Connect with us
Barrett News Media Summit 2024

BNM Writers

As 2024 Approaches, What Are News/Talk Radio Professionals Focused On?

What do you want your station(s) to accomplish? What needs a fresh coat of paint on the station? Is there a show on the station that needs a reinvention?

Avatar photo

Published

on

A photo of LED lights spelling out 2024

The end of the year is in sight, and it should be a moment to review your successes, failures, and goals. I like to make a list of things to accomplish. I always come up a little bit short, but it is an important exercise. Remember my motto: “The worst lie that you can ever tell is the lie you tell yourself.” It is time to be honest. This will make 2024 much more satisfying. If you have finished your year and didn’t accomplish anything other than killing time, use next year to reach your dreams. 

Let’s start with success! What worked well? Did you reach a professional milestone? Is it worth some self-satisfaction? Did you take credit for the win? Did you downplay it? Ok, let me explain. 

No one is going to give you credit unless you toot your own horn. Did your radio station raise a boatload of money for charity? Did you run promos and news stories trumpeting your feat?  Why? You wanted to let your audience know how they mattered and how your radio station helped the community. If you are a manager, do you make a win by your staff important? Did you congratulate them? Did you let your team know how much the win meant to you as well?  Now, did you take credit? 

I generally am the type that likes to get things done in the hopes that my superiors notice.  Sadly, I have learned that sometimes wins are expected by the brass. You need to claim recognition. You need to let people know about your success. As a manager, I have always heaped praise on my team. I want the bosses to know that my crew is killing it and that their success is due to hard work and commitment. I always want to share the credit. Because it is not just about me. It is about the team. Don’t be scared to write a promo about your successes and the efforts that you have deployed to help the station and company win.

Let’s talk about a difficult subject for any manager to discuss: failures. You may have had an event, promotion, or programming initiative that just fell flat and didn’t work. 

I worked for a company where events were essential to the company’s mission for each station. I worked in an office where the Promotions Director did an amazing job with these events except for the same shortcomings year after year. The presentation of the event was not organized or tight.  The morning of the event she was putting on the finishing touches for the station luncheon.  Every year, the presentation was sloppy and disjointed. She was very sensitive to this and not open for constructive criticism. 

The fix was small. I worked at another location for that company and ran these like a top. I suggested that the presentation of the event should be the first thing written out. I always made sure that everyone knew their jobs weeks in advance. There would always be last-minute bumps with a big event. Food not ready at the proper time, special speaker arriving late, etc.  Those are enough to worry about. She just could not see the reason for the continuing shortcomings in the event. 

My current station did a promotion for two books in a row. It didn’t work well in the first book, but we thought that with a few tweaks perhaps it would be great. Well, I was wrong. It didn’t work. There was no way to make it work for the station. The execution was perfect, but the promotion was a female-appeal exercise on a male-appeal radio station. So, we went to cash, and we crushed it. The participants were 65% male and it worked much better. I relayed the data to my superiors and the page was turned. 

When looking at goals for 2024, what do you want your station(s) to accomplish? What needs a fresh coat of paint on the station? Is there a show on the station that needs a reinvention?  What about the news? Can the writing be improved?

What about you? What do you want to experience in 2024?  Is there a vacation that you would like to book? What professionally would you like to improve upon in 2024? Did you want to learn a new skill? What about a new hobby? 

I learned this task from a former Market Manager. Get a white piece of paper and write down things that wish to do and wish to change in your life. Perhaps, you want to cut down on your personal debt. Maybe you have had a goal to learn to cook, code, or golf. We are only given one life. Live. Do it. Make short-term and long-term goals. 

You can win and make 2024 the best year ever. Nothing is perfect. You will have setbacks. You will also be pleasantly surprised by success. Sometimes our wins are seemingly not that big. I often ignore these personal professional successes. You may do the same thing. It is easier to build wins upon each other. It is also tempting to wallow in your shortcomings and failures.  Life is too short to focus on mistakes. Learn from errors and recognize your weaknesses. 

Celebrate reaching your goals. Keep track of these milestones. Each one that you hit creates another opportunity. The worst lie that you can tell is the lie that you tell yourself. What lie are you believing? If you believe the lies told to the person in the mirror, you can never grow.  You can never be the person you truly wish to be.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BNM Writers

Proof That Both CNN and Fox News Manipulate Their Audiences

Playing with numbers and technicalities is a function of what the media does today. Since the average person just reads the headline, viewers will likely move on if it confirms their own bias.

Published

on

When news organizations collide, journalism loses. Last week, CNN posted on X saying “US inflation cooled down in January, offering some relief for Americans who have suffered through the steepest price hikes in four decades.” The same day Fox News posted “BREAKING: Inflation rises faster than expected in January as high prices persist.”

While these are seemingly opposite statements, both can be true at the same time. More importantly, both of these outlets are manipulating their audience.

People like their own opinions and want those opinions verified by others. This is what social media has done to news: You read the post, see your opinion is valid, and then move on to the next clickbait (confirmation bias). More importantly, both of these tweets are true because one is based on an estimate, and one is based on actual numbers.

Looking at CNN, while their post on X seems positive, their business headline is a little less positive, “Inflation cooled last month, but some price hikes continue to cause pain.” The change from tweet to headline is striking. One says Americans are getting inflation relief, the other says inflation continuing to cause pain. In today’s world of “Read the headline and move on,” this is why people feel CNN lies. Its post is in conflict with the headline— even though both are true statements.

It’s not until you read the article that people can see how this is possible. The outlet notes overall inflation did cool when comparing January 2023 (6.4%) to January 2024 (3.1%). Four sentences into the article it says, “CPI rose by 0.3% in January.” It goes on to break down why inflation is still high and causing pain in the pockets of Americans. Although the X post is factually correct, people on the right side of the political spectrum feel CNN is untrue because they see the inflation problem in their bank account.

Meanwhile, the Fox News X post and Fox Business headline are identical, “Inflation rises faster than expected in January as high prices persist.” However, the keyword here is “expected.” Inflation did cool year-over-year. However, because Fox is comparing the January 2024 number to what experts expected the number to be, what they have posted is factually correct. This nuance is sometimes lost on readers.

The article does not mention inflation is down year-over-year. However, nine sentences into the article, the business outlet says, “Inflation has fallen considerably from a peak of 9.1%.” The nuance of “expected” combined with the lack of mentioning year-over-year inflation is down is why the left side of the political spectrum believes Fox lies.

Let’s be clear, neither CNN nor Fox News have lied (on this one specific topic). They both chose to present the same data differently. It also needs to be noted, CNN and Fox News are not the only outlets that do this. They all do. Playing with numbers and technicalities is a function of what the media does today. Since the average person just reads the headline, viewers will likely move on if it confirms their own bias. The problem is twofold.

  • Facts are no longer direct but skewed to fit a narrative.
  • Some viewers accept headlines and posts without diving deeper into the article.

We have been trained to share a headline without reading the article. We’ve known this since 2016 when Columbia University and the French National Institute found 59% of shared social media links were never read. We’ve gone from headlines selling newspapers, forcing people to read the articles, to headlines being shared on social media, but people won’t read the articles.

This is only a small part of why The Messenger failed: neutrality. The sentiment of unbiased news was well-intentioned. However, America has lacked unbiased news since 1987 when the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. Many on the left believe this has helped right-leaning outlets. This is false. Not only has it benefited both sides of the aisle, it can be argued the progressives have benefited more than the conservatives (but that is a different article for a different day).

When news outlets collide, the American public loses. Not because we lack news, but because we lack the ability to read the full scope of the issues in one place. Outlets are not forced to present all sides of the political argument or present the entirety of data sets. Additionally, news is not being fully read. Headlines are now king. Shares, clicks, and likes keep the lights on in newsrooms. Most importantly, facts are now nuanced. This forces debate instead of continuity and cohesion.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BNM Writers

Does Dealing With Criticism Ever Get Easier?

Engage in the content of the criticism and ignore the rest – or at least take the high road. If that gets difficult, end the conversation.

Published

on

A photo of the word Truth written on a typewriter

Thick skin. If you work in media, you gotta have it. If you don’t, you either won’t last or you won’t sleep – or both.

Even if you are neutral politically, super nice, and in it for all the right reasons, there always will be people who criticize you, and some will even make it personal.

Having “thick skin” is a cliché I’ve been thinking about and dealing with for years. I find it fascinating that, somehow, I am way more sensitive at home than I am at work – and by at work, I mean on the air for hours every day.

Even the angriest of listeners are engaging, and engagement is what I want. Sometimes, it can throw a show off-balance, but if handled properly, it should never fully derail you.

Over the years, I have modified my professional behavior, perspective, and attitude, yet my foundational approach has not changed. It began with my first full-time television job when a journalist/mentor of mine told me not to ever act interested in ratings. Rather, he said, focus on my performance and content — the rest would take care of itself.

In my first two anchor/host jobs, it worked wonderfully. I immersed myself in the job, and the ratings were strong. I thought it was a mandate to always take this approach, although in retrospect, I was probably more lucky than good. Regardless, following that mantra actually allowed me to learn my craft and not be overly aware that ratings mattered.

Ignorance was journalistic bliss.

Flash forward to 2024 and it all seems rather naïve, but I think the approach really works well with criticism, too, whether it be on social media, through phone calls or even with fellow hosts.

Just a quick note on nuance: Look at the sentence four paragraphs above – don’t act interested. Looking back at the guidance given by my mentor, his point also seemed to be that even if you are laser-focused on how a show is rating, don’t make it a major topic of conversation, and don’t let people think it defines you as a broadcaster and journalist.

All of it may seem like advice from Fantasyland, but in an indirect way, this approach also makes me less vulnerable to criticism. I simply don’t focus on it too much, and over time, it stopped bothering me even if I did focus on it. Make sense?

Of course, it’s not as if I like it when a listener rips me or the show, either directly or on social media; but I never engage emotionally, and if I do respond in any way, it’s usually content-focused.

That’s the key.

Engage in the content of the criticism and ignore the rest – or at least take the high road. If that gets difficult, end the conversation.

You have the conch. Never forget that.

Ultimately, you’ll feel better, especially knowing you did not take the bait and handled it professionally – no need to create any more tension than is already out in the media eether.

That brings me to the moment a host of a show on my station was sharply critical of an interview I had done, saying it was soft, and not holding the guest (a sitting U.S. Senator) accountable enough.

Specific questions were put forth that absolutely should have been asked, according to the host, and honestly, it was used as a chest puffer for that person to show why certain guests were scared to come on that later show.

And … I thought it was great.

Great?

Well, maybe not great, but I actually had no problem with it. First and foremost, they were talking about it, which is good. When I can provide that kind of grist, it’s good radio. It wasn’t always easy to listen to — I was still in the office doing some booking — but for some reason, it did not bother me. This from a guy who gets a one-second side eye from my wife of 20 years, and I think our marriage is in trouble.

In the end, a few of the criticisms were helpful, believe it or not: One or two of the suggested questions put forth on the later show should have been asked.

It’s all part of the balance I seek to create a place where members of both political parties feel comfortable coming on our network. I always reserve the right to ask difficult questions, and I do ask them (apparently not enough for some), but I also try and be balanced and manage relationships.

It’s delicate, and sometimes, elicits criticism – sometimes deserved. Meanwhile, I just focus on the content, naïve as that may be.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BNM Writers

CBS Mornings Scores Big Post-Super Bowl Ratings Win

CBS Mornings became the most-watched program from 7-9 a.m. in total viewers for just the second time ever for a CBS morning news show.

Doug Pucci

Published

on

A photo of the CBS Mornings logo

The historic ratings milestones continue for CBS as a result of Super Bowl LVIII.

Less than nine hours following what turned out to be the most-watched telecast in U.S. TV history to date (120.25 million of the near-124 million watching Super Bowl LVIII did so on CBS), CBS Mornings became the most-watched program from 7-9 a.m. in total viewers for just the second time ever for a CBS morning news show.

For the Monday, Feb. 12 edition of CBS Mornings, which featured co-host Nate Burleson from Las Vegas, the site of Super Bowl LVIII, and a visit from Jon Stewart in New York to promote his Daily Show return (which generated great ratings milestones of its own later that night), it delivered 2.9 million total viewers including 654,000 within the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. It marked its best total audience and demo figures since Feb. 4, 2022.

CBS Mornings topped ABC’s Good Morning America, the usual morning news viewer leader, by a mere 7,000 viewers; it also outdrew NBC’s Today (2.86 million) by 49,000 viewers.

CBS also bested ABC in A25-54 by +103,000; the sixth time CBS Mornings has led over Good Morning America this season based on the key demo.

This was not the first time a morning show benefited from a halo effect of what the network had aired the night prior. Mar. 8, 2021, was the first time CBS won in the morning. It was the day after Oprah Winfrey’s primetime interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had aired which drew 17.1 million viewers for CBS. The Mar. 8, 2021 edition of CBS This Morning featured an exclusive interview with Winfrey and the premiere of never-before-seen clips from the Meghan and Prince Harry discussion, had delivered 4.793 million viewers with 1.026 million of them in the 25-54 demographic.

The program changed its title to CBS Mornings in September 2021.

For this 2023-24 season, CBS Mornings has the smallest deficit margin in viewers with ABC’s Good Morning America since the 2017-18 season and the tightest margin in A25-54 ever.

Subscribe To The BNM Rundown

The Top 8 News Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox every afternoon!

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Upcoming Events

BNM Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.