Radio studio
A radio studio. Photo via Pixabay

More than a year after the death of George Floyd sparked a national conversation about racial inequality, a recent study shows the Black community is generally distrustful of the news media while more trusting of disc jockeys and personalities they hear on the radio.

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The study, conducted by Horowitz Research in conjunction with iHeart Media, underscores the deep emotional connection Black consumers have with radio, reports Inside Radio, an industry news service.

“Radio is used as a centralized meeting point for following events and moments important to the Black community,” said Hetal Patel, executive VP of research & insights at iHeart. “In particular, the DJs and the personalities they hear are authentic and have built trust with their audiences making them among the most influential people in shaping their opinions. That’s the type of relationship and impact that they share with their DJs.”

The study shows that, when compared to the general population, Black adults are 64% more likely to say radio DJs and personalities influence their opinions. Radio personalities out-performed writers, poets, athletes, musicians, actors and social media influencers.

“What came through clear was the importance of Black radio to the community and that importance can’t be understated,” Patel said. “By providing a safe and authentic space to hear Black voices, Black radio has built a trust with the community. Black-owned or Black-managed news media provides an unbiased relatable perspective on topics and issues facing the Black Americans.”

The study also showed the Black community is often skeptical of news coverage, especially the way Black people are presented in newscasts.

“There is a feeling that Black people were typically portrayed more negatively unless it was following the death of a Black celebrity,” said Patel. “The telling of Black stories by Black voices is a crucial step toward proper representation.”

In 2020, iHeart launched the Black Information Network, billed as the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.

In San Diego, iHeart operates eight San Diego radio stations, including KFMB 760-AM, KGB 101.5-FM, KHTS 93.3-FM (Channel 93.3), KIOZ 105.3-FM (Rock 105), KLSD 1360-AM (XTRA Sports), KMYI 94.1 (Star 94.1), KOGO 600-AM (News Radio 600) and KSSX 95.7-FM (JAM’N 95.7).

IABC San Diego Announces 2021-2022 Board of Directors

The International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter has announced its 2021-2022 board of directors. Katie Knott, manager of internal and executive communications for Collins Aerospace will serve as president. Her term began July 1. Knott succeeds Jayanti Menches, senior consultant for Employera, who will serve as past president.

Other IABC San Diego board members, as well as their employers and IABC board role, include: Brandee Beiriger, Qualcomm, VP of finance; Dave Flynn, Scripps Health, director of programs; Mike Godfrey, Scripps Health, director at large; Kate Griffin, Qualcomm, director at large; Lauren Karwel, Qualcomm, director of communications; Liz Neely, Qualcomm, VP of communications; Tenille Otero, Otay Water District, director of brand design; Kathleen Park, Illumina, director of social media; Alison Ricker, AMN Healthcare, VP of administration; Kelly Sevcik, Neighborhood Health, VP of events; Amy Wakeham, ResMed, VP of membership.

Katie Knott
Katie Knott

Knott said the chapter successfully navigated a drastic pivot to the virtual world over the past year and remained steadfast in its mission to advance the profession, create connection and develop strategic communicators.

“As we look ahead to the future, I am thrilled to welcome a diverse board, comprised of new and tenured members, each of whom bring a unique perspective and skill-set to our organization,” Knott said. “Ranging in discipline, industry and years of experience, this board will work together to elevate the professional reputation of business communicators across San Diego county while providing top-notch professional development programming and networking opportunities.”

IABC San Diego is a 70-member trade association for business communicators who live or work in the San Diego area. IABC advances the awareness of communication as a strategic leadership function within organizations and its impact on business performance. IABC serves professionals in the field of business communication, bringing together the profession’s collective disciplines and offering education, certification, awards program, resource library, an online magazine and an annual World Conference.

PR News Honors University of San Diego as Best Digital Newsroom

The University of San Diego media relations team was recently honored as the Best Digital Newsroom in the nation by PR News at its 2021 Digital + Social Media Awards program.

According to PR News, after USD media relations reorganized in March 2020, the team embarked on a redesign for all digital assets and outreach, which included creating a digital newsroom and media hub to serve the university community and the news media. Previously, there was no central online hub for media relations.

PR News also said USD staff members launched several new video initiatives, including a weekly video series called “The USD News Minute,” a monthly video report to share “USD in the News” highlights with stakeholders, video news releases to accompany press releases and a video introduction of its team.

USD’s media hub produced a 482 percent increase in page views and a 13 percent increase year-over-year in media hits, said PR News.

In addition to the Best Digital Newsroom award, PR News presented USD with an honorable mention in the branding campaign category for its “Explore Your Horizon advertising campaign.

In a statement, USD said the PR News awards places the university among leading national brands, including Amazon, Volvo, Capital One and UPS, for innovative and industry-altering digital communications and campaigns.

Taco Bell in Orange County
A Taco Bell in Orange County. Courtesy of the company

Taco Bell Names a Culture Agency of Record

Taco Bell, headquartered in Irvine, has named Cashmere, a Los Angeles-based marketing agency as its first-ever culture agency of record.

A so-called culture agency of record signals the Mexican-inspired, quick-service restaurant chain will focus more on branding strategies that include sports, fashion, gaming, music and other cultural attractions, according to ad industry trade publications.

Cashmere, representing top brands and entertainment companies, will help Taco Bell participate in culture in new ways, a Taco Bell statement said. The statement also said Cashmere will oversee Taco Bell’s cultural brand strategy and integration throughout the Taco Bell organization.

“The evolution and shift in culture caused by new social and technology platforms, along with generations coming of age, particularly in the past year, has driven blue-chip companies to engage partners fluent in social nuance,” said the Taco Bell statement. “No other agency is authentically built like Cashmere to help brands create deeper connections among different audiences.”

“Cashmere was our clear first choice to help evolve our brand as culture and social priorities continue to advance,” said Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell. “There’s no agency more well-equipped to build authentic connections with diverse and multiethnic audiences, and we feel honored to tap into their superpower.”

“Taco Bell is one of the most innovative and globally iconic quick service brands of our time whose distinct commitment to culture transcends boundaries,” said Ted Chung, founder and chairman of Cashmere. “We are philosophically aligned in our belief that when there is greater harmony between communities and brands, progress can be more fully realized. It is a dream to come together and supercharge our capabilities.”

Cashmere said it identifies trends to create and execute campaigns that drive culture. Its client roster includes Google, Instagram,  Facebook, BMW of North America, Danone North America, Heineken, DoorDash, adidas, Warner Media, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, AppleTV+, Netflix, Universal Pictures, FX, CBS, Snoop Dogg and others. The agency also has created social campaigns for TV shows, including FXX’s Dave, HBO’s Insecure and TNT’s Claws.

Taco Bell, with more than 7,500 outlets, generated second quarter revenue of $532 million for parent Yum Brands. Earlier this year, Taco Bell announced plans to have 10,000 restaurants by 2030 by expanding dedicated digital-order-ahead drive-thru lanes, curbside pickup and table ordering.  

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.