Bill Handel: ‘We Were Up to Our Eyeballs’ in Fight to Save AM Radio
Handel argued that the role AM radio can play in times of emergencies and severe weather played a large part in at least the Ford reversal.
Proponents of AM radio were served a victory Tuesday when Ford announced it would renege on plans to remove the offering from its future models. KFI’s Bill Handel celebrated the move Wednesday.
During his morning show on KFI AM 640, Handel argued that the role AM radio can play in times of emergencies and severe weather played a large part in at least the Ford reversal.
“That’s what did it. That is exactly the reason that was given for reinstating AM radio. We had the campaign. We were up to our eyeballs in this. ‘Hey, tell your Congressperson you want AM Radio kept’. I don’t know how many people did but I’m assuming enough did.”
Handel also noted the bipartisan nature of the AM For Every Vehicle Act that was introduced by a coalition of Senators from both sides of the aisle, including Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ed Markey (D-MA) proves that there is strong support to keep the AM band alive and healthy.
It appears Handel is correct in his assertion that uproar from citizens to their Congressional representatives at least played a small role in Ford’s reversal. The company’s CEO — Jim Farley — said “After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we’ve decided to include it on all 2024 Ford & Lincoln vehicles.”
Jemele Hill: Reports I’m Leaving Spotify Aren’t True
“My podcast hasn’t been canceled. I never asked Spotify for $100M. This shit is truly comical.”
Jemele Hill recently took to Twitter to address the misconceptions surrounding her podcast, expressing that many reports circulating is simply untrue. She clarified that her podcast had not been canceled, and contrary to rumors, she never made a $100 million request to Spotify. Hill said she found the situation rather amusing and described it as comical.
According to a recent TMZ report, Hill is currently negotiating a separation from Spotify, where she has been exclusively hosting her thought-provoking podcast “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” since 2019. Multiple sources have indicated that she is now actively searching for a new platform to continue her show. The ‘Unbothered’ podcast network, which showcases other talented Black podcasters, is reportedly ending. Speculations suggest that Spotify may either release her from her contract ahead of schedule or allow it to expire.
“People: A lot of what’s been reported just isn’t true. My podcast hasn’t been canceled. I never asked Spotify for $100M. This shit is truly comical,” she tweeted.
Jemele Hill further addressed the issue through a Twitter exchange with someone who brought up the quote, responding by emphasizing the need for better comprehension and suggesting a thorough reading of the original article. She stated, “I never told Spotify or the NYT that I deserved $100M. My deal at Spotify is fair. This was about advocating for investment and growth, specifically for prominent Black podcasters.”
It is evident that her intention was to highlight the importance of supporting and investing in diverse voices within the podcasting industry.
Jemele Hill’s podcast does not rank among the top-performing shows on the platform.
Ryan Hedrick serves as the Assistant Program Director and Co-Host of the Morning News Express at WFMD. Prior to WFMD, he hosted an afternoon program at News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg, PA. He has worked at Sirius XM in Washington D.C., WBEN in Buffalo, NY, and for stations in Baltimore, MD. He has also worked at WIBW-AM in Topeka KS, earning the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) award for Major Market enterprise reporting in 2016. To connect with Ryan, find him on Twitter @SureToCover.
Bob Pittman: iHeartMedia Won’t Be Shutting Down Broadcast Stations
“90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month. To put that in context, the biggest TV network reaches less than 40% of Americans and the big streaming music services reach less than 30%.”
Very few large broadcasting corporations adopted digital platforms as quickly as iHeartMedia did. iHeartRadio is one of the most popular platforms for streaming content from a variety off stations. Bob Pittman says that does not mean the company does not see plenty of value in traditional broadcast radio.
Lydia Moynihan of The New York Post spoke with the iHeartMedia CEO Friday morning. She asked Pittman if he could foresee a day when the company would be done with terrestrial radio and focus solely on digital products.
“To the contrary – the strength and foundation of our company is our broadcast radio stations,” Pittman responded. “90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month. To put that in context, the biggest TV network reaches less than 40% of Americans and the big streaming music services reach less than 30%.”
He added that any success that the company has seen with podcasting or streaming is clearly linked to the success of the its radio stations. He said that is true for its live events too.
“We use that massive and unique reach of our broadcast radio to build complementary products like the iHeartRadio digital service and our major events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, and it’s why we’re the #1 podcast publisher by a lot. It all starts with using the trusted voices on our broadcast radio stations and creating demand – and with our unparalleled reach we have quite an advantage over the other audio players, regardless of their cash war chests.”
Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee Top Markets for AM Radio
“The study shows thirteen markets that have at least 40% of listeners using AM radio. Ten of them are in the Midwest.”
Nielsen has looked at information from the 2022 fall book to determine where AM radio is the most popular. The company released a list Thursday of 141 markets where at least 20% of radio listeners tune to AM radio in a given month. Cities in the Great Lakes region are all at the top of the list.
In Buffalo, 56% of radio listeners use the AM band in a month. The market’s most-listened to stations are both AM stations owned by Audacy – news/talk WBEN and sports talker WGR. Neither has an FM simulcast.
There is a tie for second place. 48% of listeners in Chicago utilize AM. Popular news stations WGN and WLS are both only available on AM as is the market’s heritage sports talk brand, 670 The Score. Milwaukee is the other market with 48% of listeners using AM radio.
AM radio remains very popular in the Midwest. The study shows thirteen markets that have at least 40% of listeners using AM radio. Ten of them are in the Midwest.
Last month, Nielsen used numbers from the 2022 Fall book to show that across the country, more than 82 million people rely on AM radio during a month. That is a third of all terrestrial radio listeners.
A hearing on Sen. Ed Markey’s AM For Every Vehicle Act is scheduled for Wednesday on Capitol Hill.