Thursday, November 30, 2006

Broken Wrist Sidelines Buddy Jewell

Jewell, the first winner of the "Nashville Star" singing competition,
was hurt in a fall from a ladder while hanging Christmas lights at his Nashville home Nov. 19. He underwent surgery last Wednesday to insert three screws and a two-inch metal plate on his left wrist. Jewell decided against performing in a 20-city Great American Country Christmas Tour that runs from Thursday through Dec. 21.

He is being replaced by "American Idol" alumnus Bucky Covington. Also on the bill are Deana Carter, Julie Roberts, Blue County and Steve Azar.
"I am sure some of y'all have already purchased tickets for the Christmas tour, and we strongly encourage you to still go," Jewell's wife, Tene, wrote on the Web site. "It's going to be a great show, and I would hate for y'all to miss out because of Buddy's unfortunate accident."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting On The "Brand" Wagon

"Fibber McGee and Molly," "The Jack Benny Show," "NBC," "The Mighty 690," "77-WABC," "Color Radio," "93 KHJ," "Westinghouse Broadcasting, KDKA," "WCCO, real radio," "WSB, Atlanta," "Paul Harvey News," "The Big 8," "The best variety," "Kay Lite," "CHUM," "EZ," "The most music," "CKNW," "Magic," "Continuous country," "12 in a row," "Mix," "New."

There, in 50 words or less, is a history of "brand identity" on American and Canadian radio.

I wanted to remind you that the concept of building brand awareness and recognition has been around for quite awhile in the radio business. That seems necessary because blogs have popped up in the past year or two promoting the concept of brand loyalty marketing and research as if they had invented the idea.

Perhaps a reality check is in order here.

I remember when we all started doing callout, then focus groups, then diary reviews, then auditorium music research, strategic planning sessions, perceptual studies, cluster analysis, multi-variant crosstabs, "fit" testing, diary-based research, market segmentation and now brand identity research.

All of them have been valid techniques to solve certain sets of problems. Yet, it seemed like each somehow replaced its predecessor, making it useless and outmoded. If you weren't doing the absolute latest research and marketing technology, you were just simply OUT of it.

That brings us to the current fad, "brand loyalty" research.

Having observed some very aggressive radio stations which were doing the most sophisticated research and marketing tactics being beaten handily by "less state of the art" radio operators, I've learned a thing or two about lemmings, those omnipresent radio birds.

The concept of researching brand loyalty is based on a truism - the average person will listen to three radio stations per week. Arbitron and BBM researchers claim that 96% of all radio listening is encompassed by these three positions on the average radio listener's hierarchy of usage. PPM usage data has shown that the average listener actually visits more than twice as many radio frequencies in the average week.

So, the question is -- if you're station #4 in the average radio listener's mind in your market, you may be able to build higher cume audience, but you'll never get your fair share of time spent listening until you can climb at least into that #3 ‘top of mind’ spot.

The Kirby Confer Group created the "Kay-Frog" brand in both San Bernadino-Riverside (KFRG), in Altoona (WFGY) and in other Ohio and Pennsylvania markets to brand their stations as fun, irreverent and entertaining. Clearly, the brand worked. Frogs are now quite successful in markets from Santa Rosa to Gainesville.

“Young Country” built a powerful brand in Little Rock, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle in the early 1990’s, but only one of those stations (WYCD, Detroit) continues to exist.

Two decades ago, Seattle’s #2 ranked country station (KRPM) called on New York advertising guru Dale Pon to create a "brand" that would render KMPS' "12 in a row" brand useless as a benchmark for owning the "most music" brand in country listeners' brains.

Pon, who previously created the very successful "Flex Your Plex" campaign that had built KPLX a "brand" in Dallas, gave birth to "Twice As Much Country Music."

After an expenditure of considerably more than half a million dollars in media advertising, KRPM abandoned the "Twice As Much" brand, and then adopted a totally different brand - K-106. That station is now pop CHR KISS 106.1, of course, and now Entercom is coming up on its first year of building 100.7 the Wolf (KKWF) as an emerging country brand in the Puget Sound.

Following the success of KPLX’s relaunch a few years ago as "The Sound of Texas 99-5 The Wolf," Wolves have popping up from Cincinnati, Portland to Nashville and many points in between.

Will this one be as memorable as "Kay Frog," still around and successful two decades from now? Or, as forgettable as "Twice As Much Country"?

How about “Jack,” “Bob,” "Earl," and "El Patron?"

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, this much I know. As Coca Cola learned when it attempted to change its formula, a successful brand identity takes years to build and can be lost very quickly.

Creative, forceful brand identities endure over time.

This is true with Ivory, Hertz, GM, WGN, KMOX, WLW, WPOC, KILT, KNIX, Country 105, KMLE, JR-fm and, maybe - in your market - YOUR call letters.

If you need a new brand identity, we would be happy to help in the process of researching and innovating one. However, there is quite a bit of brand switching going on in our medium today. THAT alone might possibly be the best argument for NOT changing your current brand identity, as long as its working positively for you.

"Be what you are, intensively" is a great prescription for success in any field. Can listeners care or recall what you are, when what you are changes or is several different things simultaneously?

The current crop of excellent research people doing brand awareness and loyalty research will no doubt spawn many exciting and successful "brands" that will be touted widely.

They will sound sexy and alluring.

And, it will be tempting to tag some of them onto your current identity. Or, replace your current brand name with a new one.

If you're considering a change in identity, A&O would recommend asking your audience before you do it. But, if your ratings are good and your station is well positioned in your market (we can help determine this), there is no reason to change identities just because it's the "in thing" to do.

Or, as Coke discovered, you could be making a "classic" mistake.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Country Music Dominates People's Choice Awards Nominees

Queen Latifah will host "The 33rd Annual People's Choice Awards," to be broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Jan. 9 (9:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on CBS-TV.

The first awards show of 2007 (click to vote) honors favorite performers in television, motion pictures and music and country performers figure prominently among all genre Peoples Choice awards categories and all of the Favorite Male Singer nominees are country singers, TRACE ADKINS, KENNY CHESNEY and TOBY KEITH. Meanwhile, two of the three Favorite Female Singers are country, FAITH HILL and CARRIE UNDERWOOD. Rascal Flatts' "Life is a Highway" appears in both the Favorite Remake category and Favorite Song from a Movie (for Cars).

Favorite Female Singer
Faith Hill
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Male Singer
Trace Adkins
Kenny Chesney
Toby Keith

Favorite Remake
"Crazy" by Alanis Morissette
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts
"Save the Last Dance for Me" by Michael Bublé

Favorite Song from a Movie
"Crazy" by Alanis Morissette from The Devil Wears Prada
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts from Cars
"Real Gone" by Sheryl Crow from Cars

Favorite Country Song
"Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood
"What Hurts The Most" by Rascal Flatts
"When the Stars Go Blue" by Tim McGraw

Troy Gentry Press Statement

Gentry, 39, and Lee Marvin Greenly, 46, who owns Minnesota Wildlife Connection near Sandstone, were charged in August with conspiracy and falsely "tagging" the "trophy-caliber" bear by claiming it was shot in the wild. In reality, the tame bear was shot in a fenced area of several acres.
After the indictment, Gentry's Nashville agent shifted the blame for any improper conduct to Greenly, and online fan discussion forums were abuzz with debate over whether Gentry was a bona fide big-game hunter or a wannabe.

Gentry, in a statement released by his management company, said he regrets what happened, but he stops short of accepting any culpability other than relying on Greenly's guidance.

"I did participate in improperly tagging the animal I shot, without realizing the seriousness of what I was doing. For that, I am truly sorry," the statement said. "I relied on the experts around me for guidance, and I regret that today. Not so much because I was fined and punished, but because it appears that I don't have respect for the law." He says the legal case "has been a humbling experience for me, and one which I deeply regret."

Gentry's attorney, Ron Meshbesher, of Minneapolis and the U.S. attorney's office worked out the plea bargain last week, and Gentry entered his new plea Monday morning before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, sitting in Duluth. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a felony count against Gentry. "It was emphasized by the judge … that he was merely charged with an improper tagging where the bear was killed," Meshbesher said. "The bear was legally harvested.''

Toby Keith Hooks Up With Wounded Warriors

From Army News Service (click to read the entire press release): Country music superstar Toby Keith rocked the stage, and a few Soldiers' world, at a private concert Sunday for 14,000 Texas Ford truck owners and about 500 servicemembers at the AT&T Center in downtown San Antonio.The military invite was courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Texas Ford Dealers, sponsors of the free concert, "Toby Keith's Hookin' Up and Hangin' Out Tour."

For more info: Elaine Wilson, Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs, who picked up this quote from TK..
"We do that everywhere we go," said Keith, referring to the military "hook up." "If there are tickets available, we try to make sure the military is taken care of."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Dixie Chicks - Free Speech? Or, Censorship?

Woman to women: Shaunti Feldhahn, a right-leaning columnist, spars with Diane Glass, a left-leaning columnist.

Meanwhile, the folks who field Callout America for Radio and Records just did a snap poll for A&O of the same 25-54 national sample of country radio users they use to test music for R&R:

Now that you've seen the Dixie Chicks on TV promoting their movie "Shut Up & Sing" on Oprah, Today Show, Good Morning America & Larry King discussing their situation, what should radio do?

* Play their music more? 31.36% of 25-54 women say 'yes' but only 20.73% of males tested agreed.
Play their music less? 34.32% of the women agree with that and 53.66% of the men did.

A&O client stations have access to the complete study, of course.

Investor Calls Clear Channel Sale "Too One-Sided"

Financial Post reporter Barbara Shecter had this story on Saturday: Some shareholders, including Canadian fund manager Larry Sarbit, are unhappy with (last) week's multi-billion-dollar sale of Clear Channel Communications Inc. A private equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners said on Thursday it intends to buy Clear Channel, the largest radio company in the United Sates with more than 1,100 stations, for $19-billion, a roughly 10% premium to the share price. But some shareholders say the deal is detrimental to them because it offers more benefits to insiders -- namely the Mays family that founded the San Antonio, Tex.-based media conglomerate.

"This was an extremely one-sided deal," said Mr. Sarbit, whose firm, Winnipeg-based Sarbit Asset Management Inc., owns Clear Channel shares in a portfolio of 10 to 15 companies, primarily based in the United States. "I suspect there are others who feel this way.
It's particularly galling to sit here as a public shareholder ... and watch them sell the assets off, knowing we won't benefit from any of it," he added that Clear Channel is being sold just ahead of an expected turnaround in performance, the benefit of which is not reflected in the price Thomas Lee and Bain are paying for the company.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lon Helps Taylor Swift Talk To Tim McGraw

Ever since Taylor Swift released her debut single, "Tim McGraw," the most-asked question she's received is "have you heard from Tim?" Up until now, Taylor only received indirect messages from Mr. McGraw.

But last week, Taylor received direct confirmation from the superstar himself. Tim was co-hosting the nationally syndicated CMT's Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton. When Lon reached #10 in the chart, he asked Tim what he thought the first time he heard the song. Tim replied, "It was awesome. I didn't know if I should take it as a compliment, or if I should feel old." At that point, Lon said, "Well let's find out. Taylor Swift, is it a compliment, or because he's old?" Taylor responded, "Definitely it was meant as a compliment." The two chatted about the song for about 4 minutes, and their entire conversation can be heard next weekend, December 2-3, on CMT's Country Countdown USA. Judging from their first conversation, it sounds like a friendship has been born ( least that is how Big Machine's John Zarling heard it..).

Tanya's Dad Dies, But "The Show Must Go On"

(Photo courtesy of Tanya Tucker) Boe Tucker, a country music manager who was the guiding force in his daughter Tanya Tucker's career, died Thursday of lung cancer. He was 79.

"Boe was driven and committed to Tanya and contributed greatly to her career," said Bill Carter, who managed Tanya during the 1970s. "Especially when she was young, he traveled with her, was there with her all the time, and made it possible for a 13-year-old to have a career.

The 48-year old Tanya was in Nashville on Friday, where she decided to fulfill her obligation to perform in Reno, Nev., this weekend. "He would want her to work," said her publicist/assistant, Laura Lacy. "He would want her to go ahead and do what she needed to do. This has been the dynamic for 40 years. It was so much about work and the management relationship they had. Although it was father and daughter, it was a lot about business, too."

Other celebrity news from Sunday's Nashville paper: Vogue magazine's December cover girl Nicole Kidman says of Nashville, "This is my home now. This is the most time I've spent anywhere in years. I wanted to be earthed, and I didn't feel earthed for so long, maybe not since I was a child. It feels like I can feel my skin. "I don't feel like I'm floating around, which was how it had been for many years, probably because I wasn't that happy. So now it's the first time that I'm sort of breathing in everything and saying," she says, gasping for illustration. "I feel such gratitude for being alive, rather than just taking that for granted."

In the interview conducted before her husband, Keith Urban, entered rehab, she says that she's reduced her professional engagements, working only three months this year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dallas Morning News Reviewer Likes Carrie At Halftime, But Pans Her LP

Mario Tarradell wrote "Clarkson, Underwood also come off the field as winners.." but then dipped his pen into some poison:
"As for Ms. Underwood – she of the fresh face, tuneful if unremarkable voice and array of pop-heavy songs passed off as country – her stage stint was actually decent. Considering she was on for a mere six minutes and there was so much sensory overload around her – the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders dancing, a few male dancers in black cowboy hats, some Cirque du Soleil-style trapeze acrobats and plenty of splashy pyrotechnics – she held her own. Her performance of two songs, "We're Young and Beautiful" and "Before He Cheats," from her debut album, Some Hearts, seemed more relaxed and on-cue than her off-the-mark forgettable time on the platform earlier this month during the Country Music Association Awards. It helped that she closed with "Before He Cheats," the only cut deserving of a second listen on her otherwise lame disc. Also, Ms. Underwood looked kind of hip in knee-high white boots, jeans, a glittery tank top and hoop earrings. For a brief spell, she sure was pleasant enough ear and eye candy."

Our pal Neil Haislop watched the show with more supportive eyes after getting a Carrie quote earlier in the week:
"This year at Thanksgiving I'm not going home and I swore this year I was going home, but then they wanted me to sing at the halftime show at the Dallas-Buccaneers game in Dallas. And I was like, 'Yeah, for sure' because it's such a Thanksgiving tradition especially around Oklahoma watching the Dallas game on TV, so I was very excited to be doing that, so I have a lotto be Thankful for this year," said Carrie as she prepared to leave for Dallas Tuesday. CARRIE was center stage as Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats dangled from therafters of Texas Stadium as the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders provided the sexy, chorus line dance action. Carrie rocked as she climbed and descendedbig staircases on the set, singing with the confidence and style of aperformer with three times the experience she has so far."

Sara Evans' "You'll Always Be My Baby" Becomes A Book

Sara and the co-writers of "You'll Always Be My Baby" have released a book based on the song.

Pew Study: Podcasting Still For Early Adopters Only

Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a later time. However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day. View PDF of Report

Looked at another way, that's already ALMOST as many who own and listen to satellite radio on a daily basis! The more great content podcasts offer them, the faster this emerging medium will grow. Terrestial radio has a great platform to promote all forms of internet content distribution. Will we wait on the sidelines for the competition to do so?

Music City News: McGraw Cruises, TK and TT Support Charities

Tim McGraw will be the headlining act on the Carnival Liberty during the Country Cruise Getaway taking place January 28-31, 2007.
Chris Cagle, Blue Collar Comedy tour veteran Bill Engvall, Jypsi, Hot Apple Pie, Jamie O'Neal and Nashville Hitmakers are also slated to appear during the super-liner’s three-day trip to Nassau, Bahamas. In addition to multiple concerts while the ship is at sea, there are a wide variety of popular, onboard activities such as relaxing by the pool, working out in the ship's state-of-the-art gym, indulging in a massage or facial, dining in one of the ship's four restaurants and enjoying the atmosphere in the many bars and lounges. The ship also offers a fun and entertaining Camp Carnival for kids from 2 to 14 years old, as well as a teen program, Club O2, for older kids. This all-inclusive package offers travelers one price that will cover all concerts, accommodations and meals. Reservations and accommodations are on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on this unique fan adventure, go to the official website at or call 888-487-3603.

Trent Tomlinson is partnering with FitzBradshaw Racing to produce the "Tour of Hope", a series of concerts benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The concerts will take place the evening before the NASCAR Busch Series race in select markets. The first concert was Oct. 12 in Charlotte, N.C., with more to follow in Memphis, Ft. Worth and Homestead, FL.

Toby Keith has teamed up with a charity called Race For Education by submitting two of his race horses for a scholarship program.
Toby has agreed to donate of percentage of a horse’s future earnings to Race For Education, a national education scholarship foundation funded by various parties related to or with an interest in the Thoroughbred racing industry. The two horses Toby put forward are T.K.’s Whiskey Girl and a filly named Our Emblem.

Michael Peterson: Family Made Him Leave, Patriotism Brought Him Back

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, USAF

Michael Peterson, courtesy of the USO, speaks to servicemembers at Forward Operating Base Gardez, Afghanistan, on Nov. 23. He performed songs and gave thanks for the sacrifice and inspiration of all those in the military.

Peterson traded hats with a young soldier who's a huge country music fan. Army Spc. Candace Smith walked away with Peterson's cowboy hat, which he had hand carried from the states in a protective plastic case, and he'll wear a 10th Mountain Division baseball cap home tomorrow. "He was great," Smith said. "I loved it!" Then Peterson got serious, earning respect and cheers from many in the standing-room-only crowd when he explained that he left the music industry 10 years ago as he was on the cusp of being a household name. After 700 concerts in fewer than three years, he was on the verge of sacrificing his family for stardom when he decided to leave it behind.
"It was a lousy career decision, but I've still got my family," he said. "And you know what I figured out? If you're lucky, you'll maybe get a second chance to do with your life what you love to do whether you're famous or not, but you may not get a second chance at your family. So I know I made one of the greatest decisions I ever made." But patriotism drove him back into music. "I knew that I still loved to do music. What happened to me was a daughter who became a battalion commander in a Junior ROTC group of about 350 high school students, combined with 9-11, combined with seeing a cover of a Sports Illustrated magazine with Pat Tillman on it and how deeply that moved me and inspired me," Peterson said at Bagram.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

K-92, Orlando and WYRK, Buffalo Are Hunting Turkeys

Here's the deal:
WYRK's Clay Moden is a hunter, but PD Wendy Lynn states: "No animals were harmed during the execution of this promotion. Did we say execution? We meant no animals were harmed during the orchestration of this promotion. Save Wally, buy a tee, help the Buffalo City Mission."

Also this week, "The K92FM Morning Show hosted the 2nd Annual Celebrity Pro Am Turkey Shoot at Orlando Paintball in support of Second Harvest Food Bank. Celebrities included Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary, FOX35 News Anchor Amy Kaufeldt and Reporter Christine van Blokland, Orlando Sentinel Columnist Scott Maxwell and Orlando Magic's Pat Williams. It was an incredible morning!" Click to watch the video.

Profiting From Change

Management consultant Robert B. Tucker of the Innovation Resource, Santa Barbara, California, first came to my attention 16 years ago when he was a keynote speaker at the Radio and Records Convention. Since that time, I have read everything he has written.

He notes that in self-talk there are four modes of thinking:

1. The victim. Thinking process is inactive.
2. The sustainer. Thinking process is reactive.
3. The dreamer. Thinking process is active.
4. The innovator. Thinking process is PRO-active.

Tucker says that there are eight "Roadblocks to Creativity":

1. Seeing things (jobs, staff meetings, duties) the same old way
2. Not looking for better, quicker, less expensive ways to get results
3. Not seeing problems as problems but as 'the way things are'
4. Not believing your ideas are good enough
5. The same problems keep coming up again and again
6. Feelings of being overwhelmed, putting out fires
7. Feeling bored (sustainer mode predominant)
8. Not listening to others' ideas, not acting on them

Techniques for getting "unstuck":

1. Change environments (i.e. move the staff meeting to a new location)
2. Gather more information on the situation
3. Harvest more ideas
4. Challenge your assumptions
5. Listen to fools
6. Ask dumb questions
7. Set aside a time each day for "dream space"
8. Sleep on it
9. Make lists: download ideas as they occur
10. Brainstorm with DIFFERENT people. After the staff fails to find a solution, invite a group of listeners (or NON-listeners) to brainstorm the same situation

Where innovators generate ideas:

1. Broad-based reading
2. Listening to customers
3. Adapting from other industries
4. Actively looking for problems to solve

AMA Winners, Speeches and No-Shows

Rascal Flatts, Carrie, Faith, Tim, Toby Keith AMA Winners:

AMA Favorite New Breakthrough Artist-All Genre AMA award winner: Carrie Underwood:
"First I want to thank God, and thank you fans, very much! Not just my fans but the fans of every genre in this room, you're the reason we do what we do and have jobs. Thank you. I want tothank my date thank my date tonight, my Mom, Arista, Arista Nashville, Simon, thank you AMAs and God Bless."

Faith Hill did not attend the awards, but won the AMA for Favorite Female Country artist, beating out Underwood, who was gracious backstage when asked about Faith's CMA 'glitch' in her otherwise run of bigsuccess: "She contacted me before the show was over, and I never would've thought anything bad of her since she is such a nice person,. We were good the night it happened and then it just blew up and I felt so bad for her because she¹s so nice and doesn't deserve that."

Rascal Flatts won favorite country group, country favorite band, duo or group and the other fan-voted award, theT-Mobile Text-in Award: "Wow, this goes to the fans, thank you, (Joe Don). We want to thank God for giving this amazing opportunity to be on a stage every single night and to be able to showcase the talents that he's given us. We¹ve got an amazing band and I think we¹ve seen all of you at least one time this year, maybe twice (Gary). And for all you wondering what a Rascal Flatt is, here we are baby," concluded Jay DeMarcus. "See you all in 2007," the group shouted.

Though Toby Keith was named the AMA Favorite Male Artist, he did not attend the show to pick up his award personally.

Faith Hill was awarded the Favorite Female country artist award, and Tim McGraw's "Greatest Hits Volume 2" CD was named country album. Neither could attend the show to accept their awards.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

QX-104.1's Ron Able Snags Winnipeg Harvest's Dixie Chicks Empty Bowl

Able is smiling after the second annual "Empty Bowls Celebrity Auction" because a bowl designed by the Dixie Chicks went for $550 put up by Ron. I told him that he could sell it on EBay for lots more than that today, and he clutched the bowl, saying "NO way." It holds a place of honor in his home.

Three other bowls -- autographed by singers Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and pro basketball star Steve Nash -- are posted on the online auction site Ebay from now until Thursday, but NOT Ron's!

WQYK Guitar Auction Raises $27,000 In St. Petersburg

Heidi Heinz, WQYK-FM & AM Director. of Marketing & Promotions (727-563-8927) reports:
WQYK Afternoon Drive Host Dave McKay and WWE's The Undertaker pose for a photo at our 2nd Annual Angelus Guitar Auction. Dave is holding a Brad Paisley guitar that sold for $2700 and The Undertaker is holding his guitar. WQYK designed most of the guitars at the auction and had artists and athletes autograph them. If you look closely at the Brad Paisley guitar you'll see that it is filled with beer. On the back of the guitar is a toilet seat that Brad also autographed.

In total the auction raised over $27,000 for The Angelus, a home for severely handicapped kids.

Kimmel Hosts AMA Awards Tonight

The 2006 American Music Awards is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and will emanate from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA.
The special is produced by dick clark productions.

Performers announced for the special thus far are Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige, Nelly Furtado, Pussycat Dolls, Rascal Flatts, Snow Patrol and Tenacious D.

Presenters scheduled to appear include Nicole Richie, Tori Spelling, Ashlee Simpson, Paris Hilton, Gavin Rossdale, Nickelback, Katharine McPhee, Tommy Lee, Mario Lopez (Dancing with the Stars), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, William Shatner (Boston Legal, Show Me the Money), Carmen Electra, Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl, Taylor Hicks, Clay Aiken, Grey's Anatomy stars Isaiah Washington and Justin Chambers, Taye Diggs (Day Break), Ryan Seacrest, Tony Hawk, Linkin Park, Chris Brown, Ice Cube, Chingy, Sean Paul, Tyrese, Frankie J, Brian McKnight, Hannah Montana's Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus, Chamillionaire, JC Chasez, JoJo, Sarah Silverman, Weird Al Yankovic, Jesse McCartney, Cheetah Girls, Wendie Malick (Big Day), Kirk Franklin and cast members from High School Musical.

If that doesn't give you a clue that this won't exactly be a country show, check this out (wouldn't be cool if Rascal Flatts wins??)

NORAD Is Ready To Track All Threats .. Including A Certain Sleigh..

Click to see (and hear!) it .. in six languages for 2006.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas Comes Earlier Than Ever To Radio

They even created a special logo for the tally at and 78 all-holiday stations are already on "Santa's List":
"One new trick — listing “Christmas” as a slogan with Arbitron."

Read the latest listing by clicking HERE. (Clear Channel-owned Inside Radio/MStreet says "Christmas updates are being added daily!")

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Love Reba, So You Have To Endure This Shameless Plug..

PS: "Charlotte's Web", featuring Reba as the voice of Betsy the Cow, hits theaters this Christmas and "The Fox and The Hound 2", featuring Reba as the voice of the singing dog Dixie, will be out on Disney DVD on December 12.

Fun Phone Topic: Crazy Cautions

Get listeners to call in with
Wacky Warning Labels, Real-Life Warnings That Make Us Say 'Huh?' Like these from Smart Money Magazine: The Conair Pro Style 1600 hair dryer warns, "Never use hair dryer while sleeping" or "WARNING: Not intended for use as a dental drill" or "WARNING: Never iron clothes while they are being worn."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Letters From Home

Click here for more info, as Tim Rushlow borrows the title of a John Michael Montgomery hit for a very good cause.

Sammy Kershaw Goes Hollywood Actor

Kershaw received a call from a friend in his home state of Louisiana on Friday, November 10th requesting his presence over the weekend to appear in Ghost Town, an independent film taping in Maggy Valley, North Carolina, slated for release in May 2007. Kershaw starred beside Rance Howard, Fred Griffith, Stella Parton, Tony Becker, and Herbert “Cowboy” Coward as the much talked about U.S. Marshall Morgan Duckett, the notable officer of the law sent to clean up the town.

“It’s a 1850s western, and from what I understand a true story, about a guy that came out of the mountains twice –once to avenge his father’s death and returning a second time only to avenge the abuse of his daughter,” Sammy describes his take on Ghost Town. “My character is this notorious Marshall that you hear about throughout the film, and only see in the closing scene. It was great experience!”

Sammy's Media Contact: Ebie McFarland at 615.777.6995

Renewal Of Radio? Or, Junk Status?

Corey Deitz opines on "This is no cyclical round of behavior. What's going on here is a major shift in how AM and FM will compete in the future. Like our armed forces, the traditional Radio industry is becoming a leaner, fighting machine. This will make the marketplace more competitive and as a result will make programming better for listeners."

I wish I agreed with him. Unfortunately, I think the New York Times got it right (
Investment Banks to Reap Big Fees from Clear Channel Sale). This is about the rich getting richer on the backs of the poor over-taxed workers for the company.

Sadly, the often-repeated pattern for
Privity Equity transactions is for the venture capital firm to encumber itself with debt in the name of the entity they acquire, use the money (that's why they call them private!) for their personal gain and then take the company into bankruptcy. Then, sometimes, these companies go back public and try to do the same thing again!

Quite a coincidence that it all happened on the same day Milton Friedman died. He, no doubt, would have said that there's no point in judging it, since it's all just a part of freedom and liberty, the marketplace at work. Still, I mourn not only for Friedman but also for a lot of current and former Clear Channel employees who are getting tax losses for Christmas this year in return for their hard work and dedication.

Vince Gill Waltzes With "The Tennessee Waltz" Performer, Remembers Buck Owens

It's been an eventful week on the west coast for Vince Gill.

While on tour in Escondido, CA (San Diego area) a concert goer shares this story: "Between songs, Vince mentioned that he always includes a waltz on his records because his mom taught him to waltz. Then he thought of Patti Page, who lives here in San Diego. He said he looked her up and asked if she would sing with him. As she made her way up to the stage, he said "You know, it just dawned on me that it was Miss Patti's music that my mom taught me to dance to." They made it through very little of the song as Vince began to get choked up, so he grabbed her and danced with her. When they finished, he said "That is a moment I will remember the rest of my life."

At the next stop in Bakersfield, Vince was presented with a gift from the late
Buck Owens. In 1991,Vince was playing a show in the Bakersfield area and Buck had presented Vince with a red, white and blue acoustic guitar. It was a stock guitar, and Buck was so impressed with Vince's playing that he wanted Vince to have one of his vintage '64 Gibson red white and blue guitars. Buck had a gold plaque inscribed with the following: "To Vince, I finally got it right! A fan, Buck Owens" and attached it to the guitar, but the guitar never made its way to Vince. It was discovered just recently and delivered to its intended recipient nearly 15 years later.

Faith Hill's "Stealing Kisses" Video Link

Click to watch or link to it. Looks like this tactic, like the 9th inning release of an acoustic version of Toby Keith latest, is too late to save "Stealing Kisses." Both it and "Sleep Here Tonight" appear to have peaked in spins and are now headed downward...

CDJ Is An Amazing Example And Inspiration. So Is "KICX."

KICX 104 (Central Ontario) and KICX 106 (Tri-Cities) owner Paul Larche told me that I just HAD to "experience" their Megaprize parties, the stations' climax to their BBM promotions and a big thank you payoff to their listeners. Now, I know why. From the national anthem sung so movingly by
Diane Chase with photos of troops in Afganistan submitted by local people with relatives serving with Canadian forces to great performances by Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Adam Gregory and Patricia Conroy, it's quite a night.

In Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph, it took place in nightclubs. In Orillia, it was in the incredible Casinorama entertainment center (the only non-casino event that happens there all year!).

As if that wasn't enough, CDJ keeps giving and giving: "Life is about dreams ... of who you want to be, where you want to go, and how you want to get there. And, if you believe, any dream you have can come true,” Equity Music Group recording artist Carolyn Dawn Johnson told an estimated 50 girls at Girls Inc. in Oak Ridge Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rene: Marriage To Chesney Was "My Biggest Mistake"

Oscar-winner Renee Zellweger has broken her silence over her 128-day marriage tocountry singer Kenny Chesney, declaring the relationship "the biggest personal mistake of my life."

The actress stunned fans and the media when she wed Chesney on the island of St.John in the Caribbean's Virgin Islands on May 9, 2005, after a whirlwind four-month courtship.

Zellweger filed for an annulment of the marriage just four months later, citing "fraud" as the reason for the couple's split. The annulment was granted the following December.

Speaking for the first time about her failed marriage, Zellweger tells the British magazine Now, "There was no alternative but to let it go. I made the biggest personal mistake of my life. I felt a fool. I was looking for something else. I just needed to put acting aside. I needed to sit still and not to worry about the dresses and the hair and the travel and the interviews. I was going through huge life changes at the time. I wanted to stop and be a girl for a while. My marriage came during this time and it was desperately important to me. I don't want anyone to think I didn't take it seriously."

Zellweger admits Chesney did not approve when the actress invited her close friend to stay in their Hamptons, N.Y., farmhouse soon after their marriage. She explains, "There was no acceptance of my life or my friends. My friend was pregnant, with her husband and young kid. She was doing up her house for the newbaby."

It Seems That The Colonel Has A Secret Recipe When I Comes To Great STUNTS Too!

"KFC" is now the world's first brand visible from outer space as they unveil a record-breaking, 87,500 square-foot updated logo of its iconic founder, Colonel Sanders, in the Area 51 desert. The image of the Colonel was captured by GeoEye's IKONOS satellite while orbiting 423 miles above the Earth.

"The Colonel is truly a global icon and we want everyone in the universe to see KFC's new look of the future," said Gregg Dedrick, president of KFC Corp. "KFC is boldly going where no brand has gone before as Colonel Sanders takes one small step for humankind, but one giant leap for fried chicken."

The giant Colonel Sanders logo was built off The World's Only Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, Nevada, also known as the "UFO Capital of the World," and the epicenter of int! er-galactic communication. The event marks the official debut of a massive global re-image campaign that will contemporize 14,000-plus KFC restaurants in more than 80 countries.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Country Stations In The Top 15 Markets Average 9.72 Minutes Of Commercials Per Hour

Empower MediaMarketing has conducted an analysis of radio advertising clutter in 15 markets, identifying the most and least cluttered locales and station formats. Empower’s analysis of Nielsen Monitor Plus data from the nation’s top 14 markets plus the agency’s home market of Cincinnati revealed that the most cluttered formats were news/talk (11.91 commercial minutes per hour) and sports (11.47). Country is the 4th most cluttered format.

“What’s interesting to us is that there is a perception of radio as being a very cluttered medium, yet the average number of commercial minutes per hour is less than that of television, which averages 12-14 minutes, and radio’s environment is less cluttered than, say, magazines, whose pages typically are about 50 percent advertising,” said Julie Pahutski, senior vice president, research, Empower MediaMarketing. “Our belief as an agency is that radio is generally undervalued, particularly by national advertisers.”

Aaron Tippin To Spend Thanksgiving In Afganistan

Aaron is going to travel to Afghanistan and entertain the troops overseas November 18th through the 27th.
"Those are the real workin' men and women, and if I can repay even an ounce of what they are doing for me, my family, and my country by taking their mind off of the day-to-day risks, well, I can't think of a better thing to do with my time. They have been fighting for the rights we take for granted every day, and I want to make sure they know we're thankful."

To date, Aaron has performed for over 500,000 military personnel either overseas or here at home. In addition, he is the spokesman for the Armed Services YMCA, an aviator, and an avid military supporter. His family ties currently lead to a son-in-law who is also a pilot currently serving overseas for our country, and Aaron boosts his morale and his fellow troops with annual performances and visits to the base.

Media Contacts: Kirt Webster or Ebie McFarland - 615.777.6995
Rust Records: Susan Niles - 615-259-7751 x113

Hallmark Sells 1,000,000 George Strait Christmas Albums

.. and even more amazing, the retail giant did it in just seven days! "Fresh Cut Christmas," a holiday album of traditional seasonal songs personally selected by George Strait for Hallmark, has been certified Platinum (1,000,000 copies sold) in just one week.

The announcement was made by Ann Herrick, vice president, strategic music alliances at Hallmark, who noted,
"We are thrilled to play a small part in the enormous success of this artist, and are honored to be able to add another platinum album to his collection."

Keith Urban, Fans Unite To Help St. Jude's With 2007 Calendar

Keith Urban Fan Club creates 2007 calendar to raise money for the kids of St. Jude
Proceed from sales of a limited edition 2007 calendar go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and its fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Authorized by Urban, the calendar is designed by fans and features photos of the popular artist taken by members of this fan club. As an added bonus, the 2007 calendar features an exclusive cover designed by Hatch Show Print.

The calendar is available for purchase at and The cost of the calendar is $15.00.

Monday, November 13, 2006

WYCD, Detroit's "Yellow Ribbon" Reports From Iraq

Grunwald - with his armed buddies. The huge Yellow Ribbon, signed by thousands of Michigan listeners to WYCD is now hanging in their mess hall. Hear podcasts of his reports.

Support Our Troops - Support

Click on Operation USO Care Package Celebrates its 1 Millionth Milestone this Season for more info or contact USO rep Jim Nedohon — 703-531-0550.

GAC Viewers Like Toby Keith's Videos

Great American Country cable network's fan-voted Top 50 Videos of the Year contest features well over 100 nominees, but only one artist has four videos in the group.

Toby Keith sets the nominee pace with nods for "A Little Too Late," "Big Blue Note," "Crash Here Tonight" and "Get Drunk and Be Somebody.""A Little Too Late" was a #1 single and is also the subject of an imaginative video by award winning director Michael Salomon. The video embraces dark comedy as Keith descends into a dank cellar and begins, brick by brick, to wall in his love interest as he sings his song to her. Played by accomplished actress Krista Allen (Shut Up And Kiss Me! And Anger Management, among scores of roles), the female lead remains captive as the singer completes his barricade. Or does she?

Fan voting for the GAC event closes Dec. 4, and the CBS telecast of the People's Choice Awards airs Jan. 9, but the early recognition certainly recognizes the big year Toby's had in 2006.

Nicole Kidman Pregnant?

Idol chatter:

Aussie beauty Nicole Kidman is pregnant. Kidman, who has been at the center of pregnancy rumors for months broke the news to hubby Keith Urban at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where he's in rehab, The ENQUIRER reveals.

Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman Blasted By Madonna

Nicole Kidman Visits Hubby in Rehab: Actress Nicole Kidman paid a visit to husband Keith Urban in rehab, squashing rumours their marriage is on the rocks.

The tabloid timeline (from Star Magazine):
11/7/2006 --

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Full Houses In Vancouver, Seattle and Portland Buoy The Dixie Chicks

After working the packed-to-the-rafters crowd into a frenzy with Goodbye Earl (a wickedly murderous tale about a woman who poisons the man who abuses her), frontwoman Natalie Maines lathered up fans by telling them they were the best yet on the band's North American tour.

Then she speculated why the crowd of 16,000 or so was in such good spirits. "I get the feeling it's one of two things," she said.

"It's either free beer night or you're glad [U.S. Defence Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld resigned. Finally, a reason to celebrate in the United States."

The audience, which had immediately fallen silent when Maines began to speak, screamed and hollered in agreement.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hot: Dancing With The Stars, Voting. Not: Joey Lawrence, Political Ads

BIGresearch knew Joey Lawrence was going to get the boot…only 5.3% of respondents favored the Blossom alum in Dancing with the Stars, while Emmitt Smith and Mario Lopez are neck-and-neck with 13.7% and 13.4%, respectively. So who’s got the best shot at the title? If it’s up to women it’ll be Lopez, while men have joined Smith’s team.

Although it meant tuning out endless acerbic political campaign ads, 58.9% contend that voting in the recent elections was What’s Hot for November.

Thanksgiving Day parades and Google’s new toy,, also ranked high among consumers. It appears that young men are more excited about the impending release of the PlayStation 3 instead of the Nintendo Wii, 74.1% to 56.8%. Among women, they’ve got cashmere sweaters on their wish lists and Ugly Betty on their TV sets. What’s Not…007 or 00-Dud? It appears that audiences are hesitant accept new blond Bond Daniel Craig.

Friday, November 10, 2006

National Retail: It's Going To Be An UP Christmas

What do you want for Christmas? According to this study, your prospects look good to get it.

NRF forecasts that holiday sales will increase 5.0 percent this year to $457.4 billion, and the average consumer plans to spend $791.10 this holiday season, up from $738.11 last year. Furthermore, shoppers will take advantage of sales and discounts during the holiday season to spend an additional $99.22 on themselves.

Faith Hill Vs. Carrie Underwood: Leann Rimes Stirs The Pot

Chris Evans has the post that is now missing from Leann's official website. Well worth a click.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Diva Moment? Spin? Or, A Joke?

Lots of Nashville celebrities have come to Faith's defense in today's Nashville Tennessean: "Hill's joke misunderstood, stars say."

Martina McBride said that Hill is one of the most supportive entertainers of other singers, both superstars and new acts, in country music: "She sent me flowers the day of the show wishing me luck." McBride said that she was unaware that the camera was on her, too, during the announcement. "I didn't know I was on a split screen on TV," she said. "Usually, they bring the camera there on all the nominees so that when they announce the winner, they will have a camera on whoever wins. You think they are just on the person who is onstage reading the announcement. Obviously, any time there is a camera on you, you should assume that it is on. The thing that is so shocking is that you are in this business for so long and you give interviews and you think people know who you are. All of a sudden people assume the worst about you because of some innocent, naive goofing-around thing you did backstage. "The fact that people can know about you and then change their minds on the basis of two seconds of television that is misinterpreted is scary," she said. "It can happen to any of us."

It looks like writer Beverly Keel was unable to get Faith for a quote. Country radio in the last 24 hours has been trying frantically to reach out to her for interviews too. What country radio shows, networks or radio stations did Faith talk to Tuesday morning?

WSIX's Gerry House said Tuesday that she was the topic on Imus in New York. Hats off to Tim for being immediately available to Gerry and to Don's team for being on top of the day's buzz.

It has now been 48 hours. Has Faith done any country stations or syndicated shows as yet? Wouldn't it have been wise to be extremely available, with perhaps a telephone press conference for everyone or, at least, a satellite radio tour for country morning shows? Did her PR people suggest this? What's next as "Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood Vie for People's Choice Award?"

Note to those PR people and her record label exec's: GW was doing a press conference within hours of the GOP 'thumpin' at the polls.


Faith should have done the same thing as soon as possible on Tuesday.

Country fans and radio are going to talk about it, why not have them doing so with Faith directly, with her personally instead of reacting to it?? Now is not the time to be inaccessible to lots of country radio!

WYCD's Grunwald Goes To Iraq With "The World's Largest Yellow Ribbon"

99.5 WYCD's Steve Grunwald will be traveling to Iraq to deliver a message of support to all of the Service men and women who are fighting for our freedom.

WYCD is inviting listeners to share in the endeavor, by signing a "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" banner "that will be hand delivered to our great heroes currently serving in Iraq."