Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Blogs

70° - overcast at 8:20am

Good Morning from rainy Mid-Michigan.

Caught the Don Felder interview last night on Bloomberg; interesting insight into the politics of The Eagles. Video here.

Added: More spring winners: KQRS/Minneapolis up over a point a half to break a 10 share 12+. WRFX/Charlotte rebounds after a few rough books.

WAXQ/New York PD Bob Buchmann resigns, leaving Q104.3 in great shape with great numbers. I hope he's moving on to something wonderful after years of success in the Big Apple.

Around my blog-o-sphere:

Jaye Albright's "Favre" Stunt. Read

Dave Martin. Dave shares a great "trade secret" regarding Mel Karmazin negotiating with a potential hire. Read
here. As a PD (and in life), we've reached that point in negotiations.

And if you missed it, Dave shared another trade secret/tip with this blog in comments a few weeks back. Scroll to the bottom of
this page to read. Share with your air talent and web people. Well worth your time.

Sounds like a great radio station:

"A healthy balance of depth tracks and familiar hits. A true connection to community. A strong moral compass. Relatable human values. Direct audience relationships."

Paragon's Mike Henry on "Boss Radio"
here. (I've had the "experience" Mike writes of four times in my own life...)

Added: Consultant Alan Mason writes about branding and radio. A great piece:

"...the tangible parts of your “product” are what first attract people, but the intangible parts are what bring them back again and again, and build loyalty. In a radio brand the music or talk/news programming are the tangibles, and any facet of them, except how it adds to the experience, are still tangibles. So slight variations, shades of gray, aren’t meaningful to the consumer. That’s why smart brand marketers, like Apple, always advertise based on the intangible parts - those that live in the mind of the consumer."

"How’s your imaging today? As you listen, are you focusing on the experience and intangible parts of your station? Or are you, like most of us, still talking about the beans and the water?"

Read more here. And in a second post (here) - Alan writes:

"The “everything counts” principle simply lays it out that there is no neutral, or any get of of jail free card in anything we do. That no only includes the commercials, but also how the receptionist answers the phone. Or rather how the voice mail answers the phone these days. It includes how your your talent act at the remotes. It includes you having voice-tracked “weak ends” instead of weekends. It includes jocks who aren’t show prepping and sound like it."

"It includes the jock who tried to make a date on the Internet who turned out to be a cop. It includes the salesperson who demeans the product by giving it away at a ridiculously low price."

"Anything that doesn’t reinforce and solidify the brand then detracts from the brand."

Read his second post here. And Alan promises more tomorrow!

Have a good night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roll Tape Tonight (or get the podcast...)

In the email this afternoon:

Tonight on the BLOOMBERG TELEVISION® program "Night Talk" anchor Mike Schneider talks to Former Eagle's Guitarist Don Felder.

Felder talks about his memoir 'Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001).' Felder talks about writing Hotel California and how his relationship with the Eagles came to an end in 2001. "The amount of money that was involved went from small amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. Along with that came the three really ugly elements called greed, power, and control. Don and Glen seemed to think that they were more entitled...And so what happened was I was just happy we were back together...As money started getting bigger and bigger and bigger I started asking questions about how the money was being handled...And so the answer I got was, "You're fired."

"Night Talk" airs in the U.S., Europe and Asia on Bloomberg TV at 10PM on weeknights and is simulcast on Bloomberg Radio at 10PM. Bloomberg Radio is broadcast on 1130AM in the New York Metropolitan area and is available on XM and Sirius. The Friday night Show re-airs over the weekend Sat at 8:00-9:00pm, 10:00-11:00pm and Mon 12:00am - 1:00am.

"Night Talk" can also be seen on (, is podcast at ( and also on iTunes under Business News.

For information, tapes and transcripts please contact Heidi Tan ( For guest suggestions, please contact Robin Wood (

Argument Clinic

65° - clear at 7:59am

Oops...not that classic Monty Python skit -
but the WGRF/Buffalo (97 Rock) website.

I mentioned here days ago that the station was airing its list of "The Top 100 Guitar Heroes of Classic Rock" this past weekend.

A look at the station's website this morning demonstrated that the feature did its job stirring up listener conversation and debate. From the discussion board:

"Randy Rhoads is too talented that it is an insult that he is at #17. He should at least of been in the first three. Oh well, we all have our own opinion."

"This list was pretty good, but Hughie Thomasson (RIP) should have been a lot higher than 98. Stevie Ray Vaughn's better than EVH too, but that's ok."

"Three problems with the list. The first two are only minor though. Slash should be top ten, and duane allman should be much higher also top 10. The major problem is of course jimi hendrix. Led Zeppelin is by far my favorite artist and the greatest of all time but jimi hendrix is the best guitarist ever. But i'm very glad you reconized Jimmy Page as a amazing guitarists where he is underestimated in magazines like Rolling Stone."

"And Jimmy Page over Hendrix - pfffft c'mon Buffalo are you serious? Jimi Hendrix could play better right handed than Paige could. Hendrix wasnt even alive long enough to do what Paige had his whole life to do and without Hendrix - most of the clasic rock genre wouldn't exist."

There's plenty more comments (19 pages worth) from 97 Rock listeners here. Kudos again to PD John Hager for finding a passionate topic among listeners that's tied directly to the on-air product. Hitting some hot buttons.

Engaging programming resulting in listener-created content - plus (educated guessing here) a boost to weekend cume and TSL. Overall: simply awesome!

Added: Buffalo received their spring advances today...and WGRF is up more than 2 points 25-54 - and a solid #2 in the demo. Congrats again to John and his staff!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Monday

77° - mostly sunny at 11:44am

The Boys Are Back.
Arrived back from our day trip to Midway Airport, Chicago to pick up our two boys (9 & 12) coming back from 3-weeks at my wife's parents in Denver. Pulled in the driveway at home about 1am Sunday Morning.

Home life has returned to normal; the last few weeks have been like the inside of a station control room with the monitor turned down.

During the road trip back and forth had a chance to listen to a lot of radio - both the small and medium markets between here and Chicago. Heard some great stations as well as some not-so-good.

In the latter category - spent some time with a variety hits/AC station where every segue was a train wreck; even my wife asking "what is this"? I replied "George Benson/On Broadway". "Not the song...the station". The station just needed a little attention to detail...(a sweeper or dry "voice guy" liner would have done the station wonders). Road trips are great for PDs; hearing the good and the bad.

In Chicago our radio was stuck on
WDRV. A station both me and my wife can agree on. If you're a regular reader to this blog, I'm certain you're not surprised.

Wise words. Dave Martin blogged last week on recruitment and coaching. A great read here. Two highlights:

"Every talent benefits from having a coach but too few enjoy that advantage. Talent want to be led not managed. We need to catch them doing something right."

"Are you providing your stars with an environment to be successful?"

Life Lessons: Mike Mallace writes about a recent experience on "going the extra mile". Read here.

XM/Sirius - keeping it positive: Greater Media CEO Peter H. Smyth released a statement late Friday after the merger was announced:

“Obviously, I strongly disagree with the FCC’s decision and I am very disappointed by it. Although I fail to see the public interest benefits of a satellite monopoly, I am confident that free radio will continue to be the local connection for our listeners, the most reliable source of information, entertainment, and support in our communities, and the most innovative and powerful marketing vehicle for our advertisers. These are qualities that satellite radio - a national, subscription based service, can never achieve.”

I couldn't agree more. In talking to others over the weekend, most reflect Peter's thoughts as well as mine posted here late Friday.

Added: More Spring ARBs today. KSLX/Phoenix shows its best 12+ numbers in recent history. Classic Hits WGRR/Cincinnati up a half point.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Weekend Classic Rock FM

63° - partly sunny at 8:10am

Good Morning from Okemos.

Getting ready to make a quick day trip to Chicago tomorrow to pick up our two boys at the airport - who've been spending the last three weeks with their Grandparents in Denver. The house has just been too quiet with just the two of us.

More Spring book:
Congrats out to
KSAN/San Francisco (107.7/The Bone)...up a half point. In Sacramento, KSEG (Eagle 96.9) up nearly a full point.

My former station in Lansing,
WMMQ, rebounds from a weak winter book. In Toledo, WXKR is up over a half point.

Added: More Chicago PPM. Anthony Acampora writes today in All Access that Bonneville's WDRV leads the market 25-54 in pre-currency PPM. Very cool Mr. Solk!

This weekend in Buffalo - WGRF's John Hager again engages the listener with the "The Top 100 Guitar Heroes of Classic Rock". As John has done a lot lately, he's cleverly set up a listener discussion board on the station's website (here).

No doubt there will be some debate among fans about who showed up where and who should have been on the list but wasn't. Another great example of involving the listeners in the product and giving them ownership.

Disappointed. But not surprised
about the imminent XM/Sirius merger. One company controlling one delivery system. Where else does this happen?

Can anyone count on the combined company to live up to promises made to get the merger through, given each company's past record - that's now resulting in a combined $19 million dollar fine? (just a cost of doing business, right?).

Disappointed (again) but not surprised by our FCC leadership.

Fans of certain XM and Sirius channels might not be too thrilled losing their favorite brand for a "almost just like" substitute. It'll be interesting to watch from the sidelines. I'm not a subscriber.

Late update: It's a done deal. 3-2 in favor as reported by Inside Radio at 9:20pm.

HD Radio Report. Ibiquity's Bob Struble now writing a monthly column. Read here.

Added: Little did I realize while writing this morning that this is post #500 since starting this blog 18 or so months ago. Thanks again for stopping by. Its your pings that make it all worthwhile.

Very Cool Viral Video Campaign

With props to Edison Media's Tom Webster for the tip (here):

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spring Numbers + Chicago's WDRV Big Winner in PPM

60° - sunny/wonderful at 8:13am

Spring numbers - along with new PPM data beginning to roll out.
Classic rock and classic hits continue to show strength in the money demos. Some of the highlights so far:

Chicago: Bonneville's
WDRV up a half point to to hit a 3 share 12+. Very nice! The station performing quite well 25-54 - good #7.

But there's more to the Drive story:
This morning, Radio-Info's Tom Taylor reported Chicago's "unofficial early-early PPMs" - and as we've seen in other markets, classic rock/classic hits benefits. WDRV #2 in 12+ PPM rankers.

In LA - KLOS shows its best numbers in recent books. The classic rock station up 4/10 of a point 12+. Saga's WKLH/Milwaukee up nearly a point with its best numbers in recent times; 'KLH ties at #6 12+.

In Allentown, the staff of classic hits WODE (99.9 The Hawk) has to be on a high as the station captures the #1 12+ spot with its best showing in recent history. WBAB on Long Island also scores big...up 3/10 of a point, good for #4 12+.

Congrats to the winners
...more props here as the books roll out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cool Summer Promotions

69° - 85% humidy - hazy at 7:47am

A quick browse around "the dial" saw a lot of stations with ticket giveaways for all the summer tours in progress. Springsteen, The Police, Journey, Sammy Hagar, Scorpions, Eagles, Boston, Styx - among others.

Beyond that there's a few stations taking full advantage of the time of year other stations cut back on promotion activity:

WCSX/Detroit is offering its listeners "Cash, Gas and Grass". Just saying that ought to perk up the ears of listeners for three different reasons. Details
here. The station is also offering its Workforce listeners who work outside in hot, humid Midwest summer weather "construction cool offs". See here.

It might be "cool" to have your station van simply deliver cold bottled water to road crews and construction sites.

KCFX/Kansas City - flagship station of the The Chiefs is offering listeners a chance to go to the team's training camp. That can attract many outside the station's P1 audience. More

WGRF/Buffalo wrapped up their "Hot Mom" contest. See the winner

And...check out the discussion board for the contest
here (along with some nice photos!). PD John Hager has been effectively using listener discussion boards on his website for a few promotions and events now and really engaging/involving his listeners; giving them a voice and making them a part of the station.

More as I see 'em!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Evening Odds & Sods

75° - clear at 9:15pm

Good Evening From Michigan. Most of the weekend spent ripping music for the internet radio project. Did catch a bit of Bob Stroud's Rock 'N Roll Roots show this morning on Chicago's WDRV - first of a two-part salute to The Who.

Catching up on reading:

Great posts - both related. Fred Jacobs wrote Friday on a new JupiterResearch study showing that "despite all the other music discovery media and methods, radio is still #1
" for discovering new music. Fred's post here. And back on Thursday, Mark Ramsey wrote a piece on Pandora - and radio's advantages - both music and non-music. A must read here.

Dave Lange. Dave asks "Sales solves all problems?". Read here.

Industry heros ignored. This past week Lee Arnold blogged that "the inductees for 2008 into the National Radio Hall of Fame were announced today (Friday). Scott Muni, Tom Donahue, Bill Drake, Thom O'Hare, Bill Vermillion and Jack Benny were not among the inductees."
Lee - I think you and I need to start a campaign for next year. I'm certain others would join the effort.

Chicago Radio Spotlight. This week Rick Kaempfer interviews WERV/Aurora production director Jim McInerney. More great radio stories here.

Larry. Getting back to the state broadcaster's conference I attended early this week. Tuesday Night the annual Michigan Association of Broadcaster Hall of Fame Awards were announced. Five individuals were inducted into the Michigan Broadcaster Hall of Fame - all very deserving.

Among the five: Larry Estlack.

Larry has been in the business since his high school days in Muskegon, Michigan; has been an air personality, programmer, engineer, teacher and friend to many.

His influence is statewide - having (as engineer) constructed many facilities throughout the state - plus (at least) two television stations from construction permit to air in Lansing. Larry's day job is that of Director of Technology for the state broadcast association.

As an air personality and programmer, Larry's been on-air at several Lansing area stations during his career - and for the last 20+ years, has been hosting the All-Request Saturday Night Show on the classic rock station I formerly programmed here in Lansing.

Accepting his award Tuesday Night, Larry thanked one guy for the music he plays - and thats consultant Fred Jacobs. Larry and Fred attended (and taught) at Michigan State University together.

It was Fred Jacobs who nominated Larry for the Hall of Fame this year. Fred, along with many others were at the ceremonies to see and hear Larry accept the award; and
yours truly fortunate to be there too. And glad to call Larry Estlack a friend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meeting David Rehr

81° - clear at 8:57pm

I be back.
Earlier this week the day job brought me to the Michigan Association of Broadcasters' (MAB) Annual Conference - held at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan.

I had a few cool moments spending time with broadcast attorney David Oxenford (we go way back to some New Mexico projects); a great night of award ceremonies (more on that with a separate post); and some quality time with NAB President/CEO David Rehr.

Mr. Rehr was to address the Tuesday lunch at the broadcasters' meeting. After arriving alone - and catching up on business with his laptop and cell phone outside the meeting room, he came in and spent a little time one-on-one with myself aloing with a few MAB members who happened to wander into the lunch room early.

The 3-5 of us were able to spend time talking about the FCC localism proposals, recording artist royalties and HD radio.

Rehr didn't offer anything beyond what you've read from him and NAB in the press already - but he did offer something very infectious:
A very enthusiastic attitude and optimism over radio and television broadcasting.

I've never been with someone so hyped up over the radio (and television) business than David Rehr. I couldn't help but feel motivated by his unrestrained excitement over the broadcast medium.

I can only equate David's spirit to James Brown in the Blues Brothers movie.

Rehr talked about the fact that radio's reach has actually increased over the past few years. And it just reinforced what I've written about before here: radio's problems are primarily with Wall Street, not Main Street. Certainly radio has new media competition; it may never be what it was. But in terms of reach, it still leads the pack.

My take: perception may be reality. Our biggest challenge is changing perception. And its my take that changing perception starts within.

I just wish David Rehr had a chance to visit with everyone in the business. It would be a great start for change. We need a cheerleader. And David Rehr is certainly waving the flag for broadcasting.

And makes me proud to be in the business.

Lots of catching up to do...more to come.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

78° - clear at 1:27pm

How I've been spending my free time:
Certainly (I'm sorry to say) not with this blog. The current obsession is getting the internet station "on the air"; while managing one and a half paid jobs plus life.

Listening: My usual Sunday. Bob Stroud on WDRV/Chicago followed by Steve Palec on WKLH/Milwaukee. Stroud featuring CSN on his roots show this morning; Palec with the theme "sex and music" when I tuned in; plus Ringo Starr.

WDRV celebrates its 7th birthday this Tuesday Night with a free listener concert featuring Crosby, Stills and Nash at the Rosemont Theater near O'Hare Airport. Very cool - and congrats to Greg Solk and everyone at Bonneville/WDRV for seven years of great radio.

Speaking of Bonneville. Consultant Jaye Albright points to the
website of the company's new "The Sound FM" (KSWD) and its easy to navigate simplicity. Clean and uncluttered like the station's airsound - and going against conventional radio station website thinking. Jaye's comments here.

5 Essential Tools For Good Imaging. A good piece for PDs and production/imaging guys by Rich Van Slyke in this week's FMQB online. Read here.

Buying TV. Univision Radio Executive VP David Eduardo Gleason writes on his site about the December, 1978 launch of KZNT/San Juan, noting how the launch was promoted:

"A day before the weekend of the launch, the final
few days of 1978, I called the GSM's of the San Juan TV stations
and offered to pay 20% of card for all the unsold inventory that weekend. We ended up with nearly 2000 GRPs for a small investment... and the GSM's got some extra dollars at year-end!"

Its not rock radio - but simply a great radio story. Read here. And do hit "home" and read David's other career highlights and stories.

Weird cover song that works. This tipped by Randy Raley on his blog - with one of my all-time favorite artists doing one of my all-time favorite songs:

More performances of the track by Neil on You Tube. And congrats out to Randy Raley - who has moved from St. Louis to become market manager of a 3-station cluster in the Bloomington/Normal, Illinois market.

Video bonus link
. Had an email from Chicago production ace Tom O'Toole yesterday with this.

Heading out of town for a few days with the day job. I'll post if I can.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Starbucks And Radio

59° - sunny at 7:40am

I've read more than a few articles regarding the troubles Starbucks is having these days. Some of those come from the radio bloggers who note similarities to whats happening in the radio business these days.

For example - consultant Harve Alan asks: "How could this be happening to Starbucks--arguably one of the hippest, coolest, well respected brands ever?" Harve then points to a Reuters article that features some choice consumer quotes:

"Starbucks was a cool brand, and then all of a sudden it's not a cool brand," he said. "There's this new global consciousness that is out there that can suddenly shift." "The people that work there are very pleasant, but the stores are devoid of any kind of real charm or personality," he said. "They push a button, and a machine does everything from grinding the beans to brewing the drink."

As Harve comments on his post, that last line hits home. A DJ just pushes a button and a machine does everything. Ouch.

Its my take that Starbucks simply lost its charm. It simply became too big. Uhhh...way too big when you can drive down a street and see location after location within blocks of each other. Instead of being the neighborhood coffee shop, they became McDonald's. And I haven't thought McDonald's was "cool" since I was six years old.

Digressing just a bit - but I think there's a real need for radio to act small in the eyes and ears of its listeners. Being the hometown station. The neighborhood station. Not the corporate franchise.

Think everything from air talent and content down to listener marketing. Low-key or eliminate the corporate identification on the air (what brand truly matters?) Small. Community. Act like a mom and pop with great resources.

No matter how big you might really be.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

82° - clear at 12:30pm

Chicago. Returned from our brief 4th of July road trip last night. Lots of time on the road with typical Chicago road construction and related traffic delays.

While piled behind hundreds of cars attempting to get through a toll booth on the Indiana toll road, my wife remarked that "at least the music is good". We were listening to Chicago's WDRV. (surprise? I think not)

And while I listen to that station a lot on the internet here in Michigan, the station (and others) always seems to sound better when you're actually in their market.

More great radio.
Fred Jacobs turns us on to Entercom's KSEG/Sacramento and some on-air special programming that keeps the format fresh. A great read (plus audio)

Aircheck Critiques.
Dave Lange posted a piece back on Tuesday about aircheck critiques of air talent. Something that should be a top priority, yet is taking a back seat these days with PDs juggling multiple stations and increased workloads. Dave offers some great tips

Jaye Albright (via Paul Orr) turns us on to another blog - and some thoughts on keeping imaging fresh even when you're suffering from "writer's block":

"Ask ANY writer: the only solution to a creative block is to just start writing. So, what did you create today to make your station's brand imaging more topical and fun? And, like Morneau (and Orr), what did you do to share it with other people?"

Jaye's piece is here. And be sure to check out the comment section. Start your own blog and get noticed. Avoid secrets you can't reveal but share your work once its on the air.

More Seth Godin. The other day I mentioned one of Seth's pieces and hinted at another one. Here's a bit of that second one:

"What happens when marketers stop arguing on behalf of their corporate or organizational client and start arguing on behalf of the customer instead?"

Seth's post here. I'm not suggesting for one moment that we forget this is a business - but Program Directors need to argue on half of the listener and become their advocate. If not the PD, who?

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Greetings From Illinois

74° - clear at 10:54am

Friday the 4th took us to the far north/northwest suburbs of Chicago (Gurnee & Harvard) to visit family - including a new week-old nephew.

On the way to Harvard yesterday, we found this interesting water tower in Hebron, Illinois - still celebrating a state championship that happened 56 years ago....every small town has a claim to fame.

Today (Saturday) is a trip to Chicago's Midway airport to put our two kids on a plane to Denver to spend a few weeks with my wife's parents.

Hope your 4th was good;
back in Okemos - and radio here tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Classic Rock Celebrates the 4th!

65° - light rain at 11:50pm

Good evening from Michigan.

I may have mentioned this last year
- but be a source of information about firework displays and other things happening in the communities you serve this weekend.

As an air talent, I can't tell you how many calls I'd typically get every year on the studio line asking about fireworks. And certainly use your website.
It's not too late.

WAXQ/New York becomes the soundtrack for two area firework displays July 3-4. "Remember to bring your radio tuned to Q104.3 as we synchronize the tunes for each display". See here. Very nice!

WMGK/Philadelphia presents the soundtrack to fireworks that follow a free listener concert featuring Randy Bachman and his band.

KKRW/Houston celebrates the 4th starting Thursday Night at 5 with "Z to A" (or every song in the library played in backwards alphabetical order).

WGRF/Buffalo promises "every essential Classic Rock song about America, U.S. cities, freedom and everything Red, White and Blue" with their annual 97 Rock USA to Z marathon.

In Milwaukee, WKLH also presenting a "USA to Z" Weekend.

'KLH also doing giveaways of 96.5 gallons of gas as "
The Classic Rocktane Summer".

Free gas rocks.

to Detroit's WCSX. The revamped website looks that handwritten font!

Have a good night...

Reach Out and Make An Impact!

81° - overcast/severe thunderstorm watch at 2:38pm

Apologies for lack of posts this week; busy times.

While taking a quick fast food break at my desk this afternoon, surfin' around the blogosphere, I came across a great piece (one of two, actually - the second one I'll get to later) from Seth Godin:

When you least expect it

I sent in a t-shirt order to customink a few weeks ago.

Three days later, I got a note from someone named Lori that said,

"Hi Seth,

I noticed that you have designed shirts that appear to be for a charity event. If that’s the case, CustomInk would love to make a small donation to your team or to the charity itself on your behalf.

Please let me know if your order is for one of these events. If you would like us to pitch in and support your cause, please include information about your charity event, a link if you have one or the organization’s name if there is no link to a team web page."

That's it. No policy, no standard operating procedure, no promise in advance. Just plain generosity.

It turns out that customink does this as a matter of course, regardless of whether the customer has a blog or not. They don't do it as an inducement, they just do it.

Formula: The value of a perk is inversely related to the expectation of that perk.

How could this be applied at your radio station? I mentioned here months ago about having members of your airstaff calling a few different listeners in your database to thank them for listening.

Dave Martin took it further by suggesting the airstaff do the same with advertisers.

What if your station did this with community organizations too? "Hi, this is Bob Morning Jock at WXXX. I noticed that your organization is doing X. I'd love to know more so I can talk about it on the air."

Unexpected. And who do you think that organization might contact when they're planning something really big?

Just a thought.