Previously on The Front Page...Oct/Nov/Dec 2008
Wednesday 12-31-08: What are ya doin' New Year's Eve ...
Mrs. A and I have been stodgy ol' stay at homes for a lot of years, since our last station-sponsored listener party on 12/31/1991. I'm setting up deli-type sandwiches and maybe some favorite movies.
What are you up to? Hard-partying in public, station parties, getting together with family, or just cocooning and turning in early? What's your choice of entertainment?
Private details need not be reported...
Wednesday 12-31-08: Station sale multiples still too high ...
Tom Taylor reports:
“There really are people – wealthy people – who believe radio’s got a future.”
That’s from a former group head who’s been circling the herd with the backing of some of those very wealthy people – waiting for the right opening to swoop in and start buying. I’ve called these folks the “Pouncers”, because they’re ready to strike when they spot prices they think are viable in today’s market – maybe 8 times cash flow. Or better, 6 or 7 times.
A high-profile 6-times sale of a solid property would get a lot of people intrigued on the buying side, and might finally lead to some “capitulation selling.” (Can’t wait to find out what multiple Jeff Wilks is really paying for those three CBS FMs in Denver.) But if you’re looking for positive signs in 2009, just know that those pouncers – experienced radio operators – are out there. They still like the business model of radio, as some of them told me at the NAB Radio Show in Austin. They just don’t like where prices have been.
Guys I know with biz smarts say that 6 or 7 times cash flow is still too high. Radio is just a business like any other, and subject to fluctuations in the marketplace more often than most.
A reader writes: There’s a right price for everything. Multiples of around 4 to 6 will probably work for the next few years.
Wednesday 12-31-08: Can't sell classifieds, then cancel 'em ...
The Cincinnati Enquirer will cut the number of days it runs classified ads, switch to a narrower page-format and condense some of its sections in an effort to reduce costs as advertisers spend less.
Tuesday 12-30-08: Missed the Bonneville press conference this morning ...
But they were kind enough to send along the info.
1. The station identity is a bad idea. 101 ESPN? Where's the local angle? I can't believe with all the creative talent they have at the Palace Near Ballas that they couldn't have come up with a local hook.
2. The visual logo is weak. Outside of the 101 ESPN, there's nothing to grab you except red. But I'll hold final judgement to see what the website looks like. They could use X's and O's pretty creatively.
3. I enjoy the syndicated Mike & Mike Morning Show, but it's not local. Bonneville should have spent the loot necessary to present a local show in morning drive, using the successful non-sports-in-the-morning-on-a-sports-station template. This will come back to bite them in the butt.
Debuts hours from now, and still with no shock and awe.
This thing is gonna need a lot of skillful wrenching to make it a winner. Don't know if Jason Barrett is the man for the job. In fact, based on his track record, I'm pretty sure he is not.
The only thing that could convert this mess to a success is the acquisition of hometown MLB.
Tuesday 12-30-08: Bad ad words for 2009 ...
Susan Gunelius wrote an interesting piece on improving your ad copy. Read why the following words will hurt your effort:
Got more? Add them in Comments!
Sunday 12-28-08: Awww, man ...
At least half a dozen newspaper companies have said this year they plan to sell their buildings, some with the intention of leasing back space for their news operations. Others are moving to smaller offices to save money as staffs dwindle and the era of commanding downtown newspaper buildings appears near an end.
The newspapers could hardly have picked a worse time to put their buildings on the block, with the value of commercial real estate deals plummeting from just a year ago.
Read it all here.
What are they gonna do with those big multi-color presses? Junk 'em, make the iron into cars. In Japan.
Newspapers need to quit their print product and go online only, where they'll need less than 15-20k square feet to include in-house editorial, management and IP space to produce their product, including video for their 24/7 updated edition.
Their editors, writers and reporters should be doing their gigs from remote locations via laptops.
Much as I hate it, the print world for news is over. TV broadcast networks are following closely behind.
Sunday 12-28-08: I believe it was Friday when KTRS' John Brown...
...and his band of idiots were discussing with listeners what was their favorite holiday. Brown, who is also a Fox2 anchor and reporter, mentioned that they had not included Easter in their polling list.
He and his cohorts then went on to say how much they liked Easter, even though there were no parties, but because of the candy.
Look, I'm not an overly religious type, but I find it absolutely incomprehensible, not to say irresponsible, to say that Easter's value lies in the candy delivered by that legendary Bunny.
The fact is that the US is over three-quarters populated by Christians or those who say they are.
To ignore them is to deny that the two most sacred holy days in Christianity just do not exist.
Good Friday is the most solemn day and Easter the most joyous.
Sounds to me like John Brown needs a crash course from the CCD. And maybe he needs to make an apology to anyone with religious standards.
Sunday 12-28-08: How sad is it that you can now buy...
... a share of Lee Enterprises, the company that owns the STL-PD, for less than the cost of a copy of the daily newspaper.
Lee's stock closed Friday at 39¢ a share.
And their total market valuation is just a fraction of the billions they spent/borrowed to buy Pulitzer.
Maybe if they set up a box next to their paper sales to offer stock certificates...
Sunday 12-28-08: Had the good fortune to hear from...
... STLRadio legend Davie Lee over the weekend. All seems to be well with this fully-qualified OldDog: he's in good spirits and "on'ry" as ever. I don't believe that I've ever heard anyone in all my radio years with as unique a delivery. Davie's quite a guy and I'm happy to know he thinks of me as a friend.
Sunday 12-28-08: Hope your Christmas was great...
Ours was, and unbelievably busy, too, right up until 9PM last night.
A couple days of last-minute this and that, a day-and-a-half of food prep, cooking and serving to seven family and friends, getting Mrs. A off Friday to KC to visit the "other" daughter and then sweating out her return flight through the Saturday storms.
She wound up waiting on the Lambert tarmac for a half-hour until the airline found an open gate while I sat parked for almost an hour in the "forbidden" zone in front of the terminal, right next to a police cruiser.
Guess I didn't fit the terrorist profile for the STL PD.
Mrs. A and I treated ourselves to our traditional conclusion-of-a-flight meal, pancakes at Denny's.
Tuesday 12-23-08: NORAD Tracks Santa ...
...goes live Christmas Eve. The countdown is on now. Check it out!
I've offered this for kids, on the radio and now online, since it came on an LP in the 1970's. Now it's on YouTube. God bless the North American Air Defense Command for being good enough at their work to be able to spend their spare time to produce this year after year.
Tuesday 12-23-08: If you're not on our snail-mail card list ...
...here's one for you. Thanks for reading and contributing!
Tuesday 12-23-08: Thanks to SassyRadioGirl ...
...for the card bearing this wonderful image.
Tuesday 12-23-08: Bonneville's Sports/Talk 101.1 kickoff ... will be with a locally produced four-hour "St. Louis Sports Spectacular" counting down the Top 20 sports events in the market's history.
Here's the Press Release's PDF.
It'll air 6-10AM on Friday 01-02-09 and repeat Saturday from 8AM-12N.
If somebody wants to record it to CD, I'll make the edited and optimized streaming MP3 playback available here.
(Yeah, I know...expect a C&D order.)
Still waiting for the shock and awe.
Monday 12-22-08: Holiday email from JC@K-Hits ... We have quite a Christmas special on Tuesday.
We're on an extra hour until 11. In addition to our final day of the
13 Days of Christmas, guests include Tony LaRussa live via phone,
then, in-studio guests include Brian McKenna, Joe Bonwich and Eric
Mink of the Post, Dan McLaughlin, Joe Holleman of the Post reviews
all the holiday movies with us ("Frost Nixon" is awesome, btw) and
we'll have a live performance by a 23 year-old local singer I've sort
of discovered named Cole Adams.
But the big, surprise in-studio
guest....coming out of a very firm retirement is......Jerry Berger. The whole thing catered by Frank Cunetto.
Monday 12-22-08: From inside Charter ... Plans are finalized to replace KMOV w/signal from CBS station from another market. Which market? Irrelevant, but am hearing NYC, Jacksonville, FL., Philly, Charlotte N.C. possible. That means viewers still get CBS programming, while KMOV loses roughly 440,000 households. for their local "news" programming. This is GREAT news for Fox 2 and KSDK.
Several other things are in play or relevant here:
1. A few years back, Sinclair tried this with their stations across the country and it went nowhere.
2. Belo would be fools to throw away nearly a half-million households here. While this is still one of the most under-cabled markets in the US, it'd be ratings suicide.
3. Charter's stock is at about fifteen cents a share and the company is considered to be one of the ten most likely to go out of business in 2009, so all this may be moot or at the very least, a temporary inconvenience.
Monday 12-22-08: Rams split with Clear Channel ...
This is as we predicted here a few months back and it comes as no surprise.
This leaves KTRS as the AM "partner" and sets up Bonneville's 101.1 to sign the Rams as soon as the dust settles, presuming they're willing to take on this loss leader.
Here's the memo:
From: Lamme, Dennis
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 2:41 PM
To: STL Radio All
Subject: Rams - CC departs
CC STL Staff
We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the NFL and the St. Louis Rams organization and wished to continue that relationship moving forward. That said, in this volatile and challenging marketplace, we asked that the Rams, our partners, to work closely with us to develop plans that were monetarily sound for both parties.
I presented our well thought out plan with alternatives benefiting all parties. This plan would have extended the Clear Channel Radio St. Louis and KLOU-FM's relationship with the St. Louis Rams for an additional two years. Our goal was to continue the relationship while providing our loyal KLOU-FM listeners an outstanding on-air experience with the St. Louis Rams and the NFL.
Upon review, the needs of the St. Louis Rams did not meet the needs of Clear Channel Radio St. Louis. After nine years, Clear Channel Radio St. Louis will terminate its relationship with the St. Louis Rams at the end of this year.
As we know, the key is to perform and that is how we are judged as individual stations and as a cluster. The Rams lackluster performance on the field by the football team these past years, have made it very difficult to maintain and attract new advertisers. The Rams performance has in effect affected our performance.
So, we close this chapter with the local professional football team and open new opportunities to work with the other professional and college St. Louis sports franchises continuing the heritage that they have in the in St. Louis market.
This change in programming creates a great opportunity for us. We can now continue to focus exclusively on delivering the best on-air and online radio products to our clients. I am proud that our exceptional products will continue to attract desirable listeners and generate a listening audience of more than 1,100,000+ people each and every week in St Louis.
As we close our relationship with the Rams, please join me in wishing the St Louis Rams franchise good luck for a successful future.
Dennis W. Lamme
President & Market Manager
Clear Channel Radio - St. Louis
NFL St. Louis Rams Radio Network
1001 Highlands Plaza Drive West S.100
St. Louis, MO 63110
Monday 12-22-08: Gannett vs. the Unions ...
Word is that the AFTRA negotiations at KSDK, which have been going off and on all Summer and Fall, are still not going well. The word "negotiation" implies that there is give and take, but in reality there is only take from the Gannett side of the table. (Take it or leave it.)
The latest news is that Gannett wants to make most of their reporters into MMJ's. Excluding weather folks and anchors, all reporters would be trained in the art of shooting and editing and would be assigned day of stories on their own. They wouldn't be exclusive MMJ's and could be assigned a photographer to work with, however it appears that KSDK wants the option to use their resources however they want whenever they want.
One of the sticking points is those reporters who don't want to become an MMJ would get some kind of severance package or buyout of their contract. The timing issues and amount are the problem.
Currently under the old AFTRA contract they are only allowing four MMJ's to be assigned. Under the IBEW contract there are six allowed with a 50/50 split between IBEW and AFTRA. (The current IBEW contract expires Nov. 2009).
On a related issue, the KSDK directors contract is also up for renewal. So far, only a pay freeze has been proposed.
Friday 12-19-08: Have the KTRS investors ...
... been forced to make up a $2million shortfall at the locally-owned AM station?
Are management types there being forced to take 15% or greater paycuts?
Is the Terrible Dorsey Trio in place at the station likely to be forced to move on to another business venture after the New Year?
Friday 12-19-08: Secret Squirrel snags this one ...
...and it ain't complimentary:
A bad omen for the apologists who still maintain that Local TV LLC (Bobby Lawrence & other idiots) know what they're doing.
Ex-KTVI News Director Brad Remington suddenly resigned as N.D. of the Local TV LLC duopoly in Denver to take a job with the Belo station in Phoenix. Word from Denver is that the brass there asked Remington to stay, but that he declined because of uncertainty as to whether Local TV LLC can even remain a viable company.
This is a shocker because Remington had lobbied long and hard for the Denver job, told people in StL when he left that he intended to "end his career in Denver" (where his children and grandson are), and built a new house there. Writing on the wall, indeed.
Friday 12-19-08: Kevin Robinson's the new Arch PD ...
Here's the official News Release.
Kevin has already had his hands in the STL market, while he was with CBS.
IMHO, Dave Dillon would have been a better choice.
God knows the market needs someone with new ideas and a fresh perspective. Dillon could have delivered that, Robinson just brings stale, previously-used, consultant-type thinking.
Another bad move by Bonneville and John Kijowski.
Of course, Robinson already lives here and Dillon would have to be moved.
That makes it all about the money and that's not always the smartest thing to do.
Friday 12-19-08: Speaking of Bonneville ...
We're just a couple weeks away from the ESPN/101 launch.
Not only is that a stupid name for a local sports-based FM, the biggest FM signal in the market, a station that has a pack of mostly-part-timers and a few full-timers (most of whom have nibbled at the sports teat over the years) but no keynote personalities signed.
I've been saying it all along: if Bonneville doesn't launch this sports thing with shock, awe and a big local presence, they're doomed.
John Kijowski, what the hell are you thinking?
Friday 12-19-08: Who knew the NYT owned a big piece of the hated Red Sox ...
Read it all here.
New York Times Co could raise at least $200 million if it sold its 17-percent stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team to raise cash to counter the advertising decline that is gouging U.S. newspaper publishers, analysts and sports bankers said.
The Red Sox stake is as noncore an asset as you can get for the Times and would still be attractive to many buyers despite the recession, given the team's success and popularity, according to the analysts and bankers.
Wednesday 12-17-08: KTRS changes ...
Wednesday 12-17-08: I'm often accused of hating print ...
...almost always by folks who confuse my reporting of the demise of print media with the facts. I grew up the son of a printer, a man who was probably one of the most significant typographic designers of the 20th Century.
My older brother taught me to read by the time I was four and, a few years later, I had a composing a stick in my hand and was setting type...
...from a California Job Typecase:
There is a magnificent original graphic display of this syle of typecase, created by Frederic W. Goudy, that hangs above Mrs. A's desk in our home office.
Goudy is the designer of the font that bears his name (and many others) and who was our Father's mentor; the graphic was matted and framed by John Anderson, our Father.
I grew up with the greatest typographers and designers in US publishing history hanging around his shop, working for, learning from and honoring my Father.
None of you pinheads who learned typography from a computer need apply.
And that's why I know more about print than you. And I still smell ink.
Wednesday 12-17-08: After a weird week ... of my first serious cold in three years and after considerable recuperative sleep and regular doses of Coricidin HBP I'm almost back in the saddle.
And then the ice hit, although, mercifully, lighter than threatened.
All my life I've had a terrible fear of walking on ice, and that's been exacerbated by the problems with my legs over the past few years.
My driveway and sidewalk and front and back lawns are skating rinks; even Tasha has difficulty getting around to take care of her doggie biz.
The Official STLMedia Limo is firmly encased in a block of ice that I can't get to to clean off, and so I'm...
HOUSEBOUND! Haven't been out of the joint in four days. I work for myself, out of my home, and can take days off here and there as necessary.
Mrs. A has bravely gone off to work and to the market as she returns home each day, with my worries directly behind her on the road.
The good news is that Son Jason will be here later today to lend a hand in getting me an early release.
Until the next wave of ice hits. This Global Warming crap is getting old.
By the way, anybody else use cheap cat litter to provide traction and melt-help on ice?
Wednesday 12-17-08: Imagine: STL without a newspaper ...
It could happen. Financial grief at Lee makes it so.
Lee Enterprises Inc., the parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said Monday that its independent auditor would probably raise concern about the future of the company when Lee files its annual report by year's end.
KPMG has told the Davenport, Iowa-based publisher that it will file a "going concern" statement unless Lee can refinance $306 million in debt by the end of December. Typically, auditors issue such a statement as a warning that a company may fail.
Lee Enterprises Inc., parent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said Monday that its independent accounting firm might raise a "concern" in the company's annual report about the publisher’s ability to continue.
Such a modification of the report would, unless waived by the lenders, cause a default under Lee's bank credit agreement.
More on print problems from The New Yorker:
When the Tribune Company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy, last Monday, Sam Zell, the man who bought the company a year ago, for $8.2 billion, said that its problems were the result of a “perfect storm.” You take readers and advertisers who were already migrating away from print, and add a steep recession, and you’ve got serious trouble.
What Zell failed to mention was that his acquisition of the company had buried it beneath such a heavy pile of debt that any storm at all would likely have sunk it. But although Zell was making excuses for his own mismanagement, the perfect storm is real enough, and it is threatening to destroy newspapers as we know them.
Thanks to Frank Absher for the lead.
Monday 12-15-08: AudioTechnica mic and setup for $450 ... cash only and I deliver locally. Only sold together: Rolls MicPowerII pre-amp, AudioTechnica at4033a mic, mic floor stand, mic suspension, mic pop filter, cables.
Monday 12-15-08: 300 disc Sony CD jukebox for $150 ... cash only and I deliver locally. Used once.
Monday 12-15-08: Merry Christmas from STLMedia ...
Monday 12-15-08: This story hit late last week ... but with the recent appointment of a new GM at the STL NPR affiliate KWMU, it makes sense to run it now.
So how much do those public radio blokes make, anyway?
As NPR announces layoffs and program cancellations to fix a $23 million budget hole (see here and here), it might be useful to consult the network's tax filings to see what the highest paid employees are/were making.
For the year ending September 30, 2007, then-president of NPR Kevin Klose made $465,994 from the network and $151,375 from the NPR foundation for a total of $617,369.
Kenneth Stern, who served as CEO before leaving abruptly in March of this year, made $427,057.
The 2007 return showed 15 people at NPR with the title of vice president or senior vice president. Most made between about $190,000 and $260,000. A page on NPR's Web site shows 14 current vice presidents.
NPR reported its five highest paid employees were:
1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139
2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, $350,288
3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160
4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242
5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.
Remember that the great bulk of funding for NPR programming comes from listener donations, with a small percentage from the government.
Weekend 12-13/14-08: When I say, "Tasha, go to your room" ...
This is where GirlDog heads. It's her safe place. I've seen her, though, figuring out how to work the latches...pup's pretty smart and a great fourth hand at Bridge.
Weekend 12-13/14-08: Just hours away from the predicted ice storm ... TV stations seem to be somewhat restrained in their forecasts, and the NWS says the bulk of the bad stuff will occur along and South of the I-44/I-55 STL/Southern Illinois line.
But there's definitely an ugly few days in our immediate future.
Post your observations here as to how broadcast and online media handles this first major blast of Winter.
And good luck with that whole electrical power thing; Mrs. A will go to spend time with the kids if we lose power.
Tasha and I will remain here to tough it out and stand neighborhood guard duty.
Weekend 12-13/14-08: New Arch PD ... to be named this coming week.
Weekend 12-13/14-08: DC is the largest market so far ...
...to go to "one-man bands," the dreaded producer/videographer/reporter combo that's so reminiscent of Max Headroom.
The change will blur the distinctions between the station's reporters and its camera and production people. Reporters will soon be shooting and editing their own stories, and camera people will be doing the work of reporters, occasionally appearing on the air or on in video clips on Channel 9's Web site.
WUSA is owned by Gannett.
I, for one, welcome our new Multitask-capable Overlords. I can't wait until they learn the limitations of shooting in available light.
Weekend 12-13/14-08: Secret Squirrel has the alleged inside at KTVI2/KPLR/11 ...
The leadership meltdown at Fox 2/KPLR is finally infecting staff morale. Neither the General Manager nor News Director is communicating with any staff about what's happening with the move/merge/consolidation. Engineers, IT-types, and technical experts all agree (privately) that the move is being rushed by Local TV LLC, and will be an expensive disaster.
Meanwhile, budget, sales, and other "back office" departments are in shock at the amateurish incompetence of Local TV LLC management.
What's all this mean? Several scenarios could each happen. Or they could all happen.
1. The move to de-designed KPLR studios on Page Ave. isn't nearly completed by mid-Feb. target date;
2. Move is completed, but systems ranging from microwave to computer fiber don't work correctly, if at all;
3. More layoffs coming, this time among on-air staff, as Local TV LLC blames poor ad revenue, economy;
4. Things get very very interesting when Local TV LLC can't float enough cash bi-weekly to make payroll. Sources clazim both AFTRA and IBEW have a simple response--if paychecks don;t come, all work stops immediately.
Friday 12-12-08: Upon contracts ...
JDC writes about a group that appreciates talent:
I know that not all small operators are good operators so let's get that out of the way. But many are. And they are lost in the awful headlines created by today's big group radio mismanagement.
In Phoenix there is a station that actually does well -- how's number one 18-34 sound -- with a sub-par tower location and it competes with all the usual suspects like CBS and Clear Channel.
It's Power 98.3 (KKFR) owned by Riviera Broadcast Group. Tim Pohlman (ex-CBS/LA Market Manager) and Chris Maguire are the partners with an outside equity group that had the good judgment to fund these guys. The very able Bruce St. James is the PD. The group also owns KEDJ (The Edge) in Phoenix and two stations in Las Vegas (KOAS and KVGS).
Friday 12-12-08: Howard Stern giving it up?
According to Tom Taylor, it might be so.
Stern doesn't need the money, the aggravation or the early wakeup. Does anybody really care about him anymore?
Taylor writes: Stern is the franchise for Sirius XM – can they afford to let him retire? This kind of talk typically comes up for Howard in December, as he’s ready to take his traditional long holiday – with Sirius XM poised to plug in “The History of Howard Stern” starting December 22.
I vaguely remember Stern on the air here, don't even remember the calls. I've never been a fan and predicted his demise when his buddy Karmazin took him to the ill-fated Sirius.
SatRad subscribers never bought into his juvenile act at anywhere near the numbers predicted. Howard's rich as God but his show is over.
Nobody cares about stripper poles on the radio when you can watch the girls work on YouTube.
Wednesday 12-10-08: OldDogs simply cost too damned much ...
Thanks to Stel Pontikes for sending along this story from the NYT (and how ironic is it coming from that source?).
It's the nature of things that the herd elders (and this includes male and females) have to move aside to make room for the yearlings.
We've seen it happen over and over in STL TV: anchors and reporters with years of experience dismissed in favor of a young'un who'll work for much, much less.
Hey, good for them young'uns, and good on 'em. Once I was one of 'em. And once upon a time, I got bumped out because of my age (in my 40's).
But what happens to the young'uns who, after three or four or five years, expect to make what their predecessors did?
Yup. They get canned in favor of a crew that'll work for less.
Eventually we'll have a boatload of shaved-head, tatttoed and pierced TV anchors, none of whom will be able to do more than barely read a prompter-full of what some others of the same semi-literate ilk wrote.
Yup, we're old. Mrs. A and I are just 60 (isn't that the new 45?).
She still watches local TV news for the weather; I get mine online and it's almost always more accurate. It won't be long until TV news is a goner, HD or not.
Lose Mrs. A and you're done. It's getting close.
Wednesday 12-10-08: It's A Wonderful Life ...
Broadcast originally in 1949, here's the :30 radio version on NBC's Screen Director's Playhouse. Stars Jimmy Stewart and (apparently) Elmer Fudd. Thanks to Tom O'Keefe for the audio file. Streams from here.
Wednesday 12-10-08: Bad news for Kevin Matthews ...
Kevin, who starred in mornings on KWK here in '86 and '87, has let it be known that he's been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Tough break for an incredibly talented guy who intends to stay very much in the game, regardless.
Wednesday 12-10-08: So whaddya do ...
...when your employer tosses you out on your ear in a bad business economy?
You do what I did, years ago: you go to work for yourself.
That's exactly what Derek Bolden has done...
He writes: I am one of those folks that was axed in the Tribune/Local TV cluster.
I am trying like heck to transition to a new field by going into web development. I am writing you to ask if you can add my website as a link on StlMedia.net to help with it's exposure.
The website is
SceneStL.com, it's a social network like Myspace or Facebook but with a local focus (and much smaller membership).
Thanks for your
Done, Derek. Good luck!
Forced out and looking for a little ink for your next project? Let me know and we'll spotlight you here.
Wednesday 12-10-08: Print media staggering, on the ropes ...
...and the towel is raised, ready to be thrown into the ring.
McClatchy is selling the Miami Herald, the Rocky Mountain News is up for sale and nobody is bidding, Zell has placed the Tribune Companies into Chapter 11, the New York Times is trying to borrow against the 52% it still owns of its own building to make payroll and buy newsprint through the end of the year and Lee is overall now worth only a fraction of what the company paid for just the STL-PD a few years ago.
I might remind you that these are the people who have designated themselves as the standard-bearers for smart in America for many, many years.
Closed circuit to J-school grads: how's that whole agenda thing working out for ya?
I hate seeing anyone on the beach, but when the list is primarily smug, overly-educated, self-righteous types who have no idea how the rest of us live and think, well, it's tough to feel too sorry. It's not like they couldn't have seen this coming.
Wednesday 12-10-08: KWMU replaced ousted GM Patty Wente on Monday ...
...with Tim Eby, GM of WOSU at Ohio State in Columbus. He'll start January 20th and will be instrumental in creating KWMU's new $12million facility at 3651 Olive St. on land donated by Grand Center Inc.
The 27,000-square-foot building also will house academic programs and offices and establishes UMSL's presence in the arts area.
For no apparent reason, KWMU's selection committee passed over Dave Ervin, who has years of STL Radio experience, including KMOX, extensive local ties and a knowledge of the market that can't be imbued instantly into the skull of an outsider.
I believe that KWMU and UMSL will come to regret that. They should at least bring Ervin into the mix as a consultant to Eby.
Wednesday 12-10-08: NHL Blues bump Christmas on KMOX ...
Jerry Bielicke sent along undisputable photographic evidence.
Tuesday 12-09-08: Sorry for the absence here ... but whatever it is that hits me every couple, three years, started up Version 2008 last Thursday night, did its requisite butt-kicking, and started to recede this afternoon. Updates here, client updates and a few recorded tracks are the order of the evening; looks like a long one.
Weekend 12-06/7-08: STLMedia's youngest OldDog, Matt Gordon ...
... writes: I'm involved in a live radio play version of "It's a Wonderful Life." A small theater group is putting it on as a benefit for the local food pantry. I'm playing the main announcer for the "broadcast" and play a part or two in the play as well. Performances are the 11th and 12th at 7 PM and a Saturday matinee at 2:30 on the 13th at St. George's Episcopal Church, 105 East D Street, Belleville IL.
Good cause and a good way to spend a few hours on a holiday weekend.
Weekend 12-06/7-08: KTVI 5915 Berthold reunion ... Before the move out west, KTVI FOX 2 is considering a 'reunion' of people who used to work at 5915 Berthold. No date has been set, but Jane Beckman is gathering a list of those interested. Please call her at 314-644-7428 or email at email@example.com.
Friday 12-05-08: Merry Christmas from STLMedia ...
Friday 12-05-08: Secret Squirrel was cruising around WestPort ... and heard this:
Tim Dorsey working without contract as of January 1.
Does a contract matter for Tiny Tim, the Teflon Him? I always thought he had photos of his investors in compromising situations...
Friday 12-05-08: Back around 1997 ... Clear Channel began incorporating the Prophet VT system into its radio stations, allowing air talent in distant markets to do local shows remotely, via high-speed computer connections. It was cheaper to do multiple music radio shows this way than to make entire program segments available by satellite.
Successful AT's could spend a few hours each day reading local newspapers and recording voice tracks into a computer work station. The few grand they received for their work eliminated the need for local AT's, and substantially reduced the cost of CC's operation.
Now, Radio-Info's Tom Taylor is intimating that come 2009, CC intends to define each of their stations into one of 15 or so formats and provide programming to them from a central source.
The CHR you hear in STL will be the same CHR you hear in every other CC market, AT's included. Same for Country, Urban, AC, Oldies, HipHop, Talk, SmoothJazz and all the rest.
Too bad if you don't like Ryan Seacrest. Too bad if you like local talent.
Friday 12-05-08: I guess this week ... I pulled maybe 450 pounds of catalogs and ad fliers out of the streetside mailbox.
I flipped thru a lot of them prior to placing them carefully and lovingly in the circular file.
Oddly, there was not a single mention of HD Radios in any of the retail or electronic big box store mailings, at least none that I noticed.
So...is it over?
Is it time for you to forget this misguided and very expensive venture and return your attention to the real business of saving radio from the future?
Friday 12-05-08: KTRS PD update ...
Word is that Todd Manley, who's going back to Chicago, will not be replaced at The Big 550. Instead, his duties, at least the clerical ones, will be farmed out to other staffers, who will take them on as additional responsibilities.
One important duty, however, has apparently not been reassigned: the coaching and critique of air talent.
With the exception of Frank O. Pinion, whose contract specifies absolute personal control of his own show, there's a whole boat load of talk types who will now be without any guidance. Presumably none of them will go rogue, but bad habits are easy to acquire.
Who will be available to work them out? Is there anyone left at the station who has the skill, experience and gravitas with the staff to keep up forward motion and provide direction?
Thursday 12-04-08: Swimming in money, I am ... from loot pouring in here from overseas sources, mostly Nigeria, I'm really rich and you're not. Wait...let me check the accounts....uh-oh.
Anyway, here's your chance to get wealthy:
Dear Email Owner,
We are happy to announce to you that your email address has won you the sum of £590,983.00 GBP (Five Hundred and Ninety Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty Three Great British Pounds) in the recent online draw of the UK National Lottery. To file for your claims, please contact:
Mr. Williams Hughes
You are to provide him with the following information: Full Name, Contact Address, Country of residence, Age, Sex, Tel, Occupation.
Congratulations from all members and staff of this program.
Mr. EDUARDO ADOLFO ZUNIGA
Online coordinator of UK National Lottery.
For confirmation call:
+448706261861, follow the instruction.
Your pin number is : 3406
Or forget about it.
Thursday 12-04-08: Sixteen years ago this week ... I was driving my brother-in-law's car back and forth from Alexandria to Richmond VA's Chippenham Hospital, where I met my first grandchild, Laene, just a day after she was born.
I remember walking into the hospital room and seeing this fat, grey-haired woman tending to her, realizing that it was my ex-wife and glorying in the fact that I was divorced from her and remarried to a serious fox!
Mrs. A (the foxy final one) and I oohed and ahhed appropriately. Mrs. A (the fat first one) grumped and since then we've only seen Jennie and Laene occasionally.
Not that we love them any less, of course, just that they live a thousand miles away.
We've visited there and they've visited here, but not often.
But Jen told us that Laene wanted a Sweet Sixteen party like she'd seen on MTV.
Daughter Jennifer is so like me: she went to a variety store and bought the cheapest tiara and wand she could find and gave them to Laene, telling her that that was as close to a Princess as she'd ever get to be.
Laene doesn't know it yet, but Laene'll be a better person for not being a Princess.
But I'm sure Laene thinks I'm a schmuck for not funding her Sweet Sixteen trip, for her and her friends, on a G5 to a Carribean resort.
Maybe she'll come around to reality later.
Can you spell d-i-s-i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e?
Wednesday 12-03-08: In loving memory of Liza ... the Black Lab mix who went to her rest today after seven wonderful years with her humans, Tom and Barb Calhoun.
Liza's shown above with her late buddy Fergie, with whom she shared ownership of the Calhouns.
Tom has lovingly chronicled their lives together at his blog.
Wednesday 12-03-08: Todd Manley steps away from KTRS ...
The reasons I've heard have all been personal; suffice to say that Todd has a lot going on in his life right now.
Manley joined KTRS from WGN/Chicago on 14 January 2008.
Wednesday 12-03-08: George Noory set for STL award ...
Noory, the host of Coast-To-Coast AM, will be given a proclamation by the City Friday morning at 10AM in the City Hall Aldermanic Chambers.
George's rise to become the "Syndicated Superman" began while he was at KTRS and started substitute hosting for Art Bell. Since then, George has grown the show's audience, written best-selling books and produced and hosted television shows on the paranormal.
Wednesday 12-03-08: KFNS resets the game roster ...
From Dan Caesar:
KFNS has fired sports-talk show hosts Brian McKenna and Kyle Elfrink and plans to retool its lineup soon.
Howard Balzer is filling in temporarily for McKenna in morning drive and Jay Randolph Jr. is taking Elfrink’s afternoon slot on an interim basis.
Wednesday 12-03-08: Maybe there's a lesson here for radio ...
From The LA Times:
Showtime seemed destined to stay hidden in the shadow of HBO, which has long dominated the pay-TV landscape.
But a slate of programming that plays on aberrant social behavior is helping the cable channel stand out from the crowd: A widow in "Weeds" becomes a pot dealer to maintain her upscale lifestyle, a serial killer in "Dexter" is a police blood-splatter expert, a novelist in "Californication" is a cynical womanizer, and Henry VIII in "The Tudors" is a lust-driven young king with marital problems.
The pathology programming, introduced by entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt, has led Showtime to add 1.1 million subscribers this year, an increase of 7% over 2007, for a total of 16.5 million homes. It marks the fifth consecutive year of growth in an industry struggling to keep subscribers.
Tuesday 12-02-08: Play the spot again and die ...
Ad Nauseam: Repetition of TV Spots Risks Driving Consumers Away
Read it all in AdAge: Think how many times in the past few weeks you've been subjected to Christie Brinkley in a scene from "National Lampoon's Vacation," speaking in dubbed lines about DirecTV; or seen Sprint CEO Dan Hesse sitting in a diner talking about his company; or heard a reworked version of The Fixx's 1983 hit "Saved by Zero" used to alert you to Toyota's no-interest payment options.
Tuesday 12-02-08: A-B buyout fallout ... Bud Sports is apparently a thing of the past.
Here's the memo:
Dear Blues Radio Network Affiliates:
As you may be aware, AB is no longer going to be in the production business.
Therefore, we will be terminating our Blues Radio Network contracts on 12/13/08.
You will be receiving an official agreement termination letter on a separate e-mail with a contact person at the Blues also.
It has truly been a pleasure to work with everyone of you on the Blues Radio Network.
I have made many friends and will cherish all our relationships.
Thanks for being great affiliates and great communicators for the Blues Radio Network.
My best regards, Anne
Bud Productions & Sports Marketing
From a client:
I work at one of the 13 stations on the Blues Radio Network. Received an email today from Anne Carroll of Bud Sports. Bud Sports is being dissolved effective December 13. Guess that means no more Blues Radio Network and have heard nothing about the Cardinals Radio Network. Looks like another cut because of the In-Bev buyout of AB. The first of what will be many. We've been told that we could go for weeks without any Blues games. It will cost us money because of this move to dissolve Bud Sports. Anne Carroll is also out.
Monday 12-01-08: Bill Drake died over the weekend ... and, unless you're a serious student of radio or you're over 40, you probably have no idea why so many of us OldDogs are thunderstruck at the news.
Drake had been in failing health for a while and, as was his custom, kept those cards close to his vest, as he did most aspects of his legendary life and career.
He died from lung cancer at 71.
I never had the opportunity to work directly with him, but I worked with a lot of guys who did and so much of my work was at least indirectly influenced by what he brought to the radio table in the 1960's and '70's.
There's not much I can add to the incredible fountain of memories and tribute that has erupted in the past couple days; here are some links so that you can sense the impact that Bill Drake made on so many of us and the incredible contributions he made to the business we once loved.
Boss Radio Forever
Bill's first wife remembers
Mercury News obit
Drake's last project
Drake station airchecks
And, finally, from KZQZ's FoxMan:
Mike: Having programmed for Drake/Chenault (the 70's) in San Francisco and Fresno, about 6 months ago I contacted Bill via email. We hadn't talked in years but he so graciously responded with kind words and was very excited about the new "Top40 Timeclock" format he was working on.
He obviously saved my email address with his other countless contacts because I received two emails this
past Sunday night from his lady friend Carole. Here's the first one at 10:20pm:
I just wanted to say Thank You, once again, for your kind words and all your Emails in rememberance of Bill. I am also forwarding them to his daughter Kristie, so that she has a wonderful tribute book of how loved her father was. I've talked to some of you and there are those of you who won't be able to attend, but we are planning to have a Memorial for Bill on Wednesday, December 3rd, 3pm at: THE LITTLE BROWN CHURCH4418 COLDWATER CANYON BLVD.STUDIO CITY, CALIFORNIA
Now here's the second one received at 10:40pm:
Well, you won't believe this, but the last Email I was composing about Bill's Memorial was Sent Without my hitting the Send button. I think Bill thought I had said enough and it was time to stop. I believe it was his way of "Editing"! Hope to see you all there. Thanks so much.
Weekend 11-29/30-08: November TV sweeps ...
It's a PDF.
Weekend 11-29/30-08: Snow, Saturday night ...
Weekend 11-29/30-08: The pup studies it all ...
Friday 11-28-08: Seems like a thousand years ago ... when I was PD and morning guy at WRNL/Richmond and we were turned on to a local standup comic/impressionist named Garet Chester.
We hired him "out of the box" to join me on the morning show and the results were nothing short of phenomenal.
His tryout on the station, the premise of which I threw at him just minutes before we went on the air together for the first time, was this: "Jack Nicholson and Herve Villachaize are traveling the country in an RV and are appearing together here, this morning."
Ridiculous? Of course. But he pulled this silly hoax off amazingly.
Gary eventually left for another Richmond station and I left for STL; since then, Chester's appeared in many cinematic and made-for-TV movies and theatrical presentations, voiced thousands of commercials, immersed himself in missionary work for a while and, a few years ago, added real estate sales to his resumé.
As for me, I did some radio shows and now I've got this silly little website...
Now Garet Chester's making his dead-on voice impressions available online.
When you order yours, say hi for me.
Thursday 11-27-08: And the tractor played on ...
Wednesday 11-26-08: Got a lot to do over the next few days ...
...and I'll try to keep up here as I can, best I can. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Reverend Mike is cookin', even just for three!
See ya at the Beatles show Friday at The Playhouse at Westport Plaza and the Machinist's Hall Gun Show Saturday!
I think I may sleep in on Sunday...
Wednesday 11-26-08: AP & Newspaper Guild die slowly but steadily ...
The AP is cutting 10% of its workforce as Tribune Company drops their membership and Scripps and other chains consider that same move; other regional newspapers are creating their own news-sharing services, minus AP product.
Newspaper Guild membership rolls have shrunk by about 2000 members and $200k in dues, according to President Bernie Lunzer, who said, "Right now, the biggest thing you're fighting is the overall sense of impending doom."
Wednesday 11-26-08: Over the past weekend, Cumulus' Lew Dickey ...
...said some pretty unsettling things about the future of the radio biz:
Lew Dickey Jr., CEO of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Inc., said sputtering advertising plus the upheaval in the stock market will cause a major shakeup in the landscape of broadcast radio over the next several years.
“I think there’s going to be a pretty big shakeout and I think that half the companies in business today will be gone within 36 months,” Dickey said.
Cumulus is the nation’s second-largest broadcaster with 344 stations owned and operated.
FYI, stock in Cumulus Media (Nasdaq: CMLS) broke a buck Nov. 11 and rested at 54 cents a share Nov. 18. Its 52-week high had been $9.42.
Wednesday 11-26-08: The PR just keeps on comin' ...
...and all I'm hearing about SportsTalk 101.1 is all style and no substance. News about anchors, co-anchors, reporters, hosts and producers, but no big guns.
Not one artillery piece in the armory.
There's gotta be a headliner out there, somewhere, a franchise player on which the station can hang its helmet.
Have I missed something?
Or has Mr. Kijowski?
Five weeks and change to launch, and so far there ain't enough nuts in the pantry to keep the squirrels happy past Valentines' Day.
SportsTalk 101.1 has to hit the ground 01/01/09 with shock and awe or Bonneville's chin hits the pavement and renders useless the best FM signal hereabouts.
I sure hope they've got some cool news coming.
Tuesday 11-25-08: Tom Taylor says bad times are ahead at CC ...
...and I've been chewing this over since it landed in my emailbox.
Here's edited commentary from his last couple newsletters:
Some folks suspect there will be major layoffs in late December. Some say January, with the budgeting being done now. Some say it's a question of winnowing out the bottom performers in the sales department and going lean and mean.
Some say it's a question of San Antonio settling on 15 key formats that it will do nationally, and that there will be little if any role for local PDs except in the biggest markets.
The problem is, new owners Bain Capital/Thomas H Lee Partners have to make the payments on the over $10 billion in debt they took out to do this deal (and to pay out the Mays family, which is still managing the company). I hope the rumors are wrong, all of them. This is one elephant nobody wants to experience, up close.
I want to emphasize that I’m hearing dribs and drabs of what sounds like a dramatic plan to cut costs, and fairly soon. Obviously San Antonio would rather that I not be writing about this (it’s speculation), though they haven’t picked up the phone to chat.
I do continue to hear about potential cuts in sales and the back office – that “centralization” thing again. And I do hear that perhaps the “15 programming options” might have to do with morning shows available on a regional basis.
The company and their financiers are so upside down in their debt structure that it's impossible to believe that they won't do something this draconian. It wasn't too much of a stretch top see something like this coming; how long before they reach out for a bailout?
Tuesday 11-25-08: SAG might go on strike ...
I have absolutely no sympathy for a "union," the top hundred or so earners of which make untold millions. I do, though have a great deal of sympathy for the thousands of other SAG members who scrape by day-by-day in service gigs scheduled around their never-ending auditions, tryouts and interviews.
The Screen Actors Guild is close to a strike authorization vote--but that doesn't necessarily mean a strike. The slow-moving, now five-month-long deadlock over a new TV and theatrical contract seems to be moving toward a strike.
No date has been set, and even SAG President Alan Rosenberg has said that a strike-authorization vote does not necessarily mean the union will immediately go on strike. SAG requires 75% of its voting members to approve the measure in order to go forward.
Tuesday 11-25-08: I believe that I mentioned this was coming about a week ago ...
Lawmakers ask state development agency to help newspapers
Seven legislators from the area served by The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain today wrote to the state Department of Economic and Community Development to ask for its help in preventing the closure of the newspapers.
More here, here and here.
Weekend 11-21/22-08: Do I still support the Fairness Doctrine?
Why? Because the Congress is so determined to get it back into place that they'll simply get Obama to repeal the
Executive FCC Order that took it out.
The original version of the FD would need substantial rewriting to make it an Unfairness Doctrine, and that would take some time; restoring the original, which was actually a 50-50 deal, could happen overnight. And that's not a bad thing.
Huh? Well, it would mean that all commentary, from the right- or left-side, would have to be balanced. All programming would have to have equal time from the "other side" aired for balance. Lefty talk radio, as little as there is of it, would have to have, by law, as much righty talk, and righty talkers the obverse.
How is this good? Look at the ratings and the revenue. Lefty talk gets mediocre ratings anywhere it's presented, the revenue overall is in the dumper, and most shows are offered for outright sale. Righty talk gets significant ratings and great revenue, locally, regionally and nationally and most programs are offered for free, for barter.
What radio station pays for syndicated programming, with the exception of the biggest hit, Limbaugh, who offers local avails saleable at big money?
Who would complain? How about the NAB and all of the group owners, who have a ton of lobbyists at their command and control? Their stock may be under a buck, but I guarantee that the combined press of thousands of radio stations on their congressional puppets will prevent the FD from being resurrected in any shape or form.
Even by Executive Order.
They would complain, and rightly so, that a new FD would destroy the radio industry (as if they haven't done enough to do that themselves).
And the Supreme Court, in the shape that it will be for the next few years, would just toss it out.
Next project: personal weapon confiscation. Good luck with that!
Weekend 11-21/22-08: Sorry for the language, but this blows: There aren't many product logos in American ad culture more recognizable and treasured than the AB Eagle, the Budweiser bowtie or the Busch and Michelob logos.
I know, life and business goes on. But to futz with the visual representation of one of the strongest brands in the world is just plain stupidity.
Weekend 11-21/22-08: Kramer gets a gig ...
From AllAccess: After a "brief" two-year hiatus, KEITH KRAMER, formerly of KRAMER & TWITCH is bringing the KRAMER show to MID-WEST FAMILY News/Talk WMAY-A/SPRINGFIELD, IL from noon-3p. KRAMER, whose on-air journey includes stops at stations in TAMPA, DALLAS, SAN FRANCISCO, DETROIT, ORLANDO and LITTLE ROCK, most recently was at Talk KTRS-A/ST. LOUIS. Check out his site at GodOfRadio.com.
Kramer was the last of the Al Brady Law staff to be let go; had he been given consistent talent management and critique, and accepted the guidance, he might still on the air at The Big 550. I wish him luck in his new venture.
As an old friend once wisely said to me, "In radio, we're all temps. They just don't tell us that going in."
And Tom Taylor is saying that Mid-West Family is deeply cutting staff in their home market, Madison WI. When I worked for these guys, they'd turn on a dime. A word to the wise, huh?
Weekend 11-21/22-08: Bonneville puts iChannel to rest ...
This was actually one of the best ideas that a commercial broadcaster has come up with; sadly, it's appearance corresponded with a general decline in broadcast revenue. The indy/unsigned music "station" was airing on the web and on HD channels here and in DC, Chicago, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.
I bet anything they had infinitely more web listeners than HD...and one thing that might have benefitted their effort would have been downloadable segments of their programming and a partnership with the artists they played to share revenue of sales.
Here's the official memo:
From: John Kijowski
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:50 AM
Cc: Joel Oxley
Subject: i Channel
I want you to hear if from me......Yesterday late afternoon I met with three of our colleagues and friends to give them very unfortunate news. Due to extreme economic conditions in our country our tolerance to manage risk is not as it once was.
Bonneville is a great company that is indeed debt free but we aren't in a position to continue projects that are not showing positive revenue growth. So for solely financial reasons i Channel will cease operation sometime before the end of this year.
I highly respect the great work, focus and creativity of Ken Williams, Kane and Phil. They built unique content and a fabulous global radio station. I applaud their efforts.
Ken, Kane and Phil and their on- air team will continue to operate i Channel until it goes away.
Thursday 11-20-08: You could be the new PD for Bonneville's 106.5 The Arch ...
Unless you're disabled. Or older and not physically capable. I know a lot of people who qualify in every regard for this position who would, in fact, be great additions to the Bonneville teams and smack-happy to get back to work in the business they know so well. But, according to Bonneville's own website, they're not eligible because they might not be physically qualified...
I think it's great that younger people are moving into important programming positions, God knows the industry needs talented new blood. But eliminating folks with physical issues from the cut is just plain wrong.
And it's probably illegal.
Yes, I know that job aps sent through an HR person are just EOE shams, and that the decisions are made elsewhere. But why should a company like Bonneville be so stupid as to restrict the position to able bodies when more professionally qualified, albeit older and less physically qualified, applicants are available?
Oh, wait: maybe the guys with experience actually expect a living wage...
Nonetheless, maybe a few of us "old cripdogs" oughta contact the ADA and see what's what, huh?
By the way, going back into day-to-day radio is not on my list of things to do...I'm speaking here for others of my generation who also have physical issues. But I can hump 500 rounds (15 or so pounds each) of UPS-delivered 9mm and .45 ammo from the front porch to the gun safe pretty easily, with just a little huffin' and puffin'. I've always been a good soldier.
UPDATE: I should mention that the rules posted above would keep Stephen Hawking from a management position with Bonneville.
Thursday 11-20-08: More news of The Legacy Media ...
Yellow Pages Directories Facing Extinction:
The yellow pages industry is in deep trouble, and growing online revenues may not be enough to save it, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Consumers are increasingly use sites like Google to find the information they need, and "now, the economic downturn is sending the already ailing business into a tailspin."
Indeed, with small online audiences and slowing growth, online revenues will not be enough to offset rapidly declining print sales for most yellow pages publishers. The Journal points out that too many directory services are vying for the same local business ad dollars.
Because of this, none of them has a comprehensive roster. Meanwhile, in the face of a weak economic outlook, small businesses are drastically cutting back on their ad spending.
According to Wachovia analyst John Janedis, yellow pages spending, both print and online, will fall 6.3% next year, more than double the expected rate of decline for broadcast television. Borrell Associates projects that in the next four years print ad spending will fall 39% for yellow pages publishers.
Faced with such prospects, the Journal says some of the biggest publishers, which have considerable debt, are slashing jobs, scrapping dividends and exiting unprofitable markets. Shares in R.H. Donnelly and Idearc, for example, have fallen 99% this year.
"Cerebral" NYT sports mag put to sleep:
The New York Times is halting publication of Play, its quarterly sports magazine, according to FishbowlNY.com, which first reported the news. Editor Mark Bryant said the decision to cancel the magazine was made only recently--in the last month--as a result of the sudden, steep decline in the general economic situation. Play was launched by the New York Times on February 5, 2006 to coincide with Super Bowl Sunday. In keeping with the New York Times' brand, the glossy sports mag was somewhat more cerebral than its consumer magazine competitors. For example, a recent article on the magazine's Web site covered the resurgence of Russia in international athletics, drawing parallels between the renewed U.S.-Russia tensions and a rivalry between the NHL and Russia's new CHL.
PCMag goes online only:
PC Magazine, which has documented the explosive growth of the personal computer since 1982, announced on Wednesday that it was dropping its print edition next year and going online only. PC Magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media, which recently exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy, said in a statement that the final edition of the iconic magazine would be the January 2009 issue.
Time Magazine trims 600:
TIME Inc. becomes not a publisher of magazines but of pink slips instead.
The magazine giant is expected to cut more than 250 from the payroll as part of an overall plan by Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore and Editor-in-Chief John Huey to slash 600 jobs from its overall work force of 10,200 employees worldwide.
One insider estimated that when the Day of the Ax is done, it promises to be among the bloodiest one-day periods in the company's history.
OTOH, bogus holograms save CNN:
This year, among the cable news networks, CNN won election night by a wide margin, pulling in an average of more than 12 million viewers during prime time; its Web site also saw a huge spike on election day, attracting some 30 million unique users. Among the broadcast networks, only ABC managed to beat CNN in prime time, from 8 to 11 p.m.—and if you expand the viewing horizon to 12:30 a.m., CNN topped them all.
Jonathan Klein, who spent much of his career working in broadcast TV news before joining CNN in 2004, said that cable news is playing a completely different game than the broadcast networks. “What they’re playing is golf,” said Mr. Klein. “That is, they’re trying to get there in as few strokes as possible. Spend as little as possible, but still look like you’re still covering the news.
“Here, the challenge is the opposite,” he added. “Show the audience that you are swarming over every story with as many resources as possible. Run up the score.”
With a financial crisis undermining the American economy, advertising in free fall and the election over, will CNN continue to try and run up the score at the same feverish pace? “We’re not going to trim our sails,” said Mr. Klein. “We’re going to be cautious just as everyone else in America is. But we intend to continue innovating. The best path through turbulent economic times is growth.”
Tuesday 11-18-08: Dang, this WWW thing is amazing ...
I did a search for something (I forget what) about military service and wound up with the email addy and service journal of one of my classmates at Signal School at Ft. Monmouth/NJ back in Spring '68.
And now we're in touch, after 40 years. Ain't that the damndest thing?
Tuesday 11-18-08: Talk radio PD betrays his agenda ...
This story, by Dan Shelley, hit the net late last week and has since been linked at about a gazillion websites, righty and lefty. I've had the URL sent to me by dozens of readers, many of whom added "See, what did I tell you?" comments.
The upshot, true or not, is that Conservative talk show hosts play on the fears and innate prejudices of their listeners to garner listeners. Read the piece, from Milwaukee Magazine, and make your own judgement.
What struck me, though, was the very first line:
I first got into journalism because I thought I could make a difference.
'Scuse me for bein' a non-JSchool dummie, but I always thought that a journalist's job was not to make a difference, but to report on the differences observed, so that we, as readers, could make up our own minds.
Armed then with the various chunks of info presented, maybe we could make a difference.
Like when we voted or took part in a bloody revolution or sumfin.
I'm glad that this Shelley guy had the gumption to show us his stuff and management style, but I don't think I'm too far off-base to suggest that he went into his business for all the wrong reasons.
I've never liked having my decisions made for me.
Monday 11-17-08: You can never get enough Blue Christmas ...
Former KTRS'er and KC radio legend George Woods has set up a channel on his RadioGeorge website that plays nothing but versions of the seasonal classic Blue Christmas. Radio George reports listeners in over 1,600 cities
in more than 60 different countries.
This, of course; begs two questions:
First, why aren't radio stations using their websites (and their highly-touted HD channels) for more projects like this?
Second, where are all the STL radio personality websites? They're significant only in their absence. I mean, it's not like it's an expensive thing to set up...or are they all too intoxicated with the Facebook and MySpace black holes?
Monday 11-17-08:Backstoppers benefit project ...
from Shari Eischen at A-B via Broadcast Center's Ralph Stanley:
My next door neighbor is a Fireman for Maplewood and used to work w/the young guy, Ryan
Hummert, who was shot during the standoff situation in Maplewood during the summer.
They are having a fund raiser in honor of Ryan this Saturday and Sunday at the Papa John´s
Restaurants in St. Louis, St. Charles and Metro East locations. If people mention that they
are supporters of the Ryan Hummert Memorial Foundation, then 20% of the bill is donated
to the foundation. Is there a way you can have your broadcasting buddies mention this event on the radio this
week? I´m sure the Maplewood Firefighters would appreciate it as well as the
If YOUR radio or TV station mentioned this, it would be a mitzvah.
Monday 11-17-08: Secret Squirrel sick call ...
Charles Jaco on injured reserve at Fox 2 following eye surgery to repair a torn retina (ouch!). Will be out several weeks. Elliott Davis to helm Jaco Report. No word on filling the hole in the 10pm news.
Monday 11-17-08: Sam Zell shows us how to rescue print media ...
Dumb down the stories, make the pictures bigger and the charts more colorful...and add burned out radio dude Lee Abrams as a consultant.
And, no, Abrams ain't workin' out:
So far, Abrams' ballyhooed efforts to rethink the American newspaper—employing more radical versions of the big headlines, small articles, and colorful charts rolled out at other newspapers over the last three decades—have had no impact on declining circulation.
And analysts are skeptical about whether Tribune's focus on redesigning print makes good business sense as advertising, the main income generator for newspapers, continues to soften. On Monday, the company reported a 19 percent drop in advertising revenues and a 2 percent drop in circulation revenues for the third quarter compared with last year.
Monday 11-17-08: Please, sir, may I have some more?
How long before the Legacy Media insists on their share of the financial free-for-all called The Bailout? Not long, I bet.
Newspapers and TV nets, broadcast and cable, and ailing broadcasters, including Sirius/XM (currently trading at about a quarter a share) will be standing in line, waiting with their duffel bags to be filled with cash dollars straight out of your pockets and mine.
It's not like we didn't try to save their sorry unthinking asses once already, with the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970.
Yes, that was the deal that gave the Globe-Democrat's owners (Newhouse Publishing) half of Pulitzer's profits, with none of the silly expenses like personnel and printing. And Pulitzer pumped cash year after year into that worthless enterprise until they got the idiots at Lee to buy them out for billions.
This article is only slightly tongue in cheek:
Should our proposals fail, we can still shake loose much low-hanging fruit. For starters, a special—and substantial—tax credit for daily newspapers, given our "educational" rebranding. Consumers' subscriptions will win tax-deductible status as well. I'm less certain than some of you that lifting laws preventing newspapers from owning radio or TV stations in the same market will fatten bottom lines. But here, too, a persuasion campaign can reap benefits.
Monday 11-17-08: So Mel Karmazin lays off a ton or two of employees at Sirius/XM...
... and then expects them to fall in line with their one-year non-compete agreement.
Who, exactly, is XM/Sirius' competition? Karmazin, according to Inside Radio's Tom Taylor, says it's all other forms of audio entertainment.
I guess this means that guys who worked for SatRad, making, say $150k, couldn't take a $15/hour gig at a CD duplicator. There's something wrong with this picture.
And, oh yeah, no holiday party at Sirius/XM this year. But if you work there you get the day after Christmas off.
Monday 11-17-08: Product integration a problem? Maybe not so much ...
The lingering impediment is that nobody knows precisely where the audience's "ick" factor kicks in, but most evidence suggests that they're pretty understanding. According to research from Knowledge Networks, a small percentage of viewers object to product integration, a few actually enjoy it, and the lion's share don't care. So while purists might wince, there's little reason to believe a few derisive postings on Jim Romenesko's media-news website will trigger a significant ratings backlash.
Weekend 11-15/16-08: KMOV sacks another veteran reporter ...
Secret Squirrel tells the story:
In its quest to become the worst station in local news, KMOV has not renewed the contract of (read fired) long-time reporter Mike O'Connell.
O'Connell has been with KMOV for 15 years and is easily one of the top two or three reporters in town.
His vast experience does not matter.
His numerous news contacts do not matter.
What matters to KMOV management is that he is old (over 30) and most importantly he makes a good salary.
KMOV's owners are doing anything to save a few bucks. Pay freezes, layoffs, double work loads for staffers and selling their credibility by getting rid of good journalists in favor of young, cheap cub reporters are all part of KMOV's plan for short-term financial success but long-term ruin.
This is already being discussed on the MB: Comment here.
Thursday 11-13-08: Jonnie King update ...
Jonnie had shoulder reconstruction surgery performed earlier this week, pinning and screwing the original pieces of his right shoulder back together and avoiding the use of metal parts, as he preferred.
Jonnie still faces months of physical therapy, between the shoulder surgery and his fractured jaw.
More info later.
He's been home recuperating since late Tuesday, and hasn't been able to key a word online since his accident.
But he'd love to hear from you.
Wednesday 11-12-08:Just noticed this ...
...in Randy Raley's blog From The Rearview Mirror: And that's how the fight got started...funny stuff.
Wednesday 11-12-08: How the decline of newspapers ...
...is killing TV news. From the New York Post:
But what we're not hearing from TV in reporting this story is that it's also an enormous television story. Without newspapers, from where will local TV newscasts procure the news they daily report?
Most local newscasts have for years taken much or most of their hard news from newspapers. The freshest genuine news that local TV newscasts now provide are weather forecasts, unless you count updates and previews of "American Idol," "Survivor" and "Dancing With The Stars."
Read it all.
Wednesday 11-12-08: Live Cable's Fleeting Profanities ...
... Do They Matter To Viewers Or Advertisers? From TVWatch:
A media critique by Wayne Friedman
Once again, don't be surprised if your favorite actor or TV newsperson on any cable network says some profanity. They can do it as often, as long as they like.
It happened yesterday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program when Joe Scarborough talked about the "steady nature" of Barack Obama, David Axelrod, and Robert Gibbs, and how new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will fit in.
Scarborough said: "These are good, decent, steady men that don't go around flipping people off or screaming 'fuck you' at the top of their lungs." Then, realizing what he'd said, he apologized. But he didn't really have to, not according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Scarborough apologized more for decorum -- for his viewers and, no doubt, for big national advertisers who run TV commercials. TV advertisers run ads mostly with the understanding that cable networks adhere to broadcast-TV-like standards.
Remember, there's plenty of foul language on Comedy Central's "South Park" -- and occasionally even on big network-like TV shows such as TNT's "Saving Grace."
Cable's scripted show are where viewers should expect, and accept, such language -- occasionally. But what if it was more of the rule for live cable TV, especially on cable news networks? Would viewers rebel? Would advertisers walk out?
The dirty little secret about cable networks is that they have always been network or broadcast network wannabes. But some critics think they need to be more unlike broadcast networks to distinguish themselves.
Extend this to others areas. What if Stuart Scott of ESPN was getting a tad funky with his highlight description of say, a Philadelphia 76er-New York Knick game? No big deal -- at least according to the FCC.
Under the FCC broadcast TV rules, Scarborough's flub could be considered "fleeting" -- which, according to one federal court, means no foul.
To be sure, using language to shock would yield viewer complaints and perhaps a dip in some advertiser revenues. But how about in the heat of an argument? Or, in any show in adult-time periods? How about when U.S. troops are under live fire in a live TV broadcast?
The question is, not just when foul language is appropriate, but when it is necessary.
Wednesday 11-12-08: Who better to run a non-profit than an NYT exec ...
...NPR chooses a New York Times online exec as its new President/CEO:
Read NPR's story
They took a little more than eight months to identify a successor to Ken Stern, and that’s less time than they expected – no doubt lots of people wanted the job, but it demands just the right person. That turns out to be Vivian Schiller, who’ll take the rest of the year to wind up her current job as Senior VP and General Manager of NYTimes.com. That’s just the kind of experience National Public Radio’s digital side wanted.
Tuesday 11-11-08: Just a reminder ...
(Mike's ribbons, representing awarded medals, from his Army service '68-'71) Today, the 11th day of the 11th month, is Veterans' Day, when we pause to remember and thank all those brave men and women who have served to make this the greatest nation on Earth, sometimes in the face of daunting odds and enemies, foreign and domestic.
Join me in hoping and praying that their work will never have been in vain.
Tuesday 11-11-08:Don't even have to leave my driveway...
I know this is incredibly lazy of me, but it works well and now I make it available to my "worldwide audience."
I've been cutting ad tracks on my under-$200 Zoom H2 digital recorder, editing and cleaning them up in Audacity and emailing them to clients.
I've actually been using the Town Car as my studio.
Why not? It's upholstered in leather and it's soundproof. You won't believe the quality I can deliver this way.
Want a new voice for your clients? Well, it turns out I have a little experience at reading commercial copy. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
And I could always use a new income stream...
You can have one free sample, and then you get to pay.
Contact me for info.
Monday 11-10-08: What Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads says...
How to Avoid “AdSpeak” in Your Ads:
1. Limit self-reference. Reduce the number of times you refer to your company or your product in your ads. (New York Times bestselling authors Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg offer a free, online analysis of ad copy at FutureNowInc.com. Their “We-We Calculator” scores ad copy instantly. Just copy and paste your ad into the text-block and the software does the rest.)
2. Don’t say it. Lead the customer to say it. Instead of saying, “We’re honest,” say something that only an honest person would say. Let the customer respond, “Wow. That’s honest.”
3. Admit the downside. It makes the upside easier to believe. Imagine the impact of a jeweler saying, “A diamond is just a symbol. The important thing is not to forget what it symbolizes.”
Monday 11-10-08: Here's a quickie from David Garland's show Rise To The Top ... See below for more show and website info.
Monday 11-10-08: No Wi-Fi for you, it makes you itch, or sneeze, or something ...
From The Register:
The city of Santa Fe is being taken to task over a plan to deploy a Wi-Fi network on the ground they're unfairly discriminating against people who are allergic to electromagnetic waves.
The complaint is spearheaded by Arthur Firstenberg, and the Cellular Phone Task Force*, as reported by KOB-TV, and is based on the premise that putting up Wi-Fi equipment unfairly discriminates in breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Firstenberg would like to see Wi-Fi banned - in all public buildings, at least.
In fact Firstenberg would like to see a lot more than that, as outlined in his article on the subject entitled Killing Fields. He'd like government funding to pay for more attorneys and cover the cost of buying land for EMF-free sanctuaries.
City Councillor Ron Trujillo reckons the areas under contention are already awash with Wi-Fi signals, so any claim that the city's deployment will alter things is spurious.
Monday 11-10-08: I take Crestor every day ...
It's been nothing less than magical in lowering my cholesterol and now I apparently have this added benefit:
AstraZeneca Plc's Crestor slashed the risk of heart attack, stroke and death by nearly half in people with normal or low cholesterol in a study, potentially opening a way to save the lives of thousands of seemingly healthy people.
After two heart attacks and cardiac bypass and femoral artery surgery in both legs, this is wonderful news.
I originally took Lipitor, but changed to Crestor some years ago. I intend to live to 100+, just to annoy my haters.
Monday 11-10-08: KLOU's celebrating their 20th anniversary and a format "adjustment" today...
... so I've moved this piece back up to the top.
On November 5 (or the 8th, depending on whose record you believe), 1988, Top 40 KHTR segued from Cheap Trick's version of "Don't Be Cruel" to the Elvis Presley version. The first picture below shows the original staff in 1988 (the late Ron Morgan, Joe Sonderman - still on the air and still writing STL histories, Kevin McCarthy - currently owns an audio and video production company and is doing a syndicated radio travel show, Paul Arca - still on the air and back in KLOU's PM drive, Mike McCann - who made it to WCBS-FM and who is probably the most knowledgeable oldies jock ever, and Scott Arkin - current whereabouts unknown). The second picture shows the original studios at One Memorial Drive (better quality photos added).
ADDITION: And as a bonus, here's streaming MP3 audio of the changeover, with a "very special message" from the late Bob Hyland.
Photos and audio courtesy Joe Sonderman.
UPDATE: Joe Crain adds this:
Mike... Good Lord! How the time flies by... had the audio continued on for the "opening moments" of KLOU, you would have heard me coming out of Danny and the Juniors into Johnny Rivers (IIRC).
Funny side note, the script Mr. Hyland read at the changeover was nearly identical to the script he read for the switch form KMOX-FM to KHTR seven years earlier! A couple of the KHTR folks were let go earlier in the day (AM Driver Chuck Buell; nightjock Tammi Rush) and Roger Brand was moved from AM show producer to producer duties down on the 3rd floor at the Mighty Mox---of course, Roger went on to higher heights of success as the heir apparent to Capt. Don Miller in the KMOX Jet Copter.
The weekend jocks, myself and Mike Jefferies, were retained and I stayed on-board until the Spring of 1989 when the opportunity to work full-time and Program took me to a CHR in Duluth, MN as the PD/PM Driver.
I attended the KLOU 15th aniversary party at the Casino Queen. Of course, Ron had passed away by then... but, Joe, Kevin, Paul, Scott were there (Mike McCann couldn't attend). At the time 5 years ago, Scott Arkin was working as a financial planner/stock broker out in west county. Not sure what he's up to these days.
Later today, I'll try to dig up some old photos from KHTR and KLOU, scan them and e-mail them to you.
Later, Joe (KHTR March '88-Nov '88/KLOU Nov '88-April '89)
"Sunrise This Morning" and
"ABC NewsChannel 20 Midday"
Weekend 11-08/09-08: I've mentioned this before ...
... why do so many radio stations declare the 25-54 demo as their primary target?
How can that be? What kind of sense does that make?
When Mrs. A and I were 54, all of our children were older than 25 (and there were four grandchildren, by then, too).
How can two generations, with different life experiences, different social and economic structures, radically different educations, different musical tastes, be clumped together in one bunch for ratings?
They can't, of course, and they shouldn't be. To think it's so is absurd.
25-49, once a subset at Arbitron, needs to be its own stand-alone demo and format target, examined as the children of Boomers.
50-64 should also be a stand-alone demo (the new version of 25-54), incorporating Boomers from start to finish.
And another demo needs to be added to Arbitron studies: 65+.
Why? We're living longer, lots longer, and we have lots more money to spend than Seniors in any other generation. Seniors 65+ still listen to radio and still spend their loot.
But they're not represented in either written diary surveys or PPM and that's wrong.
Give any of these "new" demos a compelling reason to listen, present relevant ads to them, and watch your garden grow.
You pay a ton of money to Arbitron for ratings results. Make sure they represent your audience appropriately.
Weekend 11-08/09-08: Career and social advice and info for 25-34's ...
Told you this was coming, and now it's here.
David Siteman Garland's Rise To The Top airs this week on My46 and ABC30 (check the website here for more info) and will eventually be available weekly online.
It's a well-produced show, with great ideas and content, and produced especially for 25-34's. Radio stations shooting for that demo would be wise to get involved, if David accepts your pitch.
Garland's nailed it with content and I believe that this show will grow way beyond STL, even if it's "only" an audio and video podcast.
As far as I'm concerned, his start in Legacy Media broadcast TV is only the beginning. This show's future is online.
Weekend 11-08/09-08: Rifles, handguns and ammo ...
... are being snapped up at retail and online outlets as fast as they're placed on sale and ammo cost is at an all-time high.
Does this presage a resurrection of the ridiculous 1994 Clinton assault gun ban (affecting the purchase, but not the ownership, of weapons that were clearly and demonstrably NOT assault weapons) that also included air rifles?
Or is there something else going on?
I'm not an NRA guy, but I am a gun owner and a target shooter; my spidey-sense is tingling and tells me that something evil is afoot regarding the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment.
Weekend 11-08/09-08: It always comes down to t-shirts ...
CNN headline T-shirts
The election of Barack Obama has sent Americans scrambling for keepsakes of the historic moment, creating lines outside printing plants for yesterday's newspaper editions. It has also led to a small flurry of a new kind of keepsake: CNN has registered thousands of orders for T-shirts carrying the headline from the site reporting Obama's election victory.
Weekend 11-08/09-08: What is youth? ...
From MarketingCharts.com: Consumers Stay ‘Younger’ Longer
The traditional demographic definition of “youth” is no longer applicable in today’s society, and marketers should target consumers based upon their engagement and participation in youth culture rather than on their chronological age, according to the “Golden Age of Youth” study from Viacom Brand Solutions International (VBSI).
As people worldwide delay the onset of adult responsibilities and stay emotionally and physically younger for longer, it is becoming more acceptable for older people to participate in youthful pursuits. To support this trend, marketers should routinely consider the often-overlooked 25-34 age group a part of the youth market, VBSI said.
“Contemporary youth should now be defined as ‘the absence of functional and/or emotional maturity,’ reflecting the fact that accepting traditional responsibilities such as mortgages, children and developing a strong sense of self-identity/perspective is occurring later and later in life,” the study said.
Indeed, 52% of all 25-34 year-olds agree they still have “a lot of growing up to do,” and this sentiment is highest in Asian (78%) and Latin American (66%) markets.
And then, of course, Johnny Cash asked this question years ago:
Friday 11-07-08: Forgot to present the results of our Presidential survey ... with 310 "votes" cast, 156 were for McCain/Palin and 154 were for Obama and the other guy. A 50/50 tie here, but it didn't work out that way in the real votes, where it mattered. But I guess by now you know that. Previous polls results here; another one's coming soon.
Friday 11-07-08: STLMedia Watch Dog, Tasha ... happily cedes her regular weekend presence here in honor of a true Canine-American hero, President Bush's pup, Barney, who this week took a chunk out of a Reuters' reporter. Good dog, Barney! I hope that the reporter had his shots and that Barney will be OK.
Thursday 11-06-08: So what's a share in KTRS going for these days ...
Not a lot, I've heard.
As we saw on Robocop..."I'd buy that for a dollar!"
Might be close.
Thursday 11-06-08: Big web users are big TV viewers ...
... From MediaDailyNews: Internet usage does not seem to erode TV viewing. A new study by Nielsen Media Research found that the heaviest Internet users also happen to be the heaviest users of television. At the same time, the study showed that the lowest users of TV are also the lowest users of the Internet.
Could this have anything to do with my personal experience? That everywhere in my home where I access the Net (office, living room, bedroom) I also have big-screen cable-hooked TV's that are always on? And that I use the 'puters as fact-checkers for what I see on TV as much as work stations?
Thursday 11-06-08: US News & World Report ...
... always the third-ranked newsweekly, after Time and Newsweek, has dropped completely out of print and will concentrate on their web service:
"We're accelerating this transformation in response to our rapid growth online where our audience is now about 7 million uniques a month and growing," US News president Bill Holiber and editor Brian Kelly said in the memo.
"For all of you who have worked so hard to make this transition possible, say good-bye to Web 2.0 and welcome to Journalism 5.0," they added.
Like other US magazines and newspapers, US News has been losing readership and advertising revenue to online media for years.
2008: the year that Legacy Media died.
Thursday 11-06-08: So were you at this meeting?
Secret Squirrel wasn't and wants to know more: dave greene has called an all staff mtg for wednesday at 5:30 where he is expected to give the rundown for the new kfns. the new kfns will look a lot like the old kfns as green is going to announce that he will be the lead host for the new morning show in a format where no one that is currently on the air will remain with the exception of cusamono. ramsey is expected to go to 101 and everyone else will be let go. gordon and vernetti have a shot at staying but will move to late nights as green likes the idea of live late night call in radio for when games end. all the nitch shows on the weekend will be replaced with shows bringing their own money. that means no more golf or nascar shows. kfns will be a memory this time next year.
Thursday 11-06-08: If the Dems kick the Fairness Doctrine back into play ...
... I keep hearing that it will be the death knell for Talk Radio. Some of the Really Smart Guys say that the companies who program the most talk are owned and/or run by Dem supporters and so it will not happen. Maybe, maybe not.
But if the FD is reinstituted, and political talk goes away, what will talkers do?
The answer is so blindingly obvious and the implementation so simple that I'm astounded no one has yet suggested it, or even begun to move on it pre-emptively.
I won't tell you what it is, at least for free, but I will say that it has the potential to power and make profitable at least one talk station in every one of the Top 100 markets (and several syndicators) for the next 20 years.
And even if the FD is not resurrected, this is something talk stations need to look into.
Radio must be truly and completely devoid of capable, imaginative management to have missed this.
Thursday 11-06-08: Secret Squirrel loves him some oldies ...
... but that resource may be coming to an end. Word is that the "My 103" moniker for KLOU is a thing of the past, and that the music played there may become a thing of the more recent past, as the station seems to be gearing up to play oldies for a demo younger than 45+.
Will KLOU make the '80's the new '60's? Tomorrow (Friday the 7th) might be the target date for startup.
Tuesday 11-04-08: Jonnie King update ...
I had the chance on Tuesday to spend a few hours with our friend Jonnie, driving him to his first meeting with the orthopedic surgeon who'll be doing the repair work on his shoulder. I'm told she's the best in her field.
She did a thorough exam and I'll be taking him in for the work next Monday; with any luck he'll be home the day after, with a long period of recovery and rehab ahead of him.
Jonnie's jaw is still wired to help heal the three fractures he suffered during his accident; he's got at least another month and a half ahead of him for his jaw to heal sufficiently to enable him to eat real food.
Thanks to Dr. Larry Hoffman who has been keeping a careful eye on Jonnie's upkeep and surgical needs.
Mrs A has established a medical fund (managed and accessible ONLY by Jonnie) for Jonnie, and we'll be presenting a mailing address in the next day or so where you can send your financial assistance to help defray his costs.
I'm just happy to be able to drive Mr. King where he needs to go, when he needs to get there.
Think of it as "Drivin Mr. Jonnie!" It's my privilege to do it.
Tuesday 11-04-08: How I spent Election Day 2008 ...
Up at 5:15AM, let Tasha out, nuc'd yesterday's coffee to start the heart, let Tasha in and showered.
Dressed and let Tasha out again, rinsed dirty dishes off and started the dishwasher (I won't do that again at 5:30AM...Mrs A wound up with a lukewarm shower).
Brought the dog in and headed out to vote. The line was three across and wrapped around the church and out to the street; went home.
Let Tasha out once more, drank coffee from Mrs A's fresh-brew.
Surfed the net and read relevant blogs until Mrs A left to vote; she called relaying that the line was still long and she went on to work.
Bacon, eggs and rye toast for breakfast. More web surfing and email.
Tasha out once more, then into her crate and I was off to take Jonnie King to a surgeon's appointment, to his polling place so he could vote and then dropped him off at his home.
That accomplished, got to my second-favorite gunshop at just before 2PM, where I ordered a Hi-Point 9mm carbine for delivery Friday.
Hotfooted it to my polling place to vote; no line at 2:45PM, just a few ahead of me. Hotfooted it home to meet the housecleaners exactly at 3PM.
Worked behind them, cleaning out the fridge and restocking water and soft drinks, getting trash out and doing another load of dishes and then on to the grocery store for dinner.
Mrs A headed home just after 6PM, showed up at our polling place, voted correctly and managed to be the final voter in our precinct at exactly 7PM.
Don't know the finals yet, but I survived a year in Vietnam, four years of Jimmy Carter, eight years of Bill Clinton and almost four decades in radio.
At this point in my life I figure I can handle four years of anything.
Weekend 11-01/02-08: Your weekend Tasha ...
Weekend 11-01/02-08: Even in my overcrowded little subdivision ...
...the deer are plentiful and very active. It's rutting season for 'em, and they're all kinds of happy about that.
("That's the last time I do that for three bucks." -- Frank O. Pinion)
Driving around here at night is always an adventure.
Weekend 11-01/02-08: Over the top on the cute meter ...
Friday 10-31-08: Told ya about this on October 12 ...
... and now Dan Caesar finally has his grab at it:
KFNS shakes it up at the top; on-air likely is next
The changing of the guard is taking place at KFNS, the troubled former leader in the local sports-talk radio business, as Evan Crocker has resigned as general manager and is being replaced by two executives with St. Louis Sports Magazine.
Dave Greene will oversee the on-air operations and James Oelklaus will run the sales side.
Friday 10-31-08: This week's roundup of SportsTalk101 info ...
... the addition of award-winning veteran sports journalist Bryan Burwell to their broadcast team in a daypart to be named, the addition of Chris Gardner as PM Drive Producer and a three-year agreement with SLU to serve as the flagship radio station for men's Billiken Basketball.
It's looking worse and worse, recycling old players and teams. Who listens to college BB on the radio? Not even grads care; they're at the game.
This game is for Bonneville to lose (to peanut whistle AM's, even).
And so far they're doing a mighty good job of shaving points and making their multi-million dollar remodeled station a loser from the get go.
Over the weekend I'll show you a plan they can use, a way they can step up to the plate, hit the first ball on 01/01/09 and knock that sucker out of the park, even using new talent, brought fresh into the market.
But they'll have to implement it immediately and quit using worn out STL sports guys (no disrespect intended).
Friday 10-31-08: We presented the trial part of this a while back ...
... here's the sentencing phase:
Sylvia York, convicted of using more than $70,000 of Emmis Communications' money to pay her own American Express account, has been sentenced to a year in prison, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Prosecutors said that York, who served as controller of Emmis/St. Louis, diverted the money to pay for travel, clothing, and entertainment, and used her knowledge of company procedures to cover up the crimes.
York must pay $70,633.56 in restitution to Emmis. When she leaves prison, she'll spend six months in home detention, followed by two years of supervised release.
Friday 10-31-08: Jules Riley off and running ...
... The respected Arch PD moves on to Greater Media's 95.7 WBEN –FM (BEN-FM). Jules will begin her new position in mid-November. Good luck to her, on a nice jump from Market 20 to Market 8.
Note to Jules: Phid-uh-delfya is just a provincial as STL. Please say hi to my peeps in South Jersey.
Thursday 10-30-08: Thanks to MySpace ...
... for scrubbing the scurrilous Mick Flanderson parody pages from their web server at my request. I don't mind criticism of what I do here. I do mind offensive, personal attacks by people who are afraid to sign their real name. Even the wild, wild web is coming into self-control in that regard. Personal responsibilty for accurate content matters.
This includes websites who refer to us this way: I hope [Anderson] dies soon, so I can s**t on his grave. (Yes, I said that.)
I'm raffing. I have too much to do before I die.
Wednesday 10-29-08: How's that BluRay DVD workin' for ya ...
Toshiba has abandoned it's HD-DVD format but Sony's BluRay has been slow to catch on. By the end of Summer, only 4million units have been sold and, to make the format work Sony will need an additional 10million players in the marketplace by the end of 2008.
Nope, none here at STLMedia HQ, just old-fashioned DVD players in the 'puters and at every TV. BluRay is one tech advance I don't much care about.
And apparently neither do many other DVD users.
Can you spell B-E-T-A?
Wednesday 10-29-08: First man in space ...
Son Jason sent this video along: Joe Kittinger stepped out of a balloon at 102,800 feet in 1960, jumping from black space to Earth in just under 14 minutes. It takes me longer than that to get through the grocery store on my daily run.
Wednesday 10-29-08: Eulogy for Jim Bland ...
Losing a friend or family member to age or a lingering illness is one thing. It's not unexpected that someone who is older or ill will pass from their condition.
But losing a friend in his prime to something like an auto accident (and I've had many friends lost this way) is as cruel to the survivors as it is to the victim.
Jim Bland was a relatively young man, just 55, middle-age, really, with a bright and building future in education. He was one of the few guys I knew who truly took lemons delivered to him and made them into lemonade.
And he was one of the very few who, as Placement Director at Broadcast Center, really made a difference. The guy worked hard to make sure that the students who had passed the BC course went to work. I occasionally sat with him in his office while he made his calls, pitching this student and that one, extolling their raw skills, hoping to land them a gig somewhere, anywhere.
And he almost always did. Many of them went on from their first gig to a second one, and a third. All thanks to Jim Bland's remarkable effort. There are an awful lot of men and women in the broadcast industry these days who owe their careers to Mr. Bland and his sales talent.
After I first heard the news yesterday morning I just kinda went into a trance, had the tv on but wasn't really watching it, sat on the couch and rubbed Tasha behind the ears as she likes, just zoned out, reflecting on what a hideous waste Jim's untimely passing truly is.
I met Jim in early 1986, when I was the morning guy at WIL and went to work part-time as an instructor at BC. That was back when Bill Gephardt owned the place and it was in Clayton, with a perpetually flooding basement. Jim and I hit it off immediately. We could make eachother laugh and that's the best basis for friendship I know.
Over the next few years, we discovered a lot we had in common, much of which centered around cooking.
I was, for a few years, a regular at his annual
Blandito Blandini Bash, where we'd eat chicken and salads and play Jim's version of baseball (he'd set up a VERY minor league version of a baseball stadium, based on WiffleBall, in his backyard in Kirkwood and then at his Rock Hill home).
Jim loved him some Cardinals' baseball!
We eventually fell out of touch, with the exception of an occasional email, holiday card or phone call. Way too few of any over the years.
Damn, I'll miss the guy.
Wednesday 10-29-08: The MSM's in ICU and I'm not feeling so well myself ...
Well, now. Newspaper circulation continues to decline, print company stock prices are tanking, ad revenue is dropping through the floor, writers are coming out of the closet with mea culpas for their bias, some papers are dropping some weekday editions and the respected Christian Science Monitor is going weekly.
Then, of course, there are the broadcast media issues of hugely declining ratings and revenue and you arrive at one final conclusion:
2008 was the year the MSM died.
Tuesday 10-28-08: Jim Bland dies in an auto accident ...
Bland was visiting a friend in Paris, France, where the accident occurred Monday afternoon.
Jim was a long-time employee of Broadcast Center and a teacher at Webster University, from which he received his degree in Education. He was 55.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
More details here.
Tuesday 10-28-08: My ISP is going fiber optic, upgrading from DSL ...
...and they're going to give me faster service, a new (free) modem, free install and more.
Or at least that's what the guy who came to my door recently said. No bundling of phone/cabletv/web, no metered service, no rate jumps, no email changes, no IP addy changes.
Just better and faster service from AT&T.
Why do I not believe that this is possible?
Is this actually happening anywhere else in STL?
Tuesday 10-28-08: Steve Mays is the go-to guy for web solutions at Learfield ...
...which provides news and sports programming to hundreds of Midwest radio stations and manages multi-media rights for more than 40 college athletic programs. I've sent folks to him when they've asked questions I couldn't answer and Steve has helped them, regardless of their affiliation.
Mays is a smart guy who wields a great deal of influence within his company and, by extension, with their clients.
His politics are his own and none of my business, but when he writes something like this on his widely-read blog, wherein he represents himself as an employee of Learfield, I get a sinking feeling:
I guess we all know now how Mr. Mays really feels about the US military.
How can a statement like this from someone in his position not affect the way the company's clients think?
This reminds me of a dinner Mrs. A and I had a couple Summers back with four multi-star AF Generals, who, among them, controlled the assignment and deployment of all USAF bombers (including nucs), transports and fighter aircraft everywhere in the world.
The next day, a leftie anti-military friend of mine joked about whether or not they were ready to use their authority to overthrow the government.
I tried to explain that these guys (and their commands) were sworn to protect and defend the Constitution etc. and had spent the last thirty years of their lives doing so, but some people just don't understand the concept of duty and country.
Evidently Mr. Mays, of Learfield, doesn't understand that concept either.
It just creeps him out.
Monday 10-27-08: Jonnie King update ...
Spoke with Jonnie Sunday afternoon. He's home until the next round of surgery; his is not going to be an easy recovery and Jonnie needs our best wishes and assistance to pull through this rough patch. If you're a friend, now's the time to stand up and be counted.
Don't call, but email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will automatically forward to Jonnie's private email inbox and he'll pick it up there.
He mentioned on the phone this PM how much he appreciated the many messages he's received...keep 'em comin'!
Please note: Mrs A's helping me set up a bank escrow fund to help Jonnie manage this problem...hospital care ain't cheap and his resources and benefits may not entirely cover it.
We'll likely need some help from you to make sure he gets well again, soonest and with the best available medical care. I'll keep you posted.
Monday 10-27-08: Looking at buying ... the Kel Tec P-32 described here and here and the Kel Tec PF-9 described here and here to fill in the collection blanks.
Anybody got any other suggestions in these calibers and frame sizes?
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Lookin' out my front door...
This afternoon, while I was in the office updating client websites, they came a-knockin'. Tasha uncharacteristically growled as she crouched at the door. Good dog, Tasha. Yes, she's a Red Dog. I opened it with trepidation, as I do to anyone I haven't invited or expect and with my cocked-and-locked .380 in my hand behind my back I faced...
Two well-dressed 20-something Caucasian women. I slipped the .380 into my pocket, sensing no immediate threat.
"Yes?" I asked.
"We'd like to speak to (Mrs A)," they said, using her full legal name, looking at their list.
"And who might you be?" I asked.
"Canvassers for Barack Obama," they said.
"Ah," I replied. "I'm sorry, but she can't come to the door right now. She's upstairs, barefoot and pregnant, reading her Bible and cleaning our handguns after our day at the shooting range. And then she'll have to grill our venison steaks."
"But she can't vote anyway," I went on, "she's only 15."
They just stared at me. Open mouthed.
"Hahaha," I chortled. "Have a nice day," I said. And then I shut the door forcefully. Not quite a slam, just forcefully.
I just know I'm now on The List. The Cold Civil War goes on...
(Okay, that's not exactly how it went, but it's pretty close and this makes a better story.)
Weekend 10-25/26-08: This is just a slap in the face...
... for all taxpayers:
House members in the next Congress could get Apple’s iPhone as their newest communication gadget.
The Chief Administrative Office (CAO), which oversees the communications systems for the House, has begun testing a small number of iPhones within its ranks to see if they are compatible with the working needs of lawmakers and staff.
“The reason we’re trying them out is because we heard a lot of people wanted the option to have them,” said Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the CAO.
The CAO plans to decide whether to give members the option of using the phones, which are offered exclusively under AT&T contracts, by the beginning of the next Congress in January.
The cell phone of choice in the House is currently the BlackBerry, with nearly 8,200 in active use.
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Might be room for Lefties after all...
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show is doing well for the cable network. Better, in fact, than Olbermann. But she's also performing well on another platform — podcasts. Last Monday, the program started a video and audio podcast, and the video version is #1 on iTunes. The audio podcast is #8.
Weekend 10-25/26-08: HDRadio wants a ten-fold power increase...
From Tom Taylor:
The FCC wants to know – it really, really wants to know, because this is controversial, and yet time seems scarce in terms of giving HD Radio buyers a satisfactory listening experience. The 18 radio groups representing over 1,200 commercial and non-com stations and the four biggest manufacturers request an increase from the current 1% of analog power to as much as 10%. But National Public Radio claims that will endanger reception of first- and second-adjacent stations on the FM band, based on its study of the Pittsburgh market (among other things). So the FCC’s like a court with competing expert witnesses, asking for more input. Public comments should be filed on MM Docket 99-325 by November 28, with reply comments due January 4.
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Missed this obit last week...
Don Burnes, the PR man who created the image of KSD radio in the 60s, passed away Wednesday, October 22 following a stroke the night before. For those who've never heard of him, Don is the only PR person elected to the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame, a recognition of his outstanding work with Pulitzer's station here. Don was the brother of the legendary Globe writer Bob Burnes.
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Over the past week...
Bonneville's Sports/Talk 101 has added Randy Karraker, Tom Casey, Sara Dayley and Brian Stull to their staff for their expected startup on 01/01/09.
Karraker, Casey and Dayley are all seasoned all-sports pros, with experience on major local stations and radio and tv nets. Stull has a wrestling website and has hosted a wrestling show on one of the local penny-whistles.
One of these things doesn't belong with the others...
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Sarah drops the puck last Friday...
(UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt)
Weekend 10-25/26-08: Let's think this one through...
First, KTRS signs the Cardinals to a long-term contract for PxP, stealing them from KMOX.
Then the Cardinals buy 50% of KTRS for $2million (WTF?!?), with the agreement that the two entities share their ad revenue 50-50.
Then radio spot sales don't go so well.
Then the Cardinals decide to keep all the ad revenue from their side to themselves, that 50-50 thing be damned.
Then KTRS fires Ops Manager Craig Unger, who goes to work for the Cardinals.
Then the Cardinals take ALL of their inventory for games in house (as they did this week). No more selling Cardinal baseball for the staff at KTRS.
Bet money that young Mr. Unger ran a play that'll cause some hits to the pocket book in KTRS sales.
Score: Unger 1 - Dorsey 0. And every observer laughs out loud.
Prediction: watch the Cards sell their share in KTRS to an "interested radio investor" for a marginal profit, move the games on to a better signal and an entirely different deal and significantly alter the setup of the KTRS Board of Directors.
Hey, it could happen.
Most of this already has.
Friday 10-24-08: Your weekend Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, pinup...
Friday 10-24-08: Jonnie King update...
Jonnie called this afternoon, sounding beat up, as well he might. He's been through a couple surgical procedures already, on arm and jaw, and likely will be going through more.
Jonnie's got a tough road ahead of him, but he's got amazing resolve and lots of friends to help him through his recovery.
He's promised to write the adventure up for us, so we have that to look forward to...already, he's got stories to tell. Mrs A and I plan on stopping by to see him (and deliver a Steak & Shake chocolate milk shake) tomorrow PM.
Email sent to email@example.com will automatically forward to Jonnie's private email inbox and he'll pick it up once he gets back to a computer. Bombard the ol' boy with get-well messages!
Friday 10-24-08: Great last STLMedia Monthly Meeting of 2008...
...some familiar faces and some new ones, and lots of great conversation and problem solving. If only the masters of media would listen...see ya at our next go-round, January 30th, 2009.
Friday 10-24-08: One of the other projects this week...
...was the re-do of our master-bedroom bath vanity area, installing custom-made cabinets and a custom-molded one-piece faux-marble counter top. We've been planning this for a long time and now it's done and we couldn't be happier. Our thanks to Jon Newman for his excellent work installing all of the components and making sure it all worked. And before he left he even applied his craftsman-magic to a couple other problems.
Newman's a wizard when it comes to home repair.
Friday 10-24-08: Sorry for being out of touch...
...but it's been a very busy week. Mrs A has been on vacation and we've been doing stuff around the house and stuff together that we've missed out on while our jobs have directed our attention elsewhere.
On Thursday we made the road trip to Lonedell to take our much-anticipated CCW class, taught by Greg Pugh at his range/classroom there.
Lotsa classroom stuff to absorb, material to study and serious shooting for qualification to do. We both passed and Mrs A has already applied for her permit; like everything else she approaches, she's determined to make her skills top-notch. I 'spect we've got considerable range time in our future.
Here's a video I shot of our Instructor wailing away with his fully-automatic (and fully legal) sub-gun...
I hefted Greg's sub-gun, but declined the opportunity to fire it...a bit too heavy for me and I was afraid the recoil would knock me off my feet! I've fired auto before, but I was younger. Much younger. Damn. As George Burns famously sang, I wish I was 18 again.
FYI, I chose Pugh's course over other, closer training because of his website and a couple phone conversations. Greg lives and breathes the 2nd Amendment, gun safety and legality of purpose. We learned a lot more than we expected and had a great lunch there and a nice drive in the country to and from to boot. I recommend his training services highly; we'll probably be going back for the next skill levels.
Tuesday 10-21-08: Veteran STL Radio broadcaster Jonnie King...
...was injured in an accident this evening that occurred while he was working on one of his cars. King broke his arm and fractured his jaw and will probably be undergoing at least preliminary surgery on both injuries tonight.
For the sake of his privacy, I'll withhold the name of the hospital and full condition reports until I hear from Jonnie. But I will keep you posted and I've set up a special email address for you to drop him a line...I know he'd appreciate it.
Mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (if you know anything about Jonnie, you know why that email addy is appropriate) will automatically forward to Jonnie's private email inbox. According to a doc who is a mutual friend of ours, this could be a recuperative process as long as a couple months, maybe more.
Keep in touch with Jonnie! Bombard the ol' boy with get-well messages!
Monday 10-20-08: TV call letters suck for recognition...
... according to the consultants. From MediaPosts's TVWatch:
FOR LOCAL TV STATIONS, it's not just about TV -- not if they want to grow in the future. But what's the long-term cost for their brands?
Heeding the advice of some Internet consultants, NBC Universal has decided to revamp its local TV station Web sites, dropping call letters and/or channel numbers, reinventing sites as broader-reaching local media portals.
Instead of KNBC.com or WNBC.com, you'll have NBCLosAngeles.com and NBCNewYork.com. NBC already was moving in this direction in renaming its local TV group, NBC Local Media.
The good part of this strategy? NBC believes it should have a broader role in attracting and keeping its savvy TV customers, which will include all sorts of media -- Internet, print, radio, whatever.
That makes sense. So far, TV stations' online efforts have been essentially limited as a promotional tool. Customers and business partners -- online advertisers -- see those Web areas as marketing tool as well, which in the end can be devaluing.
Now the bad: NBC is throwing out some of its long-lived brands, eliminating call letters and channel positions. It will keep around the "NBC" name, however. But what does this mean for WMAQ-TV in Chicago, known as NBC5.com online? Its brand name is basically eliminated online (though it's still evident in Internet searches.
The problem is that getting bigger as a local media player can produce conflicts, or at least new Internet realities. If an NBC TV station's online business really wants to cover its market entirely, it will include some stuff from its competitors.
Many Internet news sites regularly have links to other competitors' stories. (MediaPost, for example, does this all the time). If a CBS affiliate breaks some interesting news, will an NBC Web site offer up a link, and give credit?
NBC believes the name "NBC" and the name of the city are the most important things -- which means a well-earned, long-time local brand name in that city is less valuable.
I remember hearing this same song years ago, when consultants insisted that radio frequencies were more important than calls. Turned out they were right, especially after radio dials went digital.
Monday 10-20-08: Sam Zell's TribCo dumps AP... with a two-year notice. From Editor & Publisher:
AP Spokesman Paul Colford confirmed the cancellation notice, but said he had no more specifics. He issued the following statement about it:
"We understand that in this climate a lot of newspapers are re-examining their strategies. The Associated Press will continue to work with all members of the cooperative to ensure that we are providing the most efficient, valued and essential news service for them."
Monday 10-20-08: Yay for us... Mrs A got the new HP combo up and running as a fax, color printer and scanner for her station in the office. Now there's just the wireless printer thingie for the other four 'puters on the local net. I think I'll name the new device "Festivus," the printer for the rest of us. Once it connects.
Otherwise it's a 9mm shot in the memory card and a quick return in the original box.
Monday 10-20-08: TV's in trouble, again... Screen Actor's Guild might go on strike around 12/1/2008 and ad revenues are in the dumper, with more cuts to come.
And today we get the news that NBC/Universal is setting itself up for gigantic budget cuts in 2009, to the tune of a half-billion bucks.
This will affect movies, too, of course. Considering it all, it looks like a dry 2009 for video entertainment.
Monday 10-20-08: Tom Casey lands on his feet... He writes: I just signed with 101.1 FM today to handle weekday afternoon updates and cover the Blues starting in January. Thanks for all of your kind words and support since my leaving Metro. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity and will have great teammates including Randy Karraker and Brian Stull, just to name a couple. Thanks again, Rev!
Monday 10-20-08: Frank Absher scores... STLRadio's premier historian sends along this link to the Sporting News archives...every issue, back to March 1886. If you're a sports junkie, this is where you'll be spending your spare time for the rest of your life. Registration is free; it leads to Paper of Record, which is a search engine for newspapers worldwide.
Weekend 10-18/19-08: Adding a wireless multi-function printer...
We've been using HP LaserJet6L's as standalone printers for way more than a decade, almost fifteen years, they've been wearing out slowly for a while, and today bit the bullet to go 802.11 when we found a networkable HP wireless color inkjet double-side printer/scanner/copier/fax for under $200 during a trip to OfficeDepot for paper clips and manila folders ($350 out the door for everything in the basket...sheesh!).
The install has been interesting, to say the least, and will continue Sunday, making it work with Windows2000, XPPro, Vista and Linux is likely to be a project. Good thing Mrs A is the IT pro...this is giving me a headache.
Weekend 10-18/19-08: The Unknown Analyst kicks back into service...
... with a penetrating look at 25-54 in Summer Book 2008:
25-54 PERSONS MON-SUN 6a-MID
WARH: 7.2 - 6.2
KSHE: 6.8 - 5.8
KEZK: 5.5 - 5.5
KMJM: 4.8 - 5.4
WIL: 5.4 - 5.0
KSLZ: 4.5 - 4.8
KYKY: 4.6 - 4.7
WFUN: 4.3 - 4.5
KSD: 4.1 - 4.4
KIHT: 4.2 - 4.0
KPNT: 3.2 - 3.8
WMVN: 2.8 - 3.7
KMOX: 3.3 - 3.4
KTRS: 3.2 - 3.4
KLOU: 4.2 - 3.2
KFTK: 4.6 - 3.1
WHHL: 2.0 - 3.1
KATZ: 2.5 - 2.9
KATZ-AM: 1.6 - 1.1
KFUO: 1.2 - 1.1
KSLG: 1.1 - 1.0
KFNS: .9 - 1.0
ANALYSIS: There is such a clustering of stations in this demo that hardly anybody stands out. Add in the .5 for statistical error and there's even less separation. And even with both the Arch and KSHE dropping a full point each, they hold onto their previous market positions. With that in mind, an examination of the year-to-year market positions may be a better illustration. In that case, the major movement is seen with Z107 up from 18th to 6th and K-HITS dropping 5th to 10th.
The Z107 story is something that's been difficult to come up with an explanation for, but K-HITS has not been the same since the controversy involving JC Corcoran last February. Did Emmis foul up by not managing the situation more effectively resulting in Corcoran's disappearance for five weeks, dislodging Mark Klose from his afternoon show (see morning and afternoon breakouts below) and programming obscure live cuts on their morning show, presumably so as not to upset their "no repeat" music policy?
And is "Radio" Rich Dalton's rumored obsession with programming KSHE's HD station at the center of a morale problem at K-HITS? Or is there a problem that dates back to Corcoran's return to the airwaves last spring when the mid-day host publicly expressed his displeasure with the company's decision to bring him back? And are the rumors that JC was heavily recruited by Bonneville for their new sports station presenting a distraction of sorts? Or is all of this simply the result of the station's extremely slow return to normal after several bad ratings "klanks" earlier this year? After all, K-HITS 35-plus numbers remain very strong (#2 35-54 PERSONS with the K-HITS morning show #1) and top four in adult men across the board. Whichever, this is one to watch.
Meantime, Bonneville has LOTS of explaining to do as Movin' jumps from 16th to 12th (and 9th to 5th in cume) and 11th to 7th 18-34 PERSONS........and with a format change coming in two-and-a-half months! It's another one to watch. KTRS ties KMOX as Emmis wonders how their talk station drops 6th to 16th (and down from 10th in 2007) with an election happening in less than a month!! (KFTK is, however, still top-six in all the important male, upper-demos.)
KMJM is the only station in the top-five to post a noticeable rise while all others are flat or down. The whole "MY 103.3" idea has fallen flat in this demo as KLOU drops 6th to 15th from a year ago (though still 6th in 35-64 PERSONS). Will Clear Channel see the light, drop the gimmick, and return KLOU to a more pure oldies format? Julie Buck is 13th in 25-54 WOMEN and Smash's morning show is 16th in 25-54 PERSONS, for heaven's sake.
25-54 PERSONS MON-FRI 6a-10a
KSHE: 6.4 - 6.2
WARH: 7.1 - 6.0
KSLZ: 5.9 - 5.7
KEZK: 5.6 - 5.4
KYKY: 5.2 - 5.4
WIL: 6.0 - 5.1
KSD: 4.9 - 5.0
KMJM: 4.9 - 4.9
KMOX: 4.3 - 4.9
KIHT: 4.5 - 4.9
WFUN: 4.1 - 4.1
WHHL: 2.1 - 3.6
KFTK: 4.2 - 3.4
KPNT: 3.0 - 3.3
WMVN: 2.2 - 3.0
KLOU: 3.3 - 2.4
KTRS: 1.3 - 1.7
KSLG: 1.0 - 1.6
KATZ-FM: 1.5 - 1.5
KATZ-AM: 1.4 - 1.2
KFUO: 1.2 - .8
KFNS: .8 - .8
ANALYSIS: "Bob & Tom" #1 six books in a row. The Arch maintains #2 since last year at this time. Z107 up 8th to 3rd from Summer 2007. KEZK up 10th to 4th (tie) from a year ago. "Phillips & Co." up to 4th (tie) from 9th a year ago. Falling are WIL, KMJM, KMOX and especially K-HITS from a year ago. Note, however, that again we have a cluster of stations in which the .5 range of statistical error separates three stations in a tie for eighth-place (KMOX, KMJM and KIHT) from FOURTH place. In other words, we may not have much of a story here after all. A bit early to see an impact from "Vic and Trish" on KTRS. 1380 goes from "unrated" in the Summer of 2007 up to 18th, beating out KFNS which finishes in a 21st-place tie.
25-54 PERSONS MON-FRI 10a-3p
WARH: 8.3 - 8.0
KEZK: 6.2 - 7.4
KSHE: 7.2 - 5.5
KSD: 4.2 - 5.0
KMJM: 3.6 - 4.9
WIL: 5.1 - 4.6
KYKY: 5.3 - 4.5
KIHT: 4.3 - 4.4
WMVN: 3.2 - 4.1
KPNT: 3.2 - 3.9
WFUN: 3.8 - 3.8
KLOU: 5.6 - 3.8
KMOX: 4.7 - 3.6
KSLZ: 3.5 - 3.4
KFTK: 4.6 - 3.0
WHHL: 1.9 - 2.7
KATZ-FM: 2.2 - 2.4
KTRS: 1.7 - 2.1
KFUO: 1.2 - 1.4
KFNS: 1.5 - 1.1
KSLG: 1.2 - .7
KATZ-AM: 1.0 - .6
ANALYSIS: At-work listening strong for KEZK and The Arch. Big drops for KSHE, KLOU and KFTK. Movin' up again. Someone tell Deb Peterson she's on an 18th-place mid-day show at KTRS. Next up: Watching for the impact of Kevin Slaten.
25-54 PERSONS MON-FRI 3p-7p
WARH: 7.3 - 6.2
WIL: 5.3 - 5.1
KYKY: 4.7 - 5.1
KSHE: 6.1 - 4.9
KMJM: 4.3 - 4.8
WFUN: 4.8 - 4.7
KPNT: 3.8 - 4.6
KSLZ: 4.2 - 4.5
KTRS: 3.3 - 4.4
KEZK: 4.9 - 4.4
KSD: 3.7 - 4.4
WMVN: 3.0 - 4.2
KFTK: 7.4 - 4.1
KIHT: 3.7 - 3.6
KATZ-FM: 3.2 - 2.9
KLOU: 3.8 - 2.9
WHHL: 1.5 - 2.8
KMOX: 2.1 - 2.6
KSLG: 1.8 - 1.7
KFNS: .6 - 1.3
ANALYSIS: Apparently someone in Beltsville doesn't like Emmis. First the bottom falls out at KIHT, now Dave Glover's PM drive show falls from FIRST to THIRTEENTH in ONE BOOK!!! On a TALK station!!!! In and ELECTION SEASON!!!!!! Meanwhile, notice how the top stations in PM drive tend NOT to be the same stations as in morning drive. That could be explained by disturbed summertime listening habits.........or something else? Bad recycling? Elsewhere, look how strong country is in PM drive with WIL. Frank Opinion flat from a year ago, KMOX drops 17th to 18th from a year ago (or from Paul Harris to Mark Reardon) and 1380 beats out rival KFNS. Someone tell Dan Caesar he's been writing about the 19th and 20th-place radio stations his whole career.
25-54 PERSONS MON-FRI 7p-MID
KTRS: 9.2 - 8.5
KMJM: 8.2 - 7.9
WFUN: 6.1 - 7.2
KSLZ: 4.6 - 6.2
KEZK: 6.7 - 5.2
KSHE: 5.9 - 5.2
WIL: 3.3 - 4.4
KATZ-FM: 3.3 - 4.1
WARH: 4.5 - 4.0
KFTK: 3.8 - 3.9
KSD: 2.5 - 3.6
WMVN: 2.5 - 3.6
KMOX: 1.8 - 3.4
KLOU: 3.9 - 2.9
KIHT: 4.3 - 2.9
ANALYSIS: Movin' is up to 11th place (tie) from 17th a year ago. KTRS #1 with baseball while KMOX #13 without baseball. Any questions?
25-54 MEN MON-FRI 6a-10a
KSHE, WARH, KSLZ, KIHT, KMOX, KFTK, KPNT, KEZK, WIL, KSD, KMJM, KSLG, WHHL, KTRS, KYKY, WFUN, KLOU, WMVN, KATZ-FM, KFNS, KATZ-AM
25-54 WOMEN MON-FRI 6a-10a
Friday 10-17-08: Karmazin lays off SatRad guys ...
KYKY, KMJM, KEZK, WFUN, KSD, WIL, WARH, KSLZ, WHHL, WMVN, KMOX, KIHT, KLOU, KPNT, KSHE, KFTK, KATZ-AM, KATZ-FM, KFUO-FM, KTRS, KSLG
... makes them stand to non-competes as Mel dismantles XM.
The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher headlines his story “Washington’s loss: XM empties out”, and he says “no one really believed” what Mel Karmazin promised in June 2007 about the merger, that “it was very important for XM to continue...to be headquartered in Washington.”
And this: “We’ve even said we won’t have less employment here in the District than we already have.”
If that’s to remain true – Mel better hit Craigslist, and fast.
Fisher also hears the 80-persons-gone figure reported yesterday. And says that even the FCC probably suspected Mel “would dismantle XM and search for a path to profitability mainly by cutting costs – XM’s costs.”
Friday 10-17-08: Everything you always wanted to know ...
...about the KTVI/2 and KPLR/11 merger, you can read and comment on at our STLMedia MB. Who's in, who's out, who's abusing the unions, where and when the real estate and equipment moves will happen and where they're gonna park their helicopters.
Go here, register and then, once you're approved for membership (usually within 8 hours), dig into the relevant threads and make your mark, using the screen name of your choice.
Friday 10-17-08: McGraw screws the pooch ...
...KTRS' McGraw Milhaven's eleven o'clock hour
Thursday was a blatant ripoff of a Howard Stern bit from earlier this week, as he asked Obama supporters to call in and answer a series of rapid-fire questions such as, "Are you voting for Obama because he wants to keep troops in Iraq for many years to come?" and "Are you going to vote for him because of his choice of Sarah Palin as VP?"
Milhaven later explained he was just "curious" as to how much people really knew about who they were going to vote for.
I had exactly this same audio from Stern's show in my email just after it happened on Sirius.
I guess there aren't enough new talk radio ideas out there.
And that's why Milhaven's bulletproof, huh?
Friday 10-17-08: Not sure I understand this ...
... from my email: Please note that iChannel is looking for St. Louis fans of independent music to sign their online Petition for a local FM signal to compliment their website and HD Radio network - iChannel.fm and The iChannel HD Radio Network.
Interested parties and fans of the unsigned, independent musical groups and artists iChannel plays and supports should go to iChannel.fm to sign the petition.
For more information about iChannel's Petition Drive - please contact iChannel Program Director Ken Williams at (314) 983-6262 or email@example.com.
Here's the PDF of their press release.
iChannel is a division of Bonneville, and they're calling to create a new FM TerRad station to play indy music?
I think not. Frequency assignments are pretty much in place and there's not likely to be any new ones of consequence in the STL market.
More likely, this is a shill, a promotional device for a planned format change at The Arch, a format change at a station they'll acquire from another STL owner (maybe Y98?) or some changes on their online streams.
Please, Bonneville, we're not stupid. Nobody believes that petitions for such changes have any base in reality.
Friday 10-17-08: Joe Hipperson, recently dumped at KTRS ...
|Friday 10-17-08: The "Crazy Q" Has A Website ...|
... but they may be better served without it.
Images are above and at left; see it all here to get the full impact of AM1430.
Here's a brainstorm: if you use "cool" or "crazy" or "nutz" or "funny" in your positioning statements, you're probably not.
But they call themselves: The Kraziest bunch of Renegades on the Radio
today. They are truly nutz!
It'd be good if they could stream, just for the sake of the music, but that's expensive.
And with no sponsors, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
... will be doing an audition at KFNS/AM590 next Tuesday, the 21st. Here's his entry on the STLMedia MB:
I'm not sure how many people are still reading the boards of this post...but I'm coming back. Not to KTRS. Hipp Nights is a thing of the past...at least for now. In this business you never know. I'm launching an "audition" of a brand new show. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21st. From 6 - 8pm on...KFNS.
That was not a misprint. I'm not trying to be too secretive...but TRUST ME...Tuesday the 21st from 6 - 8 pm tune in to 590 AM and check out what I have in store...it's going to be a wild ride.
Friday 10-17-08: The Unknown Analyst is scheduled to return this weekend ...with in-demo analysis of the Summer Book. Stay tuned.
Thursday 10-16-08: Saw WIL's Cornpone & Brat's breadvan with its four Civil Defense speakers ...
... parked in front of Reynold's in Maryland Heights and discovered that they have a remote there Friday morning from 6-9AM.
If you're going (free breakfast for the first 100 in!), take a camera...send the photos here and we'll publish 'em.
I'd go but I don't want to take any attention away from the famous radio guys (and you all know what a HUGE public draw I am!) plus my good country music overalls are in the wash.
Thursday 10-16-08: Quincy/IL WxWizard ... Rich Cain sends along this wonderful piece on "the future of AM audio" as of 1991. Rich writes: I wanted to share with you a recording made by Herb Squire, former chief engineer at WOR & WQXR. He’s now working for an RF firm in New Jersey . ABC Radio sent this 20 minute program he created in 1991 ahead of a presentation Herb made before a broadcasters meeting that year. I found this in my archives recently. I hope you enjoy it & feel free to share.
Click on it and it'll begin to stream in your MP3 player. It's about 20 minutes long.
Thursday 10-16-08: Some great photos of KSD-TV from 1952 ... from Bob Dreste in Phoenix, by way of David Blair.
Bob writes: I hung out there regularly as a high school student back in the early 50's and was known to tag along when they set up for remotes at Sportsmans Park and the Veiled Prophet telecasts. The attached photos were taken by me in '52. I can't remember the name of the cowboy in pix #3 who hosted western films. You can see the brand of milk that sponsored him.
Thursday 10-16-08: Casey Van Allen's got three of the most successful ... radio stations at The Lake, and he's looking for salespeople for his KRMS, MiKE-FM and WENG. Send your resumes to Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Equal Opportunity Employer. And please mention STLMedia sent ya.
Wednesday 10-15-08: Mrs A is up this morning at 2AM ... and so am I, only to make sure she is, so Mrs A can join her Boss of Bosses on a roadtrip to her company's outlying plant in Sedalia to present their new 401k deal to employees there.
She's the company's Number's Lady (also a lot of other responsibilities).
Somebody else is driving and she's taking a pillow, so my bet is Mrs A will catch a nap there and back.
Having completed my job, I'm off to bed. So is Tasha.
Contact us later, if you need to, at a more civilized hour.
Wednesday 10-15-08:What happened to the gun pics, Mike?
Some critique from the Squirrel's domain:
What about finishing your "collection" for the future? My guess is you need prescription medication, not more guns. I think you have some serious emotional problems.
I think you also have moments of lucidity where you realize how crazy you appear in the eyes of normal folks, and that's why you have enough sense to remove your disturbing pics and posts.
Kind of like the whole " when I was in the Army I was strong and could pretty much handle anybody" post. Remember that one? After a bit of time you took that one down, too.
See a doctor, get on some leveling meds, get out and exercise, do something positive instead of living this delusional lifestyle you've adopted. Try to stop and ponder how crazy you appear, I beg you.
Boogedy, boogedy, I say. Boogedy boogedy.
Wednesday 10-15-08: Patty McPhillips injured on vacation ... from Secret Squirrel:
Patty McPhillips, longtime media employee in STL, currently at KTVI and formerly at KSDK, was seriously injured in a scooter/moped accident this past weekend.
Patty, while on vacation with her husband, former STLMPD Capt Steve Jacobsmeyer, were in Key West/FL where the accident occured. Details are sketchy but she was apparently "Life Flighted" from the accident scene to a hospital. I understand she has several broken bones. She is awaiting transfer back to STL as she recovers. Don't have much more info at this time.
Tuesday 10-14-08: The Travel Planners Radio Show ... is now on WRPW Cities 92.9 Talk FM in Bloomington-Normal/IL at 6AM Saturdays, starting 10/18/08. The McCarthy's look forward to servicing this area with fun, entertaining travel information. Any Southern Illinois stations having an interest may call Kevin McCarthy at 314-277-0330.
Tuesday 10-14-08: If you want to receive replies to emails from me ... you may need to add my base email address (email@example.com) to your address book. Web service providers are getting smarter and smarter about diverting suspected spam, and many will kick back email from addresses to which you've never written...and most of you send mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (which resolves to the sbc addy above).
|Tuesday 10-14-08: A big howdy to my fans at InsideSTL and Mick Flanderson's MySpace page ...|
They hate me, my websites, my (lazily) untrimmed thumbnails, my dog, the Squirrel and my politics. They hate that I enjoy target shooting and own a collection of handguns and they hate everybody who'll get to Social Security before them, 'cause we'll chew it up and leave them nothing. HA!
Their collective hate will keep my family warm for many Winters to come. They make me raff and they spread the good word of STLMedia. And that makes me happy.
The Cold Civil War mounts.
Weekend 10-11/12-08: Are things already falling apart at Bonneville's Sports/Talk 101?
|Monday 10-13-08: PR Maven Mary Hediger reminds us that today is ...|
... the 25th anniversary of the first commercial wireless call. It happened in Chicago on October 13, 1983, when Ameritech Mobile, a Verizon Wireless legacy company, initiated the first wireless phone call to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell from Soldier Field. That historic call marks the birth of a revolutionary, wireless form of communication and an industry that now generates more than $143 billion annually.
October 1983 also marked the introduction of the world’s first portable cell phone, a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. Dubbed the "brick" phone, it sported a $3,995 price tag, was 13 inches long and weighed in at a whopping 1 ¾ pounds. It also offered just one hour worth of talk time and eight hours of standby for every recharging.
And now we carry 3 oz phones that can connect worldwide, surf the web, text message and play music. Life is good.
The Christmas music plays on while, behind the scenes, BIC execs pedal furiously to make their January debut nuclear. But apparently there are some "issues" getting in the way. Secret Squirrel dug up this nugget:
"Coach K" at Bonneville's 101 must be wondering what on earth is going on. After Frank Cusamano opts to stay on at KFNS in mid-days instead of jumping to mornings at 101, and after the market is noticeably underwhelmed by the announcement of Randy Karraker as their new afternoon host, now this. Following a full summer of serious talks with the quite successful St. Louis Sports Magazine's Dave Greene and James Oelklaus, John Kijowski will soon learn that the two, instead of re-locating to the "palace on Ballas" where a symbiotic relationship was to begin, will instead return to rival KFNS where a similar arrangement will operate with Oelklaus overseeing sales.
It's difficult to understand why anyone would turn down an opportunity at a gazillion-watt FM and re-up with an AM you can barely hear at home west of the InnerBelt.
As we used to say in the 60's, "there's something happening here, what it is, ain't exactly clear."
Actually, I didn't say that then, but somebody did.
I'm starting to get the feeling that they're only half-serious about this project. The last thing any market needs is a cut-and-paste, two-thirds or three-quarters syndicated sports outlet with a plug-and-play NFL team, especially on a multi-million dollar optimized signal.
It's short-term, small-market thinking for a company with BIC's resources and goals and that's a recipe for disaster.
BigLeage vs. Bonneville: Whoda thunk BigLeague would still be ahead on points this close to the launch?
Weekend 10-11/12-08: I admit it, I'm a lurker ...
...at STL Coptalk and a few other law-enforcement MB's and discussion groups. On the 10th, in a comment called "Jaco Commentary," a poster presented his/her read on a recent interview done by the Fox2 reporter with new STL Police Chief Isom.
Looks like Chuckles J. might have done a little editing room magic and gotten nailed by someone who understands how legacy media
can will manipulate anything you say into what they want to have you say.
Memo to Mr. Jaco: futz around with politicians, military, shopkeepers, even guys who run dumb little media websites...but I'd strongly advise against pissing off the local PD, especially when you try to make the new Chief appear to express racially divisive sentiments. Just sayin'...
Weekend 10-11/12-08: Tasha's weekend pinup ...
Weekend 10-11/12-08: I took a lunch meeting Friday ...
...to consult one of the smartest young men I've met in twenty years.
The guy's a hard charger and a deep thinker and he physically vibrates while he pours out idea after idea.
He's already built and sold one successful company since university and he's way into his second.
He's fully funded and, while I can't get into specifics, I can tell you that what he's developing, in some old- and mostly new-media, is the single most exciting webthing I've run into in years.
The coolest thing is that it will begin in STL. And we'll be the first guy to tell you about it.
STL 25-34's need to keep their eyes for a link on this website for Web 3.0 multi-media programming that could change their lives. I mean that. This guy's ideas and instincts and resources are that good.
Weekend 10-11/12-08: Saving your newspaper ...
...From Reflections of a Newsosaur:
With desperate times demanding desperate measures, a growing number of newspapers are considering the most desperate measure of all: Skipping print editions on the days of the week when ad sales are the weakest.
It already has happened in McPherson, KS; Mesa, AZ; Gilroy, CA, and Cambridge, MD, according to Peter Zollman, who has been tracking the trend at Advanced Interactive Media Group.
Still, I was surprised to get a call recently from someone at a large metropolitan newspaper, who asked if I thought canceling the Monday edition would be a good idea.
“Well, it’s an idea,” I responded. “And it may prove to be the best one you come up with. But how about trying something less drastic, more creative and potentially far more profitable?”
Friday 10-10-08: Looks like Tina Dalpiaz might be The One ...
...to join KTRS' Large Morning Show In The Afternoon.
All due respect to the other "chicks" who have done their best in the past few weeks of tryouts with the legendary Frank O. Pinion, Tina just seems to be the most comfortable and best suited personality-wise.
Another good sign is that she will soon be receiving the coveted @frankopinion.com email proxy; that'll be in place by Monday PM.
When I worked with KTRS and I'd prowl the station looking for photos and stories for their website, I always made sure to stop off and chat with Tina in the newsroom. She was always fun to talk with and upbeat. Sounded great on the air back then, too. I had no idea Tina was still in town.
And as if that wasn't enough reason for her to celebrate, it turns out that Ms. Dalpiaz won a 2009 Camry recently in a Post-Dispatch coupon contest.
She's had a very good week!
Friday 10-10-08: Open letter to KMOV News ...
Very disappointed that KMOV gave such short and incomplete coverage to the Palin Abuse of Power story.
Had you not just used a rip'n'read story from a wire service, you'd have found this conclusion in the report:
I find that, although Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.
And if you'd actually read any part of the report you'd have also discovered that the alleged abuse had to do with the fact the Governor Palin did not do enough to restrain her husband from speaking to others about the problem with the Trooper in question.
I have the complete pdf file of the full report if you'd care to amend your story. Which I think you might, considering the story revolves around a VP candidate three weeks prior to the election. I'm sure that you'd want to be as fair as possible.
It might make a proper story with a local twist, considering there's this big ol' building downtown named after the last VP candidate railroaded out of the election on trumped up and, ahem, "expanded" charges.
Friday 10-10-08: Congrats to The Bull's Dusty Panhorst ...
Clear Channel's KSD morning show assistant and part-timer has been upped to the newly created position of Exec. Producer of the Craig Cornett Morning Radio Show.
"Dusty has been doing all of the work without any of the perks for two years. We decided he's earned vacation time and free teeth cleanings!" says PD Billy Greenwood.
Friday 10-10-08: Another legend passes ...
TV dance show host Lloyd Thaxton passed away last Sunday at the age of 81. Thaxton was also a writer, producer, television host and recording artist.
I don't remember where in the country I was living when I watched his show, but, as the linked article suggests, Thaxton was the Ernie Kovacs of teen TV shows.
He also had a small, strange creature on his show that may have been a contemporary (or perhaps a predecessor) of Johnny Rabbit's Bruno J. Grunion. Watch the video and you'll see. Lloyd Thaxton was a hoot.
Friday 10-10-08: Tell 'em and then tell 'em you told 'em ...
That's two of the three primary rules of promotion (the first one is "Tell 'em you're gonna tell 'em", but in this case that was not possible).
I didn't have a dog in this hunt, considering I live miles away from the area in which it happened. But it did draw me in, and, yes, Fox2 won the jackpot with their multi-media coverage. Thanks to KTVI Creative Services VP Kathryn Collett for sending me this image.
Friday 10-10-08: Yay for Christmas music ...
This morning, just after 12M, Movin' 101 became Christmas 101, just temporarily, I guess, until Bonneville rolls out Sports/Talk 101 after the first of 2009.
Personally, I'm very excited. Not because I like Christmas music all that much, but because it preempts Mark Edwards' annual Santa-thon orgy that would normally begin Thanksgiving or thereabouts. Maybe, just maybe, KEZK won't get that unwarranted Arbi-bump and Edwards will have less smugness to carry around.
Hey Mark: a little humility does a man good.
Thursday 10-09-08: On national(ized) healthcare ...
In the Summer of 1996, when I was 48, I had my second heart attack. I didn't know it was my second until tests showed scars from the first (and I remembered the event from a couple Winters before, after I knew the symptoms).
It felt like an elephant was standing on my chest. Shortness of breath. Pain radiating down my left arm. Sweats. Overall weakness. I'd been taking an aspirin a day for five or six years, because I'd heard that was the thing to do, and when a Tums or two didn't resolve the issue, I called 911.
I made sure the dogs (we had two then) were secure and I managed to get down the stairs and out to the driveway...
Read more and comment here.
Wednesday 10-08-08: Bloodbath at KTVI-2/KPLR-11 begins ...
Secret Squirrel delivers the bad news: The Local TV LLC axe swings in St. Louis. Around 20 people fired from KPLR / CW11 so far, with maybe 40 more to go. Notably gone--anchor Rick Edlund and weathercaster Keryn Shipman. Layoffs at KTVI/Fox 2 start Friday. Funny thing? Not one word in the local media about it. Except, of course, here at STLMedia, where we continue our offer for free space and bandwidth for resumes, demo tapes, etc.
The discussion's altready underway...comment here.
Wednesday 10-08-08: Newspapers in the news ...
The International Herald Tribune, owned by the New York Times, is dumping its website: The Times told staff in an internal e-mail Tuesday that the paper's flagship Web site will soon become host to news from sister paper the International Herald Tribune and that the Tribune's site will be shuttered. The move will require "hard decisions about jobs at the IHT," and the company is now looking to "reassign or relocate people," according to the memo.
Philadelphia and Minneapolis newspapers miss interest payments: The owners of Philadelphia's two major daily newspapers missed an interest payment once again as they seek a new agreement with lenders to account for the continuing decline they expect in advertising revenue. Philadelphia Media's missed payment of an unspecified amount, disclosed in a statement Friday, follows a decision by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis to skip a $9 million quarterly debt payment to save cash as it, too, tries to restructure its debt.
STL Journal papers go to paid subscriptions. I just hope that eliminates the trash in my driveway... Sorry, but this is doomed to failure. Comment here.
Wednesday 10-08-08: In case you've been out of pocket since Monday ... and as we predicted would occur a while back, Bonneville's soon-to-debut SportsTalk101.1 has hired Randy Karraker for PM drive. Here's the press release from Mary Hediger (who, by the way, is among the very best at what she does). There's already been discussion at the STLMedia MB; comment here.
Wednesday 10-08-08: NBC dumps digital channel Weather Plus ...
The network now says there isn't money to be made there. And so the four-year-old brand will go away, and 10 NBC-owned stations and 80 affiliates will be looking for other products to fill their local digital channels. Here's the text of the official memo:
From: Enriquez, Maria (NBC Universal)
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 3:08 PM
Subject: Message from NBC TV Affiliate Board President-Chairman Michael J. Fiorile
Last week, the NBC Television Affiliates Association Board unanimously decided to withdraw from and along with NBC, eventually dissolve the Weather Plus joint venture.
When the venture was launched, no one could have predicted the sale of the Weather Channel, let alone its timing or that NBC Universal would acquire it. We believe that the ongoing financial and distribution challenges facing Weather Plus made the venture no longer feasible.
Throughout this process, the interests of the affiliates have been effectively served by our Weather Plus board representatives -- Marci Burdick, Paul McTear and Dave Lougee. They will continue to work closely with NBC to resolve a variety of issues associated with unwinding the venture. We are all mindful that affiliates will need to plan for alternatives both in the short term and longer term. In addition, we will be investigating the possibility of some affiliate involvement in the Weather Channel moving forward.
As the world's first all-digital broadcast network, Weather Plus may be viewed as paving the way for future digital broadcasting ventures. We appreciate the dedication and professionalism contributed to the venture by the Weather Plus staff.
As developments unfold, we will keep you posted. In the meantime, we wanted you to be aware of this important development.
Michael J. Fiorile
NBC Television Affiliates Board Comment here.
Wednesday 10-08-08: Apologies for my absence ... Some of you who read here may remember that occasionally, maybe twice a year, a botched surgical procedure on my sinuses performed by a stoned Army doctor in 1971 re-delivers its painful wrath.
I believe that it occurs only when certain weather conditions exist; at least that's the only connection I've been able to make. Anyway, 36 hours later I'm well and whole and back to Feisty Level 1.
Monday 10-06-08: Many of the Really Smart Guys/3 ...
So why is there a difference between paper diaries and PPM results?
That's difficult to explain. We've known for years that paper diaries are filled in at the end of the survey week, using only recall.
We've also known that minorities were encouraged more financially to make these entries; paid as much as $5 to $1 for their entry. Why was there such a significant reward difference from Arbitron between white respondents and minority respondents?
It's because minorities were judged less inclined to pay attention to their written diaries and so the thought was if the ratings company paid more, they were more likely to get a better response.
Is that racist? Probably so.
Now we move on to PPM.
If they are to work, they have to be worn.
Within the last year, we've studied the use of PPM devices, and we've learned that Arbitron has delivered ratings lower than expected via PPM for minority stations.
If the ratings are to come, the respondents who listen to these stations have to wear the devices. Fact is, minorities cannot be counted on to wear the devices, or to plug them in to their base units to send the date back to Arbitron.
PPM devices specifically for minorities have been, within the past year, made in a wide variety of colors, presuming their use as "bling."
PPM is useful only for listeners who use them.
Is it racist? Probably, yes. But only in the most general sense. Comment here.
Monday 10-06-08: Many of the Really Smart Guys/2 ...
...NYAG Andrew Cuomo is threatening to sue Arbitron to block the Oct. 8 commercialization of PPM in the state, alleging the ratings firm has created "the misleading impression" that the PPM "is fair, reliable and fully represents the diversity of N.Y. radio markets."
His three-page letter, filled with serious allegations of "unlawful and deceptive acts and practices," argues that PPM "disparately impacts racial and ethnic minorities," in violation of state civil rights laws, which could "distort the marketplace and severely harm and possibly destroy minority broadcasting in New York."
Arbitron quickly responded: "After many years of market trials and almost two years of commercialization, the PPM is providing more timely and detailed insights into the behavior of radio audiences.
These insights have already been used with demonstrated success by radio programmers, including those at Urban and Spanish-language stations.
(The) PPM (is) supported by a majority of the radio industry. We intend to vigorously defend the company and its interests. We also fear that the radio industry will suffer continued harm and be placed at a competitive disadvantage if PPM is delayed further."
Besides New York, the metros of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and four others are scheduled to see their first PPM monthlies Oct. 8; they have no diary back-up. Arbitron stock fell 5% today.
OMG, they used the "R" word. Racist.
Here's why, from November 2007 in a NYC newspaper report:
"These numbers could put us out of business," said Vinny Brown, program director of WBLS. "And it's not just us. Listeners need to know this could threaten the future of black and Hispanic radio across the board."
Overall, the October Arbitron ratings put WLTW (106.7 FM) back at No. 1. WHTZ (100.3 FM) was a close second and WCBS-FM (101.1) a strong third, ahead of WAXQ (104.3 FM), WSKQ (97.9 FM) and a surprisingly strong WABC (770 AM).
Urban WRKS (98.7 FM) and WBLS (107.5 FM) fell sharply, as did WQHT (97.1 FM), WCAA (105.9 FM), WADO (1280 AM) and WPAT-FM (93.1) - reviving fears the new system undercounts black and Hispanic listeners.
Until this summer, Arbitron measured listening by having participants record it in diaries.
As of October, it switched to the "personal people meter" (PPM), with participants carrying an electronic recording device.
Under the diary system, WBLS was No. 1 among listeners 25 to 54, averaging 5.2% of the audience.
In the first PPM ratings, WBLS was No. 12, averaging 3%.
WBLS's afternoon Wendy Williams show, Brown noted, fell from No. 1 out of the top 10.
"We have some concerns," said Frank Flores, general manager of Hispanic WSKQ and WPAT-FM. "I'm a big believer in a more accurate count, but I don't know that we're there yet."
"It's a way for everyone to get used to it," said Thom Mocarsky, senior vice president at Arbitron.
WBLS isn't reassured yet.
"In 65 years in radio," said Hal Jackson, vice president of WBLS' parent, Inner City, "I've never seen anything like this."
Racist results, I guess. Really? Or not?
More later. Comment here.
Monday 10-06-08: Back story on the Westwood news and traffic cutbacks ...
Tom Taylor delivered the news on Friday:
That “re-engineering” Tom Beusse talks about will have real consequences at the dozens of local operations centers that will be shut down – and for stations who may have to break in new talent which isn’t familiar with local place names or bottlenecks.
Just for one example: Current ops centers like Charlotte are rumored to be closing, with the traffic reporting functions to be handed off to Atlanta. And – get this – news and sports would be done for Charlotte out of Metro’s bureau in Phoenix.
This isn’t only radio, you know – it’s also television reports that will be re-sourced between now and June 2009. There’s no doubt that Westwood is radically re-thinking its nationwide collection of 60 operations centers, and shrinking that down to 13 “regional hubs.”
One of the many questions is whether and how it may offer talent the chance to re-locate from local markets to a regional hub. (Like, whether there will be assistance with moving expenses.) This will be messy.
Monday 10-06-08: Many of the Really Smart Guys ...
...say that the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) that is slowly and with great effort introducing into markets is the wave of the future, light years beyond paper diaries.
Can't disagree with that at all. Anything is better than the diary system, and the PPM offers great advantages. First and foremost, it appears to be accurate way beyond remembered, written entries made as long as a week after the fact, recording listening by listening to what you listen to, presuming that the stations you use are properly encoded.
It is a great idea, moving ratings technology from analog to digital and into the 21st Century in one fell swoop.
But there is one huge problem with it, the same problem that existed with the hand-entered diaries, a problem that no one wants to discuss out loud, privately or publicly.
Trust me, this is not just an 800-pound gorilla. It's an 800-TON gorilla and until it's accepted as a problem and the issue can be resolved, and I'm not sure that it can ever be resolved, the PPM will languish as just one more good idea gone bad.
And depending on the way things go on November 4th, it could very well eventually put Arbitron out of business forever. Really.
More later, as Al Fleishman used to say.
Monday 10-06-08: The man whose voice you can't ignore ...
...gets some ink on the occasion of his 50th anniversary in "da biz." Sincerest congrats and best wishes to our buddy, KXOK and WHB (and voiceover) legend Richard Ward Fatherley.
Monday 10-06-08: So this guy comes home after a 14-month deployment in the War ...
...canine ecstasy ensues. The pups never forget...Tasha's like this when I come back from getting the mail at the curb!
Monday 10-06-08: Bob Heil & Stan Kann ...
...from reader Jerry Bielicke: Last year on October 28, 2007 I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing two greats. Stan Kann and Bob Heil. They were both at the Lincoln Theater in Belleville IL. The occasion was Bob Heil's release of his new cd "Bob Heil At Home"... With Special Guest Appearance by Stan Kann. I videotaped the performance and took some photos. I have attached a few of the photos. Bob commented that it was way too long since the two had shared an organ bench. Feel free to attach them to the item of Bob remembering his friend Stan. I feel there has not been enough published on our St. Louis treasure ... Stan Kann.
Weekend 10-04/05-08: Happy birthday to our MB's biggest hitter...
... Sid Dithers is closing in on the Big Five-Oh. Not quite there yet, but close enough to worry about it.
Love ya, Old Man!
Weekend 10-04/05-08: Free bandwidth for unemployed media types...
Take a look at the sub-site (Jobs Wanted) linked up and to the left. STL radio, tv and print people have free audio and video bandwidth to display their wares available here. Click on the link to find out how.
Weekend 10-04/05-08: Mrs. A elected Regional Chief Executive ...
... of her professional organization. I am now required to address her as Madame President but may occasionally be allowed to share leftover meals from her Executive conferences. Them metal industry chicks eat very well...
Friday 10-03-08: What's going on at Clear Channel?
Secret Squirrel hears that their sales reps are spreading the word that Emmis' 105.7 (The Point) is going All Talk. How much sense would that make?
Thursday 10-02-08: Luntz post-debate A-B HQ research video ...
Wednesday 10-01-08: Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, loves her some Sarah ...
Previous entries back to 2003 are available here.