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Kraig Kitchin: Radio Has Seen Radical Transformation

“If I had told somebody in 1979 that you could watch your favorite television show all day long, from a device that you carry…that’s one of your many forms of competition.”

Ryan Hedrick

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A photo of Kraig T. Kitchin

The extensive experience Kraig Kitchin has in the radio industry is undeniable. He has worked alongside renowned personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Steve Harvey, and Casey Kasem. His contributions have been instrumental in shaping the industry as we know it today. As the co-founder of Premiere Networks and the current President of Sound Mind, a management firm for talented individuals, Kitchin continues to lead and innovate.

Before his current position, he served as the President/COO of Premiere Radio Networks, the country’s leading radio network with 90 programs syndicated to over 4,600 affiliates. Kitchin’s remarkable success story is a testament to his dedication and groundbreaking achievements, starting from humble beginnings and reaching the very top of the industry.

In a recent interview with Dan Granger on The Media Roundtable, Kitchin discussed his journey in establishing Premiere Networks and the changing landscape of the radio industry. When asked to reflect on his beginnings in radio in 1979 and provide advice for the next 45 years, Kitchin emphasized the importance of radio stations refraining from believing they hold a monopoly on audio consumption for the entire population.

“It’s not going to have a lock. There are going to be innovations that come along, and whether it’s satellite radio, internet radio, podcasting, or audio streaming, all these things are about to happen in 45 years, and just like society looks to improve itself in every way, radio has to look to improve itself in every way.”

Throughout Kitchin’s professional journey, he had the advantage of being involved in both the advertising and content sectors. He discussed the transformations in the mindset required for those who oversee content today compared to when he first entered the industry in the late 1970s.

“Today, you have to imagine an audio consumer is being attracted to video experiences in a more plentiful number of ways,” he said. “If I had told somebody in 1979 that you could watch your favorite television show all day long, from a device that you keep or carry, that’s not connected to any wires, and you could watch for hours and hours, that’s one of your many forms of competition.”

Kitchin further explained that the well-known personalities we were familiar with from AM/FM radio stations are now in competition with the audio renaissance initiated by satellite radio and then was significantly amplified by the rise of podcasts and audio streaming, surpassing our wildest imaginations. He stated that currently, up to three million podcasters generate content, which is more than what a bookstore could offer at any given time.

“I would have worked hard to develop a strong bench of personalities,” Kitchin said reflectively. “There was a time in the radio industry when contraction and consolidation took hold. Hundreds, if not thousands of really talented on-air personalities were told to go home, find another career, or the musical chairs game in their career came to an end, and they were left without a seat.”

Kitchin founded Premiere Networks in 1987, noting that the threshold for entry into the syndicated radio market was relatively low. Since consolidation had yet to occur, numerous broadcasters were still in operation at the time. He stated that if you could produce a quality radio program with national appeal, managers and executives were receptive to exploring how the broadcaster could fulfill the demand for ratings and revenue.

“Syndication was an early concept; Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, had patterned it. He was the first one who brought it to scale. There were companies like Mutual Broadcasting Systems, NBC’s The Source, and ABC Radio Network, but no individual syndication company affiliated with these owned and operated had taken root. Norm Pattiz’s instigation to create live music events and concerts that radio stations could affiliate with opened the door for other radio stations to say ‘What good ideas are out there?'”

Kitchin stated that the foundation of Premiere Networks rested upon the notion that certain program concepts could captivate radio audiences without requiring payment for the content. Instead, they could exchange commercial time in return. According to Kitchin, this approach played a vital role in the triumph of radio syndication.

According to him, local content production for a radio station is influenced by the size and economic composition of the market it serves. He noted that the competition for consumer spending has intensified, resulting in some changes, such as the closure of influential newspapers.

“We know that there is the same number of populaces that are living in those communities, now they’re getting their information in different ways,” Kitchin said. “Whether it’s avant-garde as unsubstantiated material or it might be shared in a tweet, in an Instagram post, or on Next Door Neighbor, whatever communication tool to keep people connected does exist. The common dominator now is what’s interesting to this audience.” 

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Media Business

Benztown to Host Programming Webinar Featuring Dr. Ed Cohen and Mike McVay

“In today’s radio environment where every quarter-hour matters, there are quarter-hours hidden everywhere.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo promoting a Benztown webinar featuring Mike McVay and Dr. Ed Cohen

Benztown is announcing plans for a webinar featuring Dr. Ed Cohen and Mike McVay centered around utilizing data to increase listening credits in the Nielsen radio ratings.

Unlocking Radio Secrets: Every Minute Matters; Improving Your Ratings will be held on Thursday, June 27th at 1 PM ET. In the webinar, Benztown will showcase its SpotGPS tool for radio programmers.

The software “is a powerful tool … that transforms airplay data into powerful and actionable commercial content analysis in a compelling, visual, and intuitive form that is a game-changer for radio stations,” according to the company, who designed it specifically for PPM markets.

“In today’s radio environment where every quarter-hour matters, there are quarter-hours hidden everywhere. Some radio stations know where they are and how to take advantage of them. Knowing where they are illuminates an otherwise dark room,” the company said of the webinar. “Some radio stations accept the darkness and blame ratings methodology. The smart ones live in the light.”

The upcoming webinar is free to those wishing to attend. To register, click here.

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Media Business

Remote News Service Adds 3 New Markets

“I’m so pleased that all of our team’s hard work is paying off.”

Barrett News Media

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Remote News Service has added three new markets to its growing list of affiliates.

The news network will now provide services to WXJB-FM near Tampa, WIRY-FM in Plattsburgh, New York, and to Oklahoma City stations owned by Champling Broadcasting — which includes Freedom 96.9.

“I’m so pleased that all of our team’s hard work is paying off. Happy clients, make us super happy, and really proud,” Remote News Service owner Lesley Lotto said.

“The addition of Remote News Service has been a big boost to our local news,” stated WXJB GM Barbara Manuel. “It has dramatically raised the profile of our talk station. We are already out selling it!” 

“I would highly recommend Remote News Service if you are considering an outside source to cover your local news. Our anchor has been very responsive and professional,” added WIRY co-owner Joey Trombly. “We transitioned to this service and it was seamless. We are getting positive feedback in our marketplace since we made this change”.

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Media Business

Libsyn Completes Integration With YouTube API Features for Podcast Publishers

“By integrating YouTube directly into our platform, we’re empowering creators to expand their reach and engage with a broader audience while simplifying their workflow.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the YouTube and Libsyn logos

Libsyn has announced it has successfully integrated with YouTube and its new Podcast API features, making publishing to YouTube Music an easier process for its customers.

“Our mission at Libsyn is to be the premier destination for anyone at any stage of their podcasting journey to distribute their podcast, grow their audience, and monetize their content,” said CEO John Gibbons. “We’ve evolved from a singular hosting provider to a suite of services for creators and advertisers through our investments in platform innovations and expanded partnerships.

“By integrating YouTube directly into our platform, we’re empowering creators to expand their reach and engage with a broader audience while simplifying their workflow.”

Podcast publishers with Libsyn can now directly upload their episodes to YouTube Music. The new integration can also convert audio files to MP4 video files.

Streamlining the process to upload to YouTube Music as two studies in 2023 showed YouTube is the most used podcast platform in the United States.

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