Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Congrats, Scott Innes

.. who finds time to voice cartoons, host a daily radio show and - now - write a book about it all.

Get Your Head Around This Concept

What if, in just a few years, there's no longer any old media, new media, interactive media, mobile media, out-of-home-media, at work media, in home media, but just local media leveraging all their brands and platforms for ownership of the mental real estate?

A tough economy is almost always the delivery room for new amalgamations, some of which become wildly successful, while others fail.

What if today wasn't the end of media as we know it, but a new beginning?

Play "Rock Band" With TK

"Get ready all you gamers, we’ve got Toby Keith songs for Rock Band. We’ve created the ultimate six pack of songs for you to play along with the band and me." -- Toby Keith

Keith will make his Rock Band debut with the addition of six tracks to the Rock Band® Music Store of downloadable content.

Release Date:
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 (Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360®)
Thursday, April 9, 2009 (PlayStation®Store)

Toby Keith "Beer for My Horses"
Toby Keith "I Love This Bar"
Toby Keith "She’s a Hottie"
Toby Keith "Should've Been a Cowboy"
Toby Keith "Who's Your Daddy?"
Toby Keith "How Do You Like Me Now"
(All tracks are original master recordings)

$1.99 (160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) per track
$9.99 (800 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for Toby Keith 6-pack

I'd Be A Fool To Link To Seth Godin's Blog

After all, he's one of the most-popular and influential bloggers in the world - for good reason - and so if I send you to his page, that will most likely be the third time today you've read it.

Sure, hire the very best in the world when you need a breakthrough. But you don't have to pay for better-than-mediocre design. You can do it yourself. - Seth Godin

However, maybe you didn't click on this link ("become a really good graphic designer") you can check out an hour a day for a month "and you won't have to hide your face in shame when it comes to graphic design."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Where Great Pep Talks Meet Reality

Yesterday, Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik addressed his players about what character means in team sports and it was a World Series-winning rev 'em up speech, complete with impressive hand gestures.

Seattle Times staff reporter Geoff Baker: "Zduriencik wanted to impress upon them that talent and character go hand-in-hand for winning clubs, almost like two sides of a pyramid. He told them to imagine a pyramid and began sliding both his hands up and down diagonally across what would have been its sides.

The hand on one side was eventually kept higher than the other, showing players that the talent side of a team could often be strong while the character level on the other side was lacking. Or, he added, slowly sliding one hand higher and lowering the other, sometimes it's the character of a team that's strong, while the talent is inadequate.

"What you should be striving for as an organization," Zduriencik added, bringing the fingertips of his hands together and pointing them toward the sky, "is to meet at the top, where the talent is at the top and the character is at the top."

That message wasn't lost on Mariners first baseman Mike Sweeney, one of a core of veterans who has taken to altering the goings-on inside the Mariners clubhouse. The trio of Sweeney, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adrian Beltre have worked hard this spring to lay down a new clubhouse order.

"The main thing is accountability," Sweeney said. "You hold guys accountable. If guys are not adhering to the rules or guidelines of this clubhouse, you point it out. It's simple. There are no official rules, but if you're doing things that are detrimental to the team, then you're going to get called out on it, whether you're a 10-year veteran or a rookie.

"It's called accountability," he added. "If you don't have that, then you're not going to have, No. 1, a team. You're not going to have unity. The days of, if you blow a game, hiding in the trainer's room, those are over. It's being held accountable."

Then, Ichiro Suzuki arrived in camp.

Anyone who motivates teams for a living has to love spring training, the petry jar where leadership becomes achievement, or not.

Which Is More Important: Content? Or, Distribution?

Yes, I know that the answer 'should' be that you can't succeed without both, but here's a situation we're going to see more and more:

In an era where every dollar counts, two of Journal’s four Boise stations are no longer streaming. GM Bob Rosenthal says savings could go to keep a part-timer. Plus there's not just not much revenue from in-stream ads.

I hate to see it, of course, but if that's the only choice, I'd say Rosenthal is doing the same thing I'd be doing. What's the point of streaming if you can't offer local, immediate content as as result of the costs.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last Time I Checked, We Were Not Dead

In today's mail, this cc from the always alert SCBA

To: Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times

In your column of March 24, 2009, you look at the forces causing the rapid demise of major newspapers, including the double-digit losses in circulation and print advertising revenue hitting virtually every newspaper across the country.

And you wonder out loud if new technologies like the Rubicon Project, which focuses on online ad optimization, can be used to save the LA Times.

Overall the article was interesting and factual. That is, until you quoted Mr. Addante, co-founder and CEO of the Rubicon Project, who said --

"I don't want newspapers to die like radio."

By presenting Mr. Allantes' inaccurate statement as fact, you have left the reader with the impression that Radio is dead.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Radio is not only alive, it’s growing.

Today, more people are listening to radio in Los Angeles than ever before. 96% of Los Angeles residents (11.5 million* people 6+) listen to radio every week.

Our online listenership continues to increase every week, with advertising comfortably in place. And no Radio station in Los Angeles has declared bankruptcy or shut down operations because of a lack of interest or usage by the people of Los Angeles.

I've attached a chart (above, to enlarge it click on it) that tracks the 21% drop in readership for the LA Times since 2003 vs the 5.4% increase in listenership to Radio in that same period. I urge you to share it with Mr. Addante. I trust his technology is more accurate than his assessment of Radio.

As for the LA times, I trust that you will take steps to correct the negative impression of Radio fostered by your article.

*source: M-Sun 6A-Mid persons 6+ using radio Arbitron PPM Los Angeles metro Jan 2009

Mary Beth Garber
Southern California Broadcasters Assn

In Los Angeles - Radio Means Business
The #1 Radio Revenue Market in the World
Radio -- Reach in Real-Time. Deliver the message when it matters with Radio.

Taylor & Miley Reunite At ACM Awards

Following her country-toned debut with pal Taylor Swift at this year's Grammys, Miley Cyrus will perform – solo this time – at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards on April 5.

Cyrus, 16, will deliver her hit "The Climb" from the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, PEOPLE has learned exclusively. Climbing the Billboard Hot 100 and country charts, the song will easily fit in with the sound of the evening.

Could Miley be headed for a future in country music? Only time will tell.

The teen sensation will share the stage with a star-studded line-up that includes Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, John Rich, Lee Ann Womack and Jamey Johnson.

The 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, hosted by McEntire, will air live on CBS from Las Vegas's MGM Grand on Sunday, April 5, at 8 p.m. ET and PT.

Two-Thirds Say They’ll Give Stimulus Bill One Year or Less to Work

77.1% of Americans say companies like AIG shouldn’t be allowed second helpings when it comes to government bailouts, according to the March American Pulse™ (N=4021), signaling that their patience may be running thin. Additionally, 65.7% say they’ll wait a year or less to see if the stimulus bill is working.

The recession continues to hit home with American workers: 27% didn’t receive a raise, 19% had hours reduced and 18.5% didn’t get a bonus. Further, the controversial card check legislation is not favored by Americans. 74.3% say when employees vote on union issues, their vote should be kept secret. More union households (78.6%) than non-union households (73.6%) agree.

42.5% of Americans think now is a good time to buy stock. If only they had some extra cash...just 23.4% of those are buying. So what’s the fix for the economic mess? Americans feel moving manufacturing back on U.S. soil will help (56.6%), while 45.9% say lower taxes. Interestingly, 45.1% say ‘we the people’ is the answer.

Verbatim posts on BIGresearch and Artafact’s blog:
“..AIG is getting more money. That is putting good money after bad in my book. One bailout to a customer I say!”

“Now is the perfect time to begin re-manufacturing in the USA. The economy is already depressed which means salaries and other associated expenses are down.”

“It’s great to be able to buy stock while prices are down, but when your husband gets laid off in October, and it’s March and he can't even get an interview, it’s the last thing on your mind!”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oprah Is Big, But Not As Big As Country Music

But, when it's Oprah AND country too, now THAT IS BIG.
Is country music the soundtrack of your life? The Oprah Winfrey is featuring the country music line up of the year ! Sugarland, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, and Darius Rucker. If you are a HUGE country music fan and you'd like to be a part of the audience for this taping we want to hear from you! We want to know who your favorite artist is and why!
Is there any country station anywhere that doesn't want to put this link on their website now?

The Most Important Words Of Advice Of The Week

From Country Aircheck today and the landmark CMA country consumer study:
"Be on guard against a potential backlash and genre dilution related to new, more pop-oriented country. The key is to nurture a new artist’s persona as a legitimate country performer with personal ties and a commitment to the essence of the genre. This authenticity also applies to DJs, as the study found strong resistance among core fans against the “crossover DJ” who has switched from another format to Country."

A&O tip: every quarter hour of your music schedule either refutes this listener complaint or supports it, as does every content break by your personalities. If you don't know what I mean by this statement, we need to chat now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


For years I have been saying that the average Arbitron diary keeper writes 2.6 radio stations in their book during the survey week and the average BBM ballot contains an average of 2.2 station mentions, which convinced me over time after many diary and ballot reviews that pretty much every diary respondent in both the U.S, and Canada wrote down, more or less, ‘two or three’ radio stations.

I'm betting that a lot of us have programmed our radio stations based on those numbers.

Somewhere deep down I have always known that if two people are in a room, one of them weighs 300 pounds and the other’s weight is 100, there is no one in the room even close to the ‘average’ of the two, but it has taken PPM data emerging over the last few years from Montreal, Philadelphia and Houston to prove how far my (not so) "educated" guess was from the truth, and how different each market can be when you start to see data as granular as PPM permits.

BBM reports that the Montreal electronic data shows - in a city with English speakers, French speakers and bilinguals and radio stations for each of those groups - that people actually, on average, tune into four or five radio stations.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. PPM markets out so far the average meter measures listening to six or seven stations.

In Canada, panelists are permitted to stay in the sample for up to five years, while in America, ARB removes them after two.

ARB VP PPM Sales John Snyder and Michelle Barker of Arbitron’s Research staff crunched some PPM data from Philadelphia in November 2008 (each dot is one meter in the sample) and found that two people actually listened to 25 different radio stations.

During the same month in New York, five panelists cumed between 26 and 30 stations (click on the graphic to enlarge it).

Conclusion: those averages I have been living with for my entire radio career were wrong; which becomes more obvious now that we can see real usage without the bias of top of mind recall.

I’ve always believed it, but now I know for sure: when we see PPM data from the rest of Canadian major markets and more American large markets later this year, we’re going to find that radio listening in Quebec is not the same as it is in Calgary, which is different from Toronto, which is different from Vancouver, which is different from San Francisco, which is different from Atlanta.

Yes, we've all been saying it for years: every market is different.

Now, we are getting the data which proves it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pew: "Chilling Numbers"

Bad news #1: The number of Americans who regularly go online for news, jumped 19% in the last two years, according to one survey; in 2008 alone traffic to the top 50 news sites rose 27%.

Bad news #2: It is now all but settled that advertising revenue -- the model that financed journalism for the last century -- will be inadequate to do so in this one. Growing by a third annually just two years ago, online ad revenue to news websites now appears to be flattening; in newspapers it is declining.

Only cable news really flourished in 2008, thanks to an Ahab-like focus on the 2008 election, although some of the ratings gains were erased after the election.

From: State of the News Media 2009

"Success Can Be Measured At Many Levels"

"It can be teaching that first-time job holder the importance of good work ethics, helping that salesperson hit a goal he never thought he’d meet or turning a client’s business into a success story that a community can be proud of. The larger the impact you make on your staff, your clients and your community, the larger your numbers will grow! With formal training seminars, reading and networking with other members in our industry, we learn from others’ successes and mistakes. We share in frustrations and obstacles. Not only do we mature professionally by educating ourselves, but this infuses the energy that drives our stations every day." - Jerry Butler, GM/Williams Broadcasting/Enid, OK (#5 in a series)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Impressions and Digressions from CRS-40

(Photo) Blake and Miranda made it all the way to the very end of Country Radio Seminar's latest and very last party. Did you?

A virgin's impression of CRS 40: Ryan Moore works in publicist Jeff Walker's Aristo Media publicity department. It was his very first CRS and he put together a very creative blog about his first CRS memories.

Thanks, Jeff, for encouraging the click!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"The Single Most Important Metric.."

"..is how our audience and community feel about our performance. This should include the images of our stations, the image of our staff, the image in the advertising community and the image in the business community. If our stations have a great reputation in the market, then I am seen as successful as well." -- Kent Dunn, VP/Market Manager/Beasley Broadcast Group/Augusta

#4 in a series, as BMP's Jeff Hinson was chosen America's Best Broadcaster and Radio One/Houston's Doug Abernethy, Market Manager of the year as a part of RAB-09's "Radio Wayne Awards."

PS: Streaming highlights of some of RAB's best sessions are online now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Everything Sucks Huge" or "The Recession Ain't Getting Me Down"?

Virgin Mobile Canada has created a mood meter that goes from red to green and the five-stage color-coded system shows that – this week – young Canadians are on Yellow Alert ("Sorta' Freaking Out Right Now"), which means:

- Biting nails - 72% are anxious about their future
- Brand disloyalty - 41% have given up a brand they love
- Show me the value! - 52% are open to trying value brands
- Chic-onomics - 88% have changed their shopping habits
- Recessionistas - 42% are making "noticeable sacrifices"
- Unemployment - 42% fear being unemployed
- Politics - 57% say they don't believe a change in government would change anything
- The Simple Life - 75% want a simpler life.

The Mood Meter looks exclusively at the impact the recession is having on young people's (17-35s) lives, how they're feeling about the state of the economy and what the recession means to them. It's also a barometer of their thoughts and shopping habits, as well as their feelings on how brands are behaving.

Thanks to Broadcast Dialogue for the tip!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"In Order To Compete With New Media Options..."

"...radio needs quality access on all portable devices for our streams and broadcast signals, less content interference from the FCC, greater support of HDRadio from the FCC, and a continued focus on local content." - (#3 in a series) Bill Schoening, Sr. VP/Market Manager, CBS Radio/Charlotte

A Lesson In Smart PR

.. from the folks at Bonneville/Cincinnati:

Jessie Tack created production magic, listeners responded and tonight's American Idol performance provided the perfect opportunity to get some great ink.

"Never Hire Someone You Wouldn't Want To Have Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner With Every Day..."

"...because that's about how much time you'll be spending with them! I tell recruits that half their grade comes from hitting the number and the other half comes from how well they work with others in the building. Either half can get you fired." -- John Fennessy, DOS/CBS Radio/Tampa-St. Petersburg (#2 in a series)

Monday, March 16, 2009

"My Mentors And Role Models Have Two Things In Common..."

Radio Ink celebrates RAB week with their usual salute to the "Radio Wayne Best Broadcaster Award Nominees," but with a twist. This year, rather than the usual bio info on each one, they asked them for some insight and received some priceless responses, like:
".. They are as successful outside of work as they are at work, and they never settle. They are always looking to improve, to do things differently and better, because they know that even if something is great, there is the possibility it can get even better!" -- Jeffrey Wolinsky, Bonneville, Washington, DC.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

When Huff Po Reviews Country Positively, There Might Be Hope For Bipartisanship After All

How's this for a game of ping pong? I blog about how amazing a nice review of Jamey Johnson and John Rich is from the Huffington Post, and HuffPo blogs about how country radio isn't always known for its daring social relevance:
"...but two singles that are currently rising up the charts--John Rich's politically themed "Shutting Detroit Down" and Jamey Johnson's pharmaceutically themed "High Cost of Living"--prove that the genre that bills itself as "America's music" can still provide bracing jolts of reality.."
Given THAT, who knows what's next? Fox News endorsing President Obama's new budget? The Wall Street Journal liking the stimulus?

Yeah, right.

March: Hot/Not

Big Research: Good news and bad news regarding consumer confidence in March…The bad? Fewer than one in five (19.5%) maintain they are confident/very confident in chances for a strong economy, down more than five points from a year ago (24.8%) and trailing the ’07 reading (46.9%) by 27+ points. The “good”? Confidence hasn’t slipped any further from last month’s dismal 19.4% reading…sorry to disappoint, but these days we’ve got to report the good news where we can find it.

Tiger Woods’ return to tournament play proves to be eagerly awaited…the golf phenom tops our list of what’s hot in March, while March Madness and American Idol also continue to be ratings winners among households.

The Flip Video Camcorder is a hit among the younger set, while those in the [slightly] older crowd are cashing in by selling gold jewelry.

False Economies And Smart Moves


Keith Bilbrey will no longer be on the air at WSM-AM and will no longer serve as a Grand Ole Opry announcer.

Banks started cutting tellers and replacing them with ATMs at least 15 years ago so I get the concept of improving customer/listener service and reallocating budgets to things that matter to users, but it seems to me that people are radio's non-duplicatable branded assets which bring the brand story to life in human form in ways no other radio station can copy or take away.

A strong personality is a poster child for your brand, adding value. Bilbrey is now a poster child for Gaylord Entertainment in what seems to me to be all the wrong ways for the people of my age who listen to AM radio.

Meanwhile, Gaylord's Grand Ole Opry pairs with American Idol next week in yet another effort to contemporize the Opry's image. Can Carrie and Brad's personas wallpaper over the crack left by Keith?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today's Country: A 55/45 Gender Balance, Younger And More Female

Tom Taylor at Radio-Info:
"Country has been courting younger women lately and that seems to show up in the CMA study. But isn’t there a risk of losing older guys, once a stronghold for country? The format’s always resisted fragmentation, but it may be getting there on a de facto basis."

1. “CountryPhiles” tend to be Caucasian, married, and living in a smaller town.

Leo Burnett’s Carol Foley says “protecting and more fully leveraging this group should be the country music industry’s top priority, because even small erosion among this group has substantial negative revenue implications.”

2. “MusicPhiles” like other musical genres, too to lean male (55%) and are younger, more diverse (sometimes Hispanic) and more urban.

Starcom MediaVest’s Jana O’Brien says “they like country more than they love it.”

The CMA study
identifies five groups among the “low funders”, and says “Today’s Traditional” (“CountryPhiles in training”) and “Pop Country” (very urban, responding to new, female, pop-leaning country artists; MusicPhiles in training”) are the two most promising sub-groups in terms of future revenues. 39% of adults 18-54 are “country music fans.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

True Confessions

Once upon a time back in the bygone days of my on air career (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) it is possible that I may have once or twice checked off a commercial or a song on the (paper) log that might not have actually run at the time it was scheduled. (blush)

Warning: those days are gone now. In more ways than one.

Chuck And Julianne Dance Well On Dancing With The Stars

Chuck Wicks was already nervous about appearing on Dancing with the Stars with his girlfriend, Julianne Hough a week before his debut last night. "I feel funny enough doing it in a small room with a camera, let alone how I'll feel Monday with a studio audience and millions of people watching...not to mention my friends, all my buddies that will be watching and laughing," Chuck told A&O's buddy Neil Haislop last week.

Sure enough Chuck was nervous, and had a little trouble adjusting to having his girlfriend become his teacher, but he did well during the show thanks to Julianne's experience as a two time champion on the show. His dancing wasn't flawless, but he did good on the ballroom show. After the dance, Chuck and Julienne were both relieved, Chuck was sweating bullets, but they ended up with one of the higher scores of the night.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I Survived CRS 40!

If you are a member of Facebook, search for the group of that name and join the discussion group, set up by 2009 agenda chairman Keith Kaufman.

I am so excited to hear that John Paul is next year's agenda chairman. That guarantees a great meeting (2/24-26/2010) full of relevant ideas, sharing and learning. (click here if you'd like to help him create CRS-41)

This was a great CRS content-wise. The panels and speakers were all terrific and absolutely not to miss. BUT, may people who came to Nashville last week DID miss them. Music business executives obviously made the decision to completely igonore the "no competing events" rule and it sure looked like there were a lot fewer people "on campus" than there were "off campus" than there ever has been. This has always been a big problem going back four decades. Unless this issue is dealt with fairly, it will pose a huge challenge for next year's agenda committee. I hate this thought, because for me the CRS needs to be ALL about learning and sharing and NOT about music promotion, but maybe it's time to do fewer sessions, go back to just one track for two days and just let the promotion happen, since it's a bigger draw for many (a majority of) attendees than the sessions were. The small number of people in the rooms for the CMA and Edison research presentations was a sad commentary.

Comments already posted to the group:

Bill Mayne (Nashville, TN) wrote
I think the sessions were some of the best in years. Seth Godin alone was worth the price of admission. Kudos to him for a targeted presentation, not boiler plate. The Edison and CMA studies should be"required reading" for everyone in the business. Great job by the agenda committee. A great week of seeing friends (new & old) and learning a lot!

Sue Wilson Cordle (Akron, OH)
I agree with the comments (re:) competing events...on and off campus. On campus, I attended some great sessions, and was also surprised by the low attendance in several. And there were times when I was torn between 2 sessions that looked great at the same time. The Edison research presentation is a "must" for every programmer. Although there were several good ones, my top 3 highlights were: 1) Seth Goodin, 2) the Talent session moderated by Mike McVay with Randy Lane, Valleri Geller and Tommy Kramer...4 of the best in one place (worth the price of admission) and 3) the Edison study. Off campus highlights were: The Boat, esp the Frampton/Paisley jam, the Blackbird studio with Martina, and seeing Caitlin and Will, who I think are incredible.

Jay Noble (TM Studios) wrote
First time in decades that I paid my own way. No corporate underwriters. I wish more broadcasters would invest in their careers. The "company isn't paying so I'm not going" isn't an option these days. The networking alone pays for the experience, plus you can write it off the following year. On the entertainment side, Darius Rucker hit it out of the park. This guy is the real deal.

Don Brake (Binghamton, NY) wrote
I like that I went an entire week without eating Ramen Noodles! :-)

Dallas Rogers (Nashville, TN) wrote
CRS ... creating the memories and living the moments that will continue to befuddle therapists and psychiatrists across America ... until next year. Good times!! Great to see everyone!! By the way, I think Luke Bryan and Lady A might have a future in the Ballet!!

Andie Lynne (Nashville, TN) wrote
Had a great time! Great topics and shows! Caught up with some old friends and met some new ones! Great job! BTW... if anyone sees my liver, could you send it my way?

John Shomby (Virginia Beach / Norfolk, VA) wrote
It was DEFINITELY fun. I am normally an early morning person but , at CRS, I become an early morning AND late night person. Excellent New Faces show......and my CRB Board hat is off to the agenda committee for a super selection of panels and folks on those panels. Best group I've seen and heard in the 7 years I've attended.

Keith Kaufman (Nashville, TN) wrote
Hey that was fun. Ya'll come back now...on second thought "now" doesn't work for me.. Cool memory from last week- Jamey Johnson looking back told me "Last year I was swinging a hammer. This year they closed down the road for me to do a show. Wow."

Bob Reeves (Warner Bros Records) wrote
Had a busy week at CRS 40...just wanted to congratulate the Committee on a terrific agenda and say kudos for pulling off a great event in a challenging time! I'm proud to have served with them all this year and wish them the best for 41!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Attend CRS-40 Sessions Free (Now!)

This year's Country Radio Seminar was not just the 4oth one, but since I have attended 36 of them I believe I have the right to say that it was also one of the best ever.

"At the end of the day, what comes out of the speakers is the ONLY thing that COUNTS..." - talent coach Valerie Geller, who along with Mike McVay, Tommy Kramer and Randy Lane gave freely of themselves in order to achieve that for all of us

Every session is available on mp3 for download for $8 each, but in the best idea of the whole event some great sesssions are now available online in streaming video. Click to start watching.

I Never Thought I'd Link To A Story By Suzanne Vega

I've always loved her music and her artistry, but since this is primarily a blog about country music, country radio and my humble opinions, I have to say that sending you to her New York Times OpEd is the last thing that I would have ever predicted. However, take my word: this is very relevant and thought-provoking.
"So what is a melody for? I used to think of a melody as a kind of serving tray for the lyrics and the story within the song.... Melody is its own idea, like sculpture. You don’t look at a piece of sculpture to see what is resting on top of it. A great melody has its own design, a beautiful combination of intervals and rhythms usually expressing the emotion of the song. Somehow a melody is connected, like the sense of smell, to memory, so when you hear a song it connects you in a flood of emotions to the time and place of that song. I am sure there are reasons in the brain for this, but as a songwriter I don’t need to know how the brain does it, only that it does."

Friday, March 06, 2009

CRS Parties Astound And Abound As Irby Mandrell Passes

So much cool stuff happened on the CRS Sony Music boat show that it's hard to include it all in this report.

KENNY CHESNEY appeared wiht singer-song writer, Brett James to unveil Kenny's new single , "Out Last Night." The song was so fresh Kenny couldn't pass up debuting it in front of a high-powered group of industry and radio guests.

ALSO, while hey had him on stage Kenny's label presented him with a huge plaque commemorating the highest digital sales of any male country artist, 15 million sold.

Other performances came from Martina McBride on "Shine." Gretchen Wilson retuned to that stage, along with Kellie Pickler, Chuck Wicks, and Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, Jason Michael Carroll, and Carrie Underwood. Carrie also was presented with a plaque commemorating her total album sales not past 10 Million copies and counting.

Special guest John Kay from Steppenwolf, came on stage and tore it up it up with a medley of "Magic Carpet Ride," and "Born To Be Wild." That was pretty cool but it got even batter during Brad Paisley's set when Peter Frampton came on stage enlisting Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood to render "Baby I Love Your Way." Then Brad Paisley joined Frampton on an incrdedible battle of the the guitars on 'Do You Feel Like We Do." It was a huge finale that went down in the minds of many long time attendees of the boat show as the best they'd ever seen on that stage.

After the show, Carrie Underwood announced that she'd taken over a bowling invited any show attendees that wanted to join her there for a bowling party.

The Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF), founded in honor of legendary pitcher Tug McGraw to fund quality of life research on behalf of brain tumor patients, today announced its return to the Country Music Marathon & ∏ Marathon on Saturday, April 25. Team McGraw, an endurance sports training program that raises money and increases awareness for the Foundation, will host a warm-up party to celebrate its marathon runners Friday, April 24 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Tusculum Lanes in Nashville, The bowling party is open to all Country Music Marathon and ∏ marathon runners. Tickets can be purchased online at www.tugmcgraw.org for $10 to $25.

"We are grateful to the Competitor Group and all the athletes who have joined Team McGraw and devoted their efforts to quality of life awareness and research for brain tumor patients," said country superstar Tim McGraw, honorary chairman of the Tug McGraw Foundation. "Kicking off our 2009 season here in Nashville with the Country Music Marathon and ∏ Marathon is a thrill, and we are excited to see so many dedicated new runners joining our running alumni to take on Music City.

Keith Urban has been letting the press listen to his new album and then will sit down with them today to talk about the new album and more.

This week, Miley Cyrus debuts with "The Climb" (Walt Disney/Hollywood/Lyric Street) at No. 48 and father Billy Ray bows with "Back to Tennessee" (Walt Disney/Lyric Street) at No. 59 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Both songs will appear on the Walt Disney Records soundtrack, due March 24 and in the Walt Disney Pictures film, "Hannah Montana The Movie," which opens nationwide in theaters April 10. Back To Tennessee is also the title track of Cyrus's upcoming CD, which will be released on April 7. This marks the first time in nearly twenty years that a father and daughter have appeared on the chart with separate solo singles. (Johnny and Rosanne Cash had separate singles on October 5, 1990.)

"The Climb" (Walt Disney/Hollywood/Lyric Street) has been added to over 140 stations in 4 formats of radio in just 3 weeks, making it one of the most quickly added records of the year. It has hit the Top 30 on the Top 40 radio charts and is climbing rapidly at country and Hot AC formats.

After a string of hit songs at country radio and the recent top five smash "Ready, Set, Don't Go," Billy Ray Cyrus's latest effort "Back To Tennessee" is climbing the country radio charts. Produced by Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood), the album features 12 new tracks. Billy Ray co-wrote two of the tracks on the new project. In addition, country powerhouse writers Jeffrey Steele, Neil Thrasher, Craig Wiseman, Rivers Rutherford, Blair Daly, Troy Verges and Casey Beathard all contribute tunes to the new record.

A musical highpoint in "Hannah Montana The Movie," Billy Ray (as his character Robby Ray Stewart) performs "Back To Tennessee." Written by Cyrus, Tamara Dunn and Matthew Wilder, it is inspired by Billy Ray's longing to return to his roots and breathe the sweet southern air of his home state.

Back To Tennessee will also contain a special extended version (4:44) of the father/daughter duet "Butterfly, Fly Away," which was produced by Glen Ballard. A 3:11 version of the duet appears in the film and on the soundtrack.

Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.® and the Academy of Country Music® have announced Taylor Swift as the host and headliner of next year's CRS-41 Music City Jam at the Nashville Convention Center.

"I can't think of a bigger star to host the Music City Jam at CRS-41 than Taylor Swift," said CRB Executive Director Ed Salamon. "We're thrilled to have her headline next year's event and continue the tradition of superstar talent that has performed in years past."

Each year, Country Radio Seminar's Music City Jam has showcased some of the biggest stars in country music, including performances by Brad Paisley at CRS-39 in 2008, Toby Keith in 2007 and Keith Urban in 2006. Tim McGraw hosted this year's show at CRS-40.

"Taylor is an amazing talent, and we are thrilled to have her at the Music City Jam in 2010," said Bob Romeo, Executive Director of the Academy of Country Music. "I can't wait to see what she surprises everyone with. She always has a trick up her performance sleeve."

The Academy of Country Music will once again sponsor the Music City Jam next year. The show is preparing to enter its sixth year in 2010.

Angie Gore (615 321-3211) reports: Irby Mandrell passed away at 2 p.m. on March 5, 2009 in a Nashville hospital.

"Our family and some friends were standing around my daddy's bed at Baptist Hospital when he passed peacefully on to his heavenly home. I'm speaking for all of my family, especially my sisters Louise and Irlene, when I say he was our hero and we will miss him always."--Barbara Mandrell.

Visitation will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee
3/7--Saturday visitation: 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
3/8--Sunday visitation: 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Let's Make Sure He Has A Few Radios

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, after being asked about Rush Limbaugh:
“I wish I had a radio — I don’t."

I am sure the NAB is delivering one to him today, to say the least.

But, hey radio, you probably have a promotional item or two in the prize closet that contains a radio with your call letters on it. If so, send one to:

Robert Gibbs
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

I'd love to see him buried in radios over the next few days!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A&O Pre-CRS Seminar '09 - At The Country Music Hall Of Fame

Jessica Andrews performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and Rascal Flatts previewed their new video as the Albright & O'Malley Pre-CRS Seminar opened, cosponsored by Country Aircheck and Lyric Street.

Pictured (l-r) are Disney Music Group's Doug Howard, Greg McCarn and Randy Goodman, CA's Lon Helton, A&O's Mike O'Malley, Andrews, A&O's Jaye Albright, Disney's Kevin Herring and Carolwood's John Ettinger and Chris Palmer.

Keynoter Jeff Vidler (Angus Reid Strategies) urged the assembled programmers to pick the right target demo in their markets, know and reflect that target, build a bold and relevant brand, and hitch that brand to digital media, "What’s Next for Radio."

Changing demographics:
• Leading edge of baby boom out of 25-54; miniboom now moving into 25-54
• 25-54s will get more diverse – white, non-hispanic declines
• Growth will be in more urban counties; metropolitan counties younger as well
• Hispanic median age 27 (black 33-34, white 41)
• Older, white, rural vs. younger, diverse and urban
• Challenge: How can country remain true to roots and values yet appeal to younger, diverse, urban?

Internet changes
• Consumer is in control and know it
• Expects everything faster, better, cheaper
• Want what I want when I want it
• Increased expectation for material success, more women in the workforce balancing family and aging parents, increased commute time (148 hrs per year)

Explosion of choice
• Number of brands on shelves – 15,00 in 1991, 51,000 in 2001, 135,000 in 2011
• Ad messages per day – 1960- 1,5,00 by 2010 = 9,000
• Unlmited media fragementation – 175M Facebooks uers, 250M my space, 2.2 million Twitter, 27 million Xanga users
• 83 M visited youtube in Jan 2009, 34% more vidfeos watched than last year, 150,000 videos uploaded each day

New Audio Alternatives
• Young – mass media is spam controlled by someone else and a poor alternative
• Share of past week listeningto all forms of audio (online consumers):18-34 – use less than half of 55+ (27%/60%); 35-54 47%; 18-34 46% of all audio is to personal music”
• 18+ - about 50% radio indespensible/important
• Why: distribution advantage (esy, convenient free) 40%; exclusive content 30%, non-exclusive conent 20$=%
• 18-34 place most value on easy/convenient/free

Recession Is the mother of Innovation

Format Core Brand Values:
CHR – young, in touch with trends
Country – down to earth, comfortable with self, family important
Rock – renegade party
Alternative – open-minded, discovery
Soft AF – refined, loving, being content

Richard Harshaw/Monopolize Your Marketplace

Record incentives aren’t helping sell cars: “What convinces is conviction” – Lyndon Johnson (no amount of logic will change a conviction)

Hyundai – up 14% in January (assurance program); Ford down 47%

Find out what’s really important in your products, i.e. "If you lose your job, we'll take the car back, no questions asked."

Confidence gap – increased knowledge/competition, choice/information, longer buying cycles, prducts are commodities, identical marketing messages

Inside reality vs. outside reality
What’s your inside reality for your station as it relates to advertiser relationship?

Outside perception – how people thing about you (no matter how good your inside reality is, the outside perception will drive the business)

Typical relationship is transactional: client gets exposure in exchange for dollars
You deliver ratings, offer a certain value – it is what it is
Sales staff is full of sales people (not necessarily marketing people)

Advertisers frustrations: they have budgets, but they don’t know much about advertising
Symptoms – they let ad reps write their ads for them
Continue to spend money on things that don’t work
They become skeptical of all new ad opportunities
Now scared because of recession

Outside perception – aad sales jobs often, wll do anything to get sale, try to sping numbers and cut prices in hopes of getting any sale

Three steps to Powerful Marketing
Have something good to say
Say it well
Saying it often

Have something good to say – your marketing job will be eaiser if you innovate your business
Become Fountain of knowledge:for customers – they need customers
What business are you really in – helping clients maximize their advertising opportunities

Psychology of persuasion
Repricocity (if I do something for you, you’d do something for me)
Social proof
Liking (more likely to do business with people I like)
Authority (are they really an authority on the subject)

Become a beacon of light in hazy world of advertising; helping them make best choice of budgets, offer bonafide marketing advie and solutions; you have to be willing to lose sometimes

Be liked, authority, reciprocity – all weapons of influence

How to help… become fountain of all knowledge for client
Evaluate marketing messages
Weekly emails with marketing ideas
Monthly mailers/CDs (may be online, but you hand it to you)
Monthly tele-seminar
Website to download information
Live training seminars (put on seminar for clients)
Most ad reps have hand out for money – you hand out material)

Make sure your sales reps "have," so they can give

GARY MARINCE VP/Programming and Services Development

Radio gets better TSL by minimizing tune-outs
To increase your ratings, build a bigger hour
When marketing is high and station has high AQH quarter-hours, we need to keep these hour CLEAN
Highest numbers are often hours with most music
Strategic placement of spots is important – when commercials air, stations lose 20% of QH audience
Keep spots out of strongest quarter hours.

Find out what QHRs are strongest, and keep them clean; puts spots in the softest QHRs (lose 20% of listeners in a QHR that has fewer QHRs to begin with).

The biggest market quarter hours (most AQH persons) – keep ultra clean – minimal (or no) commercials, no promotional announcements, etc.

WYCD – national cume ratings leader for the country format. What do they do?
Highest cume rating – lowest number of titles (tight library)
Minutes in music – cume leader has most
Smallest minutes in mic time – cume leader keeps more audience from tuning away during non-music times
2 stop sets, lowest commercial load limit

Super Heavy User Quintiles: Heaviest users don’t listen at the same times/have a pattern. What have you done for them today?

Accountability – poor talent breaks can cause severe audience erosion; it’s all about the talent presentation/content and the expectations people have of the station

PP1s are even more critical in PPM – fewer number of meters

Voice-tracked do not appear to be penalized; ‘best of’ shows are penalized

Tommy Kramer coaching tips

• Question: What’s your goal a year from now? Answer: I’ll help you.
• Cultivate an environment where you can foster/nurture talent.
• Talent will keep doing the same thing until you show them it’s irrelevant
• Be the moon, reflect back to listeners what he/she care about with your observations and opinions makes you relevant
• You’ll become closer to listeners when you exchange opinions, share feelings
• For reticent talent: play worst break and ask them if that’s what they want to be known for? Do it quietly/one-on-one.
• Unique: where you only say what only you would say
• Find a way to put things on the air that are unique to you.
• With focus (on your listener) comes depth, and with depth comes vocabulary.
• Radio is about words and emotions.
• How to stand out: say things that are unique to you that you and your listeners have on their minds. (is it real, relevant, emotional AND interesting).
• Every meaningful relationship starts with things you have in common.
• Show prep is easy – just keep your eyes open (digital recorder for thoughts; flip camera; cell phone)
• If you’re only doing audio, you’re a dinosaur; all dinosaurs did top become oil was stand still
• The camera angle you use determines how you’ll tell the story.
• The first place you can get out, get out.
• We’re not DJs. We’re voice actors; jocks try too hard.
• How to be great – guaranteed – 5 things (Weigh yourself not against other DJs, but everything vying for listeners’ attention; your promos compete against Hollywood trailers.)
a. Say things once, well. No summing up. Say station first, say something worth hearing; shut up.
b. Getting to the point quickly is the name of the game.
c. Forget about your voice; big voices are less effective because it’s about real; big voices sound angry or tired.
d. Let go of caring how you’re perceived. Egos are the enemy of performance (except for Rush Limbaugh who is intentionally set up to be this).
e. Picture your listeners’ lives, then work back to the control room, then reflect it back featured through your opinions.

Click here to read Country Aircheck's recap of CRS events yesterday including quotes from A&O's Pre-CRS seminar. Thanks again to the Country Music Hall Of Fame for again hosting our event!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hmmm.. Just How Old Is Faith Hill?

AARP presents Faith Hill in concert at Vegas@50+ on Saturday, October 24 at the Sands Expo Center:
"Join us for an evening with one of country music's most popular and dynamic performers. Seats start at the low price of $25.."

No, you do NOT have to be 50+ to PERFORM for an AARP crowd.

Hint #1: last December's Shape Magazine.

Hint #2: 21 September 1967

At this rate, you can look for Taylor Swift to be headlining AARP's 2030 national convention... (I'll bet that both she and Faith will still be going strong by then.)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Big Format, Big Problems?

A&O's 2009 White Paper (click for pdf) addresses our pride in the good things about the Country Radio format and also our concerns today.

We'd love to get your take on our viewpoint!