Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Hearing" New Truths In A Decade Old Book

I finally just got around to listening to the audio version of positioning guru Jack Trout's 1997 book, co-written by Steve Rivkin, (The New Positioning, published by McGraw Hill). Of course, I read the book back when it was first released, but hearing it brought home the important quotes in it from University of Washington psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Loftus:
"In many ways the ear is superior to the eye. There is evidence that shows people remember more if they hear lists of words than if they see them."
Trout and Rivkin state: "Advertisers prefer the eye, the consumer prefers the ear."
"Marketing people and people's minds are often in conflict. Marketing people love to sit down and create carefully crafted arguments on behalf of their products. They are beautiful rationales to behold. Ripe with reasons, benefits and facts. Unfortunately, today, these arguments are being presented to minds that really aren't up to dealing with all that glorious information. Our perceptions are selective, and our memory is highly selective. Seeing is not akin to photographing the world, merely registering an image. Memory is not a tape recorder that stores information when we turn it on. First, your message has to get by the mind's ‘volume control.’ Then, you must get from short term memory into long-term memory.”
The best way to really enter minds that hate complexity and confusion is to over-simplify your message. The most powerful position statements will be compacted into ONE WORD. Like these: ATT - true. Crest - cavities. Volvo - safety. Prego - thick. Radio marketers won't try to tell their entire story, but SIMPLY focus on one powerful non-music attribute - fun, family, dependable, etc - and drive it into the mind.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sonny's Dolly Tribute

Sonny Melendrez is a radio legend in Texas and Los Angeles who constantly impresses me with his creative output and understanding of the new media universe, making use of all the new tools to continue to provide great content, audio and video, to the big list of people who have listened to him on the radio over the years.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Carnival Ride" = Carnival CRUISE

I love this kind of umbrella promo, where 1 + 1 = fun for the listener and $$ for sales too.
Here's the script/email which went to listeners:

KMPS is celebrating the release of Carrie Underwood's new CD "Carnival Ride" and 94.1 FM is going to send you on a Carnival Cruise.

Escape the northwest rain this February and spend a few days relaxing in the sun on one of the worlds most famous cruise lines. Its all part of KMPS's Street Date, Presented by the AT&T Blueroom. Courtesy of CBS Radio and Arista Records.

Call 1.800.464.94FM when you hear "I'm a member of the Country Club." Listen at 8:15am, 10:15am, 1:15pm & 3:15pm for the KMPC Country Club Passwords:

10/29 Monday: Carnival Ride
10/30 Tuesday: Carrie Underwood
10/31 Wednesday: So Small
11/01 Thursday: I need a vacation!
11/02 Friday: Cruisin' with KMPS

P.S. Listen to Carrie visiting LIVE with Tony Thomas this Tuesday afternoon, sometime between 3-7PM on KMPS.

Standard Radio Employees Got An Early Christmas Bonus This Year

You have to hand it to Gary and Allan Slaight for a very classy act on Friday as Astral Media transforms into a national broadcaster and formally takes over Standard Radio (purchased for $1.1 billion) to become Canada's largest radio broadcaster.

On the last day of Standard ownership, all employees with a year or more service received bonus checks! If you're going to end an era of radio ownership, this is a wonderful way to do it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gary Allan Has Been Through A Lot

Allan has a very reflective new LP out now, with more thoughtful and personal material like his current hit "Watching Airplanes." On the album, as his own website puts it:
"..the California-born artist performs with an emotional, gritty edge. His life and surroundings, as well as the batch of CDs playing on his changer, inform his music."
Having just heard the new release today, I could not have described it better!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Is Not MY Country

I will leave it to you to guess which country stations are doing these "dads in Hannah Montana garb" stunts because I don't want to even plug them, but (perhaps my age or prudish side is showing?) I do want to ask "where in the core values of country listeners does it say anything about dressing up in women's clothing?"

Given my personal story, you might think that I'd enjoy these shenanigans/public humiliations, but it has me scratching my head. Somebody is getting rock station or kid station sensibilities mixed up with the priorities and humor which grow our coalition rather than reducing it.

Winning country listeners' hearts involves reflecting their lifestyles, instead of being juvenile and childish like other format stations they could listen to instead.

It's just my two cents' worth, but Hanna Montana IS about leading a double life, but not this kind, folks...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Country Does Well In (The First Ever!) Spring ARB Satellite Ratings

Arbitron just released the long-awaited XM and Sirius channel cume and AQH ratings as reported in the Spring 2007 meters and diaries nationally.

The number one music channel on Sirius is Scott Lindy-programmed New Country with a national cume of 455,900 and an average quarter hour audience of 20,400. Two country niches are in XM's top ten music channels, the classic country Willie’s Place (channel 13) ranks #3 and programmer Jon Anthony's new country-formatted Highway 16 is #8. All three channels are commercial-free.

Among the Sirius talk channels NASCAR ranks third, with an average weekly cume of 177,600 and 8,600 listeners in an average quarter hour. The actual races far out rank the pre-race and post-race coverages.

In general, XM's cume is higher than Sirius', but Sirius' average TSL is much higher than XM's, making the AQH ratings closer than you might think they would be, given XM's cume leadership position. If you'd like to see the entire report, contact your ARB rep or drop me an email.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Fugitive Is Loose In Pensacola

Which Is More Important: A Large TV Audience? Or, Recognizing Hall Of Famers?

The TV network folks make it clear every year as they pour over the Nielsen minute by minute audience flow during the awards broadcasts: the only thing that matters to them is the size of the audience and the entertainment value.

The venerable Hazel Smith has a different take on it.
"One of our biggest acts in country music is Rascal Flatts, and they've apparently gained the right to perform two songs on the CMA Awards. But is anybody else singing two songs? I don't think so. Rascal Flatts will perform one of those songs with Jamie Foxx, a talented actor, comedian and musician who won an Oscar for his marvelous portrayal of Ray Charles in the movie, Ray. We claim Ray Charles as one of our own. We also have a lot of respect for Jamie Foxx's talents, but does he have enough country music muscle to perform on the CMA Awards show when there's apparently not enough time to honor the Hall of Fame inductees? Not in my book."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Garth's Latest Duet Is With Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The Pink Edition of Brooks' new "Ultimate Hits" three disk package which includes 34 videos of all his hits and DVD as well as two CD's containing all of his hits marks the first time in history a music artist has simultaneously released two versions of an album, with one version dedicated solely to charity.

Available November 6 for $15 exclusively through Komen’s online Promise Shop, at www.komen.org/garth, $10 from each Pink Edition sold will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The set also contains three new songs and a bonus track on two audio including new and never-before-seen video footage. Additionally, the album will feature important breast health and breast cancer information along with an instructional card on breast self-examination.

Brooks said he was inspired to make the special Pink Edition of his Ultimate Hits and have it offered exclusively through Komen after watching his wife train for and participate in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The event challenges participants to walk 60 miles over three days to benefit Komen and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Brooks said making the album was “a heck of a lot easier than me trying to walk 60 miles.” Producing and packaging the limited Pink Edition of his album with its distinct design and messaging, he said, was a way he could contribute to saving lives and searching for the cures for breast cancer.

And, speaking of Trisha, for the first time ever, in conjunction with the on-air album premiere special for the November 13th release of Trisha Yearwood's Big Machine debut collection "Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love," country radio stations will be offered a live concert stream for their websites.

Housed on a widget being dubbed 'The Trisha Yearwood Online Player', the live concert takes place on November 13th at 7:00pm CT from Nashville's Music Row. The live concert event is the anchor content piece for a player that also features an exclusive free download of Yearwood's hit single "Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love", a stream of her current music video, track cut-by-cut commentary from Trisha, exclusive photos, and more.

'The Trisha Yearwood Online Player' is live the entire month of November on a market exclusive basis.
"It's so exciting to re-invent the album premiere special," notes Trisha Yearwood. "I am always anxious for fans to hear new music and because of our partnership with Westwood One, we will be able to bring the fans new music both on-air and online in new ways."
The market exclusive on-air album premiere special is available in four formats: a one hour special hosted by Lon Helton; a 20 minute special hosted by Lon Helton; a one hour brown bag special; and a 20 minute brown bag special.

For more information on the Trisha Yearwood album premiere special and the online player featuring web-based NTR opportunities, contact Donny Walker at donny_walker@westwoodone.com or 480-607-4207.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Porter Wagoner Battling Lung Cancer

The 80 year old Wagoner is in the hospital in serious condition. Dolly Parton visited her former duet partner in the hospital Friday and pledged to sing with him again. She promised to sing with him on the first night he returns to the Grand Ole Opry. Wagoner helped launch her career by hiring her as his duet partner in 1967.

Porter's daughter DJ maintains the message board on her dad's official website and that's a great place for fans to leave messages for him.

Known for his rhinestone stage outfits, Wagoner was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002. He has been a Grand Ole Opry Member for more than 50 years.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We're Not Going To Learn What Kind Of Underwear Carrie Underwood Likes

(PHOTO, AT THE IDOL AUDITION: ''They said around 100,000 people tried out. For me to think that I'm one in 100,000 was ludicrous'')

EW: Do you like being famous?

CU: I love being able to perform in front of people. I like potentially making a difference in somebody's day or somebody's life. Sometimes things can get kind of scary. Like, I was in Victoria's Secret the other day, which I went to for the first time last year, 'cause, I don't know, I have a weird thing about that. I have problems going into a store like that. I'm a private person, and I don't want people knowing what kind of underwear I like. It's creepy! But these girls followed me the whole time, and I'm like, ''Man, they see every single pair of underwear I'm putting in my little shopping bag!'' Just say something. Say hey, I'll say hey, it'll be good, and then we can both continue shopping.

EW: So what do you want us to know about you?

CU: Not that much. I'm funny but I'm not, like, too funny. I'd rather go bowling than go to a club. A lot of people think I don't like them just because I'm pretty quiet. But there are certain things people don't necessarily need to know. There's got to be some things for me.

EW: Both of your older sisters have kids. How old were they when they got married?

CU: I think Shanna was 17, and I think Stephanie was 19. I'm about the only person in my family that's made it to 24 without being married. That's the way it works where I'm from. Most people, if you find someone to marry in high school, you do that, and if you don't find that, then you find someone in college. The End. I couldn't imagine myself being married [now].

Sunday's Nashville Tennessean also has a terrific profile of Underwood, including her response to reactions to her fast success from Faith Hill, Leann Rimes and Wynonna Judd:

"I am accepted as I need to be," she says. "I feel good. Country radio has been good to me and a lot of people have been great to me. It's like any other job or thing you do; there are going to be people at the office who are great to you and there are going to be people who aren't so great to you and cause drama."

Now secure with her place in the industry, she has no interest in convincing anyone that she belongs.

"If somebody likes me or likes the way I sing or the way I am onstage, awesome," she says. "I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I've realized that people who don't like you for any reason are never going to like you, most likely. You can't win most people over. I remember being in high school and someone saying, 'My favorite singer is blah blah.' I would be like, 'Ugh, you like that person? I hate them.' Somebody is saying that about me. That's just the way it is."

Sony/BMG (RLG) Chief Joe Galante, who predicts Underwood's new album will go multiplatinum in a market declining 30 percent in sales, says he shudders to think about country's market share without Underwood's 6 million in sales.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can There Possibly Be 48 of 60 Songs Worthy Of Bullets?

This is a campaign that Regent VP/Programming Bob Moody has been on for many years: make the chart bullet more meaningful.

Now it looks like Phil Sweetland has joined the fray in his latest missive:
This week's Billboard Hot Country Songs features 60 tunes; of those 60 singles, by our count 48 have a bullet indicating increased airplay. But how do we know if the difference is 1 additional spin at Country Radio or 1,000? We don't. The bullet designation thus becomes essentially useless. We propose two or three bullets - maybe one round, one square, and one diamond-shaped - indicating different levels of spincrease. The current system is badly out of date.


I am about to make it all simple for you by giving you "Albright's guide to reading the charts."

In 25 words or less: bullets indicate the songs which labels are still spending promotional money to prop up/push forward. When the bullet goes away, that means it's no longer a priority to the label, the publisher or the artist so the $$ spiggot gets turned off.

If you want to know which songs Nashville's marketing machine wants you to play, look at the charts. If you want to know which ones your listeners want you to play, ask 'em, systematically and regularly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WSJ's Review Of Craig Havighurst's New WSM History

In the midst of commercial radio's struggles comes a reminder of its glory days, when stations' soaring transmitter towers seemed like monuments to the broadcasters' influence. "

As history, "Air Castle of the South" is engaging but less than definitive. It's long on anecdote and sentiment ("demanding that WSM live or die by the media economy's new rules feels a bit like asking your grandmother to work at Burger King to make ends meet") but short on analysis.

Recent years have seen the dissolution of Gaylord's "Opry"-centered media empire and the final stage of WSM's descent from broadcast powerhouse to radio curiosity. More thorough contemporary reporting would have helped buttress the book's contention that Gaylord's corporate strategy -- which included the much-criticized closing of the Opryland USA theme park in 1997 after attendance began slipping -- has endangered Nashville's future as a major hub of the entertainment industry. Still, Mr. Havighurst has done a service in preserving the colorful and instructive history of WSM -- and in reminding us that giants once lived on the radio dial.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Country Music = America's Barometer

And, columnist Connie Schultz feels like the pressure gradient is changing ("Mood in country music has shifted on the war")

"Country music has always reflected the country's mood, but it also challenges that mood," says David Whisnant, a professor emeritus of English at the University of North Carolina who has studied the politics of country music.

Clearly, some country music singers ate a big bowl of testosteroni right after 9/11. Just as clearly, the menu has changed.

Consider Toby Keith, who declared himself the quintessential Angry American as he sang about the Statue of Liberty shakin' her fist, Mother Liberty ringin' her bell and U.S. bomber pilots lighting up the Afghanistan sky like the Fourth of July, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue."

That was when the war was just beginning. Now he's distancing himself from a war with no end in sight. In June, he told the Associated Press that, contrary to the impression he may have given everybody, he was actually a "lifelong Democrat."

"I supported the ousting of the Taliban [in Afghanistan] 100 percent," he told AP. "My 9/11 song was all about that. But the far left won't allow that to be. They have to plug me into every pro-war thing they can find. . . . I never said I support the Iraq war, but I never said I didn't, either. That war has been over since 48 hours after it started. Our military disarmed them in two days. The dictator has been ousted. They [Iraq] need to step up with their oil money and fund it on their own. I don't say we shouldn't be in there. I say we should be there and step back and let them have their own fight . . ."

Singer Darryl Worley started out gung-ho about the war, too. Annoyed with those who opposed it, Worley also tried to tie the 9/11 attacks to Iraq with his song, "Have you Forgotten?"

Four years later, he was singing a different tune, this one titled "I Just Came Back [From a War]." He wrote it after learning about a U.S. Marine who was struggling to readjust after his return from fierce battle in Fallujah.

Worley looked mighty battle weary himself, his long, scraggly hair framing the hard face of a man who'd had his fill of someone else's big idea. The Marine in his song had returned to "a land where our brothers are dying for others who don't even care anymore."

Tim McGraw .. made news around the country by singing "If You're Reading This" at the Academy of Country Music Awards this year.

The soldier in the song wants his family to know that the letter in their hands means he's "already home." With God, that is.

After McGraw finished singing, the lights rose over a group of people standing silently behind him. Overhead, a sign read, "Families of Fallen Heroes."

McGraw just stood there as the tears flowed all around him.

But one thing was missing.

I looked and I looked at his plain, dark shirt, but it just wasn't there.

The flag pin on the patriot's shirt was nowhere in sight.

What do you think? Have the opinions of your listeners on the war changed enough that it's safe to talk about it in anything but an "I support the troops" way? I don't think so. America's continued polarity as viewed through the lens of country radio listeners in the fall of 2007 still scares me a lot more than the threat of international terrorism does.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Country Rehab Tour '07: Joe Nichols Edition

Joe Nichols' managers were upfront when Joe canceled his show Saturday night to head to self-imposed rehab for alcohol abuse. The management statement reads, "As Joe has alluded to in interviews over the past year, he has struggled with the issue of substance abuse. In order to become a healthier person and deal with long standing issues, he has entered into a rehabilitation program for consultation and treatment."

There's no word on how long Nichols will spend in treatment.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shouldn't WE Be Doing This?

If you're not talking about what's going on in your local community right now,
someone else is!

WQDR, Raleigh, Puts On A White Hat

The promo: "94.7 QDR is coming to your rescue! The cost of living is going thru the roof. Suddenly that mortgage payment is tough to make. Let Today’s Best Country 94.7 QDR pay your rent or mortgage for a year—up to $25,000! Live free for a year!

Listen Monday thru Thursday at 7:10, 10:10, 1:10 and 4:10 to win $94 instant cash, each Friday at 7:10 am for up to $1000 to cover your rent or mortgage for a month, and, finally, one WQDR listener (it might as well be YOU) gets to show us your lease or house payment coupon and QDR will cover your housing cost for a year, up to $25,000!"

More Life Lessons, Picked Up The Hard Way

Umusic's Katie Dean emailed today with rehab update from Billy: It's been several months since we've heard from Billy Currington, but he reports the work he's been doing has changed him and given him a new perspective:
“The therapy that I was going through back in June and July, it didn’t stop there for me. I’ve been working with two therapists pretty intensively lately and just learning so much about the past and how it affects the present and so much about myself. It’s getting a little bit lighter now as far as our days working together but I’m going to continue for the rest of the year and then I’ll be able to get back on tour next year. But while I’m going through this, I have a new perspective on life and the way you look at people....the way you look at anything in life, it’s so changed for me and I’m thankful for it. I didn’t know it existed like this.”

Mark Wills: Great Advice + Strong New Music Too

Check his MySpace page and see if you don't agree with me that his new Equity project sounds very radio-friendly. Meanwhile, today's Tennessean has a quick Q&A with Wills too, and he has some wonderful life guide quotes, reported by writer Heather Byrd:

HB: What's the best advice you have ever received?

MW: Remain true to yourself, so no one can ever say that you've become something you're not.

HB: If you could share the stage with any other artist, living or dead, who would it be?

MW: It's a tie between Conway Twitty and Keith Whitley.

HB: What do you find most inspiring about your music?

MW: The effect songs like "Don't Laugh at Me" have on people. Many teachers have told me that they play that song for their students because it teaches tolerance. The song "19 Somethin'" seems to connect with people because it lets them reminisce about their childhood.

HB: What's next for your musical career?

MW: I want to keep trying new things. Singing new songs that aren't like anything I've done in the past. Always trying to push myself to new heights.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bad News Sure Travels Fast

Does country radio 'snub' artists when it chooses to play one song in place of another? Hardly. Each week, every music director chooses to play a handful of the best songs and decides NOT to play lots and lots of others.

Ask a professional in any field: part of the game is starting the very best team and leaving the others on the bench in the interest of winning the game. In radio, the best songs win.

I hated to see Billboard writer Ken Tucker try to imply that country radio somehow has a grudge against Faith Hill and of course the entertainment media is now passing it along as if it's a real 'story.'

It's ironic that this weekend's Country Radio Broadcasters' CRS promotional email is all about the investment that everyone involved makes in breaking new artists and music. Radio invests in each song it adds by giving it a few minutes of our listeners' valuable time.

On Billboard's online Faith Hill bio page today, there's a paid ad for Carrie Underwood. Hopefully, Faith doesn't see that as a snub too. There was no current quote from Faith or Tim, so I gather the allegation of a 'snub' by radio was by writer Tucker and not Faith Hill. It sounds like she knows that her decision to release 'challenging material' is the reason at radio for the poor chart history on the last few singles.

Any artist, writer, producer, label or promoter who takes all of this personally and starts to feel sorry for themself over the realities of this business is going to have a lot of company among their peers in Music City, but that's no way to build rapport with radio. All we want is one great song after another.
Do that, and we'll love you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Are You Getting As Weary Of Mark Ramsey And Jerry Del Colliano As I Am?

I don't question their passion, intelligence, knowledge or sincerity, but the constant drumbeat of daily nagging on the same issue (The ongoing tragedy of HD radio, Radio and Records – What Went Wrong, etc, etc, etc) has turned from helpful and informative to negative and cyncial "I told you so" nagging for me.

"HD Radio is going to be an abysmal failure and internet radio is the future." Nag, nag, nag.

Check and double check. Got it. Bought the book. Saw the movie. Read the white paper.

So, is anything else more positive going on in your lives, guys? I keep clicking on your links in hopes that there is.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trick Or Treat Candy Is "What's Hot" This Month (But Not SO Hot That It Melts..)

The monthly Big Research consumer trending is out and they report that with beggar’s night almost here, 71.4% of consumers say they want their bags filled with heart-healthy Dark Chocolate, which tops their list of what’s hot for October. Video game Halo 3 and Candy Corn follow.

Perhaps with regrets of an unbridled youth, laser tattoo removal is favored by those over 35, while in fashion, women indicate that Mary Jane pumps are the hot accessory though men prefer red lipstick (though obviously not on themselves).

What’s Not?

Though popular among Midwesterners, the Cornhole game isn’t exactly scoring points with the rest of the nation.

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, but will consumers be buying with continued conflict overseas and gas prices draining their wallets?

It appears that shoppers will be proceeding to stores with caution…while consumer confidence rose in October to 44.7% (from 41.2% in September), it’s down from the almost half (49.8%) who said they were confident/very confident one year ago.

The war with Iraq, now coupled with unrest in Myanmar, continues to weigh on consumers’ minds…17.4% worry about political and national security issues, up more than a point from September (16.1%), though down from ’06 (21.2%).

So will retailers be successful in pushing cashmere over cotton this holiday season? Though confidence increased, consumers are showing signs of hedging their spending…practicality in purchasing rises two points from September to 38.6% in October. The bright side? One year ago, more than two in five (43.3%) asserted they were adhering to the practical path.

Admit it -- while spreading holiday joy to others, you’ve also splurged a time or two yourself, and it looks like many may do the same this year…while 47.1% say they focus on needs over wants in spending (up from 43.2% last month), this figure is down from ’06 when the majority (52.3%) were focused on the essentials.

BIGresearch's Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey monitors over 8,000 consumers each month providing unique insights & identifying opportunities in a fragmented and transitory marketplace

Need A 2008 Calendar? Country Music Is Ready

The U-K's "Real Men" Love Country Music

"They're man enough to understand that the untrammelled integrity and down-home honesty of a country and western song will always go directly to the place that matters most – the soul. That's why it's no surprise to learn that our gigantic loose-head prop Andrew Sheridan, who is a decent guitar player, writes his own country songs. However tough we are, however many crunching tackles we've thrown ourselves into, however many crocodile-infested rivers we have swum, we are most of us quite sentimental, and this nerve more than any is the one country music touches most profoundly."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Ready, Set, Don't Go" - Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus -- If We Don't Play This, We're Nuts

Reason #1 from Steve Holstein: "It's a good tune, it's a hit show, and Miley is hot with the kids."

Reason #3: It delivered to radio this morning digitally and is also available on the ABC websites.

Reason #4 from Kerry Wolfe at WMIL, Milwaukee: "It's a great treat for the fall book!"

My only complaint: I wish they had shipped it to radio YESTERDAY. If you need an mp3 and you're a client, drop me an email and I'll forward it to you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Country LP Sales Drop By 30% In First Half Of '07

Craig Havighurst did some great work while he was Music Row reporter for the Tennessean, so when I see his byline, it gets my full attention.

Now, he's (among other things) a radio reporter and his latest story features some famailiar voices - Tim Dubois, Wade Jessen and Scott Borchetta - as a followup to a July NPR report on the "Music Business Still Groping for a Digital-Age Plan:"

(click here to listen to his report, which aired this afternoon) Country music album sales have dropped 30 percent at midyear, according to Nielsen/Soundscan — a dramatic drop for a genre that seemed to be weathering the overall drop in album sales that's afflicting the rest of the music industry.

Country American Music Awards Nominees Are Out Now

* Favorite Male Artist: Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley.
* Favorite Female Artist: Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, or Carrie Underwood.
* Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn and Rascal Flatts
* Favorite Album: Tim McGraw/Let It Go, Rascal Flatts/Me And My Gang or Carrie Underwood/Some Hearts

The awards show is 11/18 and, for the first time, fans pick the winners online right now.

The 2007 American Music Awards ceremony will broadcast live on ABC, Sunday, Nov. 18 (8:00-11:00 pm ET/PT) from the NOKIA Theatre L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

Larry Klein is producer of the 2007 American Awards. Louis J. Horvitz is directing. Writers will be Barry Adelman and Fred Bronson. Executive in charge of production is Bob Bardo. Associate Producer is Don Harary.

"Moments:" A Life Celebration


Shelly Hargis of Midas Records posted this video on You Tube which was used at the Memorial for Patrick in Nashville:
"This video was created in honor of Patrick and to celebrate him, so we wanted to pass it along to you. If you wish to put it on your website, please feel free to do so. Thank you for all the well wishes…they mean so much to Emerson Drive and our entire family."

Monday, October 08, 2007

99% Of Diary Entries Still Contain NO Internet Radio Listening

Arbitron's Friday press release says that less than 1% of in-tab diaries continue to contain listening to Internet radio.

Two years ago, a 30-market Fall, 2006 analysis found that diarykeepers that record Internet radio tended to be older, male and non-ethnic. Diarykeepers also tended to identify an AM/FM station listened to online by its call letters, more so than frequency. 66% of diarykeepers who recorded AM/FM Internet radio listening identified a local station. Of those diarykeepers, 78% recorded listening to the station online as well as over-the-air. The most commonly used term to identify online listening was "Internet." Diarykeepers also used terms such as: .com, .org, .edu, online and streaming.

Arbitron records Internet radio listening to an AM/FM station only if a station is 100% simulcast (including commercials and PSA's). If a station is not 100% simulcast, the listening is included in Persons Using Radio (PUR) but the station does not receive credit.

If you haven't done so yet, contact your ARB rep and get the latest internet listening report for your market. If more than 1% of your total station's total quarter hours come from your streaming, DO NOT STOP STREAMING. BUT, do reassess the verbiage you use to tell your listeners about it. Consider the phrase: 'turn your at work computer into an FM radio..' or something similar. The day will come when you'll be able to sell that streaming audience for enough money to make it worth showing it off on its own, but that day is not today with 45% now streaming our audio, but 8 out of 10 of us still unable to honestly call our streams a simulcast. (The study update just released is based on the returned Spring 2007 SIPs: 45% of AM/FM stations indicated streaming. 20% of AM/FM stations reported 100% simulcast streaming.)

Also just out from ARB, two (pdf) reports which were distributed or presented at the NAB Convention in Charlotte: "Planning And Buying Radio Adertising in a PPM World" and "P-1's In The PPM World: Insights Into The Listeners Who Matter Most."

Country Weekly: Sara Evans Is "Living Again" Now That Her Divorce Is Final

Sara Evans and her husband recently announced they'd had agreed to the terms of a divorce. And, in an exclusive Country Weekly interview in today's issue, Sara Evans opens up about the struggles and joys of life as a single mom, her faith and what it took to start "living again."

Sara also talks about her new Greatest Hits CD and how she's doing in the midst of her protracted high-profile divorce from estranged husband Craig Schelske.
"Overall, I'm doing really well," Sara tells Country Weekly. It's sort of a roller coaster, but I'm just taking it one day at time. When you have three children [son Avery and daughters Olivia and Audrey], no matter what's going on in your life, you just have to continue on, every day. So that's what I'm doing."


No country star forgets a single detail of the moment they realize they'dbeen discovered. And in the current edition of Country Weekly there's a special section dedicated to discovery stories.
Martina McBride, for example, put two demo tapes into an eye-catching purple envelope which she delivered to the record label. Gretchen Wilson was first noticed tending bar in Nashville and singing with the house band, while Jason Aldean met his future manager at a show at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon. Other featured stars include Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.

Country Weekly presents up-close and intimate profiles of each member of Little Big Town over four consecutive issues as the group celebrates the release of its new CD, "A Place to Land." The first profile looks at the life of group member Jimi Westbrook, who recalls singing at a young age in Alabama for a church Christmas program. "I caught the fever," he tells Country Weekly. "Seeing how people could be moved by that, I didn't ever want to do anything else." He also recalls the early days of Little Big Town and reveals that the group's success is as sweet as hecould possibly hope. "It's really cool," Jimi says. "Feeling like people are moved by something that you created, that's the biggest reward." Little Big Town member, and Jimi's wife, Karen Fairchild will beprofiled in the Nov. 5 issue of Country Weekly.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Garth Sells Out Nine Shows In Under Two Hours

KC Star: Twenty people seeking to get tickets for the Nov. 14 Garth Brooks concert were in line outside the Sprint Center by 6:25 a.m. (Friday) morning.

Amid a throng of construction crews who are putting the finishing touches on the new arena, those fans were in line to get numbered wristbands, which guarantees their holders only a place in line when tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday .

“If you want to see him, you got to do this,” said Brad Scarbrough, 20, of Kearney. He and his four friends were the first in line. They arrived at the Sprint Center around 2:30 a.m.

Then came the press release from Nancy Seltzer & Associates (323 938-3563):

After 9 years in retirement Garth Brooks has tied his own personal record for selling the highest number of tickets in any city in North America. This was accomplished in 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Tickets went on sale at the Sprint Center, Kansas City this morning, 10:00 AM CT for a single show. That show was originally planned as a thank you concert for Wal-Mart which then turned into a show for the public as well, when AEG offered the Sprint Center. The demand was so great that, as promised, Garth added first one more show, then another and another until obligations prevented him from adding more. Nine shows in total were sold.
When asked to comment Garth Brooks said " For the first time in my life I'm speechless."

"The incredible demand from the most loyal fans in the world made today's sale of tickets for Garth Brooks upcoming concerts at Sprint Center unprecedented," said Brenda Tinnen, General Manager SprintCenter. "The people of Kansas City, Sprint Center and AEG owe Garth atremendous debt of gratitude not for only choosing us, but also for extending his engagement to 9 shows."

Paint Pictures With Your Words; Tell The Truth

Reading Roy Williams' philosophies on mass communications and salesmanship feel to me like drinking from a cool mountain spring, refreshing and thirst-quenching.

I can't get enough; I subscribe to his Monday Memo emails, I read him monthly in RadioInk and Radio And Production Magazine, I have been to his seminars, I buy his books, so obviously I am a practitioner and evangelist for his fundamental philosophies.

You will find this quote on that page as well, which puts it all in a paragraph:
"Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of."- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

How to tell if you need a little more Roy Williams in your life?

Do your contest promos promise "more details" on your website? Do your winners actually not win anything but a chance to "qualify?" Do you ever use the words "register" and "drawing" in your marketing? Are you still trying to bribe your listener to 'be the 9th caller?"


Has anyone told you that they listen to your radio station just to hear the great writing?

Too much of today's radio is "ordinary." Be extraordinary.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hear Some Amazing, Award-Winning Country Radio

If you've wondered what it takes to win a CMA Award, now you can find out .. and listen to how some of the format's top personalities and stations position themselves at their very best .. check out the very cool web site just posted by the CMA for the CMA Awards broadcast nominees.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The CMA Awards On Facebook and MySpace

Where can you catch up on what's happening at CMA and in the world of Country Music? The options keep expanding.

First was CMA EXCLUSIVE, then came MYSPACE and now they've landed on FACEBOOK.

JOIN VIA THESE LINKS: Facebook CMA Awards Group and MySpace CMA Awards.

Face it: CMA wants to be your friend!

You Are Where You Live

Anyone familiar with the weighting being applied to radio research samples, especially under the age of 35, has figured out that lifestyle trends - such as the growth of cell phone only households - has a big impact on radio measurement and usage.

The term "Hot Zip" codes means one thing to those of us in American radio, thanks to MaxiMiser Programmer's Package and PD Advantage and quite another to your neighborhood realtor, yet the basis of both is the same: "birds of a feather flock together."

Thanks to Morris Radio Group Director of Engineering Jay White for putting me onto this cool tool - Zip Skinny - for getting to know the basics about the zip codes where you live and your station's most loyal listeners reside.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

1,000 Country Music Artists... And Counting

Continuing towards the goal of having the most complete database of country music artists (past, present, and future) on the Internet, artists are continually added to the ICMDb database. The number of artists currently in the database has now grown to over 1000 artists.

Artists found in the database include classic artists like Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, and Johnny Cash; current hit makers like Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood; new artists like Jake Owen, Taylor Swift, and Eric Church; independent artists like Daniel Lee Martin, Sharmian, and Todd Fritsch; and international artists like Adam Harvey, Aaron Pritchett, and Lucie Diamond.

Information provided for each artist includes a link to their site (if available), a link to their MySpace page (if available), tour information, latest album released, discography, news items, and general facts and trivia information. CD and concert reviews and artist interviews are also available on the site.

ICMDb continues to add artists and is planning to focus more on international artists (any country music artist outside the US) in the future. Artists who do not find themselves listed in the database should contact ICMDb to be added. The International Country Music Database is in its third year of providing country music news and information

And, there are weeks as I listen to new music, that seem like they all send out their new releases at the very same time and they are all on small vanity labels.. yet, thank God for them. This creativity, passion and diversity is the power behind our format.

A&O Moves Tim McGraw/If You're Reading This From Recurrent Back To Current

Here's a reason why: Tim McGraw has created another special opportunity with his song “If You’re Reading This” with a new promotion on his website, www.timmcgraw.com, which will begin October 4. Friends and families of soldiers can upload photos, post stories or make comments about their loved ones in the military. This page will serve as a living memorial to the US military’s fallen soldiers and a place to honor troops. The website will also include a live performance of “If You’re Reading This.”

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Part Of Google AdWords Which Has Me Worried

Some of the sharpest debate at this year’s NAB Radio Show was about the Web giant’s move into selling remnant radio inventory. But Google’s Jim Woods tells Inside Radio they continue to grow, attracting “hundreds” of new advertisers to its 1,800 affiliates and rates are going up. Woods says the “breadth and depth” of advertisers increased when they added Clear Channel inventory, which “changed the dynamic” for big agencies.

Saga CEO Ed Christian:
“The roadside is littered with interlopers that don’t understand the intricacies of our business. I will not be caught in the fountain at the zoo, trying to trench out pennies.”

I agree with him, but that's not my biggest concern as radio considers adding Google to our dance card. It's their accountability.

Check out their ordering and billing approach. No notarized affidavits with the 'cross my heart, I really did run what you ordered last month' promises.

Google, it appears, has the ability to show exactly what ran, really ran, within a day or two (or less).

Radio's current process of ordering, scheduling and billing must become much more accountable and swift - soon - or we may find Google doing our traffic and billing for us too...