Previously on The Front Page...Jan/Feb/Mar 2009

Tuesday 03-31-09: Bonneville tosses Toasted Rav staff and others ...
   It appears that the highly-touted ToastedRav.com experiment is over. Up to nine folks, across the departments, have either been let go or moved to part-time status. It is, of course, all about the Benjamins.
    Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-31-09: Neither fish nor fowl ...
   Vic Porcelli & Mark Klose will team up with Brian McKenna to form the new mid-day show on 1380.
   If Secret Squirrel got this right, this will be either interesting listening or a bodacious boondoggle.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-31-09: Winter Arbitron, Phase II is out ...
   Discussion on 12+ numbers is going on here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-31-09: This can't possibly be true ...
   Secret Squirrel hears about a local TV news director who was told by the station's GM to shut off all the scanners in the newsroom for a day - too much crime reporting...go out and get some news.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-30-09: Three laptops upstairs, two desktops downstairs, all always on ...
   I don't much care about the carbon issue, but it does make sense to me to shut the systems down on a semi-regular basis for the whole reboot benefit. I will from now on.
   All the power wasted while computers are sitting idle overnight adds up, and one study has finally tried to measure it. The tally: An estimated $2.8 billion wasted on excess energy costs each year in the U.S. alone.
   Well, ho, freakin' ho.

Weekend 03-28/29-09: This time, it only took the P-D a month ...
   ... to catch up with STLMedia on the KFUO-for-sale-by-the-Missouri-Synod story we ran back on March 3.
   Was our report as detailed as the P-D's? Nope. Didn't have to be.
   The details were filled in on our MB (link below) by Church members and industry observers. Let's call it participatory journalism.
   Isn't it a little bit amazing that a multi-gazillion dollar newspaper enterprise is constantly scooped on Media by a 60-year old guy sitting at a laptop in a sweatshirt and jeans for a few hours a day?
   Dang, I loves me this whole innertubes thang!
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-28/29-09: Secret Squirrel has dug into the STL P-D ...
   ... and come up with truly remarkable info about Lee Publishing's short- and long-term plans for one of the most historic newspapers in the US.
   I can't dish it quite yet, but stay tuned, as they say, for all the skinny on what has transformed from a newspaper into a tall magazine printed on cheap paper.

Weekend 03-28/29-09: And as for the STL Beacon ...
   ... you know, that alternative news site put together by Post-Dispatch castoffs, that purports to be a Gathering of Equals?
   Seems that the Beacon just ain't what it purports to be...some of those castoffs are considerably more equal than others.
   I'm putting together a piece from a variety of sources, some of which were printed and then tossed into the Memory Hole, and some of which are from first hand experiences.
   Self-styled intellectuals always make me raff. I think they'll make you raff, too.

Weekend 03-28/29-09: Who killed newspapers?
   This essay, by the late John Walter, names three of the unusual suspects.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-28/29-09: From the Palace Near Ballas ...
   Secret Squirrel snuck past the intense security and overheard this:
   Could Jason Barrett be on his way out already at WXOS? Rumor around the sports media circles is that Bernie Miklasz made it very clear he would never want to work with Barrett who is known for hanging over the shoulder of air talent and being very hands-on. With Miklasz moving to 101 - and the deal supposedly done without Barrett's involvement - could John K. finally be learning what everyone knew long ago - that Barrett is something less than presented?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-28/29-09: Talk radio legend Larry Glick dies ...
   A pioneer of the format, Glick died Thursday in Florida of complications following open heart surgery, said Peter Casey, director of news and programming at WBZ radio, where Glick spent much of his career.
   Larry Glick was 87 and in retirement had lived in Boca Raton, FL.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-28/29-09: NBC newsman Irving R. Levine passes ...
   Irving R. Levine, the bow-tied NBC newsman who explained the fine points of economics to millions of viewers for nearly a quarter century, has died. He was 86.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-28/29-09: Winter Storm Watch this weekend ...
   Predictions of anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow Saturday night.
   Follow the link below to (a) see how the Weather Kids did in their predictions and (b) tell us how STL Media outlets covered the coming terror.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Thursday 03-26-09: Well, this sucks ...
    Former KTRS'er Larry Cotlar is on the beach in Des Moines for no reason after somebody else cursed on the air.
   All-sports KXNO/DesMoines has fired morning co-hosts Larry Cotlar and Geoff Conn, and afternoon driver Marty Tirrell. It was Tirrell who thought the mic was off during a commercial break and who ripped off a string of expletives about the way tickets and press passes were handled for a high school basketball tournament.
   Tirrell says "I have been eager to publicly apologize. Specifically, I would like to apologize to Larry Cotlar for the way I treated him. He deserved better. I would also like to apologize to anyone who heard the comments on the radio, to Bud Legg and the IHSAA, and to Clear Channel for the embarrassment I have caused them."
   Larry Cotlar says “I am saddened and deeply disappointed with Clear Channel’s decision to terminate my employment after all my years of service [eight years], over an unfortunate incident which I did not initiate nor had any knowledge was being broadcast over the airways.”
   Clear Channel management blows.
   Yes, I know it's a physical impossibilty to both suck and blow at the same time, but CC can do it.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Thursday 03-26-09: It's a mitzvah ...
   OldDog Randy Raley may have found his forever home at KTTS/KSGF Springfield MO, where, starting 1 April, he'll begin selling and then, a few weeks later, he'll add on a 4PM-6PM local talk show.
   Raley grew up about 50 miles from Springfield and he feels like he's home.
   I wish him all the good fortune I can dig up for this venture.
   Randy's been around the horn enough in the past few years that he ought to be able to settle down comfortably in a farmyard like this.
   Hope the Journal deal works out for him; God knows he's earned it.

Thursday 03-26-09: STL City Alderman Charles Troupe ...
   Late last year, Alderman Troupe suggested that city residents arm themselves because, he said, he was told by STL Police that they "didn't have the manpower" to protect them. Troupe's followed through with that, signing up city residents for firearms safety courses and helping them with CCW permit aps.
   Good for him.
   Couple that with the story aired on KMOV last night that featured citizens, city officials and police saying they expect the whirlwind of a bad economy and a hot STL Summer to make the already growing trend of city violence to increase and you've got what we in the 'burbs call "an issue."
   It's why I won't visit my son in the City or, in fact, drive East of the Inner Belt, without legally carrying a healthy dose of Bad Guy repellent. I won't go into the City without it; hell, there are a lot of places I won't go in the County without it and the permit that allows me to defend myself.
   Looks like that "situational awareness" training I got in the Army all those years ago is coming handy once more. Peripheral vision is everything.
   For God's sake, people, what's wrong with this picture? Why should we be told to be afraid like this in our hometowns?
   I repeat what I've said many times: I will not be a victim.
   Nor should you.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-25-09: Borders' stores are goners?
   Sure hope not. But when I read this this morning I took the stack of Borders' gift cards in my wallet and ran to the store on Olive.
   Inventory was about as depleted as it had been just after Christmas. Believe me, when I go into a bookstore with cash and can't find more than a half-dozen paperbacks to buy, and no movies or CD's worth my investment, I fret.
   I burned off as much as I could and passed the remainder along to Mrs. A to add to hers, telling her to get there asap. I wish them luck.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-25-09: AFTRA's pension plan takes a huge hit ...
   From The Hollywood Reporter:
   National president Roberta Reardon sent a letter to AFTRA members over the weekend explaining coming changes in the union's health and retirement funds designed to protect the pension plan during the downturn. AFTRA's pension-plan investments, run by Segal Advisors in Boston, lost 23.4% of their value in 2008, coming down from a peak of about $2 billion.
   I was surprised to learn from the article that there are only about 7000 members actively partaking in AFTRA pension benefits. Seems low for a union that's been around for all these years, doesn't it?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-25-09: NPR stations ratings jump by almost half since 2000 ...
   Presumably that includes STL's NPR station, KWMU at UMSL.
   From The Washington Post:
   The audience for NPR's daily news programs, including "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," reached a record last year, driven by widespread interest in the presidential election, and the general decline of radio news elsewhere. Washington-based NPR will release new figures to its stations today showing that the cumulative audience for its daily news programs hit 20.9 million a week, a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
   The weekly audience for all the programming fed by Washington-based NPR -- including talk shows and music -- also reached a record last year, with 23.6 million people tuning in each week, an 8.7 percent increase over 2007.While almost every news organization saw its audience spike during the political campaign last year, NPR's surge continues a trend that goes back to at least the fall of 2000, when the organization began aggregating audience data from hundreds of affiliated public stations across the country. NPR saw a big audience increase after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has added listeners since. Its audience has grown 47 percent since 2000, according to figures from Arbitron.

   Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-24-09: Why I love dogs ...

Tuesday 03-24-09: Answering station email ...
   Mike:
   Do you know anything about KTRS dropping the Gil Gross (former Paul Harvey Show)? I always made sure I was out of the shower by 7:28am to listen to PH at 7:30 on KTRS. I called KTRS and was connected to a “Lauren” who wouldn’t give her last name who stated “The decision was made by management, and it is final”.
   I told her I would listen less since they no longer have the News and Comment. She didn’t care. She said ABC was replacing Gil Gross with Mike Huckabee. I replied that would be great, put him on, I would love to listen to a conservative voice, like Paul Harvey was.
   She repeated the mantra about “The decision was made by management, and it is final.” Do you know anything about this?
   Thanks, Tom

   Tom, the ABCRadio website offers no links to a show by Gil Gross or Doug Limerick, both of whom have subbed in the past for the late Mr. Harvey. They do feature a show by Governor Mike Huckabee, presented in mornings, middays and afternoons.
   Net affiliates, such as KTRS, may run such shows as they feel fit for their programming.
   I apologize for the brusque treatment you received from the station. That was undeserved.
   Lauren, c'mon. Be nice, huh?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-24-09: 101ESPN pulls a KTRS ...
    ...just as KTRS did before they yanked the Redbird rights from KMOX:
   Bonneville's FM sports entry will begin a Cardinals' pre-game show, St. Louis Baseball Tonight, beginning on Cardinals Opening Day, April 6, 2009. The station's pre-game show will be hosted by Brian Feldman.
   St. Louis Baseball Tonight will air one hour prior to all Cardinal games and will feature St. Louis baseball highlights, audio comments from Cardinals players and coaches, along with in-depth conversation regarding the Redbirds and MLB.
   Press release here.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-23-09: I've been subscribing for some time ...
   ...to Roy Williams' Monday Morning Memo.
   Roy, out of Austin TX, styles himself as The Wizard of Ads and delivers his wisdom weekly. Sometimes it leaves me cold, but often he hits the ol' nail directly. This week was one of those nail-on-the head times.
   With non-copywriters writing most of the radio copy these days, Roy's Ten Things Never To Do In Your Advertising is an important read.

Monday 03-23-09: V/O wizard Dave Morris has needs ...
   He writes:
   Would you know of anyone who has a Telos One table-top or rack mount telephone hybrid for sale? I need another one for the studio!
   Email Dave

Monday 03-23-09: Can I haz chzbrgr lots of cash?
   From Fortune:
   What will stimulate spending? Advertising!
    Former radio programmer and AOL and MTV exec Bob Pittman writes ... The government's stimulus plan won't work as planned if we don't get consumers spending again. But in the nearly $800 billion package, there is one thing missing that would surely help accomplish this: advertising. To get people spending again, and the economy moving, the government needs to provide help for businesses in America to advertise their products and services.
   Okay, here's my plan: $10million for me to advertise this website, which will suddenly include a series of banner and tower and text ads for a select group of clients, on STL radio and tv, along with a healthy 75% commission for my ad agency, which happens to be 33%-owned by Son Jason and Daughters Jennifer, Anna and Sabra.
   And 67%-owned by Tasha, the STLMedia Watchdog.
   Yeah. It works!
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-23-09: Gannett seeks second employee furlough ...
   From the BizJournal:
   Gannett Co. Inc., which is already mandating a one week of unpaid furlough for most of its employees this quarter, has ordered another unpaid furlough for many employees in the second quarter.
   The parent of KSDK-TV in St. Louis will also temporarily cut salaries for some of its higher-paid employees. Lynn Beall, president and general manager of KSDK, was unavailable for comment, an assistant said.

   The company's earnings have fallen 36%, has cut jobs at USA Today and its community newspapers and slashed its shareholder dividend and their stock has fallen 90% over the past year.
   The big question is not whether the furloughs are necessary but whether or not the unions will cooperate.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-23-09: Radio One kicks Douglass off the bus ...
   Secret Squirrel reports: Radio One/St. Louis' Market VP/GM Michael Douglass, out as of 3/19 and Chris Wegmann, most recently from Cox/ATL, in. Why? Michael turned these properties around and they're the only sticks in the company making budget?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-23-09: Did Bonneville buy out Bernie?
   Secret Squirrel thinks so: Bonneville apparently paid Simmons BIG BUCKS on top of Bernie's contract to buy him out. Desperation on the part of Johnny K already?? 1380 was told by corporate that if they didn't sell off Bernie they had to shut down as they were out of money. So, desperation on Simmons part as well?? Kevin Slaten now doing drive-time on 1380 and they are still not paying him a salary.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-23-09: SF Chronicle to go non-profit?
   Isn't that how they got into this mess on the first place?
   From The BizJournals:
   Investment banker Warren Hellman and other prominent San Francisco business leaders made an overture last week to owners of the San Francisco Chronicle about helping the troubled daily paper become a nonprofit, San Francisco attorney and power broker Bill Coblentz told the Business Times.
   The proposal would be for a nonprofit corporation “to take over the Chronicle,” with Hearst Corp. continuing to provide some philanthropic support, Coblentz said. Details remain sketchy. It’s unclear if the proposal is being seriously considered.
   On March 7, members of the Chronicle’s unit of the California Media Workers Guild agreed to job and benefit cuts required by management after Hearst Corp. said, without concessions, it would sell or fold the paper “within weeks.” The paper has reportedly been losing money at a rate of $1 million or more a week for the past several years.

   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-21/22-09: Former KTRS'er Larry Cotlar involved ...
   ...in a radio F-bomb controversy in, of all places, Des Moines.
   I find it difficult to believe that he has any culpability in this mess. I knew Larry pretty well when he was here and he was one of the least confrontational types I've ever come across in the radio biz.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-21/22-09: Sam Zell wants his Dick back ...
   That would be what Zell claims to be his tv and movie rights (via the bankrupt Tribune Company) in the comic strip Dick Tracy.
   Read more here and here.
   Seems Zell thinks Warren Beatty, who bought the strip's rights for his horrible 1990 movie, hasn't done enough to preserve them and they might be worth a gazillion bucks and maybe save The Trib or something.
   Yup, it stinks like B.O. Plenty.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Friday 03-20-09: In my 40+ years of radio experience ...
   I don't believe that I've ever seen a format launch handled more badly than Bonneville has with their ESPN101 in the past three months.
   They've taken a gazillion-watt FM, on which the company's spent millions to increase its signal, loaded it up with a syndicated morning show (when they should have gone local, with JC or FOP) and crawled their way through the addition of local talent through PM drive, recycling used-up local talent when they had the opportunity to bring in a few new guys.
   Yeah, I know the hooey about STL listeners hating outsiders, but quality talent can always prevail. I've watched it happen time and again over my years here, there and everywhere.
   Then the company buried what should have been a stand-out local website in the once well-developed but now mish-mash of ToastedRav.com.
   ESPN101 is an embarassment to Bonneville. But it's fixable, on the air and online.
   Whether or not the company's local management has the gas and smarts to get it right is what's in question.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Friday 03-20-09: I told you this was the future ...
   And I said it five or six years ago. Now the pundits are in on the secret:
   It’s the inexorable spread of mobile broadband – WiMax is coming to a car near you.
   by Tom Taylor
   The FCC just approved phone company IDT’s application for spectrum along the Gulf Coast and in Colorado. And where they’re headed is broadband that can keep your WiFi or WiMax phone logged on at high speed as you’re driving down the Interstate.
   That could also feed a laptop or any other Internet device placed in a car. (In fact, I saw a cab driver at the RAB in Orlando who has a laptop mounted next to the driver’s seat, with a $40-a-month Aircard plugged into it. He watches movies while he’s waiting, checks his email for potential customers and monitors the weather.)
   IDT sees the future (at least part of it), and it’s mobile broadband with WiMax range that should be well beyond that of current WiFi hot spots. So “radio” moves closer to becoming “IP radio.” Are local radio brands strong enough to survive the transition and compete?

   Comment here (Registration required).

Friday 03-20-09: Bernie Miklasz jumps to ESPN101 ...
   Here's the dispatch from Secret Squirrel:
   Miklasz had through July on his contract but 1380 desperately needed to dump a big salary and Coach K always envisioned Bernie as a major cog in his operation.
   Paris and Burwell shave down to 10-12 while Miklasz will occupy noon to 2. No word on whether Brian McKenna, who had just moved into the co-host position with Bernie a few weeks ago, will stay on at 1380.

   Comment here (Registration required).

Thursday 03-19-09: Coming Monday on Y98 ...
   From Tom Taylor:
   Guy Phillips has been on the air in St. Louis for 30 years this month – and more than that, he’s been on the same station for that entire three-decade stretch. The station is hot AC KYKY (98.1) and Guy’s been doing funny stuff in the mornings since March 1979.
   The station says “the Y98 Phillips & Company Show is at the top of the competition as the #1 morning show in St. Louis.”
   Programmer Mark Edwards has something something important to say about the connection between talent and the community – “Guy has endorsed a long list of advertisers, executed thousands of promotions and played every funny jingle” as well as played all the popular music of the time.
   CBS Radio market manager John Sheehan applauds what Guy “gives back to the St. Louis community” and says he regularly makes over 100 appearances a year. The big official 30th anniversary will be Monday morning, March 23.

   Wonderful. They cut his salary in half and gave him a party instead for his three decades of service and dedication to the community he's loved so much over the years. Maybe they'll give him some wine in a box, too.
   Can I haz prty?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Thursday 03-19-09: Marty Bronson passes ...
   The entertainer, TV personality, newspaper columnist and Gaslight Square saloon-keeper died yesterday at 79.
   If I'm not mistaken, Marty was also the voice of Shop'n'Save's talking grocery bag for many years on TV. I always thought that would have been a great gig to tell your kids and grandkids about.
   Bronson was a major thread in the fabric of the STL entertainment and media communities for a long, long time. He will be missed.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-18-09: Those of you who know me ...
   ... know that The Anderson Family has always opened their hearts and homes to the adoption of older dogs, giving them the love and care they deserve, often after mistreatment.
   Tasha, our "Aussie Cow Dog," came to us from the Humane Society a year and a half ago and has become a treasured and loving part of our family. I'm her human and don't ever forget that!
   After the recent loss of his dear Ruca to illness, Son Jason is looking for a new buddy. He'll probably adopt from StrayRescue of St. Louis and I think that's a wonderful thing.
   If you're looking for a pet, follow Jason's lead.

Wednesday 03-18-09: You know about The STL Beacon, right?
   It's a website "dedicated to core values of journalism," created and written by former STLP-D employees. It includes "news that's important to the region through the lens of the Web."
   Podcasts, videos, RSS feeds (it's in my reader), blogs, Facebook and Twitter presence and everything.
   The content overall is Lefty-oriented, but it's a must read if you're interested in a fair review of news.
   There are no ads; it's reader supported by donations. The site declares that it's non-profit, but somebody has to pay the bills. And eventually some of these people will have to be paid.
   The site is built with open-source Joomla, as is the KTRS website.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-18-09: Tom Calhoun moves closer ...
   ... to being supported by his actor son:
   Update from Hollywood. Stewart has been hired to the cast of The Eves. It's a horror flick that will shoot in southeast Texas in April and May. Release? It's a full-length feature that hopefully will be at a theater near you sometime within the next year. This will be one of those pics that has no real star. In fact, it's unlikely you will have heard of any of the lead actors.
   But the big thing for Stew is that it's a real, honest-to-badness slasher flick. Not that I advocate, or really enjoy, that sort of entertainment. But it definitely harbors the opportunity for upward career movement for our guy.

   Read and comment here.

Wednesday 03-18-09: Seattle Post-Intelligencer drops print edition ...
   From MediaPost: What wasn't mentioned, however, is the massive cutback in staff, which will leave the newsroom a ghost of its former self. The P-I had 181 employees, but the Web site will employ about 20 in the newsroom operation and another 20 to sell ads, per the AP. That leaves The Seattle Times, as the sole mainstream daily in the city.
   One of the big questions hanging over the Seattle P-I, and the newspaper industry in general, is whether newspaper Web sites can continue to attract the same number of readers if they are deprived of content generated for the print edition. The reporters retained for the online-only version can increase their output to a point, but it will be difficult to match the sheer volume produced in the past.

   What also goes unmentioned is how the online edition plans to monetize itself...that's 21st Century-speak for "how to make a profit."
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-18-09: Hold me back ... it's an eight-hour radio remote from 101ESPN! And on a weekday!
   101 ESPN is hosting a LIVE Broadcast all day long this coming Thursday 3/19 at Pujols 5 in West Port Plaza. From 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, the NCAA college hoops action, stats and scores will be debated and reported by both the "Parris & Burwell" team of Pat Parris and Bryan Burwell, and "The Fast Lane" Show with Randy Karraker, D'Marco Farr and Bob Ramsey.
   Let's all go! Will there be free hot dogs, key chains and t-shirts? Remote swag is my life, after all.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-17-09: Deanne Lane leaving KSDK/5 in May ...
   That's the news Secret Squirrel brought home this afternoon: Deanne Lane's been told her contract will not be renewed when it's up in May. Gannett appears to be willing to destroy audience continuity and toss Deanne's longevity and credibility in an attempt to save money. It's unknown who will be her lower cost replacement.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Tuesday 03-17-09: Jay Murray out at KWRE/KFAV ... just weeks after receiving state-wide sports honors and a few days after the station celebrated its 60th anniversary. The 14-year veteran was a victim of falling revenues.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-16-09: Former STL country DJ Jason Pullman ...
   ... is probably the new CC syndie star.
   I don't remember this guy at all on the air here, but Tom Taylor says he's the next big thing. What the heck do I know?
   Pullman went to HS with Ryan Seacrest, followed him on the air in LA and is now taking over the Bull's morning show in Atlanta from LA.
   Watch this carefully: all CC country stations will have Pullman as their morning show within three months.
   Make your own jokes.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-16-09: A buddy of mine, a successful photojournalist ...
   ... is taking classes in his midlife to become an undertaker.
   Ed says that he's always been intrigued by the business, and that it offers opportunities that few other careers can. Apparently, lots of others agree.
   Ed's working part-time while he's in school at STLCC for a guy I had on the air years ago at KTRS, talking about cremation, which is, I should add, my plan for myself when all that comes to pass. Enough info, huh?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-16-09: Baseball, TV and why Disneyworld isn't in STL ...
   On this day in STL history...
   -- 1881: Politician and saloon owner Chris von Der Ahe announced he had leased the old Grand Avenue Ballpark. He would buy the Browns for $6,500. He was not a baseball man, but realized the return of professional baseball would be good for business at his saloon. Von Der Ahe is one of the most colorful characters in St. Louis baseball history. He ran an amusement park at the stadium, paraded his players through the streets before games and fined them for poor play.
   -- 1953: The American League turned down Bill Veeck's request to move the Browns to Baltimore, a move calculated to drive him out of the league. Veeck promptly started selling his stock to a Baltimore syndicate. By the end of the season, the Browns were history.
   -- 1958: The call letters of KWK, Channel Four, were changed to KMOX TV. CBS had taken over in February 1957 in a four-million-dollar deal. CBS gave up the rights to Channel Eleven, for which it had been granted a construction permit.
   -- 1964: Walt Disney unveiled plans for an entertainment complex on the St. Louis riverfront. He emphasized it was not an amusement park. The plans fell through when St. Louis interests insisted that Walt allow beer to be sold. He refused and Gussie Busch blasted him. A miffed Disney soon began plans for a complex near Orlando.
   Betcha didn't know that! But Joe Sonderman did!
   More of his STL daily history here!
   And you're not using these free files on your show, why?

Monday 03-16-09: Bullish on the future of news ...   That's the word from acclaimed science writer Steven Johnson. But, he adds...
   "I am not bullish on what is happening in the newspaper industry; it is ugly and it is going to get uglier. Great journalists are going to lose their jobs and cities are going to lose their newspapers."
   Read it all here.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-16-09: KETC profiles Bob Heil ...
Monday 03-16-09: B101 Philly drops net streaming, right now ...
    ... Tom Taylor will likely lead with this in his Monday morning newsletter:
   WBEB owner Jerry Lee says “streaming is not a viable business option”, and others will be watching his example. Lee says “the excessive SoundExchange rates don’t work for artists, for local stations, or for listeners.” Lee – who’s led numerous industry trends over the past decades – says “It’s puzzling why SoundExchange would want to destroy a potential growth business opportunity for the artists it purports to represent.” He runs the numbers from the new NAB/SoundExchange deal out to the end of the deal and estimates that by 2015, about half the revenue B101 would be generating form streaming music online would go to SoundExchange in fees. He’s pulling the plug as of Sunday, March 15.
   Read Jerry DelColliano's take on this and discover how Lee thinks his listeners will follow his station offline.
   How long before your music station gets smart and follows suit?
   Years ago, when the AFTRA deal erupted, I wrote how idiotic it was to stream when the industry let a labor union dictate the content and foul the ratings. Online listeners are nice but don't bring much to the party.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-14/15-09: Great Jonnie King news ...
   Our dear friend, hurt badly in a driveway auto accident months ago, has been cleared for regular duty by his orthopedic and oral surgeons.
   His shattered shoulder and jaw, each rebuilt by a skilled surgical staff, have healed...and Jonnie's back on the road, too.
   His vehicle has been fully restored to use.
   Jonnie sounds great on the phone and I expect that he'll be in great spirits when he joins us for the STLMedia Meeting on the 27th.
   Thanks to all who've helped Jonnie with his medical bills and with his get-around needs while he was hobbled.

Weekend 03-14/15-09: St. Patty's Day is Tuesday ...
    ... we'll celebrate it here at the Manse Saturday with family, quietly and with less cabbage which means, well, you know.
   A big slab of corned beef, boiled to within an inch of its life and seasoned as prescribed, boiled red potatoes, buttered and parslied, and coleslaw.
   Lots of Illinois horseradish.
   And beer, of course. Much beer.
   Probably too much beer.
   St. Patrick would be proud of us, the way we drive the snakes away.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-14/15-09: God bless industrial mutation ...

Weekend 03-14/15-09: Is STL about to get Amp'd?
   Dunno. Robert Lynch, who has a G-Mail account and a NYC mailing addy at 1 Astor Place (a flatiron building with hundreds of offices and probably a snail-mail proxy addy service), has registered the Amp981.com and 981Amp.com domains at GoDaddy.
   CBSRadio has made a big thing of the launch of their 97.1 Amp Radio in LA, and, yes, what a woundrous multi-media thing it is.
   After more than 300 years in the (yawn) AC format, Y98 is a tired, burned out sig and God knows the market could use some excitement.
   And the only station that CBSRadio owns on that frequency is right here in River City.
   Is CBS getting ready to pull the trigger on something new in STL?
   One can only hope...
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-14/15-09: Sam Zell picked the wrong day to ...
    ... buy newspapers and tv stations! His Chicago and LA papers are headed down the shredder faster than you can run and are said to be for sale...again. And then there's that whole Oakhill thang:
    From Broadcasting & Cable:
   Moody’s analyst Karen Berckmann said she sees no improvement in conditions for broadcast station groups on the credit rating’s list of firms most likely to default on their debt.
   Moody’s released its quarterly, “Bottom Rung,” list early this week and the Bottom 19 includes the Oakhill Capital Partners’ which acquired a group of Fox owned stations under the subsidiary name, FoxCo Acquisition Sub. When companies default on their debt they can decide to go into bankruptcy before missing their payments, others renegotiate the debt at higher interest rates and some put the For Sale sign out.

   This only increases the career uncertainty for those at the 2/11 combo here. Ted Koplar is counting his money somewhere and laughing heartily at the ineptitide of Zell and his band of tiny little buddies.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-14/15-09: Kent Hall on the beach ...
   Kent, Ass't OM and production & imaging director (among other things) at Simmons' KSLG/WFFX combo was released last week.
   So how many paid employees are left there?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Weekend 03-14/15-09: Yes, Friday was the 13th ...
   Thursday evening, Jason stopped by to do laundary and commiserate on the loss of Ruca. We sat up talking until 4AM and then I had to record a VT for a client. Shut the heater down to cut noise and when I was done the heater wouldn't come back online.
    At 6AM I apologized to Mrs A for the temp and went to bed. At 2PM, called HVAC buddy Jim Richardson who showed up within 30 minutes and fixed the grief quickly.
   It's always something...

Wednesday 03-11-09: The ultimate contest pig ...
   From The London Times:
   An obsessed woman with a knack for winning radio competitions has been fined and banned from phone-in contests after winning prizes worth more than £200,000 using fake names and false addresses.
   Bernadette Hurst was so successful at scooping the cash awards, holidays and electrical goods that she fell foul of competition rules forbidding more than one win per year. To avoid the loophole, she invented a series of aliases using forged documents.

   Thanks to Larry Shannon's RDN for the link.
   Got contest pig stories? Write 'em here. (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-11-09: Reflect, don't direct ...
   That old radio PD-to-DJ directive about content is enormously true when it comes to hit TV:
   From Boston.com:
   From '30 Rock' to 'Breaking Bad,' TV has begun to reflect the recession. This time, will shows face economic struggles head-on? Or can we expect escapism to reign?
   As news trickles out of the networks about their fall TV plans, an unlikely theme is buzzing in the Hollywood air: recession.
   Not very sexy, is it? Financial woe is a far cry from the diverting TV trends of the decade so far, from shows about geeky nerds and lusty cougars to a plethora of supernatural fantasies. It's as if Obama-era straight talk - explicitly discussing details of the economic crisis with the public - is setting the entertainment agenda. Step right up folks, put away your childish things, get your PoverTV.
   Several network pilots sound like the socially conscious Norman Lear comedies that thrived during the 1970s downturn, like "All in the Family" and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." ABC has "Canned," in which a group of friends are fired on the same day, as well as a sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer as a fallen Wall Streeter. Fox has "Two Dollar Beer," about a blue-collar couple struggling in Detroit, and CBS is chronicling a pair of poor slackers in "Waiting to Die."

   What are you doing to reflect the circumstances of your listeners?
   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-11-09: Neilsen's back in the US radio ratings biz...
   From Tom Taylor:
   (In case you didn't know this international company was back in competition with Arbitron...)
   Results of the live Nielsen survey that’s underway now (March-April) won’t be delivered to customers in the first 51 Nielsen markets until mid-August. But Nielsen executive Lorraine Hadfield tells T-R-I that “We’ve got 88,000 diaries and we want to do it correctly.”
   They’re finalizing the Radio Advisor software that’s based on the already-in-use product from Australia. And by the time Nielsen gets to the two Fall markets (Huntsville and Shreveport) they expect something like 30-day delivery.
   Nielsen’s main takeaway from the 588-person Lexington pilot of the sticker diary is that it works. Lorraine says “nothing seemed odd.” Of course there’s the finding of higher listening levels by younger demos, possibly reflecting the inclusion of cell phone only households at about a 20% clip.
   MP3-device owners seemed to report somewhat higher listening, too.
   As for the nuts and bolts of the sticker diary – Nielsen supplied stickers for 35 stations in Lexington-Fayette and got back listening from about 70 stations, which “shows you they were very, very comfortable writing in” other stations. 99% of the entries were call letters and/or frequency.
   The “live” Lexington book for March-April carries a much larger sample size than the test - 2,200 instead of 588. And has Nielsen signed up additional clients, beyond charter subscribers Cumulus and Clear Channel? Nothing to report yet. It may be that radio’s adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

   Comment here (Registration required).

Wednesday 03-11-09: Bad day for riverside restaurants in STL ...
   In 1980, the landmark riverfront McDonald's opened. The restaurant was built on a 702- ton, 185-foot long riverboat on top of a barge moored on the levee. The restaurant could seat 350 people. It closed in November 2000 due to financial reasons.
   And in 1987, amid much fanfare, the refurbished Admiral riverboat opened as a complex of bars, restaurants and a ballroom. A combination of high costs and low attendance forced it to close in November of 1988, millions of dollars in debt.

   Betcha didn't know that! But Joe Sonderman did!
   More of his STL daily history here!
   And you're not using these free files in your work, why?

Tuesday 03-10-09: Using online social nets ... I've added to the STL Message Board what I hope will become a self-developing tutorial for the use of the three primary online social networks (and, yes, there will be more coming, as new ones rise to prominence): Twitter, My Space and Facebook.
   Tell us your ideas for using them to raise the awareness and listener involvement of your radio or online shows.
   Jump here and scroll down to Social Networks. (Registration required).

Monday 03-09-09: KTRS website ... Some Message Board discussion occurred about the station's website regarding reporting of the Maryville church shooting:
   Sassy, great point made on the search issue.
   KTRS used the calls for EVERY radio and TV station in their keywords (and a lot of other stuff). I know, because I did their website for years and I created the keywords element on the website. In many searches, presuming a KMOX top result, you'd get KTRS at #1 instead.
   I think there's nothing at all unethical about it. Why not use the name of a competitor there? Coke should use Pepsi, Macy's should use Gimbel's, Ford should use Chrysler and on and on. It only makes sense. Same product, just a different brand.
   I had a Jesuit radio program as a client for some years, and when I set up their website I told them the single most searched word on the web was "sex" and that they ought to incorporate it in their search keywords. Why not use the name of the enemy to bring in listeners? They never saw the light on that issue.
   Search elements have changed considerably over the years, but there are still a few very simple things that can be done to confuse webspiders. Things like hidden scripting and carefully chosen keywords still work. The new tech script kiddies all want to do the weird, convoluted stuff. And, of course, the search engines welcome your money to buy ad words.
   Sometimes new is not better. Please notice the new keywords at the KTRS website...
   meta name="keywords" content="saint louis news, flooding updates, missouri flooding, flood, oil, inbev, ab, busch, anheuser busch ,talk radio, news, sports, traffic, weather, saint louis, redbirds radio, rams radio, talk, saint louis talk, talk radio stl, stl talk radio, radio stl, talk stl, cardinals baseball, radio baseball, stl baseball, rams football radio, stl sports radio"
   They relate to weather and disasters, beer and some sports. "Oil" and not "gas prices"? How do they help searches get to ktrs.com when the webuser is looking for general news or sports info? Or info on a talk show they carry? Why are none of their personalities named? How does it help them to not name Frank O. Pinion there? Why are there so many wasted repetitions of of the same word?
   Isn't that info that a listener would expect in a web search? And to think I didn't charge them for this service...
   The ktrs.com website is impotent in its search capability.
   P.S. Bet the meta keywords change by the COB Monday.

   UPDATE: They did.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-09-09: UPDATE: Facebook ... It turns out that this is just a techno version of the old game XX Degrees of Separation.
   Eminently useful, though, and if you want to play, join Facebook and look for Mike Anderson. Over time, I'll likely be transferring some update elements from this website to my site there.
   And thanks to the smartass who wrote: By the way...YOU? On Facebook? Who'da thunk it? Welcome to the dark side!
   Thanks, Doc, for the vote of confidence!
   As Jerry Del Colliano notes in his column today, sometimes it just takes Boomers a little longer to catch on.
   I've also made arrangements with one of those Really Smart Guys to tutor me a tad on the technicalities.
   Mike's Facebook page (Registration required).

Monday 03-09-09: Clear Channel says what's mine is mine and what's your's is mine, too ...
   Tom Taylor writes:
   T-R-I keeps hearing, from one or two people a day, about the January 20 layoffs around Clear Channel. Some of them were well-handled, with tact and empathy. But in other markets – well, here’s part of an email from Friday – “Thank you so much for the article addressing ‘former CC employees getting their personal items back.’
   A friend and I were both let go on Black Tuesday. We were quickly escorted from the building, allowed only to take our purses and jacket. We were not given the option to pack our own offices, nor were we allowed to say goodbye to our co-workers.
   Six days later most of our personal items were returned, but several were damaged or broken. Some more items were later returned, but we’re told that some have been thrown out.
   Who gave Clear Channel employees the right to decide what was our personal property? Did they flip a coin, did they throw darts, was it eenie-meenie-miney-moe? The treatment we received was absolutely humiliating.”

   Stay classy, San Antonio.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-09-09: STLMedia and site and MB blocked ... at the STL County Library!
   For being contentious! Maybe CBS' Mark Edwards is free-lancing in their IT department.
   Looks like I'll have to make a phone call to the Library this week.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Monday 03-09-09: If chickens were cutbacks, furloughs and layoffs ... it looks like they all came home to roost Sunday morning for STL TV news.
   Faced with two major stories (the storm passing through and the church shooting in Maryville) the consensus of opinion so far at the STLMedia Message Board is that Channels 2, 4 and 5 simply fell apart. It would appear that the stations either lacked direction and available personnel and facilities to adequately cover both stories or they lacked the ability to multitask.
   Comment here (Registration required).

Ruca and her buddy, Dude, in happier and healthier times.
Ruca in happier times guarding her little friend, "Dude".
Weekend 03-07/08-09: Son Jason's 7-year old pup Ruca passed away Saturday morning ...
    After a week of suddenly failing health our brave little girl died in her sleep, apparently from a viral blood disorder, on the pillow next to Jason, where she always slept.
   Jason adopted her when she was just eight weeks old and immediately brought her here to meet her cousins, Lucy and BoyDog. Watching the three of them at play in our yard for the next few years were wonderful, treasured hours.
   RIP, Ruca Dog Anderson: 6/15/02 - 3/7/09.

Weekend 03-07/08-09: The Conclave has just added a unique, new program to its podcast series ... Jay Philpott (who moonlights at 106-5 The Arch/St. Louis) talks to Richard Irwin, proprietor and namesake of “Uncle Ricky’s Top 40 Radio Repository” of ReelRadio.com, the premiere website for airchecks on the Internet.
   Since 1996, Uncle Ricky has respectfully and competently preserved an essential part of the American pop culture experience – the sound of Top 40 radio from the 50’s well into the 80’s.
   Find out about how the site started, how you might be able to contribute an aircheck, and what the future holds.
   To hear "Uncle Ricky Unscoped: The Real Story of Reelradio" in its entirety, log into this free Conclave podcast website.
    To visit Irwin’s website,click on www.reelradio.com.

Weekend 03-07/08-09: Joined FaceBook last April ... and I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I'm doing even after almost a year.
   It appears that MySpace is dying on the vine and I have no clue as to what Twitter is or why anyone would want to know what anyone else is doing at any given moment.
   But "Friends" whose names I recognize keep showing up on my FaceBook page and I'll let this run until I make some sense of it. Poke? Superpoke?
   And I thought I was so freakin' technically savvy...

Weekend 03-07/08-09: A closer look at the Emmis/STL layoffs ...
   I've been hearing bits and pieces from folks at The Powerhouse and I'll try to put them together in some semblance of order:
   -- Klose was NOT close to retiring. Mark's a great guy, liked by everyone, but his numbers have been declining for a long time. His contract was up in September and this was as good a time to toss him off the bus as any, with appropriate payout.
   -- Mark's deal was only partially barter. He was on full salary with bennies and was given some weekend inventory to sell; he'll keep the benefits and weekend barter and will continue some additional work on and off the air. Frankly, Klose may be the luckiest boy in the world.
   -- Katie Kruze, who'll be taking over for Klose in K-Hits PM drive, will continue to VT KSHE 6PM-12M. Katie will be on the air for ten straight hours each weekday, and that may be a record for a Top 20 market.
   -- That there were no cuts at KFTK (aka "Beck's Baby") was well-noted by all, and with no glee. And before you ask, Kruze was not being paid for her participation in the Glover PM drive mess. So no savings there.
   -- One of the production people who was told he'd be getting lots of new responsibilities quit. Apparently he didn't want more work for less money. In this economy, this was a dumb move.
   -- Everyone took a 5 to 10% pay cut. Don't know if this includes employees with PSC's.
   Maybe it's time to revisit that restaurant idea for a little extra cash...
   Comment here.

Friday 03-06-09: Reader's Digest considering bankruptcy ...
   From Bloomberg:
   Reader’s Digest, first published in 1922, has offices in 45 countries and publishes 92 magazines. It operates 65 Web sites and sells 68 million books and music or video products every year, according to its Web site. The company was bought for $2.4 billion in March 2007 by a group of investors led by Ripplewood Holdings LLC, and merged with Ripplewood portfolio company WRC Media Inc. and Direct Holdings U.S. Corp.
   Comment here.

Friday 03-06-09: Are broadcasting schoools obsolete?
   From the Washington Business Journal:
   Connecticut School of Broadcasting closes - by Jennifer Nycz-Conner
   The Connecticut School of Broadcasting, which counts locations in Arlington and Columbia among its 26 around the country, has closed down abruptly, according to reports from Connecticut television stations.
   Students at the Farmington, Conn. campus were alerted to the closing by text message and signs on the locked doors.
   The school was founded by a Connecticut broadcaster in 1964, and is a mainstay of radio advertising.
   Voicemail messages were still active at both local locations. Messages were left seeking comment.

   This poses an interesting question for STL media wannabes: do the schools here teach you a useful skill and do you have a chance to get employed in something other than a losing proposition?
   There's one broadcast trade school in STL, been here for years, and that's Broadcast Center. Founded in 1972 and now owned by Ralph Stanley, the school offers multi-media courses at its campus on Hampton Avenue.
   BC's had thousands of success stories across the years; BC has an ongoing placement system that tracks grads and helps them move up.
   But now, with the industry in a decline, does it make sense to spend $7500 or more to learn skills that may ultimately be unuseable?
   Other local avenues to broadcast education include area colleges:
   STLCC at Florissant Valley:
   89.5/KCFV, on the air since 1972, is part of an AA program designed to transfer to a four year college or university.
   The station's long-time Supervisor, Dianna Kirby, died in 2007. During her tenure, the station sent many talented folks into commercial radio, but not too many since she passed.
   Lindenwood University:
   89.1/KCLC is part of their Communications program, offering degrees up to an MA in Radio, Television, Radio/TV, Electronic Journalism, Media Management and Sales, Public Relations, and Sports Information.
   The school claims grads in many senior positions in the broadcast industry and is run by former KSLQ and Y98 DJ and now Dean Mike Wall.
   Lewis & Clark CC:
   89.9/WLCA gives students first-hand experience in a real broadcasting environment. Working on state-of-the-art equipment, students produce announcements and programs; prepare news and sportscasts; and work as on-air announcers.
   The program is run by broadcast vet Mike Lemons. Their program has landed many of their grads jobs in local and regional positions and has an ongoing placement program.
   University Missouri STL:
   The U is a non-commercial student-run radio station that strives to offer unique programming while providing a service that is both educational and entertaining to the University of Missouri-Saint Louis community.
   Renegade radio; no educational use.
   90.7/KWMU: NPR; no educational use.
   St. Louis University:
   KSLU: Online only, student run, no educational use.
   Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville:
   88.7/WSIE: Non-commercial jazz; limited educational use.
   Comment here.

Thursday 03-05-09: Rough day at Emmis across the country ... as the company cuts 105 full- and part-time employees across all divisions.
   Local cuts included long-time K-Hits DJ Mark Klose and others. I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that Klose had been working on the "FOP Plan"...how does cutting a guy who sells spots to pay himself save the company money?
   Other cuts include the PD's at WLUP and WKQX in Chicago, and they'll be replaced by expanded duties for, respectively, STL-er's Rick Balis (who's already had one shot at The Loop) and Tommy Mattern. Word is that they'll do a week here and a week there, a schedule that's guaranteed to ensure a stable home life.
   Kyle Guderian relocates to Chicago as OM for both stations and the imaging will be done from here by Rob Naughton and Drew Patterson.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 03-04-09: Thanks to Kyle Muldrow for this ... Just found this on YouTube and thought I'd send it to you guys...it's some kind of promotional video done by KPLR-TV (channel 11) back in the late 1970s. I guess they did this to drum up business, but check it out for the memorable promo materials ("KPLR-TV is as much a part of St. Louis as..."), narration by ND Bill Thomas, and the one and only Gentry Trotter!! I apologize in advance for the video quality, but it's still a total trip!!

Tuesday 03-03-09: Is all old media dead?
   Well, newspapers and magazines are certainly having a tough time, what with that whole internet thing that offers exactly what they print and broadcast online, to be sampled at the readers' and viewers' convenience.
   Then the volcano blows or there's an earthquake or a tornado or a flood comes sweeping through wherever you are and print media gets real soggy and unavailable.
   Suddenly the seldom-used and mostly-automated HD and SatRad channels, cable and broadcast tv all become useless due to power failure and that pesky automation.
   Cell-phone and land-line phone service and the internet disappear and the only emergency info you can hear, live, that might possibly save your life, is on a standard-band AM or FM radio station that uses a prepped and fueled power source on high ground and/or can increase transmitted power when needed to serve a larger area and heard on a battery-powered portable radio.
   That, of course, presumes that there's a human capable of handling the emergency somewhere in the process. I vote for localization! Have somebody at work 24/7!
   And you want that service to go away because it costs too much?
   In favor of what? FRS, GMRS, Ham or CB Radio, which almost nobody can use?
   Keep the commercial bands alive and keep them where they are. Portable radios will always be useful.
   This should be the responsibility of anyone who is licensed to own a commerical broadcast frequency.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 03-03-09: Sunday, in pulpits across STL ...
   The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod announced their plans to sell the Church-owned KFUO-FM and apply the proceeds to the operational needs of the Church, including missionary work.
   A sale by the Church of one of their stations has been in the rumor mill for a long time, but apparently they intend to hold on to the AM.
   99.1 is a superior frequency and should, if sold, bring a potful of money to the Lutherans. But I can't imagine what company is set to do this deal.
   Nobody buys a property at this price point with their own money, unless there's a trade involved, and I don't see a lender out there waving their hands to signify that they want to go out on a tens-of-millions-of-dollars limb.
   And, of course, on a selfish note, I'd hate to lose the format. But, lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, what I'd like to do with that signal!
   Put this one in the wishful-thinking drawer and get back to it when the economy comes out of the dumper.
   And when you've got about $20mil burning a hole in your pocket.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 03-03-09: On this day in 1874 in St. Louis ...
   The temperance crusade sweeping the nation reached St. Louis. 300 women invaded the saloons to hold prayer meetings and convince the bartender to find another line of work. They didn't have much luck, and pledged to renew their attempts the next day.
   Betcha didn't know that! But Joe Sonderman did!
   More of his STL daily history here!
   And you're not using these free files in your work, why?

Monday 03-02-09:
Winter 2009, Phase 1, 12+
   Comment here.

Sunday 03-01-09: On this day in 1893 in St. Louis ...
   Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communication. Addressing the National Electric Light Association, he described and demonstrated in detail the principles of radio. The apparatus he used contained all the elements that were incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.
   Betcha didn't know that radio was first demonstrated in The Loo! But Joe Sonderman did!
   More of his STL daily history here!
   And you're not using these free files in your work, why?

Saturday 02-28-09: Paul Harvey: Good Bye ...
   The legendary radio commentator and newsman passed away today in Phoenix at the age of 90.
   Harvey's career began in his hometown of Tulsa in 1933. Following stops in Kansas and St. Louis, he wound up in Chicago in 1944, began his twice-daily commentaries in 1951 and continued them until last Monday.
   Paul Harvey was unquestionably one of the broadcast industry's all-time greats and certainly irreplaceable.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-27-09: Great Monthly Meeting at Reynolds ...
   A much higher turnout than expected, and we even managed to pull the legendary Casey Van Allen out of his secret undisclosed location at The Lake for a few hours of chit-chat and radio biz buzz. And, shamelessly, we'll do it again, in March, on Friday the 27th. Please join us.

Friday 02-27-09: Weekend culinary experiment ...
   With snow predicted for Saturday, here's a way to just settle in with movies and a treat:
   Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
   4 tablespoons flour
   4 tablespoons sugar
   2 tablespoons cocoa
   1 egg
   3 tablespoons milk
   3 tablespoons oil
   3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
   A small splash of vanilla extract
   1 large coffee mug
   Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
   Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
   EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).
   Why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!
   Comment here.

Friday 02-27-09: Last day of publication ... is today for the Rocky Mountain News. After 150 years, the ever-encroaching Internet, a precipitous drop in ad sales and the economy took their collective toll.
   This leaves Denver with one newspaper, The Post, which is itself in trouble.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: Sorry for the absence from here and the MB ...
   ... since last Friday but I've been "otherwise engaged" in a couple projects that required my full attention. I'll catch up here, below.

CocoaWednesday 02-25-09: Brother Rick is uploading family photos to Picasa, including this one:
   First pup, a mutt named Cocoa, and Mike in 1956, in back of the house on Sunset Avenue. Corner window at left was my bedroom, directly behind me was the fuel oil tank and Rick's bedroom had the double windows over my shoulder.
   Cocoa joined us, I'm pretty sure, as a pup on Christmas 1953, our second Winter in the suburbs. He passed a few years later, and we didn't have a dog again until 1961, in California, an abandoned Spaniel mix puppy we named Lady.
Wednesday 02-25-09: Watch this ...
    Even though HBO doesn't have a great record running America-boosting movies, Taking Chance is a wonderful flick, based on real-life events, as Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon), a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming.
   Yes, I cried.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: Nobody has a sense of humor anymore ...
    I'm hearing that the folks at The Muny are not happy with KMOX producer Chris Mihill's comment to the Post Dispatch saying the bad decorations on some of the Soulard Mardi Gras floats looked like "Muny sets."
   Now, in all of the years I've lived here, I've never been to the Muny (never had a desire to sweat excessibely while watching a - gag! - musical). But I bet that any outdoor stage is, well, less impressive than a set for a show at the Fox. Muny guys, lighten up.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: I knew this weeks ago, and it's a good thing ...
   KTRS brings in Todd Wallace for consulting work.
   Todd's a good guy, knowledgeable, experienced and a great talent coach and is and has been an asset to The Big 550. He was the "in house" consultant a few years ago and his return is welcome.
   But I bet he's out of town at least once a month so he doesn't miss that monthly lunch in Scottsdale with another friend of mine...
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: Slow pay just got worse ...
    You've heard that A-B is placing their ad payments on a 120-day net schedule. Now it looks like General Motors is doing the same, with GM stretching their payments out to 70 days.
   Who's next? And how much will this cash flow delay hurt radio and tv?
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: February print follies ...
   'New York Times' suspends dividend
   The New York Times Co. said Thursday it is suspending its quarterly dividend in a move to preserve cash, as ad spending continues to decline. The suspension of the payout comes after the company slashed its dividend to 6 cents from 23 cents in November.
   "The decision provides the company with additional financial flexibility given the uncertain business outlook," says Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman. That's tough news for the Sulzberger clan, which has been living quite well off the Times' dividend for a long time. And it is a sign that the paper's cash crunch hasn't been eased just because it was able to secure a high-interest loan from Carlos Slim last month.

   Philly newspaper bankruptcy
   Both Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, the publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, and the Journal Register Co. have filed for bankruptcy.
   San Francisco Chronicle to be sold or closed if owner can't lower expenses dramatically
   If it can't reduce expenses dramatically within the next few weeks, the Hearst Corp. said it will close or sell the Chronicle, northern California's largest newspaper with a paid weekday circulation of 339,430.
   Lee renegotiates terms
   Lee Enterprises said it had succeeded in renegotiating the loan covenants governing $306 million in debt, most of which was assumed during its purchase of Pulitzer Inc. in 2005. By doing so, the company was able to pay off $120 million of debt right away; payment of the remaining $186 million has been deferred until April 2012. The terms of the new agreement are quite strict, however, raising the interest rate and putting the entire company up as collateral to secure the loans.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-25-09: Minnesota retrains print journalists ...
   ...to use the Internet.
   Two Minnesota newspapers will receive a share of state grants normally given to retrain workers in manufacturing and other industries in transition.
   The Duluth News Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press will work with the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication to help staff adapt to an increasingly Internet-based industry.
   Minnesota Job Skills Partnership is awarding $238,000 in state funds, while the newspapers and the university will contribute about $469,000 combined, mostly by devoting staff time to training.
   Paul Moe, the state program's director, said newspapers around the country are looking closely at the project as a potential model.
   Kathleen Hansen, director of the university's Minnesota Journalism Center, said the grant idea came from the Pioneer Press. She said the application was unusual for a state agency more accustomed to businesses that deal in plastics or crop machinery.
   "This is a very different kind of workforce group," she said.
   Hansen said training will be tailored to the skills of the newsroom and advertising sales staffs at the newspapers. She said a primary goal for both departments will be getting them away from print-based thinking.
   Some journalists "don't know how to start thinking about stories without thinking about what's going to be in the print newspaper," she said.
   Journalists will likely study new ways of telling stories and new ways of delivering content, and perhaps get some training in using software.
   Ad sales people will look at different ways to connect consumers with advertisers, treating the Internet as a one-on-one medium rather than one serving a mass audience, as is the case in print.
   Rob Karwath, executive editor of the News Tribune, said he hopes the grant will help his newspaper come up with new products that deliver news and advertising to readers and methods to get more feedback from customers.

   Un-freaking-believable. Are college-educated professional journalists really that stupid? I have a copy of Internet For Dummies from years ago they could borrow for a lot less...
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: Couldn't sleep at 4:30AM and so I played here ...
   ... listening to tunes from the late '60's. Ancient music, 40-year old music, with real horn and string players. Whatever happened to real musicians?
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: Radio people collect strange things ... When I produced radio syndication in the late 1970's at The Tanner Company in Memphis, there was a legend of a ten-inch reel of fa*t sounds going 'round.
   At 7 1/2 ips, that's 45 minutes of custom-recorded flatulation.
   I never actually saw the reel, never knew where this legendary audio might have been stored (it had to be somewhere on Diana Street), but I heard excerpts and had many laughs because, well, fa*ts are funny, especially when you bet against the fa*t...never a smart move.
   The odds may be 9.5 to 1 in your favor but you never know, huh?
   Anybody else ever hear of this "legend" or know of the whereabouts of such a recording? I believe that it may have been played occasionally for clients by Tanner salesmen, who were always on the road; that may have been where I heard some of it.
   Only class here, kids. Just First Class, all the way.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: Honoring Regis ... Voiceover wizard Dave Morris and family have received bad news about their beloved and beautiful friend Regis.
   Dave writes about it here.

Regis Morris
Friday 02-20-09: This is odd ... In his (presumably self-written) bio page at KMOX.com, Ron Elz claims that he "was one of the original inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland."
   Oddly, there's no mention of Ron at all on the R&RHOF website. Anybody know what's going on with this?
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: $25 a minute ... Secret Squirrel looks at the rate card: Word on the street has local agencies reporting getting buys for as low as $25 per spot on 101. They will need to sell a whole lotta $25 spots to hit the $4-$5 million Johnny K thinks they can hit.
   This has gotta be an overnight rate, right? But then what agency buys overnights anymore?
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: So Mel the K pulled the rabbit out of the hat this week ... and got a $530 million loan from John Malone at Liberty Media.
   That should tide Sirius/XM over for a few months, but at what cost?
   Turns out Malone learned his money lending at Carlos Slim's knee...he's charging 15% on the note, due toward the end of 2012. Ah, interest! Sweet, sweet interest! Karmazin shoulda just put it on his AMEX.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-20-09: Jaco fills the hole ... and Secret Squirrel dug it up:
   Beginning 3/2 The Jaco Report will be on KTRS from 10am-11am. Other people will be covering that hour next week.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-18-09: The Squirrel wrings more from KTRS: Heard it's pretty somber around KTRS ... with a sales staff of 5, and a show staff of about the same, some are talking about syndicated programming before long. It's a ghost town! The place is just a shell of what it once was. Pretty soon Farmer Dave will be hosting all day long, I have to say he would be more interesting than most of our shows, and would be easier to sell advertising for.
   Comment here.

Our Mom, December 1959
Wednesday 02-18-09: Our Mom passed away eleven years ago yesterday... just a few months after Our Father.
   Brother Rick sent along this photo from December 1959 in the kitchen of our house in Maple Shade NJ; if you looked 90º to the left, out the window, you'd see Mrs. Watson's apple orchard. A sneak peek, at 45º to the left, would take you to the laundary and heater room, with a Sears wringer washer and a back door exiting to Pickering Press, the "shop."
   Six months later we were living in Glendora CA.
   Don't ask me how many addresses and phone numbers I've had since 1960.
   Love ya, Mom.

Wednesday 02-18-09: Making hay in a rain storm ... should be your priority now, because anyone can do it while the sun shines.
   Here are a few ideas, none very expensive. Of course, these will require work, in and out of the station, and you may be hard-pressed to find people to get it done.
   Regardless of the rating system in place in your market, anything that gets a potential listener's attention is good. You never know who has a diary or a PPM and unemployed folks have time to listen to the radio and surf to your website to see new available gigs.
   You might be able to bring some listeners back to local radio.
   1. Go to where the unemployed are and say hello with coffee and donuts and a one-sheet that lets them know that your station is up on job openings and will present them at specific times every day. Make sure the state employment offices and private hiring agencies know of your efforts.
   2. If you have open avails, give them away to companies who are hiring. Keep 'em to :60 or cluster them at specific times every day and include them in a special place on your website. Update daily and mention when jobs are filled. Brag about successes!
   3. Set up a Message Board (many are free) that allows listeners to post their qualifications and contact info, but keep someone monitoring it 24/7 to avoid embarassment.
   4. If you still have a News Department and regular newscasts, use them to present positive information, not the disaster-style info that the Government seems to want to spread.
   5. Make a deal with a hotel that has conference rooms or a school with unused classrooms and establish regular weekend seminars showing unemployeds how they can create a job-getting resumé, how to approach job interviews and what other options they might have, based on skills and equipment at hand.
   6. These are often difficult, but try and set up "job fairs" concurrent with those weekend seminars, to bring job-seekers together face-to-face with hiring employers.
   Most important, plaster your call letters all over these efforts!
   Comment here.

Tuesday 02-17-09: Shawn Balint starts back at KTRS ... part-time, on Monday. This is Round 3 4 at Westport for Puffy. In any case, Shawn, welcome back.
   Comment here.

Bonneville employee Michael Flynn
Mike Flynn, the "sole developer and editor" for ToastedRav.com as well as PunchingKitty. He has blogged for over 5 years both on personal and professional websites and has a BS in Computer Science from Truman State University.
Tuesday 02-17-09: Website censored by evil Bonneville overlords ...
   A cute little gossip blog, PunchingKitty, written and managed by a Bonneville web guy, has been forced to eliminate references to events within the company, and delete a link to their local station website, ToastedRav, according to the man who manages both sites, 27-year old Mike Flynn:
   ...there have been changes to the site as of this morning. I have been “ordered” to take down a few posts (Posts that I can’t name of course, but I think you could probably figure it out.) and remove all of the up-right journalistic full-disclosure notices. Obviously, I was pissed.
   Ah, the drawbacks and hazards of working for The Man.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-16-09: I don't get to Downtown STL enough ...
   It's literally been years since I've been anyplace East of Grand, except to visit Illinois via I-270, way North of Downtown.
   But I had a bellyfull of STL late Saturday afternoon. Mrs. A and I drove into the city on I-70 (following web directions) to take a look at the facility and neighborhood of a hotel pitched for an upcoming regional conference of her professional organization.
   The hotel was pretty grungy. No place to get food after 5PM. No parking. No retail or entertainment close by.
   In fact, in an area of about a half-dozen blocks around the hotel, it looked pretty bleak, even with the Landing and Lumière Place a short taxi drive away. I wouldn't want to walk to those places, in the dark of the overpasses.
   On the way out of town, we passed City Hall, and I noticed that that the cleanup of 19th Century coal scum from the building, begun years ago, has stopped at the first floor and has never progressed. Way to show off an historic building, STL!
   Downtown STL is dead and is an absolute embarassment for convention and tourist business. I wouldn't walk on those streets after dark on a bet, even with a CCW and a .380 in my pocket, which is pretty much how I roll anywhere.
   And, yes, I live in West County. Just barely. It's getting strange here, too.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-16-09: Nobody loves Mel the K ...
   From Reuters - A group of Sirius XM Radio Inc creditors will seek to remove Chief Executive Mel Karmazin if the company chooses a bankruptcy filing over a deal with an investor that would let it stay solvent, the Wall Street Journal said.
   (Reporting by Ramya Dilip in Bangalore)

   WHOA! The story notwithstanding, did you get a load of the name and location of the reporter?
   Reuters is using a reporter in Bangalore, India, to write a story about an American company based in NYC, using tidbits from the WSJ?
   And you think print and wire reporting in the US isn't over?
   Comment here.

Monday 02-16-09: KWRE/KFAV's Jay Murray ... has been named the 2008 Missouri Sportscaster Of Year by the state's members of the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association.
   Jay's won the award twice in the past three years, is the only sportscaster in MO to be named a finalist for the award in each of the last three years and is one of only eight state sportscasters to win more than once since the competition began in 1959.

Weekend 02-14/15-09: Will this coming Friday ... be another Day of Doom for the Clear Channel employees who remain at The Highlands?
   Is The Company surreptitiously setting up a nationally standardized-by-format network to supplant all local talent below the Top Ten markets?
   How much Ryan Seacrest and his syndicated ilk can America stand before there's bloody armed revolution among the few remaining radio listeners?
   Comment here.

Weekend 02-14/15-09: How was your Valentine's Day?
   For me and Mrs. A, it was brunch out, then taking care of a few chores thru the day driving downtown and back, followed by grilled NY strip steaks, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and yellow cake with milk chocolate icing and ice cream for evening dinner at home, all prepared my little ol' me.
   Whoops, the exception was that Mrs. A frosted the cake.
   Dang, I'm a good cook. Plus all the dishes are clean.
   Hope yours was nearly this good.
   Comment here.

Weekend 02-14/15-09: Tasha's tail is wagging; Kathleen England goes to the dogs ...
   Secret Squirrel sez: I don't watch Channel 5, but she seems to draw a lot of interest. According to today's Biz Journal. Page 13 "People" section, Kathleen England has joined Stray Rescue as the director of major gifts and corporate giving.
   Who knew raising money for stray animals could afford a living? I'd have done it for free!
   Comment here.

Weekend 02-14/15-09: KMOV4's recently dismissed Anchor/Reporter John Mills ...
   ... has a well-designed website that incorporates not only his audition videos but a nice thank you message to his former viewers. Classy guy. Hope he lands somewhere quickly.
   And speaking of Channel 4, here's a bizarre resurrected promo that's been making the rounds lately, from, what, the mid-late 1980's?
   Question: which came first, this promo or the KUSA morning show feature, GutBusters, that shot Frank O. Pinion to prominence?

Weekend 02-14/15-09: KTYer-Ass saves more money, destroys more careers ...
   As expected, Friday KTRS fired Morning Host Vic Porcelli and News Director/Anchor Brian Kelly
   Here's the revised schedule:
   6-10am McGraw (with Victoria Babu doing news); Cindy Collins and Trish will do 6-9am for the week of 2/16.
   10am-11am TBD (maybe Victoria with a news block)
   11am-3pm John Brown with Trish Gazall
   3-6pm The LMSITA
   Comment here.

TBear to co-star in Hollywood-produced short
TBear, shown here riding in his limo, is looking for artist and legal representation and will be joining TBAG (Teddy Bear Actors Guild...not what you thought, huh?).
Friday 02-13-09: My raggedy ol' teddy bear ... has been cast to appear in a Hollywood short, directed by Jeremy Rush.
   TBear is too old and too fragile to go thru the travel and work for the film, so Jeremy's Production Designer will recreate him from digital stills I'll provide.
   Jeremy writes: The film is a sort of post apocalyptic survival story. The teddy bear is named "Other" and the main character's imaginary/inanimate sidekick. I found your webpage while doing research, and practically fell out of my chair when I saw "T bear." It was one of those rare "that's it!" moments. I'll email you back photos once "T Bear II" is created.
   Just amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing my youth (via TBear, not the story) immortalized.
   Thanks, Jeremy. Photos should arrive early next week.
Friday 02-13-09: Charter Cable might be going out of business ...
   The good news is that I live in the only city in STL County where we have a choice of cable companies. My choice is not Charter and never has been, my choice is still too damned expensive, but my choice will probably still be here next month.
   Can't say that for Charter.
   If it's not, well, there's always Dish or DirectTV. Any recommendations?
   Comment here.

Friday 02-13-09: The Future of the Music Industry Is Now ...
   From Mediapost, by Cory Treffiletti
   In case you missed it -- and you very well may have missed it, because it happened awfully quickly -- the Web has finally become a legitimate channel for the promotion and distribution of music, and the music industry is finally embracing this fact. Of course, this can be debated, since the Web also pretty much killed the record industry at the very same time.
   This struck me while watching the Grammys this year. The award for Best Rap Album went to Lil Wayne. Wayne had the top-selling album of 2008, selling 2.88 million copies of "Tha Carter III," followed by Coldplay with 2.15 million.
   This is amazing in two distinct ways; first, because Lil Wayne built his reputation by giving away hundreds of hours of music through mix tapes and other online methods in order to establish a fan base, and followed it up with a whimsical array of beats and rhymes on a legitimate label release, netting the biggest, most ubiquitous album of the year. It's also amazing that for the very first time since tracking album sales started under the current model in 1991, the number-one album didn't clear 3 million copies.
   The biggest single first week album sales record goes to 'N Sync (don't laugh), as they sold 2.4 million copies of "No Strings Attached" during its first week in 2000, but since then the numbers have fallen across the board. All that being said, way back in 2000 the music business was just plain different. When you bought an album, you were more than likely buying it for one single song -- or maybe a couple -- and the rest was filler. Nowadays, with iTunes leading the way for digital downloads, most artists are happy enough to sell singles. Artists like Smashing Pumpkins have been releasing single songs rather than albums, and in some cases they're giving them away (much like Hyundai's recent giveaway of the Smashing Pumpkins song in its TV spot during the Super Bowl).
   What has finally happened is that some artists, if not their labels, are waking up to the idea that the Web can be used to hone their craft, build a fan base and promote their music. Lil Wayne gave away hours and hours of material for free, proving his own prolific status as a maniacal musician and allowing anyone who wanted to hear him to get a taste of his style. In doing so, he also perfected his craft and became a better artist by weeding through the process in public and inviting his fans to come along for the ride! By the time he was ready to put out another proper release, he'd become the self-proclaimed "best rapper alive" -- a title than can certainly be argued, but at least he makes a case for it.
   Other artists focus on standard Web sites like MySpace music or their own official sites to get out their music. If you're established enough, you can do it, but it takes time and it takes effort and it takes a lot of arguing with the suits that still represent the labels. Artists like Pearl Jam (I couldn't go an entire article on music without mentioning them) are talking about emulating Radiohead and releasing their own music through their own sites. These levels of artists don't need a label anymore. The fan base is large and they have the wherewithal to get it done, so why not go this route?
   This leaves the labels and the industry itself flailing a bit and testing out every new model under the sun (which is a good thing). They are testing paid downloads, subscription services, ad-supported streaming, ad-supported and ad-integrated P2P download services -- and in so doing, they're rewriting the rules for the future.
   The rules for the future of the music industry are astonishingly simple:
   Rule #1: Make good music and leave the filler at home.
   Rule #2: Invite fans into the experience and build a stronger relationship with them.
   Rule #3: Utilize multiple revenue streams; it's not only about selling albums anymore.
   Rule #4: Have we mentioned make good music, and leave the filler at home?
   Rule #5: Shape your artists, or let them shape themselves publicly (Pearl Jam, U2 and Coldplay are just three examples of artists that took time to develop and are now some of the biggest acts in the world).
   If the industry pays attention, it will survive, albeit in a slimmer, more efficient model than the fat-cat days of the 80s and early 90s. I'm pulling for it and so, probably, are you! Now go buy a song and stimulate the economy!
   Comment here.

Friday 02-13-09: Sirius/XM stock closed at 5.5¢ per share Thursday ...
   A nickel. Not much more to say about it. Mel the K apparently wants to do Chapter 11, but there's not a lot there to reorganize. SatRad was a great idea for 1990; unfortunately it didn't take air until 2002. It's yesterday's technology and old, sad news.
   Don't say I didn't warn you about this years ago.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-13-09: CBS4's Smith suspended, Mills & Townsend fired ...
   Secret Squirrel presents: Robin Smith has been suspended at Channel 4. Apparently she had a bad-tempered run-in with Secret Service agents protecting former Pres. Jimmy Carter, and became vocal when they refused to let her get a photo taken with Carter. She was told to "go home" by the News Director once the S.S. formally complained. Also, reporters John Mills and Robert Townsend were fired by Channel 4 on Thursday.
   Robin, Robin, Robin...you may be a Lady of Privilege and Consequence in STL, but when the Federal guys with the curly-corded earpieces and suits tailored to cover Big Iron say "No" it's best to just smile and fade into the woodwork. Never argue with a man with a machine gun in his pocket; trust me, he wasn't glad to see you!
   I'm thinkin' Mandy and Vickie and Deanne would have understood this.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-13-09: Just scattered stories on this so far ...
   Lon Helton's Country Aircheck reports: According to an SEC filing, Clear Channel Communications is borrowing $1.6 billion from its $2-billion credit line in order to "improve its liquidity position in light of continuing uncertainty in credit market and economic conditions." To reduce costs by $350 million annually, CC let go more than 1,850 people Jan. 20 ( CAT 1/20), and there's speculation that more are coming, perhaps as soon as Feb. 20.
   It's being rumored that Clear Channel is headed for bankruptcy and that would tear open a whole new set of wounds in the already badly damaged beast.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-11-09: Muzak declares bankruptcy ...
   Privately-held background music provider Muzak and its affiliates checked off the various boxes on the bankruptcy filing form, and the AP says total assets are about $320 million, but it missed a payment yesterday on $105 million in debt. Muzak owes U.S. Bank $317 million, and other creditors include Universal Music, EMI Capitol Records, Sony, BMG, Virgin Records and ASCAP.
   Most of us OldDogs rolled dem tapes in another room while we cued records in the main studio. BuhBye to the service.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-11-09: Obama's costing the TV nets millions ...
   Read it all at The Washington Post:
   President Obama's desire to talk -- and talk, and talk -- to the American public could cost broadcast networks millions, and millions, and millions of prime-time TV dollars.
   This is interesting only in the fact that the TV and cable nets blithely tossed away their goodwill with half of the nation for the past two years, in the form of their credibility, as they shamelessly huckstered for the Dem's candidates.
   Now they're complaining that The Won wants to return for more servings at the media buffet they so kindly set up for him? Gimme a break! He IS the President, after all...
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-11-09: Magazine newsstand sales tank ...
   I really can't remember the last time I bought a magazine at a newsstand. Anything I want to read of a current nature is available online, and I'm always within eyesight of a wirelessly-enabled online device, at home or otherwise.
   If I go out for a solo meal, I favor places that offer connectivity (my little ASUS is very handy that way).
   Or I've got one of them ol' fashioned things they used to call books tucked into my man-purse.
   As consumers tightened their belts, magazines were one of the little luxuries they dispensed with in the second half of 2008, according to the latest report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which says overall newsstand sales fell 11% compared to the second half of 2007.
   From MediaPost. Read it all.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-11-09: Denny's goes digital, but not wireless ...
   From MediaWeek:
   Denny's is rolling out a digital out-of-home network across its restaurant locations through a five-year agreement announced Monday (Feb. 9) with IndoorDIRECT. Initially in 300 Denny's locations in the nation's top markets, plans are to roll out the network to all 1,500 Denny's restaurants.
   Denny's network of LCD screens in dining rooms carry IndoorDIRECT's theBITE Network, a 60-minute lifestyle program hosted by four personalities reporting on news, entertainment, music and sports. About one-third of the 60 minutes is devoted to advertising.

   You've probably seen this in any one of several fast-food joints. It's eye-candy crap. Denny's is missing the boat by not including free wireless connectivity. Even a little guy like Reynolds has free wireless available.
   Quick story: last week, a friend of mine and I grabbed a late lunch at the Maryland Heights Denny's. I asked if they had wireless, and our waitress said, "No, but a lot of our customers say they can get onto networks from over there." She pointed to the apartment complex next to the restaurant. Sure enough, I found almost a dozen nets up and running within range, but all were secured, mostly with Spanish-language passwords. Maldición!
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-11-09: We've heard this before ...
   ...but this time there's a certain urgency about it:
    A friend in Austin, TX was told by a station manager that he could not hire anyone due to an imminent sale of all of Simmons' properties in TX and MO including 1380. This, coupled with the news that both John Helmkamp (GM) and Matt Strelo (Dir of Opps) have been on job interviews recently, probably means an end to 1380 very soon.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-09-09: Thousands gather to protest Global Warming ...

   Exclusive photo of the custom Fox2 GM private bathroom.
   We're told the interior is state of the art, at least as far as nasty weathered outhouses go.
   Word is that Rupert M. liked it so much he had one built and installed at his NYC office; Randy Michaels already had one at his home.
Monday 02-09-09: The $60k crapper ...
   Secret Squirrel huddles with Joe The Plumber for this: More anger inside Fox 2, this time via the IBEW aimed at the General Manager. Seems Union reps were called to the construction site at the former KPLR studios because Fox 2 management was trying to force IBEW staffers to work through lunch hours to complete the facility. IBEW members are now talking about the private bathroom they had to install at the Fox 2 GM's new office. What's the problem there? Because there was no bathroom, no plumbing, no nothing. They had to drill through concrete, install pipes and wiring, then install fixtures, etc. Total cost for the private executive john is north of $60,000! This comes, of course, as Fox 2/Local TV LLC is trying to force employees to take a wage freeze, and has said more layoffs are probably coming, wage freeze or not. The $60,000 is at least one staffer's yearly salary. As Marie Antionette said, "Let them eat urinal cake."
   Comment here.

Monday 02-09-09: More cuts at Belo's KMOV/CBS4 ...
   10 are out at KMOV...4 sales people...Tim Tialdo from "Great Day"....the rest aren't known at this time... Belo buget cuts are getting worse!
   Comment here.

Friday 02-06-09: Print tries to rescue print...
   Isn't this a little incestuous?
   Read it here.
   During the past few months, the crisis in journalism has reached meltdown proportions. It is now possible to contemplate a time when some major cities will no longer have a newspaper and when magazines and network-news operations will employ no more than a handful of reporters.
   There is, however, a striking and somewhat odd fact about this crisis. Newspapers have more readers than ever. Their content, as well as that of newsmagazines and other producers of traditional journalism, is more popular than ever — even (in fact, especially) among young people.
   The problem is that fewer of these consumers are paying.

   Comment here.

Friday 02-06-09: Fairness Doctrine back on the table...
   ... Well, of course it is, and it's not a surprise. I've openly been an advocate of this for a long time, and still am, presuming certain elements are included (more on that later).
   From Politico.com: Thursday morning, radio host Bill Press brought up the recent closing of liberal station Obama 1260 when speaking with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and talked about whether there needs to be a balance to right-wing talk on the radio dial.
   BILL PRESS: Yeah, I mean, look: They have a right to say that. They’ve got a right to express that. But, they should not be the only voices heard. So, is it time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine?
   SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else — I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.
   BILL PRESS: Can we count on you to push for some hearings in the United States Senate this year, to bring these owners in and hold them accountable?
   SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that’s gonna happen. Yep.
   It should be noted that Senator Stabenow's husband, Tom Athans, founded Democracy Radio, and has been associated in executive capacities with Air America and TalkUSA Radio, all three of which are liberal talk radio networks. Maybe she's not the right person to start the fuss.
   My take is this: as it last stood, the FD applied only to FCC licensed radio and tv broadcast stations. Broadcast and cable nets, essentially suppliers of programming, are affected to the point of their ownership of stations and whether or not their affiliates are affected by an FD decision.
   If it wanted to (and it has in the past) the government could threaten their ownership of their lucrative broadcast licenses, and affiliates could literally threaten mutiny if a network program caused their license to be placed in jeopardy.
   So the nets, broadcast and cable, would have to be included. That would include HBO when it airs Rendition.
   But what about internet-only programming? The same economic threat could be waged, but who owns the internet's distribution system? Not the US, although much of the net's backbone is here. China is the world leader in blocking what they see as offensive programming, but that just would not work here. Or would it? Wireless internet is all provided on government licensed frequencies.
   SatRad, as long as it survives, and Sat-only-TV might be a safe haven, except for the fact that the satellite channels are also licensed by the Fed.
   And if the government was really serious about Fairness, they'd license printing presses by changing the First Amendment, set up observers to review every single word, and successfully drive the last nail into the coffin of every American newspaper, wrecking another part of the economy.
   There's are a lot more elements to this very simplistic look at the issue, and I'd love to see and hear parity in thought and discussion. But I'm afraid that unless we wind up with the government running all media access, there's not a chance in Hell it'll come to pass.
   So for now, it'll remain as it has been...the marketplace will make the decision.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-06-09: AFTRA rethinks the KTVI vote ...
   AFTRA at Fox 2 schedules re-vote on Local TV LLC wage freeze proposal. Voting will take place all of next week. Reason? Some staffers said they were "confused" by the original vote, believing it to be merely advisory and not binding. Last vote was overwhelmingly "no". Will changing voting procedures change the outcome? Betting is it won't.
   Comment here.

Friday 02-06-09: NTSB recommends end to pilot/reporter combos ...
   Last week the Washington Post reported that in response to the Phoenix traffic helicopters accident last year, the NTSB has recomended that there be no more Pilot/Reporters. Word has it that the Fox's O&O's are eliminating all their pilot/reporters. No word on the local pilot /reporters, John Larrabee (KMOX) and John Brubaker (KTVI).
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-04-09: Bonneville's ToastedRav.com...
   ... made some changes over the weekend. Some good, some, well, some not good. I'll have a review later. But at first blush, maybe their idea of station consolidation is not so good. More later.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-04-09: My favorite Superbowl spot...
   ...which, by the way, ran for free during the game as a promo.
Wednesday 02-04-09: Was it just me ...
   ...or was that whole Superbowl 3D ad thing way overblown? The glasses, pressed on me at Schnucks, were the same trashy goggles we used in the 1950's in movie theaters. And the 3D wasn't very good.
   No, I didn't watch Chuck 3D the next night.
   It's gonna take a lot of work to equal the 3D Captain EO I saw at Disneyword years ago, and I don't think it'll happen with this generation of HD TV's.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 02-04-09: Kevin & Sue's show on a new bird ...
   Kevin McCarthy writes: It's a done deal! Global American Broadcasting Networks, they produce and carry Bruce Williams amongst others, will carry our two hour show Saturdays, 2-4pm. We may start as soon as this Saturday. You are the absolute first to know. Thanks for your support throughout the years!

Wednesday 02-04-09: Hoo-ahh! My FBI background check cleared this week and I got The Letter from the county (not like there was any question about it). And that means...well, those in The Club know what that means.
   I'll have The Permit by the weekend.

Wednesday 02-04-09: My buddy Mike Bearman sends this link ...
   One of the most interesting sites I have ever seen. Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up. Double click and the page gets larger. Then you can either read the pdf version or click through to the paper itself in the upper right corner.

Wednesday 02-04-09: Simmons losing it in STL ...
   Secret Squirrel brings this nut home: Things are going really well at 1380. They have one office employee and yesterday they fired her. Caron Cummings had been at 1380 for over 3 years and did all of the business and traffic for them. Things are so good they had to let her go due to "budget cuts." The end is near.
   How can a station operate without a business manager/traffic director? Money's on Simmons just shutting out the lights and turning the keys over to a non-profit. Nobody would buy this junker.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-02-09: Missouri Professional Communicators ... are holding their conference here on 2/14 at Le Chateau in Frontenac.
   Well, of course they'd hold this in Frontenac.
   Their speakers are KMOV's Vickie Newton, Kate Kromann of the United Way, Steve Pokin and Erin Schultz of the Suburban Journals and Scott Schoonover of the Union Avenue Opera.
   Not one real communicator in the bunch. Avoid this conference like the plague.
   This is SilverSpoon BS that you don't need to spend your money on.

Monday 02-02-09: Frank Absher comments ... on Metro's non-responsiveness to their cutbacks, in the SJR:
   Now there are rumors that there will be even more reductions in St. Louis scheduled or March 1. When SJR contacted Carol Williams, Metro's director of operations in Chicago, she said she was not authorized to say anything.
   She suggested we contact Roby Weiner at the corporate offices in New York.
   Ms. Weiner emphatically refused to provide any information, telling us there was nothing to say about what is happening. When pressed, she gave us the name of a third contact, Peter Sessa. He too had no comment.

   Bottom line is that most of Metro's supposedly local news, sports, traffic and weather reports will come from someplace other than St. Louis, with all the mispronounciations you'd expect from out-of-towners.
   For now airborne traffic will continue here, with all stations sharing the resources.
   This is an embarassment to the market and the stations that use these services should make it known that their resources are from out of town.
   Thanks to Frank Absher for the legwork.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-02-09: Newly updated personality pages ... at STLRadio.com, the official STL radio history website. Absher adds them every month or so, as new entries come in.
   If you've ever worked in STL on the air, send your info here to be included.

Monday 02-02-09: Charter Cable may have issues ... but not like this.
   The cable company that services NYC's Upper East Side went out early yesterday, leaving their customers without Superbowl access. One said, "I'm filled with the rage of a thousand suns, actually. It ruined my party and I made chili and everyone I know came over and now they left and I think I might not have friends anymore."
   Life in The Big Apple seems pretty shallow.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-02-09: Former KTRS'er Mark Christopher ... is back on the air, beginning today, at KNWZ in Palm Springs CA.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-02-09: KTRS making more budget adjustments? Squirrel hears "a rumor in the wind that KTRS is about to blow up their news operation."
    Ever since the station's been on the air, Tiny Tim Dorsey has used the News Department as the station's petty cash drawer, taking when necessary and leaving an IOU and adding if it doesn't hurt anywhere else.
   Maybe when I start listing the names of the station's primary investors who allow this absurdity to persist somebody will get the idea that this bizarre management style has to end.
   Comment here.

Monday 02-02-09: Don Corey tribute video ...
   Don Corey, one of the early dj's at KSHE-95, passed away in October of 2007, just as he was putting the final touches on the galley proofs of his book Are You Talking To Me?. Don's wife, Kathy, vowed to see the book through publication, and she did. In March 2008, the book was premiered at the Webster Groves Library, and Mark Klose and Radio Rich Dalton read from it and told their memories of Don and the station. Here's the video.
Weekend 01-31/2-1-09: I'll take the Cubs for a Billion, Alex ...
   From MediaPost:
   On Thursday, the Tribune Co. announced the long-awaited sale of the Chicago Cubs sports franchise, ending the two-year auction about a month and a half too late to save Tribune from bankruptcy. The Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and Tribune's 25% stake in the Comcast Sports Network Chicago, a regional cable net, were bought by the Ricketts family for $900 million.
   Sheesh!
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-31/2-1-09: New STLRadio.com Hall of Famers ... If you were at our Monthly meeting Friday morning you got an early preview of the newest group of inductees straight from The Man who created the HOF and tallies the votes, Frank Absher.
   Details and career highlights here.
Charles Brennan, Class of '08-'09Charles Brennan
J. Roy McCarthy, Class of '08-'09J. Roy McCarthy
Frank O. Pinion, Class of '08-'09Frank O. Pinion
Jim Taszarek, Class of '08-'09Jim Taszarek
Dick Ulett, Class of '08-'09Dick Ulett
Weekend 01-31/2-1-09: From the golden year 1981 ...
   A look back at a look ahead, 28 years ago today. Note the prevalence of Tandy/Radio Shack computers. And note especially well the words of the newspaperman: “We’re not in it to make money.”
   A few years before, in Memphis, I'd used the audio output of a Tandy TRS-80 to record the first ever 'puter-speak numbers for a radio station sfx LP. I used a Uher 5" reel-to-reel and bumped them up to an 8-track with eq and a little spatial business mixed in for the master.
   Somewhere out there, on some sfx CD from some unknown company, is an eight-track master mixed down to a pretty spiffy spatial enhancement of the sounds of the fight between the Robert Redford character and the evil mailman from Three Days of the Condor, recorded from the audio out of my Sony 19" Trinitron TV on a local broadcast channel onto the Uher. I admit to that crime.
   I got into personal computing in 1987 and went online shortly thereafter, creating my first web online presence (with a Tandy computer and Australian HotDog web-editing software) the next year, and that included an area for Frank O. Pinion, making him the very first STLRadio personality with a website.
   Ironically, I got an email from my brother today, a copy of an email he sent me in 1995, with these words: I'm not really complaining, but what do I do with the Net? It seems so unorganized compared to CompuServe.
   Unorganized in 1995? Bro, you hadn't seen nothin' yet!
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-29-09: New MB columnists ...
   Rupert Pupkin, Sassy Radio Girl and Dez join Sid Dithers, WaxStax and me as columnists.
   I'm still looking for a couple of left-leaning writers to fill up the balance. You'll need to have thick skin and be able to write and respond intelligently, expressing your thoughts well. Let me know if you're interested and I'll check out your work.
   Your first job is to find out how to find me.

Thursday 01-29-09: It was Wednesday afternoon, about 3:30...when a gang of West County Street Urchins, armed with snow shovels and a bad attitude, descended on my neighborhood, demanding to be allowed to clear my driveway and sweep off my car.
   They did their job well and I paid them with to-go cups of SwissMiss Hot Chocolate, baloney sandwiches on Wonder Bread leftover in the freezer since Halloween and envelopes stuffed with our new national currency, AmerObamas, in the popular Ø3 and Ø7 denominations, featuring images of The Won and his chick with the huge butt.
   Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, watching through the window, barked loudly throughout their work, insisting on getting "her snow" back in place. Tasha hates change.

Thursday 01-29-09: Boston to Grayson: go away ...
   Looks like WBZ had second thoughts about replacing Steve LeVeille with a syndicated version of our guy, Jon Grayson. Damned Brahmin patricians.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-29-09: Big League Broadcasting's little STL radio empire ...
   ...KFNS/AM& FM and KRFT/AM...seems to be fraught with so many self-imposed troubles as to make impossible their further existence.
   None of the stations have a market-penetrating signal worth a hoot and now I'm hearing about lawsuits, ratings and revenues at all time lows, internal unrest, a manager who seems to be paying more attention to his magazine than his radio station and, not the least, the recent PR debacle of one of their producer's alleged involvement with a way-too-young girl.
   As many starts and fits as Bonneville's ESPN101.1 has had since their startup, it's still a much better deal than these three.
   No question BLB'd like to unload them and beat feet outa the market, but who would take this trio of turkeys off their hands?
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-28-09: Well, it didn't do so well for the IBEW ...
   Secret Squirrel reports: Fox 2 AFTRA rejects wage freeze from Local TV LLC.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-28-09: New meat in upper-middle-management at CC/STL ...
   Mark Anderson named PD at KLOU.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-28-09: Maybe those t-shirts and frisbees ...
   ...weren't such a bad idea after all:
    Ad Specialties Lowest Cost-Per-Impression
    According to a new research study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), among businesspeople over age 21, revealed that advertising specialties beat out all forms of TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available.
   The average cost-per-impression of an advertising specialty item is $0.004, making it less expensive per impression than nearly any other media. According to Nielsen Media data, says the report, the CPI for a national magazine ad is $0.033; a newspaper ad is $0.0129; a prime time TV ad is $0.019; a cable TV ad is $0.007; a syndicated TV ad is $0.006; and a spot radio ad is $0.005.
   Among key findings, results indicate that:
   84% of people remember the advertiser on a product they receive
   42% have a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving an advertising specialty
   24% indicate that they are more likely to do business with an advertiser on items they receive
   62% of respondents have done business with the advertiser on a product after receiving it
   Writing instruments are the most commonly-owned advertising specialty, followed by shirts, caps and bags

   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-28-09: Lee Publishing cuts exec pay and bonuses ...
   Read it all at Reuters...
   Lee Enterprises, publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and owner of a bunch of small U.S. daily newspapers, is learning the public relations benefits of making its executives do without.
   Comment here.

Monday 01-26-09: STLRadio Country Music Mornings ...
   It's not good news for CC's Craig Cornett at KSD-FM, where management's dropping one feature supplier after another in an attempt to cut the show down to the nubbins, eliminating as much cost as possible in their corporate drive to worthlessness.
   Cornett's never been a serious threat to the format dominance held by Bonneville's WIL-FM's Cornbread & Pat show but such a death by a thousand cuts is an insult to a great air talent like Craig.
   Looks to me like CC's just trying to drive him out of The Highlands in favor of syndication.
   Comment here.

Monday 01-26-09: God bless the producers of The Beast ...
   Patrick Swayze, best known for his roles in Ghost and Dirty Dancing (and a bunch of other great movies) has admitted that he has just a few years to live, suffering from pancreatic cancer.
   Swayze's new show on A&E provides this magnificent actor SAG medical benefits, which he so richly deserves.
   He's completed seven episodes of the show.
   Comment here.

Monday 01-26-09: Spots and promos as program elements ...
   It's regular practice these days for stations to run eight or ten spots back to back in a "cluster/stop set" played on the "dark side" of the music hour, from :30 to :00, to enhance the station's image of playing "more music."
   Spots in such a long set just play one after the other, with no regard for content, and often you hear commercials for competing businesses back to back.
   Once upon a time, radio PD's (who, back then, had more responsibilties than just scheduling pre-recorded weekend shows), used logically-driven rules to sequence the play of the three or four spots in any given cluster.
   Back then, music was not pre-programmed, although the choice of music by the DJ was tightly limited by the PD.
   DJ's played their music according to a carefully designed format that gave them some liberties and knew what tune would show up when in any given hour.
   They knew the essentials of the song they'd play going into and coming out of any given commercial break -- tempo and intro/outro time being the most important elements.
   They could then plan how to use the instrumental tail as an outro or the intro as a bed for programming or service elements...call letters, music info, promotional material, weather or public service.
   If they went into a commercial break with a spoken promotional liner, then they knew they could use a pre-recorded promo at the end of the break, back into music (the presumption was that two promotional announcements back-to-back would confuse the listener).
   Commercials were coded with info that helped program them with levels of intensity: voice-to-voice, voice-to-music, music-to-voice and so on.
   DJ's built the commercial breaks in intensity depending on the song that would play following.
   The idea, of course, was to build a smoothly-flowing stream.
   Good grief! DJ's had to think!
   Comment here.

Monday 01-26-09: IBEW gets an awakening ...
   Secret Squirrel's labor lawyer sends this in: KSDK IBEW union employees voted on Sunday to participate in the company furlough. This after management said that layoffs would happen in the unit by the end of this week if they didn't participate.
   C'mon, say it: this is one of those "Well, DUH!" moments, right?
   Comment here.

Monday 01-26-09: Suddenly, the forecast is so damned iffy ...
   Didn't catch all of the broadcast local forecasts, but here's what I glommed from their websites.
   There's a Winter Storm Watch in place (which means maybe yes, maybe no) -- KTVI says some snow Sunday night, more Monday night, mixed with sleet along I-44; KMOV calls for snow and sleet in the Metro, maybe 4-6 inches, along and south of I-70; KSDK says wintry mix thru Tuesday evening, maybe 3-5 inches accumulation in the Metro.
   Hopefully the roads will be clear and the cars thawed by Friday so we can get our Monthly Meeting in!
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-24/25-09: Was a time in my life ... when I never thought I'd note the 40th anniversary of any event in my experience, let alone my 40th birthday. But this Saturday, 40 years back, I set off on my Vietnam Adventure, boarding an airplane in Philadelphia and "deplaning" in Sunny Southeast Asia. Yay for me.
Weekend 01-24/25-09: How's $2000 for an hourly rate sound? ...
   That's the rate I paid Friday to get one of my very expensive and supposedly uncloggable Japanese Toto potties unclogged.
   I only paid for three minutes at that rate, but, still, $100 for a guy to (a) walk upstairs to the master bath, (b) plug in an auger and turn a handle, and then (c) say "Done!" is a pretty good haul.
   Maybe plumbing is a business disemployed radio people should investigate...it sure appears to pay better than reading liner cards.
   Comment here.

KFNS Production Director Ryan HuffWeekend 01-24/25-09: This can't be good for business ...
   KFNS Production Director/Producer Ryan Huff arrested in Arnold on rape charges involving minor females.
   That's Huff's mug shot, at left.
   Please read the entire thread linked below before you comment there.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-22-09: If you haven't heard ... long time Metro East sports guy Joe May passed away last weekend. Tom Calhoun covers it here.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-22-09: Several reports on this ...
   Metro News/Traffic STL is gone as of March 1. Secret Squirrel says: Apparently, the reports will come out of Chicago now. Those employees working at the stations will have jobs, and the "Fly boys" will still be working, but that's it.

Thursday 01-22-09: A couple new websites of note ... Steve Willoughby's Branson, Business and Beliefs, a unique combination of advertising and inspiration, and Kris Kolk's St. Charles County W.O.R.L.D.S. covers news and goings-on in St. Charles County.
Wednesday 01-21-09: IBEW says no to furloughs at 5 ... Secret Squirrel picks this up: The axe is about to swing again at 5. After IBEW refused Gannett's furlough offer, more layoffs will come next week.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-21-09: The CC cutbacks, especially here at home ...
   ...affected me almost as much as if I were part of them myself. Waiting for and then watching the reports of their carefully synchronized layoffs come across my desktop broke my heart. So many familar names on those lists, so much talent tossed to the wolves, all because of greed and stupidity.
   I heard of CC markets where they had police or security guards escort those who didn't make the cut out the door, promising to ship their personal belongings along later.
   I heard nothing like that here, but I have been told that "CC shut down all web logins Monday and Tuesday to keep the fired from terrorizing the websites. You won't see any updates online for a few days."
   I guess that makes some sense...back in my time, a fired guy could wreak a lot of havoc just wiping a bulk eraser up and down the label-side of the carts in the spot carousel.

Wednesday 01-21-09: Been unbelievably busy (read: confused) for the past few days ...
   The company that hosts almost all of my web clients has gone through a major security upgrade, resulting in bunches of time-consuming and immediately-needed access and FTP password changes, lots of phone and face time with members of the recently disemployed offering solace and guidance as applicable, and just the regular junk that keeps me off the streets.
   Hopefully things will slow down to the regular jet-fueled crawl by this weekend.

Wednesday 01-21-09: Regardless of whom you voted for ...ya gotta admit this is FUNNY!
Tuesday 01-20-09: Best.Police.Show.Ever ...
   Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Homicide and a few others were great, but I still get up at 6AM to watch reruns on A&E of Third Watch.
   I've probably seen every episode twice and I'll watch them again and again until they're sold as a complete DVD set.
   Then I'll buy them and set aside a week to absorb it all again, at one sitting.
    All of the CSI and Law & Order shows are crap, compared.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: Final quarter of every year ...
   ... we here at the Anderson manse go through no-longer-used wearables and unused stuff in the garage and pack it up for dropoff to a charity, usually Goodwill.
   Like most, we do it not only to benefit their thrift shops but to get the small tax write-off that such donations provide.
   After what I experienced at Goodwill in December 2008, I won't be donating there again.
   Not only did the clerk at the register make loud fun of me for missing the tiny sign out front that said to "Go Around Back For Dropoffs" but, when I got there, I found that the clerk assigned to that duty had an audience of friends to which he gave first choice (for free) of the items being donated. Right in front of me, as I handed him my stuff.
   This was the Goodwill at 141 & Olive.
   And how in the world do they afford that commercial footage, formerly occupied by a huge Hollywood Video outlet?
   I think in 2009 we'll find a new place to donate. Any suggestions? I'm fond of St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: Democrat Inaugural Committee called elitist ...
   From The Washington Post:
   Barack Obama's inaugural organizing committee has struck deals with three television networks to the tune of more than $5 million, giving the networks exclusive access to inaugural events. But the arrangement is prompting questions about the president-elect's efforts to raise money by turning his inauguration into made-for-TV productions.
   All told, Obama's licensing of inaugural events to TV is the most ambitious and expensive in presidential history. Bill Clinton's committee licensed events to HBO and CBS during his first inauguration in 1993, but other presidential committees have generally shied away from selling exclusive rights to official events.
   (..)
   "I'm extremely disturbed by it," said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington group that promotes media-ownership diversity. "The Lincoln Memorial has such significance, and to not make [the concert] available to the entire country just seems elitist."

   Well, duh!
   Comment here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: Some Mexican guy owns more than a third of a billion dollars worth of the New York Times ...
   From the Wall Street Journal:
   Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim bought a 6.4% stake in the Times Co. for about $118 million last September. Now Slim's pumped an additional $250 million into the dying newsrag, with a promise of a 14% return.
   Good luck to Señor Slim on ever seeing that return!
   More likely, the Big Apple will get a new Spanglish tabloid before the Summer of 2010.
   The national paper of record, my a*s.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: Kathleen Englund ... leaves KSDK/NBC5. Why? Dunno yet.
   Comment here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: A suggestion that's come up more than once ... for the STLMedia MB is to reverse the order of the messages presented within each thread, with the most recent entries at the top.
   How do you feel about that? I kinda like it, although I was against it at the startup. Let me know here or here.

Tuesday 01-20-09: We're hearing that the Hour of Reckoning ... may be at hand. Word to STLMedia is that there's been a mandatory all-staff meeting called in the DL Room (presumably that stands for Dennis Lamme, STL/CC's Market Manager, who is charged with administering the beatings) at 4PM this afternoon.
   Best of luck to all STL/CC staffers in this most difficult time.
   Comment here.

Monday 01-19-09: After a first career of training the Energizer Bunny to bang the drum slowly ... Barb Calhoun (known otherwise as Mrs. C, wife of KMOX' Tom Calhoun) has embarked on a new career, in dog grooming (see what I did there?).
   Barb is now the owner/operator of The Doggie Stylist, in Columbia IL.
   Mrs. C's shop will open for business tomorrow; they've even got a groovy phone number: (618) 281-DOGS.

Monday 01-19-09: Gahan Wilson's cartoon that inspired my firearms collection ...
Honestly, Harry, I'll never tease you again for carrying around that elephant gun! "Honestly, Harry, I'll never tease you again for carrying around that elephant gun!"
Weekend 01-17/18-09: If this website ... and the associated Message Board is of any use of to you, I need to hear about it. And I need to know how I can make it better.
   Send your props (as you see them at the right side of the page) if they're warranted, or send your suggestions to make this website or the MB better or different to mike@stlmedia.net. If you'd prefer to send your comments anonymously, send them here.

Weekend 01-17/18-09: Black Tuesday at Clear Channel ...
   According to the New York Post, Clear Channel managers are hoping they can slip in the layoffs while the press is preoccupied with Inauguration Day festivities. A Clear Channel spokeswoman declined to comment. Here's Reuters' take. And here are some highlights from Jerry Del Colliano's Inside Music Media:
   Here's what you can expect next as radio continues its unnecessary decline:
   1. Commuter PDs
   2. Shrinking Sales Staffs
   3. "Non-essential" Talent Reductions in Markets Smaller Than the Top 25-50
   4. Continued Nationalization of Local Radio

   Comment here.

Weekend 01-17/18-09: TV ratings company isn't ready for digital either ...
   From MediaPost:
   Nielsen: We're Still Unprepared For Digital Transition
   Even as lawmakers debate whether to extend the deadline for America's transition to a digital TV broadcasting system because a significant number of TV households may still be unprepared, Nielsen Co. Thursday made the case that the TV industry - and the ratings firm - definitely are not prepared. In a series of reports, and a special webcasted seminar, Nielsen executives detailed just how convoluted the myriad of TV distribution systems currently are in the U.S., and how little many programmers and distributors actually understand about the ramifications of the switch to digital.
   "Many broadcasters do not know how cable systems receive their signals," the Nielsen presentation, a copy of which was obtained by MediaDailyNews opens with.
   The report's second point: "If there is a problem a call will likely come to the [TV] station. What do you say? 'Not my problem?'"
   On Thursday, it looked as if Nielsen and the TV industry might get a reprieve, as lawmakers introduced legislation that would delay the digital TV transition to June 12.
   The legislation was introduced by West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who asserted that many Americans still are not prepared for the switch, because the federal government had run short of funding for a coupon program that would help consumers defray the cost of purchasing digital converters for analog-only TV's unable to receive over-the-air digital broadcast signals.
   More than two million TV households are estimated to still be waiting to receive coupons to purchase the converters.

   Comment here.

Weekend 01-17/18-09: News No Longer Newspaper's Forte ...
   It just gets worse and worse for print. According to the Pew Research Center, the Internet has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers. Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news.
National and International New Sources (% of Respondents)
Year Television Newspaper Internet
2001 74% 45% 13%
2002 82 42 14
2003 80 50 46
2004 74 46 24
2005 73 36 20
2006 74 37 21
2007 74 34 24
2008 70 35 40
Source: Pew Research Center, December 2008
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-17/18-09: Charter Cable facing possible bankruptcy filing ...
   From The Hollywood Reporter:
   Two subsidiaries of Charter Communications did not make scheduled interest payments worth $73.7 million on some of its debt by a mid-January deadline, raising the potential for a bankruptcy filing.
   The cable operator, controlled by Paul Allen, has been in discussions with its bond holders to restructure its debt since December and said Thursday that it has the right to make the interest payments within a grace period that ends in mid-February. If it doesn’t make those payments by then, it will be considered to have defaulted on its obligations.

   Comment here.

Weekend 01-17/18-09: Richard Miller resigns at Truman Bank ...
   Former KADI radio impresario and STLRadio HOF member Richard Miller has turned in his Chairman badge but retains his majority stock position and is still Chairman of the bank holding company.
   It's unlikely that Miller will need to rely on the kindness of his friends anytime soon.
   Comment here.

Friday 01-16-09: Left Coast wisdom ...
   A friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles and who is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry "out there" wrote me this about my bit on Disemployment:
   So many of us are what we do as opposed to who we are.
   I think that over the next few weeks these words will ring louder than ever.
   Polonius' advice to Laertes still holds water:
   To thine own self be true.
   Betcha didn't think I remembered any of that Shakespeare crap from HS, huh? God, I hated iambic pentameter metering!
   Duh-da-duh-da-duh-da-da...blecch!
   You too? Cool!

Friday 01-16-09: It's very cold ... Zero degrees in Wonderful West County as I wake up at 5AM and that's all I have to say about it. Is Al Gore in town? I'm feeling a CO2 deprivation...
Friday 01-16-09: Almost fits in my pocket, for sure in my manpurse ...
   Last year I bought this Asus eee "Mobile Internet Device" and waxed ecstatic about it. Yesterday I sold it and bought this, Asus' newest, now called a "Netbook." Take a look at the features...and the $382 price (plus $4 for overnight delivery because I'm an instant gratification kinda guy).
   At 3 pounds, it's got a 160GB HD, the XP Home OS, a 7-hour battery and lots more. I'm planning on setting it up for wireless use this weekend (with tech asistance from Mrs. A), AV protection and all that, and I'll keep you posted on how this guy works out.
   I'll likely bring it to the next Monthly Meeting for us to play with.

Friday 01-16-09: KMOX, off .7 12+, still holds the record ...
   While News/Talk radio stations overall have seemed to lag in the Fall Book, even though we just went through a long campaign and election cycle, KMOX has managed to extend its #1 12+ streak, now at 138 consecutive Arbitron reports, dating back to Spring 1968, when I was a spry, idealistic lad of 19, just finishing US Army Basic Training and headed off to Great Adventures.
   That's almost 40 years at #1. And that's unmatched. Congratulations to the Mighty 1120 for a record accomplishment.
   Comment here.

Friday 01-16-09: Business and radio trades are circling around Sirius/XM ...
   Sirius/XM owes the NFL a lump-sum payment of $100 million and there doesn't appear to be a lot of loose change available. Sirius/XM's stock, at 12¢, isn't too inspiring to debtors.
   Mel Karmazin has just paid off holders of $13 million worth of his 2.5% notes due this year with 100 million shares of that 12¢ stock.
   Michael Hartleib's SaveSirius.org has filed a “Demand for review of books and records under Delaware Law Statute 220,” asking for a list of shareholders, plus “all documents related to the shareholder vote approving the merger”, internal memos, and info on the interoperable Sirius/XM radio receiver that he says the companies developed quite a while ago.
   Additionally, more and more newspaper, magazine and online columns and blogs are popping up spreading the dismay of subscribers about the way the merged companies have re-hung their programming.
   Comment here.

Friday 01-16-09: That Gannett furlough? Here's the corporate memo ...
   Today Gannett is implementing a furlough program across all U.S. divisions and at corporate headquarters. This means that most of our U.S. employees - including myself and all other top executives - will be furloughed for the equivalent of one week in the first quarter. This furlough will be unpaid. Unions also will be asked to participate.
   We are doing this to preserve our operations and continue to deliver for our customers while confronting the issues raised by some of the most difficult economic conditions we have ever experienced.
   After much consideration, we decided a furlough program would be the fairest and least intrusive way to meet these fiscal challenges in the first quarter, which is traditionally the lightest time of the year. We sincerely hope this minimizes the need for any layoffs going forward.
   As the day goes on, you will be receiving information from your division presidents explaining the program, including some FAQs to help answer any of your questions and address your concerns about pay and benefits.
   We have made some very difficult decisions this past year, all with the goal of keeping Gannett strong and preparing for the future. I understand I have asked a great deal of you, and I regret adding to your burden with this program.
   But my sincere hope is that this step removes the need to do anything more drastic, and that business conditions improve. As always, I thank you for your patience and loyalty to Gannett.
    Craig Dubow, CEO

   Meanwhile, Mark Finkelstein at Newsbusters is looking into some of the legal ramifications: Gannett has informed its employees that pursuant to federal and state law, they must not work while on an unpaid leave. That includes reading or responding to e-mails, calling or responding to calls from colleagues and being on site at your location at any time during your furlough days.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-15-09: Tom Taylor says next Tuesday's the day...
   ...Yep - January 20 sounds like the date Clear Channel's planning to "do it."
   Yes, that is also Inauguration Day, and I'm again saying that it appears to be the day Clear Channel managers are instructed to take whatever personnel actions they're going to. That's what they were told at last week's managers meetings in Dallas.
   Now - could that change, with an audible from San Antonio? Sure. But I'm increasingly confident that those personalized jump drives the market managers were handed contain the road map for what they're supposed to do on January 20.
   That presumably would mean the RIFs would be taking place while most of the nation is watching the new president get sworn into office. How big are the rumored cuts?
   Are they really going to affect sales as much as or more than programming? Is there going to be more centralized "national programming" with the new 2009 budgets, and less local talent?
   I've heard and told you all those things, and we'll just have to wait until next Tuesday, January 20 to start finding out. One former Clear Channel exec tells me "it's a little sad that it's dragging on so long there."
   It must feel like purgatory.

   STLMedia offers direct help for the locally disemployed.

Kevin to ISS...come in!
Wednesday 01-14-09: No other radio travel show ...
   ...has ever gone this far for an interview!
   Listen here to Kevin & Sue McCarthy's Travel Planners interview with American Astronauts, about a gazillion miles above Earth, aboard the International Space Station.

Wednesday 01-14-09: The most important new station sign on in years in STL ...
   ...turns out to be a complete throwaway. Thanks to Travis House for the original audio of the changeover from Bonneville's WMVN to Sports 101 ESPN WXOS on 1/1/09.
   It's difficult to believe that they opened the new station with an ESPN sportscast instead of 24 hours of, well, something, anything they could have bought for a few hundred bucks from a syndicator.
   From weeks of p-w'd Christmas music to what should have been a ball-bustin' testosterone-loaded come on to a major sports station was just kind of, well, nothing.
   I've spent two weeks listening and what I've heard does not bode well for Bonneville/STL's success in sports.
   There is clearly no management vision and there is clearly no programming guidance. This is very sad.
   Anybody in Salt Lake listening?
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-14-09: Erica Farber has left Radio & Records after 16 years ...
   ...and I predict that that's the end of that trade mag as a useful entity. Since Bob Wilson founded R&R in the '70's, it's been the biggest of all the monkeys; now Joel Denver's online-only AllAccess easily takes the lead, by a country mile.
   Actually, Joel's been at the top of the heap for years, but, you know, some deference to Ms. Farber is due.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-14-09: Stay classy, Air America ...
   Air America Media has hired Ana Marie Cox as its first Washington, D.C.-based national correspondent - Cox will debut on Air America on Monday, January 19 to report from the nation’s capital for Air America’s Inauguration coverage.
   In case you're unaware of her history, Ms. Cox originated the blog Wonkette, in which she extolled the pleasures and use of a**l sex as a means to an end (you'll forgive the expression) for getting stories from congressional staffers.
   I'm sure her parents are very proud of her; maybe that's why some radio pros are so entranced with her.
   Comment here.

Monday 01-12-09: A word or three for the recently and about-to-be disemployed ...
   The bastards who turned you out had no choice. Trust in the fact that they will be the next layer of the onion to be peeled.
   Don't waste your time and energy hating them or trying to get retribution. I've made that mistake and it's fruitless.
   Depending on your savings, take a few days or weeks or a month to assess your personal skills and options.
   Look closely at your resources and then use your imagination as to how you can use them to make a buck.
   Inventory your interests and hobbies and consider how you can put them to work for you.
   But above all, never, EVER lose faith in yourself or your ability to survive.
   In the early 1980's, during a tough time when I had two small children to take care of, I used my unemployment to write and self-publish a handbook on radio production and copywriting, something for which I had already established a reputation.
   With a little help and a few mentions from friends at trade mags, I sold thousands of copies of the book and it led to teaching positions at colleges and universities and consulting work with radio stations!
   Then, at 44, I got junked because I "sounded too old."
   After I worked through my anger, I got busy and hired myself and developed a web presence company. And I returned to teaching and lecturing about what I knew at colleges and universities.
   A few years later I had my second heart attack; I went into the bypass surgery not knowing if I'd wake up on the other side, but I did and went back into my business thirteen years ago more fiercely than ever.
   Who in the hell was gonna hire a disabled white guy with a history of heart problems? My clients did and many of them are with me to this day!
   Look: you WILL make it through the rough times and on the other end you may just find a whole new career and a whole new person living in your old skin.
   STLMedia is here to help you however we can.
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-09/11-09: So there's this recession thingie happening ...
   What does that mean for the live entertainment market? I haven't paid for a concert ticket since The Mothers Of Invention in 1968. These days, I don't know how anyone can handle paying hundreds for a down-front seat.
   A reader asks: Area concert promoters might have to learn the hard way that the economy is in lousy shape. Billy Joel and Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor all will be performing in St. Louis within ten days of one another in early May. These are in the big rooms. Two at Scottrade, one at The Fox. Will there be enough disposable income to go around?
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-09/11-09: Synergy in TV news reporting ...
   Secret Squirrel reports: The television news competition just got a little friendlier in St. Louis. KSDK and KMOV collabrated on Thursday's coverage of Illinois Govenor Rod Blagojevich impreachment process from Springfield. KMOV sent their sattelite truck to Springfield, while KSDK sent a reportor and two photographers.
   One photographer worked with Mike Owens from KSDK, and the other one worked with the reportor from KMOV. KSDK got to use KMOV's sat. truck to feed back their story and for their live shots. KMOV got to use a KSDK photographer and all of their material and information gathered before their reporter even got to Springfield.
   Television stations often "pool" their cameras when it makes sense to do so, or they are required to to do, such as in a trial coverage or a funneral coverage, but this appears to be a way to cut costs.
   With KTVI and KPLR joining forces and now this type of arrangement between two fierce competiters, what will be next?

   Comment here.

Weekend 01-09/11-09: So much for radio guys designing print ...
   From Media Daily News:
   The Chicago Tribune is reversing course. The publisher has decided to pull many of the most prominent features of the redesign ordered last year by the Tribune Co.'s new management, led by Sam Zell. Coming about a month after the company was forced to declare bankruptcy, the highly visible retreat is another rebuff for Zell, a pugnacious real-estate mogul who promised to turn around the ailing company.
   Among the reversals, the Chicago Tribune is scaling back the "loud" front-page photos and graphics that were a centerpiece of the makeover and restoring the business section as a separate, regular feature. It is also attempting to make navigation easier by keeping articles in a contiguous format (rather than sending readers on a multi-page chase through different sections).
   However, the Tribune not budging on the increased share of advertising--a chief reader complaint. The higher proportion of advertising throughout the newspaper is part of a 50-50 ratio mandated by Zell's managers, under which none of the company's newspapers would contain less than 50% advertising.

   Comment here.

Weekend 01-09/11-09: Sam Zell and Bobby Lawrence hate you ...
   Secret Squirrel brings this to the info-party:
   An ultimatum was issued to Fox 2/Channel 11 staff Wednesday by the owners, Local TV LLC All employees were told their wages will be frozen in 2009. Both AFTRA and the IBEW unions are very angry and preparing to confront the company. That's because they say Local TV is attempting to unilaterally take away previously negotiated wages that are in the union contracts. In addition, all on-air talent with individual contracts were asked to sign a form agreeing to cancel any raises contractually due in 2009. So far, no one's signed.
   Comment here.

Weekend 01-09/11-09: Had the occasion Friday to chat with an old friend ... with whom I'd lost touch for the past eight and a half years: Ron Dennington.
   Last time I saw Ron was at the KIX104 10th Anniversary get-together.
   He's retired now, and visually disabled from an injury suffered in a long-ago station promotion, but still has the same spark he had when he programmed major Top 40 stations for legendary operators Bartel and Metromedia.
   A special OldDog lunch is in the works.

Wednesday 01-07-09: Gazillion dollar digital boondoggle ...
   For no good reason whatsoever, the FCC has mandated that analog TV convert to digital on February 17th. This will not affect cable and satellite TV subscribers. But it will knock older off-air TV users out of the viewing box who cannot get a converter or cannot afford a new TV with a digital tuner and antenna.
   From the Washington Post: The government's billion-dollar program to help people prepare for the transition to digital television has run out of money, potentially leaving millions of viewers without coupons to buy converter boxes they need to keep their analog TV sets working after the switch.
   Why the government decided we need sharper TV pictures is way beyond my pay grade. But since the TV broadcasters accepted the new mandate, they and the manufacturers should have brought to market a few years ago something more easily compatible with the system they knew was coming.
   This brings me to the conclusion that this whole HD-TV thing was a bought-and-paid-for collusion between the FCC, the broadcast nets and the set manufacturers.
   The set date for the changeover is 2/17, but I bet that it'll be delayed.
   Comment here.

Wednesday 01-07-09: I bought me a man-purse ...
   Yeah, I know, the model is obviously female and a shoulder bag is just so metrosexual...but it's a manly OD cotton canvas and holds everything I need to carry around: my Asus mini-computer, a book to read at lunch, digital still and video cameras with extra batteries, car and wall chargers and SD cards, a desk-top tripod, a media player and headset and pens and a notebook.
   For $16 you can laugh at me all you want. I'm better prepared for anything than you are. And everything I pull out of the bag is cool.

Wednesday 01-07-09: A couple new resumés to present ...
   Nick Davis and Kara Savio.
   Remember, if you're an STL-based talent looking for work, STLMedia offers free storage for your resumé as a PDF and streaming airchecks and video demos. Contact me for more info.

Tuesday 01-06-09: "Them beagles are little Houdini's" ...
   Those were words spoken to me after we adopted a Beagle-Lab mix named Winnie, years ago. I spent a lot of time driving the neighborhood when she made her regular break-outs, usually by doing exactly what you'll see in this video: climbing a fence, paw over paw. Persistence and agility pay off.
Monday 01-05-09: Grayson sets a record ...
   I believe that this is the first time in the Current Radio Era that an air personality will kick off a new show on just four stations with as great a reach as his new "Overnight America."
   In one fell swoop, KMOX' Jon Grayson will be heard on four 50k Northern-tier radio stations, from Minneapolis to St. Louis to Pittsburgh to Boston. Each of the stations, CBS properties all, has a huge nighttime signal. The potential audience reach is astounding.
   Expect Grayson to show up on other CBS stations. Possible markets include Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.
   Now Grayson will never answer my email...
   Comment here.

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: CC cleans house this coming week ... Word is that Clear Channel/STL will be doing just that. Cutbacks suck. Hope they don't.
Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: The Broadcasters Foundation of America ... the national charity created by broadcasters to assist their colleagues who have fallen on hard times, has established the Bill Drake Memorial Tribute Fund to accept gifts in Drake's memory to the BFA Endowment Fund.
Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: Blame it on Karen Carroll ...
   ...who signed the original KLOU deal. Tom Taylor reports that Clear Channel was losing about a million dollars a year on the St. Louis Rams.
   A million freakin' dollars a year!
   KLOU inherited a bad, bad deal with the Rams, who have been a bad, bad team since the signing. Bonneville's deal with the Rams is revenue-sharing only.
   Look for more of that throughout the NFL. Football on radio is a losing proposition.
   Comment here.

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: Always looking for a programming niche ...
   Old friend J.R. Russ seems to have found one: Movie Ticket Radio.
   J.R. says: “Reluctance by station owners to sample anything new has made launching any new format difficult. But we are confident the economic downturn and audience fragmentation, as well as a more focused marketing effort, will bring us a number of charter stations in 2009, including a short-form show in syndication.”
   Comment here.

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: Let's foul up the airwaves a little more ...
   Current regs allow 1% of total modulation for HD propogation. Tom Taylor reports that the FCC is quietly letting some stations hike their HD Radio wattage to as much as 10%.
   This makes HD louder, allows significantly less bandwidth for primary service and makes noise across the band more of an issue.
   For what listeners?
   Comment here.

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: 22 years ago Saturday ... there was a small celebration in a townhouse in Creve Coeur.
   Four adults (a minister and his wife, dear friends flown in from Virginia, and Mrs. A and me), four children (Anna, Jennifer, Sabra and Jason) and a large red dog named Conan made it official: Carroll and I were husband and wife.
   Yay, us!
   On 01-03-09 we'll celebrate it as we always do, with a shopping spree at a huge bookstore and then dinner out after, all on gift certificates.
   Married life is good!

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: Over the past couple weeks ...
   I celebrated my 60th Christmas and New Year and had the happiness of touching base with a lot of OldDog buddies.
   It's my good fortune to think and feel much younger than I am chronologically, still in pretty good health and still working regularly at whatever weirdness it is that I work at; some of my friends are not so lucky.
   George Burns worked until he was 100; nothing would please me more than to keep up this annoying STLMedia thingie for another 40 years.
   P.S.: When Frank O. Pinion and I used to play this song on KIX104, we were in our early 40's. I think that now, almost twenty years later, he and I finally understand it. And neither of us want to be 18 again, except for that 22¢ a gallon gas thing.

Holiday weekend 01-02/04-09: Won't be long now ...before Frank Absher's STLRadio.com's Hall of Fame, Class of 2008-2009, will be made public. Good round of inductees this time around, if I do say so myself...
   Stay tuned!

Thursday 01-01-09: PPM on the way to STL, to debut for the Summer Book ...
   First, read this PDF file from Arbitron. It explains everything, including the additional gear, provided by Arbitron, that must be set up and maintained within the station's audio chain.
   Second, this has been the target date for the STL market right along. But remember that the numbers are still unaccredited. PPM is still very much in testing. My understanding is that non-commercial stations will be included along with commercial stations. I get all PPM reports from the company for all markets, but have just been too uninterested to see if they're being supplied yet. Next batch I promise I'll check it out.
   Third, in order to work, the device has to (a) be worn all the time by the respondent and (b) replaced in its cradle at night so it can recharge and call home. It requires a fair amount of effort on the part of the respondent to keep it all top of mind.
   Fourth, yes, it includes listening to podcasts (the PPM is plugged into the MP3 player and the headset into the PPM, resulting in a nice little jumble of wires and cables), internet streaming and HD stations, presuming the requisite encoding gear is employed for each additional audio product that you wish measured. More work for your already overworked engineer.
   And that doesn't include what happens when respondents forget to wear the little guy or forget to plug it in at night. Arbitron actually went to some effort a while back in the development of this system to dress the device up, to make it almost a fashion accessory, using flashy colors and a little bling.
   Evidently it didn't work, because those options are gone and only the basic black style is still available.
   I'm certainly no Luddite, but this "next step in ratings technology" appears to be a nightmare. Having seen the cavalier way that listeners handled their responsibility with the written diaries, I have even less faith in this being a better alternative.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-01-09: The CBS-Minneapolis-Boston-St. Louis radio link ...
   CBS News/Talkers WCCO in Minneapolis and WBZ in Boston are cutting back, letting air talent loose, continuing the deep cuts intended to shore up their sagging bottom line. Several Twin Cities news articles and at least one regional MB have suggested that the all-night vacancies will be filled starting Monday by a "syndicated show out of St. Louis."
   Since there are no relevant syndicated shows originating here, it might be more appropriate to say a "show syndicated out of St. Louis."
   And since both stations are CBS O&O's and KMOX PD Steve Moore is also CBS News/Talk VP, it's probably not a stretch to say that some lucky KMOX talk monkey is going to be heard from The Land of a Thousand Lakes to Beantown and everywhere inbetween.
   Who will it be? The money going into the weekend is on Jon Grayson, but, well, until Monday, only Mr. Moore knows.
   Comment here.

Thursday 01-01-09: If you've ever programmed music, played music, or just listened to music ...
   ...you undoubtedly know the name Joel Whitburn, who has authored countless books on music charts over the years. The Arch 106.5 & Broadcast Center's Jay Philpott scored a lengthy interview with Whitburn and it's online at TheConclave.com.
   I haven't had a chance yet to hear the entire interview, but you need to set aside some quiet time to listen to it. Whitburn is an industry treasure and his story is fascinating.
   Philpott is actively engaged in developing new content for the website, and in the next few weeks I hope to get a chance to chat with him and let him tell you what they'll be offering.


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