Previously on The Front Page...Jan/Feb/Mar 2008
03-31-08 Post-Dispatch in a pickle ...
A three-word link -- To our readers -- appeared innocuously at STLToday.com yesterday. The link led to a correction that read, in part:
On the front page of last Sunday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we published the story of a woman identified as Virginia Gillis. She was featured in an Easter story in which she described in detail a past of victimization, homelessness and despair followed by recovery and repair.
We have since learned that a number of the details in that story were inaccurate. Further, our verification procedures were not followed during the reporting and editing process. In short, this story did not meet our standards for publication.
We apologize for this journalistic breakdown.
It was signed by both Editor Arnie Robbins and Managing Editor Pam Maples.
The correction did not appear on the front page of the deadtree edition; it ran in a less prominent position, Page A-2.
This leads me to some questions and observations.
-- Why wasn't the correction displayed as prominently, on the same page, as the original story a week before? In fact, why are not all corrections printed on the same page, in the same position, as the original, incorrect, article?
-- How the hell did such egregiously bad reporting slip through the original writer(s) and what has to be at least three layers of editing? It's almost beyond belief that what was once a thundering major newspaper of record allowed such incredibly bad sourcing and fact checking on a front page story, even though it's now owned by the peanut-whistle voice of Lee.
-- What will happen to the writers who originated the story and the editors who passed the story on to the presses? The have, each and every one of them, abrogated the public trust that the readers who remain attached to the P-D rely upon and should be fired as the next and immediate wave of "early retirements".
In the past week, both the LATimes and the NYTimes have had similar issues, in which stories based on hoaxes and badly sourced reporting were published and subsequently corrected. The Post-Dispatch is in sad but well-deserved company.
In other deadtree news, Newsweek cuts 111 staffers and newspapers report their worst revenue in more than 50 years.
03-31-08 New to the STLMedia archives ... January, February and March 2008. Everything from the Front Page from the first quarter of this year, including photos and video and audio links, is there.
03-31-08 Scott Burton passes ... Scott was with KSD from 1973-1976, according to Frank Absher's STLRadio.com.
Burton had a long career in broadcasting in Minneapolis, Cleveland, Washington, DC, St. Louis, San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix and retired in 1994. He was 71.
03-28-08 The art of the newscast ... How it was done, grabbing listeners and enhancing the format, on The Big 8, CKLW Windsor.
|03-30-08 Playing with BlogTalkRadio ... our chat recorded live and saved online, with your permission. Info later. This could be great!|
Watch it here; it's your weekend video assignment.
If you've never done a newscast with the Drake AA-Image Pack sounder, you've never done a newscast. Thanks to Jerry DelColliano for the link.
03-28-08 Terrific Monthly Meeting this morning ...
Thanks to all the Usual Suspects for their repeat performances and to the Newbies whom, I hope, will return on April 25th (details above)! Mrs. A even made a special guest appearance!
03-28-08 Clear Channel privatization deal ... if it ran on South Park:
|03-28-08 Anybody else notice this? Ever since the Redbirds hooked up with KTRS/AM550, it's been one misadventure after another. Now the whole Ballpark Village thing might be falling apart. The guy at left is the world's worst jinx, from the old Li'l Abner cartoon strip. Is he now managing the Big 550? Comment here.|
1. Banks agree to fund Bain and Lee acquisition.
2. Banks decline the Bain and Lee deal as deadline approaches.
3. Bain and Lee sue to force banks to give them the money.
4. Texas judge finds in favor of Bain and Lee.
6. Armageddon for CCU employees, then PROFIT!1111!!!111 for the Mays family and Bain and Lee.
03-28-08 Yay! XM and Sirius will merge! Life is good!
Don't get too excited just yet, SatBoy: the FCC has to weigh in with a decision and about a dozen State Attorneys General are chiming in with anti-trust objections to the DOJ's finding, and that may have to be re-examined as a result.
And beyond the legal issues and the cloudy multi-tier pricing lies an inherent reception problem.
The Baltimore Sun reports: There's one catch: Customers may need new radios at up to $200 a pop if they want to be able to select specific channels, something they can't do now.
03-28-08 The NAB is not your friend...
InsideRadio reports that the NAB has filed suit asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn new FCC requirements that stations provide more detailed information to the FCC as well as post public inspection files online. The NAB says the new disclosure rules place a burden on stations, especially in small markets.
Here's why such a recommendation is just plain dumb. When (and if) consolidation shakes loose thousands of radio stations back into private hands, the onus will be on the new owners to prove that they can reliably serve their communities.
Without such records, such service will be impossible to prove when it comes time for license renewal.
And service to small markets will be especially important.
In other words, quit bitching and just do the right thing.
03-28-08 Those danged LPTV guys are gonna screw it up ... for all of us.
Just because they don't have to go digital next year doesn't mean we all shouldn't have the privelege of dropping a thou or so for a new digital set, right? Here's the story.
The Community Broadcasters Association, which represents owners of small television stations, wants the FCC to ban all digital set top converter boxes that are not equipped to receive an analog signal, a request that has the potential to derail the biggest broadcasting transition since color television.
03-28-08 This may be the final gasp from the music industry ...
It's so intensely stupid as to be barely imaginable, but the record companies want to tax all online users $5 a month:
So the plan essentially comes down to telling ISPs that they can avoid any copyright infringement liability if they pay the fee on behalf of customers. And while the government wouldn’t be directly involved, the willingness of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to enforce civil and criminal copyright infringement laws is the stick by which Griffin will convince ISPs to jump on board. It’s government endorsed extortion, nothing more and nothing less.
Read it all and then comment here.
03-28-08 Admit it: you have no future in broadcasting...
Or so says AOL, which itself has no future in the online business.
Here's their assessment of the future of radio and television announcers:
Why it's endangered: New technology and advancement of other media sources like satellite radio and syndicated programming means less need for radio and TV announcers.
Decline rate: 8 percent
Instead: Use your communication skills as a news analyst, reporter, correspondent, interpreter or translator.
03-28-08 BBC news anchor loses it on the air ...
and it makes international news:
A BBC news anchor's giggle fit has swept the news media and generated a switchboard "meltdown" at the BBC. Charlotte Green lost her composure, dissolving into helpless giggling during a story about the world's oldest recorded voice when a colleague apparently said over her headphones that it sounded like a bee in a bottle. She was unable to get things together for the next story, an obituary and a colleague had to step in before things returned to normal.
Which brings us to this question:
What was your absolute worst on-air breakdown? I've had news copy set on fire and cut in half with scissors, been mooned and worse.
Tell your stories here.
03-27-08 Out of work radio types need not apply, I guess ...
From Reuters: The head of the top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc said on Wednesday it was having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill all the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to return to the United States from India. "We're having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs."
Saying hello and then answering questions by reading down the list of answers must be beyond native-born Americans who can read card liners and promos...
03-26-08 Canon PowerShotA95 digital camera for sale ...
Gently used, mostly for this website, only $65, originally $179.
Uses Compact Flash cards and 4 AA batteries; 5MP res, 3x optical zoom, 21 shooting modes. Shoots VGA video up to three minutes.
Review and tech details here.
I'll deliver it personally in the STL area. Email for info.
03-26-08 Talked to Rod Zerr (and his wife Jeri) earlier today ...
He's been through a lot (scroll down for the original, corrected story), but he sounded up and optimistic; Jeri sounded "up" as well as she handed the cell phone right over to him.
There are still some issues to resolve, but Rod's eager to get back to work at the St. Charles County EMA, with a few more pieces of metal aboard than he went into hospital with.
How would they resolve an emergency without him?
03-26-08 Forgot to take a book when I went out to lunch today ...
Read a copy of the RFT instead. Man, do they have a lot of ads. Man, are they making money hand over fist. And, man, is that deadtree a piece of crap.
I know, I know, I'm so far out of their target that I'm lucky I can see the paper without binoculars.
But even in my dotage I know crap when I see it.
03-25-08 DOJ says okey-dokey to the Sirius-XM merger ...
And that's not a good thing. I've waited all day and half the night before commenting to see if there are any realists out there...none, so far, but Jerry DelColliano.
From InsideRadio: The Justice Department has approved Sirius Satellite Radio's $4.38 billion buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio. The merger was approved despite opposition from consumer groups and an intense lobbying campaign by the land-based radio industry. Regulators said the merger is not likely to substantially hurt competition or consumers. The deal still must receive FCC approval, but Wall Street has already given it the thumbs-up: Sirius stock rose 25 cents to $3.15 (+8.6%), while XM gained $1.85 to $13.79 (up 15.5%).
SatRad proponents now have what they wanted, presuming FCC approval, which is almost assured. But beware. Here's what will happen, as SatRad combines under the hand of Mel Karmazin:
60% (or more) of the combined staff will be released, adding more misery to the radio unemployment well. Count on almost everyone at XM hitting the beach.
60% of the combined channels will be eliminated, completely done away with. The drops will include narrow-casts and channels that cost more than moderate wages, with the exception of the Stern channels, because Mel has an unnatural business relationship with Howard and both have ginormous stock holdings in the company.
Subscription fees will mirror cable fees, with early-on low rates that will increase, increase, increase...
Within a year all SatRad channels will include commercials. It's the only way that Karmazin can fully monetize his new playground. Subscriber fees alone will not support the service.
Prediction: by 2010, SatRad will be a Thing Of The Past and TerRad will still be stumbling along, doing their analog broadcast thing (and having dumped the dumb HDRadio deal), albeit with a little help from WiFi and WiMax.
If the stations can afford the absurd online music rights fees, that is.
03-25-08 Stayed up late to install one of the ... new Samsung 20" LCD monitors at Mrs. A's workstation and all I can say is...
WOW! (I say it louder.)
Like a little HD TV, which, I guess, is exactly what it is. This afternoon I'll set up the others in my dual array desktop. I'll post a photo when it's accomplished.
03-25-08 Another of the Great Ones is gone ...
Jack Armstrong passed away over the weekend at his home in High Point/NC. He was 63.
Armstrong's four-decade career included stations from border to border and coast to coast, with two three-year stints at WWKB/Buffalo (the first in the 1970's when it was WKBW), and seven-and-a-half years in mornings on WMQX/Greensboro.
Jack was a fast-talkin' high-energy jock and he incorporated characters into his act better than anyone.
I listened to him on WKBW while I made the 60-mile drive to do overnights on WMID/Atlantic City in 1971 and stole every bit of his I could. His shows were magic.
I had the opportunity to meet him at a Gavin Convention in Indianapolis; what a great guy. He will be sorely missed.
03-24-08 Message Board regular contributor ... Rod Zerr had a heart attack last weekend and the surgery to repair the damage appeared to go well and he was released from the hospital. But he was re-admitted to the hospital after he coded and had to be resuscitated. He needs our prayers and good wishes right now.
Rod and I have chatted more than a few times off-board; he works for the St. Charles County EMA.
Rod is only 55. I wish him the best luck with this; my heart attacked me in 1996, when I was 48.
03-24-08 A hundred years ago ... as what seems now a cruel joke, I kept a 10" reel of tape of the worst airchecks I received as a PD, to which I continually added, that I called the Best of the Worst.
One of them was the first aircheck from a Beloit/WI kid named Mike Sorce. It was unbelievably bad, but I sensed a spark in the guy, hired him at WYFE-FM/Rockford, gave him a new airname and worked with him.
The Sorce kid got good, went on to better gigs and PD's and became a national talent you may know as the recently retired Don Geronimo.
Another who should have been on that reel would have been a L&CCC student of mine named Andy Kirby.
Andy was awful on the air, but he had drive and desire and that, much more important than his exhibited talent, won him his degree.
Once he got into a station, Andy's work ethic prevailed. His talent and programming and management skills improved quickly and suddenly, years later, he's an overnight success.
I'm happy I had a little to do with it.
I'm also proud to point your browser to young Mr. Kirby's website.
03-24-08 All the what-if notwithstanding ... maybe Movin' is just a pawn in the greater wheel of Bonneville business.
Tom Taylor speculates (as have several others in STLMedia email over the weekend) that Movin' may be the vig in a multi-market station swap between BIC and Radio One.
Even with the unbelievably expensive signal upgrade (C2 to C1) they went through for 101.1, by adding 101.1 to the deal BIC could then wind up adding Radio One's LA station V100 to their folder.
The presumption is that Bonneville would take V100 country in the ad-dollar rich LA market (which currently only has a so-so signal playing country) and that Radio One would take 101.1 here directly up against Majic104.9.
Or not. I leave this kind of thing to the Great Thinkers of the Radio Biz.
Grin. Giggle. Guffaw.
03-24-08 Hope your Easter weekend was fulfilling ...spiritually and/or gustatorially.
We had the in-town kids and grandkids over for dinner, at which meal Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, hovered hopefully for just a taste of the Double G ham.
Even with the unseasonable snow, it was a nice day to have the family all in one place to eat good food and watch bad tv.
03-22-08 From Andrew Finlayson, VP/ND, FOX-TV Chicago ...
You might want to know about a website we set up called LiveNewsCameras.com.
We have quite a few of the major station groups involved…to do something no one has done before…give the public live news cameras from around the US (and soon around the world). We already have over one hundred active streams. We have been live over or at many events that would be of interest to your team.
We are the place to turn to if you want to see live breaking coverage of news across the country. If the helicopter or crews roll at one of our member stations, chances are they are going to stream it…and we give the first look. We had five different live streams of storm damage from your state today.
This website is still an experiment…something that we hope local stations will want to get involved in. There is NO cost and NO obligation. We are not selling anything. This is pure journalism in this beta stage.
03-22-08 Cool to be able to get online Help ... with a local phone call. I just talked with my brother Rick for free on Skype at his home in Israel with a Linux question.
Typical for Da Bro, I may or may not have an answer. Synaptic-something-or-other. I'll work it out on the Asus eee.
But who cares? Rick was here in 1993 for the Great Flood...we laughed and exchanged stories about our current issues and how much of a bitch Mother Nature can be, then and now, here and there.
03-22-08 Better news than Scott Shannon's channel ...
Secret Squirrel burps, now reports no satellite at KZQZ
Looks like KZQZ (formerly WIL-AM/1430) is going live April 1, with a full staff including Terry "Foxman" Fox and Al Gross, among others. Production value has already increased quite a bit with market veteran Fox doing the imaging.
03-22-08 Following the Kirkwood madman shooting ...
I noted the first local appearance of a paper-produced video at the Post-Dispatch website.
This Northwest deadtree has gotten their hooks into distributed audio in a big way, according to InsideRadio:
The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA will start its own online radio stations this Spring. The family-owned Cowles Publishing plans to offer some of its content to other media outlets. The SR has already ventured into radio. Last month the paper struck a two-year deal allowing Mapleton Communications to use its content on-air.
03-21-08 New Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell ... is predictably moving the pieces around to see how much greater the parts are worth than their sum.
Outside of Chicago where Zell's looking to sell off the Cubs and Wrigley Field, it appears he's also looking to dump Long Island Newsday because of lagging ad sales.
Unsurprisingly, NewsCorp's Rupert Murdoch may be a bidder, along with publisher Mort Zuckerman and Cablevision owner James Dolan.
03-21-08 Blue collar blue-plate special ... This afternoon, Mrs. A (who had Good Friday off) tripped the light fantastic with me to Sam's in Gumbo Flats to (a) stock up for the next quarter and (b) see if the Monarch Levee was gonna hold.
We chose Bob Evans for dinner, mostly because I had a hankering for country-fried steak...and had the best dining experience we've had in a long, long time.
The chow was great and the waiter should get a star on the Waiter's Walk of Fame.
The best part was that he never referred to us as "guys." The tip was appropriately outrageous.
03-20-08 Three NEC 15" LCD 'puter monitors for sale ... $150 for the bunch. Replaced the office monitors with 20" Samsungs. The NEC's work great, look good, cords included, cash only. Free delivery in the STL area.
Contact me here
03-20-08 KTRS/AM550 relaunched their website ... a while back and it looks pretty good. A few comments are in order after they've worked out some of the bugs:
The colors overall look a little faded. Kind of understated. Richer colors are better. Grab my eye.
The site is a victim of their designer using a wide screen monitor: the right side ad-tower is invisible unless manually scrolled to. Most web users will never see the ad as a result.
HINT: develop websites using a scaleable 800 to 1024 pixel width, and nothing wider. That's where almost all home and business monitors live.
Too many broken image links on inside pages. One is too many.
Otherwise, pretty much okay: effects work nicely, and the station's audio loads through their custom player in a reasonable time. But not nearly as info- and audio-filled as KMOX.com.
03-19-08 Where were these guys ... after I
bought traded for my Sony BetaMax VCR in the 1980's? Oh, yeah...no Big Box stores then.
Electronics retailer Best Buy said Wednesday it will give gift cards to customers that bought HD-DVD players or HD-DVD attachments from its U.S. stores as the format goes away in favor of the Blu-ray standard.
03-19-08 Quantity vs. Quality ... Looking for a cool TV network catering to upscale young'n's? Just quit now.
CBS Corp president/CEO Les Moonves says this market doesn’t exist — and TV marketers should stop asking for it.
“We’re dealing with the fact that advertisers demand 18- to 34-year-old upscale viewers. There are no upscale 18- to 34-year-olds — except my children. And they have to ask me for money. It’s a bullshit demographic category,” he says.
“We sell over half our advertising to a 25-54 demo. We think the boomer is where the money is — and there’s where we want to go to.”
Then why the heck doesn't CBS show me programming that I can watch without barfing?
And why do they insist that 25-54 is a viable demo, when it includes two generations?
How stupid are these people?
03-18-08 On Palm Sunday, daughter Anna came for dinner ... and brought with her a copy of a local deadtree pub I'd almost completely forgotten: The Evening Whirl.
|03-18-08 Why is there so much talk in the trades ...|
...about the FCC re-examining the whole dirty talk thing, about fines for obscenities?
What is it that radio and TV owners and networks don't get about just being polite?
Is this the kind of junk you want your kids to listen to?
If ever there was a reason to keep producing newsprint and ink, The Whirl is it. I won't spoil the surprise if you've never read it - check the website linked above - but it's, simply, a hoot. It's the last no-holds-barred anti-crime newspaper in America and the style is, well, unique.
Seeing the Whirl once more brought to mind the generosity and kindness of one of the jocks at WIL when I moved here to join the station in late 1985: Scott Arkin.
Scott was the overnight guy and I was the new morning guy and we often spoke at length off the air (happily when I arrived early or on time, less so when I got there late).
Nonetheless, Scott made it his personal project to help me learn the market. He brought me copies of the Whirl and the Bugle ("the world's softest newspaper"), explained the layout of the city's neighborhoods (The Hill, Kerry Patch, Dogtown, and so on) and why there are, what, twelve thousand municipalities in STL County.
Arkin prepped me on the rich radio industry history here, told me who was who then and now and lent me a STL Trivia game that I hungrily consumed and helped make me sound early on like I was born here.
Haven't talked to or heard from Scott in years, but I bet he reads this page. If you know him, let him know somebody's using his name in vain.
Thanks, Scott Arkin, for all you did to help a new guy way back when. I owe ya a lunch, at the very least.
03-18-08 In the past couple months ... I've had discussions with several radio station employees who have been charged with development of HD "side stations." To a man (and they've all been male) they're blindingly optimistic about the future of HDRadio.
For their sake, I hope that the efforts they've made for their stations are warranted, but it's looking less and less like HD is gonna be much of a happening thing.
Stores don't carry the receivers, retail employees have no idea what it's about and stations themselves have no idea how to promote their own sidecars.
Imagine if FM was handled this way back in the 60's, when it was Federally mandated that all radios over a certain price point were required to include an FM section and a few years later when TV manufacturers had to include a UHF tuner on all sets.
Neither of these segments of their respective spectrums would have happened...witness the failure of AM stereo when the Fed decided to let the marketplace make a decision on the issue.
Kids, HD is a dead issue. So, for that matter is SatRad, but the Vampire Karmazin is too slippery to be caught so we can finally drive a stake through his evil heart.
03-17-08 I was a beta tester ... for Hulu.com and now STLMedia contributor and classic-TV afficionado Jay Philpott is all fired up about the site's public launch.
Jay says "I would like to introduce you to my new time-suck. I've given up all my other websites. A brand new video service just opened. This is going to be stiff competition for YouTube, and quite frankly, several cable channels like TBS and TVLand. It's called Hulu.com and it offers hundreds of full length movies and classic TV series FREE and with limited commercial insertions (about 2 minutes per viewing). The list is quite impressive, and features some of the funniest TV shows - some of which haven't aired for 20, 30 or even 40 years!!"
Hulu offers free recent and classic full-length TV shows and clips with limited commercial interruption.
03-15-08 Free current movies to view and download ... if you don't mind watching grainy bootlegs or stolen DVD's streamed from Eastern European and Asian servers, click here.
|03-16-08 Almost free video recording ...|
$129 for the Aiptek A-HD camera and $15 or so for a 4gig flash memory card from Amazon (order both at right).
Records an hour-long MOV file at 5mp resolution and hundreds of stills at 8mp.
Batteries recharge with USB, in the car (with added charger) or with an AC adapter (included).
I'll bring a couple of demo recorders for us to play with at the Meeting on the 28th.
WARNING: I expect that before you do, though, you'll want to have some serious virus protection installed and updated. You never know what mischief those "damned foreigners" are sending along with the video.
At least you'll be able to get an idea of whether or not you'll want to pop the loot to see them down the road in a theater or on DVD with original fidelity and a bucket of popcorn in your lap.
FYI, the streaming works best (no buffering except at startup) on the Firefox browser.
Instant review: Doomsday sucks. Bob Hoskins and that Brit chick from The Practice must need money for rent. Rambo5, Witless Protection amd Cloverfield suck, too. I didn't get very far into anything available.
Play with this soon, because I can't imagine it'll last too long online. Hollywood lawyers have very long arms and lots of friends in DC.
03-14-08 Since I got the Asus eee sub-compact ... I've noticed that my use of cable and broadcast media has radically changed. The Asus is parked on a sidetable, next to the couch, tied into the LAN.
If something on TV tweaks my interest, I just pull the 'puter over and check the facts. Or I do a quick email run during spot breaks. Or Mrs. A grabs it away and plays Solitaire, at which I experience the same mental cramps I get when the TV remote is taken away from me by Herself.
It seems I'm becoming a geek.
But at least I'm a well-informed geek, when Mrs. A lets me.
03-14-08 P-D dumps 31 more jobs ... from STL BJ:
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Wednesday it eliminated 31 jobs mostly in its circulation, classified phone rooms, production, purchasing, telephone operations and marketing departments. No newsroom departments are affected by the job cuts. (Via Frank Absher)
03-14-08 Doritos sends ad into outer space ... from ScienceDaily:
The advert will travel at the speed of light and continue for an indefinite period. Within 1.2 seconds the transmission will pass our moon, after 4.5 minutes it will pass Mars (77million kilometres away), in under 9 minutes the signal will whiz past the Sun and five and a half hours later it will travel past Pluto and out of our solar system.
Seems to me I remember high school science telling us that all radio and television signals left Earth and just went into space forever. Guess these guys are hooked up to some new-fangled high-speed transmission...
But a Doritos ad? Ya think the aliens like that refried beans, Velveeta and salsa dip?
God help us if they do, on any given football Sunday.
03-14-08 Tasha achieves her majority ... On Saturday, 15 March, the STLMedia WatchDog celebrates her 3rd birthday. If you're into that 1 human year=7 dog years thing, that means she's now officially 21.
Doesn't look a day over Puppy, does she?
03-14-08 Big League Broadcasting getting smaller ... the company (KFNS and KRFT) has fired their receptionist at their STL unit because they can't afford her anymore (they also dumped their PD). How much worse can it get? When will these idiots sell their local stations off and let the freqs be what they want to be...meaningless minority formatted players to a geographically limited audience?
03-14-08 And good luck with this ... Kentucky Representative Tim Couch has filed a bill to make anonymous posting online illegal. The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site. Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.
03-13-08 BIC/STL's promo wizard Sammy Simpson ... has published a personal development audio book, a "self-help/personal development audio/coaching series that uses the concept of broadcasting and radio as a metaphor to have you look at yourself to change your work, your money and your life in some way."
Click here or here for info. (Via AllAccess)
03-13-08 Jason Barrett's farewell to the troops ...
Folks, I'd like to inform you that after 21 months as Program Director for 590
The Fan in St. Louis, I have reached a mutual agreement with KFNS
which allows me to move on and focus on the next chapter of my life and as
a result I will be exiting my position with the company effective
In the past 21 months I have experienced some great moments in
this city and I've also dealt with some unpleasant times as well (it comes
with a management position) but I believe the station has been put in
a great position during my time here and there isn't much left that I
can do and now it's time for me to move on and start the search for the
next great opportunity.
I'm hoping that opportunity comes on the East
Coast so I can be closer to my son, my family and my friends and right
now I have a few possibilities on the table that I'm in discussions on
but only time will tell how things shake out.
Anyways, if you wish to catch up in the interim please feel free to get
a hold of me at the email or phone # listed below as I won't have
access to this account after tomorrow. Hope all is well and will chat with
590 The Fan, KFNS
ESPN 1190, KRFT
The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.
03-13-08 Secret Squirrel tunes in East-side radio ... Rumor has it that Bob Romanik's KZQZ 1430 AM will pick up the Satellite ABC Radio Network's "Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel" format effective April 1.
03-13-08 Milk, eggs, and the second digital converter from the left ...
Looks like proponents of the analog-to-digital TV changeover are getting antsy:
NAB Wants Digital Converters Sold In Grocery Stores
Nervous federal agencies and lobbyistys have upped their efforts to get digital converters into analog TV homes. Now the National Association of Broadcasters recommends those boxes be sold in grocery stores, worried that larger consumer electronic retailers might not have locations in rural areas.
03-12-08 IBEW Local 4 ... representing St. Louis TV and Radio Engineers, Producers,
etc., is now online. Check it out at www.ibewlocal4.com.
03-11-08 More what-if ... but with less if and more meat:
Secret Squirrel says: Bonneville managers have been going to off-campus meetings recently, looking at play by play possibilities for "one of our stations". There's also word that the Rams have been approached about working with Bonneville, maybe as soon as the next season. All expenses at Movin' have been cut to the bone, including research.
FACT: Movin' 101.1's signal is soon to be upgraded to 100kw.
FACT: Drew Horowitz becomes EVP/Bonneville Radio, with oversight of all BICRadio operations in the company’s other six markets, exclusive of Salt Lake City.
FACT: Washington/DC Market Manager Joel Oxley will add to his responsibilities the oversight of the company’s St. Louis market as Senior Regional VP.
FACT: Radio companies add new layers of management when they need a sea anchor, someone with experience to hold the cluster steady when changes are afoot.
Here's what Oxley's managed in DC: BIC operates 6 stations in and around the DC market: Three under the WTOP brand (Federal News Radio/1050AM; WTOP News/103.5FM & 103.9FM) and three as TalkRadio 3WT (107.7FM, 1500AM and 820AM)
It seems complicated...but it all works.
Bonneville's 3WT offers the NHL Capitals, the NBA Nationals, Navy football and George Washington University basketball, so the company is no stranger to sports broadcasting.
FACT: All radio stations, including KTRS/AM550 (or at least the half-share of the station owned by the Cardinals) and KXOK/AM630, the most likely - and most desireable - candidates, are for sale, announced as such or not. Everything's for sale. The buyer just has to say the correct number.
Bizarre idea? Adding 3 + 3 to get 7? Maybe. God knows I've been wrong before.
But remember that STLMedia tipped you to the move of the Cards' games to KTRS and the sale of a piece of the station to the Card's ownership a full year before it was announced.
I think that Bonneville is preparing a big move locally, involving our MLB and NFL franchises, their upgraded 101.1 freq and one of the AM stations noted above, giving STL a fulltime market-reaching AM talker and a fulltime market-reaching FM sports station.
03-11-08 Get well wishes to Craig Cornett ... The Bull's morning star's been out of the saddle for a while, hospitalized with pneumonia and, we understand, with a collapsed lung.
03-10-08 In September I'll turn 60 ... and sooner or later it'll be time to turn my attentions to things other than STLMedia.
In June, this website (and the associated Message Board, in various incarnations) will have entered its ninth year; it's well established, with a solid readership that includes not only nearly everyone in radio, TV and print media locally but the operators of almost every other local, regional and national media website in the US.
I've spent a huge amount of time on the development and content of this website.
The stories we start here and our commentary on other aspects of media are quoted far and wide.
It's time for me to begin looking for someone to take over this website, the MB, and the well-subscribed newsletter.
It will have to be a very special person, someone with a deep and abiding love of all things media, especially STLMedia.
If you have the energy and inclination to listen, watch and/or read 24/7/365 and are interested in a unique opportunity to help make media better (or at least keep their feet to the fire), contact me at your convenience.
03-09-08 P-D writer Paul Hampel bullies widow in story ...
As Hampel reeled Sandy in he got more personal, asking her if she was married, and Sandy opened up to him explaining she lost her husband in 2003 and that she would always miss him. Hampel seized upon this opening to ask Sandy if the reason she went to St. Peters meetings was to fill this void.
You need to read this story...Hampel comes off as a bullying jerk, and I have no reason to believe he is not.
The P-D should be scurrying to make nice.
03-09-08 1380/KSLG for sale for $450k? ... Can't possibly be. But I got this in email:
The Squirel was so far off on the 1380 KSLG rumor. There is more money pouring into the station and right from the owners mouth there is NO interest in selling. He said want a price? Start at $.4.5 million!
Okay, I'll give the writer the typo mulligan, but four and a half mil for 1380?
I've got a hot-rodded hand-held CB that I'll let you have for, oh, what, $75k?
$4.5million for 1380/KSLG? Gimme a break.
03-09-08 Last week, XM, CBSRadio and AOL played musical chairs ... and we ended up with one of the SatRads taking a long walk off a short pier, breaking up with AOL to kick start their own online net for $3 a month.
Maybe that'll shore them up while they wait for the ever-less-likely merger with Sirius.
Then CBSRadio slid between the unwashed sheets with what's left of AOL. Presumably, using the streaming servers from the nearly defunct online pioneer will save huge bucks for CBSRadio; this will not be the saving grace for AOL, where everything now is pretty much free, but it will delay the final cut.
Online ad sales will be handled by both companies.
03-08-08 Everybody including the Baby Jeebus ... has bid on the Weather Channel.
Their reserve price is $5billion.
NBC, CBS, Time Warner, Comcast, Liberty and Disney are among the media bidders and Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners, and Madison Dearborn are among those in the private equity arena who have a tentative case of the gimmees.
NOTE: All of their offers are based on borrowed money! And everyone is saying that the cable network-plus-Weather.com is worth more like $4 billion.
HA! Now we've got them!
On behalf of all STLMedia readers, I have tendered a cash offer of $20 (I have $11 in my wallet and will need you to make up the other $9).
Let's just wait and see whose offer works...as the discount stores say, cash is king.
03-07-08 Let's play "what if" for a bit ... What if an MLB team, rumored since Day One of ownership to be interested only in eventually flipping the franchise for profit, was thinking about shopping its half-share of the radio station that carries its games?
And what if there was a cash-rich local station group owner with a solid rep for moving AM formats to the FM side in other markets, and had an ailing but market-reaching FM that would benefit from such a change?
Might there be a deal afoot? And if so, what would happen to the principals of the other half of the station's ownership?
Yeah, I know, lotsa layers of "if" involved here.
But nothing beyond believability...
03-07-08 Jonnie King's 3x5 business card ...
03-06-08 Secret Squirrel spins his paws in the pits ... and squeaks that it looks like long-time market motorsports reporter and photographer Jim Compton will be returning to his weekend roost at KTRS/AM550.
03-06-08 KMOX weekender Dana Daniels ... moves it on over to replace Cindy Collins as Ed Goodman's sidekick on KEZK. Dana starts Monday 3/17. In other CBS/STL news...one more replacement to come?
03-06-08 With that face, who else? ... Keith Richards is the new face of Louis Vuitton luggage.
03-06-08 Where will you be in five years? ... It's been my experience that most radio types don't give much thought to their long-term career advancement, prefering to think only of the next step.
But if you had to plan it out (and the unpredictable nature of consolidated radio allowed you to), how would you make your moves? Where do you want to wind up when you retire? Doing what? Comment here.
03-06-08 Cox Radio's nifty new corporate positioning statement ... sounds a little bit like second-year algebra: "Best People + Best Product Environment + Best Solutions = Best Results."
Cox CEO Bob Neil's a pretty smart guy, but he'll need to hide any key-man moves to keep the slogan effective.
03-05-08 TV continues to embarass itself ... you'll need to sit through a fairly boring newspiece to get to the meat of this, but when the reporter and the anchor get at it, it's worth the wait. Thanks to Frank Absher.
And then there's always another example of embarassing morning television. Thanks to Phillip J. Fry.
03-04-08 Emmis tucked its tail between its legs ... rolled onto its back and said "I'm yours, take me."
That's what dog trainers call an "alpha roll," how you make the dog do what you want the dog to do. You make the dog understand that you are the Master by making them show you their belly.
And that's exactly what happened last week when Emmis Broadcasting allowed themselves to be raped of cash and services in order to let JC Corcoran, who makes the company more than a million dollars a year in pure profit, back on the air.
What JC said on the air was edited and re-presented by someone who had a vendetta against him, and was made to sound as badly as it could.
The voice tracks you heard were stripped of all elements of humor...laugh tracks, sound effects, radio crew reaction, and so on.
Corcoran was intended to fail, and his enemies hoped him to fail.
The good news is that JC will be back on the air on K-Hits March 10th.
The bad news is that Emmis has set itself up for the next attack.
03-04-08 The Travel Planners' Show ... hosted by STL uber-jock Kevin McCarthy and wife Sue, is now online as well as in international broadcast syndication.
The World Travel and Dining Channel will carry the show live each Sunday from 3PM-5PM CT. And the McCarthy's are providing a few recorded features each hour, 24/7, on the net channel as well.
Additionally, Sue is now a featured writer for FairwayGolf.com, a UK-based website featuring up-scale golf resorts and spas around the world.
And Secret Squirrel tells me that, along with NetRad and TerRad, there may be one more ?-Rad in the show's future!
One final note: our pal Kevin is facing hip replacement surgery on March 11th. This is serious stuff and we wish him all the best for a quick and thorough recovery.
Get well quickly, Kevin...we need you ready to play for the STLMedia OldDog Volleyball team!
03-04-08 Former KTRS- and KMOX-er Paul Harris ... will be sitting in for Don Wade & Roma on their 5AM-9AM WLS/Chicago morning show this Thursday and Friday, according to Harris' website.
03-04-08 The last round up for WIL-AM ... as a BIC/STL station will probably be sometime this week when it transfers to the ownership of Belleville's Bob Romanik.
03-03-08 Pardon my absence for the past few days ... but every couple years I do something so intensely stupid that it requires an ER visit and surgical followup.
In July '06 it was the burned feet thing after chasing a runaway dog. I got the stupidity out of the way early in '08: last Friday morning I tripped and wound up fracturing and chipping a bone in my right arm, just at the wrist.
Yes, the arm bone IS connected to the wrist bone, and now I know exactly where that connection is.
I'll see an orthopedic surgeon in the next few days for a more permanent cast, but I've briefly snuck out of the temp cast to make a few entries here. Mrs. A is not pleased that I have done so, so I'll have to be quick. And thanks to Dana Daniels for directing me to the best guys for the fix.
03-03-08 The premiere of the late Don Corey's book ... Are You Talking To Me? at the Webster Groves Library was a smash success. Rich Dalton and Mark Klose read from the book and expressed memories of Don to a crowd of over a hundred. Here are some photos (below, Mrs. A at left, with Kathy Corey)...
02-28-08 Great February Breakfast Meeting ... Great to see familiar faces, talk radio biz talk and solve all problems. We'll do it again in March, of course, on Friday morning, the 28th.
By the way, to the anonymous genius who sent me this early Thursday, "Will you and *** hug at breakfast? Will you request a pair of his dirty underwear as a souvenir? This is going to be so interesting...": *** was a no-show.
Too bad, 'cause the Roadhouse staff turned out to be ready for *** way before I arrived.
All I can tell ya, after twenty years of having semi-regular breakfast and lunch there, is that the Reynold's Ladies don't take kindly to being punked.
See, they read Internet MB's, too.
02-28-08 God forbid you should ever grow older ... trades are going wild over this, from across the state:
Four former employees of Kansas City classic-rock station KYYS-FM have filed an age-discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over their firings in January.
I hope they take Entercom to the freakin' cleaners.
||02-28-08 For a guy not "on the air" anywhere ... former KC and STL radio personality George Woods is crankin' out the hits...and maybe even making a few bucks doing it.|
Woods' website offers up to three hours of no-repeat music in each of twenty (and more coming) variously-formatted stereo internet channels 24/7: Smooth Jazz, Christmas Music (in season), Oldies, KC Jazz Roots, Bubbling Under The Top 100 (hits you missed) and American Graffiti (tunes from and relevant to the classic movie).
02-28-08 Is there movement at Movin'? ... SecretSquirrel seems to think so, but he's been a little shaky since Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, arrived.
| He even has a George Woods and Friends Talk Radio channel in the works. For the music channels, George uses FineTune, a web service that provides format mixes that Woods carefully defines for each of his online music channels and presents on his site.|
FineTune handles all rights and royalty payments for online play and makes it possible for listeners to instantly buy the music they're hearing.
George tells me, "Radio George Oldies has really taken off. I'm using Google's AdWords to promote the site; for this month alone, I've had just under 12,000 page views from over 1200 different cities around the world. St. Louis holds 4th place for most listeners and Kansas City comes in at 9th."
Woods' success with this project is between him and the IRS, but his effort shows clearly what a guy with vision can accomplish.
Check out my little 45-song r&b playlist, above. George's playlists are even better.
The number 45 is kinda retro-prophetic, don't ya think?
Squirrel thinks the leaves at the bottom of his cup of nut tea say that something "fresh" is coming to 101.1 for the Spring Book and that someone named Trish might be part of it.
The Movin' format hasn't exactly been shakin' the ground anywhere, has it? Movin' and shakin'...see what I did there?
The Spring Arbitron starts 3 April, so we should see soon if a change is on the BIC/STL horizon.
02-28-08 A while back I told you ... that this was the way to go. Now look what shows up in InsideRadio:
Some markets want a return to telephone ratings.
It has been more than two decades since Arbitron based any of its radio ratings on data captured by telephone. But there's a push by some small market operators to use that lower-cost alternative to diaries to reallocate resources to improving qualitative data. Arbitron Advisory Council chair Chuck DuCoty says "Operators in those markets are open to anything." Arbitron isn't too keen on the idea.
02-28-08 There's a reason they say ... it's not "rocket surgery."
Tom Taylor writes about new commercial set priorities at CC stations, relating how much better an idea CC thinks it is to run five minutes of spots twice an hour. Better than what? Better than giving a listener a break on spot fatigue like this?
No, it's not an original way to develop an hour, but it does accomplish several things:
1. Limits spot sets to three units each (presuming you sell just 4x30 per hour and run two at each set in the first and third quarter hours).
2. Eliminates the "dark side" of the hour, where you'd most likely run both 5 minute spot sets.
3. Eliminates the sponsor's worries about being four, five, even six deep in a spot set. Being just one of three is much more desireable to the guy paying the freight.
4. Provides you with eight logical positions for service elements (remember those?).
5. Provides you with four logical positions to say what you couldn't have before and actually expect someone to hear it: "In just one minute (or thirty seconds), you'll hear (name of song following spot set)."
Note: two of the most successful Top 40 stations on Earth, WLS and WABC, used to play an acapella call-letter jingle in that position, and only in that position. Talk about Pavlovian responses...
6. Provides you with four three-song sweeps across important parts of the hour; no, really long no-talk music sets are not always good things, regardless of what your overpaid consultant may have told you.
Yes, as the cool kids say, your mileage may vary.
02-28-08 How to rationalize your radio career ... ToastedRavioli gets it, they really get it. Read it here.
02-28-08 Goin' to the ballpark this season? Be prepared. Thanks to Jay Philpott for sending along this link to HeckleDepot.
02-27-08 If the SatRad merger doesn't go through ... Mad Money's Jim Cramer warns that XM might not survive, and Sirius would be put into considerable peril. And who, exactly, in broadcast radio, cares?
02-27-08 Caricaturist confab in STL 3/2-5 ... Read here.
02-26-08 I've grown tired of waiting for Bob Romanik ... to call and reschedule an interview about his Illinois radio stations. I wish him luck with whatever direction he decides to take with them; I'm no longer interested.
02-26-08 Jerry DelColliano's New Rules For Radio PDs ... sound an awful lot like the old rules, with the exception of the recent consolidation unpleasantness.
I wish I'd known this rule when I worked for Bill Viands at KIX104:
4. Give full authority to the PD to do his/her job. No meddling. No backseat programming.
Read Jerry's blog entry here. Once again, JDC makes the most sense.
02-26-08 Internet billionaire Marc Andreessen .. yeah, the Netscape guy, says:
"I hereby inaugurate my New York Times Deathwatch, which will continue until the last Sulzberger has left the building."
You really need to read this story if you have any faith left in dead tree pubs. Then you'll need to take your meds.
02-26-08 I may be going to jail ... and that may amuse some of you.
Seems the City of STL is absolutely convinced that I'm trying to evade some gigantic tax bill due them. I should mention that my business has always been based in STL County and I haven't done any billable work for a client in the City in years (and when I did I faithfully paid them their 1% employment tax).
Nonetheless, the intrepid City tax collectors have dunned me for exactly $0 due every year since I closed out my last City-based client.
Now they want me to appear in court to 'splain my bad self and perp walk me to jail if I don't pay up the $0 I owe for no money earned in the City since then.
And these assclowns wonder why businesses are fleeing the City like bunnies who heard a shotgun.
02-25-08 Love the Secret Squirrel RumorRepeater® ...
Do you and I mean do you ~EVER!~ report on anything
that is currently going on in St. Louis media? Most of us could care less
about anything that happened 10, 20, 30 years ago. NO ONE CARES. You
need to start focusing on things that currently are happening. Do you
ever call media outlets to ask them if there is any news with them? Do you
even TRY? Your website is calls STL MEDIA, not
Dang. Never knew I was missing that current thang...so find another website to badger or make your own site if this one doesn't work for you, or send info here.
You get to choose which! Cool!
And remember that if you don't pay attention to what's gone before, you'll have no idea of what's coming next...
02-25-08 Ya don't beat the watchdog when it barks at a burglar ...
and the manager of a radio station shouldn't punish a radio personality for doing he was hired to do in the first place.
A couple weeks ago, K-HITS morning show host JC Corcoran took an on-air flyer at AmerenUE, its boss and PR flack Karen Foss when his power went out during the SuperBowl.
JC was pissed about it, and I would have been so, too.
He mocked the African-American Ameren boss using a dialect bit Chris Rock would have walked away from and added a comment about sniping that included laugh tracks.
But wait, there's more to consider:
Corcoran and Foss have always been at odds. Karen Foss considered herself the Queen of Local TV when she was at KSDK and that feeling never, nor her dislike for Corcoran, left her when she went to work for Ameren.
Ms. Foss had at hand the abilty to record any and all radio and tv signals.
The audio file that was sent to radio, tv and clergy by Ameren was edited from a much longer file that included laugh tracks and other elements.
That edited audio file, excluding the personality bits, was the killer.
For all this, Corcoran was first suspended without pay for two weeks, then suspended again for an additional two payless weeks while Emmis makes their final decision on what Corcoran's eventual punishment should be.
Emmis Market Manager John Beck has never been known as an aggressive type, and his response to this most recent kerfuffle is not unexpected.
Beck will fold and make JC endure whatever "punishment" the African-American community will demand.
This is major league crap.
02-22-08 One of the great uses of my Asus eee ... is using the $400 subcompact PC for a book reader. Project Gutenberg offers tens of thousands of out-of-copyright books in HTML and TXT formats as a simple "save as" download.
|02-24-08 Got a great weekend email ... from former KIX104 Promotions Assistant Pat Dwyer.|
Kind of a wild man back then (I remember the altercation he got into with the soon-to-be Mayor of Maplewood over a bumper sticker incident), Pat's become an Air Force success story.
He's married, and he and his wife, Karen, are about to become parents in the next few months; Pat will become Master Sergeant Dwyer in the next few days and he's a just a few years away from retiring from an honorable Air Force career as a senior non-commissioned officer.
Read about his military time here.
On AF retirement, Pat and Karen want to come home to St. Louis and he intends to go into accounting, a degree toward which he's been working while in service.
When young Mr. Dwyer left KIX, he left a vacancy that was never adequately filled...he was missed. I'm glad to see that it was clearly the AF's gain.
Say hi here.
I've got a ton of them on my 8gig SD card and expect that I'll be dl'ing lots more. There are also audio books available, mostly in the Ogg Vorbis format.
Currently, I'm plowing my way back through early-20th Century sci-fi and US lit I loved earlier in my life; I expect I'll get around to more serious subjects sooner or later.
02-22-08 Our audio buddy Bob Heil ... is putting on a show at CRS2008, March 5-7 in Nashville, with comparison demos of HeilSound's wide range of revolutionary broadcast microphones. If you don't already know Bob, watch this...
02-21-08 Not the first time ... junk from outer space got press.
In an amazing affirmation of the US' missile defense system, we nailed an errant satellite right on the nose with a missile launched from a Navy cruiser, blew that sucker to tiny chunks that will burn up as they fall into the atmosphere. Yay for us!
In 1979, SkyLab, a 75-metric ton US-launched manned station, finally decayed from its orbit after six years in space. The whole world wondered what would happen when and where SkyLab, a huge chunk of metal, fell to Earth.
RKORadio assigned one of their programming executives, Michael Spears, to go wherever it took him to bring back a piece of SkyLab to award as a chain-wide prize to a single winner.
SkyLab hit the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean and broke apart and scattered over the ocean and the mostly uninhabited Western Australia desert; Spears managed to grab a chunk and caught a flight back to the US to present it to the RKO winner.
Some large pieces of SkyLab are held at the US Space & Rocket Center as exhibits.
02-21-08 Format Trends ... I read Anthony Acampora's excellent analysis of Arbitron's radio format trends over a five-year period at AllAccess. It's an enlightening article available in their NetNews area, dated 20 February 2008. Take a look (you'll need to register to read it).
One stat jumped off the web page at me, though:
Sports also had a huge 2007 -- reaching new highs yet again. The format is up a stellar 43% among adults 25-54 since 2002.
Yup, SportsRadio is up 43% in a key demo. Everywhere, that is, but in St. Louis.
You'd think that a radio market once noted as the best sports town in the US could at least make a decent showing.
Stations with some sports (including the pro franchises) lead the pack here: KMOX and KTRS. Full-bore sports stations, all, what, 19 or 43 of them, each hover just above a one-share, with no ratings, revenue or signal growth potential.
Maybe it's time for one of the two biggies to just drop the pretense and go sports 24/7. Or maybe a failing FM could take up the cudgels.
02-21-08 Love you guys too ... 'cause you make me laugh!
This came in thru the anonymous SecretSquirrel RumorRepeater®:
Sweet Tasha pic, Tubby! I guess this is how men act when they lose their sex drive -- take pics of their dogs and put them on a web site. What a douche...
Dang! They not only hate me, they hate my dog! Now that's some serious hate!
And personal attacks always help solve the problem. Asshat.
02-21-08 Isn't the loss of memory one of the side-effects? ...
BBC Radio One drum-and-bass show DJ Ray "Grooverider" Bingham was sentenced to four years in prison in Dubai for possession of cannabis. Bingham was arrested in November on drug and pornography charges hours before he was to play a sold-out show at a club there.
He was convicted despite his denial that he deliberately brought drugs into the country, saying that he accidentally left the cannabis in his pocket.
I'm pretty sure that Dubai is very high on the list of "places where I'd rather not be in jail in," along with Turkey and Singapore.
02-21-08 Radio revenues continue to suck ... down 6% January-to-January. The RAB says that radio national ad revs for 01/08 compared to 01/07 were off 13%, local ad dollars for all markets were down 5% and non-spot revenue was down 11%.
02-21-08 Okay, birds are stupid ... and your point is?
Broadcast engineers have insisted for years they have seen no evidence that towers are killing birds. Environmentalists disagree. The job of scientifically proving or disproving that is now up to the FCC.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is ordering the agency to conduct a study into the environmental impact of 6,000 Gulf Coast towers. The 2-1 ruling says "There is no real dispute that towers 'may' have significant environmental impact."
In all the years I spent in radio, in all of the transmitter site acres I walked, I never once saw more than a few dead birds. Obviously this is a fairly new problem, caused by the introduction of drugs, gangs and Republicans into the social infrastructure of our feathered friends.
I suggest a public service multi-media campaign: "Get high, fly high, die high."
Yup, that'll solve it. If birds could read. Maybe little teeny tail-feather stickers...
02-21-08 I'm responsible for a lot of electronic trash ...
Maybe I should add to that, that I mean I'm responsible for the disposal of a lot of over-the-hill hardware and not just the distribution of random electrons on this website. This is one aspect of recycling that actually concerns me.
What will happen to the old TVs pushed aside by the shiny new mega-screen units? Most will be stuffed into closets or sent to backup duty in another part of the house. Old or broken ones will be parked on the curb or tossed into dumpsters.
Since old TVs are loaded with harmful lead that can spill out of broken cathode ray tubes (CRT), several states have banned road side disposal of CRT monitors and TVs.
About 10 states have programmes to recycle electronic waste, but many lack the infrastructure to provide convenient drop-off locations sufficient to attract large numbers of consumers.
02-20-08 Ex-KTRSer Keith Kramer online audio show sample ... Note: NSFW! The guy has talent but none of the "off-buttons" the rest of us have. Plus he hates me, oh, so much, and blames me for all that's gone wrong with his career.
Listen here and then comment here.
02-20-08 Tasha squeezes in for a nap ... with a paw under and an ear in the handle of my file credenza. The rest of GirlDog is wrapped around a leg of my chair.
How she sleeps like this I'll never understand.
02-20-08 Since I wrote the piece on the 18th ... regarding the attempted extortion of KIX104 years ago I've heard from a number of other managers and licensees who had the same experience. Here's one of the replies; the writer has asked to remain shielded.
Seems everyone has forgotten the KFUO license renewal case from the early 90s! What short memories we have of a truly awful period where "citizen/public interest" groups went around threatening and greenmailing stations across the land when their licenses were up for renewal.
A racket if there ever was one!
It was the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod that ended this practice, WINNING this big case before the U.S. Supreme Court!
A group -- maybe the one you had contact with -- challenged KFUO-AM/FM during the 1990 license renewal cycle along with several other Missouri stations, including my little (3 kW FM at the time) outlet in Columbia, Mo. and KADI-FM/96.3.
We got greenmailed by this group and paid them thousands to go away but the FCC still fined us something like $8K because we didn't list any minorities working for us when renewal was filed. KADI-FM probably just paid the greenmailers to go away because I don't recall hearing that they were fined by the FCC.
We heard about other stations around the country that were greenmailed, paid up and settled, evidently pleased with whatever they managed to extort. So we paid off the greenmailers, the FCC and of course DC counsel. The whole episode cost us about $30K and took several years to resolve!
The Lutherans balked and the FCC set the matter for hearing and actually proposed REVOKING their licenses, the AM on the air since 1924 and the FM since 1948 both as original licensees. Armed with deep pockets, the Synod got all the way to the SC (certiorari granted!) and WON.
02-19-08 Bye-bye to biz news ... from AdAge:
Shrinking newspapers forced to make cuts are increasingly regarding their stand-alone business sections as expendable. The Denver Post -- which folded its business section into other sections on every day but Sunday -- this month became at least the eighth daily to cut its stand-alone daily business section since early 2007. The Orange County Register made a similar move just a week earlier.
02-19-08 Sam Prainito terminates himself at CBS/STL ... Sam, who had joined Y98/KEZK in November of 2005, resigned Tuesday to pursue opportunities outside the radio biz.
02-19-08 Ex-KMOXer Paul Harris is already back on the air ... at least online, via PodCast, with his popular trademarked and copyrighted feature Knuckleheads In The News. Click here for info on subscribing through iTunes or adding update notification to your RSS reader.
02-19-08 Ex-KTRSer Keith Kramer is also back on the air ... also online, via BlogTalkRadio, with a mid-day show starting at 3PM and an adults-only show called "ManBoobs" starting at 8PM, both CT/USA.
The language on both is pretty free-wheeling and definitely NSFW; neither show is likely to attract an employer, but you can listen to them here after you register.
You can even call in to the shows. Joy, joy! This probably won't last long. Listen while you can.
02-18-08 During my tenure as PD at KIX104 ... (early 1990's) I had an encounter at the station with two "media representatives" of the St. Louis African-American community that left me, for one of the few times in my life, absolutely speechless.
Don, the GM appointed by the receivers, had left STL to go home for the weekend and Wanda, his assistant, was at a planned long lunch when I heard loud voices in the station lobby.
Our receptionist, Wendy, was a young'n and somewhat inexperienced at handling conflict, so I got up and went to see what was going on. I was the "ranking officer" and it fell to me to handle it.
Two African-American gentlemen were there, and had attempted to physically bypass Wendy and enter the operational area of the station, demanding to see the Public Files.
That, of course, was the absolute right of anyone back then, as it is now. Not to freely wander around the station, but to see the files in a secluded area and have copies made of them at a reasonable cost.
Now most stations keep important aspects of their Public Files online, but back then, they were paper files and accessible only at certain places prescribed by the FCC.
The bad news was that I didn't have a key to the file cabinets in which our local Public Files were stored; I tried to explain that copies were also available in our city of license, Jerseyville/IL, maintained by our partner WJBM-AM, and if they needed immediate access to the files, they should go there.
I suddenly became Satan.
One of the "media reps" used incredibly foul, immensely insulting racist language at me for not allowing him access to our files.
"Nothing I can do about it," I explained calmly, blinking a lot, and settled them into our conference room to wait for Wanda's return from her lunch.
They asked for lunch and refreshments; I showed them the coffee room, even made a fresh pot. And, since my office faced the conference room and both doors were open, I heard their continuing screed about what a racist piece of s**t I was and how they were going to nail us for, well, they never exactly said what.
The two gentlemen eventually left our KIX offices before Wanda returned from lunch with the file cabinet key. I don't think they ever went to Jerseyville.
Never heard from them again, although I've been told that several stations back then and before paid those two tens of thousands of dollars to get them off their case, to just leave them alone.
I have no idea where that money went if, in fact, it was paid out that way.
Now read the list of what BT Rice wants from Emmis for JC's indiscretion and tell me times have changed.
John Beck needs to grow a spine.
02-17-08 Red light, green light ... CC/STL-Total Traffic's Gary Weed exits the company.
02-17-08 26 years after release ... Thriller has come to this...
02-16-08 So I'm hearing that the audio ... played here, there and everywhere, that was used to condemn JC Corcoran to the lowest Circle of Hell, may have been edited a bit before it was sent out to various media outlets by someone who may have had an axe to grind.
If that's true, it might have a mitigating effect on the weight of his statements, once they're heard entirely in context.
Did JC say some dumb things? Oh, yes, it sure looks that way.
But I'd like to hear the entire bit that aired (and I'm sure that his accusers would, too) before passing final judgement.
Everybody wants to be fair about this, right? Nobody wants to look like a stooge, right?
02-16-08 Sorry for being out of touch ... for the last day or so. Late Thursday PM I had a recurrence of a chronic sinus problem that I can trace back to a botched procedure by an Army surgeon in 1971. Pain meds and antibiotics do nothing; all I can do is shut the blinds, turn out the lights and sleep until it's over. Tasha was patient enough to only wake me twice. By Friday PM, I was back in the game.
02-16-08 Do newspapers still need The Associated Press? ... and does The AP still need newspapers?
Until recently, these would have been ridiculous questions. But print circulation is tumbling. So is advertising revenue. Editors are slashing budgets and making do with less. Readers are moving online, where they get all the national and international news, sports scores and celebrity gossip they can read--for free, updated constantly, and often by AP.
02-16-08 It's suddenly a general loss of propriety ... Diane Keaton drops the "F" bomb and Jane Fonda says the "C" word on network TV and the Mayor of Toledo exercises the Lenihan excuse:
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner used the f-word during a live radio interview show. His explanation: "I started to say 'fuss' and changed to 'ruckus' and the words were merged into one."
The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether to hear the FCC's appeal to a lower court ruling overturning its "fleeting expletive" rule. Ironically, Finkbeiner suspended his spokesman for three weeks after he used the f-word during an off-air interview with a WJR producer earlier this week.
What the hell is the matter with you people?
02-16-08 Blecch ... lickable magazine ads? Not for me.
A new ad campaign for Welch's Grape juice has advertisers licking their lips in anticipation, but it might leave a bad taste in consumer's mouths. New magazines contain ads for Welch’s grape juice that are lickable, called “Peel and Taste” advertising. Consumers just peel back the metal foil and get a sample of the juice.
02-16-08 Reardon fills Harris shoes at KMOX ... and the Two Johns shows now make you wait for Grayson (11PM-2AM) to follow Carney (8-11PM).
Steve Moore's giving Mark Reardon the nod for PM drive should come as no surprise...the two of them have worked together at several stations.
Reardon, though, is as sing-the-party-song Conservative as Harris was not. I like Mark, but I wonder about the wisdom of scheduling, what, seven hours of consecutive righty talk on a station like KMOX, a station that purports to represent the entire community.
There's still a lot to be said for the old concept of block programming. At least it afforded balance. And in an election year, that's important.
Nonetheless, congrats to Mark and best wishes to him for a long and successful run.
02-14-08 I bought this USB thing ... a TV tuner and DVR for both analog and digital channels, with appropriate antennae. I figure I'll hang with cable to deliver the pix after next February and live with analog tv in the movie room.
This USB thing gives me digital tv on my office monitors, with the capabiity of scheduled recording, time shifting and dvd burning. Not bad for less than $50. Seems to work like a champ, so far.
Screencaps from stations I've logged so far with just the little antenna stub supplied appear above.
02-14-08 It appears that MoDot's traffic cameras ... used by GatewayGuide were offline for a number of hours on Wednesday, showing 12-hour old images at 3PM. Any idea what happened?
|02-14-08 Tasha and Uno, sittin' in a tree ...|
Exclusive to STLMedia:
Tasha, the STLMedia Watchdog, has confessed her undying love for the Westminster Kennel Club's newly crowned Best-Of-Show, Uno, the Belleville Beagle.
GirlDog is badly smitten.
Tasha swears that Uno's wink (shown at left) on his triumphant trot around the Madison Square Garden ring was a signal solely meant for her.
"I'd love to have his puppies," the Maryland Heights-based Australian Cattle Dog was overheard woofing while she watched the Dog Show with her humans earlier this week.
"Sadly," Tasha woofed, "some human named Barker...and how ironic is that...suggested that all pets be spayed or neutered. So I guess I'm out of the puppy game."
02-14-08 How cool is Skype? ... very, very cool.
My little Linux laptop, the Asus eee, came with it loaded, so yesterday I signed up, sent an email to my brother, and sat back and waited.
A little while later, Mrs. A comes to the back bedroom where I was reading and tells me, "Your laptop is ringing."
And so it was. It was Brother Rick, on his Skype, calling from his home in Israel, and for the next half-hour we just chatted. The sound quality was great in the Asus' little speakers. A little level-fiddling fixed a few audio problems, although I never did figure out how to get the built-in webcam to integrate with Skype.
Guess I'll have to finally read the damned manual. And that whole manual-reading thing is woman's work, y'know?
Oh, one more thing...the cost of a 30 minute video call to Israel?
I have no idea how any of this works. This whole innertubes thingie is mostly a mystery to me. All I know is that, as low as long-distance call rates are, free is always better.
Yup, Skype is very, very cool.
02-13-08 Tomorrow Radio ... TM Productions released this in 1977, in sync with that year's R&R convention; the presentation was dated 02/19/1978 and suggested the state of radio 2000 days later, in 1983.
It is to radio as the movie Network is to television, with less killing.
Set aside 20 minutes of your life to listen to the above-linked MP3 or download it to your iPod.
NOTE: If you're not of a certain age, some references may escape you. Find a survivor and ask about anything you don't understand.
02-13-08 I had lunch with two of these pirates ... in the mid-1990's. Their plan was to set up a web "portal", charge membership and allow all subscribed users to listen to their collection of streams. I tried to explain the concept of copyright to them, but they still insisted on paying my exhorbitant consultant fee.
Looks like they went into business:
InsideRadio reports that Morris Communications ops director Jay White says its bandwidth charges dropped by almost 50% when it started using a protection program.
StreamAudio's Paul Distefano says there are literally hundreds of sites that "hijack" station webcasts and offer music from their own sites at no cost.
02-13-08 Digital radio fizzling in Great Britain ... GCap, the biggest guy in British DAB, backs away from digital as "not economically viable" and plans to sell their share in the franchise for US$2.
Corporate head Fru Hazlitt says “FM is the backbone of the radio industry and we believe it compares favorably to any of the digital platforms currently available to the consumer in terms of quality. It is also the source of the majority of our revenue.”
So far, no comment from iBiquity here in the colonies.
02-13-08 And monkeys wil fly out of the RAB's butt ...
Non-spot radio revenues will hit $2 billion by 2009 if manufacturers will only take the time and spend the loot to develop FM (and, presumably) AM radio tuners for all other mobile devices.
Can you say wishful thinking? Can you say delusion?
The RAB's Jeff Haley says the RAB is working to make sure every MP3 player and cell phone features a radio receiver within five years, pointing to research that shows 72% of consumers want it.
Narrow that down to the demos that invest heavily in that technology and the percentages dip precipitously.
Radio can survive, but not by being a choice on an MP3 player. It's all about content and radio consolidators lost sight of that about ten annual reports ago.
02-13-08 Dead tree media continues to rot ... From MediaPost:
Time magazine received a body blow in the latest circulation report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, leading a round of bad news for consumer magazines in a variety of categories. Comparing the second half of 2007 with the same period in 2006, Time Inc.'s flagship title saw newsstand sales fall 19.4% to 107,277, as subscriptions tumbled 17.5% to 3,244,595. Overall, circulation fell 17.6% to 3,351,872.
02-12-08 CBS cuts may continue in St. Louis ... following the annual MegaWedding, Thursday, on Y98, which so far has been untouched. No speculation on who, exactly, but we've heard there will be three released.
Meet the new MD, same as the old MD!
Thanks to Frank Absher for the tip.
|02-13-08 This guy got owned, in a big way ... Stephen Lynch of the New York Post bought into this announcement:|
"Emmis Communications announced this week that it was switching New York's 101.9 FM station from smooth jazz to WRXP, the "rock experience" with "a playlist not determined by era, but rather by the acoustic quality of each song, as determined directly by on-air personalities and staff."
This guy actually believes that dj's will choose their music! He makes me raff!
Lynch has, as they say, beclowned himself.
In other CBS/STL staff changes, Market Street Webmaster Tommy Wilde, left the stations last week to return to Milwaukee; KEZK's Promotions Director, Ryan Farmer takes over the webwork. Y98's Promotions Director Laura Hobson adds KEZK to her to-do list and is joined by Patrick Hughes, coming from Traffic, where he will not be replaced. Net staff reduction in all this is two more full-time positions.
02-11-08 CBS cuts hit St. Louis ... PM driver Paul Harris is out at KMOX and I'm told there's more to come. It's already being referred to as the Monday Massacre on Market Street.
UPDATE: Also released today were Cindy Collins, Jim Cox and Mike Parnell, all from KEZK.
02-11-08 TV Anchor gets a phone call ... and answers it on the air.
From Frank Absher's media blog.
02-10-08 R.I.P. Todd Blake ... Todd, a disc jockey with KSD-FM back in its Classic Rock days, passed away suddenly last Friday. He was just 48; Todd Donald Blake is survived by his wife, Cindy, two sons, Tyler and Dylan, his daughter, Jessica, a granddaughter, Adriana, his Mother, Irene, and his sister, Melanie.
Blake was intensely involved in his community, as a coach of an inline hockey team and a devoted Blues fan and had embarked on a new career with George Weber Chevrolet.
Visitation is Monday from 3-8:30PM and the funeral is Tuesday at 10AM from John L. Ziegenhein & Sons, 7027 Gravois, with interment at Sunset Memorial Park.
View/sign the PD Guestbook.
02-09-08 Home grown commercials for a radio station ... can be good and bad. In 1982, The Statler Brothers agreed to speak for the station I programmed in Richmond/VA.
Here's the story and all the video. I produced and directed the spots...you make the call.
My thanks to Kevin McCarthy for making possible the digitization of the spots and raw footage from 25-year-old 3/4" Beta cassette masters.
02-08-08 The Kirkwood horror ... a lone gunman with a vendetta opened fire at a Kirkwood City Council meeting last night. The final death toll was six, including the killer, a local contractor named Charles "Cookie" Thornton.
Coverage by STLToday.com and KTVI/Fox2 began almost immediately; KSDK/NBC5 and KMOV/CBS4 waited for whatever reason until after 8:30PM to kick in full-time coverage.
No idea what radio was doing...I was glued to TV.
I have never seen news anchors and reporters here so human, so real, so vulnerable. As a result, the stories they delivered had a feeling of grace and empathy that I've not seen here before.
All of the reporters remained truly stunned and personally affected by the events throughout their coverage.
St. Louis may be a fairly large city in the order of such things, but this proves that we are all just part of America's largest small town.
Thanks to MB regular Sez for bringing the news here first.
And it's interesting to note that at least one local TV station featured video from STLToday.com...the newspaper's website; this is the first time I've seen this in the market. I'm pretty sure I told you this was coming...
Co-mingling of media. Whoda thunk?
02-08-08 A little something I wrote at the request of a trade mag ... that shall be unnamed until it's published:
I've lived in St. Louis for more than two decades and in that time every station, radio and tv, with the exception of KMOX, and even the daily newspaper has changed hands. The changing of hands of a media property is not an issue.
The issue is how the new owner will serve the community that depends on each medium.
Blame media ownership deregulation on whichever presidential administration you want (it actually began under Carter and was fulfilled under Reagan); in the intervening years, radio and tv station licenses became no more than real estate properties, traded and sold at abandon, and often at cash flow multiples that boggle the imagination.
As a result, the new owners, the newer new owners, and the newest new owners wound up in possession of broadcast properties that could never get beyond payment of the interest costs on the loans they took to acomplish their purchase. They no longer serve their listeners or viewers...they serve their bankers.
Something had to give to make these businesses work profitably, and that something was the people that actually did the work. People are, after all, the most expensive component of any business. Voicetracking, using one air talent across multiple markets, was a start. Then the stations began dismissing employees like copywriters and production people and assistants to the Chief Engineer, even automating the receptionist's position.
Then the consolidating companies, which had purchased multiple stations in each market, appointed one Program Director, one Sales Manager and one General Manager to oversee an entire multi-station operation.
And then they asked for even more cost savings. It had to come at the expense of community service because there was nothing left to cut.
That's why I have no idea of where to turn when stormy weather threatens (tv has been okay for this, but what happens when the power is off?), or when a highway closes down suddenly, or when, God forbid, a terrorist of whatever stripe attacks?
Bottom line is that I can no longer trust radio or tv to do the things they should be doing in the Public Interest, Convenience and Necessity...as they should be doing according to their licenses.
02-08-08 Aw, geez, Edith, it's always about the chicks ...
From InsideRadio: Women's advancement in radio holds steady
Of the 10,600 radio stations surveyed, 1,690 or 16% have a woman as general manager. That's up slightly from last year's 15% - and a gain of 3% from 2002 when the first analysis by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio was done. MIW says the best management opportunities for women continue to be in sales; one-third of stations have female sales managers.
02-07-08 JC Corcoran had a bad day last Sunday ... when his home power went out during the Superbowl. Monday, JC did what JC always does with things that happen in his life...he talked about it on the air, on his morning show on K-Hits96.
Some are saying that this time he went too far.
Here's a Fox2 video report.
Click here to listen to an MP3 of the show audio that started it all and make your own decision.
I've known Corcoran for a lot of years and he's been a bit of a hothead at times. But JC's never been a hater. I don't ever remember him saying anything that ever smacked of racial prejudice. Never, ever. Not once.
Was his use of a dialect when referring to Ameren's VP Marks ill-advised? Absolutely. But you can't tell me that Chris Rock wouldn't have used the same line in his act.
What struck me most vividly, though, was the crack about using an AK-47 and picking off Ameren employees from the top of a building.
That, coming from a hard-core Liberal like JC Corcoran, is patently ridiculous. The image of the man holding an assault rifle is unimagineable. If you know JC, if you just listen to him occasionally, you'll understand that that's so.
Unfortunately, in this post-911 world, that also was an uninspired thing to say.
Here's a video of JC's apology.
So now, JC's off on a two week suspension while the management at Emmis determines his ultimate professional fate.
Somewhere, someone's working diligently, I'm sure, to make this his Imus moment, to generate publicity for themselves and to ensure that no sincere apology ever goes unpunished.
UPDATE: Thanks to RDN for the link back here.
02-07-08 On the heels of Tuesday's cutbacks at Emmis ... come cuts today at CBSRadio, including the GM at WXRT/Chicago, a 24-year vet of the station, and others in Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Phoenix, NYC, LA, Dallas, Houston and Sacramento.
No news of similar cuts at CBS/STL...yet.
02-06-08 The first STL radio station to stream online ... wasn't a radio station at all -- it was Frank O. Pinion's Large Morning Show In The Afternoon. First station honors came to KTRS later.
|02-06-08 Thunder and lightning ... all around us last night and Tasha, the STLMedia Watch Dog, wanted no part of the noise or light show, making it impossible for me to move for almost two hours by tucking herself tightly into me. If I moved my hand from her back, she looked up and whimpered. Brave little GirlDog hates big noises!|
It was 1997 and FOP had just taken over PM drive from Paul Shankman. One of Frank's first sponsors was A2Z Used Computers.
Owner Ed Richards had a T1 line running thru his shop, and hooked up a radio, a small boombox, with a mic listening in, established an IP address and sent TLMSITA online at an incredibly low bitrate.
I'd given FOP a web presence (he was also the first STL radio guy with a website) in 1995 and added a link to the streaming audio, but of course none of us were connected at much more than dialup speed back then.
If you could deal with the constant buffering with your state-of-the-art 28.8, 33.6 or 56k modems, you were a serious fan.
By now, I was designing and managing the KTRS website, doing talk show fill-in and weekend air work and considerable commercial production there. So I had a tiny little bit of influence to peddle...
I convinced KTRS CE Mike Breitenstein to install a direct-out plug to the boombox and dump the mic; the audio quality suddenly got lots better and even at the low baud rates commonly available, the site began to use up enormous amounts of A2Z's bandwidth.
Yay for KTRS! People were listening online! And from all over, too...emails came in from locations world-wide.
Then-Station Manager Fred Zielonko eventually signed up for a 24/7 streaming deal, hosting it at the station. Thus is local radio history made.
UPDATE: Thanks to RDN for the link back here.
02-05-08 Today is set to be a "not-so-super-Tuesday" ... at one STL radio cluster. Looks like as many as ten local employees from their stations will be pink-slipped as part of a chainwide attempt by the company to streamline and strengthen its operation.
|02-06-08 Asian internet disruptions ...|
Former US VP and current Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has issued a statement blaming the recent undersea cable cuts in Asia on Global Warming, Global Climate Change, and/or Global Dimming, the root causes of which can all be traced back to...you.
Mr. Gore says, "It's carbon dioxide that does this. If you exhale, you exhale C02. Mr. Golinski told me that in High School. So stop exhaling. Or send my offshore company money for credits that will allow us to balance out nature for your pitiful exhaling existence. Exhalers suck. I never exhaled."
The cuts are all orchestrated to occur today and could put hundreds of dedicated radio employees out of work nationwide.
UPDATE: The company mentioned above is Emmis; on Tuesday, seven employees were released locally, as part of a group of 46 employes released across the board; Emmis says that this 5% personnel reduction is the last cutback in staff for the forseeabkle future. STLMedia offers all our resources to these folks to help them find new and suitable employment.
02-05-08 Watchin' TV last evening ... and I see a spot for some woman who's running for a judgeship somewhere. A woman named Judy Cates, running for Judge in her district.
Why isn't she using the slogan "Adjudicate with Judy Cates"?
02-05-08 Kevin & Sue McCarthy ... continue to expand their travel planning radio empire with a YouTube channel featuring video productions of their extraordinary travel experiences. Trust me...these are not your uncle's what I did last Summer vacation videos!
Kevin's a long-time STLRadio personality turned video producer; he and Sue have been doing their weekly travel show for several years and are now syndicated internationally.
02-05-08 Bonneville/STL's "Next-Gen" websites ...
BIC's web development arm has always done impressive work. Recently Bonneville corporate challenged their market heads to come up with ways to "amp up" their online presence, and here, at least, they did it right.
First, they assembled a crew with ideas and experience. Then they said, "Do it." So far, the beta site that's explained at ToastedRav.com looks pretty impressive.
Individual websites for the stations, WIL, Movin' and The Arch, have been gutted and rebuilt, with superfluous content dropped.
All three station websites have been built into the umbrella brand of ToastedRav, but each also still exist independently. There's a fair amount of shared written content, but each station has a good taste of custom-written content.
And each station shares in links and online players for the new and extremely well produced custom video content. This will be the most difficult part of the site to keep fresh. Writing, recording and producing such material is intellectually draining and enormously time consuming.
Ads on each station site are generally format specific; ads on shared pages seem to reflect cross-format sponsors.
As a staffer told me: "The goal is not to be news, but to be a funny, informative "features-type" site, sort of Show Me St. Louis meets The Onion."
An ad campaign touting the new design is also in the works.
I think BIC/STL has a home run here, with a brand new way to present a radio group's local websites.
UPDATE: Thanks to RAIN and RDN for the links back here.
02-04-08 In the '50's and '60's it was standard practice ... for recording artists to lip synch to their records at their appearances on TV and at "record hops." Why carry your band around from tv studio to high school auditoriums when a few 45's could make it work just as well?
Hits from bands began to hit the charts in the late '60's and early '70's, and PA systems, thanks to folks like Bob Heil, made auditorium-filling sound possible, and truly live performances took over.
It was all about the experience, man!
But as technology advanced and the task of performing night after night took its toll, performers got lazy and resorted to using pre-recorded tracks in concert.
At first it was just the music so they could concentrate on their singing. But when ELO was busted for using pre-recorded voice and music tracks in concert, the gates were silently and unofficially drawn back and the practice ran rampant in all music formats.
At his peak in the early '80's I watched Kenny Rogers perform an entire concert without singing one note live; Milli Vanilli was crucified in the '90's for performing music recorded by others, live and on disc. And recently, Hannah Ray Montana has been caught using a stand-in and pre-recorded voice tracks in concert.
Lip synching, like it or not, has been a major part of so-called live performances for more than a half-century of pop music.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, as long as you agree that the hundreds of dollars you may be paying for your ticket admits you to what is essentially a puppet show.
On the other hand, if you're at an event like the SuperBowl, it may be totally unreasonable to expect live performances.
The task of sound reinforcement for a stadium seating tens of thousands is daunting at best, and is best served by having the performer pre-record their work and just move their lips and hands on their instruments when the cameras are rolling. As Alicia Keyes, Jordin Sparks, and Tom Petty did on last night's SuperBowl.
And recorded or not, Jordin's rendition of the National Anthem was KILLER!
In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the Star Spangled Banner at the SuperBowl, and the next day I had a CD of the performance in the mail.
How'd they do that so quickly, I wondered? Oh...yeah...
02-03-08 Superbowl TV spots ... watch 'em here. Scroll down to watch them quarter by quarter.
|02-04-08 The Boston Globe ... must have had high expectations (as did many sports pundits) for the home team.|
A book with the cover at left was on sale by the paper's publisher at Amazon as of late last night.
At least they had the good sense to snipe it with the statement "To be published only in the event of a win."
It brings to mind the classic 1948 photo of Harry Truman gleefully holding the Chicago Tribune edition headlined "Dewey Beats Truman".
The only remaining question is whether or not we'll be subjected to Giant's QB/MVP Eli Manning appearing in three out of every five tv spots this coming year...
02-03-08 Secret Squirrel digs into LocalTV ... you know, the one run by the Satanic Trinity?
Changes continue to take place at Tribune Broadcasting.
What could that mean for FOX2 and CW11? Tribune Broadcasting
President John Reardon was apparently let go on Friday. Ed Wilson, President of
the FOX Television Network, will likely be announced as Tribune Broadcasting's
new President on Monday.
More axes are expected to fall at Tribune
Corporate this week. Sam Zell and Randy Michaels are now making big
changes. With Bobby Lawrence on board with LocalTV and a history of GM
changes, what will happen with Spencer Koch and Bill Lanesey?
Also, would Tribune go after ABC in St. Louis and try to put it back on a property
with more upside than KDNL? There will be lots to watch on this story.
02-02-08 After nineteen years online ... I still laugh at this. I've been getting messages thru the Secret Squirrel anonymous email, damning me for this and that, for things I never did or for things they think I did.
Look, anonymous kids, if you have issues, just send an email and let me know. I bet I can deal with it.
If you want me to change something here, if you've got a better idea, at least have the stones to sign your name.
That might get you some action or reaction.
02-02-08 Sound hour development ... using Hot Clock. $50 buys you the best graphic development/hourly scheduling software.
In the example above, Red=powers; Yellow=rising hits; Blue=new to the playlist; Silver=recurrents; Gray=oldies; Green=spot sets.
This hour offers 12 songs, average length 4 minutes, and 12 minutes of spots. Build any hour any way you want, add any element of any length anywhere in any hour.
02-01-08 Sorry, but I call shenanigans ... 2007 was a "breakthrough year" for HD Radio sales, according to HD Digital Radio Alliance CEO Peter Ferrara.
iBiquity told the NAB Radio Board that 330,000 HD Radio receivers were sold in '07, a 725% increase from the 40,000 units purchased in 2006.
Inside Radio (owned by Clear Channel, a heavy investor in the technology) quotes Ferrara: "Just by sheer number of units out there, and more stores stocking them, sales will go up exponentially."
Well, wait. Does that mean that 330k have actually been sold to the public, or sold to the stores? I'm confused.
I guess I don't get out enough, but I'd sure like to know which stores have stocked up on these things. And which manufacturers have been cranking out a third of a million of them. It would also help if there was programming on any given HD channel that actually had listener appeal.
Somebody's gonna get stuck with a lot of unsellable electronics, I think. Just sayin'...
Vote in the HDRadio survival poll here (MB Registration Reqired)
Comment here (MB Registration Reqired)
02-01-08 In other animal news ... Secret Squirrel has brought home a report that one of STL Radio's hardest-core unemployables is entertaining an offer from CC/Milwaukee. We can only pray that this is true and that our long local nightmare will soon be over (apologies to Gerald Ford). But with the huge across the board cuts at CC, including the prohibition of new hires, I'm afraid that this might just be a pipe dream.
02-01-08 Tasha, the STLMedia Watch Dog ... takes in the mess Mother Nature made after the snow stopped this morning and agrees that the forecasters all hit the nail pretty much on the head, with a minimum of panic-driven reporting...
01-31-08 The weather forecast as five-card monte ...
...seconds later, Tasha took off in high-speed pursuit of yard critters.
KTVI/Fox2, KMOV/CBS4, KSDK/NBC5, KPLR/CW11 and the Post-Dispatch all agree that we'll be getting somewhere from 4 to 9 inches of snow between Thursday mid-day and Friday morning.
Let's keep an eye on the updated forecasts, how the actual events transpire, how the events are covered on the air and online and then comment here.
01-31-08 Brief features do little to draw listeners ...
Jon Coleman's research (and he's about the only guy I'd trust to break this out) has concluded that brief music station feature elements are best for long-term perceptual branding and not a short-term bump in listenership.
Music features are better than talk but need to be promoted to be of any value; they're best used when run in context with relevant music and not out of spot sets.
Remember that the next time your GM suggests you need to run a grocery shopping feature...and good luck saying no, by the way.
Get your free copy of Jon's report and then comment here.
01-31-08 And I'll take my red Swingline stapler, too ...
Shades of Office Space:
The January fire at KOOP/Austin did $300,000 in property damage and forced the station off the air for 19 days.
24-year-old Paul Webster Feinstein made a copy of a doorkey just after Christmas, then came back late on January 5 and poured gasoline on the boards in two different studios.
He told investigators he was “very unhappy” that the music list he’d selected for the station’s “Mellow Down Easy” Internet-only late-night stream had been monkeyed with.
01-30-08 TV users are now reading? Are you kidding? ...
A survey by an ad agency called Carat shows listeners are up for grabs at nights thanks to the TV writers strike. It finds 25% of people are watching less TV and more people are looking at other entertainment options such as online surfing, video games and reading.
Horsehockey. I don't believe a word of it. TV addictees will watch anything on a video monitor, but will not read.
Chances are good they don't know how.
01-29-08 Is KMOV-HD on Charter Cable yet? ...
|01-29-08 Give this little video recorder to everybody who works for you ...|
Every staffer becomes a video reporter!
Costs about $110, including a 2gig SD card, the RCA EZ201 Small Wonder gives you four hours of web-quality audio/video, easily edited and uploaded to your otherwise-static website.
It's how radio and newspapers compete with TV.
Apparently not, according to subscribers, because Belo wants Charter to pay to carry KMOV's digital signal. I don't have Charter and I won't be upgrading to DTV anytime soon, preferring to let my local cable company just schlep along whatever signal works for them.
All I know is I'll be pissed if I miss a new episode of NCIS, HD or SD.
01-29-08 How's that consolidation thing working out? ...
Apparently not real well for Clear Channel.
Selling the way-overpaid-for company to Bain/Lee to go private has resulted in a company-wide memo from John Hogan that hit the trades yesterday ordering:
“Expense reductions: All research monies after 2/1. All Advertising and Promotion monies after 2/1. All new sales hires not already implemented, effective immediately. Any new hires budgeted but not hired, effective immediately (do not hire any additional new employees). Any/all discretionary monies (i.e., travel, meals and entertainment, etc.) for your market. If you can save it, do so. Additionally, you are not to replace any departing personnel without specific approval from your EVPO.”
So. No research, no advertising, no promotion, no new hires.
That's the road to success!
Thanks to Randy Michaels, Sam Zell, Bobby Lawrence and the Mays Family for their dedicated effort to destroy the radio industry and enrich themselves beyond belief.
Seriously. Nice job, guys.
CCU closed Monday at $31.42, significantly under the $39.20 initially offered, and at more than twice the daily volume traded prior.
Good memo, Hogan.
01-28-08 Jeez, it was Charlotte Ross' bottom, not Dennis Franz' ...
The FCC proposed fining 52 ABC stations a whopping, collective $1.43 million for an "NYPD Blue" episode that aired in 2003. The scene involved the girlfriend of Detective Andy Sipowicz, played by Charlotte Ross--who drops her robe in the bathroom, revealing her backside. Sipowicz's young son then enters the bathroom, stares at her, and she then covers up.
Look, I believe that the FCC ought to seek out and fine objectionable and obscene material on radio and tv, but this fine is simply ridiculous.
01-28-08 Free music site launches, backs off ...
Joining a growing field of free, legal music sites, ad-supported service Qtrax formally launched Sunday after being delayed since last year. The peer-to-peer service has a catalog of some 25 million tracks--including live versions of songs--via licensing deals with all the major recording labels. Search results also bring up relevant advertising.
But wait...there's more, from the LATimes:
Widespread news coverage sent 61,000 users an hour to the site of Qtrax, which had been working on the file-sharing system for years. But they came away disappointed: The site didn't work because, although the big four labels had been in negotiations with Qtrax, none said they had actually signed deals authorizing the use of their music.
Qtrax now says they're "activating new accounts in stages."
01-28-08 Ad dollars switching from tv to movies ... From AdAge:
Buying giant MediaVest is in talks with two cinema-advertising networks to move more than $100 million in prime-time broadcast TV ads to the big screen.
Hey, I know TV numbers are gonna suck because of the writers' strike, but aren't the movies an even worse ad choice? The movies they call "tentpoles" are few and far between and ticket sales are way, way off. Advertisers would do better finding a way to insert ads in video games and music sales.
01-27-08 Anybody have any knowledge of this thing? ... The Pinnacle USB HD/SD TV Tuner/PVR looks pretty cool, and I've seen prices as low as $90 retail. Its supplied HD/SD antenna is switchable with your cable system and it has separate AV inputs. Is this too good to be real?
01-26-08 I've been back and forth on podcasts ... thought maybe I'd like to grab a few every now and again for listening. Suggestions are welcome for auto-download software beyond Juice/iPodder (not necessarily iPod compatible) and for no-longer-than-fifteen-minute-shows I might enjoy. No music shows, please.
Linux compatibility is a plus!
Isn't there an RSS reader that incorporates text pages and pod- and videocasts? Why not?
01-25-08 The UMSL campus magazine ... has picked up three awards in a recent competition. These follow two awards UM St. Louis magazine earned last year. Congrats to all the journal's staff!
01-25-08 Pepsi's spending megabucks ... on their silent Superbowl ad...
Read about it here, here or here.
01-24-08 It appears that I'm older than I thought ... On this day thirty-nine years ago I boarded a chartered commercial airliner that whisked my young self off to South Vietnam to do what American men of my age needed to do: kill a Commie for Mommy.
Too bad the politicians back then got their ideologies and fingers all tangled up in it and didn't let us finish the deal as well as we could have.
01-24-08 Good taste wins the spin ... from MediaPost:
BET has removed a section of its Web site that offered photos of women in seductive poses, clad in bikinis and lingerie. Before its removal last week, the "B-Girls" section had been a long-time staple of BET.com, and retained a prominent position as the site was re-launched last fall.
So why can't most all rock station websites clean up their acts too?
01-24-08 Free 3M Overhead Projector ... Want it? Just follow these simple rules:
1. You must be a K-12 teacher.
2. You must live within the STL SMSA.
3. First email gets it; must be picked up in Maryland Heights by 1/31, otherwise next emailer gets it.
Decision of the judges is final, blah blah blah.
01-23-08 Secret Squirrel spins on ... the tiny little sports stations owned by Simmons:
Simmons is DESPERATELY shopping their two AM frequencies around - rumor has it that for less than the price that WIL sold for, you could have both 1380 & 1490. The days of sports talk are very limited there. Most of the interested parties, are rumored to be religious, ethnic, and other niche broadcasters.
01-23-08 Not seen Cloverfield yet? ... Monster movie fans say it's pretty cool; here's a sneak peek at the 250 foot tall beast that beats down Manhattan. Beware: this may be considered a spoiler.
01-22-08 Ultimate personality promotion ... give away your very own action figure, dressed in your local team's uniform, with or without audio, or deliver yourself as the head of a Pez dispenser. All this can be yours...just pony up the loot.
01-21-08 No names, but ... let's say there's a guy who runs a radio station somewhere and is notorious for fiddling with the programming and talent, hiring and firing and then hiring back with reckless abandon.
|01-22-08 Word outa WestPort is ... that Bobby "I'm too sexy for The Loo" Lawrence, the guy who was the Cards-KTRS dealmaker a couple years ago, has moved on to finagle his way through that Sam Zell TV deal that also involves Randy Michaels.|
It'll be enlightening to see how these former JACOR guys can destroy local television as thoroughly as they did local radio.
The guy hires himself his, what, umpteenth PD in however many years, publicly expresses his confidence in the new guy.
Then the guy goes on a private talent shopping spree, calling a whole herd of former employees and asking if they'd be interested in coming back.
The guy never mentions his new PD, saying only that the "former bad guys" are gone and he's now back firmly in charge.
Woo hoo on that!
Except that everyone he called said no thanks!
But no names, okay?
01-20-08 FYI ... had to put off last week's scheduled interview with Bob Romanik in Belleville; he wound up having to take care of some family issues. It will be rescheduled soonest.
01-20-08 Other celebrity passings over the weekend ... actress Suzanne Pleshette, at 70, and musician John Stewart, at 68.
|01-19-08 Tasha likes teh Frisbee ... never catches it or brings it back to me, of course, but the STLMedia WatchDog is wild about carrying it around in the yard when she runs in circles for no reason at all, which she does a lot.|
And tonight we've learned that the guy who brought the Frisbee to market has passed away. Richard Knerr was 82.
Wham-O co-founder Knerr, with his boyhood friend Art Melin, gave us the Hula-Hoop, Frisbee, SuperBall, Slip'n'Slide, Water Wiggle, Silly String and hundreds of other cool toys. Knerr's credited with creating the phrase "the WOW factor." Tasha is verklempt.
01-19-08 Quick and dirty in-demo Fall book analysis ... from RadioCrunch, via AllAccess:
|01-19-08 Never knew this guy's name ... but he was always on TV, somewhere, since my earliest memories of the medium.|
Veteran character actor and Kansas City/MO native Allan Melvin has passed at 84. Melvin's first role was as Cpl. Henshaw to Phil Silvers' Sgt. Bilko in 1955.
He appeared on television endlessly over the next half-century on The Brady Bunch, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, All In The Family and other shows and as the voice of Magilla Gorilla, Popeye's arch-enemy Bluto and an amazing list of cartoon voice artist and commercial performances.
From his first day of work to the day he died, Allan Melvin was never unemployed.
Emmis held on to the top spot in all three target demos this fall. Alternative KPNT was once again the 18-34 champ, while Rock KSHE came in first with adults 18-49 and 25-54. Classic Hits KIHT was 6th 25-54 and Talk KFTK was eighth in that cell.
Bonneville's two leading stations also had solid 25-54 books with Country WIL surging from 6th to 3rd this book, while Adult Hits WARH was 4th -- dropping from 2nd in the summer -- but up in share.
Scoring a big jump in the 25-54 cell was CBS AC KEZK -- which vaulted from 11th to 3rd thanks to the holiday hit parade. Just like Emmis, CBS also had three stations in the top 10 25-54. Hot AC KYKY was 7th and News/Talk KMOX ranked 10th.
In the 18-49 demo, Bonneville had the 2nd and 3rd positions -- with WARH and WIL respectively. WIL was tied with KEZK.
Bonneville's WIL opened up its lead in the Country battle with CC's KSD. WIL had a 66% advantage 25-54, a 56% edge 18-49, and a 54% lead with adults 18-34 (a demo they were tied in the summer).
The Urban battle saw CC beat RadioOne almost across the board. CC Urban KATZ beat RadioOne's WHHL by 11% 18-49 and 25% 25-54, although WHHL did nose out KATZ 18-34 by 4%. However, the Urban AC war went to CC's KMJM over RadioOne's WFUN. KMJM beat WFUN by 71% 18-49 and 60% 25-54.
Finally, Bonneville's WMVN (Movin') -- which has evolved from a Rhythmic AC to Hot AC -- hit a new low this book -- dropping 33% among adults 25-54 and sliding to 17th place.
01-19-08 And why is this an issue? ... It's just the FCC heading back to making sure broadcast licensees are actually qualified. God forbid, huh?
According to the SeattlePI, the FCC proposes that stations "set up permanent community advisory boards," and that stations validate a certain amount of local programming as part of the "renewal application processing" procedure.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin tentatively concludes that all broadcasters must air a certain amount of local programming.
As well they should. It used to be called PICON (public interest, convenience and necessity), and the determination process was called ascertainment; stations had to do it every three years. It should have never been done away with. What's not defined is how much local programming radio stations must air and what local programming means.
Is local news and traffic sufficient? Local PSA's? Local public affairs programming? Local dj's doing music shows?
This troubles Greater Media's Peter Smyth. For his objections Smyth gets STLMedia's Asshat Of The Week Award.
Washington State Association of Broadcasters President Mark Allen says he's heard that if the FCC requires studio staffing at all hours the station is on the air, some member stations might go back to signing off late at night.
That would, of course, mean that those stations lose whatever revenue they generate with overnight programming, which, apparently, they are glad to blow off if it means employing anyone during those hours.
Mark Allen and his buds herewith earn the Assistant Asshats Of The Week Award.
But if the FCC mandates live programming 24/7, well, might'n't that open up a few more jobs in radio? Is that a bad thing? For some owners and managers, like Peter Smyth and his Assistant Asshats Of The Week, I guess, yes, it is.
"I said Imagine that...me working for you!"
5 Man Electrical Band, 1971.
01-18-08 Bad news for heavy-use web connections ... TimeWarner, ComCast and Cox, among other ISP's, are ready to try out metered internet access for their online services. Use more bandwidth, pay more money. This ain't good news for writers, researchers or news publishers like STLMedia. Or for anybody, for that matter, who works online more than a few hours a day.
01-18-08 Middle-aged chicks rule ... from MediaPost:
Middle-age women are the driving force in our society - better get out of the way
Women are on the verge, so to speak. Females between the age of 45 and 64 are the largest demographic in the United States. That's right: There are more middle-age women in this country than anyone else. Nearly 40 million, in fact. And if you think that all they do is shuttle their kids and grandkids around in silver SUVs all day, you would be mistaken (although they do this as well).
Read it all and then comment here
01-18-08 Cheating on Arbitron, redux ... The story below, about Glover at KFTK, brought to mind the many imaginative ways that PD's have come up with to tip the balance of the Arbitron scales in the station's favor.
Some were outright fraudulent and the rest were outright stupid; none of the truly creative (and legal) listener maintenance gimmicks are included here, by the way. Talking about the dumb ones is way more fun.
The Rubber Clock -- simply lying to listeners about what the time is, hoping to dupe them into thinking they had listened longer. GM Lew Witz' nefarious plot was famously exposed at WCFL/Chicago in an on-air rant by Larry Lujack.
The Dotted Clock -- placing red dots on the studio clock, alerting the dj to when they could NOT tell the time, presuming that the lack of such an important piece of business would make listeners stay to learn the time. Obviously, no one wore watches back then.
KCBQ's ARB Diary -- 1976 was the year of the American Revolutionary Bicentennial, and KCBQ/San Diego produced and distributed a snazzy litle booklet that looked suspiciously like an Arbitron diary, in which you could record your hour-by-hour activities during various weeks (that coincided with rating periods) during this historic year. Fill it out, send it in, win big prizes. The presumption was that real diary holders would do the same, expecting to win from KCBQ but not noticing they sent their diaries to Maryland.
The Armitron Scam -- Stations all over the US gave the watch company free advertising when they started promoting their timechecks as "3:45, Armitron listening time!" See Rubber Clocks and Dotted Clocks, above, for more.
Refrigerator magnets and kitchen swag -- Somewhere along the line, someone, probably a consultant, determined that most Arbitron diaries were filled out at the end of the week in the kitchen. So we gave away items for the kitchen to remind them of our call letters and frequency. I suspect that this was a plot that kicked back a few bucks from various specialty companies to the consultant.
I bet you remember more than these...comment here
01-18-08 Glover cheats, gets caught, may go to Hell ... Good grief. I can't believe that anyone these days would tattle to Arbitron about something so insignificant.
From R&R: Emmis talk KFTK/St. Louis afternoon host Dave Glover garnered a note from Arbitron for comments about the ratings process.
According to the notice, Glover said, "I haven't told people to cheat for me in the ratings lately, have I? Cheat for me in the ratings. Four to seven. I don't [care] how long you listen, it's four to seven -- that's what you write down."
Station program director Jeff Allen says that when he listened to the tape with Glover, the host was "stunned. He didn't recall saying it."
Used to be that such an offense would get your station a sticker on the front of the survey book and a notice on page 5b, neither of which mattered a whit. Or, of course, if the offense were blatant enough, the station could get completely delisted from the ratings. That hurts!
What really matters is which programmer or manager in the market was petty enough to actually record the show and capture and excerpt the audio to send to Arbitron.
Yes, there are lines you do not cross in this subject area, but this offense is seriously insignificant.
01-17-08 Less meat, more often ... from Editor&Publisher: In the most radical move from print to digital advertising by a major newspaper, the Chicago Tribune announced Monday it is eliminating help-wanted ads from the newspaper on weekdays.
Can the STL P-D be far behind? Comment here
01-17-08 After four calls from Kramer around 1AM Thursday ... waking us up, and which I hung up on or refused, I got this email: You told me to call - I did. You didn't even have the BALLS to talk with me, Come on man! I was being nice. Reply thru email - go ahead. Unreal! Kramer.
Four perhaps-fueled-by-alcohol phone calls to me around 1AM and such an email is inappropriate; I never asked him to call me, certainly not at 1AM.
Former KTRS'er Keith Crowden Kramer clearly wants attention and now he'll get more than he ever imagined. I am no longer concerned about his well-being; I've learned my lesson.
He needs help. I hope those of you are who are his friends make that possible.
01-17-08 The new MacBook Air is seriously cool ... thin, lightweight and very capable, but at $2-3grand, WAY pricey for a second system. And who can afford all that expensive Mac software?
The Asus Eee (at left) is exactly what I want for out-of-office and upstairs use to replace my dying Toshiba. Cheaper, surely, than buying new parts and having an overpaid tech work on it.
The Asus Eee is just $400. Four hundred bucks for a teeny laptop that does it all, or at least all that I need. Mrs. A's laptop is an Asus and it's a superior performer.
It includes an online camera, three USB2.0 ports and strong 802.11b/g wireless reception in a frame just slightly larger than a DVD case. Weighs less than 2 pounds. Runs for over 3 hours on a charge. Reviews are unbelievably positive.
And toss in one of these, please.
UPDATE: Ordered one, with the SD card. Mrs. A will whip me severely about the head and shoulders for doing so, I bet.
01-17-08 Don't understand this, not at all ... Radio trades are reporting that Radio & Records has suddenly withdrawn the Lifetime Achievement Award it had previously announced would be awarded to WABC/NY's Bob Grant at its Talk Radio Seminar coming up in March. The trade posted a cryptic message at its website but has since deleted it.
Brian Maloney has the details and the text of the now-missing retraction.
Purple Personal People Meter ... from InsideRadio:
Arbitron has been spending millions of dollars to redesign PPM into a more user-friendly device. Field testing begins mid-year on PPM-14, the replacement for the current model. Key features: More memory, longer battery life and a changeable color faceplate. Arbitron doesn't think it will impact ratings.
Of course it'll impact ratings. The changes are designed to do exactly that.
More memory and longer battery life mean that respondents won't have to pay any attention to it until the last day of their rating week, just like written diaries but without the burden of writing. And changeable face plates will make it useful as a fashion accessory.
The changes are aimed directly at minority respondents, and meant to mollify complaints of under-representation by stations airing minority formats.
01-17-08 Closed circuit to the moron ... who fearlessly (and anonymously) sent this: "Unless you bought Arbitron you are legally not authorized to publish that information. I have sent them a copy of your webpage. Just so you know. I was 'concerned'."
Thanks for your concern, but STLMedia has been a contracted user of Arbitron data for a long time. They send 12+ data from all rated markets and I am licensed to reproduce it here as I wish.
STLMedia is also allowed to analyze in-demo data in specific ways authorized for news outlets.
I guess any loser can leap if he feels froggy, but it's always best to make sure that it's not into a puddle of stupid.
01-16-08 Fall Arbitron, 12+ ... St. Louis, MO (#20)
|Station||Group Owner||Format||Fa'06 ||Wi'07 ||Sp'07||Su'07|| Fa'07 |
|KMOX-AM ||CBS Radio||News/Talk||8.4 ||7.6|| 7.1||7.0 ||7.6 |
|KEZK-FM||CBS Radio||AC ||7.2||7.6 ||6.1||5.5||7.2 |
|KMJM-FM||Clear Channel||Urban AC||4.6||4.4||4.2||4.4||4.6|
|KSLZ-FM||Clear Channel||CHR/Top 40||4.7||4.3||3.8||3.9||4.3|
|KLOU-FM||Clear Channel||Classic Hits||4.9||3.8||3.5||4.5||3.9|
|WFUN-FM||Radio One||Urban AC||3.2||3.1||3.6||3.5||3.3|
|KYKY-FM||CBS Radio||Hot AC||2.9||3.2||2.8||3.7||3.2|
|KATZ-FM||Clear Channel||Urban||3.5||3.2||3.3 ||3.5||2.9|
|KFUO-FM||Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod||Classical||2.2||1.8||2.6||2.0||2.2|
|KFNS-AM/KFNS-FM||Big League Broadcasting||Sports||1.6||1.0||1.2||1.3||1.4|
|KSLG-AM||Simmons Media Group||Sports||0.0||0.4||0.0||0.6||0.8|
01-15-08 Noory re-ups thru '13 ... with Premiere. KTRS' most famous alumni has 500 broadcast affiliates worldwide, is on XM SatRad and ratings have never been higher for what has become a legendary late-night/all-night show. If he owes you money, now might be a good time to touch base...
01-15-08 FilesFiles writer-editor moving on ... Chris Files, who writes much of the content at TheFilesFiles is moving from his really important gig as Public Relations Director at the STL Science Center to join Bonneville locally as a Producer. You can reach him here or by phone at 352.318.0123.
01-15-08 Watch out for watermarking ... from Wired: Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks. At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser.
01-14-08 In the Summer of 1971 ... I was returning to my Killeen/TX home after a dinner at Frank's Restaurant On The Lake in Belton/TX when I stopped off at the local station, KTON. I went in and introduced myself to the dj.
I was a Top 40 guy still in the Army and learning my craft at KLEN/Killeen and KTEM/Temple and had been curious about KTON's Countrypolitan format.
The dj was kind enough to show me around the station while he did his show, showed me how the format was set up and let me flip thru the 45's to see what he was playing.
I account for some of my success years later in country music to what I learned during that brief visit.
The dj was Les Acree, and last year Les suffered a stroke. He's in a wheelchair and unable to communicate, but completely alert and hearing everything and brightens when he sees an old friend.
Chances for a dramatic improvement aren’t great. But if you knew Les or worked with him and make it to the Nashville area, he's in the Spring Gate Rehab and Healthcare Center at 3909 Old Covington Pike, Memphis/TN.
I know he'd appreciate seeing you.
01-14-08 A 45 minute listening bonus ... The Drake-Chenault History of Rock & Roll Timesweep, with all the hooks of all the #1 songs from 1955 thru 1981, the biggest hits of the Top 40 Era. If you're of a certain age, this'll make ya cry. Set some time aside and listen.
01-13-08 So which will be the first ... radio/tv station/network/cable channel to offer limited free political ads, to turn down the money for the overwhelming number of spots that are just ahead?
This Presidential campaign began too long ago, longer ago than any other in memory, and it's just plain stupid.
The so-called debates are partisan interviews and not debates at all.
The polling in each region prior to and following the debates, cacucases and primary votes is useless and invariably wrong.
Doesn't station/network management understand how offensive and annoying political ads are? I mean, punch the button right now!
Don't you know how much we users of media would rather have some local schlub sell furniture or cars than some politician lie to us?
Would you really have that much more difficulty filling inventory with local spots?
Would turning over two free units an hour equally 6AM-12M to candidates, during a couple weeks prior to an election really mean that much of a drop in your income?
Let the politicians buy print or the web if that isn't sufficient...sell 'em your own website!
That's okay if we cap the amount of money the pols can spend on any given campaign.
01-13-08 Got a meet set this coming week... with Belleville's Bob Romanik. After a revealing phone conversation Saturday evening I believe I'll bring back an interesting story about Bob's ideas on local radio and insight into the family that owns WXOZ and bought WIL-AM from Bonneville. Stay tuned.
01-12-08 Happy birthday to our daughter the nurse ... Jennifer Michelle Anderson turned another page over today; last we heard she was being féted by friends in Richmond/VA. Mrs. A and I are both enormously proud of Jennie and her daughter (our first granchild!) Laene.
And it turns out that Jen may have been delivered at birth by current Weirdo Party Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, who apparently was a USArmy OB-GYN at the Texas military hospital where and when she was born. Still tryin' to track down the particulars...
01-12-08 NSSA Missouri Sportscaster of the Year finalists ...
The finalists have been announced by the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association, for its 49th Annual Awards Weekend May 3-5 in Salisbury, North Carolina.
John Covington, KLPW-AM/FM, Washington
Mike Kelly, Missouri Tigers
Jay Murry, KWRE-AM/KFAV-FM, Warrenton
John Rooney, St. Louis Cardinals
01-12-08 Secret Squirrel spins the wheel on ... HD TV. KMOV's local news will be in HD by the start of February sweeps.
01-12-08 With Blu-Ray and HD-DVD doing the Please Pick Me Tango ... there are some serious sell-off prices on basic DVD players. If you're looking for a spare player or two for the eventual breakdown or want to add cheap DVD capability in an office, you won't have to spend very much.
I picked up this Phillips for about $40 thru Amazon and will cobble together a mini-theater from old gear for the office.
Presumably the coming new-gen players will be backwards compatible, but I've got hundreds of DVD's in the "old" format and see no need to spend major money to be an early adopter.
01-12-08 Some 2008 Media futures ...
CBS, from MediaPost: Overall, it's going to be a big year for CBS stations, Les Moonves said, because some $3 billion in political advertising will be available. "We anticipate taking a big chunk of that; radio will take a big chunk of that as well," he said.
Newspapers, according to GoldmanSachs can look for a nearly 8% revenue decline, continuing several years of losses. Classifieds led the way in losses in 3rdQ 2007: real estate listings were down 24.4%; recruitment was down 19.7% and automobile ads dropped 17.7%.
GS cut earnings forecasts for the New York Times Company,
McClatchy, Gannett, Belo, Journal Communications, and E.W. Scripps.
Music, from The Economist: The sub-hed reads Last year was terrible for the recorded-music majors. The next few years are likely to be even worse. Read the article. Yeah, I guess the kids are right. Music wants to be free. But there are "work-arounds."
01-11-08 It sounded like a good idea at the time ... that whole dump-analog-for-digital-tv-in-2009 thing. But now it looks like converter demand may exceed supply. From CNN:
Can retailers meet digital TV demand?
Best Buy Inc.'s chief executive said that he is "very nervous" about being able to supply customers with the millions of digital TV converter boxes needed ahead of the shutdown of most analog TV transmissions in 13 months.
Read it all and comment here
01-10-08 So why is Bonneville selling WIL-AM?
Some ponderings from inside the Palace Near Ballas and me:
1. Why would Bonneville sell WIL-AM for a bargain-basement price? They really, really, really need a quick million-plus bucks to pay off their executive car leases, or they just want to dump an underperforming, non-market-covering AM.
2. It's not unusual for a company to hold on to heritage calls, especially when they have another station with the same assignment. Sometimes they stash them at another station in the group until they need to use them again; sometimes they just say no to the re-use to protect a franchise.
3. Bonneville's dumping 1430 to buy another AM here. Which one? Not one of the "teeny AM's" - that wouldn't fit the company's goals, I don't think. That really leaves just three that Bonneville might crave, IMHO: KMOX, KTRS and KJSL.
4. Just a hunch, but I bet CBS won't unload KMOX/AM1120 any time soon. KTRS/AM550 could be on the block soon, as part of the possible disassembly of the Cardinals. But KJSL/AM630, I think, is the most likely target.
5. Why KSJL/AM630? Crawford's block-programmed religion is a difficult format to manage, but it's the old KXOK freq and, presuming xmtr and ground plane updates, effectively covers the region.
6. Format? Well, what would you do with a big-footprint AM? Talk? Done. Sports? Done to death on the "teenies." News? Tried, too expensive. Music? Are you kiddi...hey-y-y-y-y, wait a minute!
Yeah, a heritage music format on a heritage frequency with heritage call letters. Classic Country or Golden Oldies on AM, just the way God meant the original records to be heard!
Y'all may begin your spin in 5-4-3-...
01-09-08 A while back we told you about WGN's Todd Manley ... (a Manley man) taking over as the new KTRS/AM550 PD. He'll also be the station's Brand Manager. And good luck to him in his new adventure, beginning on the 14th.
Station GM Tim Dorsey's been quoted as saying "Anybody Tom Langmyer likes will be a great addition for KTRS. I
have nothing but respect for Tom and WGN."
How 'bout we check back on that quote in, say, a year from now? That seems to be the lifespan of all but a few KTRS PD's, right?
01-09-08 Fall books are showing all-Christmas-music numbers ... and I don't understand what all the glee's about. Christmas music bumps mean nothing for sales. What's it all about, Santa? Is it just all about braggin' rights for a couple meaningless weeks?
01-09-08 2007's biggest radio advertiser was ... radio, turning over a quarter-billion dollars of inventory to the HDRadio cause. Looks like 2008's winner's gonna be the same (from MediaPost):
The HD Radio Alliance is poised to launch a year-long ad campaign touting the new medium with $230 million worth of radio ad inventory donated by alliance members. The Alliance counts virtually all the nation's big radio broadcasters as members, including Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel/ABC, Emmis, Entercom and Beasley.
With roughly 10 new spots per quarter, the creative work is being handled by GSD&M Idea City, a property of Omnicom Group. Some of the first ads feature the voice of cartoon character SpongeBob as an old analog radio set, leaving lovelorn messages bemoaning its abandonment for the newer, snazzier HD set.
Yeah, Spongebob'll make it happen.
Spongebob Squarepants speaking for HDRadio.
01-08-08 Any given research/polling company's business plan:
1. Make up some questions.
I've been telling you for years what a fraud these companies are. They charge you ridiculous dollars, kick back a few thou to the programming consultant who told you to hire them in the first place, and then deliver a bunch of meaningless boilerplate bulls**t.
Then inexperienced managers, who have to justify the huge expense, nod their heads wisely in agreement with the "findings" and implement the "report" as if it were the 5th Gospel.
If you have any question at all about this, please touch base with me and I'll be happy to walk you through the three-card monte game these bandits play.
And now, with the campaigns in high gear and the Primary season hovering around us like Mediterranean fruit flies in a California orchard, the political pollsters have put up their driveway sealing oil and gotten back into the polling game. All I can tell you is to be wary of the results.
The answers the political pollsters get depend on the questions they ask...and the questions are written and approved by the candidate who pays for the research.
01-08-08 iBiquity's HDRadio is trying yet another tack ... These devious monkeys'll try anything to make this loser technology succeed.
R&R is reporting that "If the FCC approves the proposed Sirius-XM Satellite Radio merger, iBiquity Digital, the license holder of HD Radio technology, wants new satellite radio receivers to include HD reception. iBiquity lawyers told 11 FCC staffers and lawyers during a recent meeting that the commission needs to “ensure a level competitive playing field between satellite radio and HD Radio” by requiring that HD Radio technology be included in all satellite radio receivers."
In June of 2007, we reported iBiquity's initiative to encode traffic data on HD channels; that was just one of several repurposing ideas the company has had since their launch.
But wait...there's more (also from R&R):
NPR, Harris Corporation and Towson University offer a new technology that will leverage HD Radio technology to assist hearing-impaired people to “see” live radio content on specially equipped receivers by applying television closed-captioning processes to radio broadcasts and provide audio cues and voice prompts, as well as advanced radio-reading services, for the visually impaired and blind.
Read the above again carefully. Isn't this already out there?
“Digital radio technology makes it possible—for the first time—to serve the sensory impaired,” says Mike Starling, VP and chief technology officer of NPR. “Beyond developing the technology, this initiative will ensure the accessibility of these radio services at minimal costs.”
Except to the operators who are footing the bill for all this cripple-pandering foolishness (spoken by someone with full moral authority as a cripple). I guess that means that now you can get a warm gooey feeling that your six-figure-plus investment in HDRadio might become a little more tax deductible.
And isn't another tax deduction just what your company needs?
01-08-08 KTVI/Fox2's John Brown did a piece tonight on WEW ... take a look...
01-06-08 Global warming attacks St. Louis ... Women and minorities hardest hit!
Holy cats, it got up to 73 degrees here today, breaking a 101-year-old record. And Monday's predicted to be in the upper 60's.
But before you get all carbon-credited out of your mind, note that highs in the 50's and occasionally the 60's, for the second and third weeks of January, are not all that unusual.
I remember a lot of years of what was called the "January thaw."
In fact, my very first Winter here, it was so cold that my little Honda froze solid and I had to walk to WIL in the Missouri State Bank Building from the Mayfair Hotel, where I was staying.
I moved into my Florissant apartment around the 15th of January and when the mover delivered my stuff at 9PM one night later it was near zero outside.
Two days later it was in the 50's at 4AM when I was on my way into the city and I was thoroughly confused.
That's what weather does. It changes.
So calm down and be glad the wet stuff's stayin' North of us.
01-05-08 What got you interested in a radio/tv career? ... I can remember a few things that happened to me while I was still in single digits:
-- Falling asleep while listening to WCAU/Philadelphia on a Heathkit crystal radio my brother Rick assembled (WCAU's xmtr and towers were just a few miles from our South Jersey home and it was the only station that came in, on every turn of the coil, grounded to the cold water pipe that ran through my bedroom's tiny closet). Who were those voices? How did they get to my little speaker?
-- Being interviewed on the air when I was in Sister Gertrude's 2nd Grade OLPH class by then-local-WCAU-announcer Ed McMahon. Robert Kramer and I were the class troublemakers, McMahon was looking for a hook for his remote segment, and he found us at the very back of the classroom, where we had been purposely seated. My first radio appearance was on a 50kw regional signal. Woo-hoo! I also caught five detentions for my "act." Sister Gertrude had no sense of humor.
-- A tour of NBC's Radio City facilities in New York; I remember being especially fascinated by the sound effects department demo, how they made it sound like rain with dried peas and a thin sheet of aluminum, which they then flexed to create the sound of thunder. It opened my eyes to the concept of sound recording and led to my fascination with radio production later on.
I was hooked without even knowing it was all just smoke and mirrors, no substance at all.
How 'bout you?
01-05-08 How an FM TV harmonic helped kick my AM's 10-share butt ...
Richmond/VA, early 1980's. I took on the challenge of bringing a ne'er do well AM at 910kHz (WRNL, owned then by Rust Communications) to a profitable position.
We studied the market and came to the conclusion that a contemporary country format with a moderate personality presentation would do the job. We made the transition and it worked like a champ.
Within a year we were holding a 10+ market share of the 25-54 audience. Our only local competition were a pair of daytimers and WTVR-FM, running a badly executed Drake-Chenault automated country format.
Then our market share began to erode and we had no idea why, until one afternoon I visited the desk of one of our office workers, who had a table radio set to listen to the soaps on CBS, broadcast on Channel 6, WTVR-TV.
She was listening to the soaps on FM, on the Channel 6 harmonic that comes in clearly in the FM broadcast band. I sensed an uh-oh in progress.
Back then the CBS soaps were ultra-hot; they may still be, I don't know. But then, they did. And Arbitron respondents wrote those damned call letters into their diaries, even though they were listening to TV and not the FM. Didn't matter. They listened on an FM radio, well, they were listening to WTVR-FM, far as they were concerned.
Parks finally figured it out and turned over as many local TV avails as they could to promote their WTVR-FM country, including the back-then magic word "stereo," a word we couldn't say.
An ass-kicking ensued. Worst ratings beating I ever took, in fact. Had nothing to do with content or programming; had everything to do with superior marketing opportunity. I didn't have a TV station. After that, I just had to move to St. Louis.
01-05-08 Radio's #1 2007 advertiser ... From InsideRadio: The HD Digital Radio Alliance's $250 million ad campaign bought it 1,451,036 spots last year - more than any other radio advertiser.
Well, now, that campaign worked, huh? At least no real money was harmed. Isn't it just a little bit sad when a quarter of a billion dollars of the industry's loot gets flushed down the virtual radio toilet to promote a useless, unneeded and unwanted technology?
It's followed by Gieco with 1,397,673 units. Rounding out the top five were Verizon, Home Depot and McDonald's.
01-04-08 Emmett McAuliffe ... part-time KMOX air personality and full-time intellectual property wizard at SpencerFane has begun blogging at his law firm's website. His first entry into the blogosphere has to do with User-Generated Content v. Traditional Media, or in less formal wording, how wiki's and blogs are kickin' newspaper butt. I suggest you read it, welcome him to our world, and then bookmark the site for further reading.
01-03-08 How the heck did these two ever get together? ...
A deal between the LDS and a jailbird strip club owner just makes me shake my head...but I guess bidness is bidness.
It's noted today that Bonneville has sold their WIL/AM1430 to former Washington Park IL politician Bob Romanik, or at least to a company financed by Romanik's strip-club money; he's not a qualified licensee, because he's also a convicted felon, with prison time behind him.
The station's license officially goes to Romanik's son for a bargain basement $1.2million and adds to their first station, 1510 AM WXOZ (physically located on West Main in Belleville in a strip mall -- how appropriate!), which has an ap in to the FCC for an increase to 10kw.
Romanik's been quoted as saying that he paid a quarter of a million dollars for the power jump, presumably to lawyers and engineers.
Rumor is that Romanik may also be interested in an FM group with stations that surround STL.
Romanik, the unofficial licensee, seems to have unlimited money to build his intended regional talk network, even though he's only airing oldies so far on his first station.
The WIL-AM calls will stay with Bonneville.
I have to wonder what the previous and proposed new license owners plan to do with the station's two primary air talents, Davey Lee and Ron Elz, both Senior Citizens, and one handicapped.
01-03-08 2008 prediction ... Arbitron's PPM initiative, in which users are required to wear small monitoring devices and attach them to bases which recharge them and contact the company at regular intervals, will fail miserably.
The failure will be noted when many ethnic-formatted stations suddenly show up at the bottom of ratings, far below where they appeared in surveys based on diaries.
Aspects of the technology will be blamed when actually the failure of the system is the apathy of respondents to use of the PPM.
Arbitron will continue to support PPM, but will also continue to deliver ratings for all markets from old-fashioned diaries, which will show radically different (and higher) numbers for ethnic stations.
Broadcasters will continue to rely on Arbitron's fault-laden system of determining ratings for almost no reason at all.
01-03-08 Radio revenues nose-dived in November ... from InsideRadio:
The industry posted a worse-than-expected 6% decline in revenues in November, led by a 15% decline in national advertising. Local ad revenues did little to help, falling 5% in the month. Even with a 14% increase in non-spot and Internet revenues, the RAB says the industry was down 6%. That's worse than the 3-4% decrease projected by many Wall Street analysts.
01-03-08 Job-getting do's and don't's ... from PD/consultant Joel Raab: As one who spends a great deal of time wading through the talent pool, I'd like to offer some helpful suggestions when sending out those all important aircheck packages.
01-02-08 Working without a net ... A while back, STLMedia told you that KTRS' PM driver Frank O. Pinion had declined to renew his contract with the station, opting instead to go with his own deal that keeps the LMSITA on the air thirty days at a stretch. Today was the first show under the new arrangement.
Pretty clearly the station wanted the security of the huge revenue his show generates for them (they wanted a much longer contract); I'd speculate that FOP just grew tired of watching the eleven year staff-savaging and never-ending PD changes.
With the station's seventh PD in a decade, Todd Manley -- "a Manley man" -- in the wings, I guess Frank chose rapid mobility as his best option.
01-02-08 Me and Mrs. A, we got a thang goin' on ... (apologies to Billy Paul) ...
21 years ago tomorrow I said the smartest thing I ever said in my life, answering I Do when the minister asked if I did. A few more words and a couple of signatures later Mrs. A and I were married.
The top photo is from our wedding in our Creve Coeur townhouse in 1987; the next is from our after-the wedding-day breakfast at the OT Hodges Chili Parlor at Union Station; the third is from a few years later at daughter Anna's wedding; fourth down is from some damned chili cookoff and the last is a bit expressing her MBA experience.
We've shared a lot of ups and downs in our two+ decades, been to a lot of cool places and had a lot of amazing adventures together.
My love for her and my admiration for Carroll's skills, knowledge and drive to succeed (she picked up her MBA and her first US patent and copyrights after she turned 50) still knock me back on my heels and grow stronger everyday.
You should only be so lucky to find a life-mate like I did. And she's atill a babe!
I'm the luckiest guy ever!
Happy 21st Anniversary, Punkin!
01-02-08 Jerry Del Colliano is a
citizen columnist criminal... he copies music he bought on CD to his computer and he must be punished.
RIAA makes it clear: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damage."
DelColliano is just sitting back and waiting for the RIAA's lawyers to show up...and good luck to 'em when they do.
Jerry's the guy who beat Clear Channel on that Inside Radio thing. This might get interesting.
01-02-08 "Now eat a big bowl of basics and play the hits" ... that was pretty much the extent of the direction given me by my first PD, TX Hall of Famer Bruce Miller Earle, at KTEM/Temple TX. I worked 6PM-12M there while I was in the Army at Ft. Hood, 1970-1971. Read the R&R interview with Bill Drake, the guy who invented the basics and reinvented Top40 Radio. Learn a little bit.
01-01-07 Last time this MP3 thing came up ... the RIAA said no, no, no, it's only online file sharing that's a problem. But don't be copying a CD and pass it along to a friend, who might actually buy more of that artist's music.
Now their lawyers are into it, the billable hours are growing and growing and if you've been ripping those nearly-a-dinosaur (personally purchased!) CD's of yours into digital formats for use on a portable player you may be a target for a six-figure lawsuit.
And even if the music just resides on your HD or your iPod, no matter. You ripped 'em, you evil thieving bastards, and now you must pay for your transgression.
Can't wait to see what they do to me for transferring my ancient LP's to digital...
And the music industry wonders what went wrong...
01-01-07 "Tempting as it may be ... please do not bring any alcoholic beverages into the newsroom."
That's what the memo said on the day that the Scripps-owned Cincinnati Post shut down after 126 years. Not much I can say there. Circulation's down, revenue's down, so lay the old dog down and put it out of our misery.
But the big news is that the salvation for other papers may lie in outsourcing, which we've discussed here, before.
From MediaPost: The Miami Herald announced Thursday that it is outsourcing some advertising production tasks to India as a cost-cutting measure, beginning in January. The New Delhi firm Mindworks will handle copy editing and design for special advertising sections, including a weekly community section covering Broward County.
Yessir, them boys and girls in New Delhi know all about the local haps in Broward County. Maybe they'll even show up on CSI.
Previous entries back to 2003 are available here.