About Talk Radio Network
In 2015, the original flagship company turned 22 years old. According to the only report on the spoken word syndication industry, done by the then top media analyst, Bear Stearns, the “TRN companies” collectively surpassed both ABC Radio and then CBS controlled Westwood One, taking their place, at that time (circa 2007), as the second largest network syndicator of spoken word programming in the country.
That Bear Stearns analysis reported that the “TRN companies”, as a group, had 16% of total U.S. market share for spoken word syndication at that time, second only to Premiere Radio Networks (Premiere Radio Networks was 1st then with 26% market share). That report (the only one of its kind for spoken word networks done before or since that time) was before other “TRN networks’” launched “America’s Morning News” (AMN) in 2009 and “America’s Radio News Network” (ARNN) in early 2011. AMN and ARNN were America’s only long form syndicated all news programming on national commercial radio (outside of N.P.R.). The ARNN division had to be shuttered in September of 2013 because of actions giving rise to a lawsuit in 2012. This lawsuit was settled in Feb/March of 2014. America’s Morning News still remains America’s largest syndicated morning drive, three hour news-wheel.
The different “TRN companies”, through all of their different syndicated offerings, have successfully launched or rebuilt 8 of America’s top 10 largest syndicated talk radio shows in the United States (according to Talkers Magazine’s rankings during that entire period). Those programs, at their height, include: Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell, ranked 4th largest at its height, The Michael Savage Show, ranked 3rd largest at its height; The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show, ranked 2nd largest at its height; The Laura Ingraham Show, ranked 5th largest at its height; The Jerry Doyle Show, ranked 4th largest; another show, ranked 6th largest at its height; The Mancow Experience, ranked 10th largest at its height; and, one other, ranked in the Talkers “Top 10” largest syndicated shows (now replaced by Sam Sorbo), ranked the 7th largest show at its height.
To give an idea of how rare it is for any syndicator to have launched or re-launched 8 of America’s 10 largest shows in the last 22 years, it must be noted that only one other network radio syndicator of spoken word programming has even come close in successful launches into the nationwide “top 10”, with a grand total of only 2 shows (compared to the “TRN companies” 8). This is because spoken word network radio syndication is a highly entrepreneurial I.P. niche within radio itself, comprised of multiple unique skill sets, and the “TRN companies” are simply the best at doing what they do within this industry.
Between 2003 and 2005, while Mark Masters continued to build out the “TRN companies”, the then and still current CEO of FOX, USA, Roger Ailes, called Mr. Masters and requested that he help build out Fox’s radio division. Mr. Masters did this to great success for FOX, and launched “The Alan Colmes Show” successfully on radio for FOX, separately from continuing to build his own companies. To this day, Alan Colmes is still one of the most successful “liberal” syndicated shows in national radio in the United States.
For eight consecutive years in a row (through 2013), Mr. Masters has been honored by being named one of the “40 Most Powerful People in Radio” by Radio Ink, the most respected trade publication in the radio industry. This speaks to the fact that the “TRN companies” are entrepreneurial in nature and understand the nature of managing host I.P. agreements as “brands” under a “master brand”, and to Mr. Masters’ great knowledge of changes in the industry, utilizing the best practices and entrepreneurial skill sets that have made him a leader in syndicating the most successful nationally syndicated talent in the U.S. radio industry for over 20 years.
With turmoil on Wall Street and massive layoffs in the radio marketplace, TALKERS magazine went to one of the true entrepreneurs in this industry, TRN’s CEO Mark Masters, for insight and analysis. Ever the optimist, Masters believes that there is an advantage to every disadvantage and that an entrepreneurial renaissance in radio is near at hand. TALKERS magazine recently caught up with Mark Masters to get an overview of the industry and his perspective and what lies ahead...