There are instances where being a bull in a China shop isn’t the worst thing.
“I’m kind of a bomb-tosser,” said Tom Tradup, vice president of news and talk programming at Salem Radio Network.
Tradup majored in political science at the University of Alabama. What he really wanted to do was go to Washington, get congressmen elected, and write some laws. Radio broadcasting wasn’t a blip on his radar.
“Political jobs weren’t easy to find in D.C.,” Tradup explained. “They wanted people like Karl Rove, John Dean, people like that.”
Admittedly, his entry into politics was a bust.
“The first and only politician I worked for was in the 70s,” Tradup said. “He was an investment banker in Boston and he asked me to manage his congressional campaign. He was running against Paul Tsongas.”
Thanks to Tradup’s fledgling skills and neophyte approach, his candidate lost by a landslide, running against future presidential candidate Paul Tsongas.
“It’s good to be known for something,” Tradup jokes. “We lost by the largest landslide of Massachusettes, which dated back to the Pilgrims. And with a breadth of responsibilities within his network, Tradup finds time to smile.
In the first election, Tradup admits he didn’t vet his opponent well enough.
“Tsongas never held a real job in his life,” Tradup said. “He went to Dartmouth, then joined the Peace Corps. That’s not a real job. He was on the city council of Lowell and quit to become Middlesex County commissioner.”
That dubious experience prompted Tradup to exit hands-on politics for good. Still, he wondered where he could still harness his love of affairs of state, so he decided he’d cover politics as a journalist. He started working for WCNY, the public radio station in Syracuse.
“I covered state and local news, and was a regular on All Things Considered. I didn’t get paid much, but I got all the free tote bags I wanted. I became a connoisseur of Ramen Noodles.”
His first stop in commercial radio was in Columbia, Missouri at KTGR, the Tiger. This was the beginning of what Tradup termed his recurring ‘two year plans.’ Essentially spending two years in each job until he ended up with Salem, his tenure nearly three decades. At the time KTGR was a country music daytimer. That wasn’t where the fun ended.
“At the top of the hour for the legal ID, we had to growl,” Tradup recalls. “You know, like a tiger growling. We’d say, “It’s 1:30 at KTGR…(insert growl here.)”
Tradup was less than thrilled.
“I told the station manager that I knew I was just a young guy, but as the station’s news director, it was humiliating to have to growl. I asked if there was some kind of sound effect of a growl we could use instead. He screamed, ‘No, you S.O.B. Folks love that.”
After he’d had his fill of growling, Tradup moved down the road to KCMO/Kansas City for two years, then on to New York and WMCA AM as a morning show producer. The station had legendary hosts like Bob Grant and Barry Farber. The station was owned by R. Peter Straus doing business as Straus Communications. Straus was director of Voice of America under President Jimmy Carter.
“We were a little radio station in the middle of Midtown Manhattan,” Tradup said. “We were small, but there were a lot of ears tuning in to our station. We had everybody on that station; Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, David Dinkins, Rudy Guiliani. It was great for me because I loved politics.”
Then he got a call from WASH FM and John Kluge. He told Tradup they needed an operations manager.
“Kluge told me they wanted a new morning show and asked if I’d create it,” Tradup said. “I did and it was called Continental Breakfast with Arthur Crofton and Linda Sherman.”
Crofton was American, but he had British parents and had the Alistaire Cooke accent working. “It was a soft rock format. Crofton was the British touristy type, and Linda had the American perspective. We’d do a different remote every month. The show did well, it punched through. It can be very hard when you’re doing something new. Harden and Weaver ruled the roost in the market, but we were a strong second.” Harden and Weaver Show was the top show in D.C. for more than 38 years.
After that, it was KRLD in Dallas, a 50,000-watt station with rating problems.
“On Sundays we had the Cowboys, but they said they needed someone to juice things up during the week,” Tradup said. Tradup was the juicer.
“One of the first things I did was replace an operations director who had been there for 17 years. They were doing a lot of things by rote, them saying things were always done that way. I think if you bring in a fresh perspective it always helps. We brought in full-time news staff, helicopters.”
Tradup said that was when the station produced features during Cowboy games. Shows like Coaches Corner, and shows with Preston Pearson and Bullet Bob Hayes.
“When I arrived I remember listening to former Cowboy player Bob Lilly’s show, which was sponsored by a local grocery store. I thought it was kind of boring. The KLRD guy was asking him a lot of boring questions and I realized the show had to go.”
It’s not easy to tell “Mr. Cowboy,” a fierce defensive tackle, his show was going to be axed. It turned out to be just fine with Lilly.
“He was living in Colorado, a very nice guy, a professional photographer at the time,” Tradup said. “I called and said, ‘I said I hate to do this to you, but I was thinking I have to cancel your show.’”
To Tradup’s surprise, Lilly was totally cool with it. He told Tradup he couldn’t understand why the station had him doing the show in the first place. He didn’t really know or relate to the younger players. Lilly said they’d just wanted him to talk about the ‘old days.’
This was also about the time Jerry Jones had just come to Dallas, and everybody knew he was going to fire Tom Landry and bring in his pal Jimmy Johnson.
“I don’t think you could argue from a business decision, but it was the way he handled it that bothered me,” Tradup said. “I remember picking up the now defunct Dallas Herald and there was a color photo of Jones and Johnson celebrating their new era at Mia’s Tex-Mex Restaurant. The reason this was not appropriate is this was Landry’s favorite Mexican restaurant. It was his place. Not very classy.”
Then came the storied WLS radio in Chicago. He’d gotten a call from the late Norm Schrutt, at the time the ABC group president who oversaw the station. He asked Tradup if he wanted to come to WLS. Tradup was dating his future wife Lori and didn’t want to mess that up with a move.
“The first question Norm asked me was whether I wanted to come to WLS and I answered ‘no.’ The second question he asked was, ‘are you stupid?’”
Not the beginning of a great interview.
Schrutt told Tradup he was offering him a 50,000-watt radio station owned by Capital Cities/ABC. Reminded him they owned ESPN, and that they even had cable deals in China.
Schrutt continued. “Don’t you understand? Chicago is the third largest market. You’re in Dallas.”
Tradup knew what market he was in. He got the trade magazines. As you may have guessed, Tradup eventually went to WLS.
“Norm introduced me to the staff. He told me while I was running the station that it’s my baby. It’s nice nobody can tell you what to do, but it’s your butt on the line when things go bad.”
After unpacking at his new home in Chicago, Tradup had his first experience with Sun Times media columnist Robert Feder.
“Norm had told me there was one guy I should never talk to. That was Robert Feder. My first reaction was ‘why?’ I was taking over a new station and it was in everybody’s best interest if I got along with this guy.”
Schrutt told Tradup that Feder was the guy who destroyed WLS. When Tradup came to WLS, they were 27th in the market and were hemorrhaging money with a 1.3 share.
“Feder operated on the theory that when there’s smoke there’s fire,” Tradup explained. “When salespeople saw bad writing on the wall, they’d jump ship, and he’d write about that. Other people would get nervous and leave. Feder would attack the station on this and that. When I got there Don Wade and Roma were there. They’re the only people I kept when I came on board. The station was still playing music when I got there.”
Tradup said during a typical hour on that incarnation of WLS, you’d hear a Dean Martin song followed by a Phil Collins song. It was a big bowl of dirty soup. When WLS flipped to talk, Robert Feder flipped too. He grew up with Dick Biondi, John Landecker’s Boogie Check, Old Uncle Larry.
“Robert Feder figured if Norm hired me I must have been a bad guy,” Tradup said. “I asked my assistant Lanette to get Feder on the phone. The color drained from her face and she asked me if I knew about the bad blood between Norm and Feder? I said I did, and she got him on the phone. ‘What the heck is your problem?’ I said to Feder.”
‘I beg your pardon?’ was Feder’s reply.
Tradup asked Feder why he had such a bone to pick with WLS.
Feder told Tradup he grew up necking with his wife on WLS along Lake Michigan. He talked about all the history of the station, including WLS being the station that ran the Hindenburg disaster. A whole lot of colorful radio history and necking. And he saw ABC as an out-of-town, absentee landlord that didn’t appreciate WLS as a Chicago institution.”
“I told him I’d hoped he’d find I was a good guy, even though he didn’t know me,” Tradup said. “I had a lot of good ideas. It wasn’t like Chicago really needed another talk station. In those days, Chicago didn’t need another friendly WGN. You couldn’t be hipper than The Loop.”
“I told him I’d make a deal with him,” Tradup explained. “I’d give him complete access to what I was thinking or planning. If I was going to change talent in a day part, I’d tell him. I promised I’d never say ‘no comment.’ I only asked him two things; Don’t take something I say out of context to make me sound stupid. I could do that well enough on my own. I also told him I’d give him a heads–up if something was coming down the road. We agreed and we’re still friends to this day.”
Tradup said his Christian faith and background in journalism have taught him candor, integrity and truth-telling always are the best policy in the long run.
“If people learn anything from this interview, I hope they’ll take that advice to heart.”
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email email@example.com.
Christopher Gabriel Isn’t Crazy About Politics, But Is Crazy About Making People Laugh
“We’ve been number one in Fresno for the past 19 months, one of the top stations in the state. We must be doing something right. When we’re not doing news, we’re light-hearted.”
Talk about conflicted youth. Christopher Gabriel grew up a couple of miles from Wrigley Field, even though his father was a devoted fan of the White Sox.
“My dad was a southside guy,” Gabriel said. “I was a White Sox fan like him. My mom was the anomaly, a Cubs fan, but now she’s a Philly fan. We had a divided household. I was in the first row in the upper deck for the last game at Comiskey. It was gut-wrenching saying good-bye to it.”
As a kid, Gabriel watched Dick Allen in the red stripe era Sox uniforms. “I saw Allen hit one so far up in left field, it hit the lip of the roof before flying over and out,” Gabriel said. “That’s the kind of power Allen had.”
Gabriel was a basketball standout in high school, recruited by several schools including Tennessee. He had a lot of connections with the school. His uncle attended Tennessee, but he ultimately didn’t think the academic program was right for him.
He said the film Hoosiers was emblematic of everything he was. “I think it mirrored everything I could have been if I’d stayed with basketball. I always knew I had the talent but admittedly didn’t put in the necessary effort. I should have stayed there. At the same time, I never would have had the other amazing experiences in my life if I had stayed.”
His father was a shrewd businessman. Living in the Chicago area, along with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, his father recognized the promise of the Golden Arches early.
“It cost 100 thousand dollars in liquid cash to get into a McDonald’s franchise back then,” Gabriel said. “My father had 9 thousand, far short of the money he needed. He kept borrowing more and finally Ray Kroc put up the difference himself. When my dad was concerned about how he was going to be able to pay Kroc back, Kroc just told him to pay it back by giving back to the community.”
Wow. Good deal for the Gabriel family.
Gabriel’s radio career has encompassed both sports talk and news talk, from Fargo to Fresno. He is the host of Fresno’s Morning News on KMJ 580 AM/105.9 FM and has a ton of fun on his show. He’s not crazy about politics, but he’s passionate about his opinions.
“When I started on this show, I wanted to make people laugh on their morning commute,” Gabriel explained. “It was my goal to keep people in their car to hear the end of a story. Deliver heart-wrenching stories. I think we do that. We’re interesting, engaging, funny. We take the work seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s a fine line.”
Gabriel said there’s no screaming on his show, no agenda, no attempt to make listeners lean a certain way. “We’ve been number one in Fresno for the past 19 months, one of the top stations in the state. We must be doing something right. When we’re not doing news, we’re light-hearted.”
Gabriel did his homework before accepting the job.
The story goes like this; Gabriel had been working at another station. They canned him despite his being responsible for raising most of the revenue the show generated. He refused to play the game.
“It was the only job I ever got fired from in radio,” Gabriel said. “The reason–I wasn’t a cheerleader. I told them I’d rather be fired than become a cheerleader for anyone. I told them I wasn’t the right fit. They eventually agreed.”
KMJ program director Blake Taylor was familiar with Gabriels’ work at the previous station.
“I don’t know how he got my phone number, but the same day I was let go, he called me,” Gabriel explained. “Blake told me he was a fan of my work and wanted me to do guest-hosting. After months of guest-hosting, he insisted one day he was going to hire me. Five years later an opening came along and I had two interviews. I turned it down twice. When they offered the job a third time it made me think perhaps they really wanted me.”
If you’re keeping score at home, it was basketball, theater, and then radio. Here’s the theater part. In high school, he met Regina Gordon, who ran the theater department.
“She grabbed my arm in the hallway and asked me to audition,” Gabriel said. “I was open-minded in school. I was never afraid to walk the line between all groups of kids. I didn’t hang out with only one group. It wasn’t like I only hung out with jocks or theater kids. I didn’t give a damn about sitting at a popular table.”
After Regina Gordon’s interest in Gabriel’s possible acting future, he was working at the college radio station. A temporary wall had been put up in between the radio studio and the theater office.
“Someone in the theater office would bang on the wall when they felt I got too loud on my show,” Gabriel explained. “The banging would ruin my show. I got so pissed, I burst into the theater office and was raising hell,” Gabriel said. “The girl who had banged on the wall was apparently impressed with my anger and said I’d be great for a part they were looking to fill.”
A sign? Probably. It gets better. At USC, he studied under John Housman. Yes, the John Houseman.
“He told us stories about working with Orson Welles,” Gabriel explained. “Mr. Houseman was one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, a classical theater guy. I was on campus reading my lines for Barefoot in the Park. It was hot as hell and he was dressed in a tweed jacket and bow tie, just like he would be in the film, The Paper Chase. He saw the script I was reading and seemed dismissive. He grabbed my script and said, ‘commercial crap Mr. Gabriel.’ I’ll never forget, he walked 30 feet, turned and said, ‘Don’t ever forget. Commercial crap pays the bills.”
During Gabriel’s first year of theater studies he was starting to get it. Understand the craft, as thespians say. One day John Houseman took him aside and explained it to him this way:
“He said I was talented, but raw. He said I needed a lot of work but believed I could become a good actor and ‘join him on the boards.”
That’s such a thespian thing to say, but also greatly encouraging. In order to do that, Gabriel would have to give up basketball. He did.
“I was going to be a walk-on at USC, and I realized the theater season was almost exactly the same duration as the basketball season. One of them had to go.” Basketball bit the dust.
Gabriel takes time to talk to theater groups and tells them a simple truth–if they want to pursue acting, they have to be dedicated. Work as hard as they can. He tells them he’s been in 105 plays in his career, but auditioned for more than a thousand.
He was a stellar athlete, but now his acting talent was gaining recognition. Mitch Albom went to see him in the play he penned, Tuesdays With Morrie in St. Paul, Minnesota. The stage play was adapted from Albom’s hugely successful book of the same name.
“Mitch Albom came to see me in Tuesdays with Morrie in St. Paul,” Gabriel said. “He liked the work and came backstage after the show. He said he’d like me to do another play he’d written. I thought he was bullshitting me, just being nice.When Mitch went back on the air on WJR in Detroit, someone told me he’d said he’d attended the best production of Tuesdays with Morrie he’d ever seen. That was our show.”
The accolades just kept on coming.
Gabriel worked with a director in Minneapolis by the name of Don Stolz. He ran the Old Log Theater, the oldest continuously run theater west of the Mississippi.
“He was a WWII veteran and was a theater major at Northwestern,” Gabriel said. “The guy who was running the Old Log once told him if he ever wanted to take over the theater, to send him a dollar. Stolz sent him a dollar and ran the theater for 50 years. He once told me, ‘You know what my idea of success as an actor is? You get that paycheck every Thursday. You get paid for doing what you love to do. I’ve always seen that as a critical message.”
Months later, Gabriel got a call from Albom. Turns out Albom was being sincere, and he wanted Gabriel to replace a guy in his play, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.
“It’s a play about a couple of knucklehead brothers in Alabama who go duck hunting and actually wind up shooting down an angel,” Gabriel explained. “After a while, I told Mitch as much as I loved doing the show, I was burnt out. Mitch told me he thought I’d be good in radio, a good talk show host. He essentially pushed me into this business.”
Another door opens for our hero.
Gabriel had what could be called an apprenticeship at KFAN with Doug Westerman. “They didn’t need anyone on-air, but they were talking about starting a news-talk station,” he said. “Doug told me they were going to need someone to screen calls,” Gabriel recalled. Gabriel was apprehensive. “I thought I’d done too much in my career to start that low. Answering phones. I really didn’t know any better though so I asked him if I could have the weekend to think about it. Doug Westerman is a big and burly guy with a quick trigger. “F***that,’ Westerman screamed, ‘I need an answer now.’”
Whether Gabriel was intimidated or recognized a good opportunity when he saw one is only known by Gabriel himself. That’s where he started working with Pat Kessler, a TV political reporting legend in Minneapolis.
“Pat was like an older version of me,” Gabriel said. “He was a real newshound. Pat was doing some speech on the air and I recognized it as the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. He paused for a moment so I chimed in with several lines and quickly felt I’d made a huge mistake.
“At the commercial break I thought I’d just blown this new career, and was anticipating Pat yelling at me. Instead, he loved it. He told me to go crazy, to create characters for his show. I did liners for the show as Kim Jong-il. There wasn’t a ceiling. He gave me the latitude to create. He allowed me to grow quickly. I couldn’t have asked for a better pro to learn from. And Doug, he is simply the man who gave me this awesome career. I’m forever grateful to him.”
Throughout his stage career, Gabriel has worked alongside some big names like Julie Harris and James Earl Jones. He said he was incredulous when he learned he’d be working with James Earl Jones.
“The first time I saw him I introduced myself and said, ‘Hello Mr. Jones.’ He said, ‘Call me Jimmy.’ I thought he had to be kidding. How the hell do you call James Earl Jones, ‘Jimmy?’”
With actors like Julie Harris and James Earl Jones, Gabriel recognized how much they cared about and respected their work. For them, it wasn’t about celebrity, it was about the craft, the work. They were so sure of themselves.
Gabriel is the father of two daughters. He was thrilled when one of their school principal’s insisted the students practiced their interpersonal skills.
“He had the students shake hands, make eye contact with each other,” he explained. “I saw it as an attempt to counter the phone culture. It forced the girls to communicate with aunts and uncles and be present. I’m grateful for his efforts.”
While he concedes no child is perfect, including his own, there was one incident he felt should be brought to my attention. When one of his daughters was 15, she sent Gabriel a text message.
“It began, ‘Hey Bruh.’ I wrote back, ‘Hey Bruh? Do you think this is your boyfriend?’ I told her ‘Here’s the thing. As your grandpa would certainly tell you, if you want to make it to 16, don’t ever text me ‘Hey Bruh’ again.”
In yet another Forrest Gump-ian moment, Gabriel worked with Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods on The Travel Channel.
“A lot of people don’t realize he was homeless and a drug addict,” Gabriel said. “He turned his life around and became an award-winning chef. He was a food critic on television and is a good friend to this day. He always made me feel important.”
Gabriel said when Zimmern visited a city, he didn’t want to eat in the heart of the city on the main street. The popular restaurants. Instead, he wanted to eat at the restaurant on the street behind the street. The family-run joint with real recipes.
“It’s kind of like how I approach sports,” Gabriel said. “I don’t care about batting averages, I look at the nuance and depth.”
You know, the sport behind the sport.
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has also served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his book: On Story Parkway: Remembering Milwaukee County Stadium, available on Amazon, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are Fast Food Sandwich Stories News or Free Advertising?
The majority of these stories that make air seem to involve chicken but even then, hiding behind the latest “sandwich wars” justification seems a bit thin.
Scarcely a week goes by where we don’t have an opportunity to watch, read, or listen to a “news” story concerning the latest menu item introduced or returned by a chain restaurant or fast food outlet. Yes, “news” is in quotations because I question just how this type of information finds its way into a legitimate rundown.
I’ve always wondered about this and nobody has ever successfully explained, argued, or come close to justifying this practice is legitimate. It’s advertising without the commercial spot break and I don’t know why we continue to do it.
First, let’s lay down the disclaimer that this is no criticism or finger pointing against any particular food, franchise, corporation, or drive-thru operation or employee. Additionally, no blame or negative evaluation is to be inferred against any news station, outlet, publication or staff member.
Frankly, you’re (we’re) all culpable and equally to blame.
I have sat in the control room and watched as a fast-food restaurant graphic popped up in between the anchor team or over the solo anchor’s shoulder as the prompter rolled out copy I myself would fight not to write.
And yet there it is, Murrow and other award-winning journalists enthusiastically telling us about the new chicken sandwich this place is rolling out next month or the latest two-for-one offer at that place if you go and eat there on a Tuesday.
“It’s their new olive burger…now with more olives!”
Actually, the majority of these stories that make air seem to involve chicken but even then, hiding behind the latest “sandwich wars” justification seems a bit thin.
So, again I ask why?
What makes this information suddenly become part of an article or news copy that costs a business nothing and not an ad campaign they should be paying for?
Seriously, we’re at the point where the lines have been blurred by mayonnaise or special sauce or two kinds of lettuce or several kinds of cheese if we’re really lucky.
I am on a soapbox here but not on either a pedestal nor an altitudinous mare. In other words, I myself have tasted the forbidden fruit. Often that fruit has come in the form of a free breakfast sandwich, flavored coffee, pizza or bacon double cheeseburger that found its way to the newsroom before suddenly becoming a topic discussed on the air.
Hey, I can’t review it if I don’t try it, right?
Well, yes and mostly no. I’m not advocating for it and unless I’m being compensated to extoll the wonder that is the addition of guacamole or coleslaw it’s not getting into my headline set.
On radio, the talkers can do it all they want. They’re about other stuff like fun and music and nobody is calling them out on credibility.
The newsroom is different.
When an individual does something good we go to cover it and a business, large or small should be afforded the same courtesy. So many fast-food chains and restaurant franchises do great things for charities and local people in-need and that is part of what we regularly like to showcase.
We get press releases, sometimes distributed as “news releases” from the food chains letting us know about the new offerings. “We’ve Added Wings!” This is not an ad copy, it’s meant to get in our shows and someone, somewhere decided this is okay and not to be questioned.
I tend not to read those memos that say, “don’t ask”.
In a different direction, there are legitimate incidents, developments and news stories that often must go through a screening process because the business involved is a paying sponsor or advertiser for news programming.
I’ve had and seen accurate and justifiable copy stricken, “massaged” until unidentifiable or outright killed because somebody’s commercial ran during the show or one of the dayparts.
No naiveté here, one understands the concern. However, if a pizza joint is facing a class action sexual harassment suit and good journalism has been practiced do we run from it because they’ve bought air time or worse yet have now added cilantro to the cheesy-bites?
Bill Zito has devoted most of his work efforts to broadcast news since 1999. He made the career switch after serving a dozen years as a police officer on both coasts. Splitting the time between Radio and TV, he’s worked for ABC News and Fox News, News 12 New York , The Weather Channel and KIRO and KOMO in Seattle. He writes, edits and anchors for Audacy’s WTIC-AM in Hartford and lives in New England. You can find him on Twitter @BillZitoNEWS.
ABC’s “The Light We Carry” Special Draws 3.5 Million Total Viewers
Bestselling author and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama was the focus of ABC’s Nov. 13 special “The Light We Carry.”
With the 2022 midterm elections almost entirely in the rearview mirror (save for extended vote counts in selected areas and the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff), a few notable figures from elections of years past took the spotlight on November 13-15.
Bestselling author and former First Lady Michelle Obama was the focus of ABC’s Nov. 13 special “The Light We Carry”. Sharing the same title of her newest book release, Obama offered new life stories as well as coping strategies for surviving stress and uncertainty, especially since the early days of the COVID pandemic. “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts interviewed Obama in Chicago and hosted a lunch with Michelle’s mother and their close circle of friends.
For its original telecast, it drew 2.8 million total viewers on Nov. 13 from 10-11 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research. The special ranked fourth in the hour, behind NBC’s “Sunday Night Football: Chargers at 49ers”, Paramount’s “Yellowstone” season premiere and CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Within the following seven days, it picked up an additional 710,000 viewers bringing the tally for ABC’s “Michael Obama: The Light We Carry” to 3.5 million.
On the next night (Nov. 14), ABC televised “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir’s exclusive interview with former Vice President Mike Pence. It was Pence’s first sit-down interview since the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol and the subsequent committee hearings that investigated the day. It delivered 3.93 million viewers, which nearly doubled its “Bachelor in Paradise” lead-in (2.27 million) and ranked third in the 10-11 p.m. hour (behind ESPN “Monday Night Football: Commanders-Eagles” and CBS’ “NCIS: Hawai’i”). In Live plus seven-day viewers, the Pence interview added another 1.3 million to its audience figures, totaling 5.23 million overall.
Then, on Nov. 15, as expected, Donald Trump announced his run for the 2024 U.S. presidency. The three major cable news outlets plus two newer news channels all saw an uptick for that announcement within the 9 p.m. ET hour, although CNN and MSNBC only checked in on the event periodically.
Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” drew the biggest crowd with 5.16 million viewers — the program’s top mark since Trump spoke with Hannity on Aug. 26, 2021. CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” was a distant runner-up at 2.43 million. “Alex Wagner Tonight” on MSNBC (1.83 million) was a decent third; its lead-out “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (1.99 million) built upon Wagner’s show that evening.
Newsmax devoted two hours to Trump’s announcement, from 9-11 p.m. ET, drawing 1.13 million total viewers — normally, the outlet averages about 1/8th that amount in prime time.
Upstart NewsNation posted 234,000 viewers. It was preceded by “Cuomo” (193,000) at 8 p.m. and succeeded by a post-analysis hosted by Chris Cuomo at 10 p.m. (122,000). The night helped propel NewsNation to another 100,000+ weekly viewer average in prime time, a mark that was in far distant reach for almost all of its two years in existence.
Cable news averages for November 14-20, 2022:
Total Day (Nov. 14-20 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.567 million viewers; 216,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.818 million viewers; 94,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.625 million viewers; 131,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.156 million viewers; 40,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.135 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.123 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.122 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.108 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (Nov. 14-19 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 20 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 2.399 million viewers; 319,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 1.312 million viewers; 144,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.877 million viewers; 205,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.277 million viewers; 43,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.170 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.162 million viewers; 37,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.110 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.103 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.069 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.157 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.869 million viewers
3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.662 million viewers
4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/17/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.629 million viewers
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 11/17/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.629 million viewers
6. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/14/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.560 million viewers
7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/16/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.546 million viewers
8. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.531 million viewers
9. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 11/18/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.318 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/16/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.299 million viewers
23. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/14/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.650 million viewers
28. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.430 million viewers
221. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 620” (HBO, Fri. 11/18/2022 10:00 PM, 57 min.) 0.834 million viewers
348. The Daily Show (CMDY, Thu. 11/17/2022 11:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.501 million viewers
395. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 11/20/2022 11:06 PM, 40 min.) 0.387 million viewers
399. Varney & Company (FBN, Wed. 11/16/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.382 million viewers
444. Fast Money Halftime Report (CNBC, Tue. 11/15/2022 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.296 million viewers
453. Forensic Files “To The Viktor” (HLN, Thu. 11/17/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.288 million viewers
500. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sat. 11/19/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.247 million viewers
526. Newsnation Special Report “Trump Potus 2024 Speech” (NWSN, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 69 min.) 0.234 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.929 million adults 25-54
2. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.656 million adults 25-54
3. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.637 million adults 25-54
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.573 million adults 25-54
5. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.546 million adults 25-54
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/16/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.506 million adults 25-54
7. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/17/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.501 million adults 25-54
8. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Tue. 11/15/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.481 million adults 25-54
9. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/16/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.479 million adults 25-54
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 11/17/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.465 million adults 25-54
35. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/14/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.298 million adults 25-54
147. The Daily Show (CMDY, Thu. 11/17/2022 11:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.172 million adults 25-54
158. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 620” (HBO, Fri. 11/18/2022 10:00 PM, 57 min.) 0.167 million adults 25-54
221. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 11/20/2022 11:06 PM, 40 min.) 0.128 million adults 25-54
261. Forensic Files “Kidnapping” (HLN, late Fri. 11/18/2022 4:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.113 million adults 25-54
386. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1005” (CNBC, Tue. 11/15/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.075 million adults 25-54
450. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sat. 11/19/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.063 million adults 25-54
570. American Built (FBN, Mon. 11/14/2022 11:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.048 million adults 25-54
644. Cuomo (NWSN, Wed. 11/16/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/