Six months after returning to the local airwaves, entertainer Nick Cannon is expanding into national radio syndication. The morning man at rhythmic CHR “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles will launch an afternoon show in January via Skyview Networks in a partnership with KPWR owner Meruelo Media.
Launching Jan. 27, 2020, “Nick Cannon Radio” will target urban, rhythmic and hip-hop stations with a five-hour L.A.-based show. No affiliates have been announced at press time. However the number of syndicated afternoon shows for urban/hip-hop radio is limited. Skyview and Meruelo are betting on a hearty appetite among programmers for the immediate familiarity and awareness Cannon brings as they compete for audiences increasingly distracted by other options vying for their attention.
Best known as the host of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and NBC’s talent competition series, “America’s Got Talent,” Cannon has 12 million social media followers and a dance card that’s quickly filling up. In addition to radio syndication, he’s launching a daily daytime TV talk show in September 2020, cleared on Fox Television Stations, along with “Nick Cannon’s Hit Viral Videos” via Fox.
“Nick Cannon Radio” will encompass four talk segments per hour and is being offered without music, allowing stations to insert roughly nine songs per hour. While Cannon will repurpose some of his morning show material and draw on his celebrity interviews from Power 106 and other outlets, the show will include new original comedy and other content intended for a national audience in afternoons. “The show will feature original comedy and conversations with the people driving pop culture,” Cannon said in a press release.
Skyview will handle production, affiliation and advertising sales. The show is being offered on a barter basis.
With a national profile from work in TV, music, comedy and writing, Skyview President and COO Steve Jones told Inside Radio he sees Cannon’s arrival as “a great shot in the arm for the radio industry. The audience knows him and advertisers want to be associated with him… It’s really encouraging that somebody of Nick’s status wants to be deeply committed to the radio space.”
It was Cannon who first introduced the idea of a syndicated show when he joined KPWR in June 2019. That meshed with Meruelo’s goal to enter the syndication business in 2020. “The idea originated from Nick and we sort of became the conduit,” said Otto Padron, President and COO of Meruelo Media. When Meruelo announced plans to buy heritage L.A. rocker KLOS from Cumulus Media in April, it became acquainted with Jones and Skyview, which distributes ABC News Radio content to then-sister station KABC. And when Meruelo hired Cannon for Power 106, Jones saw an opportunity and rang up Padron.
Still, Meruelo issued a RFP and “looked far and wide” before choosing a syndication partner, Padron says. “Nick was driving that process. He was very involved and engaged and he wanted to make sure that whoever was going to represent this new national content for him was as committed to the product as he was.”
Cannon will serve as the show’s executive producer. “This is his creative vison for how radio in 2020 should be constructed and communicated and how it should impact people’s lives,” Jones said.
While Cannon’s radio resume isn’t extensive – apart from six months at Power 106, he hosted mornings at the former “92.3 Now” WXRK New York from 2010-2012 – Jones said the new show “will be imbued with radio formatics and disciplines” for a PPM radio world. There will also be a certain amount of personalization for individual markets. The bicoastal Cannon is filming a movie and completing graduate work at Howard University in Washington. When his travels bring him to an affiliate market “he will be there to support the station,” Jones said.
In addition, Cannon will host “Nick Cannon Weekends” starting in February 2020.
Cannon is expected to provide more details on the new venture Wednesday on KPWR’s “Nick Cannon Mornings.”
“I love connecting with Los Angeles every morning on Power106,” he said. “The response and support has been amazing and very special; the natural thing is to take it to the next level with a new nationally syndicated daily drive-time and weekend show.” – Paul Heine