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Meet the Market Managers: Todd Farquharson, Gow Media Houston

“I can walk into a meeting and say, ‘Well, we’re just like you. We’re a local business born and raised right here in Houston, Texas. So we’re very similar to you.’ I think owners of businesses appreciate that.”

Demetri Ravanos




It isn’t easy to be in the sports radio game in Houston. Todd Farquharson and his team at ESPN Houston know that. Three locally staffed stations and two stations that run national programming give fans in the area a lot of options.

Farquharson talks about how Houston became home to so many sports stations in the latest column in our Meet the Market Managers series presented by Point-to-Point Marketing. He also talks about the things our industry thinks too inwardly on, like dial position and the value of ESPN Radio.

ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 in Houston is built largely on the strength of local sales. For Todd, his sales staff, and his programming staff, that means everyone is important to the clients.

Demetri Ravanos: Let’s talk about the Houston market. There are a lot of sports stations there, and it’s a lot of sports stations fighting for what usually are not big numbers. So what makes it worth it to be in a crowded, small space? 

Todd Farquharson: Yeah, that’s a great question. I’ve been in the sports radio business, I started in ’94 with a local, independent group that would be bought by Clear Channel. It was before there was an all-sports station in town, which became Sports Radio 610.               

Then I guess in 2003, SportsTalk 790 popped up. That’s iHeart’s sports radio station. Our group now was born out of some guys that were at 610. It’s a weird circumstance where you got two competitors were probably enough for this market, but then a third was born out of, “Hey, we want to leave and do our own thing.”            

You’re right. I mean, the Houston sports radio share is probably six or seven when we’re doing well and we’re all fighting for that. What makes it worthwhile is it’s what we know best and it’s where our talent is, and I feel really good about our talent.                      

Ultimately, I’d love to see us grow the market, not just ourselves but the other stations too. Now, I don’t see us working together side-by-side, but what can we do as a sports platform to grow the share? I go to an Astros game and it’s packed with 43,000 people during the playoffs and there’s a lot of fervor and excitement. There’s so many of those people, I guarantee you, that just don’t listen to sports radio. Maybe if they’re exposed to it or give it a shot, they might go, “Wow, I had no idea!” So I hope to not just fight for the sixth share forever. 

DR: Let’s sort of keep it in the realm of what’s going on now. Again, there’s a lot of stations fighting for not a lot of share, but you guys are the only ones on FM. How are you talking about that — whether it is with clients, maybe even prospective hires for you guys? How much are you putting that front and center? 

TF: We certainly make that a big part of our pitch when we’re talking to advertisers. It depends though. The advertisers who know the sports radio space recognize that. Other times, you have to be Captain Obvious and tell the buyer that “this matters because the sound is better.”        

One interesting thing that they wouldn’t know is that we don’t duplicate with the stations very much. There’s very little audience duplication, actually. So you’re reaching totally different people. We crossover mostly with the rock station, with the AC stations, with the urban stations. So we’re going to help you reach a whole different audience.                 

I don’t sell against my competition because if a strategy is working for you on those radio stations, it should work for you on our station. We share the same qualitative demographics in terms of who the listeners are, but ours are totally different set within the demo that happen to be on the FM dial. 

DR: You don’t want to sell against your competition. You want to sell what it is you guys do, but within the industry, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about what exactly the future is for AM radio. So I wonder, does the fact that there are eight car manufacturers that aren’t even putting access to the AM band on the dashboard anymore come up at all in conversations with clients? 

TF: I don’t think it has a lot unless they’re really dialed into the business. It’s not something I want to bring out because, usually, we’re selling schedules for the next three, six, or twelve months. For a lot of people, it’s not a reality yet. So, I think it may come across as negative selling when it’s just not even a factor right now. 

DR: I do want to talk about the way we look at audience now, because I can sit here and say exactly what I said, right? “It’s a small share that everybody’s fighting for.” But that’s not the only way to measure an audience. That might not even be the accurate way to measure it all. So what is it you guys are looking at to understand not just how big the audience is, but what kind of impact you’re content is having on your listeners? 

TF: We certainly want to give the advertisers an ROI. They need the return. So that’s measured often by their experience.             

“Oh man, you know, we are getting some people to walk into the store” or “We’re getting some phone calls” or “The website traffic has gone up 3%.” That’s when we can feel that our ads are working.

But beyond the radio audience itself, we do try to give them exposure to bigger audiences. For example, we have a companion website, It’s focused on Astros, Rockets, and Texans. So it’s very much the same content, but a lot of people that land on the website have never listened to the radio station.

As an advertiser, you may reach, let’s say, 100,000 on our radio stations, but there’s another 200,000 a month that will hit this website that you may not be exposed to. We videotape all our live programing. We’ll chop up that video into 30, 60 seconds snippets, put it on Tik Tok, put it on YouTube, put it on Facebook. So we’re exposing other audiences to what we do that, again, probably never listen to sports radio. We get that. We met a few listeners who said, “Man, I discovered you guys on YouTube. I didn’t realize y’all had a radio show.” That happens every day.

DR: That kind of goes exactly to something else I was thinking about as I was putting doing my research and putting this together to chat today. There was a time in this industry when if you said ESPN Houston is on 97.5 and 92.5, that might be deemed by some in the industry as too confusing. But you just hit it on the head, man. People are coming to your content in so many different ways. I would guess that not only is it not even a huge problem anymore, may not even be a consideration for a lot of listeners. 

TF: I think we are so fractured. I mean this morning, I get up early and go walking and I listen to a podcast until our local morning show came on. So I flipped from podcast to stream and I hopped into my car and I’m listening to radio. You know, we all have figured out how to consume multiple mediums, so I would hope somebody can flip a dial from 97.5 to 92.5 easily. 

DR: You guys have been recruiting for a PD in recent months, and I wonder what some of the challenges that came with doing that in 2023 were. What are candidate’s questions and concerns about, not just your business, but the future of radio in general and are they the kinds of questions you had to answer five or ten years ago when you’re doing this? 

TF: Yeah, it’s interesting. Most of the people that were interested in talking to about the job, I don’t think there were a lot of questions to be pointed about where are we going to be in ten years with the industry or where is the media going to be. Maybe I had a few of those, but I guess they were more interested in, “Hey, I’d like to come work there and be a part of the sports radio station.” So we didn’t honestly have that many conversations about the future of it, specifically to our company.

We’re trying to be broader than just radio, as I mentioned. Beyond our digital platform, we have That’s in five cities, the five major cities in Texas. We have an So we have nice digital platforms that expand into different categories and we’re trying to grow that way as well so that we are not siloed into the singularity of sports radio. 

DR: So are you looking for candidates then that can contribute to building the business, in all of those different ways? 

TF: We’re looking for somebody who acknowledges that we are a bigger platform than just sports radio. Maybe sometimes you might be running promos for InnovationMap or CultureMap sponsors an event and we take our sports radio show live from there. Why not be exposed to all these people? So it’s just a matter of working together and realizing that we’re greater together.

DR: In my position, I’ve been studying the changes to ESPN’s business over the last three years. In the industry, we all have opinions about what is the quality of ESPN Radio programming. We all wonder what is the stability of ESPN’s audio product. 

But I want to talk about it with you from the standpoint of people outside of our industry. When you go out on the street, whether it is meeting listeners, meeting potential clients, whatever, do those four letters still carry the weight that they did, say five, ten years ago?

TF: Absolutely. It’s still the biggest brand of sports. You kind of touched on it. We can be hypercritical within the industry, but let’s say I’m talking to a female business owner and she is not really into sports, but she’s open to listening and she wants to reach the right audience. ESPN means something. She’s she knows it. It’s better than, “Hey, it’s Todd’s sports radio,” right? 

DR: I make this joke all the time that in this format, we have a wheel of five words that you’re allowed to name your station – Fan, Ticket, Score. You know the ones. In Hosuton, none of that exists and the branding is clearly laid out with “Sports Radio 610” and “SportsTalk 790”. You guys have gone with a very specific, well-known brand. I mean, that does say something different than “97.5 The Ticket” would. 

TF: Right. We enjoy our partnership with ESPN in terms of even the backstop programing we get. You can never have to apologize because your weekend or evening programing wasn’t great. ESPN does a nice job. So we love that.            

I love when we can carry the Astros. You know, we’re not the flagship, but when ESPN says, “Hey, we’ve got an Astros game and you’re allowed to run it” I just say alright. When the Astros are in the playoffs or in the World Series, we carry all those games, which is fantastic. And we’re able to monetize that in a way in a really nice way. 

DR: The bulk of your business being almost entirely local, tell me a bit about the role that your talent plays in starting and maintaining those client relationships. 

TF: Yeah, you’re right. The national business kind of withers away. As ratings fluctuate, so does national business. But fortunately, we rely on our direct business, the local business.            

I can walk into a meeting and say, “Well, we’re just like you. We’re a local business born and raised right here in Houston, Texas. So we’re very similar to you.” I think owners of businesses appreciate that.                

When it comes to the hosts, they’re very interactive. They’re anxious to create relationships and maintain relationships. A few of our hosts, frankly, are some of our best salespeople, because they meet people out and because they’re on the air. They have engaging personalities and people want to be around them and they get to know them. When those people are like, “Hey, I have a business. How do I start advertising with you guys?” that is who they usually ask. I love and depend on our hosts. They do a terrific job for us. 

DR: So are those hosts that are also going out and doing their own selling? Is it the folks that have been there for a while or when you launched that new afternoon show or bring in Jeremy to be a part of the midday show are you welcoming them to come in and try their hand at selling their own show as well. 

TF: Absolutely, and to be fair, I shouldn’t say that they’re necessarily selling. What they’re doing is setting up a relationship. “Hey, I met this guy.”

If you are instrumental in bringing some business to you, to us, and we get the deal, we’ll give you a little something to incentivize you to do that again. Sometimes a personality can open a door much quicker than a salesperson can. 

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All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”

Tyler McComas




There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before. 

One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.

Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.

There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.

“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”

But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically. 

“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”

While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games. 

“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf. 

As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.

Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.

Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities. 

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”

Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it. 

“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”

Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo. 

“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.

“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”

The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.

Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.

“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.

“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”

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Broadcasting Can be a Mental Health Drain, So Get The Support You Need

“People have a hard time understanding the effects a three-city road trip covering multiple time zones can have on your body and mind.”

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You never know what someone is going through, even when that person is a well-known figure in the world of broadcasting. No one is immune from mental health issues. My admiration for those that have come forward to discuss their battles is off the charts. Privacy in these matters is the route a lot of people in my industry choose. It isn’t right or wrong, it’s how that individual chooses to deal with their own personal situation. 

One of baseball’s best broadcasters, Eric Nadel, is taking time away from the Texas Rangers, to focus on his own mental health. The Hall of Fame broadcaster is as good a person as I’ve ever met in the game. He’s a hard worker, is always prepared and seemingly has called every Rangers game over the last three and a half decades. He’s been a part of the Rangers broadcast since 1979. 

Nadel released a statement at the end of March telling fans that he would be missing the start of the baseball season to deal with his own mental health issues. 

Nadel says he originally dealt with mental health issues more than 20 years ago. But those were different days. 

“At that time, I was afraid to speak out. That’s how much things have changed,” he told Fox 4. “I was able to power through it, which I found this time around was a lot harder.”

The long-time play-by-play man and Rangers Hall of Famer also said that his family has a long history of mental health issues. In the conversation with Fox just before his annual ‘Birthday Bash’, he was asked how he knew there was a problem this time and when he might be back in the booth. 

“This thing started with insomnia, I’m still having issues with sleep, so I wish could make a prediction along those lines,” he said.

For their part, the Rangers are doing right by their long time and popular employee. Support from the employer always gives the person going through mental health issues one less thing to worry about. In Nadel’s case, this is still a dream job for him. Nobody wants to walk away from that dream for any reason, so when the employer makes it easier to take the needed time to get the needed help, that’s a win for everyone. 

There are many that probably think “how can a guy like that be depressed?” These people are probably saying something like, “he makes a ton of money, gets to be around the team all the time and has an easy job, what would cause issues?”. Those questions are human nature I guess, but they aren’t particularly insightful or helpful. This ignorance is what makes people afraid to come forward. 

Baseball life, while seemingly glamourous, can cause personal stress. It’s not easy to be away from your family for a good chunk of the season. Especially when you routinely have to miss family events and birthdays. People have a hard time understanding the effects a three-city road trip covering multiple time zones can have on your body and mind. 

Sure, the travel is via charter and there’s no TSA security line, but you are still logging the miles. Don’t get me wrong. This is not at all meant to be a “woe is me” thing, it’s just fact. 

I’m so glad that Nadel came forward and addressed his situation. It took great courage on his part to let complete strangers in on what he’s going through. It really is nobody’s business, but Nadel stepped forward, to try and help himself and others. Admirable isn’t a strong enough word to express how I feel about what he’s done.

His realizations made me look back to a dark time in my broadcasting career several years ago. I was leaving a great job in San Diego for no real good reason and I was angry. When people would ask “what was wrong?” I would say, “nothing, I’m good, just trying to figure out what’s next.”  But inside, this sudden realization that my life was about to change was bothering me more than I even knew. 

Coming back to Chicago, I was not the same person I was when I left. People in my inner circle noticed it. Some expressed their concerns and wanted me to seek help. 

I passed it off as, “well things will be different when I get my next job,” which was naive of me, because that’s not how it works. I didn’t think my inner strife was bad enough to talk to someone. I consider myself a tough person and figured I could get through it by myself.  I finally, got fed up with not feeling like myself.  I called my doctor and we dealt with it. I learned that admitting that you have flaws and need help is not a sign of weakness. 

Luckily for everyone coming forward now, the news isn’t as jarring as it used to be. But there is still a long way to go. May was National Mental Health Awareness Month, designed to shed light on something thousands upon thousands of Americans suffer from in one way or another.  June is National Men’s Health Month which also covers the mental side as well as the physical side of that coin. They are equally important. 

Thankfully Nadel reports that he’s feeling better every day. He told Fox 4, “There are all kinds of treatment options. I am investigating a lot of them and have experienced lots of them.”

In the Fox 4 interview, Nadel was asked if he had a message for people who may be going through similar issues.

“Don’t be afraid to get help. There are all kinds of therapy out there and there’s no shame in it,” he replied. “Don’t wait. Be alert to the warning signs. If all of a sudden you don’t enjoy the things you used to enjoy that’s a real big warning sign.”

That is great advice. Keep up the fight Eric, and thank you for shedding some light on the subject. I’m sure you have helped many people by going public. Here’s hoping that Nadel is ready to get back into the booth sooner rather than later. 

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Meet the Market Managers: Greg Alexander, iHeartMedia Minneapolis

“The general sports fan that wants to be entertained and wants sports. That’s the the sweet sauce with KFAN.”

Demetri Ravanos




KFAN is a unique brand in the sports radio world. Sure, there are plenty of stations that approach sports as part of pop culture, but as Greg Alexander points out in our conversation: How many of those stations have had the same air staff in place for virtually two decades?

It’s a legendary brand, and yet it still flies under the radar nationally. Let’s change that.

Alexander is the market manager of iHeart Minneapolis. He is also the subject of today’s Meet the Market Managers column, presented by Point-To-Point Marketing.

In our conversation, he talks about this unpredictable economy, how the prioritization of on demand content effects radio advertisers, and what the barrier is to adding more play-by-play content on his station. Enjoy!

Demetri Ravanos: You have a really diverse cluster in terms of formats and audiences. I would imagine, given the way that KFAN talks about sports, it sets itself up really well for joint buys, whether that is with one other station or the entire cluster. Is there good opportunity for audience crossover?

Greg Alexander: Yes, for sure. KFAN’s audience is diverse because of the personalities that we have and the topics they go after every day. It’s not hardcore sports and that’s where we have the success with KFAN that we’ve had. So that attracts people from our country stations and our classic hits station and our CHR station. There is real cross-pollination between the stations in our cluster. 

DR: I know as a market manager, your focus is always going to be on how the station and the personalities are perceived by the market. Nationally though, I do wonder if you guys feel like you get enough credit for the kind of brand KFAN is. It’s a powerhouse in terms of ratings, influence and revenue. Sometimes our format gets laser-focused on New York, Philadelphia and Boston. We don’t always give everybody outside of I-95 the credit they deserve, and your station may be at the very top of that list.

GA: Yeah, KFAN is incredibly healthy. You probably have the history on that. It’s built through many years. We just celebrated Eric Nordquist’s tenth year with the station, and he’s our youngest tenured personality and producer on the air. The next closest one is like 19 years, I think.            

It’s just an established brand with established personalities who are very creative and they’re very entertaining. With that formula, people in Minnesota grow up on the station. People want to find out the takes or the how someone’s going to handle something. They tune in on a daily, weekly, monthly basis for that. This is where I give credit to (KFAN PD) Chad Abbott and (iHeart Minneapolis VP of Programming) Gregg Swedberg. They’ve created four different shows and Chad will tell you, we’ve got four morning shows. That’s how powerful these different dayparts are. In the morning it’s, ‘Hey, what are these guys doing? I want to be part of that club to P.A. from 9 to noon,’ which is ‘What will his take be with the Vikings today?’ Then we go to Common’s bits and then a hard hitting show with Barreiro. Listeners want to know what is his take on some major news story that may be taking place in the market or nationally and that’s the scope that he has. 

DR: How do you sort of convey that to advertisers, be it new partners or long established? I mean, to your point, you have had people on that station for decades and you have had listeners experience life events with them from dealing with their own illnesses to spouses’ illnesses. You had a member of your morning show come out on air recently. How do you even begin to convey to a business what the value is of the fact that the audience cares about the people they hear on KFAN in this way? 

GA: Well, I think it truly goes back to our personalities, the engagement that they can create and the realness of who they are. Making big announcements, personal announcements like that; that just makes them human beings as well as entertainers. Listeners are engaged in that. They feel as they’re driving into work, there’s someone next to them that’s their partner and that’s their friend, and they want to find out what their friend is up to – good, bad or indifferent. When they’re driving home or listening at work, they want to know what these these personalities are up to because they’re part of their friend group.                 

These people are entertaining and they’re engaging and you want to know more about them because they’re human beings. You follow them on Twitter, so you find out what they’re doing on weekends. Social media has been a huge part of their success because you can continue that conversation outside of the three or three-and-a-half hours that they may be on. 

DR: Your company was kind of at the forefront, at least among the national brands, of recognizing that radio stations should be investing in digital content as well. So tell me about the changes you’ve seen in how – again, I’ll ask about the clients – because I would imagine going from when KFAN first started recognizing the value of digital to now you are talking with advertisers that are much more savvy about the value of that space. 

GA: I just was on a panel and I talked about this. It’s really the thirst that the audience has for our station and our personalities. It’s just bellowing out, and so that leads into social media. So, you know, what we saw first initially was our streaming numbers being massive, and that’s because people wanted to know what our personalities were doing with the shows we’re doing when they left the market or just were outside of our market in terms of Minneapolis. Then the thirst for the personalities led to podcasting and, ‘Let’s do an extra show and just sit there and BS for a little bit longer.’ Well, those numbers are massive. The Power Trip, our morning show, is the 33rd-ranked podcast within iHeart. I mean, that’s massive. That doesn’t happen in a market this size.                    

Obviously, Twitter grew up and that’s where it really exploded. These guys jumped on Twitter. Our station jumped on Twitter over some of the other social media and that has blown up. You can see what these numbers are: over 200,000 followers.                

It’s just for that thirst of, ‘What is P.A. going to say and who’s he going to talk about and what’s his take on something?’ You can get that for three hours each day from 9 to noon, but then, ‘Hey, I see he’s at the horse track on Friday nights or Saturdays’ in the off-season or, ‘What rumors is he talking about?’ In social media and different media platforms, we just continue to extend the brand and what our guys are. 

DR: You’ve been in the iHeart system for a long time. I think you predate the name iHeart. So, tell me a little bit about how you have seen that shift in terms of the importance of the broadcast product. Is it still what the company puts out front when discussing itself or pitching to advertisers? How has that shifted over the time you’ve been there? 

GA: The broadcast is still the foundation of who we are. I always look at it as how you’re obtaining the content. So I tell people I used to go on a run and I’d have a Walkman and I’d be listening to KFAN. Well, nowadays I go on a run and I put my phone on and I’m still capturing the same show; I’m just doing it through a stream. Technological advances allow us to do that, but it’s still the entertainment and that engagement that I have with the shows. Our listeners do the same thing. It’s just a technological change and access.               

Again, this panel I was on – I told 200 people just last week that social media is the greatest thing that’s happened to our personalities because you couldn’t interact with a personality other than maybe getting through on a phone call, which we don’t even do a ton of phone calls anymore. Now I know what he’s doing on a Friday night. I know what Barreiro is doing on a Saturday. Chris Hawkey – I know what band he’s performing with and what location on a Saturday night. And so now I’m closer and can be more engaged with our personalities than ever before, so social media has been a fantastic thing for our personalities. 

DR: Forget the the hierarchy of broadcast versus digital for a second. For so long we wondered what the best way to go about monetizing our digital products was. Now, I wonder if you’ve ever encountered a situation where you have an advertiser that sees more value in being on those on-demand products over the live feed – over-the-air; the stream; whatever the case that may be. As a society, we kind of crave on-demand more than working on any network’s or station’s schedule these days. 

GA: I think clients will look at the extension products, a rebroadcast of a podcast or an additional podcast. They may look at that as a new audience for them. We talk to clients all the time about, ‘Hey, you want to be on the broadcast, advertise there live,’ but then also the rebroadcast because people aren’t listening to the broadcast and then they’re going to go back and listen to the rebroadcast. So you’ve got to capture that entire audience. They know the best way to do that is advertise on both mediums. 

DR: Yeah, that that makes a lot of sense. Tell me a little bit about your play-by-play goals and strategy for KFAN, because you had the Vikings, the Gophers and the Wild and in my mind, obviously as a lifelong Southerner, so I might be stereotyping here, but you have the Vikings and you have hockey in Minnesota. You’re pretty well covered, right? Is there a desire to add more if the opportunity became available or given what you have, is the bar set so high that maybe you don’t need more right now? 

GA: It comes down to time, honestly. You know, we love to be the sports leader. We’d love to have a lot of sports teams. We’re really happy with the Vikings, Wild and Gophers. We also have the St. Paul Saints. We play a couple of their games on the weekends. It’s on FAN Plus the rest of the time, but if we can get creative and we can have more of that sports audience and ability to work with the franchises, that would be fantastic. We just have to work through the amount of time that stuff is on the air and conflicts that could arise from that. 

DR: We are trying to forecast the economy right now and it is tricky, but are there any sectors that you look at as sort of a microcosm for the big picture? Is there any sector you can look at and say, ‘If that’s okay, we’re okay,’ or, ‘If that’s off, that could spell trouble down the road’?

GA: It’s a good question. The uncertainty is is everywhere. You talk to one company, and they’re struggling. You talk to another company; they’re doing great. That’s what’s so weird about what we’re dealing with from an economic standpoint.                 

You’ve been around. We’ve both seen economic uncertainty in the market before. I was in New York when 9/11 happened. I was there in Miami when the housing bubble burst and Miami was just destroyed. I was obviously here for the pandemic. Every one of those is a little bit different, but this one is probably the most different because we are getting a positive and a negative on the same day and it counteracts. I mean, we raise our our interest to 7% and boom, unemployment goes down. How is that supposed to happen? 

DR: I heard an economics professor speak after he put out a paper basically saying, ‘Hey, by definition, we’re not in a recession. People are spending like we’re not in a recession.’ So on and so forth. The rebuttal actually, I thought was very poignant, which was, ‘Okay, if we’re not technically in a recession, but we believe we’re in a recession or the the general feeling is we’re in a recession, is that any different than being in a recession?’ I guess it goes to your point, like we don’t know what information we’re getting right now. 

GA: You’ve got housing that’s still going up and you got interest rates that just went up today or yesterday. It’s wild.               

We’ve got car dealers that are doing well, but then you’ve got car dealers who aren’t getting cars because of the the slowdown there. So, I mean, every day; every client we talk to, it’s one thing or the other. It’s just it’s so wild because everyone’s like, ‘It’s going to change,’ you know? But we’ve been saying that for probably 12 months now. 

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