Thursday, June 28, 2012

Emergencies Separate Wheat From Chaff

When you search Google using the term "Colorado Springs radio" one station rises to the top.

It's a sad commentary that below that comes the nationally-syndicated religious broadcaster WAY-FM, followed by NPR stations from Minnesota and Boston.

Fortunately, Cumulus-owned 740 KVOR is rising to the top not just in SEO but also in its fire coverage as the city is under a mandatory evacuation.

The people inside the building at 6805 Corporate Drive today should make us all proud of what radio can be at its very best.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Big Do Samples Need To Be?

The best way to be sure that a survey sample is reliable:  do repeated measurements consistently produce the same results?

For example, in Arbitron market #67 Fresno - where thankfully both owners still subscribe to ARB so we can at least get some idea from the real world - the top country station (Peak's KSKS) has gone from #3 in 12+ monthly trend cume rank in May 2011 to #5 to #2 to #3 to #3 to #8 to #7 to #4 to #3 to #5 to #6 to #8 to #3 in May 2012.

The second tier country station (Clear Channel's KHGE) wobbled even more over the same period, from #21 to #11 to #7, then #16, #14, #21, #16, #10, #15, #18, #12, #17, #9.

I chose 12+ cume rankers to trend, since those should be the largest, most-stable numbers to track, less susceptible to weighting-driven TSL/AQH wobbles and yet it's still quite obvious that something is unstable about even those numbers.
  •  Which are the outliers in the stats and which are reality? 
  •  Is a year enough time to allow to see?  
  •  How many years' averages will it take to know for certain?
Pity the poor media buyer and radio seller trying to make sense of them.

My conclusion, though I am not sure Arbitron (or BBM) would agree:  the Fresno sample isn't large enough, given the complexities of ethnic/non-ethnic sample balance, let alone Spanish only/bilingual/English only language and cell phone/land line home phone preference trends.

Nielsen just announced that it plans to double its TV diary and quadruple it's metered panel samples.

You'd think that would make a huge difference, and yet it may not since the TV ratings company in the USA did the same thing only five years ago with the goal of tripling it by 2011 and yet they seem to "need" to do it again now and state that they plan to move as fast to do so as their clients want.

Nielsen has competition which is clearly driving the changes; Arbitron does not. 

Same in Canada, where BBM is the only option for broadcasters, since they "own" it.

If North American radio wants to know how big samples must be to be consistent and credible in our markets + how fast our ratings supplier can get there, we're going to have to keep the pressure on ARB and BBM, with high hopes they care as much as their clients do, to make changes in spite that.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Digital Revenue Growth Is "News," BUT Not Our (More Positive!) Analog Ad Revenue Prospects (Again)?

"Terrestrial radio broadcasters are seeking additional revenue streams through the introduction of digital radio and online radio, which expand listeners’ options. However, those technologies are not expected to add significant revenues in the near future."  -- PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global Entertainment And Media Outlook 2012

Online radio advertising is predicted to reach $802 million within the next four years, satellite radio ad revenues will grow 9.5% to $116 million.  (Note:  the outlook is not so rosy for satellite radio in Canada)

While PWC goes gaga over digital media, get some perspective on all this by re-reading
Did you realize that interest in radio is growing among media buyers?

Did you realize that radio ties television in growing interest?

Probably not. It’s apparently a secret.

A new survey of media buyers found that 25% of agency buyers are more focused on radio than they were last year, a 31% increase.

Not only did interest in radio increase, it equaled the increase in spot TV!

Given the persistence of the “Radio is Dead” meme, you’d think it ought to be big news. But it’s not.  The news was buried in a single sentence in the last paragraph of a 1000 word press release that focused almost entirely on the battle between television and digital.

The study, ostensibly a comprehensive look at agency attitudes across media, barely touched on radio.

Check out the press release and a MediaPost story that completely ignored radio.

Perhaps radio got buried because the study was done by Strata, a division of Comcast that sells software to buyers. Comcast has plenty of horses in the TV versus digital race, but nary a one in radio.

But perhaps radio got buried because the business is doing a lousy job selling the value of radio.

I Can Dream, Can't I?

It's been almost four years since Interep cashed in its chips, making Katz the sole remaining rep company for most of radio at the national level.

Before that, media buyers complained that it was too complicated to buy radio and asked the medium to speak with one voice.

Now that we do, how's it going?

What I know about the national rep business can fit into a thimble other than the financial crash of 2008 seemingly took it down, only the strongest one survived and if David Kennedy ever writes a book, I'll snap up one of the first copies.

My perspective is formed primarily from what I hear from regular communication with Market Managers and National Sales Managers at client stations.  Judging from the cost per point levels of today's national buys, it seems like our voice is coming out as a whisper, pretty much dictating to radio stations what they need to do to get on the buy in a take it or leave it fashion.
Share of media day charts 2012
View more PowerPoint from PaulBarnes16

Those lovely stats are from England, but it's the same here. 
RAB on this side of the pond also convincingly demonstrates that radio's rates, based on time spent with media, ought by rights to be almost five-seven times higher than newspaper rates today, second only to television!

Wouldn't it be forward-thinking if each group of stations had its own advocate at the national level pushing back against media buyers cram downs, actually SELLING our medium to decision-makers based on value and results, working to justify higher rates and growth of our piece of the advertising pie?

Friday, June 22, 2012


  • “Quarter hour ratings are compressed, advertisers and agencies are setting cost-per-points and a lot of companies are responding to those avail requests at lower cost-per-points.  It’s a dive to the bottom of the barrel market right now and it won’t  stop until you see more consolidation and stronger balance sheets.”  - Cumulus Media COO John Dickey at this week's Morning Show Boot Camp

  • "I think ESPN is a fine product. I think we can put a very competitive product on the field. There is choice now. I think for the first time, there is going to be real choice for not only updates, but a 24-hour network, expert analysis, and features. There is going to be a legitimate competitive offering out there, to offer real choice. I think choice makes everybody better. I think the broadcasters will benefit from this. We have a lot of respect for ESPN and what they've done. I think they have sort of had it to themselves, and this is a real opportunity to offer real choice to both the broadcasters and the advertisers." - Cumulus Media Chairman/CEO Lew Dickey in Radio Ink

  • "The Department of Justice still sees its role as a way to promote competition and editorial diversity.  The DOJ remains focused on practices that lessen competition, raise price, or reduce quality of service.  A practice that reduces competition in a media market can dull incentives for participants to develop and bring to market new information or new and creative content,"  - Antitrust Division’s chief counsel on competition policy Gene Kimmelman at the American Antitrust Institute conference also this week in Washington
For what it's worth, I agree with the senior Dickey brother and Kimmelman, while scratching my head over why the younger Dickey brother and company programming chief feels that allowing Cumulus - or any company - to own more than their fair share of radio markets will improve anything in terms of top line growth for all of radio combined.

If owning one third of the radio stations can't keep a company from holding rate, I don't think letting them own more will suddenly give them pricing power or the courage to ask for better rates.

My hope is that the emerging "frenemies" relationship between CBS Radio and Cumulus ultimately results in a new national rep firm to give Clear Channel-owned Katz Radio and its subsidiaries some aggressive competition in presenting local radio  companies of all sizes to national advertisers, which would greatly help increase confidence of being repped fairly, not just getting leftover dollars in line behind Clear Channel stations who just might possibly get presented first.

The more competition the better for all of us who want to be sure radio's prices in the coming years represent the medium's proven ability to drive results for advertisers, based on our equitable share of the total media day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All About Me

I read an article about narcissism the other day. It was scary as hell. I kept saying, "That's me!" "That's not me!" "That's me!" "That's not me!"

Of course, the more I thought the article was "all about me," the more narcissistic my behavior was.

Narcissism, egotism, insecurity - they seem to be variations on a single theme. How useful -- or harmful -- is this trait (the article called it a personality disorder) to performers?

Ask any mentor, "What should I talk about/write about/paint about?" and the first answer is always, "What you know/Your personal experience." When do we cross the line from "creatively Sharing" to "Hopelessly self-involved?" The answer is: when your self-involvement reaches the point of forgetting the other guy/gal, when you're so busy thinking about yourself that the needs of the ones you're addressing never even occur to you, you're past that line.

"I'm avidly conscious of the people around me," I like to think, knowing it's only true most of the time. I'm capable of being so self-involved, I'm oblivious to others sending up cues. I'm also able to work so hard at pleasing someone who's important to me, I can come across as a total suck-up. These things don't happen every day, but they happen.

Then, yesterday, another characteristic of narcissism reared its painful head. The temple choir I sing with was performing in a city-wide interfaith concert. I screwed up. Singing a repetitive line one time too few, I reached the end of the song and shouted "Hey!" eight bars too early.

I could have crawled under the floor. Never mind that everyone I talked to later either didn't hear it at all, or said it was No Big Deal. I know in my heart of hearts, I'm incapable of screwing up quietly.

The radio analog to this is that one complaint you receive, amidst all the compliments. "Love your work, Jay!"

"You sounded great today, Jay!" "Loved your story about..."

"You egotist -- it's all about you, isn't it!"

Which one are you going to believe?

THERE'S the vulnerability all that self-centered activity has been erected to cover.

Insecurity is a part of narcissim, and expresses itself as a need for validation from others. Everyone loves to be complimented or, when the chips are down, forgiven. But for us, it's a matter of degree. Only the passage of time will dull the embarrassment I went to bed with last night, and woke up thinking about. Yes, it's all about me...

Now, let's try putting the brightest possible face on this. This sensitivity, this awareness of self, this need to talk about ourselves in public -- it may cause us to be seen as egotists, it may make us "difficult to work with," and yes, it surely makes me oblivious, sometimes, to what everyone else can see. But it also makes me interesting, appealing and entertaining. Take the microscope with which I constantly examine my own life and feelings; use it to reflect my creativity and my joy of expression, and you've almost got a performer capable of enthralling, at least occasionally.

There's another other critical ingredient, I believe... Maybe I can't change who I am, but knowing the personality trait that puts others off -- audiences, colleagues, lovers, friends -- I can bend over backwards to make it work for me. Our first instinct is to ask, "What does he/she think of me." Our second is, "How can I please him/her?" Our third is "What does he/she need or want?" That third one is the useful one for us performers.

Awareness of others -- whom you're affecting and how -- the other person's needs... It comes so naturally to some. I grieve that I have to work at it -- and even then, I don't always get it right. When I do, I can be ten feet tall and bullet-proof for a day. When I screw up, I'll be wounded long after everyone else has forgotten. When I focus on the needs of the people around me, I can please them to the point of worship. When I lose sight of them, I'm just another long-winded egotist.

    -- another Jay Trachman treasure (this one from November 2002)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You Need A Station "Results Manager"

No one wants irritating, ineffective commercials on the air.

So, how do they get there?

If you agree with me that many of the spots your station airs cost time spent listening by causing tune-out and thus aren't effective in actually marketing anything (other than building brand name familiarity by associating the retailer or product for a repetitive negative memory), it's time to review the process which allows that to happen.

Theory:  sales person closes the deal and is told that the commercials will arrive via email, snail mail or ftp site. 

The lone person in the building all night, watching over all of the stations in the cluster is charged with doing the "dubs" based on a production order from traffic.

Quality control is most likely no one person's responsibility, other than - hopefully - the all nighter is cautioned to flag anything that might be illegal, such as one that contains "prize, chance and consideration."

It's time for a more specific policy designed to at least call someone's attention to what could be an offensive, poorly-produced, badly-written commercial.

1.  Have everyone who is charged with loading a spot into the system code each one with a letter grade from "A" to "F" and compare the scheduled run dates with the copy to be sure that it won't sound out-dated.

2.  Create a "customer results manager" position, hopefully one of your most detail-oriented and creative people, to review anything with a "C" grade or lower and also any copy that may require updates toward the end of its run.

3.  When your new "CRM" finds something that needs improvement, that person alerts the seller, who calls the client and asks "are you getting the expected results now that your commercials are running?"

4.  If the client says "yes," tell him about the need for an update and offer ideas to improve the impact and power of the message.  If the client is pleased with things as they are, I do not recommend rocking the boat, but if the advertiser is open to listening to alternative ideas from your creative team take the opening to impress 'em with your caring and follow-through.

They'll call it terrific, above and beyond, customer service.

Have your "CRM" create a discrepancy report with an overview of these actions to be reviewed by Brand Manager, Sales Manager and Market Manager.  You'll smile each time you hear their "new" commercial.  Ratings go up.

Better creative gets better results.  Once your client tells you that you improved her business, that's a perfect opportunity to ask for a hike in rate, don't you think?

More money for everybody!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Radio Ads Make Me Want To Scream

On terrific websites and in very scientific research studies our business keeps trying to convince the local appliance, stereo stores and car dealers with sound logic that their use of our medium - shouting over-the-top promises and branding half-truths and even paying our personalities talent fees to hurt their personal credibility in endorsement spots and at remote broadcasts from their retail locations to do the same thing - isn't working.

For several years, Dr. David Eagleman has been writing wonderfully well-documentated books, publishing great research studies, magazine articles all in support of the idea that the brain's primary work is done at a subconscious level.

This is the guy who convinced his ethical review board that it was OK to drop his research subjects off of a tower in order to see if time really does slow down in frightening situations. (it didn't, though it seemed to during the fall to the subjects)

Read Eagleman.  Spend time with and  The facts are clear:  logic isn't as effective in influence as is emotion.

Radio's pal Dan O'Day has been devoting his life to this crusade for many years, as this video from 1999 demonstrates. (we're often as guilty as our advertisers are)

Jeffrey Hedquist and the Radio Mercury Awards are just two of numerous others who have been fighting the good fight.
Meanwhile, people give us money every day to play ads which only irritate and insult listener intelligence in spite of all the very rational arguments our business has been making.

Is it time to try a different approach?

Let's equip every radio salesperson with a ball-peen hammer in their brief case.  The moment the client pulls out a CD with their new commercial which sounds a lot like their old commercial, have the seller brandish the hammer over the ad and yell "don't make me use this!!"

It can't work any worse than our current approach does, can it?

At least the buyer will feel something when your rep leaves her office.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June Talking Points

  • Good luck, Class of 2012: Employment Outlook dims
  • May’s dip in practicality appears to have been just a “blip” on consumers’ spending radar
  • Pain at the Pump: No gas price “fireworks” expected to set off for the holiday
  • 90 Day Outlook is looking UPward
  • What’s Hot? Saving is in style in June (coupons lead the way)…

Click to read the entire June Big Research executive briefing (if you have read this blog very long you know I am addicted to this monthly trend update).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Boiling It Down To Three Charts

As part of its ongoing research and membership services initiatives, the Country Music Association just announced results from its recent Music Listening Study (click to read the complete press release).

Country Music fans are avid radio listeners and doing as much radio listening as ever.  Compared to a year ago, 87 percent of respondents are listening to local Country Radio stations as much or more, with 18-24 year olds being twice as likely to listen to more Country Music than the prior year, driven largely by the appeal of new music genres.

Loyalty is a top influencer for choosing Country Radio as evidenced by 75 percent of listeners reporting they have been listening to the same station for years. 

While AM/FM car radio is the top source Country Music fans tap for music listening, fans are also fueling their passion for music online as well.

Every country radio station has a complimentary membership for 2012, thanks to CMA, so be sure to go online and grab this free information and if it raises any questions, any of the A&O team would love to talk with you about it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rotations: What I Think They Mean

I hope you have been as interested as I have been in Country Aircheck's series on what PPM is teaching country programmers about rotations.  Now that they used a quote from what I told R. J. Curtis in this week's edition when he requested that I spill my guts on the topic, I hope you'll be interested in everything I said to him about it:

PPM shows us that almost universally the average time spent exposed per listening occasion is very close to 10-11 minutes.  Heavy users give their favorite stations maybe three or four times that much.  And, that that we've seen those realities, there are some folks, like Cox's K92/Orlando, who have upped their spins on a very small number of extremely popular songs to levels previously unheard of and - guess what? - those songs do not "burn" and in fact often test better faster.  Is 50 spins?  70 spins?  100 spins? right for you?  I'd say to try it only if you have extremely reliable weekly music testing to precisely monitor reaction on a consistent basis.  It's even better if you also have MScore data as well, so that you can pull anything that could be hurting you very quickly.  Since A&O is proud to works with OM and PM Len Shackelford, I can testify that it is working.

Stations which do that appear to be finding that cume can go up more than we might have previously thought possible without hurting "time spent listening" as calculated by old diary metrics.  This is because only a very small number of country panelists are ultra-core.  In a top ten market I looked at recently there were four panelists who were listening to radio nine hours per day or more.  Obviously, if one of these people is in your panel sample, you need to be extremely cautious about spinning anything they don't love regardless of how much.  Another 75 panelists used radio between 100 and 200 quarter hours a week.  Again, if you have several of those panelists, you'll want to be cautious about hyper-spinning anything that would lose them.

However, after those folks, the vast majority of radio users spend time in fairly fixed amounts of time and instead give their daily cume and daily occasions to stations with exceed their expectations musically and that's not normally unfamiliar new music.

The more stations sharing very similar playlists the more crucial song quality becomes.  If you're the only station playing your type of music, you of course have more leeway as long as you don't have any interest in stealing listeners from your shared-cume competition.

To me, this means "tight" is "right."

I know that there are some very successful country stations in non-competitive situations who seem to get away with playing everything being promoted to radio, but I strongly believe that if you're dropping more than one or two songs a month because either they never got enough airplay for your listeners to become familiar with them or because they never tested or charted very well you're not using radio correctly.  That's like an advertiser buying 10-15 spots a week and expecting good results.  We'd never allow sales to take that person's money, but for some reason no one questions the music director on a 10-15 spin a week category that's never going to see the light of day.

My advice is to play songs you feel have a good shot of going top ten as soon as you feel that way and keep playing them heavily as long as you retain that confidence in them.  Use local music testing to validate your instincts and then learn from it and make fewer and fewer wrong judgements.

Any station that's exposing very many songs that fail that test had better hope they're in a situation where no one else can possibly go country against them, because they are extremely vulnerable!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thank You, Carrie

The wonderful people of country music and radio businesses have, in general, been far more supportive of me than I expected in the 19 years since I started a personal gender transition which culminated in a 1995 transsexual surgery that had no negative impact on what has been a great career in a very satisfying job.

Garth Brooks
released "We Shall Be Free" and performed at an AIDS benefit at about the same time and I drew tremendous support from that act from a courageous star.

Chely Wright, I hear, feels that the business could have been more supportive of her decision to come out in a public way as Lesbian.  That's sad to hear, given her fabulous radio track record that 99 out of 100 hopefuls who come to Nashville have to be quite envious about, in spite of some ups and downs along the way.  It exciting to see her finally coming to grips with it all creatively in a new film, out this month.

I've learned that we have to take our sustenance from where it comes and be grateful for the good things along the way, and I'll bet they have as well.

That's why, Country Radio and Nashville Music Business, I want you to be extra nice to Carrie Underwood right now.

I don't mean that you need to say a word about her pro/con on the air.

Part of making a self-affirming decision such as I made is understanding that as I resolved my own personal confusion it no doubt created confusion for others who were unprepared to deal with or accept it.  Those folks have every right to their feelings too, of course, and country music radio is about reflecting real life and making people feel better.

All I ask is this.  Play a little extra Carrie this week.

No one else will notice, perhaps, but I am betting she will know and get the message of support the same way I have over the years from Garth, Chely and now her.

That's what friends are for.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Face For Radio

Not surprisingly nearly every morning show I run into has a strong belief that their numbers would be even better if only the radio station put them in TV commercials.

Not necessarily so.

I know of one major market country morning show whose very successful ratings uptrend was reversed when perceptual research seemed indicate that the only thing holding them back was cume and endorsed TV advertising as a means to solve the problem.

The folks who listened to them loved them when given their names, but the majority of local radio users had no idea who they were.

In a few weeks, we were all at Filmhouse in Nashville where they produced some very funny TV spots. 

Not long after, local television was saturated during the next survey period with these excellent, professionally-produced spots.

The survey comes out.  Ratings are down.

A year later and another perceptual study indicates that once folks as seen them, even the ones who had liked them before didn't anymore.  Now, everyone knows their names, but based on their looks folks don't like them!

Some folks are simply more successful when heard or met in person.

Video is an art onto itself.  If you can do it well, of course do it.

But, if you have any doubts about your appearance on camera under lights, get savvy help, great maakeup and objective direction. 

Video, indeed, is capable of killing the radio star ... unless it's used very effectively.

Friday, June 08, 2012

CMT Teaches Us How

Compared to the resources CMA and ACM have CMT does their awards show right, and probably for a lot lower budget than the association ones.  It was the third most-watched awards show in CMT history, with the initial telecast amassing three million viewers, according to the network.

"It was a charmed night for CMT," President Brian Philips told Country Aircheck. "Our superstar-heavy show drove huge wins for the network across the board, and entertained both millions of viewers at home and tens of thousands of fans on the streets of Nashville."

CA reports the awards grew every half-hour and among key demos that included women 18-49, which saw a 6% increase.

Additionally, #CMTawards claimed the No. 1 trending position on Twitter soon after the show began. The show peaked with 5,140 Tweets per minute and more than 500,000 total Twitter mentions.

Phillips says he poured most of his marketing money into the show's product.

Take a quick look at HIS website and compare it to yours the week after you do something amazing and special and learn a few things.

And, of course, as if that's not enough:  there are those rumored Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama out-takes from their show-opener which rumors say are very funny and will probably show up online once the buzz quiets a bit to keep the multiple compelling narratives spreading.

What are you planning this week to make your audience say "WOW?"  Next week?  The week after that?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Clever Trick

Good catch by Inside Radio last week:  Not streaming on iHeartRadio?  Search engine finds a suitable Clear Channel alternative. As Clear Channel builds what Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey calls “a giant cable system,” a destination where consumers go to find radio stations, it’s using a new search engine to direct iHeartRadio users to its own stations.

Search for a mainstream or rhythmic CHR that Clear Chanel doesn’t own or stream — Emmis Communications “Power 106” KPWR in Los Angeles, for example — and the search engine returns powerhouse Clear Channel CHRs “Z100” WHTZ, New York; KIIS-FM, L.A.;  and WKSC, Chicago.

Type in a non-participating urban station’s call letters and you’ll get CC’s “Power 105.1” WWPR, New York and its urban stations in Chicago: WGCI and “V103” WVAZ.   Looking for Entercom’s KOIT, San Francisco? How about  New York’s WLTW, L.A.’s KOST or Houston’s “Sunny 99.1” KODA instead?

If Clear Channel can’t stream every radio station in the nation, it hopes to fulfill user requests with a suitable alternative and keep them from straying elsewhere.  And it’s made possible by a new unified search engine that makes finding stations, artists and songs simple and speedy.  It even works for stations in markets as small as Albany, GA and Lafayette, LA.

Before you say "I am shocked, shocked" that they're doing this, you might want to go to a few of the most popular car washes in your town and see what radio station pre-set they put on car radios.

One of the oldest tricks in the book, bought with concert tickets and CD's.

That was the original "search engine optimization."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Very Aggressive!

Anyone who has seen a popular game in PPM ratings understands that usage is sky-high and the majority of us, if we could run a playoff game on air would be out trying to get Super Bowl size rates for the inventory.

Clear Channel research reports that Arbitron/Tapscan data shows 63% of modern rock listeners are men, so to keep the guys listening during the Stanley Cup finals Clear Channel alt-rocker “98.7 FM” KYSR, Los Angeles is dumping commercials during the NHL finals and picking up the play-by-play from sister station KTLK (1150) during spotbreaks

The station will also update listeners about changes on the scoreboard between songs.  Program director Julie Pilat says “music is king” at the station, but adds, “Our listeners are so excited about the LA Kings’ success so far, and we are in the business of giving our listeners what they want.”

Can Julie and station management be thinking that they can grab double the reveue during games and improve cume duplication between the stations at the same time.

Ya think?  VERY savvy move.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Canada Radio Revenues Up 4%; Jobs Up 4.7%

Yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released statistical and financial information on the 669 commercial radio stations operating in Canada.  

Revenues, according for the report from Ottawa, for the broadcast year ended August 31, 2011, increased by approximately 4% over the previous year, demonstrating steady growth and continued confidence in an industry whose revenues are now back to pre-recession levels.

While total revenues for AM and FM stations increased from $1.55 billion in 2010 to $1.6 billion in 2011, expenses also rose from $1.21 billion to $1.26 billion during the same period. As a result, profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) climbed from $298.3 million to $311 million, and the PBIT margin went from 19.2% to 19.3%. 

In 2011, commercial radio stations employed 10,576 people and paid a total of $676.3 million in salaries, an increase of 4.7% from last year when they employed 10,104 people and paid $640.7 million in salaries.

I have worked both sides of the 49th parallel for the better part of three decades and can report to A&O's American clients that no one studies what happens in the USA more carefully than Canadians do, whole most of us are oblivious to Canadian economy and politics.

There are few decisions in A&O's business history as good as having decided to work in Canada.

Like Earl Pitts has always said:  "Wake Up America." 

It's time for U.S. radio companies to look carefully at what Canadian radio has been doing.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Can We Save "The News"?

I have been a huge fan of

"Newspapers have a future, if they can avoid being 'click whores'" (click to read it!)

When Horsey decides he has something to say that takes more than just a cartoon, he has my support and attention.

Media has great responsibility to the people who read, watch and listen to us, far more important to our society than merely making money.

And, as the history and economics of newspapers has proven, when we do it responsibly big money comes too.

Who's going to fill their shoes?