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Best Network Moments of Election Week

Taking a look back at some of the most notable moments from network news coverage of the 2020 election.

Evan Donovan



CNN: Van’s Tears

Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper and the gang handled Election Night coverage with ease, but it was an emotional moment from Van Jones that stuck out–and went viral.

“It’s easier to be a parent this morning,” Jones said. “It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids, ‘character matters.'”

Honorable Mention: John King (see NBC: Steve Kornacki)

Fox News: Fact Checks

Several fact checks over the past week at America’s most-watched cable news network have garnered attention from viewers on both sides.

On Friday, Fox News reporter Eric Shawn responded to anchor Dana Perino’s question about the Trump campaign’s claim that its poll watchers were not allowed to watch ballot counting.

“That’s not true,” Shawn replied. “It’s not true. It’s just not true. Republicans have been in that room, where they’re supposed to be, standing alongside the Democrats.”

“In fact,” Shawn added, “the lawyers for the Trump campaign last night in federal court admitted that. They indicated that there were at one point 19 Republican watchers in the room. They’re unhappy with the fact that they were 25 feet away. The federal judge said they’ve gotta be 6 feet away. That’s the issue.”

Then on Monday, Fox Business News anchor Neil Cavuto got in on the action, dumping out of a press conference from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany after she made then-unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. 

Last week, the network was also the first to call Arizona for Joe Biden, a move that saved America from even more divisiveness and outraged the president, who spent much of the week tweeting and retweeting criticisms of the network.

NBC/MSNBC: Kornacki Mania

Steve Kornacki became a thing this election. HeIsAThing. While thirsty ladies parched from the pandemic fawned over His Nerdiness, Kornacki manned the maps and tabulated votes real-time — with no sleep for days on end.

The man even got his own emoji! If that’s not Nerdvana, I don’t know what is.

Shout out to CNN’s John King, who crushed the big board just as well as Steve but didn’t get as much attention.

ABC: Behind the Veil

Overall coverage was good, but Jimmy Kimmel’s behind-the-scenes interview of George Stephanopoulos, in the pregnant hours before Election Night coverage began, was fantastic.  

Stephanopoulos provides an insider’s perspective that’s hard to find in the person anchoring your political coverage.

“I actually interviewed for a job with Joe Biden back in 1987,” Stephanopoulos told Kimmel. 

Of course, his blue background rankles Republicans, but some believe showing your true colors can lead to more trust with the audience. And viewers seem to agree: a recent poll showed Stephanopoulos is one of the most trusted television news anchors in America.

CBS: Colbert Reports

Election Night may not be its thing. CBS lagged behind in the ratings, but it’s news credentials are legendary. Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes might be the two best news shows on television.

Lucky for CBS, it has a comedian who doubles as a fake news anchor. And a cable movie channel to put him on when it’s busy with straight news.

Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Special returned four years after its debut for what one can only hope is a new quadrennial tradition. Colbert makes people laugh while being informative, and doing the show live on Election Night brings out his best.

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Frank Morano Knows He Has Overnight Radio Provides a Completely Difference Audience

“In overnight radio, you are often in a different frame of mind than you are throughout the rest of the day.”

Ryan Hedrick



A photo of Frank Morano
(Photo: Red Apple Media)

The overnight show originating from 77 WABC — The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano — is one of the fastest-growing syndicated programs in the country. Frank Morano is deeply in love with the overnight airwaves. It’s a passion that defies the usual radio conventions, where prestigious dayparts like mornings and afternoons steal the spotlight. 

The show hosted by Frank Morano stands out from the rest by covering stories and topics that many other hosts neglect. He carves a different path from the usual route and gives his loyal audience a fresh perspective. As a result, every moment of listening to his show is truly special and one-of-a-kind. 

Just three years ago, 77 WABC was struggling with low ratings and had been forgotten by many. However, under the leadership of John Catsimatidis, the station has been brought to new heights. One of the notable decisions made by John was to hire Frank Morano to host overnights. Many industry professionals believe that the lifelong passion of Catsmiatidis for radio has allowed him to transform 77 WABC into a hub for engaging and locally focused discussions featuring a wide range of perspectives and fascinating individuals.

From Morano’s perspective, John Catsimatidis has not only saved a radio station, but he has also rekindled the magic of radio for an entire city. 

During an interview with Barrett News Media, Frank Morano shared his intense passion for overnight radio, discussed how recent changes in New York City have given him a fresh perspective on his listening audience, and expressed his admiration for John Catsimatidis, the owner of WABC and Red Apple Audio Networks.

Ryan Hedrick: Tell me about your unique overnight timeslot and why it appeals to you. 

Frank Morano: The listenership is incredibly diverse. The early part of the show tends to be dominated by people who stay up late. The later part of the show tends to be dominated by people who get up early and start their day a little early.

Throughout the show, you’re really treated to being listened to by people who can’t sleep, suffering from insomnia, doing an unexpected airport run, they’re working, and a lot of Uber drivers, truck drivers, and security guards.

People frequently tell me that they try to stay up and listen to the show even though they don’t have a reason to be up. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. I’ve worked a lot of other dayparts in radio, as both a host and producer, and overnight radio to me is special because you have the opportunity to delve deep into a subject.  

RH: What do you think of John Catsimatidis’ job as owner of WABC Radio and turning the station around? 

FM: Whole books can be written about the job John and the Catsimatidis family have done bringing back WABC. In New York, they call WABC “Lazarus” because it is the station that has returned from the dead. Three years ago, this station was nowhere in the ratings. And now, it’s routinely beating almost every AM station in the market.

I think John is so good at this, not because he necessarily has a lifetime of working in radio, but because he’s been a radio fan his whole life. He’s programmed his station to do the kinds of things that fans want to hear, which is compelling, primarily live and local talk from a variety of different perspectives with a whole bunch of interesting people bringing it to you.  

Many of the folks on our station, like Rudy Giuliani, Anthony Weiner, and Bill O’Reilly, are not necessarily folks that would have the opportunity at just a standard, corporate-owned radio station. John’s philosophy is that if it’s good radio, he’ll allow people to be heard and build an audience.  

RH: Tell me more about yourself. I’m interested to know about your background, where you came from, and your professional experience.  

Frank Morano: I’ve worked in radio for the better part of 20 years. A lot of that time has been spent as a producer. I was a producer for Curtis & Kuby, then for Curtis Sliwa’s solo show, Joe Piscopo, John Gambling; I worked with a lot of other hosts along the way.

Maybe about 11 years ago, while I was still producing the morning show at AM 970 (The Answer in New York), I had always been filling in for a lot of different hosts, including several of the ones I just mentioned, while I was still producing the morning show on 970, I started hosting a weekly show. I was doing mornings from 2:00-4:00 AM. I did that for a year and a half, and then I was doing Friday night into Saturday night, and then I was doing Sunday mornings. I did that for about three years until I came to WABC to do the overnight show.

About a year ago, they started syndicating the overnight show. Now, we are on a couple of great dozen radio stations across the country. The show continues to grow, and I am grateful for that.  

RH: When you started as a producer, did you envision your growth as a talk show host? 

FM: Yes, absolutely. It’s the only thing that I envisioned. I certainly enjoyed working with many of the hosts I did over the years, but really, the thing that sustained me was the goal of doing what I do now. As far as I am concerned, if this is my last job for the rest of my life, that would be fine with me.  

RH: There are numerous late-night listening options in New York City. How have you managed to grow your audience despite the competition? 

Frank Morano: I get such a buzz out of being able to do this that I’m really energized every time I come to the microphone at 1:00 AM. On the one hand, it is a new challenge to be interesting and do something different than what I did the day before, but also to do something different from all the other radio talk shows.  

Really, one of the things that I strive to do is if all the other talk shows are talking about one topic, I try to do the opposite. If I’m going to do that same topic, I try to find a different perspective or a different way of approaching it than everybody else. I’m sure it will frustrate listeners who will tune in to me expecting to hear you more commentary about the migrants or Hunter Biden, and I’m talking about something completely light years removed from that. But people have responded to the show. They say that they really welcome that.  

They welcome a break from the things that everybody else is doing. Because, you know, overnight radio, you are often in a different frame of mind than you are throughout the rest of the day. A lot of times, you have already heard all the news that everybody is talking about. People have already formed opinions about it, and you’re up for something different.   

RH: Who are the people who have influenced and inspired your journey as a WABC host? 

FM: The obvious answer is John Catsimatidis. He’s given me every opportunity and is largely the person standing between me and homelessness right now (laughs). But beyond John, you know, Curtis Sliwa has certainly been a mentor to me. I worked with Curtis not only in radio but in the political sphere when we were in the leadership of a political party together for, you know, on, on and off for about 19 or 20 years.  

RH: New York has undergone significant changes since the pandemic, and the migrant crisis has only added to the city’s negative portrayal in the media. How has this affected the topics discussed on your show? 

FM: In some respects, New York is changing. A lot of the people who used to listen to me because they lived in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens now, listen to me online as they’ve relocated to North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. New York is still a place where everyone’s always angry at the mayor.

Whoever the mayor is, they’re always passionate about whatever the big local news of the day is. Everyone’s always concerned about crime. Everyone’s always concerned about their streets being dirty. Everyone’s always concerned about why there are so many rats around. And even though the population has shifted, not only are there more foreign-born New Yorkers, but there are younger New Yorkers that are from places like Kansas and Nebraska.

So, the population has changed to some extent. But I’ve learned from many of these transplanted New Yorkers who have moved to places like Florida that you know the adage is true: you could take the New Yorker out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the New Yorker.  

RH: Your show continues to attract new affiliates for syndicator Red Apple Audio. What do you attribute this growth to? 

Frank Morano: I think the growth is due in part to the fact that even though I sound like a New Yorker and tell a lot of New York stories, the fact that there are so many New Yorkers elsewhere, in some respects, we’re kind of like being a Jewish deli. In that, there are a lot of folks who want a slice of home wherever they happen to be.  

We’re on WCBM in Maryland, for instance, in Baltimore, and we get calls from there all the time from folks that grew up in New York or New Jersey and say they really enjoy hearing about some of the different personalities and hearing many of these different accents. I think also it’s that we’re kind of doing old-fashioned overnight talk radio.

My sense in listening to the radio, which I still do all the time, is that many people on the radio almost do this because they can’t be on television or they can’t be social media influencers.  

I’m interested in doing theater of the mind, creating pictures with words, making sound effects, and using my hands and mouth at the microphone. There are fewer and fewer of those options on the radio these days.  As far as how the show has evolved, it’s similar to where it was three years ago. 

Maybe we do a bit less local content now that we’re syndicated, but honestly, so many of the stories that New Yorkers deal with and the issues they care about are the same issues that the whole country is dealing with. Even if people listen in Nevada, Michigan, or Alaska, a lot of times, they’re still just as interested in hearing about which place has better pizza in New York.  

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Even at 70, Connecticut Radio Legend Joe D’Ambrosio Still Passionate About Radio

“I don’t think I will be like John Sterling (Yankees radio announcer) and be 85, but as long as I’m sharp, I love it.”



A photo of Joe D'Ambrosio
(Photo: Joe D'Ambrosio)

Eight national titles – all called on the radio. He’s also done local Radio. National radio. Television. Sports. News. Music.

But sports made him as close to a one-name icon as the state of Connecticut may have. Let’s face it. Connecticut is a small state, and in its sporting universe, there is no major pro sports team.

There is only UConn.

And after Jim Calhoun, Geno Auriemma, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Ray Allen … the next most-known name for many: Joe D.

Joe D? Joe D!

Joe D’Ambrosio is his full name, and he called four national championships for the UConn Men’s basketball team and four for the women.

“I’m 8-0,” he acknowledged.

“I have to admit, I did make sure to enjoy the moment during the great days with UConn,” said Joe D, pointing to the late 90s and early 2000s as the heyday for radio in the state.

“I never took broadcasting those games for granted, and years later, people see me and still talk about the ’99 National Championship game, or the Kemba (Walker) shot against Pitt in the Big East tournament, or the football win in ’09 at Notre Dame.”

Unfortunately, his station lost broadcast rights a few years back, and he no longer had the marquee teams and the national rankings to talk about. In his late 60’s, Joe D had to call an audible if you will.

First, he did sports and news for the flagship morning show on Connecticut local juggernaut WTIC 1080 (of course, my station). When he became a free agent, he did some international travel and then came back ready to reinvent himself.

And that he did.

Now 70, it’s especially impressive not only because of his age (not sure I could do it at 52!) but also because of this insanely fragmented media world in which we live.

He DJs for a music radio station, WJMJ, works endlessly for the UConn athletics streaming service, and even does play-by-play for the local professional soccer team and a few high school games here and there, too.

“I love what I’m doing now,” said Joe D. “Playing music at WJMJ takes me back to how I started my career, and I still love being a part of the UConn scene.”

For UConn, he’s doing everything but basketball and football. Soccer. Hockey. Baseball. Lacrosse, both men’s and women’s. Recently, in a two-day span, he went from college soccer to volleyball, seamlessly. That means learning rosters from scratch and even doing a sport (volleyball) he had no previous experience announcing.

“That was an interesting two days,” he admitted. “I had never done volleyball before, and I really enjoyed it. It was like anything else, do as much preparation as possible, try and learn the rule book (or at least the important rules), and then go with the game flow.

“The interesting thing was doing both games by myself. It meant trying to balance talking too much but making sure I still slid in some analysis, especially with soccer.”

Streaming also presents a different approach. It’s radio and TV, as some people listen in the car but many watch on phones and computers. That definitely necessitated a slight shift in style. Sure, he allows some of the images to speak for themselves, but if you listen, the energy still feels like Joe D on the radio.

“Play-by-play has always been what I’ve enjoyed the most. Being able to paint the word picture for viewers or listeners is still enjoyable,” D’Ambrosio said.

Streaming or no streaming, in the end, he’s still a radio guy through and through.

“There will always be a place for radio,” he said. ”The immediacy that radio has — especially when it comes to being able to parse out information immediately — will never end. “I still love the ability to communicate with the unknown listener on the other side of the dial. The fact that I can entertain the listeners is still the best part of the job.”

If he had to pivot again, Joe D knows he could – because he’s a sports guy.

“I always think sports people are the most versatile broadcasters,” said D’Ambrosio, something many in the industry think as well (ahem, me!). “A sportscaster can do just about anything with time to prep.”

As for how much longer he wants to be on the air, it sounds like it’ll be a while.

“I don’t think I will be like John Sterling (Yankees radio announcer) and be 85, but as long as I’m sharp, I love it.”

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MSNBC Narrowly Edges Fox News in Latest Trump Indictment Coverage

For the first time in a case against former President Donald Trump, there were cameras in the courtroom.

Doug Pucci



A photo of the new MSNBC studio
(Photo: MSNBC)

On Wednesday, September 6th, the first hearing in the Georgia 2020 election interference case took place in Fulton County. For the first time in a case against former President Donald Trump, there were cameras in the courtroom, and MSNBC and Fox News were the beneficiaries.

The alleged misconduct of Trump and his 18 co-defendants — including pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell — in the case is tied to the state’s RICO law: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

From 1:00-3:00 PM ET on September 6th, MSNBC (1.135 million) and Fox News (1.134 million) were in an approximate share of the lead among total viewers for live hearing coverage on cable. While CNN trailed behind with 927,000 viewers, it topped all of cable news within the key 25-54 demographic, drawing 158,000, according to Nielsen Media Research. FNC had 143,000 and MSNBC 111,000.

Cable news averages for September 4-10, 2023:

Total Day (Sep. 4-10 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.032 million viewers; 131,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.732 million viewers; 80,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.473 million viewers; 83,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.179 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.134 million viewers; 36,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.101 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.111 million viewers; 27,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.105 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.053 million viewers; 11 ,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Sep. 4-9 @ 8-11 p.m.; Sep. 10 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.550 million viewers; 174,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.021 million viewers; 103,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.586 million viewers; 108,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.331 million viewers; 35,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.077 million viewers; 17,000 adults 25-54

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

1. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.689 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.633 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 9/7/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.626 million viewers

4. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.391 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 9/8/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.368 million viewers

6. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.249 million viewers

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Thu. 9/7/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.155 million viewers

8. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.061 million viewers

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.024 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.997 million viewers

12. Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC, Tue. 9/5/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.868 million viewers

115. CNN Films “Little Richard” (CNN, Mon. 9/4/2023 9:00 PM, 120 min.) 1.036 million viewers

398. Varney & Company (FBN, Thu. 9/7/2023 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.314 million viewers

402. Forensic Files (HLN, late Fri. 9/8/2023 1:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.305 million viewers

454. Heavy Rescue: 401 “(311) Only One Shot” (TWC, Sat. 9/9/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.245 million viewers

474. Fast Money Halftime Report (CNBC, Fri. 9/8/2023 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.229 million viewers

750. Newsnation Prime (NWSN, Sat. 9/9/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.121 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.357 million adults 25-54

2. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.305 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.270 million adults 25-54

4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 9/7/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.258 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.249 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.246 million adults 25-54

7. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Tue. 9/5/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.245 million adults 25-54

8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.239 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 9/8/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.232 million adults 25-54

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/6/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.225 million adults 25-54

13. All In with Chris Hayes (MSNBC, Wed. 9/6/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.207 million adults 25-54

21. The Source with Kaitlan Collins (CNN, Tue. 9/5/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.197 million adults 25-54

241. Forensic Files (HLN, late Fri. 9/8/2023 1:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.088 million adults 25-54

295. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sun. 9/10/2023 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.074 million adults 25-54

469. Fast Money Halftime Report (CNBC, Wed. 9/6/2023 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.047 million adults 25-54

641. Banfield (NWSN, Fri. 9/8/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.032 million adults 25-54

684. Varney & Company (FBN, Thu. 9/7/2023 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.029 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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