Friday, December 31, 2010

PD Resolutions For 2011

With the new year just around the corner, here are a few ideas for all programmers to reflect and think on, from radio program consultant Gary Berkowitz:

First and foremost, aircheck your jocks. As our business evolves and PD's are busier and multi-tasking more than ever, this art seems to be falling in-between the cracks. We all want and crave feedback. There is no better way to build relationships and help jocks sound better than to close your door, turn off the phone, listen to their show and offer constructive feedback.

Sell the product. Hard to believe, but many radio stations sell  everything but their number one product...the music. Promote the quantity, quality, and benefits of listening to your station. Moreover, please remember the power of titles and artists. Listeners always rate this very high. They want to know the names and artists of the music you are playing.If you think they know all the titles and artists, please re-think this.

Do not worry about liners burning out. Let them "BURN IN." Sure, they need to be updated and freshened but make sure you do not lose the focus in the process.

Be involved with the daily editing of the music log. Since music is #1, there is nobody more qualified than the PD to make sure that ever segue, every song and every 15 minute cluster of music is right on target. Constantly look at songs to make sure they are rotating properly. Not only through the dayparts, but the hours as well. Lookout for "vertical rotation" problems. Delegating music editing to a less qualified person could cost valuable rating points. Remember with the music, safe, familiar and smooth always wins in AC.

Make sure your station is not dull and boring. Jocks, jingles, sweepers, and promotions give you a great opportunity to keep your station alive and vibrant. Make this week the week to invent some new imaging.

Remember, personality is all about "the way you sound", not in the "amount of words" you use. Take a tip from the PPM markets. Keep talk elements to the point, and always make sure they are delivered with sincerity in the jocks voice.

Review and improve your website. Is there a reason for listeners to visit you more than once? With marketing budgets at a premium, do all you can to maximize this free marketing tool. The competition for web hits is greater than ever. If you do not have a Facebook fan page for the station, get it going asap.Same for Twitter.

Work on technical improvements now. Do not wait for the start of the spring book to work on your audio processing or any other technical issues you may have.Check with the jocks and production people to see if there are technical issues that need repair.

Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to plan research, promotions, or marketing programs. We all know the upcoming Arbitron dates. Be ahead of them. If you are planning music testing for the spring book, plan to have it on the air between 3-4 weeks prior to the books start.

Review Christmas now. While its still fresh in your mind, look back at how this Christmas season went. Take notes for improvements for next year. Make lists of songs you'll need, and believe it or not, start working now on clock grids, so they are ready next year
Gary Berkowitz can be reached at (248) 737-3727

2010 and a Happy New Year Message to CNN

According to Reese Schnofeld, the big news is that total day news viewing was down year to year for every news network. For CNN the year was a veritable disaster.

While MSNBC lost 1% of its viewers, FoxNews 5%, and Headline News 11%, CNN was down 29%. Year to year primetime was even worse -- CNN was down 34%, Headline News 20%, FoxNews 7% and MSNBC 5%. CNN changed leadership towards the end of the year, but the new leader was the head of Headline News. Schnofeld blogs that he would hate to think that his chief recommendation was that his network lost fewer viewers than CNN did.

Another interesting bit of news, but perhaps a mere aberration, was FoxNews fall from grace in the last week of the year.

For the first time in years, FoxNews dropped out of the top ten among all cable networks. It managed to do no better than 14th in both primetime and total day. Sean Hannity was absent part of the time, but if his absence caused a ten point drop in the ratings, he should be getting paid a lot more money than he is. The lack of interest in news last week was not unique to Fox, MSNBC's primetime audience dropped from 29th place among cable networks to 30th, CNN fell from 33rd to 41st, and Headline from 38th to 46th. But, as I suggested above, this may be a onetime only event, perhaps most people want to avoid news over the Christmas holidays.

The third bit of news is that MSNBC has clearly emerged as the runner up to FoxNews, it finished second behind Fox in every demographic category in both primetime and total day.

Read more here.

Korea Herald Aims To Reshape Mobile News

Multi-platform strategy helps the country’s top English newspaper strengthen its competitiveness

iPhone news apps are no longer a novelty that cater to early adopters or tech geeks. They are actually charting a new course for a newspaper industry faced with a growing list of challenges, one of which is a declining offline readership.

The debut of Apple’s iPhone in December 2009 changed the game dramatically. A host of Korean newspaper companies have jumped into the iPhone app market, expecting to secure a footing in the massive shift toward online and mobile news. Although the bulk of their revenues come from paper-format subscriptions ― at least for now ― Korean newspapers, as with other newspapers across the globe, are in no position to turn a blind eye to the new wave of innovation sweeping the mobile phone and tablet PC sectors.

The Korea Herald, the country’s top English-language newspaper in terms of offline and online circulation, is currently reconfiguring its platform base. Previously, The Korea Herald newsroom was largely focused on producing quality print journalism. But the fast-paced changes that are powered by smartphones and tablet PCs are pushing the company to adopt different platforms including the iPhone.

Read more here.

Survey: Social Media Not A Big Factor In Holiday Purchases

The power of social media to influence purchase decisions may be overstated, according to a new survey.

According to USAToday, the survey was conducted by market research firm ForSee Results and it found that only 5% of online holiday shoppers report that they were primarily influenced to visit top retailer sites by social media channels.

Meanwhile, 19% were prompted by promotional e-mail and 8% were driven by search engine results.

While social media may be an underwhelming driver, according to the report, mobile is increasingly becoming a factor. Fourteen percent of shoppers have used their phones to access the website or mobile app of a major retailer. However, only 2% of mobile shoppers actually bought something over their phones.

ForSee's survey was based on about 10,000 responses from consumers from November 29 to December 15. The report also found Amazon.com and Netflix tied for the highest satisfaction score and six online retailers, including BestBuy.com and Target.com, tied for last.

For full list, click here.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday E-commerce Spending Nears $31B

For the first 56 days of the 2010 holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 26), $30.81 billion has been spent online, marking a 13% increase from $27.37 billion the corresponding days last year, according to comScore.

The most recent week (ending Dec. 26) generated $2.45 billion in spending, an increase of 17% compared to the corresponding week last year.

Computer hardware ranks as the top-growing category for the holiday season to date with a 23% increase from last year. comScore research indicates purchases of handheld devices (such as Apple iPads and e-readers) and laptop computers have driven much of the category growth.

Books & magazines ranks second with 22% growth, followed by consumer electronics (up 21%), computer software excluding PC games (up 20%) and toys (up 16%). Other categories in the top 10 included jewelry & watches (up 11%) and apparel & accessories (up 8%).

Read more here.

65% Of iNet Users Have Paid For Online Content

Music and software are most common

Nearly two-thirds of internet users – 65% – have paid to download or access some kind of online content from the internet, ranging from music to games to news articles, aoccrding to a study by the Pew Internet and Life Study Project. 

Music, software, and apps are the most popular content that internet users have paid to access or download, although the range of paid online content is quite varied and widespread.

In a survey of 755 internet users between 28 October and 1 November 2010, respondents were asked about 15 different kinds of online material that could be purchased or access after a payment.  The online content that we were trying to assess in this survey is “intangible” digital products such as software, articles, and music that need not have a physical form. This is in contrast to something we have measured in previous surveys but were not trying to capture here: the use of the internet to purchase “tangible” products such as clothes, CDs, books, or computers or tangible services such as hotel reservations or airline tickets.

In this survey we asked the following question: “Please tell me if you have ever paid to access or to download any of the following types of online content?” And the study found:
33% of internet users have paid for digital music online
33% have paid for software
21% have paid for apps for their cell phones or tablet computers
19% have paid for digital games
18% have paid for digital newspaper, magazine, or journal articles or reports
16% have paid for videos, movies, or TV shows
15% have paid for ringtones
12% have paid for digital photos
11% have paid for members-only premium content from a website that has other free material on it
10% have paid for e-books
7% have paid for podcasts
5% have paid for tools or materials to use in video or computer games
5% have paid for “cheats or codes” to help them in video games
5% have paid to access particular websites such as online dating sites or services
2% have paid for adult content
And 6% of internet users said they had paid for another kind of content that had not been mentioned in the list of 15 we offered.

Read full report here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ratings: Merry Christmas WLTW!

The December Arbitron PPM's were released for the period covering November 11th through December 8th and all indications are that Christmas music still does well. AC WLTW (106.7 FM), which started playing wall-to-wall Christmas music around Thanksgiving, was up considerably across the board, according to Vince Santarelli at examiner.com.

For the 6+ numbers, they were a solid number one with an 8.4. That's up from 5.9 in the November book. Classic hits WCBS FM (101.1), last month tied for number one was down slightly to a 5.7, number two in the market. Z-100 (WHTZ 100.3 FM) held at number three with a 4.6. Ranking at number four was WKTU (103.5 FM) with a 4.5. WABC (770 AM) was number five with a 4.1.

In the all important 25 to 54 age demo, WLTW once again is a solid number one with an 8.0. WCBS FM comes in second with a 5.6. WKTU and Z-100 are tied for number three with a 5.1.

In morning drive, WLTW once again heads the list with a 5.5. Imus continues to show strong as WABC holds onto the number two spot with a 5.4. WINS drops to number three with a 5.2 while WCBS FM and Dan Taylor comes in fourth with a 4.8. Elvis Duran on Z-100 is number five with a 4.7.

Read more here.

For more Arbitron ratings, click here.

The next rating period, the Holiday PPM covering December 9th to January 5th will be released on January 25th.

Ratings: Holiday Tunes Provide Lift For WLIT

No doubt about it: Chicagoans love their holiday music. And that unbridled passion for the traditional sounds of the season was great news for Clear Channel Radio Chicago’s adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9), which annually switches in early November to an all-holiday music format that abruptly ends shortly after Christmas Day.

According to Lewis Lazare, media and marketing columnist for suntimes.com, WLIT soared from ninth place in the November Arbitron radio ratings book to the top of the rankings in the key 25-to-54-year-old demo in the December book released Tuesday.

The December numbers show just how huge the city’s appetite for holiday music is. The station bested its nearest competitor, Clear Channel’s urban adult contemporary WVAZ-FM (102.7), by more than a full three share points.

What is even more remarkable is how dominant WLIT’s holiday music format is in demos where it might not be expected to perform quite so well.

WLIT wound up ranked first among men 25 to 54, and even bested all other stations in the somewhat more fickle 18- to 34-year-old demo. Radio execs say women control the radio dial more than usual during the holiday season, forcing their husbands or boyfriends to listen to WLIT’s holiday music — or else.

While WLIT can bask in its ratings glory for at least a few weeks, no one in the local radio business expects the station to remain at the top of the heap with the holiday music silenced.

Read more here.

For more Arbitron Ratings, click here.

Ratings: LA's KIIS-FM Leads In 2010

KOST's all-holiday lineup bumps KIIS briefly from the top spot in a year that saw Laura Schlessinger temporarily retire and Air America permanently sign off.

Pop purveyor 102.7fm KIIS-FM spent 2010 at the top of the charts, leading all Los Angeles-Orange County radio stations in the ratings since January.

But at year's end, according to Steve Carney at latimes.com, adult-contemporary station 103.5 KOST-FM treated it like grandma with the reindeer, according to figures released Tuesday by the Arbitron ratings service.

In the period from Nov. 11 to Dec. 8, KIIS-FM (102.7) barely lost ground from its No. 1 showing the previous month, either in its share of the radio audience ages 6 and older, or in its total of weekly listeners. But KOST-FM (103.5) changed its playlist to all-holiday music and ran over its Top-40 rival.

Every year since 2001, KOST has switched to nonstop holiday music, starting around Thanksgiving and lasting through Christmas. This year's launch was Nov. 17. And the move has always boosted the station's ratings — propelling it to No. 1 in 2005 and again last year.

This year, KOST rocketed to a 6.6% share of the audience, up from 4.6% in November.

Read more here.

For more Arbitron Ratings, click here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Saturday Aircheck

WBZ's 50,000 watt signal on 1030 AM covered New England and reached into Canada and the Midwest at night. Dick Summer ran his Night-Light show after midnight. This is a small sample from the wee morning hours of May 6, 1964.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hot 97 DJ Suspended Indefinitely

On-air Haiti HIV crack sparks protests

NY Daily News photo
Hot 97 radio bosses indefinitely suspended DJ Cipha Sounds Tuesday as dozens of Haitian community leaders stepped up their calls for his resignation.

According to a story at nydailynews.com, activists and elected officials gathered outside the radio station on Hudson St. to voice their anger at the DJ's on-air claim he is HIV-negative because he does not "mess with Haitian girls."

Cipha Sounds later apologized to listeners, calling it a "tasteless joke," and the station said he will begin sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community.

"Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians," said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York.



Haitian-Americans said an apology was not enough.

Read more here.

Internet Gets New Rules of the Road

Consumers Guaranteed Right to View Content

Service Providers Allowed to Sell Faster, Priority Speeds for Extra Money

Consumers for the first time got federally approved rules guaranteeing their right to view what they want on the Internet. The new framework could also result in tiered charges for web access and alter how companies profit from the network.

Amy Schatz and Shayndia Raioce at wsj.com report the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday voted 3-2 to back Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan for what is commonly known as "net neutrality," or rules prohibiting Internet providers from interfering with legal web traffic. President Barack Obama said the FCC's action will "help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet."

The move was prompted by worries that large phone and cable firms were getting too powerful as Internet gatekeepers.

Most consumers haven't had a problem viewing whatever they want online; few instances have arisen of an Internet provider blocking or slowing services.

Rather, the FCC rules are designed to prevent potential future harms and they could shape how Americans access and use the Internet years from now. In the future, the Internet industry will be increasingly centered around the fastest-growing categories of Internet traffic—online video, gaming and mobile services, analysts say. Cisco Systems Inc., the broadband network provider, has forecast those services could quadruple by 2014.

The FCC's decision is a mixed bag for consumers. The new rules—which haven't been released in full—say that land-line broadband providers can't block legal content from websites, or "unreasonably discriminate" against companies like Skype or Netflix that want to use broadband networks to provide video or voice services. They also require providers to give consumers more information about their Internet service, like actual download speeds or usage limits.

Read more here.

Also read here:   FCC's News Release

FCC Approves Net Rules and Braces for Fight (Media Decoder, NYTimes)

Net Neutrality 101

CNN's Ali Velshi explains net neutrality and talks about the implications of new rules approved by the FCC.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Savage Wants Out Of TRN Contract

Talk show host Michael Savage (real name: Michael Weiner) sued Talk Radio Network in Federal Court, claiming it is trying to force him into "indentured servitude," according to Courtside News Serivce.

Savage's contract with Talk Radio expires at the end of December. He claims he's been offered a better syndication deal from Courtside radio.

Savage claims Talk Radio "is attempting to force Dr. Savage into accepting a substandard agreement containing what can only be described as an indentured servitude provision." Weiner is a Ph.D., not a medical doctor.

Talk Radio exercised its right to match the competing offer, but Savage says its offer "does not match the terms of the Courtside proposal." Savage claims the Talk Radio offer not only falls short "in terms of financial upside, but it includes anti-competitive provisions that are illegal, limits Savage's valuable negotiating rights, and imposes additions terms that are not contained in the Courtside proposal."

Savage claims his contract with Talk Radio "contains provisions that are illegal and unenforceable," and that Talk Radio is "attempting to use those provisions to force Savage to sign an agreement he is not interested in, and to force him into an arbitration that wholly ignores his due process rights."

He claims the deal from Courtside is "valued at several million dollars," and he could lose it if "forced to submit to an illegal arbitration."

He seeks a declaration that Talk Radio failed to match Courtside's proposal, that the matching proposal in his contract "has an indefinite term and is therefore unenforceable," and that the arbitration provision also is illegal and unenforceable.

FCC Gives Government Power to Regulate iNet

Federal telecommunications regulators approved new rules Tuesday that would for the first time give the federal government formal authority to regulate Internet traffic, although how much or for how long remained unclear.

According to Amy Schatz at wsj.com, a divided Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal by Chairman Julius Genachowski to give the FCC power to prevent broadband providers from selectively blocking web traffic.

The rules will go into effect early next year, but legal challenges or action by Congress could block the FCC's action. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Tuesday called the FCC's action "flawed" and said lawmakers would "have an opportunity in the new Congress to push back against new rules and regulations."



The new FCC rules, for example, would prevent a broadband provider, such as Comcast Corp., AT&T, Inc. or Verizon Communications Inc., from hobbling access to an online video service, such as Netflix, that competes with its own video services.

The rules would also require Internet providers to give subscribers more information on Internet speeds and service. Broadly, the rules would prohibit Internet providers from "unreasonably discriminating" against rivals' Internet traffic or services on wired or wireless networks.

Read more here.

"Men of Radio" Voting To Start Soon


The ladies were first...now, the men get a chance in the sportlight on Regis & Kelly.

The list of candidates to fill-in for Regis on an upcoming show has been released (see it here).  Most of the names on the list are well-known from Howard Stern on Sirius to Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM LA.  The list even includes personalities from smaller markets, such as Vijay Leonardo Das from WVRT Williamsport, PA to Foz from Z107 in Wilmington, NC.  

They're all competing to co-host the syndicated daytime TV show with Kelly Ripa, when Regis Philbin goes on vacation.

Voting opens January 10

Katie, CBS To Talk Next Month

CBS is expected to begin con tract negotiations with "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric next month, according to Michael Starr at the nypost.com.

Couric's five-year, $75 million deal expires in May. A report yesterday that she had already begun renegotiating her contract was shot down by insiders.

"Her contract is up in May. It would make more sense for things to heat up by mid-January," said one industry source.

"There have been no offers extended by CBS."

Couric, who's failed to move the "Evening News" ratings needle since taking over in September 2006, is reportedly being wooed by CNN and by syndicators (to host a daytime talk show).

Read more here.
Tom's Take: the bump in the road is an expected pay cut for Katie.

WGN Radio Announces WGN Sports Night

720 AM WGN Radio has announced that a new program focusing on sports and the day's big stories will air weekdays 7-10 p.m. "WGN Sports Night" will feature a cast including WGN Radio sports veteran David Kaplan, rotating co-hosts, news anchor Andrea Darlas, and many big name guests.

The co-host roster will include some of the biggest names from the Chicago media and sports world, including Cubs TV play-by-play broadcaster Len Kasper, former Chicago Bears wide receiver and WGN Radio broadcaster Glen Kozlowski, WGN Radio host Brian Noonan, Chicago Tribune sportswriters David Haugh, Teddy Greenstein and Phil Rogers, Big Ten Network personality Tim Doyle and WGN Radio sports director Dave Eanet. The show will also feature regular "insiders" such as Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, Cubs manager Mike Quade, Northwestern football head coach Pat Fitzgerald, Blackhawks radio play-by-play broadcaster John Wiedeman and Blackhawks TV color commentator Eddie Olczyk.

"WGN Sports Night", debuting this Thursday, December 23, will air weekday evenings when the Cubs, Blackhawks and the Northwestern Wildcats are not playing.

Read more here.

The Current State Of Podcasting



The Current State of Podcasting 2010 is Edison's fifth annual study of the behaviors, attitudes and consumption habits of the podcast audience in America. This study was originally presented at the Blogworld New Media Expo in Las Vegas on October 15, 2010. This presentation combined previously unreleased data from the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet & Multimedia series, along with previously released data from The American Youth Study 2010 and the Edison/ADM Consumer Attitudes to Podcast Advertising study, also from 2010.

Principal findings of the study included:
  • The percentage of Americans who have ever watched or listened to a podcast is 45%, up from 43% one year ago. This equates to approximately 70 million Americans 12+.
  • The podcast audience has migrated from being predominantly "early adopters" to more closely resembling mainstream media consumers.
  • Podcast consumers continue to prefer consuming content at their desktop, not on dedicated media players, but mobile phone media consumption is surging.
  • Podcast consumers index very highly for social networking behaviors.
  • Two-thirds of podcast consumers have listened to digital audio files in their vehicles by connecting an iPod or other MP3 player to their car audio system.

Monday, December 20, 2010

NYPost Wins Giants Debacle Headline War

Depending on your point of view, this is either one of the greatest comebacks or worst chokes in NFL history. Or, more likely, it's a combination of the two. Take a look as the local papers headlines the game.




CNN's New Chief Dives In

As Network Loses Ground, Ken Jautz Moves to Inject 'Passion and Personality'

Ken Jautz, the new head of CNN's U.S. network, is getting his hands dirty.

According to Sam Schechner at wsj.com, since taking over in late September, Mr. Jautz has started shuffling programming and personnel, looking to turn around a steep slide in audience with injections of personality and debate.

Last week, Mr. Jautz overhauled the network's struggling morning show. He also has replaced a daytime anchor and pushed Anderson Cooper to be more confrontational in his evening show.

Now Mr. Jautz is shepherding perhaps the biggest change at the news network: Installing former British tabloid editor Piers Morgan as the 9 p.m. replacement for interviewer Larry King.

"Overall, we have to be more viewer-focused. We have to make our programming more interesting," Mr. Jautz said in an interview. "I think sometimes we have been flat."

Some viewers agree. So far this year, an average of 436,000 people in the U.S. have watched Time Warner Inc.'s CNN at any given time of day, down 29% from the same point last year, according to Nielsen Co. In the evening, the picture is bleaker—with the audience down 35% from a year ago and off 23% from 2007, before the 2008 election boosted viewership.

By contrast, MSNBC and Fox News have posted sharp gains since 2007.

Read more here.

Opinion: The FCC's Threat to Internet Freedom

'Net neutrality' sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers..

From FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell, OpEd for the Wall Street Journal:

Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government's reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.

How did the FCC get here?

For years, proponents of so-called "net neutrality" have been calling for strong regulation of broadband "on-ramps" to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.

Nothing is broken and needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist.

Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.
Read more here.

The Web Passes Newspapers in Ad Spending

Advertisers will spend more on internet ads in 2010 than newspaper ads for the first time, according to new estimates by eMarketer, according to a posting by Clark Fredricksen.

Online ad spending will grow 13.9% to $25.8 billion for the full year in 2010, while advertisers are expected to spend just $22.78 billion on print newspaper ads this year, down 8.2% from 2009, eMarketer estimates.

Total newspaper ad revenues from print and online ads are expected to hit $25.7 billion this year, still shy of the $25.8 billion advertisers will spend on internet ads.

Read more here.

Scam: Cracking the NYTimes Popularity Code

Just how many people does it take to propel a story onto the Times' influential most-emailed list? And can it be gamed? Thomas E. Weber at The Daily Beast finds the answers.

The author instructed a group of people to e-mail the highlighted article within a relatively short timeframe.
The most-emailed articles list on the New York Times website is one of the Internet's key barometers of news and trends, an essential way for the world to stumble onto stories and ideas that might otherwise get lost in the ether of the perpetual news cycle. Thus, careful watchers might have been puzzled by a seemingly out-of-place story last week. Among the latest news, feature and opinion pieces was a three-week-old science section story about a soon-to-close exhibition on cuneiform clay tablets. What could have propelled a stale, bone-dry story to the top of the Internet's importance arbiter?

I can tell you: It was me.

More precisely, it was a group of people under my direction who all, at my request, emailed that particular story within a relatively short timeframe to learn exactly what it take to make the most-emailed list.

How we did it—and how many people it took— reinforces a lesson of our viral media age: Even at the biggest newspaper website in the world, the content that is spotlighted as most engaging reflects the judgment of a group far smaller than the overall audience, and can even be gamed by those motivated enough to do so.

So how many emails does it take to make the list? We started several weeks ago by recruiting a cadre of friends and colleagues who agreed to stand by and, when instructed, visit the Times website, view the designated article and use the site's email function to have the article sent to a friend. Next we selected an article that was unlikely to have many, if anyone, emailing it on their own.
Read more here.

Congress OK’s More Community Radio Stations

In the coming years there will be hundreds if not thousands of new low-power FM radio stations on the air if President Obama signs a bill passed by the Senate Saturday. The Local Community Radio Act overcame intense lobbying from the National Association of Broadcasters to win approval.

The Federal Communications Commission created low-power FM in 2000, but the NAB got Congress to restrict the service mostly to rural areas to prevent interference with full-power commercial broadcasters. A Federal study costing $2.2 Million in taxpayer dollars found that the NAB’s interference claims were false and that low-power FM should be allowed in more areas.

According to theuptake.org, Congress changed its mind after intense lobbying groups ranging from the Prometheus Radio Project, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Local Community Radio Act allows a low-power FM to be within three “clicks” of a full-power FM station, that’s one click closer than the current regulation. One click is the difference between a station being at 90.1 and 90.3 (FM channels go up in odd numbered increments). The change creates places on the FM dial in many urban areas that could be host to a new low-power FM station.

For example, in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area there are three spots on the dial that appear to have three clicks of spacing from the other FM stations. KQRS-FM is at 92.5 and KXRR-FM is at 93.7, theoretically leaving an opening at 93.1 for a low-power FM station. Other possible openings on the dial are at 97.7 and 103.5 FM. Under the current “four click” rule there are no possible low-power FM frequencies in the Twin Cities area.

The new stations will broadcast to an area about seven miles in diameter. Broad enough to serve a community, but not large enough to reach an entire metropolitan area.

Language in the bill indicates Congress wants the new licenses to go to groups underrepresented in broadcasting. Minorities make up almost a third of the US population, but only seven percent of all local radio and TV stations are owned by minorities.  Women make up about half of the population but  only six percent of station ownership.  Low-power FM stations can not be owned by current broadcasters or organizations with interests in other media such as newspapers. LPFM licenses are only available to noncommercial educational entities and public safety and transportation organizations, but are not available to individuals or for commercial operations.

Generations: Certain Online Activities Merging

There are still notable differences by generation in online activities, but the dominance of the Millennial generation that we documented in first “Generations” report in 2009 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project has slipped in many activities.

Milliennials, those ages 18-33, remain more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone. In addition, they still clearly surpass their elders online when it comes to:
  • Use of social networking sites
  • Use of instant messaging
  • Using online classifieds
  • Listening to music
  • Playing online games
  • Reading blogs
  • Participating in virtual worlds
However, internet users in Gen X (those ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to engage in several online activities, including visiting government websites and getting financial information online.

Finally, the biggest online trend: While the youngest and oldest cohorts may differ, certain key internet activities are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These include:
  • Email
  • Search engine use
  • Seeking health information
  • Getting news
  • Buying products
  • Making travel reservations or purchases
  • Doing online banking
  • Looking for religious information
  • Rating products, services, or people
  • Making online charitable donations
  • Downloading podcasts
Even in areas that are still dominated by Millennials, older generations are making notable gains. Some of the areas that have seen the fastest rate of growth in recent years include older adults’ participation in communication and entertainment activities online, especially in using social network sites such as Facebook.
Among the major trends in online activities:
  • While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.
  • The percentage of all adult internet users who watch video online jumped 14 points in the past two years, from 52% in May 2008 to 66% in May 2010.
  • 51% of all online adults listen to music online, compared with 34% the last time this question was asked, in June 2004. While Millennials used to be by far the most avid listeners, Gen Xers and Younger Boomers are catching up.
  • As of May 2010, 53% of online adults have used a classified ads website such as Craigstlist, up from 32% in September 2007.
Additionally, searching for health information, an activity that was once the primary domain of older adults, is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users 18 and older.
Few of the activities covered in this report have decreased in popularity for any age group, with the notable exception of blogging. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline—a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites.

At the same time, however, blogging’s popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11% in late 2008 to 14% in 2010. Yet while the act formally known as blogging seems to have peaked, internet users are doing blog-like things in other online spaces as they post updates about their lives, musings about the world, jokes, and links on social networking sites and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter.

Read the full report here.

Also read here:

Is Blogging Dead?  (PCmag.com)

Your Apps Are Watching You

A Wall Street Journal investigation finds that iPhone and Android apps are breaching the privacy of smartphone users..

Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner's real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.

These phones don't keep secrets, according to a story by Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane at wsj.com. They are sharing this personal data widely and regularly, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.



An examination of 101 popular smartphone "apps"—games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.

Among the apps tested, the iPhone apps transmitted more data than the apps on phones using Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Because of the test's size, it's not known if the pattern holds among the hundreds of thousands of apps available.

Apps sharing the most information included TextPlus 4, a popular iPhone app for text messaging. It sent the phone's unique ID number to eight ad companies and the phone's zip code, along with the user's age and gender, to two of them.

Both the Android and iPhone versions of Pandora, a popular music app, sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks. iPhone and Android versions of a game called Paper Toss—players try to throw paper wads into a trash can—each sent the phone's ID number to at least five ad companies. Grindr, an iPhone app for meeting gay men, sent gender, location and phone ID to three ad companies.

"In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity," says Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association, an industry trade group. A cellphone is "always with us. It's always on."

Read more here.

NYC Rock/Pop TV Pioneer Clay Cole Passes

Clay Cole, who was host of a very popular East Coast music show and was the only disc jockey to feature both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on the same TV show, has died of a heart attack. He was 72.
Cole April '10 at Long Island
TV & Radio Day

According to Steve Marinucci at examiner. com, Cole's East Coast show featured every major group of the '60s and rivaled "The Ed Sullivan Show" as a place where new acts needed to be showcased. As  Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits told him, “When we were in England and on our way to America, we were told we must do two shows -- Ed Sullivan and Clay Cole.  The trouble is we didn’t know which was which.'”

Read more here.

According to NYC-based radio writer Vince Santarelli, Cole was born Albert Rucker, Jr. on January 1, 1938 in Youngstown, Ohio. At the age of 15, he was the host of his own televison show called Rucker's Rumpus Room. In 1957 he moved to Manhattan, first working as an NBC page and then as a production assistant on the game show "Twenty-One." 1958 saw him continuing his teen telelvison excursion with a show in Providence, RI called "Al Rucker and the Seven Teens."  In 1959, he went to work for Channel 13 WNTA TV and was asked to change his name. He chose Clay Cole who was a distant cousin.

Cole proved to be very successful. In 1960, his ten-day, all star Christmas show at the Brooklyn Parmount Theatre broke the all-time house box office record. He was also one of the few white performers invited to appear at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Cole was responsible for introducting many rock and comedy acts to the public.   Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Fannie Flagg are some names who were introduced by Cole.

In 1968, Cole became disenchanted with rock music as it moved into psychadelic, acid rock and heavy metal music. Cole decided that it was time to move on, so he just walked away from the TV show at the height of its popularity.

Read more here.
Dion with Cole
Clay Cole was considered the missing link that brought Rock n Roll to Television. First on WNTA (Ch 13 - now WNET) in September 1959 as Rate the Records, within two months the format was changed, and an hour-long Saturday-night show was added. In the summer months, the show was expanded to an hour, six nights a week, live from Palisades Amusement Park, where Chubby Checker first performed and danced "The Twist."

When WNTA's licence was sold to a public broadcasting foundation, the show moved to WPIX (Ch 11) where for five years it was wildly successful, thanks to first-time guest appearances of the Rolling Stones (on a program with one other guest, The Beatles), Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick, Simon & Garfunkel, Richie Havens, Tony Orlando, and The Rascals.

Channel 11 erased all the historic tapes in a cost-cutting move; no tapes exist to this day. Except for this one.



For more on Clay Cole, visit his website: CLICK HERE.

Ham Radio Expert Helps Chevy Hide Antenna



The 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible boasts new AM/FM antenna technology, thanks to its fans and one ham radio operator.

Fans spoke out after leaked photos of the new Camaro revealed an AM/FM whip antenna on the rear deck lid.

According to the Car Tech blog at cnet.com, Chevy turned to ham radio operator and antenna expert Don Hibbard to help redesign the car's antenna. Hibbard and colleague Gregg Kittinger were challenged to conceal the AM/FM antenna without sacrificing radio reception.

"We weren't sure that it would be possible," said Kittinger. "Typically antennas are hidden in a vehicle's rear window, but with a retractable soft-top roof, that's not an option."

The result was an innovative way to build put the antenna inside the rear spoiler.  Hibbard talks about the unorthodox placement of the antenna and the number of technical challenges it presented in the video.

Piers Morgan To Debut Jan 17



Morgan will slide into the 9 p.m. slot exactly.

Julianne Hough Too Hot for TV?



Julianne Hough obviously didn't leave her sexy moves behind on the Dancing With the Stars ballroom floor. And that apparently isn't sitting well with CMT.

Country Music Television is balking at showing the new music video from the hoofer-turned-singer (-turned-Ryan Seacrest squeeze) after deeming the clip for "Is That So Wrong" is a little too, well, wrong, to be shown on the network.

In the video, Hough can be seen singing, dancing and stripping off various articles of clothing as she playfully bounces around her apartment.

Sharpton: Rush May Have to Attend FCC Hearings

Al Sharpton said Thursday he spoke to the Federal Communications Commission about holding public hearings next year that Rush Limbaugh would be forced to attend to explain so-called "racist" statements he's made on the air.

Noel Shephard at newsbusters.com reports, Sharpton chatting with MSNBC's Ed Schultz, Sharpton said he had a "very good meeting on Tuesday" with FCC officials and that "some of the commissioners" were interested enough in following up on his concerns that this could come to fruition in the coming months.



Read more here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Radio Legend Retires From WTMJ

At 6:00 p.m., a Milwaukee radio fixture for more than 40 years will end his last show on the most listened-to radio station in Wisconsin.

Jonathan Green, host of the "Greenhouse" show, will start his final program bearing his name at 3:00 p.m. on remote for the Kids to Kids proram.

"This is the end of a long time here," said Green on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

Green, who joined Newsradio 620 WTMJ in 1969, gave part of the credit to the fact the company has maintained its ownership, and the station has maintained its format.

"If you look at all the radio stations in the country, there's only a handful that over the period that I've been here has not changed ownership, flip-flopped their format (or) changed call letters.  We've evolved it.  We're still owned by the same company. You can't just do that when corporations go changing things."

"I happen to be at the right place.  I love taking shots at this company, but this is a great radio station."

How will Jonathan end it?

"I'm going to go out with a 60 second song.  For anyone who listened in the early years, it will be recognized.  I'll explain why I'm playing between 5:50 and 6:00," said Green.

"I don't want to do a mushy-old thing.  I just want to do a regular radio show."

He particularly wanted to end his show's tenure with a program that would help one of the many charitable efforts he's championed over the years, Kids 2 Kids Christmas.

Read more here.

Cumulus Confirms Citadel Bid

RBR.com graphic
Cumulus Media Inc. today confirmed that on November 29, 2010, it made a proposal to the Board of Directors of Citadel Broadcasting Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding equity of Citadel for $31 per share.

The proposed transaction values Citadel as an enterprise at approximately $2.1 Billion. The merger would have allowed the Citadel shareholders to elect to receive cash or Cumulus stock, with a total of up to $1 Billion of cash to be paid, representing about 71% of the consideration to Citadel shareholders.

On December 6, 2010, Citadel informed Cumulus that "the board of directors of [Citadel] rejected this proposal as not being in the best interests of [Citadel's] shareholders."

On December 16, 2010, Cumulus delivered a letter to Citadel's Board of Directors reiterating its offer and its desire to reach agreement on a transaction that would deliver superior value and substantial liquidity to Citadel's shareholders.

Cumulus Chairman & CEO, Lew Dickey, commented, "This offer continues to represent a superior alternative in value, liquidity and potential growth for the former secured creditors of Citadel who, post-bankruptcy, are now the owners of the company."

For the full text of the letter issued by Cumulus to Citadel's Board, click here.

Shooting Hero Shares His Story

Katie Couric speaks with Mike Jones, the security guard who wounded the Panama City gunman who was threatening school district board members.

US Rep Tweets News in Morse Code

When US Representative Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), learned December 16 that he will be chairing the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet when the 112th Congress convenes in January, he let the world know about it by tweeting the news in Morse code.

“Just the ham radio operator in me having fun,” he posted to his official Web page.

According to its Web site, the subcommittee has jurisdiction over “interstate and foreign telecommunications including, but not limited to all telecommunication and information transmission by broadcast, radio, wire, microwave, satellite or other mode."

Representative Walden is a former owner of Columbia Gorge Broadcasters.

Clear Channel Snags Brotha Fred For Chicago

One of Charlotte’s highest-profile media personalities is heading west, according Mark Washburn of The Charlotte Observer.

Brotha Fred, who leads the morning show on WIBT-FM (96.1) and co-hosts "Fox News Edge" weeknights on WCCB (Fox Charlotte, Channel 18) with Morgan Fogarty, is moving to a Chicago top 40 station.

Brotha Fred, whose real name is Christopher Frederick, arrived in Charlotte in July 2006 from a station in Austin, Texas.

Frederick announced his new job on "Edge" Thursday night and said it would be his last appearance on the show. He will continue to be heard on WIBT-FM, where his show from Chicago will be simulcast.



In Chicago, Frederick will replace DreX at KISS-FM WKSC-FM. Like WIBT-FM, it is owned by Clear Channel Radio, which made a formal announcement of the change Friday morning.

Joining him in Chicago will be comedian David L, who has been part of the WIBT-FM "Morning Mayhem" crew. Angie Taylor, a Chicago radio personality, will be the third member of the team.

Although Frederick said it was his last TV show for WCCB, a customized edition of his Chicago show will be sent -- beginning Jan. 3 -- from Chicago to WIBT, as well as stations in Greensboro, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., that now air his radio program.  A version of Brotha' Fred's program also will continue to be heard on XM Satellite's Kiss-XM channel 21.

Then, on Jan. 17, the show will go live in Chicago.

Read more here.

FCC Readies Net Neutrality vote

Plan faces growing chorus of bipartisan opposition

As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to vote next week on a set of rules that will give the federal government the power to regulate news and information content online, members of Congress are stepping up their opposition. The takeaway?

According to Amanda Carey at The Daily Caller, almost everyone opposes what has been termed “net neutrality” except, as the December 21 vote is expected to show, the majority of the FCC’s five commissioners.

The FCC’s proposed regulatory framework bans internet service providers from blocking or inhibiting consumer access to content. Put simply: internet companies like Verizon and Comcast will not be allowed to operate one website on a slower or faster bandwidth than any other.

The fear behind the push for the new regulations is that Verizon, for example, could play favorites by making a liberal-leaning site load slower than a conservative one. But once the technical and complex lexicon of net neutrality is stripped away, it appears the proposed rules have little to no support from the Right, and waning support from liberals who view them as being too weak.

Read more here.

Jumping The NYTimes Ship

Maybe a year ago the media world would have been surprised to see the Sunday New York Times business editor leave the paper and head to The Huffington Post.
But according to John Koblin and Media Memo at wwd.com, the announcement on Thursday that Tim O’Brien is going to work for Arianna Huffington felt a little like the latest trend. Voluntary departures — once unheard of at the Times — seem to be increasingly the norm these days.

“I have a deep attachment to the Times,” said O’Brien. “This was not a knee-jerk or easy decision to make.”

It probably hasn’t been easy for anyone, but in the last 10 days, five people have given notice at the Times:
O’Brien quit on Thursday, David Shipley said the day before that he was heading off to Bloomberg, Dexter Filkins is leaving to go to The New Yorker, Ashlee Vance is going to Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Christine Muhlke has jumped ship to Bon App├ętit. In September, Peter Goodman left the business section to go to The Huffington Post, and in July, tech correspondent and blogger Brad Stone said he was going to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

That’s not exactly a breathtaking amount of departures for a newsroom that has more than 1,000 people, but these aren’t entry-level reporters. The list consists of the op-ed editor (Shipley), a legendary war correspondent (Filkins), a Sunday business editor (O’Brien), a big-time economics writer (Goodman), The New York Times Magazine food editor (Muhlke) and two senior tech writers (Stone, Vance).

Is there suddenly a Times talent retention issue? The paper has been legendary in its ability to foster decadeslong careers for its top writers and editors. But if the last week or two is any indication, the notion of the star Times lifer is starting to look like a thing of the past. There is a caveat, of course: The Times has done a remarkable job of retaining talent in recent years, even as competitors such as The Washington Post have lost lots of big names (art critic Blake Gopnik and fashion writer Robin Givhan are the latest members of the Post’s Style section who are going to work for Tina Brown).

“We’ve had raids before, and every case is its own thing,” e-mailed Times executive editor Bill Keller.

Read more here.

Walk In, Grab a Muffin and Watch a Newspaper Reinvent Itself

New York Times photo
Torrington, a city of 36,000 in northwestern Connecticut, pockmarked with abandoned mills, is not the first place that comes to mind as a brave outpost on the digital frontier.

Peter Applebome writing at nytimes.com, The Register Citizen, with roots dating to 1874 and a print circulation that’s fallen from 21,000 in the late 1980s to 8,000 now, isn’t an industry giant either. But when it moved Monday from its dilapidated 105-year-old home into a renovated factory space meant to embody a full-bore embrace of the Internet, it provided one metaphor for how journalism is trying to reinvent itself. If Torrington seems an unlikely locale, well, that’s the point.

“That’s exactly why I picked it,” said John Paton, chief executive of the Journal Register Company, which owns more than 300 print and online products in 10 states, including 18 daily newspapers. “If I can paraphrase Frank Sinatra, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

Mr. Paton has become a hero to new-media gurus by taking a newspaper company emerging from bankruptcy and turning it into a company militantly focused on the Internet, with its philosophy of digital first, print last.

The Register Citizen has six times the readership online that it has in print, and its new building is designed to mirror the open, collaborative culture of the Web. The business plan is based on making The Register Citizen’s Web site a magnet for all things local and thus an attractive place for advertisers, sponsors and others who can replace declining newspaper subscribers and advertisers.

Read more here.

The New Rock-Star Paradigm

Succeeding in the music business isn't just about selling albums

Damian Kulash Jr., lead singer of OK Go on how to make it without a record label, at wsj.com:

OK Go performs at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, above. The band is known as much for its inventive music videos as it is for its music. Wall Street Journal photo

For several decades, though, from about World War II until sometime in the last 10 years, the recording industry managed to successfully and profitably pin it down to a stable, if circular, definition: Music was recordings of music. Records not only made it possible for musicians to connect with listeners anywhere, at any time, but offered a discrete package for commoditization. It was the perfect bottling of lightning: A powerful experience could be packaged in plastic and then bought and sold like any other commercial product.

Then came the Internet, and in less than a decade, that system fell. With uncontrollable and infinite duplication and distribution of recordings, selling records suddenly became a lot like selling apples to people who live in orchards. In 1999, global record sales totaled $26.9 billion; in 2009, that figure, including digital purchases, which now represent 25% of sales (nearly 50% in the U.S.), is down to $17 billion. For eight of the last 10 years, the decline in revenue from record sales has gotten steeper, which is to say the business is imploding with increasing vigor.

Read more here.

After 25 Years, Larry King Signs Off

Joined by a dozen of his favorite guests over the decades, Larry King hosted his final edition of “Larry King Live” on Thursday, ending a 25-year chapter at CNN.



According to Brian Stetler, Media Decorder at nytimes.com, the suspenders will remain, he said, but his nightly forum for newsmakers and noisemakers will not. He said at the beginning of the program, “Welcome to the last ‘Larry King Live.’ It’s hard to say that. I knew this day was coming. These words are not easy to say.”

Mr. King, a television icon, announced in June that he had decided to step down from the program, which defined a generation of cable news and inspired an generation of interviewers. The ratings for “Larry King Live” had fallen sharply in recent years. In about a month “Piers Morgan Tonight” will take over the 9 p.m. time slot on CNN.

Mr. King, 77, will host specials four times a year for CNN, and he is exploring other on- and off-air opportunities. Said Bill Maher, a longtime friend of Mr. King’s, on the program, “This is the end of the show, not the end of a man.”

All sorts of stars came on “Larry King Live” on Thursday to praise Mr. King. The “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams said the program had been “America’s kind of confessional,” and the “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest said Mr. King is “such a tremendous guy with a great heart.”

Read more here.

KFWB Unveils Successors To "Dr. Laura"

Les Brown
KFWB/980 AM announced Thursday it is adding consumer expert Bob McCormick and life coach Les Brown to the line-up Jan. 3 as part of changes following the departure of Laura Schlessinger to Sirius Radio.

Gary Lycan writing for ocregister.com reports McCormick will be on 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays with "Money 101" featuring content from The Wall Street Journal. His current "Money 101" segments will continue to air on sister station KNX/1070 AM.

Dave Ramsey will host "Total Money Makeover" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. KFWB cited increased ratings since Ramsey started on 980 AM in September, 2009, adding that Ramsey's earlier sold-out appearance at an event in Los Angeles has prompted another appearance, March 24 at the Alex Theatre.

Brown will be on from 2 to 4 p.m. weekdays. The station announcement said, "Brown has risen to national prominence by delivering a high-energy, positive and empowering message which advises people how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their greatness.''

Penny Griego and Phil Hulett will continue to anchor news from 6 to 9 a.m.; Maggie McKay and Michael Shappee will anchor the afternoon news from 4 to 7 p.m.

No changes were announced in weeknight programming. Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager for CBS radio stations in Los Angeles, said.

Read more here.