study also found that 93% of Americans who use streaming devices also watch traditional cable and/or broadcast programming every day, while only 7% identify as being exclusively streamers on a daily basis.
Attention State Broadcast Conventions
What is the Future of Radio from a digital, listener, social and commercial perspective? This is the hot topic that radio managers and programmers want to know. John Lund’s new audio and visual presentation details the state of radio today with ways to make stations better equipped to handle our digital age, plus a format clinic for music and News-Talk stations, talent development, and proven ways to increase audience. Contact John Lund for availability and info.
Here is a list of actions this week for the proactive program director:
Website Wednesday. Update the station’s website with your summer promotions.
TV Premieres – Summer competition series American Ninja Warrior is back on NBC and is joined by new drama Reverie. MasterChef is back on Fox.
Streaming Premiere – The first half of the fourth season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available today on Netflix.
Spring diary ratings week #10 begins. Start week #2 of June PPM.
Improve your client “on location” remotes with added sizzle. The Lund Consultants’Remote Stylebook outlines structure and ingredients of an effective remote.
Begin strategic planning for fall.
Facebook Friday. Does your page have exclusive content to keep listeners coming back?
TV Premiere – Cinemax begins miniseries C.B. Strike (based on the non-Harry Potter books of J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith).
Movie Premiere – Adrift (Shailene Woodley), based on a true story.
This weekend, monitor each talent and show.
Develop audience-involving summer activities.
TV Premieres – Sunday, FX has new series Pose which has been described as a “dance musical” set in New York in the 80s. HBO begins new media industry drama Succession.
Update current and recurrent music rosters & backup music scheduling software.
TV Premieres – AMC has new drama Dietland with two back-to-back episodes. Freeform has a three-night miniseries event of The Fosters to wrap up the TV series. So You Think You Can Dance returns on Fox.
Today’s programming meeting is about “branding”. What are our station’s unique benefits? How can the brand be strengthened and extended? Also, what ways can we improve imaging?
Twitter Tuesday. Are you giving followers information they want and need?
TV Premieres – AMC begins season three of Humans. TV Land has new seasons of Teachers and Younger.
Thanks for reading
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About the Lund Media Group:
For over 20 years, the Lund Media Group has provided programming, music consulting, operational guidance, and research to commercial and public broadcaststations throughout North America and overseas. Whether you program all sports, all talk, or all music, the Lund Goal is to help stations get more listeners and keep them listening longer. The Lund Consultants are a multi-format custom programming and management consultancy.
Call John Lund for more information about how the Lund Media Group can help your stations achieve more listeners, higher ratings, and more revenue.