A big trend about to burst, but beginning just now: Stations are flipping to all-News and using local TV affiliate partners to do the top and bottom of the hour news and cross-promote for a cost-free mutual benefit. There are six stations just on the East Coast about to start partnering with the local TV stations (one in a Top-50 market). They’re (current newsers or music stations looking to flip) often replacing some or all of their own in-house local news staff with the television newscasts tailored for radio. The ones we know about are also using America’s Radio News Network (ARNN) in between. ARNN provides a long-form syndicated news platform that allows local TV stations to customize local news reports for radio.
Two that already have made the move are WINK-AM 1200 Ft. Myers, FL with sister TV station WINK-TV (CBS). Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM Tampa went all-News 6/27 and started the tradeoff with Gannett’s WTSP-TV Tampa (CBS) this week. Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri contacted WTSP-TV (other local TV stations were also contacted) first about doing the deal—and they were very interested in pairing with the market’s first all-news station to cross-promote each other.
Maduri tells RBR-TVBR he first approached local TV stations 90 days prior to launch to give them an idea of what they were trying to do: “WTSP had the same kind of entrepreneurial mindset that we had. This is somthing we’re both going to be investing in for future growth for both companies.”
The discussions were to have the meterorologists on the air for breaking news stories and hurricane reporting. There was also a simulcast element at 5AM, where WWBA is simulcasting WTSP’s 5AM morning show (news).
Says Maduri: “It started evolving into what we’re going to do with reporters. We said we’ll have a couple of reporters, but it will be nice to be able to share reporters as well because [WTSP] has a vast news pool that we can access — that will help in us getting the local news as well. As opposed to just having taped report stories, we would also do long-form interviews with reporters that are working on stories. Those discussions are moving forward as well. They liked the idea; we liked the idea and we formulated the plan.”
The entire agreement calls for weather and news, both in short form and long form. WWBA still has their own anchors for morning, middays and afternoon drive. WTSP-TV reporters will soon be reporting back to WWBA anchors.
Another we hear is about to make the move with a local TV station, but has already switched to America’s Radio News Network (7/4) is M-10 Broadcasting’s WVIE-AM Baltimore.
Jim Watkins, East Coast Affiliate Consultant, TRN and TRN Enterprises, tells RBR-TVBR News radio is in a good place right now because it compliments talk radio’s ‘op-ed’ page. “For those that don’t want opinion and just the facts, news is the place to go — then they come back to Talk to tell them what it all means. So with WWBA, for example, it gave them more revenue, it’s non-partisan so ad buyers like it and it draws from every other format, regardless of age or sex, because everyone wants to hear what’s going on. It’s inexpensive because you don’t have to hire a large news staff—especially when you are teamed with a local TV station for top and bottom of the hour news.”
We can’t yet get much info on the other stations about to flip because of union issues and not wanting to tip off their competitors. In many cases making this move means people lose their local news coverage jobs.
Said Mark Masters, CEO of ARNN, and its representative, Talk Radio Network Syndications Ltd.: “This is about to happen in many markets,” he tells us. “TV stations have only been too willing to play that role for local news and now they are able to do it for top and the bottom of the hour and promote the radio station. And the radio stations promote the TV stations – it’s a perfect marriage of cross-promotion between television and radio. Why? Because Arbitron used to say there’s twice as many people listening to radio before 6PM and there’s four times as many people watching TV after 6PM than listening to radio.”
Masters says that’s yet another reason for stations to want his America’s Radio News Network for news—they can get local news delivered at the top of the hour without adding staff and get national, long-form news in between that carries 10-14 stories per quarter hour with 4-6 audio actualities.
ARNN/AMN, after 18 months, now has 15 hours of 18-49-centric, PPM-friendly ADD-magnetic objective news programming in the industry. That 15 hours includes Talk Radio Network Entertainent’s/The Washington Times’ America’s Morning News as part of the five, three-hour news blocks. The last daypart will be added 7/25. Some affiliates of the 172 total (10% of all Talk stations) include:
KFWB-AM Los Angeles
KSFO-AM San Francisco
KMZQ-AM Las Vegas
WINK-AM Ft. Myers
WPNW-AM Grand Rapids, MI
WFPL-AM Syracuse + four other stations in their network in upstate NY
Total affiliates by the end of the summer are expected to top 200.