What Should Be Done to Turn Around WABC's Ratings?

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  • Posted In: New York / Long Island

  • #143741

    Tom Leykis happened to “like” a critical comment on Geraldo’s WABC Facebook announcement. It will never happen, but I thought it would be interesting if Mary Berner put Leykis on Cumulus / Westwood One, including WABC. They really haven’t done a good job replacing Dennis Miller except with Chris Plante on a few of the former ABC radio AMs (and Johnny B on the network pretending he’s a Conservative – sure he is!)

    As a non-radio person, I notice a lot of tunnel vision in the Biz. In the end, success is revenue, not ratings. EMF doesn’t care a bit about Nielsen, but they’re the only one walking in cutting big checks to buy derelict FM radio stations. Salem Radio sells books and magazine subscriptions, Townsquare puts on events in small markets.


    Participant
    #143785

    Consultant Walter Sabo offered a number of ideas in an article called “Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive”, in Radio Ink. He points out that much of the programming that runs on daytime TV focuses on “gossip, relationships and cooking.” Sabo also mentions that WOR had 50 years of success with such fare, aimed at a female audience.
    He also stated that there is a lot of home listening to radio on Saturdays, and suggests getting rid of the infomercials that many talk stations are running on that day. He believed they make it difficult for a station to “Grow its cume.”
    This makes sense to me. But my guess is that since most of the posters on radio boards are male, there would not be much support here for a female oriented focus on WABC.

    Sabo: Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive: http://www.radioink.com/Article.asp?id=2992501&spid=24698


    Participant
    #143788

    Consultant Walter Sabo offered a number of ideas in an article called “Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive”, in Radio Ink. He points out that much of the programming that runs on daytime TV focuses on “gossip, relationships and cooking.” Sabo also mentions that WOR had 50 years of success with such fare, aimed at a female audience.
    He also stated that there is a lot of home listening to radio on Saturdays, and suggests getting rid of the infomercials that many talk stations are running on that day. He believed they make it difficult for a station to “Grow its cume.”
    This makes sense to me. But my guess is that since most of the posters on radio boards are male, there would not be much support here for a female oriented focus on WABC.

    Sabo: Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive: http://www.radioink.com/Article.asp?id=2992501&spid=24698

    Wait there have been Posts that KABC-AM was in the process of doing what Sabo suggested.

    http://ratings.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/arb003

    and their ratings are still down? I’m not convinced that Sabo’s idea would save WABC, KABC, KGO and WLS radio. But for podcast distributors yes it would work. Its too little too late podcasts distributors are more aggressive at getting female audiences and in some cases all-news in some cities and public radio news/talk operations in some markets.


    Participant
    #143792

    KABC’s overall ratings have improved from .3 in August to .5 in the latest book. Sure, that is still really poor. But this could indicate the makings of an upward trend. Talk stations that make changes often take a relatively long time to build an audience. For example, WFAN did not do so well for quite some time after it first signed on.


    Participant
    #143794

    Consultant Walter Sabo offered a number of ideas in an article called “Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive”, in Radio Ink. He points out that much of the programming that runs on daytime TV focuses on “gossip, relationships and cooking.” Sabo also mentions that WOR had 50 years of success with such fare, aimed at a female audience.
    He also stated that there is a lot of home listening to radio on Saturdays, and suggests getting rid of the infomercials that many talk stations are running on that day. He believed they make it difficult for a station to “Grow its cume.”
    This makes sense to me. But my guess is that since most of the posters on radio boards are male, there would not be much support here for a female oriented focus on WABC.

    Sabo: Here’s How AM Talk Radio Can Thrive: http://www.radioink.com/Article.asp?id=2992501&spid=24698

    It should be noted that Walter Sabo was one of the people behind the initial “FM News 101.9” concept… he was the Merlin Marlin’s CFO. Of course he left a few weeks after the flip from WRXP, no thanks to Randy Michaels’ micromanaging prowess that eventually made the entire format concept a laughingstock of the radio industry, and a ratings/revenue disaster.

    Cumulus would need to spend money in acquiring talent, marketing and promotion in order to make such a female/lifestyle talk format work on ol’ 77. A LOT OF MONEY. And I just can’t see that happening.

    WABC is an AM signal that most of the intended target audience of a female/lifestyle talk format (25-54 females) don’t know about… and if they are aware of WABC, only see it as a home of (in their opinion) hateful misogynists like Rush and boycott it out of principle. That’s two major strikes against the format idea to begin with.

    Yes, Hubbard has a female/lifestyle oriented FM talker in their home market of Minneapolis, and it does pretty well… but that’s because Hubbard took the time and effort to develop the format, and it is on the FM dial. Conversely, a lowly AM station in St. Louis tried a similar format dubbed “1380 The Woman,” but relied solely on brokered-time hosts, spent zilch on promotions and marketing (because the ownership was close to insolvency) and ditched the format a year later because of hashes for ratings.

    Regardless of gender, it’s a realistic assessment. If WABC tried the format, and gave the same lack of effort that’s a trademark of Cumulus operations, the results would be disastrous. It would be akin to throwing a party, and no one showed up… due to no actual invitations being sent out, not securing a host site and failing to provide any refreshments and music.

    And given Cumulus’ financial chasm, they won’t be willing to try something that radical when they can just pocket easy money from that plastic surgeon on Saturday mornings.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #143797

    KABC’s overall ratings have improved from .3 in August to .5 in the latest book. Sure, that is still really poor. But this could indicate the makings of an upward trend. Talk stations that make changes often take a relatively long time to build an audience. For example, WFAN did not do so well for quite some time after it first signed on.

    That’s only the 12+ topline, which is totally useless a measurement tool for pretty much anything. Which is why they are freely posted online.

    Again, what has Cumulus spent on promoting and marketing this “new” KABC to an intended audience that doesn’t know the station exists? By comparison, Emmis did a lot to get the word out about WFAN, and went to the trouble of buying WNBC’s license (and Imus’ contract) for the format… it just wasn’t until they replaced Pete Franklin with Mike and the Mad Dog that things REALLY took off.

    I have to ask just what makes KABC’s lineup so special, anyway? Retreads in drive time and late mornings, a heavily watered-down version of “LoveLine,” a bunch of second-tier syndicated junk (in Johnny B’s case, fourth-tier) and the LA Kings on a signal that’s technically inferior to any other major AM station that isn’t KFWB? And success is to be anticipated here?

    You can’t just throw wet spaghetti against the wall and leave the room to play dominos. But that is Cumulus’ mentality in a nutshell.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!


    Participant
    #143805

    Most “female oriented talk” is on FM music stations in the morning. Most attempts at building it as an all-day format have failed miserably. I don’t see it as an option for WABC. It is true there is a talk audience on Saturday morning; WLW has been live Saturday morning as long as I can remember. One of the few.

    WABC will probably limp along, even as a clearinghouse for Cumulus’ syndicated product.


    Participant
    #143809

    I don’t think the general public cares about KABC or WABC the Cumulus Radio stations. If you talk to the general public about KABC or WABC they will say the Disney/ ABC Owned TV stations and ABC7 Eyewitness News also they will think of the Disney O&O’s role on the NewsON app. I doubt they mean anything that Cumulus has investments on if you say WABC or KABC in that context.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/11/04/more-than-100-tv-stations-power-newson-app/75152228/

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/abc-cox-hearst-media-general-raycom-station-groups-form-live-local-news-streaming-venture-newson-300096287.html


    Participant
    #147925

    And speaking of WABC, look what happened to KGO this week.

    KGO Announces New Lineup With Ronn Owens Staying After All


    Member
    #147927

    go toan oldies format


    Participant
    #147928

    go to an oldies format

    That’s what I say too!  Oldies! or maybe Classic Country!  Actually, I don’t really care, but there are  a couple posters on here that get so upset about music on WABC (AM) to the point of their head almost exploding at the mere mention on a message board and I thought I might do my part to push them over the edge!

    Participant
    #147929
    That’s what I say too! Oldies! or maybe Classic Country! Actually, I don’t really care, but there are a couple posters on here that get so upset about music on WABC (AM) to the point of their head almost exploding at the mere mention on a message board and I thought I might do my part to push them over the edge!

    If the idea is to turn around WABC, nothing would kill it quicker than going to Oldies.

    Remember these points:
    1) The general population doesn’t listen to music on AM.
    2) The target audience for oldies on WABC would be even older than the current Talk audience.
    3) Sure, give up all the political ad revenue that would come in 2016 by switching to music
    4) If Oldies was a viable format choice for any major station anywhere in the country, don’t you think a company looking to make money would be doing so?
    5) Most people that frequent this board are looking for INTELLIGENT discussion of the medium. The die-hard music fans who want radio to sound how it was in 1972 must realize that is not viable.


    Participant
    #147930

    go to an oldies format

    That’s what I say too! Oldies! or maybe Classic Country! Actually, I don’t really care, but there are a couple posters on here that get so upset about music on WABC (AM) to the point of their head almost exploding at the mere mention on a message board and I thought I might do my part to push them over the edge!

    Are you sure about this?? No wonder Disney sold their ABC Radio Division a decade ago, Radio Disney affiliates in 2014. The only revenue Disney is getting in Radio are ESPN sports talk stations from KSPN Los Angeles and WEPN in NEw York. Disney knew that they had to sell their radio division to Citadel now Cumulus because of median age reasons such as the median age was outside Disney target demos. And Disney had to sell Radio Disney affiliates on similar grounds that its target audience was mainly using apps to reach Radio Disney. ESPN Radio is the only place Disney knows for now where they can get the target demos.


    Participant
    #147931

    CBS recently was in the planning process of spinning off its radio division on similar grounds that its core audience is using Video on demand, apps, websites, over radio. Back to WABC Radio if you want to Get ABC radio in 2016 you would have to go to Slacker Radio Apps for ABC Radio News, Radio Disney, And ESPN Radio. Disney has some idea most of its audiences want a podcast via slacker apps. Also ABC News has an all News app feed too via Apple tv.


    Participant
    #147932

    Remember that Disney sold off ABC Radio because they wanted to buy Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar was and is a perfect fit for the Walt Disney Company, while ABC Radio was a relic from a long-ago era, with very little synergistic value to ABC Television.

    I don’t fault Disney in this case, because they knew even then that radio didn’t have growth potential back in 2005. Disney made the smart business move. Unfortunately Citadel Broadcasting didn’t.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!

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