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Viewers Tune In For Rittenhouse Trial Coverage Across All Networks

“HLN’s eight hours of trial coverage across two weekdays posted 272,000 viewers and 69,000 adults 25-54 — well above what HLN normally delivers in those windows.”

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Photo Credit: ABC Chicago

Two high-profile murder trials were in full swing during the week of Nov. 8, as both received significant attention on the national news outlets.

Caucasian teenager Kyle Rittenhouse is currently facing several homicide-related and other charges stemming from his shooting of three victims, killing two, while responding against rioters in Kenosha, Wis., in late August of 2020. The riots occurred in the aftermath of the police shooting of African-American Jacob Blake.

All three major cable news outlets covered the trial extensively on Nov. 10, when the defendant Rittenhouse took the stand. Remaining atop of the cable news universe was Fox News Channel. For the approximate five hours of testimony coverage (10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.; all times Eastern), they averaged 1.95 million total viewers and 318,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. During that same time frame, CNN drew an average of 749,000 total viewers and 181,000 adults 25-54. The near-four hours on MSNBC delivered +55,000 more total viewers than CNN (MSNBC: 804,000) but could only muster about 55 percent of CNN’s 25-54, averaging 100,000 in the demo.

CNN-owned HLN provided full coverage of the Rittenhouse trial on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. Trial viewership on the channel peaked during the final hour of the aforementioned defendant’s testimony (Nov. 10 at 3-4 p.m.) with 351,000 total viewers and 97,000 adults 25-54 (on a related note, CNN [950,000 viewers / 212,000 adults 25-54] and MSNBC [918,000 viewers / 204,000 adults 25-54 from 2:11-4:00 p.m.] had both peaked at this same time; despite Fox News not peaking then, they still comfortably led with 1.925 million viewers and 320,000 adults 25-54 from 3-4 p.m. ET)

Overall, HLN’s eight hours of trial coverage across two weekdays posted 272,000 viewers and 69,000 adults 25-54 — well above what HLN normally delivers in those windows; exactly one week earlier in the same daytime slots (Nov. 3 @ 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Nov. 4 @ 4:30-6 p.m.), repeats of “Forensic Files” averaged 96,000 viewers and 23,009 adults 25-54.

The other big trial getting national attention was for the three Caucasian men — Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — accused of chasing down and killing 25-year-old Black man Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Ga. back in Feb. of 2020. HLN broadcast nearly 36 hours of this trial from Nov. 8-12, averaging 192,000 total viewers and 48,000 adults 25-54.

With both trials, HLN (its figures listed in the next paragraph) posted its best weekly total-day average in four months — most-watched in total viewers since July 5-11 (216,000) and the top demo performance since July 12-18 (69,000 adults 25-54)

Cable news averages for November 8-14, 2021. Fox News Channel extended their streaks to 39 weeks as cable’s most-watched network in total viewers..

Total Day (November 8-14 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.500 million viewers; 245,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.682 million viewers; 77,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.483 million viewers; 107,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.212 million viewers; 68,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.142 million viewers; 30,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.125 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.101 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.098 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (November 8-13 @ 8-11 p.m.; November 14 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.419 million viewers; 380,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.160 million viewers; 138,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.632 million viewers; 142,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.202 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.175 million viewers; 47,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.145 million viewers; 30,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.102 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.058 million viewers; 12,000 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, Wed. 11/10/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.532 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.488 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.421 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/11/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.343 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.252 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/10/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.243 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 11/11/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.202 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 11/12/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.200 million viewers

9. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/9/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.174 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 11/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.139 million viewers

27. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 11/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.146 million viewers

153. CNN Newsroom “Kyle Rittenhouse Trial” (CNN, Wed. 11/10/2021 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.950 million viewers

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

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/10/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.639 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.591 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/11/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.568 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 11/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.555 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 11/10/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.511 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/10/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.500 million adults 25-54

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/9/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.489 million adults 25-54

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 11/11/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.474 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.462 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/9/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.461 million adults 25-54

52. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 11/9/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.292 million adults 25-54

83. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Tue. 11/9/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.242 million adults 25-54

109. Forensic Files “Past Lives” (HLN, late Fri. 11/12/2021 1:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.199 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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