To appreciate the significance of this, you need to know who he is. Clear Channel (now iHeart) has one news/talk station that is very different than the rest. While most Clear Channel stations news talk stations are drifting down toward 1% shares, WLW-AM is the #1 station in the market in Cincinnati Ohio with an astounding 11.9% share. Darryl was the program director at WLW for most of the time Clear Channel has owned the station – until they fired him last year. You’ll find no stronger evidence that iHeart wants to kill news/talk as a format.
Most failing Clear Channel stations run a minimum wage guy in the morning, then Beck + Limbaugh + Hannity. WLW-AM in Cincinnati has Bill “the Great American” Cunningham” and had Mike McConnell until he left to work at WGN in Chicago. WLW carries no Premiere programs at all – and is 100% local live programming. They still run a live trucker show overnight.
His article is much stronger than a similar “expert” opinion run by Tom Taylor about a week ago, written by an unknown newspaper guy who had a radio show on Saturday Nights on one station and failed miserably at his first weekday morning drive job in Raleigh.
Darryl does what most people in radio do – he floats a straw man based on cherry picked statistics. He tries to make the case that Rush Limbaugh sucks because he talks about the same stuff every day. He proves the point by pointing to Don Imus being #38 in morning drive in New York on WABC. Don Imus is no Rush Limbaugh – while Imus likes guns and country music, he is very far from being a “Conservative”, quite the contrary. Sports news is a big part of the show along with talking about entertainment news a lot. He is failing by not being like Rush.
With that said, he does provide interesting insights to one small (but important) metric – 18-54 year old morning drive commuters in New York City. He has access to Nielsen unpublished data and so has to avoid directly disclosing numbers. To those who might have thought Salem’s WNYM-AM was where the audience went after Hannity and Rush left WABC, it isn’t the case – at least those younger than 54. He states in a comment that the morning drive for Salem (who is not a Nielsen subscriber) is a barely registering 0.1%. Salem’s business model is now mostly selling TownHall.com magazine subscriptions, not selling advertising, so they don’t care that 22 year olds don’t listen to Bill Bennett or Curtis Sliwa.
Young people that work in New York (the few who still listen to radio) listen to two things – NPR on WNYC-FM and the Jersey Guys on FM 101 – a station that just barely reaches New York.
He seems to be supporting the rumor that iHeart is about to pull the plug on WOR and switch it to Fox Sports. Hannity would not likely return to WABC – he really firebombed any bridge to return to Cumulus as long as the Dickey brothers still run the place (Stay tuned on that angle)
In related news, political advertising on the radio is almost nonexistent this year. Since radio stations usually set aside commercial inventory for last minute political advertising during election years, nobody buying ads is going to murder their revenue for this quarter, as they have to fill those unsold commercial slots (“avails” in radio jargon) at a fire sale price.