Friday, March 31, 2006

April Fool

Jim Carnegie at RBR had some good advice this morning:

"April 1st is always a dangerous date for radio stations. "April Fools" jokes are a long American tradition and it's always tempting for air talent to come up with a clever gag to pull on listeners. The problem is, the FCC's hoax and contest rules remain in effect on April 1 just like any other day - - as demonstrated more than once by stations being fined for April Fools jokes that went too far. Station management needs to be especially concerned this year because April Fools Day, tomorrow, falls on a Saturday, when many stations have their least experienced DJs on the air. That also means that a situation involving the local police, fire department or elected officials could quickly escalate into a crisis with no one on hand to answer the phones in the business office. The FCC isn't likely to be sympathetic to a station's plea that a hoax was carried out because the air talent wasn't aware that what they were doing was wrong. And if they were to run a phony contest, your station could end up being on the hook for delivering a real prize, no matter how expensive. Our advice is that PDs and GMs need to touch base today (if you haven't already) with everyone who is going to be on the air tomorrow and make sure they understand the ground rules. No April Fools pranks that haven't been pre-cleared by management for compliance with the FCC's rules are allowed."

That having been said, you can always talk about the best April Fools stunts of all time.

KYGO, Denver's $$$pring ARB Promotion

THE PROMO: 98-5 KYGO ups the ante with $100,000 to blow out.

Click here to find out details on how to get your share.

Listen at 7:00am weekdays for the "Variety Song of the Hour" to be announced. When it plays in the 7:00am hour, caller 12 to 303-631-2985 tells us the "Variety Phrase That Pays" and pockets $1,000. Kelly, Jonathan, and Mudflap will then announce another Variety Song and the hour it will play later in the day with another $1,000 up for grabs. Thursday mornings get bigger with $5,000 and even up to $10,000 up for grabs, and all you need to know is the Variety Phrase That Pays: "Now, with more Country Variety Than Ever Before!"

Americana Bluegrass

You probably saw the PR this week:

Clear Channel Radio today announced the launch of the nation’s largest and Clear Channel Radio’s first Americana Bluegrass station nicknaming it ‘New Grass’. WTCR-AM 1420 begins broadcasting the best of Americana Bluegrass from both recognized and relatively obscure artists throughout the land. The station will feature Ricky Skaggs, Slaid Cleaves, Willie Nelson, Nickel Creek, Ray Wiley Hubbard, Founding fathers like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and home grown favorites from right here in the tri-state. “It’s the right place and the right time to bring the Tri-State area Americana. We are thrilled to launch this genre of music,” said Vice President/Market Manager, Judy Cornett. “Not only does it fill a long-needed music presence on the radio, it also fulfills our mission of helping to launch and develop a wealth of regional and local talent. Highway 23 has produced so many stars and now the stars of tomorrow have a place to be heard. There is no better example of Americana than WTCR-AM1420’s New Grass!”

But, what you may not have known is that it started out as a labor of love by music fan Bobby Leach, Clear Channel Radio's CCADS/Music Services Director in Cincinnati (513-763-6495) as an HD-2 format. Cornett heard it and set the wheels in motion for the AM change. It's worth auditioning, of course, because it's something new, creative and exciting already spawned by the HD radio initiative but also because of the very creative stationality production built by Leach's talented team who dreamed up "Keeping It Real" as the position statement, for example. You may not want to steal the music mix, which is built for the Tri-State's unique qualitative. You will hear some ideas to borrow between the songs, I'll bet.

Metro & Edison: Listeners Turn UP Your Traffic Reports

If your traffic reporter feels under-appreciated, not a full member of your drivetime team and doesn't approach prep for their reports with anything less than 100% focus and commitment, click on the following and remind him or her just how important the info they deliver potentially is to your listener:

Traffic reports pull people away from CD players, MP3 players and Satellite Radio.

* One in four respondents listened to something other than radio in their cars, but then switched back to AM/FM radio specifically to hear traffic reports.

* Note to country stations: those with exceptionally long commutes (that tends to be OUR audience) report an even greater propensity to switch to AM/FM radio for traffic reports.

* More than 90% of radio traffic listeners pay close attention to traffic reports.

Tom Webster, Vice President of Edison Media Research: "Clearly, traffic reports are extremely 'sticky' content for radio listeners, (who) .. know where to find localized traffic reports, especially in suburban areas, and rely on them to help them navigate their increasingly longer commutes."

Jaye's traffic pet peeve: "everything's looking good this morning and there are no accidents or problems." Imagine turning your radio up and encountering what might be called a 'self-cancelling traffic report'! Talk about a total loss of credibility in an instant!

That would be like starting a newscast with the words "there's no news at all today."

If you're going to do the traffic report, please (at the very least) describe in specific detail with picturesque language what it's like in traffic right now. If you don't have the tools to do that, get them.

The Edison Metro Traffic Study was conducted by random telephone sampling February 9 - 22, 2006 of Adults 25 - 54 evenly distributed throughout the non-metro counties in 10 of the top 20 DMAs. Respondents were required to have at least a part-time job, work primarily outside of the home, and spend at least 30 minutes commuting one-way to their workplace via a personal vehicle. This study was conducted on behalf of Westwood One's Metro Networks.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

KMPS "Double Your Paycheck"

March, and the start of the Spring ARB.. time for the
givin' o' the green.

Here's how you win:
1. Tune your radios to 94.1 KMPS, or listen online
2. Listen for your name every hour on Thursdays between 7am and 5pm
3. When you hear your name, call us at 1.800.464.94FM within 30 minutes and you DOUBLE YOUR PAYCHECK!

AWRT Praises Jill Carroll

“I felt I was not free. It is difficult because I didn’t know what would happen to me.”
~ Jill Carroll, journalist

AWRT President, Chickie Bucco:
“Ms. Carroll exemplifies the characteristics of a true pioneer in the electronic and print media. She ‘had long dreamed of covering a war,’ and fought the hardest battle of all – to survive. She is a testament and an inspiration for female journalists everywhere.”

Every Bakersfield Radio Station Is Playing "The Streets Of Bakersfield" Tomorrow At Noon

If you need a moment of inspiration, sign up for the Bakersfield Californian's web page and spend some time with their
Buck Owens web page.

Goodbye Buck
Where are the online tributes to Buck?

See a photo gallery of Buck Owens
Photo gallery: Remembering Buck
Buck Owens singles
Buck Owens album discography
Buck Owens catalog highlights
Learn about the Bakersfield Sound and Buck Owens' role
Lyrics to "Streets of Bakersfield"

KUZZ AM & FM is spearheading the tribute and Program Director Evan Bridwell says stations from all formats are expected to play the 1988 version of the song, featuring Owens and Dwight Yoakam.
"It was his last No. 1 and it's the one everyone is most familiar with. Not only are stations in town and regionally participating, but we're getting calls from stations across the country that are joining in as well. I encourage every station who wants to be a part of this to do the same."
Owens' funeral is Sunday in Bakersfield.

The KSON $5 Concert Series

Here's the promo:

The price of concert tickets is ridiculous these days! Some concert tickets cost $45 - $425 EACH! That’s why KSON is proud to announce CountryFest North, the first in our series of $5 concerts for 2006. The show will take place Saturday, May 13th at the Oceanside Pier Plaza Amphitheater and features country stars Billy Currington and SHeDAISY! All for only $5! Now, THAT'S a "Super" ticket!

Another Jock, Another Control Room Door "Lock"

It's a ruse, right?

A stunt, just a way to get
KZEL, Oregon's Classic Rock, back on top of the ratings.

ANY time
the GM says to the local paper (and they even have an official photo credit on their station website!):
"If the big shots in Atlanta don't like it, tough.."
...on the first day of the Spring ARB, call me cynical, but you do start to wonder.....

Reba Builds A Community Of Fans On The Internet

She has been country's class act for three decades now (yes, her first single came out in 1976!), amazing at coping with change in styles, music, culture, tastes, label politics et al. Here's a lesson in how it's done by a MASTER. If you are charged with maintaining a web-based relationship with your heavy-users, you'll want to spend time at her site and sign up for her e-letter.

And, as usual with Reba, this is not just marketing hype. She's for real, and her fans know that.

Always have.

Something to watch: Will she have a new label home later this year? Or will MCA find a way to hang onto her? Stay tuned.

Shania Twain ranks #30, Faith Hill #48

NO, not on this week's chart.

.. On the British men's magazine "HIM"'s list of the sexiest women. Another number for the pair (age): Shania, 40 and Faith, 38.

Looks like having children and being a great mom is good for your sex appeal .. and we certainly agree with that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Why Should You Care About Delilah's RadioThon?

1. She gets "it" about as well as anyone: understanding how to validate the values of her target listener by moving the needle on something important. Check out Point Hope.

2. Read that list of artists (very cool player!) who are assisting, starting this Friday: Tim McGraw and LeAnn Rimes. What big thing do you plan to do to be sure your shared audience with Di thinks YOU "get 'it'" too?

See Spot Run: Cheap TV Ads Create Downward Pressure On Our Rates Too

So... what are you doing to make sure your selling and creative relationships with customers are not being commoditized?

If your local sellers are saying "it's tougher than ever out there to hold rates," before you dismiss the complaint as just more of the same old thing read about the Commoditization of local TV buying and production.
"Spot Runner is so cheap in part because it has moved that process online."

"The Commoditization Of Everything" explains what we're all up against as we create powerful creative campaigns which work for our clients at competitive prices.

"The very success of the Internet, which is entering another boom with (according to George Gilder's March Technology Report) 'volume that will dwarf even the fantastical increases of the past five years', is creating a rolling disaster for the large players. The message: be an efficient commodity provider at the core, or go to the edge and deliver great value..."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

With A Name Like "Card," He's Probably Used To 'Em..

.. but, ya had to know Wonkette would be watching the headlines today for "Card" puns.

i.e. Bush shuffles aides, Card out as chief of staff [Reuters]
Not Showing His Cards [Politics Extra]
Card Folds, Bush Draws To the Inside [The Nation]
Card Shuffled [Patriot Ledger]

Buy Larry The Cable Guy's Truck, But Don't Bother With His Movie

You might get snagged by the cute '
buy his truck' stunt, but (CAUTION!) if you think that Larry the Cable Guy's "Health Inspector" movie is just the next phase of the blue collar comedy tour and give away tickets to the film, please see it yourself before you send a family-friendly parent and our their kids to see it. If you don't walk out in disgust, I'll be surprised. Not only is the flick terrible (I dare you to find an even half-way decent review of it!), but it's loaded with offensive poop gags, projectile vomiting and PG-13 language. Larry has experienced a disconnect in his cable connection to country values here.

An Amazing Video, An Amazing Juggler, Chris Bliss

Click here. You'll agree (juggling with meaning). Thanks to Ichabod Caine and the KMPS Waking Crew for making me aware of him. He's up to some incredible things you may want to get behind too. Email him if you'd like to know more.

Join Clay Walker In The Fight Against MS

Clay Walker knows better than anyone how important hope, inspiration, and information are to someone with multiple sclerosis (MS). The multi-platinum country music sensation has been living with relapsing-remitting MS since 1996.

In 2003, he decided to make his private battle with the disease public by forming the Band Against MSSM Foundation to help others with MS by establishing a resource to provide information on the disease and funding for multiple sclerosis research.

Shortly after completing his fourth album at the age of 26, Clay was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to come to grips with the fact that he now had a chronic disease that was going to affect him the rest of his life. There were only two therapies available at the time and not a lot of information. He set forth to educate himself about MS and decided that instead of focusing on the disease, he would focus on living each day to the fullest.

Fans can show their support for Clay Walker in his efforts to find a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) by wearing a Leather Band Against MS Wristband! Wristbands are $10.

for more information on Clay Walker contact:
Kirt Webster / Ebie McFarland ~ 615-777-6995 / requests@websterpr.comor
Liz Cavanaugh, Curb Records ~ 615-321-5080 /

The Best-Written Blog On The Web

The Chicago Tribute's Steve Johnson chose his 50 best websites and the one he picked as the best-written blog (very funny!) has a name you can't say on the air.

The site features less-than-flattering pictures of celebrities, along with some very funny captions and tongue-in-cheek advice to celebrities who have crossed the line from ugly to "fugly."

Montgomery Gentry Return From USO Tour

They personally met and performed for troops in Kuwait and Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as service men, women and their families in Germany.

To show their continuous support, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry visited troops & performed at various military units within Kuwait, forward operating bases in Iraq, along with two concerts in Germany. They also visited Landstuhl where they met and spent time lifting spirits of recuperating service members injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As Sgt. Steve Rodgers (Kirkuk, Iraq) eloquently notes,
"Many performers turn on the charm for the cameras, but Montgomery Gentry are real people. They performed not to thousands of people as they are accustomed, but a few hundred men & women who needed a boost in morale & wanted a night to remember. Eddie & Troy provided just that."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Battle Of The Brains

Battle of the Brains is a quizbowl show on WTVR in the Richmond area, and WAVY in Hampton Roads.

* It's also an
Australian TV series.
* It's an internet game.
* It's an educational tool.
* It's a fund-raiser for the Moncton Chamber of Commerce.

.. sounds like it also might be a fun morning show benchmark which could involve a community stunt or event.

Sony-BMG-RLG Employees: Fasten Your Seatbelts

We in radio feel your pain. We've been there before too. First, consolidation .. and the money guys make big fees. Next, DE-consolidation and, yes, the money guys make big fees.

Report from Germany: Bertelsmann Preparing to Sell Stake in Sony BMG

How does this serve customers? Stockholders? Artists and content creators?

Country Song Lyrics Without The Popups

Kirk Fitzgerald passes along this bit of info: country music fans are always looking for lyrics. Well, I use basically one site for all my country music lyrics, hands down. Not only have I found that it has the best catalog of songs, even the newest releases, but there are no popups or trying to sell you ringtones. Nothing but just lyrics. It is sorted nicely as well that comes in handy.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rest In Peace Buck Owens

Buck traveled with his family to the Phoenix, Arizona area in 1937 as they searched for a better life. Eventually, they traveled to California's San Joaquin Valley, doing farm work. At a young age Buck vowed that when he grew up, he would not be poor. He found a way out of his family's poverty through his musical talent.

When I Go On Vacation, Michael O'Malley Fills In For Me

When Lon Helton does so, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill fill in. The couple talks about their exciting experiences at this year's GRAMMY awards. They discuss how starstruck they were to meet celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney, Bono, and Tony Bennet, who invited Tim to record a duet with him.

Pew: Radio Holds Up Pretty Well As A News Source For Broadband Users

The topical areas we have been suggesting for years - purse strings, health, relaxation, local and heart - remain important to these folks. (click on the graphic to enlarge it)
Some 50 million Americans turn to the internet for news on a typical day, a new high water mark for online news-gathering that coincides with rapid growth of broadband adoption in American homes. Over the last four years, overall internet penetration rose from 58% of all adult Americans to 70%, and home broadband penetration grew from 20 million people (or10% of adult Americans) to 74 million people (37% of adult Americans).

For broadband internet users, online news is a more regular part of the daily news diet than is the local paper; it is nearly as much of a daily habit as is getting news from national TV newscasts and radio. For home dial-up users, however, online news is not as much an everyday activity.

Major events spur people to go online for breaking news. TV and radio remain the most popular news source, but broadband internet users relyonline sources as much as their local newspaper.
This is a report worth studying and sharing with your news staff, owner and, yes, even with sales.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fox: Dixie Chicks Address Death Threats In Song

Reporter Roger Friedman: "I cannot recall in the history of pop, country, rock or R&B — maybe somewhere in
rap — this issue coming up. I’ve heard the album, called "Taking the Long Way," due out May 23, and it’s a potential blockbuster. “Not Ready to Make Nice” is already making inroads on country radio after being leaked last week. Of the 14 tracks, at least 8 stand out as possible singles, which will be good news to Sony Music. They should expect first-week sales, when the album hits stores, of 750,000 or more."

Radio's $100,000 Mercury Award Deadline Is Tomorrow

You can't win if you don't enter. You can do it online now.

"Anonymous" (NOT!) UK Video To Open This Sunday's "Simpson's"

Word of it
spread from Mumbai to London in just a few days, and now the live action version of the classic Simpson's TV intro, produced as part of a viral marketing campaign by UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, will open this week's episode.

Simpsons creator Matt Groening reportedly "liked the live action intro to the show so much that he's using it this Sunday." Yeah, sure. This is, after all, the episode that was written by Ricky Gervais. If it sounds like a planned event to you, that makes two of us. But, you have to salute them on their terrific execution of this latest lesson in viral marketing!

Garth, Celine and .. Jake?

Nashville Answer-Man Neil Haislop seems to know all of the fascinating yarns of our biz, and here's his latest one, shared with his interactive morning show clients:
Newcomer Owen is making a name for himself with his catchy, danceable, relatable new single “Yee Haw,” but, he almost had his radio tour promoting his song interrupted when his wallet was stolen at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, leaving him without a photo ID to board the plane for his next
So, Jake and the RCA rep approached the counter with a brilliant plan, “We’ll talk our way through it,” said Jake with the dogged determination of a 24-year-old. With his cache of his own CD’s and 8 X 10 photos, Jake explained the situation to the customer service manager. “Well, we were prepared for a strip search and a heavy round of interrogation when Diane (the service manager) told us this same exact thing happened with her many years ago with another young singer,” Jake said, with bit of surprise in his voice. “She said it was a female singer with the same problem. The singer gave her some music that day too and signed CD's for her as well. So I said, ‘Is it anybody we know?’” To which she replied, “Probably, you’ve heard of Celine Dion?”

As it turns out, in a post-9/11 world, Jake was lucky that saved the day for him, considering Garth had a rougher time when he once faced the same situation pre-9/11. Brooks was farther along in his career than Jake when he showed up at an airline counter in Pittsburgh, PA without his ID. The gate agent didn’t recognize him and wouldn’t let him on the plane, even after his companion pulled out a Garth CD with his picture on it and showed it to the agent. Eventually, after a lot of convincing, the agent believed him and let him head to his plane. Garth says as he rounded a corner, a group of fans exiting an arriving flight, rushed over to him and asked for his autograph, giving Garth one of those “Where were you when I needed you moments!”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MP3 Listeners Are Simultaneous Media Users

MP3 users are big technology users and more likely to subscribe to cable TV, have high speed internet access, satellite RV, access streaming video on their cell phones and use voice over internet telecoms services.

Have a look at this interesting study, with the following thought in mind: RADIO IS THE ORIGINAL 'SIMULTANEOUS MEDIUM' (still used by almost 95% of the adult population every week, making that 50 million figure a bit less impressive..).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bring Back Garth .. But Only When He's Ready

It is indeed amazing what you find when cruising the 'net:

1. Wow, on Planet Garth it says that there's a petition on MySpace.
2. Wow, here it is.

Personally, I agree with Kristen. And, judging from the great art on that Bring Back Garth site, he must be pretty close to being ready.

Radio Reaches 96.1% of Working Women 18+

On Monday, March 27, Arbitron will release the complete RADAR 88 Radio Network Audience Report results. RADAR is the standard currency for national network radio ratings, measuring 56 individual radio networks. Here's a preview.

Initial findings in RADAR 88 indicate that, over the course of a typical week, radio reached over 94 percent of Persons 18+ who live in a household with an income of $75,000 or more. Ninety-four percent of college grads listened to radio, as compared to 91 percent of people who did not go to college. Eighty-one percent of Persons 18+ listened to radio while in their cars.

The sample size for RADAR 88 has been increased to 100,000 diarykeepers.

Radio Audience 2010

The folks studying trends in public radio listening are starting to sound like commercial radio conglomerates of a decade ago.

Read Interim Report 4: An Historic Loss of Momentum for their focus on their local programming and, especially, the financial implications for stations.

If they also stop providing local content because it's too expensive, the small owners who didn't pay too much for their properties and thus can still offer live and local - whether commercial or public - are in for a very productive decade ahead unless the big guys start thinking longterm and make the most of terrestial radio's local impact and strength while they (we!) still have it.

Faces Of The Fallen

The Washington Post has created a
very helpful interactive site to memorialize our fallen troops who died in Iraq and Afganistan as the toll hit 2,000.

War in Iraq Map: 2,000 DeathsOperation Enduring Freedom

Now That We Know The Dixie Chicks Are “Not Ready to Make Nice”

Is radio? Our listeners? The advance trade chart emails and faxes are starting to measure the answer to that and it's extremely polarized and very regional:

Wade Jesson wrote a very sensitive front page "Country Confidential" for the weekly Billboard Monday Monitor, which also has the new Chicks "flying 54-36" on his chart this week, which he adds could be "based on curiosity. The coming few weeks should see a flurry of listener input that country programmers should monitor closely. Rarely does the format have such an opportunity to listen to its customers, and lots of passionate opinions on both sides of the issue will make headlines in the weeks ahead."

Billboard estimates that "Not Ready" has been heard by 3,703,000 country radio listeners in the last seven days on their monitored stations.

Jesson concludes: "Deciding how much or how little support the Chicks will ultimately get from country radio is a process that may find lots of programmers regretting the permanent damage done by the reactionary dismissal of the format’s top act while it was arguably at its zenith. And, that’s the very consideration most industry observers should find the most troubling."

Lon Helton and Chuck Aly report in today's R&R Hotfax Country Update that it is "the most anticipated — and most controversial— song to arrive at Country radio in some time. Programmers’ unrest stems from listeners’ lingering negative reaction to Natalie Maines’ 3-year old political comments, as documented in a recently released Edison Research study that showed a large percentage of Country P1s still harbor a grudge."

Hopefully these will show up in print in detail in both publications this week, making them must reads, because anyone who answers the phones or gets listener email can tell you that this is not an easy call: "Six R&R Country reporters — WCTO/Allentown, WUSN/Chicago, WGAR/Cleveland, KTYS/Dallas, WKIS/Miami and KEEY/Minneapolis — have each played the single more than 10 times in the past week. While there’s no official add date, the song got seven adds this week and is currently on 11 of our 120 reporters. It debuted at No. 41."

R&R quotes from these who were willing to be guinea pigs:

WGAR PD Meg Stevens: “We just play the song. We’re taking e-mail and phone feedback during morning drive. It’s 85-90% positive and is among the top nine requests on our ‘Hot 9 at 9.’ I think it’s a hit. It will be interesting what local research says when we have enough spins.”

WUSN PD Mike Peterson: “So far it’s about 80% very positive,” he says.“The negatives are mostly anti-Chicks, but not anti-station. We’ve only got a few ‘won’t listen if you play’ calls."

KEEY PD Gregg Swedberg feels that it’s all about the music. “Early reaction has been about equal on both sides,” he says. “But, in general, there hasn’t been much reaction at all. We aren’t going to play politics with the music, we’re just going to play it and ask the audience what they think the way we do with allour music — via callout, auditorium tests and RateThe Music . “We aren’t getting on the air screaming, ‘The Chicks are back! Listen to this! Tell us what you think!’ Why open old wounds? Why start an argument that isn’t really important anyway? We’re not supporting the Chicks for political reasons. We’re just playing a newsong by a multiplatinum country band."

R&R received a different spin from WKIS PD Bob Barnett, who questioned the label’s choice of singles: “Programmers invited to preview the new Chicks music at CRS universally, unequivocally asked Sony not to release ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ as the first single. We hoped to put the bashing behind us. There are so many strong songs on the CD, there was no need to mess around with the statement song.“ Then ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ is released. And this Chick-friendly PD thinks, ‘Why would they do this?’ If the goal was to get the Chicks back on the air, they may have just made a horrible decision. So, all bets are off for me. If they don’t care about their relationship with Chick-friendly stations, I’m not sure I’m ready to keep taking [listener] bullets for them anymore. I put the song on to let the listeners decide. Now it appears it’s a song that not only further damages the perception of the Dixie Chicks, but puts the station in a difficult position. I’m weighing the negative impact of those offended by Natalie’s desire to further rub their noses in the drama. I pulled it out of my test category as of this past Sunday."

Normally, country callout and internet research doesn't vary much from one region of the country to another outside Texas and Canada on some specific sounds, but this one is going to be perhaps the most region-sensitive music decision country programmers have had to make since 1969's "Okie from Muskogee."

The South and Southeast, for example, will probably see BIG negatives. Meanwhile, places like most of New York state, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and other "blue state areas" expect to see total favorite scores much higher than negatives. In most of Canada, the Chicks are bigger than ever, however there are also conservative pockets there too. In the Pacific Northwest, larger cities will probably experience comparatively little problem, but east of the mountains it's generally a different story all the way through Idaho, to Colorado, Utah, etc. While it's most likely OK overall in most of LA, probably not in most of San Diego, Ventura County and areas of the San Joaquin Valley. My guess is that Cleveland and Toledo may be more accepting than Cincinnati and Columbus, for a couple other examples.

Your knowlege of your local values -- not just in your state or region, but in your home town, will be tested by this decision in ways few things have been in the average country programmer's career. We talk a lot about how important VALUES are to adding value to your brand. Now, it's time to put those values into action.

The Dixie Chicks have chosen not to make it easy for us.

Half Of Radio Stations Do Not Have A Disaster Plan

That chart in this morning's
Radio Business Report, presented by the NAB as good news (and 49% is a lot better than the 15% with a plan in 2003) made my hair stand on end.

After 9/11 and Katrina.. let alone other hurricanes, tornadoes, firees and tsunamis of the last few years, it's hard to believe that half of us remain in denial when having a plan is so essential to business success, let alone community service.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Dismal Nashville Star Prognostication (And, I Must Say, I Agree With It)

Nashville Star has started up again for their 4th season. 4 tries at finding a true star, and looking back at the previous 3 "winners," do we truly have any winners? Buddy Jewel is without a label, Brad Cotter never really sold many albums and is without a label, Erika Jo had her hit and has disappeared.

The real winner so far from the show is Miranda Lambert. Even though she didn't win the show, she certainly has taken country music by storm and is still selling albums. George Canyon didn't win either, but is doing extremely well north of the border.

Hopefully, this season, we will truly find a great talent. However, what I have seen so far in the first episode, don't hold your breath.

That is if you can even make it through the season with Wynonna's never ending self-confidence thoughts and Cowboy Troy's overly excited "Mr. Radio Voice" that is making the show barely watchable.

Thank goodness for the fast forward feature on the DVR.

George Jones Still on Bandit Records

George Jones has signed a special one-time single deal with Category 5 Records. This is a special deal that will allow Jones to record one song as a "guest artist" for Category 5 Records as part of a tribute album they are producing to honor Jones' long and remarkable career.

Some sites reported earlier this week that he had signed a recording contract with them, which is not true. He remains on his current label, Bandit Records.

Would YOUR Fans Make YOUR TV Spots?

American Idol fans can submit :10 second commercials on why they love and the top five spots will air on Fox in May.

Jeff King, VP Fox Interactive Media: "According to ComScore Media Metrix, is the internet's most highly trafficked single television-driven show website with an estimated 6.4 million unique visitors for the month of February. This number is forecasted to rise to over 10 million unique visitors for March."

Read the "Video Chance for Fame" rules and press release (click)

If You Talk On The Radio, Take Five Minutes..

.. and watch this short film. (I hope it's not YOU)

Thanks to Standard/London GM Braden Doerr for making us aware of it.

So. Cal Radio: "I'm Going To Disneyland"

Seventy on-air personalities were on hand for SCBA's annual Radio Day, celebrating with radio listeners from all over Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Connecting Some Dots, From A Country Radio Perspective

Dot #1: Wired Magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson has created quite a bit of talk over the last four weeks since he posted graphics which show that the number of hit ALBUMS (gold and platinum) has declined on his Long Tail blog.

Dot #2: Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed recently that there are now 42 million IPods out there, which is 83% of the portable digital player market. His kick-off for Apple's Macworld Conference & Expo at San Francisco's Moscone Center added two other thought-provoking stats to the conversation: 32 million IPods sold in 2005; ITunes is about to sell its one BILLIONth song any day now.

Dot #3: A few years ago, I mused aloud, wondering why country radio was still playing "chart hits" at a time when the majority of our audience buys albums at Target and Wal-Mart, which means they often discover new songs they love as much as six months, a year, or more before they hear them on their favorite country radio station, if they ever do.

Now, it begins to seem like that boat we missed may be coming back to shore to pick us up at the dock. It's becoming a "hit song" universe once again (if it ever really wasn't one).

Dot #4: Toronto-based Solutions Research Group noted last fall that the average IPod user has 375 songs on their player.

How are going to find out what those songs are? Do they fit on your station?

Masters Of The YOUniverse at WYCT, Pensacola

Cat Country 98.7, Pensacola's afternoon host, "Catfish," got a copy of Trendwatching's mission statement from his GM Mary Hoxeng and put it all into great words from the radio personality's perspective:
'... to those of us who 'get it,' the consumer has ALWAYS been incharge...[ie: the customer is always right] but I know and understand that some businesses have forgotten this adage along the way. Along this line, I like to let my listeners do as much of my show as possible: traffic, introducing music, announcing upcoming events,etc. They love it. I can tell, because when I air someone, all the lines light up, and each caller in their own way, is atempting to say something I feel they think MAY get on the air. Heck, let THEM be the star. After all, they ARE. THEY decide my fate and future in this business, right?"

Trivia Question: Do Girl Scout Cookies Ever Expire?

The Washington Post, in great detail, explains why the answer is NO.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Is There A Celebrity In Your Area Right Now??

You can find out.
Here's how, click to read the story. Or, to go right to the goodies: Gawker Stalker: Great Moments in Recent Stalking

KYGO's "KJM FingerFotos" And, More Seriously, "RULES"

Joel Burke and his Jefferson-Pilot/Denver crew have a website which makes you want to listen...

Kelly, Jonathan and Mudflap's morning page is a daily idea sharing source, but don't stop until you page all the way down to their strange and silly "Finger Fotos."

Ya wonder what research led them to establish their "No Rules" stance..? Could it have been the arrival of Willie 92.5's "Wide Open Country?" Willie's trend has been 2.4-1.8-1.5. Could these new KYGO benchmarks have had a role in that? Ya think?

No tight playlists
Paul Donovan's No Rules Instant Request Lunch Hour
Tracy Taylor's No Rules Nighttime Request Show
No Rules A to Z Weekends
Colorado's largest Country music library
More real Country variety than ever before
KYGO's MP3 Playback*

Is it time to review 'the rules" on your station which listeners don't like?

*What's an MP3 Playback? It stands for "My Pick of 3". At KYGO, we are all about breaking some rules and playing the real country variety you want to hear! That's why we want your "MP3 Playback!" Email us your "My Pick of 3" favorite songs to You'll automatically be registered to win your pick of CD's in the KYGO music stash. Thanks to you KYGO is Denver's Home for Real Country Variety.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Old Economy Radio Vs Emerging New Economy

If you're not a little frightened, click this:

"The old economy of radio has been abruptly replaced by a new economy where radio faces unregulated competition in an open field of media and entertainment services," said Glenn O'Farrell, CAB President and CEO. "We no longer have a single, regulated system of radio services delivered over the public airwaves, free of charge to Canadians. Now, we have two systems: the regulated system of the past, which is now in direct competition – some would say collision – with an unregulated, parallel system of new delivery platforms for audio content."

Need Fresh Nashville News? Country Weekly Seems To Have One Or Two Good Ones Daily

Like these, for example (click to read 'em):

Garth Brooks made a rare public appearance Thursday, March 16, in Nashville, when he attended a party in honor of his recent hit, "Good Ride Cowboy."

Dolly Parton and Naomi Judd settle down for some candid "girl talk" on the Sunday, March 19, episode of Naomi's New Morning, Naomi's inspirational series on the Hallmark Channel.

Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox shares memories of his Ohio childhood, his first kiss, his biggest heartaches and when he knew he wanted a life in the music business.

Holly Williams and her sister Hilary, the daughters of Hank Williams Jr., were injured in a car accident Wednesday, March 15, outside of Tunica. Miss.

Tim And Faith Give CMT An Earful On Katrina (Lack Of) Relief

Tim McGraw: "I spent a lot of time in Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish. It was 100 percent devastated. Everything there was gone. Being down in the middle, they were still rescuing people off the roofs when I was down there. People were still coming in and just clinging to you. ... It's hard not to get political here, but I do not understand how we could not have done a better job -- and still can't do a better job. It's outrageous that you see it every single day on the TV of how it is. I went back just a couple of months ago, and it had not changed one bit. Not one bit."

Faith Hill: "There were kids living in tents. Not a door moved. Not a car moved."

"The same shrimp boat was sitting in the road that was the same shrimp boat sitting in the road a few days after the storm," McGraw said. "It makes no sense to me. I don't understand where the problem is. I don't understand the blame game. I don't understand how this person blames that person. To me, there's a lot of politics being played and a lot of people trying to put people in bad positions to further their agendas. I don't understand that. When you have a lot of people dying because they're poor and because they're black or poor -- and they're white or whatever they are -- if that's a number on a political scale, then that is the most wrong thing. That erases everything that's great about our country ... to let something like that happen and to continue to let something like that happen and to continue to not do anything about it."

CCMA 2007 Comes To Regina!

2007 Country Music Week Regina will be held September 7-10, with a combination of events for both the community and industry attendees throughout, closing with the internationally televised CCMA Awards. For 30 years the Canadian Country Music Association has marked each September with Country Music Week, a four day conference and celebration culminating in the CCMA Awards (established in 1983). The announcement was made in the City of Regina by the CCMA’s Chair of the Board of Directors Heather Ostertag, who added she was “…delighted to be able to award the event to a city so obviously enthusiastic about having Country Music Week in their community”.

A&O client CKRM PD Willie Cole ( says: "I've been a part of the committees that hosted these awards in Regina in 1978 and 1983 as well. Both were huge successes. I expect this one will be as well."

We have found Willie to be a man of his word!

For more information, please contact: Brandi Mills, CCMA, Tel: 416-947-1331 X211 or or JP Ellson, Regina Host Committee, Tel: 306-347-2107

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Can Bill O'Reilly Do To The Dixie Chicks What He Did To "Happy Holidays"?

It's started and he's going to try, seemingly (and, as that click indicates, the bloggers on the left have also begun to politicize too)

Scott McKenzie from Billboard and Airplay Monitor represented himself well, always a trick with O'Reilly. However, I do wish he had found a way to mention that "Not Ready To Make Nice" debuts in its first week at #54 on the Billboard COUNTRY chart for 3/17/06, having already reached an estimated 1.23 million listeners with just three days of the chart week on country music radio.

ARB's Announcements Are A "So What?" For Country

Arbitron gets proactive...
People Meters start rolling into the top 50 markets and more cash in premiums to improve 18-34 response rates, very soon.


While we do applaud the idea of surveying cell-only households (country is one of the top four formats among these according the ARB test data), it doesn't look to us like the rest of this is any at all help in preventing the wild swings we see in 25-54 for country or ANY format that targets a 25-54 LIFEGROUP.

Specifically, we don't see how these adjustments encourage more confidence in Arbitron from country stations in Anchorage, Portland or Reno, for example, (where the "center" of the format life group according to Arbitron has been in three completely different 10 year demographic spans in the last three surveys, which of course can not be true!).

In fact, we are actually LESS confident. It looks like a continuation of a policy designed to address primarily males and any household to which five additional dollars would have an impact.

Is one answer better qualitative balance of every sample cell across the board in every surveyed ARB market, not just the ones with horrendous weighting in 18-34 male and 25-34 female cells?

Satellite Radio Does Not Impress the Masses

Only 3% of those interviewed by Bridge Ratings last month indicated they were "Very likely" or "Somewhat likely" to subscribe to one or both of the services this year. This projects to approximately 8 million new satellite subscribers bringing the current subscriber count to 17 million by year-end.

Dave Van Dyke and his team are reaching some fascinating conclusions:

* Internet radio streaming is already the source of preference among young Americans for supplemental audio entertainment and it will continue its growth as more users are equipped with broadband technology.

* While the wireless solution for in-car Internet radio still needs to be determined, its potential for use by the public at large is far greater than the current impressive growth projections for satellite radio. The question that begs to be answered is: "As Internet radio use accelerates both in and out of home, how will satellite radio's profitability model survive?"

The key here is this: with Internet radio already the preferred medium over satellite radio, traditional radio and the moderate growth of High Definition terrestrial radio (HD) should benefit from additional free channels and the refinement of its analog product. Bridge Ratings' analysts "still believe that terrestrial radio will have significant market penetration well into the future with at least 80% of the U.S. population tuning in at least once a week by 2020. Difficult to project with confidence at this time is terrestrial radio's time-spent-listening fifteen years hence."

Mercury Research: 59% Of 25-54's Chose "HD Radio" Over iPod (28%)

The younger you are, the more likely you are to have responded positively to "iPod" in researcher
Mark Ramsey's national study. That gives country (which ranks #7) a head start right now on digital radio, as long as we don't waste time before acting to create powerful content which drives usage while we have this lead in perceived convenience.

I don't think low-cost, voice-tracked commercial-free music by the pound in narrow niches or hybrids with limited appeal will do the job. A&O has already developed formats for our country clients' HD side channels. Get us involved when YOU are ready to go.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

SXSW: The Future Of Radio And Music

The South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference has always seemed to me like a place where a bunch of Texas musicians who don't fit any music format meet and get press from music critics who disdain anything popular. However, maybe I need to think again. Yesterday's SXSW Future of Music panelists made some great points:

Elise Nordling, music director at SomaFM, pointed to the important companion role that radio plays. Deejays do more than just pick songs, they often build a bond with listeners. "People want company."

Meanwhile, music industry consultant and KCRW commentator Celia Hirschman pointed to the importance of nurturing listener relationships, which are created by establishing trust and maintaining a high level of programming integrity. "The quality of the music is important."

The radio landscape is clearly evolving, but what do listeners ultimately want? Consumers now have access to virtually unlimited collections of music – both on-demand and through streaming formats. Outlets like Rhapsody deliver on-demand access to thousands of albums, while providers like XM Satellite Radio offer just as many niche genres. But somehow, having everything is only part of the puzzle, and listeners usually want someone else to sift through the barrage of possibilities. "Just having access to a sea of material is not going to push the ball forward," said Tim Westergren, head of recommendation service Pandora.

12 Steps For The Recovering Workaholic

There are many reasons why A&O sends a copy of Sally Hogshead's book Radical Careering to each of our clients. This is 12 of them.

Is It Possible To Copyright A Blog?

Associated Press is trying it at the Milosevic Funeral. Nice try, but what's next? Giving the newspapers away free and trying to charge for the blog?

Touching Wires Causes Instant Death - $200 Fine

"All Marketers are Liars" - Seth Godin speaks at Google on February 28. The video is 48 minutes. WORTH the time and the click!

Dixie Chicks Anyone?

Tommy C sends along the KFRG "Frogmen In The Morning's Top 10 list of 'Things We Received “Anonymously” To Play The New Dixie Chicks Song…'

B-104.7 Auditions Listeners

Ron Bee and Becky Palmer just emailed their database:

This week, we kicked off a brand new contest that has been a lot of fun. We've been holding auditions on our morning show, and Skip Clark has been doing the same in his evening show, to find an official reporter for the upcoming CMT Awards show . Some lucky winner will get an all expense paid trip to Nashville that includes seats on the Red Carpet, tickets to the CMT Award Show, a private concert with Josh Turner and even spending money!! Plus, the winner will call in a special report for us to play for all our listeners! The best part is you will decide who the reporter will be! Starting this Monday, go to and vote for your favorite reporter!!

What's the Frequency? New Rules for Radio

Hats off to RAB and the New York Ad Club for planning what sounds like a terrific day today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Phone Topic: The March Madness Backlash

It's the time of year when sports fan eagerly await the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament. And across the country, employees will get caught up in March Madness -- providing a welcome dash of excitement and camaraderie into the workplace, but possibly, a significant impact on workplace productivity. Read this editorial on the air and watch the phones light up.

Wynonna On Larry King, Promotes "Nashville Star"

.. and Nashville news hound Neal Naislop was busily taking notes:

Wynonna Judd told Larry King on CNN this weekend that she’s looking forward to mentoring the contestants on “Nashville Star” this season. “I'm able to be sort of the mentor position. I'm able to tell them what not to do. I'm there to encourage. I'm there to sort of support them as they -- it's an amazing process. These kids have come from all over. They're living in Opryland Hotel on $15, $20 a day, you know, for food and they are -- their whole families are there and it's pretty awesome. It's the American dream,” Wynonna explains.

WY adds, “I feel like after all these years it's time for me to give back. I love to be a part of like I said the process. I love watching someone getting ready for the show and they walk out on stage. I can see how nervous they are. I see myself in every single one of them because they all have such a story. And the thing about “Nashville Star” that's so unique is the relationship in country music between the listener and the fan and I'm going to go to hometowns and meet families and I'm there to watch this miracle happen. I was intrigued by it (Nashville Star) because I like to take chances and you're a host with the most. I wanted to try it.”

ABOUT HER NASHVILLE STAR CO-HOST, COWBOY TROY, Wynonna told Larry King he has a lot to offer country music. “Yes, he's got a lot to offer country music because we are in a stage of mind these days where sort of anything goes. I mean you've got your traditionalists. You've got people like me who color outside the lines. And then all of a sudden here comes Cowboy Troy. We couldn't be any more different but he loves me and I love him and the chemistry is really good so it works.” Cowboy Troy told King, getting the gig with Wy happened pretty quickly.

“I mean, management asked me if I would be interested in co-hosting "Nashville Star" with Wynonna. I said ‘of course,’ that's a simple question. And they said OK, we will go back and speak with the folks at the network. And that's about as quickly as it came about for me,” said Troy. Wynonna said that Cowboy Troy’s Muzik Mafia buddy, Two Foot Fred, will also be on the show.

And she summed up what she thinks is a good pairing with Troy saying, “We've got, you know, this big, beautiful black spirit personality, and then we've got me. I mean, it couldn't be any more crazy. So I love it, though. It's a good combination.”

NASHVILLE STAR airs tonight 10pmET/9ct on USA NETWORK.

Once A Promoter, Always A Promoter: Bovine Bingo

Former/longtime RCA/Nashville promo rep Carson Schreiber, l., feeds one of the upcoming participants, far left, at the San Fernando Valley's LA Pierce College ag station, to be sure that there will be lots of 'chips' for the
Northridge Kiwanis Club's annual cow chip bingo fund-raiser.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Marketing Radio Personalities Is Like Marketing Political Candidates

TV, outdoor and direct mail still work, of course, but are getting more expensive for the desired results as target markets demassify and diary response rates tank in key demos.

If you buy that "diarykeepers are like voters" argument, here's some food for thought from Time Magazine's Josh Tyrangiel.
"From now on, a smart candidate will reach you through your cell phone,
your friends, the organizations you belong to and the websites you visit."
-- RNC chairman Ken Mehlman

The State Of The Media

If the sale - announced last night - of
Knight-Ridder to McClatchy has you wondering 'what's up?' The annual media research which attempts to document that is out today:

A study of local radio news in three cities found that half the stories on local radio news were about local events. At the same time, the medium registered the shallowest sourcing of any medium studied and its stories usually explored the fewest angles.

Indeed, the radio news studied rarely involved sending reporters out to explore the community and tell stories about local voices and personalities, the hallmarks of traditional local news coverage. Only 14% of stories involved reporters in the field and most of those were either network syndicated stories or on NPR.

Instead, what listeners got was headlines read from wires or provided by national networks, almost always less than a minute and often less than 30 seconds, lots of weather and traffic updates and musings from the host or others.
(before you start feeling guilty about that,
read the recap of our 3/7/06 client only teleconference)

The report adds that Radio does, however, offer citizens more opportunity than other local media to offer their own views or to hear from neighbors, though there is little verification of the information exchanged.

The new paradox of journalism is more outlets are covering fewer stories. As the number of news outlets grows, generally the audiences of each one shrinks, and news organizations cut back on resources. Yet they still all have to cover the big stories. Thus on most major events, we have more reporters, but fewer stories are being covered generally. A close look at the big news websites even demonstrates it. Google News offers access within two clicks to 14,000 stories, but really they are accounts of just 24 news events.