Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jay Trachman

... passed away peacefully at about 1:40 AM on November 28. (1939-2009). He was surrounded by children and his 3 wives, sobbing and laughing while telling stories about Dad. He was incredibly loved, and his memory and spirit will live on in all of us. -- Will Trachman

He came into my life in 1975, back when he was just starting "Fruitbowl" and remained an influential mentor and confidant for all of the years since.

I was in Bakersfield and he was in Fresno. I worked for him as Country Editor of "One To One" and he worked for me at KEEN, San Jose.

To say that we were friends and I loved him would be an understatement.

He, his ideas, his values and so much more that he gave to me, live on in all of us who knew him.

Jay touched thousands of personalities around the world for more than three decades.

The same ethic Bill and Janet Gavin brought to music, Jay Trachman brought to the art and science of personality radio.

His concepts are heard all around the world even now!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Growing Your Target Audience in 2010

If celebrities are brands, and brands aspire to be celebrated by consumers, having the wrong celebrity endorse the wrong brand can be pretty detrimental.

The MBS programming staff
at CHFX/Halifax does a fun, helpful exercise for the entire staff of their cluster each year at this time. They get everyone together to vote for each person's five nominations of the five to seven major country artists which they think will be driving cume growth and target demo appeal in the coming year, tab all the votes and announce the 'faces' and 'voices' from a marketing standpoint.

Of course, they also give the listener a big vote too, by ranking the number of artists with songs in recurrent and power gold, according to their local research. (pictured - outdoor for Three Eagles' KXKX/Lincoln)

Then, the magic begins when you look and listen to everything you use to promote yourself both on and off the air, realigning the visual and audio to conform to your goals!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TK Meets BBC (Again)

Toby Keith's "World Tour" culminates on December 11 with a performance at Nobel Prize Week and meanwhile he's touring, visiting troops, performing.

"Toby Keith is a massive-seller in the USA but relatively unknown around the rest of the world."

This morning, he did a revealing interview with "The Strand," talking frankly (as usual) about his experiences and sharing his secrets to songwriting, while performing acoustically as well (click to listen)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Can you think of anyone who ever had a single charting in the top five who then released a Christmas version of the song? I can't, and not only is this inventive idea to keep the spins going for a song which may otherwise have peaked in the next week or two, but if you know the history of bonfires along the levee in Louisiana, it even fits with southern tradition.

Many, many superstars have released new Holiday singles as a part of their Christmas albums and the majority of those songs go next to nowhere, since they have no more than three or four weeks - maybe 40 to 100 spins, at best - to gain memorability and traction.

Small wonder that the majority of the best-testing seasonal songs are traditional, familiar favorites. Hats off to Sony Music and Craig Morgan, for trying something new, that seems like a great tactic to me.


The relationship between the music business and radio is (and always has been) very complex.

Are we in business together?
Are we in competing businesses?
Are we friends?
Are we using each other?
Are we unreasonable in our demands?
Do we all want the same things?

This week of giving thanks is not a week for those questions, especially as Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and Gloriana so clearly "get" the power of radio relationships to a successful artist, plus demonstrating how an attitude of gratitude has positive and immediate impact.

Keep the great music coming, folks.

Thank you for remembering radio as you accept your awards, but especially for also continuing to provide a constant source of creative, high quality fuel which grows our businesses.

I know that it gets frustrating at times, and may not always seem like it, but radio thanks you right back!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vox Pro Celebrates 16+ Years

Charlie Brown's now-ubiquitous "Vox Pro" Apple Mac-based digital editor, that started out as merely a control room telephone editing station has evolved over the last two decades to something less expensive, downloadable from a website to Windows machines and in many, many other ways quite impressive.

Charlie & his partner Ty Flint first put it through its paces as a part of their 1993 simulcast KUBE (CHR)/KJR (70's) morning show (yes, that's how big they were at that time!).

It started as a mono unit and now handles stereo and quite a bit more memory storage.

I am so proud of the accomplishments of my Bainbridge Island neighbor and inventor Charlie Brown. Congrats on going from a durable Seattle morning star, to having created a great business around a terrific piece of equipment, a must for every control room. Its career has outlasted yours (which is saying something!).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Props To Fred Jacobs

"Our story starts with the CMAs. If you saw the show or read the news reports about last week's mega Country show, the big headline was 19-year old Taylor Swift, who took four major awards, including the coveted Entertainer of the Year honor.

Darius Before_After But perhaps the more significant news below the fold was the award for "Best New Artist of the Year" - Darius Rucker. Yup, the same guy who fronted Hootie & the Blowfish back in the '90s, whose fortunes sank quickly and deeply - just like Men At Work, INXS, and so many others.

The difference is that after a decade of obscurity, Rucker turned his career around, addresessed his negatives and his opportunities, and created a Second Life in country music. In thanking the CMA, he commented, "To the fans, thank y'all for accepting me. And I think most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, South Carolina. Thank you so much for that!"


Rucker has learned how to adjust his act for a new market, making him one of the few African-American artists to make it big in Country. And all of this, after everyone was convinced he was a total washout back in the late '90s."

-- Fred Jacobs gets it right and if you don't normally check out JacoBLOG, this is a post I commend to your attention

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Infinite Commercial Load

Inside Radio today reports a growing use of :15-second spots and Citadel EVP of sales Mike Pallad claims price may be attracting some advertisers but he believes it’s their placement alongside news, traffic and other programming that’s equally appealing.
“We’ve seen an increase in the demand side from advertisers to :15s,” says Pallad. “The thing that makes them most of interest to agencies is that they’re adjacent to content rather than just a free-floating shorter length commercials.”

Meanwhile, in the last few days I witnessed an ongoing battle between a client PD and GM on commercial loads. A PPM analysis of this station clearly demonstrates that quarter hours with less than 12 or 13 minutes of non-commercial content lose audience to shared-cume competition with lower commercial loads/cleaner quarter hours in the same time periods.

Ironically, the same station just did some research and their listeners didn’t perceive the commercial load to be higher or lower on the two stations. Obviously, the GM felt triumphant at this news, seeming unsympathetic to the equally-obvious usage deficit being caused by minute-by-minute reality.

Earlier, I happened to be in a meeting where a savvy manager was bragging that their company holds the line on commercial unit limits with no exceptions ... until he was informed that his station has been oversold for the last few days and so the morning show had been running 18 commercial units per hour, 30% more than the agreed-upon limit.

Then, there’s a friend and client who gloats about the growth in his internet revenue, so we click to the cluster’s websites only to see more space on the home page for banner ads, flash video of a car dealer walking across the station image info, a dating service click through, help wanteds and half price special coupons to the point that it’s difficult to tell that this is a radio station’s internet presence.

It looks like the inside of a very busy coupon flier.

OK. Times have been pretty tough lately and on one hand we should all be grateful that there’s this kind of demand building right now, perhaps another sign that the recession is officially over and things, hopefully, are getting better.

On the other, as PPM and click-throughs clearly demonstrate which advertising messages engage and which ones enrage, it’s worth counting up our HD side channels, streaming media, mobile, unlimited potential page views, thinking instead of the power of commercial messages embedded in content (charging top dollar) and stop thinking of our inventory as "60 minutes per hour on FM."

New media has taken away all of the limitations so long as we create content which drives eyeballs and ears first.

Yes, nine of ten of your revenue dollars do still come from analog terrestial radio, but tomorrow’s growth is unlimited in its potential IF we focus less on selling spots and more on usage, monetizing, not commercial units. but talent/content which gets the value equation of entertaining and building an audience while driving them to every platform at your disposal.

The potential for places to put commercial messages is unlimited.

Which means that tomorrow’s problem isn’t holding the line on inventory and yield management, but a risk of the infinite commercial load driving average prices down to the point that media can’t afford to create the content users expect.

If we’re moving to more :15’s because it makes our medium more listenable, that’s great.

If it’s because we’re now selling units for 25% of the price we once did, and only staying even by having to sell four times the units we once did, we better recognize that we don’t have a financial plan for a growing business, we have a yard sale.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"LAW" to join George Strait And Reba on 2010 Tour

The King of Country Music George Strait has added award-wining and platinum recording artist Lee Ann Womack to his previously announced arena tour with Entertainment Superstar Reba McEntire. The tour kicks off in early 2010 and continues through late Spring.

“'Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind'? 'Whoever's In New England'? 'The Fireman'? 'Little Rock'? 'Wrapped'? 'The Last To Know'? We're talking classic country from the source,” praises Womack. “I can't imagine a better tour to be on than George Strait and Reba McEntire --- and now I'm not imagining!” Womack added jokingly, “I'm trying to figure out what to wear...cause you can't out-starch George and you sure can't out-spangle Reba!”

2010 TOUR DATES - Date City Venue
22-Jan Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner
23-Jan Greensboro, NC Coliseum
29-Jan Knoxville, TN Thompson Boling
30-Jan Charlottesville, VA JPJ Arena
5-Feb Phoenix, AZ US Airways
6-Feb Las Vegas, NV MGM Garden Arena
18-Feb St Louis, MO Scottrade Center
19-Feb Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena
20-Feb Tulsa, OK BOK Arena
25-Feb Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
26-Feb Orlando, FL Amway Arena
4-Mar Memphis, TN FedEx Forum
5-Mar New Orleans, LA New Orleans Arena
6-Mar Little Rock, AR Verizon
26-Mar Portland, OR The Rose Garden
27-Mar Tacoma, WA Tacomadome
8-Apr Omaha, NE Qwest Center
9-Apr Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
10-Apr Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena



For George Strait, Contact:
Kathy Best
FrontPage Publicity

Regina Stuve
Universal Music Nashville

For Reba McEntire, Contact:
Trisha McClanahan
Starstruck Entertainment

Natalie Kilgore
Big Machine Records/The Valory Music Co.

For Lee Ann Womack, Contact:
Amber Williams
Universal Music Nashville

For Online and Tour Press
Kelly Russell
Universal Music Nashville

Friday, November 13, 2009

Going And Coming, Ontario FM Edition (No PPM Cume, No Viability)

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance; I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance
Garth Brooks "The Dance"

The New Country 95.3 wants to thank you, our faithful listeners for being our dance partners these past seven years. We couldn't have become Canada's most listened to country station without your loyal support. And while it was a great ride, it's time to introduce the next chapter in the ongoing history of the New 95.3.

The New 95.3 is now playing all the Greatest Hits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It’s upbeat, fun and will have you singing along to all your favourite tunes! You’ll flash back to memories of your first kiss…your first slow dance, your first car… those rights of passage that we all share! So sit back and enjoy the greatest of the greats…The Stones, The Beatles, Chicago, Boston, The Doors, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac…we could go on and on but you’re probably already thinking of all your favourite bands…count on it, you’ll hear them!

And please hang onto all your Country Club points. We'll be introducing a new VIP Listener club where you can put your points to use in the very near future!

I d have to say, after first noting that they were still trying to be "new" even after they were gone, which strikes me as a little bizarre: it was a classy way to go, Corus. Just as Windsor is about to get a new country station, very soon, just .6 mhz away and Steve Kassay and his KX96 crew have already started their happy dance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Chuck Geiger wrote:
What is on the horizon in 2010 for Country programming?

My thoughts:

-Music: In 2010, 50% of 18-49 will be the Taylor Swift generation, 36% Gen X and only 13% leading edge boomers. This will prove to be a game-changer and a huge growth opportunity for country, as long as we understand the underlying values which unite our transitioning community.

-Imaging: Crisp, concise and compelling.

-Stationality: No more shouting at listeners in 80's CHR style. More authentic, funny, listener-driven.

-Morning Shows: Benchmarks and bits are replaced by today's hot topics, interacting with listeners about them in entertaining ways.

-Talent and VT development: No more punching out six hours of v/t's in 45 minutes with no prep. 2010 country listeners want to help create our content, using all forms of new and old media. Construct a social network which shares on all of your traditional and new media channels.

-Social Media: Don't put Facebook on your show, put your show on Facebook, on your blog, your podcasts, your texting. Allow listeners to have a voice in the music you play, but not in the old one person's request changes the station way of thinking. Listeners vote, and see how others vote, to champion their favorite songs and artists.

-Marketing: Viral and buzz, driven by content + direct marketing to hot zips + TV to own the proper music quality image and give free samples of the product. Thank goodness over the air and cable TV both still need to trade with us. Be smart about your trades and concentrate force for maximum reach and frequency on a consistent basis. Loyalty marketing to drive more listening occasions daily and more days per week.

-Research: Online music and perceptual research is now virtually free to everyone, so if you aren't doing it, your competition may know more about your listeners than you do. If that's the case and your in-house research efforts raise more questions than you can answer, it's going to be increasingly helpful in 2010 to hire an expert. A few years ago, everyone was doing traditional strategic studies and auditorium testing. In 2010, only the big winners will be doing it, making it more useful than ever, even more worth the money it costs.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Taylor Swift SensatioNaL on SNL

A&O asked Nashville Answer Man Neil Haislop to review Swift's hosting of SNL (Saturday Night Live) Saturday: (click to watch her opening)
She was everything she wanted to be before the show, she helped create some genuinely funny gags, like the teenager with monster braces who established a hotline to protect children from bad parent drivers.

In her terrific opening "musical monologue" she took a shot at Kanye West, and her ex boyfriend, Joe Jonas,

"You might be expecting me to say something about Kanye and how he ran up on the stage at the VMAs," she sang. "But there's nothing more to say, 'cause everything's OK. I've got security lining the stage."

She also referenced her nasty breakup with Joe Jonas:
"You might think I'd bring up Joe Jonas, that guy who broke up with me on the phone, but I'm not gonna mention him in my monologue. Hey Joe, I'm doing real well. Tonight, I'm hosting SNL but I'm not gonna brag about that in my monologue. La la la. Ha ha ha. La la la."

Later she spoofed Kate Gosselin, complete with reverse mullet, on 'The View.'

Plus her hip swinging performance of 'You Belong With Me," reminds us that the 16 year old we all grew to marvel at, is now an adult 19 year-old adult that we marvel at...especially, Taylor with a goatee playing a scare-them-straight-inmate putting the fear of God into juvenile delinquents.

One of her best moments was singing "Untouchable."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

How Many Stations And Formats Is PPM Going To Kill Off?

An 18-34 ranker in one of the PPM markets ARB released last week is six pages long. Almost three of those pages have next to no numbers at all on them.

Prediction: we will see more WDTW's giving up trying to be the #2 player in PPM, which will be a boon to the one which lasts.

Ironically, WYCD outlasted its previous competition (WWWW) nine years ago too and now the CBS/Detroit team is once again celebrating the glow of being a format dominator, so there's a lesson in this as well. Don't pull the plug too soon, if you think the other guys may do it first.

Being the only country station in a PPM market may be as powerful as being one of two or three - fighting for metered time spent exposed in this format with geographic hot and cold spots - is difficult.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Gloves are Off: Arbitron vs. Nielsen: A Candid Conversation on Rates and Ratings

All it takes is a fast look at the Country Radio Seminar-41 agenda for Friday, February 26 (2010) at 11:00 am to see that CRS attendees will face a very difficult session choice as agenda committee chair John Paul and his team has reserved the time opposite the session I am organizing on the competition between Arbitron and Nielsen for a “hot topic” to yet be announced.

Pity the poor agenda committee member whose task it is to arrange THAT session, since our panel opposite it is going to be very “hot” in its own right. (Not that my panelists, my session moderator and I are competitive or anything!)

In one corner of the "verbal boxing arena" will be the CEO of Arbitron, Michael Skarzynski and in the opposite corner is Lorraine Hadfield, Nielsen Media Research's managing director for North America.

Jess Hanson, Senior Vice President of Research for Clear Channel Radio will be refereeing the “fight” and will make sure that the first session ever for the two ratings giants to talk face to face at a broadcast convention will shed much more light than heat on the many questions and issues raised by the new competition in at least 51 markets for radio ratings leadership and perhaps new areas in the coming year.

Hanson has been intimately involved in evaluation of all types of radio audience research for many years and will make sure that we talk sample sizes, cell phone only homes, roster diaries, metered radio measurement and also allow time for you to ask the two executives your questions as well.

Both companies do constant research on how listeners use radio.

The partially Nielsen-funded Center For Research Excellence just released a unique study where researchers observed audio media usage in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit, adding up to 752 “observed days” from the Spring and Fall of 2008. The unweighted data shows that broadcast radio’s daily reach is by far the largest of all audio media, at 79.1%.

Of course, Arbitron also provides monthly analyses of radio usage as measured by its Portlable People Meter (PPM) and funds otheir tracking studies as well, such as the latest (October 2009) “Infinate Dial” update which reports, among many other findings that about 42 million Americans aged 12+ listened to online radio in the past week and about 69 million Americans viewed online video in the past week. What’s more, about three in 10 Americans own an Apple iPod or iPhone.

We'll find out what other trends in radio usage they are seeing.

You want to learn about the hottest topics and the latest information on our industry? You’ll want to be in Nashville February 24-26 for the 41st annual Country Radio Seminar. The longer you wait, the more expensive registration becomes.

And, as a member of the agenda committee in charge of the ARB vs Nielsen panel, I can promise you an informative, interesting, engaging session should you decide to come in the door where the gloves come off between the two largest companies who are competing for radio’s research budgets in 2010..

If you choose to go into any other meeting room door at that time, I promise that you're going to be missing something which everyone will be talking about.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Whose Toes?

George House, PD/AM cohost at WAXX/Eau Claire is asking his entire jock team to take photos of their bare feet this week so that listeners can do a "Match the Toes" of the WAXX airstaff web contest.
"We'll have one column with our staff photos and a different set with JUST OUR FEET! Listeners will have to match the jock with their correct feet. The winner who gets the most correct, will be on the WAXX fun bus to see the Zac Brown Band! ("Toe's in the sand" and all). Give little clues if you'd like (I might paint my toes Green & Gold!) You can take any angle you'd like; top, bottom, feet in grass, feet on carpet, extreme close-up feet, whatever...use your imagination...but have fun :)."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Strait And Reba Tour Together In 2010

Don't put the hat you wore at the opening last spring of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium away!

Seventeen-time CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee George Strait will kick off his arena tour early next year and this time, he’s bringing along Reba McEntire. (click for their itinerary)

The superstar acts performed together for the first time in many years for a sold-out crowd at the Cowboy’s Stadium Inaugural event in Dallas. Selling out in less than an hour, fans and critics proclaimed the show one hot ticket, hailed by the Dallas Morning News as “an extravaganza” that “showcased Strait at the pinnacle of his musical game” and Ft. Worth Star Telegram wrote “Reba’s performance was a breathtaking master’s class in effortless brilliance.”

Make Your Remote Broadcasts A Positive, Not A Negative

Former WYRK/Buffalo (where great programmers have historically seemed to work and play as Radio Ink's list of America's Top Programmers shows, with a tip of the A&O hat to current PD there Wendy Lynn) and KUPL/Portland (another place where JP was succeeded with the sale of the station by another programming champ, Scott Malalick) PD John Paul (his final rating books at both places should be a source of pride to him) just started blogging articles he has been writing for A&O clients.

His blog is titled "The Way I See It" and he and I see it the same way when it comes to doing commercial appearances:
I think they are a great way to billboard your station, (as long as there are tons of banners and the vehicle is parked in a highly visible place) meet listeners and welcome new ones. Most PD’s despise remotes and consider them a tune out. I don’t agree. It’s the client’s :60 commercial. If you weren’t doing the remote break (where you have total control over what goes into that break) traffic would fill the :60 with something else. Most likely something you don’t have control over. Look at remotes as another :60 seconds that you can control. With proper guidance and coaching they don’t have to be a tune out.

My personal top four of his nine tips to make remotes entertaining content:
  • Try not to do the breaks via cell phone. Take a laptop and do them in Audition then FTP them back to the station.

  • Edit the break down before it goes on the air. If you have to interview the client, edit them down and make sure it’s the best :60 seconds. Not only does this benefit the station, it also benefits the client.

  • If you have a street team/interns with you on location, don’t talk about them being there or put them on the air. Nobody cares.

  • Focus on the benefits for the listener. Keep the message focused and brief. Your job is to get people to stop by. You don’t do that with a laundry list of things going on. A long list doesn’t make it sound any more exciting. Things the listener cares about will make it more exciting. Find the biggest benefits and promote those.

Monday, November 02, 2009

How Often Do The Members Of Your Database/Social Networts Interact With You?

Once a week?
"New media users overwhelmingly believe companies or brands should not only have a presence in new media (95%) but also interact with their consumers (89%). The majority of consumers are still seeking out companies and brands on traditional Web sites (58%) and through email (45%), but anywhere from a third to a quarter of consumers want to interact with companies and brands in social networks (30%) and via online games (24%)."

Almost 80 percent (78%) of new media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, an increase of 32 percent from 2008 (59%). And, the frequency of interaction is increasing, too, with more than a third (37%) of users engaging companies or brands via new media at least once per week (up from one-in-four last year). These are among the findings of the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, which explores consumers’ interactions with brands, their engagement with corporate responsibility practices and their support of social and environmental issues.

For more: Andrea List (617.939.8418)