America's Radio News Network launches long form news block (audio)


Mark Masters:

This will give commercial radio a competitive option to NPR’s long form news: As well, because of a void in long-form news radio and the ever-increasing “need to know” listener, on January 24, America’s Radio News Network will launch the first of five co-anchored 3-hour news-only blocks. Its first nationally-syndicated long-form news program will air daily, Noon-3 p.m. ET (9 a.m.-Noon PT), and feature breaking news and in-depth investigative/serialized reporting. The next block will likely launch two-three weeks after this debut.

America’s Radio News Network will provide non-partisan news programming to affiliates nationwide, which will be compatible and complimentary with all forms of spoken-word radio programming available today. It will be fast-paced and is designed to sound good on an FM station. Programming is also built with flexibility that supports the ability to create a strong element of localism and customization for each affiliate. It’s also positioned as a “safe island” for agencies to buy politically-neutral news  programming. This network will be kept separate from TRN’s personality division.

RBR-TVBR spoke with Mark Masters, TRN CEO and CEO of America’s Radio News Network about the upcoming launch (click on the audio, above).

The culmination of years of preparation, the plan to offer multiple blocks of syndicated news programming was announced by Masters during the NAB Radio Show in September.

During the 2011 calendar year, America’s Radio News Network will create 15 live hours daily of syndicated long-form news-only radio programming, creating options for stations to either use individual three-hour syndicated news blocks to fit their existing stations’ line-up – or use those three-hour blocks back-to-back to launch profitable 24/7 all news syndicated radio lineups in each market.

America’s Radio News Network first of five new news-only programs. It’s exclusively represented by Talk Radio Network Syndications, Ltd.’s affiliate department. The website is

Masters says that because their anchors are just reporting the news, breaking news stories or interviewing news makers, the co-hosts won’t be offering opinions, “…just great energy and focus on the important topics of the day. So news radio is a ‘safe buy environment,’ the type of environment which is usually bought by music or top of the hour news buyers, making it the best of both worlds for our affiliated stations’ revenue needs.”

“Long-form syndicated co-anchored news-blocks’ time has come,” adds Phil Boyce, president of Programming for Talk Radio Network Syndications, Ltd., which provides syndication services to both the TRN companies and America’s Radio News Network. “The Monday through Friday news programming is designed to drive the news cycle, and make America’s Radio News Network the first place to go for breaking news stories on radio.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This will give commercial radio a competitive option to NPR’s long form news: As well, because of a void in long-form news radio and the ever-increasing “need to know” listener. In today’s mobile world the audience is involved with their local news operations as the audience holds the master key in the palm of their hand – called a smartphone.

The added good news for this new network is it really isn’t in direct competition with NPR or PRI, but it does fill a need for many stations that want more than top of the hour news. Now a station can develop young on-air talent and let them grow. Add your own local political pundits.  

Major focus: Today’s mobile world the young demo (18-49 demo) wants fast-paced entertaining, interesting and riveting content delivered. The younger demo likes to participate via their smartphone.

The key with mobile is the interactive capabilities in all forms. Operators seeking not just an alternative but to build a market place listener driven format that builds strong brand recognition with audience participation with your local websites and your streaming capabilities (no music no fees).

Web streaming: Real high speed internet is becoming cheap and available in the car. The value of the web stream radio stations produce will become more valuable than the transmitted terrestrial signal.  We will see a shift over the next 3 to 5 years from over the air to over the net and it will come faster than anyone wants to admit.

Auto makers are gearing up for in-dash streaming. And the main focus is the consumer: Tech savvy car buyers want it.

RBR-TVBR recommends listening to the audio with Mark Masters and hear the skinny on America’s Radio News Network. Get on this format fast and build your local brand – remember the 2012 elections are around the corner so grab your hunk of that apolitical news territory. Ratings and Revenues are a given.