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The Five Leads Cable News For October

“Punctuating things for “The Five” was that for the week of Oct. 25, all five of its telecasts were the five most-watched non-sports offerings on all of cable, not just in cable news.”

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It was an historic month for the Fox News Channel afternoon talk show “The Five”. Even though temporarily hosts have filled in for Juan Williams who departed last spring, its audience figures have not dipped. For the first time in its ten-year history, it was the most-watched cable news program for one calendar month. For weekdays from Oct. 1-29, it averaged 3.108 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, which eked past the network’s top prime time entry “Tucker Carlson Tonight” by 27,000 viewers (for the key 25-54 demographic, however, the two programs swapped rankings: Carlson was tops with 483,000 — +48,000 over runner-up “The Five”).

Punctuating things for “The Five” was that for the week of Oct. 25, all five of its telecasts were the five most-watched non-sports offerings on all of cable, not just in cable news. If sports are included, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” along with its pre-game and post-game shows as well as NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” were the only cable telecasts to have drawn more.

As indicated here in recent weeks, Fox News dominated the cable news landscape for October, landing 13 of the top 14 cable news programs in total viewers (the lone non-FNC entry was sixth-place “Rachel Maddow Show” from MSNBC which averaged 2.09 million) and 15 of the top 16 cable news shows among adults 25-54 (the aforementioned “Maddow” ranked 12th with 250,000 viewers within the demo.)

At No. 17 on the demo list was CNN’s top program “Erin Burnett Outfront” (which just celebrated its tenth anniversary) averaging 164,000.

October’s top five most-watched shows, in total viewers, outside of the big-3 cable news networks were Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports” (368,000 total viewers, 42nd in all cable news) and “Spicer & Co.” (285,000, 44th), CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (283,000, 45th) and “Fast Money Halftime Report” (271,000, 46th) and Newsmax’s “The Chris Salcedo Show” (249,000, 47th).

HLN’s coverage of the Gabby Petito investigation was the top non-FNC/MSNBC/CNN original cable news entry in adults 25-54. Its seven telecasts averaged 66,000 viewers within the demo, ranking 41st place for all of cable news. (Several non-original airings of “Forensic Files” on HLN usually draw more.) Tied for runner-up were CNBC’s aforementioned “Squawk on the Street” and their Wednesday night celebrity docuseries “Jay Leno’s Garage”; each drew 56,000 adults 25-54, tied for 43rd in cable news.

Cable news averages for October 25-31, 2021. Fox News Channel extended their streaks to 37 weeks as cable’s most-watched network in total viewers and 11 weeks topping the combination of MSNBC and CNN in both total day and prime time among total viewers and adults 25-54.

Total Day (October 25-31 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.430 million viewers; 223,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.674 million viewers; 77,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.464 million viewers; 97,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.198 million viewers; 53,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.141 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.122 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.117 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.093 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (October 25-30 @ 8-11 p.m.; October 31 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.249 million viewers; 312,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.150 million viewers; 140,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.600 million viewers; 123,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.199 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.155 million viewers; 45,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.126 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.120 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.043 million viewers; 7,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.339 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.267 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.264 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.219 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 10/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.193 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.185 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.153 million viewers

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.116 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.113 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.802 million viewers

25. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 10/26/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.157 million viewers

166. The Lead With Jake Tapper (CNN, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.779 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and HLN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.503 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.498 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.459 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.453 million adults 25-54

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.450 million adults 25-54

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.449 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.419 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.418 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 10/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.398 million adults 25-54

45. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 10/25/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.280 million adults 25-54

93. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Thu. 10/28/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.218 million adults 25-54

186. Forensic Files “Sibling Rivalry” (HLN, late Thu. 10/28/2021 3:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.134 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

BNM Writers

Possible Reversal of The 1973 Roe vs. Wade Decision Dominates Network TV Coverage

“Surprisingly, the overall cable news landscape remained relatively steady in prime time on May 2.”

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News of Justice Samuel Alito’s initial draft majority opinion that would have the Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision — which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights — immediately spread like wildfire on the evening of May 2nd.

The development, first reported by the website Politico starting within the 9 p.m. ET hour, holds monumental implications for the nation if the Court officially does overturn the law.

Yet, surprisingly, the overall cable news landscape remained relatively steady in prime time on May 2. Compared to the three prior Monday nights (averaging Apr. 11, 18 & 25), MSNBC’s flagship program “Rachel Maddow Show” slipped 4 percent to 1.94 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its lead-out “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (1.45 million) was down 7 percent. 826,000 then tuned in to “The 11th Hour” up 3 percent.

Over at CNN, the 9 p.m. hour of “Anderson Cooper 360” (660,000 viewers) ticked up one percent. “Don Lemon Tonight” grew ten percent in the 10 p.m. hour (689,000 viewers) but fell two percent in the 11 p.m. hour (517,000 viewers).

Fox News Channel’s coverage focused on how the leak from the Supreme Court occurred. “Hannity” (2.79 million) stayed even, while the subsequent two lead-out programs on the night jumped up the most (of all cable telecasts) in raw figures — each increased by two million viewers: “The Ingraham Angle” (2.4 million; +9 percent from the 2.2 million average of Apr. 11, 18, 25) and “Gutfeld!” (2.15 million; +10 percent from the 1.95 million average of Apr. 11, 18, 25).

Cable news averages for May 2-8, 2022:

Total Day (May 2-8 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.484 million viewers; 241,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.631 million viewers; 69,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.478 million viewers; 102,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.183 million viewers; 52,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.132 million viewers; 32,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.132 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.112 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.111 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (May 2-7 @ 8-11 p.m.; May 8 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.286 million viewers; 352,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.996 million viewers; 107,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.605 million viewers; 131,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.223 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.206 million viewers; 57,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.149 million viewers; 54,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.142 million viewers; 25,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.059 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.052 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.449 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.431 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.371 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.284 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.220 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.188 million viewers

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.182 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 5/6/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.151 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.047 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.876 million viewers

36. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/2/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.941 million viewers

159. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 599” (HBO, Fri. 5/6/2022 10:01 PM, 55 min.) 0.870 million viewers

161. Stanley Tucci “Piedmont” (CNN, Sun. 5/8/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.859 million viewers

290. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/8/2022 11:01 PM, 42 min.) 0.567 million viewers

356. The Daily Show (CMDY, Wed. 5/4/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.434 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  CNN, MSNBC, HBO and HLN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.623 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.553 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.533 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.503 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.480 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.475 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.474 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.445 million adults 25-54

9. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.444 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.441 million adults 25-54

76. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/8/2022 11:01 PM, 42 min.) 0.231 million adults 25-54

81. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/2/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.228 million adults 25-54

96. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Mon. 5/2/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.211 million adults 25-54

129. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 5/3/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.167 million adults 25-54

152. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 599” (HBO, Fri. 5/6/2022 10:01 PM, 55 min.) 0.154 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

What Would a Jeff Warshaw Consortium Takeover of Cumulus Mean?

When the news of Warshaw’s consortium became public, some of us looking for a knight on a white horse wondered if this was what we had been waiting for. The announcement led to the question: would a Jeff Warshaw-led Cumulus be an improvement over the current management?

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On April 14, 2022, reports became public that a consortium led by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw made an unsolicited, $1.2 billion bid (including debt) to acquire Cumulus Media.

Reuters reported that Warshaw planned to take the company private with a bid of $15 to $17 per share. As a result, Cumulus shares which traded in the $10 – $11 range over the past year, jumped to $14.21, a 40% increase and a level not seen since July 2021.

Cumulus management responded to the reports by acknowledging the indication of interest and stated it was “reviewing the letter.”

During Cumulus’s Q1 22 earnings call on May 4, President/CEO Mary Berner announced a $50 million stock buyback program and rejected the Warshaw consortium acquisition bid.

Radio companies have lagged the overall financial markets for over a decade. I have participated in conversations with groups that already own radio stations and others currently outside the industry who have considered buying radio groups.

In 2013 music streaming service Pandora bought an FM station in Rapid City, South Dakota. Upon first hearing that news, some of us thought perhaps they realized how undervalued FM signals were and would invest in the medium. Alas, Pandora thought they had found a backdoor means to lower its music royalty costs but otherwise had little interest in broadcast radio.

As somebody who has been involved in every facet of the radio industry for nearly 40 years, I was interested in far more than just the investment implications of the proposed buyout.

When the news of Warshaw’s consortium became public, some of us looking for a knight on a white horse wondered if this was what we had been waiting for. The announcement led to the question: would a Jeff Warshaw-led Cumulus be an improvement over the current management?

To answer that question, I used reviews from the website Glassdoor. Reviewers can rate the company on a one to five bases, with five the best and one the worst.

These reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt as former employees may have an ax to grind, but this caveat holds equally true for all employers.

The company Jeff Warshaw currently runs, Connoisseur Media, receives an average of 2.9 stars (out of five) on Glassdoor. This rating is based on just 32 reviews, so the low sample size is a factor to consider.

Cumulus currently has an average of 3.2 stars on Glassdoor based on over 800 reviews.

These Glassdoor reviews suggest that a new Cumulus led by Warshaw wouldn’t be an improvement over the current management. If it takes a knight on a white horse to make Cumulus a better company to work for, it will have to wait for another day.

To be fair, I don’t know Jeff Warshaw. I have never spoken with him. I would appreciate the opportunity to talk to him at the appropriate time (assuming that his attempted takeover remains ongoing). I also welcome employees of Connoisseur or Cumulus who feel the average reflected on Glassdoor is unfair to contact me (andy@andybloom.com). I will accept comments and input anonymously regardless of whether it is more positive or negative than Glassdoor poses for use in a future column.

While we’re looking at the reviews for Connoisseur and Cumulus, it’s a worthwhile exercise to see how the other major radio broadcast groups fare:

iHeart also rates a 3.2 with over 2,200 reviews.

Audacy receives a 3.5, which is misleading as it’s based on 23 reviews. Entercom had 691 reviews and rates a 3.1.

The best I can find in the industry among the majors is Cox with 4.1. Again, this may be deceiving. Apollo Global Management scores a more modest 3.1.

Hubbard has no reviews. I’m not sure why.

SiriusXM appears to have the highest current score at 3.6.

You’ll find common themes, positive and the negatives are dizzyingly familiar across the companies throughout these reviews.

The main reoccurring negative themes include:

· Low pay

· Long hours

· No chance for advancement

· Doing the work of too many people

· Management pays lip service to feedback but doesn’t do anything

The main reoccurring positive themes include:

· The people

· Fun place to work

· Perks – such as free tickets

· Glad to be working in the industry

I was curious about the differences between the companies employees rated higher and lower to work for. Listening to a couple of recent earnings calls revealed some of the variations. In next week’s column, we will examine some of the differences.

Are the pros and cons listed above familiar to you? I welcome your input and anonymous comments for next week’s follow-up column. Please reach out to me at andy@andybloom.com.

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BNM Writers

Dave LaBrozzi Knew What He Wanted From Day One

LaBrozzi has nearly four decades of experience in radio, most recently as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City.

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Dave LaBrozzi was very high on my interview ‘wish list,’ second only to the guy who does the insurance commercials with the nasty emu. There seems to be little LaBrozzi has not accomplished in his career (with the exception of doing an insurance commercial with an obnoxious emu.)

He’s got that voice that hits you like a freight train. That radio voice, even if he doesn’t sit in front of the microphone these days. One of those booming set of pipes you’re just born with.

LaBrozzi is one of those guys who knew what he wanted from day one. Or at least when he was ten years old. Truth be told, he said he was one of those kids who sat at his mother’s kitchen table talking into a wooden spoon as though it were a microphone. 

“I wanted to be the next Pirates play-by-play voice,” LaBrozzi said. “Working as a disc jockey was right up there too. The spoken word has always been a passion for me.”

Future moves in his life were made with one eye focused on a career in radio. It’s the only career he’s ever been involved with. Today he’s with KDKA Radio News, the world’s first commercial broadcasting station. “It’s an honor to be here with these legendary call letters,” LaBrozzi said. “It’s become a second home and a thrill to be sitting in this office.”

LaBrozzi has nearly four decades of experience in radio, most recently as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City. Prior to WABC, he was Program Director of WPLJ-FM. In addition to his work in New York, Dave spent 14 years as Vice President of Programming for Audacy’s Baltimore stations and has also spent time programming in Nashville, Austin, San Antonio, and Pittsburgh.

LaBrozzi was appointed brand manager for KDKA, overseeing the content strategy, talent, operations, and branding. 

KDKA was launched in 1920. It started as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns in the race between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. 

LaBrozzi said he’s extremely proud of his current on-air lineup. “Larry Richert has been here for 25 years. Kevin Battle has come back. In all, we have a really solid staff that’s deeply entrenched in the community.”

When LaBrozzi drops into his chair behind his desk in the morning, he checks the stories to make sure they’re talking about what matters to people on any given day. “We’re working hard to get back with the community, checking in with people one-on-one.” 

LaBrozzi said they grade stories after they’ve aired, deciding whether they hit their mark and if they mattered. He said it’s important to talk with people and visit neighborhoods.

“I hope local papers hang on; they play such a vital role in the community.

I started in a small station in upstate Pennsylvania with 2,000 people. It was an oldie’s station. The first record I played was ‘Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again,’ by The Fortunes.” 

That song must be like a first love for LaBrozzi. If he’d played a Lawrence Welk song, he might not be where he is today.

His father was a high school administrator and was able to identify his son’s strengths and weaknesses from the get-go. 

“He knew my academic career wasn’t going to send me to Harvard,” LaBrozzi said. “He also knew I had the passion and drive to succeed.”

LaBrozzi tells his on-air folks to connect with listeners one-on-one. “It’s all about being authentic,” he said. “I want them to share their life experiences. Audiences can tell when a person is disingenuous. You can have a different sound on the air, but you have to be real.” He went on to say his staff is very passionate and believes in what they’re doing.

He was born in Emporium, Pennsylvania. Today the town boasts a population of close to 2,000 people. Compared to Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, that’s a metropolis. He went to Mansfield State College, but the radio bug called, tugged, and pulled. “I tell people I got thrown out of college because of what I didn’t do,” LaBrozzi jokes. He said he’d intended to get a business degree, but the math requirements sent him running for the exit.

Why radio? “I think it’s a passion, drive, not that different from being an athlete. It’s something deeply within our souls. “My wife was in the business but gave it up to home-school the kids.”

When he’s not busy being a radio executive, LaBrozzi likes to indulge in books. “I’m reading Ernest Hemingway right now,” he said. “I’ve watched some of the Winning Time series on HBO. It’s entertaining if not factual.”

Then came the dreaded question. Where do you think radio is going?

“I think social media is doing so much to help our industry,” LaBrozzi said. “We need to embrace all it offers. There’s always a need for more information on a local level.”

With LaBrozzi ‘in the can,’ now I have to track down that Emu guy.

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