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Wednesday, January 09, 2013 Volume 2   |   Issue 5
 
Turn on the chip (phone by phone)
Smartphone FMSprint is the first U.S. wireless carrier to unlock an FM radio chip.
But let’s be clear about what this agreement involving certain Android and Windows phones is, and isn’t. Many smartphones already contain an FM chip (that’s the long-held belief of Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan). But you can’t just wave a Harry Potter wand and activate that chip. It needs software to make a “tuner,” and not software you can download from an app store in the cloud. In other words, this victory will have to be realized one new phone at a time – it’s not retroactive to the one you’ve got in your pocket or purse. The Emmis Interactive-developed NextRadio app is one way to control the tuner on your next phone, but there will be others. It’s probably not a coincidence that Sprint offers unlimited data – it doesn’t “meter” usage by customers. So its economic incentives line up particularly well with broadcasters who’ve been lobbying the wireless industry. Other carriers have the meter running, and they benefit when their customers listen to radio over the Internet, using a data plan. But even so, the NAB and the other enthusiastic backers of FM chips on cellphones like Smulyan and Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman call the Sprint deal a breakthrough, after years of talks (and sometimes ridicule).
 
Patrick Communications
 

Now it’s up to radio to promote the new FM-enabled phones.
Jeff Smulyan tells this Now newsletter that the group execs he’s talked to are gung-ho – they see the possibilities for listening and revenue. (One group head volunteers that "Everyone who cares about this industry should pause for a moment and send a note of thanks to Jeff for his vision and leadership.") Smulyan’s pitch rests on three main pillars - #1, It could add extra listening (in Europe, he says it’s drawn as much as 15% more). #2, It should bring in additional revenue, from interactive couponing, etc. And #3, Jeff believes that “it changes the perception of radio, and makes radio cool again.” He says smart radio pros can capitalize on text-to-win contests, advertising specials, you name it. But he knows that radio has to get behind it, starting with Sprint. (FYI, we don't know the parameters of the Sprint deal, in terms of what it gets out of it.) If other carriers see Sprint making money from its cut of a coupon deal, they’ll perk up, too. NAB and other radio folks have endured criticism from the wireless industry (the EIA called radio a “buggy-whip industry”) – even after they insisted they weren’t seeking a FM chip requirement from Congress. They wanted a voluntary deal, and now they’ve landed their first prize (Sprint). But it’s just the beginning of the next phase, where radio promotes the new phones and exploits their interactive potential.

More from the Las Vegas CES –
Sprint will be demoing the “NextRadio” software tuner for its new smartphones at Booth 9033 in the Central Hall. But there are other radio-related sights at the 1.6 million square feet exhibit-hall space – iBiquity’s showing its stuff with Lexus and Toyota, saying that its HD Radio technology and Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network content are going into those two car lines, making them “the first in the industry to launch integrated HD Radio technology for audio entertainment and traffic & data delivery.” The sporty new Lexus IS, which debuts next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is the first Lexus vehicle using HD Radio in that way. Toyota has models coming later this year. What’s different about this “hybrid” approach? It uses both digital information from HD Radio stations plus a cell phone network piggybacking on the driver’s smartphone. Also, iBiquity is exhibiting in the CES Central Hall with some of the more than 60 new receivers for HD Radio, including home audio products from Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha and McIntosh.

Hot 96.9Boston’s 96.9 settles on rhythmic AC “Hot.”
This is what Greater Media market manager Rob Williams says about the last week’s worth of stunting - urban to dance to variety hits “Mike” to classic rock “Bone” - “It was nice to spend a week just having fun” with radio. The first spoof format – urban “Power 96.9” – got such immediate response that they pulled it after a day, lest it put down too many roots in the market. What Greater Media’s former talk WTKK (96.9) pointed toward was rhythmic AC, which it's now doing as “Hot…the Rhythm of Boston.” Williams tells this Now newsletter that “there’s great rhythmic heritage here,” with Kiss 108/WXKS-FM, “Jam’n 94.5” WJMN, and Entercom’s now-gone rhythmic “Star 93.7.” Williams once managed the Clear Channel cluster that includes Kiss and Jam’n and he was pleasantly surprised at the availability of 17-year Jam’n personality Pebbles – one of the major-market talents Clear Channel cut loose in December. She was there for yesterday’s client party that saw the 11am launch of “Hot.” More personalities to come, and of course there’s former Kiss and Jam’n programmer Cadillac Jack McCartney. Rob Williams says “a lot of things have changed in our business,” but the basics of putting a solid station together, marketing it and then selling it to advertisers are still valid. Hot debuts with 13,000 songs in a row, roving over music from the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and today.

Albright & O'Malley & Brenner

“Many license renewal applications are held up because of pending complaints about indecency.”
D.C.-based attorney David Oxenford does his traditional “Crystal Ball” preview of broadcasting’s open issues in Washington. Among the usual suspects – ownership rules, EEO, online public files, royalties, the SESAC class action lawsuit – he mentions indecency. You think that radio hasn’t had to face FCC questions about indecency for years, right? Wrong. David says behind the scenes, plenty of radio and TV renewals are in limbo. As a result, “many sales of stations happen only when the sellers agree to escrow funds to cover any indecency fine that may occur at some point in the future – when the Commission decides what standards to apply.” And there are years worth of complaints. The linchpin is last June’s Supreme Court decision, “upholding the FCC’s right to regulate indecency but questioning the current procedure.” Oxenford predicts that “with so many applications held up, it would seem that the FCC should deal with this issue soon” – but it will be controversial, no matter how it comes down. Read Oxenford’s Washington Crystal Ball column here.

Mike HuckabeeFormer Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will finally have his show cleared in the state capital.
Little Rock’s about to see a couple of format moves at the Capital City Broadcasting cluster, and the upshot is that Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Network-syndicated show will air on “Fresh Talk 96.5.” That entails moving Fresh Talk from its current home at KKSP, Bryant/93.3 to KHTE, England, Arkansas/96.5. That dooms the “K-Hits” CHR format at 96.5, replacing it with all-sports (with an assist from Fox Sports Radio). So there’s one less music station in Little Rock – and finally an outlet for Huckabee’s radio show. Arkansas Business has the story, including last year’s ownership changes at KHTE/KKSP, where New Lion Media took a 43% ownership interest last year in the Crain Media stations, forming the new Capitol City Broadcasting.

Ranch 95.9Fort Worth’s country “Ranch” just added some acreage.
The LKCM-owned all-Texas music KFWR (95.9) turned on its new facility, upgrading from a Class C1 licensed to Mineral Wells (80,000 watts at 1,079 feet) to a C0 (C-zero) with new city of license Jacksboro. It’s running more power (100,000 watts) and more height (1,394), covering more of Ft. Worth, and even pushing eastward into Dallas County. They call the format “The Sound of Texas.”

Bruce GilbertClear Channel recruits Bruce Gilbert as Senior VP of Sports Operations.
Gilbert will be responsible for “the creation, development and direction of sports programming at Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network,” says the company. Of course Premiere just lost Jim Rome to the new CBS Sports Radio Network, and Fox Sports is facing challenges from CBS and elsewhere. Clear Channel says former ESPN Radio VP/General Manager Bruce Gilbert will also work with Tom Poleman’s National Programming Platforms team “to expand sports branding across multiple platforms.” The SVP of Sports Operations job is a new position. Bruce most recently was VP/News, Talk and Sports Programming for CBS in Dallas, and before that was CEO of Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting in Washington, DC. And he spent time at ESPN world headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut as VP/GM of ESPN Radio. At Clear Channel, Gilbert reports to Executive VP of News, Talk and Sports Programming Carl Anderson.

While New Yorkers wonder if they’ll ever have a country station again, WHN is back in the news.
40 years later, Ed Salamon and Archer Books publish a new tome titled “WHN: When New York City Went Country.” That’s on February 25, kicked off with a reunion of WHN (1050) personalities at Hill Country Live on West 26th Street. The next day, former WHN programmer Salamon will participate in a “live on-air reunion of WHN personalities, from 9am to 3:45pm” on New York-market non-com WFDU (89.1). They’ll be streaming at wfdu.fm. As former Westwood executive and Country Radio Broadcasters president Salamon says, WHN hit #2 in the ratings and “became the most listened to country music station of all time, during its 15 years in the format.” There’s still some flickering hope in Nashville that Cumulus will go country with WFME (94.7), once it closes on the purchase from Family Radio.

John GarabedianIt’s an open house party – John Garabedian sells his Radiocraft shows to United Stations.
Those include the weekend “Open House Party,” the weeknight “Party Playhouse with Jackson Blue” and the weekend “Celebrity Top Ten.” Garabedian may have transferred the programming assets of Radiocraft. But he’ll still be working every Saturday night, thanks to “a new long-term contract locking me in” to hosting OHP. United Stations has been Radiocraft’s “marketing partner to the advertising community” since March 2011. Garabedian and United Stations president/COO Jim Higgins announced their deal on Monday. Garabedian does have some other things on his to-do list – like the three Cape Cod radio stations he bought out of the Nassau Broadcasting Chapter 11 bankruptcy situation.

 
Free Talk Live
 

SparkNet and P1 Research “join forces.”
P1 President Ken Benson had been “Executive VP/International” at SparkNet, while simultaneously running his own three-year-old P1 Research firm. Now Ken is president of the combined and slightly re-named “SparkNet Research and Consulting.” SparkNet’s been involved with the Jack FM and NOW! Radio brands, offering them as well as research and consulting services to an American and international clientele. Ken Benson’s curriculum vitae includes being Senior VP at Pinnacle Media Worldwide, EVP/Programming at Citadel, Senior VP at Clear Channel predecessors AMFM Inc. and Chancellor, and VP/Music Programming at MTV in the late 1990s. He also programmed Portland CHR “Z100” KKRZ and Omaha’s KQKQ.

WIVKMake it 118 straight #1 Arbitron books for Knoxville’s country WIVK (107.7).
Not only that – the 19.3 is WIVK’s highest topline age 12+ AQH share in four years. Here’s the four-book trend for the Cumulus-owned monster – 19.2-15.4-16.4-19.3. Country WXBQ, Johnson City also extended its streak, holding onto the #1 spot for the 74th consecutive quarterly book. The Bristol Broadcasting station ran this string for 2012 – 21.2-21.1-19.2-19.4. Some other notable streaks in the yesterday’s Fall-book release from Arbitron – Cumulus-owned CHR WKFR, Kalamazoo pulls its 19th #1 in a row, going from a Spring 15.2 to a Fall 10.2, in this two-book-a-year market. Down in McAllen-Brownsville, Clear Channel is 1-2 with rhythmic “Wild 104” KBFM, 10.6-11.2 (its fourth straight #1 finish) and country KTEX (8.5-10.2). That’s the first double-digit outcome for KTEX since 1995. Beasley’s happy about its home-market soft AC “Sunny 106” WJPT, #1 with a 4.6-7.7. That’s the sunniest topline share in the station’s history. Out in Honolulu, there’s a mystery – where did the FM listening go? Only one FM gained share from the Summer book, and it gained just 0.1 of a share. No doubt who’s still #1, though – Clear Channel’s AC KSSK-FM, 11.4-9.3.

“Using Social Media to get Hired, v. 2013” is today’s free Conclave webinar, featuring Lori Lewis of Jacobs Media. She says “today’s technology opens up better lines of communication and opportunities to help you stand out,” when looking for a new job. But she cautions against “misusing this new technology…first impressions are being formed online before resumes are being read.” The webinar runs 2-3pm Central time today, with signup here.

 
On The Block

WLNIIn Roanoke-Lynchburg, the Mel Wheeler family files to buy “Talk Radio 105.9” WLNI for $1,025,000 cash – and competitor Gary Burns at 3 Daughters Media isn’t happy. He contends that “Wheeler already has six full power FMs and two translators. According to the most recent BIA report, Wheeler has 48.2% of the market revenue, and owns the #1, #2, #3, #5 and #13-rated stations in the market.” Adding “Line” WLNI from Centennial would give it all five of the top billers. Burns says he’s mulling his options. WLNI is a Class A licensed to Lynchburg, owned by Allen Shaw’s Centennial – which has no doubt been feeling the effects of competing with the group founded decades ago by Mel Wheeler. Centennial still has interests further up I-81, in Winchester and Strasburg, and south of D.C. in Fredericksburg. Broker on WLNI – Media Services Group.

Puerto Rico’s “Radio Procer” WOLA, Barranquitas (1380) sells for $600,000 to the party who already owns Spanish tropical WJIT (1250). The buyer is Juan Rosario’s Radio Procer Inc., and it’s paying $100,000 at closing, then 120 monthly payments of $4,000 each, plus a lump sum of $100,000 18 months after closing – based on 6% interest. Seller is Pablo Aponte Alicea’s Torrecilla Broadcasting, and the station runs with 1,000 watts fulltime at 1380. Rosario began LMAing it in December, operating a Spanish contemporary music format.

An AM in Corning, New York goes for $6,000 to local operator Bill Christian. His Great Radio LLC will acquire all-sports WCBA (1350), adding it to his quite sizable collection of broadcast interests – mostly in low power television and full-power “Big Fox” WYDC (virtual and digital channels 48). WCBA radio is authorized for 1,000 watts daytime and 37 watts at night.

Ron Unkefer’s First Ventures Capital Partners sells one of the 73 translators it acquired from Horizon Christian Fellowship. That’s K255AX in Pine Bluff Arkansas, at 98.9. Buyer Joel Kinlow will use it to re-broadcast his black gospel KJJI, White Hall, Arkansas (1190). Price - $30,000 cash.

 
Worth Reading

KIROKIRO-FM, Seattle (97.3) is “doubling up on news in the morning,” with “more news each hour, delivered by two of the most respected news voices in the Northwest: Dave Ross and Linda Thomas.” That’s Bonneville management, quoted in Blatherwatch, which has been reporting the absence of John Curley in mornings. Bonneville says Curley is “still in the KIRO radio family…[but] the change was made because KIRO Radio has been hearing from a lot of you that you want straight-forward news, traffic and weather first thing in the morning, saving the talk shows for later in the day.” More on the Seattle Board of RadioDiscussions.com.

Red Barber, Rosemary Clooney, Powel Crosley, “Uncle Al” – They’re all part of the long-dormant Greater Cincinnati Broadcast Hall of Fame, and some locals think it’s time to revive it and add new members. (Like Gary Burbank, Joe Nuxhall and Bob Trumpy, suggests John Kiesewetter in the Enquirer)? The not-for-profit Media Heritage Archives, housed at the VOA Museum of Broadcasting, is working on it.

Cumulus updates its websites around the company, observes the Atlanta Board of RadioDiscussions.com. A quick check reveals that both the “heritage” Cumulus stations and former Citadel stations like WABC, New York (770) are sporting new websites, delivered around the holidays.

 
Transitions

Charles OsgoodCharles Osgood turns a hale and hearty 80, and tells the CBS New York Local site he has no plans to retire from what would be a demanding schedule for somebody one-third his age – and a true challenge for any poet/rhymester who feeds off of the news and current events. What does Osgood remember? He gives CBS patriarch Bill Paley credit for sticking with the idea of an all-news station at 880 in New York (Group W’s “1010 WINS” was already in the format). And says he’ll keep contributing the “Osgood Files” for CBS News Radio, four times a morning, and of course “Sunday Morning” for CBS television.

Bob Moore joins Larry Kahn’s Sports USA Media Networks – which provides NFL Sunday games and a college football game of the week – as president. Kahn says Moore’s experience running L.A. radio stations and negotiating play-by-play rights is valuable to the L.A.-based syndicator. Bob’s worked with the Dodgers, Kings, Angels, Ducks, Raiders, USC Trojans, New York Giants and Brooklyn Nets. Moore, who most recently worked at Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment, predicts “several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months.”

Kim Bryant comes back to radio and does it in the #1 market, running NYC for Cumulus. The former Clear Channel-San Francisco market manager and Westwood One Regional VP will run the two FM/one AM cluster for Cumulus, succeeding Steve Borneman. (He’s now at Clear Channel.) Bryant will have talk WABC (770), hot AC WPLJ (95.5) and mystery station WFME (94.7) – which Cumulus will soon close on and re-format.

Todd Kalman continues as a GSM in the Minneapolis market, but exchanges one set of stations (CHR KDWB/101.3 and country “K102” KEEY) for another. He’s the new general sales manager at adult alternative “Cities 97” KTCZ and classic hits “Kool 108” KQQL. Kalman’s been part of the cluster for 19 years now. Greg Alexander is the market’s VP of sales.

Erik NycklemoeErik Nycklemoe started out at NPR in Washington DC doing production and editorial work, moved to Minnesota and the vast pubradio complex there – and now is the General Manager at one of the country’s top local public radio stations. That’s Seattle-market KPLU (88.5), “NPR News and all that jazz.” No doubt owner Pacific Lutheran University will be looking for expansion opportunities for its full-power FMs (KPLU Tacoma at 88.5 and KVIX, Port Angeles at 89.3) plus eight translators spread from Longview-Kelso and Centralia up to Bellingham. Erik was Director of Network Initiatives at American Public Media Group – the umbrella for American Public Media, Minnesota Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio (L.A.’s KPCC, etc.), Classical South Florida, and the for-profit publishing and event management "Greenspring Media." At KPLU, Nycklemoe succeeds retiring GM Paul Stankovich.

Mark Reid “brings his large market/small-market skillset” to Tom Birch’s Lakes Media Network, as the Regional Manager for the North Carolina-Virginia border Oxford-South Hill group. That includes country “US 98.3” WLUS and classic hits “Rewind 101.9” WSHV. Reid grew up in nearby Danville and has been a regional manager for First Media and GSM at Clear Channel’s WTQR, Greensboro, as well as a market-level executive with Cumulus and Beasley.

Greg Clancy “will lead and direct the development of all jingles, imaging and production music services marketed by” Dial Global’s TM Studios division. Clancy’s been singing in the studios of Dallas jingle houses for 25 years and arrived at TM Studios in 2006 as music director. He became Creative Director in 2010 – and is now VP/Creative, supervising staff in Valencia and Denver as well as Dallas. A coda to Dial Global’s press release carries more news – “in a related move, the company announced a restructuring to bring the production directors of Dial Global’s 24-hour format division under TM’s management.” L.A.-based Senior Creative Director Scot Kirk will manage the format production directors. Scot now reports to Greg Clancy.

Victor Caballero is promoted to VP of operations at Listener Driven Radio, advancing from director of programming. He’s been with founder Daniel Anstandig for two years – as has just-promoted lead support engineer Joe Tranchita. LDR also hires three more support engineers – James Henline, Jason Robinaugh and former McVay Media staffer Janet Schodowski. New VP Victor Caballero has programmed radio stations in CHR, rhythmic and Spanish formats, in San Antonio, Dallas and L.A. Listener Driven Radio’s interactive technology is employed on more than 160 stations, networks and broadcast groups worldwide, with a combined audience of 30 million.

 
You Can't Make This Up

55 Gallon Oil DrumTaking decisive action - One dealmaker says that "we were doing due diligence just before closing on a station in the South, and at the transmitter site we came upon a 55-gallon drum. That was definitely unexpected and unwelcome. A tower crew had used it to store bolts, etc. and had left it behind. But it shouldn't have been there, especially since the labeling suggested it had once held toxic chemicals. Faced with a major environmental examination, and possible ensuing issues, we did our own 'midnight remediation.' Yes, we floated that sucker right down the neighboring river. That was over 15 years ago, and we never heard another word - no reports of folks born with two heads." Ever have your own late-night/out-of-sight adventure at a station closing? Or some other caper that you can talk about (anonymously)? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.

Take 2 – In North Carolina, Curtis moves the WYMY call letters from Goldsboro-licensed 96.9 to Burlington-licensed 101.1, the former WZTK. The stations had been simulcasting since last April, as regional Mexican “La Ley.” But Raleigh-market 96.9 is now urban “New 96.9” WBZJ. Curtis Media’s Phil Zachary says “while La Ley 101.1 will be ‘home’ to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem market, its massive signal will cover most of Raleigh-Durham and virtually all the Triad, reaching an estimated half-million Spanish-speaking listeners.”

Got a job opening to advertise? Use this Now newsletter to reach the industry. Contact our Kristy Scott at Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. As always, thanks for sharing the news about this two-month-old Tom Taylor Now newsletter with a friend. If you’re reading this as a pass-along, sign up for your own subscription. See you tomorrow. Tom

 
Cluster Sales Manager – Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Privately held Oasis Radio Group in Ft. Wayne, Indiana is looking for an exceptional cluster sales manager to lead its three progressive radio stations of HOT 107.9, US 93.3 and ClickHop.com. The right candidate will have 3-5 years in media management, plus a college degree. You'll work with one of the nation's leading broadcasters and inspire our sales effort for growth in the New Year. We need one of the best sales managers in the business - Period! Applicants must be able to hold themselves and their staff accountable; communicate effectively and manage a team as individuals. They must possess unquestionable character, professionalism and integrity. The ideal candidate will view obstacles as opportunities and consistently strive to win. Serious inquiries only. Email your resume to myfuture@oasisradiogroup.com or fax to (260) 482-8655 Attention: Susan Mullen.

Oasis Radio Group

 
North Carolina Radio Stations For Sale

12 Stations in two North Carolina clusters. Impressive cash flow with markets nearby. Contact radio.opportunity@gmail.com.

 
Pennsylvania Radio Stations For Sale

10 Stations in three small Pennsylvania Markets. Strong cash flow with lots of real property. Contact radio.opportunity@gmail.com.

 

RTK Media

 

 
 
 
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