Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

Jay Reynolds countsdown the Heavy Hundred from 1970 on this aircheck on New York's WABC from December 26, 1970. (Hat Tip to Rockradio Scrapbook)

Click Here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

KARE 11 News Staff Bids Farewell to Tom Lindner

Tom Lindner started his day Thursday as he has for nearly two decades - in the KARE 11 Newsroom, at the center of the morning editorial meeting. But the biggest news in Lindner's newsroom had already been in the morning papers. Lindner had been let go from his job as KARE 11's news director.

New PPMs: A Funny Thing Happens In KC

Another batch of market PPMs have been released by Arbitron.  And the headline of the day goes to KCMO-HD2 in Kansas City.

The station recently started airing an all comedy format via the HD2 channel for 94.9 KCMO FM plus a translator K273BZ-FM at 102.5-FM .  The station is branded as Funny 102.5FM.

The station is an affiliate of  24/7 Comedy Radio, launched last September, is produced by the Donkey Comedy Network and distributed via Citadel Media.
The station gets substantial coverage of the market with 250 watts way up at 1,145 feet (see left).  The format also gets market exposure via KCMO's HD2 huge 100,000 watt signal (see below).

Funny 102.5 (website) features continuous stand-up comedy from the likes of Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Wanda Sykes, Jeff Foxworthy and others. In addition, it will feature laughs from touring comics who visit local comedy stages in Kansas City.

The March payoff?  The format made the PPM needle spike from a 1.6 in February to a 4.0.  So impressive we're sure to see the format debut in other markets.

Get a glimpse of the Kansas City PPMs by clicking here.  Plus Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Columbus, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Orlando and Las Vegas by clicking here.

Report: A Clash Over the Airwaves

From Edward Wyatt,
Dropped calls. Maps that take eons to load. Echoing voices on a mobile phone. And, as iPhone users know, the dreaded “Cannot Open Page.“

Those annoyances are likely to get worse, as airwaves that carry cellphone signals and wireless Internet connections grow ever more crowded.

The Federal Communications Commission has a solution: reclaim airwaves from “inefficient“ users — specifically, television broadcasters — and auction them off to the highest bidder, sharing some of the proceeds with television stations that volunteer to give up airwaves, known in the trade as spectrum.

Broadcasters, however, are furious with the plan, setting the stage for an old media vs. new media lobbying battle with cellphone companies and the government.

NYTimes photo
“We’re in full battle mode to protect broadcasters from being forced to give up spectrum,“ said Gordon H. Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters and a former United States senator, addressing his members at their meeting here last week. The CTIA, the lobbying group for the wireless industry, quickly fired back, accusing broadcasters of “desperate and inaccurate stall tactics,” said Steve Largent, the group’s president, who is a former Oklahoma congressman and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Broadcasters have long been under siege, their audiences slipping away to cable television, their advertisers defecting to the Internet. Although giving up spectrum would go unnoticed by most viewers, the fight to hold onto a chunk of the airwaves could be the industry’s biggest battle in years.

“We are not going to volunteer,“ said Leslie Moonves, the CBS chief executive. “Spectrum is our lifeblood.“

CBS owns and operates 14 stations in the large markets that the F.C.C. is considering for spectrum sell-offs.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, in whose hallways the battle is likely to be fought over the next year, have already challenged the assertion that the auctions would be completely voluntary.
Read More.

Most Effective Facebook Posts: Short and After Hours

From Mark Walsh,
If Facebook brand pages have become a key part of online marketing efforts for many companies, then Wall posts play a crucial role in attracting and engaging fans on those pages. With that in mind, Facebook marketing specialist Buddy Media undertook a study to determine a set of best practices for posting on Facebook brand pages.

The analysis involved examining Wall posts on the Facebook pages of more than 200 Buddy Media clients from Jan. 30-Feb. 12, along with "Likes" and comments related to these posts. The companies included represented a range of industry categories, including entertainment, automotive, business and finance, fashion and health care.

Among the main findings is that posts should be short and sweet. Posts between 80 characters or less had, on average, a 27% higher engagement rate than those with more than 80 characters, but accounted for only 19% of all posts. That makes Twitter's 140-character limit on tweets seem long. Conversely, the study found full-length URLs in posts had three times higher engagement than ones using a URL-shortener.

Read More.

Amazon Cloud Service Suffers Errors, Hurting Websites

(Dow Jones) Technical problems at an Inc. (AMZN) data center caused several websites and Internet services like Foursquare and Reddit to crash or have limited availability Thursday.

Amazon, which rents Web servers and storage to companies, said it was experiencing "instance connectivity, latency and error rates" with a data center in northern Virginia that handles operations for the U.S. The problem took down scores of websites and highlighted the risks to companies that outsource their Internet operations.

Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud service is core to the company's cloud computing platform and is often listed as a model for other such offerings. The service allows users to run programs and store information remotely, access the applications over the Internet, and eliminate the cost of operating the equipment themselves.

In its latest update, Amazon said the company has made progress in fixing the outage, noting that all but one zone has been relaunched successfully.

Amazon didn't respond to requests for comment.

Analysts have estimated Amazon Web Services could generate more than $500 million in revenue this year. Amazon is projected to report total revenue of $44.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Shares, up 27% over the past 12 months, rose 1.1% Thursday to $185.89.

Websites such as Foursquare, Quora and Reddit have cited service problems related to Amazon's outage, with user-generated news link site Reddit recently noting on its web page that Amazon is currently experiencing a "degradation" and is working on it.

"We are still waiting on them to get to our volumes. Sorry," the site said.

Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is one of Amazon's more high-profile customers for cloud computing. The online video-rental company said it was aware of the issues Amazon is currently facing.

"Netflix members have noticed no problems," said Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications for Neftlix.

The market for cloud services is expected to grow to $102.1 billion in 2012, up from $68.3 billion in 2010, according to research firm Gartner. Two of Amazon Web Services' biggest competitors include Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Azure cloud-computing platform and Rackspace Hosting Inc. (RAX).

Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer and president of the Rackspace Cloud, said Amazon's outage represents a "speed bump" for the cloud-computing industry, but ultimately won't deter businesses from turning to the cloud.

Michael Hussey, chief executive of PeekYou, a search company whose database contains records for more than 250 million people, said his company uses Amazon for 12 servers, but it doesn't put any "mission critical" applications in the cloud. As a result, the site, which uses 30 servers owned by PeekYou, is still up and running.

iNet Radio's 'Super Demographic' Exposed

Internet Radio Use Increases Online Ad Responses, Across the Board: Online and Offline

In recent research, "Digital Audio Usage Trends: A Highly Engaged Listenership", TargetSpot looked in-depth at who was listening to Internet radio.

According to a story by Helen Leggatt at, they found that almost 4 out of 10 people (39%) in the US listen to Internet radio on a regular basis, with 80% of those listeners tuning-in for about one to three hours per day.

Those listeners are not station-loyal, according to TargetSpot's research, with the majority (73%) changing stations throughout the day.

Around half (45%) listen to Internet radio on their phones, and 14% via a tablet, but most listen on their personal computers (96%). Interestingly, those tuning-in via a tablet are more likely to spend 4 or more hours listening each day (25%) than personal computer listeners (23%) or mobile/smartphone listeners (16%).

TargetSpot also revealed what they dub a "Super Demographic' among Internet radio users. This demographic, they say, is "tuned-in, highly engaged and influential" and should not be overlooked when developing online marketing campaigns.

As if to underline its importance in the marketing mix, TargetSpot reports 3.5 times higher ad response rates when Internet radio is part of a broadcast radio campaign. Furthermore, adding Internet radio to online campaigns resulted in ad response rates two times higher than without.

Read More.

Opinion: Good! Comcast Slams Door on Al-Jazeera

From Cliff Kincaid for Right Side News:
In good news for the American people but bad news for NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, a vice president for Comcast is now on the record saying that the cable giant is not negotiating to carry the terror TV channel Al-Jazeera in more U.S. media markets.

“We do not have an agreement with this service that would permit us to carry Al Jazeera English on our cable systems and Comcast is not currently in active talks to complete such an agreement,” says David A. Jensen, Vice President for Content Acquisition at Comcast.

His April 15 letter was in response to an Accuracy in Media supporter by the name of Jeffrey Smith, who had sent a letter to the cable company objecting to the possibility of al-Jazeera getting more carriage. Smith made the Comcast letter available to us for publication at this time.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, will no doubt be disappointed at the announcement. She recently told the Atlantic, “I think Al-Jazeera has become indispensable. There’s a big difference between Al-Jazeera overseas and Al-Jazeera English but they are clearly part of the story and I rely on them very heavily, as does the State Department. I think the channel ought to be available more widely in the U.S. given the work they’ve been doing in Tunisia, Libya and certainly Egypt.”

While Al-Jazeera English does water down the anti-Semitic and pro-Jihad programming available on Al-Jazeera Arabic, the channels are owned by the same autocrat, the Emir of Qatar. And the “work” the channel has been doing in countries like Egypt mostly consists of provoking and covering riots and demonstrations. At the same time, the channel played down the role of the demonstrators in assaulting CBS News reporter Lara Logan, who suffered serious injuries.
Read More.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Your iPhone Is Tracking Your Every Move

Also Must Read:

CULTOFMAC: Researcher sez iPhone Tracking Is All A Big Mistake

Man Killed For Changing TV Channels

David M. Young
A homeless man who told police he became angry when a wheelchair-bound man kept changing the TV channels has been charged with first-degree murder for stabbing the man to death, Winter Haven, FL police said Wednesday.

According to a posting at, Martin Vasser, 54, was in his apartment and was knocked from his wheelchair and stabbed seven or eight times in the back, police said. Police said they think Vasser was killed sometime last week between Wednesday and Saturday.

During questioning by police, David Matthew Young said he had known Vasser for about three years. He told investigators he became "very agitated" by Vasser's television channel changing, an arrest report said.

Police said Young grabbed a knife from the countertop and pulled Vasser from his wheelchair.

"Young stated that once Vasser was on the ground, he grabbed him and stabbed him seven to eight times in the back," an arrest affidavit written by Detective Mark Zagar said.

Young told Vasser as he was killing him that he was doing him a favor, the report said.

Read More.

NBC Promo Slides Start Times For Leno, SNL

NBC delays ‘SNL’ 2 minutes, Leno 12 minutes for ‘The Voice’ promos

NBC announced Wednesday it would slide the start of Thursday’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” by 12 minutes in order to give Jay’s audience an early look at the network’s new singing competition series, “The Voice,” according to the TV Column by Lisa de Moraes at

At the same time, the network announced it would slide the start of this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” by two minutes – that’s two as in 2 – in order to give its audience an early look at “The Voice,” which is premiering on the network on Tuesday, April 26.

In the 12-minute “sneak peek” that will air before “Tonight Show” on Thursday, viewers will see the show’s celebrity coaches – Christina Aguilera, Dee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton -- join together to perform Green’s hit “Crazy.” It will also include “informative vignettes” from the new show, NBC said.

A shorter, two-minute version of that performance – that’s two as in “2” – will air before this weekend’s “SNL.”

“ ‘SNL’ will air its complete broadcast from approximately 11:30 p.m.-1:02 a.m. (ET) that night,” NBC hastened to add.

Too late. The press had already broken out in an eczema of disbelief:
de Moraes wonders where were these guys all those years NBC delayed the start of “Tonight Show” for those 15-minute highlight reels of tennis during Wimbledon?

NBC hardly invented the “sneak peek” infomercial in the midst of one of its shows. You can’t throw a brick without hitting one if you’re a regular viewer of “American Idol.”

And yet, NBC seemed to sense Wednesday’s announcement was going to cause a stir. “The announcement was made by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment,” NBC said in Wednesday’s news release.

Read More.
“It’s an extraordinary move for NBC,” fumed one.

“NBC Steals Time from ‘SNL’ and ‘The Tonight Show’ So We’ll Watch ‘The Voice’,” railed another.

“This move is certainly raising some eyebrows,” that one sniffed.

Comcast To Provide Sportscasts for KNTV, SF

Starting in June, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area will provide daily sports coverage on the Bay Area's NBC affiliate, KNTV, the stations announced Tuesday.

The segments will appear on the network's 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts and will be hosted by Comcast's existing sports anchors and analysts, according to

NBC Bay Area President and General Manager Richard Cerussi told The Chronicle that no jobs would be lost in the process, with KNTV's staff of sports reporters and producers moving to the news operation.

Former sports anchor Raj Mathai is now the weeknight news anchor.

"The good news is we'll no longer be dependent on the hard work of a small team," Cerussi said. "Our belief is it takes an organization like CSN, with its resources, to fully cover an area that has eight pro teams and six Division I colleges."

The agreement extends a partnership that began in 2008 to use Comcast SportsNet production resources for live Giants telecasts on KNTV. That partnership grew closer this year when the FCC approved Comcast's acquisition of a majority stake in NBC Universal.

Read More.

Ratings: Newser WTOP Dominates DC Radio

A second batch of Arbitron PPMs are out and the lead story is Bonneville's WTOP.  The station sits atop all radio #1 6+, 12+ and 25-54.  Very nice news just in time for Hubbard's expected closing next week.

Other markets just released include: Detroit, Boston, St. Louis, Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver-Boulder, Seattle, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa and Miami.

To get a glance, click here.

Rick Dees Returns To LA Wake-Up Duty

Rick Dees, legendary Los Angeles radio personality, and host of the internationally syndicated radio show, The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, joins rhythmic adult contemporary station Hot 92.3 KHHT as morning show host on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.

According to a posting on and Hot 92.3 websites, Rick Dees in the Morning returns with features like Candid Phone, Dees Sleaze and Joke of the Day. Rick quickly rose to the top of LA radio after his debut in 1981 on 102.7 KIIS-FM, where he was a market leader for more than two decades.

Dees has received just about every entertainment accolade available including the coveted Marconi Award, National Radio Hall of Fame Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Billboard Radio Personality of the Year ten years in a row, induction into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame, Grammy Governor’s Award, People’s Choice Award and BMI Award.

In making this announcement, Clear Channel Los Angeles Market Manager/President, Greg Ashlock said, “Rick is synonymous with radio in Los Angeles and this genre of music is perfect for him as he introduced many of these artists that ultimately paralleled his career path of popularity.”

Clear Channel Los Angeles head of Programming, John Ivey commented, “We asked Hot 92.3 listeners who their favorite radio personalities were and the two most mentioned were Art Laboe and Rick Dees!” Ivey continued, “So, with Rick starting the day with his infectious humor and old school hits and Art ending the day with requests and dedications, we are going to have some very happy listeners.”

Dees commented, “I am proud to be welcomed back into the number one radio market in the world, playing some of the best music ever recorded and especially getting the opportunity to reunite with a long list of Clear Channel friends.”

Rick will begin his mornings at Hot 92.3 on Wednesday, May 4th with a naming rights partner, Valley View Casino & Hotel, already in place.

To celebrate his return, Dees will be throwing out the first pitch for the Dodgers/Cubs game at Dodger Stadium at 12:10pm after his debut show. In keeping with the old school theme, the day will feature Dodgers players in throwback jerseys and rolled back concession prices.

Radio Vet Dave Michael Passes At 60

Dave Michaels, Program Director for Citadel Media’s Classic Hits format, passed away Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer, according to a posting at
Michaels joined ABC Radio Networks in 2000 as the PD and midday personality for then Oldies Radio.

Under his meticulous guidance and leadership, the format evolved into Classic Hits and continued to grow in popularity. Classic Hits remains one of the most successful of Citadel Media’s eight 24-hour formats.

“Dave Michaels was a consummate broadcaster and wonderful friend to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said John Rosso, President of Citadel Media. “For more than four decades, his vibrant personality shined through as he graced the microphones of local stations across the country and entertained millions of music listeners. His charming wit and presence will be tremendously missed both in our hallways and on the air.”

Michaels’ radio career began as the evening DJ for KMAK in Fresno in 1968.

Read More.

Curtis Sliwa Reveals He Has Prostate Cancer

Radio talker, Guardian Angels founder and Gotti family nemesis Curtis Sliwa was once the victim of a drive-by shooting. Now he hopes to have drive-through prostate cancer surgery.

According to a story by David Hinckley at, Sliwa announced Thursday morning on his show over WNYM (970 AM) that he has prostate cancer. He also said that he hopes to be back on the air Monday.

"That's my aim," Sliwa said in an interview after the show. "I don't know if I can, but I want to. I'm a fast healer. I was on the air a week after I got shot."

Sliwa famously got plugged in 1992 — on the orders of John Gotti, according to court testimony, because the Gotti family was tired of his anti-Mob campaigning on the radio.

Sliwa has since continued that campaign, and he joked yesterday that the Gotti family "must have been sticking pins in a voodoo doll" for him to get cancer.

Sliwa says he plans to do his WNYM show until 8 a.m. Thursday, then report to Mount Sinai for the surgery.

He says doctors hope to remove the cancer robotically, though a surgeon will also be scrubbed in if the robot can't do all of the job.

Sliwa said he first registered rising PSA levels — an early indicator of prostate problems — a year ago.

His doctor, Dr. James Underberg of NYU, told him that's normally the point at which radioactive seeds could be implanted to inhibit any potential growth. But Sliwa couldn't tolerate that procedure because of residual problems from the shooting.

"It would basically take out what's left of my stomach," he said.

So after consulting with Dr. David Samadi of Mount Sinai, a specially in robotic and minimally invasive procedures, he he opted for homeopathic treatments prescribed by his sister, who practices holistic medicine.

"I had seen the impact of this situation on [WABC morning host Don] Imus, who had the same diagnosis a couple of years ago," says Sliwa. "So I was basically following the same path he's been following."
While Imus says holistic treatment has been effective, though, Sliwa says he hit a wall last weekend.

"I was in Morris Plains [N.J.] to speak at a Tea Party rally," he says. "And it just slammed me. I went into a restaurant, asked if I could use their facilities, and just collapsed on the floor. I could barely get up."

He went back to Underberg and Samadi, he said, "and they told me if I didn't have surgery, I was playing Russian Roulette. Sometimes it just has to come out."

Read More.

KFWB 'Swinging Gentleman' Ted Quillin Passes

Ted Quillin, one of the original "Seven Swingin' Gentlemen" who brought rock and roll into its first major market at KFWB in Hollywood in 1957, has died. He was 79.

He had been in radio for over 60 years and was honored by the Nevada Broadcasters in 2005, when he was inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Born in Oklahoma City, Quillin moved to El Paso, Texas where he finished high school and attended Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy now known as UTEP. During this time, while still in high school Ted started his broadcast career at KEPO, an ABC station in El Paso, according to wikipedia.

He started as a ‘gofer’ on a morning show from 6 to 7 AM, before he went to school. He graduated to staff announcer. After that he took a job in Corpus Christi, Texas at KSIX. The program director from KXYZ in Houston heard him, and hired him as a staff announcer.

From there he went to WACO in Waco, Texas. Ted moved to KELP which was a Gordon McClendon station, doing top 40. This is where he met Chuck Blore and when Chuck got the call to Hollywood he took Ted with him and Ted became one of the original "Seven Swingin’ Gentlemen", who took Rock and Roll into its first major market, at KFWB. His listeners became known as the "Quiverin' Quillin Clan."

Quillin's years in radio include: KFWB–Hollywood, 1958–61; KRLA–Pasadena, 1962–64; KORK–Las Vegas, 1964–1966, KFI- L.A, 1969; KFOX-1969-71; XPRS-1972, and finally, KORK-Las Vegas, 1972, when he became a permanent resident of Las Vegas.

Ted did a show for Armed Forces Radio & Television Network for many years and was heard on 530 radio stations worldwide. This show was broadcast while he was in Hollywood as well as after he moved permanently to Las Vegas. Years later the Armed Forces Network was re-broadcasting Quillin's shows on their radio stations.

More recently, Quillin was broadcasting with a Classic Country show for KDSS in Ely, Nevada and a show on the Internet on Rockit Radio, which can be heard on a computer at Pals radio.

As Ted always signs off any of his radio programs, he always wished his fans, “Blue Skies and Green Lights.”

Nick Readies 'Cannon's Countdown'

One of the many things Nick Cannon is doing with his clothes on these days is launching a weekly radio countdown show.

"I figured I'd fill those last few extra hours in the corner of my life," jokes the WXRK (92.3 FM) morning host, whose syndicated "Cannon's Countdown" starts this weekend, according to a story by David Hinckley at

Locally, it can be heard Sunday from 7-11 a.m. on WXRK - meaning he starts an hour earlier than the 8 a.m.-noon Sunday "American Top 40" countdown with Ryan Seacrest on rival WHTZ (100.3 FM).

WXRK listeners will hear the pop version of "Cannon's Countdown." He's also doing a three-hour urban version, which doesn't have a local outlet yet. On the pop show, he will count down the top 30 songs. On the urban show, the top 20.

In both cases, he says, the content will reflect what listeners hear mornings on "Rollin' With Nick Cannon."

"We'll feature the music," he says. "But we'll get into quite a few interviews and talk about what's going on in entertainment. When a heavy hitter is around, like Jay-Z, we'll be talking to them."

Cannon has an entry into that A-list world because he's an active performer himself. He's been featured in several movies and hosts "America's Got Talent." He'll have a Showtime standup comedy special next month - in which he promises to offer more thoughts on Eminem - and there's also his marriage to Mariah Carey, who's expecting twins in the next couple of weeks.

Read More.

Apple Users, Beware: iPhones Secretly Tracking Location

Security researchers have discovered that the latest operating system powering the iPhone and iPad keeps a log of everywhere you go, recording both the location and time you were there.

According to a story at, the feature has been around since June 2010, meaning some iPhones have nearly a year of location history recorded in a single file -- every step, trip to the park, family vacation and more. And that, said security experts Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, who uncovered the file, poses serious problems.

"It became clear that there was a scary amount of detail on our movements [in the iPhone]," they noted in a post on their website.

"By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple has made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements."

Apple did not respond to calls or e-mails for comment from

The two British programmers accidentally discovered the iPhone feature -- some would call it a bug -- when they were making software based on user locations. And digital privacy consultant Frank M. Ahearn says he has seen the problems caused by such lack of privacy first-hand.

Read More.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Report: Shoppers Cutting Back On Driving

A new survey from NPD Group reports that 60% of consumers say they are cutting back on driving, as gas pushes the $4 gallon mark, according to a posting by Sarah Monhoney, at Marketing Daily.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market researcher says its Motor Fuels Index, which tracks fuel purchasing behaviors and attitudes, shows that gallons purchased are down 1.2% from a year ago. "If the current uptick in gas price is sustained, we can expect consumers to begin implementing some key changes like reducing or consolidating shopping trips, taking more mass transit, and carpooling," it says in its release.

In 2008, when gas reached $4.16 per gallon, NPD says it found that 49% reduced or consolidated shopping trips, 29% cancelled or modified vacations, and 25% found alternate means of transportation including mass transit, carpooling, and riding a bike.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market researcher says its Motor Fuels Index, which tracks fuel purchasing behaviors and attitudes, shows that gallons purchased are down 1.2% from a year ago. "If the current uptick in gas price is sustained, we can expect consumers to begin implementing some key changes like reducing or consolidating shopping trips, taking more mass transit, and carpooling," it says in its press release.

Read More.

TomzTake:  Will reduced driving trickle down and impact radio TSL?

Report: Cumulus Deal Signals Life In Radio Industry

When Atlanta-based Cumulus Media sealed its $2.4 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting last month, analysts welcomed it as a sign of life in the battered radio industry.

They also weren’t surprised about who was behind the move, according to a story by Margaret Newkirk at

A scion of a family radio dynasty from Ohio, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Jr. has a reputation for zigging when others zag — and for taking gambles with acquisitions. A three-year buying spree in off-the-beaten-path markets in the late 1990s both created the company in the first place and nearly brought it to its knees, before Dickey’s deal-making stabilized it again.

The newest acquisition is Dickey’s biggest yet. It will nearly double Cumulus’ station holdings, from 347 to 572. But its impact goes further than that.

Cumulus will remain the country’s second-largest radio company in terms of stations. But Las Vegas-based Citadel’s stations are in bigger markets. Citadel also owns what was once the ABC broadcasting network.

Cumulus is swallowing an elephant.

Read More.

UPDATE: Anchor Expects To Return To Work May 16

WTOP's Hillary Howard on Leave For Tumor surgery

Regular drive-time listeners of WTOP may have noticed the absence of a familiar voice recently.

Longtime anchor Hillary Howard has been on a leave of absence since late March, and recently underwent surgery for a brain tumor.

According to a posting at, the good news is doctors caught it early, and the even better news is the tumor is benign.

She is now home, recovering, healing and spending quality time with her husband, Dave Statter, and 11-year-old son, Sam.

"Sometimes I have to remind myself that I had brain surgery two weeks ago," she says with a laugh.

For Howard, there is nothing negative about her story, which began in November when she slipped and fell down the stairs. She hit her head, hard, and passed out.

At the hospital, after precautionary tests, her doctor told her she was fine, but they had found a small tumor -- a meningioma.

"I like to think a little angel pushed my foot down the stairs," she says.

She made the decision to undergo surgery at Johns Hopkins and have the tumor removed.

"I'm young. It would have continued to grow," she says. "I was determined to get rid of it."

Howard knows she is luckier than others who undergo brain surgery and she is "extraordinarily grateful."

And, while she's enjoying the time with her husband and son, Howard is also looking forward to getting back to work on May 16.

Read More.

Ex-TV Reporter Sues 'The Donald'

Former Tampa, FL WTSP reporter Elaine Lucadano and thirty other investors are suing billionaire Donald Trump, over deposits lost on the never-built Trump Tower Tampa, according to a posting at

Lucadano says she lost $45,000 in deposits on the proposed fifty two story, highrise condo building in downtown Tampa. Trump Tower Tampa never broke ground and she never recovered her deposit.

Tumor Surgery Goes 'Well' For Orlando TV Anchor

WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe came out of surgery an hour ago, WKMG-Channel 6 General Manager Skip Valet told the TV Guy, Hal Boedeker at the Orlando Sentinel  at 6pm Tuesday.

“Everything went well,” Valet said. “She is expected to go home tomorrow [Wednesday].”

Doctors had found a tumor on her thyroid. “There’s something growing that shouldn’t be there,” Rowe, 39, told Boedeker last week. “They have to remove the tumor to know if it’s malignant or benign. They will remove the tumor and half of the thyroid.”

Valet said that Rowe will return to the CBS affiliate as soon as she’s ready. “She intends to get back in the game as soon as possible,” he said.

"As long as everything goes well, I hope to be back within a week,” Rowe said last week.

Rowe writes about what she has been going through on her blog at WKMG.

Read More.

ESPN Radio, WEPN NYC Shuffles Line-Up

Mike Lupica to host daily talk show

Mike Lupica, award-winning Daily News sports columnist and long-time panelist on ESPN's "Sports Reporters," adds another notch to his media belt next month with a daily sports-talk show on WEPN (1050 AM, ESPN Radio).

Lupica's new show, 2-3 p.m. daily on 1050, headlines a reshuffling of the station's lineup. The show makes its debut May 9, according to a story by David Hinckley at

Jared Max, newly arrived from WCBS-AM, will host his own show, 5-6 a.m., then become the local sports voice for the syndicated Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic morning show, 6-10. Max will also do features and special assignments.

Colin Cowherd moves to 10 a.m.-noon, followed by a new noon-2 p.m. show with Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg, who formerly hosted the 5 and 10 a.m. hours.

Lupica at 2 will be followed by Michael Kay, 3-7 p.m. Don LaGreca will be heard on both shows and Kay will also be joined regularly, says WEPN general manager David Roberts, by baseball writer Jack Curry.

Stephen A. Smith will be heard 7-9 p.m., followed by Bill Daughtry, 9 p.m.-midnight. Leaving the daily lineup will be Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney. Roberts says McDonald will move to Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Roberts says he's excited about having Lupica return to the radio, where he hosted a talk show 18 years ago for WFAN.

"This addition further enables us to present compelling, credible and high-impact programming to the New York sports fan 24/7," says Roberts.

Read More.

Opinion: Soaring Rhetoric. Sordid Realities.

Commentary From Richard Harker, Harker Research:

Radio's new normal is GMs managing markets hundreds of miles apart, program directors over-seeing three or more stations, and voice-tracked robo-radio even in key dayparts.

Does this sound like an industry preparing for a challenging future?

Consider the difference between how radio and television are preparing for the future. We recently noted the investment Viacom is making to strengthen their brands. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman believes the company's commitment to research has helped resuscitate networks such as MTV:

"We've increase our investment in research-market research on our viewers, brand research. In turn, study insight has hopefully led to smarter content investments-focusing the programming around what the research tells us."

Viacom is not alone. The networks realize that creating compelling programming is the key to continued success. They are investing heavily in research and marketing, creating new shows (twenty this year alone) and retooling the old ones.

And it is paying off.

Despite mobile and internet video, television viewing continues to grow, nearly 159 hours a month.

Television spot revenues grew by 24% in 2010 compared to radio’s 7%. This year’s network upfront is expected to surpass $10 billion, with double digit CPM rate hikes.

Television understands that nothing else matters if the content isn’t there.

Compelling content is also the key to radio’s survival in the digital age.

Not video prerolls. Not in-house graphics designers. Not fancy web sites. Not a brilliant social media strategy. Not “the ability to engage audience in all locations where they have a mobile device.”

Content. None of this matters if the content sucks.

But how many groups are investing in content? How many groups are recruiting and grooming the next generation of local air personalities?

Which companies are creating the formats of tomorrow?
Read More.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

'Happy Days' Actors Claim Fraud, Money Owed

UPDATE, April 20, 2011:

An attorney for the actors said there's breach of contract because CBS broke a promise to pay the actors and fraud because it purposefully didn't pay.

CBS said in a statement to CNN, "We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue."

The actors say they're owed millions of dollars. CBS says thousands. The launch of the "Happy Days" slot machine was apparently the last straw.

Earlier posting....
"Happy Days," one of the most popular shows in television history, faces an unhappy legacy nearly four decades after it first went on the air, according to a story by CNN's Scott Zamost and CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow at

Four cast members, and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died last October, claim CBS (CBS, Fortune 500), which owns the show, has not paid them for merchandising revenues they are owed under their contracts.

The show, which originally aired from 1974 to 1984, "represented to the public what the best of America has to offer," said Anson Williams, who played Potsie. "The friendships, the opportunities, the warmth.

Unfortunately, now 'Happy Days' also represents the worst of America -- of what major companies are trying to get from it, trying to use it for, and forgetting the family it created."

In exclusive interviews with CNN, the cast members -- Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross and Erin Moran -- all claim they have been cut out of the merchandising bonanza the show has spawned. Those products includes comic books, t-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards and DVDs where their images appear on the box covers.

Read More.

March PPMs: No Surprises In the Big Apple

The March PPM's covering the period of March 3rd to March 30th are out and, no big surprises really, according to a story by Vince Santarelli at

WLTW increased their market lead nicely and Hispanic WSKQ also moved up nicely, perhaps indicating that Arbitron has found a way to measure the minority audience a little more fairly.

For the month, WLTW (106.7 FM) was number one, as usual, with a 7.6, up from their 7.1 last period.

Classic hits WCBS FM (101.1) remained in the number two spot with a 5.4, down slightly. Z-100 (WHTZ 100.3 FM) was also down slightly, but remained at number three with a 5.1. WKTU (103.5 FM) held steady at a 4.7 for number four. WSKQ (97.9 FM) moved from a 3.5 to a 4.1 for the number five position.
That's the first time WSKQ has been in the 4's since December, 2010.

Tied for number six at 3.7 were WCBS (880 AM), WINS (1010 AM) and WBLS (107.5 FM). At number nine was talker WABC (770 AM) with a 3.6. The number 10 spot belonged to classic rock WAXQ (104.3 FM) with a 3.5.

In the all-important 25 to 54 demo, WLTW once again held the top spot with a 7.2, that's up from 6.5. Number two went to WKTU with a 5.7. WHTZ took number three with a 5.6. At number four was WCBS FM with a 5.0. Number five went to WSKQ with a 4.2, up from 3.7.

The morning drive land scape had all-news WCBS in first place with a 5.9. WLTW took the number two spot with a 5.4. At number three was all-news WINS with a 5.3. WHTZ took number four with a 5.1. In fifth position was WCBS FM and WBLS with a 4.6.

Afternoon drive saw WLTW in the leader's spot with an 8.2. WCBS FM took number two with a 5.7. Number three went to WKTU with a 5.4. Number four went to WHTZ with a 5.0. WSKQ garnered the number five position with a 4.0.

Read More.

For Arbitron's listing of NYC ratings, click here.

For Arbitron's listing of 11 other market ratings released Monday, click here.

NOTE:  No ratings will be released Tuesday in observance of Passover.

The Battle Expands at The Tribune

Sam Zell's top-of-the-market buyout of Tribune Co. cashed out shareholders about a year before the media company tumbled into bankruptcy protection.

Now, according to a story by Mike Spector, Jenny Strasburg and Shire Ovies at, those former holders are bracing for a possible barrage of litigation aimed at clawing back more than $8 billion in payouts.

If successful, any litigation would represent an unprecedented legal development, some lawyers said. It would force shareholders to give back money gained from simply selling their shares into a corporate buyout offer, based on the theory that the deal was so fundamentally flawed that it amounted to a fraud that should never have happened. Under the best-case scenario, creditors likely would get back only between $2 billion and $3 billion, the amount necessary to make unsecured creditors whole.

While most lawyers said such cases are difficult to prove, former shareholders are girding for the worst, in some instances talking with lawyers and investors about plans to sock away money in anticipation of any litigation.

Creditors are going after the shareholders under a legal concept known as "fraudulent transfer." The theory allows creditors to argue that the banks financing Tribune's buyout and the shareholders who cashed out should have known the deal would destroy the company. As a result, the argument goes, the banks shouldn't be allowed to recoup their loans and the shareholders should have to give back money they received.

Read More.

President Gets Testy During Local TV Interview

SiriusXM Leases Channels To Minority Communities

Sirius XM announced Monday it has leased 4 percent of its audio channels on both the Sirius and XM platforms to fulfill a merger condition from the Federal Communications Commission regarding diversity.

According to a story by Gautham Nagesh at, among the lessees are two stations from Howard University in Washington that provide music and talk programming for the African-American community, as well as stations serving the Mormon, Korean and Spanish-speaking communities.

As a condition for approving the 2008 merger the commission required Sirius to set-aside long-term leases for firms that were not previously affiliated with either satellite-radio provider.

“This marks a valuable step in increasing the diversity of programming available to satellite radio listeners while promoting access for new entrants and independent satellite radio programming," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in response to the announcement.

"I applaud Sirius XM for its new line up.”

Read More.

Memo to CBS ‘Early Show’: ‘Let’s get with it’

CBS News president David Rhodes tore into his morning news program, “Early Show,” today telling staffers in an email, “CBS News had a great weekend. And a bad Monday morning,” according to a posting by Chris Ariens at

Rhodes, who’s been on the job just shy of two months, sent an email to the staff and cc’d the show toppers of the weekend shows, “60 Minutes,” “48 Hours” and “Sunday Morning.”

The New York Post says Rhodes scolded that while the weekend shows broke news or had newsmaking interviews, none of it turned up on Monday’s “Early.”

Read More.

 The memo:
From: Rhodes, David
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 9:15 AM

To: @CND The Early Show
Cc: Owens, Bill; Zirinsky, Susan; Morrison, Rand L.; Hager, Mary; Fager, Jeff; Ciprian-Matthews, Ingrid; Felling, Bill

Subject: Monday

CBS News had a great weekend. And a bad Monday morning.

Sunday we broke major news on Greg Mortenson, co-author of “Three Cups of Tea.” Turns out the uplifting bestseller may not be entirely true—and his charity’s finances are troubling.

Also on 60 Minutes: a revealing look at the problem of sex assault on campus told through one woman’s ordeal at the University of the Pacific, and Paul Allen’s true feelings about Bill Gates as discussed in a sit-down supporting his new memoir.

On cable at least one network is leading with Rep. Paul Ryan’s comments on Face—but we didn’t run them at all today.

That’s not all. Jerry Seinfeld talked to us… we learned what Molly Ringwald is doing in her 40s…. one of our own people got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame…

And Saturday night we heard the planned defense of Casey Anthony. Her explosive case goes to trial in May.

Where are these stories this morning? Not on the Early Show. Why not?

This really isn’t a case of not knowing what the organization is doing. We held a meeting Friday discussing what each program had planned—in which every single one of these stories was discussed. And of course each of these stories ran on our most popular programs. All rated highly, so an audience clearly found them. Some have generated follow-up coverage in other media.

Not our own show, though. We did exactly what our competitors did today. Weather roundup, check. Air traffic control, check. Holly Bobo—check, at precisely the moment everyone else covered Holly Bobo. Why not our reporting on Casey Anthony when others did Holly Bobo? Why not the Mortenson bombshell in the open?

Many of you on the Early Show have asked for clarity on what we want. Several times we have talked about sustained coverage of stories which are our own—I mentioned this several times the week after our story on Orlando’s motel homeless. Let’s get with it. Where’s our reporting? Make sure it’s in our show.

KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean Drive Past KFI-AM

Southern California is choosing an alternative route for its morning commute, according to a story by Steve Carney for the

KROQ-FM (106.7), with its comedic team of Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter, unseated talk radio station KFI-AM (640) as the most popular outlet during the morning drive period — weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. — according to figures released Monday by the Arbitron ratings service.

KROQ's audience share rose from 5.4% in February to 6.2% in March, helping it best KFI in the all-important time slot. For years, KFI has held a virtual stranglehold on the a.m. audience by airing local host Bill Handel with the first hour of Rush Limbaugh's program during the morning hours.

Even though it improved its audience share from 5.4% to 5.9% from February to March, KFI fell to second place in morning drive time.

In terms of overall listeners, pop music station KIIS-FM (102.7) topped all Los Angeles-Orange County stations in March, claiming 5.1% of the audience ages 6 and older. Adult-contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) placed second at 4.6%, based on the survey of listeners from March 3-30.

KFI finished third overall with 4.3% of the audience, improving from its fourth-place showing in February, when it took a 4.1% share.

All-news station KNX-AM (1070), meanwhile, leapt from 3% to 3.5% in March, putting it in a sixth-place tie with KROQ-FM (106.7) for overall listeners.

Andy Ludlum, director of news programming for KNX and sister station KFWB-AM (980), attributed the station's gains to the earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, as well as the death of Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor and a rainy L.A. Marathon.

Read More.

March PPMs rolled out Monday for a dozen markets, Click here to see.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Opinion: Television Is Dead; Long Live Television

From Kit Eaton, Fast Company:
Philips is selling its TV business to a Chinese volume manufacturer, trading dwindling profits for a licensing fee. It's a sign that flatscreen TVs have become a commodity--and the industry could be primed for a digital make-over led by firms like Apple.

Philips has been producing TVs since 1928, but it's now disposing of 70% of its TV business into a partnership with TPV Technology limited, a Hong-Kong-based manufacturer. The Dutch company will retain the last 30% of the business, and stands to receive over €50 million in royalties from the deal, starting in 2013.

That's quite a turn-around from the current situation, which saw Philips' finances take a €87 million loss in the first quarter of this year alone from its TV division. It's not the first time Philips has done a deal with TPV--in 2004 it sold a similar majority stake in its computer monitors business for the equivalent of $358 million. As part of this latest deal, all 4,000 employees of Philips TV division will move to TPV, which will also have a positive impact on the company's bottom line as those staff costs are now borne elsewhere.

As Bloomberg notes, Philips was the last remaining mass manufacturer of TVs in Europe. So what can we conclude from this deal? It's pretty simple at heart: The LCD/plasma flat screen revolution in the TV industry is over. The bulky cathode-ray tube TV of old is now consigned to history, and the rush make millions by getting every consumer in the developed world hooked up to an "HD-ready" 1080p television is completed--to the extent that the TV business isn't about pushing revolutionary changes anymore.

Instead it's a commodity business dominated by narrowing margins and dropping prices that has no room for Philips high-end TVs like the Aurea line which illuminates the wall behind the screen with LED colors that match the TV picture. Philips' new Chinese partner will run the business on a mass-sales, low profit-per-unit basis.
Read More.

No Bob Woodward, Google Did Not Kill Newspapers

From Derek Thompson, Associate Editor at The Atlantic

The tombstone of Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt will read "I killed newspapers," Bob Woodward said [last weel]. With all due respect to the celebrated reporter and author, this is a misguided way of looking at Google, or newspapers, for at least three reasons.

1. The Decline is Older Than GoogleWoodward has been around newspapers for more than 40 years, so he knows as well as anybody that the decline in newspaper circulation is older than the search engine.* Recently the Washington Post, where Woodward is still assistant managing editor, wrote, "average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987 as papers have faced mounting competition for reader attention and advertising."

In 1987, Google founder and CEO Larry Page was 15 years old and Google was 11 years away from being a company.

Newspapers have been under assault since the invention of radio, the invention of Time magazine, the invention of television, the invention of cable TV, and so on. Today, 140 years after the Washington Post started publishing, the newspaper industry is a $30 billion national business. That might be decline, but it's not death. Technology is disruptive and successful companies adapt rather than draft the tombstones of their would-be killers.

2. Don't Blame Google, Blame the Whole Internet...

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Report: VH1 Cultivates Its Female Side

More Focus on Pop Culture to Attract Young Women

After watching its audience erode in recent years, cable channel VH1, known for its celebrity-driven reality shows, is giving itself a makeover.

Seeking to reinvigorate the 26-year-old channel, executives are targeting an audience that was once an afterthought for network strategists, but which advertisers now are clamoring to reach: women 25 to 35, according to a story by Lauren A. E. Schukey at

To attract those viewers, VH1 is introducing a slate of new programming that kicked off Sunday night with a trio of reality shows, including "Mob Wives," which follows several women who were born into, or married into, reputed Mafia families.

"We saw ratings deteriorate, and we were hearing from our audiences that there was a fatigue level with some of our shows," said Tom Calderone, president of VH1, part of Viacom Inc. "So we decided it was time to figure out what our next voice was going to be."

The channel's new voice is about to grow louder—and more female. In May, VH1 plans to introduce a morning talk show about pop culture called "Big Morning Buzz Live," hosted by TV personality Carrie Keagan. Ms. Keagan, 30, is in the same age group as the young professional women VH1 hopes to win over.

Later in the month, the channel plans to launch "Single Ladies," a comedy series from the production company of singer and actress Queen Latifah.

Read More.

TV Meteorologist Thrives In Social Media Tornado

From Cory Bergman, lost

To get an idea of the popularity of James Spann, all you have to do is look at his Facebook and Twitter accounts. As far as I can tell, Spann has more combined Twitter fans (19,837) and Facebook followers (42,376) than any local TV talent in the country. For a meteorologist in Birmingham, Alabama — the nation’s 40th TV market — that’s downright impressive.

As tornadoes swirled through Alabama today, Spann was live on ABC 33/40, two radio stations and UStream, tracking storms (like “bullets from a gun,” he said) and urging residents to take cover. While on the air, Spann wasn’t able to post on Facebook or Twitter very often, but the social conversation around him was a storm of its own — and he kept an eye on it on his laptop.

On both Facebook and Twitter, fans and viewers sent him a steady stream of messages — sometimes several per minute — of damage reports, weather questions and general praise. If you were looking for citizen reports about the tornado, all you had to do was look on his Facebook Wall or search for @spann on Twitter. Here are five tweets in one minute:

And this went on for hours. His Facebook page has well over a hundred updates, from short weather updates to dozens of photos and videos. Occasionally on air, Spann would refer to a damage report — even punching up photos from Facebook on his Mac, which was wired straight to TV. At one point, ABC 33/40′s radar crashed, and Spann just punched up a web-based radar on his laptop.
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