Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

70° - sunny at 11:25am

Been listening to Bob Stroud's Rock & Roll Roots on Chicago's WDRV since 8am eastern this morning. Highlighting this week in music back in 1971. A great year in music. And discovering new music.

Among titles heard this morning:
  • "Inner City Blues"/Marvin Gaye;
  • "Signs"/Five Man Electrical Band;
  • "One Fine Morning"/Lighthouse;
  • "Smackwater Jack"/Carole King;
  • "Too Many People"/Paul McCartney;
  • "Charity Ball"/Fanny;
  • "Wedding Song"/Paul Stookey;
  • "Rain Dance"/Guess Who;
  • "Marianne"/Stephen Stills.
Lots more. The Joan Baez cover of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". Pardon my enthusiam - but these are surprises you can't get from an iPOD.

Falling under the category of too much information (buts its my blog):

One 1971 music memory is discovering Marc Bolan and T-Rex. Hearing the single "Hot Love" on (then) top 40 station WLOI-FM 96.7, LaPorte, Indiana during a family camping trip.

As I recall - it was before "Bang-A-Gong" broke.
When traveling back in that era one could hear and discover songs & artists on the radio that hadn't made it to my hometown Chicago stations. And why that memory still occupies a cell or two in my head is beyond me. I didn't even hear any T-Rex this morning!

Post-Stroud. Continued to listening to WDRV - the station doing a "Triple Play Weekend"; three-fers accompanied by some very cool artist imaging voiced by Nick Michaels.

Returning to the present: Still high on Mark Ramsey's NAB presentation. In one of his "7 Habits", he writes/speaks of "Events vs. Anti-Events". Using WMMR/Philadelphia, cites a couple of PPM "case studies" on the impact of on-air ticket giveaways.

First study was a promoted ticket giveaway for The Smashing Pumpkins. The day of the giveaway - a pair an hour 10a-7p, average persons 25-54 increased 2.3%, but cume dropped 16.5%.

Second study - a promoted ticket giveaway for The Police. The day of the giveaway - a pair an hour 10a-10p, average persons 25-54 increased 16.5% - and cume increased 7.2%.

The Police reunion tour no doubt a "real event". At least for the listeners of WMMR. Smashing Pumpkins maybe not.

So whats your criteria for putting a promotion on the air (or not) - and if - at what promotional level? What does your research - including your gut tell you?

Added: WRIF/Detroit sweeps the 2007 R&R Active Rock Station honors. See a very cool message to "The Riff" from Lee Arnold here. Beautiful Lee!

All for today - finishing a perceptual project for the day job and then its off to my 8-year old's first flag football game. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Listening to WKLH/Milwaukee....

70° - sunny at 11:37am

During the couple hours I was compiling and writing my post below about the NAB and R&R Conventions, I was listening to WKLH/Milwaukee on the 'net.

Once again I found myself very caught up in 'KLH's programming, imaging and execution.

Started this morning with "The Best of Dave & Carole" (the station's weekday AM drive programming). A Saturday Morning show - with prior week show highlights.

These "best of" bits accompanied by lots of fresh tracks by the Dave & Carole together talking about whats happening in the Milwaukee area throughout the weekend.

All done conversation style like the weekday morning show - not a quick calendar run-down. Blended well with the best-of tracks.

This was followed at 10am central by 'KLH's Marilyn Mee....starting her time coming out of Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy" to lament about the Brewer's 6-3 loss to San Diego last night - putting an end to hopes for post-season play. Live and so local.

WKLH also soliciting listener votes (with an excellent promo) for the "Greatest Guitar Solos of Classic Rock" - to be featured on air October 12th. Workforce members eligible to vote on the 'KLH website.

More listener-generated content; making them part of the programming!

Great radio stations are great inspiration for any programmer. You know one when you hear one - and WKLH is part of that club!

More Programming from the NAB Radio Show and R&R Convention

I've watched Mark Ramsey's NAB presentation twice now - "Seducing PPM: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Ratings".

I'll likely watch it again in the next week. That good.

Its a self-described "Forensic Deep Dive" - examining listener habits, marketing (strategic vs. tactical and why both are important), on-air contesting and "events" that matter, what happens when the mic comes on and more. All compiled from available PPM data.

The beautiful thing is that Mark's revelations apply to both diary and metered markets.

Download the presentation video here. PDF files also available - but you really need the narration that comes with the video.

Mark qualifies his findings stating that its all preliminary. As more and more of the Top 50 markets go PPM - theories will be confirmed, revised, added to and thrown out. Its an exciting time for radio programmers.

Quotes from Charlotte via R&R:

WMGK/Philadelphia PD Charley Lake speaking at the Jacobs Media Summit: PPM Rocks - on the introduction of the meter to the market: “I stressed to my staff that our job remains the same – making great radio.” Yep!

Lincoln Financial Media's Tom Jackson - at one of the R&R AC sessions talked about the mindset that older listeners are not interested in going online for their stations:
"You're letting your stereotypes come into play much too much."

"They're investing online. They'll come to your site if there's compelling info. Many stations don't see the need to invest in their sites, so the numbers aren't there, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy."

CBS Radio's Dan Mason - in a live session with R&R's Erica Farber: "
I've gone out of my way to say we're not going to cram down decisions any more..." " won't see us rolling out 10 new stations at a time."

Speaking of the CBS stations - Mason said:
"I want to hear the imaging, I want to hear what they sound like. I may be the only president that reads radio message boards but I want to know what the people are saying about our radio stations"

Very cool Dan.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

58° - clear at 9:22am

Welcome to Friday; Sun shining this morning for what seems to be the first time in days. Nice autumn weather.

More news to programmers from the NAB during the weekend.

The Boss. Appeared this morning on NBC-TV's "Today Show". I knew about it; missed it - but just caught the video here on the web. Very cool.

Paul Shaffer. That nutty guy from the Letterman Show. Now doing radio. "Paul Shaffer's Day In Rock" - a sixty second daily feature distributed by Envision Radio. Just picked up starting Monday by WAXQ/New York City.

Demo is great. Listen here. Book it by calling Greg Ausham at (216) 831-3761 or

Cara Carriveau. Cara's latest podcast has her chatting with Jim Peterik - formerly of Survivor and The Ides of March, along with former Survivor lead singer Jimi Jamison and Night Ranger singer/drummer Kelly Keagy.

All three are performing together next week at MelodicRockFest in South Bend, Indiana. Listen at Cara's Basement here.

Dave Martin. Yesterday Dave wrote here about employers, job seekers and manners:

"In recent years I continue to hear from folks who are out of work and not able to get employers to return a phone call nor respond to an email. Folks are doing as they are told, following instructions and making application for employment - never to hear anything in response. So it would seem the days of a proper rejection letter is over. The majority of the time it seems employers today are not offering any response whatsoever. Folks apply for a job and nothing happens...."

"It's bad manners and there is simply no excuse. Understanding there will always be a few bad actors out there, in the ranks of the employed and unemployed, it seems today there are just too many rude folks at work on the employer side."

Guilty. Me. On the employer side I've had applicants fall through the cracks that I never responded to. Most I did. But that doesn't matter to the ones I failed. As Dave said - there is no excuse.

Its something that might not seem mission critical until you become the job seeker. One soon discoveres how valuable a response - any response - is to the applicant. Think of the impression of you and your company in the eyes of the applicant.

Noted for my future. And thanks Dave.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Programming Highlights From The NAB

63° - overcast at 6:24pm

Spent part of today at the Michigan Secretary of State to renew vehicle tags; there's likely to be a shutdown of State Government here soon due to a budget impasse - it needed to get done now.

Despite the long lines, it really wasn't a bad experience in East Lansing.

Various online trades and blogs reporting news out of the convention in Charlotte. Thanks to All Access, R&R, Radio-Info, Inside Radio and Edison Media's Sean Ross for sharing with the rest of the world.

Of interest to programmers so far:

The NAB announced a new marketing program for radio - named "Radio 2020". R&R reports that the campaign will be a "comprehensive marketing outreach, through radio and print advertisements, incorporating messaging from both a national and local level."

It will also promote "playlist variety and format diversity", including HD programming.

As much as I hate to admit it - there's this skeptic in me waiting for something less-than-spectacular. But I really hope this is something that will blow me away.

Jacobs Media unveiled the "Bedroom Project" - focusing on young adult use of digital media - and radio. All Access reporting that Jacobs focused on how radio is generally not listened to in the home by young adults, and noted that radio's stronghold, the car, is being encroached upon by iPods.

Meanwhile in another session - CBS Radio's Kurt Johnson responded to recent comments by Columbia Record's Rick Rubin that suggested youth aren't listening to radio anymore by saying "
CBS has done its own research and found that's not true -- if it were, why would Columbia reps still be calling stations and asking for adds?"

In an "adult formats" session - WQDR/Raleigh PD Lisa McKay talked about connecting with listeners. R&R quotes Lisa: "I think there's a direct connection between TLC and TSL: the more love you put into your station, the more you get back.

It's the handshake effect: You reach out, they reach back. Make the connection, answer e-mails, answer phones."

And its so easy to do. A no-brainer.

R&R also reporting that Adult Formats panel moderator Mike McVay described the current diary system -- and ratings in general -- as a popularity contest much like political elections. "I've tried to create programming that makes my stations popular. What gets stations elected?"

Kurt Johnson of CBS Radio replied: "
You have to make sure your station is going through the steps that your listeners fall in love with you: Look attractive, listen to them, show you have a clue and that you're someone they want to be with, then keep it going long-term by keep doing nice things and put things in the bank"

There's more to come Friday - including what looks to be a great PPM session from Mark Ramsey. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

For The Remote Van....

Seen via Gizmodo - from the People's Design Awards:

(Wonder if there's a way to sneak call letters or a logo on this?)

Wednesday Blogs

60° - light drizzle at 9:19am

Left: Eagle Harbor off Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula this morning. current image

Good Morning from Michigan.

From my blogosphere:

Southern Fried.
Edison Media Research has a great blog in The Infinite Dial; and Edison's Sean Ross is in Charlotte for the NAB. While there he's blogging his impressions of Charlotte radio. Here's his notes about classic rocker WRFX:

"At a time when many Classic Rock stations have gotten older and softer, they were relatively crunchy in middays: a Don Henley here or an Elton John/"Rocket Man" there, but also AC/DC "Shoot To Thrill" into Styx/"Renegade," as well as the Southern Rock that you'd expect--Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, and a Charlie Daniels Band threefer!"

Jaye Albright. Jaye Albright explores what Clear Channel could do to get some PPM numbers for its country HD2 product in New York City. An interesting read here.

Could similar tactics work for other market "exclusive" formats that are only available on HD?

Jaye also shares some great words on branding
here; its about artists - but very relevant as you think of your radio station as a brand.

Wisdom from David Martin:
"Arbitron PPM is about getting into places, it's about penetration of personal and public spaces; you need to be played to be exposed and to be played you're going to need to be invited. Getting invited requires you to be known and "findable."

Read Dave's complete post from Friday

Bruce Springsteen. Amazon debuts another song/video from "Magic" - scroll down here; and Clear Channel station websites give fans a preview of the album. See/listen here.

Bogus Led Zep tix. From Radio & Records: "QPrime Management has alerted R&R that there are unethical scalpers offering Led Zeppelin concert tickets that they don’t actually have for the band’s show in London on Nov. 26 at the 02 Arena."

Flying with a Poophead. Consultant Harv Blain shares an airline experience with an computer executive here. Harv: "
Do you have any spoilers that would tarnish your brand?"

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WCSX & More Fall Promos

67° - heavy rain/thunderstorm at 8:10pm

Another busy one. Trip to Detroit and back to drop our house guests off at the airport. My in-laws from Denver. Had a great time during their visit.

Driving around Detroit - I had the pleasure of listening to Greater Media's WCSX for an extended period.

WCSX is simply a great classic rock station. Strong and well-produced imaging. Great features ("Linkletter" is something we've discussed here before); plenty of cross-promos for other shifts; and a great personality in middays: Karen Savelly.

Station was running a great promotion with the Workforce Listener of the Day. Very cool. WCSX really taps into the at-work listener; the station sure to enjoy a big PPM payoff when that day comes.

More fall promos:

Speaking of WCSX - next week the station kicks off "Workforce Cash" - $100 an hour and a drawing for ten grand.

Interesting note on their
Workforce Cash web page: Listeners are required to pick up their prizes on Mondays between 3 & 5pm.

Not sure if a set time is completely listener-friendly - but having one allows the station to have a camera ready to snap photos - and a prod room ready to catch some audio from station winners.

WKLH/Milwaukee - another great classic rock station - kicks off the "'KLH $100,000 Bank Heist" on Monday with a Workforce song of the day. More here.

Likewise: WGRF/Buffalo is "hiring" - giving listeners a chance at earning $100/hour beginning Monday. Read here.

KMJX/Little Rock recycles a promotion from radio's past. "...ask everyone you see: Are you the Magic 105 USA Drug Ten Thousand Dollar Mystery Person?" Clues on air and hidden on the station's website. Details here.

Gift Cards, Free Gas & Cash: Next week, KSLX/Phoenix kicks off Thousand Dollar Thursdays, Free Gas Fridays and Gift Card Mondays.

KHYT/Tucson is playing "Stash The Cash" - stretching a cash budget with appointment listening. More here.

Recycling Football Cume. Chiefs flagship KCFX/Kansas City has a "Thousand Dollar Monday Chiefs Song Of The Day".

KCFX announces a song title during Chiefs broadcast on Sunday with song played during morning drive on Monday. Details

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Monday

82° - sunny at 1:08pm

Good afternoon.

AC/DC and Verizon Wireless:
"....another reminder about how critically important mobile phones and Classic Rock are in the new media scheme of things." - Fred Jacobs.


Great Monday Ideas

From Jaye Albright's
Breakfast Blog: "Watch the latest web video from Lynch & Meyers as they prep their show for The Brew/Milwaukee. Thanks to Sean Lynch for sending it along."

"WSSL/Greenville was the first station (almost 15 years ago now) that I heard put their daily morning show promo on the station's music on hold, so everyone who calls the station hears a plug for tomorrow's morning show while they wait for their party at the station."

Thanks Jaye. Love the Brew/Milwaukee morning prep video. Reminds me of a few morning drive moments in my career!

And we have this thought from Dave Martin's PPM News & Comment Blog: "The early days of PPM include a growing store of advice, counsel on how to win in a PPM world. My thought is one of the most important and effective strategies not yet getting the attention deserved. Keep a diary.

As a practical matter keeping a diary, or journal if you prefer, affords an outstanding return on investment. Your diary will prove invaluable in gaining an understanding of PPM data. What is happening? What is not happening? What are the players doing to influence the action?"

PPM is giving us insights we never had before about our audience; continuing education for everyone. A great idea Dave - thank you!

Personal note: a few weeks back I wrote here about the passing of WITL's Jay J McCrae. Jay a program director I had the privilege of working in the same building with at the Citadel cluster in Lansing, Michigan.

I mentioned that Jay's wife and partner of 25 years - Jordan Lee - also handles middays on the station.

A post on the Michigan Radio Buzzboard noted Jordan's return to work this morning saying on air: "...Jay was not only my husband, but one of the toughest program directors to work for and I can hear him saying get back to work... so here we go." Welcome back Jordan.

More here tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

64° - sunny at 10am

Happy Sunday.
My in-laws have been in town from Denver since Thursday. Good times. Watched Michigan State spank Notre Dame yesterday on TV.

Listening this morning:
Again this week to Pam Rossi's Over Easy on WCSX/Detroit. Thanks for the Simon & Garfunkel. Loved "The Boxer" and "Leaves That Are Green".

The latter I haven't heard likely in 35+ years. I've got to order "Sounds Of Silence" on CD from Amazon today.
Sarcasm: I doesn't sell music.

Actually tried WDRV/Chicago first - a longtime habit - but they're not streaming "Rock & Roll Roots" this morning due to RIAA issues.

Speaking of WDRV: Celebrating Bruce Springsteen's birthday today with Boss classics throughout the day.

Perhaps the RIAA problem this morning was due to the "not more than 4 songs per artist in any 3 hour period rule" for streaming. Wonder how CHR stations stream???

WCSX/Detroit. New website design. Clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate. See here. Very nice. Great use of You Tube videos (a free resource!)

Meanwhile - Radio Online reports that "Male-Oriented Formats Top List for Radio Web Visitors". Hello classic rock. Read here.

This week Rick Kaempfer's Chicago Radio Spotlight shines on suburban classic rock WRXQ/Joliet PD Freak - who's had an amazing career with a number of stations in Chicago.

Read a cool story

Fun. Bob Andelman (Mr. Media) talks to Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin. Another guy from Chicago. Curb on HBO is one of the highlights of my week. Read here.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another "New" Oldies Approach

62° - sunny at 9:20am

Tipped by
Sean Ross: While the industry has been buzzing with the rebirth and reinvention of WCBS-FM/New York - another generation of "gold" stations kicked off Thursday in....Peoria.

WXMP flipped from AC to "Hippie Radio" as WHPI. Sean notes the format is being marketed to stations by Federated Media.

Hippie Radio is described as "radio for baby boomers". See the format presentation

Added: Don't allow the name "Hippie Radio" to lead to expectations of anything remotely close to AOR or classic rock radio. See comments at link below this post. Its oldies - in both music and a pop/top 40 presentation.

Unlike WCBS-FM and Kool/Portland, Hippie Radio avoids the 80s . (oops...jumped the gun...see below) The format has emphasis on mid to late 60s and the early to mid 70s - not unlike many "oldies" stations.

Titles heard this morning 6-7am eastern time:
  • I Can't Help Myself/Four Tops (1965)
  • Kind Of A Drag/Buckinghams (1966)
  • Crocodile Rock/Elton John (1972)
  • Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'/Crazy Elephant (1969)
  • Somebody To Love/Jefferson Airplane (1967)
  • Got To Get You Into My Life/Beatles (1966)
  • American Pie/Don McLean (1971)
  • Just The Way You Are/Billy Joel (1977)
  • Mustang Sally/Wilson Pickett (1966)
  • Incense & Peppermint/Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967)
  • Magic Carpet Ride/Steppenwolf (1968)
  • Blinded By The Light/Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1976)
  • Wedding Bell Blues/Fifth Dimension (1969)
Later: "Thats The Way Of The World" from Earth, Wind & Fire; "Indian Lake" by The Cowsills; "Free Ride" by Edgar Winter; "So Far Away" by Carole King;

Even later: "Marrakesh Express"; "Sweet Home Alabama"; "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis; "Small Town" from Mellencamp (oops...there's an "80s" track!); "Tiny Dancer" from Elton; The live version of "Hotel California" from "Hell Freezes Over"; "Easy Livin" by Uriah Heep. Very broad musically with some real "oh wow" titles.

Imaging: Heard some listener testimonials tied to Peoria - reminiscing about places and events "back in the day". Nice. Generic "Hippie Radio" jingles. Other imaging typical of a new format kickoff.

Listening early this morning the station was running jockless until 8am; once a DJ hit the air the station really came alive.

Sean Ross
notes listening yesterday to a DJ with
"...a lot of attempts to be lifestyle oriented. When Aretha Franklin's "Think" played, the jock front sold it with, "Remember this one from 'The Blues Brothers'?"

Sean adds that local weather came from the "Hippy Dippy Weatherman". His complete "first listen" can be found here.

This is one to watch - especially once the honeymoon period is over. Some of the imaging - even perhaps the name borderlines on novelty - me thinks "short shelf life" - and we'll have to listen to see how this evolves.

Listen here. I'm really impressed with the spot load on a station thats only a day old; a great job at pre-sell and retaining old clients.