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Previously on The Front Page...Apr/May/Jun 2004

06-24-04 Infinity drops Arbitron ... From R&R: Viacom's radio unit announced today that it won't renew its contract with Arbitron and will instead take its business to the Houston-based Media Audit, with which Infinity has signed a multiyear deal that takes effect July 1. The Media Audit market-research firm will provide multimedia ratings, demographics and product-usage information for all of Infinity's 185 radio stations. "After lengthy negotiations with Arbitron, it has become clear that we will be unable to reach a mutually satisfactory financial arrangement," Infinity President/COO Joel Hollander says. "We will ready our company to grow our business using other means. The data provided by The Media Audit qualitative product is just one of the methodologies we will use to provide our stations with the highest-quality research they need to compete in their markets."
     This is a big media story, maybe the biggest one of the year so far: it impacts advertisers, ad agencies and every other station within Infinity markets. It also directly impacts Arbitron's bottom line. Infinity's stations are generally the best revenue-returning stations in any of their markets and the payment to Arbitron is based on that and that means a huge loss in revenue. The industry's primary rating service has just started flying on one wing...this is gonna change things, maybe even kill Arbitron.

06-24-04 Harris xfers to KMOX ... the announcement, made today via "hint" early on Harris' website and shortly thereafter by Infinity press release stunned many. But relations between Harris and KTRS management have been less than cordial for a long time and Paul has made a point of keeping in touch with former KTRS PD/current KMOX PD Steve Moore. His deal is said to be for 5 years and begins after a 90-day non-compete...and that's a good thing. Paul gets the Summer off and lays back into it just before the General Elections.
06-22-04 AirAmerica ... did it all wrong from the start (and I told ya so from the beginning):
Info from the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and AllAccess:
-- They ran a $70k launch party at a trendy Manhattan hotel at the same time the network was running out of cash, burning up $2million of operating cash in six weeks.
-- The WSJ says "creditors are lined up at the door" and scores the network's "haphazard organization, opaque finances and flawed business strategy."
-- The network claims to be back on financial track under a new corporate entity, PIQUANT LLC, after previous investors departed over, they say, "cultural differences."
-- A dispute is brewing between new and previous investors who claim they're owed cash or shares in the new network, while the company thinks they're owed nothing.
-- PM drive talent Randi Rhodes paid staff out of her own pocket when the network didn't pay them.
-- Al Franken's salary, more than a million dollars a year, was the subject of a dispute between the host and the new investors when they didn't pay it and would not provide proof that any money had been deposited in his account to pay it.
Of course, it's President Bush's fault...

06-22-04 Arca honored ... and then replaced. I'm happy for David Craig, who takes over mornings soon on KLOU...but I'm sad it was at the expense of my friend Paul.
06-21-04 I've been online ... with a dialup connection since 1989, started at 300 baud and slowly worked my way up to a nominal 56k connection, one new modem at a time. On July 1 2004, I'll enter the world of DSL, involving two independent wired systems and a wireless connection to a laptop, multiple phone systems, DSL modems, LAN cards, LinkSys, encryption and God knows what else. Yes, I have expert assistance (it's what my son-in law does). But I'm the same idiot I was back in '89, and this could get interesting. I'll keep you posted on the progress of this adventure.
06-21-04 I'm from Dubai ... and I'm here to help. Tired of talking to Help Desks in New Delhi? Try this: "Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ) will provide a comprehensive infrastructure and environment for outsourcing companies to set up global or regional hubs servicing the worldwide market. DOZ's offering includes 100-percent exemption from taxes, arguably the world's most reliable technology and communications infrastructure, a one-stop shop of support services and the best possible working environment." I bet this is going to be a hit with US companies eager to do business with Islamic countries, even ones as capitalist as Dubai.
06-21-04 Homeland Security alerts ... are being added to the NOAA Weather radio system, following the addition of Amber Alerts for missing kids. Maybe it's time to replace the ol' clock radio or get a portable for vacation. Information is power...and safety and security.
06-21-04 Wall Street says no to ad clutter ... Stuffing commercial radio full of ads has backfired, as a handful of investment banks predicted slower growth, downgrading six key radio stocks and the sector as a whole. Yup, 25 minutes an hour might be a tad out of line...
06-21-04 Clear Channel gives me gas ... a quarter of a million dollars worth, in fact. Gas For Life is their national Spring Book promotion, set to run on nearly 500 of their stations. Don't know how you feel, but these "national promotions" seem to me to be just a bit disingenuous.
06-20-04 Paul Arca honored nationally ... Paul followed Tim Dorsey from KMOX to KTRS, only to find himself, after years of service and loyalty, tossed out in a budget cut. Now doing mornings at KLOU and running his own CD duplication business, Arca is one of the hardest working, genuinely nicest and most talented guys I know. This year he's been honored by a national group of military retirees as their Veteran of the Year for his service in Vietnam and for his contributions to AFRTS in the Iraq campaign. Contact Radio, an internationally broadcast Public Affairs program, produced a special feature on Paul to run the week before July 4th.
06-18-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... The Big Gay 550: "Desperate for income, KTRS management is said to have been holding clandestine off-site meetings with leaders of the gay community in St. Louis, asking their help to develop "lifestyle" programming on the station and convince gay-owned and influenced businesses to invest in advertising and promotion. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 9PM have been pitched. Music shows are also a possibility."
06-16-04 Here it comes again ... An air war this time, I bet, and no reporter embeds. Just B-52's and Stealthies with bombs and cruise missles built in St. Charles County. 'Bout time we took Iran on...
06-15-04 Jason Mack checks in... I am officially employed! Starting June 21st I will be Program Director/PM Drive at WABX in Evansville, IN. WABX is a solid "Classic Rock" station (#1 A25-54). I had a chance to go home to Chicago and work on "94.7 The Zone" but opted to go into management. With Voice Tracking and downsizing it seemed like the best move for my career. I want to thank the many people who have helped in my search over the past 4 months. It has been fun in St. Louis, but it's time to move on. My email address will remain the same so don't be a stranger.
06-14-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... KLPW IS NOT GOING TO BE SPORTS. They are going to remain country - just not Jones. They have been playing IDs all day saying a new kind of country is coming to KLPW Union-Washington. According to a rumor on another message board, KLPW will soon be under the control of the same group of people who own 93X.
06-14-04 The back set/front seat slogan ... controversy between Mad Maynard/Jackie McCoy and KLOU got this writeup in the P-D over the weekend. The story is totally inaccurate, written by someone who obviously knows NOTHING about radio's history. The slogan was in common use on oldies stations around the country in the early 1970's, including CBS' WCAU-FM in Philadelphia and RKO's WFYR-FM in Chicago. I used it myself to intro oldies features in 1973 at my first PD gig at a small station in Michigan. I'm sure that Richard Miller truly believes he created the slogan, but his memory is faulty on the issue. Mad & Jackie could get a legal bye on local use, though. I repeat my suggestion to the P-D: get someone who knows radio to write radio, like Frank Absher.
06-11-04 Brad Hildebrand's KWMO ... slicks the Jones Country format away from KLPW, effective 11:59PM Sunday evening; KLPW will, as has been rumored, be joining the STL sports fray.
06-10-04 Working in fifteen or so radio stations ... over the years has put me in touch with a lot of overworked Engineers. This came to me in an email and it pretty much covers the bases...
   Persons holding the position of BROADCAST ENGINEER are expected to possess the following skills and perform the duties listed herein:
   Data processing systems management. Purchasing and operation of telephone and office systems. A complete understanding of thermostats, their use, and the ability to create good analogies so non-techs can understand them. You must also be able to move heavy objects - especially fire proof file cabinets, safes, cases of promotional prizes, and boxes of computer paper. Must have knowledge of computer programming, drafting, building codes, landscape maintenance, pneumatics, hydraulics, accounting, and general office procedures, meteorology, and graphics design. Novell 3.X and 4.X, Windows server, Windows 2000, Windows XP knowledge.
    Woodworking and carpentry. Metal working and fabrication. Audio/visual equipment setup and repair, including overhead projectors, screens, and LCD computer panels. Machine tool setup and operation. Printed circuit board layout, fabrication and repair. Firefighting. Microwave theory and practice. Acoustics design and construction. Ability to develop and execute promotional events on short notice. Spot and promotion production techniques. Television and telephone repair. Lawn care. Experience in 2-way communications theory and practice. Diesel generator set knowledge. Board operator and air talent. Multi-track live mixdown. Complete knowledge of building construction, electrical codes, OSHA regulations and fire codes. Automotive electrical systems repair. Analog, digital, and microprocessor design and repair. Gas station attendant. Shoe repair. Cellular telephone theory and repair. Backup news director. Headphone re-re-re-repair. Office machine maintenance, repair, and unjamming. Dish washer detergent acquisition. Photocopy analysis. Clock and watch repair. First aid, including minor surgical experience. Office furniture purchasing, repair and moving. Image scanning and touchup. Coat hook installation and repair. Eyeglass maintenance and repair. Locksmithing skills. Automotive repair. Internet page design, mail routing, mail server, FAX server, and HTML programming. Database maintenance, knowledge of Ami-Pro, Approach, Freelance Graphics, Microsoft Office, Word, Access, Excel, Front Page, Lotus 123, Marketron, First Rate, Fox Pro, Arbitron Maximi$er, and Strata, CBSI, ENCO, Autiovault, Exchange, Netscape, Internet Explorer, PKZIP, Alphie Jr, Adobe Photoshop, Digital Camera operation. Satellite downlink installation, operation and repair. Photography and videography, and video editing, including camera repair. May be called upon for news and traffic reporting, production, and other cross training. Pest control. Voice over talent. Plumbing and flood control. Counseling, scouting, budgeting, and financial experience required. Installation, operation and maintenance of kitchen appliances. Invisible fence repair and installation. Garage door opener maintenance, repair, and installation. Air conditioning technician. Personal computer repair. Sink strainer repair, city map repair, fountain pen repair, piano repair, coffee pot technician, appliance purchase decision maker, staff policing. Experience required as a food service technician, electronic keychain repair engineer, repairing revolving emergency lights, palm pilot repair, bird removal, removing gum from keys, and banking/monetary exchange, chauffeur, map maker. Furniture construction, trash collection and removal, building and grounds maintenance. Concrete technician.
   You must be able to work evenings, weekends, and holidays, and expect to wear a pager and/or cell phone EVERYWHERE, all the time, 24/7. You must be able to work 24 hours per day.
06-10-04 As Sports Radio in STL ... is about to go through an overhaul, InsideRadio reports that the format is the most cluttered, based on a J.P. Morgan analysis of 35 hours of programming that it was able to monitor (via streaming) across 8 of the top 10 DMAs, in different formats and dayparts. Radio's spot load overall averages 15 minutes per hour.
06-08-04 Deb Peterson steals ... At least twice now, the STL-PD/STLToday columnist has taken information originally presented here and used it in her column as her own, without attribution. In a brief phone conversation with her following the Dorsey-Jackson blowup at KTRS, she told me that she would not consider crediting a website even though I offered to source her stories, on and off the record. I believe she cannot be trusted. If she calls you for backup information, just say no comment. The Post sorely needs a media writer. I nominate Frank Absher.
06-08-04 Higher Def TV ... From the NYT:
   HD television may be only just beginning to catch on, but researchers at the Japanese national broadcaster NHK are already working on a successor. The format, called Ultra High Definition Video, or UHDV, has a resolution 16 times greater than plain-old HDTV, and its stated goal is to achieve a level of sensory immersion that approximates actually being there.
   At a picture size of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels - that works out to 32 million pixels - UHDV's resolution trounces even high-end digital still cameras. HDTV, by comparison, has about two million pixels, and normal TV about 200,000 (and only 480 lines of horizontal resolution versus 4,000 with UHDV).
   Add to that UHDV's beefed-up refresh rate of 60 fps.

06-08-04 Just in case you were wondering ... about Mel K's welfare now that he's out of work, here's from the New York Times -
   It is not unusual for people to quit their jobs after winning the lottery. But as Mel A. Karmazin's departure from Viacom Inc. reminded investors last week, only senior executives can win the jackpot by quitting.
   Just a year into a three-year contract, Mr. Karmazin, 60, apparently decided that working for Sumner M. Redstone, Viacom's chairman and controlling shareholder, was not worth the considerable pay, especially if he could be paid just as handsomely for not working. For a mere $30 million or so of their shareholders' money, Mr. Redstone and the rest of Viacom's directors managed to accommodate Mr. Karmazin, who resigned as president and chief operating officer on Tuesday.
   Mr. Karmazin never even had to make a case that he deserved the payout, said David T. McLaughlin, chairman of the corporate governance committee of Viacom's board. The directors "felt that Mel had done a very good job and to pay him out as if he were staying was not an unreasonable thing to do," he said.
   Sweetening the deal, Viacom agreed to immediately vest all the long-term stock awards it had granted to Mr. Karmazin, including 800,000 options given last year. Mr. Karmazin, who reaped $35 million from exercising options last year, agreed to give back 550,000 options he received in mid-May but he still held others worth more than $100 million.

06-07-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... KTRS (yawn): McGraw & Wendy? Looks like McGraw Milhaven will be replacing Kevin Slaten from 9-11 on the Big 550. It looks as though Slaten's last day on KTRS will be Tuesday. He's leaving to broadcast NFL Europe games, and when he comes back, he will jump over to PM drive on KSLG.
06-06-04 Mrs. Anderson, MBA ... My wife was "hooded" this weekend, receiving her Masters in ceremonies at America's Center. Family and friends joined us in this 38' Hummer stretch from Metro Limo to honor her accomplishment (1-800-NEW-LIMO)...

Yes, the portly fellow with the thinning hair is me...click on each above for larger photos (pix by son Jason). And thanks to Gary, a great driver.

06-05-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... McGraw Millhaven: On Friday June 4th McGraw Millhaven was shaking hands with Tim Dorsey after a meeting at West Port. Another KMOX talent moving to the Big 550? That would never happen!
06-05-04 Out at Infinity ... Sandy Cola out at KMOX as NSM; Roy Anderson out as business manager at KEZK. Both are moving to local Clear Channel positions. If memory serves me correctly, Roy Anderson (no relation) was the Business Manager for LIN Broadcasting when they owned WIL AM & FM in that hideous old Missouri State Bank building at Tucker & Locust.
06-01-04 Mel Karmazin quits ... MK was to Infinity what Randy Michaels was to Jacor:Clear Channel. He's been the devil in the deal, and this should see some moral cleaning up of the company. Karmazin might wind up spending his winnings on the purchase of Viacom's radio division or he might become the HBMIC at Disney. Will Stern follow through with his "I'll follow Mel" threat?
05-26-04 KSLG's a-poppin' ... Iggy Strode returns as Executive Producer, Zip and Twist are out and Slaten might be in. Read about it in the P-D.
05-25-04 My formative years ... were spent in South Jersey, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, where I was born. Dick Clark was a local DJ with a TV show that eventually went national on ABC. Now the American Idol producers want to bring Bandstand back to life, taping the show simultaneously in four cities, with hosts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York.
05-25-04 I've mentioned that back in the 1970's ... I worked on non-profit projects in Flint MI with Michael Moore. Who knew back then that he'd eventually receive the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival? Okay, it's an anti-American film shown in France to an international jury...no surprises, I guess. But who knew back then that he'd use untruths so freely in his films and books? Shoot, I really enjoyed Roger and Me...now, Moore is an embarassment in my memory.
05-25-04 I'm a huge sci-fi fan ... and I've been looking forward to The Day After Tomorrow, opening this weekend, just to see the special effects. Unfortunately, it's become politicized, with Internet-inventor Al Gore as the head cheerleader, and presented as if the story was real and not the junk science it is. Tell you what: if a demonstrator on either side approaches me at the theater, he/she will get solidly whacked with my hickory cane. Be warned.
05-25-04 Dave Morris ... hasn't enough to do with his thriving voiceover business. On June 1st, he starts as PM Drive host at Red @ 104.1, following a few days of "tryouts" (as if he needed an audition!).
05-25-04 Read all about it ... in this press release from Bonneville...Cornbread and Pat are a-comin' to WIL from legendary country station KFDI in Wichita (a jump of 70 markets!). The new morning show, including Monica in news, begins on August 2. Here's their website...pretty community oriented, looks like, and some of it might even play here. And so you know what they've been up to, here's a link to their Academy of Country Music entry info site...they were nominated, by the way. The team is very reminiscent of Steve & DC, without Jesus & Pals and all the other baggage.
05-21-04 Mo' money down a dry hole ... From Reuters: AirAmericaRadio, which has struggled since its late March debut, is looking at ways to raise new money in order to steer itself back toward profitability. Investors including Florida attorney Mike Papantonio, Chicago entrepreneur Sheldon Drobny and RealNetworks Chairman/CEO Rob Glaser have committed to investing new capital into Air America Radio. "This venture is not dead and it's not going to die," Papantonio said. "I am a businessman and I see this as a great business opportunity." AAR seeks to raise an additional $8 million, and Papantonio said the company is already well on its way to raising that amount. The current plans are to own just WLIB/New York while obtaining affiliates in other markets. The news comes following the appointment last week of investor Doug Kreeger as CEO. He succeeds Evan Cohen, who was asked to exit by the AAR Board.
   But they don't own WLIB; they're just leasing the time there. Are the investors being led to believe that they now own a radio station in New York? This story is very misleading. None of their ten or so affiliates are airing more than one or two of their shows, with the exception of WLIB, where they buy the time 24/7. They have no realistic business plan, no network advertisers and, obviously, no idea of the way networks proliferate. I'd really like to see even this disloyal opposition succeed at the radio effort, but it's not likely. Why won't they take business advice from those who have succeeded?

05-21-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... WIL's Morning Show: from a friend in Wichita... the Top 25 market mentioned below is none other than STL... and the station is WIL!
   From AllAccess: JOURNAL BROADCASTING GROUP Country KFDI/WICHITA OM BEVERLEE BRANNIGAN calls with some big news: The popular CORNBREAD and PAT JAMES will be leaving the station at the end of JUNE after 3 years. BRANNIGAN told us that they will be headed to a Top 25 market. Look for the destination to be announced soon.
   From The Wichita Eagle: Cornbread would like to move on in his quest to hopefully one day have a syndicated country music show. Their last on-air show will be July 2nd and will begin on the new station August 2nd.

05-21-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Crane Durham: Current KTRS personality Crane Durham is one of several candidates being considered for the "TIPM" job at the Mighty 'Mox. He was spotted at 1 Memorial Drive earlier this week. If true, this reversal of the food chain would be the first since KTRS went on the air. Don't give this a lot of credence.
05-20-04 KTVI news photographer Larry Washington was shot this afternoon while working a story with Elliott Davis in Wellston ...
05-18-04 Chuck Norman died yesterday ... he'd been in failing health for the past few years and his heart attacked him. He died at home. He was an odd duck, for sure, but his was the station I tuned to when I drove away from the morning show each day at WIL in 1986 and 1987; I even spent a couple years doing a two-hour, one day a week talk show on WGNU... $10 an hour! Quite an experience. The Old Chuckeroo's intention was to leave the station to his management team and I hope they carry on in the grand Norman tradition.
05-17-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Sports radio in STL: Expect an all out war in Sports radio in St. Louis starting this summer. 1380 is rumored to be talking to some KTRS and KFNS staffers, and will relaunch next month with mostly local programming, and ESPN radio. Meanwhile, Big League Broadcasting is also looking at raiding some KTRS talent, and will reportedly move Jim Rome from sister KRFT to the more powerful KFNS AM/FM Signal. A revamped KFNS will feature syndicated fare from Fox Sports & Sporting News networks. KRFT meanwhile, is rumored to become St. Louis' new affiliate of the All Comedy radio network. Expect both Simmons & Big League to spend some $$$ on promotions this summer to try to win the sports race... PREDICTION: KMOX will chug on, remaining above and unaffected by this; KTRS will cut back its already spare news department and replace live programming with a late-night syndie show to add to its already-bloated sports budget. Balzer and Hadley will be the first to defect; Holder could be had if Big League can be patient.
05-16-04 Nick Berg ... beheaded by the Muslims, was a tower guy, a radio engineer. Here's an email story about him.
05-16-04 When radio managers go bad ... In our honored tradition of "holding their feet to the fire" we're preparing a short presentation on how honchos respond to listener's queries. HINT TO MANAGERS: It's not only radio employees who read this website; occasionally we get forwarded email exchanges from listeners. Lie to them and see your responses posted here.
05-16-04 This thing goin' round ... calling St. Louis "the Lou"...needs to be reconsidered. Toilets in Great Britain are called "the loo". I know, it's a stretch, there's an ocean and 1000 miles of the US between this and that, and maybe I'm not hip enough for the room. Nonetheless I have a problem with anyone calling my hometown a bathroom.
05-15-04 Big League Broadcasting enters STL ... That's who's paying $11.5mm for KFNS AM/FM and KRFT. Greg Maracek will make between $2.5 and $3mm as partial owner and in future payments (non-compete and consultancy) spread over seven years. Read the story from the STL BizJournal by way of MSNBC. The new owners expect to be in place and running the stations by 5/25 and say that "no immediate program changes will be made"...please note the use of the word "immediate." A successful raid on sports talent at KTRS might actually be a blessing to The Big 550. Is that whirring noise we hear CD recorder drives spinning up at WestPort? PREDICTION: The new owners and talent will be attacked as carpetbaggers and chewed upon more viciously and relentlessly than the rogue MP's did to the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Think Philly's the home of the BooBirds? Just wait and see.
05-14-04 Who was that ... doing PM Drive on Red @ 104.1 this week? Sounded pretty good. What happened to the all-chick format?
05-12-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Emmis/STL and (sigh!) DC Chymes: The United States Bankruptcy Court has filed complaint for declaratory judgment, for turnover of assets, or in the alternative for a money judgement, and for temporary restraining order/injunction against Emmis Radio Corporation and Isaiah and Anna Wilhelm. The injunction states that debtors are acting to hinder,delay and defraud debtors' creditors and that Emmis and debtors have failed and refused to turn over monetary assets that the court has requested and further that the Wilhelms have not only refused to turn over said funds but have used it to purchase a luxury car. The document also states that the Wilhelms have refused to explain what they did with over $800,000.00 they recieved in the past two years. Case No. 03-46601- 659.
05-11-04 KTRS shareholder bails out... Sandy Creek Investment passes their share back into the pot and new investors jump in. Here's Tim Dorsey's FCC excuse.
05-11-04 Who owns KTRS ... We wondered who's that guy in Little Rock who owns 11%+ of the station, anyway? Turns out Tab Turner's a youngish lawyer who specializes in prosecuting auto and tire companies and is worth gazillions. Take a look at his website and divide the sum of his "triumphs" by a third to get a baseline on his worth. KTRS is owned in major part by a torts lawyer...figures. Now go read some John Grisham books and get back to me.
05-11-04 XMSatRad ... is paying their loans off in discounted stock. They just paid GM with 10mm shares of stock valued at around $3/per, an $18 discount. This is not a good sign. Cash flow seems to be WAY off.
05-11-04 AirAmericaRadio ... is down to just one station that carries the complete lineup and WLIB-AM NYC is being paid a HUGE sum of money to do it. All the rest of their affiliates are "cherry-picking" the shows, most just carrying Al Franken. And last week, Franken said he was considering entering politics...the kiss of death for the LibNet.
05-08-04 A note to Tim Dorsey, GM (KTRS):
   In radio, the easiest thing in the world to do is fire someone.
   You or your waterboy Fred just tell them that "we're changing direction" and send them on their way. You don't need any real reason or a pesky paper trail. No skin off your nose, you keep your job, your salary and your perqs and benefits...and they don't. Your life goes on and their life falls to pieces while they scramble to survive and find work.
   And, sadly, in 2004, that's considered acceptable behavior for management.
   But your treatment of Jean Jackson over the past five or six months has been appalling.
   And now she's gone and you pay her no severance after her four years of faithful and honorable service? How in the world can you justify that? How in the world can the investors in CH Holdings justify their approval of your action?
   Mr. Dorsey, you've paid severance to dismissed employees with and without contracts and you've even paid off contracts under threat of blackmail, with or without the knowledge of your Board.
   Pay Jean the severance she asked for; it's not unreasonable. And while you're at it, throw in her family's medical coverage through the end of 2004. For once, be honorable and do the right thing. Be a good corporate citizen. But, most importantly, be a Man.

05-07-04 More grief at AirAmericaRadio ... On the heels of two other executive firings, Chairman Evan Cohen and Vice-Chairman Rex Sorensen also fade away; both were major investors, too. No replacements are planned. The company missed their last payroll and continue to have difficulty finding market-wide signals as affiliates or deep-pocket sponsors to pay the freight. What happened to the unending money from Streisand, the Baldwins and the rest of the Hollywood-ites? Things ain't lookin' good on the broadcast left. Of course, it's W's fault...or could it be simply that nobody cares what Al Franken & Friends have to say and the "progressive" investors are quietly cutting their losses and moving on? UPDATE 05 -07-04: The bailout continues -- EVP/Sales and Marketing Jacqui Rossinsky quits, saying "I did not want my name associated with that company anymore."
05-05-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Brian Hauswirth: Brian, News Director/Party Line host of KLIK-AM, Jeff City, to KTRS, unknown position.
05-05-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... KTRS' Tim Dorsey: "Very loud face to face meeting between Dorsey and Jean Jackson resonating through the office at KTRS Tuesday afternoon. Dorsey's secretary finally had to shut the door." I bet Jean gave as good as she got, but it takes a real man to dress down a woman, doesn't it? Maybe it's time for the KTRS Board to unfurl Tim et al's Golden Parachutes, take whatever financial hit it'll be and move on to competent management and sales. And here's a newsflash for TD: Jean had nothing to do with the memo to you posted below. If you've got a problem with the story or commentary, call me and get loud. Beating up on a woman, even verbally, is unacceptable behavior and, Tim, you crossed the line.
05-05-04 The direct descendant of JACOR ... Clear Channel offers a way to get around "it"... From their Prophet site: ContentCheck introduces an advanced content delay system with over 60 minutes delay time! Obscenity. Indecency. You know it when you hear it, but by the time you hear it, all you can do is flinch and wait for the call from the FCC, right? Not anymore. When zero tolerance is your company's policy, you need ContentCheck. No -- here's a clue: hire air talent who don't need to express themselves with toilet talk. Save some money.
05-05-04 The "man who invented the internet" ... is launching a television news network that will offer "irreverent and bold" programming for young adults. Former US VP Al Gore said the network will be "an independent voice in this industry" with a primary target audience of people between 18 and 34 "who want to learn about the world in a voice they recognize and a view they recognize as their own." The programming will continue to be provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and will include traditional news formats like documentaries (seals, beavers and Eskimos?). But he used words like irreverent and bold to describe the tone of the programming, which he said will include news, comedies and other "formats you haven't seen before."
05-04-04 AirAmerica ... is getting competition, according to InsideRadio: Conservative Communications says Limbaugh, Hannity and most other talkers "continue to fall short in the younger demos." It even asks "Why are so many young people liberal?" The company sounds like it's near the beginning of its process: It will build facilities in New York and then "hire the cream of the crop in the new generation of young conservative talkers." Crane Durham need not apply.
05-04-04 A sales guarantee? Susquehanna's offering a "Sales Performance Guarantee" in all eight of its markets, per a story at InsideRadio. Accountability's a hot topic, and Susquehanna's new policy offers 2-for-1 makegoods for spots that fail to air in the proper daypart. The policy also includes a 24-hour client hotline. Traffic directors, pay attention!
05-02-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Jean Jackson: "Jean Jackson was told Friday that she would no longer be part of the KTRS Morning Show effective immediately, but that she might be offered a position in the News Department." Perhaps this clears the path to add another member of the KMOX Kastoff Klub -- McGraw "No Share" Millhaven!
   Open Memo to: Tim "No Clue" Dorsey:
   From: Mike Anderson
   Subject: Jean Jackson and some other things

   (1) As much as you fantasize that you are, you're not the "new Bob Hyland." A sorry knockoff of Mel Karmazin, well, maybe that. In either case, you need to understand that the people who work for you are not cattle. They have families and mortgages and car and insurance payments. When you futz with them or imperially abrogate their contracts or deny them severance (as you did to J.C. Corcoran) you harm not only them, you harm their families, including their children. You are not God or Bob or Mel, Tim. You are only the Managing Partner of a small business, not even the Owner. And in the run of things, a local radio station is a very small business, no matter how many millions you tell your shareholders you're worth.
   (2) At lunch at Beffa's media people laugh behind your back.
   (3) Experience at KMOX is no longer the "stamp of the champ" it once was. It's a radio station, Tim, not The Vatican. Listeners don't care about talent pedigree or if the "girls" on the air or at the front desk are "cuties". Wendy and Bill's KMOX creds have done nothing for the KTRS Morning Show in any of their several evolutions. Surely your Board must question your ongoing bad judgement on this issue. If not, why not? By dropping Jean Jackson from The Morning Show are you trying to tell the Board that she was to blame for the morning ratings problem? Even after all she did was to read news? Is this another excuse for bad performance based on your bad judgement? You must be tired of tap dancing for the Board by now. The rest of us are certainly tired of your dance.
   (4) What's the deal with your sports investments? Hockey on the radio, a second-rate NFL offering and a herd of poorly-spoken, one-dimensional sports commentators. Why not plug some of this money into a local news effort if you really want to compete with KMOX? Why do you shrink and expand your news department "as needed" to accomodate growth in other areas? Is local news your idea of a loss-leader? Many of your ex-news directors want to know! So do listeners, who'd also like to know...about what's going on, period.
   (5) Jerry Berger is history and Deb Peterson doesn't seem to be sure who or what you are.
   (6) Jean was not the problem with The Morning Show. There are, however, twelve distinct problems:
   -- Wendy Weise (although I salute you for your loyalty);
   -- Bill Wilkerson (ditto);
   -- and Tim's ten short, little, meddling fingers (see what I did there?).
   Jean was a ray of sunshine on an otherwise bleak landscape. Tom Langmyer would be well advised to consider her as a replacement for Carol Daniels, who, I'm told, is probably next to go from KMOX and thus become a potential hire for KTRS.
   Have a nice day!

05-01-04 SaveRadioNow.org ... is the address for a website set up by rock radio consultant Fred Jacobs to, essentially, save his retail butt. With no corporate or station identifiers, the site offers First Amendment, polling and email links to help "defeat" current FCC investigations into obscene programming. He offers it to his client stations to use as a link incorporated into their sites. Yo, Fred...think smut. Remember that word, meaning obscenity, trash and pornography? Many of your client stations and their websites are built on it! Jacobs' site also says that "It contains information of a general nature that cannot be regarded as legal advice." That should be enough of a warning that his site is meaningless...but then Jacobs' a consultant just trying to save his professional ass and his income any way he can.
04-30-04 Millhaven appears to be on the ropes ... at KMOX. Looks like he's the first casualty. Word out of the Mighty 'MOX says he's gone as of the first week in June. Fitty cent says he shows up on KTRS after that as at least a weekender/fill-in guy...
04-29-04 Told ya so... Our notes from the NAB told us that there would be fatalities at LibNet because of their recent improprieties: AirAmerica CEO Mark Walsh and programming chief Dave Logan took the pipe, replaced on an acting basis by Chief Counsel Dave Goodfriend and Lizz Winstead, respectively.
04-27-04 Joe Sonderman is becoming as prolific as Stephen King ... He writes: Just wanted to let you know I've got a third book hitting the stores this week. It's called St. Louis World's Fair 365. It uses the same day in history format as the first two, but all the events are from 1904 and related to the World's Fair. I was surprised at the wild stuff I learned. I will be signing copies this weekend at the 1904 World's Fair centennial celebration in Forest Park. Come by if you get a chance!
04-25-04 Do you Google ... or maybe have you invested in Google? The NY Times has a story on the search engine that might go public and suddenly become worth $25BILLION. One investor will turn $200k into $300MILLION; developers Sergey Brin and Larry Page own one-third each (that's $8BILLION+ each...sell out quickly, boys!). The dot-com riches live, huh?
04-25-04 Since the XM and Sirius inception ... I've been saying that re-subscriptions will tell the tale. Looks like my predictions may have been wrong. Churn rate is under 2-3% and that's pretty good. So far, SatRad is setting up to be a major threat to TerRad. If the FCC allows local content insertion into SatRad, it might be a ballgame. CorpTerRad needs to pay close attention...the big investment CorpTerRad has made in conventional broadcast licenses may be at serious risk. Tell us how you think this will turn out in the next five years by voting above, at left. Viewing the results will open a new window.
04-25-04 Air America continues to grow ... Here's their latest affiliate list.
04-25-04 Yo, Emmis ... The recent indecency complaints lodged against one of your STL stations were probably filed by an ex-employee using a phony name. I have access to a stack of evidence that can likely direct you to who really filed the complaints.
04-25-04 Howard Stern's self-styled victimization ... has earned him a fat ratings jump in NYC (we'll see if it worked in STL this week). Why is this a surprise? He's positioned himself as the underdog, in battle with the "guvmint." If that doesn't grab hearts and minds, I don't know what will. Now his new(er) best friend Mel Karmazin promises to challenge FCC fines in court. Remember that these sleazebags are using our real estate to build their whorehouses. CBS/Viacom/Infinity is proving itself to be the most vile of corporate citizens...and in a world filled with vile corporate citizens, they're at the top of the heap.
04-23-04 What happens between the songs ... is enormously important. Sean Ross, of Edison Research, has written this article about it, including a lot of things I B&M'd to air talent about over the years. Good reading...might even make you think twice about the way you schedule elements.
04-22-04 Speaking of John Hadley ... (as I did below), is it my imagination that he's making an effort to speak more clearly, to not sound like he's got a mouth full o' mush?? Good start on professional redemption, John. I don't listen much to sports, but when I do, and when I hear improvement, I'll note it. And I believe I heard him talking about a son...another good move, humanizing the radio personna. Didn't know he was married. Now if he could only get his picks inside realistic expectations...
04-22-04 Blame it all on the Jacksons ... Michael Jackson, the "King Of Pop" was indicted Wednesday on multiple child molestation charges (ala Mike Rice); ironically, it was Michael's sister, Janet, whose breast-exposing adventure on CBS-TV's Superbowl broadcast began the current cruise-to-morality. Maybe we should target their Dad, Joe, as the primary target for all this? Was it all his fault? Or is this all the result of a general societal moral meltdown? Not a religious thing, just wondering if we've lost our way?
04-22-04 Taste is apparently no longer an issue ... with CBS/Infinity/Viacom. Wednesday night, 48 Hours Investigates showed a photo of the dying Princess Diana on broadcast television, accompanied by a ghoulish narration from the doctor who tried to save her. None of this was necessary, none of this was news. It was just a ratings-grab. When will the Mel Karmazins of f the world understand that the broadcast freq's are owned by the people of the US and leased/licensed to the broadcasters for a fee so they can use them to make a profit while operating within the bounds of common taste and established guidelines? And when will they understand that people are sick and tired of abuses (Stern, Jackson, etc.) of their privilege? License revocations are just around the corner...as John Hadley would say, "it's a lock". Once one of these corporate guys loses a billion-dollar revenue generator, the rest will snap into line.
04-20-04 Secret Squirrel spins on ... WIBV-FM: Don't expect the current owners of WIBV-FM to complete the move in of the station - Rumor has it that the station has already been listed with a broker, and that Radio One has its sights on the station, to add on as a sister to Urban WFUN-FM. 102.1 should have a good signal within the city limits of St. Louis as well as on the East side, and inner ring suburbs, but will not provide good coverage to the more affluent western burbs, making it a very good fit for Radio One, who targets an Urban audience.
04-20-04 AirAmerica ... needs new affiliate stations in LA and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the recently launched liberal talk-radio network that became embroiled last week in a financial dispute with the owner of its Chicago and Los Angeles stations, will broadcast over WNTD-950 AM in Chicago for the last time on April 30...(and)...will remain off the air for the time being in Los Angeles.
04-20-04 Stratemeyer's WIBV-FM, Mt. Vernon, IL ... received FCC approval to move their city of license to Okawville, thus short-spacing the Infinity KEZK signal and forcing them to reduce their signal. Why Infinity never responded to this action is beyond me and why Okawville needs local service remains a mystery. Presumably the owners think they'll make a killing selling ads in the St. Louis market...good luck. Thanks to Frank Absher for the heads up on the ruling.
04-19-04 Nets, groups and activists ... will ask the FCC today "to rescind its recent decision that the F-word, and any other word the commissioners donít like, can be punished with major fines or license revocations." Put your money on the FCC standing firm and then watch the court battles gear up and play out. I repeat: indecency is NOT a First Amendment issue. Industries and companies can mandate behavior.
04-17-04 One less promotional stunt ... IRS official Sam Serio said, "I haven't seen a line all day. In all prior years, I have seen 200 to 300 people." Serio says that 51.8 million out of 89.4 million federal tax returns were filed electronically, a 12% increase over last year. It's how the Anderson's have filed for the past five years. The IRS takes credit and check cards, too. Yeah, Rah, Yippee. I hate this time of year.
04-17-04 KTRS has a good lookin' website ... but why, if the station is to be perceived as a news and sports entity, is is so slowly updated? Their headlines are over a day old (as of early Saturday morning), and their sports news tells us that the Blues have to win to stay in the playoffs. And there's no mention online of the Mike Danton murder-for-hire story. It's all over KMOX.com and TV Friday night. Or is this too close to home for the Blues' flagship station to handle? Might be something for the SJR to deal with in an upcoming issue.
04-17-04 Porn may be in short supply ... while the industry reels from news that nearly fifty of its "stars" may have been infected with HIV. CBS had the gall in their online story to also post an image of an AIDS ribbon (screenshot here), somehow sympathizing with the porn industry's shutdown. The ribbon stands for the terrible suffering endured by those who have contracted the disease, not for the voluntary, even eager behavior of men and women who tempt death for pay on a daily basis. This is a powerful sidebar to the media cleanup currently underway and another indicator why CBS/Infinity needs to be punished civilly for their transgressions that culminated with NippleGate.
04-17-04 As AirAmerica slowly makes its way back from their initial embarassment, the word coming from attendees at the NAB in Las Vegas is that "senior AA people have been fired over this" incident. Most likely, the firings came as a result of the moronic series of press releases on their site, all of which have been scrubbed. More as the convention progresses.
04-16-04 I fundamentally disagree with ... what the proponents and participants of AirAmerica have to say. But, to quote Disraeli, I support to the death their right to say it. Unfortunately, they're going about it all wrong.
    First, they're buying their air time outright. This business model will only get their programming aired on weak-signaled AM's with coverage of just portions of any given market. Sure, there may be occasional stations that will just roll over and accept the offer...but such stations are usually small signals that sold or bartered programming to survive in the first place.
    The network should have developed either a revenue-sharing deal that would have plugged a few bucks from their (non-existent) national sponsors into each affiliate station, or simply offered their programming free to potential affiliates in order to get their message across.
    Second, they should have avoided like the plague the legal wrangling that they have caused. No TRO's, no lawsuits. Just fix the problem and get the programming back on the air.
    Finally, their CEO should never have said that they can run for years at no income. I don't care who or what is backing you...the investors are eventually going to want some return, progressive, liberal, conservative or whatever. If I give you a couple million bucks to start and run your business, I'm gonna want a couple million bucks +++ back, whether I'm a Heinz, a Kennedy, a Kerry or a Bush. Hey, it's business, not personal.
    I said it before...without powerhouse signals in major markets and a broad base of national sponsorship, this effort is doomed. And then, of course, they'll cry loudly that it was the conservative media conspiracy that caused their demise.

04-16-04 AirAmerica back on the air in Chicago... thanks to the courts, but not in LA. And they've added a half-dozen more peanut-whistle affiliates. The difficulty appears to be differing interpretations of contracts. Read these messages from radio execs posted at broadcast.net. This is gonna be a long, arduous "path to glory" for this bunch of (almost entirely) non-radio lefties.
04-15-04 The Point goes downriver... for a GSM, hiring Gary Harkin. Harkin was Director of Sales for Entercom Communications in Memphis.
04-15-04 The AirAmerica "difficulty" is a bit confusing... The newly-born lib-net has been dropped from its Chicago and LA affils because of what are purported to be "bounced checks" paying back a loan. Read the injunction they asked for here. Let's wait a day or two for the smoke to clear on this one.
04-14-04 This may be the source... of the unemployment=sports fans study I found referenced online: InsideRadio reported yesterday that Miami gets a third all-sports station: The Fan takes the field May 3 when Carl Foster's LMA with WFLL (1400) begins, using a lineup that looks mostly local, at least in the daytime. South Florida's already got sports radio from Beasley's WQAM (560) and Clear Channel's WRFX (940). High unemployment and a huge retired population...idle hands are the sports station's workshop, looks like.
04-09-04 At the end of the week... we're still waiting for word of the new Phoenix-cluster-corporate position to be assumed by former KTRS PD/Consultant Todd Wallace. Wallace? Wallace? UPDATE: The Toddster has taken the reigns at the Phoenix Infinity cluster, including three stations (one each: Oldies, Alternative and Country).
04-09-04 A sudden attack of good judgement at Emmis... has Smash joining Jamie Allman for what appears to be a permanent position at KFTK. He starts on the 19th.
04-09-04 Isn't this like closing the barn door after the horses are gone? I mean, stations have been warned, right? AllAccess is reporting: Enco Systems has developed an automated logging system for spoken word material that can automatically eliminate profanity. The GUARDIEN system, to be unveiled at NAB2004 on APRIL 19, adds "speaker-independent" speech recognition capability to broadcast delay, allowing the broadcaster to automatically clip out any words it deems potentially indecent and to log the edit. Yup, this'll work, alright...it'll have NO problem at all recognizing the same word as spoken in a lazy Southern drawl and a clipped Northeastern accent. Managers, spend your money more wisely on quality air talents that do not need to use profanity. .
04-09-04 Lost in the shuffle... of the CCU fine is a $14.4k indecency fine for Emmis, based on a Mancow broadcast on his Chicago home base. And why is a guy with the class and stature of Bob Costas soiling his hands by giving time on his HBO show to a piece of dirt like the late and unlamented Bubba The Love Sponge? .
04-09-04 The Stern-as-a-lightning-rod act... is getting harder and harder to take. Following the FCC's imposition on CCU of a nearly-half-million dollar fine and the company's subsequent dropping altogether of his show, Stern wrote this on his website: They...are expressing and imposing their opinions and rights to tell us all who and what we may listen to and watch and how we should think about our lives. No, Howard. You're wrong. You're just being asked to play by the established rules. The radio "umps" made the strike zone a little too wide for a few too many years and now they're tightening it and the pitchers need to get a bit more accurate.
04-08-04 There goes the live album business: Contemporaneous concert recording...we told you about this over a year ago...and now it's coming to a CCU concert venue near you. .
04-07-04 Secret Squirrel spins on... Channel 5: Charlie Van Dyke (the new promotional announcer on ch5) is only hired as a temp while they look for someone else. Oh, fer...Van Dyke has been the standard for over thirty years. Nobody...nobody...can touch his sound or delivery.
04-06-04 The Post-Dispatch website... has been rehung, sporting a slick, new "XP"-style look. Optimized for 800-pixel-wide monitors with a clean white bg...nicely done, Post Websters! .
04-06-04 Secret Squirrel spins on... Paul "King of All Digital Media" Arca: Paul starts mornings on KLOU Easter Monday, in a "more music"-style show with unnamed co-conspirators. I'm hearing that it's initially an interrim position but with a strong possibility of permanance. Let's hope for that permanent thing. .
04-06-04 Tom Calhoun goes private... sort of. In addition to his work with KTRS, the Blues, the Grizzlies and everything else, Tom's opening Tom Calhoun Studios on June 1st. He'll be available for voicework and imaging. Reach him at (314) 368-4045. .
04-06-04 As suggested here a while back... and recently reported in the P-D, Dan Gray is off to be the wizard at Fox2. He'll take over for Dick Ford on the early news shows.
04-04-04 SportsRadio ratings=unemployment... A newsgroup to which I subscribe has been referencing a recent research project that states that a market's sports radio ratings are directly attributable to the level of unemployment there. Anyone heard of this study? If it's true, it could mean a catastrophic drop in the per-unit costs of spots in sports programming.
04-02-04 Dick Heed DID NOT get the boot ... Our usually diligent sources didn't get the full story on this one. Todd Wallace writes (and we reprint with his permission):
   The actual story is: Three weeks ago, I received "an offer I could not refuse" -- to become the Programming/Operations/Researach Manager for the Phoenix cluster of one of the big radio groups. I've signed a 5-year contract and I start work with them on Monday 4/5, at which time I can announce which company. (Be watching radioandrecords.com and allaccess.com for details.)
   Tim Dorsey was gracious enough to allow me out of my contract at KTRS when he learned about the substantial salary increase and responsibilities I would be undertaking.
   As far as "parting ways", not true, not at all -- Tim and I remain very good friends. In fact, we were on the phone together just this afternoon, talking about consultants I'd recommend to possibly become my replacement at KTRS. (One of the requirements of my new job was that I was to dissolve any other outside consulting interests so I could devote 110% to the job at hand.)
   As far as Dick Heed "getting the boot" on Wednesday, just so you know, I was in the station not only on Wednesday, but all day Thursday, too, to help bird-dog our "Pay Radio" April Fool's promotion, and to personally conduct a round of face-to-face one-on-ones with everyone in the programming department about my departure. Believe me, if my new gig wasn't such a great opportunity, I would still be very proudly continuing my "hands-on" involvement with KTRS, which is, I believe, one of the most unique and truly great radio stations in the world.

Publisher's note: Wallace is generally considered to be the Father of radio station in-house research (he singlehandedly created the concept of callout research years ago and his current interpretational projects are top shelf.) As for his adventures at KTRS, it might be mentioned in his defense that any wisdom Wallace imputed was washed through the Dorsey filter. The question remains: is it back now to just Phunkmaster Phred to be the leader of the band?

04-01-04 My personal favorite ... April Fools' stunt...working mornings with Frank O. Pinion in the early '90's we set up an imaginary toll booth across the Missouri River on I-70 (coming into STL County) and then did it again two years later across the river on Highway 40 (also coming in). Listeners joined in, telling us about change-making road stops. We received in-studio visits from MHP troopers because of traffic problems we caused. Can't have that much fun anymore... Highway 94 was never so busy!
04-01-04 New NAB rules ... might be coming. Back in the '70's the NAB's "voluntary" recommendations for style, content and programming were ruled illegal because of anti-trust regs. Now the NAB is considering updated rules that would include indecency regs.
04-01-04 AirAmerica's schedule ... is posted here. They kicked off yesterday and re-launched their website (with streaming link) late in the day. Affiliates include primarily lightweight stations (WLIB-A/NYC, KBLA-A/LA, WNTD-A/Chicago, KCAA-A/Loma Linda, and KPOJ-A/Portland, with daypart affils at WJNO-A/West Palm Beach and WMNN-A/Minneapolis). Tom Leykis has bet Al Franken big bucks that the net will never top a one share in LA.
04-01-04 50 years of Cards baseball ... on KMOX, the longest running presentation of the national pasttime on the air. There was supposed to be a CD of the best play by play audio of the last half-century available by now but rumor has it that the "new" owners have not allowed access to the archives. UPDATE: New word from sources name the wait for clearance from MLB as the holdup, not the team's owners or the station.

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