Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Saturday Aircheck

This is the last ten minutes before the music died on the BIG-10 WCFL Chicago. The date is March 15, 1976 and it's 4:51 PM, just 9 minutes before the big format change. Larry gives his big address to the nation. Please be sure to listen all the way to the end at 5:00PM when the music died and WCFL was never the same again. WCFL tried several different formats after this date but never was successful again. The station is now WMVP all sports...sigh!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Twitter Matters For Media

(Alan Rusbridger   I've lost count of the times people – including a surprising number of colleagues in media companies – roll their eyes at the mention of Twitter. "No time for it," they say. "Inane stuff about what twits are having for breakfast. Nothing to do with the news business."

Well, yes and no. Inanity – yes, sure, plenty of it. But saying that Twitter has got nothing to do with the news business is about as misguided as you could be.

Here, off the top of my head, are 15 things, which Twitter does rather effectively and which should be of the deepest interest to anyone involved in the media at any level:

1) It's an amazing form of distribution
2) It's where things happen first
3) As a search engine, it rivals Google
4) It's a formidable aggregation tool
5) It's a great reporting tool
6) It's a fantastic form of marketing
7) It's a series of common conversations.
8) It's more diverse
9) It changes the tone of writing
10) It's a level playing field
11) It has different news values
12) It has a long attention span
13) It creates communities
14) It changes notions of authority
15) It is an agent of change

Read more here.

Study: Higher Earners, More Likely To Use Internet

Those in higher-income households are different from other Americans in their tech ownership and use

95% of those in households earning over $75,000 use the internet and cell phones.

Those in higher-income households are more likely to use the internet on any given day, own multiple internet-ready devices, do things involving money online, and get news online.

Analysis of several recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Projects find that there are key differences between those who live in households making $75,000 or more relative to those in lower-income households.

Some 95% of Americans who live in households earning $75,000 or more a year use the internet at least occasionally, compared with 70% of those living in households earning less than $75,000.

Even among those who use the internet, the well off are more likely than those with less income to use technology. Of those 95% of higher-income internet users:
  • 99% use the internet at home, compared with 93% of the internet users in lower brackets.
  • 93% of higher-income home internet users have some type of broadband connection versus 85% of the internet users who live in households earning less than $75,000 per year. That translates into 87% of all those in live in those better-off households having broadband at home.
  • 95% of higher-income households own some type of cell phone compared with 83% in households with less income.
Read full study report here.

Miller Turns Down ESPN Radio Offer

Chooses to return to Giants full time

( )  Jon Miller officially severed all ties with ESPN this week, declaring himself ready to broadcast the Giants for the full 162-game season for the first time since he joined the club in 1997.

ESPN announced last week that Miller and partner Joe Morgan would not be retained on the network's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts, but left the door open for Miller to become the play-by-play man on ESPN Sunday night radio broadcasts.

After considering ESPN's radio offer the past few days, Miller formally declined it Monday afternoon.

"I'm going to just do the Giants games, that's it,'' Miller said from his home in Moss Beach. "I'm excited about just being to focus on one thing.''

Miller said he held no bitterness toward ESPN regarding the end of his 21-year run on Sunday Night Baseball, and was flattered that they wanted him to continue to do radio.

Read more here.

Rush to Judgment

Motortrend responds to Limbaugh's criticism of Chevy's Volt

( You said, “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since … I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person?

Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.

Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.

Chevrolet has not sold one Volt because it’s not on sale yet. It will not sell 10,000 this first model year (although GE plans to buy truckloads for its fleet), because it takes time to ramp up production. See, Rush, because we’re the World’s Automotive Authority, we get access to many cars before they go on sale.

Read more here.

Fox to Use Hulu Inventory for Ad 'Make-Goods'

Network's Maneuver Pushes TV, Online Audiences Closer

( -- Fox has secured agreements with about a dozen advertisers to supply them with inventory from online-video site Hulu to make up for ratings shortfalls on its broadcast network, according to the News Corp. network's top ad-sales executive. The move is the latest signal that marketers are growing more comfortable with the idea that consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.

Fox routinely purchases inventory from Hulu -- owned by its parent, News Corp., as well as NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co. -- to sell as part of broader sponsorship packages or in the normal course of sales, said Jon Nesvig, Fox Broadcasting's president-sales, in an interview. This season, he said, the network's need to provide additional inventory to marketers due to lower-than-guaranteed ratings on its fall schedule -- a practice known in the industry as providing "make goods" -- prompted a different solution.

Read more here.

Court Issues TRO Against FilmOn

Site stops streaming TV station signals has decided to temporarily stop streaming TV station signals in light of the temporary restraining order (TRO) a New York federal judge was issuing Tuesday morning.

That TRO is while the court decides the larger issue of enjoining the service longer-term while it decides the larger question of its legality, according to a story by John Eggerton at

"We respect the Court's decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on FilmOn," the company said in a statement. "In the few weeks FilmOn provided free access to basic television on consumers' mobile devices [since Sept 27], it received more than 30 million individual users. We also garnered dozens of positive reviews about our free service's quality and ease of use. We have, in essence, shown full proof of concept of the FilmOn delivery system--proving that millions of viewers will watch our superior television service online, all with commercials, adding millions of extra impressions that enhance network's value to its viewers and advertisers."

FilmOn did not seek retransmission consent deals with the stations it streamed, leading the big four networks and their studios to sue for copyright infringement and an injunction.

FilmOn said it plans to get those stations back online sometime in the future in a "legitimate and collaborative business model."

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old Media Decides Digital Still Needs a 'Chief'

Michael Learmonth at writes it's a good time to be a "chief digital officer," or at least play one inside a media organization. After a brief heyday mid-decade, the concept of the CDO seemed to be in decline as the job of distributing old media -- TV, magazines, radio -- in digital platforms reverted to the heads of those business themselves.

But judging from the number of recruiters seeking names to fill such a title, the position is making a comeback. Time Inc. recently opened a search for a chief digital officer -- its first -- after former Meredith exec Jack Griffin was named CEO in August. Gannett and Clear Channel are still trying to fill their chief digital officer roles after several months of searching. Wenner Media, which hired its first chief digital officer in 2008, is also said to be recruiting, according to two people who've been approached for the job.

The role of the chief digital officer has evolved significantly since the position first cropped up on corporate organization charts. The first mention of the role in Advertising Age was when Jason Hirschhorn was named chief digital officer of MTV Networks in 2005. Hirschhorn said he suggested the title during contract negotiations with MTV CEO Judy McGrath, who didn't want to make Mr. Hirshhorn president.

"I suggested 'chief digital officer,' and she said, 'I love it,'" he said. "It's what you get when you don't get 'president.'"

George Kliavkoff was named to the same position at NBC Universal the following year. But now both MTV and NBC, not to mention Time Warner, are doing without the role.

For a while, the job was a glorified consulting gig; it involved a lot of hand-holding as media attempted to adapt to interactive platforms. Or, as Quincy Smith, an investment banker who filled the role at CBS, used to joke, fixing the boss's BlackBerry.

Read more here.

When Will Real Sports Reporting Return?

From Blogger Dave Kohl:
It's time for the sports media to ease off on the rumors and speculation and return to reporting. As in being thorough on a story. Sports "news" is supposed to be "news", and not positive public relations. There were two major incidents over the past week which demonstrate the need for reporting to return.

These were the Donovan McNabb contract story, and the rules changes for the Northwestern vs. Illinois football game.

I should be reading about reporters being fired or reassigned after the McNabb story was botched so badly. On Monday, it became a huge story that Donovan McNabb was signed to an $80 million dollar contract.

Discussion immediately began on practically every all-sports radio and TV outlet, and throughout work places around the country as to McNabb's real value to his team and the league, and how such a contract rates against other greats of the game. It seemed improbable to many football fans.

All of a sudden, less than 48 hours later, the very same media QUIETLY started reporting that this new contract could actually be valued at as (comparably) little as $3.5 million dollars, depending upon this season and each subsequent season.

While the more recently reported deal may seem more realistic to football fans, that is far from the point.

Where is the outrage?

What about the hours and hours that experienced and "expert" reporters and sports analysts spent talking to fans about the supposed $80 million dollar deal?
Read more here.

Dave Kohl has handled play-by-play and production of pro and college sports broadcasts, taught sports broadcasting at Columbia College Chicago, and has sold more than $12,000,000 in print, radio, newspaper, telephone, and internet advertising during the past 30 years.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Justin Bieber Dominates American Music Awards

Justin Bieber dominated the 2010 American Music Awards, beating out veteran performers to win artist of the year and three other trophies Sunday night.

"This is big," said the 16-year-old Canadian, whose first single hit the charts barely 18 months ago.

Fans voting online chose Bieber over Eminem, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry for the night's top honor.

Bieber also out-polled Usher, who helped launch and guide his career, and Eminem to win the favorite rock or pop male artist award.

Bieber called Usher "not only my mentor, but my best friend and my big brother."

The awards:
  • Favorite Soul/R&B Album: Usher, Raymond v. Raymond
  • Favorite Pop Rock Band/Duo/Group: The Black Eyed Peas
  • Favorite Country Female Artist: Taylor Swift
  • Favorite Latin Music Artist: Shakira
  • Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist: Rihanna
  • Favorite Country Male Artist: Brad Paisley
  • Favorite Breakthrough Artist: Justin Bieber
  • Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist: Justin Bieber
  • Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group: Lady Antebellum
    Favorite Alternative Rock Music Artist: Muse
  • Favorite  Adult Contemporary Music Artist: Michael BublĂ©
  • Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist: Usher
  • Favorite Artist of the Year: Justin Bieber
  • Favorite Country Album: Carrie Underwood, Play On
  • Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist: Eminem
  • Favorite Pop/Rock Album: Justin Bieber, My World 2.0
  • Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist: Lady Gaga
  • Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist: MercyMe
  • Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album: Eminem, Recovery
  • Favorite Soundtrack Album: Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers
Click here for more, plus performance videos.

Study: Radio's Technology Gap Growing

Significant gap between group-owned and stand-alones

An independent study sponsored by Wheatstone Corporation shows the radio industry evolving into technology ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ based on their ownership structure. The study showed facilities with the financial backing of a station group deploying new revenue generating technologies at about twice the frequency of stand-alone radio stations.

In a news release, Wheatstone Vice President Andrew Calvanese said, “This study comes to the radio industry at a critical time. As traditional ad revenue has declined, radio organizations are experimenting with new technologies that will add revenue by enabling them to deliver programming through a variety of new channels.”

Of the 10 revenue generating technologies the study measured, streaming a station’s radio signal over the Internet was seen as having the most potential. Having a website that interacts with listeners was second, while streaming multiple channels of programming was third.

When respondents were asked which of the 10 technologies their radio organizations are now deploying, streaming was the top pick by far. For six other technologies (listed below), each requiring capital investment, respondents reported group owned stations as implementing them at a substantially higher rate than stand-alone stations:
  • Having a website that delivers video: Group owned, 43.1%; stand-alone, 26.8%
  • Promoting stations with a mobile phone app: Group owned, 43.1%; stand-alone, 22.8%
  • Streaming multiple channels: Group owned, 38.5%; stand-alone, 20.3%
  • Broadcasting in HD Radio: Group owned, 36.9%; stand-alone, 19.5%
  • Websites that create musical discovery: Group owned, 27.7%; stand-alone, 17.9%
  • Broadcasting multiple HD Radio channels: Group owned, 26.2%; stand-alone, 10.6%
For the remaining three technologies, which do not require capital investment (using social media to win more listeners, creating a website that interacts with listeners, and creating podcasts) responses for stand-alone and group-owned stations were comparable.

With the exception of streaming, stand-alone stations are falling behind group-owned stations in using revenue generating technologies that require capital investment. Group-owned stations are pulling ahead by a ratio of about 2:1. Long term, as revenue builds from these new technologies, stand-alone stations could find themselves challenged to compete economically.

iPad 'Newspaper' To Debut

Rupert Murdoch, head of the media giant News Corp, and Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, are preparing to unveil a new digital "newspaper" called the Daily at the end of this month, according to reports in the US media.

The reports the collaboration, which has been secretly under development in New York for several months, promises to be the world's first "newspaper" designed exclusively for new tablet-style computers such as Apple's iPad, with a launch planned for early next year.

Intended to combine "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence", the publication represents Murdoch's determination to push the newspaper business beyond the realm of print.

According to reports, there will be no "print edition" or "web edition"; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices.

With no printing or distribution costs, the US-focused Daily will cost 99 cents a week.

Read more here.

Also read here:

A News Corp. Newspaper, but Not in Print (Austin Carr, The New York Times)

Philly Shuffle Leaves Beck, Hannity Searching

Last week’s programming decision by CBS-Owners 1210 AM WPHT to revamp its lineup after New Year's leaves Premiere Radio looking for an outlet for Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Both were dropped in favor of moving Michael Smerconish to PM Drive and adding Chris Stigall to fill AM Drive.  Current evening talker Dom Giordano moves into Beck’s old time slot. No decision has been announced on evenings.

Stigall starts his Philly show Jan. 3 at 5 a.m. He's conservative, "but not a fist-pounder," according WPHT's Andy Bloom. He had been a talker at 710 AM KCMO, Kansas City.

Marc Rayfield, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio in Philadelphia, told The Philly Inquirer the shakeup began with renegotiating Smerconish's contract, which expires at year's end, and seeking to reduce the demands on his schedule. Smerconish has been doing two radio shows a day - one locally oriented and one for national syndication - writing columns for the Daily News and Inquirer, filling in on MSNBC and other projects.

What's more, Rayfield said that WPHT wants to become "more of a locally based station" and that its biggest draws have been Smerconish and its broadcasts of the Phillies. The move means that for now the Big Talker will have just one well-known national host in its lineup - Limbaugh, long a fixture in the noon-to-3 p.m. slot.

Effective Jan. 17, Smerconish moves to 3 to 7 p.m. The first hour of Smerconish's program will be local.

WPHT's decisions have sent syndicator Premiere Radio on a search for a Philly home for Beck and Hannity. The two need an outlet in all 10 top radio markets, and Philly is No. 8.

So who would want them?

Apparently not Clear Channel, even though it owns Premiere. Clear Channel Philadelphia market manager John Rohm told the Philly Inquirer he does not plan to reformat a station to talk, even low-rated Spanish outlet 1480 AM WUBA.

Not Greater Media, whose market manager, John Fullam, says he has no plans to create a talk station, even on 950 AM WPEN, which simulcasts the sports-talk FM station 97.5 the Fanatic.

Hannity and Beck could land on conservative talker 990 AM WNTP, which has a potent signal. Execs from owner Salem Communications did not return calls.  Another wild card is 1340 AM WHAT, which sources say is weighing a sale and a change of format. Station officials have not returned calls for comment.

Read more here.

Tom's Take: CC Philly cluster manager John Rohm might be wise to check further up the food chain before ruling out converting an FM to talk.  While an music FM may have a bigger profit margin, it should be tempting to CC (and Premiere) to launch "Rush Radio" in Philly. They've done it on FM recently in New Orleans and Raleigh-Durham. And on AM in Boston  D'oh! That means WPHT would lose Rush.  CBS Radio's WCCO (830 Minneapolis) and KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh) lost Limbaugh to Clear Channel FM challengers, leaving Rush on only three CBS stations: WTIC (1080 Hartford), KXNT (100.5/840 Las Vegas) and KMOX (1120 St. Louis).

All-Christmas Format's Surprise Demo

Bing And His Buddies' Most enthusiastic fans are..Who?

From Doug McLeod's Radio Management Blog:
I recently spoke with a friend who has been an air personality—a terrific one, I might add—at a major market soft AC station for many years. This station does very well year-round and, like many of its format ilk, plunges into an all-Christmas music format around Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s already starting. What’s newsworthy about that to me and to radio station managers in any format is how the station’s demographic alters when White Christmas and the rest begin to roll.

Want to take a guess at what consistently turns out the be the most enthusiastic and appreciative age group for Chestnuts, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and all the rest? (No fair if you already air the format and have discovered this yourself.)

According to my friend, the soft AC’s Generation Y.

This demo is loosely defined as people born between about 1986 and 2000—in other words, 10 to 24 years of age. The children aside, what my friend has observed is that listeners in their late teens and early twenties—definitely not your average soft AC P1 demo—flock to the all-holiday format every year about this time. Yes, the same bunch that normally listens to everything from Death Rock to Keith Urban loves to hear the good old Christmas classics, at least for a few weeks out of the year.

Why on earth would this bunch, which was virtually raised on iTunes, get excited about the same old holiday retreads? Ask the air personalities who work the format.
Read more here.

Kathleen Parker Comes Out of Nowhere

The girl-next-door is all of a sudden a CNN co-host

“Busier than a one-armed paper hanger” is how Kathleen Parker describes herself these days. The apt phrase references a career spike that brought the scrappy Southern newsie from syndicated columnist to Pulitzer Prize winner to national TV journalist in just short of half a year.

“I’ve always been the girl-next-door columnist,” Parker told Meredith Nelson at Newsmax magazine, adding, “My readers are what people in New York and Washington call ‘ordinary’ Americans,” she says, hastening to assure us that she has never once herself used that adjective to describe anyone who follows her maverick yet common-sense approach to the political conundrums of the day.

“I think that’s why CNN brought me in,” Parker says of her new job as the top-billed half of CNN’s Parker Spitzer, a news and political chat show that debuted Oct. 4 in the boutique spot at 8 p.m. on weeknights. “As a voice for the people who don’t feel well-represented. The over-50 crowd in Arizona deserves to have a voice on TV too.”

But make no mistake about it, though the CNN gig came somewhat out of the blue and albeit on the tails of her grabbing the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary this year, Parker’s meteoric rise was hardly an accident. The woman was never what you’d call a slacker before she landed at the CNN television studio in Manhattan’s posh Time Warner Center in June, or in the Beltway as a syndicated Washington Post writer by way of the Tribune Company four years earlier for that matter.

Parker is one of the most widely read syndicated columnists in America, printed twice weekly in more than 400 publications across the land, just not necessarily in markets served by major dailies such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, which tend to have their own stable of columnists and where Parker is not exactly a household word.

Read more here.

How Stupid Is That?

A live announcer in the studio 24 hours a day, seven days a week; no voice tracking; no syndicated programming – How stupid is that?, asks Frank Absher at St. Louis Media Stuff:
Think of the cost to pay someone to be in the studio all the time! And you want the newsroom staffed 24 hours a day too? What have you been sniffing?

Welcome to the good old days, when the lack of technology forced radio owners to serve their audience better. Pity the poor owner who had to pay the overnight guy minimum wage to baby sit the limited listening audience until the world woke up again.

What a stupid waste of money. If only there were a way to avoid forking out those few bucks.

What about that one night every five years when the area is under a tornado warning? What about that one night out of several thousand when there’s a true local emergency and law enforcement officials need the instantaneous ability of radio to get the word out to the public? Is that worth the many nights of minimum wage? Probably not.

Look at what has happened here. Because it was no longer important that the stations be staffed overnight, people stopped turning to the station when information was needed. They knew they wouldn’t get the info they wanted, so they went somewhere else to get it.

Well, that was okay, because now management could justify cutting out the news department. “No one listens to the radio for news anyway.” And since radio stations were no longer required to serve the public by providing news and public affairs, news operations quickly became expendable, and management gave the public yet another reason not to turn on the radio.

So here we sit now, amid 10 minute stop sets, voice-tracked “music” shows, satellite programming that shouts “non-local” to the listeners, and screaming numbnuts (deluded by what Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm dubs “messianic self regard”) making stupid statements about everything from politics to sex. And management cries in its beer and wonders why business is so bad and people aren’t listening.

These managers may be too young to remember a time, just a couple decades ago, when radio was the go-to source for breaking news, intelligent entertainment and talk.

Read more here.

"You Tawkin' To Me?"

Unlearning to Tawk Like a New Yorker

Andrew Ramos always believed it made him more charming, an endearing characteristic integral to his identity. But, finally reports Sam Roberts at, after too many people mocked him, he began seeing a therapist.

Patrick Mullin had the same problem. “People were complaining,” he said. He started weekly therapy sessions 11 years ago and still goes about once a month.

Lauren LoGiudice sought help for similar symptoms. “I would have sessions and I started to cry,” she said.

In all three cases, therapists reached the same discomfiting conclusion.

“I was diagnosed with a New York accent,” Mr. Ramos said.

The classic New York accent is not as distinct or as prevalent as it once was, but there are plenty of native “New Yawkers” who not only have it but consider it a curse.

“It humbled me,” Mr. Ramos, a television reporter at WPIX-TV, said of his diagnosis.

Those who seek professional help to conquer their accents make similar complaints, like, “ ‘People don’t understand what I’m saying,’ ” said Sam Chwat, who is considered the dean of speech therapists. “ ‘I’m stigmatized by the way I speak.’ ‘I’m tired of people imitating or ridiculing the way I speak, or saying I sound “cute.” ’ ‘My accent seems to imply negative characteristics.’ ”

Miss LoGiudice’s accent didn’t matter when she was growing up in Howard Beach, a heavily Italian neighborhood in Queens where dropping r’s in words like doctor (doctuh) and water (wawtuh) just happens to be the way many people talk.

Read more here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sunday Funny

Here's a hilarious classic stand up routine of Rodney Dangerfield doing on of his sets from his dvd special "I Can't Take it No More".