Monday, July 31, 2006

Country Weekly Cover Guy Keith Urban

The Urban Mystique, eh? Check it out, on newstands now.

VERY Cool, Tim & Curb

A&O hears that the new Tim McGraw tune is just 2-3 weeks away. We hear that it's going to be preceed by a radio-exclusive video that stations can link to from their websites.

Radio sites will be the ONLY way to see it. .. VERY cool, Tim and Curb!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Reuters Picks Up Phyllis Stark's (Bullish) Country Billboard Article

It's always nice to see great press on country music and radio getting a broader audience: "Country music enjoying a banner year"
Stark writes:
"...there may be even better news on the horizon. A strong release schedule for the fourth quarter virtually guarantees that the format's winning streak will continue at least through the end of the year. Among the most anticipated new projects is the second set from Sugarland, which has gone from a trio to a duo since its "Twice the Speed of Life" was released in 2004. The new set is due November 7 via Mercury Records."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Andy Andrews Hosts ICM Inspirational Awards

Many country songs and artists do double duty, as both country and Christian hits. Now, our friend Andy Andrews - who spoke at CRS 2006 and has also been a presenter at A&O's annual client seminar is the official host of the 12th annual Inspirational Country Music Awards.

Press Contacts for the event are Kim Dettwiller at Power Source, 615-330-5656 and former WSIX morning host Devon O’Day or Andy Andrews at 615-400-5140. Andy's a great speaker and a terrific guest on your morning show!

"Shut Up and Sing"

Etan Vlessin, The Hollywood Reporter:
A documentary about the firestorm that greeted the Dixie Chicks' anti-Bush comments will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. "Dixie Chicks -- Shut Up and Sing," from Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple ("Harlan County," "American Dream") and Cecilia Peck, will receive a high-profile gala screening. It documents the fury faced by the country music trio after singer Natalie Maines made an off-the-cuff comment about President Bush during a London concert three years ago.

Classic Country Stations Now Have Their Own Convention

M Street Journal reports that there are now 2,052 country stations in America. Certainly, at least 3-5% of them are classic country, so it's amazing that no one had done anything like this until now. It's especially savvy that they are having it in Texas the week after the NAB-R&R event. I wish them the best with this. Conventions of any kind these days are difficult. Hopefully, classic country broadcasters will support the event. If you plan to attend either NAB-R&R or CC&W, let me know (206.498.6261) so that we can get together in Texas.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

$100,000 A Month For Podcasts? Figures Lie OR Liars Figure?

Frank Baranko's blog tosses out some attention-getting dollar figures ("The Million Dollar Podcast"), then concludes by making me question 'em. Worth a read, but do so with a dose of skepticism.

Paul Brandt, George Canyon, Terri Clark, Aaron Lines and The Road Hammers Are CCMA Fans' Choices

Beginning this Friday, July 28, 2006, fans will be able to vote for their favourite nominee online until Sunday, September 10 at 11:59PM EST.

The Kraft Cheez Whiz Fans’ Choice Award is the only fan-voted award for the CCMA, and voting numbers have grown across Canada every year for the past five years. The 2006 winner will be announced at the CCMA Awards this year in Saint John, NB on Monday, September 11. The show will be seen in Canada, the U.S., and in Australia.

One lucky entrant will also be chosen as the “Ultimate Fan” and flown to Saint John for the experience of a lifetime, appearing live on stage with some of Canada’s biggest country stars to present the Kraft Cheez Whiz Fans’ Choice Award to the winner.

The 2006 CCMA Awards broadcast will air across Canada September 11 at 8PM (8:30NT) on CBC TV with encore airings on CMT, and in the U.S. on Great American Country (GAC), and in Australia on Country Music Channel (CMC). Stars already confirmed to perform at this year’s awards include George Canyon, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Corb Lund and The Road Hammers. All 2006 nominees will be announced August 2 during simultaneous press conferences in Saint John, NB and Toronto, ON.

For more info: Sarah Barker, Publicity, Canadian Country Music Association (416-947-1331 x 212)

A Lesson In Morning Show Blogging From Newcap Moncton

Podcasting, blogging, a morning show page.. there's a lot 'right' that
XL-96.9 is doing. I am enjoying checking out their blog and their "blogging Wednesdays" with a password winner is a smart twist.

.. as is their current "Hold My Beer" Bottle Drive, fun and community service too:
"It's been a hot sweltering summer so far, and no doubt your collection of empty bottles is getting unmanageable. The XL96.9 "Hold My Beer" Bottle Drive is just what you need to part with your empties while supporting The Friends of The Moncton Hospital; and giving you a shot at winning FOUR passes to the Aaron Pritchett concert July 31st at the Rockin Rodeo with special opening act The Divorcees. On Friday Morning July 28th, you're encouraged to drop-off all recyclable glass and plastic bottles at designated locations in the tri-community. When you drop your case or full plastic bag of empties you'll be given a ballot for each case or bag donated. Each ballot will qualify you for our Grand Prize Draw on Monday's (concert day) Big Breakfast. Please note you need to be at least 19 years of age to enter. The Winner will have their name added to the "XL96 Guest List" allowing them to enjoy the show with three friends. So we'll see you this Friday morning July 28th between 7 & 10am at the following drop-off locations: Mountain Road across from Moncton Chrysler Superstore; Champlain Place Parking Lot at Sears and The Atlantic Superstore's Riverview Market Parking Lot. Thank you in advance and Good Luck!!"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kagan: Radio M&A Slides To Historic Norms

Weighed Down By Soft Ads (gulp!)

"The top 10 operators went from owning 4% of radio stations in 1996 to 22% by 2005," says Kagan analyst Michael Buckley. "With so many small operators still running stations, further consolidation is possible and, according to some executives, highly desirable. But even if that were to occur, the radio industry would not be nearly as concentrated as other media sectors such as movie theaters, where one company alone—Regal Cinemas—owns 18% of all U.S. screens."

Pardon Me, But I Am Confused..

John Snyder, vice president, PPM Sales, Arbitron, just did what everyone says was a very impressive presentation yesterday in New York that makes it sound like we all need to have exciting play by play sports, or equally-compelling immediate events, on our radio stations in a People Meter world.
"The change from diary to PPM will impact everything from selling cycles to ratings to the ability to monetize special features,” he said. “In all likelihood, the ‘emotional’ sell of sports will be replaced with a more ‘fact-based’ sell, and this ‘estimate driven’ world should bring new advertisers to play-by-play who hadn’t considered it before. PPM opens the door to a whole
new level of understanding that wasn’t possible with the diary.”

Examples included in the presentation:

Talk show audiences increase after big wins or losses. While average cume audience (September to December 2005) to “Talk Football with David Carr” in Houston is about 8,700 persons age 6 and older. On the Monday after a close loss, the cume was 21,000 persons. On the Monday after a victory, it was even higher, at 25,600 persons 6+

World Cup Soccer recorded huge audiences on Spanish language Houston radio stations. While the May average cume for KEYH-AM/KXGJ-FM was just under 25,000 persons, audiences increased in June to over 153,000 during several World Cup broadcasts.

The NFL Draft proved a big draw on KILT-AM, particular when the Houston Texans surprised local fans. On Saturday, April 29 at exactly noon, the Houston Texans kicked off the 71st NFL Draft with a bang by passing up on Reggie Bush and selecting defensive end Mario Williams with the No. 1 pick. Audiences from the NFL Draft jumped from 12,600 cume at 10 A.M. to nearly 45,000 at noon the same day.

Radio ratings to sports events are directly related to the proportion of the audience that is out of home. Because of the impact of out of home audience on radio ratings, radio and TV audiences to the same sporting event tend to be complementary. As one medium declines, the other will tend to rise.

“With the PPM, we can see higher ratings and larger audiences during specific kinds of sports programming, especially during the afternoon and early evening, including the evening rush hour, when listeners aren’t near a television.”

Yeah, but how does the audience look on the average music radio station in the time period when we now get our highest rates? Hopefully, the presentation answering that question is coming pretty soon too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bob Lefsetz Discovers Country Music.. What Took Him So Long?

The Lefsetz Letter" is famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

He writes: Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Dierks Bentley, Carrie UnderwoodGillette Stadium/Boston-Sunday-7/16Gross: $4,136,945Sold/Capacity: 55,124/55,124Ticket Price(s)-$85.50/$72.50/$37.50. Fifteen years ago, never mind THIRTY years ago, the biggest country acts in America couldn’t have sold out a stadium, probably not even an arena, in Boston. Time to start taking country music seriously. It’s not a sideshow, but one of the MAIN SHOWS! Used to be Top Forty was everyman’s format. Now it’s an urban wasteland playing to a slim part of the musical audience. Hell, despite all the carping about me-tooism in country, there’s more room for innovation in the Nashville format than there is on Top Forty. Hell, Big & Rich feature a BLACK RAPPER! Sure, one can lament the loss of a lot of shitkicker country, but what’s left is closer to the Eagles, who own the biggest selling album in history. Let’s see. The people can sing. There are melodies, and hooks. You wonder why country does such big business? (Kenny Chesney and most of the same characters also sold out in Greenville, SC, Madison Square Garden/NY, Louisville, KY, Tampa and Nashville.)

He also has nice things to say about Tim & Faith and Rascal Flatts too. (All I can add is: "DUH." But, better to get it late than not get it at all...)

A Hot Day, A Great Time For Christmas Music

Tim Cuprisin:
Those Christmas tunes you're hearing today on WOKY-AM (920) aren't the sign of an imminent format change. Some listeners might get that impression, since radio stations often play wacky music when they're about to flip to a new lineup. Or, as was the case with WLUM-FM (102.1) a couple weeks back when it spent a couple days playing just snippets of songs and calling themselves "Quick 102," a station may do an on-air stunt without a full-fledged change in the kind of music it plays. In WLUM's case, after the stunt stopped, the station rolled out a new name and tried to bolster its existing image as the spot for "alternative" music in the market. For WLUM, it was more a face lift than a format change. But what WOKY is up to today, as it celebrates Christmas on a steamy July day, is an attempt to remind listeners of its traditional identity, at least for part of the year, as "Milwaukee's Original Christmas Music Station."

The station played four Christmas songs an hour between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday and got listeners to call in for yuletide prizes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tim McGraw, Cover Guy

The magazine will hit stands this week (July 25th).

Dixie Chicks News

1. Steve Holstein's Interprep passes along the word that Sunday's edition of the Dallas Morning News reported the DIXIE CHICKS offered a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross back in 2003 in exchange for backing their Top of the World tour. A spokeswoman for the Red Cross says the organization had to decline because it would have violated two of the main principals the organization was founded on: impartiality and neutrality. The spokeswoman added that if the trio would like to make an unconditional donation the organization would gladly accept it. Lead singer Natalie Maines had claimed the Red Cross was simply rejecting the Chicks' donation because of the London incident.

2. Meanwhile, the Columbus Dispatch's Margaret Quamme gives the girls a rave review for their Sunday night show in Central Ohio: "We've been strategizing, and tonight I've decided what to do," joked lead singer Natalie Maines. "Every city that nobody buys tickets in, we're going to fill that in by coming back here."

The B I G PPM Question: What About Before 7:42 AM?

Billboard's Mike Boyle reports the median “undocking” time is 7:42 a.m., while the median “docking” time is 11:14 p.m. Yes, I know that even listening while the PPM is docked is registered, as long as it's done within 'earshot' of the device. But, if it's docked in the bedroom, what might it be missing? The Arbitron Affiliates Advisory Coucil is meeting this Wednesday. Listen carefully to reports from that meeting on the crucial answer to that question.

IMHO: ARB simply won't get a 60% rate premium from radio for PPM if the new system of measurement doesn't increase reported listening at least enough to justify today's morning drive rates. If they start measuring Philadephia without formal accreditation, THAT will be the metric to watch very carefully.

Should You Use A Viral Micro-Website In Your Branding Campaigns?

Mastercard certainly thought so and appears to have done it successfully. Now, it's Visa's turn. Copycat? Or, an effective new tactic?
"The new Visa campaign is all about changing people's perceptions of the brand - which, after all, already has ubiquitous awareness. In the short term, Visa should focus on the extent to which the campaign has positively influenced people's attitudes and perception of the brand. Is it cool? Will it help me live my life to its fullest? Long-term, of course, these metrics should translate into dollars and cents." - John Raj, Visa USA's vice president of advertising and emerging media

You're Biased. That Means "I Disagree With You"

One of the potholes in the road of letting listeners know what you stand for, which is very important if you want them to trust and bond with you: today, it seems that
people only want to hear opinions which agree with their own.

Of course, political candidates solve this problem by doing the age old "how do I feel about that issue? let me take a poll and I'll tell you" which is where the politics of patriotism and family values come from. The challenge for country radio is that being patriotic and safe for the family are indeed core values for our target, but those values alone can also make you just a little too safe and one-dimensional (boring?) to successfully build younger demos and "secondary user" cume growth.

The solution, of course, is to be absolutely genuine in your point of view on the things your listener cares about. The challenge, then, is to do that without alienating your heavy-users because the more they get to know about the 'real' you, the less they like and identify with you.

If you want to see a company that 'gets' this and get a lesson in how this is done in a retail environment, go visit a Starbucks Coffee Shop.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Has Danielle Found A Good Man?

Sunday’s Tennessean BRAD ABOUT YOU column does it again, as Brad Schmidt picks up a great rumor:
Country newcomer Danielle Peck's new single is "Findin' a Good Man," and at the very least, she has landed herself a rich one. Danielle recently started dating Boston Red Sox hurler Josh Beckett, who was in the news last week because he just signed a three-year contract extension worth a reported $30 million. Lest anyone think Danielle is a gold digger, she and Josh first met a couple of months ago, way before this contract extension. (He was probably worth only a few million back then.) So how did these two crazy kids meet? With a little help from the "Keeper of the Stars" — or the guy who sings that song anyway. Josh, 26, is a Texas native, and he's buddies with Tracy Byrd. Tracy knows Danielle and voila, Josh and Danielle had a blind date in Boston. Well, as blind a date as there can be between two celebrities. I'm sure there was plenty of Googling on each side. The two met in Beantown on a night when Josh was in a baseball game and Danielle had a show there. Danielle showed up for the first few innings of his game, but Josh never made it to her show because his game went into extra innings. But the two met at a cookout late that night, and I guess things were really cookin' because they
kept in touch. Their next date was in Tampa, again on a game day. So Josh took her to lunch; she went to the game; and they had dinner afterward. They haven't seen each other since, but the two talk on the phone constantly. Danielle is quite shy about discussing these things, but
she did pass along a couple of sentences about Josh through her publicist: "He's a really great guy, and he loves country music," she said. "I look forward to getting together for a third date."

Friday, July 21, 2006

JRfm Puts CDJ's "Fan Jam" Performance Video on Their Website

Give your listeners a little something extra in the form of a behind the scenes home video experience of your station promotions and events.

Thanks to PD Gord Eno and the JR-fm crew for sharing this link.

Do You Yahoo? (And Also MSNBC and CNN too?)

Compelling content = interesting, informative story-telling about topics your listeners care about and are already talking and thinking about. And, a new NielsenNetRatings AdRelevance study lists the top ten internet news sites.

Unless you have even better local research on the places your listeners go for news first (this would be a great question to ask your loyal listener database or your callout panel), I'd be bookmarking these pages and keeping an eye on them (as well as local news sites too), even while you're on the air...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jim Rose Reports: Now It's DR. George Strait!

Rose sends out a free, newsy daile email. Highlights from today's...


An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters was awarded to Country Super Star GEORGE STRAIT by his alma mater, TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY, during a private ceremony on Friday, February 26, 2006. STRAIT graduated in 1979 with a Batchelor's Degree in Agriculture from TSU's Bobcats in San Marcos. STRAIT's words were, Dr. STRAIT? I like the sound of that. I am so proud to be a graduate of TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY and appreciate so much that you did this for me.


The CMA Awards has moved from CBS TV to ABC TV. The CMA show will be held on November 6, 2006. Its hosts will be BROOKS & DUNN. The CMA Awards will be at the GAYLORD Entertainment Center. Why was it moved from the Grand Ole Opry's last CMA event in 2004? CMA Awards nominees will be announced August 30, 2006.

Sign up for Jim's email at:

Do You Offer "Podcasts" (mp3 downloads) Of Your Best Bits?

Did you say to yourself, "I'll wait to do that until more of my listeners are doing it too"?

Well, if that's the case, it's time: More than 6% of U. S adults (about 9 million web users) have downloaded podcasts in the past 30 days, according to The Economics of Podcasting, a report released today by Nielsen Analytics, part of VNU's Media Measurement & Information Group.

Love That CRB Exec Memo

Country Radio Broadcasters does so much for the country format, from an incredible annual seminar (next year's is 2/28-3/2) to involvement with regional meetings at ACM's in Las Vegas, the Conclave in Minneapolis and a Fall Nashville Forum, and hopefully you have subscribed to their great email "Exec Memo" service.

Executive Director Ed Salamon has just started a series that he is calling "Habits Of Successful Country Stations."

He just asked me for a quote for an upcoming one: "We will be writing an article about Country stations that are number one in their markets and are asking their General Managers for some of the reasons behind their success..." and that sounds like it should be a great read.

Here's what I gave him as my response:

1. Get out and get involved in the community.
2. Brainstorm every possible scenario for the next book and then come up with TEN things you could do to own every situation. Most stations stop at the first or second idea.
3. Motivate everyone on the air to over-prepare so be sure that each break relates powerfully in unique and creative ways.
4. Rehearse everything you do for maximum impact.
5. Compress content. Rewrite in advance for brevity and word power.
6. Entertain. Provide an emotional experience between every song.
7. Listen to listeners and use their names and voices, tightly-edited as often as possible.
8. Get one to one. Share your personal point of view and avoid the crutch and cliche by being specific and evoking theatre of mind.
9. Provide instant gratification and be sure your music delivers on your position. Balance everything and put your research on the radio.
10. Constantly attack yourself. What would you do if you were your own competition? Do those things.

Time management isn't about doing everything; it's about separating what will get you to your goal from everything else on your plate and placing first things first. The trick to effective time management is learning to say NO to tasks which don't advance you to your goals without making other departments feel you are unhelpful and uncooperative so that you can focus on what really matters before wasting any time on things that don't.

I can't wait to read what other folks are sending him too!

T. Bubba Bechtol: Enough Already On The Dixie Chicks

He's a 100% bona fide red neck and proud of it, but in the latest "Notes from Bubba's Beach" he says that he at least is 'ready to make nice:'
"I know the Chicks. They are good girls. Martie Seidel, her sister Emily Irvin and Natalie Maines, have grown up, had kids, stayed married to their children's fathers, took their lumps with pride and came back with a roaring album, "Taking the Long Way Home." They have paid enough for words that if said in any other music market would have been forgotten long ago. The Chicks had a right to say what they did. Natalie may have picked the "wrong" place to say it, and the wrong time, but they still have the same rights as the rest of us. We have all been guilty of what Natalie did. I say leave her alone because it was not all three of them that said it, it was Natalie. The mouth, the lead, the entertainer, the Brash one, the learning to be funny one, the one out front. But the other girls had her back. They stayed together, backed her up and while they may personally may have disagreed with her, they never stopped loving her or being a group. I say "Amen" for that. They are not out there getting arrested for drugs, getting married every six months, stealing horses from cops in Central Park, shooting pistols off in motels, dropping babies from windows, or doing stupid things that would make them less than ladies. They stuck together like "Sisters of the Song." They all have a Country Music upbringing, and they are proving that they can be the best at what they do and have personal lives as well. I say they have paid enough for a single sentence that may have proved out to be more right than wrong in the long run. I say they are the best band in my country music market, that I love so much and to tell the truth. Country music will have to catch up with them, because they sell in all markets, overseas, Internet and when Mars opens its first radio station, I say they will be number one in the first week. Why? Because they make great music, and they are loyal to each other and have learned to be entertainers as well as singers. Their personal examples of their private lives far outweigh everything that has been said about them or done to them. They are role models that any young lady can look up to and if I had a daughter, I'd be honored to use them as an example of what she should be."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fox Targets Regis And Kelly (AND RADIO TOO)

In many markets where A&O works we are seeing stats which show about half of what used to be radio's at home pre-8 am audience is now 'listening' to morning TV, using "Today" "Morning News" R&K and "GMA"as if they were informative and entertaining radio shows. Now,
according to NY Post's Michael Starr, comes another post 9 am competitor for your morning show. It will air on the Fox-owned stations starting in 2007 and will be co-hosted by Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, who currently co-host FNC's "DaySide."

"People 30-and-under are getting their information off the Internet as well as off TV . . . and the mid-morning is when it's beginning to hit prime-time for the Internet. We see this as an expansion that only makes us stronger, programming-wise, and is consistent with our news and entertainment philosophy."

--Fox TV stations operations president Dennis Swanson.

In light of this development, I'd decide what kind of morning show you have - one that outperforms the station and thus might do better to be more interactive in the 8:30-10 am quarter hours OR one which is best configured to be music intensive to make the most of at work and in car listening. Our bucket is about to develop one more leak and the best defense is to decide whether your quarter hours come from your music image or your morning fun and information position.

John Hogan Gets A Big, Juicy PR Kiss From USA Today

The newspaper's David Lieberman writes
the kind of profile that the CEO of any public company needs and loves. Congrats to John for it. His courage over the last several years has indeed been just what our biz has needed. (...almost as much as we've needed some private owners to re-emerge and also do even some of the very tough things that a public company simply can't do, like getting our unit loads back down to pre-consolidation levels - 8-10 per hour, units, not just minutes.. I'd bet that TSL levels improve a lot when and if someone has the courage to do it)


* "Sometimes you have to sow seeds and wait for the results," says Cumulus Media CEO Lewis Dickey Jr. "But they are some gutsy moves, and I applaud them."

* "Prior leadership had not really done much to generate (external) relationships," Hogan says. "They were of the attitude that what's good for us is good for us — and let everybody fend for themselves."

Chesney Boston Tickets = $37.50-$85.50

According to Kenny Chesney's camp, his average ticket prices "are the most fan-friendly ticket prices of any major headliner," and yet he still grosses millions at his shows, like over a million dollars at his Madison Square Garden show and $4.2 million at Boston's Gillette stadium.
"Look, we could probably charge more for the tickets," Chesney says of keeping the ticket price affordable, "but I never want to be one of those people where the fan is in a position of wanting to come, but maybe being too pinched - or bringing a date, but maybe it's too much.My attitude has always been: if you wanna come out and party with us, come on. We're here for the fun..."

And, certainly, making lots of money is certainly FUN. i.e., Concert tours' 2006 gross up 38.5 percent.

Phone Topic: Best Bosses = Men?

Although the majority of men and women had no gender preference on an associate to work with, the next choice for women was men, as 24% prefer male coworkers and only 11% prefer working with other women. Men's choices were more evenly split, with 17% choosing male coworkers and 16% choosing female coworkers.

According to the Workplace Survey, conducted in May by publisher Vault Inc., women prefer to work for men rather than for other women.

When asked if they would prefer a male or female boss, 28%, of the women picked a male boss rather than a female boss, though the majority of both the men and women surveyed had no preference. The survey is comprised of 518 responses from employees representing a variety of industries across the country, and is made up of 52% women and 48% men.

More men would rather work for men than women as well; 26% of men chose a male boss and 8% picked a female boss.

CoFounder and CoPresident of Vault, Mark Oldman, stated, "Despite the significant strides made towards fostering equality in the workplace, our study indicates that gender (does) stereotype some of them..."

One of many important findings, notes the report, is that 77% of women agree that it is still difficult for women to get ahead in the workplace. Conversely, only 43% of men feel that it is still difficult for women to advance at the office. A majority of women, 56%, feel that at one time or another they have been disadvantaged in the workplace because of their gender, while 25% of men feel the same way.

To receive the full report on please contact Vault here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What’s Hot? Small cars and the Man of Steel

Each month, these folks conduct an internet poll which takes the pulse of the country.

Talking Points:
* Confidence rebounds in July
* Practicality rises among penny-pinching consumers
* July’s employment outlook improves
* Who is the most likely to be affected by fluctuating gas prices?
* All you ever wanted to know about Shoes
* After a rocky start to summer, the 90 Day Outlook improves month-over-month

OK. I've kept you waiting long enough: with gas prices rising steadily, small cars are what’s hot this month, according to 61.8%. Superman Returns and Hawaiian print shirts also get the seal of approval…celebrity babies, headbands, and oversized sunglasses also top women’s lists of what’s hot, while the Nintendo DS Lite is A-OK with guys.

What’s Not? Although more popular among the younger set, about 90% agree they aren’t yet Crazy about new music duo Gnarls Barkley.

The Long "The Long Tail" Review

And, of course, you'd know that it's The New Yorker's John Cassidy who says it all in 2,500++ well-chosen words:
"Has the New Economy really moved past the familiar “winner take all” dynamic? That depends on whether you’re looking at the long tail—or at who’s wagging it."

ABC-TV's (Very Cool!) Interactive Map Of Downtown Nashville

Click to see info on the CMA Music Festival rewind TV show, on July 24th.

The Washington Post Explains It All To You

Marc Fisher:
"In the Top 40 radio model, the music almost didn't matter; audiences came along for the ride just to be part of the go-go excitement — the comedy, the catchphrases, the buzz — of the AM deejays of the '60s and '70s. The Hype Machine is an important step toward delivering musical favorites and new discoveries in one package, but the third element of the formula is still evolving: how to create a community that has meaning beyond the music."

A "PS" to my dear friends and co-travelers at analog radio: don't forget that third element, our secret sauce, while it pretty much still remains ours exclusively! My bet: we have about five years to get it right or find another line of work.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vince Gill Golfs For Good

Vince Gill hosted his 14th annual Vinny Pro-Celebrity Invitational golf tournament Monday and Tuesday (July 10-11) at the Golf Club of Tennessee.

An invitation was extended to 125 junior golfers to play in the event. Click on Vince's website through the link above to see which celebrities helped out.

The Vinny has raised more than $3.3 million for junior golf programs in Tennessee.

Johnny Cash's First Ever Sales #1 Debut Happens Posthumously

Mercury-Lost Highway Records garnered the #1 album on the charts this week, as Johnny Cash's American V: A Hundred Highways topped both the Country Albums sales chart and Top 200 chart.

With sales exceeding 88,000 units, the debut earned the Man in Black his first #1 album since 1969's Johnny Cash at San Quentin; American V is Cash's first-ever release to debut at the top spot.

"It meant so much for Johnny to be accepted by a new audience," said Rick Rubin, who produced American V and heads up Cash's label, American Recordings. "Nothing would make him more proud than this overwhelming vote of acceptance. Thank you."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mobile Music To Beat Online in Five Years

According to a recent IDC study, U.S. wireless music services will have over 50 million users and generate more than a billion dollars in revenue in 2010, just 5 years after appearing in late 2005.

Susan Kevorkian, program manager, Consumer Markets: Audio, said "Wireless OTA music services… brings the music industry new opportunities to reach consumers and drive revenue. Wireless music services… are expected to quickly gain traction during the forecast period. By the end of this year, the number of U.S. OTA customers will be approximately half that of online music service users, but may surpass them by the end of the forecast period.”

Meanwhile, I'm betting my future on the fact that over that same time period they will still be learning about those new songs they want to buy that way from good ole fashioned over the air analog RADIO!

MEDIAPOST: College Kids Go To The Web For News, Prefer Contextual Ad Links

Meanwhile, of course, there is that OTHER half, who still go to traditional media to keep themselves up to date, but..
The study, based on a survey of 7,500 users of online college newspapers--including undergraduates, graduates, alumni, faculty and parents--found that 52 percent of respondents say they pay attention to contextual text links (like this one?), while just 8 percent say the same for game-based ads and only 5 percent report paying attention to pop-ups. Banner ads fared worse than text links but better than pop-ups, with non-animated banners outperforming animated ads and ads with video.

Respondents also reported that they would like their college newspapers to carry more online local ads, especially for restaurants and jobs. Sixty-four percent of survey participants said they would like more ads for local food establishments, while 57 percent wanted more job ads, 51 percent wanted more entertainment ads, and 50 percent wanted to see more ads from local
stores. (Imagine THAT.. 20-somethings actually asking for MORE ads, as long as they are relevant? There's a message in this for US too, eh?)

The study additionally found that undergraduates are turning to the Web for national news. Almost half of the surveyed students--49 percent--visit at least once a month, while 37 percent visit at least once a month and 35 percent go to at least that often.

Monday, July 10, 2006

High Speed Internet in 60% of Online Households

(click on the graph to enlarge it) According to new consumer research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), 69% of all US households now subscribe to an online service at home, and high-speed Internet services now account for about 60% of all online subscribers.

Overall, cable remains the most common source for residential broadband driven by its strength among higher income households. But DSL now has a greater market share than cable among middle income households.

Hopefully, I don't have to add 1+1 for you, but in case I do...

Does Your Station Have a Blog Policy?

Whether you choose to blog or not, however, you must have some kind of blog policy, because conversations are happening about your station right outside your little booth in cyberspace, and everything that is said there is permanent, and findable. There are four ways that your station can (and may already) interact with the blogosphere, in increasing order of commitment:

1. You can read other blogs, and monitor what your listeners (and competitors) are saying about you.
2. You can comment on other blogs in response to conversations about your station
3. Your employees can blog (with or without your sanction)
4. Your station can have its own blog

Not everyone can or should do number four, but at a minimum you should do #1 and seriously consider #2. Remember that the folks who are disparaging your station on the Internet are different from phone cranks in two very important (and already mentioned) aspects--everything they say is permanent and findable. An error unchallenged, or a myth allowed to perpetuate, can easily become your #1 search term (search "Miserable Failure" and see what I mean.) Engaging bloggers and challenging them to a constructive dialogue doesn't legitimize them, it legitimizes you.

-- by Tom Webster, Edison Media Research

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Variety On People: There's Still Not Enough Celebrity Coverage

Quote: People has turned to the entertainment industry as never before, having pumped up its celebrity coverage and shelling out staggering sums for celebrity photos (the most notorious being the reported $4.1 million for the Brangelina baby photos) and even staking out homes of the rich and famous. A People reporter was recently arrested for trespassing in Brad Pitt's backyard.

Like the boob jobs ever more prominent in its pages, People has perked up.
The process has annoyed some of its readers and reporters, as well as sister publications and rivals, who go bonkers at what they call People's holier than-thou-attitude even as it goes downmarket in the pursuit of the latest celeb wedding. A reporter at another Time Inc. publication grumbles about People's supersized presence, "It's like a turkey leg on a Cornish hen."

"An aggressive publicity machine peppers the nation with People reporters, from the smallest Midwest radio station to the network morning shows."

Golly, am I the only one not to have a free media subscription to People and call-in gossip reporter yet? How did I miss out?

Tennessean Review: Chesney & Friends Draw 47,000+

Chesney, pals show why he’s biggest game in town:

More than 47,000 pack LP Field for supersized show

“There are going to be some people there that have a ‘Prove it to me again’ mentality, like ‘Why you?’ That’s always been there for me in Nashville. All they’ve got to do is walk around the parking lots and see why me: It’s people having a blast.” -- Kenny Chesney

More Nashville Tennessean photos:
Dierks Bentley at LP Field
Little Big Town at LP Field
Big & Rich at LP Field
Gretchen Wilson at LP Field
Kenny Chesney at LP Field

The LP Field lots were filled with tailgaters, and by 2 p.m. — seven hours before Chesney was to take the stage — the scene before Chesney’s The Road & The Radio tour looked more like an autumn football Saturday than a country music show. Grills, banners and adult beverages abounded.

Inside, people were also in full-on party mode. Chesney made his public entrance at 9:15 p.m., rising on a small stage near the back of the stadium floor, wearing a blue, sleeveless T-shirt and singing current single “Summertime.” He was escorted past thousands of fans to the main stage in what looked like a police-enhanced conga line.

Tim's Bronchitis Better, Tour Resumes This Week

After a bout with bronchitis, Tim McGraw was ready to take the stage Wednesday with wife Faith Hill as they prepared to resume their summer concert tour in the Big Easy and give all proceeds to Hurricane Katrina victims. Country music's foremost couple cancelled two tour appearances last week after McGraw, who was raised in Start, La., got sick.

Blake Shelton Donates $108,000 To Oklahoma Fire Victims

The Associated Press has reported country music singer Blake Shelton handed Oklahoma state officials a check for $108,000 to help victims of a string of wildfires that devastated hundreds of homes in the state.

Shelton donated the proceeds from his ‘Rain Dance’ concert to the cause. On Thursday, the singer told Governor Brad Henry it was tough watch TV footage and seeing the property of his fellow Oklahomans being destroyed. “So we decided to do a Rain Dance,” Shelton said.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Trisha Performs At Atlanta Olympics Anniversary

Trisha Yearwood will perform during the July 15th Olympic-sized celebration in Centennial Olympic Park. Yearwood, who performed during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games, will join thousands in the Park to reunite, reminisce and relive the excitement shared a decade ago.

The 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Centennial Olympics is an opportunity to share the legacy with future generations, as well as to give thanks to those who volunteered during the Centennial Olympics. The volunteers that worked so hard will have the opportunity to come together ten years later and relive the emotion of the Centennial Olympic Games.

In other Trisha news, listen for her on labelmate Vince Gill's upcoming 4-cd project, These Days, scheduled for release on October 17.

And, if she's coming to your town, there's some nice audio on her website which could be repurposed for the concert promotion announcements too!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Billboard Buying Radio & Records

Reuters had it first and I'm assuming that I am probably the last one to tell you about it.

33 years is a long time, and Bob Wilson built something of very high quality that lasted. My hope: this isn't the end of insightful format sections, edited and written by folks with the deep radio experience R&R pioneered and accomplished, exemplified by Lon Helton, Chuck Aly and, yes, Carolyn Parks and Jim Duncan too.

Country Music's Biggest Party” On ABC-TV, Monday, 7/24

Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans And Miranda Lambert were just added to the TV special.
“CMA Music Festival is a phenomenon unlike any other and the special aims to capture it all – the unique interaction and relationship between the artists and their fans along with full-tilt performances by some of our format’s most compelling stars,” said CMA Chief Operating Officer Tammy Genovese.

Tim & Faith Go 360

.. and Neil Haislop was watchin':

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s appearance on Anderson Cooper 360 was supposed to be dedicated, in its entirety, to Tim and Faith’s efforts to improve conditions in the Gulf coast, post-Katrina world. But world issues, including the missile threat from North Korea, cut Cooper’s time with Tim and Faith short.

Even though the plight of Katrina victims got plenty of airplay, including interviews with Tim and Faith, the heroes of Katrina’s aftermath will be the entire focus when Cooper presents the show again Friday night. But, during last night’s portion of Anderson Cooper 360, Faith explained that the tour took a day off and converted into a day of giving back to the Gulf Coast Katrina victims. “It was not on the schedule,” Faith explains, we just had a day off an we were trying to find a way to help just like everybody else, a way to directly help, helping one family and then another. So, we saw this date on the calendar and decided to go there,” Faith explained. Tim said reason for the benefit show as pretty simple, “We just wanted people to know that we’re still thinking about them and to let other people know that we still need your help,” Tim summarized.

TK Adds August Dates

Click to see the "on sales" and fan club "meet and greets!"

Danny Wright: "Willie For King"

" I was thinking about Willie Nelson this 4th of July. I don’t think there has been a musical artist more all-around cool in my lifetime. Let me explain why I’d like America to be headed up by King Willie, reasons that sometimes get overlooked. Willie does it all. Gives the world great music. Helps the world breathe easier. Feeds the world and helps farmers. And saves the world through buying the Abbott, Texas Methodist Church. He can speak out on any topic from poverty to the war in Iraq and, even though he might go counter to the opinions many country fans are expected to have, Willie gets only respect in response. "
-- Danny Wright

Brad Schmidt: 'Kicole' Fireworks, Judds' Chaotic Childhood

Nashville's most famous newlyweds, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, returned from a whirlwind Aussie wedding and exotic honeymoon just in time for a good ol' U.S. Fourth of July celebration back home in Nashville.

Ashley Judd tells Glamour magazine that she got 47 days of treatment for behavioral issues at the same Texas facility where her sister Wynonna got treatment for food addictions: 'I was clinically depressed at . . . 8'

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Canadian Radio TSL Is Down Again, Especially under 34

A just-released report on media use published by Canada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says that Canadians aged 12 and up tuned into radio for an average 19.1 hours each week during 2005, a drop of 0.4 hours or 24 minutes from the 2004 average of 19.5 hours.

A few tips of the iceburg:

* The biggest drop in listenership was among the 25-34 demo, which has had a 3.2% decline since 1999. During that same period, teens (12-17) had a 2.7% decline and the 18-24 demo fell 2.1%.
* Canadian teens spent 8.6 hours listening to radio each week, while 18-24 year olds spent 15.2 hours and 25-34 year olds spent 18.1 hours.
* While the Internet has had only a minimal effect on Canadians' use of radio, there has been a significant decline in TV viewing because of it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Online Movie Ads Peak Too Early

Though not a recent study, the recently released analysis of 57 movie campaigns for in-theater releases by Dynamic Logic reveals that online movie ads perform among the highest industries in positively raising Aided Brand Awareness (+9.8) and Brand Favorability (+4.3) on average.

Advertising's impact on Awareness and Purchase Intent was highest early on in the campaigns, at least 4 weeks prior to the movie release date. In fact, the online advertising's impact at four weeks out was quadruple what it was a week from the release date, +22.5 points compared to +5.4 points, respectively.

Take a look at the study's recommendations and consider how they may also apply to YOU:

1. Leverage the "buzz factor" early to generate awareness
2. Use creative that will both generate interest provide a strong call to action to see the movie (listen to your station) from the outset of a campaign
3. Provide a "sneak peak" of the movie trailer (sound of your radio station) with rich media to raise awareness and provide information
4. For generating "movie ticket purchases" (radio usage so memorable that it gets measured by the ratings), advertise on days most people are attending movie theatres (the day before and after the survey diaries arrive in mailboxes)

As with films, it's also important that your 'story' (point of view and mission) be compelling, so that it turns your early adopters into fans who love turning their friends on to their new discovery.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Researcher: Less Is More May Actually Be Less FOR More

Calling "LIM" 'a risky move for radio,' David Allan, a St. Joseph's University marketing professor, has been studying whether that's a good deal for advertisers. A story this morning by Inquirer Staff Writer Stacey Burling proposes that it may NOT be.

He found that the shorter ads were about 75 percent as good as the long ones at promoting brands. But the short commercials were only half as good at conveying the more specific information that was the spots' raison d'etre - like what was on sale.

As a result, Allan thinks the shorter ads should cost only half as much as the longer ones. He now wants to study whether running a short ad twice is as effective as running a long one.

He thinks radio stations can make the short ads work, maybe by selling more of them. And, he thinks stations could make ads more palatable by telling listeners why they're necessary - it's how stations pay their bills - and explaining that listening is the cost of "free" radio. "I'm a radio guy, so I'm looking for radio to keep all its money," he said. "I'm not looking to throw anybody under the bus."

Nashville Answer Man: Bronchitis Sidelines Tim McGraw


The Soul2Soul II tour has had to reschedule the weekend concerts scheduled for Cleveland, Ohio and Charleston, WV, due an attack of bronchitis suffered by Tim McGraw. The Saturday (July 1) appearance in Cleveland has been rescheduled for July 30. Tour organizers are working to reschedule Sunday's (July 2) show in Charleston. Next scheduled stop for the Soul2Soul II tour is set to resume Wednesday (July 5) in New Orleans with a charity concert to assist Gulf Coast relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Tune in to multi-award-winning A Capitol Fourth on PBS on Tuesday, July 4. It's America's premier birthday celebration. This year's new concert host Jason Alexander, a seven-time Emmy nominee, will lead an unrivaled evening of patriotic and uplifting music followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. America's premier Independence Day holiday concert will feature performances from some of the country's best known and award-winning musical artists, including country's JO DEE MESSINA performing with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Erich Kunzel.

Capping the show will be a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" featuring the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and complete with live cannon fire provided by the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery, an audience favorite and now A Capitol Fourth tradition. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra, which will be commemorated by a visual and musical trip down the Orchestra's illustrious memory lane.

Josh Turner was one of the performers who participated in the pre-taped 4th of July special An American Celebration At Ford’s Theater. The show will air July 4 on ABC at 10 p.m. ET. He will also perform at Nashville’s July 4th celebration.

Blaine Larsen and his new bride Sammie recently bought their first house and will relocate next month from Blaine’s native Washington state to the Nashville area.