Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sgt Peppers & More

81° - overcast & humid at 11am

These short work weeks fly by!

Tomorrow - Friday is the 40th Anniversary of the
release of the Beatles classic. The album was released on June 1, 1967 in the UK and June 2, 1967 in the US.

Chicago's WDRV is celebrating with tracks all day long Friday from this milestone album.

And this weekend - WGRF/Buffalo celebrates the release of Sgt Peppers by "playing Classic Rock's essential albums" in chronological order with "The History of Classic Albums". Read more here.

Cool. Two stations creating an "event" out of an album anniversary and celebrating the music of our lives. Its an event you simply can't ignore.

Thanks to both both Fred Jacobs and Dave Martin for the mentions on their blogs today. It truly means a lot.

Welcome To Phase Three

The last phase of the book starts today. But you knew that.

Some late-book promos from around the dial:

WWUZ/Fredricksburg is offering listeners his and her bikes with on-air and on-site registrations. More here. Likewise, WBXQ/Altoona has a Hog with registration on-air and at remotes. Here.

Ain't nothing like it. KGB/San Diego is doing $1000 every morning during the month of June. Here. Likewise, WBGG/Miami morning duo Paul & Young Ron are offering $20k in 20 days here.

Fathers Day. Here's a cool promo out of KUFX/San Jose. The station is looking for "musical dads" with the top 5 to appear on the station's Greg Kihn Morning Show the week of 6/11-15. More here.

Let's Make A Deal.
KISM/Bellingham is doing the 92 Days of Summer featuring the "5-Car Garage". Behind every door are some big ticket prizes including vehicles, bikes and more. See here.

Tomorrow morning (6/1), WLUP/Chicago's Johnathan Brandmeier is giving away a new H3 by dropping a junk car from hundreds of feet in the air onto a numbered grid. Details here.

The station promises video on their
website when its all over.

May all your book wishes come true!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jeff Davis - on Radio Today & Yesterday

I saw this today; thought I'd below:

Jeff Davis on Radio Today & Yesterday

Wednesday Blogs

Overcast/85° at 1:15pm

Good afternoon.

Post-Memorial Observation: I use Google Analytics on this blog to see what part of the country (and world) my visitors come from - and whether they come to the blog directly or through a search engine such as Google or Yahoo - and what search terms (or keywords) on those sites brought them here.

In the past several days - I've had a plethora of visits via the search engines looking for various station Memorial Day Top 500 lists. If you did a countdown and don't have the list up on your website, get it up! And its a great indicator of the power of this classic rock staple!

From my blogosphere:

Strategy without tactics. And visa-versa. A great read here from Alan Mason.

Speaking of strategies.
Lee Abrams writes here about how some companies handle programming changes. Its about eight paragraphs down in the post.

You've got to be familiar with Lee's previous writings to truly appreciate his POV.

Time to reboot the bad radio. Dave Martin writes about leadership and attitude. Here. In the same post, Dave remembers Bill Todd - someone I spent a lot of my youth listening to on Chicago's WDAI.

HD Radio. Sony jumps aboard HD. Mark Ramsey offers some thoughts here.

Meanwhile Gizmodo reports
that Samsung is developing low cost HD radio chips for receivers which will hopefully bring the cost of radios down significantly. Read here.

Perhaps this will be the incentive for stations to invest more in their HD2 programming.

Speaking of HD. Jacobs Media released the good news and bad news for HD radio as part of their "Tech Survey III". See the results here.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Live tracks & a rewind weekend

Partly Cloudy/61° at 8:20am

Good Morning.

I wrote yesterday
that I did some listening while on the road over the weekend. Caught WDRV/Chicago's "Live Drive" Weekend. Pink Floyd's live version of "Run Like Hell" was the right song at the right time on I-80!

Doing "live track" weekends in the past, its been nice to throw in some surprises. I've got a collection of radio concert broadcasts and pulled individual tracks from it the past (promoted on-air as "live bootlegs"); including gems such as The Police performing "Message In A Bottle" live for the first time.

Add the proper staging and it makes a great classic rock radio experience.

Also listened a bit to the WLS/Chicago "Big 89 Rewind" special; a Top 500 Countdown on WRKR/Kalamazoo - and A to Z on WRCC/Battle Creek.

The WLS/Chicago "Big 89 Rewind" - which was a one-day revisit to its Top 40 past complete with much of its legendary air talent (though missing a few names as Dave Martin pointed out last week) - got me thinking how classic rock radio could pull off something similar.

Imagine bringing together a market's legendary AOR talent together to revisit the past - complete with old airchecks of stations that have come and gone.

In my head I hear the veteran air talent sharing stories of meeting the bands that now make up classic rock; great concerts that took place in the market - and perhaps remembering some great promotions. Disco demolition is one that comes to mind.

Apologies if you're from outside the Windy City - but having grown up there - I could imagine a station bringing together talent from the early days of WXRT, likewise with WLUP; perhaps the Bob Pittman AOR era of WKQX - the long-defunct WDAI, WGLD and WMET.

Perhaps add talent from the soft AOR days of WBBM-FM - or even Saul Smaizys - who had the long running "Triad" prog rock show on brokered WXFM (along with Triad Magazine).

There's so many names that come to mind between all the stations; maybe more than practical - but more than enough to make it work.

If your market has a cool AOR history - what could you do? And when its all over - what could you recycle for future use - either on-air or on your website - to enhance your image as the classic rock station in your market? All just a thought.

Later this week:

Wednesday (5/30) Ozzy Osbourne on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel

Friday (6/1) Lindsey Buckingham on NBC-TV's Conan O'Brien

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Monday

Sunny/81° at 3:30pm

Back this afternoon - a day later than planned from our road trip - after the "why not stay another day?" question came up.

Had a great time with family, but admit its nice being back home - and I'm looking forward to my pillow and my bed tonight.

Listened to radio very casually this trip while in the car. Heard some small market talent with great potential as well as others that desperately need coaching and guidance. I guess thats pretty typical.

The point is there's still talent out there - and perhaps "getting out of Dodge" and making a cross-country road trip is a (one) good way of finding them.

Memorial Day. Arriving home this afternoon - we passed a cemetary a couple blocks away here in Okemos and it looks far different today than I ever remember seeing before. There's more American Flags than you can easily count - more flowers - and more people on the grounds than I can ever recall. It was a pretty powerful image. Live.

Received an email Saturday Morning from an old radio friend who wrote: "As an old 'Nam Vet, this is one of the hardest times of the year for me."

More tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

Rain/60° at 10am

Memorial Day Weekend already. Wow.

We're traveling tomorrow
- at almost $4/gallon! Ouch! I have a neice graduating from school and we'll be in Missouri tomorrow for a late afternoon celebration with most of my family.

Latest monthly PPM results
from Philadephia show numbers holding steady for rock and classic rock. Very nice. Yesterday, CBS flipped Free-FM in New York City back to rock. NYC goes PPM later this year. Rock on.

On Air:
Lots of Top 500 Countdowns on classic rock radio this weekend. WCSX/Detroit calls theirs "The Motor City 500". In Buffalo, WGRF PD John Hager calls his the "Rock N Roll 500".

New York's WAXQ is doing a "Block Party Weekend". Chicago's WDRV has another "Live Drive" weekend starting today at noon - live tracks all weekend long; we'll catch some of that on the road.

Weekend specials are great for classic rock;
and doing a Top 500 Countdown or other special programming over this 3-day weekend builds quarter hours. Sometimes these things take a lot of time to put together; the payoff comes with the spring book numbers.

As a PD
- I've always been excited by the ability to do these on-air events. One of the delights of a gold format. And often my crosstown competition would never have the vision or bother to make the effort.

I've had the pleasure of late nights with my staff putting together production and imaging - or working away at Selector - for special weekends. I'd let the staff know these are things that make the station extraordinary.

Read here "The Big Event".

The "rush" for the air talent happens when they're getting all the positive listener feedback on the phones and email. I get a buzz listening to the station after its all put together and on the air.

Certainly If you're the second classic rock or classic hits station in a market - and the lead guy isn't doing these things, you should be.

Have a great weekend. We'll have something here on Monday.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Programming You Can't Stream

Sunny/80° at 11am

Happy Thursday.

Chicago's WDRV is featuring album sides - all day long - "
tracked all the way through without interruption." - and - "delivered unapologetically with the occasional pop, scratchy static and skip." I love it!

But as I live far outside their broadcast range, I can't listen. Not even on their stream. WDRV's on-air feed is not being streamed today - instead your redirected to their HD2 "Deep Tracks" stream. They can't legally stream today's on-air programming.

The webcasting rules (Digital Millennium Copyright Act -or "DMCA") states that you cannot stream:
  • No more than 3 songs in a three hour period from the same album/CD
  • No more than 2 songs in a row from the same album/CD
  • No more than 4 songs in a three hour period from the same artist or box set
  • No more than 3 songs in a row from the same artist.
Yipes! How does this affect your programming? Think about those "Rock Block Weekends" or other album/artist features you're doing. Depending on your strategies, these restrictions could either be a minor inconvenience or a major headache.

There's other rules here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

KFC goes CGM

Adrants Daily is reporting that KFC will debut a new TV commercial on tonight's American Idol - and this spot is made entirely of consumer-generated content found on You Tube and MySpace.

We pointed out here the spring TV efforts of Detroit's WCSX with listeners competing to produce the station's spring book TV spot. A great example of CGM - and even more powerful as its advertising for a product produced by its fans.

"Its a whole new world" is quite the understatement. Here's the KFC commercial:

Wednesday Blogs

Left: MSU Campus/East Lansing
current image
Sunny/81° at 11am!

Almost to the long weekend.

From my blogosphere:

Making the personal connection.
Have written here about stations getting out and meeting listeners - be it taking a show to a workplace like WKLH/Milwaukee or listener homes like CLIQ/Toronto. Bar remotes. Parades. Other community functions. Meeting listeners outside a concert venue. Interacting with fans. And not always for the "talent fee".

Jacobs Media Internet specialist Tim Davis writes about connecting with listeners - "our secret sauce"
here; and there's a great follow-up comment from Greg Gillispie.

Fred Jacobs writes here this morning about sales people - and finding bright, motivated sellers. He also mentions a little game I've been guilty of playing in my head everytime a new salesperson has entered the building.

Sales professionals are under-appreciated. We need more of them to make our programming, promotions, ideas and listener benefits succeed.

Share Fred's piece with your GM and SM today.

More shock-jock thoughts.
Mark Ramsey shares his thoughts on "comedy minus cruelty". Here.

And from country KMLE/Phoenix comes this:

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LGC: Listener Generated Comedy

Sunny/71° at 9am

Good Morning...

CFMI/Vancouver morning host Bro Jake is looking for "The Funniest Person With A Day Job" - an amateur stand-up comedian competition featuring station listeners. Even the bad ones are good.

It's a great promo with web and NTR components. Listeners can submit their own video or have the station tape one for them. Check out the webpage
here to see videos and details.

There's some other cool promotions on CFMI's website.

Have your sales manager look at "
The Balls Are Back". Sales managers love promos for car dealers.

This station rocks - and knows how to have fun!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Monday

Cloudy/57° at 11am

Welcome to the beginning of another great week!

Did you catch the 400th episode of "The Simpsons" last night?

Aside from a few barbs at Fox News, we saw some not-so-subtle commentary on new media vs. old; and FCC troubles for a news anchor (who reinvents himself via video blogging).

The Shock Jock - Again.
I've noted here for some time now that the times are a changin'; its a new age - and that the days of the shock jock, at least on broadcast radio - and given Opie and Anthony's XM suspension - perhaps on satellite too.

Its all too easy these days
to raise of ire of the public (whether they listen or not) and that makes for nervous ownership and shy advertisers. Words come back to haunt with email, bloggers and You Tube.

Mike Austerman - on Michiguide.Com offers some commentary here with "Edgy Antics On Air Aren't Funny - They're Bullying". And broadcaster/blogger Jon Robbins offers a dose of reality with the money angle here.

This morning in his Radio-Info.Com debut -
Tom Taylor notes that "Opie & Anthony had a good week" (on their CBS show). "They've got to steady their franchise, keep turning in solid shows that are FCC-friendly." Tom adds "Last week - after getting suspended at XM - they sounded focused and funny on CBS."

Read Tom's complete newsletter (and subscribe for free)

Added: Lee Abrams on "Being In-Synch With Culture Shifts". This is what its all about. Read here.

Have heard a couple of broadcasters - owned by separate groups - streaming their complete local on-air commercial inventory. I'm guessing they want Arbitron credit for online listening during the spring book. And the flow of the streaming program is much improved without the abrupt, jerky sound of alternate internet-only audio insertion.


Ozzy Osbourne on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel Live

Later This Week:

Tuesday (5/22) Ozzy Osbourne (again) on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel
Thursday (5/24) Patti Smith on CBS-TV's Craig Ferguson
Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

Left: Webcam shot this AM from Copper Harbor in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Latest image

In Okemos: 56° and overcast at 10am.

Listening this morning
to Lee Arnold's internet station WORJ.COM; hearing some tracks I haven't heard since my free-form days in the 70s - some with the occassional pops and ticks of vinyl; and that's a nice sound. Thanks to Dave Martin for the tip.

While cleaning house yesterday, I had the laptop tuned into WDRV/Chicago's stream. The Drive was celebrating Pete Townshend's birthday - with some great produced pieces to intro Townshend/Who music. One that stood out what Pete Townshend talking about Keith Moon; with an example of Moon's drumming style.

Great production like this keeps the music and the station sounding fresh. And strengthens your station's image as the classic rock authority.

Also spent some time with WDRV's stream of its "Deep Tracks" HD2 Channel....hosted by Steve Seaver. Noted that WDRV is streaming this channel at 2x the bitrate of their main channel stream (64 kbps vs 32 kbps). A welcome and very noticeable difference in streaming audio quality - even on tiny notebook speakers.

Programming to win. In this week's FMQB, John Silliman Dodge writes about time management, procrastination and establishing priorities. A great read for any programmer or manager; even those "on the beach". Read here.

Summer's almost here. See lots of stations getting ready to do the traditional Memorial Day 500; many with listener voting on their websites. And summer brings outdoor cookouts. WZLX/Boston's morning show is soliciting entries for a live morning show broadcast from a listener's backyard.

Show us your fish. WRLO/Antigo, WI has listeners submitting pics of their catch. Here. And Cox Radio's WHPT/Tampa Bay has a complete fishing page on their website here. A great NTR idea you can pass onto your GM.

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

Sunny/60° in Mid-Michigan at 11:30am


More on the first-post PPM format change. Read Tom Webster
here. And Sean Ross here.

Inside Radio:
"This week's flip of Clear Channel's "Rumba 104.5" to rock is a harbinger of things to come - operators realizing that cume-friendly formats like rock, oldies and news/talk are more likely to prosper in a People Meter world."

Meanwhile: McVay's Dave Lange writes here about the Philadelphia sign-on, another switch in San Francisco - and says its all from PPM. Dave is also promising a new piece soon on the McVay website that will explore rock's big potential in the new PPM world. We ain't dead yet!

Shop Talk. Cara Carriveau's latest podcast features an interview with morning show producer/author Rick Kaempfer. They discuss Rick's novel - plus share radio stories past and present. Runs about 31 minutes. Listen Here.

Its like sitting at a bar with radio people - but you're not.

More Audio. Mark Ramsey talks to Fast Company writer Bill Breen about
"Being Authentic in a Paris Hilton World". Here. Best quote: "if it becomes too much about the "market" and not enough about the community, listeners will shut it down." This blog has been all about thinking "community".

Have a great weekend...more here Sunday Morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Start-Up In Philadelphia

This isn't a classic rock; but any start-up is an education. Yesterday, Clear Channel flipped Rumba 104.5 (WUBA) to alternative as "Radio 104.5".

Been listening online and hearing a lot of gold and recurrent; very familiar stuff.

Its a music intensive launch with very short dry voice imaging.
Refreshing. And the station is taking the "help us build the station" approach to a new level.

The station's website is soliciting not only playlist suggestions - but has expanded that to include indie and local bands. And they're allowing listeners to apply for a shot to be a jock.

Although the station has not announced a commercial policy similar to Lonestar 92.5/Dallas - All Access is reporting that "
a charter group of advertisers will become music sponsor partners and be offered unique advertising opportunities that will allow their businesses to be showcased in RADIO 104.5’s unique environment."

Despite my classic rock roots, alternative is one of my favorite formats to listen to. And as I've pointed out before, there's always ideas in this format that can be applied to CR. This is one to watch.

Listen online

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Blogs

Rain/50° here at 9:33am. Latest Image

Welcome to Wednesday.

From my blogosphere:

Lots o' blogs this morning on Opie & Anthony - and "Shock Jock" radio - following XM's 30-day suspension of the morning duo. (who continue their CBS Radio program during the suspension, btw.)

First up: Mark Ramsey here on O&A, including this quote: "Can you be funny without being offensive? Of course. And. as O&A proved, you can be offensive without being funny."

Second: Jerry Del Colliano
on "The Shock Jock Is Dead" - here.

And: Fred Jacobs
here on "its time to wake up and smell the coffee".

Added: All Access reports that O&A were silent on the XM suspension during their CBS program this morning. And Dave Martin's take on Opie & Anthony here.

I remember thinking "isn't their shtick over?" when O&A returned to terrestrial radio a year ago. Never understood the mad rush to get them back on the radio following the David Lee Roth experiment; especially on non-CBS stations.

Greg Gillispie.
I've been a fan of Greg since his days at McVay. This week All Access reprints a 2005 article from Greg on "Whats Your Station Selling or Doing?". Check out "Consultant Tips" on All Access here.

And from Jaye Albright:
Have you checked to see if your station is on ""? Or your competition? Here. is a free alternative (albeit very limited for typical PD needs) to Mediabase thats available to you and your listeners. I've been a user of Mediabase since their days of distributing floppy disks in Fed-Ex envelopes. Its still the best.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Latest On Streaming

79° at 12:05pm.

Too nice to be inside!

If you haven't been following the proposed streaming royalty rate legislation, written to protect America's webcasters and streaming radio stations - here's an update:

We wrote here before about HR 2060 - introduced into the House to overturn the CRB decision on royalty rates. Kurt Hanson's RAIN reported last Thursday that a similar bill has been introduced into the Senate.
Read more here.

And please contact your Congressman to ask for his/her support on HR 2060 - as well as Senator for support on
"The Internet Radio Equality Act".

More here tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Start Of A Great Week

Left: Downtown Lansing Riverwalk

Cloudy/53° here at 10am

A good read this morning here from McVay Media's Dave Lange on "The ART of Coaching". Dave points out "In today's world we often don't have the time for real coaching" - with PDs doing an airshift plus overseeing 2 or 3 stations. I've been in that position far too many times.

As a PD - after coaching a talent to a new level - I get a real rush listening to him or her - especially if everything else flows: the music, the imaging, the execution. When all the ingredients of a great product come together, there's no better feeling. Do read Dave's piece.

Later This Week:

Wednesday (5/16): Pet Sounds/Beach Boys - released 1966
Wednesday (5/16): Blonde On Blonde/Bob Dylan - released 1966
Friday (5/18): Elvis Costello on CBS-TV's David Letterman

Have a great Monday.

The Sopranos & Chatting In Real Time

While watching HBO's The Sopranos last night - I heard a piece of familiar music (Floyd's "Comfortably Numb") and wanted to find out who recorded it.

With my laptop in arm's reach, I typed "Sopranos" into Yahoo search and found something cool: a live real-time discussion board where fans of the show were discussing the developing storyline as the show aired:

That inspired some thinking about how radio chats with its listeners on a near real-time basis through the telephone and email. Do we make it easy for them to get through to the station and ask questions about a song or a station promotion? Do we do what friends do?

A few thoughts:

1) Answer the studio phone.
Don't allow anyone to "busy out" the lines or let them ring forever with no answer;

2) Have a studio PC dedicated to email thats always on.
Consider a common studio email address to make it simple such as "". Make it the same address for whoever might be on the air.

Respond to emails in a timely fashion. Invite your listeners by promoting the phone number and email address on the air and on your website. Break down the wall. Talk to them. Its what friends do. Its about relationships. You learn what they're thinking. And they might turn you onto something you should be talking about on the air.

btw: The version of "Comfortably Numb" heard on last night's episode of "The Sopranos" was from the "The Departed" soundtrack - link - performed by Roger Waters featuring Van Morrison & The Band.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

Good Morning - Happy Mother's Day!

I mentioned here ten days ago about the Bob & Tom controversy in Boise. Since then a few other billboards have raised eyebrows in their respective markets. In Cincinnati, WLW has attracted attention with its "The Big Juan" campaign. More here. Not all positive, btw.

And in Baltimore - a defaced Rush Limbaugh board has one city official there under fire for praising the action.

Mark Ramsey writes
here that "If defacing outdoor achieves this level of publicity then I'm speaking for everyone in the radio industry when I say: We should have tagged our outdoor long ago."

I know of one station who has done that to their own board in the past - and yes, it works.

An idea for a new way to promote your station at the gas pump here from Fred Jacobs.

A Classic Rock Radio Critic. And his visit to New York's WAXQ to chat with PD Bob Buchmann. This piece three years old - but still an interesting read. Here.

Tom O'Toole. This past week, I received Tom's latest VO and imaging demo. Tom has some great produced promos and sweepers his CD. Get a copy for yourself by sending an email to Tom here.

btw: Tom's one of the original 1977 WLUP talents I've mentioned here in the past.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

Happy Friday. Sunny/67° here at 10am.

Ask The PD.
This morning I was perusing the website of John Hagar's WGRF/Buffalo and reading his "Ask the PD" feature.

I've written before about responding to listeners in an honest, visible, credible way through "Ask the PD" - but reading the letters and John's responses - here - reminds me again how important this can be. In this day and age, its all about listener participation and increasing your station's "sticky" factor.

Doing a feature like this on your website is an invitation for feedback. Another opportunity to establish a relationship. Its a no-cash investment that will pay off over time.

John Hagar gets it. A few minutes on his station website can be a real eye opener for any PD (or GM).

More flavors than Baskin-Robbins. Four variations of Classic Rock. 80+ formats. All from Clear Channel's "Format Lab".

The formats are designed for the new distribution pipelines: HD Radio, internet, cell phones, etc. Look and listen

The other day - I wrote here about programming live cuts; coincidently this weekend Chicago's WDRV presents the "Live Drive Weekend". Nice!

Thanks Rick! Yesterday, I received a press kit and copy of Rick Kaempfer's new broadcast novel "$everance". I'll be reading this weekend....

More on the book here.

Added: Rick discusses his new book with John "Records" Landecker in the latest Chicago Radio Spotlight here. Added to post Sunday 5/13/07.