It’s 2022. It’s a midterm year, which typically provides a lift to News Talk stations around the country. Of course, it will never be a Presidential Year, but it’s a chance to drum up plenty of storylines on the local and federal front to carry through the year.
As we enter 2022, this can likely be the best and most passionate midterm year for the News Talk audience in over a decade. I’d go back to the Tea Party movement of 2010 as the last time a midterm appeared to be shaping up this well for those with conservative values. Instead of playing defense, a la 2018, when Republicans held the White House, Senate, and House leading into those midterms, the party is now on offense. They’re in the minority in the House and Senate, while President Biden continues to see his approval rating fall off a cliff.
This should create an environment for a generally right-of-center audience that will be engaged and excited about what’s to come this fall.
How can your station handle this expected enthusiasm? Lean into it. From U.S. Senate to House races, all the way down to school board races, which will remain hot-button topics throughout the year (look at Exhibit A: Virginia).
From a content perspective, that means trying to capture as much of the news as you can for your audience. Lead the way. Get the candidates to try and make news on your show. Heck, get the candidates to make announcements on your show. For example, on KCMO in Kansas City, in just the last two weeks, we had the privilege of having a candidate for a U.S. House seat in Missouri announced exclusively on our show, while we also had a candidate for a county commissioner chair in the biggest county in Kansas in the KC Metro make his announcement on our program.
These don’t need to be long-form interviews, as the audience isn’t likely wanting to get into the weeds on some of the policy and topics just yet. Still, it will make the show and the station feel “big” that these candidates want to be on your station to make their announcement regardless of what they’re running for.
And not only will it be quality content that becomes appointment listening, if teased correctly. It also creates plenty of opportunities for afterglow with great promos and liners to continue building the station’s brand around the clock.
“Your Home in Missouri and Kansas for the 2022 Midterms!”
“Leading the way on the 2022 Midterms in Kansas City!”
These can work on rejoins, promos, liners, or anything you need from your station’s imaging perspective.
If I may add a caveat here, obsessing over the 2022 midterms in January or February will not carry you until November. But it’s undoubtedly already here and getting plenty of attention.
But don’t let that prevent a show from having great topic variety, local and national, all while still having fun at the same time.
After 2021 that was ho-hum compared to the previous five years, the news cycle is undoubtedly picking back up: Is your station prepared for the re-engagement that is likely set to return from a portion of the listening audience?
Everyone is Welcome at Keven Cohen’s Table
“For the first eight months, The Point was hemorrhaging money,” Cohen explained. “Bleeding would be too tame of a word.”
Somebody had better step up and take the blame.
Ostensibly, both his mother and father are responsible for the odd spelling of Keven Cohen’s first name—probably more his mother.
“I think she had too much of the epidural medicine,” Keven Cohen jokes.
He likes the uniqueness but said it has caused its share of problems.
Cohen was born in Detroit, but the family moved to Florida just before his 13th birthday. He later studied broadcast journalism at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Where a lot of kids wanted to be a ballplayer, Cohen wanted to be Ernie Harwell, the legendary broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers.
“In our neighborhood, we didn’t ask when the Tigers played; we asked when Ernie was on.” That’s how revered the man was in Detroit. “To this day, I’m an obsessive Detroit fan. I like to say you can take Keven out of Detroit, but you can’t take Detroit out of Keven.”
Growing up, Cohen said he was inseparable from his older brother Marc. “We have been best friends since the day I was born,” Cohen said. Cohen was able to convince his mother and brother to move to Columbia so they could be around each other.
His sister was the lone holdout, but Cohen does speak to her every day, as a rule. Marc was a teacher but hung that up for corned beef, opening his Groucho’s Deli. His sister is a physical therapist. They’re like peas and carrots…and more peas.
Cohen started out in radio at WRUF in Gainesville. He spent five years at that station.
“After graduating college, they created a position for me as assistant sports director,” Cohen explained. “They were grooming me to take over for the sports director. The problem was that I realized that the sports director wasn’t going anywhere soon.”
In 1994, Cohen began searching for a new opportunity, but he still didn’t want to go too far from Gainesville. He’s truly a man dedicated to his family.
“My father died in a car accident when I was young, and I couldn’t bear the thought of moving too far from my mother in Florida,” Cohen said.
After enjoyable years at WRUF, Cohen began exploring new opportunities. He recalls landing his first dream job in Columbia, South Carolina. He knew he was as talented as the other 267 applicants for the sports job, but he had something else. Moxie.
“The guy that hired me in Columbia now does the radio play-by-play for the Atlanta Braves. Jim Powell,” Cohen said.
Cohen knew the competition would be tough, but he had his sights set firmly on the job. Interestingly, when many young radio people send out tapes, they send them everywhere around the country. This wasn’t the case for Cohen. Family is so important to him; he again didn’t want to go too far from home. The only tape he sent out was to Columbia. The distance between cities was doable.
“I called Jim Powell and pleaded with him to give me fifteen minutes with him,” Cohen said. “I told him I’d gladly drive the nearly six hours to Columbia, meet with him, then turn around and drive back to Gainesville. That’s how serious I was about the job.”
Powell was impressed with the young man’s spirit, and they talked for more than an hour and a half. A week and a half later, Powell called Cohen. Powell told Cohen there were candidates for the job with better demo tapes, but he liked Cohen’s tenacity and drive.
“I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” Powell told Cohen. The bad news was the station wouldn’t pay moving expenses. The good news was he had the job if he wanted it.
“When Jim Powell speaks to colleges and high school students, he still uses my tenacity as an example,” Cohen said.
After 18 years in a community, Cohen had developed some deep roots and friendships.
He was at WVOC in Columbia from 1994 until 2012, a good run in any radio market. Then management decided to go in a different direction and fired Cohen. This happened ten years ago, but you can still hear the pain in the recollection.
“I was devastated,” Cohen said. “I’d cut my chops on the radio there. I put in more than 18 years there. I was blindsided.” At the time of his firing, Cohen was hosting pre-game shows for the South Carolina Gamecocks, and it was the middle of the season. An election was just a short time away. Management figured that would be the perfect time to give him the ax.
For the ace-kicker, hours before his firing, Cohen had lunch with one of the salesmen and returned with a $64,000 sales package from a local business. They still fired him.
Isn’t that a fine how-do-you-do?
“My firing made the front page of The State newspaper,” Cohen explained. “There were protestors outside the building, upset that I’d been fired. Personally, I never felt any bitterness toward Clear Channel—publicly or privately for the firing.”
As they said in The Godfather, It was just business. Most people reading this are well aware of that sting. People in this business get stung so often that they don’t even bother putting baking soda on wounds.
WVOC gave him the talk all fired people know too well. They put him on the sidelines with a non-compete clause.
“I told them to keep their severance package; I just wanted to work.”
No dice. WVOC said that wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m the kind of guy who turned the firing into motivation,” Cohen said.
Cohen was offered a job in Jacksonville, Florida, but wanted to wait. He was promised a job by another station in Columbia when the non-compete expired.
“The call never came,” Cohen said. “I was so discouraged as I’d turned down the Jacksonville job. There were no other talk stations in Columbia. I either had to leave Columbia or leave radio.”
There were plenty of opportunities Cohen could have grabbed that required a briefcase. Banking or insurance companies would have begged to get him. He had earned a stellar reputation in the community, and many businesses felt he’d be good for their business if he worked for them.
Now it gets a little weird.
One night, Cohen couldn’t sleep, so he went down to the basement. He was able to fall asleep and was visited in a dream by a friend who’d died from cancer.
“In the dream, Rick told me everything was going to be alright, and I should start my own radio station.”
Thanks, Rick. Not like that’s a tall order or anything.
“It hit me that starting my own radio station was something I could and should do,” Cohen said. “I ran up to tell my wife about the dream and asked if she’d support me if I attempted to create my own station. She said if I let her go back to sleep, she’d support me.”
What a gal.
“I’d never considered this before,” Cohen said. “The only thing I’d ever done on radio was my show. I reached out to some people to get the ball rolling.”
Cohen said four banks were no help. “They knew me well and loved me, but realized I’d never run a radio station before, or anything even close to that. I don’t blame them.”
The dream (the one with Rick) paid dividends. Cohen was fired from WVOC in November 2012 and started his radio station in October 2013, less than a year later.
“For the first eight months, The Point was hemorrhaging money,” Cohen explained. “Bleeding would be too tame of a word.”
He said advertisers were initially wary, and he understood that as well. But they started to come around.
“Things were very lean at first,” Cohen said, “but when we hit the 10 ½ month mark, we broke even for the first time. Then, we started making money. Not a ton, but it was coming in.”
The Point, 100.7. FM, 1470 AM, has become a player in the market. “The community has been so supportive,” Cohen said.
The Point has evolved in its format. “I wanted an old-school talk radio station,” Cohen said. “I always wanted it to be community-driven. I’ve never pressured my hosts or news people to lean a certain way, politically or otherwise. They are on their own, as long as it’s ethical and moral.”
Cohen doesn’t like to micromanage. “I do all the traffic, schedule all the commercials, create all the sales. I’ve tried to create a family. We socialize together; I go out to lunch with hosts. They feel like they can talk with me about anything.”
On his morning show, Cohen doesn’t utilize a call screener; he just answers them as they come in. “There’s no way of picking and choosing which so many hosts like to do. Everyone is welcome at our table,” he said.
Which to me sounds a lot like, ‘We’ll leave the light on.’
Fox News Led the Coverage for Buffalo Mass Shooting
News began to be presented within the 4 PM ET hour, with extensive coverage arriving at 5 PM ET when officials spoke to the press. Fox News Channel led in total viewers.
The three major cable news networks focused on the city of Buffalo, NY, on Saturday, May 14, for its breaking news coverage of the mass shooting at the Tops supermarket. The gunman, who long spouted White supremacist views online, drove to the predominantly African-American area to commit his murderous act. Ten people, all of them Black, were killed.
News began to be presented within the 4 PM ET hour, with extensive coverage arriving at 5 PM ET when officials spoke to the press. Fox News Channel led in total viewers. The network’s audience noticeably grew as each hour unfolded: 966,000 viewers from 4–5 PM, then 1.16 million from 5–6 PM, and 1.37 million from 6–7 PM, according to Nielsen Media Research.
CNN was runner-up, first averaging 850,000 viewers from 5–8 PM, then 826,000 from 8–10 PM; FNC’s 8–10 PM combo of “One Nation” and “Unfiltered” drew 1.46 million viewers. However, in the key 25-54 demographic, CNN captured cable news’ top spot for the first two hours of prime time, delivering 225,000, compared to FNC’s 195,000.
From 5-10 p.m., MSNBC averaged 552,000 total viewers and 61,000 adults 25-54. They peaked at 5:50–6:16 PM with 634,000 viewers/93,000 adults 25-54 for the press conference featuring Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, NY.
Cable news averages for May 9-15, 2022:
Total Day (May 9-15 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.466 million viewers; 222,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.621 million viewers; 68,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.485 million viewers; 99,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.186 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.136 million viewers; 32,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.119 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.110 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.105 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (May 9-14 @ 8-11 p.m.; May 15 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 2.225 million viewers; 331,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.983 million viewers; 96,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.604 million viewers; 133,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.209 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.172 million viewers; 47,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.154 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.147 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.068 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.057 million viewers; 11,000 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, Tue. 5/10/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.569 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/9/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.409 million viewers
3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 5/9/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.313 million viewers
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/10/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.227 million viewers
5. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 5/11/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.131 million viewers
6. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/12/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.102 million viewers
7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/11/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.034 million viewers
8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 5/13/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.973 million viewers
9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/12/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.956 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 5/13/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.781 million viewers
27. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/9/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.157 million viewers
152. CNN Special Report “Inside The Mind Of Vladimir Putin” (CNN, Sun. 5/15/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.944 million viewers
181. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 600” (HBO, Fri. 5/13/2022 10:01 PM, 56 min.) 0.789 million viewers
315. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/15/2022 11:05 PM, 35 min.) 0.520 million viewers
393. Sex & Murder “The Two Matthews” (HLN, late Sun. 5/15/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.357 million viewers
402. The Daily Show “May 12, 22 – Tribute To Gran” (CMDY, Thu. 5/12/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.331 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, Mon. 5/9/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.535 million adults 25-54
2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/11/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.490 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/10/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.475 million adults 25-54
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/10/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.462 million adults 25-54
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/12/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.452 million adults 25-54
6. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/12/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.443 million adults 25-54
7. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 5/12/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.426 million adults 25-54
8. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/9/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.419 million adults 25-54
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 5/10/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.418 million adults 25-54
10. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Tue. 5/10/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54
38. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/9/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.277 million adults 25-54
55. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Sat. 5/14/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.236 million adults 25-54
101. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/15/2022 11:05 PM, 35 min.) 0.194 million adults 25-54
132. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 600” (HBO, Fri. 5/13/2022 10:01 PM, 56 min.) 0.155 million adults 25-54
147. The Daily Show “May 12, 22 – Tribute To Gran” (CMDY, Thu. 5/12/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.149 million adults 25-54
200. Sex & Murder “The Two Matthews” (HLN, late Sun. 5/15/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.120 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
The Biggest Story in America According to Bill O’Reilly
According to O’Reilly, the biggest development in the country in recent weeks is the disastrous situation at our nation’s southern border.
Bill O’Reilly says the biggest story in America this month is mainly under-reported by politicians and the media. And its impact may extend much further than we can currently comprehend.
It’s not a Hollywood trial, exploding gas prices, economic pain, or a potential Supreme Court ruling.
According to O’Reilly, the biggest development in the country in recent weeks is the disastrous situation at our nation’s southern border. He joined the Glenn Beck Radio Program on Friday morning to discuss the country’s ongoing disaster and predicted that it will become the impetus for major developments in the next six to twelve months.
“Three million foreign nationals are estimated to cross just into Texas this year, this fiscal year,” O’Reilly began, chronicling the emerging siege of Texas’ border. “And a President doesn’t call the Governor of the state that has to deal with that one time? So everybody listening just says, oh, he’s just incompetent. It’s not that. And I keep telling everybody this, and few believe me. I think you do, Beck, but I’m not sure. The President of the United States does not know what he is doing. He is incapable of assimilating – word of the day – information. You can tell him something, and he’ll look at you, and maybe he’ll understand what you’re saying. But two minutes later, he will forget it.”
O’Reilly told Beck there are actual, devastating consequences for citizens when the President cannot seem to effectively react to or deal with this ballooning crisis.
“So Biden, who has not been to the border, another unbelievable occurrence, because if you add up the human toll of this, plus the narcotics traffic that’s killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, you add it up, this is a catastrophe,” O’Reilly said.
“I don’t believe the Constitution is a death pact. You know, it’s not a suicide pact.” Beck replied. “This is an invasion, and the government is doing nothing, and the government has the constitutional responsibility for the border, not the states. So that’s what’s kept the states out of it. But again, are we in a constitutional suicide pact?”
Responding to Beck, O’Reilly predicted that American citizens themselves are poised to react decisively.
“You elect a President; he comes into office. Americans have this idealistic view of that. Many times you elect someone who is destructive to the country. Alright, I mean many times. Not a few. Many. So what happens now?” O’Reilly asked rhetorically. “Well, everybody can whine and complain and talk about it, but what happens is this. In November, there is a course correction possible, whereby the American people would say, I recognize what a disaster Joe Biden is, and I’m sorry he’s the President. And if I voted for him, I made a mistake. So now I’m going to correct that mistake, and I’m going to give Congress the authority to deal with Biden. That’s our system. That’s how the Founders set it up.”
O’Reilly believes that this issue, among so many others going dreadfully wrong in America, such as punitive gas prices and unnecessary economic hardship, will galvanize voters to fight back in November.
“I fully expect that the Republicans will take both houses of Congress. I’ll be shocked if that doesn’t happen. Because of inflation, primarily, and the economy. That’s the driver of the vote. But second is the border,” O’Reilly predicted. “Now, once the Republicans take over, I can assure you articles of impeachment will be drawn up in January and February 2023 against Biden, on this issue. Dereliction of duty.”
And while the country endured the Democrat-fueled impeachment of our 45th president, O’Reilly thinks this time will be different. This time, he says, will be based on substance.
“He’s the commander in chief. This is dereliction of duty. Just like a corporal or a sergeant, if they were in the field with the military unit and they didn’t follow orders, that’s dereliction of duty. This is dereliction of duty,” O’Reilly said.
“Does everybody get this? Biden’s President, but he’s also the commander in chief of the armed forces. So you can impeach on those grounds. Now, will he be convicted in the Senate? Probably not. But it’ll be such a hammer blow to the country. The Trump impeachments were jokes. Everybody knew what that was. A setup by Pelosi on any grounds at all to embarrass Trump. This is much more serious because the numbers are there. The deaths are there. Verifiable. Not a phone call to Zelensky in Ukraine. This is people dying every day because their government will not stop the importation of deadly narcotics from Mexico. That’s what this is, and that is why this is the story of the week.”
Time will tell if Bill O’Reilly’s prognostication proves true and whether the lack of border security will continue to mushroom as a focal issue for voters.
If he is correct, what we are seeing in May will become an even bigger catalyst in January.