Media Coverage Pivots Now That Biden is President
The questions that need to be of top importance starting this week for all hosts: What is affecting my audience today?
Wednesday, January, 20th, 2020 was Inauguration Day. Joe Biden became President and Donald Trump went to Mar-a-Lago where he is now a former President. For those of us who voted for Donald Trump twice (which I did), or even once, it stinks. Many of us are not confident in the direction the country will go under Joe Biden and there is a lot of recent evidence to suggest he may not be the almighty unifier he insists he wants to, and is going to, be.
But our guy didn’t win and for News Talk hosts, there is a fine line to talk in continuing a story that may be passionate amongst the base, but won’t change anything in anyone’s life moving forward. The President’s legal team went through every legal option it had, although it’s important to note even the legal team wasn’t alleging fraud under oath, and while there are, and will remain, concerns over things like Secretaries of State and judges changing the election rules in the weeks leading up to the election, it’s not going to change the fact that Joe Biden is the President.
For some voters, they will want to spend every day of the next four years talking about a “stolen election”. I compare this individual to the guy who is talking about his high school football career when he’s 48 years old. No one cares anymore. At least most don’t, outside of maybe his mother.
There is a caveat to all this: If there are stories that come out in the weeks or months ahead that are regarding voting issues, state legislatures passing bills to prevent some of what happened in specific states, etc., then suddenly that’s a topic of the day. That is a news story with legs that is changing and brings new perspective to the conversation.
But barring that, the 2020 Election cycle is over. I admit, it lasted weeks longer than I anticipated, due to events none of us could have ever predicted. However now the real work starts.
The last 3-4 months have been easy as hosts. It’s been politics, politics, politics and, oh, more politics. The questions that need to be of top importance starting this week for all hosts: What is affecting my audience today? COVID-19 vaccines, getting kids back into school and crime rates that are skyrocketing in many cities in the country are just some of the items that immediately come to mind. Those are issues that more people in the audience are likely thinking about when they wake up tomorrow, rather than simply stewing over “stolen elections”. I suppose the P1, that many in News Talk are over reliant on, may want it every day. But I can only speak for myself in saying that I’m ready to move on and get back to serving my local audience in Kansas City as best as I can. Sure, there is a risk associated to it, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take as we try to maintain what has likely been a larger audience in recent weeks due to the news cycle we’ve had. How do I maintain it? All I can say is I’d rather be the guy looking ahead and planning for what’s most engaging to move forward with the audience over being the 48-year-old guy sitting at a bar with a Miller Lite talking about the game-winning catch I made in the 1989 State Championship Game. After two minutes, that guy becomes boring, stale and predictable, and I’m thinking hosts with that mindset soon might as well.
Pete Mundo is the morning show host and program director for KCMO in Kansas City. Previously, he was a fill-in host nationally on FOX News Radio and CBS Sports Radio, while anchoring for WFAN, WCBS News Radio 880, and Bloomberg Radio. Pete was also the sports and news director for Omni Media Group at K-1O1/Z-92 in Woodward, Oklahoma. He’s also the owner of the Big 12-focused digital media outlet Heartland College Sports. To interact, find him on Twitter @PeteMundo.
Dave Rubin: Twitter Spaces Glitches ‘Not A Big Deal’ During DeSantis Announcement
“Could they have done more so that it would’ve been a little smoother? Obviously. Are they trying something that’s a cutting-edge technology and there’s gonna be some bugs? Yeah.”
On the latest episode of his podcast, The Rubin Report, Dave Rubin weighed in on Ron DeSantis’ Twitter announcement, sharing his behind-the-scenes perspective.
Rubin has been an avid and early DeSantis supporter, advocating for his COVID policies and relocating to Florida during the pandemic. Rubin began the show by making it clear he does not take any money from the DeSantis campaign, he said, “I have never been nor would ever take a dime from the campaign, I will be very clear about that right now.”
Rubin went on to address his perspective on DeSantis’ decision to launch his presidential campaign on Twitter and the technical difficulties that started it off on a bumpy road.
“Now, I do want to address the Twitter Spaces thing because I was at Twitter, I was actually right outside Twitter as the space was going on listening on my earbuds and then I was upstairs at Twitter right after with Elon and a David Sacks in the group.
“There were some technical difficulties up top. It took them about 20 minutes. There were so many people flooding the system.”
Rubin advocated for DeSantis and minimized the issue in reference to the new ground he is attempting to break.
“Could they have done more so that it would’ve been a little smoother? Obviously. Are they trying something that’s a cutting-edge technology and there’s gonna be some bugs? Yeah. I don’t think it turned out to be a big deal.”
He then described the all-facts, no-show approach DeSantis is appearing to take, in contrast to Trump, “I think that’s what we’re getting from DeSantis right now. It’s like a serious person, like here’s what I’ve done, and what I will do, and here’s why I’m going to do it.”
Rubin also addressed the widespread speculation surrounding questions being screened for DeSantis prior to being asked in the Twitter Space, “I talked to Sacks after, and he 100% did not screen the questions. I was actually in there there’s a way that you can sort of signal that you wanna ask a question.”
Maddy Troy serves as a writer and editor for Barrett News Media, with a specific focus on media business, advertising, and podcasting. You can find her on Twitter @Troy_Maddy.
Nick Kayal: There’s A Battle Brewing Between Fox News and MSNBC
“I’d love to be in one of those meetings where they say ‘Ok, how do we balance — we wanna make more money, but I’d love to have 2.7 million viewers and not 1.6 (million).”
Fox News has been subject to a ratings dip after it unceremoniously fired Tucker Carlson late last month. 1210 WPHT morning host Nick Kayal noted there’s a fight brewing between the network and MSNBC.
“This is interesting with Fox News. Now, it’s still early, so I’m not going to say ‘Oh my God, Fox News is dead. Bury ’em, they’re gone, forget about ’em’, but MSNBC is beating Fox in last week’s ratings,” the Kayal & Company host said Friday. “They’re beating them in many different demos and dayparts. And not just at night. Morning Joe beat FOX & Friends by almost 100,000 viewers…Sean Hannity gets crushed by Rachel Maddow, and Laurence O’Donnell is beating Laura Ingraham.
“So, if I’m Fox, and I’m looking at my primetime ratings right now, Hannity is losing to MSNBC, Ingraham is losing to MSNBC, I’m beating MSNBC with a bunch of rotating fill-in dudes, and gals. The only thing I feel good about is Jesse Watters at 7:00 PM ET, is doubling up Joy Reid. I feel good about 8:00 PM ET. I have no consistency in that spot, and it’s still beating MSNBC in that 8 o’clock spot.
“And we gave you that story about how a lot advertisers coming back to Fox in that 8 o’clock spot, because Tucker Carlson wasn’t deemed to be advertiser-friendly ’cause he had the most stones to say stuff that others won’t say and go into topics others won’t go into.”
Kayal then noted that the network could be pulled in two directions due to an increased revenue but a decrease in total audience.
“It’s interesting because if you think about the balance, you’re making more money, but you’re not getting as many eyeballs. I’d love to be in one of those meetings where they say ‘Ok, how do we balance — we wanna make more money, but I’d love to have 2.7 million viewers and not 1.6 (million). Very interesting dynamic. MSNBC has picked up in some other spots, not named the Tucker Carlson spot. I don’t know if that has sustainability or lasting power. But it seems there’s a little bit of a battle between Fox and MSNBC.”
Mark Arum: Less Than 10% Of Our Audience Listens on AM Radio
“The decline of AM radio listenership has been substantial.”
The potential demise of AM radio has been a hot-button issue in news radio circles, despite a recent victory with Ford announcing it would resume placing the band back into its 2024 models. 95.5 WSB host Mark Arum noted that while AM radio has been an important part of the station’s past, it doesn’t hold much weight in 2023.
“WSB Radio is 101 years old. You’ve heard amazing stuff on AM 750 throughout the years,” Arum said, as the station played the clip of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974.
“So many amazing and historical moments happened on AM 750. Now, I know the majority of you are probably listening to the FM stream at 95.5 online or on the app. There’s a million ways to do it. The decline of AM radio listenership has been substantial. I believe, at last check, less than 10% of our listeners listen on our AM signal. The future of AM radio has been in doubt,” Arum said.
“I am an unabashed lover of AM radio. I used to listen with a little transistor radio underneath the covers. I’ve been fearful of the future of AM radio.”
Jeffery Gilbert of Newsradio WWJ 950 in Detroit joined Arum to discuss the situation, and when asked if the move to remove AM radio from vehicles was a political one, he said that was a shortsighted view.
“I think it’s a money issue, not a political issue. Because carmakers are always looking for every cost advantage they can get. It’s why you don’t see CD players in vehicles anymore. They cost money, they add weight, and people don’t want them anymore. I think Ford was getting a little ahead of everybody else, feeling that AM radio was something like that, that it was something they could get rid of easily…Quite frankly, until we as broadcasters give people a lot more on AM, it’s going to continue to be an issue.”