Holland Cooke Media

Connecticut murder rampage
Talk format fail.

Talk Radio's most-influential syndicator forces affiliates
to sound oblivious to 2012's most-gripping news event.

As stunned Americans were fixated on coverage of the Newtown school shootings, News/Talk radio competed with Twitter to be the conduit for the-very-latest on this riveting story, facts-of-which were changing moment-to-moment as it broke.

And -- as it did in-the-wake-of 9/11 -- Talk Radio could do something Twitter can't: give listeners their voice, an emotional vent, catharsis, community, healing.

Except for three hours, on stations that got this Email:

Subject: Affiliate Notice: Sean Hannity Weekend Best Of 12/15 & 12/16
Date: 2012-12-14 16:30
To Sean Hannity Show Affiliates:

Please be advised that The Sean Hannity Weekend Best-Of will encompass content from Monday 12/10-Thursday 12/13. Content from today's program (12/14/2013) will not be used in The Sean Hannity Weekend Best-Of, which strives to bring our affiliates the weeks most compelling monologues and hard-hitting interviews in an evergreen fashion.

Thank you and enjoy your weekend.

Eileen Lofrese / Affiliate Relations / Premiere Networks / 125 West 55th Street NY, NY 10019 / o: 212 896 5335 / f: 212 445 3993

Was this not "the next 9/11?"
What does it take to re-animate robotic radio? If Dan Rather came in that weekend they bagged Saddam Hussein, why couldn't top-tier talkers be there for listeners in their hour of need, for information, and someone to hear-them-out?

Sure, affiliates timeshift those three hours. But enough stations clear the live feed...that enough callers would show up for it...that listeners in timeshifting markets would hear this important national conversation.

Heck, GO LIVE ALL WEEKEND. If Rush and Sean can't make it, roust the line-up of guest-hosts who fill-in for Sean, Rush, and other Premiere acts. This would've been great exposure.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not conspiracy-theorist-enough to connect-the-dots back to Bain-funded Clear Channel, Premiere's owner. I'm NOT saying the mother ship is trying to AVOID this important national conversation. I'm just saying that -- THAT weekend -- being cheap and lazy made affiliates less-available, less-valuable to their listeners. While Twitter rocked.

Even on a normal weekend -- and THAT weekend was anything-but -- weekend re-runs of weekday political shows are bad programming.

As-if listeners don't get-an-earful-of Talk Radio's tedious, caricatured prevailing political narrative Monday through Friday, dated references make most of the topical weekday hours re-run on weekends SOUND like re-runs.

Radio is naive to think calling it "Best-of..." doesn't telegraph "nobody's home" to listeners.

"On the weekend, it sounds like they think nobody's listening."
An actual Arbitron diary Comment I read, about a News/Talk station.

Smart stations make more of weekends, and make big money, with specialty programming more-in-sync-with listeners' weekend lifestyles. Read how.
AND, when-the-fit-hits-the-shan, they pre-empt weekend specialty shows, to be-about what people care-about.

copyright 2012 Holland Cooke