Monday, December 31, 2007

The Music City Bowl Looks Like A Cakewalk For UK Over FSU

.. at least, that's how the LA Times' Helene Elliott saw it in yesterday's pre-game write-up:
"In the cradle of country music, where songs lamenting loss and hardship spill out the door of every honky tonk along Broadway, no one is singing a more mournful tune these days than the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles -- or what's left of them from an ongoing investigation into an academic scandal -- are scrambling to fill holes just about everywhere as they prepare to face Kentucky (today) in the Music City Bowl."

Meanwhile, the Gaylord-sponsored bowl's website is counting down to game time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

There Must Not Be Much To Editorialize About In Vancouver

"Listening to country music could be pushing you over the edge?" -- The Vancouver Sun used their ink and paper to air that silly assertion Saturday.

The conclusion of their "learned" editorial?
"...we're not sure if country music is hazardous to your health, criticizing country music definitely is."

Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, New Job

Nielsen says that it's not just you with those 2008 resolutions: In January, consumers will spend more than $61 million on anti-smoking aids, and more than $47 million on diet aids. The Schaumberg, Ill.-based company says anti-smoking products generated 8.7% of annual dollar sales in January last year, while nutritional diet aids generated 9.9%.

And just in case you thought you were the only one ignoring the bathroom scale in December, last January's sales of diet products registered a 91% increase from the previous four-week period. But typically, resolutions are quickly forgotten. After a high of nearly $47 million in January, sales of nutritional diet aids dropped more than 14% to $40 million in February.

Typically, health and fitness resolutions are the most common:, a goal-setting Web site, predicts that 28% of all resolutions will fall in this "lose weight, quit smoking, get to the gym more" category, compared with 27% last year.

But thanks to economic worries, "we expect people to focus a lot of time and energy improving their careers and getting out of debt," the company says. It expects resolutions related to debt reduction to increase sharply as a percentage of all finance-related resolutions (to 52%, up from 26% last year). And it says resolutions related to saving money will rise, from 11% to 24% of all finance-related resolutions.

-- Sarah Mahoney

Friday, December 28, 2007

Trace Adkins Talks Politics In New Book, On Hannity & Colmes, But Never On Stage

Trace on why country music leans conservative (click to read the transcript of the entire Thursday night 12/27 interview):
"'s just .. that blue-collar connection.... It's Americana. It's the working class, working man kind of perspective on things. But I don't represent — I'm not trying to represent country music or anybody other than myself."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Rumor Mill Proves To Be Correct: Atlanta Gets A 4th Country Station

Clear Channel just turned it on (click to see what they are up to), as suburban (south end) signal WLTM turns off the "Lite" and joins "The Bull" in an attempt to unseat leader Citadel's WKHX and its own signal challened flanker, WYAY.

Here's what I'm thinkin':

1. Too many silly move-in's create troublesome situations like this, which are bad for all radio.
2. Too many country stations will only further compress shares, driving down rates and hurting billing for everyone.
3. Inferior signals don't hurt full market signals enough to be financially viable.
4. Rees and Trout's immutable laws still apply: being first in is a great position. Being 4th in is not.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It Always Seems To Come To This

It started in 2004 as "Redneck Woman," "Live Like Your Were Dyin," and "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" ended country's latest 7-10 year malaise and catapulted the format forward with core and secondary cumers, women, men, younger and older listeners.  
Spring 2007 appears to have been the country format's latest peak.  The distance between the biggest hits by today's superstars and the rest of the pack of current songs has never been greater.  Now, just today, a couple of new 'country rock' fragmenters named the Rebel and Hank launched to join Earl, the Bar, et al.  

The rumor mill reports more are coming.  

Meanwhile, the top country station in Dallas just hit a 2.9 share.  

Fortunately, leading country stations from Seattle to San Diego to Charlotte are still solidly ranking #1.  PPM seems to love country in Houston and Philadelphia.  So, clearly, country is still very strong as a format, but - in many markets - it seems to me that there are just too many country stations trying to divvy up a "flat" (at best) share.

It baffles me why at this time in the format cycle anyone would go for anything but a WIN.  

That costs money, of course, and takes time, I guess, two commodities in short supply with many public companies these days.

The alternative, shooting for a 60% male audience with classic country, trying to turn country into a hybrid format or cutting back entirely on new music, has been attempted many times over the years and - up to now at least - country remains the format which simply doesn't fragment in these ways enough to build salable shares.

Each time we hit this point in the cycle I always say "maybe it will work this time and if it does, I am going to learn something."

Thus far, what I have learned again and again is that hybridizations are a very tough sell in an 18-49 and 25-54- domninated sales world.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lethbridge School Principal In A...Tutu?

Hear what happened on the Country 95 blog: Principal Miller promised he would, if school magazine subscription fund raising goal was met.
Country 95's Bobcat was there and ready with his camera and spoke with him about his choice of wardrobe..

Taylor Swift Is 18 And She Now Has A Brand New Pink Truck

Keith Kaufman, "Listener Advocate" (aka PD) at The Big 98 WSIX, reportedly sent his caption to this photo to Clear Channel's email list of programmers: "Barbie threw up on Music Row just now.."

$810 For A Very Special Hat

The Season for giving means more than just food for the Holiday’s for Pensacola’s Manna Food Bank. CatCountry 98 7 raised $810.00 for Pensacola’s Manna Food Bank.

Signatures on the hat..

Brad Paisley (CMA Male Vocalist of the Year)
Taylor Swift (CMA Horizon Award Winner)
Big and Rich (CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Nominee)
Montgomery Gentry (CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Nominee)
Martina McBride ((CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Nominee)
Trace Adkins
Aaron Tippin
Rodney Atkins
Kellie Pickler
Little Big Town and Many More

Country artists helped out by autographing a special hat that was put on the eBay auction website this week. The auction ended Friday at 10:00 am. 100% of proceeds from the auction will be presented to Manna Food Bank before Christmas. The winning bidder was John Peacock from Pensacola, FL.

This year the Manna Food Bank has had to dip into its reserves more than it expected. While they expect to meet the needs of the hungry in Pensacola this Christmas Season, it might be a hard Spring. Tim Evans, the Director of the Manna Food Bank says “People forget we are serving the needs of Pensacola 365 days a year. For us the tough months are after the Holidays, when people’s awareness goes down.”

Manna Food Bank is a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to alleviating hunger in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties of northwest Florida.

The Gratitude Campaign

It started here in the Northwest, with this story on TV:
I've been approaching soldiers in the airports and thanking them for serving for us. On several occasions I have noticed that it felt a
little awkward for both of us. There are several reasons, some of which I am even just now learning as I produce this film and talk to more soldiers. But they have always appreciated being thanked, and I have always felt better having expressed my gratitude. I started to think that it would be nice if civilians had a gesture or sign that they could use to say "thank you" quickly and easily without even having to approach. I did some research and found the sign that we are now using. Is this limited to the military? Not at all. If you look around you I'm sure that you'll find lots of people who are serving their communities, from local to global. If you appreciate their service, give them a sign. Say
"thank you."

Then, came the website, thanks to a long list of Seattle people:

Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks;
Master Sergeant Michael A. Azevedo, US Army;
Master Sergeant Traci Williams, US Army;
Sergeant Daniel Forsythe, US Army;
Sergeant Andrew Kelley, US Army;
Sergeant Chris White, US Army;
Sergeant William Owen, US Army;
Sergeant Jeb Norris, US Army;
Specialist Michael G Pritchett, US Army;
Staff Sergeant Jonathon Alexander, US Army;
Sergeant Andrew Dibble, US Marine Corps
Corporal Vondarious M Johnson, US Marine Corps;
Master Sergeant Kevin Johnson, Washington Army National Guard;
Tech. Sergeant Natalie Stockhausen, US Air Force;
Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Lathrap, US Air Force;
Pamela Johnson;
Nancy Blanton, Port of Seattle;
Adrienne Sardelli, USO;
Dave Lester, USO;
Jay Hitt, Pike Place Market Theater;
Norm Heimgartner, Univ. of Puget Sound:
Film Maker Amy Sedgwick, Mouse House Productions;
Carrie Robinson, Photographer; Paul Yoo, Cameras

Bluegrass 101 ("Still Chugging Along")

A nice Justin Faulconer-penned update on the state of the folksy mountain music that has thrived in Central Virginia for centuries. Bluegrass itself only dates to the 1940s, but it evolved from the music of the early Southern settlers. And the music is still passed down to young people by older generations.
"They keep the tradition alive because it makes them feel alive, said Zack Gilmer, Hard Drivin’s banjo player. “I feel great when I’m playing bluegrass,” said Gilmer, 16. “It always puts me in a good mood. It doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

Dan Hays, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville, said that a fresh generation of pickers is adding to the mix of a genre that has seen many changes throughout its lifespan.

But Hayes said young peoples’ interest in the music, coupled with the technological advances of the Internet, has doubled the bluegrass audience since the turn of the century.
“Bluegrass has never been as healthy as it is today,” said Hays. “There’s a new generation and a lot of the pioneers are still alive."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Made In The USA = Hot. Helio = NOT

New data: Consumer confidence is weakest reading in last five years. Meanwhile, (HOT!) 84.9% of consumers are on the lookout for items “Made in the U.S.A.”…additionally, wishing others a “Merry Christmas” is a welcomed sign of the season (according to 83.7%). Going “green” and giving eco-friendly gifts is also a top thought among the majority and even more so among females, while those 35+ admit they still rock out to the Eagles. The peace may be disrupted in households this season when picking out a Christmas tree, men are more prone to prefer live, while women opt for the artificial variety.

What’s Not? He may have won Dancing with the Stars, but 80% say Helio Castroneves can two-step it straight back to the racetrack.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mr. Chesney Goes To Houston. KILT and KKBQ Listeners Go To Mr. Chesney.

Kenny Chesney’s latest album went on sale across the continent at midnight on September 10, 2007. Since Houston is a strong sales market, the BNA artist previewed the LP and visited with listeners of the two Houston country stations playing current music for an hour each the afternoon before the on-sale date. Both stations invited a room full of fans to come in to see the event live in their pre-promotion and KILT’s Rowdy Yates talked to the superstar and played his music from 2:45-4:30 pm and then KKBQ’s Cactus Jack did the same, starting with a sweep of eight of Kenny’s biggest hits building up to the in-station visit from 4:15 to 6:15 pm.

Arbitron’s PPM currency sample in Houston, which estimates the minute by minute movement and station choices of radio listeners throughout their day 24/7 combined with the technology of Media Monitors, which can produce a minute by minute log of almost everything (they missed a few of the non-hit album cuts played during this period) and also an audio online playback (which didn’t miss a thing) makes an evaluation of what the stations did with the opportunity and how the PPM sample country listeners responded possible in ways which have never been possible previously.

On Thursday at Arbitron's Annual Consultant'f Fly-In, and then on Friday at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville during Country Aircheck's PPM Seminar, I will be drilling into the data to answer some key questions:

· How did these specific hours compare to the average afternoon drive hours (at the same time) on these stations?
· Was it better to have Chesney first or last?
· Before the drive home at the end of the workday?
· Or, while listeners were in their cars on the way home?
· If you couldn’t have the artist first, was it still worth doing?
· Was this a good thing for BNA Records, KILT and KKBQ to do?
· Is there anything Rowdy and Cactus Jack can learn for the next time something like this comes along?
· How did commercials and other ‘interruptions’ in the event perform?
· Could the stations charged a premium for them?
· What percentage of the two stations’ total audience during this time period changed stations when Kenny Chesney went from KILT to KKBQ?

A&O has carefully studied the audience flow using ARB PPM data and the tools provided by Media Monitors at granular levels never available to us before and I’m very confident that we have what seem to be very reliable answers.

Click here for our notes from the presentation (including our answers to those questions)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What's a HIT? Who's a STAR? What's a LABEL?

I just received one of the myriad Nashville-based promotional email newsletters which arrive daily and this one made a unique claim for an artist: "The featured article is on XXX XXXXX, who is a Myspace country star with over 3 million visitors to her page and has just signed a recording contract with a major independent, XXX XXXX Records."

Huh? Myspace star? Page visitors? "Major" independent?

A&O has a lot of "visitors" to Mike's and my blogs, to, to my Myspace, Facebook and Linkedin pages and we do daily emails to clients, so I think we're pretty web savvy since we get lots of responses to all of these and yet I've never thought of myself as a web star, which to me means that not only do people view your page but it creates measureable buzz and impacts the culture in ways which are felt by even non-internet users. Matt Drudge is a web star, for example.

In music, just because even lots of people know your name doesn't make you a star. You need to have some hits, which drive people to attend your concerts and turn up the radio when they come on.

Ideally, a "hit" is undeniable. It penetrates successfully in all avenues. It gets exposed nationally on the radio so at least 75% of the population is familiar with it.

Listeners begin to respond to it by calling and emailing air personalities about it after early radio, video channel and online spins.

National monitored charts measure that airplay, and it ranks in at least the top 40 on a consistent basis, showing 6-8 weeks of upward momentum so that it ranks in the top 20, which means that finally a majority of the monitored stations are starting to play it. Then, it starts to sell ($$!) in all the download outlets to the point that it ranks high in the web measurement tools (these are the "singles" of today). It starts to be called "a favorite song" by at least 35% of radio listeners in both local and national callout and online music research and it has at the very least 65% total positives by station fans. It ranks top 15 on the national radio airplay charts. Next, it becomes the title of an album which probably needs to contain at least three such songs unless the first song is a blockbuster. The LP sells at brick and mortar retail and ranks high in the scanned sales charts (still the high profit margin sales location).

A wannabe "star" has hits. But, for me, they aren't a star as yet. Star status comes with touring, performing in concert, drawing and entertaining crowds.

A "C" star can draw 500 people in venues anywhere they perform across North America. Get get some TV and print media exposure too as a result of this. A "B" star's name shows up on the national entertainment TV programs and magazines, has between three and seven radio hits and their name alone makes it easier for stations to put their music on the air because enough listeners know the name and like the past music that that're interested in hearing it. A "B" star can draw 2,000 people on the power of their name in live appearances. An "A" star can draw 10,000 people, gets top billing on marquees, TV video channels and shows up at the top of net buzz metric tools, TV entertainment shows and on the cover of gossip magazines, has at least seven "hit" songs which have gotton so popular that they get played at least five times a week on country radio nationally.

Stars have hits, and I don't just mean hits on their web page.

In this challenging world, why any company aspires to be a "label" escapes me. Major labels are struggling to hold onto existing but declining revenues as their historic distribution and retail model has been disintegrating.

The "star" now has a direct relationship with their "fans" and is able to sell ($$) their creative output to an even larger audience than ever. James William Buffett wrote the book on this.

To maintain market share in this challenging financial environment where it's a lot easier to spend money than it is to make it, the major labels have consolidated, making it harder than ever for an artist to get signed by a major label.

I checked the national monitored charts this morning and here are the labels which seem to have earned the term "major" due to the number of songs they have in the top 30:
Arista - 5, Lyric Street and MCA - 3, Asylum-Curb/Curb, RCA, BBR, and Warner Bros. Nashville - 2.

The ones I'd call "major independents," since they have one song in the Top 30 this week: Big Machine, BNA, Capitol Nashville, Columbia Nashville, Mercury, Pearl/Big Machine, Show Dog, ERC/Mercury and Midas.

Where does that leave an artist who signs to any independent?

.. with an expensive PR and promotion team and, unless your indie label is owned by Mike Curb, Disney, Toby Keith, Benny Brown, Ron Clapper or run by Scott Borchetta, I fear, still on the outside looking in.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Las Vegas Goes Country For The 23rd NFR

You simply have to feel "sorry" (yeah, right!) for Las Vegas country radio promo people and personalities, who will be making an attempt to be visible all over town for the next couple weeks.

Brooks & Dunn's song “Cowboy Town” has been adopted as the official song of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center for the next two years.

Hal Ketchum, Sawyer Brown and Ray Scott perform at the free Fremont Street Downtown Hoedown. Trace Adkins and Big & Rich are at the Las Vegas Hilton, Keith Anderson at Santa Fe Station, Rodney Atkins performs at the Boulder Station, Terri Clark, Clay Walker, Ronnie Milsap and Charlie Daniels Band are at the downtown Golden Nugget, Phil Vassar's at Green Valley and also joins Larry The Cable Guy at the Orleans and that's just a few of the country artists in Vegas this month.
Sleep? What's THAT?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sara Evans Helps The White House Kick Off The Holiday Season Tonight

It's the 84th Annual Lighting of the National Christmas Tree and President George W. Bush will be on hand to continue the tradition begun in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge who lit the first tree in President’s Park on behalf of all Americans.

During the ceremony, Evans will perform “Silent Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” accompanied by The United States Air Force Band and the St. Albans and National Cathedral Schools Choir.

Major League Baseball In Nashville For The Annual Winter Meetings

All week long, is visiting some of the hot spots of the country music capital of the world and the posts appear to have been written by a combination of the Nashville Chamber Of Commerce and the CMA to help the execs and reporters as they spend the week. (Photo: Jay Orr, the Country Music Hall of Fame's senior director of museum programs)

Today, they quote Josh Turner, the 30-year-old country star with the unmistakable baritone voice who struck gold -- and platinum -- with hits such as 2004's "Long Black Train" and last year's "Would You Go With Me" and "I'm Your Man:" (who grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan when they won the World Series in 1990 but switched allegiances, like a lot of Nashville residents, to another very successful team).
"I started collecting baseball cards, and just really getting into what all the players were like, and as I got older I became an Atlanta Braves fan. My wife is actually from just outside of Atlanta, so we try to go to a game every chance we get."
Turner was a high school outfielder before taking his guitar and his voice from his native South Carolina to the mecca of Nashville:
"There's so many people all across the country that move here every year to try to get a record deal and try to make a record and get their music out there."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

If You Can Understand Brad Paisley's Lyrics, You Can Understand Anything

This will give you a smile: (click) learning English through country music...

Rana Lee, a recent arrival from South Korea, listens to Brad Paisley's fishin' song and quickly gets the drift - the guy loses the girl. It is a country and western song, after all. One line perplexes her, though: "I spend all day out on this lake and hell is all I catch."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another Ratings Slip .. For Country (And BBM Quality Control!)

Winter (S1) and Fall (S4) are the most comparable annual books for country stations in Canada, since so few markets are surveyed in late Spring (S2) and Summer (S3), but even looking only at those survey periods it appears that, like America's Summer 2005 ARB national trend, country has slipped (5.7% from last Winter and 11.8% from last Fall) in the latest survey, just released yesterday.

12+ 9.2-9.0-9.3-9.0-9.3-8.7-8.2

The country format's share of heavy radio users' listening fell 25% from last fall!

In S4 2006, country had an 11.5 share of heavy users' tuning and in S4 2007 that share fell to 8.6.

Gaining heavy user share at our expense was 'everything else on the FM dial playing music,' compared to a year ago: AC (18.1 up to 20), Hot AC (8.1-12.0), classic rock (7.0-9.9), Mainstream Top 40-CHR (6.9-8.2), mainstream rock-AOR (5.7-7.1), classic hits (4.0-5.8) and modern rock-alternative (2.6-3.7)

The only other major format which was also off in their share of heavy users' time was news-talk, which fell even more than country, 17.8 to 10.4% of all fifth quintile hours.

Here's one reason why: only 17.4% of country's national share of total hours came from at work listening, the lowest mark in several years.

It had been 20% in S1 2007 and 18.8% a year ago.

Is this real? Or just a fluke? A little bit of each, in my opinion.

Anyone doing testing of current music in Canada can tell you that very few of the current hits of the last six years have done very well with males. I think that if Canadian country music radio wants to do better in 2008, it's going to look at this factor very hard.

To maximise our performance, country needs at least 40% of its quarter hours from men and hopefully 45% of its cume from males. So, a little free advice for programmers to consider: look closely at the balance between female and male preferences as you program music and content.

There is another wild card in the deck too.

BBM's national performance in getting ballots back from key demos was very disappointing this survey, even among cells that historically have returned diaries very consistently.

Men 25-34 returned diaries in just 58% of their proportion to their share of actual population, which was worse than men 18-24 (69%).

Even men 35-44 (77% of their proportion of the population) came up short in their percentage of the national sample, meaning books from these cells needed to be weighted upward very heavily.

BBM also had trouble getting books back from young women as well. 18-24 females returned only 60% of their proportion of the actual population and 25-34 was not much better (68%).

Statistically, an acceptable proportion (index) for any cell is between 90 and 110.

The under-performance nationally in these younger cells required that ballots from 35+ demos be weighted downward - men 45-49 by 9%, men 50-54 by 24%, men 55-59 by 32%, men 60-64 by 35%, men 65+ by 26%, women 45-49 by 35%, women 50-54 by a whopping 46%, women 55-59 by 43%, women 60-64 by 47% and women 65+ by 17%.

Those upper demos are country's core, especially in Canada.

If BBM missed their sample return targets by this much NATIONALLY, it makes my hair stand on end to contemplate how far off many local samples must have been!

A Really Bad Idea

R&R Country Editor R. J. Curtis put something in print this morning which A&O has been hearing for several weeks but refused, until now, to believe:
"R&R has heard the news reverberating up and down Music Row about a newly announced music policy for Cumulus country stations. Reportedly, PDs were given a safe list of 17 currents to play, with instructions to drop anything not on the list. Additionally, the list was said to be final, with no discussion allowed. R&R reached out to (format captain) Bill Jones, but did not receive a return call. Cumulus PDs aren't talking (would you?). We'll continue to keep our ears and eyes open for more details."

This isn't the first time Cumulus has made some really arrogant, incestuous, self-destructive and stupid decisions, of course, but it gets my vote for the dumbest one so far!

Now that it is in print, watch in early '08 for John Dickey to be called again to testify before Congress at the next consolidation/localization hearings, certain to come as a result of this alleged action.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Garth Sells 85,677 In 59 Minutes, Kenny Sells Out Gillette Stadium In 15

The stories:

* Garth Brooks Los Angeles charity concerts sell out in an hour

“It’s a beautiful thing when everyone pulls together. “California just raised a ton of money for their own. I’m so proud to be part of this.” -- Garth

* Kenny Chesney sells out first stadium show of '08 in 15 minutes

" It's amazing how people everywhere like to get together, have a party, forget about what's bothering them. I try to make these shows be the kinda thing people can build a summer around - all the memories, the friends, the good times. Boston, when you guys buy all these tickets so fast, you make me feel like we're connecting just the way we hope we can.” -- Kenny

.. Promising signs for a great '08 for country on tour!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Kurt Hanson's Blog Is Getting Interesting

If, like me, you drifted away from Hanson's newsletter because it became too much of a cheerleader for internet radio issues and became less relevant to 'our' concerns and problems, it's time to wake up and pay attention again, at least to his blog:
Suppose we used to survey 10 Chicagoans every week to find out what percentage are Chicago Blackhawks fans. That means over the course of a calendar quarter, we’ll talk to 130 people. That’s probably a decent sample size to answer a question like this. (I could do the math on standard deviation and margin of error, but let’s save that for another day.) The analogy for Arbitron’s new approach is to survey maybe 30 Chicagoans — but survey them every week. “Hey, that’s 390 data points every quarter! Better than the old system’s 130 data points!” No, it isn’t. In week #1, 30 people is too small a sample size for the question — we could get a result that’s way off of reality. And surveying the same people every week for 12 more weeks is going to give us, basically, the same wrong answer every week. Yes, the results will be more stable than under the old, 130-person system, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better approach... ...Because Arbitron was too cheap to throw around a few $2,000 bills toward consulting contracts, their stock price took a $200 million hit yesterday — and they’ve put a not-insignificant portion of radio’s annual $20 billion in ad revenues is now at risk, too.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Project Paper Doll

EBay (click to see all the dolls and bid on them) is where you can see the creative efforts of some of country's biggest stars, buy them and help The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
* Trace Adkins’ creativity extends beyond his music with his imaginative and delightful doll.
* Rodney Atkins created his doll with a personal touch and the doll embodies the cause of children that it supports.
* Dierks Bentley’s passion for music, the Children’s Hospital and motorcycle riding are all exhibited in his characteristically classic black doll.
* The Brooks & Dunn doll is attention grabbing and full of country pride just like the duo.
* Jimmy Buffett’s doll is designed upside down in true “Fins Up” style.
* Billy Ray Cyrus used his doll to send a message that is close to his heart.
* Charlie Daniels chose to design his doll around words that summarize the purpose behind Project Paper Doll, “Love Kids.”
* Jeff Foxworthy’s humor is demonstrated by his very amusing deer & hunter doll.
* Vince Gill’s doll exhibits his enthusiasm for golf and his consistent desire to help others through the sport.
* George Jones made this doll his own by outlining it with the titles of some of his greatest hit songs.
* Brenda Lee’s doll is just as spunky as she is! Martina McBride’s doll fits her personality perfectly with its ability to be both feminine and powerful.
* Tanya Tucker’s doll represents her classy southern style.
* Phil Vassar’s doll is extremely meaningful to the cause it supports, because he created it with his daughter.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Count Me As One Of The Many Fans Of Larry Nelson

Larry's famous voice has been silenced.

His family was with him as the end came at 3:28 a.m. this morning and they now ask for some time alone.
A memorial service is being planned and will be announced as soon as possible.

If you want to be inspired by a wonderful tribute to a great Pacific Northwest broadcaster click here (Remembering the KOMO Breakfast Table). Spend some time listening and thinking about the impact the best among us can have on the community.
I was at KMPS when Larry was at the height of his popularity in the early 1980's and I never drive by Mt. Vernon and La Conner without thinking about Larry's evocative yearly spring broadcasts from the tulip fields in bloom.

Will DWTS Make Julianne Hough The Next Carrie?

Hopes are high, of course, in her home state of Utah now that she has coached, partnered with stars and danced to the championship twice and she certainly has the all around talent to do it.

It looks like there's money behind her. Nashville vet David Malloy helped her last year with her ITunes hit, which got next to no radio airplay, due to getting no promotion to radio other than a bit of PR to keep the buzz building on her.

Malloy's backgound gives me hope that he knows she needs a major label's support.

And, as nice as "Unraveling" is, I think she also needs three absolutely undeniable great, great songs which define her as totally unique.

Country is an uphill battle for any female singer, since year after year three out of four of the hits are by males. The recycle bin next to my considerations stack is cluttered with great female singers who tried to make it on the national stage with just an indie label behind them and/or with songs that are just "pretty good."

It's not FAIR, but that is how it is.

TK Wins "I Love This Bar" Copyright Suit

A copyright infringement lawsuit brought against country big dog Toby Keith by folk singer Michael McCloud has been dismissed, and "I Love This Bar" scribe Keith has issued a statement regarding the favorable outcome:
"It is an awful thing to be accused wrongfully of copyright infringement. It goes to the core of what you are as a man, a singer/songwriter and an artist," Keith said. "You know it is being done to you by some greedy lowlife opportunist who just wants to get rich off you. In fact, Michael Snyder a/k/a Michael McCloud publicly bragged this lawsuit would make him a rich man, that I would buy him a comfortable life, retirement, house, car, 'big' boat, Harvard education for his children and other things. While he was talking, I was put in the terrible position of not being able to defend myself until the trial and I just could not wait for that day to come. I knew it would take no time at all for the case to be dismissed and it was, of course, with prejudice which means: He had no case whatsoever. I don't have a problem taking heat for my politics or my music. You can like my songs or not but they mean everything to me. I have always said that I may not always be a performer but I will always be a songwriter. So when this lawsuit was filed, it pissed me off. And no matter what it took, I was going to fight it. It was just too wrong. This guy can't sue me again for copyright infringement according to the judgment and I feel that maybe I landed a blow not only for myself, my reputation but for other artists as well. I hope so. As I said, the case was dismissed with prejudice. I didn't pay him or his lawyers a thing." -- Toby Keith

It's too bad that this kind of thing happens to artists, making it harder and harder for them to review any unsolicited new material by budding songwriters who try to hand them music and lyrics everywhere they go.

Anyone who knows TK knows that he could probably take you to the bar in Oklahoma which inspired him to write that song. Or, as Toby Keith says himself....
Call me wrong; call me right
But I bring my better angels to every fight.
You may not like where I am going
But you sure know where I stand."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ARB's PPM New York Fiasco Didn't Have To Happen

Jim Carnegie got the quote from Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil no other publication had today and Bob continues to say in public precisely what our friends at Arbitron need to hear:
"I think the next steps are pretty clear. Their customers, broadcasters and agencies, see little or no value in 6-11 year olds in the sample. They were there for TV purposes. Eliminating them allows the sample size to grow 12 plus, which should help at least get bigger numbers in the challenged age cells. The sampling issues must be dealt with, and I think an 85 index against target is a good floor. That's a "B" in High School and we're paying for an "A". If we don't get there, there should be a rebate to broadcasters and agencies that is significant enough to hurt, so it forces Arbitron to keep an unrelenting focus on the sample. Before another market rolls out, Philly and any other proposed PPM markets must get MRC accredited. Because of this snafu, customers are going to demand to know they are getting a quality product, and the MRC gives us confidence that the data is credible. No more waiting on accreditation. I don't think any of this is unreasonable, nor should it cost customers any more than the huge increases we're paying. It's going to be up to Arbitron to set a new direction here by telling their shareholders and Board that this is going to go slower, and frankly, that their profits on PPM won't be what they thought they were going to be. If they shut down their spin machine, and fix these problems, the industry will move into the Electronic Measurement age smoothly and with confidence. If not, Arbitron may be the Hooper and Pulse of the new millennium."

Back in 1999 when industry relations were less contentious between ARB and its customers I remember the company's Research VP Dr. Ed Cohen say that a good guide for proportionality indexes in all target cells is "... like the FM dial, between 88 and 108."

Even 85 isn't 88, but compared to where we have been in the past year, I'd take it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thank You, Oprah!

Let's hope that she does this Friday for country music 4th quarter music sales what she does for books and the other favorites she loves!

Rascal Flatts will make their first appearance on Oprah and for their portion of the show the band performs “She Goes All The Way” with Jamie Foxx and talk with Oprah about how the two acts came to record together. Foxx’s appearance was a surprise to Oprah.

Rascal Flatts performed previously with Foxx on this year's CMA Awards show, where the trio picked up another CMA Award for Vocal Group. Gary, Jay and Joe Don flew to Chicago for the taping last week after their performance and win as “Favorite Country Band or Group” on the American Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Three Eagles' "500 Feet Of Lights" In Mankato

“Only in Minnesota would people stand around in the freezing cold, and watch a radio tower get lit up,” said Jason Ceminsky of North Mankato, who came with his wife and two children. -- Mankato Free Press

The 500-foot lighted tower is being billed as the “World’s Tallest Christmas Tree” and just proves once again that certain radio stunts always work to get some nice publicity.

It's That Time Of Year.. For Countdowns Of Everything

"Great American Country wants fans to choose the Top 50 Videos of 2007 and there are well over 100 videos to pick from. Vote for up to 10 of your favorites each day, but you can only vote once per day through December 7th.."

Two of Toby Keith’s music videos - “High Maintenance Woman” and “Love Me If You Can” - are among the 100 plus video nominees, according to Keith's website, so it appears that even our artists get into the process of ranking and counting 'em down.

Country fans, thankfully, feel like they OWN their favorite radio stations and video channels and they love being asked to help co-create content with you. Some folks feel like the old tactic "building a new radio station for you" is passe for some formats and audiences, but definitely NOT for our listeners, in my experience!

Even if you routinely do weekly music testing all year round, now is a great time of year to report back to your music panel participants on your findings and changes you made in an email and on the air, so they know that you listen and respond when they speak to you!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"HeART," Inspired By Brickman & McDonald, Created At WIBW-FM

Inspiring artistic achievement makes 'em smile.. (Tourmates, Richie McDonald and Jim Brickman recently visited several radio stations to support their upcoming 35 city Christmas tour. The duo will begin a very ambitious tour schedule starting the day after Thanksgiving and going through New Years Eve.)

See the original video, then please (click to) listen to what Morris Radio's WIBW-FM's crew made out of it, which is airing now in Topeka.

"We’ve really been emphasizing heart in our approach to the relationship with the listener. Take a listen to this..if it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye .. you're a rock.." -- Keith Montgomery, Program Director & Afternoon Drive Personality, 94.5 Country - WIBW-FM, Topeka

Friday, November 23, 2007

I See Paragon's Bob Harper And RAISE Him One

Harper's blog post today isn't about birds, though it starts with that old DJ wild track calling for another canary. It's about a very wise broadcaster advocate named Bob, who is anything but a patsy, in spite of its title: "Patsies Pay More."

I am 100% certain if Paragon did a study for a client and, on presentation day, we told him: “I know we said there would be 600 respondents, but we’re pretty sure 507 will be okay. And, some of these age breaks only have one respondent, but we’re pretty comfortable with that, too,” we would never work in broadcasting again. But, yet, the PPM train persistently chugs along. The squeeze, now that PPM has left the depot: 1) Arbitron will want lots more money from Radio to quickly make their shaky product acceptable. 2) Agencies will be demanding accountability, posting, and guarantees. -- Bob Harper

Bob, I see you. In fact. I HEAR you and here's my ante: Is there any other broadcast research company which would have the temerity to actually contract for a project and then after delivering the results ask for either more money or propose changes in the methodology to cut their costs of doing the job right? Especially, after this company had developed and perfected that methodology for more than a decade?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Smart PR For The Holiday: Kiddie Table Stats and Facts

More than nine in ten adults surveyed (94 percent) have sat at a kiddie table during Thanksgiving, while 83 percent have sat at the kiddie table for Christmas and 47 percent have sat there during Easter meals.
More than one in four adults (26 percent) and almost half of the children surveyed (44 percent) think the kiddie table is just plain more fun than the adult table.

Plastic folding tables are all the rage. Most often, adults ages 18-24 years old say their kiddie table was a plastic folding table (37 percent), but only six percent of respondents ages 45 and older can make that claim.

Forty percent of adults ages 18-24 say their kiddie table was set with disposable plates and utensils, while only 11 percent of adults ages 45 and older make that claim. 84-percent of adults 45 and older report that their kiddie table had a tablecloth on it, but only 54 percent of people in the 18-24 age group say their table was set that way.

SO... grab a seat at the kid's table and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Garth's Next Major Announcement Is Monday (11/26) At 12 Noon PT

Garth Brooks' next concert will raise money for the victims of the recent California fires and for the future of fire fighting in the State of California. The concert will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2008 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

According to Brooks’ spokesperson, California elected officials have come to Garth to ask his help in raising money for those affected by the recent fires.

“I’m flattered they’ve asked and I’m honored to accept. This is going to take a team effort like nothing I have ever been a part of before.” -- Garth Brooks.

For more information on Garth Brooks contact Nancy Seltzer at (310) 938-3562.

A&O Exclusive: Country Radio Listeners' Favorite Christmas Music

Albright & O'Malley client stations are currently conducting the first ever country radio listener online test of nearly 300 Christmas songs using the technology of Troy Research.

A few quick factoids from the data as of today, with the survey still in progress (each title was scored by an average of 500 members of A&O client stations email databases across the US and Canada):

Most popular (ranking songs by positive scores)
1. Angels Among Us - Alabama (4.44)
2. The Christmas Shoes - Newsong (4.29)
3. Let It Be Christmas - Alan Jackson (4.23)
4. Old Toy Trains - Toby Keith (4.21)
5. The Christmas Guest - Reba McEntire (4.19)

Most tired/burnt
1. Jingle Bells - Statler Brothers (28%)
2. Silver Bells - Dwight Yoakam (26%)
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Chet Atkins (24%)

Most recognized (highest ranking songs by familiarity percentage)
T1. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee (98%)
T1. Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms (98%)
T2. Holly Jolly Christmas - Alan Jackson (97%)
T2. Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives (97%)
T2. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry (97%)
T2. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Alan Jackson (97%)
T2. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer - Elmo & Patsy (97%)
T2. Frosty The Snowman - Willie Nelson (97%)
T2. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams (97%)

For more info on the project, contact Mike O'Malley (732 937-5757) or Jaye Albright (206 498-6261).

Monday, November 19, 2007

'60 Minutes' Preview: Eagles

This Sunday on "60 Minutes," CBS News' Steve Kroft catches up with The Eagles, as they rehearse new songs from their first studio album in 28 years. (click to watch a preview)

Jennifer Nettles Does It Again With Another Awards Show Surprise

Sugarland blew me away on the CMA Awards and their latest coup was last night's Beyonce "duet" on ‘Irreplaceable’ at the 2007 American Music Awards (click at watch it, first in on stage performances from last summer and now on national TV)

"A good thing about a good song is it can be played in any genre. I'm up for anything. I love it." -- Jennifer Nettles

PS - I seldom engage in online disagreements with the folks who post comments on this blog, but I must respectfully at least partially disagree with "Anon" (below) who cast stones at these kind of award show duets with non-country artists.

Click here to listen to the entire 3:30 performance by Nettles and Knowles and see if you don't agree that they do what live music performance coaching expert Tom Jackson calls "Performance Plus."

Maybe I'm swayed a bit by the fact that Edison Research's Larry Rosin actually suggested that a country artist ought to do a duet with Beyonce in his CRS '07 research presentation as a way of bringing Hispanics to country music, but I'd say they propel the song to a new level and use all the possibilities a live performance offers to take a familiar song to new places to engage the audience in ways they've never heard or seen before. To me, that's what live performance should be about!

A special thank you to Jim Murphy (303-784-8757) for the great TV audio clip, who proves that one way you become the VP of Country Media at Jones Radio Networks in Denver is by being smart enough to always have the digital recorder going during every awards broadcast!

Trace Adkins Customized Video On Your/Your Competition's Website

TRACE ADKINS will star as a video spokesperson on the Web sites of 25 radio stations as part of Capitol Records' campaign to promote the new album beginning today.

The promotion also includes a contest to win a Dream Trip to Paris (and I don't mean Paris, Texas). Adkins appears on the Web sites through the use of the iAds Video Spokesperson from Innovate Ads.

Launching Adkins' new single, video and promoting the new album, the Adkins "Love Doctor" ad campaign kicks off today on three leading country radio station Web sites, and then rolls out nationwide over the next three weeks. The first stations to carry the ad are KMLE/Phoenix, WLXX/Lexington and KKNG/Oklahoma City.

Adkins stars as the video spokesperson on each station's Web site and promotes the radio stations by using the station's call letters, promoting the station contests and events. He offers them a chance to win a trip for two to Paris, France; view his new video; and/or buy his new album by clicking on him. The campaign concludes on Dec. 31.
The iAds Video Spokesperson brings the celebrity personality to a new medium--radio station Web sites--where the celebrity repeats the call letters in a video that is customized for each individual radio station: "This creates a personal connection between the celebrity and the visitor and is proven to increase click-through." -- John Cecil, president of Innovate Ads

This is the second campaign Capitol Records has done with Innovate Ads starring Adkins. Adkins was the video spokesperson for 15 radio stations Web sites in August--telling viewers about his new CD, inviting them to buy it by clicking on him, and communicating the stations' current promotions. More than 495,000 people viewed the Adkins Video Spokesperson ad on the radio station Web sites, and more than 57,000 clicked to go to his "buy page."

The campaign will run on the Web sites of "top" country radio stations in the following markets as chosen by the Capitol/Nashville promo team: Phoenix, Spokane, Visalia-Tular, Portland, Fresno, Bakersfield, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Francisco, Madison, Indianapolis, Lexington, Philadelphia, Roanoke, Greensboro, Augusta, Atlanta, Columbia, Ft Myers, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and Wichita.

Is it just me? If you were going on WebTV, wouldn't you get a haircut or at least tuck that pony tail into the hat? Where were the Queer Eye guys when straight guy Trace needed 'em? (smile)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Make Both Men And Women Laugh

Doug Colligan has a terrific article in Reader's Digest ("The secret to tickling his or her funny bone") on what's funny for men and women, but don't stop at just reading the article online.
Science journalist Kathleen Stein's The Genius Engine describes how researchers there used MRIs to photograph the brain as it processed a joke.

Neuroscientists Vinod Goel, PhD, and Raymond J. Dolan, MD, bombarded their captive audience with corny jokes (Q: Why don’t sharks bite lawyers? A: Professional courtesy), tricky semantics (Q: What do you give the man who has everything? A: Antibiotics) and slightly edgier stuff like this one from Chris Rock: “The only thing I know about Africa is that it’s far, far away. About a 35-hour flight. The boat ride’s so long, there are still slaves on their way here.”

The scientists watched the subjects’ brain cells spark into activity and pinpointed the neurological equivalent of the funny bone. It resides in a region called the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a neighborhood of convoluted gray matter tucked in the front of the brain where some of the higher functions of language and thought reside. Not only were neuronal responses positively ablaze in the PFC, but they also varied according to the funniness of the joke.
“When a participant laughed out loud a specific region lit up .. the brain’s comedy central.”

Be sure to click on the links as well:

Thanks to CJJR-CKBD, Vancouver PD Gord Eno for the tip!

Katz Radio Waves Is Back And It's Worth A Read

I don't know where it went for the last six months, but it's nice to have it back with great pro-radio material like this:
"Radio has a unique opportunity in today's digital world. The negative perspective might portray Radio as threatened by "new" media but nothing could be further than the truth. The digital world gives Radio the ability to expand its horizons to limitless possibilities, enabling Radio to morph from one medium into four"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Garth Plays To 159,775 Fans In Nine Nights


At one point during Garth Brooks' triumphant 9th and final show in Kansas City last night, he was presented a large plaque for drawing 159,775 fans during his 9-show series at the new Sprint Center (where Garth cut the ribbon to open the joint up). The Sprint Center General Manager, Brenda Tinnen, declared that an identical plaque would reside in a place of honor high above of the center until Garth comes back to play there again.


Based on an educated guess, average ticket price of $25, Garth's total audience would translate to a gross of just under $4 million dollars for the 9-shows. Estimating too, that 300 theaters with average seating of around 400 per house and an average ticket price of $10, adds and estimated $1.2 dollars for last night bringing the total (before tonight's theatrical replay showings of the final show), brings the total gross to $5.2 million dollars, unofficial estimate.


Everybody walked away from Sprint Center or their local movie house running the show, with an unforgettable experience that one of the greatest performers of the 20th and 21st centuries so far, has been gifting fans for nearly two decades. It was vintage Garth, full of love, power, timeless songs, unpredictable performances and patter from a master that has lost none, in the 8 years he's been retired, of that "thing" that comes out of him on stage placing thousands of fans in the palm of his hand, and him planted firmly in their hearts. It's amazing, but not unexpected that Garth remains, Garth.

There were fans of all ages crowding the stage. And, it was impressive to see young women, who were likely 10 to 12 years old when Garth released his greatest hits, all responding to the timeless tunes with as much passion and enthusiasm as their older sisters or parents. Not, only responding but singing word-for-word "the old stuff" (as Garth declared he was planning to perform each night).

Garth didn't swing on ropes or stage dive or fly overhead or run and jump like he sometimes did. And he didn't bother to color his graying hair to look as young as he did 8 years ago, he just presented Garth and all the energy, charisma and joyful performances that he has always offered his fans...and they loved it!


While there's nothing that can beat being physically present for the palpable Brooks' live experience, we have to admit the big screen presentation we saw came real close to feeling like you are right there. Produced and directed by Jon Small, the genius director of Garth's videos and concert DVDs, the incredible attention to a surround sound system created the feeling that you were sitting in the middle of a section of a 1,000 people, with hoops and hollers, clapping and singing happening around you as it does in a big arena. The visuals are HD quality on a grand scale(imagine a HD screen in your home 60 x 40 ft), with close ups of Garth so intimate you could see the joy and fire in his eyes. The music mix of the theater show was simply phenomenal.

The experience was so real that the audience in the movie house was cheering, and singing along. At one point, Garth addresses the movie theater audience saying, "You don't have a hair on your a__ if you don't get up on your feet and shout." The movie crowd did just that with the illusion of being a live participant at the show, complete.

If you didn't make it to the live movie house show last night, it's worth going to the replay tonight.

Watch for future theatrical tie-ins like this to be tried by other artists on tour.

MEANWHILE, don't forget that Garth's Kansas City shows started out as a thank you concert for Wal-Mart employees, and as a way to promoted his Ultimate Hits package. And, Garth will continue to do that next week on GAC when they present “Ultimate Garth-The Ultimate Hits.” For a glimpse of just how much the music means to Garth Brooks, country music fans need look no further than Sunday’s one-hour television special on Great American Country, Ultimate Garth -The Ultimate Hits, which airs Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET. GAC takes viewers behind the scenes to see how the top-selling solo artist of all time hand-picked songs and videos included in Brooks’ latest CD/DVD greatest hits collection titled, Garth Brooks – The Ultimate Hits.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CKRY Sets ($1.6 Million) North American CMN Record

The fifth annual Country 105 Cares for Kids Radiothon has raised more than $1.6 million for the Alberta Children’s Hospital in only three days.

The Country 105 Cares for Kids Radiothon is the only radiothon in Canada to top the million-dollar mark with only one radio station. In addition to this distinction, this year’s radiothon also broke the North American record for the most generous donation per listener – more than four and a half times the average gift in both Canada and the United States! In just five years the Country 105 Cares for Kids Radiothon has raised $5.8 million.

“Radiothon is very close to our hearts at Country 105,” says Garry McKenzie, General Manager for Country 105 and Corus Radio in Calgary. “The success of our five years of Radiothon speaks volumes to the dedication and generosity of our listeners. It makes us very proud to be part of this community.”

“What a great way to celebrate the amazing work of our caregivers and the tremendous spirit of the children and families who are cared for at our hospital,” says Steve Hoscheit, President & CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We are so grateful to have a radio partner so open to sharing its airwaves to benefit kids and families in our community.”

The fifth annual Country 105 Cares for Kids Radiothon took place November 7-9 live from the Alberta’s Children Hospital.

Dozens of children, families and caregivers captivated listeners with their stories of hope, help and healing Country music star and former nurse Paul Brandt again dropped by to co-host with the announcers and interview children in hospital.

MegaPrize, More Than The Culmination Of A Great Book Promotion

Last night in Barrie-Orillia-Midland and tonight in Kichener-Waterlook-Cambridge-Guelph, the Larche stations reward their listeners for their loyalty with a great show and some amazing prizes, presented with lots of fun and show biz.

If you're ever near Casino Rama during KICX Megaprize week, I strongly urge you to attend and see how loyalty is built, one person at a time, by creating powerful entertainment experiences!

Garth Wraps Up KC Run, Trisha Goes Online With New LP

I love the fact that you can grab interviews with Garth right on the home page of his site.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City newspaper music reviewers keep coming up with new angles on their flowing reviews.

Now, stations from Detroit to Orlando and all points in-between are previewing Trisha Yearwood's new LP online.

.. so, before you say "no" to that syndicated radio special for use on your air (let's face it, just how many artists can hold audience through a solid hour of their music?), consider your website.

Country Radio is starting to wag its own "
Long Tail," thanks to artists, labels and management with vision like these!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Country's Spring 12+ Share Was Great, Summer '07 = Back Down To Normal

Country held its own again 25-34, but dipped a bit in our core 35+ cells, as Arbitron's national summer listening trends based on the continuously measured markets, the top radio markets in the United States go online at:

* Format Trends

Monday, November 12, 2007

Xerox Does Brilliant PR And a Terrific Community Service

It's called "let's say thanks," and I'll bet you'll want to tell your listeners about it.

You can pick out a "thank you" card that the company will print and send to a soldier serving in Iraq. You can't choose who will receive your card, but the elves at Xerox say they will ensure that it gets to a member of the armed services. The company also said it will continue to offer the service for as long as it's needed.

Keith + Carrie = "Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour"

Grammy Award winners Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood are set to hit the road together in '08, a 24-city tour that combines the music of two of the music industry's most powerful performers. The name of the tour combines the titles of each artist's most recent album. Tickets are set to go on sale as of December 1st.

"I'm looking forward to hitting the road with Carrie, and to bringing our audiences together for what I think will be a magical night of sights, sounds, songs and solos," -- Urban.

"I can't think of a better person to begin 2008 with than Keith. He is an amazing entertainer and a well-respected musician, singer and songwriter." -- Underwood

Cities on the tour:

Uncasville, CT
Rochester, NY
New York City, NY
Hershey, PA
Atlantic City, NJ
Roanoke, VA
Tallahassee, FL
Charleston, WV
Biloxi, MS
Bossier City, LA
Kansas City, MO
Wichita, KS
Omaha, NE
Denver, CO
San Jose,CA
Anaheim, CA
Baltimore, MD
Charlottesville, VA
State College, PA
Charleston, SC
Charlotte, NC
Raleigh, NC
Gwinnett, GA
Lexington, KY

Sunday, November 11, 2007

CMA Awards "Who Wore What" (Paper Cuts)

Leave it to the LA Times ("where did the sequins go?" to rate the outfits...

Carrie: style with substance, LeAnn Rimes' nude scenes, Michelle Branch "classy," Brad & Kimberly "country couple," Taylor Swift golden girl, Jewel "breast-dressed," Martina "dowdy" McBride, Sheryl "nun" Crow, Keith & ("pale") Nicole, Gretchen & Kid (pictured) "dressing down."
"I don't know about you, but I miss the sequins, the sparkles, the big hair and the overdone makeup. Mostly, I miss Dolly Parton." -- writer Elizabeth Snead

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Question Is: Do 37% Of Country Listeners Abuse Substances? (Or, Even GO To Mexico?)

From the "don't believe everything you read" dept...

Could country music be worse for kids than rock music? If you judge by the number of alcohol and drug references in songs, a new study suggests the answer could be yes.

Researchers who looked at the bestselling songs in several genres from 2005 found that 37 percent of top country songs featured references to drugs or alcohol, compared to just 14 percent of rock songs.

"It's not like country music is as wholesome as mom and apple pie," said Ralph DiClemente, a professor of public health at Emory University who's familiar with the study findings. But country couldn't hold a candle to rap music, whose singers referred to substance use in a whopping 77 percent of songs.

The study, released Wednesday at the American Public Health Association annual meeting, in Washington, D.C., didn't examine whether there's a link between song content and how kids behave. Still, research does suggest that children aged 8 to 18 listen to popular music about two hours a day.

"It's good for us to know that this exposure is there so that we can go the next step," said study author Dr. Brian Primack, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "We can talk to kids about it and say what we think is correct, and what is not."

The study researchers looked at 279 of the bestselling songs in 2005, based on Billboard magazine charts, in five genres they considered popular with kids -- rap, country, R&B/hip-hop, rock, and pop. In total, one-third of songs referred to substance use. Just 9 percent of pop songs and 20 percent of R&B/hip-hop songs did.

I'm with this Canadian site: "obviously."

Toby Keith's "Stay's In Mexico" is one of my personal fav's, but in spite of that have never been in Mexican waters sans my swim suit.. (at least, that I can recall)

Hopefully, Dr. Primack (who seems to specialize in researching - pre-judging? - others' behaviors) thinks THAT, too, is "correct!" (i.e., for me, what happens in country music stays in country music..)

I Only Have Two Complaints On This Clear Channel Contest

Here's the promo, heard in Washington, D.C.: The Money is in the Music -- with the WMZQ $1000 Cash Song Of The Day. Listen weekday mornings at 7:35 for the song of the day to play -- then be caller nine and you win $1000 for your workday or $5000 on Thursday. And we really, really want you to win -- so you've got an extra chance to enter online. Check our web site for a calendar of songs to listen for.

1. Could "we" please ban plural pronouns from all stationality? The words "us" and "we" offer one more opportunity to brand your product.

2, If you really, really, really, really want to get more people to participate, why not make more specific listening appointments than just one per day at 7:35 and tell me exactly when you'll play the song on the web-based music calendar, or even better on the air right now so I don't have to do anything but LISTEN?

OK, I am feeling better now, thank you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

November Hot/Not: Asking Santa For HDTV

This year’s frigid economic climate may have Santa’s sleigh on the skids come December…with soaring crude oil prices, a dismal housing market, and the credit crunch, only 37.3% say they are very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, down more than seven points from October’s 44.8% and a whopping 13 points from ’06 (50.3%).

Thankful thoughts and the jolly holiday spirit generally lift consumer sentiment in Q4, but this is the first time in recent years this figure has declined from October to November.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE...What's Hot and What's Not: Stumped about what to get that special someone, but have a large wad of cash in your pocket? Check out your local electronics department, as more than three in four (77.3%) contend that HDTVs are what’s hot this month…online holiday shopping (favored among 71.7%) follows. Black Friday Shopping and MySpace are preferred among the younger set, while those 35+ are more likely root for the Boston Red Sox.

What’s Not? More than 80% indicate that they won’t take a walk on the wild side with leopard print. (duh!)