Thursday, January 31, 2008

Roadmap 2008

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NRF Study: Valentine EXPERIENCES Are Hot This Year

“Consumers are expected to invest time and money on gifts of experience this year, in addition to staple Valentine’s Day gifts,” said Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch Phil Rist. “Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a night out on the town, consumers are looking for quality rather than quantity.”

Adults aged 25-34 plan on spending the most this year with the average person planning to shell out $160.37. Young adults will be the second biggest spenders, with the average 18-24 year old expected to spend $145.59, followed by 45-54 year olds ($117.91), 35-44 year olds ($116.35) and 55-64 year olds ($110.97).

As cupid prepares for his biggest day of the year, consumers are also planning special ways to celebrate with their loved ones. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, the average consumer plans to spend $122.98 on Valentine’s Day, similar to last year’s $119.67. Total spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $17.02 billion.*

Traditional gifts, such as candy, flowers and jewelry will see a slight decrease in popularity this year with more consumers preferring gifts of experience and gift cards. Almost half (48.2%) of all consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special night out, compared to 45.3 percent last year, and 12.3 percent will give a gift card, compared to 11.3 percent last year. Greeting cards still remain the most popular choice, though the number of people planning to purchase one is down from last year (56.8% vs. 62.8% last year). Nearly 48.0 percent of consumers will buy candy, 35.9 will buy flowers and 11.8 percent will buy clothing.

“Valentine’s Day is a great time to get creative with gift options,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Most people agree that it’s the thought that counts, but shelves will also be filled with traditional gifts for those who want to celebrate the old-fashioned way.”

Six out of ten consumers plan on celebrating this year, and of those celebrating, the majority plan on spending the most on their significant other or spouse ($79.99). The survey also found that consumers plan to spend slightly more on friends ($5.75 vs. $4.93 in 2007), children’s classmates and teachers ($4.05 vs. $3.35) and co-workers ($3.02 vs. $2.40) than they did last year.

When it comes to real puppy love, 17.2 percent of celebrators also plan to spend on their pets this Valentine’s Day. Spending on pets for the holiday is estimated to reach $367 million.

Not surprisingly, men will again dish out the most this year, spending an average of $163.37 on gifts and cards, compared to an average of $84.72 spent by women.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's It Like To Be Recruited To Be An ARB Diarykeeper?

Everyone who wants to understand how 'the system' which controls their life works ought to spend to time at this site, thinking about the marketing implications (and potential for abuse) it opens.

If you received our postcard or letter, then you are one of the few people in your area chosen to tell radio stations what you listen to.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sara And Willie At The Superbowl

Sara Evans will be performing for VIPs at the NFL Super Bowl XLII Tailgate Party outside of the University of Phoenix Stadium on game day February 3.

After performing a full concert for those in attendance, Evans will join Willie Nelson on-stage during his set to sing the Willie classic “Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” The duet will be televised on the FOX pre-game festivities.

To make the day even more special, Evans will be attending her first Super Bowl game with her son Avery and friends.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Neil Haislop Goes Ga-Ga Over Ga-arth

His photos and review will be online tomorrow, meanwhile here's a sneak preview of it all:

How is it possible for a performer to take himself out of the game for nearly 8 years, only to come back late last year and re-assert himself at a level of performance and consumer demand as great as the day he departed? Well, 99% percent of the time, that would be impossible, but not for Garth Brooks.

Stepping back on stage to support a new disc collection, to help fight breast cancer and to honor and support the firefighters of California, Garth proved again that he's still "Garthgantua," a bigger than life superstar, encased in the body of still charming and humble, real human being.

His 9 consecutive sold-out shows in Kansas City, were the first proof that Garth has remained a major American music icon. Country radio rushed to his press conference to announce those first shows then to see what was up, and subsequently supported him by playing his old and new music, sending his first solo single in nearly a decade, "More Than a Memory," to #1 in record time. It all became one of the biggest events of the year in country music for 2007.
Just a short time later, after spawning an idea to pay tribute to and support California's firefighters who'd fought and won a battle with huge wildfires that ravaged Southern California, Garth has created already one of the biggest events of 2008 that will be hard to beat.
Scheduling 5 full shows in two days at L.A.'s Staples arena seemed an impossible task. When asked how he'd get through it, he said, "You just do it." And that he did, for 5 complete shows, including the first show Friday, that was broadcast live on CBS TV, 85,000 fans came saw and loved Garth all over again.
By Saturday night's final show that began at 9:30pm, if Brooks had any ring rust before starting the run of 14 shows in Kansas City and L.A., it had vanished. What the fans at Saturday's show got was absolutely vintage Garth, as exciting, musical and unpredictable as any of his shows during the 1990s.
From the first note to the last, all 17,500 fans in Staples Saturday night stood up and never sat down through 24 songs, 2 hours and 20 minutes of non-stop hits. Garth and his old magic were back!

Garth had promised to give his all for that final show, not hampered by time constraints of getting 17,500 fans out and back into the venue for the next show...and, give it he did as Imagehe kicked things off with a joint jumpin' version of "Callin' Baton Rouge." Halfway into the show, he had a little help from wife, Trisha Yearwood, whose entrance brought the house down. They performed a passionate version of "In Another's Eyes," followed by Garth subbing for Don Henley on version of "Walkaway Joe" that was astonishingly great.

By the encore, not yet satiated fans wanted more. Garth delivered again with, "Ain't Going Down 'til Sun Comes Up." At that point, he'd given everything he had and the crowd felt it and loved him for putting on such an amazing performance, after having given it up for two other audiences that same day.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Listeners Are Doing More (..and MORE!) Other Things As They Listen To You

How much media can any one person consume? According to BIGresearch’s latest Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11), in which 15,727 people participated, the only way for people to keep up with the deluge of media options is to multitask with other media. The level of simultaneous media usage in SIMM 11 increased over SIMM 10 for all major forms of media.
“Technology is creating new media options faster than most people can assimilate and is causing more multitasking,” said Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch. “Unfortunately for marketers faced with the challenges of an uncertain economy and the need to increase marketing ROI, new media options are impacting how consumers use traditional media. Specifically, TV’s influence on consumers to purchase products declined, whereas new media options such as web radio, satellite radio, instant messaging and blogging all increased. Consumers seem to be seeking information from digital platforms while TV has traditionally been viewed as a brand building medium, which isn’t providing the requisite information,” said Drenik.
This does not mean all traditional media are declining in influence. Media that can target, be timely, and deliver value to consumers, such as coupons/direct mail, radio, yellow pages, newspapers and newspaper inserts all increased in influence to purchase as consumers are looking to stretch budgets in a slowing economy.
Other Key Findings from SIMM 11 include:
  • Regular simultaneous media consumption for online, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and direct mail is up from 1% to 35%, depending on the medium.
  • Channel surfing remains the #1 regular activity engaged in during TV commercials with 41.2% doing so followed by:
    • 33.5% talk with others in the room or by phone
    • 30.2% mentally tune out
    • 5.5% regularly fully attend to commercials
  • In SIMM 11, eating continues to be the #1 activity people engage in while using media followed by doing housework, doing laundry, cooking and talking on phone.
  • Top simultaneous media used when reading a newspaper are: watch TV, listen to the radio and go online.
  • For people listening to radio, other media simultaneously used are (top 3): engage in other activities, go online and read the newspaper.
  • Web radio usage is up in all dayparts.
  • Cable is where most TV viewing takes place.
  • Dayparts which had highest number of media types increase usage over SIMM 10 – 1:00 am to 6:00 am, Noon to 4:30 pm, 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm and 10:00 am to Noon.
  • Blogging increases in all dayparts.
Contact, for more info: Chrissy Wissinger, BIGresearch, Worthington, Ohio - (614) 846-0146/ To receive a recap of the key findings, click

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ads That Grab And Hold Attention; Create Buzz

Sonny Melendrez
can't stop broadcasting, and he has brought his Texas and California radio audiences over the years with him to the internet these days. He clearly "gets" content, so when he sends an email under the subject line "Clevertising," I couldn't resist a click.

There's a lesson in these powerful images: creativity is mashing up two or more familiar things in a surprising, delightful way and there's nothing stronger in proving what your brand stands for than real people in authentic situations engaging with it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Los Angeles Is About To Catch (Garth) Fire Again

Garth Brooks met the press yesterday morning at Staples Center in Los Angeles where he begins his historic five full shows in two days. The conference was webcast live from
The shows, today and tomorrow, are to benefit the firefighters of California who fought last year's disastrous wildfires that burned millions of acres of Southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego.

Garth, who once had saved people from an Oklahoma grass fire, was quick to explain why he wanted to help out the people of California.
"I'm from Oklahoma, I know a lot about grass fires, I know a lot about wind and fire and I've never, ever seen wind and fire like I saw on television and the fact that these guys (firefirghters) are not fighting on a flat surface like we do at home. They deserve much respect and all the help they can get, so I feel lucky to be a part of this. Raising money for this is part of this...what's most important for me is where that money goes and how that money is distributed."

Garth then thanked the L.A.Times/McCormick Foundation for taking over the logistical cost of collecting and distributing the funds raised by his concerts, noting that the administrative part takes a lot of the funds raised and expressed his gratitude that all of the funds raised by his concerts will go to giving support to L.A. area firefighters.

(photo) Garth was presented a 5 disc plaque by Staples Center to commemorate his history making 5 full shows in two days at the venue. Brooks was also presented a certificate of achievement and made an honorary Cal-Fire fighter by a group of firefighters the represented all the different agencies that had been engaged in battling the West Coast holocaust.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Creating A Social Network With Fan Photos

WZZK, Birmingham's web logo says it all: "Connecting You to Music, News, and Family Fun"

"Another great concert in Birmingham? That means more great Fan Fotos from you! If you took pictures at the George Strait/Little Big Town concert Thursday night at the BJCC, we want to see 'em! Send us your best Fan Fotos and we'll post 'em on the website! (Don't forget to include your name and the name of the artist in the e-mail! - also, watch your filesizes! If your e-mail attachment is larger than 5mb, I will never see it - if you have more than 5mb worth of Fan Fotos, please send 'em all, just break it up into more than one e-mail.)"
Are any of your listeners flying to Los Angeles to see Garth this weekend? Will they have their cell phone cameras with them? Are you going to talk about their videos and photos on Monday? Just askin'...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let's Get Big & Rich To Ring That Bell Every Day

The headline: Stocks recover from sharp losses. And, wouldn't you know that country music played a role in the market turnaround??

One-hundred-twenty-million people world-wide watched as John Rich, Dee Snider and Carnie Wilson of CMT's new reality show "Gone Country" rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange today. On what has been a rollercoaster ride at the NYSE the last 24 hours, the mood on the trading floor was optimistic. As John strutted on the floor he heard "Yee Haw!" and "Welcome to our City!" from the NYSE stock specialists. "Hitting the gavel at the New York Stock Exchange and closing out the day with the stock market up over 300 points was exhilarating," said Rich. "My heart was racing and my blood was pumping. Not a bad place to wind up for an ol' country boy."

The NYSE bell ringing was part of a two-day media blitz for “Gone Country.” CMT’s “Gone Country” premieres with a special one-hour episode on Friday, Jan. 25 at 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM, ET/PT. The premiere episode of “Gone Country” will air across other MTV Networks, including VH1, TV Land and MTV2 (Check local listings for airdates and times). John Rich takes seven established performers from every realm of the entertainment and music industries, including Bobby Brown, Wilson, Snider, Diana DeGarmo, Julio Iglesias Jr., Maureen McCormick and Sisqó and immerses them in all things country for a chance to break out as the next big country superstar.

Pictured (l-r): Pamela Yi, Director Investor Relations, Viacom; John Rich; Tom Veit, Euronext Executive Vice President, NYSE; Dee Snider; Carnie Wilson.

More info from Warner Bros. Records Publicity: Tree Paine (615) 214-1500 or Brandi Sanford (615) 214-1500

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Get Mooned By A Bovine

Did I post anything back in September when CJJR, Vancouver, did "Triple Your Pay" last fall? NOOOO, but heck they didn't have a cool graphic like this for that contest! (although it did really move the needle for them, judging from the Fall '07 BBM).

I just received the promo email from Clay St. Thomas & Karen Daniels of The JRfm Waking Crew:

Moolah the JRfm Cash Cow will return Monday morning (January 28) and she’s bringing a ton of cash and a milk pail full of Rascal Flatts tickets. Just listen for your cue to call 604-280-9370 and win big cash. Everyone who plays wins a pair of tickets to the nearly sold out Rascal Flatts concert, and these are great tickets!

You'll have a chance to play two times per day, Monday to Friday. But as an Online Insider Member you will get advance notice of the times when the JRfm Cash Cow contest is played. Watch your email later this week for the JRfm Cash Cow schedule.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WSOC's "Stout Pull"

The promo:
" .. the first ever 103.7 WSOC Stout Pull, our idea of what a guitar pull should be, featuring Jake Owen, Lee Brice, Keith Anderson, and Trent Tomlinson on Wednesday, January 23rd at Coyote Joe’s, located at 4621 Wilkinson Blvd., in Charlotte. Doors open at 7p.m. and the show will begin at 9p.m. Ladies get in FREE and guys pay only 3 bucks and all proceeds will benefit the Loaves and Fishes food pantry..."
Why call it a Stout Pull? You'll have to ask OM DJ (Stout).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Faith And Live Nation Celebrate A Career Landmark

How would you like to win a Faith Hill plaque, commemorating over 30,000,000 albums sold worldwide? What if it was also autographed by Faith Hill, and had your name personally engraved on it? Feeling lucky? Enter To Win Now

One winner will be drawn every week, for four weeks. Must be at least 13 years of age to enter.Read complete official rules and regulations.

Our Believability Is Slipping

19.6% of Americans surveyed say they believe all or most of media news reporting. That’s down from 27.4% in2003. The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to influence public opinion -- from79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003 to 87.6% in 2007.

Frighteningly (to me and it sounds like to some others too - it may say as much about America right now as it does about the news media), Americans surveyed in the poll say that the most trusted national TV outlets, in descending order were Fox News (27.0%); CNN (14.6%); NBC News(10.90%); ABC News (7.0%); local news (6.9%); CBS News (6.8%); MSNBC (4.0%); PBS News (3.0%); and,CNBC (0.6%).

Large majorities:
-- See too much coverage of celebrities
-- Say media has more influence on children than parents
-- Say there's too much sex on TV
-- Support limits on advertising content surrounding children's shows

The new national poll was conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute and finds large majorities of Americans, 80.7%, pay no or very little attention to celebrities when they make political or public policy statements. This is down slightly from 81.9% found in a 2003 Sacred Heart Poll.

"Once again, Americans are loudly confirming they just don't care who Oprah or Magic Johnson support for President," said Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the SHU Polling Institute. He added, "Americans may be enjoying the free entertainment from Hollywood celebrities, but it's not moving them to the polls."

Three-fifths of Americans surveyed (59.1%) would rather see celebrities leave public policy-making to the experts and the voters. This is down somewhat from 69.5% in a 2003 SHU Poll. Another 31.7% suggested celebrities should publicly voice their political views. This is up somewhat from 27.6% in a 2003 Sacred Heart Poll.
“Americans know bias and imbalance when they see it and they don’t like it. When most service organizations strive for consumer satisfaction ratings in the high eighties to low nineties, an overall positive rating of 40.7% is disma. Americans know that it’s just not that hard to present
both sides and keep personal bias at home.” -- Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute

Most Americans (88.1%) did agree there was too much coverage of celebrities. (could there be some bias in this study? I wonder why the ratings of that coverage are so high?)

"The dissatisfaction with media content expressed by the majority of the American public could be viewed as an opportunity for media professionals to address issues that affect the American public as voters and citizens, not just as consumers and fans," stated James Castonguay, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of SHU's Department of Media Studies & Digital Culture. "At the same time, the American public views the Internet as a tool that can both educate and entertain," he added.

National poll respondents did see the Internet as having a positive impact. Three-quarters of Americans surveyed, 75.0%, agreed that the Internet is a positive educational supplement today.

A&O's Annual Pre-CRS Seminar, Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The event will be at the Country Hall Of Fame's Ford Theater, from 2:00 to 5:30 pm. So, If you are coming to CRS-08, be sure to arrive Tuesday before noon.

Keynote Speaker: Bill Black, Director, U.S. Store Marketing at Starbucks Coffee Company (officed in Atlanta).

Special Guest: Lyric Street artist, American Idol finalist Phil Stacey

A&O will update our "Roadmap '08" national country radio listener perceptual tracking study.

More info to come, soon! Admission is free, by invitation only. All A&O clients are invited of course. If you're not a client and would like an invitation, email Mike or Jaye.

Tim McGraw Caps A Great Day Of Golf For a Great Cause

It's the same week as CRS, but if you'll happen to be in Austin on Friday (3/7), here's another place to meet a lot of stars and do something really good!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Four Numbers To Worry About

9. The total number of current songs tested this week by Critical Mass Media for Clear Channel country stations, as reported by Mediabase callout.

23%. CD sales' Soundscan January slump continues on total sales on the "all-format" chart dated 1/16/08, which are down almost -23%. Country CD sales are down -19.8% in the same report.

11%. - the percentage Tuesday's American Idol premiere was down from last year's, in spite of the fact that it was again Number One for the night.

1000. A per person diary value, never seen in the past but now showing up more and more in many larger markets in both male and female 18-24 and 25-34 demo cells, ethnic and non ethnic. Even more frightening, we are now seeing this incredible weighting figure in medium and smaller markets where sample sizes are so small that the key to reliable estimates is consistent sample proportionality. One national rep's researcher says that PPDV's over 1,000 are now "very common. 18-24 is actually not too bad in a lot of markets -- the problem has grown up and now invades 25-34 and even 35-44 ... a big money demo. And, it's not just Men anymore either ... there are horrendous PPDV's with Women too -- specifically W18-24 and W25-34 (not too bad with W35-44 yet .. that age cell problem is mostly with Men). Needless to say, there are markets with huge Black and Hispanic PPDVs as well..." (watch Mike O'Malley's blog for more on this scary trend Monday)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sammy Simpson's Newest Idea-Sharing Blog

1. When you giveaway a vehicle, have the dealer change the chrome vehicle ID to match your brand.

2. Turn a grand opening or other function into an interactive event, office-golf.

3. A great way to generate traffic for a trade show or any traffic generating need, longest kiss.

4. Make it a Cinco de Mayo they will remember. Turn someone into a human pinata.

See photos of these and more (including the "undy 500").

Can WIVK Get Garth?

"It has been years since Garth Brooks has come to Knoxville, and now WIVK asks, CAN we get Garth back? We will try to persuade him to come by collecting 20,400 cans of food for Second Harvest, which matches the total number of seats in the newly renovated Thompson/Boling Arena. Once we collect the cans, we’ll do our best to persuade Garth to come to Knoxville for a concert. There’s no guarantee he will agree, but our neighbors served by Second Harvest will benefit nonetheless."

If anyone can pull this off, I'd bet PD Mike Hammond can do it, thanks to the kindness and community spirit of Garth Brooks.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Seattle's Chris Cashman Is The Planet's 'Best Joke-Teller'

Have you heard this one?

Two men are at the beach. One has, like, 25 women swarming around him. The other friend gets jealous and leans in and says, "Hey man, what gives? What's your secret, you know, with the ladies?" His friend leans in and says, "The secret is ... "

Seattle P-I reporter ATHIMA CHANSANCHAI doesn't give the punch line in her story because, a) it may not make the family-friendly cut, and b) it won't have the same effect as when it's properly told, and c) we won't deprive you of Chris Cashman's spot-on impersonation of Christopher Walken telling this joke.

By going to and searching under "Captainhilariousness" you can find this and seven other jokes, including the "Puzzled Sister" bit Cashman told to clinch his win as the first-ever Comic Wonder of the Year, aka "the best joke-teller on the planet!"

OK, maybe that's stretching it a bit.

"Comic Wonder is in its infancy, so being Comic Wonder of the Year 10 years from now would be more of an honor," said Cashman, 30, the four-time Emmy-award winning son of local TV and radio personality Pat Cashman (of "Almost Live!" fame). "But I liked it as a new site because it brought back the art of joke telling. We all get these e-mails and it's easy reading a joke to misinterpret it."

The title, which came with $2,500 and a T-shirt, hasn't gone to his head. Cashman is the first to admit he's a corny guy who loves doing random impersonations. Comic Wonder gave him an excuse to flex some fun.

Hot: Nintendo Wii, Not: The Economy, "Tights"

The New Year generally signifies a chance for a fresh start, but consumers aren’t willing to put present economic conditions behind them…with holiday bills rolling in, gas prices hiking up, and a housing market without a foundation, only about a third (33.6%) indicate that they are very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, the lowest reading since 33.4% recorded in September ’05 (post-Hurricane Katrina). This month’s reading is down more than three points from December’s already-weak 37.0%, and almost 17 points lower than one year ago (50.5%).

The Nintendo Wii is what’s hot this month (according to 69.0% of consumers)…charitable giving follows closely (66.1%).
Among the under 35 set, gym memberships and making/keeping New Year’s resolutions are particularly favored (perhaps there’s a connection there).
Those over 35 are likely to line up for the Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman vehicle, The Bucket List.

What’s not?
Although popular among younger women, most feel that tights are a current fashion trend that should've been left behind in elementary school.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

NAB Education Foundation Honors Country Cares

Led by Alabama's lead singer Randy Owen, Country Cares has worked with nearly 200 stations to raise $315 million for the kids of St. Jude.

The national radiothon program is aired in more than 100 radio markets, with dozens of country artists contributing to the organization.

NABEF will give its Samaritan Award to Country Cares during its annual awards show in June.

More info on the award: Kristopher Jones (202-429-5486)

Wired: David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

Click to read:
"What is called the music business today, however, is not the business of producing music. At some point it became the business of selling CDs in plastic cases, and that business will soon be over. But that's not bad news for music, and it's certainly not bad news for musicians. Indeed, with all the ways to reach an audience, there have never been more opportunities for artists."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And, So, We're Back To 7%

Do you remember the promise of radio consolidation back in 1996? The vision was to create cluster synergies that could get radio's share of total marketing dollars up to 10%.

The TNS projection, released yesterday, that radio's share of ad spending in 2008 would be up .7% to amount to 7.3% could be termed the official death knell for the false hopes raised a decade ago as radio went public and hocked stock with promises of new-found growth. Or, on the other hand, given the incredible growth of new media, perhaps it's a vote of confidence in our continued high cash flow biz that we are still holding our own.

I'll take a glass half full, anytime. (but, it would sure would have been very nice if I had been smart enough to unload those stocks in 1999...)

Monday, January 07, 2008

10 Things You Need to Know About Your Listeners

If I could have done a better job than Susan Kuchinskas in MediaPost did, I would have written it myself...

1. They're mouthy.The polite way to say it is "unmediated discourse." It means that online, anyone can and will call you a dog. They also may write you love letters. Those who are passionate about your company will make it their mission to spread the word. So, thrill them.

2. They'd rather listen to each other than to you. When it comes to buying, the opinions of their peers carry enormous weight. According to Deloitte's Consumer Products group, 62 percent read online reviews written by their peers, and of those who do, more than eight in 10 said they were directly influenced by these reviews.

3. They're moving targets - literally. There are now 243 million mobile phone users in the United States, sending nearly 1 billion text messages a day. They're increasingly watching video and listening to music via their phones. These little machines are their best friends - and they could be yours, too.

4. They're snackers, constantly scarfing down tiny chunks of media. They scan the headlines in their RSS reader, tap into video shorts at work, speed-read online news, watch TV shows in fragments on the phone as they navigate the day. Content wolfed down this fast needs to be easily digestible.

5. They need to be free. There's so much free media online, it's tough to get someone to register for your walled garden. Nor do they want to pay for content, with the exception of highly desirable movies and music. As The New York Times discovered, ads can support content better than subscription fees.

6. They love gadgets, even the digital kind. Widgets - those mini-apps that display content on a Web site, blog or desktop screen - are the fastest-growing online application, reaching 40.3 percent of U.S. Internet users, according to comScore. Google's Open Social initiative could quickly double that. Marketers will pile on.

7. They've gotten over the whole privacy thing. After you've posted photos of your water birth right alongside your water bong and videos of drunken shenanigans next to the story of your appendectomy on your blog, do you really care that Google is keeping track of your search queries?

8. They've got game.Over 40 percent of U.S. households have a video game console system, while over 120 million people play video or computer games, according to DFCIntelligence. Increasingly, those games contain product placements and ads.

9. They're video maniacs. Every age group is tuning in online, according, with an equal breakdown between men and women. The most-watched content is not music or movie trailers, surprisingly, but news (though this is tricky because Perez Hilton counts as news). While online viewers would rather not have ads at all, they'd rather watch them than pay for content.

10. They still haven't found what they're looking for. An iProspect survey found that 57 percent of consumers agree with "search is becoming more important to me." At the same time, offline media is increasingly driving their searches, so cross-media integration is more key than ever.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Lesson In Buzz: Would You Have The Courage To Buy A Billboard For A Non-Existent Airline?

Thanks to KMPS, Seattle, afternoon guy Tony Thomas for pointing me to this post on buzz marketing in Portland, OR, for the TV show "Lost."

As you can see, it's a billboard advertising Oceanic Air, which is the fictional airline in the series. The billboard includes the website FlyOceanicAir. Of course, I checked out the website and it is for Oceanic, but it appears to have been hijacked by a possible new character for the next season. There's a video message from a guy named 'Sam' who says he is looking for Sonya, a flight attendant who he also calls his "partner".

Sam's video has flashes of another website,
Find815, which is Sam's personal effort to keep searching for flight 815, the Oceanic flight which crash landed on the island and started this whole fiasco. That website has a little challenge for fans-- to find the differences in two pictures of Sonya. It's pretty obvious, but I'll let you check it out without spoiling things.While I thoroughly enjoy wacky marketing like this, I imagine that a lot of drivers in Portland fully believe there's a new airline that wants them to fly to Seoul, South Korea.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban Add Dates, "Chase The Police"

They did stadiums once before, when Kenny Chesney took Keith Urban out on his Guitars, Tiki Bars & A Whole Lotta Love Tour, where they bonded as friends and loved to hang out together.
“Which is why I’m glad I have the ability to play stadiums. It’s the only way that it would make sense for Keith where he is, to be able to come out and do some shows with us. We couldn’t do this anywhere else and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since he played the first stadiums shows with us three years ago. If you’re committed to bringing the fans the best show possible, who else would you call? Keith does it all – and for me, he’s someone I’ve spent time in the islands with, toured the country with, laughed with, hung with, made music with. It’s gonna be as much fun backstage when we’re not rocking as it is onstage – and that’s saying something.”

Urban, equally excited about hitting the big stage again with Kenny...
“What Kenny’s stadium concerts are, is the biggest party you’ve ever been to with the loudest ghetto blaster you’ve ever heard and the audience still singing louder than us. Me I’m just a kid like 65,000 others that are going to run away with the circus this summer. Bring it on Kenny.”

It looks like the number of stadium shows will swell to 10 this year. According to Kenny's label, possibly 9 more beyond the July 26 Foxboro, MA Gillette Stadium date on the 2008 Poets & Pirates Tour, which sold out in less than 15 minutes.

LeAnn Rimes will open on all dates, bringing fans three of the biggest stars who began their careers in the 1990s.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lessons From The Master

Very impressive of R&R Publisher Erica Farber to end 2007 with a profile of one of the best programmers I ever worked for, Bill Drake:

State of radio: Competition is such that today people are excited about a 3 share. There are so many wasted signals. Our policy was, we didn’t go into a market without the intent of being No. 1, period, boom! No niche this or that. And we made it 90% of the time.

What we can learn from yesterday’s successes: Whoever puts the best on the radio wins. Obviously today you’ve got iPods, satellite and all kinds of goodies. There are some good programmers, but some lousy-sounding stations—and some of them have incredible signals. There doesn’t seem to be that fever anymore. I know when we were doing it we were like a brotherhood. We went in to win and did whatever it took. We were totally, absolutely dedicated. It doesn’t come across on many radio stations now. A lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing. Of course, that’s always been true, thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

CRB's Salamon: Country Faces A Challenging Marketplace

Hopefully, you already subscribe to the Country Radio Seminar update emails, but if not.. here's a link to a must read.

* Radio revenues fell 5% in the third quarter of 2007 to $5.5 billion, the worst quarterly decline in years. The loss is due entirely to decreases in local revenue--which fell 5% to $3.7 billion in the third quarter--and national, down 8% to $1.1 billion.

* 2007 album sales are predicted to be 20% less than last year. Joe Galante, Sony BMG Nashville Chairman says “This year will be the worst year for Country since Soundscan started tracking the format in 1992."

* The song business fared better in 2007. In March the performance rights organization ASCAP announced that it has record revenues of $785 million for the fiscal year 2006, representing a 5% growth, with royalty payments to its members in the amount of $680 million. In September BMI reported that it would distribute more than $732 million in royalties for its 2006-2007 fiscal year, with revenues of more the $839 million, which is an eight percent increase over the prior fiscal year.

* Touring likewise had a successful year, especially Country’s major artists.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tomorrow's Country Music Gossip Today

(.. quite literally, since Neil Haislop will post this stuff he shares with A&O clients a day early on his public website tomorrow!)

For the 36th year, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve was the big party in New York City’s Times Square to welcome the New Year and country’s, CARRIE UNDERWOOD and TAYLOR SWIFT were part of the talent collected this year that included co-hosts Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest and Fergie (in Hollywood) who will also sing. Carrie performed her new single, “All-American Girl.” The Hollywood party also featured Miley Cyrus.

For the last two years, rumors have continued to surface that Keith Urban’s wife, Nicole Kidman, is pregnant...which, if she had been pregnant for the last 24 months, that’s the gestation period for a baby elephant, not a human. Nevertheless, rumors re-surfaced again this weekend that Nicole and Keith are expecting a baby...NOT TRUE, says her Australian publicist. She added, “It is incorrect...she must have had about 30 babies by now.” The rumor originated with the UK’s Daily Mail who alleged that Nicole and Keith broke the news to their parents in Australia where the couple is for the holidays.

The following items are from the Jan. 14, 2008, issue of COUNTRY WEEKLY, on sale Dec. 31, 2007...

In this special year-end issue, Country Weekly counts down the top 25 stories of the year 2007. The top stories include Kenny Chesney’s blockbuster summer tour, Sara Evans’ divorce saga, the return of Garth Brooks to the concert stage and the year’s biggest hit songs. Plus, we’ll recall who tied the knot in 2007, which stars welcomed new arrivals to the family and the passings of legends like Porter Wagoner and Hank Thompson.

Trisha Yearwood made it to the Country Music Hall of a tour guide! Trisha is certainly a candidate for a future spot in the Hall of Fame, but the current issue of Country Weekly has the story of her early days in Nashville where she worked minimum wage as tour guide, as she was trying guide herself to a career in the music business. “I probably wasn’t a great tour guide, because I was so fascinated by the stuff in the museum,” she tells Country Weekly. “I spent most of my time hiding out in the movie theater. They had a really great Patsy Cline movie and a really great Elvis movie, and I was a big fan of both of those artists.”

Phil Vassar gives Country Weekly readers a glimpse of his beautiful Nashville-area home, where he loves to kick back and write songs. Phil admits that he’s a regular homebody, despite his normally outgoing nature. “I’m not one who goes out a lot,” he tells Country Weekly. “I don’t like to go to bars and places like that. So I really like to stay here when I’m off the road.” One of Phil’s favorite areas is an upstairs game room, which features arcade-size video games. “Me and my songwriter buddies all get into it,” says Phil. “They like to come over and hang out.” The feature includes stunning interior photos.