|A Rush to cancel ads?
“I had to pull a client off a perfect station for them, because of Rush.”
An agency pro tells this NOW newsletter that “the Limbaugh monitoring group [Media Matters] is really something else. I had a business-to-business advertiser whose core is middle-aged decision makers with a male skew. That fit very well with Limbaugh. But the monitoring group was putting on the heat. I tried really hard to talk my client into sticking with Limbaugh, but he told me to pull the spots.” We’ve been following the effectiveness of activist group Media Monitors since it called attention to Rush’s late-February 2012 remarks about Sandra Fluke. Earlier this week, you read here about how a spokesperson for the Belk department store chain explained how it got caught in the middle between the outside group and its supporters, and then the local Rush partisans who bashed Belk on social media. In that case, the spot that ran wasn’t even for Belk, per se, but was something placed by a vendor. Belk’s policy is – they don’t advertise on talk radio, period. In some markets, that even extends to all-news radio, which hurts not one but two formats. But some buyers aren’t discriminating – they just to avoid trouble.
SBS stock soars 23% in one day.
That’s on top of Tuesday’s 6% gain, when Wall Street first got a gander at the 19% first-quarter revenue gains in radio, 42% gains at TV, and strong cost control. Yesterday the “SBSA” stock really got a ride – up 87 cents to $4.60 a share, on volume that was nearly 20 times normal. You could definitely say there’s suddenly more interest in the company, whose stock has been banged around since CEO Raul Alarcon announced his entrance into the television business. There’s another business that’s become profitable for SBS – event management. COO Albert Rodriguez said on yesterday’s call that “we hosted the successful Ricardo Arjona tour in over 12 markets and 14 performances, reaching thousands of fans.” They did that by leveraging radio and TV stations to sell out the shows – and Rodriguez says that in the previous year, “we had the exact same events. It just so happens that this quarter, we did a much better job.” New media’s also showing growth. The radio streaming audience averages about 780,000 uniques per month, and website traffic hit 1.2 million. The COO isn’t offering formal guidance for this current quarter, but says “we are very pleased with April.”
Another daily paper cuts back to Sunday-plus-two.
The MediaNews Group-owned Hanover, Pennsylvania Evening Sun will quit printing four days of the week, with subscribers and advertisers being asked which days they want to keep. Yesterday’s lead story here was about the print version of the Syracuse Post-Standard cutting back to just three days a week, and the bonanza in radio revenue reported by Galaxy CEO Ed Levine. The Hanover paper will be the second Pennsylvania daily to cut back on seven-day production, the other one being in the state capitol of Harrisburg. The most famous case of a newspaper cutting frequency like that is the New Orleans Time-Picayune, owned by Newhouse/Advance – and that move, in a market which depended heavily on printed editions, has already led to a retreat of sorts. The publisher says they’ll start printing a different kind of paper on the off-days. Meanwhile, the Baton Rouge Advocate is squarely targeting New Orleans – and radio hopes to turn more newspaper advertisers into radio users.
Some PPM history is made in the Day 4 April books.
“Hank” is #1 for the first time ever in Indianapolis. (That’s Emmis-owned country WLHK). Jacksonville’s classic hits “Eagle” WJGL is #1 for the first time in its history. And in Hartford, Buckley’s oldies WDRC-FM shares the age 6+ AQH lead, as CBS Radio’s “Lite” WRCH turns in its lower share ever in PPM. A report on the Day 4 PPM markets – the last of this April-book cycle - is coming up in today’s NOW Newsletter.
Final sign-off for programmer/consultant Paul Drew, dead at 78.
That news brings a flood of memories from fans (and jocks) at top 40 radio. Paul made his bones in Atlanta as a jock, rising to PD at WQXI. He later programmed in Detroit (Big 8 CKLW), Philadelphia (WIBG), San Francisco (KFRC), and Los Angeles (KHJ). The KHJ job led to Paul becoming VP/Programming for the famed RKO Radio chain. He entered consulting through Drew-Atkinson Associates, and served as director of the United States Information Agency’s Radio Marti Project, at the request of President Reagan. His friend Ed Gursky says “during early 1980s, Paul shared his knowledge and experiences with attendees at his Professional Programming Management seminars” – and how many folks at that time (or now) were sharing their secrets? Consultant Ed Shane says “during Paul’s Sunday afternoon shift at WAKE in Atlanta, he allowed the teenaged me to use the production studio to practice editing. He would give me assignments at the beginning of the shift, and at the end, he’d critique.” Ed’s wife and business partner Pam Shane had her own teen-years memory of Paul, when he graciously let her meet singer Tommy Sands. Funeral arrangements for Drew are private, says Gursky. Paul Drew died yesterday of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Glendale, California. Summing him up, RAB Senior VP Dick Rakovan says “Paul was a brilliant programmer and thinker, to whom the industry owes a debt...and he was a lovable mad man.”
It’s not enough just to report that the tower lights are out – after two years, you’re supposed to fix them.
In the case of Union Broadcasting of Nashua, Missouri, the FCC punishes the violator by loading another $5,000 onto the baseline tower-lighting fine of $10,000. Union said it first reported the outage on its antenna structure to the Federal Aviation Administration on August 5, 2010 – and just kept reporting it every two weeks, until an FCC inspector from the Kansas City office showed up in November 2012 and found “all the lights on the structure were unlit.” The Commission calls that “a deliberate disregard” for the rules (and of course a potential hazard for pilots). Part of Union’s defense is that there’d been a copper theft at the transmitter site, and that repairs were complicated by “concerns with the modifications creating changes to the nighttime pattern.” Read the FCC’s notice of apparent liability here.
Two Miami pirates never responded to the FCC…
So the Commission goes to the next level, from Notice of Apparent Liability – which both men ignored – to Forfeiture Order. That piece of paper may not look so different from the earlier letters, to Gary M. Feldman (nabbed running an unlicensed transmitter at 97.7) and Bernard Veargis (who’s fond of 91.7 MHz). Now the FCC wants its money (or at least a response) within 30 days. Problem is – the FCC doesn’t exactly have its own corps of bounty hunters, and the next step would be referring the issue to the local U.S. Attorney in Miami, who’s probably got lots of other priorities. The Feldman letter – for a $25,000 fine - is here and the Veargis letter (for $15,000) is here.
After four years, Saga learns it’s still on the hook for a satellite earth station fine.
Saga Radio Networks failed to file a renewal of the ten-year license back in August 2007, and the business manager discovered the oversight in May 2008. The company quickly contacted the FCC and asked for Special Temporary Authorization to keep operating E872070, licensed to Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Based on Commission practice at the time, Saga won a reduction in the usual fine for unauthorized operation from $10,000 to $5,000, and a reduction in the fine for failure to file a timely renewal, from $3,000 to $1,500. That dropped the total to $6,500, and then the Spectrum Enforcement Division offered a further break to $5,200, based on the voluntary disclosure and corrective measures. Then Saga tried again in May 2009, asking for cancellation because the violation wasn’t willful or repeated – and since then, nothing’s happened. Four years later, the Bureau finally denies the petition and asks for the $5,200. Read the latest order on this lingering FCC situation here.
iHeartRadio hooks up with the CW for a multi-year deal.
Their relationship includes making the CW television network the exclusive home of the annual iHeartRadio Music Festival in September, the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball holiday series, and various album release parties. The partnership begins with the next “Ultimate Pool Party” from the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. The actual party is June 28-29, with broadcast of selected clips on the CW July 15. John Sykes, president of Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises, says “We chose the CW because we share the same powerful connection to a highly-influential young demographic.” The CW is a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Brothers.
Ft. Collins, Colorado is getting a new adult alternative “Radio 94.9.”
That’s courtesy of an HD Radio-fed translator. Clear Channel’s leasing K235AT from Mountain Community Translators, and supplying with the HD2 multicast signal of its classic rock “107.9 The Bear” KPAW. Clear Channel market manager Stu Haskell says “we’re especially excited to spotlight local artists as part of our regular programming.” Stu says adult alternative is a format that’s “been missing from this area for a long time.” Radio 94.9 should debut at noon today and it’s on iHeart as well as its own site, here.
April PPMs from Arbitron – Day 4.
Austin – Some Bobby Bones effect, in his former home market? If you’re CHR “Kiss” KHFI, a mere 8.6 looks a tad low. In the last three months, it’s gone from a February 10.3 share to a March 9.1 and now an 8.6 for the April book. March was the first time in recent months that it’s dropped below double digits. Clear Channel has re-shaped former “Kiss” morning personality Bobby Bones into a syndicated country personality, transferring him to Nashville and switching his Austin presence to country KASE (10.1-9.1-7.4). With Bones, CC is moving KASE younger, and it appears that some of that audience has shifted to sister country KVET-FM (3.1-5.9-5.3). CHR Kiss and country KASE still finish 1-2, ahead of Emmis-run variety hits “Bob FM” KBPA (7.1-7.3-6.8). For Kiss, that’s the 28th consecutive #1 finish in PPM. Emmis’ regional Mexican “La Z” KLZT continues its runup – going 4.3-4.5-5.0-5.4-5.4 and now 5.7 – and ranks #4. Emmis’ KLBJ-FM (4.9-4.6-5.1) rocks to its best topline since October 2011. All shares in this section are the broad PPM standard of age 6+ AQH, for the total broadcast week. Arbitron’s “subscriber only” policy is in effect, so we see only the shares of stations that subscribe to the book.
Milwaukee – Baseball is starting to show up for Journal Broadcast Group-owned Brewers flagship WTMJ, which rises 6.4-5.5-7.1. But that’s still only good enough for fourth place. Clear Channel’s country WMIL stays on top, improving 9.7-9.9-10.0. CC’s talk WISN (7.3-7.5-8.1) and sister oldies WRIG (7.9-9.0-8.1) are tied, apparently sharing second place. But remember Arbitron’s subscriber-only policy – we’re not seeing non-subscribers such as Saga’s classic hits WKLH.
Indianapolis – For the first time ever, country “Hank” (8.1-7.3-8.6) breaks on top to the #1 spot, ahead of its country rival. Emmis’ Hank WLHK goes 8.1-7.3-8.6, versus the Cumulus-owned WFMS (8.6-7.8-7.2, for its lowest number since last year). Hank’s 8.6 is its best in the PPM era. Last month Emmis’ AC “B105.7” WYXB pushed into third place – and this time it’s tied with WFMS for second (6.7-6.8-7.2). Entercom CHR WZPL edges up 6.5-6.7-6.8 for its best PPM ever.
Raleigh – The 1-2 battle here is turning into a regular contest between Curtis Media’s country WQDR (7.7-8.4-8.2) and North Carolina Public Radio’s news/talk WUNC (8.4-8.0-8.1). New third place face is Capitol’s AC “Mix 101.5” WRAL, 5.8-6.9-7.3. “Mix” is the market’s top cume-ing station, at nearly 490,000. Watching Clear Channel’s “95X” – an HD-fed alt-rocker mostly heard via translator – it continues to grow (1.3-1.7-1.8).
Norfolk – Country “Eagle” WGH-FM, owned by Max Media, gains altitude (5.1-5.7-5.9) for its best number since November 2011. On top are Entercom’s urban AC WVKL (10.5-8.6-8.9) and then CC’s urban WOWI (5.9-6.3-6.7). Entercom’s recently-rebranded “New 101.3,” the former “2WD” adult contemporary WWDE, is off 4.1-5.1-4.5.
Nashville – Nobody seems interested in challenging South Central’s dominating AC, “Mix” WJXA. It’s #1 by a country mile, 13.4-14.6-13.1. That’s way ahead of any of the country stations in Music City. Second place goes to CC’s “River” WRVW (6.8-6.5-7.0) and third place to South Central’s variety hits “Jack” WCJK (6.3-6.2-6.7). In the three-cornered country war, it’s Cumulus’ WKDF (6.2-5.4-6.2), CC’s “Big 98” WSIX (with Bobby Bones and a revised air lineup) going 5.0-4.7-5.2, and Cumulus WSM-FM (4.8-4.5-4.8). There’s another arena of competition, and it’s in Christian radio. Salem’s “Fish” contemporary Christian WFFH/WFFI gains 2.1-2.1-3.4, compared to EMF’s non-commercial “K-Love” contemporary Christian WLVU (2.0-2.3-2.0). Nashville Public Radio’s news/talk WPLN-FM is up (3.2-3.1-3.8) and its non-simulcast AM appears with a 0.2. While Clear Channel’s talk WLAC sinks below a 2-share (2.6-2.7-1.9).
West Palm Beach – AC WRMF, owned by the local Palm Beach Broadcasting, achieves its highest share yet in PPM (8.1-9.4-11.0). Second place goes to Clear Channel’s CHR “Wild 95.5” WLDI (with a string of 6.0’s) and third place is CC’s AC “Kool 105.5” WOLL (5.0-5.5-6.0).
Jacksonville – Classic hits “Eagle,” Cox-owned WJGL, beats everybody else for the first time ever (6.7-6.7-7.2). Then you’ve got Top 40 sister WAPE (7.2-7.4-6.6) and Clear Channel’s urban AC WSOL (6.3-6.2-6.5). It’s followed by another Cox station, the news/talk simulcast of WOKV-AM/FM (6.3-6.5-6.4). Note that this book occurred just before Cox changed around WOKV’s FM partner to give it a stronger footprint. The only three subscribers showing in Jax are Cox, Clear Channel and public radio news/talker WJCT Inc. (2.3-2.5-2.1).
Memphis – Solid month for country “Kix 106,” Cumulus-owned WGKX. It’s up 5.4-4.5-6.0. Up on top are Clear Channel’s gospel “Hallelujah” WHAL-FM (10.8-11.9-10.7) and sister urban AC KJMS (10.5-9.7-9.9). Checking the sports scores – for all-sports radio, that is – Entercom’s WMFS-AM/FM earns a 2.6-2.7-2.9 string, compared to sister WMC (0.1-0.1-0.2) and Flinn’s WHBQ (0.9-0.7-0.9). Also showing up is WHBQ's mostly-simulcast sister WPGF, broadcasting on the audio of a low power Channel 6 TV station. It's flat at a 0.6.
Hartford – History is made. For the first time ever in this market, Buckley’s oldies WDRC-FM gets a piece of the #1 title. WDRC-FM holds its pace (9.0-8.5-8.9) while CBS Radio’s AC “Lite” WRCH (9.8-9.6-8.9) drops to its lowest topline share ever in PPM. Third place goes to CBS Radio’s Top 40 WTIC-FM (9.5-8.8-8.6), followed very closely by CC’s country WWYZ (8.2-8.3-8.5).
Are you signed up to get the May PPMs, when they start rolling June 10? If you didn’t receive this week’s afternoon ratings emails at 5pm Eastern, you can set yourself up to see the next batch. Scroll down to the bottom of this issue of NOW to “Email options.” Click on “Update Subscriptions” and check the box for “Would you like to receive ratings updates?”
Waco’s country “Shooter FM” KRMX (92.9) adds a future FM translator – though it realizes there’s some risk. Not from the “shooter” (the station slogan refers to “Texas country young guns and legends”). But from a potential full-power rival on the same frequency of 99.1 that would force it to move or go dark. Buyer Gary Moss acknowledges in the sale document that “there exists a full-power FM allotment on Channel 256A [meaning a Class A] that the Commission may auction in the future” and “which would displace” the translator. That translator is K256BW, licensed to Waco, and at this point it’s still a construction permit held by Charlotte-based Bible Broadcasting Network. It would run 75 watts and one puzzle here is why Moss needs it. He tells the FCC he’ll be simulcasting his “Shooter FM” KRMX, Marlin - but it’s already a Class C2 with 50,000 watts at 492 feet, located just south of Waco. Perhaps he’s thinking of simulcasting one of his AM stations there, like “ESPN 1660” KRZI? Price for the translator - $25,000 cash.
Three big-market FMs sell in Canada, as a result of the still-pending merger of Bell Media and Astral Media. The government’s evaluating the Bell/Astral marriage, which was revamped and re-submitted, and the subject of full week’s worth of public hearings. But the companies are moving ahead with at least one necessary part of the transaction – spinning some of the eventual ten radio stations that Bell wouldn’t be able to keep. That gives British Columbia-based Jim Pattison Broadcast Company a second FM in Calgary, and its first two FMs in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In Calgary, Jim Pattison Broadcast Company’s in the interesting position of being able to buy Bell’s hot AC “Today and back in the day” Kool 101.5 CKCE, at the same time that it’s about to launch its own adult alternative “95.3 the Peak” CHPK. The Peak is a brand-new frequency granted by the CRTC regulator. In Winnipeg, the Jim Pattison group gets one FM from Bell (classic hits “Fab 94.3” CHIQ) and one from Astral (country QX104 CFQX). No price announced.
“Your PPM strategy is wrong: Word of mouth still matters.” Mark Ramsey says “playing to Arbitron’s PPM measurement technology may provide short-term gains…but very much at the expense of the health of radio brands long-term.” (For what it’s worth – Arbitron’s always advised building brands and thinking long-term. Sometimes it’s broadcasters who have gone short-term.) Ramsey says “it’s accepted wisdom” that “so-called top-of-mind recall is irrelevant,” since that little PPM gadget is designed to measure behavior and not recall. But Ramsey says “top-of-mind leads directly to word-of-mouth, and word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.” From a radio angle – Ramsey asks why in the 1980s and early 1990s, “virtually every car in San Diego was plastered with bumper stickers for the town’s hottest stations.” The answer may surprise you – “fans did this to brand themselves in the images of their favorite stations…they were advertising themselves.” Read “Your PPM strategy is wrong” here.
“Study finds that 70% of streaming users are completely inactive,” says DigitalMusicNews.com. The research work was done by Mark Mulligan, analyzing the music service named Deezer. 73% of registered users were found to be “inactive,” and then Mulligan compared that to Spotify. Same thing – 70% were inactive versus 23% “active free” subscribers and 8% “paid.” Mulligan’s conclusion – “this is not a Spotify problem. It is a fundamental issue with the freemium music model: many more people decide it’s not for them than continue using the service.” He says it’s the old story with subscription services – churn.
Steve Sinicropi changes jobs, but not markets. At the start of this week, SummitMedia announced he’d be leaving as manager of the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC properties it just acquired from Cox Media Group. Now Entercom installs him as its new VP/Market manager there. (Current MM Randy Cable is stepping back into the GSM position.) Before South Carolina, Sinicropi managed for CBS Radio in Detroit (at then-talk WKRK-FM/97.1) and for All Pro Broadcasting in Milwaukee. He also chaired the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council. He’ll report to Entercom Regional President Michael Doyle, and he’s responsible for the cluster that includes classic rock WROQ (101.1) and CHR “B93.7” WFBC.
David Wolfman also takes a new job in the same market – the former GSM at Clear Channel’s Miami cluster is the new local sales manager for Beasley’s all-sports WQAM (560), reporting to Director of Sales Keriann Worley. David’s experience extends to the rep business, at Interep, ABC Radio Sales and D&R Radio.
Tony Boselli will stick with just one NFL team this season – the Jacksonville Jaguars. The club’s former offensive tackle has been doing TV work and analysis for Dial Global radio for three seasons, but now becomes part of the Jaguars regular radio team as an analyst. He says “I feel like I’m coming home.” He’ll work with play-by-play voice Brian Sexton and current color analyst Jeff Lageman. There’s more from Jacksonville, where Cox-owned news/talk WOKV – 690 and now the new, more powerful FM home at 104.5 – will use Sexton, Boselli and Pete Prisco on the 6-8pm “Jaguars Monday.” Then “Jaguars Thursday” (same time slot) will employ a cast that also includes former QB Mark Brunell and Gus Bradley. Here’s what the team says about its expanded coverage on WOKV – here.
Chris Williams feels that after 26 years, it’s time to leave Lotus Communications’ rock KOMP Las Vegas (92.3). In fact, he’s ready to leave the business, per his Facebook quote – “I have had a wonderful career and feel so blessed. My last day on the KOMP Morning Show will be Friday, May 31” – and Chris is a topic on the Nevada Board of RadioDiscussions.com.
Mike Taylor (no relation) says that “after 3-1/2 years of retirement, I’m dusting off the headphones and taking a position with Key Sports Radio, in the Ocala-Gainesville market.” That’s WYKD, Locanto (104.3). Mike will also be working with WYKE-TV, re-starting an on-air and programming career that took him to San Francisco, Washington DC, Miami, Tampa, Hartford and Birmingham. Mike’s new email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's in a name? Sid Grubbs, a.k.a. “Lockjaw Hawkins,” a.k.a. "The Mojo Man," says "I once worked for a PD that had the stupid idea that if you were subbing for another guy at the station, you should use his name while doing his show. Well, one night I had to go emcee a benefit rock show the station was involved in, and then get right back to finish my shift, which ran until midnight. When I hurried back from the gig, the guy relieving me was in orbit because of all the negative request line calls - every line including the news line was blinking. I began to tell all the callers to call the morning show, saying the morning jock would tell the boss. Well, the morning show guy was the PD, and needless to say that ended that stupid policy. But if I hadn't had a top evening rating, I'd have probably been fired." Ready to share your own true story with the industry? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.
Who’s reading Tom Taylor NOW every morning? Passionate, involved people, who engage with the stories (and contribute their own ideas and experience). If they’re interested in a topic, they’ll dig to learn more about it, and this NOW newsletter helps them, with links to source material. Want to reach our audience of passionate radio people with your advertising message, or to place a classified ad to fill a vacancy? Contact our Kristy Scott - Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. Enjoy your weekend - Tom