Previously on The Front Page...Apr/May/Jun 2009

Monday 06-29-09: We need a whole new set of ethics for reporters ...
   This came in via Secret Squirrel over the weekend.
   Ryan Dean of Channel 5 invaded a Facebook tribute page created by St. Louis University High students grieving over the loss of two students. Not sure there is anything more tasteless, but figured you would know the answer. Another low by a once proud television station. Here is his clip:
   Ryan Dean (UMiami) wrote at 16:29 yesterday:
   Hi all. I am a reporter with Channel 5. We are reporting on this story. Help our viewers know the kind of people Brendan and Jake were. Please contact me with any information you can provide.
   Thanks, Ryan Dean NewsChannel 5. 314-330-6034

   A few things to start the discussion:
   1. We've seen this before, and most who wrote about it found this behavior to be thoroughly reprehensible. I agree. A reporter getting in the grill of a grieving parent or friend is patently unacceptable behavior; doing it this way may be different but no less offensive.
   2. On the other hand, the Facebook page was placed in the public domain, not private. Does that make it fair game for this sort of thing?
   3. What could a reporter hope to find out about the students that would add to the story?
   4. Note where he indicates his college affiliation. Is that supposed to make his presence at the mourning more acceptable because he's young and hip and went to a school where basketweaving is a major?
   I'm demonstratably not a Luddite, but I wonder if the basic functions of journalism are being subverted by the ease of New Media communication.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Weekend 06-27/28-09: Weekend thoughts ...
   My apologies to all for bailing on the June Monthly Meeting. Caught something that kinda kept me close to home. Next meeting, July 24th.
   The Moderator Meeting Sunday PM in Edwardsville went much better and we made some progress on potential changes to the MB; info for Mods, Editors and Writers of Columns and Commentary available in their private MB section.
   And thanks to former co-worker and now world traveler and computer industry mogul Matt "Be good and I'll give you a Snickers" Gordon who presented me with the bit of history below: an authentic 1997 KTRS bumpersticker.

KTRS bumper sticker, circa 1997
Friday 06-26-09: Moving this website to a blog...
   Over the next few weeks I'll be migrating this website to stlmediastuff.blogspot.com, with a kickback to stlmedia.net.
   The new site will include links to RSS feeds for instant updates to which you can subscribe and will include the work of editors and contributors beyond my entries.
   The archives will still be available at the site linked above and you'll still be able to get in touch with the MB at the old address.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-26-09: The day Elvis died ...
   I was doing PM drive at AC-formatted WTRX/Flint and when the news crossed the wire I immediately went into all-Elvis-memory mode.
   Played Presley tunes and read and re-read newswire releases about his death and career, wrapping them into the music flow.
   'Cause that's what you did in the '70's, when radio was live all over and able to react to major events like that and when the DJ's brought their living memories to the game.
   Inside Music Radio looks at how national radio handled the death of pop music icon Michael Jackson, who died Thursday afternoon at the age of just 50.
   It's not a pretty picture.
   Jackson may not have ended his life as a man with a polished reputation, but it's indisputable that he influenced the course and style of music for decades.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-26-09: Talk about narrowcasting ...
   From Dan Caesar at STLToday.com :
   WFXX (1490 AM) has finalized plans to broadcast in an "urban sports-talk'' format starting July 22. The station, which like KSLG is owned by Simmons Media Group, will drop programming from Fox Sports Radio in favor of local shows. Hosts are expected to be Richard "Onion'' Horton, Charlie "Tuna'' Edwards, Rob Dezir and Maurice Scott.
   Last ditch attempt to monetize a loser. And yes, STLMedia credits where we got a story, unlike the newspaper.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-24-09: Finally been fiddling with the CCraneRadio2 ...
   ...and I'm really impressed. Station sensitivity and audio quality is good on AM & FM (although there's not a lot to hear on the 2M Ham Band) and having a NOAA WxAlert is a good thing. More later this week, along with my one major recommendation for V.3.

Wednesday 06-24-09: Casey Kasem cashes out ...
   Tom Taylor reports that Casey Kasem’s last new countdown will be this July 4th weekend; his first countdown show debuted on the same weekend in 1970. That's almost 40 years of "countin' em down, all the way to Number 1".
   Everybody I've ever known who has worked with Kasem over the years speaks highly of him, both as a real gentleman and a solid radio pro.
   Two Kasem-related trivia items: Casey does the very best Peter Falk-as-Columbo sendup ever, down to the semi-hooded false eye, and Frank O. Pinion does the best Casey Kasem voice impression I've ever heard.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 06-23-09: CBS News reaches bottom, continues digging ...
   This can't be good:
   TVNewser has learned the CBS Evening News has once again set an all-time low last week with 4.89 million Total Viewers and 1.42 million A25-54 viewers. But it was also the lowest (since records began in the 1991-'92 season) for ABC's World News with Charles Gibson. The Gibson program drew 6.42 million Total Viewers and 1.77 million A25-54 viewers.
   So the question is why. Possibilities:
   -- The conversion to digital has just screwed all this ratings crap up completely.
   -- There was just nothing going on in the news.
   -- Nobody really likes Katie.
   -- Viewers just caught on to the slanted content.
   -- Digital recording is shifting not only programming but viewers away from appointment television.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 06-23-09: Woody and all his baggage ...
   ...WILL land at Emmis' The Point, for Mornings, with a TBD starting date, according to a Tweet from his new radio pard, Scott Rizzuto. Current morning guy Donnie Fandango? Outa there, apparently with no particular place to go.
   Then there's Woody himself. Not the most popular puppy in the basket, he apparently has issues remaining at The Powerhouse: his generally oppressive attitude and what many women there consider pretty grave offenses with regard to some of what was put on the station website just before his exit.
   The Emmis license in Chicago is still in jeopardy because of some of the content while he was at Q101. His wife, Jen Sparks, had her baby a few days ago so maybe he works cheap.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-22-09: May be the funniest thing I've read in years ...
   Foghat garnering a five-to-ten thousand crowd? In Festus?
   Lub me some Southern MO, but I gotta think that F'hat's management oversold the band's draw just a bit.
   Two weeks ago, Festus Mayor Earl Cook said, the city learned that organizers were hoping Foghat would draw 5,000 concertgoers — a crowd much too big for the airport to handle, the mayor said. City officials imagined the worst.
   "You're talking about having 5 (thousand) to 10,000 people out on a property we're trying to sell. The damage could have been tremendous," Cook said.

   I don't remember Foghat ever drawing more than a few hundred of their most rabid fans to any land-based, riverboat-based or club-based appearance within a hundred miles of STL in the past twenty years.
   And if they really and truly drew that many fans, they'd be facing a herd of fifty-somethings who actually liked Foghat's music and probably have serious substance abuse issues.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-22-09: We've lost Kim Mankovich ...
   From Bonneville's Amanda Koeppe, via Michelle Kent:
   It is with great sadness that I announce to you that a former Bonneville St. Louis sales team member (who actually moved to Bonneville/Chicago to work in sales at The Drive) Kim Mankovich passed away last night after a long battle with breast cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her entire family.
   Information for the services for Kim:
   Wake: Tuesday, June 23rd 4-8pm
   Funeral: Wednesday, June 24th 11:30 10:00am
   Schrader Funeral Home, Inc.
   14960 Manchester Road at Holloway Road
   Ballwin, Missouri 63011
   Telephone 636-227-5511
   I worked with Kim at KIX. She was a great lady.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Weekend 06-20/21-09: Fathers' Day ...
   A minimal holiday on which you give your Father beer, new underwear, ammo and a pistol grip and tac light for his Mossberg HS410, cutting the length of Dad's primary HD weapon by just over a foot and making it oh-so-much easier to handle and sight. Or maybe a .22lr survival rifle...
   Sunday here we'll grill chicken and brats and eat that along with Dad-made pasta salad.
   Hope your Dads' Day is superior and includes a few hours at a range.
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Weekend 06-20/21-09: Email sent by KMOV ND Friday...
   Effective Monday, we are changing a couple of our weather assignments. Kent Ehrhardt will add the 6pm weekday weather duties to his current 5pm responsibilities. Steve Templeton will move from the 6pm to the 10pm newscast. We will still be working with the team approach we have been using in all of our severe weather coverage. Please see me if you have any questions.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: Toasted Rav staff is toast ...
   Secret Squirrel, in a stealthy Palace-near-Ballas drive-by reports:
   Mike Flynn apparently quit when he was put under the supervision of the "sales department" and the other remaining two are job hunting. Apparently the website "combo" package is a bust and the individual stations will be back to their own webwork.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: Despite some increasingly loud rumblings on the internet ...
   ...regarding an imminent announcement involving former 105.7 The Point's "Woody" that might have him returning to Union Station, the smart money says "no." But could his next stop be in the Pacific northwest?
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: Hulu might start charging for views ...
   From MediaPost:
   With tongue firmly implanted in cheek, Fox marketing executive Joe Earley suggested that Hulu junkies may need some sort of rehab. The millions who use the site are so addicted to its low commercial load that looking for more revenues -- by either increasing the number of ads or getting people to pay per episode -- may be difficult.
   "You've given them the heroin, they're used to it," he said at a Promax/BDA event Wednesday.
   Not unlike other executives, Earley suggested that if shows continue to be available free on Hulu.com, the commercial load should match the live network feed. Or, the site could offer a commercial-free option for a fee.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: Mr. McMahon sells Raw to Mr. Trump ...
   I hope that the wrestlers approve of gay marriage...
   From MediaDailyNews:
   One of USA Network's signature programs, longtime wrestling show "Monday Night Raw," has a new and perhaps unexpected owner: Donald Trump. World Wrestling Entertainment has sold "Monday Night Raw" to Trump, although terms were not disclosed.
   "Raw" has been a mainstay on cable, regularly posting top 10 ratings for almost two decades.
   Celebrating this purchase, Trump -- who has other interests in TV shows, such as NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" -- will offer a commercial-free episode of "Raw" on June 22 at 9 p.m. Trump will make an appearance.
   "Raw" has been trending down over the last couple of years, but it has picked up momentum lately. In the most recent reporting week, the week of June 8, "Raw" at 10 p.m. earned 5.9 million viewers -- good for second-place behind industry leader TNT's "The Closer." The show's 9 p.m. episode grabbed 4.8 million viewers, coming in at seventh place.
   In comparison to other scripted cable shows, wrestling shows like "Raw" are still valuable for attracting younger viewers, according to TV analysts.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: Jon Gibson passes ...
   From Jim Cox: Some folks still in the biz may remember Jon Gibson who was a sales manager for Gannett radio stations back in the 1980's. Just got word that he died a few weeks ago from lung cancer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 06-19-09: AM1510 moving South of the border ...
   Señor Squirrel says: Bob Romanik has inked a deal to buy another AM, and has made a deal with some Mexican broadcasters who will be leasing out his AM1510/WXOZ, while the Classic Country format will move to a much better facility. The source was gagged on which station it was - but, it is apparently another reasonable AM facility similar to 1430.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-17-09: Here's a handy hint ...
   Having trouble keeping remotes associated with your electronics once you've found the perfect universal remote controller?
   Get some two-sided Velcro at a hardware store, cut it to size and attach the unbatteried remotes to the top or side of each component.
   Or, better yet, place each remote (with batteries removed), attachment devices, spare cables and handbooks for each device inside a labeled gallon freezer bag; keep the bags together in a book carton for quick access.
   Keep the batteries from touching eachother; toss the batteries if they've been even slightly used.

Wednesday 06-17-09: Wondering how the digital tv switch ...
   ...is affecting ratings.
   Word is that ABC is having grief in Chicago and Philadelphia and asking Nielsen to take a look.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-17-09: It's like Christmas ... when UPS or FedEx drops off packages full of goodies to test and review.
   Tuesday afternoon, I received a CCraneRadio2, a CCrane WiFi Internet Radio and an Aluratek tabletop internet tadio and thumb drive audio player to play with.
   Gimme a week or so and I'll give you user reviews.
   Now, if I could just get firearm manufacturers to provide me the same opportunity...I'd love to shoot that Kel-Tec 5.56 pistol...

Wednesday 06-17-09: Final Komen numbers are in ...
   ...and mad props are due to WIL's BreadHead team (see above and here).
   WIL 92.3 and their "Team Breadhead" set the World Record for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this past Saturday, June 13, 2009 at the St. Louis event - here are the stats:
   Komen St. Louis 2009 Race for the Cure:
   - $3.25 million raised
   - Over 66,000 participants – St. Louis Record
   WIL 92.3's 2009 "Team Breadhead"
   - $190,000 raised
   - Over 6,100 participants – Komen World Record

   Impressive work for Chowderhead & Slats and happy-happy-joy-joy for the Komen Foundation!
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-17-09: Congrats to Old Weird George ...
   From AllAccess:
   Premiere Radio Networks' long running late night talk show, Coast-To-Coast AM with George Noory, as the program dedicated to “all things curious and unexplained” blasts through the 525 affiliates milestone — an all-time high for the show.
   Noory has been hosting Coast-To-Coast AM since January 1, 2003 when he inherited the mic from the program’s founder Art Bell following Bell’s retirement.
   Premiere reports Coast-To-Coast AM is the #1 overnight radio show in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Seattle, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Sacramento and Portland OR, reaching a reported 3 million listeners weekly.
   “George Noory continues to take Coast-To-Coast AM to new heights,” said Premiere EVP/Affiliate Marketing Julie Talbott.
   “There are few radio hosts who can keep millions of people tuned-in overnight, but George’s commitment to excellence has done just that. We look forward to achieving many more milestones together and congratulate him on his success.”

   Hard to believe that it's been six and a half years since Noory was known as The Nighthawk on The Big 550...

Tuesday 06-16-09: Channel 5 and the "F-word" ...
   Remember the kerfuffle about the phony Tony LaRussa Twitter account?
   According to a knowledgeable source, KSDK's version of the story, produced by OWB Kasey Joyce, included a screen grab of the website, whereon was clearly visible the word "F**KING" in all its dreaded glory.
   First broadcast was at 5 or 6, and the viewer calls came in. They were told the word had not been noticed by the reporter/producer and that it would be removed by the 10PM show.
   It wasn't. No word on whether anyone has complained to the FCC, but if this is taken to the extreme (and I think it won't be) it could get expensive.
   Nice work, there, 5'ers!
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 06-16-09: This was one of those unexpected days ...
   ...when you heard from folks you didn't expect to call or email, with stories you never expected to hear and when you discovered that a friend on the Right Coast got a call out of the blue from someone here who, as it turned out, knows me. It's that whole Six Degrees thing.
   And a howdy-do to Jean Jackson, whom we miss on the air (radio and tv!).
   Eventually it will get down to a dozen Boomers left alive, and we will discover that we all went to HS together or worked for Shelly Davis or Tim Dorsey.

Monday 06-15-09: Plaigarism isn't just a NYT thing...
   Dan Caesar's weekend story on the Voices of STL Baseball would have been impossible to write had it not been for the material already online about it all.
   Frank Absher, a friend of mine and whose website I manage, has done untold hours of research into the market's history.
   It's unlikely that Caesar's article was written without reference to Absher's STLRadio.
   So why do you think that Caesar offers no reference to Absher's site?
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-15-09: Pasta House sucks ...
   You may have noted below that we went out to a family dinner for a birthday Saturday. Pasta House was the birthday girl's choice.
   The Pasta House on Dorsett was a bad choice.
   Three dinners out of five earned a FAIL: Linguini in Clam Sauce had a bad tasting sauce approximately the consistency of glue, a fish filet meal tasted REAL bad and had just two bites taken out of it and some baked noodles with meatballs (meatballs badly undercooked, very rare) had to be taken away to prevent health problems with a young child.
   Add to that a fourth meal of just spaghetti with cheese that was charged at the same price as a $13 Spaghetti Bolognese and we'll never go back again, and I suggest you stay away from any Pasta House.
   Iced tea and other soft drinks at $2.25 per?
   We're not big spenders, but even with charges taken off the bill we had to pay about $65.
   None of our families will ever go back to any Pasta House, although we've eaten there happily as recently as a year ago and we'll make sure that everyone we know, including you, know how bad they've become.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-15-09: After 14 years with the MLB Red Sox ...
   Baseball pxp wizard Jerry Trupiano is looking for a new home.
   After fourteen freakin' years!
   That Jerry's been out of work since 2007 is almost incomprehensible to me. The guy broadcast Beantown baseball to a generation of listeners.
   I don't know a lot about sports, but I know talent; Trumpiano's got that "legendary" announcer sound that draws people like me into radio listening, the way Jack Buck did.
   Instead, STL gets Dorsey's boy John Rooney.
   Shannon you don't mess with. But John Rooney?
   It just ain't fair to the listeners.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-15-09: Depper back in the biz ...
   After spending all of the twenty-plus years I've known him at just two gigs, WJBM/KIX104 and Emmis, and a brief time on the beach, George Depper is now officially among the ranks of the re-employed, as an AE with WBGZ/Alton.
   Best wishes to one of the truly "goodest" of the good guys!

Weekend 06-13/14-09: Lotsa new stuff at Absher's STLRadio history website ...
   Spend some weekend time reading the market's history.

Weekend 06-13/14-09: Big birthday dinner Saturday...
   ...as daughter Anna steps into her 40's. Our oldest "kid" is 41 and our youngest is 34. Grandkids are in their teens. Oy.

Weekend 06-13/14-09: Over the next few weeks ...
   I'll be playing with internet radios from several companies. I'll keep you posted on results.

Thursday 06-11-09: 10% Tweeters = 90% Content ...
   From the BBC:
   Micro-blogging service Twitter remains the preserve of a few, despite the hype surrounding it, according to research.
   Just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content, a Harvard study of 300,000 users found.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 06-11-09: If you look to the left and then to the right ...
   ...and see two people, then you probably don't work at CC/STL.
   An employee with whom I recently spoke described the multi-million dollar facility at The Highlands as a "ghosttown".
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 06-11-09: In a world without Clear Channel ...
   Clear Channel is done. The next six to nine months will constitute what I believe will be their swan song as a consolidated radio company. None of us can take any joy in this.
    Read all of what Mr. DelColliano has to say and then discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 06-11-09: Unless you've been living under a rock ...
   ...you probably know about the Performance Rights Act. Here's a non-industry perspective that's pretty interesting.
   Now the Recording Industry Association of America and a coalition of other industry groups are backing a bill, the Performance Rights Act, that would require those same stations to pay a new fee for the right to air those records. An industry that is infamously willing to pay for airplay apparently wants to charge for airplay too.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 06-11-09: Tribute to R&R ...
   Jay Philpott, in association The Conclave, is putting together an audio tribute to the late and somewhat lamented trade mag, Radio & Records.
   Like so many others in the broadcasting and music industry professions, I'm really going to miss Radio and Records and its collection of talented professionals and damn nice people who were committed to informing and inspiring all of us. There have been many tributes written and blogs created with remembrances, but since we are an audio medium, shouldn't there be some sort of audio tribute to R&R that can properly convey the admiration of its legion of fans? Shouldn't you have a chance to say goodbye?
   YES, and for this reason, in association with The Conclave, I'm putting together a special podcast memorializing R&R starring...YOU!
   Between now and Thursday June 25th, you can call me and record your remembrance of Radio and Records over its 36 years of service...the first time you encountered it, how you used it, what it meant to you, the features you liked best, what it taught you, your thoughts on the many talented people that put it together, war stories on getting/losing reporting status, your experiences at one of their conventions...whatever. The unfortunate decision to cease publication has been made, this is not about questioning or criticizing that - it's about celebrating R&R. Calls received will be woven into an audio tribute as the next Conclave podcast, to be released no later than July 8th, 2009.
   I don't want to impose an unnatural time limit on anyone, but 30 seconds seems to me to be a good length to shoot for or not exceed by too much, as the total length of the podcast will not be more than 30-40 minutes...but if response turns this into a multi-part series, so be it!
   If you wish to participate, simply email me at Jaydio@aol.com and I will reply with the number you should call.
   Please say your name, your role in the biz (even if "inactive" at this time) and give me a contact point (phone or email) prior to recording your thoughts on R&R.
   Messages will be accepted until 11:59pm on Thursday June 25th, 2009.
   OR - IF YOU PREFER: You can email me your own produced tribute or recorded remembrance as long as it does not contain any copyrighted music. The same time parameter and deadline requirements apply. Send your files as mp3's (44.1/128k+) to JAYDIO@AOL.COM with R&R TRIBUTE as part of the subject line.

Wednesday 06-10-09:
   Tabletop internet and thumb drive audio player ...
   $110 at NewEgg, on its way to da wi-fi manse.
   The Aluratek plays gazillions of net stations wirelessly and all local FM's faithfully. Plug in a thumb drive and listen to your music in almost any format from a digital table radio.
   Go here to buy one.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-10-09: Who was first on the air...
   From Tom Taylor: Which radio station was "the first" to broadcast? KCBS-AM, San Francisco lays claim to that honor, celebrating the pioneering work of "Doc" Herrold Thursday in San Jose, at the corner of First and San Fernando Streets in the Fairmont Plaza. That's where it all started, they say, 100 years ago in 1909.
   Well, you can talk and talk and talk, but unless you play the hits, you ain't squat.
   From STLRadio.com: 9YK was originally on the air in 1912 and then off for the duration of WW1. On July 16, 1921, Brother George Rueppel, S.J., brought a gramophone into the campus studio, put on a record and held the station's microphone up to the horn of the gramophone, thus becoming St. Louis' first disc jockey.
   And probably in the entire world.
   So KCBS and KDKA can stuff it up their talky-talk history.
   STLRadio played the hits until CC came to town and screwed it all up.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-10-09: SHTF commo gear ...
   I'm not the survivalist type, but I do keep portable communication electronics on hand just in case a natural or "man-caused" disaster happens. Or I need to talk with some guy in a cart on the 8th green of a golf course...
   I'll be tossing the Sony 3" portable TV into the trash this week (damn, I loved that little guy, bought it for $50 at Walgreens in Olivette in 1987 and used it every storm since), but keeping a CB radio, Family Band/GRS service two-ways, a Sony SW portable, a hand-cranked AM/FM radio (what a joke - who'll still be on the air?) and maybe this, the CraneRadio2, with commercial bands, weather radio and 2-meter ham reception.
   Plus a huge bag of blister-packed D, C and AA cell batteries.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-10-09: This isn't good news for anybody ...
   From MediaDailyNews:
   Ad spending in the U.S. media tracked by the Nielsen Co. declined 12% during the first quarter of 2009, as compared with the same quarter in 2008. Preliminary figures show the decline amounts to a drop of $3.8 billion in total U.S. ad spending, Nielsen said.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 06-10-09: How often do you replace your cell phone?
   I've kept my Razr in use for a long, long time, at least in cell-phone years. It's sufficient to keep me in touch at the cell level, and the occasional text message and I see no need to replace it until it just dies.
   I have friends, though, who upgrade to the coolest new thing at the drop of a hat.
   If I were younger and had better vision, I might consider a Smart Phone but I'd probably regret the cost of the ongoing bandwidth useage. I mean, I've seen some of those iPhone bills that come packed in USPS boxes!
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 06-09-09: Some of you may remember a few years ago ...
   ... when a certain CBS PD made bad-taste fun of WIL's effort in the annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.
   Looks like things have done a 180:
   The 2009 Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure is expected to draw over 65,000 people downtown St. Louis on Saturday, June 13, and raise over $3.5 million for breast cancer screening, treatment, education and research.
    Of those 65,000 people, over 6,000 participants in the country’s leading Race for the Cure will wear a yellow Team Breadhead T-shirt lead by WIL 92.3 St. Louis morning show host Cornbread – setting a record for the largest team in Race for the Cure history.
   "With over 6,000 participants in this year's Race, Team Breadhead is the largest team in the history of the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure," said Helen Chesnut, Executive Director, St. Louis Affiliate, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

   Congrats to Cornbread, his "Breadheads", and the promo people at WIL for making those old lemons into lemonade, and for a great cause to "boot".
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-08-09: Some of you may know ...
   ... that I'm a proponent of concealed carry of handguns for self-defense.
   Once you've legally qualified for the MO permit by paying for and passing the CC class, the shooting skills test and the Federal background/fingerprint check, you need a way to carry your sidearm that won't say "I've got a gun!" and scare the blue rabbits.
   I suggest you take a look at the inside-the-waistband holsters from an STL manufacturer, Kholsters.
   Please let Jimmy know I sent you.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-08-09: Is Craig Cornett on The Bull this morning?
   If not, why not?
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 06-08-09: Newspapers: They’re *still* dying ...
   From Reuters: Moody’s debt analyst John Puchalla analyzed the state of newspapers today. Conclusion: The sun rises in the east, usually in the mornings. In other words, newspapers are still doomed.
   The newspaper industry is spending far too much on producing and delivering a printed paper and not enough on creating its content and selling the product, says a new report from Moody's Investors Service.

   And echoing the sentiment, Publisher: 'Boston Globe' Not Viable
   From Bloomberg: "The Boston Globe can not be a viable business given our current losses," publisher Steve Ainsley told his staff yesterday. The Globe can't survive in its current form and may impose pay cuts of at least 23% if its largest union doesn't approve a cost-saving contract next week, he says.
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Weekend 06-06/07-09: This coming Friday ...
   ...barring another delay, analog broadcast TV will slip into history.
   For me, and other cable subscribers like me, this will be a seamless transition. My cable company will simply switch to carrying the new transmissions (which I believe they already have, if the occasional stuttering audio is any indication) on the analog service to which we subscribe.
   Even though I don't have a flat-screen digital TV I won't see much of a difference, except for the image perspective. I can live with black stripes at the top and bottom of the screen; been watching them for years on letterboxed videos.
   I do have a dual-tuner analog-digital CRT set, and this week I'll have to assemble and set up the antenna I bought a year ago to directly access DTV, even though it's also hooked up to cable, just so I can watch the additional channels some DTV stations offer and which, I presume, my cable company will not offer.
   Non-cable subscribers will have to rely on both an appropriate antenna and a converter box, hundreds of thousands of which have been sold via a government-sponsored coupon program.
   Theoretically, these will make their old-fashioned TV's useful in the new digital era. I've heard mixed reports, most of which say that using this system is a lot like it was in the 1950's, having to twist and turn the antenna every which way to catch a signal.
   TV users, mostly the elderly and chronically poor, who don't have cable and cannot afford new converters and antennae are just plain screwed. For them, their TV service will just go dark. No more TV news or weather updates for you, forever.
   I have a few questions:
   1. Why was it necessary to change the entire system to digital from analog in the first place?
   2. Why was it necessary to force broadcast companies to spend billions of dollars to convert their transmission systems to digital?
   3. Why was it necessary to force TV program providers to spend billions of dollars for new gear to create programming in digital formats?
   4. Why was it necessary to force cable providers to spend billions of dollars for new gear to present digital programming throughout their systems and necessarily raise their fees?
   If you have the name and address of the scoundrel who caused all this to happen, please let me know. I will be happy to provide any and all of you who would like to join me with bamboo staffs and free transportation to his (or her) place of residence to beat him (or her) soundly until he (or she) resembles strawberry jelly.
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Weekend 06-06/07-09: Conan's ratings declining already ...
   Conan O'Brien's first week behind NBC's "Tonight Show" desk resulted in a strong overall ratings performance that dominated competitors and left critics generally pleased.
   But after debuting to record-setting numbers Monday, “The Tonight Show” audience has shrunk with each successive episode.

   Read it here.
   I haven't watched the Late Night shows, either Leno or Letterman, much since Carson left the scene. Of the two, Letterman seemed to initially have the touch but somewhere along the line he lost his vision and Leno, affable enough, comes off as a goof. A very, very rich goof, but not a goof to whom I'd be willing to hand over an hour of my life each night.
   Conan O'Brien, a talented writer with demonstrated success in Late, Late Night TV, does nothing to entertain me (a masturbating bear?), nor is he intended to appeal to a 60+ type.
   Even with four children and as many grandchildren, I'm more distanced from pop culture than I ever was, and a show filled with appearances by kids whose names I don't recognize just doesn't work for me.
   I suspect that the decline is the result of a numbers pop caused by initial curiosity and then the not-unexpected decline as the viewing audience settles into a stable rating.
   Likely as not, O'Brien will do just fine, although he'll bring in fewer viewers over the long haul than did Leno, who survived 17 years with a shadow of Carson's ratings.
   And, of course, there's that whole death of broadcast TV thing to worry about.
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Weekend 06-06/07-09: Makeup makes the man (and woman) ...
   Reading a history of the broadcast media in the US, I discovered for the first time that, during the very early days of television, it was necessary to make up performers' faces in green, and their lips in purple. Now, it appears that HD is causing another revolution in on-camera cosmetics.
   "HD is the too-much-information camera," says MAC Cosmetics' director of makeup artistry Gregory Arlt. "You have to treat the makeup like a tight, not-retouched beauty photograph."
   That means approaching makeup differently. Instead of covering up flaws, makeup artists now have to enhance what they've got. "You want to mimic real skin, just make it better," says Los Angeles-based artist Marie DelPrete.

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Weekend 06-06/07-09: To the tune of American Pie ...
   The Day The Media Died. Thanks to Scott St. James for the link.
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Thursday 06-04-09: So earlier this week Bob Wilson's baby died ...
   Radio & Records went dark, online and off, put to sleep at 36 by its most recent owners, Nielsen Business Media. Pertinent features, including the music charts, have been absorbed into the company's Billboard magazine.
   I checked through the Billboard site's menu to see if they kept Street Talk. Nope. And they no longer discuss formats. Now, it's "genres". 'Nuff said.
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Thursday 06-04-09: Just caught this on the tube ...
Wednesday 06-03-09: This just occurred to me ...
   In the old days of the "write down the name(s) of the station you listened to" diary system, it was pretty clear cut.
   You, well, you wrote it/them down in the listening diary, in the blocks assigned for the times and dates you listened.
   Now, in the PPM era, you've got a little digital buddy on your belt listening along with you.
   What happens if you listen with headphones or earbuds, inaudible to the belt-mounted device?
   Just wondering. Nobody seems to have an answer. And that means that all that listening is wasted, thrown away, not rated.
   Or, as Arbitron says, PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and are the opinion of Arbitron and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of a demographic or radio market.
   In other words, their PPM ratings, according to them, are crap. Doody. Horsehockey. Poop.
   You really need to read all about the fraud they're presenting as the best, newest, most technologically advanced way to catch this info.
   In case you were unaware, Arbitron diary ratings cost each station in this market a minimum of $200k annually, for info Arbitron has admitted to be unreliable for years: the accuracy of Arbitron audience estimates cannot be determined to any precise mathematical value or definition.
   I'll point you to Arbitron 12+, but I'll present only quarterly analysis here.
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Wednesday 06-03-09: I'm starting to see how social media ...
   ...along with use of one of the free blog services and free audio, video and still storage areas can replace Old Media.
   A reporter writes the story and updates it at their blog, links to multi-media and then runs the headline at Twitter with a link back to the full story. Simple distribution.
   The problem lies in how you get paid for your work, and banners and tower ads ain't gonna do it.
   The answer is probably as simple as the old MLM sales example, working at the first level, then moving up to the next.
   Someone will eventually have to bite the bullet and establish local, state and regional online networks and take responsibility for selling ads and/or subscribed access and editing and organizing the aggregation of reportage.
   The good news is that the initial investment is just a few hundred bucks for gear and personal time; the downside is that there are probably few who have the gumption to do the necessary work.
   I've been following a few radio stations on Twitter and I'm disappointed in how badly they use it to promote.
   News/Talkers should not be directing me to their website; they should be telling me what their AT's will be discussing next or what new developments there are in stories they're following, and when I can hear the new news...on the air. Include a link for online listening, of course.
   Music stations should pre-sell their sweeps and keep me in touch with promotions. Got a good old gold one coming up? Station concert cancelled because of weather? Big ass storm unexpectedly on the way? Power outs because of the storm? Tell me! Most do not.
   Every station should be pushing their updates toward mobile devices. Alert me by text message that your AT is about to have Señora Sotamayor as their next guest. I might want to listen. I might also be wearing a PPM on my belt.
   Twitter could be is the ultimate quarter-hour maintenance device and even in the age of PPM, that matters. Bill Drake would have been so happy with the 140-character limit!
   My God. If I'd had access to this network twenty years ago as a PD...of course, that presumes having DJ's who could/would type the alert messages.
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Wednesday 06-03-09: Sirius/XM upped their fees, up yours ...
   Mel "Kreepy" Karmazin has found a way to get around the FCC's prohibition on price increases, according to an STLMedia MB poster.
   According to the leaked Sirius/XM memo, The FCC decision approving the merger between SIRIUS and XM allows the company to pass through to Subscribers any federally mandated increases in music royalties that we must pay, since March 20, 2007. The FCC decision allows us to pass through this fee increase to our Subscribers and the company has chosen to do this with the U.S. Music Royalty Fee.
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Wednesday 06-03-09: Congrats to KMOV/4's Virginia Kerr ...
   The teeny-tiny anchorette is getting married this weekend and celebrating her birthday next week. How old, you ask? None of your damned business, I say.

Wednesday 06-03-09: Secret Squirrel's superior olfactory senses ...
   ... tracked down former STL dj "Woody" (remember Woody and the Whipping Boy, who broke the embargo on the time of Jack Buck's death in 2002?).
   Woody was last heard from as he took his leave from a San Francisco station for airing lots of new music tracks he was obtaining via leaks at several record companies; despite repeated cease and desists and requests by the station to stop, he didn't.
   Now he's back in town looking for the next big gig and, from what the Squirrel has seen, not having much luck.
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Tuesday 06-02-09: FCC to probe PPM ...
   This story has been bouncing around for a few days, but here's the most complete (and simplest) wrap I've found. It's over at BigHollywood and written by Brian Jennings, a longtime national radio programmer and author. A taste:
   I find it incredible in America that a regulatory agency thinks it has jurisdiction to probe an independent business...The FCC is out of bounds on this probe and we can only hope the court system will prevail in what will surely wind up as a key fight for free speech rights in America. Tommy Smothers once said, “The only valid censorship is the right of the people not to listen.” It would seem the Federal Censorship Commission disagrees.
   As much as I'd like to agree with Brian, who claims that PPM should be hands-off for the FCC, I can't. Seems to me that once an agency, any agency, plugs inaudible (or audible) encoding into your broadcast signal, it becomes part and parcel of the regulated signal and, in this case, fair game for the FCC.
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Monday 06-01-09: A little help here, please ...
   I'm looking for a wireless internet radio (802.11b-g compatible), with a clock alarm.
   I've pre-ordered two Sanyo R227 WiFi Internet Radios from Amazon, but I don't know if there's anything better available for around $163.
   At that price, I can put one in the bedroom and in the kitchen and in the corner of the living room closest to where we sit.
   Got a better WiFi radio? Can you direct me? I still have time to cancel.
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Monday 06-01-09: Those of you who read here regularly ...
   ...know of my preference for soft drinks sweetened with real sugar, rather than corn syrup. Nothing wrong with corn syrup, it's just that sugar tastes better. I don't drink enough of the stuff to really make much of a difference in my life (if I drink two or three cans a week, it's a lot), but the taste is different and, to me, better.
   Pepsi's Throwback is much better than the standard variety; Fitz's products are all also sugar users, and, well, they taste better, too.
   Around Jewish holidays Coca Cola makes Kosher Coke sweetened with sugar, but it's difficult to find here.
   Now, I'm informed by STLMedia MB regular CatfishAl, that Sam's is carrying 24-12oz bottle-cases of sugar-sweetened (and imported) Mexican Coke.
   The case costs almost $20, too pricy for me, having been a Pepsi guy since High School.
   By the way: did you know that there's a political component to the distribution of Coke and Pepsi in government facilities?
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Monday 06-01-09: Joe Sonderman publishes another book ...
   Joe writes:
   I just wanted to work in a shameless plug for my new book, Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks. It follows up where Route 66 in St. Louis left off, covering 66 from Crawford County to the Kansas line and has over 200 photos, many never before published. So, if you know any media types in Jeff City, Columbia, Rolla, Springfield, Joplin, etc., who are looking for an interview subject, let them know they can contact me here.
   First signing is June 20th at the Barnes & Noble in Jefferson City. Congrats, Joe!

Weekend 05-30/31-09: Randy Wachter has lost his mind ...
   $16.5mm to $21.5mm for KQQX? Read the offering. Even after a move to Hermann? In 2009? In a major national financial crisis? When major groups can't even afford toilet paper? For a signal that barely edges into the WestPlex?
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Weekend 05-30/31-09: Finally, a newspaper idea that makes sense ...
   From Editor & Publisher
   MediaNews Group is preparing to put its "Individuated News" personalized newspaper to the test in real homes in Denver next week.
   Peter Vandevanter, vice president of targeted products for MediaNews Group, told the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) "The Power of Print Conference" that the subscribers will get home delivery of a printed paper, through home printers or portable devices, with content personalized to their demands and including hyper-targeted advertising and coupon offers.
   MediaNews began testing the "Individuated News," or I-News, product in April with a 12-page paper for a few long-term guests at a Marriott Residence Inn in Denver.
   On June 3, the I-News product will be expanded with the installation of printers in 25 Denver households and the rooms of 60 guests of the extended-stay, Vandenvanter said. The expansion of the project was reported by Bill Mitchell, leader of news transformation and international projects at The Poynter Institute, who interviewed Vandevanter at the WAN meeting.
   By August, MediaNews expects to install I-News printers in 300 homes in Los Angeles, where it publishes the Los Angeles Daily News.
   Subscribers buy the printer at a deep discount and pay a "modest" subscription fee, Vandenvanter told Mitchell. The newspaper reimburses subscribers for the consumable. Advertisers pay the newspaper for targeted ads.
   According to an account of Vandenvanter's remarks on the WAN Web site, advertising rates for the I-News product "are 10 times print advertising rates."

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Weekend 05-30/31-09: Friday was a bad day for Cumulus ...
   First, Jerry Del Colliano exposed their spycammed sales meetings:
   In case you've heard it all when it comes to stupid consolidation tricks, here's one I'll bet you missed.
   Cumulus is installing cameras at some -- possibly all -- of their local stations so Big Brother can watch the daily sales meetings from Atlanta.

   Then Tom Taylor asked the musical question, "Did a Cumulus station go dark during the chief engineer's 'furlough week'?"
   The staff was forbidden to call him when the transmitter went kerflooey, because it was during his corporate-mandated week off. Unfortunately, his backup was unreachable for what I'm told was "an extended amount of time" - so the folks in the studio probably felt pretty helpless, and listeners were left hanging.
   Cumulus isn't the only company requiring days off and even whole furlough weeks to help "make the quarter" with expenses. But an engineering emergency is just that - an emergency.

   Cumulus is not in residence in St. Louis, and that appears to be a good thing.
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Weekend 05-30/31-09: Oh to be a fly on the wall ...
   From Editor & Publisher
   The nation's top newspaper executives gathered at a Chicago O'Hare airport hotel today to discuss charging for online content and protecting intellectual property.
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Friday 05-29-09: Great turnout this morning for the May Monthly Meeting ... and thanks to David Strauss for stopping by. We'll do it again in June. More later.
   Best line at my table: I said something that was clearly part of my usual sexist rant, and Sassy Radio Girl turned to Nancy and said, "The only reason he said that is because Carroll isn't here."
   Carroll, of course, is Mrs. A. And, yes, I'd have caught a slap on the back of my fat head if she'd been there. Sorry, ladies. Or, as I call them, gals.
   SFX: *SLAP*

Thursday 05-28-09: Guess I'm a racist ...
   Thanks to Scott St. James for the tip.
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Thursday 05-28-09: My semi-retirement, effective now ...
   The STLMedia Message Board I've been overlooking for all these years is now assigned to the capable hands of MB Admins Matt Gordon, Sassy Radio Girl, Merle and WaxStax. They will be responsible for seeing that the published rules of the road are continued and developing ideas to take the MB to the next stage and beyond.
   My continuing responsibility includes new member acceptance and "time out" and "drop out" of members who break the rules as well as my memorable commentaries.
   Moderators for each of their forums remain in place.
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Thursday 05-28-09: Tried Facebook, hated it, quit it ...
   Didn't hate the people, hated the network and the way it went wild with quizzes and "if you were a..." thingies. Way too much clutter. I kept hoping I'd bump into a radio or tv station that was using it for some sort of intelligent purpose. The potential was there, but no luck. So buh-bye.
   If I was a radio PD I'd be using the service to promote like crazy, hours ahead. PD's, why aren't you?
   Maybe I'll try Twitter.
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Memorial Day Weekend 2009: Save the presses ...
   From Boston.com:
   OK Internet, just try replacing newspapers in these situations...
   by Beth Teitell
   A recent survey by the Pew Center for the People & the Press found that fewer than half of Americans, 43 percent, say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." Even fewer, 33 percent, say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper "a lot" if it were no longer available.
   So, now we know: The way to save newspapers is not to repeat the same quality-based arguments every time another paper closes or slashes staff. News, shmews, it turns out. No one cares about the sanctity of the news. We need to make the case on grounds that actually matter to people. Let's talk about how life would really look without newspapers:
   1. In movies, whenever a damaging or shocking story appears in print, someone slams a newspaper down and shouts, "Just look at this! We're laughingstocks!" or "How did they find out?" Try that with a laptop. The main character will spend the rest of the film on hold waiting for IT to help repair his hard drive.
   2. You can shed a tear right now for the iconic ransom note, with letters clipped from newspaper headlines. What's a kidnapper to do? Print out letters at home using different fonts and point sizes?
   3. How are concerned neighbors supposed to figure out that the little old lady who lives alone is sick if the papers aren't piling up on her doorstep? And how will burglars know which houses to target?
   4. Not that anyone will be able to move to a new home in the future anyway, but even if they could, they couldn't. No more newspapers equals no way to safely pack up glass and grandma's hand-me-down china. Let the papers die, and your tableware goes down, too.
   5. This could all be a plot by the paper-towel industry to end the practice of cleaning windows with newspapers. Follow the money -- I sense a Da Vinci Code-esque plot.
   6. You know all that money you're saving by not shelling out for a subscription? Well, put it aside for a good umbrella. You'll need it the next time it rains without warning. Holding an iPhone over your head won't exactly cut it.
   7. Papier-mache will never be the same. No big deal, you say? Good luck when your kid's homework assignment calls for making a model of Earth or an erupting volcano.
   8. Where will cubicle-dwellers find "clever" headlines to cut out and post over their sad little work areas -- "Mission Accomplished" or "Bill Succeeds"?
   9. As if house-training a puppy isn't already hard enough, in a world without newspapers, the dogs will really be in charge. And bird owners, free your winged friends now or prepare to be cleaning floors 24/7, because you won't be able to line their cages.
   10. Get ready to live in an increasingly dangerous society. With gumshoes on stakeout trying to hide behind Kindles instead of newspapers, criminals are sure to spot them right away. What will we lose next? The trench coat?
   11. And finally, if not by recycling the papers, how will we demonstrate to our neighbors that we really are trying to save the planet?

   Thanks to Frank Absher for the link.
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Memorial Day Weekend 2009: A few rememberances ...


Friday 05-22-09: Amazon's E-book reader, Kindle ...
   ... will sell a billion bucks of books by the end of next year.
   You can buy a Kindle reader by clicking here; your purchase will toss a few bucks into the STLMedia begging cup, and we thank you.
   I just bought a V2 6" 3G Kindle, with 385,000 books available, to complement Mrs. A's original reader.

Friday 05-22-09: Killing them softly with my electrons ...
   Looks like the 'net's next victim, after newspapers and magazines and Yellow Pages is direct mail. And Thank You Jesus for that!
   Read the story here.
   After making quick work of print newspapers, and the Yellow Pages industry, "The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim," warns a new report from research firm Borrell Associates. The victim? "The largest and least-read of all print media: Direct mail."
   "Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover," Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013.

   That means less poundage into the house from the mailbox that goes directly into the Circular File. It's a good thing.
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Friday 05-22-09: I told you to do this back in February ...
   Click here and then scroll down to February 17th to review what I suggested, with lots of ideas that have worked for me and my stations over the years.
   Now the wizards at the worst run radio company on Earth want to help folks get a job, too:
   Participating Clear Channel stations offer unemployed listeners the chance to nominate themselves for one of five weekly slots – where the jobseeker will voice a :30 pitch from themselves, probably inside a “help them find work” station-produced ad that refers employers to the station website.
   Clear Channel Radio President John Hogan says “We realize this is a difficult time for many individuals and families...radio is all about community and serves as the perfect platform to connect job seekers with employers."

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Friday 05-22-09: Google stays out of the newspaper business ...
   From Financial Times:
   Google has considered buying a newspaper or using its charitable arm to support news businesses seeking non-profit status, but is now unlikely to pursue either option, Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive, told the Financial Times.
   “Clever ideas” about sheltering newspapers in non-profit structures had been suggested to the Google.org foundation but “they are unlikely to happen without some massive, massive set of corporate bankruptcies”, Mr Schmidt said.

   Like they say about the weather in STL, if ya don't like it, just wait an hour.
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Thursday 05-21-09: Just a few days ago, I was wondering ...
   ...what the deal was on Steve Mizerany. And then I got this in email from Jerry Bielicke:
   Steve Mizerany, a St. Louis Legend, celebrated his 86th Birthday Sunday May 17th. Friends gathered at St. Raymond's Wednesday afternoon May 20th to wish him a Happy Birthday. He was the appliance pitchman who's commercials for the New Deal on Gravois near the Bevo Mill had him roller skating through the store telling us "Don't Be Confused" and "We're the Decent Boys."
   And it finally hit me: when they make the Mizerany Movie, who else could play him than John Turturro?
   No question...Steve's a Hometown Treasure!
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Thursday 05-21-09: $12.50 thirties on 101ESPN ...
   Take a look here at the package recently offered to advertisers. Talk about holding the rate...and that Weekday Noon to 2PM rate must make Bernie mighty proud.
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Thursday 05-21-09: More mess at KSDK/NBC5 ...
   Secret Squirrel dug up this nugget: KSDK has once again shown their true intent. They laid off their only HR person last week with 3 days notice. Gannett is consolidating their HR departments and have laid off 18 HR personnel company wide. So much for everyone taking those two weeks of furloughs in order to save jobs. This week their payroll person up and quit too.
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Thursday 05-21-09: You make the call ... was he or wasn't he?
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Wednesday 05-20-09: Free audio clips... from Hunter Elliott.
   Hunter says: I've been putting audio clips from films/TV show online since '95. I worked a very short stint in radio out in CA in the late '80's and became fond of the sometimes over-used drop-ins that became popular back then.
   I know what a PITA recording/keeping such things can be (especially thinking back in terms of the old razorblade/RTR/cart era) for production work, so that was part of the inspiration for my site.
   There are over 5800 free clips to download from my site.

   Start here.

Wednesday 05-20-09: Pepsi Throwback ...
   Old-fashioned Pepsi, made with real sugar. No, not particularly healthy, but I don't drink much of it, then or now. But it's real Pepsi, the way it used to taste at 25¢ a can out of a vending machine way back then, when we used to chug a can after a touch football game. Several cases tucked into the garage should last for a long time.
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Wednesday 05-20-09: Probably my fault ... Secret Squirrel sez:
   Did you also know that KTRS shortened their office hours & fired their receptionist last week? They are now having 3 of the ladies that already work there take turns answering the phones. Not to mention Tim Dorsey's secretary (helping in reception) and the HR person (also playing receptionist) had their hours cut from 40 to 30 a week.

Wednesday 05-20-09: A racist attack on Arbitron's PPM?
   NOTE: PPM measuring of this market will begin this Summer.
   What everybody is afraid to say out loud:
   PPM does, in fact, record accurate radio listening and previous numbers may have been affected by illegal manipulation of the hand-written radio diaries. Stations have been known to make paper diary suggestions to respondents, asking them to extend their listening time, sometimes going so far as to offer them gifts.
   The meters are pager-sized devices meant to be worn on the respondent's person. They listen and record which radio stations they hear, based on encoding in station signals.
   Capturing the signals is foolproof. But the system only works if the PPM is worn through the day and placed in the supplied cradle for recharging and call-back reporting. That requires a land-line phone and that requirement is clearly established up front.
   Use in many PPM-implemented markets has radically shifted the balance of formats, showing urban stations much lower and talk station much higher than before in results.
   Some stations in those markets, because of their ratings slide, have suggested that the decrease in listeners is because of fewer land-based phone lines among minority listeners (in which case they should never had accepted the PPM's offer, because they would not have been able to send the results back as needed).
   Another reason is that wearing a PPM might be considered a monitoring device and therefore unacceptable socially.
   Here's more. Read what the FCC has to say.
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Wednesday 05-20-09: Bonneville using HD channels to promote their Church ...
   ...This could get interesting. Their iChannel effort didn't make the cut and the company seems to think that their HD channels are actually worth spending time and money on for this persuasive programming. The question for STL (and any market they're in) is which station's HD gets to carry it and how it'll be promoted.
   Tom Taylor writes:
    Mormon Channel, a new radio service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has launched and can be accessed via the Internet or HD radio affiliates. The newly created 24-hour, 7-days a-week format is available live online at http://radio.lds.org but content may also be downloaded. It will also be available as an HD radio option in Bonneville radio markets. Church-owned Bonneville stations put the “Mormon Channel” on their HD channels.
    EVP Bob Johnson says “We’re deeply pleased to offer Bonneville’s broadcasting resources and industry reputation to further extend the reach and impact of Mormon Channel.” (No “The” in “Mormon Channel.”) They’ll use Bonneville International’s 29 HD-capable stations in eight markets, starting this week. This is the first time I can remember the LDS Church making the ownership connection so explicit, much less putting a 24/7 programming lineup on a dedicated HD Radio channel.
    Programming will feature interviews with church leaders, Mormon-related news, and religious teaching. Church director of digital media Chris Twitty says “We have the responsibility to extend the messages of the church in yet another way with the new station” – meaning an HD Radio multicasting channel.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints already communicates with the faithful on satellite TV and the Internet. But you wouldn’t recognize that a general-market station like L.A.'s adult alternative “Sound 100.3” KSWD is owned by the church. Though if you listened long enough, you might notice that you don't hear any beer ads. Or state lottery advertising.

   Prediction: Once HD dries up and dies, Bonneville will realize that NetRadio is insufficient for propogation of their message and will start using their main frequencies to sell LDS.
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Wednesday 05-20-09: As you might imagine, the KTRS story ...
   ...has generated a lot of personal email and phone calls, from all over the country, from folks in all walks of the broadcast biz.
   One call in particular, from an Old Dog who is currently involved in an enormously successful syndicated show, gave me this (almost) quote: "All these guys running radio stations now? Effing Dancing Bears. Put 'em in a room, lay 'em on their backs, toss in a big red ball and they'll be juggling it before you know it. Effing Dancing Bears!"
   I'm still laughing. Michael, you ARE da MAN!
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Wednesday 05-20-09: Deepest sympathies to voiceover master Dave Morris and his family ...
   ...whose beloved dog Regis passed last Monday, following a lengthy illness.

Tuesday 05-19-09: KTRS' McGraw faces off with Nancy Grace ...
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Monday 05-18-09: Pup defends injured Mom Dog on NYC highway...
Thursday 05-14-09: KTRS investors want Dorsey dismissed ...
   ... and they're ready and willing to resort to legal action to see him gone.
   KTRS vs. KTRS: After 12 years, a demand for an accounting within CH Holdings
   Background:
   For the past three and a half years I've been in irregular contact with investors in and members of the Board of Directors of CH Holdings, the nominal licensee of AM550/KTRS. They have trusted me to hold our discussions confidential, and I have.
   These are the people who have invested anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars in the station and the names of many of them would be familiar to you.
   The station is owned 50% by CH Holdings and 50% by the STL Cardinals, who purchased their share in 2005 for $2million.
   Now, it seems, many of the original investors are not at all happy with the way that their money has been spent and their shares diminished in value and they are not happy with the level of return they've received.
   They blame the station's President/GM, Tim Dorsey, for this, and they're about to seek legal relief. In my experience, dating back to 1966, this is an unheard of resolution.
   Dorsey, when presented with a list of alleged malfeasences by an attorney, was asked by an investor/BofD group to resign. He declined to do so.
   In recent days, Dorsey has held meetings with an attorney, Tab Turner (also an investor, and possibly the largest single investor), to seek resolution.
   Has KTRS ever made an annual profit? I don't know, and I don't think that anyone knows. KTRS is privately held and is not subject to reporting regs that would make such data available. Industry reports of gross annual billing are provided by the stations themselves and are always subect to suspicion as to veracity.
   History:
   Tim Dorsey purchased WIBV-AM/1260, licensed to Belleville IL, using money borrowed from Paul Allen's Charter Communications, for which he briefly worked after he left CBS, and hired to it a number of KMOX personalities that he was able to woo away from the market's dominant radio station.
   Unfortunately, even with the draw of the former KMOX personalities the Belleville station's signal couldn't cover the market. The station immediately lost the market to KMOX and foundered. WIBV's daytime signal was marginal in the entire STL market and almost non-existent at night.
   When Gannett ARS offered their radio properties for sale, Dorsey jumped at buying their AM on 550, which was actually an AM signal larger than KMOX, because of the lower frequency. The station, known originally and for many years as KSD, briefly as KUSA and once again as KSD, was purchased by CH Radio Holdings in 1997, from Gannett ARS, following a meeting of potential STL investors called by Dorsey at The Charcoal House in Webster Groves, thus the name of the ownership group, CH Radio Holdings.
   The station became KTRS (kiddingly referred to as Tim's Radio Station, although the calls actually were meant to stand for Talk Radio St. Louis) and the current News/Talk format was put in place.
   Dorsey named himself Chairman of the Board and General Manager, allegedly using $2million of his second wife's money (she'd been gifted in many millions in her own divorce from baseball player Keith Hernandez) as his leverage into the project. The intent was to make a run against the market dominance of Dorsey's former employer, KMOX, using tactics used years before by the legendary CBS manager Bob Hyland.
   Dorsey ran the station as a fiefdom, thinking he was doing exactly what Hyland would have done, hiring and firing air talent and program and sales managers as he saw fit but without Hyland's knowledge and instinct.
   Between 1997 and 2009, nearly 300 employees, on-air, sales and back-office, went through the station's gates, in and then out. As far as talent goes, KTRS is considered to be the very last station in the radio business that an unemployed air personality might apply to.
   In 2005, the St. Louis Cardinals took a 50% ownership of the station (presumably replacing in the operating capital the two million dollars Dorsey borrowed from his wife) and placed their games there. Between then and now, nothing has changed. Turnover has continued.
   The investors' complaint:
   The original complaint was sent to Tim Dorsey and he responded. This is the refutation from the investors:
   Monday, April 6, 2009
   CONFIDENTIAL
   Dear Fellow KTRS Directors/Investors,
   Originally it was our intent to edit and add to each point that Tim made in response to criticism that our groups have made concerning the mismanagement of our station. The format that Mr. Dorsey had sent will not allow editing so we will try to touch each and every highlighted topic that Tim has mentioned.
   All involved must realize that we hold no personal animosity toward Tim Dorsey but it is obvious to us that he has mismanaged our station for years to such a degree that the value of our asset has diminished dramatically because of it. Only since we have asked Tim to step down (he now realizes we are determined to this end) has he conveniently made any real and reasonable effort to make cost cutting changes. In addition, it is the role of management, not its directors to keep expenses and costs under control. Directors should not have to incur time and expense to force management to do what it should have been doing all along.
   The following content we feel is not only truthful but from our research of the information provided to date, fact. This is our opinion from what we now know in response to each of Tim's points:
   Erosion in CH Holdings Capital - This has been the unfortunate and very costly trend throughout the years and not just 2006 - 2008 as Tim mentioned. This downward spiral is continuing dramatically as first quarter 2009 alone was another loss of $320,000. This, after an infusion of $2,000,000 and more debt. We feel confident, very unfortunately, that things are not going to change after twelve years. Mismanagement.
   Cardinals broadcast rights agreement - The board and ownership were given profitable sales projections that the Cardinal broadcasts could generate from the pricing on the rate sheet that Tim had generated. These were Tim's projections. We made decisions to sell 50% of our station to the Cardinals for a fraction of our stations potential worth based on these same projections. Tim's sales team on average sold Cardinal Baseball dramatically below this rate sheet thus generating much less in sales than promised and, in so doing, made our sale to the Cardinals a very bad decision. Mismanagement.
   John Rooney - Although John Rooney is a broadcaster paid very handsomely by the Cardinals our station also paid him $80,000 to occasionally be on our air. This $80,000 is very hard for us to understand for occasional appearances on our airwaves. In addition, Tim spent almost another $2000.00 on meals with John at mostly upscale dining establishments in eight months in 2006 and 2007 alone. We have yet to scrutinized 2008 or prior years. Mismanagement.
   Expense cuts - Tim has stated that he cut back one, full time show from the daytime line up of our station saving $65,000. In reality, he brought on both Vic and Katie in morning drive prior to making this cut so he actually added and then basically cut what he shouldn't have added in the first place. In essence, he also fueled the "revolving door" stigma that KTRS is well noted for and basically saved no money as stated. Another question to ask is whether we picked up paying more contracts and/or severance pay upon their departure? Mismanagement.
   Management salary cuts - Too little, too late. The number of hours that Tim is at the station is minimal at best. He arrives rarely before 10:30 or 11:00 am and then soon after is off to his daily lunch for a couple of hours each day. If he returns is anyone's guess but if he puts in more than 3, 4 or 5 hours per day at the station we would be surprised. Thus, he, too, is grossly overpaid. In reality, he does not run the day to day operations of our station. Our station would not skip a beat if he were to resign or be dismissed. In regards to other management cuts, these should have been made much earlier. Realistically and fiscally, we should have never incurred these outrageous management salaries in the first place. But by cutting both Mark and Matt Dorsey's pay by approximately $200,000 each per year would have saved our station $400,000 a year and then still would have put both Mark and Matt at the top of the industry level for outstanding performance ($100,000 for the best of the best radio sales executive). This would have saved us close to $500,000 per year. This totals $1,200,000.00 of overpayments for just two employees just for the three years Matt and Mark were grossly overpaid. Again, the fact is they should have never been overpaid by this amount in the first place. Mismanagement.
   Travel and entertainment - Again, too little, too late. While our station is losing approximately $1,000,000 a year for the past several years, Tim is spending literally tens of thousands of dollars wining and dining at St. Louis' finest restaurants. Instead of Tony's, Dominic's, Limoncello, Harvest, Blue Water Grille, Big Sky, Charcoal House, Ruth Chris' etc. etc. etc. etc. etc., he could have gotten the same results at Ozzie's, the Pasta House, Rigazzi's, the Olive Garden or Applebee's without incurring horrendous expenses. His travel expenses are outrageous, too, for a station losing money or even for the majority of stations throughout our country that do, in fact, make money. Hotels such as the Roger Williams in NYC, the Drake in Chicago, Bellagio in Las Vegas, etc. etc. etc., could have been replaced by the Drury Inn, Day's Inn or even a Holiday Inn. Plus, limos to and from the airport and $400.00 each year for the Admirals Club dues is bordering on obnoxious whether the station is losing money or not. Mismanagement.
   Arbitron - Although, this is a tool to analyze ratings, even many profitable stations have eliminated this $200,000 service entirely. There are also other ways to gather this type of information. Many stations do not even subscribe to it. Certainly stations losing $1,000,000 a year have eliminated it altogether. Mismanagement.
   Sales Staff - Our station is now down to the 17th ranked station in St. Louis and, again, two of our sales people, Matt and Mark Dorsey, are bordering on $300,000 each or more per year the last few years. This is ridiculous. To reiterate, the top pay for the "best" in their field radio sales executives is more in the range of $100,000. Together, Matt and Mark are making $400,000 more than the very best of the best radio sales executives in the entire country. Mismanagement.
   Capital Infusion - If management was managing our station properly and not incurring tens of thousands of dollars in unneeded expenses and overpaying employees there would be no need for cash infusions. Southwest Bank demanded we infuse cash into our station if we wanted to keep our line of credit intact. Tim made it sound like they were happy to continue the line. Mismanagement.
   Matt and Mark - As stated earlier, almost $600,000 per year is paid to these two not even counting expenses. And once again, this is approximately $400,000 more than even the best sales people make throughout the country. A lot of the sales that Tim stated was generated by Mark and Matt was generated through the sale of Cardinal broadcast rights that they both inherited. Again, 100K is the best of the best in salary for radio executives. We could take the additional $400,000 overpayment to the two Dorsey's and hire four of the best salespeople in the country, plus still have the two Dorsey's working at our station for this amount of money. Mismanagement.
   Expense Account Analysis - Tim may or may not be correct, his expenses on his expense report show approximately $25,000 per year, a good portion of that at restaurants. But, in addition, Tim takes advantage of trades with various restaurants, etc. that do not show up on his expense reports. He also attends various social functions, etc. that the station picks up and do not show on his personal expenses. We haven't been able to pin the additional amounts down as of yet but feel it is substantial. But even twenty five thousand dollars a year, mostly wining and dining, is five times what should be spent. Mismanagement.
   Trips - Many of these trips that Tim and company took could and should have been eliminated. For a station that has lost millions, there are many other ways to capture business rather than an expensive trip to wine and dine a client. For instance, the telephone, business letters, email, tele-conference calls, etc. With our station's connection to the Cardinals, Rams and the Blues why not send baseball, hockey, or football tickets for games in NY, Chicago, etc. as a token of goodwill and to help capture business rather than spend literally thousands of dollars on travel, fancy hotels, exquisite meals, limo service, etc., to wine and dine. We also think some of the contracts Tim alluded to were not even fulfilled. Mismanagement.
   Mark Dorsey Commissions - Tim states that all Cardinal sponsorships were null and void once our station captured the broadcast rights. He may be correct but if so, this makes matters even worse in relation to Mark Dorsey (and Matt) and his commission. Sale of Cardinal sponsorships at the rate sheet amount was an important factor in our decision to sell 50% ownership of our station to the Cardinals. If we had known that the rates would be discounted after the sale of the station, the undersigned would not have agreed to the sale. In fact, the rates were below the rates many were paying at KMOX the previous year. In addition, under current management there is absolutely no penalty for selling below our rate sheet. Where is the incentive? Mismanagement.
   AE Commission Report - Trade - The trade accounts add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. We finally received the names of the companies that made trades with our station but basically, we received no back up data on how our station utilized these trades. Some trades were even paid commissions to Mark and Matt Dorsey. Without the backup, we are not sure how they were used. By the sheer volume of the trades, it leaves a huge hole for potential abuse, fraud and stealing from our station. Potential abuse, fraud and stealing that without backup could be real. Mismanagement.
   On air personalities - Although we did say there were over three hundred on air personalities that have come and gone at KTRS throughout the years we meant to say there were three hundred percent more personalities that have come and gone compared to KMOX. Tim is making a huge deal of this innocent slip. There were, though, over 100 on air personalities, news personnel, sports, etc. that were on-air voices and were let go by KTRS. We were obligated to pick up and/or buy out some of these contracts. Severances packages were given to others we are fairly certain. After being burned by contracts that we have had to pay needlessly, you would think management would have learned prior to being burned again and again. This is one of the big reasons that our station is known quite negatively as the revolving door. And a very expensive revolving door at that. Our station is quite the joke in the radio industry. Also, Jerry Clinton, at the board meeting prior to the hiring of Al Brady Law and the in-your-face on-air personalities objected vigorously that St. Louis would not accept this type of programming. Management went ahead with this disaster and Jerry's comments did not even show up in the minutes. Mismanagement.
   Fiduciary duties - Tim mentioned to keep in mind our fiduciary duties. This, fellow investors, is a huge insult to all of our intelligence. Hopefully, all board members will remember Tim's comment. All board members have a fiduciary duty to protect the investments of its stockholders. We believe we are doing exactly that by asking Tim Dorsey to resign or other potential measures to assure that the station gets fiscally responsible management. ALL BOARD MEMBERS NEED TO REMEMBER THAT AND ALSO THAT THEY ARE AS RESPONSIBLE AS MANAGEMENT IN PROTECTING THE ASSETS OF OUR STATION'S INVESTORS.
   In conclusion, we are prepared and dedicated to continue in our efforts to get responsible management in place at our station. We feel the only way to protect what is left of our investment and to fulfill our fiduciary duties is to make a long needed change, obviously, at the top. It has been twelve years of continuing frustration and one excuse after another from Mr. Dorsey. Station morale, under Tim's direction, is at an all time low.
   Mr. Dorsey often mentions that it is the economy. Well, we've had some of the best times ever economically in this country over the last twelve years prior to the last year. A majority of stations in this city and this country make money. Just take a look at Tim's dismal track record. We feel the management of our station, Tim, Mark and Matt specifically, have taken advantage of their positions at our station and also of all the investors that initially had faith in Tim to invest and then to keep our investments whole. His excuses have never been valid.
   If you add up all of the obvious and simple over-expenditures that are mentioned above it exceeds over $500,000 per year. We feel confident that there is a good probability that another $500,000 could be saved by managing our station efficiently and with fiscal responsibility. This isn't rocket science and these simple actions would have kept our station at least above water and perhaps even profitable.
   Finally, we have to ask the proverbial question; are Tim, Mark and Matt Dorsey living the life of rock stars, relatively speaking, financed by our station's investors?
   Is our hard earned money coming out of our own pockets and indirectly into theirs and fueling their Hollywood lifestyles while our station is being mismanaged and loses millions of dollars? Is it fair that the Dorsey's were making approximately $1,000,000.00 a year while at the same time we were losing approximately $1,000,000 a year? We certainly do not think so. Remember, we aren't AIG. We are basically only a 5 to 7 million dollar entity (w/o the Cardinal revenue).
   We feel it very prudent that Tim Dorsey resign immediately for mismanaging our station and our asset and to help eliminate any potential costly litigation involving our station and all involved. If not, we could be in for more mismanagement of our station, more cash calls, more dilution, litigation (which may surely cause a huge, negative, media feeding-frenzy) and perhaps even forced off the air.   
   Dorsey denies it all.

   Full disclosure:
   I worked as an outside contractor for KTRS for about six years. I worked in website design and provided consultation and personal services for web imaging, audio and marketing. I voiced commercials and promos and did talk shows, sometimes teamed with "potential" air talents the station thought could be developed into part- or full-time employees. I left the station on my own resolve after reaching an impasse with the company regarding their payment of my monthly invoices for services rendered.
   Please credit www.stlmedia.net.
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Thursday 05-14-09: The smartest guy in radio ...
   ... is probably legendary programmer George Johns.
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Thursday 05-14-09: I've only been in a Starbuck's twice ...
   Once, in a meeting with former RFT Owner/Publisher Ray Hartmann, when I had to show him how to steal bandwidth from a local home network because he couldn't log his pricey Sony Vaio into his Starbuck's wireless account, and then with a local radio PD who spilled his guts on some very interesting subjects.
   I keep thinking my next visit will be as amazing, but I just can't bring myself to pay $5 for a cuppa.
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Thursday 05-14-09: Looking for a position for a friend in need ...
   This guy is a skilled and knowledgeable radio administrator, knows the news and programming ends of the business thoroughly and was uncermoniously dumped by his long-time employer in a cost-cutting move.
   He's a proud man, though, and he's doing what he can to get by: delivering newspapers and providing homeowner services. He's also diabetic and neither he nor his wife, who was also recently laid off from her position, have health care benefits.
   I've known this guy for years. I've worked with him and socialized with him and I can honestly tell you that he and his wife are good people, ethical and honest and hard working. They're homeowners and live in the community where they grew up.
   They've put their kids through college and they're involved in their hometown. They're what you call "salt of the earth" kinda folks.
   I know times are tough and a lot of people are out of work. But do me a favor: think outside the box and look inside your company (and I know that a lot of readers here are not media people) and imagine what a 50-something guy with decades of experience in admin and media but mostly a burning desire for the dignity of employment could do to help you.
   Send me your recommendations and I'll pass them along. And thanks.

Thursday 05-14-09: Missing persons report/case solved ...
   An STL MB reader wondered whatever had happened to former Y98 PD Smokey Rivers, and I couldn't for the life of me find him. There must be a dozen guys using that name.
   However, it appears that the Smokey who's the OM at CC/Phoenix is, in fact, our own Little Freddy Flanzer.
   In other CC/Phoenix news, KNIX PD Ray Massie was given the boot. Ray, as Old Dogs may remember, was the PD for a few years at WIL in the late 1980's.
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Wednesday 05-13-09: As heard on KFTK/97.1 ...
   In a spot in which Dave Glover speaks for H&R Block: "I've had terrible tax problems in the past ten years."
   Now, I'm all for using personal experience in endorsements, but maybe that is a step too far.
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Wednesday 05-13-09: I think it's pretty obvious ...
   ...that micro-payments are the paving blocks to the road to the online future for newspapers, maybe even magazines
   For less than the cost of a subscription you'd load up your personal account with a credit card for $25 or $50 or however much, and then a bit (less than the cost of the daily print edition) would be charged for each piece you read and subtracted from your pre-paid account.
   I envision a Front Page with free weather, video and photo links, news and sports headlines with limited story details, ongoing advertising, and links to full stories and more photos and fully produced videos (you'd only pay for links once; as stories developed subscription cookies would keep you in the loop).
   Charge a nickel for access each time a subscriber clicks in. If you've got the traffic STLToday says they have, let's lowball it at, say, 100,000, that's $5000 a day. Multiply that by four Front Page accesses a day per subscriber and you're suddenly at $20k. A day. As much as $600,000 a month. Just to look at the gate of the amusement park, and you're not yet inside, and that doesn't count whatever ad impressions you can sell there.
   The paper would get most of its home news through a carefully developed network of free-lance local and regional "watchdogs," with their submissions checked for accuracy by full-time editors.
   National and international news would come from similarly-shrunk sources.
   Columnists and editorial writers would have their own fees. It'd quickly become obvious which of them would be worth keeping onboard.
   100,000 readers accessing an opinion column at 25¢ a pop would net $25,000 to be shared between the writer and the publisher at a contracted rate. Three or four columns a month accessed like that, and pretty soon you're talking real money.
   If no one clicks through, if no one cares to read what they write, they're history.
   Such a practice would also make it easier to determine which way the editorial lean of the paper should go.
   Dump the purposeless printing presses and subtract the cost of their operation and maintenance, electricity, ink and newsprint, and suddenly a newspaper would discover that it could operate 24/7 in less than 5000 square feet of office space in any given office park with fewer than twenty employees.
   And lots of free parking.
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Wednesday 05-13-09: With all the talk of laid-off air-talent ...
   ...I've heard nothing about the guys and gals who have developed thriving voice-over businesses in the past decade, providing masterfully crafted sweepers and promos for radio and tv stations.
   Some of these talents have been living large on annual retainers into the tens of thousands of dollars. Most have been getting by on a lot less, even in the good times.
   So how are things in the VO biz these days? I've been known to toss a few voice tracks into the commercial wilderness, and even those chances have diminished considerably in the past few months.
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Tuesday 05-12-09: Speaking of filling in ...
   ...ex-KTRS and KMOXer Paul Harris has made a cottage industry of fill-in work at talk stations around the country, including 50kw big guns like WLS and WGN in Chicago, WHAS in Louisville and even back at KTRS here.
   And Paul has developed a thriving online and KFNS listenership to his championship poker shows based at Lumiere Place.
   With a home-based broadcast setup and an ISDN line, along with a "go anywhere" attitude, Paul has done remarkably well for himself as a "1099-er".
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Tuesday 05-12-09: KFTK's Jamie Allman ...
   ...will be filling in for the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham this coming Friday.
   Ingraham's show usually runs from 9-11AM here, live, and will add the 8-9AM hour of Jamie's show on Friday.
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Monday 05-11-09: Crane Durham (KFTK/97.1)'s listener writes ...
   Crane Durham just announced today is his last show on 97.1.
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Weekend 05-09/10-09: Best gift for Mom's Day ...
   Smith & Wesson 5-round J-frame .38 Chief's Special revolver.
   Easily concealable SA/DA revolver keeps Mom safe.
   CCL optional (and recommended).
   New: $425.
   Used: $350+/-.
   9mm semiauto pistols will be available at Fathers' Day.
Weekend 05-09/10-09: Gettin' close to bein' over, looks like ...
   From MediaPost:
   Newspaper Circulation Skids
   According to a new report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, for the six months ended March 31, 2009, the largest daily newspapers are losing subscribers at a record pace, with circulation down 7% compared with the same period in March 2008. For Sunday newspapers, circulation was down 5.3%.
   In addition to sinking circulation, newspaper ad revenue is plunging. McClatchy ad revenue plummeted 29.5% in Q1 2009 compared to the same quarter last year, while The New York Times Co. saw ad revenue plunge 27%. Zenith Optimedia predicts that ad spending for newspapers will sink 12% in 2009.
   During this 6 month period ending Mar. 31, 2009:
   Circulation at the New York Times slipped 3.5% during the week and 1.7% on Sundays
   The Washington Post fell 1.6% daily and 2.3% on Sundays
   USA Today fell 7.4% during the week on a decline in copies ordered from hotels The Chicago Tribune fell 7.4% daily and 4.5% on Sunday
   The Los Angeles Times slipped 6.5% and 7.5%
   The Boston Globe plunged 13.6% during the week and 11.2% on Sundays
   The New York Daily News was down 14% during the week
   New York Post, down 20%
   The Miami Herald (-15.8%)
   The San Francisco Chronicle (-15.7%)
   The Philadelphia Inquirer (-13.7%)
   The Houston Chronicle (-14%)

   I repeat my assertion that, by the end of 2010, most of the Top 20 cities in the US will be without a printed daily newspaper. That includes STL.
   Time to budget a $400 mini-'puter and monthly wireless payments for the "old folks" in your family and to teach them about the Innertubes.
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Friday 05-08-09: I suggested a while back ...
   ... that I've been forced, for various personal and legal reasons, to sit on a BIG local radio story that might be one of, if not THE biggest we've run here in almost a decade.
   Well, boys and girls, it appears that, sometime next week, it'll all come spilling out of your monitor, splashing all over your desktop and your keyboard.
   Stay tuned, cowpokes.

Friday 05-08-09: Retired STLRadio news legend Jim Cox ...
   ... who's just been through an intense life-saving medical procedure, offers sage advice to those of us of a certain age:
   Rev, please remind all our good buddies over 50 to be sure to get a yearly PSA. I'm one of the healthiest 72 year olds you'll ever know and in January the doc discovered prostate cancer.
   Best wishes to a great guy for his complete recovery...and listen to what the man says, yo!

Friday 05-08-09: Sirius/XM stock at less than half a buck a share ...
   ...From Lon Helton's Country Aircheck:
    On today's analyst conference call, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin proclaimed, "Our competition, especially terrestrial radio, is getting weaker. We will capitalize on this." But his company faces a stalled state of crucial auto sales, reporting a decrease in subscribers from 19.0 million at the end of '08 to 18.6 million for Q1 '09, though up from 18 a year prior. Sirius XM's consolidated net Q1 loss of $63 million improved on the $233 million lost a year ago. The satcaster is now selling online its first inter-operable radio, called Merge, and an iPhone/iPod Touch app will debut this quarter. Wall Street's response? SIRI stock fell 18% to 43 cents.
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Friday 05-08-09: We lost our personal Munchkin yesterday ...
   ... with the passing of Mickey Carroll, at age 89. His death has been covered by the news media, and there's an STLMedia MB entry, linked below, at which you may leave your rememberances.
   Whatever his role was in The Wizard of Oz (and it could change from one character to another, from conversation to conversation), he was a really special guy. Kind of a half-size Steve Mizerany.
   My Mickey Carroll story:
   He called me out of the blue, just after I'd begun mornings at WIL AM&FM in January 1986. I didn't believe at first that he was the real thing, but the off-air conversation wound up on the air and he said all the right, ego-stroking things, welcoming me to town and so on.
   Eventually I discovered that Mickey and his pals scoured the radio dials to find the "new guys" who, of course, would be glad to give him an additional few minutes of well-deserved fame.
   Back then, he was, what, a younger 65+ and still a tireless self-promoter.
   Just one in many decades of phone calls, but one I'll never forget, logged in with conversations with The Lone Ranger and Buffalo Bob.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 05-06-09: Experiential wisdom to married radio guys ...
   ... who have wound up on the beach:
   It may come to pass that your wife, if she is working or will be soon, will wind up making more money than you. That's not always an easy deal for guys to accept.
   Men seem to be hardwired to be the "provider" and, no matter how 21st Century they think they are intellectually, they often think of "the wife" as someone to provide for.
   Don't let that get in the way of your relationship. I'm demonstratably not the most liberated guy around, and, over our years together, Mrs. A and I have swapped the role of "major income producer" several times.
   That can be tough cud to chew for a guy. But Mrs. A and I've managed to make it work and so can you.
   The key words in all this are "together we can do it."
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 05-06-09: A big step up for Emmett McAuliffe ...
   You may know Emmett from his airwork on KMOX. But he's also one of the nation's premier Intellectual Property and Media Law attorneys, and has recently moved on to the position of Chair, Intellectual Property and Media Law Practice Group with RiezmanBerger.
   Full disclosure: Mrs. A and I have both used his services and advice, for separate projects.
   Congrats to one of the Really Smart Guys and one of the good guys in the practice of law!

Tuesday 05-05-09: Just a reminder ...
   ... to the numbskulls who persist in sending personal attacks anonymously through the Rumor setup: you're wasting your own time and effort.
   If you don't have the hair to at least provide a working email address, to "man up" and stand by your comments, I don't really care what you have to say. I just send them to Trash.
  Honest criticism of this website and even of me is welcome. I just think it'd be more valid if you signed your name.
   For example, this (anonymously sent, of course) comment:
   The problem is you can't accept honest criticism at all. Anyone who disagrees gets banned at your whim, right? I check out your site to read about media news, not about threats to a prom date and advice about having a wife that earns more than you do. Believe me, people don't care about that stuff. You're really not at all as interesting to others as you think you are...
   No, I've "banned" fewer than ten users on the MB's over the years, most of whom were excluded for refusing to stay on topic.
   And, no, I'm not interesting at all, even though I've been in media off and on since 1966. But STLMedia news is, as is advice in some aspects of professional media life. That's why this site has prospered for almost a decade.
   Asshat.

Tuesday 05-05-09: Yeah, this'll get 'em back ...
   From AdWeek:
   The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has rolled out a new ad campaign to promote the old-school Sunday newspaper as a refuge from the constant buzzing and beeping of digital devices that mark the modern workweek. The campaign, "Unplug. It's Sunday," runs until the end of the year and coincides with a recent redesign of the paper.
   With a budget of more than $1 million, the effort is designed, in part, to reach readers who don't get the paper on Sunday, says Amy Chown, vice president of marketing.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 05-05-09: On the other hand ...
   ... this is a pretty good idea. Maybe, though, Detroit is a lost cause in terms of literacy. From The Detroit Free Press:
   Starting today, the Detroit Free Press will take on another medium: TV. The paper has partnered with CBS-owned WWJ-TV to launch a 5-7 a.m. weekday program that will offer heavy doses of weather and traffic updates, as well as news gathered by the paper's journalists.
   Called "First Forecast Mornings" the show includes Free Press "Express" news segments. The paper has become "an information provider on many different channels, and television is just a natural evolution for us," says Paul Anger, editor and publisher.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 05-04-09: Correction on Clear Channel's layoffs...
   The company didn't let 590 people go last week. They let 960 go, for a total of nearly 3000 since the first of the year.
   The company has also quit, at least temporarily, their Arbitron subscriptions and admitted that ad revenues were off almost 25% in the FQ2009. They may default on their debt sooner rather than later; it currently stands at $22Billion.
   It wouldn't surprise me to see CC just shut their stations down and walk away from their crisis.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 05-04-09: This is the week that was ...
   From Joe Sonderman's exhaustive almanac of STL history...
    05-04-1819: Nineteen-year-old Henry Shaw arrived in St. Louis from England aboard the steamboat Maid of Orleans. He brought with him a small stock of cutlery to make his fortune. Shaw became such a successful importer-exporter and real estate investor that he was able to retire at age 40. In 1851, he visited the Royal Gardens and the gardens at the Duke of Devonshire’s estate in England. The visits inspired Shaw to construct his own garden at his estate, Tower Grove.
    05-04-1850: As one of the efforts to improve public health after the great cholera epidemic, a quarantine station was established on Arsenal Island. All boat passengers were required to disembark for cholera inspection, and many were detained. The buildings could accommodate up to 500 people. A hospital was set up on this land in 1851.
    05-05-1931: Anheuser-Busch sent 200,000 pamphlets to state and local officials, influential citizens, and newspapers. The pamphlets decried prohibition and called for the return of "pure, wholesome four-percent beer." August A. Busch said the return of beer would ease unemployment and improve "the public health, its morals and welfare."
    05-05-1988: The St. Louis Galleria unveiled a plan to add four department stores and 100 specialty stores. The plan would triple the mall's size. The plan ignited a controversy, because the expansion would wipe out the Clay North residential neighborhood.
    05-06-1794: The citizens of Cahokia, led by Louis LeBrun, petitioned the local court to establish a public school in the old courthouse. It would become the first public school in Illinois.
    05-06-1971: Ike and Tina Turner were awarded their only gold record, for "Proud Mary." Tina met Ike at the Club Manhattan in East St. Louis. They began performing together regularly at spots such as the Club Imperial in Baden. They broke big nationally with "Fool in Love" in 1960.
    05-07-1953: The Federal Communications Commission okayed the construction of an educational television station by the St. Louis Educational Television Commission. (That's what the "ETC" in the KETC call letters stands for).
    05-07-1965: Petitions were being circulated both for and against incorporation of a large part of South St. Louis County. The proposal called for the creation of the third largest city in Missouri from the area between the Mississippi and the Meramec.
    05-08-1867: The women's suffrage movement in Missouri was born with the establishment of the Women's Suffrage Association in St. Louis. It was the first organization in the world with women's suffrage as its sole object.
    05-08-1966: The Cardinals played their last game at Old Busch Stadium, losing to the Giants, 10-5. Willie Mays hit the final home run in the old ballpark. Alex Johnson hit into a double play to end it. August Busch Junior presented the deed to Richard Amberg, president of the Herbert Hoover Boys Club. Retired groundskeeper Bill Stocksick struggled to dig up home plate. He had installed the original plate in 1906. The plate was put aboard a helicopter, and flown to new Busch Stadium.
    It's all here!

Weekend 05-02/03-09: KWMU cashes in ...
   Last week's Spring Membership Drive at the UMSL-owned station brought home the bacon, with an average of over $100 per contributor. Here's from their newsletter:
   KWMU's soaring success continues nearly a year after Patricia Wente's termination!
   "Thanks to everyone who pledged during our Annual Spring Membership Campaign. A total of 2,200 listeners pledged $248,000. This is a revenue increase of 34 percent, a 69 percent increase of number of gifts, and first-time membership up 92 percent over spring of 2008!
   Thanks for lifting our spirits, putting a little spring in our step, and helping to pay for all the great programs and regional news coverage you listen to on 90.7 KWMU!"

   I wonder how long it'll be before I start getting press releases from commercial stations that say this sort of thing...
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Weekend 05-02/03-09: Selling and buying ...
   I've added a new feature to the STLMB, where you can sell or buy stuff for free. I've got some stuff to unload, so please check in.

Weekend 05-02/03-09: Tasha, the STLMedia WatchDog, at four ...
   Late last week I tracked down and purchased an item I'd been looking for at a small gun shop in the Kansas wilderness. The woman who took the order heard Tasha in the background and asked about our dog; naturally, I was happy to brag.
   Her Mother, she told me, also has an Aussie Cow Dog, and her's herds the farm's chickens and rounds up all of the cats. Pretty impressive...it seems that, no matter what they say, you can herd cats, at least with an ACD!
   No chickens or cats here, but Tasha nicely organizes her collection of tennis balls...

Friday 05-01-09: There's just a handful of air talent in any market ...
   ... even here in STL, where radio and tv stations are noted for their propensity to recycle talent, who can lay claim to working in a single city for a quarter century.
   One of those guys is JC Corcoran, who came to KSHE in May 1984 and, teamed with John Ulett, proceeded to turn the STL radio market on its ear.
   Like him or hate him (and there's no grey area) Corcoran's been a lightning rod for all his years here. JC's had personal and professional ups and downs that would have driven most of us on to the next great adventure.
   His legal issues, his moves up and down and across the radio dials and his feuds with other local air personalities are the stuff legends are made of. But through it all, Corcoran has persevered and even seems to be mellowing a tad. A very tiny tad. But anything is progress.
   Today, back with Emmis/STL, where he began, on K-hits, he begins a month long celebration of his 25-year career in St. Louis. It'll include appearances on some of the stations JC's worked over the years (including KMOX, next Wednesday from 3:30-4PM - and what a weirdness THAT was!) and at Busch to throw out the first pitch on May 15th.
   Happy Anniversary, JC, and may many more come your way. And I'm absolutely certain that Tom Kushak and Duane Daniels wish you the same!
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Friday 05-01-09: I got your Premium Choice right here ...
   Here's the new air talent schedule for Clear Channel/STL. Local shows are marked with a #. Sadly, there are damned few of them...
    KATZ-AM
    Monday to Friday
    5am to 9am - Yolanda Adams
    9am to 2pm - Al MacDonald #
    2pm to 6pm - Selena J #
    6pm to 7pm - Donnie McClurkin Show
    7pm to 9pm - Praise MixDown with Dwight Stone #
    Saturday
    8am to 10am - GospelTraxx with Walt "Baby" Love
    Sunday
    5am to 7am - Donnie McClurkin Show
    1pm to 6pm - Gospel Jazz with Dwayne Benton
    8pm to 10pm - Keep Hope Alive with the Rev. Jesse Jackson

    KATZ-FM
    Monday-Thursday
    12m to 6am - Golden Girl, Wild Wayne, and/or Shamara
    6am to 10am - The Big Beat Breakfast Mix with Selena J, DJ Quinn, DJ AJ, and DJ Sinamin #
    10am to 3pm - Bushman
    3pm to 7pm - D. Stone #
    7pm to 12m - Kiki #
    Friday 12m to 6am - Golden Girl, Wild Wayne, and/or Shamara
    6am to 10am - The Big Beat Breakfast Mix with Selena J, DJ Quinn, DJ AJ, and DJ Sinamin #
    10am to 3pm - Bushman
    3pm to 7pm - D. Stone #
    7pm to 10pm - Kiki #
    10pm to 1am - Kiki live at St. Louis Nights #
    Saturday
    1a to 6am - Shamara
    6am to 9am - The Big Tigger Show
    9am to 2pm - D. Stone
    2pm to 7pm - Kiki
    7pm to 10pm - Quinn City Live
    10pm to 1am - D. Stone live at Spruill's
    Sunday
    1am to 6am - Mr. Chase
    6am to 10am - Wild Wayne
    10am to 2pm - Mishelae
    2pm to 7pm - Bushman
    7pm to 12m - Hope Weaver

    KLOU-FM
    Monday-Friday
    6am to 10am - Julie Buck #
    10am to 3pm - Marc Coppola
    3pm to 7pm - Don "Action" Jackson
    7pm to 12m - Randy Lundquist
    Saturday
    6am to 12n - Paul Arca #
    12n to 6pm - Mark Bronson
    6pm to 11p - Rod Warner
    11p to 1a - Little Steven's Underground Garage
    Sunday
    7am to 9am - Paul Arca #
    9am to 10am - Animal Tails
    10am to 12n - Paul Arca #
    12n to 6pm - Mark Bronson
    6pm to 9pm - Rod Warner
    9pm to 12m - American Top 40 - the 70's with Casey Kasem

    KMJM-FM
    Monday-Thursday
    12m to 5am - Renee Taylor
    5am to 9am - The Steve Harvey Show
    9am to 2pm - Darrel "Easy" Eason #
    2pm to 7pm - The Tony Scott Show with Tammie Holland #
    7pm to 12m - The Sweat Hotel with Keith Sweat
    Friday
    12m to 5am - Renee Taylor
    5am to 9am - The Steve Harvey Show
    9am to 2pm - Darrel "Easy" Eason #
    2pm to 7pm - The Tony Scott Show with Tammie Holland #
    7pm to 12m - House Party with BJ the DJ
    Saturday
    12m to 6am - KJ Brooks
    6am to 10am - The Steve Harvey Show
    10am to 3pm - Pam Oliver
    3pm to 7pm - Slammin' Jammin' Oldies with Sylvester the Cat
    7pm to 9pm - Soulternative with Selena J
    9pm to 12m - House Party with BJ the DJ
    Sunday
    12m to 8am - KJ Brooks
    8am to 10am - Keep Hope Alive with the Rev. Jesse Jackson
    10am to 12n - Sunday Morning Live with Jade Harrell and Kevin Pulley
    12n to 2pm - Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown with Allen Kepler
    2pm to 7pm - Mishelae
    7pm to 12m - The Sweat Hotel with Keith Sweat

    KSD-FM
    Monday-Friday
    12m to 6am - After MidNite with Blair Garner
    6am to 10am - Lance Houston in for Craig Cornett
    10am to 3pm - Jill Devine #
    3pm to 7pm - Billy Greenwood #
    7pm to 12m - Joe Boxer
    Saturday
    12m to 6am - After MidNite with Blair Garner
    6am to 12n - Dusty
    12n to 6p - Jill Devine
    6p to 12n - Joe Boxer
    Sunday
    12m to 6am - After MidNite with Blair Garner
    9am to 11am - NASCAR USA
    11am to 6pm - Vern
    6pm to 12m - Michelle Taylor
    * Plus NASCAR coverage as scheduled

    KSLZ-FM
    Monday-Friday
    12m to 2am - JoJo
    2am to 5am - Sisanie
    6am to 10am - MJ Morning Show
    10am to 2pm - On-Air with Ryan Seacrest
    2pm to 7pm - Curt Copeland #
    7pm to 12m - Ty Bentli
    Saturday
    12m to 2am - JoJo
    2am to 6am - Sisanie
    6am to 10am - Michelle Taylor
    10am to 3pm - Taylor J.
    3pm to 7pm - Jeff Collins
    7pm to 12m - Billy The Kidd
    Sunday
    12m to 6am - Boy Toy Jesse
    6am to 10am - American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest
    10am to 3pm - Big Mike
    3pm to 7pm - Jeff Collins
    7pm to 12m - Finnigan
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 04-29-09: Could be the final round of layoffs at CC ...
   Yesterday, Clear Channel dumped another 590 employees nationwide, 16 or so from the STL cluster. Here's the story from R&R.
   Inhuman does not begin to describe the way this company has treated their employees, eliminating almost 12% of them this year alone, including brand-name air talent.
   Just how upside down is their thinking?
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 04-29-09: I've got a confession to make ...
   I think I've become somewhat agorophobic.
   I haven't been inside a shopping mall in I can't remember how many years, at least fifteen. I do my food and retail shopping at hours when I know that there will be the fewest people in the store. If I go out to lunch on a weekday, it's at 2 or 3PM when I can be one of the very few there.
   Being outside is not the issue. I have come to very much dislike being around strangers but have no problems joining a small group of like-minded folks.
   I believe this is because of the burnout I experienced after years of personal appearances on behalf of radio stations, shaking hands, kissing babies and engaging in vacuous conversations; to get me into a bar, you'd have to push me with a pointed stick. I worked way too many bars when I was in radio and I hate them.
   That and the fact that I have been engaged mostly in working for and by myself since 1992, with only a television or radio in another room providing the background noise of a people-filled office.
   Anybody else who works "off-campus" experiencing this?
   I'm baring my soul to you. Don't disappoint.
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Wednesday 04-29-09: The Unknown Analyst does his parsing thing ...
   Here's a look at the Winter Book's demos.
   PERSONS 25-54
   Mon-Sun 6a-MID
   Arch 6.9 to 8.6
   KSHE 6.8 to 6.1
   WIL 6.0 to 5.8
   Y98 5.4 to 5.8
   KMJM 4.9 to 5.6
   KIHT 4.6 to 5.1
   KEZK 5.1 to 4.7
   WFUN 4.5 to 5.4
   Z107 4.1 to 4.0
   KLOU 2.8 to 3.8
   POINT 4.0 to 3.6
   KMOX 2.8 to 3.4
   BULL 4.6 to 3.4
   KATZ-F 3.4 to 3.3
   KFTK 3.8 to 3.3
   WHHL 2.6 to 2.8
   KATZ-A 1.3 to 1.8
   KTRS 2.1 to 1.6
   KFUO .8 to 1.5
   WXOS 2.5 to 1.1
   KSLG .7 to .9
   KFNS .8 to .8
   Analysis: Big book in this demo for The Arch, KLOU and WFUN. Noticeable drops for The Bull and....uh oh....101 ESPN. Dan Caesar is gearing up to write about stations #20, #21 and #22.
   PERSONS 25-54
   Mon-Fri 6a-10a
   Arch 7.2 to 8.8
   KIHT 5.6 to 7.0
   WIL 5.9 to 6.9
   Y98 6.3 to 6.0
   KSHE 6.7 to 5.8
   WFUN 4.1 to 5.0
   KMJM 4.8 to 4.9
   KEZK 4.2 to 4.2
   KMOX 3.0 to 4.0
   BULL 4.2 to 3.8
   KLOU 2.4 to 3.6
   Z107 4.4 to 3.3
   POINT 3.6 to 3.2
   KFTK 4.2 to 3.0
   WHHL 2.6 to 2.7
   KATZ-F 2.6 to 2.4
   KATZ-A 1.0 to 1.4
   KTRS 1.8 to 1.3
   KSLG 1.0 to 1.2
   KFUO 1.1 to 1.2
   WXOS 2.3 to 1.0
   KFNS .9 to .6
   Analysis: The Arch has a big leap across the board and including mornings. JC and The U-Man jump back big into second place (they're #1 in the core 35-54 Persons demo) just ahead of Cornbread. It's been longer than we can remember since Bob & Tom have dropped this far behind, but still respectable in 4th. Smash rebounds from 16th to 11th while his old partner Jamie Allman drops 8th to 14th. McGraw Milhaven starting far behind the pack at 18th with the departure of Vic and Trish. All three all-sports stations disappear beyond the curvature of the earth. Why don't we look for them in "Men?"
   MEN 25-54
   Mon-Sun 6a-Mid
   KSHE 11.3 to 8.4
   Arch 7.7 to 8.0
   KIHT 4.5 to 5.9
   WIL 4.2 to 5.7
   POINT 5.4 to 4.7
   KMOX 3.4 to 4.5
   KFTK 4.5 to 5.2
   WFUN 4.0 to 3.8
   KATZ-F 3.5 to 3.6
   KLOU 3.0 to 3.6
   KMJM 3.7 to 3.5
   Y98 3.3 to 3.3
   Z107 3.1 to 2.9
   WHHL 1.9 to 2.8
   KEZK 2.2 to 2.8
   BULL 3.4 to 2.6
   KTRS 2.8 to 1.9
   KSLG 1.3 to 1.8
   KFUO .7 to 1.6
   WXOS 1.6 to 1.4
   KATZ-A .9 to 1.3
   KFNS 1.5 to 1.3
   Analysis: KSHE is so strong here they can lose three full shares and still remain #1. Why is The Bull so weak here? (They were 10th a year ago and 6th last spring.) Who would have guessed KSLG would lead both KFNS and an FM sports-talker? In the post-election world the question was how talkers KMOX and KFTK would fare. Both up. KMOX due to a jump in mornings while KFTK up in mornings and afternoons.
   MEN 25-54
   Mon-Fri 6a-10a
   KSHE 9.9 to 8.8
   Arch 9.1 to 8.4
   KIHT 5.6 to 7.5
   WIL 3.7 to 6.8
   KMOX 3.2 to 5.2
   POINT 4.1 to 4.3
   KFTK 5.5 to 4.2
   WFUN 3.4 to 4.0
   KLOU 2.5 to 3.7
   BULL 3.2 to 3.3
   WHHL 2.1 to 2.8
   Y98 3.2 to 2.8
   KMJM 3.5 to 2.6
   KATZ-F 3.1 to 2.4
   KSLG 1.8 to 2.3
   Z107 3.8 to 2.3
   KEZK 1.7 to 1.8
   WXOS 1.8 to 1.7
   KFUO .9 to 1.4
   KATZ .6 to 1.3
   KTRS 2.6 to 1.3
   KFNS 1.8 to 1.2
   Analysis: Bob & Tom, Van Lorenz, JC and The U-Man and Cornbread very strong across the board in all the big demos including here. Jamie Allman down but still in the hunt. KMOX, on the other hand, is up nicely. Cornett should probably be doing better here. He's in 10th, down from 4th last spring but up from 14th this time last year. And it's hard to imagine things being much worse for KFNS as they await the impact of the return of Marty-Mar while Team 1380 begins to pull away. And it must suck to be "Coach K" at the moment as the debate swirls as to whether it's just too early to see results at 101 ESPN, or if the whole thing was dead before it ever got off the ground.
   More dayparts, Women, 18 to 34s and more to come.
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Tuesday 04-28-09: Winter 2009 12+ numbers ...

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).
Tuesday 04-28-09: UPDATE: State of Illinois vs. Bonneville Broadcasting ...
   Explanations from two SIUE officials, which both make perfectly good sense:
    Well, we find Bonneville's policy curious, which requires interns to sign a personal contract, and insists that the university sign a contract as well. This contract makes the university financially responsible for damage and/or any other untoward events caused by the intern while on the job.
   Patrick D. Murphy
   Professor and Chair
   Department of Mass Communications
   Greetings, readers. I'm the internship coordinator for SIUE's Department of Mass Communications. Here's a little clarification re. that sign. It's there because up to now, Bonneville has required interns to sign a personal contract, and also insists that SIUE or any other college or univerisity sign a contract as well. This contract makes the university financially responsible for damage and/or any other untoward events caused by the intern while on the job. No other media outlet or adjunct business in STL requires that SIUE sign such a contract.
   When I was chair of the department six years ago (hence the slightly out of date sign), I asked the university attorney if I could sign such a contract. The attorney said “no,” that SIU does not accept financial responsibility for damages caused by interns. For that reason, and that reason only, we have not been able to authorize internships at Bonneville stations.

   Ralph Donald, Ph.D.
   Professor and Internship Coordinator
   Department of Mass Communications
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Monday 04-27-09: Rock music kills its listeners ...
   ...if they're crickets. Monster Mormon crickets (no relation to the story below).
   Thanks to Tom Taylor for the link.

Monday 04-27-09: State of Illinois vs. Bonneville Broadcasting ...
   I've got email in to try and find out what this means. Photo taken by an SIUE student.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Monday 04-27-09: I inherited a mixer from a friend Sunday evening ...
   ...an ancient but still working Peavey 900. It's got one scratchy fader, but that's easy to fix. I found the manual online pretty easily, and will be passing along the mixer and manual to Jason, who revels in retro music gear.
   My friend is a well-known STL musician and this mixer was used by several local bands of note in which he played, but he doesn't remember the year he got it. And, oddly, it's the only 9-channel mixer I've ever seen.
   I know the Beatles' early recordings were made on three-channel tape decks, but I've never before seen a mixing console with a number of channels divisible by any number other than 2.
   It eBay's for around $100, so it's not significantly valuable. But why 9 channels? And when was it in vogue? I've "run the board" for approximately ninety gazillion bands in concert on a Peavey mixing desk, but never one of these.
   Thoughts, anyone?
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Monday 04-27-09: Why I don't have a pet door ...
Friday 04-24-09: Randi Rhodes Show available to STL radio ...
   ... so who'll be the first in line to pick her up (and I mean that in the nicest way possible)?
   Premiere Radio Networks, who syndicate Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck (all noted conservatives) and Fox News Radio as well as old pal George Noory's Coast To Coast AM, will begin offering Randi Rhodes' daily PM Drive uber-lefty show on May 11th. She's already locked up on AM's in LA, SF and Portland.
   Ms. Rhodes, whose affinity for demon rum is well known (and which pre- and post-dates Limbaugh's drug issue), is joined in local radio availability by righty-turned-lefty Ed Schultz, whom Ms. Rhodes hates for being a "union stooge" and whose MSNBC cable show is digging new trenches in ratings. Schultz is reported to have had violent anger swings at listeners who disagree with him.
   It's all so confusing. Do you choose drunk and disorderly or just disorderly?
   But one thing's for sure: you can pep up them ol' QH's with the Rhodes-Schultz one-two!
   G'wan! Y'know you wanna do it!
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Thursday 04-23-09: This might shed some light ...
   ... on the truncated Noon News on KSDK/5...
   Regarding ClearChoice infomercial on Channel 5: The Denver-based company has a bigwig that's a former Gannett executive, so he's sending a lot of advertising dollars to the old alma mater because of long-time friendships. All levels of Gannett ad sales executives are very hands on with his key client, as ClearChoice is spending millions across the Gannett broadcast, digital and newspaper platforms.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-23-09: Secret Squirrel & The Final Cuts ...
   ... coming soon to a CC cluster near you:
   Word on the street is that the CCU "Premium Choice" programming will be in place in St. Louis on May 1st. While not officially scheduled yet, there will be a meeting at 4PM on April 30th in the so-called "DL Room" in the middle of the third floor at the Highlands. Each station is expected to retain one full-time employee who will handle a local airshift and will be that station's representative for any remotes that the reps may sell.
   In St. Louis, look for those individuals to be Paul Arca for KLOU, Dwight Stone for KATZ-FM, Curt Copeland for KSLZ, Billy Greenwood for KSD, and Darrel Eason for KMJM. Greenwood will retain his PD duties for KSD, Eason will keep his for KMJM, and KSLZ PD Mark Anderson will absorb KLOU, KATZ-AM, and KATZ-FM.

   I emphasize here that this is one of those pesky Secret Squirrel rumors, sent anonymously. However, although the steps seem draconian, it is entirely in line with statements made to the broadcast press by CC officials, including John Hogan, which we have published here.
   I'd be a much happier man if, next week, the changes all came down and we learned that CC was out of debt, flush with cash and on a serious bender to hire great radio talent for all of their stations.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 04-22-09: Caught William Bendix in an AMC cowboy movie Tuesday night...
   ... and remembered him in the 1950's show The Life of Riley...
Wednesday 04-22-09: The whole 420 thing ...
   ... makes me raff. Wikipedia says it refers to teenagers at San Rafael High School in California in 1971 who'd meet after school at 4:20PM to smoke marijuana. But wait: there's history...
   In the Fall of 1966, I was a member of the 440 Club in the least hip school in the US, the University of Dubuque.
   The name referred to the most likely time we could make it, after we got out of our last class of the day, to...
   ... Hank's Bar, just across the state line in Dickeyville WI, where we drank beer at a quarter an 8 oz draft and then dangerously drove or crawled back to our dorm rooms to puke or pass out.
   Lessons learned, huh?
   We were SO revolutionary. Those danged '60's.
   I guess getting hammered just comes twenty minutes earlier now.
   Everything old is new again, 40 years later.
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Wednesday 04-22-09: The NYT goes to Google for ad revenue ...
   So while I was updating last evening, I ran across this banner ad displayed on the STLMedia MB:
   Yes, of course I clicked through.
   Holy Cats! The once-upon-a-time venerable NYT, recent winner of a Pulitzer for a sex scandal story that tossed the Democrat Governor out of office for engaging with a hooker, the paper once considered the US news source of record, is reaching out for the nickels and dimes a banner ad click through will bring to their depleted coffers.
   And they want the clients to provide the artwork and copy!
   Un-freakin'-believable!
   Please notice that their three simple steps are numbered 1., 1. and 1. Way to go, Times-ers!
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Wednesday 04-22-09: A KSDK/5 viewer makes an observation ...
   I noticed that the Channel 5 noon news ended 10 minutes early Monday, and then they ran a 10-minute infomercial for ClearChoice Dental Implants. I either watch or listen to the show almost every day, and I have not noticed anything like this before. I wonder if this is part of the cost-cutting wave that swept Deanne Lane out the door? And is it a sign of things to come or just an isolated once-in-a-while money grab?
   Now, I almost never watch local news at 12N, so I don't have an answer. Anyone?
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Wednesday 04-22-09: The FCC wants to rate TV spots ...
   From TVWatch:
   Viewers in every home with a current TV set can block programming with that hardly used V-chip technology. But they can't just block advertising. The Federal Communications Commission wants to institute ratings for inappropriate commercials -- just as it does for TV programming -- with the ultimate intent of letting viewers block TV commercials overall using the V-chip.
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Wednesday 04-22-09: CC's "better ideas" continue ...
   From Lon Helton's Country Aircheck Today:
   More details on Clear Channel's upcoming programming moves emerged on a conference call today with CC Radio President John Hogan. Last night's Country Aircheck Weekly outlined many of the new initiatives being discussed; here are some of the things stations heard today:
   The company is building a 24/7 emergency operations center in Cincinnati that can control transmitters, NexGen and monitor stations. All remote controls are expected to be in place by July 31.
   Beginning May 18 stations will be required to air a 30-minute local music program once a week between 7pm-midnight.
    Stations also must air a long-form public affairs show to air Sunday nights at 10pm, to be implemented before June 1.

   Sounds to me like somebody at CC discovered that there are actually books and websites about running radio stations.
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Weekend 04-18/19-09: Our list of columnists just keeps on growin'...
   The STLMedia Message Board adds one this weekend, 14DaBucs.
   She joins favorites Sid, Wax, Sassy, Rupert, and Dez as a voice from her own peculiar part of the world.
   And once again, I find that we're a bit out of balance. The MB needs a couple of Commentators who can write regularly from the Left side of things, on all kinds of issues, genially, with reference to facts and without excessive angst.
   If that sounds like you, PM me from the MB or email me and lets talk.
   I'm all about The Fairness Doctrine. Cereally.
   Meet 14DaBucs on the STLMedia Message Board
   (Registration required).

Friday 04-17-09: Pancakes and Nazis ...
   Today was a beautiful day, so I decided to have breakfast out then burn up a few bucks in gas, just driving and reveling in the weather.
   And just as the pancakes came to my table, the Nazis walked in. Not just skinheads, these were serious Nazis (I know, an oxymoron).
   Scalp and neck tattoos (swastikas and thunderbolts) and generally offensive garb...t-shirts that said "Sig Heil when you look at me!" and otherwise proclaimed their wisdom.
   I quickly lost my appetite...
   Read it all and then discuss on the STLMedia Message Board
   (Registration required).

Thursday 04-16-09: Just to show you how much attention ...
   ... your typical TV viewer pays, here're a few comments from the discussion thread at STLToday.com regarding the story on Deanne Lane's dismissal from KSDK/5:
   -- KSDK hasn't been the same since Bob Richards left. They should have kept him around.
   -- It looks like KSDK will be making another huge personnel mistake. Bob Richards left for Good Morning America...and Karen Foss was forced out and she ended up running AmerenUE.
   -- First John Fuller, now Diane Lane.
   -- All they do is read from a teleprompter. I say the hotter and cheaper the better.

   Ah, the hazards of Mass Media! I thought radio had problems with idiot listeners!
   And, yes, these people are idiots. But they're viewers and may be the ones who rate your channel!
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Thursday 04-16-09: Marriott goes newspaper optional ...
   From Editor&Publisher:
   Marriott International, claiming guest demand for newspapers had dropped about 25% at its 2,500 U.S. hotels, announced today it will become the first major hotel company to stop automatic newspaper delivery to guest rooms, shifting to a system based on customer preference.
   But each room still has a clock radio, a television and wireless internet connection.
   Whaddya think went wrong?
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Thursday 04-16-09: Chicago Tribune cuts 90 from newsroom ...
   From MediaPost:
   The implosion of one of America's leading regional dailies continued Monday with the revelation that The Chicago Tribune will cut its newsroom staff by 20%, or roughly 90 employees, over the next couple of weeks.
   Coming amid a spate of layoffs, declarations of bankruptcy and the shuttering of newspapers by major publishers, the Tribune cuts stand out as one of the most sweeping reductions in reporting staff yet seen.

   And as Sam Zell always says, "How do we do it? Volume! Volume! Volume!"
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Thursday 04-16-09: Former CC/STL radio guy Rob Walker's got a new career in Emergency Response ...
   ...and today I get this from him:
   Mike, I've done it. I've finally done it. I have fully converted to the dark side. I mean, it's been coming for a while, but I thought it was still a few years down the road.
   I’ve been listening to less radio at home and streaming more music. My iPod has been playing more than the local stations when I'm in the car, but now I've fully committed. I have jumped ship. My new Blackberry Curve lets me stream Pandora in the car, and FM radio is a thing of the past.
   I plug my ‘berry into the AUX jack and my very own custom created narrow-casted radio station comes pumping out, thanks to my unlimited data package and some judicious song choices. I knew listener directed content would be the death of radio, but I never thought I’d be dancing at the funeral.
    Not listening to terrestrial radio is like breaking off a long relationship. I suppose I should just be quick…like tearing off a band aid.
   “Sorry Radio, you’ve been very good to me but I found someone better. Someone who’s fresh and new and exciting. Someone who gives me exactly what I want, exactly when I want it. And none of that pointless babbling that you do, that incessant insipid yakking that drives me crazy!
   And we go places together, just like you and I used to… before you became so stodgy and boring. So Radio, I guess this is goodbye. I’ll still check in every now and then, but me and my new sweetie, Pandora, will be spending a lot of time together.
   Take care of yourself Radio. I’ll always remember the good times…”
   Rob Walker
   Former PD/OM/DJ and radio lover, now in a committed relationship with Pandora and going to paramedic school in Seattle.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-16-09: Clear Channel has a better idea ...
   Whoops, excuse me while I clean up the Fitz Root Beer I just spit onto my monitor screens...
   Day 2 of their three day managers meeting brought this nonsense to the masses, while their employees sit in their home stations, huddled against the cold, blowing wind of Hurricane Mays, waiting for the eye to pass over and the storm to reverse direction and wreak the ultimate havoc they know it will bring.
   My comments follow, italicized.
   Idea #1 is "Premium Choice", based on the company's "proprietary talent performance tool." It says local PDs can choose "large portions, single pieces, or none of the offered programming."
   That means that the local PD can choose whatever they want as long as it comes in under the $350 a month budget that'll soon be imposed for programming.
   Idea #2 is John "Slogan" Hogan saying there will be new opportunities for high-performing local talent to be on additional stations - but he also cites the success of national shows such as On Air with Ryan Seacrest and Steve Harvey.
   That means exactly what you think it means. If the company suggests you use some cheap talent from Omaha for morning drive, hop to it. And if it means that you have to replace a long-time market star with the ditherings of the unlistenable Seacrest, learn to love it.
   Idea #3 is rolling out more online channels (Country Road, Soft Rock, Kidd Kraddick, Lex & Terry).
   See Idea #2 and get ready to use this free stuff for all those useless HD channels the company jammed down your throats.
   Idea #4 is beefing up its commitment to local musicians.
   That idea worked so well for Bonneville...
   Idea #5 is more public service - more PSAs (12 minutes a day), more public affairs programming, and a commitment to Local Advisory Boards. That's with an eye towards the FCC's campaign for "localism."
   Whoa. 12 whole minutes a day of PSA's. Shoot, with the state of current spot inventory, your station could run 30 minutes a day and never feel any pain! And Public Affairs is code for "find a minority rep to come in and do a show for free and then play it back at 4:30AM Sunday before you start the infomercials."
   Oddly, there's no mention of expanding local news or emergency notification systems. That'd cost money.

   Thanks to Radio-Info for the tip.
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Wednesday 04-15-09: Confirmed: Deanne Lane out at KSDK/5 ...
   As you read here a month ago. Boom. Just like that. So long, goodbye, auf weidersehen, farewell. Deanne follows Karen out the door, ostensibly to save Gannet money and shore up their failing newspaper division. I hear from KSDK insiders that this was a particularly unpopular move, for a variety of reasons. More later.
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Tuesday 04-14-09: I've been getting huge response ...
   ... to Secret Squirrel entries about how some stations are falling down on call-ins for spot schedules, mostly from SM's screaming "It's not my guys!"
   Fact is, it is your guys, who, with no training or experience, don't know how to get out there and explore, how to make friends and how to really sell.
   KTRS' SM, Geoff "Half" Witt, for example, blamed a sales loss on a client -- ("If the prospective client is Hoods, then don’t bother responding to my previous email. He is not being 100% truthful with you ...") -- and not on their inability to bring the client on board.
   Having sold real estate or cars or encyclopedias door-to-door means absolutely nothing when they need to sell air to eat.
   Or it's your temps on the phones who can't be bothered to take a proper message.
   Are you training your salespeople and assistants or are you just handing them a phonebook and a notepad?
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Tuesday 04-14-09: Radio station cash flow multiples ...
   ... are now down to 5-7%, according to brokers.
   Not too long ago, stations were being sold at twice that.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Tuesday 04-14-09: Harassed, abused and underpaid...
   Via RDN, from the Traverse City Record-Eagle: who of us can say that that's not been the story of our career?
   A former disc jockey who contends he was harassed, abused and underpaid by a local radio station owner filed a lawsuit.
   Daniel S. Harrell, also known as Dan Stevens, worked as a disc jockey, production manager and sales person for WLDR-FM 101.9 "Sunny Country" from October 2007 until December, according to his suit.
   The suit names station owner Roy Henderson and several radio companies that "share authority" over the station, said Harrell's attorney, Jeff Jocks.
   The suit alleges Henderson "on a regular and systematic basis, and without provocation, harassed, insulted, assaulted, battered, demeaned, enslaved and violated" Harrell throughout his course of employment.
   Threats and assaults made on Harrell by Henderson "created in him a well-founded and continuing fear of imminent peril," according to the suit. Jocks, of the Traverse City firm Olson, Bzdok & Howard, wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the abuse.
   "There was some contact," Jocks said.
   Harrell also contends Henderson broke the law by firing him when he asked for medical leave in December. A breach of contract count in the suit alleges Henderson paid Harrell substantially less than the two agreed upon and forced Harrell to work up to 80 hours a week without overtime.
   Harrell seeks at least $25,000 in damages.
   Henderson deferred comment to his attorney, Will Davison, of the Traverse City firm Running, Wise & Ford. Davison said he's just beginning to review the suit and isn't ready to give detailed comment, though he called the suit's credibility into question.
   "There are some factual allegations in there that are basically non-existent ... they just didn't happen," Davison said.

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Tuesday 04-14-09: It can all be over in an instant ...
   Legendary Country music PD Charlie Cook and his family were in the middle of a move from Atlanta to Los Angeles when the truck carrying all their possessions was destroyed by fire in Texas.
   Just like that, it was all gone. Gratefully, no one in the family was injured, but suddenly almost all their stuff is history.
   What would you do?
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Tuesday 04-14-09: Lunch with an old friend Monday ...
   ... took place in a private club in Mid-County, a place that I had no idea existed nor would I have ever discovered on my own, and it was a great reunion.
   Won't "out" my buddy, because he highly values his privacy. But the place where we met is the real story.
   Tiny and dark, with carefully tended wood panelling and seats upholstered for 50-plusers, full of real, honest-to-God characters, booze and good chow, with a hint of Cuban cigar smoke. Drawers for member tobacco storage and humidity control all around for preservation.
   It's a place where everybody knows everbody's name, member and workers alike, where you can keep private ingredients behind the bar for personal use.
   If you think that Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should refer to a convenience store rather than a government agency, you'd love this place.
   I'd apply for membership but I'm not sure that Mrs. A would let me 'fess up the annual fee. Damn!

Tuesday 04-14-09: Don't look for the union label ...
   Despite lengthy and intense efforts to unionize STLMedia.net employees by UFCW, the Teamsters, the Newspaper Guild, IBEW and the New Zealand Meatworkers Union, a series of secret ballots have rejected all offers of representation.
   This means that (a) I will continue to pay myself no salary, (b) I will continue to pay myself no royalties for material published here and used elsewhere, and (c) I will continue to offer myself no health or retirement benefits.
   On the upside, I don't have any union dues to pay...
   You, however, may contribute painlessly to the upkeep of this website by making your Google and Amazon purchases through the links above and at right.

Monday 04-13-09: So there I was, a PD in Rockford IL, in 1975 ...
   ... looking like this:
     Photo courtesy J.C. Corcoran collection.
   And working with some of the most talented DJ's I ever had the honor to assemble, at WYFE AM & FM. We took #1 in the market in six months, just about long enough for the co-GM's to fire me.
   Who knew that ten years later I'd wind up in the same market as one of that staff, a guy who'd become J.C. Corcoran, who'd gotten to KSHE a year before I landed at WIL?
   And who'd have thought that this year, more than half our lives away from those bad old days, he'd be celebrating his 25th year in STLRadio?
   He is, and May 2009 will be a pretty interesting month for JC on his current home at K-Hits. More later!
   P.S. Can I get a cool graphic like this for my 10th website/25th in-and-out of radio anniversaries next year?
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Monday 04-13-09: Easter dinner was over, daughter Anna ...
   ... left to pick up her kids from her execrable ex- after helping with the dishes and pots and pans, Mrs. A retired to her office to get up to date and Jason, Tasha and I lounged out to a little TV.
   And who to our wondering eyes should appear in a History Channel special on Ancient Astronauts?
   None other than old friend and radio syndication superstar George Noory!
   One of life's little ironies? I think not. I mean, it's not like Noory and I are having lunch later today...

Monday 04-13-09: More tales of an advertiser ...
   Secret Squirrel added this:
   As amazing as it sounds KFNS is turning down advertisers. A growing group of businesses are not advertising with KFNS because the STL Sports Magazine is being forced into the ad purchase. KFNS has turned down at least four different clients because they wanted ads on the station only and not the magazine. KFNS must be doing well if they don't want the ad money. Do the bosses in Atlanta know KFNS is turning down money?
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Easter Weekend 04-11/12-09: Tale of an advertiser ...
   Secret Squirrel sent this:
   Mike, I wanted to run some ads for a grand opening. Called KTRS and KMOX radio.
   KMOX got all over it in hours and I'm even getting live spots with Scott Moseby. KTRS did not call me back for 2 days and then the sales rep broke our app, called me back again to resched and then instead of coming sent me a power point with the cost.
   I went with KMOX, and their prices were higher!
   Go figure. I run a lot of ads and have never seen anything like this.

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Easter Weekend 04-11/12-09: What radio station runs TV spots anymore?
   From what Secret Squirrel hears, the loneliest radio station in STL, KTRS, has just finished production of a campaign to begin soonest. Probably about baseball and how that brings listeners to the rest of the schedule.
   Yeah, right. Thanks to Matt for the memo.
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Easter Weekend 04-11/12-09: Tasha contemplates her culinary future ...
   Having discovered bacon and eggs and the further wonders of pigs and chickens in her new home a year and a half ago, the STLMedia WatchDog considers the possibilities of a picnic ham slow cooked in brown sugar and ginger ale and accompanied with eggy potato salad, GloryTM greens, cole slaw, cornbread, sweet iced tea and brownies. No chocolate for dogs, of course.
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Easter Weekend 04-11/12-09: Mine! And it dies ears first!
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Thursday 04-09-09: Apologies for being away for a few days ...
   It's that whole Easter Break thing, ya know? Plus Mrs. A's birthday, haircuts, taxes, dinner with friends, her vacation and me just being lazy. Hey, Red Beans, Sausage & Rice tonight!

Thursday 04-09-09: Collections have never been worse ...
   ...and you are not alone!
   From Tom Taylor:
   “Why aren’t people paying their bills? Sales reps like myself are dying a slow death.”
   Partly because of “chargebacks” from the AE’s own station, says this major-market Senior AE. He writes to say “As a 20 year seller, I have never seen a period of time where advertisers and/or their agencies are not paying for services rendered. And I am not referring to the fly-by-night companies, the shady business types.
   I am referring to big time companies. It’s unacceptable! Also, some agencies are waiting until the last possible moment to pay the stations, to hold as much money in their own accounts as possible. Sales reps like myself are dying a slow death as our companies take back sales commissions and don't help us try to collect the cash.
   More than half of my day is now in ‘collection’ mode as opposed to ‘selling’ mode. That does not benefit the company and as a commission-only sales rep, it definitely does not benefit me.”
   This guy also has a beef with his own employer – “I am convinced that companies have a line item for ‘chargebacks’ - when the company retrieves sales commission dollars from reps if they have not been paid by the 90-day mark.
   Yet if/when the advertiser does pay later, the sales rep does not get that money. There are thousands of dollars at stake at my station due to this. No one wants to talk about it for fear of retribution from their parent companies, for exposing how they continue to screw with the salespeople.”

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Thursday 04-09-09: You remember Jay Shadix, right?
   The imaging guy that Tiny Tim Dorsey's Westport Express tossed off the bus for reasons beyond our comprehension?
   Well, it seems that young Jay landed his talented self in the Bonneville cluster in Seattle, did good, and his boss just published this memo:
   It was tougher than usual to choose just one person from the many who went above and beyond the call during March. Between the final move of KIRO to FM, the launch of 710 ESPN and Mariners baseball, an extraordinary month of politics and talk on KTTH, and the development of a whole new sports section for MYNorthwest.com, nearly everyone was involved in something special during the month.
   In the end, though, we decided to honor Jay Shadix for his outstanding contribution(s). Jay spent countless hours in the production studio, at the word processor, and in strategy meetings, developing all-new station imaging and work parts for 710 ESPN and for the Mariners network broadcasts.
   He carried a heavy load in creating wave after wave of fresh messages reminding the KIRO listeners to switch to 97.3 FM. He took part in the planning braintrust which met regularly to map out the split of our KIRO simulcast. And he did it all while continuing to keep the daily imaging and show promos for all three stations fresh as always.
   Long days, weekends, whatever it took – Jay got the job done and made us sound terrific in every way.
   Congratulations, Jay, and thanks for the extra effort and care. We’re fortunate to have you on our Bonneville team!
   Carl Gardner
   Vice President, Market Manager
   Bonneville Seattle Radio Group

   So when will the money guys who actually carry the burden of constantly refreshing the operating capital at KTRS realize that Dorsey has imperiously chewed through hundreds of incredibly talented people in his goal to recreate himself as the new Bob Hyland?
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Thursday 04-09-09: Station compensation is so 20th Century ...
   From Tom Taylor:
   The compensation game in network and syndicated radio is changing, fast.
   You saw one example earlier this week – Imus, Joe Scarborough and Curtis Sliwa homebase WABC, New York announcing that the shows produced by its talent are now available on a barter basis. Years ago, then-Imus syndicator Westwood was famous for extracting fees from affiliates.
   Now ABC offers his show completely on a barter basis, in exchange for some of an affiliate station’s inventory. Example #2 of this theme comes from somebody who says that Citadel’s been eliminating the practice of paying “comp” to some (not all) affiliates of its ABC News Radio product.
   My source says “there are some upset stations, because they had counted on that money” in their budgets. But that's the way the compensation game's been going in TV, too.

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Thursday 04-09-09: AP wants to know who ate their cheese ...
   The AP's got their knickers in a knot over what they think of as unfair use of their stories by search engines and news and blog sites.
   On Monday, The Associated Press, a 163-year-old news wire paid for by member newspapers, said it was working on a plan to protect its content from misappropriation on the Internet.
   On Tuesday, Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's annual meeting in San Diego, said AP has a "multimillion-dollar" deal with Google for the search engine to host and distribute its news.
   Some journalists have complained that search engines run by Google and Yahoo Inc make millions of dollars off their news, and that it should belong to them instead.
   Schmidt said he was impressed by how newspapers took to the Internet in the 1990s, but, he said, they had not changed their business models to suit the medium.

   Hey, wait a minute...didn't I say that?
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Thursday 04-09-09: Challenging cross-ownership ...
   I mean, it worked out so well for Sam Zell at the Chicago Tribune, huh?
   Robert McDowell, one of five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission, wrote a letter urging the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to expedite a legal decision regarding a challenge to new media cross-ownership rules approved by the FCC in December 2007. McDowell noted the growing number of newspapers on the brink of financial collapse, suggesting that broadcasters might rescue some beleaguered dailies.
   Discuss (Registration required).

Thursday 04-09-09: The Post-Dispatch has done well with videos ...
   But I'd like to see more reporter-shot original work. Here's a MediaPost report:
   Newspapers across the country may be scaling back to survive, but online video appears to be one area where they're expanding aggressively. An analysis of 187 U.S. newspaper Web sites by Web video provider Brightcove shows a surge in their video-related activity last year.
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Weekend 04-04/05-09: A fourth generation of my family ...
   ... since the 1940's has entered the military to serve their country.
   This time it's my grand-nephew Nahveh, who, on the 1st of April, was inducted into the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force.
   And like Mothers everywhere in the world who hand over their son or daughter to their nation's military service, my niece Michelle (she and her family live in Nazareth) had her private thoughts. She was kind enough to share some of them:
   Tomorrow morning, Naveh is going into the army.
   Even though in recent years there has been much talk in Israel about the problem of kids who choose their own personal advancement over serving the one tiny country we have to call home, it is still considered one of the steps one takes on his or her way of becoming an adult citizen in Israel. It is still perceived as a duty that a young person has as part of growing up here. It is still an honor.
   I don't know what it sounds like to someone who is not an Israeli. Those words, "going into the army". Here in Israel, it means you are growing up. Here the question that comes up will probably be, "Oh, do you know where you will be serving?" And when the answer comes, there will always be someone who served in the exact same corps, and suddenly, will be as proud as can be knowing that the young recruit is "one of theirs".
   (I've deleted here personal comments about Naveh's last day with his family before he begins IDF service.)
   And tomorrow morning, at 8:30 AM, we will be waiting with all the other recruits going into the army the same day (from the region) and their families until Naveh's name is called. Last hugs, kisses and tears. One last good bye, and off he goes.
   We love you very much and are proud of you. Hope the next three years are good ones, Naveh!

   "It is still perceived as a duty that a young person has as part of growing up here. It is still an honor."
   I wish to God that this sentiment was more prevalent in the US.
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Weekend 04-04/05-09: Good news from the South City front ...
   It appears that son Jason has found a new pup from among the pack at StrayRescueSTL!
   He brought videos over Friday night and Gloria's a sweet (but camera shy) 3 or 4 year old, "out" and crate trained 40 pound Terrier mix. Photos will follow.
   She immediately claimed a corner of his couch as her own, and a corner of Jason's bed as well.
   Gloria's a sight hound, a runner and a jumper, so he'll have to keep a close eye on her in his yard.
   I can only hope she gets along with Tasha when she visits!
   Gloria had been abandoned by her previous owners...now she has a Forever Home, and with an Anderson!
   For a dog, it doesn't get better than that!

Weekend 04-04/05-09: Help give a little Homeland Security...
   Help a nonprofit organization that provides Daddy Dolls™ or Hug-A-Hero™ dolls FREE to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty or who can't afford one. Individuals or companies may donate any amount; the donated funds go toward the manufacturing and delivery of the dolls to children in need, worldwide.
   Operation Hug-A-Hero has donated thousands of dolls to the sons and daughters of our military heroes.

Weekend 04-04/05-09: A small market operator has Rams' issues ...
   It's starting to get frustrating that I can not get a contract for The Rams (I understand that I am a small market and it's only April) but I can't put our sales packages together because I don't know that I have a deal with the Rams yet.
   Why should this be a problem? Don't the Rams have an Affiliates Director to see that this kind of thing doesn't happen? Or is the TV money too good to worry about problems with the "little guys" who depend on the few bucks they can bring in with the games to make budget?
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Weekend 04-04/05-09: Print media mortality updates ...
   Just a few things, links and such...
   AngryJournalist
   Newsosaur
   I'm hearing the collapse of Old Media being referred to as paperdämmerung. That's funny, in a perverted way.
   The New York Times is threatening to close co-owned paper, The Boston Globe, unless unions agree to $20million in concessions. The ball is now in the other guy's court.
   Q: Why won't the New York Times fail? A: Because the fish won't wrap themselves.
   Paper people, you can grump and harumph all you want, say that I'm an insensitive hate monkey, but the fact remains graven in stone (just as it was for radio and tv):
   You were warned. And you paid no attention.
   I just got there 17 years before you did.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-02-09: If you were fired or forced to part-time by Emmis ...
   Maybe it'll help you feel better to know that President of Programming Rick Cummings will revert from his $470k base salary (with up to 60% of that figure added as a bonus) to a part-time $530k gig paid out over four years.
   Executive VP/General Counsel Gary Kaseff will resign from his position and get “a lump sum payment of $1.2 million and immediately transition to part-time employment”. He’ll get a stock option grant and remain a director the company, for which, of course, he'll be paid exhorbitantly.
   That's why Emmis/STL can't afford you anymore, or shipped you off to part-time hell or asked you to take a 10% cut. It's good to be a friend of the King, huh?
   You know, I'm the strongest believer in Capitalism you'll ever know. But this kind of behavior at ownership and management levels just makes me puke.
   Financial details courtesy Tom Taylor.
   Discuss (Registration required).

Thursday 04-02-09: Good article at KSDK.com ...
   ... about the impending sale of the market's only classical music station, KFUO-FM. Even better, though, are the comments.
   Hey, there's always WiFi radio...
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-02-09: According to a national Rasmussen telephone survey ...
   Americans don't want print bailout. Newspaper circulations are plummeting and a new survey finds there’s little public support to save dailies. Just 37% favor federal government subsidies to keep newspapers in business. More than four in ten say it’s better to let the papers go out of business.
   My bet is that the STL P-D will be a thing of the past by the end of 2010. That's next year, in case you're not keeping track.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-02-09: Secret Squirrel said it, well, then ...
   ... it must be right! PR cluttering the inbox says this...
   101 ESPN officially announces the addition of award-winning St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist and sports radio broadcaster Bernie Miklasz to their weekday programming line-up.
   Bernie arrives at 101 ESPN on Monday, April 6, 2009 when "The Bernie Miklasz Show" will air from 12:00 until 2:00 pm weekdays. He will be joined by his long-time Producer Ben Boyd, along with sports "insiders" Joe Strauss and Jim Thomas, who are the baseball and football reporters at the Post-Dispatch, respectively (see attached news release for additional details.
   With the addition of "The Bernie Miklasz Show", Pat Parris, Bryan Burwell and "The Parris & Burwell Show" will move to the newly created 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on 101 ESPN.

   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Thursday 04-02-09: A Face(book) for Radio ...
   A while back, I set up an area on the STLMedia MB for you to post your thoughts on ways to use FB and Twitter and MySpace for your station.
   The response was, to say the least, tepid.
   Then I went out onto the web and started reviewing the way that stations are using FB for their purposes. Unimpressive and unoriginal, and that's being kind.
   Jerry DelColliano sent out a piece yesterday suggesting some ideas. I suggest you read it, commit it to memory and get it in use forthwith.
   It is the digital equivalent to the General Directions Memo I was given when I went to work for RKO Radio all those years ago.
   Discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).

Wednesday 04-01-09: The future of the STL Post-Dispatch ...
   An exclusive STLMedia interview with Lee's CEO Mary Junck, in which she lays out the company's plans to use technology to keep Lee's papers in the game and profitable, and their plans to participate in international markets.
   Plus an exclusive graphic look at the future of the Post-Dispatch, with comments from the people who are making the paper's future a reality!
   Read it here and discuss on the STLMedia Message Board (Registration required).


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