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Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Volume 1   |   Issue 7
 
Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda
Media Monitors
Mitt Romney's What if?Radio is one of Mitt Romney’s what-ifs.
Another question to toss into the GOP post-mortem – what if Romney had used radio much more aggressively, while the Obama forces were framing him as a heartless corporate suit from Bain Capital? New Media Monitors data shows that the week leading up to the November 6 election was the first time the Mitt Romney for President campaign ran more radio spots than the Obama campaign. The margin wasn’t great, 7,883 for Romney to 7,278 for Obama. But it was enough to put Romney into first place on the Media Monitors “Political Advertising Spot Ten." For that same period, the Republican National Committee-Romney group moved up from the #4 spender to #3, at 1,699 spots. Further down were third-party groups like the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation against Barack Obama. It was #5. The pro-Romney Restore Our future Super Pac was #7. One of the lessons the Romneyites might have learned from Obama’s 2008 campaign was his early use of radio. But here in 2012, the GOP focused on TV. It now understands it was behind Obama in terms of social media and grassroots mobilization through innovations like its virtual call center named “Dashboard” – but does it understand the blown opportunity in radio? And can radio make its case for the 2014 Congressional races?
 
Media Services Group
 

BBCThe BBC scandal’s starting to look like the NPR crisis – problems at the very top, but solid day-to-day work.
National Public Radio survived successive problems with an over-hasty firing (Juan Williams) and a selectively-edited ambush video that eventually claimed the CEO and top fundraising executives. Top news management also turned over. But through it all, the NPR membership and listenership remained steady, because NPR partisans are loyal to the people they hear on the air, and to the quality of the work. That’s the way it’s playing out in the UK now, with new BBC Director General George Entwistle falling gallantly on his sword after less than two months on the job – and now two more senior executives are departing. The Beeb was already damaged by the Jimmy Savile pedophilia scandal, and then came the mistaken identification of a Tory politician. Now director of news Helen Boaden and her #2, Stephen Mitchell, have “stepped aside.” And The Guardian further says that two other news executives “are expected to face a disciplinary process that could result in them being sacked or exonerated.” Oh – there’s a flap about the outsize exit payment being given to Entwistle. Even the Prime Minister wants that investigated. Will it affect how the British public views the BBC, and the license fees they pay on TV (though not radio) sets? Maybe – but just as with NPR, it’s likely that listeners will continue to identify trust the voices they hear on the air, every day.

Hurricane SandyNews/talk stations in Hurricane Sandy’s path should like this – Arbitron will release the Week 3 PPM data in four big markets.
NOW told you in its very first issue, back on November 6, that Arbitron was studying the storm-plagued week of October 25-31 in northeastern and mid-Atlantic markets. Now Arbitron says it will go ahead and make public the PPM data gathered from New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, NJ and Philadelphia. Arbitron says “while super storm Sandy did affect the performance of the sample…our review of in-tab and other sample performance metrics supports the release of Week 3 data in all markets.” That will begin on November 19. What about Week 4, the final component of the November PPMs? The ratings service is still reviewing the returns from early November, when so many homes were dark – but only in three markets. Those are New York, Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex. Philadelphia made out a little better than expected. We’ll start seeing the November-book PPM results on Tuesday, November 27.

ChristmasIt’s all-Christmas in stereo – some markets already have at least two all-yule outlets.
Like – Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo, according to the holiday count at Mike Austerman’s Michiguide. In Detroit, AC rivals WNIC (Clear Channel’s “Fresh 100.3”) and WMGC (Greater Media’s “Today’s 105.1” WMGC) went last Friday. Two soft AC stations in Grand Rapids also followed each other (Townsquare Media’s “River 100.5” WTRV and Clear Channel’s “Star 105.7” WSRW-FM). And in Toledo, rival soft ACs WMIM/98.3 (Cumulus) and ‘River” 101.5” WRVF (Clear Channel) went last Friday. It’s actually not that early for the Christmas parade. Thanksgiving falls this year on the earliest possible date (November 22, the fourth Thursday of the month), and that’s only 9 days away (sorry to scare you). Clear Channel’s AC “Lite” WLIT-FM (93.9) Chicago made the flip only after an innovative promotion – they held back the Santa music until they’d hit a radiothon goal to benefit the Mercy Home for Girls and Boys. That was a neat twist on the usual suspense for a station that typically sees its Holiday-book ratings soar to triple or even quadruple the year-round average.

 
Media Monitors
 

In absentia, Howard Stern is inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
It’s not clear the SiriusXM star ever responded to Bruce Dumont’s invitation. There wasn’t even time for a formal presentation at last Saturday night’s ceremony at the Museum’s downtown Chicago home at State and Kinzie Streets. Host Geraldo Rivera got to Stern at the close of the live broadcast, and there wasn’t a formal induction by a presenter. Stern had been on the ballot four previous times and each time ridiculed the process – thus causing his fans to stay out of the voting. This time, the Hall’s steering committee made its own choices, saying that Stern clearly deserves to be on the wall. Also in the Class of 2012 – Cincinnati’s Gary Burbank. Dallas personality Ron Chapman. Pioneering Chicago African-American personality Jack Cooper. Southern California’s ageless oldies cheerleader Art Laboe. The amazing Chattanooga nonagenarian Luther Masingill. And NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross.” Like Stern, Terry was absent from the ceremony. More about the Museum of Broadcasting here.

NewcapNewcap, with 85 stations in Canada, reports revenue up 6% for the latest quarter.
The Steele family-controlled Newfoundland Capital says part of the revenue gain is due to stations it bought in British Columbia, a continent away from its base in eastern Canada. Q3 revenue improved from $31.9 million (Canadian) to $33.7 million, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $8.9 million. That was up 3%. Like many other broadcast companies throwing off cash flow, Newcap is buying back its own stock - $7.1 million worth in the latest quarter, or 891,134 shares. Newcap’s also paying dividends (about $1.8 million back in August). Founder Harry Steele bought his first radio property in 1986, and has been an active acquirer since then, bidding for new FMs coming on the air, and concentrating on small and medium markets. Newcap has stations in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Newcap trades two classes of stock on the Toronto Exchange as NCC-A.TO and NCC-B.TO.

Urban and Hispanic stations are “target formats” for the next Jacobs Media Techsurvey.
Fred Jacobs says past online Techsurveys have included as many as 12 formats, building on the consultancy’s original base of rock. Now Fred says they’re especially interested in reaching urban and Hispanic stations for the survey that begins in early 2013 – the survey that uses station websites to gauge listener behavior and adoption of technology. Last year, 170 stations participated. Stations can sign up for Techsurvey9 is here.

 
On The Block
Jeff SmulyanEmmis founder and CEO Jeff Smulyan – Part 2

Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker is commending the industry for working together more closely, citing a new spirit of cooperation among group heads. What happened?
“There’s an old saying, that the person who has the most similar life to you, is the person who is your closest competitor. We’re all old enough to understand that whether David Field beats me in the ratings this month, I beat him, or Dan Mason, or John Hogan, or Lew Dickey - it’s all going to even out, and I’m not going to drive their stations off the air. We’re all going to be there tomorrow. Adversity builds focus. We’re all in this, saying how do we build this industry? There’s a common recognition among all of us that if we don’t build the industry, it’s not really going to matter whether you run Clear Channel or CBS or Emmis or Entercom or Greater Media or Radio One. We’ve really worked together, and I’ve been incredibly gratified by the work with the other CEOs on the cellphone thing.”

Okay, this is your crusade Talk about FM chips on cellphones.
“It is the most fascinating project I’ve ever been involved in. There are three reasons why I think it’s absolutely essential to our business. I’m amazed at the people who didn’t understand the difference between streaming their audio, and having an independent terrestrial signal. That way, we control our distribution, with a direct link between our transmitters and 272 million people every week. (One of my missions is to get everybody to use a 6+ number, not a 12+ number. It’s about 272 million people a week.)

“#1, We are an industry desperately in need of cachet...This is an industry that people don’t think about any more. Everybody talks about the buzz of Pandora and SiriusXM. Having radio on smartphones at the same time when people realize they’re being charged to listen through their data networks will change their perception overnight. We’re there, we’re relevant again.

“#2, We know it will add more listening. We think it will add probably about 15%. They’re telling me that it’s much than that in Great Britain, now.

“#3, There are opportunities in commerce on the backend. One of the wireless carriers said to us, ‘You guys don’t understand how big a business opportunity this is.’ It is the first time you can marry the call to action of broadcasting with all the people we have in local markets, with the backchannels that the carriers have. We have a one-way path, they have the other path. We can control the whole eco-system.”

You’ve been talking about the painful reality that's coming to smartphone users.
“The thing that’s going to put this over the top is data-metering. If you want to stream Pandora, or Hot 97 [Emmis’ WQHT New York], that’s great, but you have a free [over-the-air] choice with Hot 97. That is a tremendous advantage. The consumer thinks that Pandora is free, but once they start racking up data charges, they’ll realize, Oh my gosh, it’s not so free. We’re making very, very good progress with the wireless carriers.

There’s actually a secret inside smartphones, isn’t there?
“Every smartphone shipped in the United States has a radio in the chipset – it’s just turned off. If you bought the same smartphone in London that you bought in Cleveland, the phone in London would have a radio – just turn the button on. In Cleveland, it’s deactivated." Thanks to Emmis chief Jeff Smulyan for doing "Brain Box." Got somebody you'd like to learn more about? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.

 
Worth Reading

Rick O'Dell“No other format was as materially altered – and ultimately wounded – by the PPM as smooth jazz.” That’s 25-year Chicago jazz programmer Rick O’Dell, explaining the opening for his own new “SmoothJazzChicago.net” online station. One time WNUA programmer and personality O'Dell says “I never gave up on terrestrial radio – terrestrial radio gave up on the format.” He says "Now there are over 30 viable radio frequencies in Chicago with lots of sound-alike formats." But nobody's played Chicago jazz. Robert Feder’s interview with Rick O’Dell in TimeOut Chicago is here.

“Neither station has flinched in what has become a traditional Christmas competition” in Milwaukee, says NorthPine. In this case, neither Clear Channel’s “Oldies 95.7” WRIT nor Entercom’s AC “99.1 The Mix” WMYX has jumped across the line of scrimmage and started all-Christmas. Northpine says “one poster on Facebook even accused Mix of being anti-Christian for failing to flip to all-Christmas by November 10.” Mix and WRIT jumped on the same day in 2008 (October 31), 2009 (November 13), and 2011 (November 10). They broke the pattern in 2010, when WRIT had the field to itself for four days.

 
Transitions

Brian WilsonBrian Wilson says “I wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners” at Clear Channel’s Toledo talker WSPD (1370). The former program director, news director and PM drive personality vows “to continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.” Wilson had been performing his duties from southern Virginia for quite some time, and he’ll now have extra energy to apply toward his other activity – running his Vacation Relief Services company. Over the years, that fill-in concept has put Brian on stations from New York City (WABC/770) to San Francisco (KSFO). Wilson’s website is here.

Stacey SimmsStacey Simms is leaving as co-host of “Charlotte’s Morning News” on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM (1110/99.3). Mark Washburn in the Charlotte Observer. says she’s been a stalwart on the shift for a decade, after crossing from then-sister WBTV television. Simms “has suffered health setbacks over the past year,” says Washburn, and was forced to stay home for two months. No replacement yet on the team that includes Bo Thompson and Jim Szoke. (Al Gardner left last December to join Merlin Media in his hometown of Philadelphia.)

 

Kane is willing and able to work those dreaded Thanksgiving and Christmas airshifts, says Premiere. His morning program is based at Clear Channel’s rhythmic “Hot 99.5” WIHT, Washington, DC, and he does a syndicated afternoon “Kane Show.” This year, for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, and for December 24-28, Kane’s offering to “cover holiday swing shifts for affiliates and stations in available markets.” The four-hour show’s available for download by FTP, and there’s also the chance for stations to plug in their own music.

 
You Can't Make This Up

LasVegas Motor SpeedwayMotor Racing Network President David Hyatt says “In 1998, after a two-year absence to build the first NASCAR.com website, I returned to the Motor Racing Network as Executive Producer. The inaugural Sprint Cup (then Winston Cup) series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the second event of the season. Everything seemed to be working fine in the pre-race activities until our anchor, Barney Hall, pitched to Jim Phillips for a live interview with a driver. When Jim didn’t respond, we went to a break and Winston Kelley came on the cue channel to say that Jim was on fire. He said ‘There is smoke boiling out of his equipment belt. He’s on fire.’ As I watched through binoculars from the booth, Jim suddenly came back on the air and said, ‘I’m all right now.’ At that point, Joe Moore, positioned on a billboard outside of turn one, said ‘David, the deputies are throwing rocks at me, telling me I have to come down. One of them has drawn his gun.’ As I picked up the phone to call race control, I was informed that Jim was suddenly on fire again and shedding his RF pack. In the meantime, the race started, and reinforcements from the Clark County Sheriff’s office had been dispatched to get Joe off the billboard. At gunpoint, and under the hail of flying gravel, Joe would alternately call the action, then turn to face the deputies to plead for mercy. I finally reached the race track operator, and he called off the deputies. Our engineering team got Jim some new RF gear and a fire retardant belt pack - but as I thought I was monitoring the NASCAR’s officials channel, I heard someone call for a rollaway bed on the 17th floor. Somehow I was listening to a hotel’s housekeeping frequency. Fortunately, none of our listeners knew we were scrambling and the broadcast was a success.”

“So glad you're back at it again…I now have a first read in the morning again” - from a group head who somehow squeezes out time to read NOW in his pre-dawn hours. Thanks for the time you give to this new daily radio management newsletter. If you’re reading this as a pass-along from somebody else, sign up for your own subscription, at no charge. After you sign up, then make sure you reply to the confirmation email (check your spam filter if that doesn’t appear, or you may need to white-list RadioNews@TomTaylorNow.com). Signup is here.
See you back tomorrow. Tom

 
 
 
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