Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

The Best Of 1220 WGAR, Cleveland 1976

With the demise of network radio in the 1950s, WGAR tried various music formats, settling into an adult contemporary format in the 1960s. Don Imus did a stint at WGAR as a morning drive personality from 1970 to 1971 before moving on to WNBC in New York. (He returned to Cleveland in 1979 to do afternoons on WHK.)

Imus was replaced in 1972 by John Lanigan who had a very successful run as the morning man until he left for a Florida station on February 9, 1984. (In 1985 John Lanigan returned to Cleveland and went to work at WMJI, using much of the material he developed at WGAR.)

WGAR abandoned its adult contemporary format for a country music format on July 15, 1984. WGAR soon simulcast the country music format with its FM sister station, WGAR-FM, starting in 1986.

By 1990, WGAR was sold off to Douglas Broadcasting, and it changed its call sign to WKNR-adopting a sports/talk format-while WGAR-FM assumed the WGAR identity (as allowed by the FCC regulations at the time.)

WKNR maintained studios at the 1220-AM transmitter site in Broadview Heights-which were used by WGAR (AM) since the early 1970s, while WGAR-FM moved to new studios in nearby Independence, Ohio.

In January 1998, WKNR was sold to Jacor Communications, but were forced to spin it off to Capstar that very same August as a condition of the Jacor-Nationwide Communications merger - which ironically took WGAR-FM under the Jacor umbrella. Then, Capstar merged with Chancellor Media-who owned six other stations in the market-to form AMFM, Inc. in 1999.

When AMFM merged with Clear Channel in August 2000, WKNR was spun off again, this time to Salem Communications. And then, Salem moved WKNR to 850 kHz - formerly home to WRMR and earlier, WJW (AM) - in the July 2001 Great Cleveland Frequency Swap. WHK's programming and call letters moved to 1220 kHz in that same swap, but changed again to WHKW in 2005 when the WHK calls moved back to 1420 kHz following Salem's re-acquisition of that frequency.

Following the move, WKNR still broadcast from its studios at the former WGAR (AM) transmitter site (currently in use by WHKW), which were officially vacated on October 29, 2007, ending 30 years of near-continuous use.

Source: wikipedia

1220 WGAR Alumni and Tribute Page, click here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

CC Re-Launches Greensboro's Country WTQR

Clear Channel-owned 104.1 FM WTQR radio announced a format change on Friday, tossing out old country tunes in lieu of new hits.

The station, which has been on the air in the Triad for 37 years, rebranded itself as "New Country Q 104-1," the station said in a news release.

The new format will include hits from artists including Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Miranda Lambert, the station said.

The on-air personality list doesn't change with the new format.

Jeff Roper will continue to host the morning drive show from 5-10 a.m., followed by Angie Ward during the mid-day and Jeff Wicker during the afternoon drive.

The disc jockeys have been off the air recently as the station prepared for the re-launch.

Read More.

Facebook Fan Page, click here.

CC Expected To Swamp Formats On AM, FM

In Minneapolis, sports 1130 AM KFAN  will soon ditch its AM frequency and swap spots with traditional talker 100.3 FM KTLK, according to a story by David Brauer at

In some markets, up to 50 percent of adults — especially younger ones — don’t touch the AM band, analyst Sean Ross estimates. Therefore, going FM should help KFAN battle Hubbard Broadcasting’s year-old AM sports competitor, 1500 AM KSTP ESPN.

Clear Channel Communications, which owns KFAN and KTLK, isn't commenting, but it's fair to say they wouldn't mind repeating history.

Five years ago, Clear Channel switched Smooth Jazz KJZI-FM to conservative talk, ultimately vanquishing 1500’s long-dominant predecessor, KSTP-AM.

The KFAN-KTLK swap will happen before the opening of the Minnesota Vikings regular season Sept. 11, and conceivably, early in the exhibition schedule.

Clear Channel already simulcasts the Vikings on KTLK and KFAN, and was slated to do the same with newly acquired Minnesota Gophers football games.

Is this a sign that conservative radio is fading? Nope, write Brauer.  The move comes as KTLK’s ratings are near the top of its two-year range, buoyed by the strong performance of the recently debuted "Davis & Emmer" morning show.

In the June Arbitron ratings, KTLK had a marginally higher share of the total Twin Cities listening audience — 3.6 percent to KFAN’s 3.3 — but the sports station had roughly 50 percent more 25-to-54-year-old listeners.

The swap, then, is partly because sports has the bigger upside. It’s generally accepted that KFAN reaps far more ad revenue than KTLK, so even if conserva-talk loses in the switch, the added (or at least, preserved) sports dollars should more than make up for it.

KTLK will still have an FM presence, though it might require some button pushing. Clear Channel is assembling a portfolio of four low-power FMs, and KTLK will appear on some or all of them.

Read More.

A Peek Inside Merlin Media's New 101.9 FM

The Newsroom

Kathleen Maloney

Brett Larson, Daniela Billota
No word on official launch date.

Cleveland's 850 ESPN Preps For Competition

Craig Karmazin, head of Milwaukee-based Good Karma Broadcasting — the parent company of 850-AM WKNR, until Thursday the only all-sports-talk station in Cleveland — said changes were afoot in the station's programming as 92.3-FM WKRK changes to all sports and brings new competition to the market.

He answered  the main questions of Joel Hammond at, centered on the loss of Westwood One's NFL coverage, in a Thursday morning voice mail, and had a simple explanation for Westwood One joining with WKRK: WKNR, through fan surveys, said it found more Browns coverage was in demand. So it now will have five hours of pregame and postgame coverage, and thus other NFL games on the station were impossible.

“Westwood One was a great partner for many years, but we weren't able to continue as an affiliate,” he said.

Tom Herschel, CBS Radio's senior vice president and market manager in Cleveland, said the addition of Westwood One was a big factor. He wouldn't comment, though, on whether Westwood One signed with CBS Radio here, forcing WKNR's hand, or whether WKNR cut ties first.

The new station also will have Big Ten Football, though Ohio State will remain on WKNR.

“We really look at this as an incredible opportunity,” Herschel said.

Read More.

Max Media Flips WLGL In PA.

Norfolk-based Max Media blew up its three station FM simulcast of WWBE Mifflinsburg, Pa Thursday. 

Country formatted B98 was aired for more than a dozen years on three FM Class A frequencies in the Susquehanna Valley:   98.1 FM Mifflinburg, down-river on 100.5 FM WYGL in Elizabeth and 'up-river' on 92.3 FM WLGL Riverside, PA.

That ended Thursday as a '80s and '90s based Classic Rock format made a debut on WLGL.  The station is now branded as The Drive and is jockless.

Uses of FM Translators Morph Quickly

From Randy J. Stines,

Translators aren’t just for filling in FM signal coverage gaps anymore.

They have become a more important part of radio owners’ spectrum strategy toolkit. Many commercial and noncommercial radio operators — both AM and FM — are using FM translators in ways previously unimagined, not only supplementing local signal coverage but leveraging them to gain a more lucrative footprint on the FM dial for content that originally airs on AM stations or FM HD2/HD3 channels.

Demand for translators also is increasing as broadcasters realize they effectively can create additional radio stations in markets by location-hopping and moving towards more heavily populated areas, according to several technical radio observers.

An FM translator retransmits the signal of an AM or FM radio station without significantly altering characteristics of the original other than its frequency and amplitude. FM translators historically have been used to fill in coverage where terrain blockage was an issue.

There were 6,141 licensed FM translators and boosters as of March 2011, according to the FCC. That compares to 3,897 in 2005 and 3,243 in 2000, according to commission data. FM boosters essentially are translators that operate on the same frequency as the primary station. The FCC doesn’t distinguish between FM translators and boosters in its database.

Approximately 500 FM translators simulcast AM broadcast stations. That’s a measure of the success of a rule change, adopted just two summers ago, allowing AMs to use existing FM translators in certain circumstances.

Observers say radio’s evolving translator strategies simply take advantage of current translator rules. For instance, a broadcaster can add a fill-in translator with power up to 250 watts regardless of antenna height as long as it does not exceed the protected contour of the associated primary station.

Interestingly, the 60 dBu of a 250 watt fill-in translator at 2,000 feet height above average terrain presents the same coverage area as a Class B or C2 FM station, thus “creating fairly high-power entities,” said Doug Vernier, president of broadcast engineering consulting firm V-Soft Communications.

Read More.

Time On WIP Advisory Panel Proves Enlightening

From James D'Arcangelo Council Rock North High School for
I came to the radio station to share my opinions, but ended up learning a lot more than I thought.

There are times when you are positioned to teach and impart wisdom, but you actually absorb and learn more than you end up sharing. That often happens to me in my volunteer work with kids.

It happened to me, big time, when I showed up at the offices of Philadelphia sports radio leader WIP (610 AM) to participate on their listener advisory panel last week.

Having heard WIP program director Andy Bloom's on-air request for panel applicants, I submitted my application and waited hopefully and anxiously. I knew that the station would elicit a substantial number of responses and that my odds were unfavorable. So I was extremely excited when, out of the more than 1,000 people who had applied, I was chosen to be a member of the 40-person team, and was the only teenager in the group.

The "team" was broken into four sets of panelists, ranging in number from nine to my 14-person session. Showing up for the two-hour meeting that started at 8 p.m., I was very ready to talk sports and sports radio.

I listen to WIP quite a bit, mostly during the afternoon and evenings, and mostly during the Phillies' and Flyers' seasons, so I was ready to share my opinions. I wasn't alone — many panelists came with pages of notes!

Over the course of the two-and-a-half-hour session, the group discussed day shifts, hosts, technology use and the right mix of "hard" sports talk versus "general entertainment." The diversity of the panelists in the room (notably age ranges and the times that they listen to WIP throughout the day), led to discussions that were lively, straight and mottled — and disagreements certainly arose, but were treated respectfully by all.

Throughout, Bloom asked very pointed questions about preferences and what would prompt panelists to listen more, listen longer or simply not turn away.

I learned a lot throughout the session, but even more after the conclusion of the meeting and the ensuing station tour, as I sat down with Bloom to ask what the impetus was to create the panel. Despite the late 11 p.m. hour, he and his staff happily indulged me (and "indulge" me he did; he is a legend in Philadelphia radio, with well over 25 years in the market, and noted as the man who brought Howard Stern to Philadelphia in 1986, enabling Stern's first syndicated market expansion from New York).

I asked Bloom why he would create such a group, when times were great at WIP (in-market, the station is regularly at or near the top in its target demographic group, males 18-54), and what his goals were. He shared that the "best way to grow steadily and to be steadily top-rated is to seek out your customers' opinions, listen and act. Radio listeners follow the classic ‘80-20 Rule,' so you want to build loyalty among that group of most-active listeners."
Read More.

RIP: Annette Charles, 'Cha'Cha' From 'Grease'

Annette Charles, who played 'Cha-Cha' in 'Grease,' has died at age 63. She was the most memorable student at St. Bernadette's High.

Annette Charles, who played bad girl "Cha-Cha" DiGregorio and famously danced with John Travolta's Danny Zucko and Jeff Conaway's Kenickie in the 1978 movie "Grease," passed away Wednesday night at her Los Angeles home.

RIP: Dorothy E. Brunson, Station Owner

She was the first African-American woman to own a radio and TV stations

Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
Dorothy E. Brunson, who became the first African-American woman in the nation to own a radio station when she bought WEBB-AM in Baltimore, died Sunday of complications from ovarian cancer at Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore. She was 72.

"Thanks to the pioneering work of Ms. Brunson, the world of broadcast media was opened up to African-American entrepreneurs and business leaders," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "Her vision and commitment to excellence at every level of the business led to her success and paved the way for others to find success in cities across America."

Ms. Brunson was also the first African-American woman to own and operate a television station, with her purchase of WGTW-TV Channel 48 in Philadelphia in 1986.

Dorothy Edwards was born in Georgia and raised in Harlem, N.Y. A graduate of New York City public schools, she hoped for a career in the arts and studied drama, fashion, photography and advertising.

"But I needed something more," she told The Baltimore Sun in a 1986 profile.

She returned to college and earned a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting in 1960 from the State University of New York Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, and went to work in 1962 as assistant controller of WWRL-Radio in New York City.

Ms. Brunson advanced very quickly and within three months became controller. Before she left in 1969, she was the station's assistant general manager and corporate liaison.

"When I first came to WWRL, yearly advertising billings were around $700,000. By the time I left, they had grown to nearly $5 million," Ms. Brunson said in the 1986 Sun article.

By 1978, annual sales rose from $500,000 to more than $23 million, and as manager of WBLS, Ms. Brunson had turned the failing operation into the sixth-largest radio station in the nation.

She gained listeners by initiating a Top 40 format that also leaned heavily on rhythm and blues.

Ms. Brunson turned her attention to Baltimore after leaving the New York station in 1979, when she established Brunson Communications Inc. and purchased WEBB for $485,000. WEBB was established in 1955 and named for the legendary Baltimore-born and raised swing-era musician, William Henry "Chick" Webb.
Read More.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

WKRK-FM Cleveland To Flip To All Sports

It comes as no surprise to many that CBS Radio has finnaly made the move many have expected.

The company has announced that on August 29th, 92.3 FM WRKR Cleveland will flip from Alternative to Sports to be branded as "92.3 The Fan".  PD is Andy Roth who makes the move down I-90 from Buffalo, NY, where he programmed 550 AM WGR.   Roth has also put intime with WFAN NYC and WIP in Philly.

Former Fox Sports Radio Network talent Kevin Kiley and Chuck Booms will handle AM Drive., who previously co-hosted a show together on the Fox Sports Radio Network.

"CBS Radio is the leader when it comes to the all-Sports format," says CBS/Cleveland SVP/Market Manager Tom Herschel. "Having the pioneering station -- WFAN -- among our portfolio along with a number of new entrants to the FM dial in major markets across the country, we are confident we know what it takes to make this move a success in Cleveland."

WNCI Offers Casey Anthony $$$ To Not Be OSU Fan

Click here for photos
Celebrity Web site TMZ, published photos of Casey Anthony somewhere in Ohio on Wednesday, wearing an Ohio State University hat.

The photos were taken on Sunday, according to the Web site.  TMZ did not specify which city the photos were taken in, 10TV News reported.

Many people, including 97.9 FM WNCI Columbus DJ Jimmy Jam believed the TMZ video showed her at the Old Navy store at the Lennox Town Center on Olentangy River Road.

Store officials refused to comment, 10TV News reported.

The Dave and Jimmy Show offered up to $10,000 to Anthony to take off the Ohio State University hat and wear Michigan attire.

Anthony has family in northeast Ohio, according to various media outlets.

Anthony was scheduled to appear in an Orlando courtroom on Thursday for a probation hearing about a check fraud charge.

Her attorney said that she would be in danger and need protection if she had to return to Florida.

Last month, Anthony was acquitted on charges that she was involved in the slaying of her daughter.

Orlando Gets An Other CHR..This One Is Spanish

An 'Elvis 103' stunting format stopped at 9m Wednesday as TTB Media Corp. flipped the format to Spanish CHR as "KQ103".

Official call letters are WHKQ and is licensed to Windermere, FL.

The station website is here.

The station Facebook Fan Page is here.

Listen below (no video, just audio stream):

Video streaming by Ustream

All Elvis had been airing since midnight Sunday as TTB took control of programming and sales of 103.1 FM WLOQ.  WLOQ was the last locally-owned FM facilitity in Orlando

TTB is operating 103.1 FM  via an LMA agreement with the Gross Family.  Sale of the station for a little more than $8-million is pending FCC approval. See original posting.

For year, WLOQ had aired a Smoth Jazz format. It continues online only, click here.

1500 ESPN Twin Cities Cancels Colin Cowherd

Going Local

Sports junkies in Minnapolis-St. Paul, who want more Twins and Vikings talk in the morning, are about to get it. By Labor Day, 1500 AM KSTP ESPN will ax Colin Cowherd's nationally syndicated show, which it airs 9 a.m. to noon. If you want to replace Cowherd, here's the host-wanted ad.

According to a story by David Brauer at minnpost, com, Hubbard Broadcasting vice president Dan Seeman says The Herd with Colin Cowherd was getting around a 2 share of local men 25-to-54-years-old, while another ESPN national show, Mike & Mike in the Morning, basically doubled that in 5-9 a.m. morning drive. "It's not like it was a national [show] problem," Seeman says, pointed to M&M's respectable numbers.

Whomever 1500 puts up will face 1130 AM KFAN's Paul Allen, a ratings behemoth. But since the former KSTP-AM adopted the ESPN brand last year, Seeman has argued two sports stations cannibalize each other less than the grow the audience for sports talkers. So far, the numbers have proven him right. If 1500 makes a good hire, 830 AM WCCO might have more to worry about with a non-sportsaholic like John Williams.

As the ratings indicate, Cowherd's show was a speed bump in many 1500 listeners' day. (Before the ESPN switchover, Joe Soucheray was becoming one, but he has more than righted the ship.) Seeman says morning and evening drive have much bigger available audiences "but from an imaging and consistency standpoint, 9 to noon is pretty important."

Read More.

Shaquille O'Neal Highlights Trend in Sports Broadcasting

Calls out ESPN's Bayless

Tuesday night, Shaquille O’Neal appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late night show and made a statement that has generated a lot of buzz around the sports world.

According to a story by Ray Mowatt and, O’Neal said he felt analysts who haven’t played professional sports at a high level or accumulated top-notch statistics and accolades should refrain from making statements in the media.

He seemingly doesn’t respect their opinions.

He directed his remark specifically to ESPN’s Skip Bayless, the often outspoken correspondent on the network’s First Take morning program.

On one level, I have to agree with O’Neal.

Analysts often criticize and lay into pro athletes too harshly for their performances on the field or on the court.

Athletes are scrutinized daily on dozens of radio and television programs by broadcasters, some of whom weren’t ever good enough to become a pro athlete, and some who played less than extraordinarily on the professional level.

Many broadcasters seem to have free reign to knock players and coaches without consequence. Being a “Monday morning quarterback” is almost a requirement to becoming a broadcaster these days.

Read More.

Facebook Is The New Nielsen Family

Since the first banner ad alighted on top of a web page sometime around the end of last century, online advertising has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the media world. It gets no respect.

But, according to a posting by E. B. Boyd at, that might soon change, thanks to a new service from the Nielsen Company. The Online Campaign Ratings system, which rolls out later this month, promises to measure brand advertising online more like the way it measures brand advertising on television--by identifying which demographics actually see each ad.

This will allow advertisers to make apple-to-apple comparisons between the new medium, whose impact on brand advertising has remained elusive, and the old medium, in whose powers brands have complete confidence. As a result, advertisers may finally be willing to invest more online, and possibly even pay more for the privilege.

"A number of impediments have prevented brand advertisers from getting into the deep end with online," Charles Buchwalter, Nielsen’s senior vice president of Online Campaign Ratings tells Fast Company. "If those impediments weren’t there, you could make a very strong case that brand advertisers would have spent much more money online."

Television has historically tapped its panels (often referred to as "Nielsen families"), which record exactly who watched any particular episode of television that went out over the airwaves. Online, there simply hasn’t been an efficient way to create such panels.

Enter Facebook. The social network is partnering with Nielsen to provide the demographic data on who sees ads placed around the Internet--even if those ads aren’t placed on Facebook itself--sort of like a real-time, always-on Nielsen family.

To find out how it works, click here.

WKZF Moves From 'Smooth Jazz' To 'Heritage Rock'

From David N. Dunkley, The Patriot-News
When the Harrisburg market's 92.7 WKZF decided to abandon its money-losing smooth jazz format after seven years, station operators launched their new format at midnight Monday with — wait for it — the Led Zeppelin classic, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Talk about declaring your intentions. But hey, it probably was either that or “Freebird,” man.

More and more in music radio, the way forward is to look back, especially to classic rock, that darling of the baby boomers and their progeny.

But the “classic rock” bag has swollen to epic proportions after several decades, so stations are becoming ever more specific about how they parse their music before sending it out over he airwaves.

WKZF is calling its new format “heritage rock,” according to program director Paul Scott, by which he means rock songs — including long version album cuts of “Layla” and the like — from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. Scott promises a steady stream of Rolling Stones, Who, Foreigner, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, Journey, Aerosmith and many others from the station’s newly acquired library of 3,500 tunes.

That’s the music favored by the demographic the station covets: males 35 to 54. These are guys, Scott said, who tend to have steady jobs, good income and children who are out of the house. “It’s what they grew up listening to,” Scott said. “In York and Lancaster [counties], there are 365,000 men in that category.”

And appealing to advertisers.

WKZF’s new musical breakdown can get pretty specific, even in terms of a particular band’s music. Older Beatles tunes like “Let It Be” make the playlist, but not the early hit “She Loves You.” Songs from early U2 albums like “The Joshua Tree” will get played, but don’t expect to hear the Irish band’s more recent hit, “Beautiful Day.”

So-called “heritage rock” is part of an expanding format list that includes active rock, album-oriented rock, oldies, mainstream rock, modern rock and progressive rock in addition to the standard classic rock.
Read More.

Listen Here.

RIP: Dr. Bruce Elving, FMAtlas Publisher

Dr. Bruce Elving, publisher of the FMAtlas has passed away.

His daughter Kristin Stuart posted the following message on Elving's wall Wednesday:

"We are very sad to inform all of Bruce's friends that he passed away in California on July 24, 2011. His memorial service will be on Monday, August 8, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in Duluth, Minnesota".

According to a Wikiepedia posting, Bruce F. Elving was an author and DXer from Duluth, Minnesota. His interest in FM radio began while the technology was still in its infancy.

Elving related his memories of the early days of FM in the June, 2007 Monitoring Times.

He was twice given the DXer of the year award by The Association of North American Radio Clubs, first in 1973 and later in 1986.

He had a desire to introduce others to the world of FM DXing, and the Worldwide TV FM DX Association has included an article by him explaining the process on their website. Another introductory article which was originally published on his now offline FM Atlas site can be found on the FMedia website.

He was the author of the FM Atlas, a directory of FM radio stations and translators throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The FM Atlas has been published approximately every 18 months since 1972, and is currently in its 21st edition.

Elving also publishes FMedia, a monthly set of updates for the FM Atlas, compiled from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) data along with information contributed by subscribers.

Publishing of FMedia began in 1987, continuing until mid-2007 when Elving announced he was looking for a hobbyist who would take over the newsletter under new ownership. The publication remained out of print for some months, eventually creating a multi-month issue to catch readers up with the changes in station data.

Elving's eldest daughter, Kristine, took over FMedia in January 2008, with Bruce taking on a new role of mentor and contributing editor. In March 2010 Kristine published the last issue of the newsletter, when it again went out of print.

Elving was also noted for his mail order sales of radios modified to receive subcarrier signals emanating from FM radio stations. These little-known signals, which require special receiving equipment to hear, often consist of background music for retail establishments, newsfeeds, and reading services for the blind. Elving has advocated these services as superior to newer technology such as HD Radio.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Clear Channel Sez Radio Revenue Up 4% In Q2

UPDATE: Wednesday 3:45p

Radio and billboard giant CC Media Holdings Inc. on Wednesday reported higher second-quarter revenues and cash-flow levels for the sixth consecutive quarter while recording a narrower loss from the second quarter of 2010.

According to a story at, the company also announced Wednesday that Clear Chanel Outdoor Holdings Inc., which is about 90 percent owned by CC Media Holdings, is accelerating installations of new digital billboards, boosting the goal to 160 or more this year. The previous goal was 120.

San Antonio-based CC Media Holdings said it lost $38 million in the quarter ending June 30, compared to a $77 million net loss for the same quarter in 2010.
Revenues grew to $1.6 billion because of improved advertising demand. Radio revenues increased $32 million, or 4 percent, compared with 2010's second quarter, mostly because of the company's acquisition of Westwood One's traffic business in April.

Cash flow of $503 million during the second quarter was up 10 percent, compared with $457 million in the second quarter of 2010.

“Our results reflect a gradually improving global advertising marketplace and the benefits of our globally diversified platform. Our top line growth combined with our focus on cost management has resulted in consistent improvement in our overall operating profit margin. At the same time, we have continued to strategically invest in our digital platform, including the development of the next generation of and the ongoing deployment of our digital outdoor displays,” Tom Casey, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a prepared statement.

The company was taken private in 2008 by Boston private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a $17.9 billion acquisition. Thirty percent of CC Media Holdings shares remain publicly traded.

Read More.

Study: More Women Listen To Streams Than Men

Nielsen recently presented a white paper study of streaming audio usage rates in several European countries and the USA.

According to a posting at, the study shows that streaming audio usage is growing at different rates in France, Spain, the UK, Germany, Italy and the US. Licensing issues and other factors such as awareness and understanding of streaming audio were some reasons for the discrepancies.

The USA has the widest offering of streaming audio services of all the countries. In the US, Nielsen watched behavior with an extensive list of sites – Pandora,, Rhapsody, Jango, Napster, Project Playlist, Slacker, Mog, ReverbNation, Scour, TuneGenie, AudioRealm, iHeartRadio, Goom Radio, Mixcloud, and and notes that Pandora is undisputedly the dominant streaming service in the States.

Streaming music audio services’ active reach in the USA was 10.2%.

The services reach mainly younger consumers with the largest group of consumers females 18-24 at 18% reach in that demographic. Nielsen also notes that overall streaming audio is more popular with women than men.

Read More.

Debt Drama Driving News, Talk

The economy was pervasive in every media sector last week, ranging from filling 39% of the newshole in online news to 75% in cable news. On the cable and radio talk shows, where ideology and debate take center stage, the economy accounted for 90% of the airtime studied by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

That coverage was overwhelmingly fueled by the debt debate, accounting for almost 90% of the economic storylines last week.

Several different but related subplots emerged. At the outset, the media narrative focused on the hardening battle lines between Democrats and Republicans. “President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner escalated their battle over the national debt on Monday pressing their arguments in a pair of prime-time television addresses…” stated a July 26 Washington Post story.

“Obama used his 15-minute address from the White House to urge ‘shared sacrifice’ in tackling the debt, calling for deep cuts in federal spending to be coupled with higher taxes on the wealthy and on large corporations,” the story said.  “Boehner countered with a shorter speech from the Capitol, in which he blamed the fiscal crisis on Washington's spending and urged deep cuts to cure it.”

As deadlock appeared to deepen, some coverage began homing in on public anger. Introducing the lead story on ABC’s July 26 evening newscast, anchor Diane Sawyer talked of “Americans up in arms” with “frustration boiling over, fed up messages pouring into Congress…flooding the phone lines, crushing the websites.”

Added correspondent Jim Avila: “The masses [are] telling Washington deadlock on the nation’s debt is not acceptable.”

A second significant storyline involved turmoil in the Republican ranks as Speaker Boehner scrambled to convince his conservative colleagues of the virtues of a debt ceiling deal.

An editorial from the conservative opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal noted that “the Speaker has made mistakes in his debt negotiations.” But it added, “If conservatives defeat the Boehner plan, they'll not only undermine their House majority. They'll go far to re-electing Mr. Obama and making the entitlement state that much harder to reform.”

As the week wore on, the media also began reporting on the problems Obama was having with unhappy liberals in his party.

On the morning of July 31, just hours before the agreement, the New York Times reported that “however the debt limit showdown ends…President Obama has moved rightward on budget policy, deepening a rift within his party heading into the next election… Mr. Obama, seeking to appeal to the broad swath of independent voters, has adopted the Republicans' language and in some cases their policies, while signaling a willingness to break with liberals on some issues.”

In the aftermath of the deal between Obama and the GOP, that narrative is likely to continue for a while.

Read More.

SiriusXM Ready to Up Yours

Sirius XM to hike subscription fees in 2012
Business Week photo
Sirius XM Radio Inc. said it expects to raise its prices next year, now that a federal mandate to freeze subscriber fees has been lifted, according to a posting by Alex Pham, Company Town blog at

"We continue to believe it would be appropriate for us to increase our pricing to be able to continue investing in and delivering the best audio content in the world," said Sirius XM Chief Executive Mel Karmazin during a conference call with analysts to discuss the New York company's second-quarter earnings.

Karmazin did not say how much the increases will be, noting that the company has not changed its monthly base fee of $12.95 since the merger of Sirius and XM in 2008. As a condition of approving the merger, regulators at the Federal Communications Commission barred the combined company from raising its prices.

The FCC lifted that restriction last Thursday. [See original posting]

David Frear, Sirius XM's chief financial officer, acknowledged that higher prices could decrease the service's number of paying subscribers, which surpassed 21 million in the quarter ended June 30.

Read More.

Opinion: People Program Better Than Computers

Sirius Still Has Big Fans But Pandora And Spotify Are Wildly Cheaper

Report: Major Wireless Technology Breakthrough

From Tom Wolverton,

Dropped calls, unsent texts, painfully slow Internet connections and overcrowded Wi-Fi hot spots have become a bane of modern life.

But veteran [Silicon] valley entrepreneur Steve Perlman may have a solution to those problems. Perlman and a team of engineers and scientists at Rearden, his business incubator in San Francisco, have come up with an innovative technique for transmitting and receiving radio signals that he says will result in fewer dropped calls and much faster wireless Internet connections.

The technology, some 10 years in the making and the subject of dozens of patents that Perlman says he has either applied for or received, is a breakthrough on par with the invention of the laser, said Richard Doherty, research director of the Envisioneering Group, a market research firm that focuses on wireless technologies.

"This is a whole new science of radio," said Doherty, who has been briefed on the technology. "It's a game changer. It's as clear as that. I don't know if I'll run into another one in my lifetime like this."

Perlman, 50, has a history of creating disruptive technologies. He helped develop the QuickTime video player while serving as chief scientist of Apple; cofounded WebTV, an early effort to marry the television and the Web; and, more recently, cofounded OnLive, an online gaming service that allows users to play console-quality video games without an expensive game machine.

But some critics are skeptical about his latest technology. Perlman has released few of the technical details, so it's hard to say how well the technology will work, said Philip Solis, a research director who focuses on mobile networks for ABI Research, a technology consultancy.

"It's something that's more theoretical than practical at this point," Solis said.

Perlman disputes that notion, saying that the technology -- dubbed DIDO for "distributed-input-distributed output" -- has been proven in the lab and could be ready for commercial use as early as late next year. He says he's already talking with potential partners and investors ranging from wireless carriers and equipment makers to venture capital firms and even national governments.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clear Channel Cuts Chris Tyler In Harrisburg

Long-time OM and PD/AM Host  of rock/AC 97.3 FM WRVV Harrisburg, Pa, Chris Tyler, has left Corporate Circle building in Harrisburg Pa.

Tyler is apparently the latest victim of corporate-mandated cuts.  Tyler has been at "The River" since 1992.  97.3 FM was the first station in the country to be brand "The River".

For now, Glenn Hamilton will fill-in mornings. JT Bosch PD of Country WRBT (BOB949) and CHR KISS-FM 99.3 WHKF will take on OM duties in Harrisburg.  Bosch will also continue as PM Drive host on BOB.

Is Philly's WIP To Get A Simulcast?

Reportedly, there are stong rumors that Philadelphia's CBS Radio cluster is about to start simulcasting Sportsradio 610 AM WIP on 94.1 FM, currently the home for Rock WYSP.

Dan Goss at hears the simulcast could start around Labor Day.  According To Goss, WIP program director Andy Bloom said that he could neither confirm nor deny the rumor but that there were rumors about the stations all the time. CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield said essentially the same thing.

When WIP's rival sports-talk station, ESPN 950 AM, began to be simulcast on 97.5 The Fanatic in 2009, it made a tremendous increase in listenership - especially young listeners who are targeted by advertisers.

One possible sign of 'YSP's future could be Danny Bonaduce, the biggest name and salary at the station. His most recent contract was renewed for only one year, according to  Goss.

Something New In WBBM Chicago Studios....

New mic flags
The 780 AM WBBM simulcast with 105.9 FM began Monday morning as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was on hand.

The mayor helped morning co-anchors Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy make the switch-over shortly after 8am.  Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also made an in-studio visit.

Via, listen to switchover by clicking here.

CBS Radio started the simulcast in order to protect it from Merlin Media's FM News 101.1 FM which officially launched on Sunday. 

WBBM is Chicago's #1 rated station and #1 billing radio station.

For now, the WCFS call letters remain for the 105.9 FM frequency,  "WBBM-FM" calls are still assigned to the sister-station CHR.

Governor Quinn participates in the launch party for WBBM Newsradio's first broadcast on 105.9 FM

WMFQ Ocala, FL Drops Classic Hits For Hot AC

After seven years of giving a home to oldies rock ‘n’ roll, WMFQ 92.9-FM in Ocala has discarded the format and on Monday started broadcasting hot adult contemporary music.

According to a story by Fred Hiers at, the decision was made three months ago as part of the radio’s station’s effort to expand its audience, especially women listeners, said the station’s operations director, Shane Finch.

Although the previous format, Big Oldies 92.9, had a loyal audience, the station was competing with other area stations for essentially the same demographic group: predominately men ages 40 and older.
“It was a bunch of people fighting for the same slice of pie,” Finch said.

While the station’s previous format of 1960s-1980s rock and pop was enough to continue to pay the bills, Finch said hot adult contemporary music offered financial opportunities because it gives the station the potential to grow its audience. As for the station’s previous format, Finch said, “if we just kind of freeze dried where we were, we would (have) seen diminishing returns,” citing the audience’s increasing age.

Finch said the decision to change formats was made after discussions amongst the station’s staff and did not originate from the station’s owner, Asterisk Communications, Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale.

WMFQ’s hot adult contemporary music will be similar to top 40, but slightly easier listening and will include such artists as Daughtry, Maroon 5, Katy Perry and John Mayer.  LISTEN HERE

Finch said that if the format change attracts an additional 5 percent market share, the switch would have proved itself a financially wise one.

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Cumulus Acquires Cumulus Media Partners

Cumulus Media Inc. CMLS Monday announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of the remaining equity interests of Cumulus Media Partners, LLC ("CMP") that it did not already own.

CMP owns 32 radio stations in nine markets, including San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Kansas City. Cumulus has operated CMP's business pursuant to a management agreement since CMP acquired the radio broadcasting business of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co.

In connection with the acquisition, Cumulus issued 9,945,714 shares of its common stock to affiliates of the three private equity firms that had collectively owned 75% of CMP ---- Bain Capital Partners, LLC ("Bain"), The Blackstone Group L.P. ("Blackstone") and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. ("THL"). Blackstone received shares of Cumulus' Class A common stock and, in accordance with Federal Communications Commission broadcast ownership rules, Bain and THL each received shares of a new authorized Class D non-voting common stock. Cumulus has owned the remaining 25% of CMP's equity interests since Cumulus, together with Bain, Blackstone and THL, formed CMP in 2005.

Also in connection with the acquisition, currently outstanding warrants to purchase common stock of a subsidiary of CMP were amended to instead become exercisable for up to 8,267,968 shares of common stock of Cumulus.

The acquisition of CMP was completed earlier Monday, following receipt of approval by Cumulus' stockholders at its annual meeting of stockholders on Friday, July 29, 2011.

Cumulus' Chairman and CEO, Lew Dickey, commented: "We are pleased to have completed this important step with our acquisition of CMP. The combination of Cumulus and CMP is a strategic transaction that simplifies our operational structure and positions us to complete our pending transformational deal with Citadel Broadcasting. Following the completion of the Citadel acquisition, we plan to capitalize on the scale of the resulting pro forma platform of approximately 570 stations in 120 markets, and a radio network serving approximately 4000 station affiliates, to compete aggressively with our content and distribution capabilities in broadcast and new media. We are also excited about the opportunity to offer investors what we expect will be the largest pure play radio company, with a large and liquid market capitalization as well as a strong and flexible balance sheet that is well-positioned for continued growth."

Cumulus currently expects that, subject to receiving final regulatory approvals and approval by the stockholders of Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, the Citadel acquisition will be completed prior to the end of 2011.

HFS Radio Returns to Baltimore Airwaves

CBS Radio brands it as "the alternative rock music Baltimore grew up and the personalities who made it popular" returned to the air at noon Monday with the debut of HFS at 97.5 FM translator W248AO on the local radio dial.

From, click here as HFS Returns.

The station can also be heard on 106.5 FM HD2. Listen here.

Featured artists on the playlist will include:  Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Incubus, and Green Day, according to the station's release.

Station personalities will include: Tim Virgin, Gina Crash, Jenn Marino,Chris Emery, and Neci.

Here's the CBS news release:

The alternative rock music Baltimore grew up with and the personalities who made it popular return to the local airwaves when “HFS” debuts on Monday, August 1.  The station will feature tracks from artists such as Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Incubus, and Green Day, along with live and local hosts presenting the music.  Listeners can tune-in to the station beginning at 12 Noon on WWMX 106.5 HD2 or 97.5 FM.  The station will continue to be streamed online at or via the app for a variety of mobile devices.

Bob Philips, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of CBS RADIO Baltimore said, “The music made popular by HFS has lived on long after the station went off the air.  HFS has built a loyal following online and now those listeners can have more access than ever before as we bring back one of Baltimore’s well-known brands to radio stations across the dial.

“HD Radio Technology allows us to offer additional channels of programming alongside our over the air stations, and through a relationship with the owners of 97.5 we have this unique opportunity to expand the reach of the HFS programming. “

Personalities familiar to the “HFS” audience return to anchor the station’s programming, including Tim Virgin, who was first heard on the station in 2000, Gina Crash, a well-know HFS personality from the late 90’s, Jenn Marino, longtime radio personality Chris Emery, and Neci. Neci has the notoriety of being the only DJ who has hosted every HFStival—all nineteen of them.

HFS listeners will also hear “Loveline with Mike & Dr. Drew,” an entertaining and informative show offering advice to callers about relationships and addiction, weeknights  from 10:00PM to Midnight.

HFS Competitors Rip New CBS Version

From David Zurawik, The Blatimore Sun
A legendary set of call letters returned to the Baltimore airwaves Monday when CBS radio launched alternative rock station HFS at 97.5 on the FM dial.

But competitors, like Dave Hill, the head of programming at 98 Rock (97.9 FM WIYY), dismissed the new HFS as a sorry imitation of the landmark rock station that in the 1970s and early ’80s built a passionate following with its progressive, free-form programming. The HFS identity expanded in the 1990s with the annual HFStivals music fests.

CBS is describing the latest incarnation of HFS as “the alternative rock music Baltimore grew up with and personalities who made it popular.”

Station personalities include Tim Virgin, Gina Crash, Jenn Marin, Chris Emery and Neci playing music from Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Incubus and Green Day.

“This is built for the 40-year-old male that remembers HFS in the ’90s,” said Dave Labrozzi, vice president of programming for CBS Radio Baltimore.

“The station is going to built around the music that made HFS what it was,” Labrozzi added. “To HFS’s credit, they broke a lot of these bands, and they were really the forerunner in this format in the mid-’90s. And so, we’re going to play all that stuff, and bring it all back, because nobody in Baltimore’s been playing it.”

Describing the new HFS as a “strategically placed radio station that’s going to be a competitor to 98 Rock,” Labrozzi described the target audience as “anybody above 35 that loves alternative music.”

But Hill responded by saying, “I think the real story here is that CBS continues to abuse the legendary call letters of HFS.”
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Charlotte Sports Stations Swap Nets

Charlotte's two sports radio stations will swap affiliations next week - 730 WZGV-AM will pick up ESPN and 610 AM WFNZ-AM will add Fox Sports.

According to a story by Mark Washburn at, Lanny Ford, general manager of WZGV, said Monday that the station had signed a three-year contract with ESPN Radio. Charlotte was one of the largest broadcast markets in the nation without ESPN's morning show, "Mike & Mike" with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Ford said.

WFNZ, which relies largely on locally-produced shows, had carried ESPN's shows mostly at night.

"We're committed to being live and local," said D.J. Stout, operations manager for WFNZ. He said the station will use Fox Sports Radio shows to fill in WFNZ's schedule at night and on weekends.

When the switch occurs, it will mean the loss locally of such daily Fox Sports shows as Jim Rome and Dan Patrick.

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Sporting News Radio ReBrands As Yahoo! Sports

Yahoo! announced the launch Monday of Yahoo! Sports Radio as the Internet company seeks to turn its popularity as an online destination for sports fans into success over the airwaves.

According to a story by AFP, the Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo! said the national sports radio network will be available on over 180 affiliate radio stations across the United States, Sirius Satellite Radio, and through digital and mobile partners.

The network is being launched in partnership with Houston, Texas-based Gow Broadcasting, whose Sporting News Radio stations are being rebranded as Yahoo! Sports Radio.

"Yahoo! Sports Radio builds on our leadership as the number one sports site online and creates a national and local outlet for our brand and talent," Ken Fuchs, vice president of Yahoo! Media Network, said in a statement.

"Our partnership with Gow Broadcasting will provide more access to our users and solutions to our advertising partners that want to connect with them wherever they consume sports," Fuchs said.

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In this relationship, Yahoo Sports! and Gow Broadcasting will share content, develop new content together and engage audiences and advertisers across multiple platforms. The result is that Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Sports Radio are designed to be the first stop for news, information and sports commentary. Key features of the new Yahoo Sports Radio include:
  • Yahoo! Sports Radio's popular shows, such as the Steve Czaban show and the Tim Brando show, will feature experts from Yahoo! Sports. Dan Wetzel, Mike Silver, Adrian Wojnarowski, Charles Robinson and others will be regular participants on Yahoo! Sports Radio.
  • Yahoo! Sports investigative stories and breaking news will be delivered simultaneously on both platforms.
  • Yahoo! Sports Radio's audio content will be featured on Yahoo Sports!, including Peter Gammon's daily feature, and top interviews from Yahoo! Sports Radio's shows.
  • Yahoo! Sports Radio will also add shows such as Fantasy Freaks with experts Brandon Funston, Brad Evans and Andy Behrens and Rivals Radio with host Chris Childers, where fans can listen to college football and basketball programming with experts.
  • Yahoo! Sports Radio continues Yahoo!'s commitment to provide sports fans with personally relevant sporting content across all media where fans gather -- including online, mobile, tablets, connected television, AT&T U-verse and multiple publications such as Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football and Rivals College preview magazines.
For more information on Yahoo! Sports Radio and a full list of local affiliates including New York (WFAN), Chicago (WSCR), San Francisco (KBWF) and Dallas (KTCK), click here.

SF's The Game Airs "PC vs Mac" Style Promos

Here are three promos from the initial sign on of 95-7 FM The Game vs. 680 AM KNBR San Francisco.
Hat Tip to The Sports Radio Blog.

Clear Channel's TTN Restructures In PA

Clear Channel Communications has laid off three local traffic reporters as part of a restructuring of its Total Traffic Network, according to a story by Nick Malawskey at The Patriot-News.
A Clear Channel corporate spokeswoman, Angel Aristone, said the company’s traffic reporting will continue, with local public and private assets feeding into a network traffic operation center.
Aristone said that instead of operating out of a local center, regional traffic news would come from the one of the network’s “hubs.” She didn’t say where the hubs are located. (TomSez: Probably Philly)
“This will leverage our technology and allow us to keep local assets to gather information, while utilizing our highly skilled talent across multiple markets,” Aristone said. “As a company, we are always evaluating our strategy, our workload and the corporate environment to ensure we’re properly staffed and operating as efficiently as possible.”

Clear Channel operates five radio stations in the Harrisburg market: WRVV-FM The River, WHKF-FM Kiss, WRBT-FM Bob, WHP-AM 580 and WTKT-AM Ticket 1460.

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