Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another "Roadmap '07" Tidbit: Country Cume Prefers Pagers To Paper

When it comes to how they would like to participate in radio ratings, Country cumers expressed a stronger interest in carrying an electronic-type device than filling out a paper diary.

In our on-line survey of more than 10,000 country cumers in the US and Canada, country radio consultants Jaye Albright and Mike O’Malley report that 16.6% of all respondents said they would be “Very Interested” in carrying a pager-type device for six months to capture listening data compared to 14.6 who said they were “Very Interested” in recording this information in a “paper booklet” for 7 days.

While men (17.1) and women (16.6) shared a similar level of preference for the pager-type device, women (15.2) were more likely than men (12.7) to say they were “Very Interested” in the 7-day paper diary.

The survey intentionally did not ask about other ratings devices which are not currently in use by major ratings companies in both the US and Canada, such as cell phone technology.

Albright & O’Malley, in conjunction with Mercury Radio Research, will present additional results of their “Roadmap 2007” study at this year’s Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.

Only 41% Of Country Listeners Are Even Aware Of HD Radio

Just 41.2% of country radio listeners in the US claim to have “heard of HD radio” according to a new, on-line survey of more than 10,000 country radio listeners in the United States and Canada, conducted by Albright & O’Malley, Country Radio Consultants.

The survey found males (50.9%) more aware than females (38.8%), while awareness among persons 25-44 is higher (42.6%) than it is among persons 12-24 or persons 55+.

Underscoring this unfamiliarity, 46% of the total sample didn’t know if special equipment was needed to hear HD radio, while 5.1% believed they could receive HD radio on any radio.

Even among those who had heard of HD radio, 82.6% said they were “not very familiar” with the available programming.

HD radio awareness in Canada was even lower where just 23.1% of respondents indicated they had heard of HD radio.

The survey did reveal this positive fact about HD radio: while small in number, 24% of respondents who had an HD radio experience indicated they would be ‘very likely’ to recommend HD radio to a friend. These respondents were nearly twice as likely to be male.

Albright & O’Malley will present additional results of their “Roadmap 2007” study at this year’s Albright & O’Malley Pre-CRS “Sunrise Seminar” on Wednesday morning, prior to the start of the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. “Roadmap 2007” is a perceptual study of 10,062 country radio listeners across the U.S. and Canada who completed an online questionnaire on the type of country music they like best, reasons for listening to their favorite country station, degree of satisfaction with that station, voice tracking, streaming, HD Radio, marketing preferences, and their attitudes toward participating in a diary, telephone or metered radio rating surveys. The survey was created with the assistance of Mercury Radio Research.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mason's Minute: Your Stations Community

I hate blogs which do nothing but reprint good stuff from other ones, so that should tell you that I don't reprint this lightly.
"Radio stations tend to stubbornly resist the idea that their audiences are communities with a common interest in the radio station and instead view those audiences as pawns in a game of Arbitronic chess. The way to move listeners is by facilitating and motivating their movement, not by "forcing" it. So, in other words, if you build a community worth participating in, they'll come. And if you don't, all the contests in the world will only nudge you along a path to progress" - Mark Ramsey, Mercury Research
Ramsey covered the use of video by radio stations in his blog last Saturday, and it included the above quote, which is a topic all of its own.

How come a TV show called Oprah and a soap called Dove can create on-line communities, but radio stations don't? We marvel at the success of MySpace and YouTube, but we still stand on the sidelines and observe as this phenomenon continues. It reminds me of my wish that stupidity hurt, and that most of us would be in pain of so. Radio used to be run and populated by cutting edge people who would embrace new technology and succeed with it. But the people in control are so short sighted their vision doesn't go past the next quarter. Worse, some of them don't care about the future of radio, and are instead planning their Internet strategies, which are bound to fail because they've missed one of the principle poinrs of all this new technology - they're not in charge, the consumer is.

That thought strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many broadcasters. They've been thinking they're in charge for so long they either refuse to acknowledge it, or they just shake their heads in wonder. Why am I not surprised that Jack San Diego's GM Tracy Johnson is working on this, along with a few others? Like very few others, Tracy thinks and breathe innovation.

Not everyone can create a social network from their station, but many can. It works best for stations with a high level of P1's and a large cume. It may not work at all without an emotional connection with your listeners. Those are just some of the rules for facilitating a social network via radio. But they're enough to step off and make a decision to facilitate one.

Where are you? Are you planning your effort, or are you about to feel the pain of stupidity? -- Alan Mason

JRN's CT-40 Host Gets A Well-Deserved Admiring Profile

.. and it comes from his hometown newspaper by Melissa Winn: "The Cowboy Way, love of horses has Bob and Nan Kingsley busy." His voice is unmistakable and his name is synonymous with country music. He has never topped the charts though he lets the world know who has each week on more than 300 radio stations. Bob Kingsley has been a part of, and promoted, country music for close to 30 years. Weekly host of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, he is in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and a two-time recipient of the CMA National Broadcast Personality of the Year Award. But aside from being the voice that speaks to millions worldwide, Kingsley has a passion for horses and the “cowboy” way of life. Kingsley and his wife, Nan, moved to Weatherford permanently 12 years ago from California.

“It’s hard to articulate but I think it’s because they have a certain integrity I truly admire,” he explains. “They have a work ethic that is hard to find and they do what they say they’re gonna do. I love being around people like that.”

Congrats, Bob and Nan. Nice "ink!"
I'm proud to have worked with you and admired you as true friends now for almost all of those three decades!

Is It A Stunt? Or, Is It For Real??

I have been in this business too long not to wonder...

The Denver Post Recaps The One Year KYGO-Wolf Battle

It's been a year since country-music upstart KWLI 92.5-FM ("The Wolf") challenged perennial ratings leader KYGO 98.5-FM. Most of the shouting has come from "The Wolf." Right off the bat, Don Howe, senior vice president of CBS Denver, and Joel Burke, program director at KYGO, exchanged barbed "sez-you" e-mails. Both stations have altered their play lists, but KWLI has been more aggressive. As the reigning king, Burke generally has remained above the fray.

The latest salvo in the battle begins this afternoon when two new KWLI talents arrive, not coincidentally, from rival KYGO. Jonathan Wilde, former morning sidekick of Kelly & Mudflap, and Tracy Taylor, also a former KYGO jock, are KWLI's new afternoon team for a lengthy six-hour stretch from 2 to 8 p.m. Wilde left KYGO in November, shortly after Taylor. Both were silenced by noncompete clauses until today. For its part, KYGO brought back popular jock JoJo Turnbeaugh to be third man in with Kelly & Mudflap.
Like they say: "NOW, it gets interesting!"
We don't have a horse in this race, but I worked with 92.5 way back when it had Gerry House in the morning, Big Ron O'Brien in afternoon and Pistol Pete in midday, sounded terrific, was owned by Premiere .. and never managed to get out of the three's, due to signal limitations in the metro's strongest country areas, so I'm watching this with more than a passing interest, wondering if CBS has found a way to fix that signal...

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Media Audit: Hispanic Listening To Country Radio Is Increasing

A new analysis, based on all country radio listeners in the 84 Media Audit Markets surveyed between 2001 and 2006, will be released in detail at Albright & O’Malley’s Pre-CRS “Sunrise Seminar”, which also shows growth in internet usage, support of the Republican party and a decline in country listeners who are registered Democrats

A&O are presenting yet another reason to attend this year’s Country Radio Seminar and arrive very early on Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

This first look at new data on country listeners provides evidence that the CRS-Edison Research project on what country music needs to do to appeal to Hispanic radio listeners is very timely, given that TMA’s 18+ telephone sampling shows an increase of 34% in the number of Hispanics who report listening to country radio in the last three years. We will present a detailed look at country qualitative trends at our Pre-CRS 'sunrise" seminar.

A few other highlights of the TMA national country radio usage data:

* The largest percentage of the country audience in 2006 is 35-44 (24%).
* Almost 77% of country radio listeners are between 18 and 54.
* Both 25-34 and 45-54 usage has been very stable over the last three years.
* The number of country radio listeners online at least once per month has almost doubled from 47.1% in 2001 to 80.5% in the last year.
* The percentage of country listeners who are registered Republicans has been on the increase for the last three years while the percentage who are registered Democrats has been decreasing for five straight years.
* 67% of all country radio listeners say they voted in the past year.
* 82.8% of country listeners questioned by Media Audit in 2006 are not reached by any other format.

Also to be revealed at next Wednesday’s A&O client meeting are the results of “Roadmap 2007,” a perceptual study of 10,062 listeners across the U.S. and Canada who completed an online questionnaire on the type of country music they like best, reasons for listening to their favorite country station, degree of satisfaction with that station, voice tracking, streaming, HD Radio, marketing preferences, their attitudes toward participating in a diary, telephone or metered radio rating surveys,

These two A&O research presentations are just a part of a terrific slate of presentations, speakers and special events for their clients who are attending CRS. Now A&O is opening the meeting to the public by invitation only.

Chesney To CBS 60 Minutes: "It's not true. Period...I'm not (gay)."

CNN's Anderson Cooper reports for 60 Minutes (click to watch the web video of the interview), last year alone Chesney made $76 million on tour. While some know of him from the tabloid coverage of his brief marriage to actress Renee Zellweger, his small town roots and hybrid sound of country, rock and island music have earned him a reputation as America’s Hillbilly rock star. "
"Maybe I should have come out and said no, I'm not (gay), but I didn't want to draw any more attention to it … I didn't have to prove to anybody that I wasn't (gay) … I didn't feel like I really did."

Keith's Playgirl Pic, Sara's Ugly Divorce Barely Made The List Of Country's Ugliest Moments

Music magazine Blender's March '07 issue counts down the worst moments in country music history and Urban's and Evans' recent woes look small by comparison to some of the past scandals. The countdown:

11. Mr. Kidman Poses for Playgirl!

Keith Urban's recent jaunt to Betty Ford shocked those who knew him only as Nicole Kidman's hunky husband, but his closet has skeletons aplenty. When his career stalled in the '90s, a coke habit reduced him to scouring the floor of a Nashville drug den for crack. After getting clean, Urban posed seminude for Playgirl.

10. Hobo Hosts a 10-Year Party!

Merle Haggard grew up in an abandoned railroad boxcar and spent years in and out of juvenile detention. He once hatched a plan to rob a local restaurant after-hours, but got so drunk, he tried breaking in while it was still open. He was jailed, promptly escaped and was recaptured. He made the most of his time behind bars, brewing his own beer and running a gambling racket from his cell. Released after three years, he made a fortune in country music in the '80s, then blew it all on bad investments, expensive divorces and a decade-long party on his houseboat. Haggard righted his ship in the '90s

9. Star Leaves Porno Pol!

Multiplatinum singer Sara Evans appeared to be living a rags-to-riches fairy tale until she cut her 2006 'Dancing With the Stars' appearance short to file for divorce. Her official complaint alleged that her husband, former Republican congressional candidate Craig Schelske, kept a stash of porn that included pictures of himself having sex with other women, used Craigslist to solicit threesomes and anal sex, looted the family's "church tithing" account of $66,500, and had an affair with the nanny.

8. Crackhead Marries Seven Times!

After his 1986 Guitar Town topped the charts, Steve Earle began taking as much crack, smack and Dilaudid as he could afford. At the end of the '80s, he picked up two assualt charges and quit music to hang around South Nashville crack houses. In July 1994, he was released on bond after a drug bust and later that day was caught smoking crack and was arrested again -- "Still in the f---ing tie I'd been wearing in court," he said. After four months in prison, he finally got clean; he recently married -- for the seventh time.

7. Ex-Con Found Living In Cave!

David Allan Coe was the outlaw even outlaws were leery of. He spent 20 years in prison for offenses including armed robbery, and claimed to have killed a man who threatened him with sexual assault in a prison shower. When a reporter challenged this story, Coe wrote "I'd Like to Kick the S--- Out of You" in his honor. In the '70s, Coe recorded two albums of X-rated and racist tunes. Money troubles followed. He lived in a cave in Tennessee after the IRS seized his home in the '80s, and in 1990, Feds stormed a stage to repossess a guitar right out of Coe's hands.

6. Meth Man Flashes Cop!

In May 1995, Ty Herndon's debut single went to the top of the country charts. A month later, he was on his way to play a Texas Police convention when he made a stop in a nearby park, allegedly exposed himself to a man and asked him, "What are you into?" Unfortunatey for Herndon, the man was into being an undercover cop conducting a sex-sting operation. When Herndon was searched, the officer found crystal meth in his billfold. Rehab followed but didn't really take: Herndon scored several more hits in the late '90s, but after ditching Nashville for Hollywood, his career bottomed out and he reacquainted himself with his old friend crystal meth. In 2004, he was coaxed back into rehab by his family.

5. "Possum" Goes to Funny Farm!

George Jones's endless string of country hits made him a star, but his wanton misbehavior made him a legend. At 20, he got stabbed in the belly after jumping the repo man who'd come for his car. His booze and cocaine addictions through the '60s and '70s led frequently to gunplay, fisticuffs and enough missed concerts to earn him the sobriquet "No Show" Jones. After accusations of punching his fiancee and trying to shoot his best friend, Jones was eventually committed to a mental hospital. After starring in a televised police chase in the early '80s, he finally sobered up -- but tumbled off the wagon in 1999, drunkenly wrecking his SUV and puncturing a lung. Surprisingly he lived and is still making records.

4. Cheerleader Battered!

Just before releasing a 1991 debut that would spawn four Top 10 singles, Tracy Lawrence was shot four times during a mugging. Three years later, some teenagers gave the star the finger while he was driving; he followed them home and fired his .357 magnum in the air to scare them, precipitating a $4.2 million civil suit. In March 1997, things began looking up: Lawrence married a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. But by September, they'd separated, and by December she'd filed charges against him for allegedly throwing her into a wall, punching and threatening to kill her. Lawrence was eventually convicted of battery and suspended by his record label until he got "his personal matters straight."

3. Accused Rapist in Sky-High Brawl!

Johnny Paycheck ditched home at 15 and later joined the Navy, where he nearly crushed the skull of a superior officer in a fistfight. In 1958, he made his way to Nashville, where he became a player in country's burgeoning outlaw movement -- and an incorrigible drunk. The '70s brought not only Paycheck's biggest hit ('Take This Job and Shove It') but also a paternity suit, bankruptcy and a prison sentence for check forgery. A scuffle aboard a Frontier Airlines plane in 1982 resulted in a $175,000 civil judgment against him. The year before, he was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl; and in 1985, he shot a man in a bar brawl and was locked up for two years. He died in 2003 at 64.

2. Drunk Driver Botches Suicide! Twice!

Mindy McCready's 1996 debut sold 2 million copies. But after that, her life slowly declined: She was arrested for buying OxyContin with a fake prescription in 2004, and again in 2005 for a suspected DUI. Then her ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight reportedly broke down her bedroom door and choked her nearly to death. McKnight was locked up, and McCready lit out for Arizona with a con man and later was charged in a scheme to help him obtain two luxury boats. She reconciled with McKnight, but after discovering she was pregnant with his baby, made two suicide attempts in three months. She gave birth in March 2006; McKnight is now disputing his paternity.

1. Sex-Cult Wife Murdered!

Now almost forgotten, in the '40s Spade Cooley was known as the King of Western Swing. But he was also a heavy drinker with a jealous streak and an appalling temper; he once tried to toss a female vocalist off the Santa Monica pier because she had quit his band. In 1961, convinced that his wife, Ella Mae, had joined a sex cult and had an affair with Roy Rogers, he attacked her in their home. He beat her, choked her and burned her with cigarettes in front of their 14-year-old daughter. Ella Mae was dead upon arrival at the hospital. Convicted of murder, Cooley was granted a three-day prison furlough in 1969 to play a benefit concert. After performing, he strode offstage and died of a heart attack.

I guess (hope?) it's a sign of success that the tabloids remain so interested in our stars of today and yesterday..

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Here We Go Again (And Again.. And Again!)

Arbitron this week released its quarterly update of American Radio Listening Trends for Fall 2006 in the 96 continuous measurement markets and News-Talk remains #1 12+, but slipped 0.4 share point from a year earlier to a 17.6 AQH share radio listening.

o AC ranks #2 12+ on the strength of another impressive December of Holiday music, tops the 25-54 demo. News/talk is first in 35-64 and 35+.
o Spanish (11.2) is the biggest gainer, now ranking third in the report.
o Contemporary Hits (10.7) ranks fourth and Urban (10.1) comes in fifth.
o Country’s 9.2 share ranks #6 and is up .2 from last fall and up .8 from 2001, but Country's 18-34 is down a full share point from 2001.
o The biggest loser as measured by share point drop: Rock (down to a 7.3 from Fall 2005’s 8.2 and Fall 2001’s 8.9).

At the same time, A&O – not coincidentally – is recommending that our clients cut the number of “power” currents, increasing the number of secondaries but making a net decrease in the total number of currents being played by two.

Why? The fact is that there are simply fewer songs testing in our clients’ local research at a level which justifies exposure in our heaviest rotations.

Ironically, also this week, fate stepped in to give me a bit of historical perspective on these trends reminding me that “we’ve seen this movie” many times before.

I happened to be cleaning out old files and somehow came across the June 12, 1993, edition of the new-defunct trade publication “Network 40,” which featured an interview with three PD's whose CHR stations were #1 12+ in the Winter 1993 ARB's.

Network Forty editor Gerry Cagle (who now writes for
MusicBiz) spotlighted them as harbingers of a turnaround of CHR, which had been in the doldrums while country’s class of 1989 was hot, hot, hot, making country’s cume go up 35% and hit share levels which haven’t been reached since that time.

Cagle wanted to know what these three programmers were doing to turn the Top 40 downtrend around.

Ken Benson of KKRZ, Portland (who is now International VP and researcher at
Pinnacle Media Worldwide): “Our main goal is to program for cume. We want as many people listening to Z-100 as possible. So, we have a tight list. We carefully select the records we play. We also have a big street presence, killer promotions and real air personalities, not liner card jocks. We do auditorium and focus groups to find what fits the radio station and what sounds right. We are completely market-focused.”

Dan Kiley, who quickly rose to become PD of KIIS, Los Angeles, from 1997 to 2001, ultimately died of a heart attack on April 9, 2006 and is still greatly missed by those of us who knew him, was PD at KQKQ, Omaha at the time of this interview: “Every Top 40 in the country is different. So, it is important to play the Top 40 Omaha wants. Right now the mix is incredibly important. As a mainstream Top 40, we play a lot of records from both ends of the spectrum. Our music is probably very polarized to its important to get a precise feel from both ends of our audience. We have a very dominant morning show and that's where a big chunk of our 25-54 numbers are. This is a great radio station because there is no pressure to go after 25-54. But, when you do a solid Top 40, those numbers come along with it in this town.”

Jerry Dean, at KLUC, Las Vegas at the time (and last I heard was OM for Entercom in Memphis): “For us, it has basically been getting our music on track. The main reason anybody listens to any radio station is to hear their favorite music. We tried for 25-54, a demo that doesn't listen to Top 40 radio anymore, and we have cured ourselves of that. A Coleman Research project showed that people had a certain expectation of KLUC and we weren't meeting it. That's why our ratings were down. So, we got our music back together and made sure it was tightly focused and much more up tempo. That's the main reason we moved 6.1 to 6.8 and in those .7 of a point we went from fifth place to first! A successful Top 40 station has to be dominant in teens and 18-24 women.”

One other possible factor that I remember: Las Vegas at the time had THREE FM country stations and an AM classic country, which was up from two just six months earlier and one only several years before that.

So, another factor in the CHR turnaround and the peaking of country in the mid 1990’s was the birth of more country stations than the exploding shares of the previous year or two could sustain.

Sound familiar?

Cagle also asked the three successful Top 40 programmers what they do about the country phenomenon…

Ken: “Ignore it. It's beginning to peak here in Portland. Last summer, seven out of the top selling ten albums were country. Last week, there was only one country record in the top 10. Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson's resurgence has taken the spotlight off Garth Brooks. The quality and diversity of available hit music is the best it has been in quite a few years. Star power is really strong.”

Dan: “Do what you do and do it very well. If a new country signs on, be sure you are on the street and promotionally active - because you are no longer the "new" kid. Country shares are being divided up by two or three stations in most markets now. What that pie gets divided up, they'll come back to you. I do not think we can play country crossovers because all of a sudden there are five stations playing country records. People are not coming to me to hear Mary-Chapin Carpenter, so I have to just keep on doing what I'm known for doing.”

Jerry backed up my point: “…two years ago, there was one country station in Las Vegas. Now, there's four. That helps Top 40, because now the Top 40 station has the chance to "own" a format. Country is media-driven and like any media-hyped format it adheres to what (Nationwide National VP at the time, another name in this article who has done well for himself since then) Guy Zapoleon describes as The Lemming Principle: everybody jumps on board, thereby burning it out. The media-hyped resurgence is over.”

At the time, I wrote in an article for my clients: “I don't think is HAS to be that way IF we who program country radio read the CHR advice they just gave to other Top 40 programmers and apply it to OUR target and town.

Country's recent explosion is a lot more than just a media hype. It's borne out of great songwriters, creating hit songs that relate perfectly to a broad cross-section of the same folks that both Bill Clinton and George Bush (the first one!) were attempting to speak to in the Fall 2002 national election -- the "family values" and "change" crowd, who are the three HUGE generations between age 20 and 55 today, the Leading Edge Boomers, the Brady Boom and Generation X.

“I maintain that, to win 25-54, you MUST satisfy them ALL. And, since AC is dependent on CHR for its new music and in spite of the fact that things ARE looking up right now, there is still more polarity than agreement on most pop songs and artists. Meanwhile, there is tremendous unanimity among the folks who are drawn to country music. Predictions that the country format would fragment were rampant two years ago. Instead, something magic happened: country music changed! And, the taste of the entire target audience (ages teen to 64) has changed along with it. The key now more than ever is asking listeners what they expect from their favorite radio station, quantifying those responses and acting on what they tell you by giving them big doses of what they want - specializing in that thing and stressing that fact as the key difference between you and their other choices on the radio dial.”

It’s been almost 14 years since those words were all written, and 2007 is incredibly different in many, many ways when compared to what now seem like “the simpler times” of 1993.

But, you’ll forgive me if I also exercise a wee bit of the perspective which experience and age provides and also sigh:

“Here we go again.”

Will YOU be one of the programmers of 2007 whose ability to win in changing times will make you one of the successful visionaries and leaders whose wisdom stands the test of time in the next seven to fourteen years?

Friday, February 16, 2007

A View From The Left: "Country Music Wasn't Always Right"

Don't let that logo of a liberal magazine scare you. This isn't about politics. But, one of the findings A&O will reveal at our Pre-CRS Sunrise Seminar at the Country Music Hall Of Fame is that country radio listeners have been becoming increasingly GOP-leaning and less Democrat-leaning in the past 12 months. Given that, writer J. Lester Feder provides a very interesting history of the politics of country music and artists over the years:
"Country music itself is in a pretty strange place, too. It's arguably the only music genre that would dethrone its reigning queens for an off-hand political comment. But many Americans watching the Chicks fall from Country grace were not surprised by the backlash. Country music has conservatism in its DNA, right? Not quite. Country music married into the conservative movement -- it wasn't born there. Country music's roots are as much populist as reactionary. Always fiercely allied with working people, the earliest country stars were old enough to have campaigned for populist champions like Tom Watson; FDR was celebrated in songs of the Depression; and Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash were feted by liberals for speaking up for the downtrodden in the '60s. Country music only became synonymous with mainline conservatism -- indeed, only became consistently political -- in the late '60s, a shift that not only helped buoy Richard Nixon into the White House, but reshaped the media landscape. The wars of the Dixie Chicks are the legacy of these years, but so are Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Fox News -- the conservative noise machine itself. The idea of values-based marketing to conservatives began with country music."

I wouldn't go quite THAT far (after all, Tim McGraw is a Democrat who even talks at times about running for Governor of Tennesse some day and the Country Format v The Dixie Chicks issues are more about their terrible handling of literally every opportunity to "Make Nice" over the last three years than it is political), but his hypothsis is indeed fascinating to roll around in your brain, eh?

Monday, February 12, 2007

What’s Hot… Valentines Gifts + Who will be the next American Idol?

* Consumer confidence reaches almost 5 year high
* Increasing confidence leads to slightly decreasing practicality
* Employment outlook in February is a mixed bag
* The Golden Arches takes quarter-pounder bite out of fast food market
* The “Wal-Mart slide” continues in Apparel
* CMI: Best Buy continues as biggest big box on the block
* Battle for king of the Sporting Goods hill

Millions and millions of viewers can’t be wrong… American Idol is what’s hot this month…Bluetooth headsets and Presidential-hopeful Barack Obama follow.

Partying at Mardi Gras is a hit among younger consumers, while those over 35 declare the Academy Awards a winner.

What’s Not? It’s time to brighten up for spring ladies…black nail polish is so 2006.

Online Video Faves: News for the middle-aged, music videos for young adults

Those are two of the main findings of a new study conducted by InsightExpress on behalf of Advertising.com regarding online video viewing habits. According to the study of 500 adults ages 18 and older, nearly half of streaming video users were likely to watch news clips or music videos (48.6% and 47.4%, respectively). About a third (32.6%) of the respondents were likely to watch streaming music videos.

Notably, only two of 10 online video users said that they were likely to stream user-generated content. This means a lot of user-generated content may go unwatched, since such content is expected to comprise more than half of all online video by 2010, according to Screen Digest.
According to the Advertising.com study, the vast majority (87.9%) of video streams are viewed at home, while 8.5% are viewed at work and 3.6% at school.

The type of content viewed by study respondents depended on age. Viewers ages 35 and older were 24% more likely to watch news clips than the overall group. Similarly, respondents ages 18 to 34 were 38% more likely to watch streamed music videos than the group as a whole.
Question: should your news team have video cameras with them? Should you post online video on your website of your local news and promote that in your radio newscasts? Newspapers are starting to do this now. The brands which want to emerge as the local news leader, whether today we're 'print,' 'radio,' or 'television,' are going to be in the space soon. (click to see how they do it in Door County, Wisconsin)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Country Stars Call For Vintage Performance Preservation

Hollywood Dirt Daily: Leann Rimes has joined fellow country stars to petition for better preservation of vintage country performances. The singer kicked off the The Soul of Country, this year's (07) Grammy Foundation Music Preservation Project, on Thursday night (08Feb07) with a cover of Patsy Cline's Crazy and used the occasion to highlight the plight of old audio and video performances.

Speaking at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, Los Angeles, she said, "It's so important to preserve music history. I want my kids to know all these great artists of the past."

Other stars supporting the campaign include Marty Stuart, Charley Pride and Porter Wagoner, best known for his duets with Dolly Parton. As well as live performances, the event featured footage from the archives of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, including Richard Nixon's 1974 piano-playing appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.

Meanwhile, in Nashville, some music biz pros complain that country music is the red-headed step child of the Grammys.
Joe Nichols says "I think country never gets its due with anything, really, as far as a global music get-together. Country is always like, 'If we've got time. If we've got the slot for that.' Whereas pop music, they'll get four or five categories and we'll get one. We'll get one or two performances where the pop guys get the whole night. "If they look at the way country has been in the last few years, we've actually kicked everybody else's butt. So I think some more respect needs to be paid on a lot of fronts … because a Grammy means the world, and country music deserves its share in the pond. They sell more records, they actually appeal to more people, and they make more people's lives happier than a lot of genres do." When asked about country's role at the Grammys, Shooter Jennings responded, "Does it have one?"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thanks AGAIN, RAEL.. You May Have Given Some Ammo To Us Clutter Police!

In the item below (RAEL Hits Another Home Run) I strongly recommended the latest Radio Ad Lab study, released only Friday. Now the RAEL Webcast from RAB'07 in Dallas (Requires Windows Media) is also online too. However, that isn't why I am writing an additional post.

Here's why I want you to down load the full report Radio and the Internet: Powerful Complements for Advertisers and go immediately to Page 24, where they talk about an unintended "research effect" of the study, especially if you have a client who wants to run more than one ad a quarter hour, or a client, seller, SM or GM who feels that every traffic, weather, news and sports update must have both an open and a close ID for the sponsor. Direct from the study:
...those receiving two exposures to the same radio ad were hearing that ad twice only a few minutes apart. Harris Interactive and the RAEL Research Committee both now believe that those two exposures in such quick succession may actually have harmed the more emotions-linked responses. While the second exposure may have continued to grow with the second radio impression, the second exposure may have actually started to hurt whatever positive feelings were triggered by the first exposure.

Yes, I know that a "research effect" isn't a finding or a recommendation and these two ads were :30's not :10's or :05's, but this makes so much sense that I hope you'll keep the pages in this latest RAEL report describing this phenomonon close by and ask anyone who wants to run the same 'ad' more than once in under 12 minutes to reconsider that in light of the fact that it could be hurting THEM (...as well as US).

Friday, February 09, 2007

Music Row: TK, Keith Urban, Country Grammy Nominees, JMC

Music Row:

Toby Keith has secured six consecutive sellout shows on his Ford Trucks sponsored Hookin' Up & Hangin' Out Tour. The first stops of the busy star/race horse owner's 2007 leg were in Albany, NY, Verona, NY, Portland, ME, and Manchester, NH.

Keith Urban is set to perform a three-song set on the Today Show on Fri., Feb. 16. The concert will be at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Urban’s first U.S. performance since leaving rehabilitation was held last night (2/8/07) in Chicago at a benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He is also gearing up for the first leg of his Love, Pain & the whole crazy World Tour, which takes to North American soil on June 8 in Phoenix.

The 49th Grammy Awards will be held Sunday night Feb. 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will air on CBS at 7 p.m. CT. Nominees Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood will perform a tribute to country rock and two-time winner LeAnn Rimes will present. Also performing are nominees and past winners the Dixie Chicks. XM will broadcast “Grammy Radio” on XM channel 200 from Feb. 9-11. Yahoo! Music is handling the official online coverage.R&B mainstay Mary J. Blige was the most-nominated Grammy artist, with nods in eight categories. The Red Hot Chili Peppers received six noms; James Blunt, the Dixie Chicks, John Mayer, Danger Mouse, Prince, Rick Rubin, will.i.am and John Williams earned five nominations.Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice" is up for Song and Record of the Year, and Taking The Long Way earned an Album of the Year nomination. Underwood scored a Best New Artist Nomination and her hit "Jesus, Take The Wheel" won a Song of the Year nod for Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson.

The debut album from Arista Nashville’s Jason Michael Carroll was released this week, and he is amid a multi-city launch tour of radio, television, concerts, and personal appearances. At his kick-off performance in Raleigh, NC, fans snapped up more than 600 copies of Waitin’ in the Country. As part of a non-stop stretch that took the singer through Atlanta, Louisville, Kansas City, and more, Carroll stops today (2/9/07) in Minneapolis.

RAEL Hits Another Home Run

The Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab is conducting a new series of research projects under the umbrella theme, “Radio and the Consumer's Mind: How Radio Works.”

The goal is to continue learning both how Radio advertising affects consumers differently and how it works synergistically with other forms of media. The new paper, "Radio and the Internet: Powerful Complements for Advertisers," includes a new Internet-based experiment conducted by Harris Interactive for RAEL. This new test adds to knowledge from other research to provide an overview of how Radio and the Internet could work well together as ad vehicles.

This new online test showed that recall of advertising is dramatically enhanced (27 percent versus 6 percent) when a mix of Radio and Internet ads is used compared to website ads alone. Radio ads can also improve website traffic and a brand's emotional bond with consumers when added to Internet exposures. Overall, the picture seems clear: Radio and the Internet can be powerful advertising complements. Whether the goal is to reach more people, or to reach them with greater impact, this particular combination of media seems to be a recipe that’s worthy of more consideration.

The full report from the study can be downloaded by clicking below.

Executive Summary: Radio and the Internet: Powerful Complements for Advertisers (four-page summary of the results; published February 2007)

Shame on you if you talk on, write for or market radio and you don't run, not walk, to the RAEL website for this great information!

Kellie Pickler's Heartbreaking Family History

Kellie Pickler’s father is in trouble with the law again. The Stanly County Sheriff’s Office said Clyde Raymond Pickler Jr., known to most as Bo, was arrested early Wednesday morning on assault charges.
I hear that she still has not spoken to her mother, even in the wake of her current success and has no desire to do so. If that's true, you sure can't blame her, but I hope at some point she can put all of this pain to rest once and for all.

I Am Not Surprised

Inside Radio's bulletin: A second bombshell at the RAB - The Media Audit/Ipsos get millions from broadcasters for a full-market test in Houston.

I think this is all about $$. Arbitron had to know this was coming, even as they got MRC Accreditation for PPM last week in at least the market PPM is online right now, given their insistence on a 65% rate increase for the Portable People Meter. I still don't understand why they've haven't been pricing for market share while they had the exclusive.

Now, it gets very interesting. It would be great to see, as good as ARB and its people are, some real competition in the radio ratings business! Unfortunately, it means at least one more year of uncertainty, but (fortunately) we've all become very good (of necessity!!) at adaptation, flexibility and change in the business climate of this last decade...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

You Tube Viewers Say They Watch Less TV

66% claim they are sacrificing other activities when on YouTube
36% say their visits to the site are most likely to have been at the expense of visiting other websites
32% say their time spent watching TV is next most likely to have taken a hit
20% think that YouTube also pre-empts email and other online social networking
19% defer work/homework
15% aren't playing video games
12% are not watching DVD(s) and not spending time with friends and family in person

However, 73 percent of frequent YouTube users say they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip. 42 percent of online U.S. adults say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 14 percent say they visit the site frequently.

Brand = Experience

A recent study by the Louws Management Corporation, where 80% of 711 advertising and marketing professionals surveyed said they are strongly aware of their company's brand positioning, but only one fourth of them "can clearly articulate (their) company's brand position to... clients, customers or prospective clients."
I think there's something more fundamental and troubling in these survey results. Jakob Nielsen once said that on the Web, branding is much more about experience than exposure. This is true to a profound level that escapes many marketers. In the new world of empowered buyers, they engage with a brand at a thousand different touch points, and every one of those touch points builds a brand "mosaic" -- an image of the brand that the buyers participate in building because the Web has empowered them to do so. Every single member of the company that consumers connect with also helps build this collective brand picture. And that's why the findings of this study are so deeply troubling. If 75% of the people who are the marketing stewards of the brand message can't express it in simple language, what hope is there for the customer service person, in a contracted call center, who, for one customer at one particular point of time, is the entire brand? In this new reality, where brand is built on the front lines, through real contact with real customers, rather than in carefully controlled messaging that comes through a handful of advertising channels, crystal-clear communication within an organization becomes an imperative. In this new definition of marketing, cult-like cultures, an obsessive focus on corporate purpose and company-wide alignment are the prerequisites for success. Brand messaging has to be more than marketspeak, it has to be a mantra, the cornerstone of a strategy that is communicated to every member of the company repeatedly, clearly and fervently. It has to be a concept so crystal clear, so absolutely unambiguous, that there can be no questioning what it means. Every single member of the company has to have it on the tip of their tongue - and, infinitely more important, embedded deep within their beliefs. That's the only way it can be consistently spread through the thousands and millions of interactions and conversations that make up the new brand mosaic. --- Gord Hotchkiss, president of Enquiro, a search engine marketing firm
If I could have said it better, I would have!

Kagan: Losing Growth At The Movie Theatre, Making It Up In Popcorn

Wade Holden is an analyst at Kagan Research with expertise in motion pictures:
The music industry (CDs have been a sales slump since 2000) and
broadcast networks (losing audience share) would welcome a level environment.In the movie theater business, Kagan Research newsletter
Motion Picture Investor estimates that the 2006 total of 1.4 bil. U.S. admissions matches the industry's 1997 total. Yet it's still pretty good times for film exhibitors. Still, flat admissions are not necessarily bad news at the box office. Admissions revenue—which factors in ticket price hikes—has increased at a compound annual growth rate of over 4% since 1997, estimates Motion Picture Investor. So theaters are scratching out box office gains.

"Commercials Are Inevitable"

Eric Morath of the Detroit News got to wondering if the ads starting to appear on XM and Sirius were affecting renewal rates and subscriptions, and his article is very interesting. But, he includes a few quotes that are really relevant to all of us:
1. "What wowed you 15 minutes ago doesn't wow you 15 minutes from now."
2. "As far as adverting, the bottom line is, if thousands or millions come in contact with a new form of media, brands are likely to follow."
3. "A decade or so ago, some basic cable movie channels, such as American Movie Classics (AMC), did not interrupt films with commercials and Internet users read e-mail without sifting through spam. Even terrestrial radio was commercial free at the beginning of the last century, but the Radio Act of 1927 allowed networks to take on advertisers, rather than rely on government support. The commercials, however, don't bother everyone. XM subscriber Matt Nowaczok said he signed up for the wider variety of music and the availability of more news-talk outlets. He said commercials are a minor annoyance compared to how much he enjoys the service."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sara Evans Appointed To American Red Cross' Celebrity Cabinet - Third Year In A Row

Sara took part last week in a new photo shoot for a national public service campaign that will be seen nationwide beginning in March, which urges people to volunteer when and where they can:
"My responsibility as a spokesperson for the Red Cross is just that, to get the word out...[at] every opportunity that I get."

The Super Bowl: Who Watched Why?

More than half the U.S. adults watching yesterday's Super Bowl game did it as much or more for the ads than the football.
- 20% watched for the commercials only
- 37% watched for the commercials and the game
Meanwhile, age matters. Of those watching as much or more for the commercials:
- 61% of viewers ages 18-34 did
- 48% ages 55 and older did
Source: Harris Interactive pre-game survey

Watch the ads here.

Sunday Papers Interview Country Artists, Old And New

Read a revealing AP profile by John Germone of what George Jones is doing and thinking these days in the Kansas City Star:
“I wasted a big, big part of my life. So many important years were totally lost,” said Jones. Today, sober and in good spirits, the 75-year-old singer says he has a lot to look back on and a lot to celebrate, including a recent album with fellow luminary Merle Haggard.
Phil Vassar performs in Great Falls on Saturday, May 5, at the Benefis Foundation's annual MayFaire fundraiser. Last year's event, featuring Trisha Yearwood, raised $52,000 for Mercy Flight. This year's fundraising goal is $80,000-$100,000, with proceeds supporting Benefis Healthcare's women's and children's services in the new Patient Care Tower.
One of Vassar's songs, "The Woman in My Life," is a tribute to his mother, wife and daughters. It fits perfectly with the beneficiary's emphasis on women and children, said Becky Nelson, development director at Benefis Healthcare Foundation.
Kathy Scovill interviews Kellie Pickler, Best Selling New Country Music Artist of 2006:
I think you are your biggest competition, because you’re your biggest critic. I don’t make it as a competition; I just try to do the best that I can. We are all very happy for each other. It’s nice to watch each other grow, and become successful and follow our dreams. And so we are all very happy for each other. I think it would be very immature to make it a competition, because that’s not what it is.

Ty Herndon Goes Home To Help Boys And Girls

Herndon's hometown paper sent reporter Holly Hollman interview him on the eve of a local fund-raiser and she writes: "Struggle turns into SUCCESS."

Hopefully, lots of folks will buy those $20 tickets for the May 12 stadium event. Sounds like both Ty and his hometown Boys And Girls Club are working on "What Mattered Most."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

WSOC Press Release: Tanner Sends Valentines To The Troops

Operations Manager/Program Director for Sports Radio 610AM WFNZ 1660AM WFNA & Country Station 103.7 WSOC DJ Stout announced today that Rob Tanner from the Tanner in the Morning Show will reach out to the community to collect hundreds of Valentine's cards to mail to our hometown troops serving duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Tanner and our 103.7 WSOC loyal listeners are always coming up with unique ways to thank our troops and since Valentine's Day is coming up, 103.7 WSOC really wants to show all of our men and women on duty how much we love them and that we are always thinking of them even on Valentine's Day", said Stout. Stout also said, "We have had an amazing and overwhelming response to our request for Valentine's cards and Tanner has received over 3,000 special Valentine's cards that he will mail to various military personnel serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The 103.7 WSOC listeners are the most caring and supportive people when it comes to thinking about our community and our local heroes in the military", said Rob Tanner, host of the Tanner in the Morning Show. "It is great to know that our troops won't be forgotten this Valentine's Day when they are away from their families and the ones that they love".

#1 for Charlotte's Country Favorites, 103.7 WSOC is a CBS Radio station. The station began playing and promoting country music in the Carolinas in 1971. The call letters, which stand for, "We Serve Our Community", were established in 1928.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Super Bowl = America's Truest National Holiday?

With 30-second spots going for as much as $2.6 million this year, Media Post's Laurie Petersen writes: it's again become as big a cultural event for the advertising as for the action on the field. Add a dollop of consumer-generated media this year, and watch it unfold. Here are some links to enhance your experience.

Popular Super Bowl Myths Debunked

ESPN's Top 10 List of All-Time Greatest Super Bowl Commercials

Manning Field talks about being there vs. seeing it on TV Board

Amy Corr's Pre-Game Ad Previews in Out to Launch

Nina Lentini's Pre-Game Survey Of Super Bowl Ads by 'Real People'

CBS Special on the Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials

Nielsen's Guide to Super Bowl Economics

On Sunday, AdForum will feature a post-game series of 70 ads, published in real time, with about a 10-minute delay. Check it out.

YouTube promises post-game fun with ads.

AdAge looks at the game from every conceivable angle.