Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pinnacle: "The Best Christmas Titles"

'Tis the season when Holiday music fills the airwaves. But which songs are ratings winners, and which ones are ratings killers? Pinnacle Research tested the top 30 most-played holiday songs from 2004 according to Nielsen BDS in four American formats. Radio listeners were invited to rate the songs through Pinnacle Media's revolutionary OnlineTRACKER music research system. Listeners were recruited through Radio Music and completed the survey from 23 - 29 November 2005. Here is their country top 30 + other fast holiday music data.

The online list includes the 2004 spin rank so you can see how the number of spins the song received last year correlates to the song's appeal.

Tim McGraw/Louisiana

"Hi, customers. People in my home state of Louisiana still desperately need our help after their lives were changed forever by Hurricane Katrina. In my visits there I have been deeply and profoundly moved. To help us all remember that the losses caused by the hurricane remain, me and some of my fellow artists have partnered up with As a way of saying thank you for making a donation to one of the many worthy causes in the affected areas, especially in the St. Bernard Parish area, each of us is making something special available to you. I have recorded a new song, "Louisiana," and for a limited time you can only hear the song on I hope you enjoy it, and please don't forget to donate. The needs are so broad it is impossible to single out any one organization or agency. I just ask that you find it in your heart to help any way you can. I assure you that it is very much needed and will be appreciated. Thank you and happy holidays."

To listen to the new song, click here:
"Louisiana" - Tim McGraw 4:43

To donate, click here:
"Habitat for Humanity Hurricane Relief Response"

KSON Doubles MILITARY Paychecks

Military families sacrifice so much while serving our country. KSON has found a way to give something back to the men and women who protect us on a daily basis.

Starting Monday December 5th, and every weekday through December 16th, our friends at Channel 10 News KGTV, Toyota and Lexus of Carlsbad, and Northrop Grumman are pitching in to help Cliff and Company adopt one military family EVERY DAY and "Double Their Military Paycheck."

Goodbye Orban, Hello CRL

Orban/CRL Founder and VP of Engineering Bob Orban (left), and Orban/CRL President, Chairman, and CEO Jay Brentlinger (right), receive Radio World Magazine's National Association of Broadcasters 2005 "Cool Stuff" Award for the new Orban Optimod-FM 8500 audio processor.

...My first clue that something was changing came when I entered into my browser a couple years ago and came up with the same site as when I entered

Now, comes the news that Circuit Research Labs will consolidate its U.S. manufacturing in Tempe, AZ., and close up the current Orban manufacturing shop in northern California. It was a huge relief to learn at least that the San Leandro brain trust, including Bob Orban, will stay in Northern California in the consolidation and move which will be completed by June 2006. The reason, of course: "increase efficiencies and reduce costs."

Pardon me if that info makes me a bit sad and nostalgic.
Audio processing genius Bob Orban started his company in 1970 and innovated products like the Optimod and the Opticodec software, ultimately selling to CRL in 2000. Of course, it's not only an ending .. it's a beginning, and so I look forward to the next NAB, when hopefully Frank Foti and Orban will again face off to see who unveils the hottest new thing in audio processing. But, somehow, it just won't be the same as when it was a bit less corporate and just one very smart engineer's aggressive small business challenging another's.

(CRL's stock trades as CRLI.OB)

WSOC, Charlotte's "Show For The Soldiers"

Tanner & the morning crew are inviting their listeners to record a holiday greeting for their friends, family or neighbors who are currently serving in the Military.

103.7 WSOC will create a Cd containing all of these messages and then send to the men and women in the Military just in time for Christmas.

Other Holiday events at 'SOC-FM:

Click here to check out Tanner's Santa Babies! And, Click here to check out their Santa's Helping Heroes.

KMPS Collects Bikes For "Forgotten Kids"

94.1 KMPS, Seattle, has teamed up with the Forgotten Children’s Fund this holiday season to provide bikes for kids who otherwise would not have a Christmas.

For more info on it, email Andy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Most-Played Christmas Songs Are Non-Religious And Pre-1971

New York Daily News' David Hinckley looks at the annual Media Monitor track of radio Christmas music content:

* When it comes to holiday music on the radio, we like it upbeat, light and familiar.
* In following 50 all-holiday stations in the 50 top markets last year, Media Monitors found none of the 10 most-played recordings were religious and none were more recent than 1971.
* Media Monitors notes that contemporary artists get a lot of airplay, from Kelly Clarkson to Madonna and Mariah Carey, but that none yet has produced the one recording that can crack the top 10.
* The top 10 songs themselves, Media Monitors noted, tend to be at least midtempo and lyrically upbeat.
* Some popular holiday songs didn't crack the top 10 because there isn't one definitive version.

* "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," for instance, was represented by 52 versions. The song with the second most versions, 46, was "Winter Wonderland."
* The most-played artists were, in order, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Conniff Singers and Mannheim Steamroller.
* The most-played traditional Christmas song was "Do You Hear What I Hear."

Tim McGraw In Louisiana Today To Aid Katrina Victims

The Monroe News-Star has the story this morning:

McGraw to assist with hurricane relief effort
Country music star Tim McGraw will be celebrity spokesperson for’s holiday fund-raising effort for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

McGraw, who grew up in Richland Parish, will speak at St. Bernard Parish City Hall/Civil Center at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. He will also meet with first responders and with people who lost their homes in the flooding that followed the hurricane.

PS: SPEAKING OF TIM his 2006 calendar is the #2 selling country calendar at reports Premiere. ALAN JACKSON’S calendar is the 3rd best seller. So, who’s number one? SHANIA, of course her’s is the #1 seller.

The Annual Post-CMA Awards Sales Bump

Neil Haislop writes to report the CMA Awards created a bump up in album sales for many country artists:

* For instance, in the week after the awards Male Vocalist and Entertainer winner, KEITH URBAN’s "Be Here" experienced a 110 percent increase in sales, jumping from just over 26,000 units to 55,000 albums sold that week.
* CMA hosts and Duo winners, BROOKS & DUNN’S "Hillbilly Deluxe" increased a whopping 157.9% jumping from just under 10,000 units to 25,628.
* SUGARLAND’s "Twice the Speed of Life" jumped 95.1% from 27,000 to 52,750 in sales.
* BRAD PAISLEY’S "Time Well Wasted" bounded up 98.9% from 15,300 to 30,429 units sold.
* MARTINA McBRIDE’S "Timeless" jumped up some 30,000 units from 51,673 to 81, 822 for a 58.3% hike.
* PLUS, DIERKS BENTLEY’s "Modern Day Drifter" was up 41.9% from 20,663 to 29,323 units sold.
* AND GRETCHEN WILSON’S "All Jacked Up" was 44% from 27,290 to 39,393.

There were many more increases thanks to the spike caused by the publicity and viewership of the 39th Annual CMA Awards from New York City. The city itself expected a windfall of revenues from the event of around $30 Million dollars (no figures yet have been released from the city).

One stat it will be VERY interesting to see over time (probably the CMA BOARD will be the first to see that stat, next February): combined country sales post-CMA Awards THIS year, compared to LAST year.

That will tell whether the move to New York, which was very expensive for all concerned, was really worth it or not. But, week to week, the uptick in sales is gratifying, no doubt in the meantime.

I'm For Decency And Against Payola. How About YOU?

I guess you could call it "The Howard Stern Farewell Party," and RBR/TVBR's Jim Carnegie gets it right: Do you think, as a balance to the well-represented forces for decency, that they'll make Larry Flynt a last-minute roster add to provide counterpoint? Nahhhhhhhhh...

And, speaking of getting things right, Carnegie has this to say about the Spitzer payola probes/consent decrees: Has Spitzer provided a "mountain of evidence" of widespread payola violations, as claimed by FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein? Or is it more a mole hill, with a mountain of garbage piled on to help a hard-driving politician grab headlines?

We see even less hard evidence of payola in the Warner settlement than in the Sony BMG one - - and that wasn't much. Once again, we question why a politically-driven New York official is being permitted to lay down new rules for the conduct of business by radio stations and record labels in the other 49 states.

New readers can receive RBR's Morning Epaper for the next 30 Business days! SIGN UP HERE

Reba's "South Pacific" At Carnegie Hall Comes To PBS in '06

This past summer's concert production of South Pacific — starring Reba McEntire as Nellie Forbush and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile de Becque — will be broadcast on PBS stations around the country in April 2006.

The "Great Performances" production is set to debut in the New York City metropolitan area on WNET/Thirteen on April 26, 2006.The one-night-only presentation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical at Carnegie Hall also boasted Lillias White as Bloody Mary, Jason Danieley as Lt. Cable, Dylan Baker as Commander William Harbison, Conrad John Schuck as Captain Brackett, Alexander Gemignani as Stewpot, Tom Deckman as the Professor, Alec Baldwin as Luther Billis, Alexio Barboza as Jerome, Alex de Castro as Ngana and Renita Croney as Liat.

Reba, Big & Rich "Strip" For Clear Channel

Some artists simply thrive, LIVE. Keep an eye on what Clear Channel is doing to leverage that fact.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ad Writing 101 Tips

1. Find the Right Idea – Strategy Beats Copy
Don’t worry that you’re not a good writer… "If an ad campaign is built around a weak idea - or as is so often the case, no idea at all - I don't give a damn how good the execution is, it's going to fail." – Morris Hite, legendary adman
2. Shorter is Better
Customers can take no action until they’ve seen themselves do it in their minds.” Be short, clear, concise, interesting. Don’t clutter your effort. Let nothing get in the way of tight.
3. Draw a Crowd
Use an attention-getter when you must make things happen quickly.
4. True Branding
Create ads that are client-specific, rather than product or event-specific.
5. Begin By Choosing Your First Mental Image
Open Big – Make one point: Rhino vs. Porcupine – Core Message
6. Know The End Before You Start; Choose Your Last Mental Image
Close Big – Go full circle.
7. What to Leave Out
The danger of the “clever” trap. Avoid empty words. Never to go looking for the "unique selling proposition."
8. Keep their Attention; Involve "Mind’s-Eye" Participation
Your idea must be vividly Imaginable.
9. Make Customers Mention Your Ad. Plant a Word Flag.
Use the power of memorable verbs.
10. Slogans, Taglines and Positioning Statements Should Move The Magnetic Meter
11. Dialogue, Testimonials and Humor Can Be Like Nitroglycerine
It's the excitement of the high wire. Beginners should avoid trying to walk it.
12. Copy Should Keep Clients Sold
Get credit for delivering exactly what you promised.

I didn't make this stuff up. I got it from Ad Writing 101 - LIVE and Ad Writing 101 Online as taught by Roy H. Williams.

He asserts: Chances are, you've been reaching the right people all along. You've just been saying the wrong things. Some ads are like waving raw meat in front of hungry dogs. Most ads are lectures, explaining to these same dogs all the joys of organic popcorn. Do you have a tasty message to deliver to the world? Or are you expecting your ad writers to apply a thick layer of creativity to hide the fact that you have nothing to say? Truthfully, what percentage of your ads say anything worth hearing? Sholem Asch was right when he said, 'Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.' But Morris Hite said it brazenly, 'If you have a good selling idea, your secretary can write your ad for you.'

Hmm.. maybe I should have titled this item "Writing ANYTHING Tips!"

Are They Blogging About YOU?

No, it's not paranoia to wonder what 'they' are saying about you. It's good marketing sense. Find out at Blog Pulse.

ACM 40TH Celebration This Saturday on CBS-TV

Tree Paine, the mistress of media relations at ACM in LA, emailed with a trivia question and some fun facts:

Q: Who holds the record for the most Academy of Country Music Top Vocal Group of the Year Award wins?
A: ALABAMA has won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Group of the Year category a record six times. Their consecutive wins from 1980 – 1985 make their six wins in this category quite impressive. They have been nominated for a total of 66 awards and have won 19 awards to date, which include five of the Academy’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year. They have also been awarded the Academy’s Artist of the Decade in 1998 and were given the prestigious Pioneer Award in 2002.

Remind your listeners to tune-in this Saturday, December 3rd from 9:00 – 11:00 PM (ET/PT) to catch the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION on CBS Television.

Speaking of CBS, Mediapost reports that Neilson had good news for them today, as the net continues to dominate Thursday night ratings, even on Turkey Day..

Chesney Caribbean Cruise

If you are looking for a winter prize, call your friendly travel agent or your BNA rep for details on the ultimate fan experience -- a Caribbean cruise with some of your favorite artists and a private performance from Kenny Chesney on a secluded beach.

Click here for the fun facts on the event which will feature TWO cruise ships, scheduled to sail February 27th – March 3rd, which will be sailing from both Miami, aboard the "Majesty Of The Seas" AND from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, aboard the "Sovereign Of The Seas." Dramatically, in the Atlantic, these two sister ships will converge, and sail in tandem, an event which has rarely occurred in cruising history.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

34% Of Employees Are Truly Loyal In "Walker Loyalty Report"

Reporter Dana Knight at the Indianapolis Star's coverage of the national survey by this Indianapolis-based firm took on a even more interesting feel when reporter Knight included Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting as one of his key sources.

"The most important thing is to know if you want people to go through walls for you, you have to show them you'll go through more walls for them," Smulyan said. "Create a culture where people know they will be treated fairly and want to stay."

Employee rankings
A national survey of more than 2,500 employees by Indianapolis-based Walker Information put the workers in four categories:

• Truly loyal: 34 percent feel positive about their jobs and are going to stay.
• Accessible: 6 percent feel positive about their jobs but can't say they will definitely stay due to outside influences, such as children at home or a spouse's mobility.
• Trapped: 28 percent feel neutral or negative about their employer but feel they have to stay.
• High-risk: 31 percent of workers feel negatively about their jobs and are looking to leave.

How would your station do if a reporter locally asked your employees about their loyalty??

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Pay The Piper

The next time a client or a sales person asks you to put a song on your playlist into their commercial, don't even bother to say "but, that's a no-no."
Click on this, the most-requested reprint article in the history of Jerry Vigil's great Radio and Production Magazine. If you are a kind-hearted soul, you might even want to print it out, hand it to them and say "read and weep."

Kevin Liles Does "Make It Happen"

Great book.

Inspiring guy.


• Rule One: Find Your Will
You will need that passion to drive you to make it happen against seemingly impossible odds.
• Rule Two: Do You

Once you have found your will you have to package it and present it to the world.
• Rule Three: Walk This Way

Getting educated is the way to make it happen. Whether you study in college or the school of life, knowledge and experience will give you the tools you need for success.
• Rule Four: The Blueprint

You'll need a road map to success. Create a vision to help you see where it all fits. Focusing on the big picture will help you edit out the things that distract you from success.
• Rule Five: Play Your Position

Don't act like you are too full of it. Have the humility and respect to do your job to the best of your ability, whether it's digging ditches or answering the phone. That's how all great leaders get started.
• Rule Six: Embrace The Struggle

Learning to love the hard times can make you stronger, wiser and more willing to take risks.
• Rule Seven: Get Connected

Build relationships that last forever because success in business depends on positive human interaction.
• Rule Eight: Step Outside Your Box (M.I.X.)

It will help you blow up your ideas to a global level. You have to be open to people from all walks of life because business is the only true melting pot.
• Rule Nine: Don't Let Cash Rule

Greed can trip you up. Money matters, but it's only a means to more options, freedom and security for the future.
• Rule Ten: Flex Purpose, Not Power

It's never too soon in your career to pick up a few management skills and learn how to lead.

Kevin started as a Def Jam intern and rose to become Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group. Now's he has a wonderful book and is doing motivational speaking. If he comes anywhere near you, like the Michelin guides would say, he's worth a trip. And, he's reachable by email.

Branding Gets Serious, Maybe Even Deadly

In a report by NPR's Bob Garfield on this week's
WNYC, New York, production of "On The Media" titled "Revolution, Inc.," a branding consultant goes from fomenting revolution to marketing video games, using many of the same techniques.

"One year ago, the world witnessed what appeared to be a spontaneous uprising by angry voters in the streets of Kiev. But for months, Ukrainian activists had been carefully honing their message and tactics. They did it with the help of American-backed "uprising consultants" - veterans of opposition movements in Serbia, Belarus, and Georgia. Bob speaks with one of them, Serbian student activist
Ivan Moravic."

In case you think that the process of branding your radio station to build loyalty is a trivial thing, listen to his report and consider how weighty - genuinely, literally - your listeners may be taking your campaign to associate your brand with their values (I'll bet they think you MEAN it, so you'd BETTER!).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Vote For The Canadian Music Industry Awards Now

CMW is now accepting submissions for nominations in all categories for the Canadian Music Industry Awards online.

Categories include:

For a complete list of categories, submission criteria and to submit for nomination, log on to Deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m., Wednesday December 7, 2005.

The Canadian Music Industry Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in more than 30 different categories and are decided upon by industry vote. The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony set for Thursday March 2, 2006 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto as part of CMW.

I May Be Wrong, But I'm Not Confused

<-- Wolfgang? Or... Wolfgang?

.. that headline above is but a sample of the wisdom, concluding with the thought "Clarity about the wrong thing is useless. Context is everything!", of
Vancouver-based Metrik Management. Metrik President "Wolfgang G. Babbel" is part sage and part wise guy in the company's weekly e-letter.

A sample of Wolf's wisdom, gained after seeing all the merit badges on a group of Brownie Scouts, merit badges for potential leaders within your organization: Want to be a team leader some day? Here are the six badges, (skills) you have to undertake. Badge one, able to influence people without official authority. Badge two, able to deliver tough news without abusing the person. Badge three, listens to and respects people. Badge four, takes personal full responsibility for all problems. Badge five, inspires others and never complains. Badge six, has followers even when not leading. And to get those badges, you have to successfully complete a series of projects in real life, with your team mates, and at no extra pay. Most of us do it the other way around, we promote someone who has not proven themselves, give them a pay increase, and wonder why it all fails.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

(Very Bad) B-105.1 Singing For A (Very Good) NFL Team

On our A&O client teleconference last Tuesday (if you're a client, click here to listen to the 20 minute podcast), Bill Whyte told us about the original songs B-105.1's morning team is building each week as the Bengals play.

They call the benchmark the amazingly-creative "Bill Whyte’s Bengal Song"...
Bengals Colts song
Bengals Ravens song - Bengals Gonna Beat Those Baltimore Ravens, Featuring Bobby Jo from Stagger Lee.
Bengals Packers song - Roll Out The Packers with Special Guest Nick G
Bengals Steelers song - Momma don't let your Redhawks grow up to be Steelers
Bengals Tennessee song - You Ain’t As Good As You Once Was
Beating Those Jags Down In Jacksonville
We’re Two Steppin’ On Those Texans
Click Here to listen to the Bears song
Click Here to listen to the Vikings song
That’s The Upside of Beating The Browns

Garth Brooks: The Limited Series = Fastest Selling Media Title

Wal-Mart Stores announced today that preorders for Garth Brooks: The Limited Series at have reached record-breaking results on the site.

The Future Of Radio Entertainment

.. is not in the mass market, but rather the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.

That's the view of
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, who wrote The Long Tail, which first appeared in Wired in October 2004 and will become a book early next year. Get a head start on how you'll use your HDRadio side channels and internet streams in the future, by reading his blog.

How will we use our analog main channel and all the potential other digital channels? Anderson rings true to me when he says "successful aggregators (will) have to have both hits *and* niches. But for aggregators, the community may be more important.
He calls this both the 'head' (could be traditional terrestial radio) and the 'tail' (dream this up now, because in the next year or two your company is going to be asking what to do with the niche opportunities).

Could this be one reason why I keep telling all of the personalities I work with to DROP THE EDITORIAL 'WE' and talk to the LISTENER, one at a time? No matter how big your station's cume, from the audience's perspective, you only have one listener.

Car Radio Is Still #1 For New Music With Kids

Mediamark Research has determined that while 59.8% of kids have a CD player in their bedrooms and about 25% have computers in their bedrooms, the top music portal for children is the car radio (cited by 74% = 72% of boys and 76.1% of girls).

Approximately 5,400 children responded to the 2005 American Kids Study, questionnaires for which were sent to households with children ages 6-11 that were interviewed for MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer. The survey period was March 8 to August 1, 2005. Among the findings:

* Gaming is the top online activity.
* CD players outnumber MP3 players for music listening
* 70% want to make a lot of money when they are older.
* When asked what they do when TV commercials come on,
nearly 60% of respondents say they watch them.

MRI Contacts:
Anne Marie Kelly, VP, Marketing and Strategic Planning, Mediamark Research Inc.: 212-884-9204
Steve Ellwanger, Press Counsel Group: 203-291-6986

Chesney + J. C. Penney After School Fund

Why the JC Penney Afterschool Fund?
“The after school issue is one that affects a large percentage of this nation’s families. It’s important that the public be informed about the benefits of after school programming and, as such, having the support of esteemed personalities like Kenny Chesney is invaluable to the JCPenney Afterschool Fund and the children we serve,” says Wynn Watkins, Chairman of the Board of the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. “We are honored that Kenny will assist the JCPenney Afterschool Fund in our efforts to provide America’s children with opportunities for success at school and life.”

“The Road and the Radio” CD is now available at JCPenney Stores for $11.99 each.

CLICK for more info on
Kenny and the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. Email for interview and funding requests.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Don't Believe The Research

Stop The Presses: Bayer Finds People Prefer Good News To Bad News
Bayer Health Care's Consumer Care Division, which has been negotiating with consumer magazines to place its controversial Aleve pain reliever brand in "good news" branded editorial content, Tuesday released findings of a study it funded showing that the majority of consumers would rather hear good news than bad news. The survey, conducted by The Segmentation Company, a division of Yankelovich, polled 1,004 people, with 94 percent saying they want to hear more good news, and 77 percent believing the media does not give enough coverage to good news.

But, wait: .. I've been there, done that. ..Even used the catch phrase " where the good news always comes first" to start every newscast. And, after several years of doing it, our client's research discovered that listeners liked the idea of good news, but would change the station the instant the 'good news' started, to find out what 'the real news' was.

I can tell you more about this situation in the event that the above self-serving news release tempts you to dump the 'bad news' and report only Happy News. .. I fear you may need the Bayer Aleve for the headache you'll get when the ratings come out..

Listeners do usually seem to know what they think and will gladly tell you in research. But, do they know what they will DO?

Study their behavior, as well as their perceptions and values. That's what the research professionals are in business to help make sure you also do.

How Does Christmas Look From The Reindeer Perspective?

Welcome to the Reindeer Liberation Front.
We are a band of committed freedom fighters, dedicated to the liberation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and all his furry companions from under the oppressive yoke of Santa Claus.

Santa's propaganda machine has put out the worldwide message that the reindeer like working for him, and that he is a good person. Don't believe it - he is a cruel enslaver of innocent reindeer

Concurrence Marketing

Pronunciation: -'k&r-&n(t)s, -'k&-r&n(t)s
Function: noun CONSENT a coincidence of equal powers

Concurrence Marketing is based on two straightforward ideas about how to practice productive marketing.

* First, minimize clutter.
* Second, deliver value.

Clutter is minimized by being precise and relevant. Value is delivered by giving consumers power and reciprocity.

These two pairs of P's and R's - P&R² - are the four key principles of Concurrence Marketing. Both senses of concurrence are entailed - being in agreement by being more precise and relevant and being collaborative by providing power and reciprocity.

The folks at Yankelovich are working on some interesting things right now. If you aren't concerned about the continued very high negative impression of commercials and all other marketing, here's something you need to study.

Does Running That Weekend New Music Show Now Place You In Jeopardy?

R&R Street Talk Daily's Kevin Carter hasn't lost his sense of humor, as this morning's headline indicates: "This Just In From Mr. Spitzer: Everything You Were Doing Is Now Illegal"

In a statement, WMG said, “Warner Music Group acknowledges that various employees pursued some radio promotion practices on behalf of the company that were wrong and improper and apologizes for such conduct. Warner Music Group looks forward to defining a new, higher standard in radio promotion.”

In addition to $5 million — which will be distributed by the State of New York to various non-profit corporations, WMG has also agreed to cover $50,000 in fees tied to Spitzer’s investigation.

According to AG Eliot Spitzer: “The financial benefits provided in exchange for airplay, also known as ‘payola,’ took several forms: direct bribes to radio programmers, including airfare, electronics, tickets to premier sporting events and concerts; payments to radio stations to cover operational expenses; radio contest giveaways for stations’ listening audiences, including flyaways, concert tickets, iPods, gift certificates and gift cards; hiring independent promoters to act as conduits for illegal payments to radio stations; and purchasing ‘spin programs’ to artificially increase the airplay of particular recordings.”

Part of the WMG settlement now sets specific limits: only 20 promo CDs per project will be allowed per station — any more requires the written permission of the WMG “Compliance Officer”; ditto for concert tickets (20 per year per station).

“Modest personal gifts for life events and holidays” are allowable, as long as any gift “does not exceed $150 in value per recipient per year.”

That $150 limit is also applied to label-sponsored meals and entertainment for radio employees and allows the WMG labels to spend a “reasonable amount” (coach-class airfare or car/train) on travel and lodging expenses for radio employees to attend live performances or appearances by WMG artists, setting a limit on such promo trips to 20 per year per station. “Reasonable” lodging will only cover a period within 24 hours of the performance or appearance.

WMG isn’t allowed to reimburse an indie for any expenses incurred in promotion activities and prohibits WMG from providing “any item of value” to be distributed to a radio station, station employee or contest winner. The agreement also requires indies to submit quarterly reports confirming that they’re following these swell new standards of conduct WMG has adopted. WMG employees are prohibited from calling radio stations to request airplay of WMG artists or attempt to manipulate “voting features” to “falsely register public support” for a WMG artist or song.

I AM NOT YOUR ATTORNEY, of course, you will want to get advice and the necessary compliance forms from your company's legal counsel on all of this. But, since specific paid spins programs on syndicated programming ("timebuys on shows like Carson Daly, Rick Dees or Ryan Seacrest..") were singled out as improper, if not outright illegal now (at least in this one state), in WMG's consent decree, I'd strongly recommend asking the syndicator of any programming you run whether they are paid for the plays on the program.

Unless they are willing to provide you with written assurance that this is not the case, I'd drop the show as soon as you can contractually do so, based on their refusal to provide such assurances.

Hopefully, the networks and syndication companies are already scrambling to get ahead of this TODAY. But, if you don't hear from yours, they need to hear from you. And, if I were you, I'd document those contacts in writing!

McGraw, Wilson, Sugarland Win Country AMA Awards

And, as the Tennessean's Tim Roland reports, country really shined: Tim McGraw was one of five artists from a multitude of genres who claimed a pair of trophies, while Sugarland scored what had to be an upset victory in the all-genre field for favorite new breakthrough artist.

Country And The Troops, Mutually-Supportive

Neal McCoy's road manager, Les Martines, snapped this photo for Music Row, as part of CMA "Country Takes New York City" activities. McCoy and Craig Morgan joined with Jack Daniel's for a special USO "Toast to the Troops" benefit concert at B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill (11/12).

Prior to the concert, McCoy, Morgan, USO volunteers and members of the military collected special "toasts" to the troops which will be included in USO care packages being delivered to troops later this year.

“Every show that I go to, I see a soldier that’s seen us over there (in Iraq), and without fail one of them talks about how at night, or when they got their breaks, they would put their headphones on and listen to the music - and it would take them back home. And music does that, and I think Country music does that. Country isn’t necessarily a big supporter of the war, but it is a big supporter of the country. That’s what Country music has always been, and I think we’re outspoken in the sense that we do support this country and what this country stands for. I think that happens because Country music is closer to the people than any other genre of music, and the soldiers are the people of this country. They’re the backbone, they’re the absolute core.”

- CRAIG MORGAN, the Broken Bow Records star (as quoted by Country Insider-Free Lance Journalist
Phil Sweetland), at his No. 1 party this week at ASCAP in Nashville. Morgan is a 10-year Army veteran who served in Operation Just Cause and many other deployments and also worked as a sheriff’s deputy and at Wal-Mart to reach his dream. He and his band are returning to Iraq some time soon – the exact dates are of course classified - to again play for the troops and bring those honest-to-goodness heroes a much-needed and much-welcomed taste of home – courtesy of Country music.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's Tanks-giving .. And KZLA Goes All Christmas

Click to see Gretchen Wilson in a Santa cap (plus Kenny, Keith and Toby too).

Homeland Security Holiday Weekend Travel Tips

To minimize delays, TSA has created a Holiday Checklist so passengers can prepare for the screening process. By following a few simple guidelines, travelers can help make passenger screening as efficient as possible.

TSA’s security officers’ primary focus is ensuring the security of the traveling public,” said Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley. “We’re asking the traveling public to contribute to the effort and the Holiday Checklist is a great resource to use in planning your next trip.”

A Bunch Of Okies..

.. (getting their rewards) in Muskogee.

It must have been an amazing evening!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bowling With Bubba

What do you do when Toby Keith announces that he's beginning his 2006 tour in your town? If you are
KUPL, Portland, PD John Paul and Asst PD/MD Rick Taylor.. you go bowling (for a great cause).

Capture! Engage!

Tom Jackson has had a hand in making some of today's hottest country and contemporary Christian artists make their live show a truly memorable and life-changing experience. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak or attend one of his seminars, I promise that he will inspire you.

Here's the core of his message, and though it's primarily for musicians and singers, I know you'd benefit from his motivational approach as well:

Understand "The audience' , the 3 reasons why people go to a concert, event, show , service etc (turn on your radio station)....
1. Does this capture and engage people?
2. Are we creating "Moments" (experiences) or just playing music?
3. Are lives affected or changed?

A great show always meets or exceeds the audience's expectations.
A great show is a combination of Spontaneity and form.

It can only succeed consistently with lots of preparation and rehearsal. Agents and labels often talk about 'artist development,' but are really only talking about changing costumes or getting 'better songs.' There is no short cut to real development as an artist. True development as an artist means working hard in preparation and practice of all aspects of the form, before the performance to improve how well you do what you do.

Spontaneous magical moments occur more consistently - not just at random - when you achieve this.

Yes, That IS Collin Raye Singing "You Can't Over Love (Your Underwear)"

Raye, a top country hitmaker in the '90s, admits he was hesitant about being the voice of Fruit of the Loom underwear, but the campaign's goofy humor won him over: "The first couple of times we had to stop the tape because I couldn't do it without laughing," he says.

The campaign has been so successful that he is hoping to turn the relationship with the manufacturer of tighty whiteys into tour support. Collin, who still plays 65-70 dates a year, says, "I'd be so happy to get a tour sponsorship right now I'd wear a pair on my head if they wanted me to."

Expect Raye to increase his touring schedule to about 100 dates in 2006 to promote his new album, "Twenty Years and Change," released on October 25th.

- for more information on Collin Raye contact: Kirt Webster (615.777.6995 x24) or Ebie McFarland (615.777.6995 x25).

Cat Country 98.7 Pensacola "News Cat" Milford in Iraq

WYCT/AM 1620 PD Kevin King sent us this press release:

Cat Country 98.7 reporter Rob Milford was with the Milton based 842nd Signal Company Army Reserve at Camp Shelby in Mississippi as they prepared for deployment. This past Saturday the 842nd departed on a 17-hour flight to Kuwait for additional training. When training is completed, they will deploy from Kuwait for an undisclosed location in Iraq. Rob Milford is with the 842nd as an ‘embedded reporter’ in order to support our local troops and tell Cat Country 98.7 and Classic Country 1620 listeners what it’s like to leave your family behind and go to Iraq for a year to serve our country.

Cat Country’s Rob Milford flew to Kuwait with the 842nd and will be with them as they serve in Iraq. He will sleep where they sleep, eat with them and travel to the outposts along side our 842nd where they will be operating. Rob will be telling their story to Pensacola radio listeners.

Listen for daily updates from Rob on Cat Country 98.7 mornings at 5:20 and 7:20 and afternoons at 2:45 and 5:45. On Classic Country AM 1620 Rob’s reports can be heard mornings at 6:20 and 8:20 and afternoons at 1:45 and 4:45.

This is Rob’s second trip to Iraq. Here was there during the 2003 invasion, reporting for CBS Radio and was one of the first embedded reporters to arrive in Baghdad. Rob covered the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis for Cat Country 98.7. He will be reporting with the 842nd through Christmas.

Both Cat Country 98.7 and Classic Country AM 1620 are locally owned and operated and steadfastly support all our troops! We thank them for their service.

For more information please contact Kevin King – Operations Manager – ADX Communications - 850- 494-2800. Milford is doing a daily BLOG of his experiences as well as doing broadcast reports.

ADX President Dave Hoxeng says: "Besides paying Rob’s salary, our biggest cost is 5 weeks of insurance for Rob at almost $1000/week for war zone coverage. This took weeks to get and was issued by Lloyd’s of London."

One other fascinating sidebar from Hoxeng: "We have also made arrangements with TV3 locally. We bought a $2k prosumer 3-chip color video camera and Rob will be sending TV3 periodic Quicktime video. We hope to FTP the video across the Internet, with FedEx as a backup."

For my money, THAT is commitment to community service and it's what great radio is ALL about.

Country's AMA Nominees, Performers And Presenters

As Noted Just Below, The American Music Awards are this Tuesday (November 22nd).

Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack, Brooks & Dunn, LeAnn Rimes, and Sugarland will be presenting awards. Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and Kenny Chesney will be performing on the show.

Country Nominations
Favorite Male Artist:
-Kenny Chesney
-Toby Keith
-Tim McGraw
Favorite Female Artist:
-Martina McBride
-LeAnn Rimes
-Gretchen Wilson
Favorite Band, Duo or Group:
-Big & Rich
-Brooks & Dunn
-Rascal Flatts
Favorite Album:
-Honkytonk University (Toby Keith)
-Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)
-Here For The Party (Gretchen Wilson)
Favorite New Artist (All Genres):
-The Killers
-Jesse McCartney

Sunday, November 20, 2005

ABC-TV - Kenny Chesney, "Somewhere In The (Pittsburgh) Sun"

The week
Ted Koppel says "good bye," Kenny says hello.

What a week for country on ABC-TV: American Music Awards (11/22)
Kenny Chesney (11/23)

Our friend (United Stations writer-producer/GAC country news informant) Neil Haislop has some great Chesney quotes on the show:

"We hit it pretty hard out on that stage… but I don't know that we hit it any harder than the fans throw it back at us… So to stay in top form and top intensity, I make it a point to get away and unwind. "I didn't necessarily know that the people at ABC were going to find that interesting, but they did…and I think what they've captured, is a pretty great portrait of our life on the road, everything the fans don't see before we hit that stage… and how I pull it all in when we're not touring and reflect," Chesney explains about the special’s concept. “When we sat down with everybody at ABC, I said, ‘This is how I want to do it. We can go do a special with me onstage and it’d be all right. It’d be cool.’ We did that, but we also took a bunch of cameras down to my boat and to the Caribbean and taped three days of me hanging out with local people and playing music and just showing people how I live my life away from the lights and the video screens and the buses and the catering trucks and all that stuff.”

Always A Great Prize

.. your own loyal listener party, with only one way to get in - listening for your invitation.
Larche stations in the Tri-Cities and Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph both did it successfully this fall at Casino Rama.

Edgar Struble = Music Director for 2005 American Music Awards

Edgar Struble, known by many as the former Music Director for Kenny Rogers and TNN’s Prime Time Country, has been tapped by dick clark productions to be the Music Director for the 2005 American Music Awards airing on ABC Tuesday, November 22.

“This is an exciting event in my career.” said
Struble. “It gives me the opportunity to stretch into many musical styles as I compose for this show and work with the production team.”

Struble is also the current Music Director for The Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS).

If you interview Edgar Struble (818-526-7761), be sure to ask if any artists are exceptions to the "if you talk longer than :30 seconds, we'll start the music" rule and why.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Someday, Will Your Podcasts and Side Channels Generate More Revenue Than Your Analog Main Channel?

this thought from the Lost Remote TV blog around in your brain:

Getting cancelled is the best possible thing that could have happened to Arrested Development. (Or "put on hiatus" or "cut back episode order" - whatever. It's cancelled.)

No longer shackled by the whim of a fickle network, “AD” can take advantage of all the technologies now available for video delivery and make more money.

The model is just waiting to happen: AD, a pioneer in its style of comedy, should pioneer this, too.

Continue reading "Cancellation great for 'Arrested Development'"

Get A Life

I admit to being one of those 20 hour a day workaholics/type A personalities who get a lot of self-worth out of what I accomplish on the job, yet constantly fear that I am not working hard enough or getting enough accomplished.

Radio, a 25/7 biz, rewards us when we buy into that way of life, it often seems. Yet, does it really?

Could you be more effective as a communicator if you lived life a little more and spent fewer hours with radio people?

Take a moment and ponder "Get A Life!" by wife and husband Jody Miller and Matt Miller in the current issue of Fortune, which states "Working 24/7 may seem good for companies, but it's often bad for the talent—and men finally agree. So businesses are hatching alternatives to the punishing, productivity-sapping norm."

So What About Your Schedule?

MIT Research: Aluminum Beanies Not Effective Shield Against Radio Signals

Stop The Presses!

Maybe it's not just fluoridated drinking water and the radon in your basement that you have to worry about now. It would probably make more sense to cover this "news" in a bit less than five months, say around the end of March, but I can't wait that long to let you in on this.

The Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) Web site explains how to build your own AFDB, which it says "can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers." It advises readers to make their own and not buy commercial AFDBs, which it warns "may contain backdoors, pinholes, integrated psychotronic circuitry or other methods that actually promote mind control."

Not so fast, say Ali Rahimi from MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department and his associates Ben Recht, Jason Taylor and Noah Vawter from the MIT Media Laboratory,. Their Web site, On the Effectiveness of Aluminum Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study describes the result of using a network analyzer to measure the shielding effectiveness of the AFDB. The measurement techniques are not clearly defined and somewhat suspect, especially since measurements of multiple helmets showed a 30 dB amplification at 2.6 GHz and a 20 dB amplification at 1.2 GHz.

Zapato Productions rebuts the MIT measurements, explaining, "only psychotronic energy can affect the brain in any coherent manner." He explained that simple EM fields have only trivial effects. These might cause indistinct sensations of a supernatural presence. He added that electromagnetic energy had to be converted into psychotronic energy before distant mind control forces could gain access to the brain's neural network in order to implant and extract thoughts.

If you are feeling a bit down, perhaps even paranoid, an AFDB (even reading about them) might just help! How effective is your AFDB across the radio spectrum? Don't forget to read the fine print and check out the references.

Want A TON Of Hits On Your Website?

.. from all over the world?

Put a disrobing kitten on it. (like this)

I love Radio World's take on it: Maybe next time Clear Channel can use one of its own billboards instead.

The Chicago Tribune reports that WKQQ(FM) in Lexington, Ky., has yanked a billboard promotion in which air talent ‘Kitten’ removes one piece of clothing each time the local football team wins a game. The billboard company (Lamar, according to the signs) objected. The promotion will remain on the station Web site.

“The stunt — to reward Kentucky Wildcats football victories — ended at the behest of the billboard company,” the Trib reported, attributing that to station PD Dennis Dillon. “Meaning the shirtless billboard — she was to pare down to a pair of jeans and a bra Friday — will move to cyberspace and the billboard will get a ‘censored’ box covering the disc jockey.”

Dillon said he understands why the billboard company complained but he wanted to fulfill a pledge to the football team.

It's Only A Disaster If You Don't Plan For It

Check out this site, full of tools to assist you in BEING there when your listener needs you the most.

The NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia had a great session on disaster prep too. Click to read The 411 on 911 Emergencies on the NAB's website.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

George In Crawford, Texas .. Now A Radio Station

Tom Taylor at Inside Radio reports that the president’s Crawford, TX ranch falls right in the Waco market — and that’s where Simmons Media is flipping the switch on a Jack-type country format named "George." The station is programming Mexican right now and had previously been JRN's CD Country before the latest format flip, so it better be VERY different and special if it hopes to make inroads in Waco.

Is the new station named after the Pres? Maybe. After the popular Waco restaurant? Maybe. But, my bet is that Simmons is thinking of the most popular George in Texas, and that would be neither of the above!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's Nice To Be "Flat" .. When Overall ARB Shares Are Down

Click on the ARB 'average persons using radio" trends and "format" track for all the stats, even regionally. But, here's the big picture from a country format point of view:

Radio's average rating for persons aged 12-plus fell again in the Summer Arbitron survey. This Summer’s 14.2 rating average (persons 12-plus, Mon.-Sun., 6 a.m.-12 midnight) also marks a new drop from what had been a stable plateau during the prior three survey periods. A year ago, in Summer 2004, the average 12-plus rating was a 14.6. During the next three periods, Fall 2004, Winter 2005 and Spring 2005, that average held steady at a 14.5. This Summer’s 14.2 shows that the 12+ average has fallen again and it has hit a new, all-time low. This downtrend is present across virtually every age and sex demo and holds true for both the Spring-to-Summer falloff and for the year-to-year comparisons. The only exceptions: A 2.1% Spring-to-Summer gain for teens 12-17, due to a 3.9% rise in listening by boys 12-17 during that period. Also, listening by men 25-34 was flat, at 15.8%, for both Spring-to-Summer and year-to-year comparisons.

That's why country's four book trends (flat, overall) look pretty good to me:

12+ 8.5 8.2 8.6 8.6
12-17 4.9 4.7 5.0 5.6
18-24 6.6 6.5 6.8 6.8
25-34 7.2 6.9 6.9 7.2
35-44 8.9 8.6 9.1 8.9
45-49 9.2 8.9 9.1 9.0

Country format gains 12-34 made up for losses 35+ from Spring '05 to Summer '05.

But, looking even BETTER: A&O client stations who resisted the temptation to move too young and managed to keep the tastes of young/old and male/female in balance, while surfing on the hot current music trend too .. and thus beat these national averages by being UP, again.

If you'd like to know more about how they did that and hear about some case histories, contact Jaye or Mike. We are very proud to work with some of North America's most successful country broadcasters. They make a lot of informed, smart decisions and A&O is proud to be ONE of them!

Thanks to the Arbitron folks for tracking these trends.

Shania To Receive "Order Of Canada"

Country music superstar Shania Twain has been added to the list of honourees at an Order of Canada ceremony in Ottawa on Friday.

Singer Twain to join Order of Canada

Other Shania news:
Shania Twain introduces Martha Stewart to the poutine experience ... National Post
Shania's schedule of events longer than a country mile this week Ottawa Citizen

Keith Urban = One Of The Sexiest

KEITH URBAN is one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive for 2005 (MatthewMcConaughey is the top sexy this year).

CMA Awards - The Great Outweighed The Questionable

The Country Music Alive fan site's Kirk Kitzgerald says it all for me this morning:

* Non-country performances from Elton John and Dolly, Willie Nelson with Paul Simon and Norah Jones, and Bon Jovi with Nettles were interesting, enjoyable, but easily forgotten in the vast history of the show.

* The memories for me tonight will be Glen Campbell's emotion in his face as it hit him, right on stage, the magnitude of accomplishment of being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

* Lee Ann Womack's powerful statement on stage when accepting an award saying "I love country music" and a plea to people that listen to music that doesn't mean anything to them, to give country radio a try.

* Of course, can't leave Gretchen Wilson out with tears in her eyes as she accepts Female Vocalist of the Year.

* Kenny Chesney opened the evening and set the mood for the show with "Living in Fast Forward." Highlights of the performances included Sara Evans performance of "Cheatin," Brad Paisley with "When I Get Where I'm Goin," Martina McBride's "Help Me Make It Through The Night," introduced by Kris Kristofferson. Alan Jackson performed the classic Eric Clapton song "Wonderful Tonight" and the stage was lit on fire around Miranda Lambert during the performance of "Kerosene." Garth Brooks' performed his tribute to Chris LeDoux from Times Square, along with hundreds of fans around the stage and traffic coming to a stop in the famous location. Yet another surprise from Brooks himself.

KBRJ, Anchorage's Big Joe Marshall's blog for his listeners has this review of the show.

Official Links:

Entertainer of the Year -
Keith Urban
Female Vocalist of the Year -
Gretchen Wilson
Male Vocalist of the Year - Keith Urban
Horizon Award -
Dierks Bentley
Vocal Group of the Year -
Rascal Flatts
Vocal Duo of the Year -
Brooks & Dunn
Single of the Year" - I May Hate Myself in the Morning" (Lee Ann Womack, Produced by Byron Gallimore)
Musician of the Year -
Jerry Douglas, Dobro
Album of the Year - "There's More Where That Came From, ("
Lee Ann Womack, Produced by Byron Gallimore and Greg Droman, MCA Nashville)
Music Video of the Year - "As Good As I Once Was" (Toby Keith, Directed by Michael Salomon)
Musical Event of the Year" - Good News, Bad News" (George Strait with Lee Ann Womack, MCA Nashville, Appears on "Somewhere Down In Texas")
Song of the Year - "Whiskey Lullaby" (Bill Anderson and Jon Randall, Appears on "Mud on the Tires" Album)

The 39th CMA Awards Website