COX Cutbacks; Radio On-Demand

87 staff members in COX Media management are getting pink slipped. Coming up: Cuts in the news room staff. That is going to hurt! Apollo Group, the future owners of COX stations, which include KIRO 7, are also considering the purchase of Tegna, which owns KING 5 and KONG 16.

Changes will also happen at Tribune’s KCPQ 13, which is being bought by Nexstar. In the meantime, a deal has been worked out with FOX for the purchase of Q13 from Nexstar. Talk about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic! Resumes are being updated in Seattle newsrooms and favors are being called in, as tv news staff look toward their next move. Some will opt for a market other than Seattle, others will leave the industry for a corporate job with a little more security. Others will choose to resign, in order to spend more time with family.

Do your favorite podcasts reflect your age group, lifestyle, or preferred radio format? A Jacobs Media survey shows that 30 percent of all podcasts are from air personalities in the spoken word format, such as news, talk, or sports. Demographics show that the majority of podcasters are Gen X’ers, and the majority are male.

Personally, I find that I listen to podcasts of a talk format, centering on entertainment news and politics, hosted by that podcasting minority group, males of the Baby Boomer generation. Consider the podcasts you listen to and check that against the survey reults at (INSIDERADIO)

The survey finds that 45 percent of air personalities say they just don’t have enough time in their schedule to do a podcast. iHeart and Entercom are two companies that believe podcasts are essential to the future of radio. iHeart purchased Stuff Media, the podcast network behind HowStuffWorks, for $55 million. Entercom purchased Pineapple Street Media, a content network, and Cadence13, an ad distribution platform and production company, deals that cost Entercom $68 Million. That package has become a subsidiary of Entercom’s platform. You can see what is happening here. Those platforms iHeart and Entercom are building are launching pads for the next media giant.

In the near future, that is where audio entertainment will be focused, rather than your AM or FM dial. All indicators show that on-demand audio will replace our current methods of broadcast entertainment. The train is pulling out of the station and media people need to get on board.

Podcasting is not a new medium, but the popularity of it shows the direction radio is headed. You’ve heard this phrase before, it is a reinvention of radio.

TALK-RADIO NICHE FORMATS — Dennis Miller has said he quit the daily radio talkshow grind due to such control and censorship issues. His second take on his twice weekly Dennis Miller Option, moved from Podcast One to Westwood One, this year. As for sponsorship, current live reads are for a chewable knockoff of Viagra.

Comedian Bill Burr has been recording a weekly podcast for the past 11 years. Even as radio looks to incorporate podcasts as a regular part of the broadcast day, many podcasts will not conform to radio, as regulated by the FCC. Such programming could only exist in on-demand podcasting or satellite radio. Podcasting is still the new frontier, a bastion of free speech, somewhat compartmentalized, catering to specific tastes. For those who have not turned an ear toward PODS, (I’m hip), they will one day find podcasts that entertain, amuse and inform them. A typical Bill Burr podcast runs 45 minutes to an hour. Burr talks baseball, comedy, politics and injects stories about his personal life. The Bill Burr podcast is not for everyone. The language is raw and often offensive. Burr has figured out how to monetize his podcast.

AJ Benza gossips about Hollywood for anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour. On a slow day for Tinsel Town news, Benza will fall into reminisces about the good old days of his career or growing up in New York. Die-hard fans might listen, but it is almost like listening to your Uncle Harvey, who is edging toward dementia. Regular listeners have heard Benza’s stories before. His fame, the decline of his tv career, stories about his romantic conquests, the breakup of his marriage, anger management, on and on, ad nauseum. Yet, Benza has found sponsors for his podcast.

Comedian Nick Dipaolo does a daily podcast, one of which is free online, the others are available on a subscription basis. Dipaolo also has sponsors for his program.

For a podcast to conform to radio schedules, you would actually end up with a pre-produced, somewhat scripted, recorded radio program of a specific length. It would also be censored to conform to FCC standards.

The Bill Burr, AJ Benza, Nick Dipaolo, and Dennis Miller podcasts do not conform to any radio station’s talk radio standards.

Adam Carolla has also found that a podcast is also more fulfilling than a daily radio show. Carolla is filling his briefcase full of money from sponsorships for his podcast and has a paid crew of co-hosts.

The biggest fish in spoken-word podcasts is Joe Rogan. Rogan is a stand-up comedian, mixed martial arts color commentator, former actor and television host. Authors, newsmakers and celebrities line up to get an hour or two with Rogan. His podcast is heavily sponsored. There is money to be made in podcasting. Rogan doesn’t share this money with a large radio corporation.

Some podcasters have discovered that corporate structures, such as Westwood One or Podcast One tightly control the purse strings and also restrict or censor podcast content. This has lead to many independent companies producing pods in an environment free of corporate regulation. These become production companies for one or more niche podcasts.

Though television and radio have lowered standards for what passes for entertainment, including the allowance for a certain level of profanity, the two mediums cannot merge until television and radio are opened to free speech, uncensored and not bound by political correctness. In the meantime, there is a podcast for every taste in politics, comedy, lifestyle and entertainment. It’s free and on-demand. We already have music on-demand. Podcasts are the future of talk-radio.

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of QZVX, former broadcaster at KTOY FM/Tacoma, KVAC/Forks , KDFL/Sumner, KTTX & KWHI FM/Brenham (TX), KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KJUN/Puyallup, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KAMT/Tacoma, KASY/Auburn, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KTAC/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. -- Airchecks

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