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Media Monitors
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 Volume 1   |   Issue 25
Pandora’s passport
Pandora's PassportPandora expands its footprint in Australia and New Zealand.
Investors and analysts hope there’s upside for the Internet music services beyond U.S. borders – and beyond the reach of the punishing music royalty fees Pandora’s paying. Back in July, Lifehacker Australia reported that Pandora had ceased geoblocking its offerings, though there weren’t any apps yet. But the U.S. versions of the apps worked, and so (quietly) did the web-based Pandora. Now Pandora announces it’s “fully live” in Australia and New Zealand. Music-seeking Aussies may recall that Pandora had previously been available there, but the company pulled all its international availability to focus on the U.S. Now Pandora founder Tim Westergren says “with the huge number of mobile device users in Australia and New Zealand, we anticipate fast adoption.” To signal its interest in the new lands, Pandora’s offering “curated genre stations of Australian-and New Zealand-specific music.” Former Fairfax Media digital chief Jane Huxley will be managing director for the new markets. She and Westergren will appear at “town halls” in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland this week. The news didn’t offer any particular lift to Pandora stock – “P” gained 2 cents to close at $7.99, up less than 1%.
Patrick Communications

That controversial Australian station pulls all its commercials – not just the ones on a now-canceled show.
Sydney’s 2Day FM is truly hunkering down like an armadillo, in the blast of worldwide criticism over its jocks posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, and the several-days-later suicide of the nurse they spoke with. Southern Cross Austereo is “suspending all advertising on 2Day FM until further notice” – and not just on the show featuring the now-in-seclusion Mel Greig and Michael Christian. After doing some TV appearance to express their sorrow, they won’t be back on 2Day FM “until further notice.” Southern Cross Austereo is also killing the “Hot 30” program formerly hosted by the pair. And it’s suspended all “prank calls, companywide.” On that score –

• Scotland’s Robin Galloway is suspending his own “crank calls” and pulling the promotional spots for his current CD of such calls. Galloway says in the UK’s Radio Today, “The way I feel right now, I may not resume them at all, which would be strange, having done literally thousands over the years with little or no complaint.” Before the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, Galloway was “a tad envious” of the royal prank perpetrated by the hosts in Australia. Now, he says “the whole sorry affair has left me shattered.” Clyde 1 host Galloway has sold over 100,000 phone-prank CDs.

John Parikhal• “Please, programmers, stop making excuses” consultant John Parikhal. He uses this NOW newsletter platform to talk about the consequences of the prank call from Australia – “In response to the comment that the hospital suicide was a 'freak accident’…All accidents are 'freak' in one way or another. That's why they are called accidents. And for most accidents, it's just a matter of time before they happen. It's like driving. When you are reckless, cross the line, focus only on yourself and set out to stress or hurt others (every prank caller wants to do this or the call doesn't work), one day you will have an accident. And in some cases you will kill someone. Please, programmers, stop making excuses. You know the calls stress and hurt people. Many of your listeners love to see others squirm. Just be honest with yourselves when the accident kills someone. And, be thankful that it isn't very often.”

• The U.S. rule about phone notification is “pretty straightforward,” says consultant Alex DeMers. He says “the FCC rule is that callers must be notified that they are being recorded for on-air use (or put on the air live). We don’t encourage air talent that we work with to engage in these sorts of stunts at all.” He says, with perhaps dry humor, “We do find ourselves having to remind talent of that, from time to time.” The standard FCC fine for a violation of the phone-notification rule is $4,000, but the true cost, counting legal fees and even potentially delayed license renewals, is higher. And no, it’s not okay to record the bit with an unsuspecting victim, then ask them for permission afterwards. They could still complain to the Commission – and that’s happened.

Mumford & SonsMore direct royalty deals between radio groups and music companies.
Mumford & Sons are now in business with Entercom, in a way – Daniel Glass’s Glassnote Entertainment Group will “align its business interests and accelerate growth and innovation in digital radio” with a pact that gives Glassnote and its artists part of Entercom’s over-the-air revenue. Entercom already has a deal with Nashville-based Big Machine Records (Taylor Swift, et. al.). The Glassnote stable includes Phoenix, The Temper Trap, Two Door Cinema Club, GIVERS, Childish Gambino, Oberhofer, Daughter, Robert DeLong, Little Green Cars and Flight Facilities, as well as the Grammy-nominated eclectic British group Mumford & Sons. As with other radio-record deals, nobody’s disclosing the terms. Separately, Clear Channel, which shattered the wall with its Big Machine agreement, has a new deal with DashGo. That roster includes Rock Mafia and Weezer as well as some indie labels, and the agreement counts as Clear Channel’s fourth direct deal. After Big Machine, CC signed with Glassnote and the Naxos classical label (probably mostly for iHeart Radio). It will be years before we can really appraise these partnerships, as digital grows. But they’re the kind of free-market agreement the NAB and others are supporting – hoping to fend off legislation in the 113th Congress.


xx1090San Diego’s XX1090 has an extra helping of lineup changes.
Yes, it’s adding the Jim Rome Show, part of the lineup of the about-to-debut CBS Sports Radio Network. But it’s also bringing back (says U-T San Diego) Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith. They left in February, after Kaplan roiled the market with comments about TV analyst Andrea Lloyd. (He called her “a Sasquatch of a woman” and said “I think that she is currently a woman. I cannot confirm for you that she has been a woman her entire life.”) Kaplan and Smith have been working for U-T TV, and now the U-T site says they “will return in afternoon drive, while keeping their morning television duties.” An arbitrator awarded them nearly $500,000 for breach of contract related to their exits. Also coming to XEPRS/XX 1090 – San Diego radio pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, who took over mornings yesterday. He replaced Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth. So the revised roster at XX 1090 will be Hamilton, Jim Rome (moving from Clear Channel’s all-sports "Xtra 1360" KLSD), Darren Smith (adjusting from PM drive to noon-3pm), Kaplan and Smith (3-7pm), and incumbent John Kentera (7-11pm).

David GowGow Broadcasting buys the Sports Flash Radio Network.
That news comes the same day that Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Group ally themselves in a new working arrangement. That’s interesting, because Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates the Yahoo Sports Radio syndication, through a licensing deal with Yahoo. So here are the two news items - #1, Gow acquires sports update service Sports Flash, which was founded by Mike Sinnott. Mike joins the management team at Yahoo Sports Radio as a vice president, specializing in the “sports updates business.” David Gow, based at his KGOW, Houston (1560) just closed on his $5,050,000 purchase of KFNC, Beaumont (97.5). Gow Broadcasting says its network is thriving - “since we announced our partnership with Yahoo Sports on August 1, 2011, the company has more than doubled its affiliate base, from 170 to over 360 affiliates.” And #2, here’s more on the Yahoo-NBC alliance. This is a content and promotional deal that includes fantasy sports, putting the Rivals.com product on NBCSports.com for news about college recruiting. Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports Group will keep their sites separate and retain individual editorial control. But they’ll “collaborate on premium sports news and events coverage, both online and on the air.” Of course NBC also partners with Dial Global for a new radio sports network that debuts in January. More sports -

Jim KalmensonLotus puts its new daily “SuperGol” soccer show into syndication.
Jim Kalmenson tells NOW that “second- and third-generation Latinos do not lose their passion for soccer,” and one of the beauties of “futbol” is that it’s a 12-month sport. Lotus is highly encouraged by the early results on its Spanish sports KWKW, Los Angeles (1330), where SuperGol debuted in September. They’re quickly up to 25 affiliates, for a syndication product that Lotus is handling itself. There are a number of firsts here – Erika Garza is “the first woman to host a network Spanish soccer program.” She’s done both TV and radio, and has chemistry with co-host Halim Zadat. Also, KWKW has the distinction of being the USA’s first-ever all-Spanish sports station. Lotus President Jim Kalmenson says the high-energy SuperGol is produced like a soccer match, with four sections, and (instead of a producer) a referee (“arbitro”) who blows the whistle for a segment that’s going on too long or strays off topic.

Cumulus aims to reduce the interest rate on some debt.
It’s currently paying LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) plus 4.5% on a very large first-lien term loan due in 2018, and seeks an amendment to trim that to LIBOR plus 3.5%. Standard & Poor’s says that development's “a positive [but] it is only modestly beneficial to cash flow…because of the very high debt burden.” It also says “tightening covenants could limit access to the revolving credit facility in 2013.” And it cites “fewer opportunities to reduce expenses” next year, at a company with notably low capital expenditures (based on NOW’s monitoring of recent conference calls). Standard & Poor’s keeps its ratings outlooks for Cumulus at “stable,” and the rating on this $1.3 billion first-lien term loan is two notches above the corporate credit rating.

RADAR sales network reach is down, but there’s a reason.
Arbitron administers RADAR (“radio’s all-dimension audience research”) and one of the constant facts of life is reconfigurations by the networks. That means the nets have re-worked the station lineups and/or created new sales networks. For RADAR December 2012, 69% of the listeners in the research heard one or more network radio spots from a participating network. That’s down from 71% last quarter. The RADAR study covers selected weeks over the preceding year, and this one shows that 69.2% of persons age 12+, or about 181.1 million people, caught network spots. The figure for persons 18-49 is higher (72.2%) and for adults 25-54 it’s 72.8%. Arbitron’s no longer posting the actual 18-49 and 25-54 rankings on its site. But Premiere Networks says that for its 18 RADAR-rated networks, it “achieved the highest percentage weekly reach among all six RADAR network companies” for 12+, 18-49 and 25-54. Premiere reached 43.4% of all persons 12+, and about 48% of those in the other two demos. It says about 37.7% million persons 12+ are “exclusive listeners” to its sales networks. The six RADAR subscribers are American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere and United Stations Radio Networks.

On The Block

WFAN CBS closes on its $75 million purchase of New York’s 101.9 – the new WFAN-FM. Merlin Media was the seller of a station it had once hoped to turn into a next-generation all-newser to compete with CBS Radio’s “1010 WINS” and WCBS-AM (880). Instead, Merlin sells the full Class B 101.9 to CBS. The new owner blew off the place-holding rock format and turned WRXP into an FM home for the world’s first all-sports station, WFAN (660). Curious New Yorkers now turn their attention to 94.7 – wondering if new WFME owner Cumulus will pick up the rock format, or perhaps do country.

In Helena, the Montana Radio Company turns its two stations into four, thanks to a $630,000 deal that adds classic hits KMTX (950) and AC KMTX-FM (105.3). The 5,000-watt AM has an FM translator at 96.3, and the FM “Star Station” is a full Class C. Montana Radio’s existing stations are CHR KMXM (102.3) and country KIMO (107.3). Kevin Terry’s the president of Montana Radio, and seller Capri Inc. is headed up by Jim O’Connell. Jim has no other broadcast interests. Brokerage credits go to George Kimble of Kozacko Media Services.

Redeemer RadioNotre Dame’s hometown of South Bend, Indiana gets a new Catholic radio station, as Art Angotti’s Artistic Media Partners sells WDND (1620) to the not-for-profit Ft. Wayne Catholic Radio Group. The buyer, also known as Redeemer Radio, is paying $175,000 cash, and has the option to begin operating the station under an LMA (for $2,000 a month). Like almost all expanded-band AM stations (1610 KHz to 1700 KHz), WDND runs 10,000 watts daytime and 1,000 watts at night. At the moment, it’s merely simulcasting Artistic CHR “U93” WNDV, South Bend. The buyer owns Catholic “Redeemer Radio” WLYV, Ft. Wayne at 1450, and LMAs simulcast partner non-commercial FM WRRO, Edon, Ohio at 89.9. The Angotti family’s Artistic Media Partners owns nine other stations in Indiana, including CHR “Z96.5” WAZY, Lafayette.

A tower sale in the Hoosier State, where Northeast Indiana Public Radio monetizes its aerial real estate by selling its 625-foot guyed tower to Florida Tower Partners. The NIPR tower holds the antennas for Northeast Indiana Public Radio’s Ft. Wayne-market classical WBNI, Roanoke (94.1), plus Summit City’s urban “Wild 96.3” WNHT, Churubusco and other tenants. The just-closed sale was brokered by Chicago-based Bob Heymann of Media Services Group.

Between Orlando and Daytona Beach, a Salem-connected company pays 50 grand for a translator. It will simulcast with not-for-profit Christian teaching WREH at 90.5, licensed to Cypress Quarters, and owned by Calvary Church-connected Reach Communications. Reach is the seller of the translator and the buyer is Salem-related Pennsylvania Media Associates. Of course a translator owner can always change the originating station, and this translator’s in the commercial band at 105.5. The translator (W288BI) is licensed to Deltona.

Worth Reading

Yet another translator elbowing its way into the Twin Cities – though really, just one of the cities (St. Paul). Northpine says a proposed move of 96.7 (W244CS) would cover much of St. Paul, but not Minneapolis. The translator’s off the air now and recently changed frequencies from 95.7 to 96.7 due to interference concerns. The translator would carry United Audio Corporation’s easy listening KNXR, Rochester, Minnesota (97.5).

CKSTWith no hockey, Vancouver’s “Team” CKST falls to tenth with men 25-54 in the Fall BBM ratings, says the Vancouver Sun. CKST (1040 had previously enjoyed the #2 ranking with the key sports demo of 25-54 males. The paper quotes somebody saying Calgary’s Fan 960 and TSN Radio 690 in Montreal “are going through the same thing. But then the ratings go bonkers once the play-by-play returns. Suddenly, you’re talking about a 50-share.”

Six New York City radio personalities entered the “People’s Hall of Fame,” part of a collaboration between the Museum of the City of New York and City Lore. In a way, this is about the original definition of “urban” personality – people who helped shape the tastes of a city. The radio hosts so honored are Kool DJ Red Alert (one of the first to play hip-hop music on commercial radio), Kathleen Biggins of WFUV, the immortal Oscar Brand of WNYC, “Radio Unnameable” host Bob Fass on WBAI, jazz tune-spinner Awilda Rivera and WKCR’s Phil Schaap. More about them from David Hinckley at the New York Daily News.


Ira RosenblattWhere are the soldiers on the street? Veteran group head Ira Rosenblatt, now Powell Broadcasting’s manager in Panama City, says - "It’s happening again and I don’t understand it - multiple articles have appeared, about how revenue has been flat or showing only small increases, and that most of the increases have been in national business. First, my unofficial survey within the industry tells me there are considerably fewer sellers on the streets since the economic downtrend. Why should we expect that they can do more revenue than previous years? With the emphasis on transactional business, which is primarily how national business is brought into stations, it appears they have lost part of what always built station revenue in the past - building strong relationships with local businesses. Maybe the answer to increasing local revenue is as simple as bringing on more sellers. Aggressive sellers who aren’t afraid to call on businesses that aren’t currently on the radio, and thereby increase their chances of getting the whole order. Knowledgeable sellers who understand that selling is a percentage business, so the more businesses they call on, especially face to face, the better their chances of selling someone. Persistent sellers who understand the mathematical formula for selling: SW3=N, which means 'Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next.' If we put more soldiers on the street, we will always have a greater opportunity to bring in more business. This is how the industry was built - by countless motivated sellers making countless calls. Maybe it’s time to go back to the basics again." Got a comment about this Soapbox commentary? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.


Another familiar voice is gone from Cincinnati rocker WEBN – Laura Steele. In this case, she’d “only” been voicetracking from Clear Channel’s classic rock WFBQ, Indianapolis, but the Cincinnati Enquirer remembers that Steele was once a locally-based ‘EBN news anchor and DJ, from 1992 to 1997. She’d been the VT talent on WEBN (102.7) for the 9am to 2pm shift, and is now replaced by Abby. It appears that Laura continues to be heard in three other markets, including Nashville on classic rock WNRQ (105.9), as well as San Antonio and Dallas.

John Geary is concluding a 45-year career, the last 26 of them as a GM/market manager in Sacramento. In the beginning that meant managing a couple of stations, but now the six-station Entercom cluster includes rock KRXQ (98.5), classic rock “Eagle” KSEG (96.9) and AC “Star 106.5” KBZC – the station that Geary used to compete against, when it was rock KWOD. Entercom regional President Deborah Kane says they’re mounting a national search for Geary’s successor. He’s staying until he can hand over the keys.

Dave Ramsey says “we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement” in Nashville, and he’s ending 20 years on WWTN (99.7). That’s especially significant to Ramsey, because Nashville is his hub of operations for syndication, publishing and event production. He started at WWTN when it was low-budget and low-ratings, under a previous owner. Later on, Ramsey was followed every day by sports talker George Plaster – and that situation’s now replicated at his new home, Cromwell’s “102.5 The Game” WPRT-FM. The self-syndicated talk host is “excited about the opportunity to work with an independent station owner the caliber of Bud Walters,” at Cromwell’s all-sports The Game. (Of course now it won't be 100% sports.) You wonder if Cumulus is positioning itself to clear more of its own syndication product in Nashville.

Paul HarrisPaul Harris will anchor Envision’s new “America Weekend” Saturday/Sunday show, from 9am to noon Eastern time. Harris is a music radio personality who morphed into a talkhost and essayist/columnist, and he’s worked in major markets such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC and St. Louis. He teamed with American Weekend Executive Producer Kipper McGee in both St. Louis and Chicago. Syndicator Envision sees the show as an “alternative to low-rated brokered shows and best-of programs.”

Angie Balderas and Stacy Turner rise to new corporate-level positions at Adelante Media Group. Angie’s promoted from the group’s National Sales Manager job to VP, Director of Sales at the Spanish radio/TV specialist in “emerging Hispanic markets.” While Sacramento GSM Stacy Turner takes Angie’s former position as National Sales Manager, working with the McGavren Guild rep. (Stacy will also oversee digital sales.) Adelante CEO Jay Meyers says “Angie Balderas has done a spectacular job building our reputation and sales nationally, but our biggest need is driving local sales in all our markets, as the economy recovers.”

You Can't Make This Up

Jackson Dell WeaverFormat change follies - Jackson Dell Weaver of InTown Media LLC says "It was the late 60’s, when FM was still a backwater of automated musical schmaltz. It was bleak for anyone under 45. So when we flipped venerable WSAU-FM in Wausau, Wisconsin to straight ahead Top 40, it was pretty radical. Just out of high school, I was doing mornings and programming on The Big 95 – WIFC. Straight up at 6am, I rolled out of the final words of simulcast news with Buck Leverton and hit 'Revolution' by the Beatles. But by 6:20 I still hadn’t had a phone call. So when the phone finally rang, I jumped to answer it. The guy on the phone wanted to make sure he was talking to the jock on the FM station. Then he said, 'I just wanted you to know I’ve contacted the FCC and FBI and they are on their way down to arrest you. You’ll be in jail within the hour.' A little startled, I asked him, 'So why would I be arrested?' Frustrated, he snapped back, 'Why? Because everyone knows it’s illegal to play rock & roll music on FM!.' Needless to say, I didn’t need to raise bail that morning." Remind of you of something from your own past? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.

Take 2 – the correct link for the Canadian BBM Fall ratings is here. Yesterday’s NOW newsletter had a link that connected you to a non-working page at the BBM (whose original name was Bureau of Broadcast Measurement). You’ll find ratings for the five PPM-measured big markets plus the diary-measured metros.

The news, in one place. Heck, you can even use the translation feature to read this Tom Taylor NOW newsletter in another language. That's in "Current Issues and Archives," which you link to from the bottom of the newsletter. Got a product or service to promote? Our Kristy Scott can come up with solutions. She’s the “K” in RTK Media. Reach her at Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. See you back tomorrow - Tom

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