Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oprah’s Cable Channel Flickers to Life

At precisely twelve o’clock on New Year’s Day, Oprah Winfrey welcomed television viewers to OWN, a cable channel that she says will espouse her “live your best life” mantra.

According to Brian Stelter's Media Decorder blog at, OWN, short for The Oprah Winfrey Network, flickered to life in about 85 million television households in the United States, replacing the Discovery Health Channel. It is the highest-profile new cable channel in over a decade, and it represents an enormous risk for Ms. Winfrey, who is ending her daytime talk show later in the year.

“Happy new year,” Ms. Winfrey said, “and welcome to OWN.”

“This, as you can imagine, is a very exciting day for me, kicking off the next chapter of my life with all of you,” she said in an introduction that she taped in Chicago in November. The introduction previewed some of OWN’s shows, like “Oprah Presents Master Class,” featuring the life lessons of celebrities; “In the Bedroom With Laura Berman,” about couples’ sex lives; and “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” a competition show.

The channel will essentially play a highlight reel this weekend in the hopes that viewers will come back for specific shows on a regular basis. The normal schedule will start on Jan. 3.

Read more here.

Saturday's Aircheck

Broadway Bill Lee is now doing PM Drive at CBS Radio's WCBS 101.1 in NYC.

Friday, December 31, 2010

PD Resolutions For 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010 and a Happy New Year Message to CNN

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

Korea Herald Aims To Reshape Mobile News

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

Survey: Social Media Not A Big Factor In Holiday Purchases

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

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

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

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

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

For full list, click here.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday E-commerce Spending Nears $31B

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

65% Of iNet Users Have Paid For Online Content

Music and software are most common

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

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

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

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

Read full report here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ratings: Merry Christmas WLTW!

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

For more Arbitron ratings, click here.

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

Ratings: Holiday Tunes Provide Lift For WLIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

For more Arbitron Ratings, click here.

Ratings: LA's KIIS-FM Leads In 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

For more Arbitron Ratings, click here.