Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A&O To Bring 180 Lightbulbs And A Roadmap To The CCMA Convention

Hopefully, you plan to be in Regina. If so, I'll see you there. The Albright & O'Malley Seminars will be on Saturday and Sunday (9/8-9/9).

Saturday 12:45pm – 2:00pm, Umbria Room, Delta Regina
Seminar: Albright & O’Malley’s Canada Country Radio Roadmap 2007
Two just completed Albright & O’Malley national studies of Canadian country radio listeners, a national perceptual research project in conjunction with Mercury Research guru Mark Ramsey, and a national test of almost 700 songs using MediaScore. What actions should Canadian country broadcasters be taking right now in light of these new findings? Jaye Albright for A&O will report on the facts and then a panel comprised of some of Canada’s best programmers will build a plan of action.

Saturday 2:15pm – 3:30pm - Music Meeting 101
Seminar: Why Aren’t They Playing My Song?
You’re sure “it’s the song”. You work tirelessly to push it through the recording process. You get it to radio, to the powers that be, but your song doesn’t make the cut. Find out why. Did you know only 1 or 2 songs are added to radio playlists each week – from all sources? That radio in 2007 heard a lot of music that was poorly produced, had soft vocals, badly structured songs, and more. How do we know? They’re coming to Country Music Week to tell you about it. Top Canadian MDs and PDs hold a real, live “Music Meeting” – something usually held behind closed doors, to tell it like it is with current music charts, up to minute music delivery systems, and the realities for artists on what it takes to get on the air.

Sunday 2:15pm 3:30pm
Seminar: 180 Light Bulbs for Broadcasters in 90 Minutes
Jaye Albright unpacks her bags full of fresh ideas, tactics and strategies culled from top country radio stations all over North America. Grab a coffee, and join a fact-paced brainstorm that will draw you into its vortex and we’re betting it won’t be long before you start sharing your best from the past year. All attendees will receive take-aways.

Two other Sunday sessions not to be missed: "Live Performance Coaching" with Nashville's Tom Jackson (very applicable to air personalities as well as musicians and other artists/performers)

Our goal, thanks to CCMA: give you lots of ideas you can implement right after the convention at your station. See you in Saskatchewan!

10,000 In San Diego For American Idol Auditions

KSON's Cliff & Company morning crew was on hand yesterday as thousands of people hoping to be the next Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson or even Sanjaya lined up outside San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium as auditions for the seventh season of "Amer ican Idol" began.

... The rest of the Idol audition schedule:

Dallas, Texas Stadium, August 6
Omaha, Qwest Center, August 10
Atlanta, Georgia Dome, August 14
Charleston, North Charleston Coliseum, August 18
Miami, AmericanAirlines Arena, August 22
Philadelphia, Wachovia Center, August 27

Tips: Read the Season 7 Frequently Asked Questions.., Here are the American Idol Season 7 Rules.., RELEASE FORM: Click here.

Your Own Personal Conclave

If you missed last month's event in Minneapolis, session materials and recordings are now available for the clicking and ordering.

Some good ones to grab (free) right now:

Marketing to Women with Fran and Bill Lytle, How Brands Defy Gravity with David Brier, No Budget Marketing with Lindsay Reinert and Chet Whitmore and E-Mail Marketing That Works with Melinda Krueger, Rebecca Falk, Jamey Garner, and Craig Zimmerman, the "Click On This" Session Presented by DLoad gave everyone a look at the new ways we can communicate with our listeners. Click here for a copy of the MJI presentation on Podcasting, the exclusive Troy Research AC/Hot AC Study, Small Market Secrets Revealed. Click here for Rhonda Wedeking's presentation.

CONCLAVE #33 (June 26-28, 2008): Register early for next years Conclave for just $179.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Arbitron Advisory Council Reads And Weeps

(click on the images to enlarge them)

Arbitron, how can this possibly BE? I thought, based on what we had been told by your top level executives that in exchange for that 60% rate increase you'd be tracking compliance on a daily basis and replacing panelists immediately if their use of the PPM started to fall.

PPM markets, get ready for sample buffering just like we currently see in diary samples. It looks to me like they need to start replacing fatigued respondents in week 4, week 8 and weeks 11 and 12 just like they often do in diary markets now.

Given that possibility, you have to ask was this really worth betting the company on? I know it's the first inning of the game and we're all just learning about the process. But, hasn't Arbitron been testing and sampling PPM for a decade or more?

Looking at these charts, I wonder if it would have been wiser to just invest the rate hikes we're paying for PPM in larger diary samples. Weighting, creating unacceptable and unbelievable wobbles in many western markets, for example, this spring has been at unprecedented levels. PPM was supposed, we had been led to believe, to improve compliance and sample stability, reducing the need for sample weighting.

After all these years of development, this info - now that three markets will be dependent on the new technology by the end of 2007 - is more than a little surprising and disappointing to see.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kellie Pickler And Taylor Swift Make It Brad Paisley’s Pranks, Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour

Swift: “We were kicking around the idea of going into Target dressed as ticks to help Brad out in his first week of album sales. You know to be supportive as his opening acts. But we called stores and asked if we could film it and they said no. It would have been hilarious if we got turned away at a Target, but that wasn't the case. Don't underestimate our pranking abilities!” says Taylor with a grin. “That's where Brad went wrong! At Kellie's hometown show last week in Charlotte, she came out onstage during Brad's acoustic set in overalls and pigtails. She had a bunch of live chickens backstage and proceeded to carry them out and place them on the floor right next to Brad's chair. She brought about six out and leaned over and said into his microphone ‘Welcome to North Carolina, Brad.’ I was in the front row in a wig and ‘Billy-Bob’ teeth screaming ‘I LOVE YOU KELLIE PICKLER!!’. It was about the funniest thing I've seen since our last prank.”

Mike O'Malley Teaches Storytelling At MSBC

Michael will be at the Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago through out the convention, so if you will be there too be sure to call his cell phone (732-937-5757) so you can spend some face time after his Thursday "Becoming A Master Storyteller" session.

Wynonna Gives Some Wonderful Responses To Some Equally-great Lorilee Craker Questions

"When I was 18, God put me on a bus with my mother. What kind of God would do that?" she quipped. "Now," she admitted, I look back and see that (period) as being, musically, the best time of my life."

Wynonna Judd says she is thinking of picking up where "The Osbournes" left off -- in a reality show. "It could be a real sitcom, called 'The Judds,'" she said in a phone interview from her Tennessee farm. "My life is like this these days: I go from trying to figure out what song I am going to sing for the president to talking with my child about wearing deodorant, to sitting with the goats, to looking at the missing rhinestones (in a stage outfit).

-- Wynonna Judd taking life 'one hour at a time'

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chesney Sells Out In Boston; Country's Ambassadors In Ireland

The Police reunion might be on track to be the biggest tour of the year, but fans in New England apparently can’t get enough of country star Kenny Chesney.
“I think more than anything it just shows the hidden power and influence of country music in New England,” said Jim Delaney, of Activate Sports and a veteran big venue promoter. “Clearly (Chesney is) a hot commodity and frankly he’s more current than the Police.”

Ireland's only country music festival headliners Kris Kristofferson and Glen Campbell top the bill at the two-day event in the 160-acre Belvedere House estate in Mullingar.

Friday, July 27, 2007

And, Now, For Something Completely Different

Yeah, I know that you have heard Wolves before, but A&O wants to take our hats off to Patti Marshall the OM of Q-102, B-105.1 and 93.7 the Wolf in Cincinnati and her great crew. She put it this way in an email to the Bonneville/Queen City team:

"Today we re-launched as Open Range Country, 97.3 The Wolf. From the new imaging to the new music (50% of which we did not have in selector) this was an adventure! I’d like to thank everyone in the “pack” for your help.
* Kat O'Connor – who came up with the brilliant idea of the 9 to 5 no repeat work week…(after she saw the logs she wished she hadn’t).
* Jim Blommel and Jessie Tack for changing/creating 200+ pieces of imaging so we could get on the air with a consistent positioning statement.
* Brad Mayes and Jamie Austin who were here with Jessie until 1am dubbing music.
* Premiere Radio Networks' Big D, Bubba and their producer Patrick Thomas for their flexibility in the morning, doing more than you'd think a syndicated morning team could possibly do.
* Coleman Research's Chris Ackerman for his insight and opinion.
* A&O's Jaye Albright and Mark Patric who researched the playlist and worked that Selector multiple times to make Kat’s dream come to life.
* And my dad for driving me to the radio station every Sunday morning when I was 15….seriously, it was great to see everyone’s dedication. What an amazing group of people to work with! While we still have some tweaking to do I know that this group will get it done. I salute you all….4 paws up!

Give it a listen. I think it sounds pretty darn good, and I'll bet you've never heard anything quite like it!

Contest Rules For EVERYTHING, Ya Gotta Have Them

... and, as Clear Channel just found, you can't enforce rules which viewers and listeners have not seen. (FCC says Clear Channel station botched "Win a Hot Rod for Dad" contest)

Yes, it is a hassle to write contest rules for everything and be sure they are readily available to the public, but it's an even bigger hassle to have to pay a $4,000 fine, which from the FCC's perspective is "going easy" on the station.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hats Off To FX-101-9's Bill Hart

Like the station's website says: What do you get when you cross a Scottish man and a Newfoundland woman? Bill Hart, that's what!
.. and you also get a newspaper columnist on country music too. (click to read some of his recent columns)
Hmmm.. could you do something like this for YOUR local media?

Jay Inslee Is My Congressman And I Am So Proud Of Him

The latest: Jay has introduced legislation that would limit webcaster payments to 7.5 percent of revenue. The bill, which has a twin in the Senate, has been sent to a number of different committees, but many legislators have asked webcasters and SoundExchange to eliminate the need for a bill by working out a deal of their own.

"My" D.C. rep thinks the new rate schedule will prove disastrous not only to webcasters, but also to listeners and even music artists. He argues that the Internet radio industry benefits all Americans by offering them far greater variety than traditional radio and that it benefits smaller artists by providing them exposure they'd never get otherwise.

Webcasters like Pandora and Last FM collectively broadcast songs from more than 100,000 artists every day – and most of them provide links that make it easy for users to buy the music they're hearing. Most of those artists never get any exposure on regular commercial radio or even satellite radio. Webcaster surveys suggest that exposure to new artists and new songs leads frequent listeners to buy more music and see more shows than they did before they discovered Internet radio. SoundExchange, of course, argues that plummeting music sales show that Internet radio hurts sales by providing a substitute for CDs and other purchased music.

Union Claims The Quality Of News Is Falling

What we have always understood as "journalism" is evolving very quickly. Traditional media outlets, including newspapers, elevision, and radio, still produce most of the original news reporting in America. Yet the combined pressure of profit expectations and the loss of audiences and advertisers to "new media" are causing media companies to examine every aspect of how they do business. That has led to many changes in the workplace for journalists. The question is: do these changes help or hinder the provision of quality news to the public?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The CNN-YouTube Debate

Reaching Out To Teens, Hoping They Turn On HD Radio

Take a look, and a listen, to two innovative approaches:

Note how viral they are trying to be. Social networking, and NO corporate logos anywhere to be seen. Although, of course, viral is when they tell their friends about US.. not just US trying to get them to do so, but these two seem well worth keeping an eye on. Have you heard anything new lately to bring teens back to the traditional radio dial which impressed YOU?

Monday, July 23, 2007

(More On A Very Positive Thread) The Best Radio Idea Of 2006-2007

When I heard of Edison Research's "30 under 30" competition, that was the headline I used. Now, I'd like to use it again for this equally-exciting development: Sixteen communication majors at Appalachian State University attended the inaugural Kellar Radio Farm System Institute hosted by the Department of Communication. During the 10-day institute, students heard from a variety of broadcast professionals including (pictured) James K. Flynn, a 1977 Appalachian graduate and former radio personality, and Ray Mariner, afternoon co-host on Atlanta’s Star 94FM. Students in the institute learned about on air work, news, writing, sales, traffic, programming, management, ownership and other aspects of the industry.

The program was established to serve as a farm system for future radio broadcasters. It is directed by Dan Vallie, one of the radio industry’s top consultants, and general manager of campus radio station WASU in the Department of Communication.

Big kudos to Art, Dan and the other faculty at this summer's event, Beasley Broadcast CEO George Beasley, Lincoln Financial VP/Programming John Dimick, Curtis Media President Phil Zachary, Talentmasters CEO Don Anthony, WFBC-FM/Greenville PD Chase Murphy, WSPA-WGVC/Greenville OM Mark Hamlin, WORD-WYRD/Greenville PD Bob McLain, Beasley Regional VP Danny Highsmith and CBS/Charlotte Marketing Director Natalie Kirby.

Brad Visits Blair

Brad Paisley visited with Blair Garner's After MidNite recently and commented on why he's offered the video of "Online" for sale to his fans.

"It’s a neat way to do it, because it seems like, with all my hard-core
fans, it takes them even a week or two to once they start running in rotation to luck out and catch it [on GAC or CMT]. There are a bunch of ways you can now see it, and one of them is to go buy it, which is a great thing, because the video for this song is almost six minutes long, we extended the song quite a bit, there’s an all-star cast, it’s a lot like a little sit-com, and I really wanted it to be the kind of thing where somebody could go get this themselves and watch it over and over and pause it on certain things. There’s little details in there that you can see if you pause it….you couldn’t do that before."

Brad was also asked about his son, William Huckleberry, and whether he's called "Will" or "Huck?"

"It goes back and forth," said Brad. "It depends on my state of my mind that day and where we’re at. In Tennessee, he becomes Huck quite a bit. When we’re out in California, he’s Will, definitely. It’s a great nickname. He’s extremely happy and smiles all the time, and is a very positive baby. He’s very inquisitive and he’s not fussy in any way. I just love being around him."

Newcomer JASON MICHAEL CARROLL loves telling the story that he sang a Paisley penned tune, "Another You," on a radio karaoke contest. Jason Michael told Blair Garner's After MidNite, that he's still a bit intimidated while in Brad's presence. "I think Brad is so cool. I’m kind of intimidated by him, because my very first time opening up for a national act was opening for Brad Paisley. As cool as he is, he’s always been great to me, but I’m still a little intimidated, like ‘Gosh, that’s Brad Paisley!”

Trisha, Taylor, Jack Ingram, Jimmy Wayne Updates

From John Zarling's "Big Machine Weekly Report:"

Trisha Yearwood is back on the radio with her new single “Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love”, her first release on Big Machine. And the owner of 10 #1 hits says its important to keep things fresh: “After making records for 16 years, you are no longer the new girl on the block, and you have to find new ways to be creative,” observes Trisha. “This whole album has been completed in a month. I’ve never made a record this quickly since the first album. And it feels a lot like the first time. There’s all this new energy and excitement and everything’s just falling into place.” Things have fallen into place so much so that the album will make the planned November 13th release date.

Taylor Swift opened a series of shows last week for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their record-breaking Soul 2 Soul II Tour, and after the first show in New Jersey, Taylor found a pleasant surprise backstage. “I went back to my dressing room and found these two boxes in wrapping paper and a note from Tim and Faith!” writes Taylor on her MySpace blog. “In one of the boxes was a candle that smells unbelievable, and in the other one was this Juicy Couture charm bracelet that I'm never taking off for the rest of my life. I can't believe how sweet that was of them…Faith is so nice. Like, think of it this way: as beautiful as she is, she is THAT nice.” Taylor has wrapped her run of dates with the power couple; she was back on the road this weekend with Brad Paisley’s Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour.

The Many Uses Of Duct Tape: Over the past two years, as Jack Ingram has been taking his new music to fans from coast to coast, one thing is always with him: his favorite pair of black cowboy boots. This weekend in Raleigh, for Brad Paisley’s Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour, the boots sported two holes in the soles. “On Friday, I was wandering around the venue and wondering why my socks were getting soggy, and I realized that the soles of my boots had worn down to nothing,” recalls 2006’s most-played new country artist. “You know, my label has been working me pretty hard the last two years and these boots have seen a lot of miles. I don’t see anytime soon that I will have time to get the boots re-soled, so I just figured I’d grab some duct tape from the production guys and wrap them up. Hey, the tape is black anyway, so most people haven’t noticed!” But for fans that do indeed notice the duct tape during future meet and greets, Jack has this to say: “I wear a size 14 boot, double-D, with a pointed toe, so if anyone finds any cool boots and wants to bring them to the show, I think I can put them to good use!” he notes with a grin.

Jimmy Wayne played at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville on Saturday, July 14th. The show was available for fans to watch on virtual network website Second Life. This show also featured Billy Kirsch (co-writer of "Stay Gone") Tony Haselden, and Bob Regan. We're not sure if this is coincidence or not, but Jimmy offered up a special CD and photo gift pack to the highest tipper of the evening and one of the waitresses received a $400 tip! We know that Jimmy's music has been known to do amazing things to people, but after Jimmy's performance of his hit song "I Love You This Much", one of the show's attendees required medical attention! Fortunately, a former doctor, who is now a songwriter, was in the house.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mindy McCready Jailed Over The Weekend

Mindy McCready's booking mug shot, provided by the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff.

The 31-year-old blonde, blue-eyed singer has faced several troubles in recent years.

As John Osborne, Naples Daily News Correspondent writes: "Ten thousand angels may not be enough for the country music superstar and North Fort Myers native."

McCready faces an August 14 court appearance after posting her $1,000 bail on Saturday night and being released. She is charged with two misdemeanors: battery and resisting a law enforcement officer.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Houston, Philadelphia's PPM Country Cumes, Month #1

A very tight race, with everyone's cumes up from the diary data:

KILT: 935,200
KKBQ 93 Q Country: 915,000 listeners
KTHT: 586,700 (Classic Country's TSL is much better than the two higher cume mainstream country stations)

In Philadelphia, WXTU's cume is 805,900 in the June PPM release.

Can our sellers start thinking REACH instead of RATING POINTS? It's a must.

What Are You Doing On Friday Afternoon? Friday Night?

Friday is the biggest weekday for radio listening, at least according to one month of PPM numbers from Houston. PPM shows the lift in Friday listening starts at 3pm and peaks in the 10pm to 11pm hour.

Friday had the largest average quarter hour audience in the latest monthlies and Monday is the lowest and each day's audience grows sequentially according to Arbitron data.

How could you take that big Friday afternoon and evening blip in "real" listening (is it that your listeners are wondering what to do this weekend?) and make the most of it, while also using it to build weekend and Monday morning audience shares?

What Do You Stand For?

You call yourself a personality.
So, what's your your purpose in life?
“You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.” -- Zig Ziglar

The foundation for a successful team, business or a relatable personality is a mission, standing up for a cause, stated in a way that:

* Expresses a higher purpose or ultimate meaning of the organization
* Gives direction to daily work
* Encompasses all tasks and members
* Is clear enough to be understood by all members
* Is brief enough to be remembered by all members
* Is not necessarily measurable

And, since it is unique to YOU, it can't be copied from others you admire and emulate. BUT, there are tools to help you. I like this one as a good starting place.

I can't wait to hear examples of how you bring this to life on the air!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Which Would You Rather Have?

Burglars Strike Tim & Faith, Other L.A. Celebrities And Tycoons

A spate of burglaries in elite Los Angeles neighborhoods has baffled police and created a growing list of celebrity victims, officials say.

ABC News: The mansion of country-music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill was hit in February while they were in Tennessee

Over the last year, the burglars have stolen more than $7 million in cash, jewelry and books, police spokesman Lt. Ray Lombardo told reporters.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Watch "Back To The Grind" Tonight

Tonight at 10:30 pm ET, in this new life-imitating-art series, television performers are put to work in the jobs they held in their hit shows: Loni Anderson of “WKRP in Cincinnati,” who goes to work at KZLA, "a country radio station in Los Angeles". (RIP)

(Thanks to Tom Taylor at Radio-Info for the fun tip!)

Eleven Things That Make Me Smile As I Listen To A Great Radio Station

I just spent a rewarding hour tuned to a very entertaining morning team on an extremely-well-programmed station.

Things happened so naturally and spontaneously that the basics were integrated seamlessly.

1. Contests were designed to achieve a clear objective: promote TSL (9-2-5) or to promote cume (Country Cruiser, free coffee and donuts at remote location all morning until 9).

2. Clear, simple music image positioning was constantly reinforced with passion and relatability (Today's Country).

3. Everybody has a (fun, character values-oriented) nickname. No nicknames for newspeople.

4. Quick news headlines of only three to five interesting topics on the hour and half hour, branded as (calls) Morning Update). Lots of service elements - staff meteorologist, traffic reporter. Fresh story selection, avoiding the sense that "the same stories are repeated all morning." A good news teaser that SAYS this clearly: "coming up, fresh stories you haven't heard yet (headline)..."

5. They did use a prep/comedy service ideas, but LOCALIZED everything.

6. Benchmark name for the show (Breakfast Flakes). Name all elements (Highway Patrol Traffic, Radar weather).

7. Plenty of production. Morning show jingles, beat beds behind everything. Lots of music and sound effects, to keep momentum moving. They don't limit length of anything, but keep it high energy and limit to one fully developed punch line per set. Produced intros (short and a BIG variety of them) on everything. Production inside news: intro, punctuators before spot, weather and traffic sounders.

8. Involvement. Many listeners on the phone. At least one storytelling phone bit per quarter hour to provide continuity and community.

9. At the start of each hour (5:59 and 6:59), they immediately promote to 6:20 and 7:20 am with a specific reason to listen an extra quarter hour.

10. Lots of useful info, time checks and quick weather references all integrated with their web site.

It was all presented with a sense of clarity and urgency. No mixed messages, cynical attitude, dirty stuff. Funny, bright, warm, friendly attitude. They made it seem easy. Because it was .. easy to listen, for a long period of time!

Is there a station you particularly love to listen to? What are they doing?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

R&R Updates Its Reporting/Monitored Panels

And, it gets 'curiouser and curiouser:'

"Ratings leaders in each local market will not be eligible to report if they aren’t compliant with the R&R minimum current-music-usage policy. In cases where a lower-rated station in this market-size frame is the lone reporter in the market and a higher-rated format competitor returns to compliance with the minimum current-music policy during a given quarter, the higher-rated station will take the place of the lower-rated reporter at the end of that particular calendar quarter. In such cases, the lower rated competitor is typically eligible to move to the R&R Country Indicator panel."
-- Wade Jessen/Director of Charts & Operations, Nashville, 615-321-4291

I remember when we looked at the trade charts as an indication of what the most successful stations were playing. Now that it's more important that a station play 60% currents than if it's winning in the ratings, I'm not sure what the charts are supposed to be used for.

Note to GM's: In case there's any doubt where my priorities are, if your PD or MD is more concerned about retaining your reporting status than being the higher-rated station, I'd say it's time for a new PD or MD.

Monday, July 16, 2007

And.. The Award For The Best Website Announcing Some Great New Awards Goes To...

(congrats to the creative minds behind this.. VERY impressive!)

Is It OK To Change The Lyrics?

Chris The Listener at Radio-Info's country board raises an interesting question:

Rodney Atkins' These Are My People
Album version: "We're loving and living and busting our asses..."
Radio version: "We're loving and living and busting our backs..."

Taylor Swift's Teardrops on My Guitar
Album version: "I laugh cause it's so damn funny..."
Radio version: "I laugh cause it's just so funny..."

Sugarland's Everyday America
Album version: "Fell in love out of high school..."
Radio version: "Fell in love out of college..."

"I realize that these are here to make the songs more "family friendly" for the radio stations. But what I don't understand is why the radio stations are making such a big deal about little words like these (all in an effort to be "family friendly"), when they play these songs between others with lyrics like "Let's get drunk and be somebody", and "I want to check you for ticks". "

Then, there's the custom cuts artists record for the most influential radio stations (like the 80 versions Montgomery-Gentry did of "Lucky Man", adding the names of almost every sports team in North America in place of the original "Bengals" version).

My experience is that the special station versions of hits which include call letters or brand names often are seen as 'commercials' for the station by the artists and, as a result, are a bit irritating to the fans, but they do make a memorable impression.

Jason Aldean's "Johnny Cash" has taught me a lesson in today's sensibilities. At first, I preferred the tame remix sans the word "screw" until I realized that one still contained the word "ass," so I went with the flow and watched client research on the original. Last week, it ranked #4 on A&O's National Accu-Test.

The three songs with the highest negatives in our testing last week were the ones which deal with 'controversial' lyrics - the Aldean, "Because of You," and "Everyday America," and yet at least on those three, our research indicates that more than four out of five listeners are not negative on the songs. Those three, and the Taylor Swift, all rank in our top 15 by positive scores.

Of course, it's a 'case by case' local decision. But, at least in THESE cases, it appears that there was no need for 'special mixes.' Hopefully, you're asking your listeners for their opinions on these issues and they know you want their ideas and opinions on such things.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Craven: Randy Owen, Lorrie Morgan, Adam Gregory and Brad Johner = Day One

Crowds arrived early for the Craven Jamboree, and party-goers were enjoying the great weather, and getting hosed down was all part of the fun.

It's great to see that Regina's Leader-Post had reporter Gerry Krochak in the crowd: A Craven Country Jamboree really is like no other. The temporary fifth largest city in Saskatchewan is also the friendliest, and not just for its population's general lack of inhibition. There's rarely trouble in this Big Valley paradise and that's a true testament to the people who call this festival their own. A&O's pals from CKRM are there too, of course.

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Dead Webcasters Pay No Royalities"

I wrote Nashville's Dick Shuey to say my condolences when I heard that he has decided to take down his TwangtownUSA streams before 7/15, and that was his reply...

The Top Country Female Touring Act Of 2007 Is.....

According to Pollstar, there's no female country artist doing better business on tour in America during 2007 so far than, Martina McBride, and she's second only overall to Gwen Stafani.

McBride strongly represents the country genre as one of the Top 5 touring acts, following only Kenny Chesney, The Rowdy Frynds Tour (Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd), and Brad Paisley.
"It was great when I heard I was the only female touring act in the Top10," McBride tells Neil Haislop. "But being in the company of Gwen Stefani isn't the worst thing that
could happen! We really went all out with this tour and I'm excited about how it has been received."

The Future of Radio: 2007 and Beyond

More than a decade after the consolidation of our owners is it still true that - in an information economy - the people who deliver the most relatable "information" in our medium are still 'endangered?'

If so, radio is both in a) denial and b) hot water. If you're feeling a little like the proverbial frog in the simmering H2O, I am with you.

In that timely context, the speakers at Bill Sobel's latest New York Media Information Exchange Group breakfast yesterday morning were preaching to THIS choir member, as a consensus of the panel agreed that good personalities and good content go hand-in-hand.

KMOX, St. Louis' Paul Harris: ".. overnight personalities are either non-existent or the daypart is voice-tracked. I think disc jockeys are the endangered species.”

Consultant Denise Oliver: "...there just aren’t enough talented personalities. There’s been a brain drain. Radio needs to provide good content to compete in the increasingly-crowded media space. There are so many sources of music right now; radio is just one more.”

ABC Network’s Digital Media SVP John Rosso: "...it’s ALL about promoting that local brand to various media platforms. Our job is to find a way to wrap our brand around those experiences.”

Edison Research's Larry Rosin: "There’s a huge issue with AFTRA's stance that their contract for spots only cover over the radio, not Internet streams. So radio stations have largely pulled those ads from the Internet streams. At the margins, Internet radio has hurt regular AM-FM radio, especially with music services and smaller, more fringe types of music."

Les Blatt has a very detailed recap of yesterday's event and even more quotes on his blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

HOT: Alternative Fuels, Harry Potter and Bruce Willis

(click on the chart to enlarge it)
Alternative fuels cast a spell over three-quarters of consumers, edging out the new tome, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as what’s hot this month.

"Live Free or Die Hard" also proves a fan favorite, particularly among 18-34 year old men.

Young women give white sundresses and silver high heels their stamp of approval, while the 35+ set finds favorites with Bermuda shorts and spray tanning.

What's Not?

Perhaps she should change her tagline…a whopping 86.8% of consumers contend that Paris “That’s Hot” Hilton should have remained in the cooler.

For Women, Radio Is Pretty Much A 10-15% Business

When Edie Hilliard talks, I listen. After all, she's not only a personal friend and mentor of mine, she is one of the first women to break into radio management in the mid-70’s, having spent the first part of her career on the station side, in marketing, sales, sales management and general management at Seattle radio stations. Since the late 80’s she has been one of the consistently most influental women in radio, a mover and shaker in radio syndication.

Please click here and read her latest annual update on the status of women in radio. She concludes after supporting this with impressive (or is that depressive?) stats:
"Women are not well-represented at any level in the radio business, in ownership, in the executive suite, in management, in programming, or on the air. The vast majority of players in the industry—those who own or occupy the executive suite, those who decide the formats, hire the staff and talent, plan and produce the programming, and those behind the mics--are men."

"Remotes Don't Work" - Mike Cortese

“They actually did something detrimental to – or undermining - our strategy.”
Not many GM's at this time of radio revenue challenges have the courage to stop doing anything that is an easy sell.

I don't think you have to completely pull the plug on all remote broadcasts IF you simply have the self-discipline to cut back on mundate, boring ones only, so that the ones you do generate big revenue, create sizzle for both the station and the client.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Merritt Mountain Music Festival Turns 15

These were the days, after all, Garth Brooks completely reinvented the genre and found a massive audience with deep pockets nobody else had sussed out. Mountainfest was there all along, presenting newbie acts like Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks along with more established people like Brooks & Dunn, Pam Tillis and Vince Gill.

Not to mention the older veterans like George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Merle, Johnny and June.

This year it all continues with the likes of Gretchen Wilson and the Road Hammers on Thursday, Johnny Reid, followed by Nashville's newest hottie, Carrie Underwood, before Reba McEntire finishes off Friday plus Jamie O'Neal, Emerson Drive and Creedence Clearwater Revisited Saturday, all topped with Kenny Hess and Tanya Tucker on Sunday.

If you've been before - like our friends at JRfm - this is the year to come back, and if you've always meant to check out the world-famous festival that put little Merritt on the map, dude, this thing's been 15 years in the making.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Reason I'm Glad I'm In Country Radio (And, You Should Be To)

I can't authoritatively explain exactly WHY, but country radio fans - even our 55+ audience - loves today's country as much or more than they like 'yesterday's favorites.'

This is a wonderful thing. The same songs and artists which attract our growing 20-something converts today also, if chosen selectively, can hold onto 45+ and 55+ at the very same time. If you've done country for very long, you may be taking this attribute for granted, but please don't. (and, don't assume that it will always be this way!)

Imagine how it feels to a once-successful PD or personality looking in the mirror and realizing that what you have done for a living for decades is now only available to a niche audience on the internet?

A major group's VP/Rock Formats once asked me to "explain why country radio fans seem to be the only adults who seem to like new music."

Of course, I tried to do so (I do have my theories), but FIRST just smiled broadly and answered: "Thank goodness, that's a fact."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kenny Chesney Tour WOWS Seattle Critics (.. and ME too)

Kenny, Brooks & Dunn, Sugarland, Sara Evans and Pat Green get great reviews from P-I music critic Gene Stout.

"Though he isn't the most talented singer in mainstream country, he understands his fans and knows exactly what it takes to keep them entertained."

Seattle Times' Joanna Horowitz also seemed to enjoy the show too!

"If the two billboard-sized, bikini-clad women offering up Mai Tais from banners flanking the stage weren't enough of an indication, Kenny Chesney's Flip Flop Summer Tour is a party in the making. And the packed Qwest Field crowd Saturday night seemed ready and willing to partake. Standing on chairs, beers aloft, the audience sang along to every song and cheered the energetic star again and again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Willie Nelson Is A Friend Of Ethanol

Nelson is among the minority investors in a biodiesel production plant in southeast Salem, Oregon, which intends to expand its production from 1 million gallons per year to 5 million gallons per year. The country music star joined an event to commemorate the project.

Garth, Trisha and Al Gore Give A Nice Last Minute Gift To WMZQ

The highly-anticipated "Live Earth" concert is set for Saturday (7/7) and the Smithsonian has jumped on board to kick off the entire event with a special concert from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.The show takes place at the museum's Welcome Plaza on the National Mall beginning at 10:30 am with an address from Former Vice President Al Gore. Many "Live Earth" events are being carried live online. Garth Brooks' official website has no news of it as yet. The unofficial Garth site is often faster with news on him. Trisha's site is another place to watch this weekend, but at present it has not been updated since 7/3 and this show was only announced on 7/6. (click for the latest info on the show) Brooks' publicist says that the two will perform a duet of his song, "We Shall Be Free."