Friday, February 29, 2008

Trend To Watch: Your Show's Audio On YouTube

Their recent topical and slightly controversial "Osama, Obama and Your Mama" bit gets the BD&B You Tube Site started. Thanks to the boys for keeping me informed on their latest attempt to get their email list fans to put their material on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites.

What have you been doing lately? Drop an email to

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The First Happy Signs Of A Good Spring

In ARB PPM monthly 6+ share trends CBS country KILT-FM ranks #5 and Cox's KKBQ-KTHT combine for a 7.0 share in market #6 Houston while Beasley's WXTU is also #5 6+ in #7 Philadelphia.

The combined shares of the four country stations in the two PPM-currency markets are up 8% from December to January: (December) 11.6- (Holiday) 11.8- (January) 12.5, so it looks like maybe country's soft fall 2007 national averages were indeed (hopefully!) largely due to AC's all Christmas music tactic.

For me, that's an even more optimistic sign of an early, sunny spring than a robin on the lawn.

With I-Tunes, There Is No Bag

Maybe the NAB should just make their new ad contain a photo of a Wal*Mart bag.

Meanwhile, the Nashville buzz is that in the wake of the great traffic generated by Garth's latest repackaging of his hits for a bargain price ($11.88) the massive retailer is telling labels that they will cut back the amount of space for music unless labels cut wholesale prices to the point that the retailer can price albums for under $10.

It would cut further into record label already-shrinking profits, but I bet they decide that when the monster gets hungry the best short term play is to feed the beast.


"If a country music fan in Pittsburgh could buy a custom sequined shirt from Manuel's Exclusive Clothier on Broadway and, via technology heretofore only known in science fiction, have the garment teleported to his or her home instantly (either for a nominal fee or free), the technology would, among many other things, revolutionize the manufacturing industry. And unless it had a stake in the technology, even a billion-dollar behemoth like FedEx would quickly become obsolete. But what is fanciful analogy for FedEx is an all-too-stark reality for the music industry. While it's not Star Trek technology, the Internet represents just as effective a technological dagger into the heart of the current distribution system and business model relied upon by label and listener alike for decades. And make no mistake, it's the distribution model and not piracy that will make or break the current system."

"The future is selling less of more." -- Tim Dubois

...But who's to say how that "more" will be sold? It may be that a major label becomes an umbrella distributor, which probably comes as small comfort to SonyBMG which has owned Napster for years now and has been busier suing itself than working with its competition to make that happen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PPM = Nielsen Meters For Radio, With The Same Problems?

I think so. The diary measures engagement. The PPM measures behavior. And, they are not the same thing.

Mike Bloxham's Media Post blog today is about TV ratings measurement, but I think you could substitute the letters "PPM" and place "radio" where he says "set top box" and get a view of our future, now that Project Apollo is dead.

Remember these words:
"One thing is certain, however. As complex as the media ecosystem is right now, it is only going to get more complex - and at an ever-increasing pace. What looks challenging and difficult to navigate now will probably look like the land of milk and honey when we look back in ten years’ time. As such, it is equally certain that no one solution is going to provide us with what we need to optimize communications efficiency. We will increasingly go digital in our measurement systems, but we will still need to understand the context of media use that data harvested from devices and meters will never capture."

In a few years, you're going to say Mike had a crystal ball.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why Have A Blog If You Can't Occasionally Promote Your Personal Fav's?

Thanks to Seattle P-I Music Critic Gene Stout for giving me a chance to say some nice things about a guy I first heard with Ichabod Caine and the Crew on KMPS, Vince Mira:

"Nashville is always looking for creative, new, exciting artists. This talent to sound like Johnny Cash is certainly a great thing for a 15-year-old, it's amazing. And I'm sure it's going to get a big 'Oh, wow' from people. But the real key is, can he then carry that forward with some songs that establish an identity of his own?"

(PS: He can.)

Americans' Major Concern Right Now: Debt

· 42.7% say their debt is too high…64% say their savings are too low.
· 68.6% strongly disagree or disagree with the statement: “The U.S. government is looking out for my financial interests.”
· 66.2% believe the media can stimulate a recession.
· 45.6% believe the U.S. is already in a recession…39.1% say the U.S. is not currently in a recession but will soon be in one.
· 50.2% would rather have Congress and the president work out long-term solutions to current economic challenges than get a rebate check.
· 60.7% blame problems in the housing market for the sluggish economy.
· 50.8% say they live paycheck to paycheck.

If those factoids aren't enough to give you ideas to use as you plan station promotions, get the whole report.

Contacts: BIGresearch: Chrissy Wissinger - (614.846.0146) or SSI: Jason Kannon - (860.674.3861)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Roadmap 2008: Sample Size WAY Up; Satisfaction STRONG But Down Fractionally

Nearly 17,000 heavy users of country radio across the U.S. and Canada took at least 20 minutes each to respond to an internet questionnaire over the past month and - according to the results of our “Roadmap ‘08” report - country’s vital signs remain very strong when compared to a year ago.

However, there is some evidence of loss of passion, especially among the younger side of country’s target.

Overall “satisfaction” with “your current favorite country station” fell slightly from 70% a year ago to 66.6% this year.

“To have two thirds of your core audience state that they are highly satisfied is a very compelling statistic,” says A&O partner Jaye Albright.

Fewer than 1% say they are very dissatisfied, but the number of folks who report being only ‘somewhat satisifed’ increased from 25.7% last year to 26.4% in 2008.

The changes are very small, but due to the huge sample size, they are statistically-significant.

There was a 68% increase in sample size from 10,062 in (between 1/20 and 2/18) 2007 to 16,712 (between 1/26 and 2/24) in 2008.

“There’s plenty of specific information in this data to help us understand what may be happening which drives these changes and to shore up our weaknesses now, before the next book begins,” adds A&O partner Michael O’Malley. “The mere fact that so many of our listeners were willing to take the time to give their suggestions and opinions to make countr radio better is a very healthy sign.”

Based on changes in the sample, it’s possible to hypothesize that our core is slipping 18 to 44 and growing 45+.

Demo composition (% of total sample) changes:

2007-2008 (change)
12-17: 1.8-1.8 = 0%
18-24: 8.2-8.1 = -1.2%
25-34: 20.7-17.8% = -14%
35-44: 28.1-26.6 - = -5.3%
45-54: 27.5-29.3 = +6.5%
55-64: 11.5-13.8 = +20%
65-74: .1- .2.3 = is this increase by a factor of 22 due to more internet use by this demo this year? Or, more usage?

The changes in demo composition of these P-1’s may be what is driving the music genre preference trends.

This sample, since it comes from A&O client station email databases, is 68.2% people who listen to country music radio more than two hours per day.

24.9% of the respondents listen between an hour and two hours per day.

6.9% reported listening less than an hour per day, so these stats reflect the preferences of country radio’s heaviest users in our client markets, but also include 1,155 light users as well.

Each A&O client station which had 200 or more of their listeners complete the survey will receive reports on both the national averages and also their local data in the next 14 days.

Highlights of the national data will be presented at the Albright & O’Malley Pre-CRS client seminar on Tuesday, March 4 from 2:00 to 5:30 pm in the Country Music Hall Of Fame’s Ford Theatre. Admission is free, but by invitation only.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

“That’s Great! .. BUT...”

“How did they do it?” a client PD asked me last week.

“Do what?” I innocently inquired.

“How did those folks at WAXX, Eau Claire, get more than 600 of their listeners to do the questionnaire and we’re a bigger market but we only had just over 300.”

A&O client stations are competitive. I suppose that’s one reason why they hire us.

They want to have the latest intelligence and access to cutting-edge strategies and tactics. They love winning.

Rarely, however, do they have a chance to compete with each other and have every other client see the ‘score.’

And, I didn’t even know that this was a competition!

So far, more than 17,000 listeners across the U.S. and Canada have completed the “Roadmap ’08” national perceptual study (highlights of which will be unveiled at our Pre-CRS client seminar) a preliminary report on the results of the study went out to all of the stations who participated the other day.

It includes P-1 listener tracking data on more than 40 areas, from music style and genre preferences, content, information, new media usage, overall satisfaction and HD radio.

I was surprised to find that almost everyone who received it turned past the product and usage-related responses to the pages which detailed the sample sizes for each market which will allow us to break local data for out every station with at least 200 respondents. Everyone seemed to want to see how many of their listeners completed the 20 minute questionnaire compared to other cities of similar size.

The PD who made the statement’s station ranks #1 12+ and 25-54 in a situation where an aggressive direct format competitor ranks #5 in the Fall ARB survey, so I have long considered this programmer a winner and a big success I often point with pride to.

But, in his mind, he still needs to do better.

“We do contests and they do well for us, but then I see how the great Lincoln Financial Media team at KSON, San Diego, made “Double Your Paycheck” more than just a contest. They turned it into a statement of values the station stands for,” he started.

“Then, Pattison’s CJJR, Vancouver, “Tripled Your Pay” last Fall and had a terrific BBM.

“We also do a St. Jude’s Radiothon and raised lots of money for the great cause again this year, but then I saw how the Bonneville/Cincinnati crew at B-105 had their listeners pledge $415,361,” he continued.

“I look at loyalty rewards marketing stars like Larche Media/Barrie’s KICX, Morris Radio’s WIBW-FM, Topeka and Astral’s CFQX, Winnipeg driving thousands of new database signups. We, of course, do a similar program, yet I seem to run into the same 40 people who come to every remote broadcast for their ‘word on the street.’

CBS Radio’s KMPS, Seattle, continues to dominate their market by innovating. I love their new “” social network where they invite listeners to vote for their favorite songs and network with other listeners. How did they do that?”

Sensing that this very competitive programmer didn’t just want me to pat him on the back and say “hey, you’re #1, you’re clearly aware of those things other clients are doing and that’s a good thing, perhaps a bit of healthy sibling rivalry.

“You’re holding yourself to too high a standard, take it easy on yourself. You are really, really good at lots of things, but you can’t possibly be the absolute best at everything..,” so instead, I decided to simply remind him of the “Seven Magic Words,” which by the very questions he’s been asking me, whether he knows it or not, already show that he’s living them.

Being competitive myself, I wish I could say that they were my invention, but Mike O’Malley coined this useful seven word phrase years ago, when we did our first air personality seminar on the Boardwalk in Atlanta City. We called that session “Barnumizing Your Radio Station And Your Show.”

We taught attendees and still encourage our client stations to use the principles of P. T. Barnum. Never forget we’re in show business. Whatever you do, don’t just amplify it.

Explode it.

Plan each community service event, prep each content break, build each promotion, create each stunt, communicate each strategy and just when you feel that it’s your best, before finalizing it use the Seven Magic Words and see how far you can go with whatever you’re doing.

The words?

“Great! .. but what else could we do?”

Use them the next time your team brainstorms. Pretty soon, you’ll be the envy of your siblings too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tennessean Writer Peter Cooper Irks Fans, But Not ME

It's hard to disagree with Kix Brooks that it's time for the CMA to find a way to compensate the country superstars who are the draw each June for the CMA Music Festival (actually, it was a surprise to me that they all have been expected to perform free at what clearly is a big money-maker for someone) and Cooper's latest blog post following his story in last week's paper is worth a read:
"Earlier this week, I wrote in the newspaper about a hullabaloo concerning the CMA Music Festival. It seems that Kix Brooks — a member of superstar duo Brooks & Dunn, a past president of the CMA and a CMA board member — told a group of city business leaders that the future of the festival isn't assured until we find a way to pay the artists for performing. Immediately, some fans and observers took offense at Brooks' statement. "This festival is about the fans," they said. "Why can't artists take a night out of their lives to do something for the fans, without being paid?" Well, actually, they can. And they do. There are plenty of problems with contemporary country music, including but not limited to: samey production, safe and boring radio playlists, songs written by committees, albums conceived by committees who choose from those songs written by committees, headset microphones, "attitude fiddles," wind chimes, guitar tones that are straight from Journey's Greatest Hits, and... oh, friends, I could go on. But in terms of charitable endeavors and face time with fans, country artists get straight As."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's Nothing A Few Great Artists With Exciting Songs And A Lot Of Great Country Stations With Engaging Personalities Won't Solve

Arbitron Format Trends of the 94 continuous measurement markets reports showed Country radio with a 9.7 share in spring 2007, which was the highest share since the first published Format Trends tracking began in 1998. The Fall ARB national shares just came out this week and country’s 12+ share dipped back to 2005 levels to a 9.0.

Meanwhile, Katz Media Group’s EVP Gerry Boehme and VP/Dir. Of Research Lisa Chiljean analyze all rated Fall 2007 Country Arbitron markets and even when you include the smaller metros in the averages country still shows a dip.

KRG’s Fall 2007 Average Market Format Shares show Country declining from a Fall ‘06 14.9 to 14.3 in Fall ‘07, the lowest figure since 2003. Fall is often country’s weakest book of the year. For example, the 17-year low was a 13.5 in Fall 2000.

But, outside the top 94 markets in the Fall of 2007, Country is still number one, topping Rock (14.1), AC (13.1), Urban (12.6) and News/Talk/Info (10.9). Next in Katz’s national rankers: Hispanic at 8.1, Urban Contemporary at 7.0, Top 40 with 6.8, News/Talk with 6.5 and AC at 6.4.

Average Age of the Country listener has reached 45 years old, following eight straight years of being either 43 or 44. The lowest mean ages in the history of the country format came in 1993 and 1994 when we hit a low of 38 years old.

Country’s average time spent listening hit new lows, declining in Men (down 16 minutes to 7:21 and Women (off 24 minutes in the last year to 6:33), 25-54. TSL was also off in both genders 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64.

However, even more frighteningly, the number of persons using radio is also down from summer to fall .. and that's not something that just a few more hit country songs will solve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Love That Frog (Happy 15th Birthday Froggy .. A Brand That Has Endured)

15 years ago, I helped construct a brand relaunch for KVOX, Fargo and thanks to a wonderful group of winners (many of whom are still there, still reinventing their product and keeping it fresh and on top!), Froggy remains the market's top radio station. (click to read the article on the latest ARB: ‘Bob’ doesn’t lure ‘Froggy’ listeners)

There was a time when the previous owners had both of the market's country stations and I was moved to (the now-defunct) K-102 and I gave Froggy to Michael O'Malley to handle in order to keep both stations' competitive edge. That has proved to be a partnership which has also endured, I am very proud to say.

Congrats, happy anniversary and my ongoing admiration to Froggy, doing it right every day for 15 years now!

Nashville Star Moves To NBC

In New York yesterday, the network said it would embrace a year-round prime-time programming schedule, jettisoning the frequently criticized practice of saving most shows for the traditional September- to-May television season.

Meanwhile, as auditions continue for the new season around the USA after the announcement that the show would move from the USA Network to NBC's summer lineup, Stars & Strikes in Naples, Italy announced yesterday that auditions for military talent will happen in April:

Morale, Welfare and Recreation is sponsoring several auditions next week at military installations in southern Europe. The competition is open to U.S. active-duty personnel, as well as retirees, DOD civilians and dependents. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, with no upper age limits. Auditions at military installations in the United States are also under way.

Speaking of NBC: Jay Leno's musical guest tonight will be Garth Brooks!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is The Future Of Radio Unfolding Now In Indianapolis?

You have to say this about market #40: almost all of the major consolidated groups compete there (including one of my personal fav's, Emmis, which possesses a unique culture, more vision and courage than most) and it seems the local managers are unafraid of experimentation and change, so it often is a test for things which could eventually impact all of us.

Reporter David Lindquist documents the past year of changes there in this morning's paper and it's worth a read.
"Advertisers spent $92.5 million at Indianapolis radio stations in 2007, following $99 million spent in 2006, according to California-based accounting firm Miller, Kaplan, Arase and Co. That's a 7 percent drop, and Emmis executive Tom Severino predicts another drop of 4 percent in 2008. To appeal to advertisers who may believe radio is past its prime, companies create stations that aim to deliver audiences composed of the correct ages (and often the correct gender). Executives say modern radio is more than what's heard in your car or at the office. They tout entertainment and information available at radio station Web sites, as well as concerts they present." (photo) Cumulus Market GM Chris Wheat, who says "patience is key with new formats."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NASCAR Gets Back To Country, Grabs Garth For Fundraiser

NASCAR seeks to reconnect with the core fans it believes it lost after years of growth and expansion, according to the New York Times, this Daytona weekend: "After a drop in television ratings the past two years, Nascar has responded with initiatives designed to bring fans back to races and television sets."
“It’s an honor to have Garth serve as the face of our 2008 NASCAR Day campaign. We are thrilled to have someone of Garth Brooks’ magnitude. He will be a great ambassador for NASCAR Fans, NASCAR Day and the NASCAR Foundation.” -- Mike Helton, NASCAR president and NASCAR Foundation board member

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What's Hot and What's Not From Big Research

Consumers are thinking responsible thoughts this month. (click for the February Exec Briefing)

Saving money, voting in the primaries, and reusable shopping bags top our list of what’s hot in February.

Young men unwind with American Gladiators and Guitar Hero, while men 35+ are rooting for Eli Manning. Romantic getaways, Katherine Heigl, and clutch purses are favored by women 18 to 35.

If you're cooking up a promotion that will hit the target, think about helping your listeners through this tough economy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Garth Experience: A Living Example Of Our Values

What can you learn about marketing from country music legend Garth Brooks? A lot, if you've ever been to one of his concerts.

Dr. Joseph Michelli is author of the book The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary (which I liked to much that I sent it to every one of my client stations when it first came out).

He recently saw Garth in concert and shares his customer experience lessons in this motivational podcast.

1. Give your guests what they came there for.
2. Practice humility.
3. Copy greatness but sing it your way.
4. Give them more than they bargained for.

I think Michelli even missed another one: at the same time he was doing those things he was helping to (5.) make the world a better place by raising big money for a great cause.

A Personal Rant: "Enough Details, Already!!"

I drove through the snow this morning from Midland-Barrie-Orillia to Toronto's Pearson Airport, button-pushing across the AM and FM bands as I went.

Following the drive, one word is driving me to distraction: details.

It's the name, of course, of a fun magazine to pick up now and then and the details they print are always worth the price, but the word must mean something extra special in Canadian, because every radio station contest and promotion had more details, which I was supposed to listen for.

Websites contained even more details that I was being asked to search for. Car dealers promised more details "in store," retailers told me to ask their clerks for more details, traffic reports teased more details in just a few minutes, newscasts held out the promise of even more details a little later, weather personalities always had just a few more details coming up, air personalities seemed to have little to talk about but details on this or that.

Folks, folks, folks. Here's a quick tip: we all already have too many details to cope with in our daily lives. No one has time to wait, listen, go to a store, visit a car dealer, click on a website just for the promise of still more "details."

My favorite radio station's call letters are "WII-FM." (what's in it for me?)

I don't want details. I want you to relate to me, engage me, entertain me, inform me. At the very least, before using that word one more time, radio, please grab a Rogets and vary the words you use next time you're tempted to promise me "details" on anything.

Even better, condense those details into a few seconds, make it painless and fun and tell me what it is you think I'd be interested in. If you're hiding behind the word "details" because you know that I won't be interested, why waste my time? Or yours?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There's Never A Shortage Of Talented (?) People With Hopes And Dreams

American Idol and Colgate's Country Showdown have both been more productive in giving country radio new artists with built-in familiarity, a fan base and hit potential, but USA Networks Nashville Star keeps looking for another Buddy Jewel, and their regional auditions are going on now
  • Feb. 13: Charlotte and Kansas City
  • Feb. 17: Tallahassee and Denver
  • Feb. 21: New Orleans and Portland

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Grammys Are Still The Grammys When It Comes To Country

A&O buddy Los Angelino Neil Haislop was there all weekend, starting with Friday night's pre-party:

ImageFriday night at Hollywood's Knitting Factory on Hollywood Boulevard, Dierks Bentley put on a pre-awards party that will likely rank high among the various pre-shows this weekend ahead of the milestone Sunday's 50th Annual Grammy Awards show. Bentley is up for 3 Grammys, Best Male Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song for "Long Trip Alone," and, Best Country Album for Long Trip Alone.

Billed as Dierks Bentley and Friends the show lived up to its name, as Dierks was joined on stage by country and pop luminaries, including Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Dwight Yoakam, as well as Pearl Jam lead guitarist, Mike McCready and Haley Williams, lead singer for New Artist nominee Paramore.

After Dierks tore into his high-energy opening set, Miranda Lambert, Grammy nominated for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Famous in a Small Town," was first to join him on stage. The crowd welcomed Miranda like a big star and were jumping up and down through the high energy set between two artists that are friends and singing on the same musical page.

After Miranda departed, Dierks told the crowd that he wanted Brad Paisley to join him for the a few songs, "But he's too big a star now to do something like that." Of course, that
Imagewas Brad's cue to jump on stage, strap on a guitar and fire up the crowd with his guitar licks, humor and vocals. Paisley is also Grammy-nominated 3 times for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, along with Carrie Underwood, for "Oh, Love," Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Throttleneck" off of his Grammy-nominated album, 5th Gear.

The next surprise guest was Pearl Jam's lead guitarist, Mike McCready. Dierks pretty much laid back on his acoustic and let Mike do his thing. Would've been fun to have kept Paisley out there and let them engage in a friendly dual.

Also, guesting with Dierks was the Tennessee-bred, 18 year-old lead singer for Paramore, Haley Williams. Paramore is up for the overall New Artist Grammy.

Although Paramore ain't country, Haley proved that the country she grew with hadn't left her as she and Dierks traded vocals on some big country standards.

ImageAfter Dierks finished the show the Hollywood crowd in the trendy club wanted an encore and got it plus the final guest star to help Dierks deliver it, Dwight Yoakam.
Dierks had a ball trading vocals on several cool versions Buck Owens songs. It was a fitting finale to a great show served up one of country's hottest young traditionalists and a few of his friends.

Can't say too much about Dierks' band, especially lead guitarist, Rod Janzen, who held his own with both Brad and Mike McCready Friday night.

The Grammys being the Grammys, nearly all of the Country awards were handed out in the pre-telecast awards presentations where Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley were on hand to accept their awards. Carrie picked up Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Before He Cheats," which also earned Best Country Song honors.

"You couldn't keep me from actually getting this myself — it's not the same when someone else gets this on your behalf," said Underwood.

After an amazing duet of "Learnin' the Blues" between Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra (appearing on an old film clip), CARRIE'S BIg performance was the second number of the night, where she delivered a revved up, huge production of "Before He Cheats."


BRAD PAISLEY ALSO PERFORMED...Brad Paisley, who won for Best Country Instrumental Performance on "Throttleneck," turned in a rousing performance of his quirky hit, "Ticks."

And, the Grammys being the Grammys, VINCE GILL won Country Album of the year for his brilliant, multiple disc, These Days, and was presented his Grammy by Beatle, Ringo Star.


Best Female Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
Before He Cheats
Carrie Underwood
Track from: Some Hearts
[19 Recordings/Arista Nashville]

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
Stupid Boy - Keith Urban
Track from: Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
How Long - Eagles

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
Lost Highway Willie Nelson & Ray Price

Best Country Instrumental Performance
"Throttleneck Brad Paisley"
Track from: 5th Gear

Best Country Song "Before He Cheats"
Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)

Best Country Album
These Days - Vince Gill

The Grammys being the Grammys, the list of "little" country winners is too long for this post.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Four-Day CMA MusicFest Tickets Are Selling Faster Than Ever Before

Four days, 35 hours of autograph signings, 100 hours of live music, 400 Country Music artists and celebrities, and more than 191,000 fans add up to one major musical philanthropic event: 2008 CMA Music Festival, held Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, in Downtown Nashville.
“CMA Music Festival is a unique experience that could only take place in Nashville. Thousands of people come to Music City from around the globe to hear the music that made our city famous and interact with the artists who create it through autograph signings and one-of-a-kind events. We welcome these fans of America’s music to Nashville’s signature music event.” -- Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Maybe I Need To Change My Opinion Of The Grammys

Most years the Grammy Awards leave country radio listeners scratching their heads, but if some of the country nominees this year (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Emerson Drive and Brooks & Dunn) are any indication it may be time to say that 'this year, they finally got it right.'

However, if the Grammy voters are true to form, they'll probably stiff Carrie and Taylor (too much commercial success, perhaps?), though I hope not...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Faith Hill Has Bronchitis; Cancels Aretha Tribute Grammy Appearance

Faith was forced to withdraw early yesterday from the MusiCares Dinner honoring Aretha Franklin due to a bronchial infection. She explained in a press release:
"I am devastated and deeply disappointed that I will not be able to sing at the MusiCares Dinner honoring Aretha. I have been looking forward to being a part of this event for months and even after being diagnosed with a bronchial infection I came to LA anyway hoping that I'd be able to sing. I simply can't. Aretha is my musical hero and she deserves all of the accolades that she receives. I only hope that I'll get the chance to be a part of something like this in the future."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

KUUB's Tim & Malayna Broadcast With A 9 Year Old Cohost

Cub Country 94-5/Reno assisted one of their younger listeners yesterday with a toy drive to aid children who lost everything in the recent Fernley, NV floods as nine-year-old Ashlee Smith joined the Morning show for three hours to collect toys, cash and gift cards. They collected enough during the show to fill the back of her family's truck. The on-air drive is part of a larger toy drive for the flood victims. Tim & Malayna will assist Ashlee in distributing the toys later this month,

What To Do When Something On-Air Goes Horribly Bad

Thankfully, Canada's Broadcast Standards Council ruled today that having controversial people on air doesn't breach their Code of Ethics in the case of VisionTV's broadcasts of Dil Dil Pakistan in July 2007.

If the ruling had gone the other way, as much as I deplore the hateful comments which were attributed to fanatical TV Islamic imam Dr. Israr Ahmad it would have had a chilling effect on free broadcast speech. Vision TV's actions, albeit that they probably took too long to take them after the complaints, seem to me like a textbook example of what any of us would do when a guest on our airwaves is alleged to have said something hateful/stupid/outrageous/damaging:
"VisionTV also pointed out the steps it had taken to respond to the complaints, including the establishment of a Task Force to look into the issue, the interim suspension of the broadcast of Dil Dil Pakistan, and the broadcast of apologies for any offence caused."

Do you monitor everything the voices are saying on your public affairs and religious programming, even when it airs early, early on a Saturday or Sunday morning?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

High Demand for User-Generated Content, But Long Live Traditional Media!

To shed light on how different generations are “consuming” media — and what their future media preferences are likely to be — Deloitte & Touche USA LLP’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice commissioned an extensive survey on the evolving role of media in America. This State of the Media Democracy survey offers a generational reality check on the usage of current media platforms/devices and what the future may hold.


Millennials are leading the way, embracing new technologies, games, entertainment platforms, user-generated content and communication tools — creating a “trickle up” effect where the older generations are learning from them. The survey found that despite their eagerness to embrace new media, Millennials have an affinity for “traditional” media, such as print publications and television. Almost 6 in 10 survey respondents (58 percent) say they use magazines to find out about what's "cool and hip," such as clothes, cars and music. Perhaps more important, almost three-quarters (71 percent) enjoy reading print magazines even though they know they could find most of the same information online.

When Millennials find something they like, they broadcast it, and the power of their amplification is extensive. The Millennials surveyed maintain large instant messaging (IM) and texting lists that average 37 people, compared with just 17 for the entire sample.And when they find a particular television show or Web site they enjoy, they tell an average of 18 people, compared with only 10 people for all age groups. According to the survey, word of mouth is the most common reason for Millennials to visit a Web site, followed by an ad on television. Almost half (48 percent) visit television Web sites in a typical week.

Generations Xers enjoyed the explosion of new entertainment in their youth and continue to embrace entertainment today. They are the most interested in general lifestyle/personal interest information, including celebrity and entertainment news. They are also most likely to be visiting television show Internet sites.

Baby Boomers are in their peak earning years and are entering their empty nesting life stage — retirement is still a few years away but certainly on their radar screens. Boomers are still very dependent on newspapers and spend the most time with local news and weather content. They do spend a lot of time on the Internet, but do not match the younger generations as far as embracing the new media platforms. Across many measures, Boomers seem to split the attitudinal and behavioral differences between Xers and the Matures.

The Matures spend the most time with national and world news content, as well as financial information. Not surprisingly, Matures are the most likely to embrace print media. However, there is a significant percentage of Matures embracing electronic media, as well as participating in electronic forms of communication and user-generated content. A significant minority of Matures also participate in:

  • Gaming and user-generated content
  • IM and texting
  • Meeting new friends over the Internet
The Press release as a very cool pdf: The State of the Media Democracy (171 KB) Are You Ready for the Future of Media? - Survey Results. Press release: Deloitte survey offers reality check on millennial generation's media consumption

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Keith Urban Really Gives Back To His Audiences (And, I Mean REALLY..)

Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood started their 2008 "Love, Pain and the whole crazy Carnival Ride Tour" with three sold-out shows, two in Uncasville, Conn. and one in Rochester, N.Y. this past weekend.

During one of his Uncasville performances of "You Look Good In My Shirt," Urban leapt into the crowd for the song's guitar solo. Urban stripped his Epiphone electric guitar from his shoulder and gave it to a 15-year old fan.

If you have to ask how much an Epiphone costs, you probably can't afford one. (The performer's next stop is Madison Square Garden, on Feb. 13 where Urban will make his sold-out debut...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Are You Podcasting? When Will You Start? (Now?)

eMarketer estimates that there was a 285% increase in size of the US podcast audience in 2007, a growth to 18.5 million.

Furthermore, that audience will increase to 65 million in 2012. Of those listeners, 25 million will be “active” users who tune in at least once a week.

With numbers like that, advertisers are starting to take notice.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Are The Rednecks Ready For Shane Yellowbird and Crystal Shawanda?

I sure hope SO! (click to read "Aboriginal country acts wary of racial discrimination as they seek stardom")

If "You Can Let Go, Now, Daddy" doesn't break down prejudice and other barriers to Nashville's gated community, nothing is going to!

And, for more on Shane Yellowbird, click here.

Watts Versus Gladwell: Should We Target The Influentials Or Not?

This I know: targeting heavy radio users who love country music, your radio station and who enjoy giving their opinions in market research makes for a highly-productive target .. if you want to grow your audience as reported in ratings (vs the 'real' audience).

I used to think that you could find 'the influentials' among them, build buzz for your brand and get them to tell their friends about the good things you do. It sounds alluring: marketing becomes more efficient, less expensive.

Now, I'm not so sure about that
"If Influentials cannot tip a trend into existence--and if success in a networked society is quite random--what's a poor marketer to do? Is there any way to intentionally infect people with an idea or a product?" -- Is the Tipping Point Toast? -- Duncan Watts

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thanks, Radio-Info. I Appreciate The Ink

Fall book format trends – the consultants size them up for T-R-I...

Jaye Albright
“In a word, country is all about values, and our 30+ females, especially, are all about the values of Christmas, so there’s almost no way to defend against a solid Christmas music AC in the final 3-4 weeks of the survey, other than to have a terrific first two phases. When you study the stations that did well, that is the common thread, by and large. Either that, or they had a huge TSL driver in the final Phase, like San Diego’s KSON, which paid off its year-long ‘Double Your Paycheck’ giveaways by awarding a $50,000 annual bonus in early December. But as for country in a number - 2,160! That, believe it or not, is a PPDV [Persons Per Diary Value] in men 18-24 that I saw as I broke out a book for a client. Not only that, but Women 18-24 was 1,503 and Men 25-34 was 1,478. These extremely high levels of sample weights are becoming more common and they create huge problems for any station with geographical hot pockets and other zip areas where they aren’t as strong, like country, which tends to have its listeners in the ex-urban and suburban areas, not the central city. Fewer non-ethnic 25-54 diaries and more weighting makes each book more of a crap shoot, creating huge wobbles. [Albright colleague] Mike O’Malley just wrote a blog post about seeing his first 1,000 PPDV a few weeks ago (A Thousand to One) and since then we’ve been hearing it’s being seen in market after market. Hopefully, Dr. Ed Cohen’s Arbitron diary sample improvement team is hard at work on it now. Finally, country has had such a great run over the last several years that there are many markets with just too many stations to avoid a bit of share compression, even when there is a strong leader.”

A Miracle on a Pensacola Street

The WYCT-sponsored-event happened more than a month ago, but it was amazing to find the story on HUD's website today: Christmas came two days early for Jamvis Armour and his family as they walked through the door of a new house given to them by a grateful community.

The De-Idolizing (and AO-CRSization) of Phil Stacey

A & O's Annual Pre-CRS Seminar, Tuesday, March 4, 2008's special guest performer got a rave review for his performance yesterday at WUSN, Chicago.

You are cordially invited to our meeting if you are an A & O client or work at a station not in a competitive situation with us.

BUT, you must RSVP to receive an invitation. Email or to get one.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tim McGraw Tours Solo In '08

After wrapping the most successful consecutive multi-year tour in country music history last year, “Soul2Soul II,” with wife Faith Hill, Tim McGraw returns to touring in 2008 as a solo act.

McGraw headlined and sold out shows since 1993, will kick-off “Tim McGraw ‘08 Live Your Voice Tour” in May with special guest Jason Aldean and Halfway To Hazard

The first leg of the tour is slated to launch in Tampa, Florida on May 9 and will wrap in July 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.