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, 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 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, 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, 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

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, 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, 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?  (

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 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, 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 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.