Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

610 AM KILT is currently a Sports/Talk radio station in the Houston. The station is now owned by CBS Radio. KILT shares its call letters with sister station 100.3 FM, a country music station.

The station was, for many years, a leading Top 40 station in Houston. The current sports-talk format has been in place since 1995. Over the years the lineups have changed, but the station has consistently been the top-rated sports-talk format since its inception, with only a few brief, short-lived exceptions.

Aircheck from 1969 with Todd Wallace on KILT AM 610 - Houston

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chicago Calls: Goodbye "WKQX", Hello "WWWN"

Randy Michaels’ controlled call letters WWWN have moved to Chicago.

Here's what radio listeners now hear at the top of the hour at Chicago's 101.1 FM:

                                    "WWWN, WWWN HD1 Chicago. 101-1 FM New"

Since early July, Michaels has had the call letters parked on a personally owned FM in Waseka, IL he owns and yesterday Merlin Media had the call letters magically appear on the new 101.1 FM.

And in New York, listeners  also wave farewell to WRXP, as 101.9 FM has been officially bestowed with the new call letters: WEMP, a nod to New York's "Empire State" nickname.

Orlando's WLOQ Sold Because of Retirement

Orlando, FL's last locally owned FM jazz station WLOQ has been sold because CEO John Gross took a medical retirement in January, the station’s vice president and general manager stated in a website statement this week.

According to the Orlando Business Journal, WLOQ will be sold to TTB Media Corp. for a little more than $8 million, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Pete DeSimone, vice president and general manager for WLOQ, said a decision about a format change won’t be known until the new owners come in Aug. 1.

“The biggest concern for the Gross family is treating the employees fairly through this tough transition,” DeSimone said. “It’s been a really tough decision for the family, but it is the correct decision. The focus is on the employees at this time.”
To our many advertisers and friends, 
It is with much sadness, yet also with great thanks and appreciation that I share with you my family's decision to sell 103.1 WLOQ and exit Orlando radio after 34 wonderful years. 
What can one say about a family, radio staff, and you...  all who have been responsible for creating the iconic format and community that is 103.1 WLOQ?  "The first of its kind", "family owned & operated", "the last of the independents" - these and every phrase fall short, when describing what has been life long friendships of the rarest kind. 
From the Gross family, past and present staff at 103.1 WLOQ, please join us in our final weeks on-air as we bring listeners, past personalities, musical super stars, community builders, and you together for one last celebration of all things 103.1 WLOQ.  You won't want to miss it! 
Once again, on behalf of my family and staff please accept our deepest gratitude and most heartfelt thanks for 34 fantastic years!  Our very best wishes to you and yours.  
Jim GrossCo-CEO 
Gross Communications Corporation

Women's Study: The Good, Bad, No Ugly For Radio

Alan Burns Thursday presented the first of four Thursday webinars with results of his latest study of Women and Radio, specifically those who listen to AC and CHR.

According to Burns, here's the good: women's attitudes towards radio is positive. The Bad:   "Less Love" for radio among younger listeners.  The No Ugly: Research shows wireless broadband in cars isn't going to kill radio, but could affect TSL.  According to the study, about 2% of women have internet access in their cars, but when it comes to listening to radio, they are staying local, at least for now.

Burns cites local radio's energy, excitement and local information as the reasons women are listening locally.

More findings: wareness and usage of radio digital ventures like HD Radio and iHeartRadio lagged...only 2% of women respondents have used iHeartRadio..just 1.4% have listened to HD Radio. The study says “comprehension of HD Radio is low”, despite the marketing.

The second of Burns' webinars is Thursday, July 28. More information and registration here.

Consumer Confidence Index Falls to Two-Year Low

Checking The Pulse Of Your Listeners

For the third time this month, consumer confidence has fallen to the lowest level of the past two years.

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell another point on Friday to 67.7. That’s the lowest level of confidence recorded since July 23, 2009.  It’s down 26 points from this year’s high-water mark of 93.3 and just 13 points above the lowest level of confidence recorded in the past ten years. Consumer confidence is down two points from a week ago, down nine points from a month ago and down eight points from three months ago.

Just 31% of adults rate their own personal finances as good or excellent. That’s down from 35% on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated and from 34% at the beginning of 2011. In the fall of 2008, just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 43% rated their own finances as good or excellent.

Additionally, only 18% believe their personal financial situation is getting better. Most (54%) say their finances are getting worse. Those attitudes are more pessimistic than were found at the beginning of the year when 23% said better and 54% said worse.

Read More.

Ask Online Listeners The Hard Questions During Surveys

From Ken Dardis, Audio Graphics

Audio Graphics conducts the only continuous survey of online radio listeners, with support from Borrell Associates. We've been doing this since 2002 and have proven, again and again, that there's educational value in asking your audience serious questions. Use answers to improve your product, enhance an advertiser's market position, or to offer items to the audience that (they tell you) are on their wish list.

We asked questions like the following: Have you made an online purchase in the last 30 days?

If Yes - of what value?

If you own a Hand Held device, do you listen to Internet Radio on it?

So my question is, why don't we see more radio stations employing the power of a survey with more stations now moving online?

If you answer it's too difficult, let me assure you that you're right - if you want to run the survey yourself. But if you are looking to join and share in a free survey system that Audio Graphics created, and has used for a decade, it's as simple as adding two lines of code to your web site. All serving stations share detailed information pulled from these surveys.

Read More & Get More Survey Results Here.

Xpert Advice: What Every Radio Show Needs

From Tracy Johnson at
There are many ways to create dynamic personalities on the radio.  There isn’t a single, simple recipe for success.  However, there are basics that every show needs.  Let’s start a list.  I’ll go first. 
Every show needs:
  • Someone with an “internal clock”.  A sense of when the pace is dragging.  The ability to keep the topic in focus, on track and making “sense” to the audience.
  • A keen understanding of the target audience’s lifestyle, attitudes, worldview, priorities and the reason they might choose their show.
  • An understanding of who they are as personalities and how they match that target audience.
  • A coach.  Someone to help them, guide them, counsel them and provide perspective.
There are many more.  What can you add to the list?

Read More.

Laurie Roberts Returns To KUFX in SF

Laurie Roberts, the popular South Bay DJ and program director who lost her job at 98.5 FM KUFX (KFOX) early in 2009, when Clear Channel pink-slipped some 1,800 employees throughout the company, is back - not only on "The Fox" (now owned by Entercom) but also on KPIG.

"Basically," she said told Ben Fong-Torres at with a laugh, "if there's a station named after an animal, I'm on it."

Even though she's working remotely, and KFOX has changed (it's now on both 98.5/San Jose and 102.1 FM KUZX San Francisco), the KFOX gig brings her full circle. She began in South Bay rock radio at the late, great KOME. She moved over to rival KSJO in 1985, along with Jang, who, as PD, tapped Roberts to be assistant PD. In 1995, KSJO's owners purchased KUFX, a classic rocker, and Roberts was a staple there until her unceremonious dismissal. New program director Larry Sharp brought her back. "I couldn't think of anybody who exemplifies classic rock more than Laurie," he said. "She was the perfect choice for our classic rock-classic jock lineup."

Roberts is upbeat about radio. At its best, she says, radio offers immediate connections between listeners and announcers. "You can't have that connection with XM or Pandora. With them, you can't pick up the phone and talk to a person you've had a relationship with for years."

Read More.

DOJ Preps Subpoenas In News Crop. Probe

From Jessica E. Vascellaro, Devlin Barrett & Dana Cimilluca at
The U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas as part of preliminary investigations into News Corp. relating to alleged foreign bribery and alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims, according to a government official. 
The issuance of such subpoenas, which would broadly seek relevant information from the company, requires approval by senior Justice Department leadership, which hasn't yet happened, the person said. 
The issuance of subpoenas would represent an escalation of scrutiny on the New York-based media company. While the company has sought to isolate the legal problems in the U.K., it has been bracing for increased scrutiny from both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the company's strategy. 
The Justice Department has said it is looking into allegations that News Corp.'s now-defunct News of the World weekly in the U.K. paid bribes to British police. It has been unclear whether the Justice Department or the SEC have begun formal probes. 
The Federal Bureau of Investigation separately has begun an inquiry into whether News Corp. employees tried to hack into voice mails of Sept. 11 victims, people familiar with the early-stage probe have said. 
A person close to News Corp. said the preparation of subpoenas is "a fishing expedition with no evidence to support it."

Read More.

Arbitron Sez PPMs Help Boost Revenue

Arbitron Inc. Thursday announced results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011.

The Company reported revenue of $95.7 million, an increase of 8.4 percent as compared to revenue of $88.3 million during the second quarter of 2010.  The revenue increase was due primarily to the commercialization of the Portable People Meter™ (PPM™) radio ratings service in the final 15 markets in the second half of 2010, the continued phase-in of contracted PPM price increases and the PPM ratings contract signed with Univision in November 2010.

Costs and expenses for the second quarter increased by 1.1 percent, from $87.7 million in 2010 to $88.7 million in 2011.

For the second quarter of 2011, net income was $7.6 million, an increase of 99.6 percent compared with $3.8 million for the second quarter of 2010.  Earnings per share (diluted) was $0.27 for the quarter versus $0.14 for the second quarter of 2010.

Earnings before interest, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the quarter was $19.7 million, an increase of 52.5 percent compared with EBITDA of $12.9 million for the second quarter of 2010.  EBITDA margin for the second quarter increased from 14.6 percent to 20.6 percent.

For the six months ended June 30, 2011, revenue was $196.6 million, an increase of 6.7 percent versus revenue of $184.2 million for the same period in 2010.

Costs and expenses for the six months ended June 30, 2011 increased by 1.3 percent, from $158.4 million to $160.5 million.

Net income for the first six months of 2011 increased 35.8 percent to $23.8 million compared with $17.5 million in 2010. Earnings per share (diluted) for the first six months of 2011 was $0.86 compared with $0.65 for the first six months of 2010.

EBITDA increased 27.3 percent from $42.1 million in the first six months of 2010 to $53.6 million for the same period in 2011, with EBITDA margins of 22.9 percent and 27.3 percent, respectively.

RIP: Radio's Allison Harte Passes

Allison Harte, who entertained West Michigan for more than two decades as one of the best rock radio personalities of her generation, died Thursday. She was 58.

Her husband, Roger Dykstra, told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids she was taken off life support after consulting with the medical team. He found his wife - her real name was Prudence Dykstra - at the bottom of their swimming pool at their home in Cannon Township on Tuesday evening.

Harte burst onto the West Michigan radio scene in 1980, anchoring the night shift as one of the Air Aces for WLAV-FM. She helped propel LAV-FM to ratings dominance for much of the decade and developed a loyal following who would repeat her monthly catch phrases.

She also worked at WKLQ and finished her radio career at the Fox 101.3. She left radio in 2007.

"Allison was like a sister to me. She would often call me her big brother," said longtime friend and co-worker Aris Hampers in a statement to WOOD-TV.

"She was a consummate professional, had extreme passion for her on-air radio work, and yet a loving, strong-willed person off-air. She truly was a 'rock star' on the radio, and a kind wife and mother when she wasn't working. I will miss her distinctive laugh and the immense kindness she always showed towards me. To her family I can only offer strength in these difficult times. I will truly miss her. She was a special and dear friend."

Dave Logan, who in 1980 was the program director at LAV-FM, hired her away from WABX in Detroit.

"She had an infectious energy on-air and loved sharing that with her listeners each night on her show," he said in a statement. "You felt like she was your friend who came over loaded up with your favorite music and played you all the good stuff. She fell in love with West Michigan and listeners loved her back."

Read More.

Also Read: Radio colleagues remember Allison Harte as a pioneer for women, an inspiration, a 'sweet person'

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Emmis' Indy Stations Thrive In PPMs

The Portable People Meter era has been good to Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp.'s local radio stations.

Since New York-based Arbitron Inc. scrapped its pen-and-diary ratings method last fall in favor of the PPMs, Emmis’ four local stations have seen ratings go up and revenue increase, according to a story by Anthony Schoette at

For its most recent quarter, ended May 31, Emmis reported that its radio revenue increased 20 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago. During the same period, all radio stations in the market combined saw advertising dollars increase only about 2 percent, according to Miller Kaplan Arase & Co., a Los Angeles-based accounting firm that does radio market analysis.

The PPM is a pager-sized device that is worn by a sampling of people in the market and acts as a third ear, picking up in real time which stations a person is listening to. Each radio station puts out a special signal undetectable to the human ear that the PPM picks up and records.

The PPM is thought to be more accurate than the old diary system and has led to some ratings shakeups in markets nationwide since its rollout in 2007. Arbitron began using PPM in the Indianapolis market last summer and began basing its ratings on the data in the fall.

“Since PPM came to this market, no cluster is doing better than Emmis,” said Scott Uecker, communications instructor at the University of Indianapolis. “They’re using a purposeful strategy to bring more audience to the table, and that in turn is giving Emmis’ sales staff a good product to take out and sell.”

WYXB logo
Since PPM took hold here in October, Emmis has had three stations rate consistently in the top 10 across all demographic sets, according to Arbitron data. In the most recent data—for June—Emmis’ adult contemporary station, WYXB-FM 105.7, ranked No. 1 with listeners ages 6 and older. Its news-talk station, WIBC-FM 93.1, was No. 3 and its country station, WLHK-FM 97.1, was No. 8.

Meanwhile, Uecker said, Emmis’ sports talk station, WFNI-AM 1070, is grabbing ratings not seen in a very long time—if ever—for a sports/talk station in this market.

“In June, [WFNI] pulled down a 2.8, and in March it earned a 3.3 rating,” said Uecker, who is general manager of U of I's WICR-FM 88.7. “I don’t ever recall a sports-talk station in this market earning a 3 rating. Not even close. And they’re doing it consistently over at least the last four months.”

No Emmis station has benefitted more from the switch to PPM than WYXB, which vaulted from a station that usually ranked from No. 6 to No. 10 to a solid No. 1 contender.

“I think a lot of people in radio knew WYXB was underrated in the old diary system,” Uecker said. “It’s a station that is programmed to appeal to a broad audience, and it’s the kind of station a lot of people listen to all day at work, and that’s shown up with PPM.”

Emmis local market manager Charlie Morgan said WYXB has seen a double-digit percentage revenue increase in the last 12 months.

“All four of our stations are up more than 10 percent in the last 12 months,” Morgan added. “WIBC is still the biggest revenue generator.”

Read More.

Your Career: How to Negotiate the Salary You Deserve

It's a hirer's market, but when it comes to salary negotiation, too often people sell themselves short simply because they don't know how to tackle the compensation question, according to a story by Jane Porter at

Whether you're moving from one job to another or unemployed and looking for work, there are steps you can take to make sure you get the best possible salary offer, says Charlotte Weeks, Chicago-based career coach and resume writer.

"There [are] a lot of people out there who accept salaries lower than they could have gotten," she says. "So many people don't know how to negotiate."

For some of the most common ways you can expect to encounter the salary question when applying for a job and the best ways to tackle the challenge, click here.

Radio DJ Talent Is Near-Drowning Victim

Allison Harte, a disc jockey who spent 31 years on the airwaves in Grand Rapids area and elsewhere, is in critical condition after being discovered unconscious at the bottom of a pool at her home, according to a story by Nate Reens at The Grand Rapids Press.

Harte, 58, was found about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday by her husband, who called rescuers and was performing CPR at the time emergency workers arrived at their home in the 8000 block of Young Avenue in Cannon Township.

Harte, whose real name is Prudence Dykstra, is probably best remembered for her tenure at WLAV-FM (96.9), where she worked for 10 years in the 1980s. She also worked at WKLQ-FM (107.3) and Clear Channel's WBFX-FM (101.3).

Read More.

“Radio” Stations On TV Channel 6 To Go Silent In 2015

It was too good to be true, the loophole that allows a number of low-power TV stations broadcasting on channel 6 to operate as radio stations.

According to an order [PDF] released by the FCC July 15, all remaining analog television signals will have to convert to digital by September 1, 2015. This includes low-power TV stations, which were permitted to keep broadcasting in analog after the 2009 transition.

As Paul Riismandel at radiosurvivor,com reports, TV channel 6 sits just below the left end of the FM dial which allows its analog audio signal to be heard at 87.7 FM. This is not an officially licensed FM frequency, but most FM radios will tune it in. This fact has allowed a few savvy LPTV operators on channel 6 to operate like radio stations, with minimal video content to keep the FCC happy.

However, the audio portion of a digital TV broadcast cannot be received on an analog radio. This means that channel 6 stations like Chicago’s WLFM-LP, calling itself Smooth 87.7, will lose their back door into the FM dial once they go digital in 2015.

Read More.

"Play Misty" Station Sold In Carmel, CA

Carmel. CA. radio station 1410 AM KRML, one of the world’s most recognizable stations has been sold to Scot McKay, a local Carmel businessman and music enthusiast.

KRML was put on the world map by Carmel Actor, Director & Movie Producer Clint Eastwood who, in his directorial debut, played a DJ at KRML in the 1971 movie “Play Misty for Me”.

"I am very excited Scot McKay has bought KRML and will keep it going. Carmel deserves to have this wonderful station that will continue to feature great music," said Eastwood. McKay became interested in KRML in the spring of 2010 after a series of conversations with Eastwood.

McKay and Eastwood previously co-hosted a fundraiser for JazzMaster's Workshop, a non-profit organization that provides free music lessons to children. McKay intends to restore KRML to the local broadcasting jewel it once was with multiple studios locally.

“I invite the local arts and business community to join me in this exciting undertaking as I focus on getting KRML back on its feet playing great music, while supporting Carmel & Monterey Peninsula tourism & events,” said McKay when asked about his future plans with KRML. McKay credits Charles Chrietzberg, CEO of Monterey County Bank, with helping keep KRML local and out of the hands of a national Country Music syndicate.

CC Names Meg Stevens OM For DC/Baltimore

Meg Stevens has been apppointed Ooperations Manager for Clear Channel's Washington, DC/Baltimore markets.

The move is effective immediately.

Steven will oversee programming efforts for nine station for CC and will also oversee CC's Total Traffic Network.

"I am excited to promote Meg Stevens from within our cluster to the Operations Manager position. Her vision, drive, strategic fortitude and leadership skills make her the perfect choice to take our nine stations in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to the next level," said Thea Mitchem, President/Market Manager, Clear Channel Radio.

"Meg’s successful programming track record over the past 18 years speaks volumes to her incredible talent."

Stevens is a 24 year radio veteran. She has been the PD for WMZQ/WPOC since 2006 and served in programming positions since 1993. She will continue her role as the PD for 98.7 FM WMZQ in Washington, D.C.

Elvis Duran to Host NAB Marconi Awards Dinner

The National Association of Broadcasters announced that the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show will be hosted by nationally syndicated radio host Elvis Duran. The event will take place September 15 at the 2011 Radio Show at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois.

"Elvis is the ’host of the party’ on his national radio show" said NAB Executive Vice President of Radio John David. "We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him host the Marconis - one of Radio’s biggest parties of the year".

Elvis Duran’s national radio show, syndicated on Premiere Networks, is the most listened to Top 40 morning show in the U.S. and consistently ranks number one across multiple demographics and top markets. Broadcasting live from New York’s Z100, Duran and his on-air crew entertain listeners with up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit songs, and regular features such as the gossipy "The Sleaze" the fashion-forward "Rage Page" and the ever-popular prank "Phone Taps".

Duran’s radio career has spanned 30 years and has included both host and program director duties at Philadelphia’s WIOQ and Austin’s KBTS, as well as stints at Z-93 in Atlanta and KRBE Houston. He began hosting his daily radio show on New York’s Z100 in April 1996. Since then, the show has enjoyed much success resulting in a national deal in March 2009 with the country’s leading radio syndication company, Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel. In only a year, Elvis Duran and the Morning Show added more than 30 stations.

Mobile Homes May Be Equipped With Weather Radios

New manufactured homes would come with weather alert radios under legislation approved today by a congressional committee.

According to a story by Mary Orndorff at The Birmingham News, the proposal, from U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, had bipartisan support and now goes to the House floor, where it has been well-received in years past but never advanced in the Senate.

The April 27 tornado outbreak in Alabama where 244 people died may give the proposal new momentum.

The House Financial Services Committee, where Bachus is chairman, approved it unanimously this morning after he reminded them that 100 people in his district died that day, although the deaths came in all types of homes, including site-built.

Bachus' committee has jurisdiction over safety issues in manufactured housing.

"They are essentially safe but their greatest vulnerability today in the South is the tornado," Bachus said before the vote.

Cost estimates for including the NOAA radios in the mobile homes ranged from $11 per radio to $45, Bachus said, but he considered the cost insignificant compared to the lives that could be saved by giving people enough warning to seek shelter.

The manufactured housing industry has disagreed with being singled out for the radio requirement. But Bachus said today that there was no overt opposition to his legislation, and he said he hoped local or state governments might be inspired to consider altering their local building codes to require the alert radios.

Read More.

Track This Number, Especially If You're In A PPM Market

From Jaye Albright's Breakfast Blog:
The average household size in diary sample markets across both the USA and Canada has trended almost exactly the same as the census average, roughly 2.6 persons per home for a very long time. 
Over the five decades I have been studying diary samples, there have been individual weeks during BBM or ARB survey periods when the number of persons per household for the total sample and individual radio stations have wobbled wildly away from that average, but when tracking multiple weekly samples for eight to twelve weeks it almost always trends back up or down to the norm. 
Not so in PPM markets, where one very large household who loves (or hates!) your radio station can stay in the sample for 24 months or longer. That small number of high occupant households has the potential to help or harm your audience estimates for several years, giving new importance to fully understanding reliability in statistical terms. 
If your station hits new, never before attained in diaries, high numbers in PPM: 
1. Celebrate. Enjoy. Savor it. You have a station that some people use a lot and that's great. 
2. Track the average number of people per ethnic and non-ethnic household in the total sample and also in your station's panelists week by week. 
3. Troll for more homes just like them in your marketing efforts. 
4. Educate your owner and manager. Hope that they understand that Newton's laws also apply to stats as well as physical objects. What goes up goes down as well.

Read More.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two New Formats To Arrive In Montgomery, AL

Bluewater Broadcasting is rolling out two new FM radio stations in Montgomery next month sure to satisfy even the biggest closet Mariah Carey fan.

According to a story by Christine Kneidinger at, the first format set to hit Montgomery airwaves is Yo! 107.1 FM translator W296AL, which will play classic jams form the 90s from artists such as Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, LL Cool J, TLC, Run DMC, Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Tupac and Michael Jackson. Facebook page is here.

Yo! will be the first station of its kind in Montgomery to play these kinds of jams all day, every day. Stream the station live online right now or dial in on your way home from work at FM 107.1. Weather permitting, the FM station will be live by Aug. 1.

The other format taking Montgomery by storm -- ok, a quiet storm -- is Bluewater's Lite 100.5. The station will play easy listening favorites from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, up to today. Artists selection includes Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, The Beatles, Bryan Adams and Chicago. Website is here.

Lite Montgomery can be heard live on their website now or by tuning into FM 100.5 on the dial Aug. 1.

Read More.

Merlin Draws 'Cease And Desist' From CBS Radio

It's a case of Randy being Randy but it was enough of a provocation that CBS Radio honcho Dan Mason called out the legal eagles.

Here's what happened.  In Chicago Merlin Media's stunting 101.1 started using the phrase "101.1 FM New and Fresh" as a descriptive for WKQX.   As most know, Fresh is used by CBS Radio's 101.1 FM WCFS and is a registered trademark. WCFS is also scheduled to start simulcasting CBS' 780 AM WBBM on August 1st.

CBS Radio attorney's fired all a cease-and-desist letter which stated in part:  "As a result of longstanding and prominent use, the Fresh Marks have become well-known with substantial reputation and goodwill by consumers with CBS Radio and its stations and licensees....Accordingly, CBS Radio was understandably surprised to learn that WKQX has commenced use of slogans incorporating Fresh without authorization from CBS Radio."

Merlin Media returned the volley with a response, which in part, stated: “There are hundreds of other businesses in Chicago using the word ‘fresh’ in their marketing. We don’t plan to be one of them,” the letter read in part. “We hope this clears up any concern you may have about us using the name you don’t want anymore. We don't want it either."

Meanwhile, CBS Radio has started displaying the following expanded banner on the WCFS website:

What Is Merlin Brewing Up In NYC?

So what happens when 101.9 FM WRXP, as widely expected, becomes a news station, or mostly a news station?

Is that overload in a city that already has all-news WCBS-AM (880), all-news WINS (1010 AM), business-news WBBR (1130 AM) and three news/talk stations in WNYC 820 AM and 93.9 FM, WABC (770 AM) and WOR (710 AM)?

Not necessarily, says a perhaps unlikely source - a manager at one of the existing stations, according to a story by David Hinckley at

"Depending on which way [the new station] goes, it could bring more people to the format," says this manager, who doesn't have corporate authorization to be identified. "It could also help the existing stations because competition makes everyone better."

Merlin Media, the pending owner of 101.9 FM, has not yet announced the station's format, and that is not an accident. Merlin boss Randy Michaels and Chief Operating Officer Walter Sabo are also among the drollest executives in radio, and it's a sure bet they are enjoying all the speculation inside the business.

But we have a few decent clues.

One is the brand-name newspeople, particularly from WINS, who will be working there. Unless Merlin hired Alice Stockton Rossini to announce Alanis Morissette records, there will be at least a strong news component.

Two, the station's transitional programming is clearly targeted toward women. The music has been pop and lighter rock hits of the past 25 years, the same mix with which WPLJ and WWFS ("Fresh") keep female listeners.

Between songs, it has run seemingly random spoken riffs in mostly female voices, ruminating on shopping and rules for children.

The new station's first live show, hosted Monday morning by veteran Paul Cavalconte, purred about chocolate, with callers relating their own choco-love.

Whatever direction the new station takes, it has the attention of potential rivals like WKXW (101.5 FM) in Trenton, which has told its hosts to sharpen their focus on New Jersey 101.5's brand.

Read More.

Merlin Names Maire Mason DOS For 101.9FM NYC

Merlin Media announced Tuesday the addition of Maire Mason as Director of Sales for 101.9 FM in New York. In her new role, Mason will be responsible for identifying key leads and strategic opportunities to drive revenue in the New York area.

“Given her strong experience and deep relationships in the New York area, we look forward to Maire joining the team and making an immediate impact,” said Greg Janoff, EVP of Revenue for Merlin Media. “Maire has great insights into this industry, especially when it comes to sales, and she will be hugely valuable to us as we focus on the sustained, long-term growth of our properties.”

“Despite its early stages, Merlin Media has already secured an impressive foundation of top-notch executives,” said Mason. “I’ve been in this industry for over twenty years and with this company I feel a shared passion and commitment to succeed that’s truly unique. I couldn’t be more excited for this new adventure.”

Most recently, Mason served as the VP Director of Sales for Univision Radio, New York. In that capacity she expanded the revenue share at Univision’s trio of properties in New York including Spanish tropical WXNY (96.3), regional Mexican WQBU (92.7) and Spanish news/talk WADO (1280). She also spent nearly two decades managing such well-known stations as WCBS-FM (101.1), WXRK (92.3) and WNEW-FM (102.7). A New York native, Maire received her B.A. in Psychology from Immaculata College in Pennsylvania.

Austin Has 'Spirit' In The Sky

It's like no other station in Austin.

And that's exactly what staffers were aiming for when Spirit 105.9 FM KFMK  made its debut on Austin's airwaves just less than a year ago.

The station offers contemporary Christian music, reaching an estimated 170,000 Central Texas listeners each week, according to figures from its owner, CRISTA Ministries.

According to Gary Dinges' Static blog at, General manager Tim McCoy, a longtime Austin radio executive, credits outreach efforts at some of the area's 1,100 churches, a regular presence at community events and a media blitz that included billboards around town and TV ads aplenty for helping to make the station a success right out of the gate.

"There was a very strong appetite in this area for a contemporary Christian radio station that was live and local," McCoy said. "Never before have I felt so welcome in a community.

"I'm the luckiest person in radio. I am so blessed."

Spirit has more than 20 full-time employees working from its offices on Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) at Westlake Drive — more than many Austin stations owned by big-name broadcasters with deep, deep pockets — and McCoy expects to bring on even more people in the coming months.

"While a lot of the stations in town are consolidating," he said, "we're adding folks."

McCoy says three pillars — family, faith and fun — guide everything Spirit does. That means broadcasts that parents can listen to with their kids, regular in-studio concerts with well-known Christian artists, listener trips to shows at venues in places such as San Antonio, members of its promotions team at events big and small, and TV commercials featuring singers from area church choirs.

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Woman Accused Of Groping TSA Agent Is Radio DJ

A Colorado woman accused of groping a Transportation Security Administration agent at the airport in Phoenix, works as a volunteer radio DJ at KGNU in Boulder, where she is described as "polite."

Police say Yukari Miyamae, 61, entered the screening area in Terminal 4 last Thursday, became argumentative and refused to be screened by TSA staff, according to a story by Deb Stanley at The Denver Channel.

Officers say Miyamae grabbed the left breast of a TSA agent with both hands, squeezing and twisting it. She was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse, a felony.

Miyamae's boss at 88.5 FM KGNU said he's not buying the account from the TSA.

"I know she would speak up for herself if she felt she was being mistreated," said station manager Sam Fuqua. "But speaking up is very different than groping."

Fuqua said Miyamae is very polite.

On Twitter, Miyamae said, "Police statement and Fox coverage does not depict accurately what happened to me on July 14th at Phoenix Airport in Maricopa county, Arizona."

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Murdoch Denies Knowledge Of Hacking

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laura Ingraham Sez She Was Ripped Off

Laura Ingraham’s baptismal cross went missing from her checked luggage at the Newark airport this weekend, and the syndicated radio host says either a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker or a Continental Airlines employee is responsible.

According to a story at The Daily Caller, Ingraham had just finished several radio and television appearance in New York City and was in a rush to the airport. She told The Daily Caller she normally carries her luggage on planes, but since she was pressed for time and was carrying copies of her new book, she checked a suitcase before her Friday evening flight from Newark to Denver.

In her luggage was a small purple jewelry bag containing the cross she received at her Catholic baptism about nine years ago. “It’s from the Vatican,” Ingraham told TheDC. “It was blessed by the Pope.”

The bag came out quickly when she got to Denver, which Ingraham said indicates that the theft happened in Newark.

On her radio program Monday morning, Ingraham said she first discovered her jewelry was stolen when she got to her Denver hotel room. She opened her suitcase and then noticed: “Someone’s been in this bag.”

“It looks like it’s been rifled through,” Ingraham said. “All the junk is all balled up in wrinkled knots — the stuff has clearly been rifled through. And, I said, ‘Gosh, TSA, you think they’d be a little more careful with the clothes.’”

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Orlando's XL Hires Laura Diaz For 'Johnny's House'

CHR AM Drive show Gets New Branding

Clear Channel Radio’s XL106.7 FM announced today the launch of a new era in Orlando morning radio show, Johnny’s House!

"I love the new name of the show, Johnny's House. This may sound corny, but I’ve always felt that everyone who listens to our show is family," said Johnny Magic, XL106.7’s veteran morning show host. "Family is always welcome in my house."

Brian Grimes, the morning show’s co-host and producer, is one of the funniest guys in Orlando radio.
Comedian, father and husband, Grimes brings his sarcasm and quick wit to Johnny’s House.

"When you have a guy like this on your team all you can do is win-win-win," said Magic.  "I’m proud that Brian will continue to be a key member of our show."

Additionally, XL106.7 announced that Laura Diaz has now officially joined the morning show, as co-host, after a successful five year run as morning anchor on Orlando CBS TV affiliate Local 6-WKMG.

"Laura brings a youthful energy and Latin flair.  Adding her to the show is a dream come true for me,” said Magic.  “Here is a woman that was just a few years away from doing network news, but chose to make a major change and join our show.  She’s the perfect fit.”

Born and raised in Orlando, and a University of Florida alum, Diaz is proud to join Magic and Grimes for XL106.7’s morning show’s next chapter.

"I may age Johnny when I say this but I've been a huge fan and listener for two decades!  To work alongside him now is surreal,” said Diaz. "I never imagined myself doing radio and now after working with this crew for just a month, I can't imagine not doing it. I'm the happiest I've ever been. I get to stay in my hometown and continue to give back to the community in an even bigger way than I was before."

Merlin Hoping Program Brew Will Attract Women

As the radio biz keeps trying to guess what talk format the new owners will install on WRXP (101.9 FM), fans of the rock music played there for 3-1/2 years are trying to figure where to go next.

Merlin Media, which is buying the station from Emmis, dropped the WRXP jocks as of Sunday and is playing music as an interlude before a new format is launched.

According to a story by David Hinckley at nydailynews,com, the launch is reportedly projected by the end of the month, depending on equipment installation. The new staff is doing dry runs now.

Merlin has made no official announcement on a format, but it has hired a number of veteran newspeople, notably from WINS (1010 AM). Because the new station reportedly plans to target women in their 30s and 40s, there has been speculation it will be news with a heavier feature and lifestyle component than all-news WCBS-AM (880) or WINS.

Women form a large and salable part of the radio audience. WPLJ (95.5 FM) has lived off New Jersey soccer moms for decades, and the recent surge by WKTU (103.5 FM) is due largely to its appeal to adult women.

Whomever it has in mind, Merlin is spending a lot of money to reach them. The company reportedly has offered five- and even six-figure salary increases to the veterans it has lured - and to some who elected to stay put.

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Is the End Near..For 3 Camping Stations?

Is Harold Camping's Family Radio ownership of WKDN Camden, NJ coming to an end?

WKDN 54 dBU Contour
WFSI 54 dBU Contour
According to reports,  Camping's Family Radio has a note coming due [UPDATE 7/20 The Form 990 federal filings by the California-based not-for-profit don’t reveal anything like the rumored big loan] . excess of $50m..and needs cash.  However, Family Radio reportedly IS shopping 106.9 FM WKDN Camden, NJ and 107.9 FM WFSI Annapolis in the Washington, DC/Baltimore area.

According to Tom Taylor at Radio-Info,com, one estimate of the “stick value” of Philly's WKDN is about $30 million, and of WFSI, $20 million or more.

Speculation is Merlin Media may be interested in the Philly and CBS Radio would want it for their sports talk franchise airing on 610 AM WIP.

WFME 54 dBu Contour
Also, Disney wants an FM signal in New York City market. Camping's Family Radio owns 94.7 FM WFME licensed to Newark, NJ.  Disney would love to put 1050 AM WEPN's ESPN Format on FM and clear the Spanish-language Radio Deportes service on 1050.  And why wouldn't Merlin Media want a second Big Apple signal?

Taylor notes all three Family Radio stations reputedly for sale (WFME, WKDN, WFSI) are full Class Bs.

Harold Camping is president of Family Radio, a California-based radio station group that spans more than 150 markets in the United States. Camping is notable for applying numerology to his interpretations of Bible passages to predict dates for the End Times.  His 2011 end times prediction was that on May 21, 2011 Jesus would return, the righteous would fly up to heaven, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on Oct. 21, 2011 with the end of the world.

iHeartRadio Music Fest A Sellout

The first ever music festival, iHeartRadio Festival was able to sell out in less than 10 minutes, which is really impressive for any music festival, according to a story by startentertainment,com.

The two-day music festival will take place in Las Vegas on September 23 and 24.  The music festival is for the official launch of iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s digital radio product.

The festival will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will take place at the MGM Grand and features performances by Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Coldplay, Jane’s Addiction, Bruno Mars, and Kenny Chesney just to name a few. The festival organizers also said that it would feature special performances by Usher and Sting. More performers are yet to be announced, but the concert itself seems like it would be worth going.

Music fans will still be able to try and win tickets to the festival through summer long giveaways on Clear Channel Radio stations.

Bobby Bones Inks New Deal With Clear Channel

Bobby Bones, morning host at KISS-FM 96.7 FM KHFI Austin, TX  has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Austin for three more years.

The deal also puts Bones on the air in two additional cities — Waco and Tuscaloosa, Ala. — with plans to expand to other stations in the near future. He's already heard in Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita, Kan., and Augusta, Ga.

"It's always been a dream to syndicate my show on a more national level," Bones tells the "Now I have the great opportunity to do that within a company I love and from Austin, a city that I love. This feels like the perfect scenario."

Talker To Finally Retire At 93-Years-Young

Paul Hunsberger has been in radio so long he uses a frame of reference to refresh his memory.

“I’ve been married for 64 years and with 1240 AM WSNJ in Bridgeton, NJ regularly for 63,” Hunsberger told Greg Adomaitis at Monday.

Now, the 93-year-old will make one last sign off at “the end of this year.”

WSNJ-AM President Jim Quinn was the first to know.   “I told Jim I have to leave,” he said, citing his own and his wife’s health conditions.

“My wife’s been wanting me to retire” and he’s told her “OK, honey, this is it.” He and Roberta don’t have any vacations planned but retirement will give them the chance to take care of their needs.

Hunsberger joined WSNJ in 1948. The World War II U.S. Army vet was in the service from 1943 to 1946.

He hooked up with the station upon returning to Vineland after the war. Except, they told him there weren’t any openings so he went back to a Vineland station, “1360 AM on the dial,” and into sales work.

Soon after, his future employer gave him a call and offered an opening.

The station said their advertisers were switching accounts over to the now-defunct WWBZ-AM in Vineland. He jumped ship and signed a one-year contract with WSNJ.

“That was the only contract I’ve seen since,” he said.

This wasn’t his first foray into radio broadcasting. He worked as an announcer after high school and completed college courses before being drafted. There were three radio stations in Cumberland County when Hunsberger started and all segments were done live and face to face.

As technology in the field changed, so did Hunsberger’s roles — from sales work to procuring and producing his own shows and now account executive with WSNJ.   With five interviews a week, the 10,000 guests he hosted hailed from all over the world and he broadcasted from a variety of locations at home and abroad.

“I never repeated a guest,” he said. Notable ones include Pat Robertson, Liberace and Bess Myerson. As far as memories go, “There’s too many for the paper.”

Some highlights include:
  • A former lesbian from New York who “came out” because of a relative and went back because of religion and married a male adulterer.
  • A man from North Jersey who spent 16 years in prison for not snitching on his uncle, who he watched shoot a woman.
  • A man enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous who bailed on an interview and was spotted by Hunsberger on the second attempt walking very slowly toward the studio.
Read More.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On The Road Again

Visiting clients this week..out of pocket Monday...

WLS-AM: No Plans To Add FM Simulcast

Citadel shakes up mornings

With change in the air across the Chicago radio spectrum, news/talk WLS-AM 890 shook up its lineup Friday by ousting late-morning host Cisco Cotto. The 9 to 11 a.m. slot will be filled by Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft begins Monday, according to a story by Robert Channick, The Chicago Tribune.

Cotto, who worked his last shift Friday, had been with the station for about a year and a half.  Wolf and Proft have worked together as fill-ins at WLS since spring 2010, garnering good ratings and generating buzz among listeners, according to Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS AM and FM.

"Cisco does a very solid, reasoned radio program," Damsky said. "Bruce and Dan bring a little bit more excitement."

Wolf, Proft
WLS-AM is currently ranked 5th in Chicago with a 3.9 share. The threat of increased competition in the news/talk arena was a catalyst for the move, according to Damsky.

On Friday, Merlin Media, a new company headed by former Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels, began running WKQX-FM, WLUP-FM in Chicago and WRXP-FM in New York, via an LMA with Emmis Communications.  Sale of majority share from Emmis to Merlin is pending FCC approval.

Meanwhile, CBS Radio announced Thursday plans to simulcast Newsradio 780 WBBM-AM on 105.9 FM beginning August 1.

While the migration of news/talk to FM is a national trend, Damsky said there are no such plans in the works at WLS. Sister station 94.7 WLS-FM plays oldies music and is ranked 10th in the market with a 3.6 share.

"We would love to be on the FM dial but there's certainly no place right now where we could go," Damsky said. "WLS-FM does very well and we're not going to make a change there."

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Curran To Join News Lineup At Merlin's 101.1 FM

From Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago
Ed Curran, a veteran of Chicago radio and television for more than 30 years, is the latest and most prominent local personality to join the startup news operation now under construction at the former Q101.

Curran most recently has been filling in as a news anchor and reporter at Tribune-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) while sitting out the 14 months that remained on his contract as meteorologist and technology reporter at CBS 2. (He left the station in March 2010 after turning down a new contract for less money.) Last week Curran notified WGN that he’d accepted an on-air position with Merlin Media.

Headed by former Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels, Merlin Media took control last week of WKQX-FM (101.1) and WLUP-FM (97.9) from Emmis Communications, with plans to convert the former modern rock Q101 to a unique form of FM news early next month. Music and other stunting will ensue in the meantime.

The Loop is expected to retain its classic rock format.

At 101.1 FM, Curran is expected to be reunited with several of his WGN colleagues, including former news director Charlie Meyerson and former news anchor and reporter Rob Hart.

Also joining the on-air news lineup at 101.1 FM will be at least two staffers from Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Radio. Scott Miller, who most recently was producer of The Gayle King Show, once worked as producer and sidekick to midday host Pete McMurray on former FM talker WCKG. And Katherine Kelly, who most recently was operations manager of Harpo Radio, previously was morning producer and news anchor at CBS Radio country WUSN-FM (99.5).
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Emmis: RXP Rock to Live On

Emmis Communications Corporation has formally announced that New York rock station WRXP-FM (101.9 MHz, New York, NY) will continue to live on, streaming online through the station's website, as well as through existing mobile applications. 

"We look forward to continuing to serve WRXP's more than two million listeners by streaming RXP on-line at as well as through the RXP app for iPhone and Droid users," said Patrick Walsh, CFO/COO at Emmis. "We recognize that RXP passionate fan base loves the station and we look forward to continue to deliver a quality product to these listeners."

The continuation of the RXP brand online and through mobile will continue to strengthen Emmis' presence in the digital space, as well as preserve the identity of RXP, which has become a leading alternative rock brand within New York City and national markets since the current format launched in 2008. 

"Emmis has some big things in the works to continue expanding our digital footprint," said Chase Rupe, Vice President of Programming & Operations for Emmis. "As competitors are moving in on the land rush to grab the next bit of real estate focused on delivering audio content on multiple platforms, we are fortunate to have big brands with impressive local and national followings that we can continue to serve and expand upon.  RXP is one of our strongest brands and we are excited to keep it alive in the hearts and ears of its loyal followers in New York and around the world."

Opinion: iNet Radio Amazing, But I Miss The Local Stuff

From Confessions Of A Former Conservative

I used to love the radio growing up. It made activities that were drudgery bearable. Raking leaves, doing homework, etc. etc….all bearable with the radio. Beyond radio stations evolving to being so generic that I can’t bear to listen to them, there’s no good talk anymore. I used to love radio personalities. They were fun to listen to. Now they are all either right wing conspiracy theorists or they are DJs that make really lame jokes. At night, the local oldies station has some nationally syndicated oldies DJ. Exactly how does one get a national gig playing MP3s and making corny jokes with faux enthusiasm?

Podcasts have filled the void for me wanting to hear conversation on radio and actual good conversation that isn’t right wing nutbaggery. Now that I have a smart phone this is all available to me in the car as well. My once heavy radio listening has eroded to nearly nothing. I do listen in the mornings to local news, which brings me to the one thing I miss. I miss the community aspect of radio. It was local people who you’d sometimes sse around talking about local places and local businesses.

Until a few months ago, I still listened to one of the only remaining such shows but it traded in community and friendly folksiness for Tea Party hysteria. I have more to listen to than ever before. Better quality music that is suited to my tastes. The talk shows are always about topics I am interested in. It has never been better for a person like me that always has to have something to listen to. I’ve always been an audiophile.

However I do miss the community feel of local radio and I believe that is gone forever as radio slips into an abyss of clear channel mediocrity. As radio becomes increasingly homogenized playlists of 500 songs or ranting national talk show hosts, I’m guessing those days are over. My little friendly local show has unfortunately become “Here’s what’s wrong with the liberals and our country.” With the exception of the local news on my way to work, the internet has completely replaced radio for me.

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ZACC iNet Radio: All Local, All The Time

Missoula, Montana's Zootown Arts Community Center has launched an online radio station featuring only local artists, the first Missoula station to be so bold, according to a story by Lindsey Galipeau and Keila Szpaller of the Missoulian.

"It's a way to get people a local art experience without necessarily having to go to the ZACC," said executive director Michael Gardner. "It's a way to kind of spread the local art love throughout Missoula."

ZACC is a nonprofit community center that focuses on art education, sustainable community development and accessible art experiences. Listen to the new station by clicking here and hear tunes from Missoula's Volumen, Bob Wire, Amy Martin, Tyson Ballew and Pterodactyl Plains.

"It's a good mix of local musicians, from independent artists to those who have played out in the bars for a long time," said Gardner, who is hoping other musicians will offer permission for the ZACC to play their music in the new venue.

The idea for a new radio station, fostered within ZACC's walls, took flight this spring. Gardner said it's a supplement to the ZACC's other offerings, such as pottery classes, music shows and a shop featuring goods made by local artists.

"People are really into it," Gardner said of the station. "The cool thing is there's certainly local radio stations, but nobody is playing (local music exclusively), and local art is what we're all about."

DJ Matt Riley at non-com at 89.9 FM KBGA says the local angle is an important one to listeners in Missoula. And Riley, who did an Americorps internship at the ZACC last year, said the center plays a large role in connecting artists with a community.

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