Friday, August 31, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

70° - sunny at 10am
Left: old bridge just up the road here

Welcome to the weekend.
A busy one for our family - shopping for the kids - clothes, school supplies.

School resumes here on Tuesday.

Arbitron's Gary Marince writes in this week's FMQB: "WARNING: While learning about programming through PPM, resist the temptation to form hasty conclusions."

Gary continues with some observations on the PPM increases by male-dominated formats - especially rock:

"If you think about it . . . the majority of the workforce is male dominated. And someone who works is more likely to be out-and-about either working or coming to-and-from work. Often, the unemployed, which includes everyone not working, spends more time with TV than radio. More simply stated, there is a greater likelihood that an employed male is using radio – they have more listening occasions with radio."

There's lot more here - read Gary's complete piece here.

Meanwhile - Mark Ramsey "Seduces PPM" with a presentation at this year's NAB Radio Show.

Mark writes:
We looked at several months of PPM ratings across both Houston and Philadelphia with specific attention focused on what stations did from a marketing and programming standpoint, whether or not it worked, and how it worked."

More on the presentation here.

Big wow in Albuquerque. Its only a trend - but classic rock KIOT jumps from 12 to 6 in rank 12+. Congrats.

This blog is pretty low key on criticism - but KIOT really needs to fix their
web presence. There's no (apparent) strategy. Someone doesn't get it - big time.

Say goodbye to KIOL/Houston. Radio-Info's Tom Taylor reports that the station will trade classic rock this morning for Jack. This move likely to benefit classic rock KKRW.

Enjoy the last weekend of summer.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Labor Day Weekend Programming

61° - overcast at 9am.
Left: downtown Lansing 9am. Current image

Big downpour here last night as thunderstorms moved through Mid-Michigan. Cool weather made for a great night's sleep!

Heard yesterday that
KRFX/Denver will have Night Ranger's Jack Blades in the studio - in morning drive and again this afternoon. Night Ranger in town for two free shows Saturday at the annual "Taste of Colorado".

Years ago, my station had Night Ranger in for a concert - and the entire band was great about appearances around town before the show. Very radio and fan friendly.

Listening to KRFX's Lewis & Floorwax this am; heard an absolute killer track from Devon Allman and his band Honeytribe. Apparently they were live in studio earlier in week. Devon is son of Gregg. Check them out here.

Labor Day Weekend Programming - Part 3: KGB/San Diego is doing a no-repeat weekend "with deep cuts and KGB classics". Sponsored too!

WKLH/Milwaukee is serving up an artist A to Z weekend. Have a sponsor behind it also.

WAQX/New York is doing a request weekend with a twist: "sing us the song that you want to hear live on the air, and earn the song you want to hear. Embarrass your friends, family, and of course yourself, and we'll play your request!" Here.

WCSX/Detroit - aside from broadcasting from the Detroit Grand Prix - is doing a Classic Rock Live Tracks weekend; plus Aerosmith ticket giveaways for a September 8th show. Here.

Mainstream rock WMMR/Philadelphia is doing a "back to school" A to Z this weekend.

I just love this graphic from their website!

WZLX/Boston celebrates "Zeptember" - spotlighting Led Zep with "exclusive interview audio from the ZLX Vault…the hits, deep cuts and lost classics from the Zeppelin catalog."

Added: More additions to the "PPM Rulebook" from Paragon Media Strategies. Read here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday Blogs & Beyond

80° - sunny at 9:40am Left: webcam shot of light tower on Lake Michigan at Muskegon this morning. current image

Good Morning.

From my blogosphere:

Defining Classic Rock. Edison Media Research's Tom Webster: "What is it? So, here is my question--and I'd love the rock programmers reading this to chime in with comments--what defines "classic?" Popularity? Importance?"

Read and comment here.

A "40-something" cab driver talking radio: "The eye wants the new, but the ear wants the familiar." Mark Ramsey goes for a cab ride here.

Your station website. Some thoughts and resources from Jacobs Media's Tim Davis here.

Added: Lee Arnold with a post about CBGB owner Hilly Kristal - who passed away yesterday. Read here. CBGB - and the music that came out of it in the mid 70s - stirs thoughts of a great era in my head.

Beyond the blogs:

Ted Nugent on Bill O'Reilly tonight on Fox News Channel (8pm ET). Nothing new here. I'm a bit ho-hum on Ted's shtick. Wears thin fast.

Springsteen Tour. Kicks off in Hartford October 2nd. See the dates here.

Another hot promotional opportunity for classic rock this fall.

More Labor Day Weekend: WDRV/Chicago is repeating their "Live Drive Weekend" - live tracks all weekend long.

KZEP/San Antonio kicks off "Zeptember" (celebrating the station's namesake) this weekend starting with a Led Zep A to Z. Here.

Less personality: Overnights go jockless in Chicago - on two stations owned by Emmis. Read Robert Feder here. Sorry to hear this; there's always been something very cool & intimate with a live voice talking to the third shifters, insomniacs and freaks of the night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cool Wallpaper from WMGK

Kudos to WMGK/Philadelphia for the clever idea of making custom classic rock "wallpaper" available to their listeners via their website:

Here's the link. Wouldn't you love to have your station call letters on the desktop of your listeners?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Monday

67° - sunny at 9:20am

Happy Monday.

Labor Day Weekend:
what are you doing on air?

What we've seen so far: Top 500 Countdown (KIOL); "Perfect 10" Listener Playlists (WZBA); and a celebration of "The Top 30 Concerts at the Aud" - from Buffalo's WGRF. Here.

A to Z twist: After doing Classic Rock A to Z - then Z to A - WCPV/Burlington, VT is doing an A to Z "on shuffle". More here.

Who Are You? Following (or not) Buffalo's WGRF, KZOK/Seattle is asking for and posting listener profiles on their website. I wrote here a month or so ago about this concept about a month ago - and why it makes sense.

here. See the KZOK feature here.

Memo to Deep Purple's Ian Gillian: Get a clue. Fred Jacobs: "Ian Gillan now insists that Classic Rock radio stations are a "death sentence" for older bands because they just play vintage material rather than new music." More here.

Added: more comments from programmers on PPM today in Net News from All Access.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

75° - sunny at 12noon.
Left: MSU Beaumont Tower webcam. Current image here.

Happy Sunday. Slept in this morning; felt nice.

Back to school. Our area flooded with college students and their parents as Michigan State University ramps up for fall. Really noticed it this past week while shopping at our nearby Meijer store. Lines of shopping carts filled with all things dorm room.

To Steve Palec on WKLH/Milwaukee. His Rock & Roll Roots program featuring the music of John Mellencamp. Later: Toto. Thanks Steve!

P.S. to 'KLH: often your internet spot substitution audio runs long and upcuts your on-air audio; notice it most during Steve's program.

My wife in frustration attempting to get an update to Rhapsody to work on her PC; not the first time the service has caused grief; usually tied to the dreaded digital rights management with any "updates". Time wasted. Added: All resolved after removing and reloading both Rhapsody and Windows Media Player.

To Lee Arnold for the wonderful salute yesterday on Dave Martin's blog. Meeting both Lee and Dave on my "someday to do" list; perhaps part of a midwest road trip.

Speaking of Dave: he shares some thoughts about making heros. Think local. Read

PPM Now.
The above-mentioned Mr. Martin launches a second blog dedicated to the discussion and issues surrounding Arbitron's PPM. Here.

This follows a post on Dave's existing blog back on Thursday that generated a boatload of feedback. That post - and reader comments -

To consultant Jaye Albright for the kind words on this blog earlier this week. I more often than not get something out of Jaye's Breakfast Blog everytime I surf by. Jay another industry pro sharing with the world.

"The audience doesn't care about you. So you'd better care about them." -Mark Ramsey - here.

More Bruce.
The new single ("Radio Nowhere") offers a commentary on our business...not that it has to be this way:

I was trying to find my way home,
But all I heard was a drone.

Bouncin' off a satellite

Crushing the last long American night.

This is radio nowhere.

Is there anybody alive out there?

This is radio nowhere.

Is there anybody alive out there?

I was sitting around a dirt dial

Just another lost number in a file.

Been in some kinda dark cove

Just searching for a world with some soul.

Listen here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ridin' The Storm Out...

68° - rain - dark/cloudy at 10am

Late Friday afternoon (4-5pm) brought severe thunderstorms and funnel clouds to mid-Michigan - and a brief trip to the basement for me and my two boys.

Local TV went to continuous coverage. Lots of EAS activations with severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. The sky dark. Wind. Rain.

Closest touchdown to our location was a mile or two away. After spending years in the Colorado mountains, this was my first tornado experience since the early 70s growing up in the Chicago suburbs.

It was a first for my two boys - the oldest who was celebrating his 12th birthday!

More from WILX-TV here. Lansing State Journal here.

Back to radio tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

87° - cloudy & humid at 9am; more rain likely today. Left: eastern sky here this am

Happy Friday. Last night we caught just the northern edge of the storm that did damage in Chicago after it moved across the lake.

Springsteen: Been told that a certain New York City AC station spun the new Bruce/E Street Band single ("Radio Nowhere") this morning. Perhaps more than once. Later: more "leaks" detected around the country. Update: I just heard it. It rocks; what a song!

Added: The search engine buzz on this record is very strong - judging by this pings this blog has had via search engines with a post about The Boss days ago. Its great to see the excitement over new music from an important artist in classic rock. Added: Listen to the song here (via Hype Machine).

"The Workforce" drives numbers.
We knew that - but PPM really shows it. Give me a live body on the air after morning drive to talk to (and bond with) at-work listeners on-air, on the phone and via email.

Points from yesterday's Arbitron's consultant fly-in - via Tom Taylor's Newsletter:

“I can’t emphasize it enough, that working persons drive radio listening.”

"...they’re the ones who turn out to be the star class of radio users – partly because they punch in their favorite stations while they commute to and form work, and because they may well be listening at work. In fact “working persons have 66% more radio listening.”

"(Arbitron's) John Snyder says part of the PPM success of stations like WMMR, Philadelphia is that men – its natural core audience – are more likely to be in the workforce."

More: Paragon Media Strategies posts about the "Major Differences Between Diary and PPM Results" Read here.

Lee Arnold: Lee with a great post about the most significant music album ever - released 40 years ago yesterday.


Have a great weekend; more here Sunday.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Afternoon Update

"Overnight we have scores of PPM experts offering station and group folks assistance. Some of these same experts would have us believe they are qualified to confront Arbitron and take the lead in what amounts to an ongoing ratings police action. My opinion is most of these so-called experts are not qualified to discuss the subject matter at any serious depth." - David Martin.

Read Dave's post here.

All Access reports: "the cumes for an in-tab based on the partial sample that was improperly processed was just about the same as the full properly processed sample."

Paragon Media has been updating readers on the Arbitron Consultant Fly-In with its new blog. A recap of yesterday posted this morning; I'd expect another one soon. Read here.

Other notes of interest:

You Tube: Using embedded You Tube videos on your station site? Google's new You Tube ad strategy is now kicking in.

Do you mind their ad inventory on your website? Something to ponder. Your mileage may vary. Jaye Albright on that topic here.

btw: kudos to Google for monetizing its You Tube investment in a user-friendly way. More from Mark Ramsey here.

Satellite merger update: All Access reporting (Wednesday) that Entravision has told the FCC that if the Sirius/XM merger were to happen "
the agency should allow existing terrestrial licenses to form a consortium and proceed to establish and operate a qualified competitor".

The company also "
asks the FCC to require SIRIUS and XM to relinquish their spectrum so that competition can resume".

Giving up half of the combined spectrum entered my mind early into this merger talk. (this last piece reposted from yesterday; it wound up on my "bumped" list. I was "oversold". Poor inventory management on my part...oops...LOL)

HD2 & New Programming

83° - partly cloudy at 12noon

The week just flying by; a great morning as my two boys talked me into a bicycle ride to Starbucks. School here for them resumes right after Labor Day. Its been my first summer ever as a "stay home Dad".

I've written here before about active rocker
WRIF/Detroit and their HD2 effort Riff2.

Station management and ownership deserve lots of credit for allocating the resources they have for this sidechannel. It appears to be a tremendous committment.

The programming boasts a full airstaff; and I recently found a revamped and totally cool website that just screams "community". Radio meets MySpace. Peruse the site - you might get some inspiration.

Listen to the stream too - its so much more than an automated jukebox; been listening most of the morning. A real jock - plus concert updates; sports updates. A real radio station. A local Detroit station.

Riff2 came to mind after reading Fred Jacobs' blog this morning:

"We have heard many stations and broadcasters say they will sink more into programming when there are more radios in the overall population."

"But the chicken-and-egg-of-it is that selling more radios isn't going to happen on faith. It is great content that will drive purchases. It is word-of-mouth that will convince people to try HD Radio. It is the ability to be able to walk into a store, hear HD Radio, and tune in cool and interesting programming that will move these units off the shelves."

Riff2 is a great example of developing a great sidechannel product; and adopting various forms of new media with their website.

Clear Channel has also been very active in development with their Format Lab. Inside Radio's Mike Kinosian profiles some of those efforts here.

HD - and radio in general - regardless of the delivery method needs more efforts like this. HD Radio's alleged "lack of interest" appears to more of an issue of awareness. This awareness really won't happen without an investment in programming.

Increased choices for consumers through technology like HD Radio. WiFi and WiMax open many opportunties for today's broadcasters; but those efforts have to expand beyond various flavors of iPod-type formats. Whats in it for you and me? I'm hoping for more job opportunities for programmers and airstaff alike.

Jobs are a good thing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday Blogs - Afternoon Edition

91° - sunny and 52% humidity at 6pm

Good afternoon...

Posting delayed today with Blogger being unavailable this morning - and then other priorities took over the day.

PPM in Houston:
Lots of talk about Arbitron's PPM troubles in Houston. Both consultant Randy Kabrich and Cox Radio President Bob Neil were quoted on All Access yesterday expressing concerns about quality control.

Yesterday consultant Harv Blain wrote on his blog:
"I will be at Arbitron for a two day conference on PPM starting tomorrow. You think that may be a topic of discussion in the hallway and in the conference room?" More Harv here.

Meanwhile: McVay Media's Dave Lange writes: "
Before you work with any research or ratings data the most important analysis tip we can pass on is LOOK AT THE SAMPLE. How far off of the population estimates is the return?"

More: "Are you feeling real good about gains that were more the result of a few diaries weighted way up that will disappear in the next report? Or are you looking at a downturn that's really an illusion?
" Read Dave's complete piece here.

Having spent much time in small markets, I've had great books and bad books - some I never believed one way or another simply because the in-tabs were so small. Of course, we still celebrated the wins with the staff regardless!

Paragon Media Strategies is now blogging on PPM and more. They've got ten PPM "rules" (so far) for programming. Rules that make good sense PPM market or not. Read here.

Music: This weekend Little Steven's Underground Garage will debut the new single ("Radio Nowhere") from Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. Sweet!

Steven is asking affiliates to resist the temptation to lift and air the song from the show ahead of time.

Mr. Van Zandt says "
HIS Boss will really be pissed at him if the song gets played before it premieres on The Underground Garage." And we know who his boss is, right?

Added: At least one outside monitoring service already has the song in its database ready to detect airplay.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Around The Dial...

69° - cloudy - at 1pm - more rain coming
left: an original "Mac" - way before Steve Jobs.

Good afternoon.

Uhh...who has a "dial" these days?

Getting local. I've hinted before that classic rock has an excellent opportunity to bond itself to the local musician community. There's lots of poor musicians out there looking for attention - many likely listen to your radio station - along with their fans.

One suggestion was to use unsold time - on a station's webstream -
here - to highlight and promote local bands - especially, but not limited to those area favorite cover bands that play the same songs your radio station does. Its about building/extending a community.

Here's a station doing something similar: Clear Channel's Fox Rock Network - based in Ashland, OH (a three signal simulcast) has a local rock report on the air - and on their website. Too cool. And its sold!

Added: And in a very bold move, the station also plays local bands on the air during the weekends too - with excellent response according to Program Director Jeff Schendel.

See the webpage
here. Scroll down on that page; the love they give - through promoting local music and musicians can only pay off in the future. PR money can't buy.

Do it for the troops. WRCK/Utica has a real neat promotion going on: "Tunes For Troops".

Listeners are encouraged to drop off new or used CDs - or iTune gift cards at select locations with the music to be distributed to the "men and women of the Armed Forces". Very excellent!

This sounds like something the listeners of almost any radio station could get behind. And it would appear there may be some NTR dollars in it too! More on their homepage.

Added: "
O&A ain't making it". At least not in Chicago. If not Chicago - where outside of NYC? Certainly not nearby me in Grand Rapids. Dave Martin offers his take on the first phase numbers from Chicago - click here and scroll down.

And - from the "new to me" file: Lou Reed's take on "This Magic Moment". The classic Drifters tune - later done by Jay & The Americans. Wonderful. Heard over the close of TNT's new Saving Grace last night.


Just for fun...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Arbitron PPM and Great Moments in Consulting

58° - rain at 8am
left: downtown Lansing 8:10am - current image

Good Morning; another rainy day in Michigan; skies are dark.

Fall SIPs are due back today at Arbitron. Book begins one month from today. But you knew that already.

PPM lessons learned: Consultant Mike McVay and WBEB/Philadelphia PD Chris Conley have put together a list of key points of what they've learned from PPM and BBM (Canada); based upon personal experience with client stations over the past year.

Some highlights:

  • Managers should focus primarily on programming and marketing tactics that drive TSL of the heavy users of the product. In other words it’s not about “driving cume”. It’s about getting your P-1’s to make additional appointments through compelling programming and tactics. Keep them coming back!
  • Time Spent Listening is built by repeat tune-in. It’s not necessarily getting someone to stay from one quarter hour to the next, but rather getting them to come back in repeat sittings. The more occasions of listening, the longer the Time Spent Listening.
  • Fewer stop-sets that are longer make for the best Time Spent Listening.
  • Positioning remains an important part of programming. Despite the fact that the People Meter captures the station name and frequency, listeners need to know WHO they are listening to and WHERE to go back to, in order to have repeat occasions of listening.
  • No Talk Segues should make your station sound cleaner. It exaggerates your more music position. It may not increase your TSL, but it certainly enhances the music you play.
Lots more here. Kudos to McVay Media for sharing with the industry.

Meeting of the minds:
Consultant Harv Blain writes about a market visit he had last week. Also there - two other consultants who handle other stations in the six-station cluster.

The result: two very productive days to strengthen and fortify the client's cluster. Very cool. Read

Harv concludes:
"It raised the bar in strategic thinking, brainstorming, and creativity. It was something different that we all felt we should repeat."

Even from outside that market - unassociated with the stations or its competitors - wouldn't you still want to be a fly on the wall?

Similarly - when with Clear Channel a few years back - I attended a management meeting in Vail of Lee Larsen's Rocky Mountain Region - with General Managers, Sales Managers and (like me) Program Directors.

One of the programmer highlights was an informal session about finding solutions for real problems in different markets within the region.

Programmers offered their opinions and suggestions on specific situations presented by a market's OM or PD. Three or four markets left the two-hour session with some great thoughts from the collective brain trust to take back home. Time well spent by all.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More Influence From Lee Abrams

My recent posts about upcoming releases from Bruce Springsteen and The Eagles brought to mind a column Lee Abrams wrote over ten years ago.

Lee's piece was about creating music credibility with your audience - including celebrating new releases and making them big events:

I'll now share a few ways stations can increase the confidence listeners have in their stations:

*Celebrate new releases. The core artists. The competition may have cash call, but you have the new _________! Some ways to accomplish this include:

--Don't add, locally premier. And number your premiers. In a year it'll sound like you've "broken" more music than anyone on earth.

--When you get it in, roll the whole thing. Then by popular demand roll it again at 6pm.

--A day before you get the CD, get the label guy on the phone. To you or I it's a business friend. To a listener it's like CNN talking to the head of the FBI after a bombing. Do a quick phoner to "set up" the release on the air.

--Throw a party at a club. If the band is Aerosmith, you can premiere the CD at a club, along with Steve Tyler lookalike contests, Aerosmith trivia contests, air guitar, etc. Turn a new release into a party.

--Cut special production to welcome the
release to the air.

If you handle the important releases correctly, you could probably add five CDs a year and be perceived as the "new music" station (half jokingly).

-Excerpt from "Creating Music Confidence" - All Access/May 1997.

Still valid ten years later? I think for the most part - yes. Some of this might not work today - certainly not with every release. But making an event out of a music event - such as a new album from a superstar band or artist - should be a no-brainer. Let's get excited again.

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

57° - rain/drizzle at 11am

Good Morning from Michigan; feels like an inside day today.

It appears there's more rain headed across the lake later.

yesterday to WKLH/Milwaukee and their "Storytellers" weekend. Marilyn Mee on the air - very much "live & local" chatting about the previous night's Brewers game. WKLH doing a great job with "Storytellers" - very casual with the air talent introducing segments - not overproduced.

Check it out today online after 1pm eastern.

Its not difficult to pull off what 'KLH is doing. Whether you pull sound bites together on your own or using a production service such as ABC Radio's Avalanche - a great resource for artist and song setups. Turn an ordinary weekend into something special.

Quoting David Martin (again) from his blog yesterday: "Take advantage of lazy competitors".

Listening this morning to the new Ann Wilson (see below); followed by Bob Stroud's Rock & Roll Roots on WDRV/Chicago.

Your dog, your listeners and loyalty. A terrific post from Mark Ramsey:

"Your dog isn't loyal because you ask her for loyalty. She's not loyal because you enter her into a contest where she has a one-in-a-thousand chance of a doggie treat."

"Yes, she'll jump through hoops for you, but she doesn't do it because you demand loyalty. She does it because she loves you."
More from Mark here.

Phase one summer ARBs: The numbers start to roll out tomorrow.

New music: The Eagles. WZBA/Baltimore has the first single ("How Long") off their forthcoming CD posted on their website. Listen and download here.

The album - titled "Long Road Out of Eden" to be released in late October.

As we mentioned with Bruce the other day - another release classic rock radio should embrace and celebrate.

Heart's Ann Wilson has her first solo album ("Hope & Glory") coming out September 11th. It features covers of songs by Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and others - and guest appearances by many.

Check out a few tracks
here. Ann's vocals still rock - as strong and great as ever.

Be sure to listen to "Immigrant Song". With apologies to Mr. Plant, you can clearly hear all the words.....

Rick Kaempfer's Chicago Radio Spotlight interviews Scott Dirks (WLUP, WRKR, WXCD, WZZN). A good read with lots of war stories - here.

Enjoy your Sunday.