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Previously on The Front Page...Jan/Feb/Mar 2005

03-31-05 For obvious legal reasons... I can't get too specific on this. In the course of a conversation this afternoon on the current state of STLMedia, I learned of a marital "situation" that could have long-term implications for a lot of names you know. Don't bother speculating; I'll keep my ear to the ground on this and keep you posted. But if this bomb hits it'll leave a crater the size of Clayton.
03-31-05 Watching the HBO documentary on... Air America. Nicely done, although it's difficult to understand why they let all the warts show. It's tough to believe their arrogance and their insistence that, in seven months, they'd be able to change the direction of the country. Here's a look at what's gone on for the LibNet moonbats since the documentary was made. Oops! I'd better be careful about what I say about AA...Brent Feeney once turned me into the Fascisti at DU because I dared to criticize AA's business plan. Feeney...weenie...anything else?
03-30-05 New weekend weatherguy at KMOV... Matt Chambers, who's the weekend weather guy at KRCG Channel 13 in Jefferson City, has been hired as the new weekend meteorologist for Channel 4.
03-29-05 I'm constantly amazed... at the number of so-called radio professionals who have no idea how what leaves their lips and CD players winds up in someone's home or car radio. Here's a primer on the very simple technology that makes it possible. Read it - you'll thank me later.
03-28-05 Got this in email... Hi Mike..My name is Laura Richards and I have always wanted to be on the radio. If not on the radio somehow involved with it. I didn't know if you had any way of letting me know if there were any intern positions open for someone who hasn't even gone to school for it. But I have the want and determination to do it..so if you think that you might be able to help me..please contact me..laura_richards3@hotmail.com
03-28-05 A guarded prediction... on K-HITS: the Emmis-owned station will not be changing to Bob or Dave or Frank or Linda on Friday, April 1.
03-28-05 Jay Philpott is back home... and nobody even knew it. Jay returned recently to St. Louis, his home, and is "tending to elderly relatives right now." He's an extraordinary air talent and, when the time is right, he'll be available for your station. The River is looking for a PM-driver...hey, Bonneville: Jay's the man. Contact me to be put in touch.
03-28-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on Air America: A St. Louis radio station has been talking with the liberal network AirAmerica to broadcast some of the net's programming, with interest focused on the Jerry Springer and Al Franken shows. UPDATE 3/29: The station going to air america is 1190. They're looking to drop their fox and sporting news affiliation and start running air america.
03-28-05 Might Lee have some competition coming for the P-D? From Slate: Multibillionaire Philip Anschutz hasn't given an interview in more than 30 years, so we can't ask him why he entered competitive newspaper markets in San Francisco and Washington with his free, home-delivered tabloid Examiners. Nor can we ask if he intends to take the enterprise to any of the nearly 70 cities where he's filed trademark applications for the Examiner name. Yes, St. Louis is on the list.
03-27-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on JC Corcoran: Rumor has it that JC will move to 97.1 starting April 4, bringing a voice from the left to the mostly right wing station. Smash will remain with Emmis to host mornings on the new KSBO "96-3 Bob FM" following a few jockless weeks.
03-26-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on The River: WVRV will not be changing to "JACK-FM" but they will be widening the playlist of "The River" and changing the slogan to "Modern Music and Whatever We Want." This is a pre-emptive strike against the pending flip of KIHT to "BOB-FM" on Friday.
03-26-05 What exactly is the wisdom of... streaming a station's signal online? Nation- or world-wide play of a local station offers listeners in Massachusetts or Japan the opportunity to buy a car from a dealer in St. Louis. Yup, that'll work. Streaming, minus AFTRA ads and plus the cost of RIAA music fees, makes no sense at all. Even talk and news stations are better served by only offering carefully edited archives of important shows, as Clear Channel has begun to do. Sports stations can't offer baseball playXplay because the rights are owned by Real Media or MLB. Music stations offer nothing that a listener can't get on personal media. And, sorry, we just don't want to hear voice-tracked "air talents" here, from "there". The obvious answer is that streaming is all about vanity, and there's not enough money in the budget for a station's vanity. P-1's who listen on a computer just do not make up the cost. Fer God's sake, spend the bandwidth and IT money on salary and promotion of local talent!
03-26-05 The more I think about it... the more I'd like to hear MikeFM as a moniker for one of these "I play what I want" stations. I can dream, right? Hey, Dave Morris, Paul Arca, Tom Calhoun and Kevin McCarthy (voice guys to the stars): how 'bout some custom tracks? And with attitude!
03-26-05 Before anyone gets too excited... about the prospect of a station (Jack or Bob or Hank or whomever) "playing what we want" you need to understand the realities involved. What any of these are doing is simply what used to be called Top 40, playing the hits across the pop spectrum or, as in the case of Emmis' "HankFM", more broadly within a genre.
   The music will still be rotated by software, albeit a little more loosely and a little less often. The music will still be carefully researched and songs added or deleted based on focus group findings.
   Understand that when the station tells you it's playing "what we want" it means exactly that. Listeners shouldn't expect to have much (or any) input into the playlist.
   Many stations have dropped their air talents, with the exception of a local morning show, in favor of voice-tracked shows through the day, with no local input and no local consideration. They offer no local news, no local weather and no local emergency information. In fact, this may be in serious violation of the FCC licenses that allow them to use the frequencies on which they broadcast.
   Commercial radio is in a serious pickle. Current hits, in any format, are crap. Station audio, for the most part, is shrill and distorted, going for loudness instead of true fidelity. Listeners are disaffected and moving to other choices...MP3 players, online stations and SatRad.
   This, just like the Clear Channel "less is more" campaign, is just another example of the "fog of radio".
   The Jack and Bob formats, which began at a Canadian station, by the way, have had only limited success, with initial jumps followed by a slow but steady decline.
   Media buyers in St. Louis need to watch other examples of these formats, in other markets (and, no, don't be fooled by sales reps who tell you that St. Louis is a "unique radio market"...it's not...and I have three decades of experience that confirms that) before committing client money to what is likely to be just another pig in a poke.

03-25-05 A big weekend for Emmis properties...
-- On Friday at 12N, their Hot AC WENS/Indianapolis flipped to Country as "97.1 HANK-FM." The station website at www.hankfm.com touts the new station as "... a different kind of station that plays anything (and we mean anything) Country ... from the new, to the known, to the legends." Kinda like Jack/Bob for the country crowd. More here. (hat tip to AllAccess)
-- Then at 5PM their Alternative Q101/Chicago went on "SHUFFLE" for the Easter weekend. Q101 is plugging in every song the station has ever played in its 13-year history. (hat tip to AllAccess)
-- And finally...New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that his office, along with the New York State Athletic Commission, began an investigation into the Emmis' HOT97/NYC' "Smackfest" competition, where two participants take turns slapping each other in the face to settle a dispute. The regular feature was heard over the air and shown on its Web site. Too bad it took guvmint intervention to get the station to see how damaging to the community the promotion was. (hat tip to Frank A.)

03-25-05 A while back we made all the MB Forums... require registration. It certainly thinned the herd, which was our intent. Now we're adding back, with an MB Forum expressly for UNregistered users to post comments. It will be moderated and edited as necessary.
03-24-05 So now STL is threatened with... not just one, but TWO "we play what we want" stations...both K-Hits and The River are rumored to be going that way in the next week or so. IMHO, the K-Hits rumor is stronger but the question remains: if both of them go head to head with the format, who wins? Or to phrase it another way, would BOB "off" JACK in the ratings or would JACK...and you can look to an upcoming Sid Dithers column for the rest. Comment here
03-24-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on The River: I work at Bonneville. Everyone seems panicked about this Jack format, and today they got the order from that Greg guy to change the River ASAP. It looks like all the DJ's are going to be let go but Vic will become the PD. Someone said they were going to try to get it done before the ratings start next week. I guess they're going to call it Jack and the thing is that they'll play whatever they want. Vic is really excited.
03-24-05 My son Jason has been robbed... of thousands of dollars worth of mechanical and woodworking tools, some given to him by his late Grandfather. The theft also included his bass amp and other personal material. This was stolen from his garage behind his home on Holly Hills in The City. I am seriously pissed about this and herewith offer a reward of $1000 cash for information that leads to the return of this property and the prosecution of the dirtbags who stole it. Call me at 314-878-0673 or send info here. You can also call 911 from wherever you are and ask for the St. Louis City Police.
03-23-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on K-HITS96: Saint Louis will soon be turning their knob to BOB. Look for 96.3 to begin stunting on April Fools Day with all Bob Seger followed by the launch of "96-3 BOB-FM" at 6pm.
03-22-05 A Clear Channel memo... Randy Raley has announced that he is leaving his position as an Account Executive for KLOU at the end of this month. He has accepted the position of Director of Affiliate Relations for Learfield Communications, a news service based in Jefferson City. Randy will be servicing the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Wisconsin region. Please join me in wishing Randy all the best in his new endeavor.
03-20-05 Bob LeMents' Static Radio... was probably the first local RSSyndicated PodCast (and promoted by Bob on The Message Board for more than a year -- I gave him a hard time about it initially but it appears that he was a visionary); now there's at least one more: Gary Duncan began PodCasting recently from his home studio. Duncan is the OM at KFUO and his show is available here, here, here and here. Got a PodCast goin' on? Let us know and we'll list it! We've even added a PodCast forum to the MB!
03-18-05 Is the wife of a former STL DJ... being charged by the State for trying to obtain controlled meds using a phony 'scrip...again? St. Charles County court records seem to say dat's da fack, Jack. No ID speculation, please...let's just call her "SHE".
03-18-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on Sandy Stolberg: The longtime head of Marketing and Promotions for Infinity/KEZK, has left the building on Market.
03-18-05 The Big Sports Show... on the Big 550 now has its very own website. Obviously homegrown, the site includes a wealth of bad design, wasted white space, misspellings and bad grammar. Even sports fans, who must expect less, deserve better. The site is sloppy and disorganized and useless for fans. Maybe they should have (a) waited through a "soft launch" to get it right before talking about it or (b) hired someone to manage it who knew what they were doing. Hadley's personal website is much, much better, but he's only providing his content.
03-17-05 Secret Squirrel spins... on the Big 550: The Cards aren't the only ones interested in buying KTRS. A bidding war has begun between several companies; look for a winner in the next few months.
03-17-05 And the indignities just keep on comin'... Infinity's KCBS-FM/LA switched from Classic Rock to the eclectic "Jack-FM" format today. All of the dj's were released, most by telephone. And THAT's the classy radio move of the day from your friends in management at Infinity. Asshats.
03-16-05 Emmis should really know better... but with $40million annually at stake at their Hot 97 in NYC, what else could they say? Hot 97 is, of course the station that came under fire for their Tsunami-sendup song, random acts of rap violence (including gunplay), a contest that paid cash to women who slapped eachother (with streamed video on their website) and a few other promotions and programming elements that scream bad taste. Emmis executives say they are simply trying to maintain their balance. "We don't want to do anything that provokes or encourages or escalates any kind of violent behavior between camps," said Rick Cummings, president of Emmis's radio division. "By the same token, I can't have the radio station being viewed as a sellout or less than genuine by the younger part of the audience." Read it in the New York Times (rr). Maybe, just maybe, if the station stopped glorifying the negative elements of the culture, "the younger part of the audience" might not see it as behavior to emulate.
03-15-05 Some thoughts on Langmyer moving to WGN... that have come in over the past few days from various Secret Squirrel respondents and some KMOX insiders, edited by me:
-- Langmyer has been a champion of several people who haven't pulled their weight in the ratings: Brennan and, previously, Jaco, for example. A new Infinity GM will probably only look at numbers and be quick to show underperformers the door. Look for changes almost immediately.
-- John Butler may take this opportunity to move on from his ND position to something less stressful. He and Tom have been very close and have a trusting relationship. He stayed thru Karen C. because of Tom but I don't think he'd be willing to break in another GM. Butler is a good man. Hope he doesn't wind up at KTRS.
-- Tom was implementing an overall design to get the sales department on solid ground and that's likely to disappear. Too bad.
-- Tom turned WGN down several times; they must have really opened up the vault to get him. He's moving into a hornets' nest in which a long respected PD left, much to the chagrin of the staff, followed fairly quickly by the GM's exit. This move will propel him to an eventual reputation as one of the nation's top radio people.
-- Don't expect him to migrate any KMOX talent to Chicago. The only good fit might be Jon Grayson but WGN doesn't have any talent holes to fill right now.
-- Good luck to Tom against Rod Zimmerman, who brought him to St. Louis.
-- Now that Langmyer (who was making the MOX what it used to be) is gone, what is going to happen to all of the rats that have jumped ship from other stations in the last 90 days?

03-15-05 Secret Squirrel spins... Producer/board-op Frank Ladd was let go by KSLG 1380 today. Dave Lenihan is the new afternoon drive host, 4-6, on WGNU. Susan-Smith Harmon stays with the station in an off-air role.
03-13-05 From Paul Harris' website...
     KMOX has just been named News/Talk Station Of The Year by Radio & Records, the industry's newspaper, beating such esteemed call letters as KGO/San Francisco, KFI/Los Angeles, KFMB/San Diego, WABC/New York, and WBAP/Dallas.
     What a great time for the KMOX audio stream to hit the internet! You can now listen live via the link above, or via KMOX.com. For legal reasons, Cardinals baseball and Rush Limbaugh will not be part of the stream, but to fill 11am-2pm every day, KMOX.com will stream a one-hour newsblock at 11am, the Best of Charlie Brennan at Noon, and the Best of Paul Harris at 1pm. Then, when I hit the air at 2pm, the stream returns to the live feed. We hope you'll check it out, and tell friends elsewhere that they can listen online, too!

(FROM)03-03-05 The Final Four... happens here at the Ed the weekend of April 2-4. Word is that Red 104 will jump to the Bob (aka Jack) format ("turn your knob to Bob") the same weekend, what with all the Emmis bigs in town for the show and, presumably, for the format flip... What are these corporate monkeys thinking? Us old guys think they're full of pumpernickel.
UPDATE 03-11-05:
This email response comes from Emmis Market Manager John Beck:
     To All:
     I have been seeing the speculation about our station RED@104.1. I am writing this to assure you and all who read this information on this web site that indeed Emmis Station WRDA-FM aka RED@104.1 is not changing format and that no plans are in the works or discussion phase to change the format.
     RED is a one of a kind format that over time will grow. The music is extremely popular. We like the RED format because it is unique to St. Louis and the country. It is not competitive with other stations in the market and therefore adds to the radio choices in St. Louis.
     We prefer this approach over putting another urban, country, AC format on the air and making some GM and his/her staff miserable.
     I invite you all to enjoy the fact that Emmis will use the benefits of Radio consolidation to bring new formats to St. Louis.
     KFTK took time and RED will too but in the end St. Louis listeners will benefit with a really cool radio choice and our radio competitors can enjoy having Emmis build on the radio industry instead of beating each other over the head with directily competitive formats.
     If you have any questions please e-mail me: John @ stl.emmis.com or give me a call at 314-613-7805.
     Have a good weekend.
     John Beck

03-11-05 Swimming in the Smokey River(s)... Y-98 PD Kevin Robinson has been named vice president of Hot AC programming for Infinity Broadcasting.
03-11-05 STL Journalism Review, March 2005... will be on the newsstands and in your postal mailbox, if you're a subscriber, in the next few days. The online version is in place now...along with the complete text of the February edition.
03-11-05 I've been roundly condemned... by email for closing the use of the STLMedia Message Board to only registered users. My reasons for doing it are posted there and I stand by them. Over the past few days, the signal-to-noise ratio on The Board has improved remarkably: more registered users, less prattle and more intelligent comments. Traffic there has initially decreased, as I expected, but it will eventually grow back to previous levels. You do not have to identify yourself to post there, of course, but you do have to register with a working email address that I can use to touch base anonymously with you, and you can get an anonymous email addy for that purpose almost anywhere. It's not too much to ask, I think, to participate in the most important local arena of media discussion.
03-10-05 Welcome to here... to Chris Fonte, who joins The Bull as Creative Services Director; Chris comes from CCU/Columbia SC.
03-10-05 Secret Squirrel spins the rumor wheel on WB-11... Kathryn Jamboretz may be on her way out the door at WB-11. Her contract is up in May and management has promised to "tweak" the anchor desk thanks to some phone surveys of viewers.
03-10-05 Bod-A-Bing...for real! From InsideRadio: An unexpected victim of the Gambino crime family - New York's WKTU. Cops say the Clear Channel dance station was pressured into running free spots for mob-owned gentlemen's clubs and (says the New York Times) possibly other businesses. That news came as an FBI sting produced indictments against 32 people with suspected mob ties. Will we see this in the final season of The Soprano's?
03-08-05 Hottest Secret Squirrel rumor... that comes true, based on my judgement, from now through the end of June 2005 wins a multi-pack of Jambalaya software, including Audio Extract. Just remember exactly what you wrote and include (and remember) a private password at the end of your submission and I'll use it to ID the winner and courier the software to the winner.
03-08-05 Told ya, back on 2/25... that KMOX GM Tom Langmyer was likely headed to the same position at WGN Chicago. That news hit the trades today, including the ever-omniscient Deb Petersen...Langmyer's off to become VP/GM at Tribune's WGN and will leave the friendly confines here before the end of the month.
03-08-05 Secret Squirrel spins the rumor wheel on Y-98's Paul Cook... Y98FM's afternoon dude, Paul Cook, will also add traffic to his duties as he joins the Ch. 4 morning crew for traffic duties very soon.
03-07-05 Congrats to WIL's Todd Michaels... from AllAccess: WESTWOOD ONE names WIL/ST. LOUIS, MO night talent TODD MICHAELS to host their weekly syndicated "SATURDAY NIGHT 80'S" show. The show is heard live in over 70 U.S. markets, and around the world on ARMED FORCES RADIO.
03-07-05 Secret Squirrel spins the rumor wheel on Tribune Media... Tribune Media is looking to close on buying KDNL from Sinclair. The arrangement would be similar to Tribune's WB and ABC stations in New Orleans. The deal is expected to close around June.
03-06-05 Registration is now required... to post and respond in almost all of the Forums on the STLMedia Message Board.
-- A working email address will also be required as part of the registration process. Over the next couple weeks, I'll be sending emails to all currently-registered participants and deleting registrations of those who do not reply in a reasonable time.
-- The email address does NOT have to be your primary address; you can use any "side" addy that you want, just so long as you check it occasionally. You can change your email address in your registration info pretty easily...click on MY PROFILE.
-- I'd also appreciate it if you'd delete any "extra" registrations you've established.
-- My intention is not to "out" anyone. I don't care who you are; I'm just happy to give you a place to vent. But after considerable thought about this and some discussion with others in similar situations and at least one legal type, it appears that this action is in the best interest of all of us.

03-06-05 I'm embarassed... for STL radio legend, national voiceover artist and friend Richard Ward Fatherly. Richard actually sent me, via snailmail, a pitch to buy an XM receiver and pay $13 a month for the service. Why would I buy this when broadcast channels are still available (shabby as they might be) on my radios for free? I don't want to listen to national services...bad as the locals might be, I'd rather hear local news and traffic, even if I just listen in my car. And I don't listen to music that much anyway. My money stays on the current broadcast bands, and against any success for HDRadio...and I bet that SATRAD will eventually fade away as their satellites disintegrate in the upper atmosphere (as one of them has already done). Keep raising your prices, XM...
Randy03-06-05 Randy Michaels' legacy... The guy who prompted the creation of the Clear Channel empire, along with the rest of the industry consolidation, is nowhere to be found, while the companies he spawned lie in waste. CCU posted a $4.67 billion loss in the 4th quarter of 2004, based, primarily, on the lessened value of their radio licenses...that's what ya get when you buy at 30xcashflow! Competitor Viacom took an $11 billion charge on Infinity Radio assets in the same period. Both companies have stated their intent to sell off properties outside of the Top 20-25 markets. The ultimate firesale is on the way, and it's not like I didn't tell you it was coming...can you say this word: I-M-P-L-O-S-I-O-N? Arrange your financing, little monkeys, because there will be radio properties available to you for purchase soon!
03-03-05 Rumor submission system revamped... I've just plugged in a nifty Flash-based form that deletes all sender info, making the message you send completely anonymous. Give it a whirl!
03-03-05 As we told you previously... Infinity begins online streaming for their stations on Monday the 14th. KMOX will be among the first group of stations to take the step.
03-01-05 $10 a month for a one-page personal website... custom designed, in your name, with MP3 downloads of your work available 24/7/365 at (yourname).stlmedia.net. The cost includes resume presentation and unlimited demo downloads and email forwarding to your established personal email addy. On the beach? This is the way to get the sand out of your shoes!
02-28-05 Creve Coeur condo for rent... A friend of mine is looking for a renter for her condo near Olive and Fee Fee: 2 BR, 2 full baths, patio, lots of storage space, just redecorated, and a pool; $775/month with one year lease.
02-25-05 This makes me laugh... Sinclair wants a half-a-buck per cable subscriber per month from cable companies that carry their digital signal and they say that won't increase anyone's rates. Let's do some math: fifty cents, per subscriber, per month, presuming a cable subscriber list of 100,000=$50k per month, $600,000 a year, multiplied by about 60 stations nationwide...PAID TO SINCLAIR! Maybe that's how they support this: My Free HDTV. Hey, it'd be great to be able to turn a guvmint-mandated tech change into a profit center. I would if I could. I don't deny anyone the opportunity to make a profit, but this is absurd. And Sinclair, although I agree (somewhat) with their corporate political philosophy, is the absolute worst TV licensee in the market. How they keep their ABC affiliation is beyond me.
02-25-05 Lotsa smoke this week... about KMOX GM Tom Langmyer taking the GM position at WGN/Chicago. Tom's done well in STL, but the GM slot at WGN may be the most prestigious radio gig in Mid-America and hard to turn down. Talk is, if he leaves, that Infinity will return to a Market Manager setup, with the KMOX GM bearing responsibility for all of their stations here.
02-25-05 Tori Lyons dumped at Metro... She was the face and voice of the operation for 13 years with radio and TV managers past and present. Comments in my email have included: "Is Metro closing its doors in STL?" and "She built that company's operation from nothing, sacrificing her health and nearly her sanity in the process. There is no loyalty left anymore."
02-24-05 Infinity AM's set to stream online... that's the industry buzz. And word is that they're working hard to make it happen as soon as possible. Look for entirely different commercial content online, too. KMOX appears to be in the first line of new streamers. No Cards in the KMOX stream, though...Real.com owns all online MLB rights.
02-22-05 Sad to report the passing ... of Robert (Bob) L. Zdvorak, a retired longtime engineer at KTVI Channel 2, and engineer at many St. Louis radio stations. Bob had been in poor health for many years after suffering a number of strokes. However, he remained active in ham radio, serving as a volunteer with the St. Charles County Emergency Management Agency. Bob was 75. The obituary should appear in STLtoday Tuesday, along with funeral arrangements.
02-19-05 An open letter to BTFSTL (or "STLmediawonk") ...
     Hey, bud, thanks for the fan mail on the DU website!
     I just wish that you had your facts correct. Cripes, I'm not yet 57, I'm not unemployed and, yes, I'm a Vietnam Vet and proud of my voluntary service there even though I disagreed with the War itself. You made it sound like that's something to be ashamed of! Gosh, I haven't killed (or eaten) a baby in the last 35 years...
     And damning me is one thing, but damning my friends by association is another thing entirely. Shame on you for casting shadows on them. But that's the way Lefties work the crowd, isn't it? Asshats.
     You have cast me as a right-winger without knowing all of my ideas or thoughts. You have no idea how I think about most issues. Asshat.
     Replies to anything said here or on the associated Message Board are welcome; if you'd like, I'll set up your own little Forum where you and your pals can piddle and poop and disagree to your hearts' content. Just let me know.
     You've provided sufficient personal information about me for one of your vengeful little leftie friends to track me down...you've also left sufficient tracks on the MB for me to return the favor if they do. And, yes, I do keep a record of IP addresses, but they're visible only to me and only accessed when they must be. Why would you warn DU posters of that? What are you and your DU buds afraid of? IP tracking? Asshats.
     And I noticed that you had to refresh your bitch four times...whatsamatta, bunky, no one else got the guts to take me on? Nobody else cares about this little site? Just how much do you hate me? Bring it on, asshat!
     Suggestion: DO NOT make yourself or one of your DU pals one of those threats targets for IP tracking. This is not a Blog for you to try to take over or make into your own image. Take your meds and play nice. Maybe when you wake up, Hillary will be POTUS and all will be right with the world.
     NOT!
     But if you're feeling froggy, Wonk, you and your DU pals, feel free to leap!
     Let's see if I remember the action message: Bravo-42 to Eagle: taking fire!

02-18-05 Former tennis coach Crane Durham ... didn't make the Talkers Magazine Heavy 100 this year and more's the pity. There's no accounting for the industry's taste, huh? But then no one else currently on the air live from St. Louis made the list, either. Former local George Noory made it, of course, because he does the world's biggest overnight talk show, and Tim Dorsey throwaway Darrell Ankarlo made it because he consistently heads the Dallas morning ratings.
02-18-05 Big leftie journo meeting in St. Louis ... The National Conference for Media Reform will provide a forum in St. Louis to discuss visionary and practical solutions to the problems of our media May 13-15, 2005. The conference will bring together activists, media creators, academics, and policy-makers for three days of learning, sharing, networking and momentum-building. Thanks to Frank Absher, organizer of the KXOK and KSHE reunions and STLRadio's Best Friend©, for showing us the way to hear Amy Goodman and Al Franken and their fascist friends bloviate. Frank and I get to go for free but you have to pay $185. What a country!
02-16-05 Paul Arca ... joins KLOU as Imaging Guy and the occasional airshift. PLUS!! Arca is the imaging voice of TRN-syndicated host Rusty Humphries and he's relocating his CD-duping facility/recording studio to new digs on South Kingshighway. Things are going well for this old war horse...
02-15-05 A great job for a new guy ... KJFF in Festus is looking for a full-time programmer. Our news/talk radio station focuses on local topics and we work 6-days a week. There are remotes most weekends through-out the summer and we broadcast high school sports. Programmers go to local city council meetings and school board meetings. We write a lot of news and do a ton of interviews. This is a great job for someone that wants to learn all aspects of radio and can survive on our pay scale. I would like a person who can help me with the morning show and understands the world didn't start in the 1990's. Matt West, KJFF, PO Box 368, Festus, MO 63028.
02-14-05 The goin' round rumors ... about the MLB Cards considering a shift from KMOX to KTRS and even buying the station to place it in a position of honor in the new "Village" are just Major League kerfluffle. KTRS has tongue-hanging-out-of-its-mouth lusted after the Cards broadcasts for years and sucked up to them with no shame, but the best bet is that the baseball games will stay on 1120 after the contract renews next season.
02-11-05 Had not seen these ... prior to delivery via Secret Squirrel: Fall 2003-2004 25-54 hour-by-hour comparison between KMOX and KTRS make some interesting points.
-- On KMOX, Brennan, Limbaugh and Harris are all up, Harris substantially, year-to-year. Take out the election, though, and what really happened?
-- On KTRS, Scott St. James and McGraw are disasters (Scott I understand - he's just unlistenable -, but Millhaven I don't - he sounds better by orders of magnitude on KTRS than he ever did on KMOX), year-to-year, and Frank is about even.
-- Nighttime sports on KMOX jumped, no surprise, and KTRS seriously tanked.
-- Frank O. Pinion is the only bright spot for KTRS, head-to-head and year-to-year.
-- KTRS' George Noory tripled KMOX' numbers after 12M, but what agency buys those hours?
-- And don't even ask about KTRS' morning show - how do they sell a one-share? Wendy, Bill, I love ya both, but now is the time to abdicate. Maybe Jamie Allman needs a couple assistants at the Diocese?
The radio puppy birthed in The Charcoal House as CHHoldings all those years ago is wandering home now, on three legs, aged and whimpering from pain, with a bad case of worms and what remains of its tail between its legs. Its master has abused it badly.

02-11-05 Why radio stations ... should know better. I've been fortunate to have had overwhelmingly good experiences on station-sponsored vacations, cruises and the like. But not all travel providers are equal. Read this horror story and prepare a LONG list of questions to ask the next time you hook up for a group trip. Signed indemnifications and insurance policies would be a good idea, too.
02-11-05 Paul Harris ... should know better. He expects major media coverage for a comment made by a former CIA analyst on his Friday show. It was a good segment but even those of us who earned our faux-law degrees by watching Law & Order reruns on cable know that what she said was hearsay and as a result, no kind of evidence at all.
02-07-05 Paul Harris ... who moved from middays at KTRS to PM drive at KMOX, has always archived relevant audio on his website. Harris may be providing the only Infinity programming online. Infinity is no longer run by Mel Karmazin, who would not allow station streaming. Is there a change coming? Best bet=YES! Look for Infinity to allow streaming soon. And we hear that a large package has been delivered to the KMOX transmitter site...a VERY large package. Talk to Paul Grundhauser for more info...
02-02-05 Mary Junck says hello ... in a "quick greeting" to Pulitzer employees. Watch here. Mary is now the HBFIC for our only STL newspaper, now owned by an Iowa company. It would be a good thing if she pronounced her name "Yoonk" rather than "Junk". We've had sufficient junk published here...
01-31-05 Guy Gallman gets on 'GNU ... It's called After Dark with Guy, 10PM to 12M, Fridays.
01-31-05 Lee gets Pulitzer for $1.46billion ... Read all about it (hattip to Frank Absher). Lee will become the fourth largest U.S. newspaper publisher in terms of dailies owned and seventh largest in circulation, growing from 44 to 58 daily newspapers in 23 states, with new total circulation of 1.7 million daily and 2 million Sunday. An audio and visual webcast discussing details of acquisition will be broadcast at 10AM CST Monday at lee.net and pulitzer.net. The presentation also will be accessible through a limited number of listen-only phone lines at 1-800-599-9829, with an access code of 58546073. Those who wish to monitor the presentation live should connect five minutes before the scheduled start. Both the webcast and a recording of the call will be available for replay for one week beginning Monday afternoon. The webcast replay may be accessed at lee.net. The phone replay may be accessed at 1-888-286-8010, with an access code of 59688318.
01-29-05 But we all know Mel lies ... "Regarding a rumor that's out today, I've been with the company about eight weeks. This is about my third rumor that I've confronted," Karmazin replied. "I have not met with the chairman [of XM]. I have not met with the CEO. So I have no idea where any of this came from." Meanwhile, XM will launch new satellite transponders to replace "Rock" and "Roll" which are failing faster than anticipated.
01-29-05 Nobody's going to DisneyWorld after the Superbowl ... Disney, who has troubles of their own, is disassociating themselves from the weirdness of last year's network embarassment. HOWEVER that doesn't mean that the Game will be G-rated...
01-29-05 P-D to Lee? Pulitzer Inc. could be days away from announcing a sale or merger, and industry watchers say Lee Enterprises Inc., based in Davenport, Iowa, and which owns 44 newspapers in 19 states, has emerged as the most likely suitor. There's also an employee-buyout on the table. If that happens, I can't wait until the new owners meet themselves across the table at a union contract negotiation...
01-29-05 Thinning the herd ... at the Big 550: Dan McLaughlin hops (back) to KMOX.
01-29-05 Trades reporting that Jack Buck ... will be inducted to the NAB Radio Hall of Fame hall during the Radio Luncheon at this year's NAB2005 convention April 16-21 in Las Vegas.
01-28-05 STLMedia Poll results ... My browser of choice is: Internet Explorer-46%; Netscape-7%; Mozilla Firefox-38%; Opera-2%; Other-7%.
01-28-05 I don't pay much attention ... to 12+ numbers. But when two talkers go head to head and one squeezes by, you gotta pay attention. Emmis' KFTK's midday and nighttime syndicated programming are rolling the station into a positive place in STLMedia. Tim Dorsey's KTRS (which should have a 5 or better share and could have even more than that, if Tim's meddling fingers hadn't screwed everything up since the beginning), even with the addition of McGraw Millhaven (who sounds better on KTRS than he ever did on KMOX) and includes the time-honored but over-commercialized Frank O. Pinion, is wilting, and rapidly. KTRS sports (no Blues, no Rams post-season) is weak and their news effort is just plain sad. KFTK makes no claims to either crown, cares about neither and will continue to thump KTRS using their syndication and locally originated AM and PM drive shows.
01-28-05 WGNU is changing radically ... dumping non-paid talk hosts right and left but mostly right. Chuck Norman left the station in a trust for his long-time employees and it looks like they're trying to trim the rads and mainstream the programming, leading to a sale and what they hope will be a major payday. HINT: No one will buy 'GNU while Lizz Brown spews her venom each morning. Good luck getting rid of her.
01-28-05 Sometimes I'm completely overwhelmed ... with a friend's accomplishments. How in the heck do you get a free-lance gig that nets you an annual cume of 20 million listeners? Listen here and here in MP3. Kevin McCarthy pulled it off when he became the on-board voice of the Staten Island Ferry. With any luck he'll show up in the background of one of those NYC-based detective shows: CSI:McCarthy!
01-28-05 Two weeks later ... (sorry for the delay, but there've been other things happening and I've moved my non-radio comments to my blog) and we've lost Mark Sampson and Johnny Carson, and discovered that this website has been blocked at Emmis and banned at Bonneville. OOH! When will the MediaMasters at our esteemed group owners understand that their staffers can and do go online from their homes? Kinda reminds me of the old Wiz song Don't Bring Me No Bad News.
01-11-05 And now the return of ... Radio-Info.com and all its collection of message boards. Turns out their domain registrar had an attack of the stupids. Glad they're back online.
01-11-05 Son of a Printer Man ... I grew up as the son of a printer, always knowing the smell of ink and lead type and wood typecases, because they were always close at hand, either in the backyard shop or in regular visits to the places where my Father worked, occasionally, for others...
01-11-05 Secret Squirrel spins on ... Fox2's Tim Ezell: Heard a rumor that Tim Ezell is in The "Big Apple" on a job interview. He's fronting his live shots there this week from the Fox affiliate in New York. Can he get me a signed photo from E.D.Hill?>
01-10-05 The Thornburgh Report ... on the Bush memo scandal at CBS has been released. The concensus I drew from what I've read of it is that it's not stern enough in its judgment and placement of blame. Four employees have been released or been asked to resign, but not Hayward or Rather (although he's on his way voluntarily). I believe that CBS employees consciously and malevolently tried to alter the results of a Presidential election using "evidence" they knew to be, at the very least, questionable in source. There should be a criminal investigation. Here are some links:
CBS
CNN
AP
RatherBiased
WSJ
Powerline
And don't forget to check your favorite blogs.

01-10-05 Just noticed this this afternoon ... Gateway City Radio is back online.
01-08-05 If you're on the air, you really should also ... be blogging. Unless, of course, you have nothing to say beyond pre-written liners and a brief weather cast. Google makes it easy and free. I set this up in about five minutes. If you set up a blog, let me know. I'll list it here.
01-07-05 It's called Beer Radio ... a live weekend show dedicated to the 90 million beer lovers nationwide and it's distributed by the Jones Radio Network. I have nothing more to say about this except that it might be a good choice to replace that pathetic Kelly Twins cooking show on KTRS.
01-07-05 FCC Chairman Michael Powell ... says at the CES that the FCC won't censor satellite radio, calling the extension of the government's purview to cover content "just to level the playing field a dangerous thing." AllAccess quotes him: "At the end of the day," Powell said, "I think we're going to move in the direction of the Jeffersonian free-speech tradition." Well, of course they're not going to censor SatRad (a phrase coined by friend Pam Mundy); if they did, they'd have to take on all of the SatTV channels and I'd bet that CNN/Time/Warner might have something to say about it.
01-07-05Jet Black is out at KSLZ ... and he's looking. So is Z's PD, Boomer, for a replacement. KSLZ, 1001 Highlands Plaza Drive West, Suite 100, STL 63110. No calls or email, please.
01-07-05 A weird wrap-up to the week online ... Gateway City Radio seems to have disappeared, and along with it, their STLRadio message board; Radio-Info is also in the wind, its domain deleted by ICANN for non-compliance (!) and with it their great collection of local and regional radio-oriented message boards. Hopefully they'll both be back. Friday morning the webhost I use to serve nine STL-media-oriented websites I manage got hit with a DOS attack that lasted until Friday evening, knocking five of them offline for the duration and I'm not certain that it's over. I really need the weekend!
01-05-05 A couple days ago ... Jack Snow called KFNS' Kevin Slaten on the air, shouted what amounted to "Nanny-nanny-boo-boo" and hung up...TWICE! Yawn. STLRadio has WAY too many stations with an emphasis on sports and WAY too many semi-literate and semi-knowledgeable "sports commentators". Time to thin the herd, kids. Quantity is not quality. Snow shot at his own feet and may suffer the consequences; the next best move would be to send Slaten to KKPL, Peckerwood Lake, Arkansas, as Sports Director. Just put most of these morons out of our misery, huh? OTOH, three out of five sports-oriented stations are on signals that couldn't carry my groceries home. Maybe there's a message there.
01-05-05 Welcome to STLRadio ... Curt Peterson becomes Director/Sales for Clear Channel (Gospel KATZ-AM, Urban KATZ-FM, Country KSD-FM, Urban AC KMJM-FM, CHR/Pop KSLZ-FM and Oldies/KLOU-FM) here, coming from the Cumulus stations in Nashville.
01-05-05 Get the Boomers' money while you can ... Boston.com has a great article about 50-plussers: They've got money and they spend it -- to the tune of $400 billion last year.
01-05-05 Be very, very careful ... when you develop or involve your station in relief promotions for the current disaster in South Asia. There are two major things to consider: first, avoid the appearance of capitalizing on it for commercial gain (inclusion of sponsors, remotes, and so on at relief events); second, (and it's already happening) emotional burnout. The floods were a horrible world-affecting tragedy but people have a finite threshold for this sort of thing and the constant bombardment of images and stories and relief efforts gets them there quickly. Keep your fingers on the listeners' pulse and you'll know when to lay back or at least redirect your efforts.
01-03-05 Everybody has benchmarks in their lives ... dates that will live forever in personal memory. My most important benchmark is revisited today as Carroll and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. She is the coolest, smartest, strongest and most talented and industrious lady whom I have ever known. I cannot tell you how proud I am that she said yes when I asked her to marry me (okay, I really just agreed with her when she "suggested" that we should get married) and that, for reasons I still do not clearly understand, she has stayed with me through the fat and lean years. Carroll is my touchstone and I will never be able to adequately express how much I love her and appreciate her support. I'm a very lucky man.
01-03-05 A bit out of our domain ... but we find it a tad out of line that players for the St. Louis Symphony will go on strike because they will be paid "only" $73,900 for 42 weeks of work. These music monkeys will fiddle a few days a week for $74k, gotta practice, know what I mean? Not a bad heap, huh? I enjoy the Powell Hall experience as much as anyone, but, sheesh...$74k? Hey, I could live on that, especially at Powell ticket prices, and in a better neighborhood. Might as well be hockey players...
01-03-05 The Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ... spun this in at the tail end of the holidays:
     I really have to hand it to the marketing people at the Mighty 'MOX. They are brilliant when it comes to carefully wording their print ads.
     Recently they've been running an ad in the Business Journal promoting the work of Charles ("If I say the word 'hey' every 15 seconds maybe I can convince you I'm a regular guy.") Brennan. The copy brags that several different groups have cited him for his community efforts and goes on to list a bunch of celebrities who've been on his show, which implies, but doesn't say outright, that he's got a lot of clout when it comes to bringing in the big names.
     Give me a break. It's the STATION that has the clout, just as it has for the past 40 years. For cryin' out loud! The station has always been #1 on every flack person's list of "must haves" when they're placing a client. Charles ("Call me 'Charlie' so people won't think I'm uptight. Please...Pleeeeze.") Brennan isn't the reason they're on the show. If you look at his numbers in the last four books, he's down 16%, while Rush, who follows Charles, is up 17%.
     Meanwhile the station has run an ad in the Suburban Journals listing the celebrities who appeared on the station in the last year without giving credit to Charles.
     And if any of you out there are like me, you really enjoyed listening to Jon Grayson while Charles was on vacation. I'll bet he could make the numbers go up in that time slot if management gave him a chance. He's intelligent, he has a personality, he isn't uptight, and he comes across as a regular guy.

01-03-05 The Secret Squirrel Rumor Wheel ... continues to spin on Smash's potential new radio friend: Another name being tossed around, Jim Ellis.
01-03-05 Frank Absher's website ... STLRadio.com is an amazing reference for any student of this market's radio history. And now there's a new way to look at it, along with a brand new group of members of the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame. Good reading, lots of pictures.

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