Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lincoln Financial Gives Up On Classic Country In Denver

Click on
Classic Country - 16Kicks to read the formal announcement.

A listener to the station sent this email, which was forwarded to me:
"Well, I'm in mourning, my Classic Country station is gone as of 1/1/07,and the one they suggest is terrible and a weak signal. On that subject, Idid check and KYGO is not broadcasting in HD. Per some page I looked at,there are 40 stations broadcasting 52 channels.SO, where did Chuck Leary and Chuck St. John go??? (the personalities on16Kicks)"

How do to give someone like that an adequate explanation that says something more helpful to her than "it's business"? I've been through this multiple times in my consulting and programming career and it never is easy. I feel for the disenfranchised listeners and also for the Lincoln Financial, Denver, team who probably had hoped that 16 Kicks would prevent anyone else from going country. Unfortunately, it didn't prevent CBS Radio from taking 92.5 to "Willie" and then "92.5 the Wolf" in the past year. How do you tell a listener that their station was a pawn in the chess game that radio sometimes is and that chess piece had lost its usefulness in the game?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Carrie Underwood Is Dating Dallas Cowboy star Tony Romo

.. and it took a small town newspaper reporter to get the facts!

Yahoo Has A First Look At Tim McGraw's Next Film Project

As "
Last Dollar" is starting to get radio airplay already, his next screen appearance, which stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper is set for April 20. Click to watch the trailer with Tim in two scenes, at a baseball game, looking shocked as a terrorist attack begins on an American compound in Saudi Arabia, and later he's shouting emotionally at somebody to "Look around!" at the aftermath.

Is HD Radio/IBOC "...a fraud and a farce?"

Are we trying to hold still in a world that is moving fast?
Is WiMax the demise of Radio and TV?

Hats off, Radio World, for providing a platform for these crucial discussions to take place, big thoughts which will affect us all.

A Place To Meet Some Moms In Your Audience: "Over the past year, how much leadership have you taken over each of the following for your household?"

(click on the chart to enlarge it) Note: this research may be skewed against broadcast media due to the fact that a publishing company is underwriting it, but according to the
Parenting Group's 24/7 MomConnection study, in a typical week almost 100% of moms have listened to radio, watched TV, been online or received a direct mail promotion; 91% of moms shopped at a retail store; 88% of moms have read a magazine; and 86% have used a cell phone. And, moms are using emerging media, but not on a regular basis - in a typical week, only 33% have watched video-on-demand, 32% have read a blog, and 17% have listened to an iPod.

Only 27% of moms would pay to eliminate online advertising; 24% would pay to stop email advertising and just 23% would do the same for TV, radio and blogs. Yes, I read that as ads on radio and TV are NOT so objectionable that fewer than one in four moms say they'd pay to not hear them.

Other findings of The 24/7 of Mom study:

* Contrary to the scheduling of traditional morning and evening news programming, the study found that moms are most receptive to informative and educational messages in the afternoon
Comedy and entertainment messaging resonates best with moms in the evening
Moms are most likely to multi-task while listening to the radio, and 1 in 5 moms said that when the TV is on, it's for their kids - so they're not paying attention
* Blogs and newspapers get most of mom's attention, even if she's doing other things
* Newspapers and magazines are moms' most trusted sources of information, followed by web sites, radio, TV and doctors' offices (it's nice to see radio in third place!)
Moms view hand-held organizers and cell phones as the tools that are most likely to help make their lives easier

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Music Row: 4th Quarter Country Music Sales Down From Last Year

Leave it to the very insightful Music Row Editor David Ross to add a dose of reality to the reasons for the pullback by major labels:
A week-by-week 4th quarter 06/05 comparison reveals that 2006 4th Quarter Top 75 Current Country sales are about 3.23 million units behind last year’s pace YTD. The 2006 4th quarter release schedule kept pace with 2005 through the week ending 11/12, but then faltered. For example, this past week (12/17) sold over 775,000 less Top 75 units than the same week in 2005.

PS: Sony-BMG's Underwood and Disney's Flatts Lead 4th Quarter Sales
The ’05/’06 current country Top 75 sales gap increased the week ending 12/17/06 fell an additional 778,730 units spreading the Nov./Dec. deficit to 3.23 million units. Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts continue to be country’s top sellers this week (199,114 and 142,719 respectively), but were the only CDs to break the 100k unit barrier for the week. Last year’s list of 12/18/2005 boasted seven titles in 99k+ category, with Underwood and Chesney in the 200s.Keith Urban (92,010), Sugarland (90,592) and George Strait (68,119) again filled out the Top 5 positions (week ended 12/17/06). On the mainstream sales chart 26 CDs scanned 100k+ units for the current week. Underwood placed No. 6, edged out by debuts from Young Jeezy (352,392) and fellow American Idol alum Taylor Hicks (298,199).

The Country Chart Takover By Indie Labels Is Driven By High Hopes And BIG Bucks

Investors are pouring millions of dollars into new country music artists, independent labels, and production of upcoming talent in Nashville with overwhelming success. Billboard author Ken Tucker predicts the rise of the independent country label to superstar status in the next two years. During a recent week in November, a full third of all the songs listed in Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart were from independent labels. This was unheard of even 5 years ago.

With over $13 billion dollars spent on an ever increasing music market last year, and the stock market at its highest level in history, investors have poured over $3 trillion dollars in the entertainment industry. Country music continues to lead the markets with investors finding more and more acts at younger ages to put their money into. The number of country music listeners has grown in major metropolitan areas during this past year from 21% to 26% according to the Country Music Association. Country music leads all other genres of music and has since 1992 (fourteen years).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cola Claus

"Coke's ties with Santa can be traced back to American Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast , who drew him for Harper's Weekly in 1862 as a small, elf-like figure who supported the Union," reports Liz Clarke in The Mercury (12/21/06). That Santa was not only small but his suit was tan, not red ( picture here). Nast later changed the suit to red, which Coke also adopted for Santa's suit, allegedly because, well, red was Coke's color. You know, brand consistency.

Granted, Coke's artists were basing their image on "the old figures of St. Nicholas -- the third-century Greek philanthropist who gave to the poor and vulnerable."That was in the 1920s. It wasn't until 1931 that Coke first presented Santa, officially, "as a jolly old man beaming with good cheer ... in a series of advertisements wearing his scarlet outfit, carrying a large bag of toys." The makeover was based on "Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas (commonly called Twas the Night before Christmas.) ... Moore's description seemed just right for Coca-Cola's Santa -- warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human."

If you didn't already know this, I hope it isn't bumming you out. For the record, Coke has posted its version of its most famous strategic alliance here.

The reality of it seems to be that Coke's "mission was more about proving that a cold drink could be popular in winter than the creation of a modern fairytale. But Santa stuck, and so did the ad campaign." This masterstroke of product placement certainly continues to thrive: "Consumers tell us that Coca-Cola advertising signifies the beginning of Christmas for them so we wanted to create an ad that captured the spirit of Christmas and the optimism that embodies this special time of year," Coke U.K.'s Cathryn Sleight told BrandRepublic. And so the latest Coca-Claus ad, via Mother, "celebrates the gift of giving." (video here). And the greatest gift is, yes, a curvy, cold bottle of Coca-Cola.

-- Tim Manners, Editor, Reveries Magazine

“ON filaments, ON plate, NO output? You stupid ____”

Leave it to Radio World to pass along the perfect Holiday greeting card: "Christmas Eve For Engineers!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Renee On Letterman: Still Friends With Chesney

Kenny Chesney's former wife, Renee Zellweger, appeared on the David Letterman show last night to talk about her new movie about the life of Beatrix Potter. Of course, the mischievous Letterman couldn't resist asking about her brief marriage to Kenny. Naturally Renee resisted talking about it. The only question she answered was when David asked her if she and Kenny were still friends?

"Yes, I'm still friends with him," is all Renee would say. Before Letterman gave up, he asked one more question, "Did he ever takeoff the hat?"

That got a laugh but not an answer.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rest In Peace: Marion, Indiana's Walt Riddle

The longtime voice of country radio in Grant County has died. Riddle, who for years hosted the Classic Country Jamboree on WCJC-FM, died Friday afternoon after a long illness. He was 74. Hopefully, a young aspiring radio broadcaster will be inspired and motivated by Walt's life, captured in this quote from his boss..
"When you think of country music in Grant County, it's synonymous with Walt Riddle. In my 32 years of being with Mid-America Radio, even with some of the good personalities we have, never has there been another personality in my company who has received as many fan letters, e-mails and correspondence. The man would just have e-mail after e-mail, not just from Marion, but throughout the north central Indiana area. He had so much knowledge - country music was his passion, and he was able to transcend his passion to the radio airwaves." --David Poehler, vice president of Mid-America Radio

Music 2006 Sales DOWN, But Country Is UP

Why is Kenny Chesney smiling? Voice Of America's Mary Morningstar reports the Country music industry ended the year on a strong note. While overall album sales were down five percent in 2006, Country music sales increased five percent over last year's numbers. Evidence of Country's popularity was also seen in the year's concert box office tallies. Click for Morningstar's highlights of Country music's success in 2006. (great grist for YOUR year-end countdown programming!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

NBC-TV Reports Baby Boomers Are The NEW Music Buyers

Thanks to venerable Wisconsin Broadcasting Hall Of Fame 2006 honoree Marty Green for sending the link to this thought-provoking video (click to watch it) from Dec. 18's Nightly News with Brian Williams: Janet Shamlian reports former No. 1 singers and musicians are getting a musical second life as rock 'n' roll goes gray.

US Census Bureau: "Radio 974, Internet 195"

That's a nice win, and RBR's Jim Carnegie's (703-492-8191) analysis of the great news is worth reprinting in case you missed it:

Media use up, and so is radio
The Census Bureau has released a report noting that US consumption of the media is continuing its upward trend. According to USA Today, the average citizen will go from 3,333 hours a year in 2000 to an estimated 3,518 hours next year. That's 146 solid 24-hour days, or about five months. Veronis and Suhler places the lion's share of that time - 1,555 hours - in front of the television, with 43.6% going to broadcast and 56.4% to cable/satellite. The total is up from a combined 1,467 hours in 2000. And those predicting a long, slow decline for radio will have to think again. The senior broadcast medium is up from 942 hours to 974. However, the big winner will be no surprise, According to the Associated Press, internet use has gone from 104 hours to 195, in the process eclipsing both newspaper (201 hours to 175) and magazines (135 hours to 122). Book readers are about flat, down an hour to 106, while video gamers are on the ri! se, from 64 hours to 86.

Carnegie's RBR observation:
OK advertisers. Radio 974, internet 195. This is no contest, especially if you want to weave your product or service into the daily routine of your geographical market, something the internet is ill-suited to do. Advertisers, you'd be crazy not to have an internet presence. We've completely remodeled our whole business concept around it. But we're a magazine, one of the mediums clearly leaking air. Radio is not, and it remains one of the straightest and strongest paths to the local population that you can find.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Is Clear Channel Determined To Fragment Major Market Country Stations?

Chuck Deskins, President/Market Manager, Clear Channel, Atlanta just sent out this press release:
"Today at High Noon, Clear Channel Radio Atlanta launched “94.9 The Bull”, at 94.9 fm. The new Country station is the home of “The Biggest Hits and The Biggest Stars” like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, George Strait and Rascal Flatts. Additionally, 94.9 The Bull is the new home of the Atlanta Braves beginning with the 2007 season. The Bull’s airstaff will be announced over the next few weeks."

ABC's WKHX - Kicks 101.5 FM and WYAY - Eagle 106.7 FM probably felt that owning two country stations was enough to discourage anyone new from entering the fray.

Last May, Clear Channel changed classic rock "The Drive" to "The Fox" in Detroit to attack CBS Radio's WYCD.

In spite of the fact that Entercom's 100.7 The Wolf, Seattle is now a year old and incumbant 94.1 KMPS-FM continues to look strong in the trends, Clear Channel continues to program Q-Country 102.9 KNBQ-FM in spite of market chatter that 'there isn't room for three.'

It looks like someone at Clear Channel has lots of faith in country music radio in these major markets! A&O hears rumors of at least one more launch of a new country station by the company right after the Holidays. Hopefully, at some point, that will happen in the three biggies with no country FM at all right now, New York, San Francisco and of course Los Angeles.

WUSN, Chicago, Breaks St. Jude Two Day Record

It happened last Thursday and Friday and raised $2,103,457 (so far!). $2,103,457 will go a long way to do many great things for this worthy cause.

Not only a big hats off to US-99 GM Dave Robbins, PD Mike Peterson and their wonderful team for breaking new fund-raising ground. Peterson emailed his staff this memo on Friday night:
"The 2006 St. Jude Radiothon wrapped up in record style tonight at 7pm...$2.1 million +! A new record for a 2 day (27 total hours--5:30a to 7p each day) Radiothon!! To put this number in perspective, we flew past last year's (a very successful 1.3 million) total at 9:30 this morning. It was a genuine pleasure watching our team combine forces with the St. Jude staff to produce these magnificent results!! This historical event was another example of great people working hard to accomplish greatness. Congratulations and thank you to ALL involved. What new heights will WE reached next??"

They also lead the way in another area.

With the PPM coming to major markets and the Houston test already having shown that the radiothon can be done only at a cost of actual listening, we're all eventually going to be scheduling radiothon events in the periods between surveys. It's nice to see that a pre-Christmas timetable was not only best for audience retention, but also a good time for St. Jude's as well.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Don't Believe "Research" Unless You Know Who Did It And Why

I-Tunes download sales .. is it collapsing? Or, growing? As with all research 'findings,' it's wise to check your gut and ask yourself 'does this seem believable?' before acting.

What's Hot? ‘Tis The Season For Charitable Giving

Charitable giving is hot this month…80.3% indicate so. Lego’s are classics among 48.0% of toy connoisseurs. 45.6% of young men (18-34) must be eagerly awaiting the return of Project Runway or, more specifically, host Heidi Klum. And, while younger women (18-34) may have big vintage belts on their wish lists, consumers in general hope this fashion trend will quickly fade.

ARB's Newest Business - A New Dedication To Small Markets

With all the PR following last week's Consultants' Fly-In, this story seemingly got overlooked. I hope, for the good of the radio ratings and research business Arbitron is serious about this.

With Clear Channel divesting 448 smaller market stations and many of the medium to smaller companies who are looking at the (very!) high prices being asked for these stations whose ARB contracts will need to be renegociated (or cancelled) in the coming year and ARB's decision to start measuring major markets with PPM even without MRC accreditation and full support of stations in those markets, you can't blame small market managers for wondering if Arbitron is focused at all on serving their needs at prices they can afford.

ARB President Steve Morris just gave the company's VP/Marketing Dennis Seely responsibility for rebuilding what he terms "an entirely new business, small market radio."

It will be a huge challenge for the talented and very smart Seely, since it appears that ARB is trying to focus on many different business challenges simultaneously. Hopefully, he'll have Morris' ear amidst all of the possible futures being envisioned by the thinktanks at ARB. He's going to need it if ARB hopes to remain relevant to its core customers.

One thing for sure: country music and radio could not have a more sympathetic friend at ARB than Seely. If you're in a small market and have issues with Arbitron which need resolution, it's now a great time to test ARB's walk to see if it's as good as their talk, by calling Dennis at 972-385-5363 or
emailing him with your concerns.

Thanks, CRTC .. NO 40% Cancon (For Now, At Least)

Canadian radio just dodged a bullet. It's hard enough competing with all the emerging new media choices while being legally required to play slightly more than one in three songs not dictated by listener choice.

Sometimes the best change is NO change.

It will be interesting to see what happens now with the stations which have committed to 40% Cancon in their license applications of the last several years. Let's really study that in the coming year. If they can't compete with the others who are playing one more 'hit' song per hour than they are, will they ultimately be permitted to lower their commitment to Cancon too?

I would hope so.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Larry Rosin Is Right

Sean Ross' annual Edison Research column about the songs that made a difference in the past year includes this semi-serious/semi-joking comment from Edison's President:
Wreckers, "Leave The Pieces" - Twenty years ago when the female singer-songwriter sound was out of favor elsewhere, it was Country that gave Mary Chapin Carpenter and Rosanne Cash a home. So why not Michelle Branch? (Or, for that mater, with Country vying for the Hot AC franchise in many markets, why not Bon Jovi?) As Larry Rosin also notes, "Leave The Pieces" also proved that there was still a need for the Dixie Chicks sound at Country radio--it just had to come from somebody other than the Dixie Chicks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Problem With Promoting HD And Steaming On Your Main Channel

Arbitron notified PPM test participants in a December 11 memo:
"Effective with the November 2006 report period, listening to any internet stream that does not reflect a 100% simulcast of the originating terrestial radio station is not included in audience estimates for the originating station in this report. Similarly, listening to HD supplemental content (e.e. HD2, HD3, etc) is not included in the audience estimates for any 'primary' station in this report."

...So, go ahead and aggressively promote your station brand on all the new digital platforms. Unless you want to make money with them. If your audience is listening on your stream or in HDRadio, you better hope they still check the "FM" or "AM" box in the diary under the column formerly known as "band."

If you are in a PPM test market, I guess you're just supposed to take the loss in audience shares in the interest of future possibilities??

Movin' DOWN, KFRG = L-A's New Country Station

Judging from today's second LA trend of the fall book, it looks like KFRG, San Bernardino is going to be the big beneficiary of the departure of KZLA.

K-Frog's (.5-.8.-1.0) 12+ trend puts it to within .6 of a share of KZLA's final share in the summer book. Meanwhile, the
highly-publicized launch of AM country on KKGO 540 and 1260 AM dipped in its final adult standards .6 summer book 12+ share to down in the no-shows, below a .3 share (the lowest share listed in the published trends). KKGO-AM was also down in San Diego from a 1.6 to a .9, so it doesn't appear that country FM fans are jumping to the AM band thus far. (they finally got an LA signal on 12/1, of course)

Movin's" (KMVN) trend went down from a .7 to a .6. The station's slogan is "the sound that makes you move" and that is what it appears the Southland's country audience is 95.1 FM. Hats off to PD Lee Douglas and his KFRG CBS Radio team, whose website opens with an extra happy 'boing boing ribbit' today. It will be interesting to watch how high this Frog can jump!

Cat Country 98.7 Fills Pensacola's Hat With Manna

"Cat Pack Morning Show" cohosts Brent and Dana got Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Lonestar, SheDaisy, Billy Currington, Jason Aldean and others to sign a hat (click to see it) and now the auction is on EBay, with 100% of the Auction Proceeds go to the Manna Food Bank to help feed people in Escambia and Santa Rosa County Florida.

Thanks to Brent Lane (850-494-2800 - 619-871-7014) for getting the word out.

Sprint Survey: Add Mobility To Your Definition Of Productivity

36% of respondents said that productivity was maximizing their life by making the most of their time in and out of work, while 25% felt it was completing tasks in a timely manner.

Rounding out the list was:
*Making the most out of their time (16 percent)
*Completing tasks faster than before at a better quality (14 percent)
*Making the most of multitasking (6 percent)
*Completing tasks faster than before (2 percent)

The Survey found that Monday is the most productive day of the week, as selected by 27 percent of respondents. As the week progresses, respondent productivity decreases: Tuesday (18 percent), Wednesday (17 percent), Thursday (12 percent), Friday (11 percent), Saturday (10 percent) and Sunday (5 percent).

Fourteen percent of respondents report already giving up their landline to exclusively use their mobile phone, and an additional 32 percent say they are likely to give up their landline in favor of their mobile phone. Additionally, of those respondents with both a landline and mobile phone, 51 percent would like one voice mailbox for both phone lines.

Nearly all wireless phone subscribers (93 percent) bring work-related mobile phones on vacation, the majority of Americans say they have achieved work-life balance (73 percent) and are more productive today than two years ago (67 percent). View charts and graphs from the 2006 Sprint Productivity Survey

Striking a Balance

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) report having a work-life balance, defined as meaningful daily achievement and enjoyment in one's home and working lives. Eighty-two percent of respondents report high levels of productivity increase their work-life balance. Many respondents use technology to help achieve a work-life balance. For example, 82 percent report using technology to make their downtime more enjoyable. Interestingly, the most popular uses of technology to fill free time can all be done using a mobile phone:

Listen to music (43 percent),
Call someone (40 percent),
Check/send email (39 percent),
Surf the Internet (36 percent),
Play games (31 percent) and
Text/instant message (23 percent)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Will Newspapers "Remain Around Forever"?

Former FCC Commissioner Newton N. Minow has a very thought-provoking OpEd in yesterday's Chicago Trib:

Nearly 220 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "... were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

"Jefferson would be dismayed if he learned about what happened in a class taught last year by my daughter, Martha, at Harvard Law School. Martha had invited a former student, Cliff Sloan, to lecture to her class. Sloan, who is publisher of Slate, an online journal, asked the students to raise their hands if they read a print newspaper every day. Not one hand went up. When he asked how they kept informed, they all had the same answer: We get our news online. Are they reading Yahoo News? Google News? Blogs? If you ask online readers what sources they use, they often just say "The Internet." Are they getting only headlines without in-depth reporting?

This year, the Pew Research Center found that 50 million Americans go to the Internet for news every day, almost twice the number that did so four years ago. Four years from now, I would not be surprised if instead of 50 million Americans on the Internet, the number has doubled again.

Tim & Faith Nominated For Four Pollstar Awards

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul 2 Soul II garnered four nominations from
Pollstar including the coveted Major Tour of the Year, Most Creative Tour Package, Most Creative Stage Production and Road Warrior of the Year for McGraw Tour Manager Robert Allen.

The winners will be announced at the Pollstar Awards on February 8 at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles. Sould2Soul II has already garnered Pollstar’s top country tour of the year, that turns out to be, with nearly 90 million dollars gross, the biggest country tour in history.

Rumor: Soul2SoulIII is less than a year away!

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Malcolm Mayhew's Advice To The Dixie Chicks

"Here are eight things you might consider if you want '07 to be better than your last coupla years"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Is What Happened To The Dixie Chicks Unique To Country Music? Or, To America?

Katherine Yung's Dallas Morning News story yesterday, prompted by empty seats at their recent Dallas show updates the saga and includes an interesting theory from Tom Taylor, editor-in-chief of Inside Radio:
"Country fans are very much about loyalty. This wouldn't happen in any other genre."

"Program Directors are afraid to play music by the Chicks," said Mike McVay, president of McVay Media. "They are hired and fired based on how high their ratings are." If research showed listeners clamoring for the Chicks' songs, they would be getting plenty of airplay, he said.

Radio companies and industry experts insist the stations aren't picking on the Chicks. Instead, in an industry driven by research, they're making hard business decisions. The surveys keep coming to one conclusion: Country music fans, among the most patriotic of listeners, still haven't forgiven the Chicks.

"I love the Dixie Chicks' music, but you have to know your audience and know your marketing model," said Gerry McCracken, country format coordinator for Cox Radio Inc., which owns 10 country radio stations. McCracken cited research conducted earlier this year that revealed half of country music listeners either did not want to hear any Chicks music now or never wanted to hear their songs again. "Those numbers are off the charts," Mr. McCracken said. "With those kinds of numbers, we wouldn't even play George Strait."

Meanwhile, a check of BDS and Mediabase shows the single "Taking The Long Way Around" on all 23 of the monitored Canadian country stations, ranking in the Canadian top ten today (12/10/06) on both of the charts tracking country airplay north of the 49th parallel.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Give Them The Pickle (And A Pen Too)

During a recent visit to A&O client station Pattison Radio Group's JRfm, Vancouver, I noticed a jar of pickles on PD Gord Eno's desk.

Then, it became obvious that literally every employee in the station had a jar of pickles on their desk. "What's up?" I had to know.

Eno explained that (CJJR-CKBD) GM Gerry Siemens had played customer service trainer Bob Farrell's "Give 'Em The Pickle" video for the staff (click to see and hear the story). Siemens then presented every employee with a jar of pickles to help everyone remember to 'give 'em the pickle' instead of telling listeners and customers what 'we can't do.' (i.e. limiting big fans of the station to winning only once in 30 days. Why would we do that?? Isn't the idea to encourage them to listen a lot?)

Then, Gerry told the team the story of Barcley's Bank which started as a rant on "Is It Normal":
You know the pen at the bank? Why is it on that damn chain? It drives me insane. They can leave both vaults open; sure, the MONEY, that's unimportant, but GOD FORBID someone should steal the friggin pen.

Now, JRfm contestants are permitted to win as often as they want, every member of the station's staff has a pickle jar on their desk to remind them of that attitude of "customer first service" .. and each winner, when they come into the station, gets a free pen!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Will Google Be Able To Make More Money From Radio Than WE Have?

Media Post's Shankar Gupta reports Google has started inviting search marketers to participate in an expanded test of its new radio advertising program.

Analyst Greg Sterling, principal for Sterling Market Intelligence, said that if anything, Google's participation might drive ad prices higher. "It's quite possible that you'll get a new class of advertisers trying radio advertising," he said.

Let's hope that is what happens, but Greater Media President & CEO Peter Smyth's December column on the company's home page puts this issue in a very savvy context. Radio has proven that it's a great medium for driving web usage, yet so far the majority of our sales people have been unable to turn that "1 + 1" into a 1+ 1 = 3 equation.

If Google CAN do it, we should all watch how they do it very carefully. It will be a sad commentary if DMarc/Google is able to merchandise radio more effectively than our own sellers have been able to do. For that reason, I agree with Smyth. Lets only enter into these partnerships with extreme caution.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reba On Dolly: "A Diamond In A Business Filled With Rhinestones"

Long overdue recognition! (Photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ MANUEL BALC, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Dolly Parton gathers with her fellow Kennedy Center honorees. Clockwise from left are Zubin Mehta, Steven Spielberg, Smokey Robinson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Dolly Parton, Zubin Mehta and Smokey Robinson stand with first lady Laura Bush and President Bush for the national anthem at the gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Nashville's Tennessean picked up some wonderful testiments from other distaff country stars about Dolly's personna and influence on them. Reba was as gracious as usual. Actress Reese Witherspoon, a Volunteer State native, spoke in Parton's honor, noting that she'd always felt a kinship with the writer and performer of songs including "Jolene," "I Will Always Love You" and "Coat of Many Colors."
"She was blond, I was blond," Witherspoon said. "She was from Tennessee, I was from Tennessee. She had an amazing figure … I was from Tennessee."

OK, (now that we have the positive and uplifting stuff out of the way), let's get to the Nitty Gritty from D.C. city: where there is "The Tale Of 3 Red Dresses:"
The White House`s latest crisis came in the form of a fashion disaster when three holiday party guests arrived wearing the same dress as First Lady Laura Bush. Lots o' clever clicks...
*Laura Bush dodges fashion disaster
*Laura Bush Avoids Arrest From The Fashion Police
*Bush's Lady In Red Cloned ... Twice
*Laura Bush Wiggles Out Of Couture Crisis

Call Me A Cynic

I'll wait to finish that thought until you click here and read: Nashville FCC hearing gives locals the chance to speak out against further media consolidation.

Lessee now. Back when George Jones, Porter Wagoner and the others were emerging on the scene and reinventing country music back in the '60's and '70's, there was no media consolidation and that didn't stop the format from moving forward to serve younger demos by welcoming their music.

What the heck makes them think that halting further radio consolidation will suddenly bring back classic country music to replace today's great new country music and artists? As I recall, Faron Young, Kitty Wells and the earlier generation welcomed George, Porter, Dolly and the rest rather than trying to stop their exposure on the radio at the FCC...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Josh Gracin and Buddy Jewel Prove Decorating Christmas Trees Can Be Hazardous

Nashville Kat: "First it was Buddy Jewel falling off a ladder hanging Christmas lights and breaking his wrist and now Christmas’s latest causality is another reality TV star - Josh Gracin.

Tuesday he was hanging Christmas lights when his daughter noticed a light out. He couldn’t get the bulb out with his fingers so Josh did what the dentist said not to - he used his teeth & his veneer busted off. When I said ‘you're lucky you didn’t get electrocuted he said ‘that was the least of my worries, I’ve been electrocuted plenty of times in the Marine Corps.’

The veneer that popped off was the one he had fixed 3 years ago playing backyard football & good thing he’s a Marine cuz has to have it fixed with no Novocain – he told me it doesn’t work on him. He also debated putting in a green or red tooth for the holidays but decided not to.

Edison's Tom Webster: "30 Under 30"

Wow, what a great idea. Well worth plaigerizing Edison's blog here to be sure you know about it.
After many years of trying to get some traction, the radio industry finally seems to be serious about efforts to attract and maintain the 12-24 generation. Fred Jacobs has been agitating on this topic for years, and recently has called for a task force to address the issue. One of the biggest challenges in attracting younger people is that, frankly, radio no longer has many younger people in positions of power. Edison Media Research is proud to announce our talent search: "30 Under 30". We are in search of the 30 best young talents in radio. Do you know someone under 30 years old, working in radio in any capacity, who should be featured? If so, tell us about him or her by clicking here.

Les Moonves Plugs CBS Radio's '07 On CNBC

Highlights (click to watch CNBC News Desk Editor David Faber sit down with CBS President & CEO Les Moonves to discuss the future of radio):

* Next year CBS will have easier comps
* Just getting through this first post-Howard Stern year is crucial

* After the cash-generating selloff of ten radio markets, there's no interest at CBS in selling off the entire division.
* "Jackfm" is working in most markets
* Opie & Anthony are starting to work

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Support The Troops, Wear Camouflage

..Like KMPS, Seattle's Ichabod Caine and Stephanie Lynn do!

CCMA - '07 = Regina and '08 = Winnipeg

What a great move! Thanks to the Canadian Country Music Association board for taking the annual "Country Music Week" spotlight out to the heartland and the prairies.


The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) today announced Winnipeg as host city for the 2008 Canadian Country Music Week and Awards, to be held September 5-8, 2008. This marks the third time Winnipeg will host Canada’s largest country music event.

The Chair of the CCMA, Heather Ostertag, officially announced the awarding of Country Music Week 2008 to the City of Winnipeg, acknowledging that more than two decades had passed since the event was last held in that city (1986). Ostertag added, “The CCMA is very pleased to return to Winnipeg and the Board of Directors invites both the community and our industry to join in and help make this a wonderful celebration and a wonderful opportunity for Canada's talent.”

Music is integrated into the fabric of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and shapes the heartland of Canada’s musical tradition. Artists such as Neil Young, Doc Walker, The Guess Who, and countless others launched their careers here. “Manitoba has always been a great place for music and artists,” said Premier Gary Doer. “We were proud to host the JUNO Awards last year and just this year we hosted the Western Canadian Music Awards and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. With this announcement, we will show the country yet again that Winnipeg is a music town.”

Canadian Country Music Week and Awards is one of the largest music events in Canada. “The Canadian Country Music Awards will be another tremendous opportunity to showcase our city to a national audience,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “Winnipeg is certainly excited to play host to the hottest talent in Canadian country music and I know our city will once again step up to the plate and deliver a world class event.”

Winnipeg presented a strong bid to the CCMA and was awarded the event based on a combination of solid commitments from the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, excellent host facilities, a solid track record in hosting major events, and a long established reputation as a city that embraces Canadian music and culture. Destination Winnipeg put the successful bid together for the 2008 Canadian Country Music Week and Awards in partnership with the Bid Committee, whose members included:

· Co-chair, Kevin Walters, Manitoba Film & Sound
· Co-chair, Ray Martin, Manitoba Country Music Association
· Ginette Lavack, Destination Winnipeg
· Kevin Donnelly, True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd., MTS Centre
· Sam Baardman, Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association
· Sara Stasiuk, Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association
· Gilles Paquin, Paquin Entertainment

Kevin Walters, Co-Chair of the Winnipeg Bid Committee with Ray Martin said, “We are thrilled to welcome Canadian Country Music Week to Winnipeg in September 2008. Our committee looks forward to working with the Canadian Country Music Association over the next two years to plan a weeklong celebration of country music in true Winnipeg style. More than 1,000 members of the country music industry will descend on our city to enjoy workshops, parties and the Country Music Awards. The people of Manitoba are in for a great event!”

“True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. and the MTS Centre are proud to once again play a role in bringing another major event to our province. We are confident that the MTS Centre will help showcase the best in Canadian country music and give Manitobans the chance to be a part of this fantastic event,” commented Kevin Donnelly, Senior Vice President & General Manager, MTS Centre.

Several venues in the Winnipeg area, in addition to the MTS Centre who will be playing host to the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards, will be showcasing special entertainment events that customarily accompany the annual Canadian Country Music Week. Location and programming details will be announced at a later date. “Canadian Country Music Week in Winnipeg 2008 will, like the 2005 JUNO Awards, showcase excellence in Canadian music and provide significant economic benefits and national exposure for our city,” said Stuart Duncan, President of Destination Winnipeg Inc.

About the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)
The CCMA is the only national voice in Canada solely dedicated to the growth and development of the evolving genre of Canadian country music. For more than three decades as one of Canada’s main advocates for country, the CCMA has become a trusted partner of the industry, a platform for artists, and Canada’s most active trade organization aggressively working to keep country music front and centre. The CCMA is a non profit trade association working to ensure the preservation of this wide ranging music genre unique to Canada, to the enactment of laws favourable to the industry, and to exploring new avenues for its continued growth. For 30 years the CCMA has marked each September with Country Music Week, a four day conference and celebration culminating in the internationally broadcast CCMA Awards (established 1983). Country Music Week is one of the largest music events in Canada each year with a combination of activities for both community and industry attendees including showcase opportunities for newcomers, educational seminars and an all day FanFest that delivers Canada’s stars to the community.

For more information contact:
Janice Tober
Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Destination Winnipeg Inc.
(204) 954-1985

Brandi Mills
Communications & Marketing
Canadian Country Music Association
(416) 947-1331 ext.211

Kevin Walters
Co-chair, Canadian Country Music Week Bid Committee
Manitoba Film & Sound
(204) 947-2040

Carrie Underwood Dominates Billboard Country Awards

In the country music categories of the annual Billboard Magazine Music awards in Las Vegas last night, Carrie Underwood won almost everything she was up for (FOUR awards!).

Excitement reigned backstage after Carrie was voted New Country Artist, Female Country Artist, CountryAlbum for Some Hearts, ALSO voted Overall Album of the year). Kenny Chesney did very well too (or is that TWO?), as he picked up the Male Country Artist, and Country Songs Artist awards.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"We-POD" .. Gosh, I Wish I Had Said That

Nettwerk Music Group CEO Terry McBride coined the phrase as he explains his new approach to marketing music, but today's radio with its "Rush Rooms" and "Loyal Listener Clubs" has every opportunity to be "WE-Pod" driven too.

Are you creating an affility group, a community based on shared values, and making your listeners feel like your brand .. on multiple platforms .. is their community center? If so, I have news for you: YOU are a "WE-pod."

Or, at least you could be, if you do what listeners need and want before you do anything else.

In spite of the first song played on MTV, video did not kill the radio star 15 years ago. I'll be surprised if the internet does either.. as long as we are smart and nimble, right now.

Country Music And A Military Band At The White House Tree Lighting This Week

On December 7, 2006, the Tree Lighting Ceremony for the Christmas Pageant of Peace will take place on the Ellipse south of the White House grounds.

The tree lighting ceremony begins each year’s 3-week Pageant. Country music's JOHN CONLEE along with a military band adds to the celebratory evening in which the President brings a message of peace to the nation and the world. The culmination of the evening is the illumination of the National Christmas Tree.President George W. Bush will continue the tradition this year, pushing the switch for the sixth time in his Presidency. And every President who follows him will be reminded of the great heritage surrounding this event by the switch box they hold, a box handcrafted in the mid 1930s and dated “1923” to mark the year President Coolidge first lit the tree on behalf of “all Americans.” For 83 years, the American tradition of lighting a national Christmas Tree has continued, interrupted only briefly in its history during moments of great national travail.

In December 1923, the first National Christmas Tree was placed on the Ellipse south of the White House. The tree was a 48-foot Balsam fir from Vermont. At 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light the tree from his native state. The tree was decorated with 2500 electric bulbs in red, white and green. Music for this first lighting ceremony was provided by a local choir and the U.S. Marine Band.

John Conlee Media Contact: Kirt Webster, 615-777-6995 x30

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How Edgy Can A Country Morning Show Get?

For guidance on the techniques of creating buzz, but staying true to the core values, this report from
Alison Bonaguro makes me think that it would be smart to really study CMT and GAC:
Does sweet little Carrie Underwood have it in her to become a vengeful vandal? Yes and no. Yes, because country videos are getting edgier every day. But no, because no matter how hard country tries to imitate its big brothers rock, rap and pop, country "Videos branch out but rarely cross the line."

In her newest video, "Before He Cheats," Underwood sings about carving her name into the leather seats of her ex's pretty little souped-up ride, taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights and slashing all four tires. You see it all unfold, violently and in slow motion. But you never actually see Underwood doing the damage. According to Evan Kroft, music director for Country Music Television, that's the No. 1 streaming video on and is No. 15 on "Country is kind of PG-13," Kroft says. "Our audience doesn't want to be bored. They want an edge, but not too much."

PS: Have you ever wondered how much country videos cost? $75,000-$300,000, depending on how bankable the artist is. This, compared to about $800,000 for pop videos. Who is paying for these bigger and better budgets? The record label pays upfront, but then about 50 percent is recoupable. That means if the label spends $200,000 on video production for a single, they will take approximately $100,000 in recoupment fees out of the sales from that artist's CD.That seems like a lot for the artist to pay back, but while viewers see videos as entertainment, music executives see them as a marketing tool. When MTV came barreling into households in 1981 -- launching with the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," ironically -- these videos were merely standard promotional practice. Now that you can purchase videos to watch on your own time, albeit on a tiny screen that would make a director cringe, videos have become moneymakers in their own right.

Nashville Gets Into The God Business

.. and, according to
a story in today's Boston Globe, that business is very good. "The old joke in country music was that you couldn't die and go to heaven unless you did at least one gospel album," says Wade Jessen, director of Christian and gospel charts for Billboard and Radio & Records.

With each passing year, the hand-wringing over the downturn in record sales becomes a little more desperate. But one genre continues to experience steady growth: gospel and Christian music. In July, the Gospel Music Association -- which tracks artists who express Christian ideals in their music and hands out the Dove Awards, gospel's Grammy equivalent -- reported that sales were up a hallelujah-inducing 11.6 percent over last year. Consumers aren't the only ones who have increasingly embraced a gospel message in recent years. It's become a growing trend for mainstream artists known strictly for secular music to release albums singing His praises. This year alone, superstar country acts Alan Jackson and Alabama, R&B stars Patti LaBelle and Kelly Price, and blues-rock guitarist Jonny Lang entered the sanctuary. These latest worshipers join a new-millennium flock that includes "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville, and Smokey Robinson, as well as country veteran Randy Travis.

They're building on a longstanding tradition, of course: Country and soul artists, from Dolly Parton to Aretha Franklin, have long either sprung from the church choir or periodically joined up with it.

"I think there's just absolutely no way to have this discussion without going back to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," says Billboard's Jessen. "That really was a turning point in a lot of people's lives in this country. Five years ago there was a lot of noise in the consumer press about how after the terrorist attacks a lot of people were rediscovering their spiritual roots, going back to church."

"I think it has a lot to do with war and with the hurricanes and the tsunami and everything that's been happening," says LaBelle. "People have to cling to something, and you know [gospel music] is a wonderful place to cling."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"It's new. It's free. It's got variety. It's HD digital radio."

It's tempting to add "..and, it's wishful thinking!" by terrestial radio, but in fact
it's real PR which, at long last, appears to be starting after the lengthy head start by satellite radio.

An important metric to watch: low long will it take to have 7,000,000 HDRadio receivers in the marketplace? How many subscribers will XM and Sirius have by that time?

Big & Rich, John Michael Headline American Legion Gulf Area Fundraiser

Big & Rich and John Michael Montgomery are scheduled to perform at a three-day country-music festival March 23-25 at South Mississippi's Harrison County Fairgrounds.

Dubbed the 2007 All Star Jamboree and hosted by the American Legion, "the event was organized to rebuild Legion posts on the Coast, and to replenish the National Legion Emergency Relief Fund, as well as to benefit Arms and Legs, prosthetics for veterans, and other Coast and national veteran's organizations and programs," said L.D. Carrico, an event spokesperson. Organizers will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at American Legion Post 119 in Gulfport to present details of the festival.

The festival will feature both major and minor country players, including the Bellamy Brothers, T Graham Brown, Eddy Raven, Moe Bandy, songwriter Bobby Boyd, Copper Rose and Scott Hisey.