Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

'Lizard Brain' Analogy Exposed

Arianna Huffington's theory on Morning Joe Friday was exposed clearly as hypocritical by Joe Scarborough. It involved Lizard Brains. And also, an interesting hope vs. fear analogy.

The Changing Face of Journalism

Cassettes to smart phones
WTOP photo

A posting on the WTOP website notes at one point journalists used reel-to-reel tape decks and TeleType machines.

Now, WTOP radio reporter Neal Augenstein is the first in the country to use his iPhone to report, edit and file his broadcast stories directly from the field.

In an attempt to keep up with the perpetually evolving news industry, a Washington, DC summit seeks to better incorporate these cutting-edge tools of the trade.

The Online News Association is holding the meeting through Saturday to discuss how to incorporate modern tools -- such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites -- into traditional broadcast and online print news.

Other discussion topics include how to use digital technology to cover a disaster, the hottest smartphone apps for reporters in the field, whether news sites should charge for content, how the digital world is affecting journalistic ethics and training and if those who post online should have to reveal their real name.

KDKA Celebrates Its 90th Birthday

The world's first commercially licensed radio station is celebrating its 90th anniversary this weekend with an open house. KDKA Pittsburgh is celebrating Saturday and Sunday at the Heinz History Center. Personalities from past and present will be present to meet-and-greet.  For audio of the first broadcast, photo galleries and more information, click here.

On Tuesday, November 2nd from 9am-3pm in the Great Hall at the Heinz Center: Special historic broadcast.  KDKA will celebrate their first historic broadcast on election day in 1920 along with going back through time at KDKA (website).  Admission costs apply.  Its interesting to note KDKA’s 90th Anniversary Celebration is powered by Westinghouse, original owner of the station. KDKA is now a part of CBS Radio.

KDKA's roots began with the efforts of Frank Conrad who operated KDKA's predecessor 75 watt 8XK from the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, PA. from 1916. Conrad's musical offerings proved unexpectedly popular and his operations continued until his employer, the Westinghouse Electric Company, realized the commercial potential of this new medium and applied for an official broadcasting license.

The KDKA call sign was assigned sequentially from a list maintained for the use of US-registry maritime stations, and on November 2, 1920, KDKA broadcast the US presidential election returns from a shack on the roof of a Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh. The original broadcast was said to be heard as far away as Canada.

Although KDKA claims to be "the pioneer broadcasting station of the world," the issue is disputed. According to an Wikipedia entry, contenders for initial broadcasts include:
  • Charles Herrold of San Jose, California started broadcasting voices (as opposed to Morse Code) in 1909. He used several different call signs over time (FN, SJN, 6XF, and 6XE), but had to shut down during World War I. After the war, he started up again as 6XF/6XE. The station received a commercial license in 1921 and became KQW. The station broadcasts today as AM 740 KCBS, which, like KDKA, is part of the CBS radio station group.
  • Lee De Forest's 2XG in the Highbridge section of New York City began daily broadcasts in 1916. Like most experimental radio stations, however, it had to go off the air when the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, and did not return to the air.
  • Harold J. Power's 1XE in Medford, Massachusetts was an experimental station that started broadcasting in 1917. It had to go off the air during World War I, but started up again after the war, and began regular voice and music broadcasts in 1919. However, the station did not receive its commercial license, becoming WGI, until 1922.
  • 2XN from the City College of New York
  • 2ZK in New Rochelle, New York
  • 8MK in Detroit, Michigan (now WWJ) which has had regular scheduled daily broadcasts since August of 1920 and is also currently a part of the CBS radio station group.
  • WWV the U.S. Government time service, believed to have started 6 months before KDKA
  • XWA, Marconi's broadcast station in Montreal, Canada, since 1919 (was CFCF, later CINW and shut down in February 2010)
  • W2XQ, now WRUC, Union College, Schenectady, New York
  • 9XM, now WHA (AM), University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • KQV was one of Pittsburgh's five original AM stations, signing on as amateur station "8ZAE" on November 19, 1919, predating KDKA which was granted the distinction of being the nation's first commercially licensed station in 1920. KQV did not receive a commercial license until January 9, 1922, despite having started transmitting three years earlier.
  • On August 27, 1920 the Argentina Station started the first transmission from Coliseo Theatre at Buenos Aires, Argentina. Later that station received the name LOR Radio Argentina, and finally LR2 Radio Argentina. That station was in service until 31 December 1997 at 1110 kHz.
And AM 810 WGY Schenectady, NY  traces it origin to s early as 1912, when General Electric company in Schenectady began experimenting with radio transmissions, being granted a class 2-Experimental license for 2XI on August 13, 1912 by the Commerce Department.

Also Read here:

KDKA celebrates 90th at History Center (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Anonymous O’Donnell Post Defended By Gawker

Several journalists and bloggers criticized Gawker Thursday for posting an anonymous account by a Philadelphia man claiming to have gone home with Delaware Senate candidate on Halloween night three years ago, following a night of drinking.

But editor Remy Stern told Michael Calderone at The Upshot that Gawker ran the item because it's "a great story" and pushed back against the misogyny charge, arguing that the alleged incident was worth noting because O'Donnell's private actions”according to the anonymous writer”run counter to her public persona as an advocate of Christian conservative values.

"If it was any politician whose private life diverged from his public life in such an interesting way, we'd be interested in that." Stern said. "It had nothing to do with her being a woman."

Despite the sensational headline—"I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell"—the two never actually had sex. However, the anonymous writer describes O'Donnell's anatomy in detail, which let to some of the backlash.

Read more here.

Also read here:

Behind Gawker’s Christine O’Donnell ‘One-Night Stand’ Story (

SPUN-employment: Nets Twist Reports

Just days before the mid-term elections and jobs remain the major campaign issue. Unemployment stands at 9.6 percent with nearly 15 million people out of work.

Gallup’s analysis argues things are even worse, with unemployment hitting 10 percent again – a number voters wouldn’t see until the Friday after the election. As Gallup explained, it’s “up sharply from 9.4% in mid-September and 9.3% at the end of August.” That means heartache and struggle across the United States.

However, according, that’s not the story being told this election. What voters are left with are false impressions from the broadcast news shows – that somehow the worst unemployment in 25 years is not that bad. CNBC’s Steve Liesman called it “self-sustaining job growth,” on NBC’s April 2, 2010 “Nightly News.”That’s also exactly the opposite of how those same networks handled low unemployment during the last mid-term election. Then, with a Republican in the White House, journalists worked hard at undermining the positive news with the possibility that bad things might occur.

Read more here.

Olbermann Unleashes 20 Minute Tirade

On MSNBC Wednesday evening, Keith Olbermann delivers what he calls a “Special Comment” on the Tea Party’s midterm election candidates. In this nearly 20 minute-long segment, the Countdown host recites a long list of the movement’s affronts to progressivism before ending with a plea for all liberals, Democrats, disillusioned Republicans, moderates, and political neutrals to vote against the Tea Party next Tuesday.

At WS: "Give Me Some Pot And Some..."

View more news videos at:

Reporters from around the country are in San Francisco this week covering the World Series and that means the eyes of the nation are on on us, reports Lori Preuitt at
If the reporter from our sister station in Dallas is any indication, the country thinks we are potheads.
Newy Scruggs from NBCDFW said during his live report that people next to him "are smoking weed."  The anchors then asked, "Is it legal there?" Ask that question again next week.

Scruggs didn't do any real trash talking, unless you consider saying Giants fans are high on pot.  He quickly added that we were "nice people," but said that was in part because we were "half buzzed out."

The anchors back in Dallas recommended Newy hold his breath.

Newy came back at the following newscast and went even further.  He claimed to have found the location of the pot smokers behind a rock on the banks of McCovey Cove and whined, "Police aren't even doing anything!"
Read more here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crist: Bubba Is Influencing the Election

Is Bubba the Love Sponge swaying next week's election?
Candidate Kendricks Meek
The syndicated radio host (Bubba the Love Sponge is his real name; he had it legally changed) has been encouraging his listeners, known as "The Bubba Army," to vote for his preferred candidates. Among them: Charlie Crist.

According to, Bubba's influence is no joke: He consistently ranks high in ratings, and when he ran for Pinellas County sheriff in 2004, he won almost 30 percent of the vote.

Crist, Bubba pointed out, left the Republican Party shortly after siding with teachers and vetoing a controversial bill that would link their pay to student achievement. That, Bubba said, is because he has "'nads." He also cited Crist's efforts to force insurance companies to insure autistic kids, to protect women seeking abortions, and his support for police officers.

Twice this week, Gov. Crist called in to the show, which airs in South Florida on 93.1-FM. He said that whenever the economy gets tough, people get angry, and that "my former party, the far right wing" is capitalizing on that anger. He alluded to the fact that Marco Rubio has a hold on an estimated 40 percent of the vote, with the other 60 percent being split between himself and Kendrick Meek -- to the detriment of both.

"Sixty percent of Floridians don't want Marco Rubio," Crist said. "We need to unite those of us who want common sense."

Read more here.

Reality vs. Perception

Persons 12‐34 Use of Radio has Risen and Listening Remains Level

In light of all the chatter about how and whether or not young people use radio today, the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) asked Bill Rose of Arbitron for an analysis of 12-34 persons' radio listening in the 10 PPM markets that have been in existence since Sept 2008.  He tracked changes in % listening and for how long they listened.  His findings are based on nearly 5,000 persons 12-34 from just these 10 markets and come from passive measure Portable People Meters rather than questions about people's perception of their media usage habits.

Here are his findings:

"Radio listening among young people age 12-34 has remained steady in the ten PPM markets that have been currency during the past three years.  An analysis of these ten PPM markets reveals that the percentage of people age 12-34 who have tuned for five or more minutes during the week (weekly cume rating) has actually grown from an average of 93.0% in September 2008 to 94.9% in September 2010.

In addition, Radio Time Spent Listening has been stable at 10:09 per week in September 2010 up slightly from 10:04 in September 2008.

The stability of Radio listening is evidence of the medium's continued importance among young people and is especially noteworthy considering the highly publicized growth of smart phone usage, social networking and pureplay Internet radio during this span of time."

The Arbitron data is based on what 5,000 people in 10 markets actually did, vs. typically, what 1,500 people nationwide say they did.  Building a communications plan using only perception-based data is like building on sand.  That's why the advertising business demanded passive electronic measurement of TV and Radio.  Arbitron's passive measurement data clearly shows that radio is as vital now as it was in 2008 in the lives of 12-34 year olds.

Poll Position: Americans Divided Over NPR Funding

Republicans, Independents Want Funding Halted

Williams: NPR Must Be “Held Accountable”

Juan Williams has been all over Fox News since his firing, but he hasn’t been on an NPR show until today, when he gave a long interview to his longtime friend Diane Rehm.

Politico. com notes, Williams began by explaining the difference between his role at NPR and his role at Fox News, which he called “niche journalism” that had “an express, conservative bent to the way they program, especially in prime time.”

He said that Schiller’s “psychiatrist” comment was “intended to demean me” and to “suggest to the larger audience that this is someone who you can’t trust.”

Rehm interjected that Schiller has since apologized, but Williams argued that she apologized only "to the public."

“There was no attempt to reach out to me in the immediate aftermath of that comment,” he said.

Read more here.

O'Donnell Apologizes To WDEL For Lawsuit Threat

The Christine O'Donnell campaign is apologizing to WDEL (Wilmington, DE) after it demanded that video of an O'Donnell appearance on "The Rick Jensen Show" be destroyed and threatened a lawsuit if it wasn't.

In a Tuesday afternoon appearance on WDEL, O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, answered a variety of questions from listeners as well as the host. The audio and video of interview segment was broadcast live on WDEL 1150AM and streamed on, the station's website.

At the conclusion of the interview, a representative from the campaign who had been in the broadcast studio with O'Donnell asked that the video be turned over to the campaign and not released. He stated that the videotaping had not been approved by the O'Donnell campaign, according to a posting on the station's website.

O'Donnell also told show host Rick Jensen that she would sue the radio station if the video was released.

WDEL routinely posts audio and video podcasts of interview segments on O'Donnell's appearance on WDEL in September had also been recorded and posted on the web.

O'Donnell's campaign manager, Matt Moran, called WDEL and demanded that the video be immediately turned over to the campaign and destroyed. Moran threatened to "crush WDEL" with a lawsuit if the station didn't comply.

An attorney representing the O'Donnell campaign contacted WDEL's law firm Hogan Lovells and initially asked that the video not be released. WDEL's attorney asserted that the interview and video were in compliance with all applicable laws, was clearly protected free speech under the First Amendment, and that the campaign had no grounds to demand the station withhold it from the public.

After seeing the video the attorney for the O'Donnell campaign contacted WDEL's counsel again to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager. The attorney agreed that there was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident.

Watch video here.

CNN: Dem Caught Cheating Now Caught Lying

During the candidates’ gubernatorial debate Monday evening in Florida, Alex Sink broke the rules and accepted coaching advice from a campaign staffer via a cell phone text message delivered by a makeup assistant during a commercial break. Almost immediately, Sink acknowledged the indiscretion and fired the staffer, Brian May.

“While he told me it was out of anger with Rick Scott’s repeated distortion of facts, it was a foolish thing to do,” Ms. Sink said, in a statement regarding May’s dismissal from the campaign.

But Tuesday evening, reports, Sink seemed to change her tone and, during an appearance on MSNBC, she claimed that she had not known the message from makeup artist was related to the debate or that it had been sent by a member of her staff when she accepted it:

But CNN, the network which hosted the Monday night debate, is saying not so fast. CNN‘s John King who had moderated the debate told Wolf Blitzer that Sink’s latest account is not at all what happened Monday night. According to King, the makeup artist told Sink the message was from “the staff,” and Sink knew it was a political message before she accepted it:

Read more here.

Keys To Booking Guests

PRs pitching guests are only a starting point for producers
Guests are often trying to promote something other than your primary objective

From Doug Drew, an Executive Director of News for 602 Communications and a nationally recognized expert in morning television news and daytime television programming:

The producer of the Howard Stern show, Gary Dell’Abate, recently appeared on David Letterman’s  The Late Show, telling Dave that if Stern was a good guy on the radio “we would have no where to work.” It was a great interview with lots of insight into Howard Stern and his shock radio show. It was about an 8 minute interview, lengthy by late night talk show standards,  and not until the very end did Letterman let Dell’Abate plug the real reason he was on the show, to promote his new book They Call Me Baba Booey.

The plug goes at the end of the segment
I am sure Dell’Abate’s agent or publisher pitched The Late Show to book Dell’ Abate as a guest. In fact, most guests who appear on  television are booked through a PR agency who sent a press release to the station. Television stations are inundated with people trying to get on TV to promote their product, their book, their movie, their concert, their community event, their restaurant, etc. Some of these make great guests, but just remember whose show it is. Accomplish your goals first, and get them to hold their plug for the end of the interview. It’s easy to book a guest who comes in the door through an agency or a press release. You simply call the contact person on the release, and select a date for the appearance.

Guests are given valuable airtime
But too often that is where the planning stops, and it can’t be that way. Too many producers simply pick up the press release, call the contact person, agree on a date, and viola, the segment is booked!  But it’s not just about filling time. You are giving these people incredible amounts of airtime. It’s time they very likely couldn’t afford to buy if they were going through the sales department. So, they should be willing to do whatever it is you want, within reason. Dan Aykroyd is making the local TV circuit, his agent offering him as a guest to pitch his new Vodka. Aykroyd is a great guest, but if not planned properly he will simply come in and do a commercial. Instead, think why you would want to have him as a guest. You’d want to talk to him about his movie career, and about the new Ghostbusters movie that is in the works. You have to make it clear to the contact, that you’d love to have Aykroyd as a guest, but that you will start off talking about his movies, and at the end, he can talk about his new Vodka. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Read more here.

Conan's Wife: 'Tonight' Lost 'cultural relevancy'

CoCo may have felt like he was in a car accident after losing "The Tonight Show" earlier this year, but his wife said a seatbelt wouldn't have helped, according to a story at

In the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which hits newsstands Friday, Elizabeth Ann Powel opened up about the sad state of the NBC show that ousted her husband.

"The truth is, ‘The Tonight Show’ was the definition of cultural relevancy for decades. And all of a sudden, it's not," she told "That's not Conan's fault. It's not anybody's fault. It just happened."

Read more here.

Meanwhile, reports, Conan O'Brien isn't letting sleeping dogs -- or bears -- lie when "Conan" begins on TBS next month.

The late-night host says that he won't let potential NBC intellectual property rights lawsuits dictate what he does on his new talk show.

"If there's something we did for a long time that we've established as ours, we'll figure out a way to do it," O'Brien told Rolling Stone in its Nov. 11 issue. "I won't be denied my Masturbating Bear!"

He is, of course, referring to the "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" gag where a bear wearing a loincloth -- actually a man in a costume -- walked on stage and then pleasured itself to the strains of Aram
Khachaturian's famous "Sabre Dance." It's one of many characters and comedy bits that frequently appeared on "Late Night."

"What I really wanna do," O'Brien confided, "is be sued over the bear and then appear in court with the Masturbating Bear. 'Your Honor, this bear can't help himself!' "

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back To The Future

Everything Old is New Again!

This 1980 news report explores the predicted world of future television, particularly in terms of information services technologies -- with a concentration on Teletext and Viewdata systems. This is particularly fascinating given that now, in 2010, "convergence" of Internet services back to the television is the latest trend. This video also includes a couple of hopefully interesting/amusing beginning and ending clips (from a bit later than 1980) bracketing the report. From the Vortex Video Archive.

More information about this segment. click here.

Information regarding the techniques being used to recover these archival recordings, click here.

FCC Gets an Earful From Fox and Cablevision

William Lake opened a can of worms last week when he asked the chieftains of Cablevision and Fox to ’splain their ongoing retransmission stand-off. Fox yanked three of its stations--WNYW-TV, WTXF-TV and WWOR-TV--from Cablevision systems Oct. 15. Lake, head of the Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau, asked for evidence or otherwise of “good-faith” negotiations between the two, which remained intransigent on the eve of the World Series.

According to a report at, Michael Hopkins of Fox delivered an eight-page letter to Lake, detailing negotiations between the two since September of 2009. Hopkins said Cablevision has been getting the TV station signals for free, and Fox started angling for compensation last year. He said Cablevision execs asked that a market value be established, so Fox did a deal with Time Warner Cable and returned to Cablevision with those terms. A bevy of counter-proposals ensued--none of them to the satisfaction of both parties.

“Based on established rates for cable programming services that do not approach the performance of the Fox Stations, such as the reported $3.40 Cablevision charged other [multichannel video providers] for MSG and MSG Plus in 2009, it would be reasonable for us to seek a rate between $5 and $6,” Hopkins said, referring to a monthly, per-subscriber fee. He then said Fox low-balled that, but Cablevision said no dice.

Cablevision in turn said that as long as it was picking up the station signals via fiber feed, it would consider that authorization to carry them. Fox then said no dice.

Cablevision’s Mac Budill shot Lake a 17-pager, saying Fox hadn’t negotiated in good faith because it brought a “take it or leave it” offer based on the Time Warner “most favored nation” rate.
Read more here.

Local News Wild For 'Teacher's Gone Wild'

Local news stations in Philadelphia and the Metro New York/New Jersey markets were buzzing with stories about James O'Keefe's latest video featuring members of the New Jersey Education Association. Each newscast provided ample time for a spokesperson from the teachers' union to have his say and attack O'Keefe and the video.

It seems to be almost exactly the reaction the media has last year when O'Keefe and Hannah Giles released their video investigation of the now defunct ACORN. The target of outrage from the media then, and now, is O'Keefe and not the people he captured on video.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie talks about the video:

NBC News Separates Itself From Partisan MSNBC

Expands election night coverage into late night hours

NBC News isn't about to acknowledge this publicly, according to Ed Barkley at

But the "unprecedented" decision to expand its Nov. 2nd mid-term election coverage into late night hours seems like an obvious way to keep both Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw away from an increasingly partisan MSNBC. It's a clear line of demarcation between a broadcast network news division that still touts its objectivity and a cable sister whose new "Lean Forward" promotional campaign is aimed directly at the conservative Fox News Channel.

Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor, and Brokaw, his predecessor, have crossed over to MSNBC during previous big political events. That's largely because they had no place else to go once NBC News ended its coverage.

But MSNBC increasingly has become an uncomfortable spot to be in -- at least during nighttime hours -- if you're otherwise intent on presenting the news in a reasonably unbiased manner. The recent debut of Lawrence O'Donnell's 9 p.m. (central) program gives MSNBC a quartet of avowedly left-of-center hosts, with Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow the incumbents. Hardball maestro Chris Matthews is somewhat more even-handed, but not so much lately.

On election night at least, there apparently will be scant mixing and matching. NBC is preempting both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to give Williams, Brokaw and others a home of their own. They'll be joined by Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Savannah Guthrie, and Washington Bureau chief Mark Whitaker.

According to the NBC News publicity release, just two principal players will be crossing over. Political director/chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd and utility news anchor Lester Holt will be dividing their time between NBC and MSNBC.

MSNBC's all-night election night coverage otherwise will be unto itself, with Matthews, Olbermann, Maddow, O'Donnell, Schultz and contributor Eugene Robinson at the helm.

Read more here.

DJ Helps "Hiccup Girl" Family

Todd Schnitt walks a fine line in murder case
As the murder case against the St. Petersburg teen known as "Hiccup Girl" spreads through the media and criminal justice system, radio personality Todd "MJ" Schnitt knows he's walking a tightrope, according to media critic Eric Deggans at

Friendly with Jennifer Mee's family since the girl's problems with uncontrollable hiccupping became an international media story three years ago, Schnitt scored the only one-on-one interview with Mee's mother for WFLZ-FM's MJ Morning Show after the teen's arrest on murder charges Sunday.

When police revealed allegations Mee lured a man to a botched robbery that became a murder, media interest grew and Schnitt referred the family to local attorney John Trevena, one of the area's most media-savvy lawyers. Trevena appeared on his radio show Tuesday.

But Schnitt resists suggestions his show has painted a sympathetic picture of Mee while benefiting from his exclusive access.

Instead, the radio personality insists he has tried to present a balanced view of the case, featuring interviews with the ex-girlfriend of 22-year-old victim Shannon Griffin — whom Schnitt says he will fly to Griffin's out-of-state funeral — and presenting this morning an interview with the victim's sister, Shana Griffin.

His situation embodies the challenge media outlets face when a well-known person lands at the heart of a crime generating worldwide interest in a juiced-up, 24/7 media culture:

How do you provide the coverage everyone clamors for without making the celebrity's side look too good?

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Candidate's Debate Flap

During a commercial break in Monday's televised Florida gubernatorial debate, Democratic nominee Alex Sink was handed a cell phone displaying a text message from Sink's staff.   Unfortunately for Sink, her Republican opponent noticed.

"The rule was no one was supposed to give us messages during the break, and your campaign did with an iPad or an iPod," Republican Rick Scott said on air once the debate resumed.

Following the debate, Sink confirmed that an aide had violated the debate rules by handing her the message. Sink then acknowledged she had fired the aide in question.

(Tom sez: I was fixated more on Scott getting his head buffed.)

Bad Storms, Hot Searches Surge

As a series of bad weather storms plowed through the midwest Tuesday morning...

It was interesting to see a listing of Google's Top 10 Searches as of 1pm (EDT)...
Nine top searches were weather related,  seven belonged to TV stations in the affected area, radio checked-in with zero.

Radio Sees Continued Growth In Website Visits

According to The Media Audit's National Radio Format Report, 17.7% of U.S. adults have visited a radio station's  website in the past month, a figure that has grown by 38% in only three years. In 2006, only 12.8% had visited a radio website in the past month. The latest figure represents more than 25 million monthly unique website visitors across The Media Audit's 80 measured markets.

The study also finds that nearly three-quarters of radio website visitors are considered heavy or moderate listeners, listening to radio for almost three hours per day on average.

The findings also reveal that radio station websites are a strong asset for most radio companies looking to strategically bundle their existing stations with their website audiences.  According to The Media Audit, 88% of monthly radio website visitors have made one or more e-commerce purchases on the internet in the past year, compared to 63.1% of heavy radio listeners. Furthermore, 36.7% of radio website visitors make twelve or more online purchases in a typical year, a figure that is 61% higher when compared to heavy radio listeners.  As a result, advertisers looking to bolster awareness, online transactions and website traffic could do well by combining radio spots with radio website ads, rather than advertising on radio alone.

Listeners to Adult Alternative stations are the most likely to visit radio station websites. According to the study, 33.8% of all listeners to this format have visited a radio station website in the past month, followed by Modern Rock (31.6), Sports (29.4%), News Talk (27.1%), Rock (26.9%), Public Radio (25.8%), Hot Adult Contemporary (HAC) (25.8%), Classic Rock (25.7%), Contemporary Christian (25%), and Dance CHR (24.4%).

Top metro markets for radio website visitors include Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, where 25.4% of the market's population has visited a radio website in the past month. Orlando, Florida ranks second with 22.1% who have visited a radio station website, followed by San Jose, California (21.4%), San Francisco, California (21.3%), and Seattle-Tacoma, Washington (21.3%).  For more information on this study, or for more information on the National Radio Format Report, contact The Media Audit.

Goodbye To the Weather Channel...

As we now know it.

Peacock Production's Sharon Scott talks Weather Channel content which will be including more reality series with weather reduced to a bottom-of-the-screen scroll.

NPR CEO Ambushed By Factor Producer

O’Reilly Factor Producer Confronts NPR CEO Over Williams Firing:

Insiders: Couric Good Chance To Stay At CBS

For some time now, network handicappers have assumed that Katie Couric is on her way out at CBS.

But, writes Howard Kurtz at,  insiders say there is now a good chance that she will sign a new deal with CBS that carries her at least through the 2012 elections. She is said to understand that her stratospheric salary would have to come down to earth.

Kurtz continues, CBS has no clear Plan B—one prospect, Anderson Cooper, recently signed a long-term deal with CNN—so the two sides may not be headed for divorce court after all. Couric has some prominent detractors at CBS News. But Moonves, the only person whose vote counts, remains close to her, and she has developed a stronger relationship with CBS News President Sean McManus.

The argument made by some insiders is that after the bumpy ride of the first couple of years, Couric is now invested in the place and CBS, which also features her on 60 Minutes, is invested in her. I would add this: If Couric leaves after her first contract, she will be viewed like a one-term president. It would take more years in the chair to buttress her anchor cred.

Read more here.

Politico Adds a Paid News Service

To the rapidly growing field of Washington reportage, add one more entrant: Politico Pro.

Politico, the Web site and free daily publication that brought a 24-7 cable news sensibility to political reporting, will begin early next year a subscription news service focused on health care, energy and technology.

According to Jeremy W. Peters at, the idea behind the service, which will cost subscribers $1,495 to $2,500 a year for the first topic and $1,000 for each subsequent topic, is to provide coverage at the microlevel of what Congress, federal agencies and trade associations are doing.

Traditionally this has been an area of focus for publications like Congressional Quarterly and National Journal, which command high premiums for reporting that lobbyists and government offices track closely. But Politico, hoping to capitalize on the brand it has built up since its introduction in 2006, said it saw an opening in the market.

Read more here.

Commentary: Kill NPR To Save It

The best way to end meddling

Jack Shafer at writes:
Like its commercial competitors, NPR cancels unpopular shows and chases audiences with programs it thinks will be hits. Like any commercial network, it boasts about the size of its audience. It markets itself aggressively. It defines itself by growth and expansion. One sign that NPR no longer considers itself "public radio" came this summer, when it changed its name from National Public Radio to NPR.

Having come this far, NPR should go all the way and remove its fingers from the public pocket. Only by making itself independent of government funding will it become independent of government meddling. First step: Cut that 2 percent in federal money from the NPR budget. Second step: Put the member stations on notice that the $90 million that CPB ships them each year will be zeroed out in five years, and tell them to adjust their budgets accordingly.

But how will NPR and NPR member stations survive? Public radio's extinction would suit me fine, but I understand that many listeners would be lost without it. So here's my plan: The stations should proceed in the direction they've been traveling since the 1980s, only move faster to become more like the commercial operations they already resemble. Kill those annoying underwriter announcements and replace them with real advertisements for real money.
Read more here.

Also read:

Journalism’s antiquated rules create humorless automatons like NPR’s Vivian Schiller (Dan Calabrese, North Star National)

Why NPR Matters (James Fallows, The Atlantic)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trib: Conduct Has Embarrassed Us

Chicago Tribune editorial excerpt:

Abrams and Michaels have resigned from Tribune Co., which is the parent company of the Chicago Tribune.  Their conduct has embarrassed us in front of our readers, our advertisers, our business partners and our families.

It has left us answering questions about whether reports of their actions reflect the environment in which we work. We want to tell you that Chicago Tribune employees, including those who work in our newsroom, don't conduct themselves in the manner attributed to some Tribune Co. executives.

Much of the New York Times story was disturbing, but one passage particularly troubled us: It called into question the independence of the newsroom and this editorial board.

Read more here.

Another Apology From NPR CEO

There She Goes Again

Vivian Schiller apologized to her colleagues Sunday evening for the way the firing was handled:
Dear Program Colleagues,

I want to apologize for not doing a better job of handling the termination of our relationship with news analyst Juan Williams. While we stand firmly behind that decision, I regret that we did not take the time to prepare our program partners and provide you with the tools to cope with the fallout from this episode. I know you all felt the reverberations and are on the front lines every day responding to your listeners and talking to the public.

This was a decision of principle, made to protect NPR’s integrity and values as a news organization. Juan Williams’ comments on Fox News last Monday were the latest in a series of deeply troubling incidents over several years. In each of those instances, he was contacted and the incident was discussed with him. He was explicitly and repeatedly asked to respect NPR's standards and to avoid expressing strong personal opinions on controversial subjects in public settings, as that is inconsistent with his role as an NPR news analyst. After this latest incident, we felt compelled to act. I acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree about timing: whether NPR should have ended its relationship with Juan Williams earlier, on the occasion of other incidents; or whether this final episode warranted immediate termination of his contract.

In any event, the process that followed the decision was unfortunate – including not meeting with Juan Williams in person – and I take full responsibility for that. We have already begun a thorough review of all aspects of our performance in this instance, a process that will continue in the coming days and weeks. We will also review and re-articulate our written ethics guidelines to make them as clear and relevant as possible for our acquired show partners, our staff, Member stations and the public.

The news and media world is changing swiftly and radically; traditional standards and practices are under siege. This requires us to redouble our attention to how we interpret and live up to our values and standards. We are confident that NPR’s integrity and dedication to the highest values in journalism and our commitment to serving as a national forum for the respectful discussion of diverse ideas will continue to earn the support of a growing audience.

I stand by my decision to end NPR’s relationship with Juan Williams, but deeply regret the way I handled and explained it. You have my pledge that the NPR team and I will reflect on all aspects of our actions, and strive to improve them in the future.

Please feel free to share your concerns and suggestions.


Vivian Schiller
Also Read:

NPR Blew It (Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel)

NPR's Real Meaning: No Parody Required  (Ruth Ann Daily Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Editorial: NPR Must Fix Its Reputation (Albany, OR Democrat-Herald)

The Big One WLW Shuffles

Big shake-up at The Big One: Less than two weeks as WLW-AM night guy, Doc Thompson moves to 9am-noon on Monday from the 9pm shift. according to John Kiesewetter's TV & Media blog at

The move makes sense, he’s more like Mike McConnell than Scott Sloan. He should do very well. Sloan moves to afternoons with Tracy Jones, replacing Eddie Fingers, who was canned on Oct. 7. Sloan did double duty  yesterday, doing his morning show and then working with Tracy. Last night he wrote on his blog that Friday was “double duty one last time. 9a-noon and 3-6pm.” What he didn’t say was that he’s lost his morning slot in less than five months.

Sloan was named permanent morning host replacing McConnell just three months ago. WLW-AM sent out a press release on July 28, as McConnell was leaving the payroll, saying that Sloan got the gig after doing the morning show since June. (McConnell wasn’t allowed to return to the 700 airwaves after he signed with Chicago’s WGN-AM.)  Sloan had been the night guy for about 10 years. If they issue another release explaining why the Sloan morning experiment has ended so soon, I’ll post it.

Thompson, 41,  is doing double duty for Clear Channel, continuing his 3-6 p.m. show on Richmond’s WRVA-AM. Thompson started on WLW-AM on Monday, Oct. 11. Sloanie at times was too flippant and goofy for 9 am, at least for the listeners accustomed to McConnell. Did anyone hear Sloan’s “squirt the dirt” topic last summer, when he suggested people pee on the Great American Ball Park infield?  Don’t think we’ll hear Doc do that. I’ve also heard that WLW ratings dropped since Sloan replaced McConnell… and as they say at WLW, it’s all about ratings and revenues.  Thompson was on at 10 am today with Sloan, saying “it was really weird” when he was called in and told he was moving from nights to days.
Read more here.

Undoing Earns Place In Media History

Randy Michaels, who resigned Friday as chief executive of McCormick's old Tribune Co., made a lot of noise about upending the 163-year-old Chicago-based company's culture, but he was either unable to escape that 21st century reality or, at the very least, adapt to it.

Phil Rosenthal, who covers Media at writes:
Someone, somewhere, is always watching. Think of all we know about current and former media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch, Leslie Moonves, Ted Turner and Sumner Redstone. Think of all the coverage and criticism devoted to Jeff Zucker, David Westin and Jon Klein. Think of the movie playing in theaters based on what Aaron Sorkin thinks he knows about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Those who work in the media can justify the attention they pay to others in the media business, because even those who believe the industry is in decline see its power rivaling or perhaps superseding that of government.

One need only pick up the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times or any of the other company newspapers, sit through the TV newscasts on WGN-Ch. 9 or its other stations or listen to the talk shows on News 720 WGN-AM, to know corporate excesses and abuses from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are in everyone's cross hairs.

But Michaels overplayed his poker hand, provoking others to up the ante as he lost the support of many employees, his board and the creditors that will soon take over the media company, which has been operating under Chapter 11 protection for 22 months. Replacing the CEO will be a four-person Executive Council, including the publishers of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. The council will be charged with stabilizing the company while it works to emerge from bankruptcy.

It mattered not that Tribune Co.'s creditors have praised Michaels and his team for stabilizing the financials of the company despite a recession and tectonic shifts in the media business. Michaels had become a distraction deemed unnecessary.
Read more here.

Also Read:

Randy Michaels First Disaster In Chicago? It Was "Hell".  (Robert Feder)

Don Geromino Hospitalized With Head Injuries

KHTK radio personality Don Geronimo is in a hospital for head injuries he suffered in a fall off a stage during a live show Friday night at Cal Expo, according to information posted on the radio station's blog by his producer.

According to, Geronimo's producer, Carmichael Dave, said in the blog post that the radio host was admitted to intensive care at UC Davis Medical Center on Friday with a head laceration.

Geronimo reportedly stepped too close to the edge of a stage and fell several feet to a concrete floor.

The station said Geronimo was sitting up in bed and in good spirits Saturday.

A former national radio personality, Geronimo joined KHTK in June after working from 1985 to 2008 in Washington, D.C.

His national show was syndicated in as many as 50 markets, including Sacramento on KHTK.

Facebook Evolves To Stay On Top

In the past six months, Facebook Inc. has rolled out about 20 new features, services or partnerships covering a diverse spectrum of technologies, from photos to search to commerce.

But what they all share in common, according to Benny Evangelista at is the Palo Alto company's grand ambition: to make itself the foundation of the next online wave - the social web.

In that vision, everything we currently do online - communicate, search for information, make purchases - would be shaped by our social networks.

That is why Facebook is moving quickly to take advantage of how it has already "become ingrained in our everyday lives," said analyst Atul Bagga of the investment research firm Think Equity LLC.

Bagga cited one personal example - he now receives more birthday greetings on his Facebook wall than he used to get by e-mail, phone or greeting cards.

In just six years, Facebook has propelled social networking from being an online network of U.S. college students into an everyday habit for 500 million people of all generations around the world. The company says members spend 700 billion minutes each month on the site and that more than 1 million external websites are tied into its platform.

Read more here.

Report: ABC This Week's Amanpour 'Cold'

ABC News' DC staff is icy

The knives are out for Christiane Amanpour at ABC News' DC bureau. Since the ex-CNN war correspondent began anchoring "This Week" in August, she's upset some co-workers by being a "distant outsider," sources told the New York Post.

"Amanpour flies into Washington on Friday and anchors the show on Sunday," an insider griped. "She reads about Washington from her Central Park apartment. It's not like other war zones that you can parachute into. She is very cold and distant with the other bureau staff."

The NYPost reports some resent Amanpour's friendship with Disney honcho Bob Iger and his wife, Willow Bay. Disney owns ABC. Other staffers gripe that despite her reputation as a top foreign correspondent, she doesn't have enough experience reporting on US politics.

Amanpour is said to have alienated some by spending the summer in the South of France before starting on air, requiring the show to use an interim anchor. Plus, she spent summer weekends at the DC home of Sally Quinn, an archenemy of ABC foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz, after they both planned weddings on the same day last summer for their respective children. ABC says Amanpour now stays at a hotel.

"It's so tribal at ABC because everyone else who had been angling for that job had their own constituencies," a source said. "They are all gloating over her ratings." Amanpour placed second in the 25-to-54 demo, but her overall viewership is behind NBC and CBS in the time slot.

Read more here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sunday Funny

Johnny Carson!

From 1981, just after Walter Cronkite retired from the CBS Evening News, Johnny Carson did a spoof...need we say more? This is GREAT!!!!