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Previously on The Front Page...2003

12-30-03 Dubya call your booker yet? InsideRadio reports the White House is cultivating radio talkers -- earlier and harder than ever. Bush and his team used radio effectively in 2002, but this time their strategy is to call stations way before the election date, even in smaller markets -- particularly if they're in key political states.
12-30-03 Format counts ... MStreet Journal reports that Country-formatted stations stand at 2,078, down from 2,650 in mid-'94 and modern AC and soft AC are losing stations, while hot AC is gaining (total around 700 for AC overall). Spanish-language stations post at 649.
12-30-03 Tick-tick-tick ... waiting for Steve & DC to announce their new local affiliate. Doesn't look good. Their website begs for someone to take them on. QUESTION: Who's paying for the producers and players? Emmis? S&DC? The show is still coming out of The Powerhouse, best we know. Who's paying for the syndie costs? Steve has family money but how does DC pay rent with no income? Oh, yeah...forgot.
12-30-03 Secret Squirrel spins: on The Mall ... WMLL will change to a "Martini Music" format (Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., etc.) after 1/1/04. Hey, that I could listen to. Occasionally. But to be a player, really all you have to be is everybody's #2 or #3 choice. This format might even work on 104.1. UPDATE: The sales staff has been told to do "general" upfront selling; Woody will NOT be back.
12-24-03 Pay more attention to STL, Jeff ... InsideRadio says: Emmis leaves Argentina and enters radio in Belgium. In 1999 Jeff Smulyan bought a 75% interest in Argentine owner Votionis. Now Emmis is selling that and investing $3million in the operations of 9 FMs in Flanders. That gets Emmis International's operations more focused on Europe, where they operate Slager Radio in Hungary. Maybe Smulyan should buy another MLB team...
12-24-03 Maracek urgently shopping his stations ... ?? This is getting interesting and the Secret Squirrel lines are burning up... Let's review: (1) Greg Maracek wants to sell his stations RIGHT NOW. (2) There is supposedly an offer on the table of $15+million. (3) The offer is apparently from Big League Broadcasting, which owns WQXI/AM 790, "The Zone", (used to be the old "QXI in Dixie" Top 40 legend). (4) Holdup: Greg wants to run the station after the sale and wants a guaranteed job for his kid. (5) I've got an email in to WQXI management to see what's up. (6) Demanded employment is almost always a dealbreaker.
12-23-03 All-Christmas music ... InsideRadio asked the consultants about it: Dan Vallie says "the only negative or burn I'm hearing is from broadcasters, not the audience." Guy Zapoleon forecasts that a holiday backlash in some markets "will begin to sink in next Christmas." Mike McVay says "if a station does it first, does it right and is known for doing it, Christmas is always successful."
12-23-03 Mike Gideon ... who was the CE of the old KIX104 and went on to better things, including his current post as CE of Clear Channel/Nashville, has been assigned to oversee the engineering in their STL cluster as well. He's one of several Manager's of Engineering recently named to regional positions. Gideon is one of the best audio guys in the business; he WILL make your station sound better and I suggest to CC PD's here to go back to your office and let Mike work his magic. Ask him about the "infinite dick fax" he and I sent to WIL from his Mac...as I remember, we were both a bit toasted.
12-23-03 John Larrabee is apparently ... going to be home for Christmas. In fact, according to what we've heard, he's there now and resting comfortably.
12-23-03 The newest Imo's Pizza TV spot ... seemed vaguely familiar, one of those hey, been there, done that things. After a second viewing it turned out I was right...the spot was shot in the KTRS lunchroom and office area! Dang! I cooked chili there for their staff every Thanksgiving for four years running! Ed and Marge Imo poured some of their cheesy cash into The Big 550 (they own the US distribution rights to Provel cheese). It's the least return they could be offered on their investment: a little free location time.
12-23-03 Maracek urgently shopping his stations ... ?? We hear from several reliable sources that Greg wants to unload AM590 and FM100.7 RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW! The last guy he'd voluntarily sell them to is Tim Dorsey but Dorsey may be the only guy who'd want these limited signals, onto which he could lay off his various obligations. Of course, there's always the NRA... UPDATE: What's all this about an Atlanta investor who's supposedly offering Greg $15million+ for KFNS alone? Who in their right mind would spend that kind of money for that signal? Wait...Ted Turner's in Atlanta, right? Ted's got a lotta cash to throw around, right? Suddenly this makes some kind of twisted sense...Greg sells to Ted and Ted begins building a sports radio empire, with KFNS as the flagship. R-i-g-h-t.
12-19-03 John Larrabee in ICU ... John's hospitalized with a lung infection and pneumonia. We'll keep you posted on his condition.
12-18-03 Rubenstein loses ... A federal judge dismissed Adam Rubenstein's employment suit against KMOX earlier this week. Adam, who'd left Bonneville's WIL for KMOX, had been hired to be KMOX' new national sales manager. The decision was based on MO's "at will" employment law. I think Adam got screwed.
12-18-03 Tim Dorsey ... here's your savior! Reported in InsideRadio: Now the NRA talks about broadcasting from a Mexican border blaster -- or a ship. A frustrated Wayne LaPierre tells US News & World Report "If I could find a radio station in Mexico with 50,000 watts, I would go with them." Or -- possibly a ship moored in international waters. The NRA announced last month a plan to buy a U.S. radio or TV station, thus qualifying for a media exemption from the new McCain-Feingold campaign finance rules. How about a low-freq 5kw AM in the Heartland? Got $25-30mil, Wayne? Call 314-453-5500 and ask for Tim. He WILL take your call and you can drive this puppy off the lot TODAY!
12-18-03 And the KSHE Cafe ... taught us no lessons? InsideRadio reports that Clear Channel's sports KFAN lends its name to a new sports-centric bistro run by Grand Management. It could be the first of several restaurants based on Clear Channel radio brands. At least they're using outside management.
12-18-03 The long-rumored Zimmer sell-off ... is underway. They dumped 17 stations (about half the group) to Mississippi River Radio for $43mil. That's $8+mil per brother. Bet the rest go soon and Da Boyz from Da Cape retire to the South Seas.
12-18-03 FEWER spots? Infinity's cutting back on spot loads at some top-10 market stations to place pressure on inventory pricing. It's beginning at country KILT-FM in Houston; Cox-owned KKBQ-FM is counting and reporting on KILT's spotload hourly.
12-15-03 Amazing ... I watched the C-SPAN Saturday afternoon replay of the Talkers' Magazine bi-annual Forum...when asked what they expected to make news in 2004, the panel (about a dozen men and women, from across the political spectrum) pretty much agreed on one thing: the capture of Hussein and/or Bin Laden, probably in October. Then I turned on CNN Sunday morning just after 3AM as I was going to bed...or was that actually Fidel Castro the 4th ID pulled out of that hole?
12-13-03 Daniel Finney ... the P-D "Popular Culture and Youth Trends Writer", has troubled himself to listen to STL radio. Pray that this guy doesn't get a diary.
12-12-03 Secret Squirrel bites the Big Acorn on the new KMOX GSM ... It's not Linda O'Connor, as submitted by several sources...Tim Meagher is apparently the guy. Background: formerly DOS for CCU in Tulsa and OKC and Regional VP/Sales for CCU/Oklahoma and Arkansas.
12-12-03 "A" bails out of "Z", lands at "Y" ... Aaron Anthony, the Commercial Production guy at Z107, has accepted the Creative Director position at Y98.
12-11-03 Secret Squirrel spins: on KMOX again ... the lawsuit Adam Rubenstein filed against Beth Davis and Infinity has been dropped. Was there a settlement or did he just give up?
12-11-03 UPDATE American Forces Network-Iraq ... called Freedom Radio, went live today after many delays, playing the hits and this generation's "wear-a-condom-and-take-your-malaria-pills" messages from undisclosed studio-xmtr sites throughout the country. STL military and radio vets Kevin McCarthy and Paul Arca were chosen to put together a package of sweepers and stagers for the stations. The demo is just over a minute and is encoded in Windows Media. Plus the sweepers were featured in an NPR report on the stations!
12-06-03**Exclusive:** Secret Squirrel spins: Dan Gray to KMOX mornings?? ... "Doug McElvein's contract was up in the summer and he has not been renewed. At least I don't think so. I wonder if there is any truth to the rumors all over town that Dan Gray is getting the co-host spot with Debbie Monterrey. I bet they are true, since Gray was meeting with the big KMOX muckety muck in a CWE bistro. They were speaking in hushed tones in front of a bunch of papers that looked like legal documents."
12-11-03 Pigs flew yesterday ... when Infinity announced that five of their stations will finally stream online. None of their News/Talkers...only music stations. Frankly, the only one I'd listen to is 'CBS-FM/NYC...America's premier oldies station. It's all part of the for-onair-mention deal they struck with AOL back in April.
12-11-03 Too much of a good thing? ... A report by Harker Research, quoted in Radio & Records, suggests that half of all radio listeners surveyed want to hear between two and three holiday-themed songs per hour, while 89% of all listeners wouldn't mind hearing at least two Christmas songs per hour. But Harker points out that the number of listeners who want continuous Christmas music stations is down to 14% from 20% from last year. More on this from Harker after the first of the year.
12-05-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on Steve & DC: "Steve & DC are having a harder time finding a new St. Louis home than they could have ever imagined. Their egos may have gotten them into a fix finally. It seems their recent ratings drops severely reduced willingness to put up with their crap/egos/baggage."
12-05-03 Woody accuser (Linda Cortez) does not exist ... except as a nom de plume for a member of the media who once worked for Emmis and who has pulled this stunt before: letters written to a station's and/or air personality's ad clients threatening a boycott if they continue to advertise on the (XXX) show, with the intent of destroying the air talent's position in the ad community. John Beck made no attempt to seek out this person who exists only digitally and shame on him for not pursuing the issue. Emmis/STL knee-jerked when the letters started showing up at clients, didn't see it for the dangerous hoax that it is, and fired Woody Fife and his little buddy. Woody's show was WAY out of bounds but it was only what Beck and Balis wanted it to be, as was the show's presentation on the station's website. If Fife is smart he'll retain an attorney for wrongful dismissal and the settlement will be large, out-of-court and sealed. But after talking with him today I sense that he's just another DJ scared of losing his living. Too bad.
12-03-03Joe Sonderman's new book is out ... The author of St. Louis 365 has compiled a second collection of items for each day of the year. Order it online. This edition focuses on the famous, infamous, or just plain goofy people in St. Louis history. Some of the facts included in St. Louis People 365 are poignant, some are inspirational and some are silly. But they will all teach you something about the people who have called St. Louis home.
12-01-03Liberal Talk Network coming: From the New York Times: Executives with the newly formed company, Progress Media, said late last week that if all went as planned they would have the network running by early spring, in time to be part of the public dialogue during the presidential campaign season. The executives said the stations they were acquiring reached all radios in 5 of the 10 largest media markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston. They said they would buy stations in other markets in the near future.
      What's wrong with this business plan? There aren't any full-market signals available in any of the Top 10 markets and if there were the price of admission across the board would likely approach a half-billion bucks. Not even Streisand has that kind of money!
11-30-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on the "corporates": After reading your archived headline, I spoke with one sales manager at KTRS and he said that everyone with agency business is getting the call from KMOX, WIL and the like. Yet it looks like no one is leaving. Looks like your rumor is confirmed. Got a good list? The Big Guys are headhunting...gotta pay off that debt load, huh?
11-30-03 Blast from the past ... Many "previously used" DJ's from the 40’s forward will be at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, in the Mac Dermott Grand Hall on Thursday, December 4, 6-9PM playing music and generally having a big old time. You're invited! NEW Secret Squirrel NEWS: "I've heard some disconcerting stuff about Thursday's event at the history museum. It seems Elz has only contacted a few folks to represent the industry (even though the note on your site appears to be an open invitation). He's only listing the jocks whom he wants there. This has bruised more than a few egos. Apparently Ron has made more enemies over his career than he realizes. Many of them are bad mouthing the Thursday event." Eventually Elz will have to 'fess up if it's so.

A giant Russian cucumber tries to eat Steve as DC attempts a rescue
11-27-03   List of US All-Christmas radio stations
11-26-03**Exclusive:** Linda Cortez probably does not exist ... except as a nom de plume for a member of the media who has pulled this stunt before: letters written to a station's ad clients threatening a boycott if they continue to advertise on the (XXX) show. John Beck has consistently stonewalled reporters seeking access to Cortez and attempts by folks who know what they're doing to find her have failed. Emmis/STL probably knee-jerked when the letters started showing up, didn't see it for the dangerous hoax that it is, and fired Woody Fife. I bet that the settlement between the DJ's and the company will be large, out-of-court and sealed.
11-25-03Bonneville's WIL has created ... Operation Think Big to show our troops overseas how much they are appreciated, according to AllAccess. The "world's largest greeting card" will be on display around town throughout this weekend and listeners will be invited to stop by and sign it. More here. The James S. McDonnell USO will deliver the card to the troops in time for Christmas.
11-25-03Howard Morton ... longtime George Noory and other show producer and board op has been thrown off the KTRS bus for no good reason. That sucks. Howard is a good guy and did his work well. Any station that needs someone with his skills would be well-advised to grab him up.
11-25-03Emmis unloads another team ... Woody & The Whipping Boy out as of yesterday at The Point. This is getting interesting. Word is that these guys were canned because of a letter-writing campaign by a "former media-buyer turned media-reformer" named Linda Cortez (whom no one has had any success tracking down) who threatened loss of ad business to the station if they continued on the air.
11-24-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on KLOU: "Superhits no more? Sources say KLOU has ordered a Classic Rock library...Hmm..." KLOU entering the Rock fray? How disappointing. Hey, this ain't Cleveland. How many stations do we need that play three-chord music? What are the chances that we'll have China Grove on the air at the same time on three freqs?
11-24-03Noory back home this week ... George is doing the Coast To Coast show from the KTRS WestPort studios thru Friday as he visits home for the holiday. Had the good fortune to bump into him at Jimmy's in Clayton during Sunday brunch.
11-24-03A 40k hard drive ... for my first laptop cost a grand in 1991. Now you can get huge multiples of that storage for seriously cheap. If your computer uses USB2, you're in like Flynn. Just plug one of these guys in, no additional software needed, and move files from here to there, carrying the drive in your shirt pocket. And that presumes you wear a shirt. No shoes, no shirt, no memory...NOT! Prep at home and bring it to work this way.
11-24-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on Steve & DC: "Anyone who thinks there is any chance at all of Steve & DC remaining at Emmis is 100% wrong. Both sides agreed mutually to terminate their contract, and Steve & DC have exercised their right to purchase all syndication rights to the show. Rumor has it that Steve & DC skipped a planned function on Saturday evening to break bread with Clear Channel Market Manager Lee Clear, and have reached a "Tentative" agreement to bring the show over to CC . But probably not at the station most people think. Think Football and the worst morning show in St. Louis, and you will have figured this one out. And it will happen sooner than most think. They do not have to wait out a non-compete and are free to take the show wherever they want. Will S & DC end up on the Premier radio network; taking over wakeups on many stations that will be vacated by Rick Dees, who is "giving up" his syndicated program after the first of the year? Could this move lead the boys into some much bigger markets than the small markets in the South where they are heard now? Stay tuned!"
11-23-03 Closed circuit to STLRadio GM's ... if you're going to host a holiday party at your home on, say, December 12th at 7PM, either invite everbody on staff or make damned sure that staffers invited don't leave their invitations lying around for those poor uninvited souls to see. Can you pronounce this word -- M-O-R-A-L-E? To the uninvited: why not just stop in and tell the lovely JR that you're RSVP'ing? Think her boss'll have the stones to say no?
11-21-03 And now there are two ... KEZK flipped to all-Christmas early this year...in 2002 they at least had the decency to wait until the day after Thanksgiving Their website still promotes their 12 Hours Of Christmas Special on 11/28, sponsored by The Shops of Ladue. Doesn't this render that kinda...UN-special?
11-20-03 Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on Steve & DC: "Look for "The Point" to move to the signally challenged 104.1 stick on January 2. According to what I would consider a very reliable source, Emmis has decided that the only way to make a format go on 104.1, is to put an already established station there. 105.7 will relaunch with a new format shortly thereafter, bringing back Steve & DC for wakeups on a full market 100Kw station. Bank on it." I wouldn't go so far as to "bank on it"...but I've learned to never count the Teflon Twosome out...plus their deal with Emmis isn't up until the end of 2005 unless very specific circumstances occur.
Go on...see for yourself! 11-20-03As suggested here on the 18th ...The Mall flips to Christmas music and subs MD Tony Columbo for Steve & DC in mornings. S&DC's syndicated show continues but not on the air in STL...wonder what that'll do to their syndie ad rates? More on this one coming soon.
11-20-03Joe Sonderman ... takes over the Radio column in the St. Louis Journalism Review, effective with the upcoming December-January issue, replacing Lynn Venhaus, whose duties as Managing Editor of two weekly Illinois papers keep her busy enough. Word is that Lynn will contribute stories occasionally to the SJR, as her schedule permits. Good luck to Lynn and congratulations to Joe...whose new book publishes next week.
11-17-03Flashback to June 2003 ... "We have to hit our budgets and if we don't we'll have to look at moving talent. This bus is leaving and everybody might not be on it." So said Susan Kretchmar when taking over local Bonneville sales. Since then a whole herd of salespeople have left...could they ALL have been incompetent? Bet not...many have gone on to better places. I know many of them. But is Cindy Lenex' guarantee so high that she has to carry multiple lists? Maybe it IS time to move some of the talent...OUT! How 'bout starting with The River's Morning Show?
11-17-03Arthur Conley ... died today in the Netherlands, where he was involved in developing and promoting new talent. Conley's Sweet Soul Music on Atco Records was an anthem of the late 1960's. He was 57. Go find a copy of the song and play it a lot. That was one intro you didn't want to talk over...the horns were TOO good!
11-16-03McKenna and DeNiro ... rejoin KSLG AM 1380 beginning Monday from 11AM-1PM. Or until McKenna gets taken away in 'cuffs...
11-15-03Hadley's injuries multiply ... Now he has a cracked tooth and blurred vision, along with the previously mentioned neck and wrist injuries. And he tells Dan Caesar that this is now a "reported police incident." Bottom line is that McKenna and Hadley are both idiots, both should be pushed out of the STLSports nest, and neither should be paid further attention to. Hadley is trying to show himself as the victim here and it just ain't working.
11-14-03Holidays happen in the WarZone too... From InsideRadio: Armed Forces Network-Iraq is looking for stations to do hometown greetings for play around the holidays. The format would be something like: "Hi, we're so-and-so from (call letters and market) - thanks for serving. Stay safe and we'll see you home soon." E-mail the greetings as an MP3 (I carried similar radio greetings over to Vietnam on reel-to-reel freakin' tape!). Get info from USAF Master Sgt. Erik Brazones or call 914-360-5068.
11-14-03Rush's return on Monday ... is likely to set all-time cume records as he returns after his five-week rehab program. KMOX, 11AM on Monday. Paul Harris should take the day off.
11-14-03Smokey Rivers' first major move in NYC radio ... is to turn Blink102.7 all-Christmas right away. Way ta go, Smokes. That'll kill the competition (WLTW...they're still a couple weeks away from Santa-tunes)! Yup, the tree is up in Rockefeller Center, Bing Crosby is on the air and all is right with the world. Sheesh.
11-14-03Hadley vs. McKenna UPDATE ... now we hear that Hadley won't be sueing but that "criminal assault charges are being pursued." Someone had to make the report to generate police interest, huh? How stupid is all this? PREDICTION: McKenna pleads to criminal stupidity, apologizes on the air (presuming he still has a gig), pays Hadley's ER bills and picks up trash on I-70 for three or four weekends wearing an orange jumpsuit.
11-13-03Let's all go to the movies ... The St. Louis International Film Festival will present the KXOK documentary on Thursday, 11/20 at the Tivoli, sharing the bill with a documentary about Gaslight Square. If you're not there, you're nowhere!
11-09-03Veteran's Day ... This day, each year, brings me to a halt, remembering "being there" and friends and family I lost in defense of this great country. In the late 1980's, I was the stage announcer for the Vet's Day Parades in downtown STL...

11-08-03Sports talker takedown ... Brian McKenna (top photo) and John Hadley (bottom) got it on briefly at Rams' Park Thursday afternoon. "I'm a trained killer. I'll come to your house. I'll kill you. I'm a martial arts specialist," Hadley quotes McKenna as saying. McKenna told Dan Caesar that he had used a martial arts "compliance technique" on Hadley. And in the Rams' press room later he "indicated that he is proficient in martial arts and could have killed Hadley if he wished." Hadley, who has a long reputation for slamming other sports journalists, including McKenna, on his website, said he's been to the hospital twice for neck and wrist injuries suffered in the incident and told the STLP-D he's talked to police and may file a formal report Monday. Here's Dan Caesar's story. Maybe it's time to thin the STL sports herd, starting with these two. They're embarassments to their craft, The Rams and their respective employers. At the very least they should both lose their team creds.
11-06-03Sirius' last blast ... Sirius now has a plan for $399 for the life of your receiver. Works for them if your receiver lasts less than 2 1/2 years; after that your service is free. How many car radios last longer than that? Most, I bet. Sirius sees the future and their future is bleak. Watch for XM to set something like this up once renewals drop off.
11-05-03Who is Kelly Corday? ... she e-badgered me (presuming she's a she) for days to MAKE SURE I had her CORRECT E-MAIL address online here because HER FRIENDS were having difficulty CONTACTING HER! She even has her own website, but that's vastly under construction, even though it says she works here, in Sioux Falls and in NYC. Now, THERE'S a market mix! I guess she must be pretty important but I've never heard of her.
11-05-03Never mind the guys on bicycles ... Watch this one carefully: Karen Childress, former Senior VP of Premiere (a CCU company), is suing for over $10 million in damages for sexual harassment and violation of anti-discrimination and whistleblower-protection laws, charging that she was fired after objecting to the distribution of a sexually explicit e-mail by male executives. She also alleges that CCU chief John Hogan promoted women who had slept with other male executives, including Randy Michaels (probably the only way he'd ever get laid), and that she had complained that male executives solicited prostitutes while on company business. Clear Channel settled sexual harassment lawsuits in Louisville and Salt Lake City without admitting guilt. Meanwhile, CCU says its Q3 profits tripled to $636 million.
11-02-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on KMOX: is it true that a half-dozen sales execs have left the station of their own accord in the last couple weeks? UPDATE: Now we hear that even KTRS sales execs have just said no to invitations to join The (Semi-) Mighty MOX! What's THIS all about?
11-02-03Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ...spins on Ibiquity: Why is no one talking about the demonstrated fact that HD-R (once called Digital Radio) DOES NOT WORK with any AM radio station that uses a directional array because the phasing systems will not pass a digital signal? Is someone (?) trying to kill the AM band?
11-02-03The Ultimate Catalog ... for Corporate Radio holiday gift-giving. Mine came to the office in postal mail, but you can order online, too. One of their "demotivators": None of us is as stupid as all of us.
10-28-03Billy Greenwood ... PM drive on The Bull, has a website for listeners at thebillyclub.com. Nicely done, very warm and fuzzy.
10-28-03XM is on track ... they say they've hit a million subscribers and will end the year on goal. Question: What's the percentage of renewals? That's gonna tell the story, I think.
10-28-03Waiting for the check ... from Body Solutions? Hint: it's NOT in the mail. The founders got off with fines and payments of around $360k and a promise not to do it again and walk away from a $37MILLION tab owed to stations and air personality endorsers.
10-28-03My first and only thank you note ... after the 30+ years I spent as a PD and air talent, making millions for various station owners, I got exactly ONE thank you note from a previous employer, and he only paid me $10 an hour. Guess who it was from?
10-27-03Too good to last, apparently ... Jean Jackson has been cut from the KTRS Morning Show, effective "sometime between now and March 17th", which would mark the end of the first year of her three-year contract. Will she be paid severance? Will she be paid any portion of the remaining two years in her deal? Was Paul Harris offered the Morning Show for the umpteenth time but continued his good sense to Just Say No To Tim?
10-23-03You get one of these in the mail? ... 32 pages, full bleed color, 10" by 13", stapled, sent by USPS to a home address. KDNL (ABC30) must have had their Sales Execs working on this since April. Thirty-two pages..and not one stinkin' coupon I can use in my local trading area or for any service I might need that delivers to me. COUPONS! Send me coupons I can use! Save me some bucks! Or don't send me a schedule of ABC-TV shows I wouldn't watch on a bet along with ads that are irrelevant to me and full-pages telling me not to "drive hammered" in Illinois. Unless this was an "added value" promotion that generated enough cash to cover, it's six figures of wasted money. Who sold KDNL the mail list?
10-28-03Mark Mays wants to sell US radio stations to foreign investors ... according to Billboard, and that just ain't right. I refer you once more to the movie Network. You think it's difficult dealing with senior management in NYC or San Antonio? Wait until you have to make the call to hire a new PM driver to your boss in Brussels! CC wants to buy European stations and companies there would want reciprocity, of course.
10-23-03Been listening occasionally ... to Crane Durham on KTRS. He replaced Joe DeNiro. I have some suggestions for him. He needs a voice coach; his youthful sound belies his message. His verbal and written skills are pretty good but need work to make them fully grammar-compliant. He's got a GREAT website, maybe the best STL radio personality site online, but rather than offer downloads of previous audio segments, why not stream them? Hint to Crane: don't think of Sean Hannity as a role model.
10-23-03Double your computer productivity ... for about $100 (a cheap video card and a used monitor). Two screens and the mouse moves back and forth between them. Read this (the advice is a bit dated, but it works with W2000/XP/ME as well). Imagine the possibilities. And the convenience of being able to cut and paste between software opened on each.
10-23-03192 Clear Channel stations ... will start using RDS technology in the near future, presumably for visual transmission of advertising info (can't imagine CCU being so service-oriented as to only use it for song titles and weather reports). The NAB adopted standards for this in 1993. My questions: why now, after so long, who has a receiver that can utilize this and how many folks are going to want to take their eyes off the road to squint and see the readout? Wasted effort?
10-23-03What if your stereo could jump online ... download music, and store the new tunes for playback? It's in development in Japan, but with the companies named behind it, if it pans out, this or something very similar could be the new wave of music retail worldwide.
10-22-03Telephone companies ... are REALLY not going to like this. Skype looks like it might be the start of something...and internet telephony has been false-starting for years.
10-21-03RIAA strikes again ... InsideRadio reports: Will the Supreme Court wind up ruling on whether broadcasters owe a special fee for streaming? AM and FM operators lost a big one at the Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia, as judges rule they must pay royalties to record companies -- something they don't have to do for their over-the-air broadcasting.
10-19-03Arbitron ... seems to be avoiding confrontation with stations owned by the Big Groups, letting them talk about ratings on the air, violating their own Bias rules. I bet it's all about the money...and that makes Arbitron's results untrustworthy!
10-19-03Premiere-syndicated Glenn Beck ... does live, unscripted spots and charges 20% more for them! What a concept! Guess he listens to FOP, huh?
10-17-03Francene winds up on WHAS ... a 50kw Clear Channel station in Louisville KY. Bad decision for them...and I bet it'll cost them HUGE money down the road. Just a guess. Here's her new station page. And she's finally updating her own site. No more "hairy coo"...rats!
10-15-03CC and The Red Cross ... A couple weeks back I posted a message regarding the current need for blood donations; at least one radio station offered their services to the RC and subsequently told me they were rebuffed because of an exclusive arrangement with Clear Channel. Jim Williams, Communications Manager for the STL Red Cross office, cleared it up for me today: there were two donation promotions that tied specifically into CC-proprietary programming (Rams football, for example) and, yes, other stations were excluded from these. But the Red Cross has always actively sought promotional partnerships with ALL radio and TV stations. Call Jim at 314-658-2176. He reads this site regularly, by the way.
10-15-03You saw it on TV ... Adobe Acrobat PDF files are probably the best way to share secure documents on the web or by email. But Acrobat costs a bundle. Suggestion: Go to PDFFactory.com. Their $100 ProV2 does pretty much everything Acrobat does (they also have a cheaper version with fewer features). Then get Acrobat's free PDF reader. You're welcome!
10-14-03One more out the door ... Guy Gallman exits the KTRS newsroom. The guy's good...KMOX, go get him. Shouldn't The Big 550 move the word "News" in their positioning statement a little closer to the end? Seems like it's a dying department...
10-14-03Smoked Apple ... AllAccess is reporting that Smokey Rivers has been officially named the PD at Blink 102.7/NYC.
10-14-03Al Gore's Liberal Network ... may be a reality in a couple weeks. OOPS! I mean Al's YOUTH network. Liberal is the kiss of death, according to his advisors.
10-13-03Secret Squirrel spins the wheel ... on KTRS: Tim Dorsey under pressure from some members of his Board of Directors to [a] get rid of Hadley (specifically because he's an embarassment) and other news/sports personnel and [b] cut, cut, CUT costs wherever possible. Frank has taken on the full cost of all members of his PM drive show (including salaries, medical and 401-K); final quarter 2003 may be the last quarter for KTRS extravagance. Might be a rough Christmas for some long-time Big 550 employees.
(This info came to us from several providers, including ownership and management sources.)
10-11-03Ever-helpful Jerry Berger ... offered a few ideas as to whom KMOX might use to replace Rush who, Friday afternoon, placed himself into rehab. Berger suggests "the ever-eccentric, but always entertaining, Bill Haas of the St. Louis School Board; feisty Brenda Warner, number one gal of the Rams' number two QB; outspoken mayoral chief of staff Jeff Rainford, an ex-KMOX reporter; Nick Kasoff, who has his own afternoon gig on WGNU; and Charles Jaco, the KTVI-TV (Channel 2) reporter who once toiled at the Mighty 'MOX."
10-11-03If you can read between ... the spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors and the idiotic "moi" self-references, you can read here the high esteem that KTRS' John Hadley holds for his fellow sports writers and Message Board participants. Hadley is such a loser...the station has dumped much better talent; why not dump him and cut the loss? Maracek will hire him in a heartbeat and Hadley's always got that "weekend CBS stats gig" to buy the Stag, right?
10-10-03TV commercials on their way out ... with product placement taking over because of PVR's? Ralph Nader says it better not happen.
10-10-03KTRS' Paul Harris ... has added a feature to his website called "The Bucket" where he comments daily. Yup, it's a Blog, a weBLOG. His works; most don't.
10-08-03Randy Michaels ... the man who single-handedly disassembled the radio industry and his friends get toasted here. BTW, Randy still makes a half-million a year. At least he's in a place where he can no longer hurt anyone.
10-07-03We wuz had ... The St. Louis Journalism Review reports in the October issue (on newsstands now) that the "event" at KDHX we reported didn't really happen that way. But the guy who sent it in (KDHX Board Member Lee Whitfield) has not yet recanted. So who knows. Nonetheless, we still offer a better way of programming and financing a Community Radio station. Stay tuned for details.
10-06-03Just what we need ... InsideRadio reports: As many as 500 potential new FMs are coming -- non-coms in the commercial band. Forecast: Battles ahead between some of the active religious non-com operators and the secular non-coms. The FCC opens a window for non-commercial operators to file a "reservation showing" for future stations in the 92.1 to 107.9 band.>
10-06-03Martin, Brown and DeNiro ... suddenly gone from KTRS: Paul Brown, Joe DeNiro and Kent Martin o-u-t, their names erased over the weekend from the Program Schedule on the station's website (which actually hasn't been upgraded in almost a year and a half). Now there appear to be problems in contract fulfillment...is the station stiffing them in monies due? Not unlikely, considering they cheated JC Corcoran out of a bundle when the "let him go". Dorsey and House...are they truly the weasels they seem to be?
10-01-03Has KTRS Sales ... hired a third-party assistant to sell low-rent "safety" messages, calling from the Yellow Pages, at low-ball rates?? My wife's company got the strangest phone call on Tuesday...she said NO, of course. Check the Talk Radio Forum within our Message Board. And we're working on a story in which a KTRS Board Member speaks "Frankly"...
09-29-03Secret Squirrel spins the wheel ... on The Red Cross: How can you post a call to help the Red Cross when a radio station called to help them and they said they can't do anything becuase of their CC deal? I'll be calling The Red Cross soonest to find out if a promotional deal with a company outweighs their responsibility to the public good. I'll get back to you on this.
09-28-03This is very cool ... if you're a techno-geek or a DX'er you can find out daytime signal strengths for any station listenable in a particular Zip Code.
09-25-03Money, sex and death ... have been, across the years, the hottest TalkRadio topics (excluding the occasional war and, without the Fairness Doctrine in place, politics). I bet the folks at this link have some great stories to tell. Prepare yourself for the seriously grisly, though.
09-21-03$8 million US for the KDHX license ... That's my first offer; station prices are dropping and left-side freq's never reached the highs of the '90's. My intent is to regenerate and rebuild true community radio in St. Louis, featuring eclectic music and news and talk truly reflecting the market. Self-supporting and non-commercial, zero-BS and no internally-political staffing and programming issues is my promise. The millions realized from this deal can make DHTV a competitor! Let the radio go! KDHX Board Members and current and former station programmers with horror stories to tell should contact Mike confidentially to continue the conversation. And KDHX now has its own Forum on The Message Board!
09-08-039-11 timeline and resources... click here for resources.
09-08-03Before there was Z107, Q106 and KHTR there was... Doubleday's KWK, carved out of Chuck Norman's unwanted WGNU-FM. There's gonna be a reunion, probably in November, coinciding with the revival of the call letters 25 years ago. Sue Whipple Jackson and "bad-boy newsman" Rob Williams will host the event. For more info, email them.
08-25-03A handy hint to air talent... DO NOT mention ANYTHING about radio ratings, "books", trends, ANYTHING on the air. Arbitron has NO sense of humor. Ron Jacober at KMOX and Steve & DC at The Mall have been tagged with this offense...if someone was taping and sends it to the rating service, there could be "difficulty."
08-07-03Big News! Radio People Lie! ... from AllAccess: A lawsuit by a former AE at KMOX claims that the station breached his contract and fraudulently misrepresented that he would be promoted to NSM upon the firing of the incumbent NSM. Adam Rubenstein alleges that SVP Beth Davis and then-Dir. of Sales Susan Kretschmar lured him from crosstown WIL with the promise that he would be named NSM as soon as then-NSM Sandi Cola was fired, reports the P-D. Kretschmar quit shortly afterwards, Davis denied the NSM deal, and Rubenstein was fired for poor performance. Rubenstein is looking for at least $200k in damages and more in punitive damages.
07-11-03I'm not a big fan ... of PBS. It's mostly a political thing, but then there's their operational polices. If you think you want to produce a documentary for PBS, think again; learn the rules and regs. Read them here and be in awe, be very in awe, of the rules for submitting a program, especially the revenue sharing aspects.
Remember that Infinity/AOL deal ... we mentioned a while back? It's coming into play now. WWJ Detroit OM Georgeann Herbert's memo is available here and frankly it's troubling. While she allows wiggle room for personal ethics, IMNSHO the whole deal dances on the edge of the cliff. Listen carefully for mentions of AOL Broadband on KMOX.
Listeners hate the commercial load ... Inside Radio reports that a Paragon study says listeners are growing weary of it all. The number of listeners who switch off a station before hearing even one commercial more than doubled between 1998 to 2002, with 13% now saying they listen to none. 47% said spotloads have impacted which stations are their favorite.
Been there, hear it on the way home ... Clear Channel launches "Instant Live", offering a CD of a concert burned and available five minutes after a live show's conclusion; CCU says it's just a way to obtain additional revenue from live music events. Read about it here in the NYT (rr).
Arbitron embargo explained ... well, sort of. After a brief and thoroughly confusing conversation with Arbitron Press Assistant Jessica Benbow (410-312-8363), I came away with the knowledge that such press embargos are put into play for a variety of reasons, all of which are "internal" and "proprietary" and not to be told to the unwashed masses. Keep in mind that their rules for almost every aspect of their business are subject to change on a whim. I did get her to admit, however, that one of them "could be" that a station has simply asked for such a press embargo. Compared to Jessica, the Iraqi Info Minister was a paragon of logic and clear-headed thinking.
Why you need to tuck it away ... or as much of it as you can. Here's the story of a guy who made a fortune in the 60's doing impressions of JFK.
A firm rule of radio... Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."
Fascinating story ... about online manipulation in the movie biz. Read it in Wired and wonder if maybe there's something like this in radio. Paranoia strikes deep...into your heart it will creep! Comment here
If you're a serious student of Media ... and you're not reading this column on a daily basis, you need to lose a turn. Jim Romenesko's page at PoynterOnline is "your daily fix of media industry news, commentary, and memos".
You really need ... to rent the movie "Network" and watch it asap. The movie was on Encore Sunday evening, reminding me why I used it as part of my Mass Comm classes. Bill O'Reilly = Howard Beale; UBC = FNC; Mr. Jensen = Rupert Murdoch. Paddy Chayefsky's 1976 screenplay has come to life.
If you've got a radio scanner ... you might find these links pretty cool: STL Media & Business; STL Public Safety. A dual-trunking scanner, like the Radio Shack Pro-94, gets both ends of the conversation; even a tiny little hand-held like the Icom R5 brings it all in. But I really miss the analog cell phone channels I used to be able to listen to...damned guvmint regs.
I thought the Apple iPod was pretty cool... even at $500 for the 20-gig PC version. But this portable music player absolutely blows me away...check out the Neuros: 20-gigs of storage (that's a few thousand MP3 tunes), an FM tuner/recorder (making it the aircheck machine of choice for PD's and consultants), and a tiny little FM transmitter that allows you to broadcast to a handy component audio setup or car radio. $650 for it all, and it ships starting in January. Not only does it get my vote as best gadget so far, it's the scariest thing yet for radio to share time with. It not only does radio, it does radio you program and it does it in your pocket.
The worst thing that could happen... to radio is what they call HD. High Def Radio...what a load of crap. Read the lies here. Are you ready to replace all your radios? Are you ready to lose long-distance reception? Are you ready for band-splatter like never before? We've got to stop this farce NOW!

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