April 10, 2020

Add One More Hour in the Morning for The Breakfast Club and Big Boy's Neighborhood

Top iHeartMedia morning shows including New York’s “Elvis Duran and The Morning Show” and “The Breakfast Club,” Nashville’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and Los Angeles’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” and “Big Boy’s Neighborhood,” will extend their daily airtime for an additional hour+ because of increased listener demand received through daily call-ins and social media feedback during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iHeartMedia also recently released data and insights on how Americans are consuming podcasts during the pandemic, noticing an uptick in the on-demand podcasts category with Top 5 on-demand shows up 9 percent month-to-date, including iHeartMedia’s leading radio personalities like Elvis Duran and The Breakfast Club. In addition, with consumers spending more time at home, iHeartRadio usage across digital platforms has seen an overall increase in smart speakers — for some (sonos) as high as 57 percent, 60 percent on web, 35 percent through smart TVs and social engagement with on air personalities has increased 19 percent.

“Given the amount of positive feedback our stations were receiving from their listeners, our on air talent began asking them if they should stay on air longer in the mornings — and the response was incredible; for example, Elvis Duran received more than 65,000 likes and more than 12,000 comments when he asked his social media followers about extending his morning show,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer of iHeartMedia. “This listener feedback, combined with the data we are seeing with our on demand shows, is a testament to the connection that our radio personalities have with their listeners, and the fact that broadcast radio still holds such a unique place in American culture especially during a time of crisis. These on air voices are a trusted friends with close emotional connections to their listeners, and they inspire their communities; and help them cope with anxiety and concern; and provide entertainment and stress relief.”

Beginning April 7, more than 65 morning shows across more than 50 markets will officially have extend their morning shows by at least one hour. In addition to each station’s regular programming schedules, on air personalities across the country will continue to serve and inform communities during these unprecedented times with the latest COVID 19 facts, with special local market broadcast reports on the latest news provided by iHeartRadio’s 24/7 News Network every hour.

Big Boy's Neighborhood, which originates from Real 92.3 in Los Angeles added an extra hour on March 25, and now airs from 5 A.M. to 11 A.M.

As we see it during the COVID-19 pandemic, people working from home have less of a need to turn on their radio. In fact how many people have a radio in their home? And for those essential workers leaving their homes, they are spending less time in their cars because their commute has decreased drastically. So naturally TSL (Time Spent Listening) has decreased as well.

Therefore listening habits have shifted. Morning drive in America is not the same. For many, podcasts are a viable option for fans of these morning shows. So adding an extra hour until 11 A.M. makes sense in terms of attracting listeners, as many people are getting a later start to their work day.

Perhaps other syndicated shows will soon follow suit. There are already a number of stations that have adjusted their on-air personality schedule and some have even begun to play Christmas music in order to keep listeners in an upbeat mood. However the one thing that is still being aired are sponsored traffic reports. Are these necessary? Perhaps those segments could be turned into a COVID-19 information reports instead. Watching the local TV news, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, and White House Press Briefings can be overwhelming.

These are unprecedented times and radio will need to respond in terms of their programming to keep listeners engaged, less stressed, and advertisers happy. The popularity of Instagram Live is a testament to this. It seems like listeners are gravitating to music from the 70's, 80's. and the 90's. A time when many listeners perceived to be a less complicated time.

Thank you to all of the essential workers, which include health care professionals and those working in the food service industries, for your service!

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