Friday, June 30, 2006

Big D & Bubba's Viral Fireworks

There's more than one way to work on a holiday weekend! (click on the highlighed link to see and hear what I mean)

.. If you'd like to see what else the guys are up to click on their home page.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Radio - "A Medium In Transition"

Interep's Radio Symposium - "Radio 101: Back to the Basics, Off to the Future" - celebrated radio's 100 years of broadcasting achievement, while asking, "What's next?" for a medium in transition.

* Bob Struble, President and CEO of iBiquity: "within the next 2-3 years, in addition to HD radio receivers in homes and cars, PDAs, eTablets and SmartPhones will be equipped to receive digital radio."

* Mark Ramsey, President of Hear2.0 and author of the book Fresh Air: Marketing Gurus on Radio: "The most important thing that I can say to radio broadcasters today is this: adopt a web strategy. And by the way, streaming alone is not a web strategy."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Country Radio Listening Is Affected By Digital Media

(click on the chart to enlarge it) Dave Van Dyke at Bridge Ratings (818.291.6420) reports country radio listening levels are down approximately 6% due to the use of mp3 players, internet radio and satellite radio, which places our format right in the middle of the pack when formats are ranked by the impact digital media are having on them at present.

He says:
"...listeners to Adult Hits radio stations spend more time with traditional radio than they do with any of the digital options. Second to rock radio, Contemporary Hit Radio experiences a significant negative listening due to primarily heavy use by its P1's to their MP3 players. The Radio program director who understand which digital media entertainment sources can benefit their format will be better prepared to face the competitive future. It is apparent with this study that specific formats have digital media alternatives which are more complementary to radio use than others."

Have You Cut Your Commercial Load In The Last Year?

Your competition HAS! In case your owner and/or manager hasn't gotten the message yet, here it is:

New National study: More 30s, Fewer Units & Minutes Per Hour
Media Monitors President Philippe Generali detailed this latest study this morning at the annual Interep Radio Symposium held at Bear Stearns in New York City, comparing spot loads on over 1,000 radio stations in the top 50 markets between 2004 and 2006 which, he said "includes spots which ran as recently as last Sunday." Showing the positive results of an industry-wide initiative undertaken over 2 years ago, Generali said Media Monitors also tracked radio spots for the 4 broadcast weeks including and following Memorial Day 2004, 2005 and 2006, and compared the results as part of this study.

Back in 2004, radio spot breaks on average ran 8 minutes 30 seconds per hour. The new 2006 Media Monitors study shows the average at those stations dropped to 7 minutes 30 seconds, a decrease of 60 seconds per hour.
In 2004, 13% of the spots on major market stations tracked by Media Monitors were 30s. As of June 2006, the proportion of 30-second spots increased to 21%.
Compared to 2004 when stations ran an hourly average of 9.0 units, 2006 shows a decreased average of 8.4 units per hour.

"Almost all the major groups agree with the basic logic behind reducing spot loads," noted Generali from the podium during his presentation. Summarizing the study, he added, "What we found is simple: radio now has shorter breaks, fewer units and fewer spots per hour."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

KBIG, LA, Creates A BIG WOW With Free Car Friday

Watch for this promotion to spread like a virus this fall. It sounds HUGE on the radio!

Immediacy And Special Events Drive Usage

ARB's PPM data in Houston is showing this trend, of course, with radio data and now a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research figures in the just-completed 2005-06 television season, total broadcast delivered a combined 35.75 primetime HH rating over the season, surpassing last year's 34.78 and beating ad-supported subscription TV's 32.87, an 8.8% advantage, largely driven by specials and as it happens events.

What are you doing on your show today to create the sense that you are the play by play broadcast for what's happening locally right now?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Comscore Tracks "The Overconfidence Index"

The Overconfidence Index is defined as the ratio of the "home team vote" to the official bookmakers' chance of that country winning multiplied by 100.

For example, the English are four times as optimistic as the average bookmaker that England will win the World Cup. (..that's even more optimistic than Michael O'Malley at a Yankees game!)

If this grabs your interest too, here's the link to the study results, recapped in these headlines:
"Portuguese and U.S. Fans Most Overconfident about “Home Team’s” Performance Going into World Cup; Confidence in “Home Team” and Realism about Odds to Win the World Cup Varies Widely by Country, finds comScore Networks"

Friday, June 23, 2006

How To Launch A New Morning Show, Denver Edition

A few weeks ago,
FX101.9, Halifax's Pete Montana capped a trans-continental drive with reports along the way from all across Canada. A decade ago, 93.9 KZLA, L-A PD R.J. Curtis claimed that a couple Sparkletts water bottle delivery guys just accidentally stumbled into an empty studio and turned the mic on. It always works, it seems. Listeners buy into the fun and the press bites on the bait for fun and profit.

Almost a month ago, radio listeners in Wisconsin knew who
Willie 92.5's morning team would be (WNCY's Shannon, James heading to Denver), but you'd think no one in Denver has Google or something now that two guys are living in an RV outside the CBS Radio station's studios. Why, what do you know? A listener even sent in a video of the pair! Summertime, when the radio stunts go outside!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Billy Wilder's Rules

The LA Times Calendar noted that legendary filmaker Billy Wilder would be 100 years old today, with a great Sunday reminiscence by Volker Schlöndorff.
Wilder's First Commandment: Never bore anyone! He had been inspired by German director Ernst Lubitsch. (As the sign written in large calligraphic letters on the wall of Wilder's office asked, "How would Lubitsch do it?") He had rules for every situation in life, in a script and on the set: how something should be done, and what should not be done under any circumstances. What shoes you should buy and where. What you should eat. What cut you should never make, and what camera angle you should never use (worm's-eye view or from a chandelier). What an actor cannot express without looking stupid (a sudden realization). What is indecent to show (a close-up of a person who has just learned of a friend's or relative's death). I had always wanted to make a compilation of all these rules, to put together a little handbook of "Filmmaking According to Billy Wilder." But when I would suggest bringing along a camera, he would talk me out of it.Until one morning in January 1988, at around 9:30 a.m., I met Mr. Wilder, then 81, on the way to his small office on Santa Monica Boulevard, which was really more of a writer's studio. At the time, Wilder was working on a book with German writer Hellmuth Karasek. I asked if I could join them with a little camera, and he finally agreed. Just as he had wished, my conversations with Wilder remained under lock and key during his lifetime. He gave me permission to show them in the United States only after his death: "Who cares what people think of me then?" he had said.

Sounds like this is one book well worth reading for not just one, but seven very good reasons. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear YOUR personal rules for success.

DIXIE CHICKS Top Country Album For The Third Straight Week

Nashville Answer Man Neil Haislop has been scanning the sales figures for us and reports "Taking the Long Way," sold another 130,000 copies to remain at #1 on the country albums chart, it has now scanned Platinum with total sales of 1,103,443 units.

RASCAL FLATTS’ "Me and My Gang" ranks at #2 having sold another 73,000 units to bring it’s total scans to 1,833,300, while CARRIE UNDERWOOD’s, "Some Hearts" hangs in at #3 selling 41,700 for the week. That put her over the 3 million scanned mark to 3,051,773.

ALAN JACKSON’S "Precious Memories," jumped some 10,000 sales up to just under 40,000 moving up from #6 to #4. BLUE COLLAR COMEDY album rounds out the Top 5 with sales of just 39,500 units.

RASCAL FLATTS continued brisk sales of "Me and My Gang" have helped drive their total album sales in the six short years since the release of the band's debut album, to past the milestone 11 million mark. The band's latest CD, "Me And My Gang," is certified double platinum by theRIAA.

With over 1.8 million units scanned since its release in April of thisyear, Rascal Flatts is the biggest selling act of 2006 thus far. Their self-titled debut CD was released in June of 2000 and is certified double platinum. "Melt," which includes the band's first #1 single, "TheseDays," followed in October 2002 and has accumulated more than 2.7 million in sales. "Feels Like Today" has scanned more than 4.2 million units since its release in September 2004. The CD includes the Grammy winning, 6 week #1 single "Bless The Broken Road."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

In Canada, It's Not Nice To Tell Callers They Are Stupid

.. but, now we do know that it's NOT illegal.

Looks like maybe the broadcast standards panel would have felt better if Charles had said "I'm sorry, but you're stupid?"

Adults Online Grows From 9% in '95 To 77% Today

According to the latest Harris Poll, the number of adults who are online at home, in the office, at school, library or other locations continues to grow at a steady rate. In the past year, the number of online users has reached an estimated 172 million, a five percent increase. Harris Interactive calculates that 77 percent of U.S. adults are now online, up from 74 percent in February/April 2005, 66 percent in the spring of 2002, 64 percent in 2001 and 57 percent in spring of 2000. When Harris Interactive first began to track Internet use in 1995, only nine percent of adults reported they went online.

The proportion of adults who are now online at home has risen to 70 percent, up from 66 percent in 2005 and 55 percent in the spring of 2002. The percentage of those online at work has not really changed (35% now, 36% in 2005) yet is still up from 30 percent in the spring of 2002. Adults who are online at a location other than their home or work also remains steady at 22 percent (21% in 2005, 19% in the spring of 2002).
As Internet penetration rises, the demographic profile of Internet users continues to look more like that of the nation as a whole, says the report. However:

* More young than older people, and more affluent than low-income people, are online
* Eight percent of those online are now age 65 or over (compared to 16% of all adults who are 65 or over)
* 39 percent of those online (compared to 47% of all adults) did not go to college
* 14 percent have incomes of less than $25,000 (compared to 19% of all adults)

B-104.7, Syracuse's Ron & Becky "Love Your Hometown"

Yes, they have broadcast from Tootsie's in Nashville. But, more importantly, they are working hard to cover as many Central New York Hometowns too.

Check out the podcasts of recent artist and celebrity interviews.

Country Music Hall Of Fame 2007 Calendar: 12 Stars In 12 Months

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has released its official calendar for 2007, featuring 12 colorful portraits of Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban and Gretchen Wilson.

Another (prep tip) reason to bookmark the
CMHOF's website: a very interesting "this date in country history" daily tidbit.

The calendar is published by Universe Publishing, retails for $13.99 and is available at the Museum.

WIBW-FM Readies To Play "The Race Is On" For 150,000 Fans

The city of Manhattan, KS, triples in population this weekend!

I love the hat being worn by the Stampede spokesman on this TV report on the event, presented officially by WIBW-FM. GM Larry Riggins, PD Keith Montgomery and their team are all set for their busiest and most fun weekend of the year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Topical Story Ideas On YOUR Schedule From ABC-TV

Have you checked out ABC-TV's 4 pm ET webcast "World News Now" yet? For example, this content idea today:

Cell Phone Booths = when was the last time you used a phone booth? Chances are it's been a while for most of us, but as David Muir discovers, phone booths in restaurants and bars are making a comeback. They are just missing a critical feature-- a phone.

A&O's Stanley Cup Conflict - Finally Resolved

Wow, this has given us quite a headache, but now that scores have been settled, our friends at WSOC, Charlotte, can get back to what they do best - NASCAR racing fun and the "Big Oil"gang in Edmonton can now go back to being "Big Earl" and the novelty songs can be put away for another year.


Reba Cancels August Concert Dates

Due to the return of the hit sitcom, REBA, Reba McEntire has cancelled her August 24, 25, and 26 concert dates at the Las Vegas Hilton.

With the demise of the WB network, the five year home of the REBA sitcom, McEntire and cast expected television production to halt. However, the newly formed CW ordered 13 new episodes of the series for the fall 2006/spring 2007 season. REBA returns to production in Los Angeles on August 9th.

McEntire signed an exclusive concert engagement for 2006 with the Las Vegas Hilton for 28 dates in May, June, July, and August. Her "Key to the Heart" Habitat for Humanity Concert Series sponsored by Whirlpool will now conclude July 30. Fans can contact the Las Vegas HIlton at 800-222-5361 for refunds if they purchased tickets for these dates.

Magic 104 Out To Save Mr. Dressup

Tony Smith and Shelli Summers sent this email to their listeners Upset by the news on Wednesday that The CBC is cancelling Mr. Dressup, Tony Smith and Shelli Summers of Magic 104 in Moncton went to listeners with the story. Well, to say that the reaction was overwhelming would be an understatement... Maritimers from three provinces had called into the show by the time things were said and done at 9 o'clock. Buoyed by the support from their loyal listeners The Magic Morning Show have started a petition to save Mr. Dressup...

Thanks to Maritime Radio's VP/Programming Mike Shannon in Halifax for alerting A&O and adding this update: "Tony and Shelli are now working on how to deliver the petition...should they get the cooperation of a K-2 class to help them deliver it in person? Have a parade of teachers carrying hand made puppets? The possibilities are endless!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

Keith Urban Voted Country Weekly's "Sexiest Man"

Nicole Kidman's fiancé Keith Urban has been voted country music's sexiest man in a readers poll for Country Weekly magazine.

Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw and Renee Zellweger's ex-husband Kenny Chesney made up the rest of the top five. Around 32,000 readers took part in the poll, according to editor Bill Gubbins. He says, "The biggest surprise is how rapidly over the last couple of years Keith Urban has shot to the head of the class. "They've made it clear that the wedding ring doesn't matter in terms of sex appeal."

Urban has been with Australian-born Kidman since early 2005. Meanwhile, in Australia, as the pair prepare to get hitched, they're asking Are Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman Compatible?

A Guide To Recognizing The Real Hits On The Chart

Longtime record promoter Sam Harrell of Woodland Hills, CA., wrote the other day in support of a tune he's working right now, but also included some fascinating factoids about the 6/15/06 R&R chart:
1. It's been some time since a # 1 record has gone 5-4-3-2-1 in 5 weeks like LeAnn Rimes' "Something's Gotta Give" did. It shows that it was earned and not through attrition to the top. (I'd add one more sign - the fact that in the two chart weeks since then it remains top ten (trending 2-5-8) in this week's Billboard chart as well, not plummeting after peaking as many seem to do of late)

2. With the exception of # 40 Shedaisy, nothing from 41 to 50 had more than 3 adds in fact 5 of 10 had 0 adds and 1 had 1 add.

3. 5 of the 10 songs between 40 and 50 have been in that portion of the chart for at least 5 weeks. 4 of the 10 between 30 and 40 have been in that portion for 5 weeks.

You have to pity the poor hosts of country countdown shows who must be wondering who bothers to listen to anything but the last two hours of the countdowns. That's where the bonafide hits reside. (and, many weeks, not even all 20 of those)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Chicks Cancel Milwaukee; Add London (the other one)

Chris Harding, APD/MD at CJBX, London (Ontario, of course) reports:
The Milwaukee concert was cancelled and moved to London, ON. They went on sale Saturday morning and there are none available Sunday night! Complete sell out!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Country Nation: Skaggs' Bus Kills Man

A tour bus carrying Ricky Skaggs from a performance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival struck and killed a man last night, AP reports. The bus was traveling south on Interstate 24 near Manchester, Tennessee, about a mile from the festival exit, when the man reportedly stepped onto the highway. According to a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety, it appeared the unidentified man jumped over a fence to reach the highway.

LIVE Lobsters Are Unethical, But DEAD Ones Are OK?

Los Angeles Times: Whole Foods to End Sales of Live Lobsters and Crabs
Dallas Business Journal: Whole Foods stops selling live lobsters
New York Daily News: Whole Foods won't sell live lobsters

Can you top this? "Just like "The Jeffersons," the live lobsters at a Whole Foods Market in Atlanta are movin' on up." -- New York Times' Brenda Goodman

Don't Be Surprised If The Dixie Chicks Turn Up On The Air Against You

Saying "we didn't trust (country radio) with our future," Dixie Chick Natalie Maines spent 20 minutes in morning drive on Los Angeles' adult alternative Star 98.7 with morning team "Jamie, Jack And Stench" (click on this link to hear the interview) last Wednesday.

Frankly, I would not blame the folks at
93.9 KZLA for feeling a little ill-used for this incident. There has been no country station in America which has been more supportive of the Chicks through thick and thin in their airplay over the last several years. Peter Tilden and Ashley have been outspoken in their support of the DCX's right to express their views freely. So, you'd think that the Chicks might have also spent time with L-A's country station that same morning. However, let's face it, this is not the first time that country airplay gets taken for granted as acts do what they have to do to get crossover play.

This happened with Shania Twain's last tour (when top 40 stations routinely got more comp giveaway tickets than country stations did) and countless other tours all the way back to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," when Dolly often appeared on pop morning shows and spurned many country ones, which contributed to her disappearance from country airplay in the 1980's. I suppose country radio probably had the same gripe about Hank Williams and Bob Wills..

Thus, I don't blame Natalie for doing this interview, since she still has "no regrets" for any of her statements and actions. I do wish, if she didn't want to also do KZLA, she had at the very least politely corrected the misstatement by Jamie about "no (country/radio) airplay."

Here are the facts: of the 159 monitored stations which were playing the Dixie Chicks' music in the last seven days, 53 were country. That means they are still getting more airplay from country than any other format. Some acknowledgement of that might have been nice.

42 AC stations are playing the Chicks and also 42 Hot AC's. 11 Adult Album Alternatives, six alternatives and one active rocker are on their music this week too. Given that, as Natalie said last Wednesday to the Clear Channel-LA morning team, "concerts sales are a bit slow," you sure can't blame them for going where they get airplay. But, if you're country and in a market where their tour stops, a word of warning: don't be surprised if you hear them on the air across the street.

It would be nice to hope that they'll show more awareness of the country radio support where it has been happening, but it looks like perhaps that will not be a given.

In other Dixie Chicks news (click to read) of the past week:

* The most likely Milwaukee home for their new album, "Taking the Long Way," would have been WMIL-FM (106.1).
"They asked not to be played between Toby and Reba," says operations manager Kerry Wolfe. "And I can't do that."

London (Guardian) review: Spitting out the words that trace her descent into infamy, Maines is dramatic and unrepentant, her voice switching from a breathy whisper to full-on attack. Still, it's a long time before she looks comfortable or smiles.

Americana Awards leans to the left with Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks are on 'Later' tomorrow (BBC2, 11.35pm)

Dixie Chicks add Canadian shows

Friday, June 16, 2006


BIG Executive Briefing: Economic & Consumer Insights

Although it’s too early to tell how the death of al-Zarqawi and Bush’s decision to stay the course and keep troops in Iraq affected consumers, in June confidence in the economy declined for the third straight month to 36.1%, an almost 3 point decline from May (38.7%) and a ten point drop from 2005 (46.3%).

But is the dip in confidence entirely attributable to the situation overseas? Fewer than one in five (18.8%) say they’ve been worrying more about political and national security issues, which is even with May (18.9%) and a few points higher than ’05 (16.0%).

With the arrival of summer this month, consumers may be seeking value priced alternatives for warm weather fun…practicality in purchasing has lowered just over a point from last month (40.9%) to 39.5%, but represents an increase of two and a half points from last year (37.1%).

And further evidence that consumers will be cinching their wallets…about half (49.4%) say they’ve been focused on needs over wants, even with May and an almost five point increase from ’05 (45.0%).

OK, Here's What You Really Want To Know: What's Hot?
Although surrounded in controversy, the majority (54.3%) agree that Tom Hanks-Ron Howard helmed DaVinci Code is one cryptogram worth cracking, followed closely by hot-hot-hot ABC hit Grey’s Anatomy. Those 18-34 also give wedge heels their seal of approval, while the 35 and over crowd favor animal prints, hobo handbags, and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks.

What’s not?
86% agree that Barbara Walters should use her wedge heels to kick new co-host Rosie O’Donnell off The View.

KSON's Fathers' Day Surprise

Tori Peck, Morning Show Producer of KSON, San Diego's "Cliff and Company Morning Show" arranged a surprise for Cliff Friday morning:
"Lisa, Cliff's wife called along with their daughter Grace at 8:15 to wish Cliff a Happy Father's Day. This was set up in our content map to be the 8:20 break and although Cliff thinks we are doing a "Tanner Taints" bit, Tanner took the mic to tell Cliff we had a surprise for him! Great radio = the unexpected bit of heart-warming family fun."

Tim McGraw Throws Out First Pitch For $37,374

Tim McGraw had the reenactment down perfectly -- until he threw the pitch. The country music singer threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies-Mets game on Thursday in memory of his late father, former big-league pitcher Tug McGraw.

Tim McGraw came in from right field sporting the No. 45 uniform like his father had done 247 times at Veterans Stadium with the Phillies. He then delivered the first pitch just a little wide to Phils catcher Chris Coste.
Phillies players wore bracelets with the number 45 and the initials YGB for "Ya gotta believe." The bracelets, stitched with baseball seams, will be sold to benefit the foundation.

Brett Myers and his wife, Kim, on behalf of Phillies Charities, presented McGraw with a check for $37,374 to benefit the Tug McGraw Foundation. The foundation supports patients who have been diagnosed with brain cancer so that they can improve their quality of life.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

MSN Has The Dixie Chicks Live In London

If you missed the show live on Thursday night or want to watch selections of this Webcast again,
come back Sunday the 17th at 9 PM PST.

The Chicks are performing in London as part of the promotional activities behind the international release of their new album, “Taking the Long Way.” MSN broadcast the 90-minute performance.

This sold-out concert is taking place at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the so-called "scene of the crime" of lead singer Natalie Maines’ infamous quotes regarding President Bush in 2003. This is the group’s first ever concert Webcast and part of their partnership with MSN Video to provide an exclusive, more detailed and intimate glimpse into their world.

See You In St. John

A&O AT CCMA: Yes, we will be in St. John this year, looking forward to another productive and fun Country Music Week.

There's a lot fo celebrate in Survey 1-2006 BBM for country.

For example, Adults 25-54 AQH Share, country moved from #5 to #4t this book.

Among Heavy Users (defined as the 5th Quintile, or P1 listeners), we are #3.

CLICK to see our 2006 national BBM country audience analysis.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lee Ann Womack Does Germany With Stars for Stripes

Lee Ann Womack is currently on a Stars for Stripes tour to visit troops in Italy and Germany. Stars for Stripes President/CEO Judy Seale is with Lee Ann as they head for the "Homefront Celebration" for US troops in Vicenza, Italy on June 14. Here's Judy's report for the first day of the trip.

She WAS Country When Country Wasn't Cool

Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire were in the studio recently to pay tribute to one of country music's biggest stars, Barbara Mandrell. As part of the Barbara Mandrell tribute album, they recorded the album's title track, and Barbara's signature hit, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool."

As a friend and influential force in her own career, it was McEntire who welcomed Mandrell to the stage at last year's ACM 40th Anniversary Celebration, where she was recognized as having accomplished the rare feat of winning the career progression of awards that, in Barbara's case, found her named Top New Female, Top Female and ultimately Entertainer Of The Year. Known as the Triple Crown Award, Chesney, following suit in the male categories, is also one of the six artists who have achieved that honor.

Among her many accolades, Barbara Mandrell was the first artist to win the CMA Entertainer Of The Year for two consecutive years and has won multiple awards from the CMA, ACM, American Music Awards, Grammys, People's Choice Awards and a Dove Award. Her variety show, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sister, on NBC drew millions of viewers weekly, and she has starred in numerous television shows, including her farewell performance at Nashville's Opry House, a sell-out concert titled "Barbara Mandrell and The Do-Rites: The Last Dance."

She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute Album to Barbara Mandrell will be released October 10 on BNA Records. Other artists on the album include Sara Evans, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Randy Owen, Lorrie Morgan, CeCe Winans, Willie Nelson and Shelby Lynne.

Press info contact: Angie Gore, (615) 321-3211

Military Advice: Don't Give Aid And Comfort To The Enemy

I just hate it when I see a competitive battle take on the tone portrayed by Denver Post Columnist Dick Kreck in "A country shootout heats up in this dusty cowtown."

You didn't ask, but here's what I would have done if I were in Burke's shoes: study your enemy and learn everything you can about him, but never let him know that you are paying any attention to him. I love it when my competition starts talking in public about me. It fuels my competitive juices.

Listeners love that they have a new choice. They won't be loyal to you because of past history. Win by attacking yourself. Let your listeners know that you need their help to make your station better for their tastes. Engage your audience in a dialog, not your competition.

I've never been able to play mind games with my adversary without getting my mental energy off track and distracted in my focus on what really matters. Maybe you can. But, for me, the best play has always been to "never let 'em see you sweat."

Rob Hummel: Skip The Profanity And Do Humor For All Ages

COMMENTARY: I would like to know why would an otherwise intelligent person or persons, put their entire career on the line, or wish to develop a risky or poor reputation with the use of .. profanity on the air? Are there some kind of rewards with this type of broadcasting that I'm not aware of?

Thanks to Radio Daily News' Larry Shannon for acting as a portal for such important thoughts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bandy & Bailey CMAFest Interview Bits

CMA says that this year's CMA Music Festival set a new attendance record with 161,590 people attending the four-day Festival, June 8-11, in Downtown Nashville. Two of them were those two Cumulus morning crazies from Lexington.
Click to hear what they were up to.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

How High Can Concert Ticket Prices Go? How About $126?

The Parrothead faithful opened their wallets in different ways Thursday as they made their annual pilgrimage to hear Jimmy Buffett play the Riverbend Music Center, where the Margaritaville troubadour did the honor this year of opening the outdoor stage for its first concert of the summer season.

Reporter Rick Bird says Buffett returned to the town where the Parrothead phenomenon began asking his highest ticket price ever of $126 (plus service charges), likely grossing close to $1 million. Meanwhile the Cincinnati Parrot Head club held an afternoon fund-raiser at nearby Moonlite Gardens at Coney Island, hoping to raise $5,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

$126 too much? Seemingly, NOT.

"It's just supply and demand," said Brad Morris president of the Cincinnati Parrot Head Club and a marketing rep from Liberty Township. "As Jimmy has said himself, 'Parrotheads are Deadheads with credit cards.' Many of us our middle age now and we can afford it. If you can't, you can still go to the lawn."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

These Days, We're ALL "Indies"

Larry LeBlanc's Billboard article "Canadian country acts go indie route" got me thinking about what Pat Green accomplished on his own in Texas, whether signing with a major label will prove to be worth it for him in the longrun and how so many "wanna be's" in many countries are going "the indie route" these days thanks to major label consolidation.

Could be, in the next decade or sooner, we will ALL be going 'the indie route.' In truth, you don't need a tower and antenna to broadcast your "show" today, if you're willing learn now to to draw a monitizable audience. Over on the music side of the business very few majors want to sign anything they have to develop. They make quasi-distribution deals with labels of all stripe and then cherry-pick. As a result most acts are flying by the seat of their pants trying to tour and stay alive. I wrote LeBlanc to congraulate him on the article and he wrote back: "...Meanwhile, we have a singer/songwriter from Nova Scotia Dave Gunning making more money than them all. He's sold 10,000 copies of his current album and opens often for his buddy George Canyon and...get this..INXS because the singer JD Fortune is also from Picou Country where Dave and George are from. The upcoming George Canyon LP is darn good and the Carolyn Dawn Johnson's is amazing. Yet neither have US label deals athough their managers are in Nashville."

Looking at radio's crystal ball, I think online testing of new music of all sorts will become imperative because in a PPM world we won't be able to do anything that's unfamiliar or too edgy. The cost in audience will be immediate and negative, yet we must find a way to open the doors and windows to somehow test new things with people who love them, expose them on our side channels and on the internet and then put the best ones once we know they work in advance on analog radio. Ultimately, we'll all be internet broadcasters, making us all 'indies' eventually.

I shared these thoughts with KMPS, Seattle, MD Tony Thomas who says he "just got Tivo's latest upgrade with "Product Showcase." You tell them what you're interested in and they push - only if you want, and only a few - short videos from sponsors to a special folder. Do I want to watch a video on what's new at Disneyland? Yup. Trailers for new animated kid's movies? Yup. C-NET reviews of new Tech gizmos? Yep. And pondering how listeners might discover new music, another thing to note happening in video with Tivo - "Guru Guides." I have the option of having show picks from various experts automatically recorded to my Tivo box, IF I so choose. So, if I'm not sure what the hip things are to watch, I get can get an assist. Or not - my choice.

Thus, I think Thomas is right when he states "it's ALL about IP. And being able to listen/view/interact on whatever device I want to use," making artists, broadcasters and listeners ALL 'indies,' creating, distributing and seeking out the most magnetic content, one connection at a time.

Stunt Idea: Was A Biggie at Wendy's Bigger Than A Vente At Starbucks?

So long, Biggie. Hello, confusion?
Wendy's International Inc. , the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, on Friday said it would remove the term "Biggie" from its french fries and drinks, switching to the well known terms small, medium and large.

At rival McDonald's, a 32 ounce soft drink is designated a large. At Wendy's, a 32 ounce drink will now be called medium. Wendy's is also adding a 42-ounce soft drink -- the equivalent of 3-1/2 cans of soda -- as its large. Previously, Wendy's sold a 16 ounce soft drink as a small, a 20 ounce soft drink as medium and a 32 ounce soft drink as Biggie. Now, a 20 ounce drink is a small, a 32 ounce drink is a medium and the new 42 ounce drink is a large. The company will still sell a 16 ounce drink on its 99 cent value menu. At McDonald's, a 16 ounce drink is called a small, a 21 ounce drink is a medium and a 32 ounce drink is a large.

McDonald's famously removed the "Super Size" option from its combo meals after the 2004 release of the film "Super Size Me" -- a documentary in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's fare for a month and tracked his increasingly poor health.

Got it. Quick, now: how many ounces to a Vente at Starbucks? Send your stunt person out to see who's still supersizing, who's not and whose sizes are really bigger/smaller, or get listeners involved via cell phones from fast food spots.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Album Cover/Call Letters Superstar Wallpapers

This seems like a real win/win for me, as KICX 106, Kitchener-Waterloo offers downloadable computer wallpaper for its listeners.

Hats off to GM Paul Larche for making this good idea happen.

Hank Jr. Moves With MNF to ESPN

Normally, I don't reprint press releases verbatim, but here's one I could not resist:

Monday Night Football is the signature television property in all of sports – an American institution – and legendary singer Hank Williams, Jr. has played a defining role in that tradition since 1989, earning four Emmy awards (1991-1994) and national acclaim among fans for the MNF anthem he has made famous.

That legacy will continue on MNF when the familiar face and voice of Williams, Jr. will perform the opening theme with a new twist, bridging the series’ past with its bright future on ESPN. Based on his hit song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” Williams, Jr., will perform “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Monday Night” for the first time with an all star jam band representing musical influences from country and classic rock ‘n roll to hip-hop.

Band members will include:

Guitarists Chris Burney (Bowling for Soup), Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick),Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band);
Keyboardists Little Richard and Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic);
Fiddler Charlie Daniels;
Saxophonist Clarence Clemons (E Street Band);
Bassist Bootsy Collins (Parliament Funkadelic);
Drummers Angela Webster (The Believers) and ?uestlove (The Roots).

“When Hank says ‘Are you ready for some football?’ it injects a surge of energy and excitement before the Monday Night Football kickoff, and that will definitely be true on ESPN this fall,” said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, studio and remote production, ESPN. “Hank and this legendary group of musicians will give ESPN’s MNF a new, high-energy opening every week of the season that will have fans in a frenzy just as the teams hit the field.”

Williams, Jr. added: “Bocephus ain’t hard to find. ESPN is now officially one of my rowdy friends – hold on to your hats, it’s going to be an exciting season.”

The MNF opening video will feature team-specific lyrics and visuals each week based on the 17 regular season ESPN match-ups. Filming is taking place Tuesday at House of Blues Orlando with all of the musicians. Van Zandt and John Colby are producing the music with lyrics by Greg Jennings. Stephen Levy of Habana Avenue is producing the video, and Wayne Isham is directing. The MNF video will debut prior to kickoff of ESPN’s MNF regular season-opening doubleheader Sept. 11 – Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins (7 p.m. ET) and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.).

With more than 70 albums to his credit, Williams Jr. has a fascinating career to reflect upon for a legend still in his prime. His discography chronicles a bold profile of growth from adored offspring of a legendary father, to titan of the modern country rock movement in his own right.

For more than a decade, America has come to its collective feet each fall Monday night when this larger than life superman of a musician looks into the camera and unleashes the national anthem for viewers of Monday Night Football — ‘Are you ready for some football?’ Those simple words have won Williams, Jr. an entirely new generation of fans and given him the distinction of being the first country performer to ever win an Emmy.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football will engage fans with an immersive, all-day, multimedia approach each week throughout the NFL season across all ESPN platforms -- ESPN television networks, ESPN Radio,, ESPN360 and Mobile ESPN. With a 36-year tradition of innovating and entertaining, MNF is sports television’s longest-running and most successful series. ESPN continues to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the NFL throughout the year with signature shows Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Live, SportsCenter and other news and information programs.

Media Contacts:
Bill Hofheimer, ESPN Communications – 860/766-9589 or
Hank, Jr: Kirt Webster, Webster & Associates – 615/777-6995 x24 or

I jumped to my "collective feet" when I read all that impressive hyperbole, especially that final paragraph..

Win An Award For Your Best Bits

As an extension of Morning Show Boot Camp's highly popular "Battle of The Bits," where attendees battle for prizes with ideas, Morning Show Boot Camp presents its 2nd Annual MSBC Entertainment Awards.

It's set for Saturday, August 12th, the last day and event of the weekend. Competition is not limited to those in attendance, and material must be submitted prior to the conference.


• Best Parody
• Best Regular Feature
• Best Recurring Character
• Best Interview
• Best Promotion (fund-raiser, charity-drive, etc.)
• Best Show Promo / Imaging Production
• Best "Free" Publicity (How you made the news) must include supporting video or news print.
• Best Stunt (Stunt person feature)• Best Bit (Phoners accepted)• Best Overall Content (single aircheck containing at least five of the above categories)

Hear "The $100,000 Commercial"

The 2006 Radio Mercury Award Winners are all now online for auditioning.

Could you win next year's prize? It's another great reason to save all your best creative work!

(Still More) CMA Festival Stuff

-- If you're sitting in a grass hut on Fiji, craving CMA Music Festival news from Nashville, a few crumbs....

Dierks Bentley signed for 5 hours after his fan club party last night.

Kimberly from Little Big Town is sporting a big ole bruise from where she took a softball in the arm playing first base at the celebrity softball game.

Mark Wills reveals that Equity Records has moved off his new single -- some radio stations wouldn't play it because it contains the word "sucks."

Pat Green is looking very fit and trim... he's working out a couple of hours a day and eating fewer cheeseburgers.

Colliseum show press show press conference: Not surprisingly... Blake Shelton didn't come back and do media... (Fans say stars aren't as accessible as before)

(as the above item shows, Country Nation is a sassy, candid site, well worth bookmarking and checking out at least daily!)

Strait, Trisha, Hank Jr, Lee Ann, Josh, Billy, Julie and Gary News

Katie Dean at Universal Music Group sends out a weekly music email, which always contains very useful and informative tidbits.

* Trisha Yearwood will embark on a major tour this summer to support her latest release, Jasper County. The singer will kick off her tour today at the CMA Music Fest. Yearwood will tour lengthy stretches in the Midwest and eastern states, including stops at the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN, and the July 29 Free Dollar Bank Jamboree in Pittsburgh, PA. Yearwood returned from an extended layoff last year to deliver "Jasper County," which hit stores last September. The disc marked her first studio album since 2001's "Inside Out."

* Catch Lee Ann Womack on In the Moment: Hank Jr.’s Guide to the Great Outdoors Saturday, June 17, 2006 on CMT. Hank Williams’ Jr. brings Lee Ann Apalachicola, Fla., for a day of intense deep sea fishing. CMT captures candid conversations and rare life experiences between Hank Jr. and Womack. This week, Lee Ann hosted her Fan Club party in Nashville, collecting donations for

* Josh Turner, Billy Currington, Julie Roberts and Gary Nichols are part of innovative partnership between Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Universal Music Group, as the artists performed yesterday (6/8) at Rocketown in an Acoustic showcase during the CMA Music Festival. These special performances mark the first ever live country music event on Sprint, with subscribers being able to watch all of the action via Sprint TV. Moreover, Sprint subscribers will be able to download content to personalize their phone through Ringers, Call Tones, Video Ringers and full-song downloads from the Sprint Music Store.

* George Strait’s Team Roping Classic will be featured on GAC on today, June 9. Over 570 teams recently traveled to San Antonio, Texas to compete in the 24th Annual George Strait Team Roping Classic. Hosted by the country superstar and avid team roper, the sold-out event is among the largest and most prestigious open ropings in the circuit. In addition to the roping highlights, the special will feature George and his family competing and discussing their zeal for team roping. In other George news, he's putting the finishing touches on a brand new studio release; the first single will be shipped soon so be on the lookout for your digital download notification in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Chicks Tour Struggling In Several Markets: Will They Postpone The Whole Tour?

Ray Waddell in Billboard's Nashville bureau breaks the story:

Out-of-the-gate ticket sales for the Dixie Chicks' upcoming Accidents & Accusations tour are far below expectations and several dates will likely be cancelled or postoned.

Initial ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.

The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (Aug. 23), Oklahoma City (Sept. 26), Memphis (Sept. 27) and Houston (Sept. 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores.

The Memphis show has been pulled off the route and the status of the shows in Indianapolis, Houston and Oklahoma City remains uncertain.

Industry speculation has it that much or all of the tour may be postponed. At the very least, it is likely routing and capacity will be reconfigured.

Lonestar & Friends Strike Out For The Kids At CMAFest

Steve Holstein at Interprep reports LONESTAR and friends helped kick off the CMA Music Festival with Lonestar & Friends Strike Out For The Kids, a bowling party to raise money and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Now in its second year, the event drew more than 450 fans and raised $16,000 for the hospital. Also on hand were CARRIE UNDERWOOD, JAKE OWEN, Ira Dean and Keith Burns from TRICK PONY, HOT APPLE PIE, JIMMY WAYNE, BLUE COUNTY, AMY DALLEY, RHETT AKINS, BUDDY JEWELL, JOSH GRACIN Nashville Star winner Chris Young, MICHAEL PETERSON, Jimmy Olander of DIAMOND RIO, BRYAN WHITE, LINDA DAVIS, PIN MONKEY, HOMETOWN NEWS and others.

Though the Country Music Association's official schedule lists Nashville's signature music event as running from June 8-11, anyone along Lower Broadway on Wednesday afternoon saw thousands of country fans and heard dozens of country songs. A brief downtown parade led into a more than five-hour, multi-artist concert in the Gaylord Entertainment Center's courtyard, and fans watched country duo Big & Rich and self-proclaimed "hick-hop" rapper Cowboy Troy deliver a genre-melding set. The whole thing seemed for all the world like… well, like the CMA Music Festival was going on.

The CMA Music Festival actually begins today.

Country Wired IS Wired

Need Nashville news? The folks who build and maintain many artists websites also have built and maintain a pretty useful one of their own too.

Bookmark this address.

Loretta Lynn To Undergo Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Her website reports that the Hall Of Famer has been sidelined by a broken shoulder. While at her Hurricane Mills, TN home last Sunday, music icon Loretta Lynn accidentally fell resulting in a broken left shoulder. Lynn will undergo shoulder joint replacement surgery at a Nashville area hospital tomorrow (6/8) before returning back home to recuperate.

Due to her injury, nine tour dates in June and July are being cancelled. Plans to reschedule cancelled concerts are underway with new dates to be announced soon.

Cancelled tour dates include:

Thursday, June 9 in Rochester Hills, MI
Friday, June 10 in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Friday, June 23 in Branson, MO
Saturday, June 24 in Branson, MO
Saturday, July 1 in Hurricane Mills, TN
Thursday, July 13 in St. Clairsville, OH
Friday, July 14 in Lancaster, PA
Friday, July 28 in Durant, OK
Saturday, July 29 in Ft. Worth, TX

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

No Change In % Of Women PD's In Ten Years?

It's still hard to find women Program Directors at American radio stations, according to the latest Gender Analysis Summary released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio group (MIWs).

In fact, in late 2005, according to information provided to the MIWs from MStreet Publications, women were programming only 1107 radio stations or 10.6% of the 10,449 stations listed in the MStreet database. The ratio is even lower for the 123 groups which own 12 or more stations: women program only 437 or 9% of those 4877 stations. In the top 100 markets, women program 208 or 8.8% of 2360 stations.

"Really, since 1995, the percentage of female Program Directors has basically remained flat at an underwhelming 8 to 10% of total PDs," commented Joan E. Gerberding, Director of Radio Operations for Access. 1 Communications and Spokesperson for the MIWs. "With over 50% of all radio station formats skewing to female listeners, we really can't understand why more women are not encouraged to fill the PD role."

Among groups owning 12 or more stations, there were only 305 female PDs or 10% of the 3061 PD total, compared to 300 or 9.7% in 2004.

In the six largest groups, owning 100 or more stations, only Infinity with 11% exceeds the average for women PDs. Clear Channel is the only group to show an increase from 2004, from 9% to 10% in 2005. Entercom is at the average of 10%. Below average are Cumulus with 7%, down from 8% in 2004, Citadel at 5%, down from 7% in 2004 and Salem at 4%, the same as 2004.Among the eight groups owning 50 to 99 stations, five groups exceed the average by substantial margins: Entravision leads the pack with 30%, up from 18% in 2004, followed by ABC with 19%, Radio One with 15%, Saga with 14% and NextMedia at 12%. Below average are Univision at 9%, Cox at 7% and Regent at 6%.

Eighteen groups owning 30 to 49 stations average 9%, the same as last year. The groups with the best ratios are: Bonneville at 29%, up from 17% in 2004, Crawford at 29% and Max Broadcast Group at 20%. Two companies with a total of 75 stations, Three Eagles and Qantum Communications, list no women PDs. Eight others list 6% or less."There seems to be a 'sweet spot' somewhere around the ownership of 30 to 99 stations," continued Gerberding. "They are generally smaller markets, are highly involved in their local communities and have more hands-on senior leadership."

Eighty-nine groups owning 12 to 29 stations averaged 11.8% women PDs, up from 11.5% last year. A total of 37 groups owning 12 or more stations or a total of 635, list no women PDs. The largest of these are: Three Eagles, Qantum, Backyard, NewRadio, Amador Bustos, Border Media, Simmons and Maverick.

A personal note: two of that list of eight DO hire a woman consultant - ME. -- Jaye Albright

Another Summer Weekend, Another Listener Appreciation Show

Hats off to WXTU, Philly's PD Bob McKay and his Beasley Broadcasting crew in the City Of Brotherly Love for putting together the best lineup, as far as I am concerned, of the year so far!

Newspapers (Apparently) Look Better From the Front

According to The Media Audit, the percentage of adults reading the front section of a daily newspaper from 2000 to 2005 increased from 51.4 to 53.0 percent in the 87 metropolitan markets surveyed regularly.

Bob Jordan, president of International Demographics, producer of The Media Audit, said "The same research shows the percentage of adults reading the other 11 sections of a daily newspaper declined."

The percentage of adults reading the front section varies from 68.2 percent in the New Haven metropolitan area to 41.8 percent in the Las Vegas market.

There are 16 markets where more than 60 percent of adults read a front page section regularly and 19 markets where less than 50 percent read a front page section regularly.

The severest decline in percentage of readers was in the weekend television guide book. Its percentage of readers dropped from 31.9 to 23.1 between 2000 and 2005 because it appears to be the most easily duplicated by other media.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kenny Rogers "Strips" For Clear Channel

"Stripped" is Clear Channel's exclusive in-studio performance series created for artists who thrive on performing without the typical studio and video embellishments, which certainly describes Kenny very accurately. His "Stripped" will air on at least 185 CC country stations and all of the past "Stripped" performances are available on the web too.

George Strait's New LP Is Almost Ready

Strait’s producer, Tony Brown, tells Neil Haislop's Nashville IQ that Strait’s new album is in the final stages of production and will be complete by mid summer. “I start mixing STRAIT'S new album next week,” says Brown, “and it's a killer! I can't wait for you to hear it when we have finished masters, probably by the end of July.”

Toby Keith's Memorial Day In Iraq: A View From "The Audience"

Mt. Vernon, Ohio, News Staff Writer John Boyce's column presents a May 29 story written by USMC Cpl. Lynn Murillo for his hometown paper on Toby's USO show:

This is Keith’s second visit to Camp Fallujah — the first was in 2004 just after Marines took over the camp. He played two other venues on Memorial Day as part of the USO’s Toby Keith Tour. “You can’t appreciate what service members do until you see it,” Keith said. “Everybody is so good at what they do and when you come here, you can really understand why America is the number one fighting force in the world.”

The country singer expressed a special satisfaction in lifting troop morale and honoring his father, a Vietnam veteran. The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee was in the front row for the concert and sang along as Keith sang “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” from his 2003 album “Unleashed.” Hagee said he enjoyed the concert and was happy to welcome the superstar known as “the bad boy of country music” to the headquarters for Marines operating in Al Anbar province.