Monday, August 31, 2009

Faith Joins Keith Urban In October, "All For The Hall"

Keith Urban surprised concert goers last night at his Nashville, TN Escape Together tour date by announcing that he would be returning to the Sommet Center on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, for a special benefit show. "We’re All For The Hall" will be a unique concert, with all proceeds benefitting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Keith will be joined by Faith Hill, as well as many more special friends and collaborators including Vince Gill, Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum and additional surprise guests, to present a one-of-a-kind evening of music and camaraderie.

Faith's online community members can purchase pre-sale tickets to this show beginning August 30th at 10am through September 1st at 5pm at To purc hase pre-sale tickets at, you will need to use this special pre-sale code password: FRIENDS.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, September 2nd at 10AM at All tickets for this event will be priced at $25.

Under the leadership of Vince Gill, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2005 launched "All For The Hall," it’s first-ever non-bricks-and-mortar fundraising campaign. The campaign addresses the Museum’s need for long-term financial security and will provide a safety net for the institution and its work.

In addition to this great evening of music, if a "We're All For The Hall" ticket buyer shows their ticket stub or ticket confirmation at the m useum's box office, they will receive $3 off an adult general admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This offer is valid through December 31, 2009.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Syracuse Country Radio Scene Gets Real Interesting

.. and does so real fast! Two new country radio stations hit the airwaves yesterday afternoon in Central New York.

WOLF 105.1 launched at 4 p.m. playing hits by today's stars -- Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, to name a few. The unveiling came after months of changing formats.

Less than two hours later, Young Country 106.9 went live, replacing Power 106.9, which had an R&B format. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications.

The station's Web site was quickly replaced Friday afternoon, according to The Post-Standard reporter Douglass Dowty.

New Country WOLF 105.1 co-owner Sam Furco said his station will play country music of the past decade. WOLF, of course, is a heritage Syracuse radio brand with an illustrious history.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rethinking What We Do And How We Do Things Now Is An Imperative

Wall Street Journal writer Terry Teachout's "The New-Media Crisis of 1949," network radio's fate back then has some lessons for today:

* Network TV lost vast amounts of money in its early years. It was only because the existing ­radio networks were willing to subsidize TV that it survived—leaving CBS and NBC at the top of the heap in the '50s and '60s, just as they had been in the '30s and '40s. The old media of today have a similar chance to prosper tomorrow if they can survive the heavy financial losses that they're incurring while they develop workable new-media business models.

* Established radio performers such as Benny and Hope, who embraced TV on its own visually oriented terms, flourished well into the '60s. Everyone else—­including Fred Allen—vanished into the dumpster of entertainment history. The same fate awaits contemporary old-media figures unwilling to grapple with the challenge of the new media (including PPM), no matter how popular they may be today.

* Americans of all ages ­embraced TV unhesitatingly. They felt no loyalty to network radio, the medium that had entertained and informed them for a quarter-century. When something came along that they deemed superior, they switched off their radios without a second thought. That's the biggest lesson taught by the new-media crisis of 1949. Nostalgia, like guilt, is a rope that wears thin.

Radio ended up doing very well for the next half century after that by completely changing everything, based on how people were using it after TV took its at home audience away.

What does your listener still want from you? What problems can you solve for him/her? Many of the problems we specialized in solving yesterday are being solved now by other media, better and quicker, especially when it comes to information elements and the way we've done them for the last 50 years.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Country's Audience Shares Drop, But Revenue Shares Increase

As the RAB reports more "green shoots" in the haggard economy, country radio's format conversion ratio improved even as 12+ audience shares dipped in Miller, Kaplan, Arase's latest annual data.

Last year, there were 104 country stations reporting in the top 100 markets with a 4.69 share of listeners and a 6.66% share of radio revenues.

Power ratio = 1.42, which was up from 2007's 1.36, based on an average audience share of 5.06 and a share of marketing dollars of 6.90. In 2006, country's 12+ average share of audience was 5.36 and the format got 7.01% of local radio dollars, making the power ratio trend 1.31, a "good news/bad news scenario."

Let's build reveues by growing audience, eh?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Novelty Time Again (And, That's A Good Thing?!)

Nashville generally listens to radio very well. 51% of those sampled agreed in research released earlier this year that stations play certain songs to the point that it “becomes annoying.”

Many of us complained to music executives following the presentation that listeners were telling us that "everything sounds the same and there's a lack of variety" not just in the songs but also in the sounds and even artists coming at us.

So, what happened?

Every label now has at least one novelty ditty, if not two or three.
I Still Like Bologna, Rockin' The Beer Gut, That Thang, Moo La Moo, Skinny Dippin', White Liar, 15 Minutes, Toes, etc, etc.

Of course we can't play them all, or even many of them. That could potentially make the situation worse, since repetition complaints typically come when core listeners aren't loving all of our musical offerings.

However, here's the good news in this development, which seems to happen in all forms of music as they start to get stale, novelties "have the power to change people’s listening assumptions and have often turned out to be precursors of new music styles."

Let's hope something even more exciting is coming soon, right behind this latest change in our newest music.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Expect To Hear The Name "Jack Ingram" A Lot Tomorrow

At 8am on the day of the release of Jack’s new album Big Dreams & High Hopes he will begin a 24 hour stretch of radio interviews at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City to enter The Guinness Book of World Records.

He will attempt to break Fall Out Boy’s current record of 72 interviews in a 24 hour period by taking on a schedule of over 200 in the same amount of time.

Then, Wednesday (8/26) he heads to Dallas to play Big Night Out with The Big 96.3 KSCS, an intimate show at Adair’s Saloon, where he first began performing. The first 96 fans at the venue will celebrate the album release with Jack. Get more info on the show here.

Jack will head home to Austin on Thursday (8/27) for an in-store performance and meet & greet at Waterloo Records at 6:30pm. Get all the info here.

Then Friday he heads to the West Coast to play 3 shows with Toby Keith. Tell him if you’re going on Facebook.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"I Don’t Think You Can Trick The People Meter"

“The jury is still out, but all these tips and tricks scare me a little bit. Instead of manipulating the listeners into listening, but annoying them at the same time, isn’t it better to consistently entertain, so they’ll come back without trickery? Just a thought.” -- Dave Ryan, in August Morning Mouth

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Go "As West As It Gets." Be As Good As You Can Get!

I'm coming to the Canadian Country Music Association's annual Country Music Week in Vancouver September 10-13, in search of the very best three minutes (or less) in Canadian Country Radio, prepared to pay a $500 cash reward when I find it.

My Friday, September (11:30am) CCMA panel
will be all about coaching to bring out the best in talent. I plan to play some great radio and talk about what makes it so successful.

You’ll learn how talent can hone and improve their personality; quickly engage their target listener right from the beginning, and use the power of narrative and emotions to add to the impact of everything they do on the air. This panel will also equip programmers with the tools to teach these techniques to their personalities when they get back to work, making your station more entertaining and compelling.

Here's the reward: it's now time to email me your very best "bit" as an mp3.

I plan to play the best ones I receive in the next few weeks during this session and explore the elements which make them work so well.

At the end of the session, all attendees will agree on criteria and then choose “the best” one and Albright & O'Malley will award a $500 cash reward to the personality or station which submitted it. You must be present to win and I will write that $500 check to you right on the spot.

This will be a fast-moving, entertaining and educational hour!

P.S. I will be in attendance throughout Country Music Weekend and will also be available for one-on-one free individual/private coaching sessions as well. Just bring a CD or snap drive to Country Music Week and either email me in advance, sign up at the Country Music Week Registration Desk or call my cell phone (206-498-6261) to get an hour, one-on-one, to talk about your performance and your goals.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not What Arbitron Needed Today

Dr. Barry Blesser, Director of Engineering, 25-Seven Systems just released a report which claims that although ARB's PPM 'can be expected to be extremely reliable when tested under "typical" conditions...there may be real-world scenarios that dramatically degrade PPM performance,' and encouraging 'radio stations that believe their listenership has been inaccurately reported by the PPM system may wish to determine if their context deviates from the assumptions upon which the PPM system is designed.'

Could "listening in a noisy environment or with the monitor positioned to receive only a muffled signal, increasing the likelihood that the PPM monitor will not correctly detect the stations' ID..." include inside a woman's purse? If so, could that explain why female listening to radio appears to be much lower as reported in PPM than it is in the diary ratings or why early morning listening levels are also so much lower?

Radio's Future

The Conclave is one of radio and music's treasures, supported by a dedicated group of ardent volunteers who keep the flame alive by impressive dedication to the organization's mission.
“Through education, the Conclave’s mission is to improve the quality of broadcasting and related industries so they may better serve the public interest.”

Next Wednesday, Kipper McGee, takes 90 minutes to bring that mission to life.

* What three questions should every broadcaster be asking right now?
* What three answers should you always have ready for your boss?
* What is the most important law for broadcasters to be aware of? (Hint: it's not from the FCC!) * What is the biggest error broadcasters can commit today -- and why do so many do it daily?

The answers to these questions and more will be revealed in his FREE webinar "The Future of Radio presented by the Conclave and sponsored by Envision Radio, August 26th at 2pm Central. To register click here.

PS: watch for news of Michael O'Malley's Conclave webinar September 30 on Conducting Your Own Radio Station Programming Audit. A&O is proud to support The Conclave.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Retail "Theft" That Isn't Shoplifting

.. but it is UP-lifting! Smart move by the Disney and the Target Stores folks, to team up to build awareness of the "live the dream" aspect of their 2009 airplay with the debut of the new LP in stores and the individual stories of the three guys in this new ad video (click to watch it).

Monday, August 17, 2009

You Could Look At The World This Way...

.. As Tom Taylor did today:
"The topsy-turvy Summer of 2009. The NAB’s without a CEO, RAB is in flux, Arbitron’s under attack (but may eye television) – The world is unsettled. Just take a 30,000-foot peek out of the cockpit window for a second – can you recall a time of more uncertainty in the radio business than right now?"

Or, you can look at it THIS way

CHFX, Halifax, morning host Denyse Sibley was located at Kenny Chesney's Boston show Saturday by two of her fans.

Maritime Broadcasting Programming Chief Scott Clements emailed in response to Denyse's cell phone photo, saying
"We have as strong a visual presence as Country 102.5/Boston, CatC ountry/Providence and a station from NH combined. Too bad its not our cma/metro."

Yes, that is "visual presence" all right!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things I Love (An Ongoing Series)

1. Those great iPod/Blackberry-like icons on Bonneville-Cincinnati PD/OM Patti Marshall's Q-102 web page. Beats the traditional boring "click here" lists on the left side of the majority of radio home pages.

2. CBS/Seattle KMPS midday hostess Stubbs' use of quick, tightly-edited phoners with the folks who send in PSA announcements on the day of events, creating fast, current, immediate, PPM-friendly interactions with local folks, dropping in values-driven names of "listeners" along the way.

3. The last line of all of GAPWEST Broadcasting/Casper Operations Manager Donovan Short's emails:
"Cash. Prizes. VIP Experiences that money can't buy. Are you in yet? Become a VIP today: KTRS, KWYY, KRVK, KMGW, KTWO, KKTL"

OK, now what clever tactic are you particularly proud of??

Friday, August 14, 2009

August Hot/Not List

Do-It-Yourself projects are what’s hot this month among the majority of consumers (65.3%), as optimism on the economy inches up and "Cash For Clunkers" seems to be working.

Back-to-school shopping (53.5%), vacations (51.9%), and staycations (51.7%) also rate highly among consumers.

Young men are fans of G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra as well as Lady Gaga, while their female counterparts include flat sandals and one-shouldered tops on their hit list.

What’s not?

While consumers remain supportive of Michael Jackson’s music, most agree that the news coverage regarding the King of Pop’s demise should just beat it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Social Media Users; Not all Created Equal

According to a new analysis of BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Usage Survey (SIMM 14-Jun 09) of over 22,000 consumers, social media impacts consumers, which in turn directly impacts marketers, but not all options are the same. Social media users are likely to use more than one platform, some at a higher rate than others. For example, 60.2% of MySpace Users (those who regularly use the application) regularly use Facebook. On the other hand only 24% of Facebook Users utilize MySpace.
Demographically, social media users tend to be younger than the overall population, more are female and they have a slightly higher income. Additionally, marketers planning on moving products should focus on this consumer set as they are more likely to be making a big dollar purchase over the next six months than adults 18+.

Facebook users average 37 years old and MySpace users are the youngest at an average age of 33 of those profiled. LinkedIn users have the highest incomes. Social media usage for ethnic groups indexes high across most social medias.

More info: Chrissy Wissinger: BIGresearch (614) 846-0146

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Andy Andrews Does It Again

Back when "The Traveler's Gift" was new, Andy keynoted the annual A&O Pre-CRS seminar in Nashville and inspired us all.

Now, in his new book, he undertakes a project to single out and communicate with the
people who have made a significant influence on our lives.

"When we notice things about ourselves and other people that allow us all to regroup, take a breath, and begin our lives again, the best is surely yet to come."

Something tells me that Andy Andrews, The Noticer, is going to get noticed now more than ever. His new creation is another very special read!

Not only do I recommend you read it, I recommend you pass it on, just like I am doing here, I trust you noticed...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More From Strata: "At what point do you see the economy and your business returning to a strong growth period (if not already)?"

The top concern remains client spending which was the main challenge in the first quarter and up 138% since the end of 2008.

Back in 2008, client attrition topped the list of agency challenges. But when asked when they felt the economy was going to return to a strong growth period, there was a 67% increase of those who felt the rebound would come by the end of this year.

This could be evidenced by the fact that 15% of the agencies plan on hiring this year, and 80% plan on no reduction in staff.

72.5% of the agencies saw their clients either making minor cuts or cutting back considerably from their spending in 2008.

15% of agencies say that that their customers are most focused on Spot Radio (a 500% increase since the end of 2008)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Putting The Buzzword "Engagement" Into Action

SpotIQ in Philadelphia was developed at Jerry Lee's WBEB, though it's also now being embraced by other local stations as a tool to make radio advertising even more effective.

An hour spent with their "Engaging Commercials" webinar will not only let you hear some very powerful spots, but also teach the tools which increase the impact of anything on the air!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

In Canada, Frank Sinatra Was Right

According to the CRTC's annual analysis, 2008 was "A Very Good Year" for radio. TSL was steady at 18.3 hours a week. Revenues were up 5%.

One troubling stat: In spite of the fact that Canadians spent 13.8 hours online, up from 13.4 in 2007, “the streaming of AM and FM stations over the Internet has experienced a decline over the last few years...(as)..the percentage of Anglophones who streamed a radio station in a given month dropped from 23% in 2005 to 16% in 2008."

Is this due to Cancon, causing Canadians to listen to more hits per hour on the streams of international radio stations? One thing for sure, it's not all the irritating public service announcements and repetitive "fill" inside American radio station streams necessitated by having to cover up national commercials that makes many U.S. radio station streams hard to spend much time with, because Canadian radio streaming is a 100% simulcast of the station.

Podcasts increased 46% year to year for English-speakers.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Good News

Thanks to Mary Beth Garber, President, Southern California Broadcasters Assn for doing the math!

Following The Bouncing PPM Data

Todd Wallace, DJ/PD/Programming Consultant/Researcher/Publisher known as the 'Father of Callout Research', which he pioneered in early 1970s writes to correct my semantics. In yesterday's post, I termed fluctuations in PPM weeklies "wobbles." Todd points out that a better word for it may be "bounce."
While the target sample-size in meters for most major markets is larger than the average number of monthly diaries were, it is much smaller than the quarterly total of diaries and unique households sampled over the 84 days of the quarterly survey in a typical Arbitron diary “book.”

What this means: while there will be less sampling “wobble” than we would have seen with diary monthly-isolations, there may be more such “bounce” when compared to a full quarterly diary report.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ratings Bonuses In A PPM World

PPM Strategist and longtime radio research analyst Charlotte Lawyer and I had an exchange 60 days ago on how bonus structures may change for on air talent in PPM:
"I had a program director ask me about using aqh ratings. I always used AQH persons rank or share goal in diary, and/or cume for some stations depending on format and goals. With ratings so compressed now you can have maybe a .3 rating separating #1 and #10. I suggested he use aqh persons because of the compression and consider adding TSL. This PD's stations (spoken word) have great tsls in ppm. Do you have any thoughts?"

At the time we talked about it, but I didn't blog it, thinking that it was a pretty narrow subject area for universal interest. Then came "KRBE, Houston’s Ryan Chase (says) a temporarily messed-up sample due to Hurricane Ike cost him “a sixth of my income.”) and the online chatter about Ryan Seacrest and Kevin & The Bean.

What to do when the change wrought by a new method of measurement is no longer motivating, but actually frustrating, demotivating, to talent?

Samples are one-third of what they used to be, shares are too compressed, hair-raising wobbles appear to be weekly events and in some markets format shares for whole groups of stations and styles of personalities seem to be turned upside down.

I agree with the idea of bonusing on AQH person rank rather than share, but even that can seem unfairly capricious, given that it only takes a handful of panelists to dislike something to doom a station or talent.

So, how about trying this on for size: bonus talent on a metric they can control, comparing to their past trend rather than other stations or personalities on the metric which drives PPM ratings, the number of listening occasions in their daypart?

Get your panelists to come back to the station more times, earn a bonus. Have panelists listen for fewer occasions this month compared to last month, lose a bonus.

To be motivating, a bonus needs to reflect something talent can control. To do well, you incent the behavior you want.

Do you have a better idea? I'd love to hear it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

"Radio Is Actually Fun For Me But I'd Rather Do It For Someone Who Likes Me..."

There has been a lot of thought-provoking content online with Tom Taylor reporting from Morning Show Boot Camp ("KRBE, Houston’s Ryan Chase (says) a temporarily messed-up sample due to Hurricane Ike cost him “a sixth of my income.”) and Mark Ramsey reflecting on Ryan Seacrest's appearance with Kevin & The Bean last week, when he made that statement.

As I commended after reading the Hear 2.0 post:

Ryan's quote from the Orange Country Register crystalizes what’s going wrong for both Ryan, Kevin & Bean, and lots of other talent whose ratings may have been better in diary methodology than in PPM, and it’s a mistake to put all the blame on “investing way too much power in PPM ratings.”

As people who have spent our careers teaching radio personalities, programmers and managers how to maximize their ratings, we researchers and consultants do have a lot of relearning to do as behavioral measurement replaces recall as the metric our business has chosen to use to place a value on our product with our customers.

And, over the years, whether it has been diaries, telephone surveys or PPM, I have to admit that sometimes I have been successful in winning the trust of people who believe what I tell them I think they need to do to improve their rank and share and sometimes I have not.

I don’t know what advice K&B are dodging as they Marine crawl daily out of their CBS studios or what magic potion the Clear Channel execs were attempting to sell to Ryan, but I do believe that the suggestions I have given to talent when I felt that their content was less than consistently compelling was usually on target and when I have been successful in making the talent feel that I am their ally not their adversary, it almost always works, making everyone feel good about the changes we agreed to undertake in the interest of making ratings go up.

For that reason, I don’t think its correct to blame the measurement technology for the problem these immensely-entertaining and popular talents are grousing about. The issue gets down to does the manager, programmer, coach, researcher or consultant make the process of figuring out what’s working and what’s not ‘fun,’ in the spirit of collaboration and safety for everyone concerned?

If it’s true that Ryan’s ratings were great, then you have to wonder why his bosses were trying to get him to change what he’s doing.

Perhaps their corporate overlords were pushing them to mindlessly give the same advice to every personality in the company without tailoring it like a custom-made suit?

Knee jerk, top-down management which disrespects employees, devaluing their contribution has nothing to do with PPM.

That’s just thoughtless, ineffective people skills, and the ratings measurement technique is not the problem.

I am sure that some of the people I have worked with would testify that I’ve been guilty of that too, but I do know that when talent and management work together to improve the end product, the results and the process are empowering to everyone and there are usually plenty of high-fives to go around.

Mark Ramsey's assertion that “radio is a behavior that happens over and over again across time and the biggest challenge is ... to get people to tune BACK” is a great starting point for a coaching session, and I can’t imagine any talent worth their salt who wouldn’t buy into that as a great goal to hone their performance and increase their audience size/ratings if they respected the messenger and felt that person had their best interests at heart.

Lets not blame an emphasis on gaming the ratings system to out bill competitors. There’s nothing new in that.

It’s probably why someone decided Ryan should replace Rick at KIIS, and it has always been thus in this fickle business.

Lay the blame, instead, on poor talent management and communications.

Sadly, that’s nothing new to radio, either.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Billy Currington Escapes Serious Injury As Stage Collapses, Killing One, Hurting 15

He was on stage in Camrose when the storm hit and his tour manager was literally pulling him off the stage when the collapse occurred. Currington suffered a mild concussion, scrapes and bruises, the source said, and was released from a hospital Sunday morning.

His bass guitarist, Alex Stevens, was trapped under the fallen stage and his arm was crushed, said the source. Stevens underwent surgery Saturday night but could be released from the hospital as soon as today, according to the source.

Tim McGraw was due to headline today's cancelled shows.