Saturday, February 28, 2009

And, Now We Know The Rest Of The Story

Please take two minutes and watch this wonderful ABC News obit from Eric Horng in Chicago. Even in death, Paul Harvey remains an inspiration, leaving so many memorable quotes.

"As long as you're trying to be somebody else, the best you can ever hope for is to be second best." - Paul Harvey

Friday, February 27, 2009

Do Our Clients Believe In Radio More Than Our Owners Do?

Neal Bocianis President of Boston's Neal Advertising tells some painful and powerful truths on his blog today as he reviews the Boston Ad Club's recent radio day, especially the presentation by Clear Channel's John Hogan:

I found your perspective on the future of radio, Mr. Hogan, humiliating to my brothers and sisters in the audience. You are a leader in our industry, and with that title comes responsibility to lead our respective “tribes” with ideas for improvement and reinventing ourselves in order to gain market share. I know that’s what the audience was anticipating. I know that’s what I was expecting. Anyone can be negative these days, it’s the responsibility of our leaders like you, Mr. Hogan, and leaders like myself, to encourage our young people, as well as our seasoned people to grab the bull by its horns. We should be the evangelists and ambassadors of radio and the new products that each of the stations brings to the table.

Hopefully, radio's leaders will borrow a page from President Obama lately and add a bit of hope and optimism to their messages. In this economy, that's something in short supply.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's Your Audio Signature?

(click to hear 'em) Astral Radio isn't out to brainwash all of Canada, just make sure that no matter which of their stations you listen to, there's a consistent image. Pretty smart, eh?

Christmas Creams 60% Of Country Stations (As IR's Mike Kinosian Does His Country Tabs)

Inside Radio offers yet another initial mixed-methodology "Inside The Numbers" scoreboard. Up first is a recap of fall-fall (2007-2008) progress of more than 50 Country outlets in top 40 metros where Arbitron still uses diary-based results followed by PPM tracking of country which is very exciting. Read this exclusive report HERE.

• In a slight irony, the smallest market in Kinosian's sample (Indianapolis) proves to be the format’s most potent locale, while the largest (Boston) comes in next to last.
• Cox Radio/Orlando’s “K92” (WWKA) is the only outlet in our Country sample notching at least a one-share fall-fall increase (+1.7).
• Approximately six of ten (59%) Country stations in our sample were down year-to-year; 39%
improved; and one station (2%) was flat.
• Typical gains were +.40 while average losses were -.66.
• One in five declines (20%) was by at least one full share.
• Clear Channel maintains a commanding lead (better than two-to-one) and, in total, is down less than one share (year-year). With the exception of KWLI/Denver, all CBS Radio Country stations listed decline fall-fall whereas all three Cox Radio Country outlets are up.
• Approximately one of three (35%) Country stations in the PPM sample were up year-to-year and 65% were down.
• Typical gains were +.45 while average losses were -.35.

Tempering the bad news was the fact that January 2009 Arbitron PPM monthly ratings also came out yesterday and there were more increases than decreases.

UP: In Los Angeles KKGO rose 2.3-2.7 (20t-17), and it's back to being America's highest cuming country station with 1,132,700 6+ listeners. CBS Radio's WUSN, Chicago is up to its highest PPM share yet with a 3.9-4.4 move. Also growing: Entercom's KBWF, San Francisco 1.9-2.6, The Wolf, Dallas, 4.5-4.9 and crosstown KSCS 4.5-4.7. WXTU, Philadelphia was up 3.5-3.9, after being down for the last three months, causing concern that ethnic treatments of the PPM panel were harming country and WXTU's cume was down again by 67,100 to just 571,600, the station's lowest PPM cume since the market converted from diaries to meters. KFRG, Riverside's cume went up 19,800 to 317,200 and The Frog's PPM share was up 4.0-4.1.

DOWN: Two out of three in Houston, as KKBQ dipped 4.0-3.3, Classic Country flew 2.0-3.2, topping KILT, which slid 2.9-2.7. KRTY, San Jose eroded 3.8-2.9 as their cume also dropped.

And, This Is The Good News?

“In recent years, radio has suffered from a 'leverage hangover,'" said Robin Flynn, senior analyst at SNL Kagan. "Back in 2002, equity made up, on average, 76% of total market cap. However, that flipped in 2008, with 73% of total cap representing debt obligations.”
A new SNL Kagan study reveals a huge decline in deal dollar volume in 2008, a trend expected to persist in 2009. Radio station sales dropped significantly from $2.2 billion in 2007 to $932 million in 2008, with the average price per station also falling from $2.9 million to $1.6 million.

SNL Kagan anticipates more forced sales, Chapter 11 reorganizations and declining cash flow multiples in the first half of 2009, as station owners cope with the weak ad market. On a positive note, the study suggests the current environment could open the door for investors to buy their way in at lower benchmarks than possible in the past, earning acceptable rates of equity return despite lower revenue growth.

"Companies are now focused on reducing expenses and debt, and they will emerge from the current economic crisis with a more conservative business model, leading to revenue growth and at least partial recovery in station values off of today's historically depressed levels. With more than 235 million listeners, broadcast radio still remains a viable business in the long term."

Won't we ALL?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Auto Pilot

The flight from Seattle was within miles of Houston when the flight attendant came on the intercom to say “welcome on board Continental Airlines. ”

Then, she paused in mid-sentence as the first few rows of frequent fliers came to the realization that what she had meant to say was the traditional “welcome to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport” announcement, which she no doubt delivers at least three or four times a week.

Instead, unthinkingly, she started to do the typical take-off announcement, which she routinely gives three or four times each day.

“If she’s not going to think about what she’s saying, I sure won’t,” I thought.

The same is true on radio. Computers now make it so easy to walk away from the control room and have the station run itself for quarter hours at a time.

Meanwhile, request lines ring unanswered, listeners text, email, social network, hoping to interact with you, the brand they hear on the radio.

Radio, of course, was the first interactive medium from the very first days of top 40 radio a half century ago, when Gordon McClendon famously put that juke box in front of KLIF, Dallas, and listeners drove by the station wanting to choose the music and become more engaged.

So, previous generations of air personalities have created some expectations out there in radioland.

If you’re on the air, it’s your choice. Take the easy way, do jingle, liner and sweeper auto pilot radio. Sound like you’re a machine.

Or, get busy.

Commit to answering every phone line as quickly as possible. Record every phone interaction, edit the best stories and integrate them into your content. Text listeners. Interact with the audience on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, your chat room, your blog and use the best of that on the air too.

Yes, it’s a lot to do. But, this I guarantee: you’ll never get bored doing it that way.

And, listeners can tell.

Southwest Airlines revolutionized air travel by encouraging their flight attendants to get creative with the take off and landing announcements, even the federally-mandated safety announcements.

Their reward? Profitability and some of the most loyal users in the industry.

Perhaps those zany announcements had a role in that.

One thing for sure, encouraging their flight attendants to have more fun and ad lib resulted in flight crews who don’t just mouth the same words repeatedly so that they sound like they’re doing them in their sleep.

Like a lot of radio stations do today. You?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hears (Yes, That's Right) To The ACM Radio Award Winners

Congratulations to this year’s ACM Radio Award winners:

NATIONAL - Lon Helton, Country Countdown USA
MAJOR MARKET - Dorsey Gang - KSCS-FM, Dallas, TX
LARGE MARKET - JD Cannon - WFMS-FM, Indianapolis, IN
MEDIUM MARKET - Andy Ritchie, Alison West and Jimmy Holt - WIVK-FM, Knoxville, TN
SMALL MARKET - Brent Lane and Dana Cervantes - WYCT-FM, Pensacola, FL


Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman, who is also an Academy of Country Music board member, called each winner on the air to share the good news. Learn more about all the winning personalities and stations by clicking here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My New Favorite Country Radio Web Page (Where The Strategy Is Evident At First Glance)

At most major market clusters, the country PD oversees a couple of radio stations' programming and complains about the websites.

So, you have to hand it to CBS Radio Seattle market manager Lisa Decker.

Everyone knows, I hope, that KMPS PD Becky Brenner is an amazing programming executive and leader of both people and organizations.

So, when CBS traded one of the stations she was overseeing to Clear Channel, Brenner was named cluster interactive manager in addition to her KMPS duties.

I can already tell the difference in the KMPS site and interactive tactics. Can't you? (for example, you won't see a banner ad for anything on the station home page that doesn't generate LOTS and LOTS of money. i.e., Text club sign up is at the top because it enhances the brand with the target, makes money, creates community and drives ultra core usage.)

Bookmark this page, and as usual run as fast as you can to keep up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

George, Reba, Blake And Julianne To Open Jimmy's New Place In Dallas

George Strait and Reba McEntire will team up June 6 to perform at the first major event at the Dallas Cowboys' new $1.1 billion stadium, team owner Jerry Jones announced Tuesday.

"One of the greatest entertainers of all time is going to be opening this stadium," Jones said, standing next to a Strait poster advertising the show.

The inaugural concert will also include singers Blake Shelton and Julianne Hough, a former "Dancing with the Stars" champion, to represent the newer generation of country stars.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MScore: A Music Revolution

Thanks to Country Aircheck for the ink:

Looking for a reason to attend Albright & O'Malley's 2009 Pre-CRS Client Seminar on March 3? With a keynote by media research specialist Jeff Vidler, Mike O'Malley's "Roadmap '09" perceptual study and the instantly applicable work of talent coach Tommy Kramer – not to mention live performances from Josh Gracin and Jessica Andrews – its not like this platform was needing any more support. But that didn't stop Jaye Albright from adding a real kicker. This one's big.

The event's final session, prior to Andrews' musical closing, is titled, "The PPM Music Test 'MScore Switch' Is On." MScore is a number developed by Media Monitors to indicate whether a song is more or less likely to make a listener switch away from a station. And it's based on hard data.

As attendees at Country Aircheck's 2007 PPM Seminar may remember, the ability to marry the PPM's moment-by-moment listener data with Mediabase airplay data now gives us the ability to see exactly how the audience reacts to every song. But where Arbitron's Gary Marince whetted that 2007 crowd's appetite, Albright is preparing to serve a meal.

Remember, 14 markets are currently live with PPM, and 19 more will be online by year's end. Turn one of Country's deepest thinkers like Albright loose on this growing pool of data, and the results are, frankly, beyond compelling.

Here's a taste, with quotes straight from Albright's presentation:

• MScore Makes Research Look Good: "If you see callout, auditorium and online music testing, you'll see very few surprises."
• Superstars Don't Matter: "With rare exceptions, songs matter."
• First Impressions Can Mislead: "Some songs take a while to grow on the audience."
• Familiarity Has An Edge: "However, some songs grow audience with the very first week of airplay."

Of course, there are other issues with far-reaching implications for programmers, not to mention record labels. Once PPM has extended itself into the top 50 markets, how with the number of currents be affected? Albright has a prediction. The balance between programming for TSL or cume also gets close inspection.

And then there is the very real concern that a P1 PPM holder – who may be providing data for years, unlike the regularly rotating diary takers – could inadvertently become the hub around which all of the station's programming revolves. Or, as Albright asks, "Should I drop a song when it is obvious that one or two of my heavy-user panelists doesn’t like it?"

Overall, it's clear we've only yet scratched the surface of this well of data, which promises to only get deeper. "The more you see," Albright admits, "the more you'll want to see." There's also little doubt that MScore has the potential to become yet another flashpoint between labels and radio. Albright likens it to when Country started doing callout research 30 years. "But," she says, "in the long run I think it's going to be very good for all of us."

After spending 90 days drilling through data on 17 Country stations in Arbitron's 14 PPM markets, Albright has put together an eye-opening 45 minutes to cap the A&O event. Admission is free and all are welcome, save those in competitive situations with A&O clients. Email Mike ( or Jaye ( for your invitation.

If You Get To The Point That You Understand Harold & Percy

...You have been listening to Jeff Stone on 97.7 Big Dawg for too long! (gee, at least one of those voices sure sounds familiar...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

News: Chesney/McAnally #1, Urban At Daytona, AJ's New Story Song, TK In Country Weekly

From Neil Haislop:

KENNY CHESNEY SAILS HIS LATEST “DOWN THE ROAD” INTO #1 WITH MAC McANALLY as co-captain taking Kenny more calmly down the superstar highway his more rocking tunes have launched him on. The more simple song style, simply makes Chesney more happy…

“I am really happy about having a #1 with my very good friend, and frankly, one of my songwriting heroes,” Chesney says of the achievement. “The idea that you can go in the studio with a couple guitars and a great lyric, that people want to hear that… that it's still okay to make records like this… that says a lot about what people really want and respond to.

“Down The Road” received an Academy of Country Music Vocal Event nomination earlier this week. The song marks a string of stellar collaborations on Chesney's records that include Randy Travis, Uncle Kracker, Willie Nelson, George Strait and Dave Matthews.

“Having an ACM nomination with Mac is icing on the cake,” says the 4-consecutive and current Academy of Country Music and 4-time and reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. “If they gave awards for heart and soul, for being gifted, for singing the way he does, nobody could touch him… To be able to be part of a nomination with Mac McAnally is about as good as it gets.”

Keith Urban’s (shown with Tom Cruise at the race) Daytona 500 pre-race performance Sunday was heard by a quarter million fans live at the track, and nearly 40 million viewers on the national TV hookup.Nearly 30,000 of the more than 250,000 fans that lined the legendary Daytona International Speedway infield received a special treat when Urban opened his set, with his #1 smash “Days Go By,” on a satellite stage placed in the middle of the crowd. After the song Urban returned to a massiveNASCAR-created stage, to play his current hit “Sweet Thing” from his Marcm31st CD release Defying Gravity as well as “Better Life”.

The Alan Jackson tune, “Sissy’s Song,” is personal, one that he wrote and recorded as a tribute to a family friend.

Alan explains, “It’s a lady that worked here at our house and household and they’d been with us for a few years and she was like family, just a real sweet young woman…just part of your life more that some of my relatives back in Georgia. and she died suddenly in an accident this last spring…and I had a hard time dealing with it, I just didn’t feel right and it was tough on all of us. And, I set down one day and wrote this song…and after that I felt alright…it might help anybody that’s lost somebody…especially someone that’s young, untimely, it might help them a little bit.”

In the current, on stands issue of Country Weekly, they’ve compiled 30 facts you might not know about Toby Keith, such as…

“He got his first look at future wife Tricia at a dance hall in 1981 where it was love at first sight—at least for him! A life-long Democrat, he re-registered as an Independent last year after being angered by liberal criticism of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Commenting on his politics, Toby says, “I don’t see right and left. I see right and wrong.”

Does Your Station Have Listeners With Windshields Like This?

Tori Peck, producer of KSON, San Diego's Cliff & Company morning show got this emailed from a listener, who wrote:
"you will see a picture of my windshield covered in coffee. I was listening your show and Tanner made some hilarious comment right when I was drinking coffee. The picture is the result..."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Figuring Out What Works

Do your web efforts yield more revenue than your radio stations which spawned them?

I can think of a few in smaller markets which do very well indeed:
Spend some time clicking around them, read the following post and Jeff Jarvis' new book and ask yourself would this work in your situation, why? why not?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Google Is Bad For Brands

Get this book:
"People go online looking for something, find the answer, and often don’t know where they found it. Google found it. They’re savvier today and know that Google doesn’t own all the content it links to. But that doesn’t matter, so long as they find what they want—and Google is damned good at that. That’s great for users but bad for brands. Here you work your buns off creating a brand online; you build technology and staff to maintain your site; you spend a fortune on marketing and search-engine optimization to get people to find it; you tell advertisers how many users come to your page and like your brand. But in the end, huge numbers of users don’t recall coming to your site and don’t credit your brand."

RBR: Banks Could Use Some Help From Broadcasters

Jim Carnegie reports that federal officials are pressing banks to find and serve unbanked and underbanked people in their communities. But the first-ever national survey by the FDIC finds that most banks aren’t having much success. One reason is that many aren’t trying very hard, but the feds may change that by providing “oversight and guidance” to the banks – a euphemism for the heavy hand of government regulation. But this looks like an opportunity for broadcasters, particularly those serving minority communities, to help the banks help themselves avoid more government mandates.

The FDIC’s survey found that a majority of banks – 63% – offer basic financial education materials, but fewer participate in the types of outreach efforts that are viewed by the industry as most effective to attract and maintain unbanked and underbanked individuals as long-term customers.

Take a copy of the FDIC report along (posted as a pdf on this page) when you present your marketing plan to a local banker.

It's A Good Time To Hone Your Skills

As news of layoffs and firings come daily amidst this tough economy, one good aspect is that we all are finding our who are friends really are, who's been thinking about the future and who's not.

Two resources worth using whether you still have a gig or not:

1. This month, the Conclave launches an essential two-part webinar series aimed at assisting those who have either lost a job in the industry, or who would like to learn how to explore new opportunities inside and outside of radio.

2. A-Ware Software, Inc. providers of MusicMaster for Windows music scheduling software wants to assist displaced Program Directors and Music Directors who are looking to broaden their skill set as they seek new employment. A-Ware will be conducting a series of free webinars each Wednesday covering not only an introduction to MusicMaster, but basic and advanced topics as well.

If you know of others, please share them!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Glad Google's Gone

Certainly, I hate to see anyone pay what was estimated to be up to $1.24 billion for radio advertising technology company dMarc in 2006 and then have to abandon it, cutting the first jobs in Google’s history, "marking an end to the company’s heady first decade of rapid expansion" (as Financial Times put it), but the last thing radio needs right now is more dollar a hollar rates.

If you have unsold inventory, please don't give it away. Cut your unit load; hold your rates.

This will not only prevent you from further undervaluing your station, which will take years to recover from, but it will improve TSL, make your station more competitive for listeners' time, increasing ratings, allowing you to charge even more.

When the economy starts to turn around, you'll be in a much stronger position.

Good News From Canada For All Of Us In Radio

2009 Foundation Research: Radio connects anytime, anywhere: According to the annual Foundation Research study of 1,012 Canadians, radio reaches 90% of adults 18+ every week. Lifestyle plays a big role in radio’s performance - the more active you are the more radio you listen to; working Canadians, parents and the affluent are all above average in terms of radio tuning with weekly reach of 94% or better.
“Radio plays an integral part in everyday life; it accompanies every activity, from driving and working to surfing online. No other single media can match radio for its versatility, audience characteristics and its unique ability to reach consumers anytime, anywhere.” -- Chris Bandak of Foundation Research.
Highlights of the study include:

· 81% of adults listen to radio daily, second only to TV in reach potential. The percentage listening increases to 84% or more for working adults, wealthy Canadians and women with children.
· For 83% of adults, radio use in 2008 increased or stayed the same as the previous year; that percentage is equal to the internet and higher than newspapers (79%) and TV (76%). The main reasons for increased tuning are more time spent in car, longer commutes and the ability to listen at work.
· Adults spend more time with radio than any other media during a typical work day. They listen to traditional radio an average of 125 minutes and online radio for 34 minutes. Radio’s total of 159 minutes is 23% more than TV and approximately double that of the Internet.

· Radio accompanies Canadians throughout their busy day.
- 70% of Canadians listen to radio on the drive to work, school or shopping
- Radio ranks highest of all media reaching consumers prior to a shopping occasion
- 36% listen to radio while surfing the internet

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things We Love/Hate About Country

Tom Taylor at Radio-Info is putting together a special feature for their CRS-40 issue. He's asking lots of folks two questions, and here are my responses, to get the discussion started:

* 40 Things We Love About Country
How accessible and radio-friendly the artists are.
The incredible broad demographic reach.
The core values of country fans.

* Tough love – 40 Things Country Radio (or Country Music) Needs
If it hopes to grow with 20-39, it simply must expand beyond America's Southeast in its content. The fact that Kid Rock was able to successfully sing about Northern Michigan is a hopeful sign.
We need a fashionable Hispanic female and an Asian male to release a wonderful song duet which becomes a big hit. We need a Hispanic country superstar or two, yet sadly the chances of that getting played are about as good as the core welcoming back the Dixie Chicks.

I hope this generates lots of comments! And, Tom, thank you for opening this thread which is sure to get folks talkin' and thinkin'.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tommy Kramer Added To A&O Pre-CRS Seminar

Kramer will take attendees into "The Coach's Studio." This session idea was actually suggested by Dial Global personality Lia Knight who will introduce Tommy by sharing a bit her feelings when she first decided to accept coaching and about what a big difference having an objective, knowledgeable pro work with her to improve her content and approach has made to her personally and professionally.

Tommy Kramer has spent over 35 years in radio as an on-air talent, Programmer, and Talent Coach, and has worked with over 200 stations in all formats, specializing in coaching morning team shows. He was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2003. He’ll share insights into gaining the trust of an air personality and techniques for helping them improve their air work and as a result their ratings.

Admission is free, but you must have an invitation. RSVP now.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Good Advice From Someone You Respect Is Always Welcome

.. Especially in this tough economy. So, since the league of Grammy nominees and winners is, you can argue, a coveted place. And the folks who land there, they’ve probably got their success secrets.

Success was about making the commitment in the first place, and taking the risk because it felt like the right thing to do. Looking back, success has less and less to do with the way it all looks on the outside. -- Kathy Mattea

Taking a cue from Esquire magazine's inspiration-filled "What I've Learned" series, Nashville's Tennessean turned to some Music City Grammy nominees in Sunday's paper and asked them to share a few. (click to read this fascinating series of articles)

Country's "Class Of '89" Was Two Decades Ago

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the famed “Class of ’89,” which consisted of then newcomers Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Lorrie Morgan and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Country Weekly's cover story catches up with the members of that historic class as they reflect on life 20 years later.
“I’d never have thought that I’d be still out here touring and having hit records and still getting on the radio. I guess sometimes the music might be a little timeless––that helps you hang on.” -- Alan Jackson
Clint is pleased to be among that breakout group of artists and says, “I’m proud of my contribution and I feel like I gave it my best.”

If you were 25 years old when the 1989-1995 boom peaked in the mid-90's, you're 39 today.

Also in this week's issue of the magazine, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, Jack Ingram and more stars reveal how they like to spend Valentine’s Day with that special someone. Taylor says that if she could create the perfect day, “It would be full of surprises. I don’t think I’ve ever dated a guy that was really incredibly romantic as far as surprises and things like that.” And for John Michael Montgomery, the ideal romantic date with his wife involves “lots of sushi and going to the movies.”

Country Weekly's PR Contact: Webster & Associates Public Relations (615-777-6995), Bonnie Brozik or Kirt Webster

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Pew: Generations Online in 2009

Over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008.

View PDF of Report

Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Exactly Which ARB Neighborhoods Those "Charming, Engaging And Persuasive Bilinguals" Are Walking Through

Thanks to Pierre Bouvard, Arbitron's President/Sales and Marketing for a personal briefing and an assurance that ARB doesn't like any format's listeners more than others.

He pointed me to the Latest Monthly PPM Client Update to show that it's possible to figure out where those ARB workers are visiting homes of PPM panelists, the places where the index of compliance is falling below the benchmark. (A "DDI" (index) of 100 means that a cell doesn't have to be weighted up or down, because it's in perfect proportion to the age/sex/ethnic groups percentage of the actual population).

Not surprisingly, they are treading the streets of the places where the people in red in the above chart live, to see if with some personal contact they can encourage those folks to carry their meters as much as the average panelist does.

Ask anyone who has ever done a radio station personal appearance, face-to-face contact and personal bonding can make a difference. Hopefully your air personalities and promotional street teams are also "charming, engaging and persuasive" as they meet listeners.

Arbitron may actually like country listeners BETTER than other formats (my statement, not Pierre's, of course), since the 45+ non-ethnic PPM panelists are generally very compliant in carrying their meters above the average, for one example, in Chicago.

All cells over age 45+ actually have to be weighted DOWN in the final sample because of how cooperative they are, which is why no ARB reps need to walk the streets where they live, according to Bouvard. ARB's goal is to have to do as little weighting as possible, of course.

He also passed along a couple other factiods we're learning as a result of metered measurement:

1. 60% of all radio listening by 6-11 year olds is done in the proximity of their parents.
2. Radio's reach (the highest cume stations) every day exceeds that of the daily newspaper:

Longtime "Dr. Diary" at ARB, Ed Cohen adds one more: PPM samples are currently being weighted by more factors than diary samples have traditionally been: "Here are the weighting variables as of today (and of course, there can be some variation by market):

Race/ethnic (black and Hispanic varying by market pops)
Language within Hispanic where available
Employment status
Presence of children
Telephone status (landline versus cell phone only)"

This is a fact, I can personally attest to: ARB's research staff works very hard to get it right, and are dedicated to working with radio to position our medium and all formats as effectively in the marketplace as we all deserve.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Does ARB Like Minority Listeners More Than Country Fans?

As Inside Radio's Frank Saxe reports Arbitron will knock on more doors to boost PPM compliance with young Hispanic and African-American panelist participation, Arbitron’s “Feet on the Street” in-person PPM training program will expand to ten markets by the end of April and I have been nervously watching country's PPM cumes drop in the markets where the program has been implemented.

Are the two developments related?

ARB chief researcher Bob Patchen
says New York and Philadelphia pilot tests showed a double-digit gain for minority in-tabs. “Improved in-tab rates also resulted in a large decrease in the turnover rate due to poor compliance.”

Houston, where the whole panel was placed by streeet teams two years ago to the MRC's pleasure will get a minority street team this month, with Chicago and Washington set for next month; Boston and Atlanta will be deployed in April. Dallas and San Francisco have already been added to the program. If country drops in those markets in the coming months, you have to wonder if 1 + 2 will equal 3.

Teams are made up of bilingual Arbitron representatives who knock on doors of newly-recruited (18-34) Hispanic and Black panelists. Their goal is to show respondents how PPM works and to encourage them to carry it every day from “rise to retire.” PPM Panel Relations director Nancy Weissman says the “most charming, engaging and persuasive bilinguals” have been hired to help panelists do a better job of carrying their meters. Her team targets panelists who have fallen below their goal during their first 28 days. Those agreeing to keep an appointment with Arbitron’s coach are given a gift card and then offered a bonus for improved performance in the four weeks following the visit. Patchen says, “We expect the net effect to be improved representation of ethnic young adults in our PPM panels.”

Wouldn't it be nice if MRC required ARB to hire some "charming, engaging and persuasive" country radio listener lookalikes to wander through the neighborhoods of our hot zips too? Or, do we have to band together at CRS and hire a lawyer or two as well and start lobbying our state AGs too?

One good sign to the contrary: ARB's Gary Marince will be doing two "country PD clinics" in Nashville next month, one at the A&O Pre-CRS Seminar and the other at the CRS the next day. Hopefully, he'll have some insights on this for us.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ask ARB's Gary Marince

Albright & O’Malley’s 2009 Pre-CRS Client Seminar and the Country DJ & Radio Hall of Fame Dinner, which has long been one of this industry’s most uplifting events kick off CRS week in Nashville on Tuesday March 3.

Our agenda begins at 12:15 pm at the Country Music Hall Of Fame's Ford Theater. During a 2:45 pm session, Marince. Arbitron’s VP/Programming Services answers your questions, and the ones you didn’t know to ask yet, about diaries, PPM, and much more.

Marince, vice president of ARB Programming Services and Development, leads the effort for development of diary and PPM-based software applications for use by group owners, managers and program directors.

Radio programmers benefit most from Gary's unique blend of major market radio experience: He served as chief engineer at WDVE Pittsburgh before moving across town to help launch the Oldies format at WWSW-FM (3-W-S Radio) and ultimately to become its program director. That station's success has been acknowledged by the industry through multiple Marconi awards. Using Arbitron data, Gary developed software that helped 3-W-S Radio identify and target key neighborhoods; Arbitron bought that software and now licenses it as MapMAKER DirectSM. Gary joined Arbitron to spearhead the development of other PD-oriented applications, such as PD Advantage and Corporate Roll-Up. He is currently researching and developing programming applications for Arbitron's PPM technology. Gary holds a B.A. in communications from Penn State University. He is also the proud father of a budding country music artist.

You do not need to be registered for CRS to attend, but (free) access is by invitation only. To get an invitation, RSVP by emailing Mike O'Malley or Jaye Albright.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bill McMahon's RIGHT And You Know It

(click to read his entire post) "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" exists for two primary reasons neither of which has anything to do with what comes out of a radio’s speakers or making radio listeners’ lives better. First, Ryan Seacrest is famous -- not for extraordinary talent, not for producing amazing radio content, not for producing stellar Arbitron numbers. Ryan Seacrest is famous for being the host of American Idol. Ryan Seacrest is famous for his boyish good looks. Ryan Seacrest is famous for hanging out with Simon Cowell. Second, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is cheap programming -- a money-saving alternative to paying local personalities in 140 markets. So radio station operators blinded by fame and celebrity and driven by the need to reduce expenses are programming this drivel. Yikes!

Radio is in deep doo doo right now. Radio needs to create relevant and original content to survive. Radio needs rebels, mavericks, characters, passionate artists and innovators. Radio needs people to challenge the status quo not perpetuate it. "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is the status quo -- a very ordinary and average version of it. Exactly what radio doesn't need right now. -- Bill McMahon

"On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is a microcosm of what's wrong with radio right now. The problem has nothing to do with the show being created in Hollywood and syndicated to local radio stations across the country. The trouble is the show's content. It's ordinary, average, and forgettable. Mindless, soulless, lowest common denominator stuff the media, including most cookie cutter morning radio shows, are saturated with -- vacuous interviews with celebrities hyping their latest projects, a steady stream of superficial celebrity news and Hollywood gossip clipped from the pages of People, Us, and The National Enquirer and read breathlessly with much manufactured enthusiasm and amazement by Ryan and his cohorts. This is sad stuff.

Someone had to say it, and I'm happy to send you to Bill's blog to amplify it. He also has the prescription for everything that ails us and I could not agree more. Thank you, Bill.

LA Radio rumor: Ryan's so busy with all his commitments that he has instructed his staff that he will never do a second take on anything. Let's be charitable and say that, if true, this is his attempt at authenticity, not just a desire to "get it done fast over doing it well."

Monopolize Your Marketplace

Best-selling author Rich Harshaw and Joshua Ramsey say in today's ultra-competitive world, just being aggressive won't cut it. You've got to rethink your whole approach to marketing and become a company that can help prospects understand their options and become their advocate.

"The problem is that nobody understands how to craft an advertisement that gets noticed, gets heard, and gets responded to." -- Richard Hawshaw

At A&O's 2009 Pre-CRS Seminar
, you'll learn exactly how to do this. There are 4 formulas for making your business more valuable to the marketplace so that when you write your ads, you have something worth listening to. You'll leave the Country Music Hall Of Fame on March 3, knowing them.

Admission is free and all A&O clients as well as anyone who works in radio in non-competitive situations with our clients is welcome. RSVP by emailing Mike O'Malley or Jaye Albright.

Monday, February 02, 2009

"What’s Next?"

A&O is excited that media strategist Jeff Vidler has agreed to look at 'What's Next for Radio,' the new landscape for radio in an era defined by a hyper-tight economy, PPM and competing audio platforms. And how this will transform the way you research, program and market your radio station at the Albright & O'Malley Pre-CRS Seminar on March 3 in Nashville.

Jeff is one of Canada’s most respected media research specialists, with more than 20 years of senior-level experience as a research consultant and practitioner. Jeff’s client list includes many of the most recognized names in the Canadian media industries, including Astral Media Radio, Corus Entertainment, Toronto Star, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and The Canadian Press. From 1988 to 1994, Jeff was Program Director at MIX 96 in Montreal, where he was named 1991 Program Director of the Year by the Canadian trade publication, The Record. Prior to that, Jeff served as a Senior Consultant with Joint Communications Corporation working with their radio accounts across North America. He is the new Senior VP & Managing Director of Radio Research at Angus Reid Strategies.

Watch Country Aircheck for more info on this annual get-together of A&O clients and friends.