Using Experience to Enhance News Broadcasts
“Everyone has a podcast.”
A few months ago I was having a conversation with someone else in the media industry and they offered up this sentiment as a complaint and critique of the current landscape.
It reminded me of a very similar quote from one of my all-time favorite television shows, Parks and Recreation. Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom Haverford, explains to his boss why he’s so obsessed with screens and is non-stop on his phone consuming media.
“Everyone has a podcast, and they’re all awesome,” he said.
That quote really resonated with me, because it’s true. In today’s day and age, everyone is able to host and produce and create content in some way shape or form. That doesn’t mean you have to listen. It just opens the door for multiple opinions, experiences, ideas and creativity.
For example, the Nacho Average Podcast, where Haverford and his friend rate different nachos.
I find myself consuming a ton of different audio on a daily basis. Whether that’s live radio, or podcasts, or a video stream of a podcast, if you’re bold enough to put yourself out there, and the content piques my interest, i’ll definitely give it a chance.
Admittedly, though, I do have a quick hook.
And when it comes to news media – my area of focus here at Barrett News Media – I appreciate when hosts bends the rules we learned in Journalism 101.
The year is 2021, the second a news story breaks the good people at Apple already know if that story is of interest to me, or if the information if pertinent to my location and safety. Before news radio stations can even hit the breaking news hot key, a push notification has been sent to my home screen. Unfortunately, I don’t need to tune in to most stations for an update. It’s already in my pocket.
But most consumers of media want more. I don’t just want a headline written by someone 3,000 miles away. I prefer information and insight from someone who covers the area, who has driven on the local streets and knows a thing or two about the people in the community, and cares about them.
When it comes to news radio hosts, don’t be part of the story, but give listeners your true opinion on a subject based on your experiences. It adds an element of personality that you can’t get anywhere else. It allows consumers to be educated by a voice and experience they already trust. If you’re just reading a headline, listeners are switching to the next show or pod.
This is why diversity is so important in a news room, but more on that at a later date.
Cory Hepola is a host on News Talk 830 WCCO in Minneapolis. He’s a white guy with glasses, great hair and three of the cutest kids you will ever see. They’re black.
So last summer, when Minneapolis was at the center of the country’s racial conversation, his experience and commentary on a lot of the conversation, mattered a great deal. He was able to discuss in-depth what it’s like to grow up a white person in this country, juxtaposed against what it’s like to raise black children, and how the rules and conversations are different.
That experience had to be eye opening for a lot of listeners. A first hand account of real-life situations. Listeners wouldn’t have learned as much as they did had Hepola steered clear and only read the headline.
Not everyone agreed with everything he had to say, I’m sure, there are always doubters and deniers of your truth, but it was an important message, based on experience, that needed to be told.
I asked him about the fine line between discussing a news story and adding in personal anecdotes.
“I think there needs to be more transparency on what is “news” and what is opinion,” he said. “Far too many people are confusing facts and commentary. People need to take more personal responsibility to understand the difference, while some of it is a personal choice to follow a slant because it corroborates one’s own beliefs.
“That all said, it depends on a person’s job. If you’re a news reporter, you may end up diving into a story that you’re passionate about because you feel connected to it or it mirrors an experience you had. But it’s your job to tell the story accurately without making yourself the center.”
And that’s the key. His experience to a story may not be everyone’s. He’s certainly not the center of the story, but telling his truth enhances the report and allows people to think for themselves and maybe develop empathy and understanding for someone in a situation vastly different than their own.
Some may deny what he says, and others may have their eyes opened by it. Just stay away from the Twitter mentions.
In a world of around-the-clock news and headlines, if a local news radio host can relate, and is open to offering up their experiences to compliment a story, it’s going to captivate more audiences than just script reading.
The Daily Podcast from The New York Times doesn’t just read the headlines, they talk to experts who live and study the subject matter.
In a simpler form, what if Haverford didn’t actually eat and experience the nachos he talked about on his podcast, do you think the fictional characters of Pawnee would have listened?
Tony Cartagena is a former contributor to Barrett News Media. He has previously served as a Digital Content Manager for Audacy Minneapolis, a reporter and producer for ESPN Cleveland, Director of Content for ESPN Madison, and a producer for ‘Wilde & Tausch’. You can reach him on Twitter @TonyCartagena or by email at TonyJCartagena@gmail.com.
1110 KFAB Adds Emery Songer as Afternoon Host
“My wife and I can’t wait to be a part of the Omaha community and meet all the amazing people that make this city move.”
1110 KFAB has added Emery Songer as the station’s new afternoon host.
Songer has previously worked as the morning show producer at 1040 WHO in Des Moines since 2018. Both stations are owned by iHeartMedia.
“I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity to be a part of Omaha and the KFAB team,” said Songer. “My wife and I can’t wait to be a part of the Omaha community and meet all the amazing people that make this city move.”
He will begin on Monday, June 26th. The afternoon show will be heard from 2:00-6:00 PM.
“Emery will continue KFAB’s nearly 100-year-old tradition of on-air personalities who are passionate about connecting with the community we serve,” said 1110 KFAB Program Director Scott Voorhees. “It’s not about hammering an agenda; it’s about entertaining and relevant conversations of interest to Omaha/Council Bluffs and the surrounding area.”
Joe Pags: Viewers Would Give CNN Another Try if John Catsimatidis Bought It
“People are willing to come back. People are willing to see what you would do.”
77 WABC owner John Catsimatidis has publicly shared he’d be interested in purchasing CNN, and would only command a $1 yearly salary to have the opportunity to operate the station. Joe Pags believes it could be exactly what the network needs.
During a conversation with Catsimatidis Thursday evening, Pags shared that his listeners had simply written off CNN.
“Early on in the program, I mentioned that you were making an offer for CNN. I opened up my phone lines, and they melted down,” said Pags. “I asked my listeners: Would you give CNN another chance? Now, John, my listeners don’t wanna give CNN another chance.
“But when I asked them that question and I told them who you were and the offer that you were making, they — to a person — said ‘Yeah, I’ll give them another try’. So people are willing to come back. People are willing to see what you would do.”
Pags then asked if there was a realistic possibility that Catsimatidis could purchase the network from Warner Bros. Discovery.
“I think it’s real. I think it could happen, but we need some common sense to preside,” Catsimatidis said.
Megyn Kelly: Fox Wants to ‘Keep Tucker Carlson Muzzled’ Through 2025
“He was not fired, he was just booted off the show. They continue to pay him because they want to keep him muzzled through at least 2025.”
On Thursday’s episode of The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn Kelly spoke with Chadwick Moore, author of the forthcoming book Tucker, to talk about Tucker Carlson’s first Tucker on Twitter episode and the news surrounding Fox’s reputation as a network post-Tucker.
Megyn Kelly started the show with a clip from the first episode of Tucker on Twitter, then followed up with the response he received from Fox lawyers.
“He reportedly got a letter from Fox News saying you breached your contract. You are required to stay exclusive to us because remember, as I first reported, he was not fired, he was just booted off the show. They continue to pay him because they want to keep him muzzled through at least 2025.
“Fox’s lawyer said something about him rendering services? Well, I don’t know if he’s actually rendering services if it’s not getting paid. What I was told initially is that Twitter is not mentioned in his noncompete, and that is why I suppose that Fox News employees are allowed to use Twitter to express their opinions on issues of the day and that would be apparently what Tucker did in this.”
“He’s not making money, he’s not an employee of Elon Musk or partnering with Elon Musk in any way and Fox people have said that they’re committed to keeping him off the air until 2025, until after the election is over and his contract runs out in early 2025,” said Moore.
“I’m gonna get into the ratings but they’re absolutely abysmal in his time slot throughout the prime time,” Kelly argued. “I don’t know if we’re calling there’s a boycott or just people are done, it’s not like a temporary thing.”
She then looked to her notes for the yearly comparison, “Year over year Fox lost 62%.“
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.