Friday, November 30, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

The Countdown is over - and the best market for radio is: Chicago!

"A huge, eclectic variety and still the best morning-show slate anywhere."

That according to Sean Ross and the staff at Edison Media Research - who have been counting down their list of the ten best markets for radio over the past several weeks in their excellent "Infinite Dial" blog.

Kudos to WDRV's Bob Stroud and Bobby Skafish for being one of the highlights.

Though you may disagree with the final results - its all a fascinating read. See here. I agree Chicago is a great choice for #1 - but wonder why Denver was left out of the Top 10...just my two cents.

Jay Mitchell.
Jay blogs on why he sucks as a consultant (and why he sounds like a great one) here.

Long Week. Wrapping up a very busy November with one job - and getting ready to add another come Monday.

More here Sunday Morning.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The "After The Show" Show

27° - overcast & gusty winds at 9:34am

I mentioned this here about a month ago: Fox News Channel's Morning Show "Fox & Friends" now continues on the 'net after its 9am ET cable sign-off.

Its a bit more loose and informal than whats seen on cable. This morning the show continued on the 'net with guest Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch) and his wife Adrianne Curry.

Unfortunately - the post-show internet effort this morning was somewhat disappointing. Seemed to lack a plan.

About five minutes in, two of the morning show's cast of four "had to leave" - and after another two minutes guests Knight and Curry also split.

After eight minutes it was "end of show" (although the website promised 15 minutes of post-cable internet programming; hardly worth the effort to login to the Fox News site.

I think its a great concept that radio's morning shows could improve on and adopt. Thinking second internet feed (or HD2) with AM drive show continues past its normal sign-off.

Another way to monetize and drive website visits. An incentive for HD radio. Perhaps the rest of the 24/7 feed could be a looped replay of the radio morning show and post-show segment (ala "Howard 100" on Sirius).

Of course you have to have a morning show with the content value to support the concept. And a staff person to put it all together everyday.

Just a thought while sipping my morning coffee...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Blogs

35° - overcast at 7:07pm

Good evening from Michigan!

Top 40 There's been some buzz on the engineering boards about a New York City low-power TV station on channel 6 thats about to come on the air with a top 40 format. But it will be run as a radio station. Website here.

TV 6 audio is at 87.7 and is received by most FM radios; and this same concept was run successfully in Anchorage, AK not long ago. See here. Only problem is that Arbitron won't list a TV station, even if its run as a radio station.

From my blogosphere:

Your positioning line. Mark Ramsey writes:

"And anyone who thinks your radio brand is no more than your positioning line should be reminded that this is not the 70's, and just because you're stuck on Band-Aid, doesn't mean Band-Aid's stuck on you."

A good read here.

Arbitron. I still believe one of the most reasonable remarks over the current PPM issues is summed up by Consultant Harv Blain:

"Why they (Arbitron) aren't asking the consultants who work for a lot of their customers for brain trust power escapes me."

Harv Blain writes here.

McVay Media's Dave Lange adds his two cents on the PPM issues - concluding:

"The advertisers just want real - believable data and the diary and old sample systems can't do the job. But, the problem boils down to the old foundation of any research - getting a representative sample. Hopefully we can deliver it as an industry and quick - there are other places to spend media dollars out there."

Read Dave's entire piece here. Jaye Albright also has a great post on the Arbitron's PPM problems ("ARB's PPM New York Fiasco Didn't Have To Happen") here.

Air Talent Who Want To Win. A great piece by Jay Mitchell here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Monday

33° - overcast at 9pm

Yes - we had snow.
Snowed most of the afternoon today here in Mid-Michigan. Despite slick roads - it was kind of nice!

Arbitron PPM: Delayed rollouts. Word released today - find it in the usual places. Arbitron taking time to focus on sampling issues and so forth - after taking a beating from its customers last week.

Home improvement rocks:
WRIF/Detroit (101.1) and sister AC WMGC/Detroit (105.1) will be simulcasting a new weekend show Saturday Mornings at 7am.

"Hire It Done" with Adam Helfman will offer expert advice to homeowners on improvement projects so they're better informed when dealing with contractors. An unusual move for a top rated FM rocker. Read more

KPIG goes national. The well-known AAA/Americana station to syndicate its format via Dial-Global beginning December 31st. Wow. This could work on small and medium market signals - especially in the west. And it could make a great HD2 product in larger markets.

Read more from FMQB

Another list. New York's WAXQ just spent Thanksgiving Weekend counting down the top 1043 songs as voted by listeners.

See the list

BTW: this blog has a list of lists
here - compiled earlier this year.

Yule Tube Is Up. Thanksgiving is over. WCSX/Detroit has their collection of Christmas Classic Rock videos up on their website. See here.

I've written about "Yule Tube" before; I believe credit for the whole idea goes to WGRF/Buffalo PD John Hager - and I proudly ripped it off a few years ago while at Citadel.

Its all You Tube - and a zero cost web promo.

See the (original) "Yule Tube" on the WGRF/97 Rock website

Christmas 24/7. I note that Classic Rock KGON/Portland is now doing Santa day and night with a special commercial-free stream on their website. Here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

38° - clear at 12:53pm

Happy Sunday. Next week the routine returns to normal. Whatever normal is.

Wireless router troubles this morning. Signal kept disappearing. The hammer was a passing thought. This happens once or twice a week and requires powering the router off and on a few times before it gets stable. A replacement on my wish list; perhaps one with built-in DSL modem.

Friday I wrote about Consultant Jay Mitchell and his new blog. Jay's blog has in fact turned me on to another great blog: Greg Cavanaugh's Triple A Tunes.

In his latest post - Greg writes about Bob Seger - and Tom Petty - and how Classic Rock Radio largely ignored their recent releases. Well...some did/some didn't.

Check out Greg's blog

This blog:
due for a facelift (new imaging!). Have been looking for a new template to freshen things up but nothing has caught my eye.

Listening this morning - between wireless outages - to WDRV's Bob Stroud (as usual); this morning highlighting the year 1973. Bob played Cheech & Chong's "Basketball Jones".
Its been decades since I've heard that!

And yesterday I was sent an MP3 (dubbed from vinyl) of the late 70s Canadian prog rock band "FM" and their album "Black Noise". Something else I haven't heard for at least a few decades; and an album I played on the radio when it was new. Very tasty stuff!

More music: Randy Raley has been writing about his Top 100 albums of all-time; plus his "one-hit wonders" - reminding me of some great music long-forgotten. Scroll down on his blog here.

TV: Caught promos last night on The History Channel for a new special on the year 1968 - hosted by Tom Brokaw to debut on December 9th. I've marked my calendar. Read more here.

Back to radio tomorrow. Have a great Sunday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

32° - scattered clouds - at 2:22pm. Right: The kids next door tried - its melting now.

We did have our first real snowfall here late Wednesday Night and woke up Thanksgiving morning to white covered lawns. Add the smells coming from the kitchen between pies and turkey and it all was good!

Arbitron. The company now feeling the heat from Steve Sinicropi, Chairman of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council over PPM issues. Find that story on the online trades.

Meanwhile - Paragon Media's Bob Harper writes
here on Arbitron's PPM sampling issues ("PPM: Patsies Pay More") - followed by Jaye Albright "raising Bob one" in her blog:

"Is there any other broadcast research company which would have the temerity to actually contract for a project and then after delivering the results ask for either more money or propose changes in the methodology to cut their costs of doing the job right?"

Be sure to read the comments from Kent Burkhart at the bottom of Jaye's complete post

Consultant Harv Blain offers his two cents on Arbitron's issues
here - suggesting the company take advantage of the brain trust who will soon be attending the company's annual consultant fly-in:

"...brainstorming would be time well spent versus listening to (guest speaker) Sean Hannity expound on how great PPM is."

I can't imagine its been a very good Thanksgiving Weekend for some of those in Columbia.

Welcome to a new blogger. Consultant Jay Mitchell now blogging here. A great blog! I sent Jay a note yesterday to welcome him and let him know I'd be quoting him.

In one post - Jay recalls the start-up of CHR KHKS/Dallas - writing:

"When Gerry (DeFrancesco) asked me to do a format search for the station, I told him, "The market doesn't have a format hole ... it has an attitude hole." Everybody was playing it safe and behaving themselves; but nobody - especially the listener - was having any fun."

I love that. Not a format hole - but an attitude hole. Jay goes on to write about how they took liner card/tight format air talent and transformed them into entertainers with attitude. A great read her

BTW - The title of Jay's post: "Safety Last".

In another post: Jay writes about the latest round of layoffs happening throughout the country - with live talent in large markets being replaced by imported voice tracking - and comments:

"In what universe does this make sense?"

"Of course, the people who made this decision are so far up the food chain that they don't listen to the radio - they read financials. I'm sure this genius idea works well on paper."

"Too bad it sucks for the station and its listeners."

"How come we used to be able to do great live, local radio and make the numbers? How come we can't now?

Well said Jay. More here Sunday Morning.

Alice's Restaurant Still Rocks....

28° - sunny at 10:38am

Welcome to Black Friday.
No I did not get to the mall at 4am; I actually slept 'til 9.

If any PD or GM has their doubts
as to whether their Classic Rock station should be airing Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" on Thanksgiving Day - here's some totally unscientific data to ponder.

To preface:
over the past week, I've written about special Thanksgiving Day programming stations around the country were offering - and that includes those stations that have promoted the airplay of Arlo's 1967 18:20 masterpiece. Writings on this blog are indexed by search engines such as Google and a few others.

On a normal weekday - this blog typically receives 85 to 125 unique visitors. Saturday and Sunday about half that.

Yesterday a holiday, I was expecting weekend visitor levels - if that much.

Surprise: the "unique visitor" numbers were more than double their usual weekday levels. Most were first time visitors too. All new cume!

And the search engine "keywords" that brought them here were all a variation on "Alice's Restaurant" on station XXXX.

A small example of those searches is on the right.
Pretty cool to see!

It's something to think about when putting together plans for next year's Thanksgiving Day programming - especially if you were a classic rock station and passed on airing Alice's Restaurant yesterday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Thanksgiving Programming

49 - overcast at 10:50pm

Welcome to Tuesday; My youngest celebrating his 9th birthday today - family festivities earlier this evening.

Longtime readers of this blog see a new post everyday; it just didn't happen yesterday with the day job in the way. Saturdays continue to be optional.

Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil:
"Meeting - we don't need no stinking meeting".

OK - Bob didn't actually say that. But after Arbitron CEO Steve Morris suggested a meeting with its radio customers over PPM issues, Neil did tell All Access:

"Arbitron doesn't get it. We don't need a meeting. We need a clear plan on how and when they plan on hitting their sample targets. The time for meetings, delay tactics and spin is over. It's about giving radio and agencies what they've paid for: Good data."

Also on All Access: Cumulus head Lew Dickey said that no meetings were needed and that the ratings giant simply needs to "deliver the goods" and that "we are rooting for them to get this right". There's so much to be gained from the data PPM can give the industry. We all should be rooting for them to get it right. Its our future.

Meanwhile -
I've written here before that with most people carrying a cell phone or a Blackberry-like device - and perhaps an MP3 player too - I can't imagine anyone wanting to wear an additional tool like the PPM on their person. But thats just me.

This morning McVay Media's Dave Lange wrote about using cell phones instead of the PPM device to collect listening data. A great read
here. Hey, people carry cell phones already; give 'em a free cell phone is a great incentive to carry a device to record listening!

More Thanksgiving Programming: KPUS/Corpus Christi kicks off a "Second Helping" Weekend starting Wednesday Night at 6pm - with 2'fers all weekend long.

On Thursday,
WDRV/Chicago is doing a "Turkey Day Triple Play" with 3-fers all day long.

WCSX/Detroit offers up Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" 4x Thursday; plus a 4-hour Bob Dylan documentary. See the schedule here.

WMGK/Philadelphia is serving up Alice's Restaurant ("all 18 minutes and 20 seconds of it") three times on Thanksgiving Day.

WROQ/Greenville, NC (Rock 101) is doing a whole lotta Led Zeppelin - featuring the bands "101 biggest songs A to Z" on Saturday and Sunday.

More here Wednesday; thanks for the ping!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

41° and mostly clear at 11:50am.

This weekend:
WBLM/Portland is doing a Beatles A to Z. Adding to the cool is a Beatles "almost A to Z" video collection on WBLM's website. Another idea worth stealing. Check it out here.

Thanksgiving. Finding out what classic rock stations are doing for Thanksgiving programming coming up this week.

In San Jose: KUFX is doing their Beatles A to Z (with selected solo works) - it kicks off Wednesday at noon. Thursday at noon the station will interrupt the A to Z for Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant".

KSLX/Phoenix is putting Arlo's Alice into heavy rotation on Thanksgiving Day...playing it at 8am, noon, 5pm and again at 8pm. The station also kicks off Classic Rock Z to A on Monday, November 26th.

In Buffalo - WGRF is playing Arlo's Alice twice on Thursday; then starting Friday Morning at 6, its 24 hours of nothing but Beatles! 97 Rock also airing the Led Zep syndicated Mothership special.

WKLH/Milwaukee is serving Arlo's Alice once on Thanksgiving Eve - and again Thanksgiving Morning; plus all day Thursday its "classic album sides".

WKLH also running two Led Zeppelin specials - The Mothership and Song Remains The Same.

More Thanksgiving specials to come.

Arguing Arbitron. A follow-up to what we wrote here. WSRT/Traverse City GM Charlie Ferguson comments on Arbitron's response over his complaints on the sampling and recruitment efforts in his market.

"Mr. Mocarsky's statement that 'the sampling rate is so high in Traverse City' is truly laughable. When three diaries were thrown out and the book reissued in Traverse City, WSRT/WSRJ went from a .6 rating in Persons 12+ to a .4 rating -- a drop of 33%! In our Female target demos, the ratings dropped over 21%."

"When ratings-driven revenue accounts for 40 to 45% of a stations total sales, the value of three little diaries in our size market is overwhelming. The remarkable honesty of the majority of media people is outweighed by Arbitron's obligation to provide reliable ratings data that both buyers and sellers can use with confidence."

Charlie's comments were published on All Access this past Friday. He also has an additional issue with Arbitron with the way averages can be calculated with ARB software by agency buyers. We'll see how this all plays out.

Radio Stories. Today Rick Kaempfer's Chicago Radio Spotlight shines on WLS/Chicago afternoon personality Roe Conn.

Read here.

And - from the "video comes back to haunt department":

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

38° - mostly cloudy at 11am. Snow likely.

Welcome to Saturday.

Production Idea:
I'm writing this morning listening to WDRV/Chicago's stream (bet you're surprised) and the station is doing a "Ten at Ten Weekend". Ten at Ten a daily Mon-Fri feature that highlights ten great songs from one great year - accompanied by some sound bites from news events, movie and TV from that year.

On a 1985 "Ten at Ten" - and I heard a movie trailer for "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". The clip was apparently streaming audio - and low and behold I found links for the trailer at IMDB
here. Check the left-hand column.

Another source is Retrojunk. Here. Found it through IMDB. Got any others? Feel free to share!

What PPM doesn't change. Paragon Media's Bob Harper reminds us that recall and remembering are still important - in both the PPM and diary markets.


Guitar Hero.
Fred Jacobs writes here about the new Guitar Hero III video game. This one includes cowbell. LOL.

The other night I caught up with some friends from
WMMQ here who talked about how well Guitar Hero is working for bar promotions. Rock on!

Dan O'Day.
His 2008 PD Grad School speaker lineup has been finalized - and it looks like another excellent two days well-spent!

This year's school includes
Edison Media's Larry Rosin, McVay Media's Mike McVay, WOGL's Ross Brittian, internet radio and interactive specialist Rockie Thomas, author Tim Sanders and (of course) Dan O'Day himself.

Dates are February 22nd & 23rd in LA.
Dan's PD Grad School is one of the few events I've been truly excited about traveling to attend. Download the brochure here.

Mark Ramsey: TV star. Mark Ramsey has just debuted the first installment of what he labels "The Radio Industry's First TV Show". See here. Designed for short attention spans - and he plans to roll out one every month or so. Cool!

This is something any radio station can do on its website with relevant listener information.
See this example a while back from KGB/San Diego.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One Franchise. Two Platforms.

....and its all about storytelling.

Bad Week in Columbia

37° - overcast at 10am

Nobody seems to be happy with the ratings giant these days.

Yesterday the trades reported on a letter sent to the company's Columbia headquarters by Clear Channel, Cox, Radio One and Cumulus - over PPM sample sizes.

The letter - sent to key Arbitron executives - opened with:

"All of us have been vocal supporters of the concept of electronic measurement in radio for several years, and we remain committed to the need for accurate, high quality electronic ratings as a way to program and sell our stations. As of this writing, the PPM system has been implemented in two markets for several months, with one month of information available in New York. To date, PPM has not provided accurate or reliable data for all demographic groups."

"We are calling on you to take immediate action to resolve this."

"The most immediate issue is sample size, especially with regard to 18-34 year olds and ethnic groups. The situation is clear: To secure a legitimate representation of listener activity, the number of people participating in the PPM survey must be increased."

Radio-Info.Com reports that the customers are demanding a larger sample - and to pay for it - they suggest eliminating the age 6-11 demographic and focus on the traditional 12+.

They would also like to see the company
"key in on a better sample for ages 18-54, where most advertising business is done."

Added: Dave Lange on "Sample Sizes and PPM" - read here.

Earlier in the week -
Arbitron was taken to task by WSRT/WKLT/WFCX Traverse City, MI GM Charlie Ferguson for sending survey participation invitations to two more staff members - plus one invite to "resident" at the station's address.

As you may recall - the Traverse City spring book was reissued after it was discovered that two WSRT employees may have filled out diaries.

Ferguson asked that Arbitron consider a database of station employee addresses and names to avoid future problems but reports that idea received a cold reception. Charlie was quoted in All Access:

"If my staff has gotten three separate invitations to fill out diaries, how many of my competitors have received them as well? What if they didn't turn down the opportunity? We can't be the only stations whose staff is being contacted, can we? Arbitron has a real responsibility to insure the integrity of the ratings and that radio station/company employees don't participate in the survey, but the opposite would appear to be happening."

Arbitron's Tom Mocarsky
reportedly responded in Radio Business Report with:

"The sampling rate is so high in Traverse City that its inevitable that households with radio station employees get selected. With each survey, approximately on out of every 45 households gets selected to be in our starting sample. And, once the survey is done, one out of every 129 people in the market ends up in our survey. Despite the odds of getting selected, people in the radio industry are remarkably honest. It is an uncommon event for us to re-issue a report because of media affiliation."

(On keeping a list of radio station personnel) "This would be a logistical nightmare and it raises significant privacy issues."

Let's hope the folks at Arbitron can pull it together; the industry needs a source of credible data.

And nobody likes it when the customers are screaming - no matter what business you're in.