Friday, December 31, 2004

Are you utterly predictable?

I love reading news-talk consultant Holland Cooke's colorful writing style in his idea-filled monthly newsletter. For example in the January 2005 issue he says:

Does your take on the topic at hand ever surprise regular listeners? Or are you utterly predictable?

Tip: You’re better off being remarkable…literally. Once in a while, take a position that would cause regular listeners to remark.

Why: Arbitron’s unaided recall methodology measures what diarykeepers REMEMBER. So you want to avoid the day-to-day sameness that threatens heavy users’ remembering how-heavily they listened. Listeners need to be exercised, or their recall will atrophy. Make people think, and you’ll ensure that they remember having listened.

Promotions: There’s still time to exploit the Super Bowl.

Sales: Think Consumer Electronics, Food, and Furniture categories.Fact: The only day of the year when Americans eat more is Thanksgiving.

Several client stations are throwing Super Bowl parties at which we’ll give away an expensive new TV, or “the best seat in the house” for the big game, a recliner.

Promotions and Sales: Have you finalized plans to mail valentines to women in your station’s database?

They could be cute E-mails, or endearingly traditional snailmail cards. And either could come with a Valentine’s Day gift, perhaps a cute coupon from a sponsoring station advertiser.

You DO have a listener database, right? Email addresses you’ve saved, contest entries, etc.?

Have you finalized plans for St. Patrick’s Day yet? (March 17)

For at least one day, EVERYONE – listeners and advertisers -- is at-least-a-little Irish.

Baseball: It’s not too late to make plans for Spring Training!

Think your listeners are winter-weary NOW? Wait until March! After all the sub-freezing days and nights that chill much of the USA – and various bombshell player trades and signings – The Boys of Summer will be a welcome sound to listeners.

Why doing so has value:

· It’s local, high-affinity, station-pertinent content that is – as I used the term above – “remarkable.” Just hearing that the lads are limbering up under palm trees will make folks back home feel a tad warmer. Listeners will remember listening when you say, “LET’S GO LIVE TO ORIOLES SPRING TRAINING IN FORT LAUDERDALE!”

· It’s a money-maker, more baseball inventory. Bundle Spring Training coverage with regular season packages. Or bonus it as a closer for sponsors who commit early.

· It’s a schmooze! Take those early-committing advertisers on a junket! I doubt that the newspaper will. You’ll be in solid.

· It’s a spiff! The rep who writes the most early baseball business gets to host the junket. Or the advertiser could give away the trip, to a listener who registered at the store. If the team doesn’t offer an all-inclusive trip package, put your own together. If you can’t trade, this needn’t be expensive. I just booked my annual trip to the O’s camp in Lauderdale and got great hotel rates, right on A1A, from And now that airlines themselves are competing with Priceline, the airlines’ own web sites offer inexpensive fares that don’t necessarily require Saturday night stay.

News is made in training camp. In March, “name” player cuts and trades are headlines, not sports headlines. But the Spring Training is story is more about…stories. Do lots of color.

· Have your reporter Email-back digital photos for the station’s web site, establishing your presence there. If you do a clientjunket, include their smiling, sunburned mugs. Ditto for contest winners.

· Use travelogue to place the listener on-scene. As you’re landing, record the flight attendant’s announcement, which generally includes the present temperature. And occasionally announce temps for your team’s camp at the end of weather forecasts.

· Spring training is a rich interview opportunity.

Hooked? Get the Holland Cooke Newsletter · January ‘05 at · 401-330-6868 · Fax: 720-293-0802 ·

Gen Y - which HALF does country have a shot at?

Here's a clue from David Rogerson, Managing Director, Strategic Media Solutions, Sydney, Australia:

Generation Y population trend is splitting into two tribes. One being those more traditional 18-29 year olds who were committed to mortgages, were married and having children and the heavy responsibilities that come with parenthood, little personal freedom. The other being quite different – they have all the adult freedoms but no responsibility. For many, nothing is permanent; careers are just jobs they have been in for too long. The political scene as we know it is dead. Left and right wings tend to make no sense at all. And of course, the Y's choose to stay at home where the rent is cheaper, the laundry cleaner, and the food generally more nutritious.

Read MORE (CLICK) on the McVay Media AC website.

News on Music Stations - Programming Power from JRN passes along an end-of-year "Share Points" article which states that now is a good time to go over the top ten things a music intensive station should keep in mind when reporting news. Hank Aaron reports.... (CLICK TO READ)



Click here to access helpful tips on giving to tsunami relief appeals.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Country's 2004 in Review

Kirk Fitzgerald's website is for passionate fans like himself, but it contains some great ideas for your year-end programming as well..

Newsworthy Country Format Events of 2004

2004 appeared to be focused around hospitals. From Charley Pride with brain surgery, Willie Nelson's carpal tunnel surgery, and Little Jimmy Dickens making two trips to the hospital (heart problems and then for pneumonia) it was a year of praying and hoping that all turns out well for these special artists in country music. However, the country music community did suffer loss this year in the deaths of Roy Drusky, Skeeter Davis, Charlie Waller, and music icon Ray Charles in which had a impact of music worldwide, including country music.

The country music community also suffered the shock of Gary Allan's wife committing suicide. Even though this event was a tragic time for his family, it also reminded us in the country music community of how we come together as a group when someone is in a time of need. Gary Allan's website was inedited with messages of support and thoughts from country music fans, fan clubs, and individuals all. It was so much support that the website was temporarily down due to the high amount of traffic.

Babies were a topic throughout 2004. Many new country music fans saw the first light during the year. Kenny Roger's wife gave birth to twins. Cledus T. Judd and Julie Roberts, Gary LeVox , Joe Diffe, Sara Evans, Natalie Maines, and Deana Carter all welcomed children into their lives.

Terri Clark and Trace Adkins were invited in 2004 to join the prestigious cast of the Grand Ole Opry.

The Country Music Association made news pretty much throughout 2004 announcing the Brooks n' Dunn would host this year's 39th Annual CMA Awards. Then, announcing that in 2005 the award show will be at Madison Square Gardens in New York, New York. The plans for 2006 to move the show to the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee were announced instead of its current home of the Grand Ole Opry House.

Legal troubles for Marty Stuart with a DUI arrest and Glen Campbell played a concert behind bars of his Arizona prison while serving time for his charge of extreme drunk driving and leaving the scene of a minor accident kept both in the entertainment spotlight, not just in country music.

On the business side of things, the big story of 2004 was the Dreamworks Records consolidation with Universal Music Group.

A substantial amount of greatest hits albums made there way to store shelves this year. They didn't sit on the shelves long, however. Shania Twain, Alan Jackson, George Strait, LeAnn Rimes, Brooks n' Dunn, and Terri Clark all released greatest hits CDs this year.

Finally, this year was full of debate between fans on the topic of Big & Rich, one of "country music's" hottest duos of the year. Their unique high-paced tempo and attitude took "country music" to a new level, one that may call pop-rock or other words that are best left unspoken. On the other side of the argument found it to be refreshing, new, and allowing country music reach a new audience. This group also ignited the harder country music sound, now known as a new form of "Outlaw Country" was showcased in a high energy CMT special with Hank Williams Jr., Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson, and many more.

This year's hottest stars ranged from veteran artists to newcomers. With the release of another #1 single, "I Hate Everything," his 2-CD "50 #1 Hits" package, and a successful tour, George Strait continues to be a very popular part of country music. Toby Keith's "Shock'N Y'ALL" album and "Greatest Hits II" in stores, and AOL's most successful performances of "AOL Live" made Keith one of the hottest stars of 2004. Newcomers Julie Roberts, Josh Turner, and Dierks Bentley all made a splash this year on the industry with talented debut albums.

The State of Country Music

2004 country music sales are up, big time. Country music sales are up over 12% from last year. This is just about double the pace of the music industry overall.

Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks 2004

* Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw
* Remember When -Alan Jackson
* You'll Think of Me - Keith Urban
* When The Sun Goes Down - Kenny Chesney & Uncle Cracker
* Letters From Home - John Michael Montgomery

Billboard's Top Country Albums 2004

* Shock 'N Y'All -Toby Keith
* When The Sun Goes Down -Kenny Chesney
* Here For The Party -Gretchen Wilson
* Live Like You Were Dying -Tim McGraw
* Horse of a Different Color -Big & Rich

Top Country Tours 2004

* Shania Twain
* Kenny Chesney
* Toby Keith
* Alan Jackson
* Tim McGraw

Information obtained from Billboard Newspaper, December 25, 2004 issue.

Country Music Alive's Hot List: 2004

The Best Females of 2004

2004 has been Gretchen Wilson's year. She finishes the year with mentions on the Top Pop Artists (36), Top New Pop Artists (4), Top New Pop Female (9), Top Bill Board 200 Artists (23), Top New Country Artists (1), Top New Female Artists (1) and Top Country Artists (5) from Billboard for 2004. Not only has she had chart success, she has been in the forefront of country music in giving a voice to the everyday female. Wilson is the real deal and prooves it not only in personality but also in talent.

Other female artists that have had success this year include the newest member of the Opry, Terri Clark with her "Girls Lie Too" hit. Shania Twain's greatest hits package with "Party For Two" brought Twain back to country music, and can be argued if she ever was not a part of the music. Sara Evans also had a wonderful year. All her singles kept her alive and a bright light in country music all year. Newcomer Julie Roberts deserves mention as well with her hits "Break Down Here" and "The Chance."

The Best Males of 2004

The year belonged to Toby Keith. The continued success of "Shock 'N Y'All" throughout the year along with his second greatest hits album made Keith a hot star all year. His year ending positions on Billboard prooves it as well. Top Pop Artists (7), Top Pop Artists (3), Billboard 200 Artists (3), Hot 100 Artists (24), Top Country Artists (1), and Top Male Country Artists (1) all have Keith's name in the list.

Even with his album coming out in late August, his performance of "Live Like You Were Dying" at the ACM Awards in the Spring kept fans talking all year. The release of the album, one of the best of the year, keeps selling and makes McGraw one of the best of 2004. Kenny Chesney also had a great year with releasing a high selling album and an energetic and popular tour. Brad Paisley also was highly popular throughout the year with his duet with Alison Krauss "Whiskey Lullaby" among other hits from his "Mud on the Tires" album. Alan Jackson also brought us some great music throughout the year with a second greatest hits package as well as a new album.

George Strait even stregthened his "King of Country Music" title this year with the the release of "50 #1 Hits" that even produced his 51st #1.

The Best Duos/Groups of 2004

Rascal Flatts showed country music that their is room for the contemporary sound, no doubt. Selling tickets to tour stops and the release of "Feels Like Today" kept them on top of the country music scene daily through the year.

Lonestar's release of "Mr. Mom" kept them even busier. Also, Big & Rich kept country music wide awake with the release of "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy." Nothing like a little controversy whether to consider a group country or not to keep record sales and popularity high all year.

Contact Kirk Fitzgerald by email: countrymusicalive@verizon.netphone: Local/fax: 804-364-2490 toll free: 1-888-870-1573

Substance of Style + Change Management = biz trends to watch

The quarterly magazine Strategy in Business just published its list of the best business books. Randall Rothenberg, editor in chief, recommends:

The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness (Virginia Postrel)

The “look and feel” of people, places, and things are more important than we think. Aesthetic pleasure taps deep human instincts and is essential for creativity and growth. Drawing from fields as diverse as fashion, real estate, politics, design, and economics, Postrel deftly chronicles our culture’s aesthetic imperative and argues persuasively that it is a vital component of a healthy, forward-looking society. MORE:

After reading, I am convinced and would only add "imagination and sound" to her list as well. If you don't have time to read the book, I have two words for you: "Apple Ipod."

Change Without Pain: How Managers Can Overcome Initiative Overload, Organizational Chaos, and Employee Burnout (Eric Abrahamson)

Abrahamson advocates changes that avert the cynicism and anxiety bred by "change or perish" leadership fads. Abrahamson, a management professor at Columbia Business School in New York, calls his technique "creative recombination," in which companies look within for the resources to bring about change rather than destroying what they have and imposing new processes and structures.


Are you raising the bar for the entire country format?


When companies are so preoccupied with fiddling with individual products and brands, they lose sight of the value they can create for themselves, and for consumers, by raising the bar for the entire category. If Crest, Exxon Mobil, Tide, Citibank, or Marriott disappeared tomorrow, most American consumers would at worst feel slightly inconvenienced by having to switch to an indistinguishable alternative. (How different is Pepsodent, Shell, All, Chase, or Hyatt?) But how would they feel if an entire category — toothpaste, gasoline, detergent, consumer banks, or hotels — disappeared? That would have an effect on their lives they’d notice.

So how can a company be rewarded for getting consumers to notice their role in raising category quality? To start, companies need to know what customers really care about. In 1993, Unilever launched Mentadent toothpaste, a combination of toothpaste, baking soda, and peroxide delivered through a clever pump. Within two years, Mentadent became a $250 million brand with a 12 percent share of the U.S. toothpaste market, an impressive figure in this crowded category. Why? Because Unilever understood that dental hygiene is what’s on people’s minds when they buy toothpaste. So the company created a product that offered superior dental hygiene. Unlike a meaningless pink stripe down the middle of the toothpaste, this was differentiation that made a difference.

Because the product-extension mentality of “uniqueness without a difference” is so strong, however, executives who try to manage their brands by influencing category value frequently face an uphill struggle. That was Pat O’Driscoll’s experience when she was asked in mid-1999 to lead an effort to improve Shell Oil Company’s gasoline sales in its $30 billion European retail operation. Ms. O’Driscoll, then vice president of European retail sales for the oil giant, conducted extensive customer surveys to determine what really mattered to customers of all gas stations — not just Shell’s — and what generally dissatisfied them. Overwhelmingly, customers responded that they wanted to refuel at a reasonable cost; be sheltered from sun, wind, and rain; and pay and exit quickly. Additionally, they expected the pumps and bathrooms to be clean and working.

Some Shell executives were hesitant to accept that merely fixing these basics would revitalize their European gas station business. To convince them otherwise, Ms. O’Driscoll asked senior and middle managers to make regular, unannounced visits to gas stations. She even conducted business meetings at gas station sites, all in an effort to let executives test her conclusions on customers by gauging their response to Shell’s possible new initiative. Finally convinced that customers would respond well, Shell committed to retrofitting its European gas stations to meet these customer requirements by early 2000. The following year, Shell reported a double-digit increase in the European region’s gasoline sales while its return on capital, which was zero prior to the initiative, reached double digits and exceeded targets.

RADIO'S CLEVER PUMP: better creative between the songs

I think it would work, don't you? Can you start today? -J.

Chuck Blore: How To Get A 72 Share


I should explain what I believe triggered that 72% share. A flying saucer scare.I was on the air from 9 to noon. A fellow by the name of Ted Payne was doing news. He came into the announce booth to tell me there were three people in the lobby from the nearby air-force base. Ted wanted to put them on his very next newscast but thought what they had to say was so unbelievable he wanted to clear it with me first. He brought them in, three non-commissioned officers with something very odd in common. They all had a very serious sunburn on one side of their faces. They told me that the night before they had been driving in the desert with the top down on their car. Three flying objects suddenly appeared in the sky and hovered over them for a brief moment while shining incredibly bright beams of light down at them. All the cars’ electrical units failed. The engine stopped, the lights went out, the radio quit. Then, the flying objects were gone. In a moment the radio popped on as did the lights on the car. They started the car again with no problem. They went back to the base to report the incident and were dismissed. No such thing had happened. They were obviously all drunkThey said they woke up this morning with proof, the horrendous sunburn which they attributed to the light they had been bathed in for that brief moment the night before. Once again they were dismissed by the Air Force authorities so they decided to come to the station to tell their story.

I, of course, jumped at it. I went on the air with the men who repeated their story. One of them said he felt the flying objects were still around us, spying on us. When I said that maybe they were trying to contact us all three of them agreed that was a strong possibility. I said, okay, let’s give them a frequency on which to contact us. I knew that every radio station had sidebands, or something like that, and I told the audience that from this moment on we were making our sidebands available to the unidentified flying objects. I produced a kind of a Twilight Zone sounding invitation in three languages. Our receptionist spoke Spanish, our engineering department, a fellow named Otto spoke pretty good German and Tom Payne voiced this invitation offering the visitors the use of our frequency for any message to Earth. We will get it to the proper authorities. Then there was a minutes worth or static, which represented the open sidebands we were making available to our friends from space. We broadcast it every hour. And every hour, we could tell by our phones and the hordes of people suddenly visiting the City Dump that we had a hit on our hands. Now .... how to stretch it out without stretching the truth ... too much.

But, of course, before you do THAT, also read this paragraph:

I had memorized the collection of (Gordon) McLendon memos and programming notes which was referred to as the Policy Book...

It was mostly about shutting up and cleaning up.

Shutting up was easy to explain: If what you say doesn’t matter to the overall entertainment or information quality of your show, don’t say it. If it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter! Cleaning up was also easy to explain. But cleaning the clutter which had collected, mostly out of neglect, not caring, or not knowing was a different deal. I preferred the ‘not knowing’ interpretation mostly because one of the not knowers was me. I knew what that inviolable policy book said but I had no idea how to put it into any kind of action.

Neglect: The guys we had on the air were all pretty good but they were not talking to anyone specifically. The things they were saying were all kind of random, generalized adlibs which were as appropriate (?) at, say 9:30 AM, as they might have been at 9:30 PM. Neglecting the specific audience available at that particular time. Neglecting to relate what you are doing and saying to that particular group of people. Generalizing is sloppy radio.

Not caring: Not preparing what you are going to do and say ahead of time. Not bothering to prepare compelling, entertaining material specifically designed to establish a consistent connection with the people you want most to reach. Not caring about that consistent connection is a waste of both time and talent.

The ‘Not Knowing’ part was probably the biggest problem for me at the time because, as I suggested a moment ago, I was still so new at all of this that even though I knew what the book said, I simply didn’t know what it meant. I think I’d better re-state that ... I knew what it said, I simply didn’t know that I knew what it meant. The bottom line was and is, successful programming is that which elicits a positive emotional response rather than a cerebral one.

The truth is not in what you think is right but in what you feel is right. Trust yourself.We put all of these things into some kind of embryonic effect almost at once. And you could hear the difference almost at once.

Seems to me that the stunt would not have worked as well if the basics weren't there first.

Visit Chuck at the Chuck Blore Company, online at and send him an e-mail at Thanks to Larry Shannon ( for getting pros like Blore, Hall, Burkhart et al to put their experiences in writing.

"Regrets.. I've had a few.."

Idea for a phone topic: what regrets do you have about 2004 that you hope not to repeat in 2005?

For example, Broadway and TV (literally!) "lovely" Dame Edna says that her regret is that she tosses gladiolas to the audience every night as her on stage farewell, costing big bucks. She now wishes she had chosen cactuses or nettles (to save a few dollars), according to the Sunday New York Times on 12/26..

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami - you can help now

Thanks to personality and international format consultant (he does everything from morning show coaching to oldies in Paris) Doug Erickson (Email: for this powerful reminder..

Thirty-three September 11ths. At this moment, the death toll from the tsunamis in South Asia stands may hit 100,000 - Tsunami: Five million struggle - more than 33 times the toll from the horror of September 11, 2001.

It's beyond our human ability to comprehend that many people dying in such a short time. It's not beyond our ability to care. Speaking of the geological impact of an event like this, one leading scientist said, "After a major earthquake, the whole world resonates like a bell that has been struck." In fact, the hearts of the whole world should resonate like a bell that has been struck!Every one of those people was someone's son or daughter, someone's mother or father or brother or sister. And the crushing grief of suddenly having someone you love snatched away is the same, no matter what country or color. You can see in the media images of survivors the agony, the shock, and the confusion of "what now?"Sustained compassion. That's what a moment like this requires. Not just a concern that lasts for the short media shelf-life of any tragedy, but the sustained compassion of the world's governments, relief agencies, and people of faith. Of course, we are remembering these people in our prayers.

We can each help by sending our normal tithe or charitable donation to one of these two organizations:

Doctors Without Borders: this site will give you some background ont their programs: This is the link to donate: The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize and their reputation for international relief aid is the absolute highest.

The International Committee of the Red Cross: and the link to make a donation:

I'm certainly not trying to preach, but I know you are a person of compassion, and I figured you -- like me -- would be wanting a way to help.

This is one way.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Email database builder

Cary Rolfe, PD at KUPL, Portland found a way to make a client happy with a value-added promotion to start the new year and also grow the station's email database at the same time:

Check out: or email Cary for more info on it:

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Y - 2 - K (and a HALF!)

As the father of Premiere Radio Networks' comedy prep services, VP/Programming Larry Morgan's ( auto-responder notes, while he's away for the holidays....

2005?!? What?!?!? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were worried about Y2K and all that stuff? Where has half the DECADE gone?!?

Taking time to say THANKS to God's "Chosen People"

.. who must feel especially 'chosen' each time the annual Christian Holiday work schedule gets posted!

Former CBS News correspondent, who was embedded with the troops during the attack on Baghdad, and all around 'rock and roll news guy' Rob Milford ( wrote a Christmas Day greeting letter that is a reminder of how it's important to say a special THANK YOU to the Jews among us...

I remember the first five or ten years on the air, in Mobile, Fort Worth, and even in New York, during my Holidays at ABC...having to pull those shifts, overnights,in the small hours, thinking that I was the only person in the world away from home and family, and missing them and the holiday ritual just terribly. And no matter how many long distance calls were made, it wasn't the same. Just not like when we were kids. There were white Christmases with snow, but no train set around the tree, and most times, no tree.

I also remember my two Christmas stretches at WABB in Mobile, how program director Gary Mitchell would come in from 6a-12noon and pull the Christmas morning shift. How the air staff were relieved of that burden.Well, it showed two things. First, leadership, the kind that we're missing these days. Secondly, Gary was an air name for Barry Silverman, and yes, he was Jewish, so December 25th was "just another day" to him.

I don't think I ever said "Thank you" for his pulling that shift. These days, with voice tracking and satellite delivered programs, it's not necessary for someone to be in the air chair on a day like today.

When you count your blessings today, Remember those shifts we all pulled, staying on the air, keeping the city groovin' with the hits, and how we scraped up news content anyway we could.
How fortunate we all are, how many of our coworkers didn't reach their dreams like we have.

My wish for you and your family... the very best Christmas.

...and you might want to call the hotline and thank the people working Christmas day...for doing just that.

Life lessons

From: "Life Coach" Dr. Philip E. Humbert, PhD:

Eight Life Lessons that Make a Difference

This will go out the day after Christmas, and I wanted toshare a few of the most important Life Lessons that have made a difference for me. Sometimes it takes a while but I have learned a few things, and when I remember to usethem, they make life better. Over the years, we do beginto figure things out, and knowing the "rules" sure makeslife easier!

Which leads to my first Big Truth: we just have to learn some things for ourselves. I've read lots of books, studiedwith smart people, and been given great advice. Unfortunately, in the eagerness of youth, I chose to ignore most of it. It takes time to figure life out and otherpeople's advice doesn't always fit, and that's ok. Give yourself some time and a bit of slack. You don't have toget the hang of this all at once.

Second, some lessons have to be learned more than once. If only I had a nickel for everytime I've made a mistake, learned from it, then done the same thing all over again!(I take some comfort in noticing that other people do this,too.) Humans are smart, but we aren't as smart as we think we are. And, we have short memories. Fortunately, we're allowed more than one mistake! Get over it.

Third, flexibility is more important than power. People who are hopeful, cheerful, and creative also tend to be optimistic and happy. Too often, strong-willed people arejust stubborn. I'd rather be optimistic, eager and creative than "determined." I finally learned this truth: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again - then move on."

Fourth, curiosity is more valuable than talent. Talented people take offense at this, but little kids taught me this one. The eager kids with the big eyes and restless questions always seem to figure stuff out. The bright kidsusually get better grades, but they don't have as many adventures or good stories to tell. In life, go for the stories!

Fifth, doing stuff is more important than knowing stuff. I loved school and earned three Masters and a Doctorate, so I obviously believe that knowing stuff is important, but life must be LIVED, not studied. People who take risks, try things, build or invent stuff, make mistakes, and create memories are the people who live the "good life". Get in the game!

Sixth, people are more important than things. Sure, all you wise folks are going, "Duh!", but this one takes a while for most of us to really absorb. As kids, we want new toys, as adults we need new cars, or whatever. It's not untillater that we realize memories and success come from people. Adventure and delight and joy come from our relationships with people. Stuff just clutters up our attics and our lives.

Seventh, opportunity is more fun than success. We need achallenge, we need to grow, stretch, look over the horizon,and explore the next frontier. Every level of success is afoundation for the "next big thing." Highly successful, creative and energetic people enjoy life's big challenges; the rest of us just sit with our problems.

And finally, what we contribute is more meaningful than what we get. This may be consistent with some great religious or spiritual tradition, but mostly it's just practical. Creating and building is simply more rewarding than consuming and throwing stuff away. Leaving footprints that others can follow, being kind or generous, mentoring, or opening a door for someone, is simply more fun than collecting stuff.

There are lots of collections of life lessons and "rules"for making life work out well. My guess is that we all have to find our own path, find our own rules, and word them in our own way so that they truly work for us. The key is tofind the principles, the "rules" that DO work for you.

Are you listening? How WELL?

Listening Skills Self-Evaluation
How well you and your partner listen is critical to effective communication. Effective communication is the life-blood of all good relationships.

Check out your listening skills:

This listening skills rating is a self-evaluation of the current level of your listening skills as well as what you perceive your partner’s listening skills to be. Please complete the form at this time and, if your partner is working along with you, he/she should do so as well. Take the evaluations separately, review the scoring which follows on a page indicated at the bottom, and then get together to discuss the results. We suggest that you print the evaluations and complete them on paper so you will have print copies to compare. Be sure to keep an open mind so you may learn and grow.

You may use the automated online version or the following manual version. The both have their advantages.

2004 Trivia

Yes, you do need to sign up and register to get topical emails and web posts, but it's FREE and very much worth it for things like...

2004: Final Answers
A test of how much trivia you accumulated in 2004 - or at least, how good you are at guessing.

"I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget, but people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy."- GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, of Arkansas, on a bipartisan lobbying effort by governorsto stave off federal cuts in Medicaid allotments.

Alone with nothing to do on Christmas morning

Clay St. Thomas of the JRfm Waking Crew, Vancouver ( writes at 8:22 am on 12/25..

Okay, so how come I'm the only one up?? It's 8 AM Christmas morning and Anne and Sam are still sleeping....I want presents, Dammit!! So here's a coupla websites to wish you merry merry today: Scared of Santa:,0,2245506.photogallery?coll=sfe-events-headlines&index=1

and "It's A Wonderful Life" acted out by bunnies in 30 seconds:

Ho ho ho!

Friday, December 24, 2004

I am addicted to the daily posts at by longtime Texas broadcaster

The dustup between Leonardo DiCaprio and red carpet snark Billy Bush is nastier than it looks, we're told. As PAGE SIX first reported last Sunday, DiCaprio blasted Bush after the "Access Hollywood" anchor, at the L.A. premiere of "The Aviator," questioned the star about his nude scene. "Leo told pals he thought Bush was an idiot and his questions and interview manner were insulting," our spy reports. "Leo said he'll never appear on 'Access Hollywood' again." (read more - Page Six)

On ABC NightLine -- NightLine took a look at the growing success of Christian rock and pop - music that appeals to young teens as effectively as Britney Spears or any other pop sensation, but at the same time sells Christianity. The book and magazine industry has followed suit. Many of you are probably familiar with the Left Behind series, some of the best-selling books of all time. Everyone involved in the business is unabashed about the ultimate goal to spread the word, and they say they are succeeding (visit ABC NightLine)

Reading People

Anytime you have a spare moment and want some mental stimulation, I commend to your attention. Kent's posts are at once nostalgic, historic and future-think as well.

He recommends the book "Reading People" by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius., PHD.

It is a book on how to understand people and predict their behavior anytime, anyplace. Dr. Dimitrius is very well known for juror analysis….I think she was involved in the OJ jury placement. Hint: This book might come in handy when hiring someone.

Kent quote: "I knew 80 per cent of the content, and I think you will too. However, it is that 20 per cent where we go to school!!!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Produce a spot, win $100K

Really. Check out: The Radio-Mercury Awards were established in 1992. Click here for 2005 Call for Entry

Contact the Radio-Mercury Awards - Radio Creative Fund - 261 Madison Avenue, 23rd Floor - New York, NY 10016 - 212-681-7207 - Email:



According to Neil Haislop (, when Kenny Chesney releases BE AS YOU ARE: SONGS FROM AN OLD BLUE CHAIR on January 25th, Kenny doesn't intend on releasing a single from this collection of island songs, but says to radio basically, 'help yourself.'

"If radio does play a song, I'm not going tell them not to."

Curmudgeon in the Wry

Former BNA Records, Nashville promo exec Ken Van Durand is now retired and literally 'on the beach' (near Orlando). His occasional email missives are always fun and worth a read (from

Wednesday, December 22, 2004-490 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 51 seconds

Rant: By writing a book about her involvement with Scott Peterson, Amber Frey is taking tacky to an all-time high…or low as the case may be.

Rave: Being able to renew my Florida driver's license and automobile tag on line…and getting the license and tag within seven working days.

Hmmmm: Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?

Rave: High marks to Charles Osgood who skewered the PC crusade to replace the word "Christmas" with "holiday." He demonstrated the foolishness with such examples as: "I'm Dreaming of a White Holiday," "A Holiday Carol," "We Wish You a Merry Holiday" and "All I Want for Holiday Is My Two Front Teeth" among others.

Rave: Good for Chris Matthews (closing his NBC Sunday show) and Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" for taking similar stands on this crusade that some would call misguided.

Have no interest in: Meet the Fockers, Ocean's Twelve, Spanglish, Lemony Snicket, Blade:Trinity, Christmas with the Kranks, Fat Albert and Alexander.

Under Rated: Lila McCann, Little Richard, Eli Wallach, Louis Prima, University of Arkansas Men's Basketball Team.

Just asking: Why do airlines call flights nonstop? Won't they all stop eventually?

Quote: "A centipede is an ant made to government specs." ---Anon.

Over Rated: Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne, Lucy Liu.

Way Over Rated: Ludacris.

Always a high standard: George Will, Woody Allen, Michael McDonald, Walt Disney, and Larry Bird.

Factoid: The Birdman of Alcatraz never kept any birds during his seventeen years on The Rock. He had them while incarcerated at Leavenworth.

I Will Miss: "NYPD Blue" will have its jersey retired on March first of next year. There are nine more original episodes on deck. It has been a spectacular twelve-year run---many awards and superb characters. It is doubtful that in today's "instant ratings or die" network mentality that "Blue" would get renewed for a second season. Today, something this good would start on cable.

We all do it: How come we press harder on a remote control when we know the battery is dead?

Quote: "Publicity is like poison; it doesn't hurt unless you swallow it." ---Joe Paterno

Hmmmm: What color is a chameleon on a mirror?

That is all.As you were.

If you'd like to receive Ken's "Curmudgeon in the Wry" emails direct, tell him you're an A&O client and send a request to If he likes you, he'll do it.

If he doesn't, he won't.

That's how it is to be "No Biz in FLA..." and a Curmudgeon too.

Fewer stations went all-Christmas this year

Last year "'s" Tom Taylor ( reported 386 stations doing all-holiday music by Christmas Day. As of the afternoon of 12/21 -- the site counts 279 all-yule stations.

All-Christmas pays off in Atlanta, says Navigauge.
Its Consumer Behavior Index says "by the week following Thanksgiving, the three Atlanta FM stations that had switched to continuous holiday music saw their combined share of listening increase nearly 3-1/2 times." Those stations would be "B98.5" WSB-FM, "Lite" WLTM and "Fish" WFSH. Atlanta-based Navigauge uses an "in-vehicle passive monitoring device" to track listening behavior.

Other results from the just-released study: A combined 23% of Atlanta drivers (752,000 persons 16+) tuned into an all-Christmas station at least once during the first week after Thanksgiving. And 12% of all Atlanta listeners made one of the three holiday music stations one of their top three favorites, immediately after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, A&O agrees with AC consultant Mike McVay ( that it's best used as a tactic for background formats and ultra-core-driven foreground formats like country are usually smartest to play heavy defense (lots of Holiday stuff but not 100%, except in unusual circumstances).

Missing SpongeBob Returned To BK

Froggy Awards $1000 To Good Samaritans reports: SpongeBob SquarePants is home for the holidays, thanks to the efforts of an eastern Ohio couple responding to a $1000 reward offered by the local Froggy radio stations.

Froggy morning hosts Jimmy Roach & Wendy Green returned the larger-than-life inflatable to his original home, the Burger King in Chippewa Township, PA. The $1000 reward, offered by Froggy December 7th for SpongeBob’s safe return, was presented to Rachel Miller and Chris Williams who found Bob – deflated and suffering from multiple stab wounds -- in the woods.
According to Roach, “We considered turning him over for an autopsy, but thankfully the Froggy promotion guys were able to clean him up, patch his wounds, and bring him back to life in time for Christmas.”

In celebration of SpongeBob’s safe return, Froggy and Burger King also announced a free food giveaway, Day Of A Thousand Whoppers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Radio reality remotes

We've all had too many requests for simultaneous remotes, but hats off to the WTCR, Huntington, team for finding a way to do it and make lemonaid out of lemons:


For more information, go online at

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "don't say NO, say HOW? If you can't figure out how, then of course say no. But, sometimes when you ask HOW are we going to do that and dig a little deeper, finding ways to do things that most folks wouldn't do, you uncover the area where creativity lives."

The Year in PR Winners

Ben Silverman annually nominates the year's PR losers( and the winners. Here's who Ben feels did the best PR in 2004..

President George W. Bush: Unlike in 2000, Bush declared a clear election victory this year, and despite gads of negative press, he helped solidify his party's grip on America. Bush and his campaign team, led by Karl Rove,seemed to run a masterful campaign by staying on message and targeting their strong, loyal base. Had Senator John Kerry and the Democrats run a stronger campaign, Rove & Co. still might have weathered the storm.

Martha Stewart: Going to jail normally doesn't land someoneon a PR-winners list, but Stewart's grace under pressure (should we expect anything less from her?) and her syndicated TV show deal with NBC prove that this little jailbird still has a lot of fans and plenty of people willing to do business with her. If you need any evidence ofall of this, just look at the stock price of the company that bears Martha Stewart's name - year-over-year, as of December 19, 2004, it was up more than 300 percent.

Halliburton: No company racks up as much bad press as Halliburton, but the company epitomizes the concept of beingTeflon. With its stock up more than 45 percent this year, Halliburton's PR strategy of ignoring the bad press and going about their business has impressed the only people that matter - its customers and investors.

Pontiac: The General Motors division pulled off a major coup when Oprah "Queen of Daytime Television" Winfrey gave away a Pontiac G6 to every Oprah Show audience member during a show in September. According to GM, the promotion resulted in more than 500 print and broadcast stories in the forty-eight hours following the airing of the episode. That's more ink than most companies rack up in three years. GM/Pontiac once again proved that you have to spend money to make money.

China: For all of its faults, China helped keep the world economy running this year with its voracious appetite for steel and raw materials. The country has a long way to go before the vast majority of people in the West can open their arms to the government, but China scores positive PR points for opening up a bit, spending money wildly, and helping keep North Korea in check.

National Football League: The NFL hasn't done anything special this year except stay out of trouble. Yes, the Janet Jackson-Super Bowl fiasco didn't generate the type of press a professional sports league looks for, but CBS and the other parties involved took most of the heat. The incident made the league get wise, and they've opted for the safer ground of Paul McCartney for the next installment of the event. What makes the NFL a winner this year is the simple fact that unlike its brethren - the NBA, NHL and MLB - the league stayed true to its plan, putting out a solid product that continues to draw millions of viewers, hundreds of advertisers, big money broadcast contracts, and thousands of fans willing to brave the cold each Sunday. An organization is usually only as good as its management, and the NFL has the best commissioner and smartest group of owners in sports.

Apple: Consider yourself lucky if you can an iPod this holiday season. Apple continued to expand its dominance over the digital music space, retaining its leadership in an industry that the record labels, retailers and consumer electronics makers let slip through their grasps. When you put out a product that is so good, you don't need to do much to garner good ink, but Apple's carefully-managed PR strategy enables the company to come out smelling like roses even as they become almost monopolistic. Remember the landmark Apple advertisement based on "1984"? Little did the company realize that one day its own product would take an almost Orwellian grip on one of the most important new technology sectors.

Google: Gmail and an amazingly successfully initial public offering highlighted another great year of press for Google. Yes, the company started to experience some backlash around the time of its stock offering, but critics were soon silenced by a rising stock price and new product initiatives aimed at taking on the likes of Microsoft. Even the most cynical people in the media and on Wall Street have found Google a hard nut to crack.

Satellite Radio: Rising stock prices, booming sales, the migration of big names (in front of and behind the microphone) and a determination to make its products radically different than terrestrial radio's has putsatellite radio on the tips of people's tongues. By pushing the technological envelope, sealing product-defining deals,and running a PR strategy that involves hit-and-run tactics, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio had great PR years. Now they'll just need to sign up about 5 million more subscribers to put a real hurt on terrestrial radio.

Bloggers: Yes, bloggers made the losers list also, but whenit was all said and done, the blogosphere scored a number of huge PR wins in 2004, and the people behind the scenes made the traditional media think twice about whether blogging is just a fad. If only more people read blogs, and if only the media could better define blogs. Worth noting: in 1847, NewYork had 16 daily newspapers to serve a population ofapproximately 400,000. Not much has changed: the printing press is just digital now.

Eliot Spitzer: New York's Attorney General did it again in 2004, taking on the insurance industry this time - and scoring enough positive press to make any politician on Capitol Hill jealous. He's running for Governor now, and he's got a shot at being one of the most important Democrats since Bill Clinton. Having a lot of friends in the media hasn't hurt Spitzer; neither has a track record of success.

Sprint: From out of nowhere Sprint came in and snatched up Nextel, and this on the heels of Cingular's merger with AT&T Wireless. Sprint has employed a very simple PR strategy since new leadership came on board two years ago: speak softly and carry a big stick. Sprint's big stick has been a remarkable turnaround that has seen the company go from has-been to telecom giant, and it's done it without the same kind of pomp its rivals employ.

Independent PR People and Boutique Agencies: No offense to corporate PR folk and agency flaks, but this year I saw more and more independent PR people and boutiques taking on big projects and returning with big results. There will alwaysbe a need for the big guns, but the little guys continue to prove that they have a better grasp on the changing media landscape (blogs, RSS feeds, liberal vs. conservative media, etc.) and the attention that small and mid-sized businesses need. Congrats on a stellar year.

Greece: A year ago, the media and International Olympic Committee probably thought that the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens would be a total disaster. Instead, Greece put on a splendid event, with few hitches and spates of good press. Greece delivered the goods, and the country's image undoubtedly improved in the world community after a few years of questions and quasi-scandals.

Ben adds: "Did I forget anyone? Send me your thoughts at"

Gretchen Wilson on "60 Minutes"

She visited with the CBS news crew on Sunday night, 12/19 and certainly proved she's no Faith Hill or Shania Twain. If you missed the interview, here are 20 mp3 clips your could use on the air (with credit of course to "60 Minutes"):

Yummy List

Nashville PR femme fatale Holly Gleason (Email: writes a 'for women only' email list which is terrific and provides lots of "she says" content for Battle of the Sexes type benchmarks. Some sample posts:

White Chocolate Tarragon Souffle, Tage, St John
Lighter than air, looking like a cloud with a golden crown, the white chocolate tarragon soufflé marries two opposing flavors for a combination that elevates both. Earthy, rich, tingling, unfolding. It is sweetness opened up with the prickle of tarragon, which only deepens the sensation of both -- and the tarragon also fills an almost palette cleansing function as well. The person I was dining with proclaimed, "This is the dessert they will serve us in heaven."

Canal Street Jeans, New York City
Long before there was Urban Outfitters, there was Canal Street Jeans -- where punk rockers and street kids loaded up. The clothes were expensive for cheap, but they always had that style from the curb that screamed "this is right now…!!!!" Whether it was a t-shirt with a picture, slogan or slashings, the right cut of jeans, a leather jacket that matters (I STILL have mine 20 years later) or some kind of skirt that'll tease without trying, Canal Street Jeans reminds you that rock & roll in its truest sense truly is timeless.

La Bouquetiere Teas & Tisanes
Their fruit infusions will strangle you with the intensity of their flavor -- people at my house are still talking about the tongue-dance-inciting Strawberry Rhubarb, which steeps up the color of the perfect Valentine, then erupts in the most pleasing elements of each fruits flavor. And their Chocolate Orange Tea can make any dreary afternoon a circus or Christmas in a tea cup. And the range is as broad as their flavors are intense: green tea mixed with almond & tangerine, persimmons & grapefruit, blueberry & mango or black teas with fresh figs, apples & caramel and black cherries. Not to mention the Chinoiserie canisters will look charmingly sophisticated on any kitchen counter-top! In Nashville, you can buy almost all of the flavors at the Iron Gate. Or else, you can check the

Pink Feather Wreaths
Fuschia really, or just plain old hot pink. Big fluffy feathers going every which way. Utter exuberance, ultimate decadence, whimsy personified. To hang a hot pink feather wreath is to wink at the world, plant a stiletto and declare conventions are for political parties who take themselves far too seriously, this is about expanding the potential of joy this holiday season. Metropolitan Deluxe sells them -- should you feel the need to embrace your own inner front door fan dance. And if there's not one near you, rumor has it their website is mind-bending.

Cuban Coffee
A wee thimbleful. Impossible to believe the kick inside. Thick, sweet, delicious going down, 50,000 volts hit your veins -- and there's no looking back. To study, to clean, to dance the night away! Use your imagination.

Yellow Roses from Texas
Out of the blue in the middle of a bad day there they were. From anyone else, it's the sign of good-bye; from a Texan, it's deep friendship. That they were sent as a high 5 on a good run from someone who has a relationship with me so far beyond anything that would include normal interaction reminded me the power of friendship to supercede how we define it -- and served as a talisman that there's always encouragement from left field when you most need it.

The Corporate Manufacture of Word of Mouth -- Rob Walker, NY Times Sunday Magazine, 5 December
Look it up online. Find a friend who throws out nothing. This is the next wave in how things get interjected into the fiber of your life unnoticed. It is insidious, disturbing, and the wave of the future. Is a friend zealous? Working for some corporate agenda? Selling you out? Or even worse, working for an agenda as an extension of their own unrecognized vanity? Walker examines all. A must read.

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Too many people, too many opinions, too many conflicting agendas. When the rubber meets the road, it comes down to the difference between being informed, being educated and being unable to own your intrinsic essence. If you maintain your sense of self, your own personal code of honor and believe in the sanctity of your mind, Emerson may be the last bolster of that which should all embrace as a matter of course.

"Oceans 12"
A high jinks caper film that's about tension more than laughs with enough bold-faced eye candy to just make it a brain-numbing escape by virtue of the visual reality. The writing, though, is taut enough to zing. The plot a suspension of reality, yet realistic enough to draw you in. And the clothes are, well, delightful. Oscar performances? Probably not. But the joie de vie and onscreen camaraderie is inspiring in all the best ways, reminding us of the glory of human foibles in the quest for higher bonding. A must escape see.

I'll bet she'd add you to the list if you emailed, but please note - this list is NOT for Bubba's who don't want to get in touch with their sensitive side at least a wee bit.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Put the customer first

Peppers & Rogers zings the AMA for finally realizing where marketing begins:

PS: Albright's definition of radio marketing .. "building your product in the mind of the listener so he/she can use it."

We Love Your Hometown

Ron Bee and Becky Palmer at WBBS, Syracuse ( were 2004 CMA Award-winning personalities. But, what really matters is how well they do consistently in ARB ratings.

A few clues as to WHY..

We're looking for restaurants and diners to host a live Ron and Becky morning show. Click here for more!

Learn about the Ron & Becky, and get info on contests, events, and more! A Letter From Ron & Becky Phone Survey

Amber Bristol was there for her grandma when she needed her most!
Read more here. Meet All The Great Kids Nominate a Child

Ron and Becky give you a chance to buy $50 gift certificates for $25 every Friday while supplies last! more...


Jones Radio Networks Hot AC daypart personality Alan Kabel is always a compelling listen. He passes along these thought-starters..

* For New Years countdown the top biggest fools of 2004. There's so many. Kobe, Martha Stewart, Peterson, Ashley Simpson, Janet Jackson. You could do this for a whole show.

* What do you say to your kids every night when they go to bed? I say I love you more then anything else in the world, up to the clouds and so much it hurts.

* To much of a good thing. You make women shop for as long as they can in a way that keeps them going in a marathon. The one who keeps going the longest would win an actual shopping spree. You could do this for a entire week with different challenges.

* I got an e-mail from a guy whose lady said that he had asked her size because he wanted to buy her a thing from Victorias Secret for Xmas. She said she told him that you don't buy underwear for a women on holidays or birthdays because it's really a present for the guy. I asked the women. Great calls on both sides from men and women.

* A lot of guys call me and say "Who do you think you are?" They're mad at me. Maybe their lady likes the voice. They say, "Who do you think you are?" I'll tell you who I think I am. I'm the guy who doesn't know how to do anything and has been fired 7 times thinking about what it must like to be you. I gotta know what it's like to be you. Tell me about your life? If you have a great life call me and tell me why?

* The wrong name. My lady's sister was here all week with her new boyfriend. She was with her last for about 4 years. Then entire week my lady must have called him the other guy's name, the old boyfriend's name about 50 times. I think he wanted to kill her. Ha Ha.

* I feel when I speak I'm really talking down to myself. You now the supermarkets have these organic sections of everything. Meat, produce. The organic stuff is lots more so what are you eating inorganic stuff, what is it? Are other people watching you thinking he has the chance to buy the non poison stuff, he has the money. What a jerk buying the chemically ridden poison that looks the same but has a different tag. The mat looks different though. The hormone fed stuff looks way better.

* Got the teacher on my show. Kids have to talk their teachers into being on your show for some prize. You get to talk to teachers and do bits with them.

* What don't you know? A listener calls with something that they don't know and then you get an expert to answer their question.

* Buying a car. Pick a city that is not yours. Tell your listeners that you are going to buy a car in another town by e-mail only. You will have a trade and need financing. You are just going to deal with people who are willing to do it via e-mail only up until closing the seal. Then just read the e-mails that go back and forth on the air. You'll have a blast doing this and it's amazing what you will find out. Have the listeners agree on the car they want you to buy. Here's a tip. Make it a minivan and negotiate for the Sienna and the Odyssey. That's what I'm doing right now and it's fascinating. The dealers will say okay on e-mail when I tell them what I need for my trade and what I will pay. Then when I finally must go I leave the car, meet them for 5 minutes and make an excuse why I have to go. I tell them to leave the key in the trunk and I'll pick up the car that night. This way they must talk to me via e-mail. It's great because you can think, they can't bully you and you can call their bluffs all from the comfort of your own home.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Idea Meister Sammy Simpson

Need stunts and ideas? Click here:

The idea bank is loaded with thousands of free ideas that you can use to help build ratings, generate revenue, and drive more traffic to your appearances and website.

In an age where consumers are bombarded with hundreds, maybe thousands of marketing messages daily, making sure that your radio strategy is more than "on-target" has never been more important. The ideas on this site are a mix of new and old that you can use to spark your own creativity and add a spin that's sure to cut through the clutter.

To reach directly out to Sammy (former Marketing Director at NY's Z-100): or 917-541-4330.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Celebrity Brew

The Do-It-Yourself Celebrity Interview

This week featuring these movies and their stars…
Spanglish - Adam Sandler
Lemony Snicket - Jim Carey, Merril Streep

Bring Hollywood’s hottest stars to your morning show. Q & A Scripts – Celebrity responses. Put ‘em together and your on-air stars are talking with today’s stars from the fall’s biggest blockbuster hits. Sample Interviews & Scripts from Lisa Johnson..

Halle Berry
Will Smith
Tom Cruise
Jamie Foxx

Halle, Will, Tom, Jamie Scripts pdf file
Radio Interview Scripts pdf file

Free sample at Market exclusive. To reserve your station, contact RadioLinx at 480-223-3586. Email:

5-4-3-2-1 Ticket Stops

Ron Chase's Radio-Online is a constant source of ideas. Like this one:

95.3 KRTY Hot Country in San Jose has got all the tickets you could ever want for the upcoming Keith Urban concert. All this week they're giving listeners a chance to win seats on the 5th row, 4th row, 3rd row, 2nd row and even front row with their "5-4-3-2-1 Ticket Stops" contest.

All you have to do is visit one of the "Ticket Stops" around town throughout the week and then listen the next morning at 7:20am. If they announce your name, call back within 20 minutes to claim your tickets. For example, the 2nd Row Ticket stop happens from Noon-2pm on Wednesday at Ralph's Smokehouse and Willows Smokehouse Deli. The Front Row Ticket Stop is at Silver Buckle Western Wear. So show up, get registered and then listen to win because whatever row your on, you've still got the best seats in the house from 95.3 KRTY!

OWN your event

Take a tip from in Vancouver and don't just do something good .. trademark or copyright it: Basics for Babies®.

This annual Christmas event is one of the many reasons that JRfm is the Canada Music Week Country Station of the Year for 2004. And, in spite of the fact that they've done it for many years, the 2004 event was the most successful ever (for more contact CJJR PD Gord Eno at 604 730-6517).

Ship Shapes - unique, better direct mail

Personality consultant Doug Erickson (303-290.8839 - writes: This little item was in the current FORBES. You can check out the vendor, and see samples at but basically the idea is you can make your direct mail piece any shape or object that you choose. The increased response rate will definitely get your attention.

At least this junk mail looks good. ShipShapes, a year-old Chicago company, has come up with product-shaped direct-mail pieces that feature a full-color picture of a product on one side of a durable plastic card and the advertiser's written message on the back. The Post Office originally balked at the idea, claiming the odd ShipShapes would clog mail-sorting equipment. But ShipShapes' chief, Thomas Becker, pushed. With mail volume sagging, the mail service came back with a solution: ShipShapes would send pieces by bulk mail directly to 30,000 or so individual post offices for delivery, effectively bypassing the mail-sorting process.ShipShapes charges anywhere from 80 cents to $3 per piece, which includes 57.4 cents for postage. But they are apparently effective. The first batch of 10,000 Krispy Kreme mailers in Southern California generated an 11% response rate, compared with the 3% junk mail industry average. -- Andy Stone, FORBES, Dec. 27, 2004


For the 12th straight year, The MAJIC 100 / CJOH-TV Toy Mountain campaign has helped The Salvation Army provide toys for the children throughout the National Capital Region.

On Wednesday, December 15th over 200 volunteers, from TD Canada Trust, Dare HR and local high schools teamed with the Corel Centre to demonstrate the area’s generosity towards this year’s Majic 100 /CJOH TV Toy Mountain campaign. With the support of the community, they placed a new toy on every seat in the Corel Centre until it was beyond full…over 20,600 toys were collected!

“We believe this will be a spectacular way to demonstrate the generosity of the thousands of people who contribute to the Majic 100 / CJOH-TV Toy Mountain campaign each year”, said Kevin Nelson, of The MAJIC Morning Show. Max Keeping, Vice-President of CJOH News and Public Affairs said, “This will go a long way to make sure there’s not a child in our hometown without a toy this Christmas.”

Special thanks to several businesses that helped to build Ottawa’s biggest Majic 100/CJOH TV Toy Mountain, including Speedy Messenger Service, Summit Food Service Distributors, The Corel Centre, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, Subway, Tim Hortons, Mulligan’s Grocer, Department of National Defence, UPS, Secuircor, Ottawa Professional Figherfighters and the Ottawa Paramedics Association.Toys will still be accepted until December 24th at the 12 participating malls and drop off locations and every TD Canada Trust branch in the region. Find out more about MAJIC 100/CJOH-TV Toy Mountain campaign , by visiting

Making Christmas dreams come true is a great sources of news and ideas every day. Like:

As part of a holiday edition “Breakfast with Derringer” event, Q107’s John Derringer, morning host at Toronto’s legendary classic rock radio station announced the final results in his 2004 13 Days of Christmas campaign in support of The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness and The Martin Kruze Memorial Fund.

In just 13 Days, Q107 listeners granted 56 Christmas dreams for deserving children in Toronto and raised over $ 461,000.00.

“Once again, we’re astounded by the generosity of Q107 listeners” said Derringer. “ Almost half a million dollars is a truly amazing result. We thank all the businesses, organizations and individuals who stepped up and contributed to our 2004 campaign. This will not only help to bring some happiness to many young people who have suffered unspeakable abuse in their formative years but also will help to provide year round assistance to the prevention and victim support programs that are the cornerstones to The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness and The Martin Kruze Memorial fund.”

Derringers 13 Days of Christmas featured John Derringer reading real life stories on-air, each highlighting a Christmas dream from a deserving child who had suffered from some form of serious abuse. Q107 listeners were then asked to call a toll free line to help Derringer raise enough funds to grant each child’s Christmas dream.

Throughout the campaign, Individuals and corporations responded with cash donations and gifts like bikes, toys, hockey equipment, clothing computers and many other items that went towards granting these dreams.

The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness advocates for victims of childhood abuse and provides assistance to survivors and support agencies. Their mandate is to lobby for policy reform that will lead to better public safety and reduce the likelihood of others being victimized. The organization provides child abuse prevention programs, child identification and education tools for children and their parents. In addition, they assist in granting dreams for abused and neglected children and women in shelters in conjunction with this annual Q107 initiative.
Earlier this year, The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness delivered a national report and recommendation for policy reform to members of parliament. This report was the result of round table discussions with those who protect the safety of children; victims of crime; survivors; front-line criminal justice professionals; community groups; city representatives; and provincial politicians.

This public document can be viewed at

Friday, December 17, 2004

Charles S. Fitch: we have until 2009

Grab a copy of the 12/15/2004 "Radio World" ( and turn to page 14. The Crystal Ball column by consulting engineer Fitch has lots of rings of truth in it: "IBOC is a technocrat's delight, but no one listens to radio with an oscilloscope. They listen to what's on. New programming and adjustments to the new IBOC universe will need until 2009 to take hold."

He concludes the article, which is well worth reading thoroughly and thoughfully, especially by programmers and personalities:

- One strange upshot of the oil crisis is that we may all need to replace our cars with more fuel-efficient vehicles sooner rather than later, which could accelerate the number of satellite radio receivers in use.

- He says he doesn't see your local car dealer getting excited about pushing IBOC into cars if the money for them is on satellite.

- Fitch gives us about five years to "give our audience something, some reason to use the new technology. If digital IBOC is going to happen and if Sirius and XM are going to survive, 2009 will be the year things come into focus and congeal for both."

Helping the Helpers

What a nice gesture from's Jim Carnegie and his wife Cathy in the 12/17 edition of his e-paper: "Bring a Merry Christmas to 40 lonely soldiers in a far away place and seeing the worst of war. Will you help us to help the medics & soldiers during this Holiday Season?"

Ship (via US mail only) to:
SFC Melick
325th Field Hospital
APO AE 09355

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

"KRUD radio"

If you need a laugh and a reminder not to take your job too seriously, click on Jim Radcliffe and Brian Wilson's

As you budget for CRS in 2005, let's go back a few years and get KRUD's take on one of those famous Country Radio Seminar research sessions...

CRS Seminars we'd like to attend:

* How To Increase Listening In The Restroom. An overlooked target audience.

* How To Increase Time Spent Listening While Playing Record Company Stiffs - This discussion group is hosted by some of Country Music's top record company executives.

* The Regional Record Rep: How To Abuse Him - Most of you already know how to do this. This is for the newcomer to the industry.

* Air Talent: How To Recognize It (Mandatory For General Managers)

* Should The Country Music Industry Move To L.A. ?

* If It's The Best Song On The CD Why Can't We Play It Now? - Why record companies force you to play the stiffs first.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A hot tub morning show in the snow

Take a look at what CJBX London's morning duo Dave and Jacquie did before Christmas to raise donations for the needy:

Join Dave and Jacquie Thursday December 23rd from 8am - 9am as they broadcast live from a Dream Maker Spa, here at BX93. Bring a donation for the London Food Bank, and you'll have a chance to win one of 4 hot tub rentals from Lambeth Pool and Spa! Dave and Jacquie will announce the lucky winners on their show Friday December 24th! BX93 is located at 743 Wellington Road South in London. Merry Christmas and thanks in advance for helping us help The London Food Bank!

Thanks to Jamie at Lambeth Pool and Spa for everything he's done for this event!

And, yes, says that the London weather will contain light snow and below freezing temps.. (

Powerful "Power Points"

Mark Ramsey of Mercury Research has one of the most active and thought-provoking (click to read) radio and marketing blogs I can't resist checking at least several times a week. Some sample posts to check out:

- Yes your Sales Staff can make better Powerpoint - Here's a great primer on how your sales staff can build better Powerpoint presentations. Thanks to the folks at Beyond Bullets for the link. Yes your Sales Staff can make better Powerpoint

What Business is Radio In? (Part 1)
Don't fear hate, fear indifference
How to have your Podcasts and eat your revenue cake, too
Heineken doesn't need Radio any more
Let the listeners create your TV spot
Everything a Radio Station should know about Podcasting
Is your station a Lovemark?

If you have a favorite blog or website, please email me or post the link here.

Peanuts in a bottle?

Peanuts in a bottle - what does it mean? More decoding of Tim McGraw lyrics from

Fun Facts About Peanuts
To enhance the flavor of a cola drink, Southerners put peanuts into the bottle.

Boiled peanuts, a Deep South snack, were considered to be a delicacy in the first 30 years after the Civil War. Neighborhood peanut boilings were a form of social status in Southern Communities.

Now, you know the REST OF THE STORY. ;->

Tim McGraw/Back When .. 10 - 2 - 4??

Thanks to Mark Patric (, Asst PD at JRfm, Vancouver for passing along the info from the station's swing guy, Dan Baker, ( who found the gnawing answer to the question being asked by loyal listener line callers right now:

What is the meaning of "10-2-4"?
An early study on human fatigue showed that human energy dropped to its lowest levels during the day at 10:30 AM, 2:30 PM, and 4:30 PM daily. Therefore, drinking Dr Pepper at 10 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM would boost energy. Thus the "10-2-4" symbol!

Now, you KNOW.


Something that still sticks in my mind from my US Air Force NCO leadership training from almost four decades ago:

The six most important words: "I admit I made a mistake."
The five most important words: "You did a good job."
The four most important words: "What is your opinion."
The three most important words: "If you please."
The two most important words: "Thank you,"
The one most important word: "We"
The least most important word: "I"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

If hockey is big where you are..

An editorial in the 12/15/04 Canada Post noted that the NHL didn't exist when Lord Stanley proposed the Stanley Cup as a prize for the nation's best hockey team each year.

So, the Post asks, why not get fans organized to take back the Stanley Cup this year and organize a playoffs among all active professional hockey teams for the 2005 Stanley Cup?

This is a campaign I bet your listeners could get behind in a big way..

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Here's how PD Bob Barnett is celebrating the Holiday season ( in Miami:

Several times each weekday, the Mystery Reindeer for that day is announced. Throughout the day, at the cue to call, a designated caller who correctly identifies the Mystery Reindeer wins a pair of tickets to the 2005 Kiss Country Chili Cookoff, featuring live performances by Hank Williams Jr., Keith Urban, Montgomery/Gentry, Big & Rich and Katrina Elam at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, two GameWorks gamecards and a copy of the board game "Cranium."

Each winner also becomes qualified to win the grand prize, over $33,000 worth of merchandise, including a 2004 Ford Ranger 4X2 Edge Supercab, a $1,000 Sports Authority gift certificate, a Honda Four Trax Rancher 4X4 ATV, an NPS 50 Ruckus Scooter and 24 one hour GameWorks gamecards. The grand prize drawing was scheduled for January 2, 2005.

[Gene Autry song clip] "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen... [Voice-over/sleighbells sfx] It's holiday time in South Florida! No snow in the forecast, but than means perfect weather for some Kiss Country Reindeer Games! [Clip] From now on gang, we won't let Rudolph join in any reindeer games! [V/o/music bed] Here's your chance to win a 2004 Ford Ranger 4X2 Edge Supercab from GameWorks! You'll need a big tree this year, 'cause we're gonna load you up for the holidays! You'll win a thousand bucks worth of goodies from Sports Authority, a Honda Four Trax Rancher 4X4 ATV and an NPS 50 Ruckus Scooter from Rick Case Honda Powerhouse and more! [Santa sfx] Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [V/o] Here's how to win it. Throughout the day, we'll announce the name of the Mystery Reindeer. Then, when you hear the Rudolph Touchtones, be the ninth caller at 550-99-99! If you can name that day's Mystery Reindeer, you'll win a pair of tickets to the 20th Anniversary Chili Cookoff, starring Hank Jr., Keith Urban, Montgomery/Gentry, Big & Rich and more! You'll get free GameWorks gamecards for the kids, 'Cranium,' the outrageously fun smash hit party game, where you'll sketch, sculpt, act, puzzle and even spell backwards to win! Go to Plus, be in to win the Reindeer Games grand prize package, valued at over 33,000 bucks! For complete rules, go to Play Reindeer Games and win! Good luck, from GameWorks and... [Santa sfx] Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! [V/o] 99.9 Kiss Country!"

[Reindeer Games cue to call/Gene Autry song clip] "All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names!... [Touchtones sfx] ...They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. [Female Voice-over] Call-Call-Call now."

Trendwatch: top AOL searches of 2004

Which people, moments, news and trends captivated Amerwicans in 2004? AOL(r) Search, America Online's popular search destination, announced the year's top searches based on what people and topics received the highest volume of online queries on the AOL service and CLICK FOR: More... (with thanks to's Jim Carnegie for sharing 'em)

Dave & Carole's (Milwaukee) Digital Days of Christmas

From WKLH's email newsletter:

If we had to spend our own money, we'd be giving away fruitcakes and neckties for Christmas, but thanks to American Furniture, Electronics & Appliances , you can win something really a JVC MiniDV camcorder or an Apple iPod loaded with 'KLH Classic Hits A to Z during Dave & Carole's Digital Days of Christmas. It all ends Friday, so Click here to register now.

Over 3,000 of Milwaukee's neediest kids were overjoyed when they received toys, a warm holiday meal and visit with Santa, and all the fun that came with our 19th Christmas is for Kids party, last week. Thank you for helping us make it happen. You can still help by buying our latest CD, Fahrenheit 96.5, for only $11.96 at a Times Square Watch Shop in your favorite mall, or just click here to order online.

If this doesn't get the phones ringing, nothing will..

From ..

Not even Christmas is non-partisan any more. Jennifer Skalka of the Chicago Tribune looks at a Web site called Choose the Blue, which helps Democratic voters who are stumped in their holiday buying choose merchants and companies that contributed to Democratic candidates. LINK

Monday, December 13, 2004

Phone cards for wounded G-I's

Artist manager and talent booker Maria Cooper-Bruner ( writes:

FYI: The number ONE request at Walter Reed hospital is phone cards.

The government does not pay long distance phone charges and these wounded soldiers are rationing their calls home. Many will be there throughout the holidays.

Really support our troops -- Send phone cards of any amount to:

Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

I have checked this out and it is legit…the cards will make a bunch of brave kids happy. It is better than a ribbon on your SUV.

The Top 10 Dance Tracks Of 2004


Club Connection Announces the 10 Most Popular Country Dance Hits of 2004

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - This year, Marco Music Group¹s Club Connection surveyed over 170 clubs and prominent dance instructors nationwide to determine the most played and most requested country dance songs of 2004.

Big and Rich were the big winners, capturing the first and third spots with their breakout hit "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" and its accompanying dance mix. Fellow Music Mafia member Gretchen Wilson captured second place with her smash debut single, "Redneck Woman" and rounded out the top 10 with her follow-up "Here For The Party."

Bar themed music closed out the top five:

The Top 10 Dance Tracks Of 2004 per the Club Connection Survey

1. Big & Rich "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" Album Cut
2. Gretchen Wilson "Redneck Woman"
3. Big & Rich "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" Dance Re-mix
4. Toby Keith "I Love This Bar"
5. Mark Chesnutt "Lord Loves A Drinkin¹ Man"
6. Wayne Warner "Turbo Twang"
7. Blake Shelton "Some Beach"
8. Keith Urban "Who Wouldn¹t Wanna Be Me"
9. Tim McGraw "Live Like You Were Dying"
10. Gretchen Wilson "Here For The Party"

According to Jon Gunter, Coordinator of Venue Marketing of Club Connection, "Dance clubs have certainly been a part of Country music¹s resurgence over the last twelve months and many of the songs that became big radio records translated into hits at the dance club level as well.

We are excited that so many clubs chose to participate in this year end "Best OfŠ" survey."

For more:

Jeff Walker ­ 615.269.7071 ext. 123 ­
Jon Gunter ­ 615.269.7071 ext. 145 ­

10,000 snowmen

Is your city up for a little competition? Wanna get some publicity and have some fun?

Do you have enough snow to give Winnipeg a run for the money??

There are even rules here for 'how to build a snowman,' should you need step by step instructions.. CHECK OUT:

Thanks to Janet Trecarten, PD at QX-104.1, who let us know about it. CBC is the media sponsor, so it's not exactly competitive with commercial radio and she is reachable at CFQX: if you'd like to say hey or ask her how it's going or set up a report from her ( intrepid morning crew of Ron Able and Caroline Hunter on how the city's campaign is going. They can also fill you in on their "Christmas Fill-Up" and "Waking Crew Big Stocking" events as well..

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Dwight Douglas on the Fly-In

It was terrific to run into former Burkhart-Douglas consulting partner Dwight (now at RCS) at ARB's Consultant Fly-In. As usual, his sardonic wit and cut to the chase style was much in evidence in his email recapping the event in a nutshell last week: writes: "In a strange way, it was a total time warp. I have not attended the Consultant Fly-In for more than eight years and many of the presentations were exactly the same…
People Meter Study…
Sample Sizes…
Telephone problems….

Julian Breen on the ARB Fly-In

Julian Breen, former VP of Greater Media and the inventor of "Super Trends" extrapolation software moderates the terrific A r b i t r o n D a t a U s e r s F o r u m for the Discussion of Radio Audience Measurement.

From: "Julian H. Breen"
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 14:33:38 -0500
Subject: Arbitron Fly-In

As you've probably seen in the trades, Arbitron held it's annual consultant Fly-In on December 9. While not all all-inclusive, the following notes will give somewhat more detail than was published in the trades along with some perspective.

The turnout was almost double that of last year when I thought the event was about to become an endangered species. In fact, there wasn't quite enough space in the lunchroom for all the participants, so the turnout may have even surprised Arbitron.

My impressions:

All of the Arbitron people as well as Steve Goldstein, the Saga executive and Chair of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council, think some form of metered measurement, replacing the diary sooner or later, is a foregone conclusion even though ARAC has not yet endorsed Arbitron's PPM.

However, Arbitron's PPM is not the only game in town. The British are testing several other forms of electronic measurement as well as the PPM. It seems to me a similar approach would serve us well before we get stampeded into Arbitron's PPM-land. Of course, the Arbitron folks are not talking about the metering competition. Perhaps we should and get the alternatives out on the table.

The Arbitron people spent a lot of time selling the PPM's capability of producing minute-by-minute data. They say program directors want it. However, we all know the people who sign the checks-- general managers and the like -- are scared to death of it. There will be minute-by-minute data released in the upcoming Houston PPM test, but it will be raw unweighted numbers of meters, not weighted audience estimates. This is an effort to keep the sub-AQH data out of the sell-buy arena where buyers are likely to beat down rates with it.

My take: While minute-by-minute data would be an excellent research and programming tool (and likely put some of the radio research companies out of business as Arbitron scarfs up the dollars they now earn), it's potential impact on radio revenue is substantial and scary. I think we as an industry need to have an agreement with Arbitron-- signed, sealed and delivered-- regarding what kinds of information Arbitron will provide from its meters before we agree to encode our signals and buy the data. If it exists, there's no practical way to keep minute-by- minute data out of the sell-buy arena any more than we have been successful in preventing people from selling and buying based on Arbitrends or even extrapolations of Arbitrends.

As Steve pointed out in his excellent opening talk, "granularity [of the published PPM audience estimates] is the genie in the bottle."

More on the Houston PPM test: The four Cox stations and three Radio One stations are still encoding holdouts. So, with Infinity now agreeing to encode, Arbitron has encoding commitments from 42 out of 50 radio stations, 15 of 16 TV stations and 44 of 46 cable networks. XM and Sirius will not be encoded. First station-level data is expected to be issued as a Spring 2005 book with some 2,100 meters (780 households) among respondents 6+. Nielsen is not directly participating in the Houston test and a final decision on the Nielsen- Arbitron PPM joint venture is not expected until the first quarter of 2006.

In other news: Arbitron continues to slug away at offering an on-line E-Diary as a option for respondents instead of a paper diary. While Arbitron's Dr. Ed Cohen says it's a priority, there's no timeline for completion as yet.

Arbitron continues to test ways of including land-line-less cell phone households in its sample frame. These households are estimated at about 5% nationwide, but up to 20% in some heavy cell phone markets, and mostly younger demos. There are legal hassles involving dialing cell phones with RDD equipment as well as some basic research issues. Arbitron doesn't expect to be able to include cell phone numbers in its sample frame until 2006 at the earliest.

In the past Arbitron has determined race/ethnicity on a household basis. That means all persons in a household were assumed to be of the same race/ethnicity. This will change to the determination of race/ethnicity on a personal level which could be different for each person in a household. The result is likely to be a shift of some people from black or Hispanic to other, Arbitron's catchall category for everyone else.

There is a new initiative to smooth out the sometimes substantial bounces in the 104 markets Arbitron measures on a condensed (limited demos) two book a year basis. Since the broadcasters in these mostly small markets won't pay for additional sample and Arbitron won't foot the bill on its own, the idea is to take the existing sample and spread it over 48 weeks with a new report issued each quarter based on the preceding 48 weeks of diaries-- sort of a rolling average although each quarterly report will be based on reweighting the entire 48 weeks of diaries. Data will be available for narrower survey periods such as 24 weeks and 12 weeks, but with greatly restricted dayparts and demos. The idea is to promote sell-buy on the 48 week quarterly books, but give some idea of trending with the 12 and 24 week "quick look" data. Implementation begins with Spring 2006 and will be fully installed by Spring 2007.

I think everyone can agree with Steve Goldstein's observation that this is a very compromised solution to a serious problem. But, without additional sample, it's probably the best Arbitron can do in the circumstances.

If you have any comments about the Fly-In or any other audience measurement topic, please send them to and I'll send them out to the full list.

Every year we take Arbitron's survey schedule and break it down by Phase and Week on a 12 month calendar. Many people find it useful and your copy of the 2005 edition is free for the download at

Happy Holidays, - Julian

Subscriptions are free to Julian's ADE Forum. Just send an e-mail to with "subscribe" (no quotes) in the body of the message.