Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Or Big?

Yeah, it's not a huge thing, but you have to hand it to Astral-Pembroke, Ontario's Star 96 for finding a clever way to push Movember without saying a single word.

If you can't immediately see what I am talking about, click on one of the graphics to enlarge it (or on the station link, above).

Sometimes doing something really viral requires subtlety.

Creating great radio isn't about doing one or two big things.

It's about getting a thousand little things right.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Everyone Knows Wendy Lynn's Goals

They are posted on the PD of Townsquare Media-owned WYRK's office door.

No wonder the station's ratings have hit all-time highs in 2012.

How close to having 8% of your metro's total population, 33% of your total persons weekly cume, do you have in your database?

Maybe it's time for a poster on your door too?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Arbitron Country Radio 2012, State By State

If you have media buyer clients who believe that country music on radio is a Southern Redneck thing, you're going to want to share Radio Today 2012 with them when the updated annual report is released in early December.

Thanks to Arbitron, A&O&B has been blogging the country format's latest stats over the past few days.
When ranked by state, country radio really shines in six places and they aren't all southern by any means, but having locals of rural areas does seem to help an area index better than the national average average quarter hour persons share of 14.1.

South Dakota has 24 country radio stations which deliver an average share per station of 37%, an index of 262.96!

The other states which deliver DOUBLE the average persons quarter hour share are Montana (36 stations, delivering an average share of 35.87), West Virginia (32 stations' average share per station is 33.81), Wyoming (an average of 32.24% of all average quarter hour persons listening for the state's 29 country stations).

Kentucky has the largest number of country stations (70) of all the states which produce twice the share of the average.  The average country station in the Bluegrass State has a 31.49% of all average quarter hour persons listening to radio.

Election 2012 battleground state Vermont's nine country stations index 198.87 when compared to the national country average share with their 27.84% of the Green Mountain State radio audience.

26 more states can brag that their average country radion station delivers a higher than the typical share on a national basis (and again you'll recognize a number of hotly contested states in election years):

Missouri - 73 stations' average share of 24.43
Oklahoma - 46 - 24.32
Kansas - 39 - 23.52
Nebraska - 42 - 23.48
Iowa - 41 - 23.13
North Dakota - 23 - 22.84
Tennessee - 72 - 22.55
Arkansas - 50 - 22.33
Indiana - 49 - 21.37
New Hampshire - 9 - 20.82
Idaho - 25 - 20.05
Maine - 9 - 19.06
Alabama - 47 - 18.4
South Carolina - 31 - 18.16
Minnesota - 64 - 18.0
Wisconsin - 50 - 17.89
Virginia - 45 - 17.76
North Carolina - 40 - 16.88
Mississippi - 29 - 16.88
New Mexico - 34 - 16.41
Ohio - 48 - 16.28
Michigan - 51 - 15.67
Maryland - 14 - 15.13
Louisiana - 37 - 14.86
Oregon - 28 - 14.66
Alaska - 10 - 14.05 (index of 99.89)

States which the average country station only falls 10% below the national norm:  Texas (13.78), Utah (13.65), Pennsylvania (13.19), Georgia (12.78) and Arizona (12.59)

Finally, the state-by-state averages also prove that all statistics can be deceptive.

Rhode Island is listed as a state with no country stations and so in the Radio Today report gets a "0" next to the state's AQHP.

Tell that to The Hall Group's Cat Country, WCTK!

In spite of their downtown Providence studio location, their city of license is across the state line in the historic whaling town of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

So, for the purpose of the national analysis, that's the state getting credit for their listeners.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Listening and Lifestyle Profiles of American Radio Consumers

Radio reaches people wherever they are: at home, at work, in the car— nearly everywhere.

Regardless of one’s age, the time of day or the listening location, Americans depend on radio as a reliable media companion for entertainment, news, information, community service and, increasingly, social networking.

Radio has always been and continues to be a vibrant and relevant part of our lives.
              -- Arbitron, Radio Today 2011

That's why smart management, sales and programming executives are anxiously-awaiting the 2012 update, due in early December.

An in-depth snapshot of radio listening nationwide and by individual formats, Radio Today 2012 combines Scarborough qualitative data with Arbitron audience data to develop a comprehensive profile of radio listening across America. It also examines the listening activity for the most popular radio formats representing the Fall 2011 Diary and October-November-December 2011 PPM™survey periods, often in comparison with Fall 2010 and earlier years.  Features include each format’s weekly reach (Cume); national average-quarter-hour share overall in PPM™, Diary and non-Metro counties; segmentation of audience composition by age; time spent listening (TSL); educational levels; income by household; gender balance; ratings by daypart and state by state; ethnic composition in Differential Survey Treatment (DST) markets and listening by location (at home vs. out of home).

For the last few days, I've been blogging some of the stats for the country format which will appear in the new report.

More advance factoids about Country Radio Today:  1.152,900 of country's national cume of 3,480,100 (33.1%) listens at home and 66.9% (2,327,600) listens away from home.

Country's strongest average quarter hour persons daypart in the latest update of the report is Mon-Fri, 10:00 am-3:00 pm, delivering a 14.6% share of total average quarter hour persons for all formats.  Weekday morning drive (6:00 am-10:00 am) delivered a 14.4% share.  Weekday afternoons (3:00 pm-7:00 pm) deliver a 13.9% share, weekday evenings have a 12.0% share 12+, while weekends perform at 100% of the total week share with a 14.1%.

Country's national average 12+ total week cume audience (24,719,000) by daypart, followed by that daypart's format daypart average index compared to the Mon-Sun, 6am-Mid number:

MF 6-10 am:           33,196,100 - 137.72
MF 10-3 pm:           34,074,100 - 142.78
MF 3-7 pm:             31,485,100 - 125.5
MF 7-Mid:              11,373,700 - 39.3
Sat-Sun 6am-Mid:  19,021,600 - 77.33

Which states are best/worst for the country format?  That's coming in my next post, with thanks to Arbitron.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Country's National Audience Composition

Average Quarter Hour Persons %  Cume Persons %

12-17  5.1%                                    5.8%
18-24  11.6%                                  10.2%
25-34  15.0%                                  15.5%
35-44  15.6%                                  17.2%
45-54  19.9%                                  20.3%
55-64  15.7%                                  15.6%
65+     17.1%                                  15.5%

These averages are based on 1,857 country stations measured in 2011 by ARB.

Note that 18-24 is the most time spent listening-driven demo, since cume percentages are higher than AQH in all other cells.

Arbitron's 2012 edition of the "Radio Today" annual format updates will be out the first week of December.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Country Radio Today - 2012

Arbitron's much-anticipated 2012 edition of the "Radio Today" annual format updates will be out the first week of December.

As usual since 2008, the stats will reflect annual format averages through the preceding years' fall book.  Up to 2007, the report used shares ending with the spring survey. 

It should come as no surprise that the country format is UP:

Combined country shares (both "country" and "new country" stations added together) have shown impressive consistency over the last decade:

ARB reports that country's weekly cume of the 1,857 measured stations in the last year is 66,025,700 with an average quarter hour persons of 3,479,000.

The average share trend is positive and consistent over the last ten years.

Sp02 (2003 Radio Today):  13.4
Sp03 (2004 Radio Today):  13.4
Sp04 (2005 Radio Today):  12.4
Sp05 (2006 Radio Today):  12.9
Sp06 (2007 Radio Today):  13.0
Sp 07 (2008 Radio Today):  13.1
Fa08 (2009 Radio Today):  12.9
Fa09 (2010 Radio Today):  13.4
Fa10 (2011 Radio Today):  13.1
Fa11 (2012 Radio Today):  14.1

Country's national share in the new report will be 7.4 in the PPM markets, up from a 6.4 and a 7.1 in the previous two years, 15.3 in diary markets (up from 14.1 and 14.5) and 26.2 in unrated (county-by-county reports) markets, which were not tracked prior to 2011 but are also up from a 25.6 last year.

The gender makeup of that 3.5 million average quarter hour persons:  47.4% men 12+ and 52.6% females 12+.

I'll have more details in the next two days on audience composition, daypart, shares by state, qualitative, ethnic and TSL.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Just as there myriad stories for every light on Broadway, there are more than a million ways radio came through during Hurricane Sandy.

PPM seems to have delivered while Nielsen meters didn't.

Media coverage reinforced radio's importance:
During the arrival and immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last month, those with power looked to television, the Web and social media for information. But large numbers of people, particularly those in the hardest-hit areas, also turned to the radio.

Arbitron, the radio ratings service, will report on Monday that from 7 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 29, when the storm made landfall in New Jersey, an average of just more than a million people in the broader New York region were listening to the radio during any 15-minute period. That is up 70 percent from the same period the week before. (Besides the five boroughs of New York City, the metropolitan market includes five counties in New York, nine in New Jersey and part of one in Connecticut.)

The audience skyrocketed in coastal areas. Stamford and Norwalk, Conn., had a 367 percent increase during that period; in New Jersey, that figure was up 247 percent in Monmouth County, and up 195 percent in Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties. These numbers increased even though some stations, like WNYC and WINS, lost their AM frequencies yet continued to broadcast on FM.

Arbitron's researchers added to the powerful, positive recap with more hard data:
"We know that radio consistently reaches 93% of all people aged 6+, but the storm-driven shift in listening only reinforces how well established our medium is in listeners’ minds. The data shows that listeners of all ages turn to radio when they need the latest information about their communities. When people living in the path of Sandy needed updates, they kept the radio on by tuning to their trusted sources, no matter what the format." - Jon Miller, Director of Programming Services at Arbitron

It was an unprecedented event for an area of the country that is home to a sixth of America’s population, but the fact that once again radio was there for so many people is not unprecedented at all.

We're all getting busy right now to assist with the next emergency, where ever and what ever it may be.

It's what we do.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Entertainment News Is Still News

That means that there's no point in doing the story if you aren't sure it's correct.

Telling me something I didn't know achieves nothing if later I find out that what you told me was wrong.  News is about information, but it's also about building (or destroying) trust.

A&O&B prep producer Dan Van notes:   
"I think Miranda Lambert is country music's most sensationalized artist.  She is always pregnant (on blogs and tabloid sites). While at the CMA Awards I took a call from a station saying they heard she was drunk backstage.  CRAZY!"

The latest pregnancy story is just an example why each and every radio station should have a Content Producer (or somebody) to do some fact checking before reporting or posting. 

Dan adds:  "The same site also keeps reporting that she and Blake will be in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving but she told me at the CMA Awards that they are heading home for (4) days at Thanksgiving.  Right after Tuesday's show no doubt."   (Take A Listen To The Audio)

That story ran for the Albright & O'Malley & Brenner clients on the Wednesday (11/14) prep (with her saying it in her own words). 

Fact checking paid off in that case when Dan asked her if she was flying in the in-laws to LA for Thanksgiving. 

Blogs and social sites need to have facts checked before posting, especially on such personal matters like a pregnancy.

Your credibility is at stake.  These days, radio can't be as "fast" as gossip spread socially.

Let's work harder than ever to become known as the one that doesn't report until we know it's RIGHT.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hot: Giving Thanks; Going Shopping

Thanksgiving tops Big Research's list of what’s hot in November, consumers are increasingly optimistic and planning to partake in Black Friday shopping.

Cyber Monday doesn’t follow too far behind.  (click to read the 10 characteristics of layaway shoppers)

It appears that the vampires of Breaking Dawn, Part II may be taking a bite out of Bond’s new Skyfall at the box office.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama Voters Eat At Red Lobster; Romney's At Olive Garden

With election 2012 now history and Nate Silver looking like a stat genius, details are coming out about the hyper-targeting and database marketing employed by both candidates.

Click, read and learn:
  • "Each campaign has literally thousands of data points on you. They know what magazines you subscribe to. They know if you've ever declared bankruptcy or gone into foreclosure. They know how many kids you have. They know if you ever bought a boat, what type of insurance you own, where you send your kids to school.  Thousands and thousands of data points they collect, to try and create an image of you. And at the center of that is the same question, how can I push your button to vote for my guy or gal?"      - How campaigns target voters
  • "Today, many people who have expert knowledge and shape perceptions about markets are freely exchanging data and viewpoints through social platforms. By identifying and engaging these players, employing potent Web-focused analytics to draw strategic meaning from social-media data, and channeling this information to people within the organization who need and want it, companies can develop a “social intelligence” that is forward looking, global in scope, and capable of playing out in real time."  - By offering decision makers rich real-time data, social media is giving some companies fresh strategic insight
  • “Future campaigns ignore the targeting strategy of the Obama campaign of 2012 at their peril,” said Ken Goldstein, the president of Kantar Media/CMAG, a media monitoring firm that tracked and analyzed political advertising for both campaigns. “This was an unprecedented marrying of detailed information on viewing habits and political predispositions." 
How much do you know, in as specific detail as possible, about the tribes which inhabit your community?

No matter how much, it's not enough!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shhhh... I'm Not Prepping My Show, I'm Writing My Blog

I spent time with a dominant major market morning show team last week who told me that something major has changed in the last five years for them.

It used to be that they all conversed when they first hit the station early in the pre-dawn hours, sharing "what are your 'five talkabouts?', here are mine" and refining the big event content together.

Now, they say, you can hear a pin drop for the first half hour as they all create their blog posts.

Then, instead of talking together, they all read one another's blog and then think about ways to engage with listeners and each other about them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  

Once upon a time, I'd recommend that every air talent carry a notebook with them throughout their day and then refine that content into "bits" for use during the four hours they were on air.

Now, that notebook is Twitter and your listeners don't want to wait 20 hours to hear what's happening in your life.

You personal brand has a unique "voice." 

Technology is opening up new ways to express it. 

It's as important as ever, in spite of the many new channels now open in addition to the microphone in the control room.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Yes, I Know This Was In Every Trade Already

.. but it bears repeating over and over:

"Although AM/FM radio remains America’s favorite music-listening choice, the basket of Internet radio and streaming services that are available today have, on the whole, replaced CDs for second place."

NPD’s newly released “Music Acquisition Monitor” tracks growing use of Pandora and other music services, as listening to CDs and digital music downloads declines, putting pressure on traditional forms of music listening.

Sure, we can all gather together at radio and sing kumbaya, deluding ourselves with the mentality that nothing seismic is happening, and maybe if you only have a year or two to retirement that will work for you.

For the rest of us, the rules are changing and just being local and playing good music are not going to cut it.  It's time to train all of our personalities and news readers to become entertainers.  And, if they can't do it every hour, every day, it's time for managers to look for their replacements.

There's a reason why we have been preaching the following for 15 years, at least.

The A&O&B client stations which have implemented this plan are doing very, very well with these and our other "values based programming" principles guiding strategy. 

If you have any doubts about your station, ask us to do a programming audit for you.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Coming Up, More Content Right After This

.. but, first, (with more than a little bit of pride) this commercial message, coming in not too very long to media near you:

No, don't go to "" quite yet. 

We're still brainstorming how the heck to avoid email addresses even longer than the ones we have now and it's still a work in progress.

I just couldn't wait to share where A&O&B is going in the coming year. 

Maybe our new position statement should be "more ampersands than any other consulting company?"

Whatever the "issues," they are worth it to be sure that Becky Brenner's great work for all our clients, Mike and me in 2012 is fully recognized right now!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Excuse Me, Sir, But Do You Have Any Good-Ass Imaging?

One of the most venerable of Dallas production houses that has become famous for quality imaging parts and music is advertising a fresh series they just released.

First impression of the campaign:  obviously, this stuff's only for a self-important sports talk or old style rock station, not for a contemporary or female-targeted station, especially not country.

Then, I hit the Urban Dictionary to find out what the term really meant.
First rule of being a badass. A badass does not talk about being a badass. Period.

Maybe it is possible to be a country leader and still be a bad-ass after all, but please before ordering a package of imaging from anybody, read all seven of the unspoken rules of being a bad ass and take them to heart.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

If Arbitron Conducted The U.S. Elections..

No more "nail-biter in 3 key counties," with each county now represented by one very large household in one zip code of each county.

No need for vote-by-mail ballots.  PPM-friendly households only. 

No need for get out the vote among highest passion voters.  Votes credited according to highest cume radio station.

No need to worry about targeting the youth or ethnic vote.  Sample management weighs up the small number of cooperative respondents by a factor of as much as two, to represent "non-voters."

Ethnic households, especially those who do not speak English, get special treatment and are paid extra for their participation compared to other and non-ethnic voters.

Strong passion for one candidate or another no longer matters, since the electorate no longer has to do anything other than pop a meter in their pocket or purse in order to be counted.

No need for candidates to court the female vote.  They don't matter as much in the end result as males do.

No more recounts.  Arbitron's decisions are final and statistically correct.

And, don't worry, if any campaign or party has a complaint about the methods or results, they get invited to join the advisory council, where concerns are discussed and aired but at the end of the day nothing is done because the solutions cost too much money.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Why'd You Have To Be So Mean (Again)?

I stopped paying attention to Bob Lefsetz long before Wired's Brian Raftery wrote last February that Lefsetz's music business career "legend" exists by and large only in his own mind.

The fact that he got into Taylor Swift's head three years ago to the point that she penned a song about him no doubt made the critical bully feel stronger and more powerful.

So, of course, now he's at it again, inferring that she somehow has "jumped the playing to everybody has she undermined her core country audience..."

Taylor Swift can work until she dies. She’s had that many hits.
But somehow, with the overhype and move to the middle, she’s torn away some of her underpinnings, she’s become unmoored, we’re no longer exactly sure who she is.  And if we don’t know who you are, it’s hard to stay in love with you.  The little girls may scream, ticket sales may be rampant. But if you don’t see it my way, if you don’t think her career now has more questions than answers, you’re not thinking at all.

 I see it very quite differently.

From Hank Sr., to Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and his brass section, Glen Campbell, The Urban Cowboy fad and its music, to Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Garth, Faith, Shania and may other crossover successes spawned over the years with country roots, they have all been in one way or another been rejected by the country music core audience as their stars ascended.

Yet, all of these artists brought far more fans to country music than the format has ever lost because of their innovations to our art form.

So, Taylor, please don't let the critics get to you.  Be Fearless.

Sure, this year's CMA Awards, as they always do, has moved on to spotlight the very latest, equally-deserving, hot, new artists in our fickle, fast-moving industry, which it seems has somehow gotten the attention again of Lefsetz, who wrote "not only did Taylor get shut out, going 0 for 3, they made jokes about her love life from the stage..."

Cherish those six Grammy Awards, ten American Music Awards, seven Country Music Association Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards and thirteen BMI Awards along recognition from the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

There will be many more, Taylor.

Richly deserved awards, country music hits for you and jerks like Bob.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Moral Of This Story: You Feel So Entertaining When Your Mouth Is Open

Mike Francesa has become a You Tube star for this hilarious September instant replay;

... but it's also a great reminder that lots of listeners are tempted to catch a little extra shut-eye while listening to morning radio every day.

Engaging the listener requires pulling him or her into your story.

PPM isn't as brutal as watching yourself zone out in the middle of a long monologue is, but it pretty much shows the same thing.

If you don't keep it entertaining and brief you're losing listeners by the second.

If your listener drifts off to dreamland while you're talking, it's not your listener's fault.  It's yours.