I give thanks for my �little sliver of paradise� called home, nestled in the beauty of Idaho�s wilderness, with snow caped peaks and abundant wildlife viewed daily in the pasture below our large living room window.
I�m thankful for my family members, including 98 year old uncle Clay Rook who will be with us for the first time in more than sixty years and for those who will be remembered in spirit, if not in person.
For my canine, feline and equestrian pals both past and present that have brought such joy to me. For each and every friend who stayed in touch through all the years and a career that introduced me to so many celebrities and experiences that most would never have.
I give thanks to my country that provided so much opportunity and a freedom of religion that powered my faith, without which I would have never enjoyed such a great life.
And to you that visit this site, who find interest in my views�I hope your Thanksgiving will be as good as mine
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Gobbling up choice facilities in market after market in their drive to monopolize radio, Clear Channel showed no mercy as they forced many broadcasters to throw in the towel. Clustering up to eight stations in a single market, they made it nearly impossible for smaller owners to compete.
Now just a few years later Clear Channel is singing the blues as their CEO, Mark Mays say�s, "Free radio is struggling. The cost of competing with new technologies and increased listener choice is staggering and profits are down�. With more than 1,200 radio stations nationally, Clear Channel earnings declined 13 percent in the second quarter of this year alone because of weak advertising revenues.
Clear Channel is now asking for the right to own up to a dozen radio stations in a single market so they can compete with Satellite radio. �If XM is allowed to have 150 channels in each market, it is a competitive disadvantage for us to have only eight,� say�s CEO Mark Mays. So with more than 200 million listeners a week, Mays claims terrestrial radio is threatened by XM satellite with almost five million subscribers?
He makes no mention of Clear Channel's move to provide digital programming on most of their radio stations allowing them to deliver several more �streams� of programming.
Meanwhile, some in congress and at the FCC have expressed concerns that the Texas based giant does not serve local interests when much of their programming is fed to their stations by the nations largest syndication company, Premiere Radio Network, also owned by Clear Channel. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat asks, "How much bigger does one need to get, we already have too much concentration in ownership."
The rapid growth of the Internet is also cutting into Clear Channel�s revenue, causing it to simulcast much of their radio programming to the Internet. Mays says, "From that perspective, we are cannibalizing ourselves and we feel like we have to be in that Internet space."
So now we find Clear Channel being Clear Channelized.
"What goes around�.."
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Bobby Ocean is "in 'toon with the times and on time with the 'toons" AGAIN with this All-Request UncleToon! It sez it for me.
For too long now, I've heard the excuse that deregulation of local ownership of "free market" broadcast licenses was justified. Radio had been "losing shares of advertising revenue for decades" and the business "couldn't compete with TV and Cable".
Who said that Radio was supposed to compete with anything except Radio? Was it the Communications Act of 1934? Did our government say we, the people, were going to regulate our airwaves for "the public interest, convenience, and necessity", or did we say we were going to guarantee profit to the highest bidder?
Who said that Radio was forever blessed to be as profitable as TV, Cable, DSS, or even the home video market? Some group owners did. The NAB did. The Congress and the President listened, and agreed. So far, the Justice Department agrees. Gosh, good government is expensive, huh?
In choice medium and major markets where big bidders have purchased big juicy chunks of prime licenses, the LOCAL audience has been denied the promise of the Communications Act of 1934. They can no longer believe their LOCAL radio signals will not be controlled by a single corporate entity, or that they will be operated "in the public interest".
Why? Instead of radio licenses being worth LESS because of shrinking revenue share, they are now worth MORE - MUCH more, because if you buy enough of them in any one locality, you can "virtualize" the entire operation and make the stockholders happy. Gee Whiz, it's a no-brainer. Buy your competition, move everyone into one building, economize and downsize until you can make the payments. It's all yours. Hey guys, I don't blame you. The law allows it, go for it. Duh.
How long do you think it would take any one company to acquire ALL the major licenses in a market, if allowed? How long will it be before Radio is begging to own MORE � because they "just can't compete?"
Thanks to Bobby Ocean and Uncle Ricky, two "real" radio vets that predicted today - way back in 1997.
Visit them at
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His dad is the founder of Inside Radio. Jerry Del Colliano, Jr. walks in his father�s footsteps with his own publication and some very interesting thoughts about the future of radio.
Radio�s Real Estate Bubble To Bust Soon
Radio�s solutions are tremendously difficult and way out of their
skill sets. First, they need to embrace new styles and types of
programming. Conservative talk, classic rock oldies and Jack are
boring beyond belief to the money-spending Gen Xers and soon-to-be
money-spending Generation Y. The first step in solving radio�s
problems is for its movers and shakers to rededicate themselves to
programming. The next step is to rule the Internet radio airwaves.
The biggies of traditional radio need to bring professionalism to
this new and exciting format without making it sound like some
overly corporate, heartless media. Lastly, terrestrial radio needs
to pray that satellite radio keeps moving towards sounding more and
more like traditional radio. Sirius, ever since Mel Karmazin took
over, sounds more and more like the old days of Infinity. With
Howard Stern on board, it will be even more like Infinity on
satellite. Sirius needs to fight that urge if it wants to compete.
Customers who pay for commercial-free radio should get
commercial-free radio. Customers who pay for radio in many formats
should not have to hear the blabbering, senseless commentaries of
hashed-out jocks who go on about meaningless gossip or tell age-old
stories about classic rockers. Nobody cares � just play the music.
In the end, I see a victory for consumers and enthusiasts of music and a bust for terrestrial radio and its incredibly overpriced FM stations. Radio invested in stations like they were the only beachfront properties on the planet. Less than a decade later, consumers are sending the message that they are moving to the moon, leaving $100,000,000 FM radio stations worth pennies on the dollar. One scholar suggested this will inspire local interests to recapture radio and make it a provincial format again. In this instance, radio might have a future, but it needs to be shaken up, much like bloated 1993 Los Angeles real estate needed a devastating earthquake to reprice the market. Radio�s leaders should be looking for the ground to start to rumble any day now, while radio�s listeners are packing up the Bekins truck to move to more solid land � namely satellite and Internet radio or their iPods and cell phones.
Read the remainder of son Jerry�s comments at
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Two steps forward�then three steps back.
Arbitron has scared hell out of broadcasters by announcing they would include �radio, other than terrestrial broadcasting� in upcoming audience measurement reports. It didn�t take long for AM/FM owners, who pay hefty fees for Arbitron research to force the rating company to change plans. At best, it will be sometime in the distant future before Arbitron finally offers research that includes users of satellite and Internet radio, but don�t hold your breath.
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Surrounded by a family of broadcasters, Bruce Gilbert knew early in life radio was in his blood. On the air as a 14 year old, he was program director in major markets before turning 22 and prior to joining ESPN Radio he was the Director of Programming for the four Susquehanna radio stations in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Radio�s future is in good hands with Bruce Gilbert in a leadership role. Outlining �radio�s most common mistakes�, I realized he not only covered much of the ground I plowed in my career, he was more thorough in doing so.
It isn�t often this site presents an article of this magnitude. I would strongly suggest on-air performers and program directors of every format copy the following, using it as a reminder of what it takes to �win� in radio.
ESPN radio's Bruce Gilbert
The Twenty Deadly Sins
Spoken word radio�s most common mistakes
By: Bruce Gilbert
1) Lack of Preparation: if you aren�t willing to do the work off the air, then don�t bother being on the air. Great talk show hosts are preparing for their show every hour of every day. Preparation is not just reading newspapers, studying stories and researching facts. Preparation is living your life. Your real life experiences always have potential for inclusion in your show, particularly if you partake in activities germane to your target audience (which you should). Every experience and every observation is potential on-air fodder, if not today � at some point. Live your life like a real human being, and challenge yourself to be astutely observant and ridiculously curious. Being observant and being real makes you far more relatable to your audience, thereby providing you with the valuable perception that you are just like them. Use your producer and support staff to help you best collate your observations into meaningful stories, anecdotes and analogies to fit the topics you are addressing on your show. It is no secret that the most successful talk radio talent spends approximately one hour off the air preparing for every hour they are on the air, but the REALLY successful hosts are always preparing. Those that prepare persevere and succeed by knowing the subject matter more intimately than their competition.
2) You don�t allow me to play along: Setup and reset, setup and reset, setup and reset. Your audience is bombarded with messages, new technology and distractions. The only way you can win this battle for their time is to make sure your show is constantly all- inclusive. People will give you approximately 20 seconds (if they like you, less if they don�t know who you are) to help them �play along�. If you don�t grab them with a compelling setup or help them play along by resetting the name of your guest or the topic you are discussing, then it�s easier to tune it out than it is to figure it out. Don�t make your listeners work to discover what you are doing; this is radio, not audio charades. Listeners don�t have time to decipher pieces of information and put them into context. You must adequately and consistently do this for them in a smooth and efficient manner. Constantly let them in through strategic and efficient setups and resets that suck them into the conversation and make them feel a part of the discussion.
3) Too Linear: Many talk show hosts make the critical mistake of assuming their show is like a feature film. Listeners gather in a theater when they go on the air and stay for the entire show. Start to finish, no interruptions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Radio listeners are in and out depending on their occupation, activities and habits. Most studies show that you�re lucky if you get 20 minutes per tune in and four or five tune-ins per week. Therefore it is positively damaging to have the �we already covered that� mentality. The world doesn�t evolve linearly, so you shouldn�t do your show this way. If there is a major story, you have to address it in some fashion during each quarter hour of your program. See deadly sin #20.
4) Lack of Payoff: This might be the most common of talk radio�s deadliest sins. Too many programs are great at beginnings and middles, but they lack a destination. Imagine going to see a comedian who told the beginning and middle of every joke, but never delivered a punch line. Your job as a host is to always be taking the listener somewhere. Listeners will trust you, and listeners will loyally embark on a journey with you, if they know they are going to get some sort of payoff. No subject should ever make the air without a planned payoff. It�s not good enough to know why you are talking about it; you have to know where you are going with it. Have a destination and always make sure you get there so the listener feels the time he/she spent with your show was well worth it.
5) Too Inside: It�s really neat that you and your co-host have a joke or two that you share about others on your staff, but if I am not aware of that joke you are asking me to tune away. Don�t leave the audience out by languishing in inside jokes. Furthermore there is nothing more boring than a talk show host discussing headphones, microphones and the temperature of the studio. Entertain me; don�t bore me with your insipid internal ramblings. Unless you can make something �inside� relatable to your entire audience, it doesn�t belong on the air.
6) No writing: Why is it that every hit TV show, every news program, every movie and every play is completely scripted, but radio people rarely write anything? Writing is a lost art that needs to make a strong comeback in order for talk radio to go beyond the tiresome point- counterpoint psychobabble that is prominent today. I�m not suggesting that every segment should be scripted, that would water down our medium. I am suggesting that a little more writing and a little less incessant babbling could grow our audience. One of the true strengths of radio is its instantaneous and spontaneous nature, but I am an advocate of what I like to call �planned spontaneity�. Planned spontaneity is a derivative of great writing. Look at your show and consider where you might be able to write for success. Opening rants, pointed monologues, timely and topical comedy bits, audience transporting teases. All of these could be written, and by writing them you would have a better chance of painting pictures that would make your show more entertaining while simultaneously maintaining your audience.
7) You can�t relate: It is about you, but you have to relate to them. Listeners do care about what you think and what you have to say as long as you stay in their world. The hosts that lose ratings are the ones that lose touch with their audience and falsely believe that their agenda is more important than what matters to those that use your radio station.
8) You�re too serious: Take your preparation, your execution, your writing and your job very seriously, but stop taking yourself so seriously. Too many talk hosts act as if they�re the be-all end-all, when in fact they�re just entertainers. You may think you�re changing the world, but you�re really just trying to deliver quarter hours. There are far too many self-important blowhards in our business. Learn the art of self-deprecation, laugh at yourself and openly expose your true human side and you will open the door to more ratings. See deadly sin #18.
9) Overthinking: Remember the KISS method � Keep It Simple Stupid. Too often talk shows get themselves in trouble by trying to do too much. Don�t over think every story and load it up with insignificant details, guests or opinions. Stay focused on your specific destination/payoff and lead me there in a way that�s easy for me to follow. Keeping it simple makes it easier for listeners to play along.
10) Not realizing you�re a politician: Radio 101 teaches you that our current ratings methodology is political. Make no mistake, Arbitron is a popularity contest. If you don�t understand the importance of touching the people and inspiring their vote, then you�ll never reach your full potential as a talk host. At the end of the day most people vote for the person they like � but first they have to know who you are. As a host (candidate) you must be true to your beliefs, unwavering and real � even if that breeds polarity. In the end, if you are real and relatable you will get votes. Getting votes means being true to your beliefs every day, it means standing on street corners and shaking hands, it means being in touch with your constituents.
11) Not realizing you�re a salesperson: Everything you do on your talk show is selling. You sell the call letters, you sell the name of your show, you sell your personality and you sell the audience on the fact that what you believe and what you are discussing is the most important thing at that very moment. You sell yourself in how you present your material and how you react in certain situations. You sell your beliefs and you sell your opinions. You sell your set ups, you sell your stories and you sell your teases. So for those of you who despise the account executives at your radio station, I hate to tell you, but you�re one of them, you�re a salesperson. And selling is vital to your success. If you can�t sell, you can�t win.
12) Your skin is too thin: Show me a talk show host that�s never gotten a complaint or truly pissed off a listener and I�ll show you a talk show host with a 0.0 share. If you�re going to do this � and do this well � you better develop some Jack Palance like leather skin. I am shocked at the number of talk show hosts who have paper thin skin. These hosts have a tendency to overreact to every little criticism and quickly lose focus on driving ratings with compelling, engaging content. They let listener e-mail and phone calls divert their attention and cause them to focus on one listener or one issue instead of just being true to their beliefs. If you believe it enough to put it out there, then believe it enough to defend it, even if it means taking some criticism. The world is full of namby-pamby people; you aren�t allowed to be one of them.
13) Lack of attention to detail: This is your profession and every detail matters. What is on your show? Why is it on your show? Who is on your show? Why are they on your show? What is the right topic? Why is it the right topic? What sound effect will embellish this bit? What bumper music fits the lifestyle of the listener of your program? What advertisers fit your program? What advertisers will you endorse or read live spots for? Do you really believe everything you�re saying? You need to care about every detail. This is a drama played out daily. Every day, every show, every quarter hour must be performed like an act in a Broadway play. Every production needs to be embellished with the appropriate details or you won�t stand out and if you don�t stand out from your competition, people stop attending your performance.
14) Trying too hard to prove you�re smart: Presumably you had to be pretty smart to get a job as a talk show host � presumably. So why then are you trying so hard to prove it? If you�re smart, we�ll figure it out on our own. I am dumbfounded by the number of talk show hosts that are seemingly so insecure that they spend copious amounts of valuable time trying to prove how cerebrally advanced they are that they lose sight of their mission to entertain the listener. This is most notable during interviews with major newsmakers when hosts often try to impress the guest with their knowledge of that guest�s area of expertise. Why have the guest on if you�re going to posit each question with your self aggrandizing enhancements. You actually show more intelligence when you allow your expert guest to tell the story or enhance the topic by leading them toward your destination with smart, pointed, brief, open-ended questions.
15) Statements instead of questions: The art of the interview is lost within most spoken word radio programs. Talk hosts have stopped actually asking questions and lazily decided to simply make statements in hopes that their interview subject will pick up on their vibe and bail them out with interesting counter statements. Please, if you are a talk show host, learn to ask a question. A question, by definition, must have an actual query.
16) Open Phones: If you do open phones, you are lazy and ill-prepared as a talk show host. It�s not the listener�s job to prepare for a talk show every day. You are being paid to drive the bus, so why then would you be willing to give the steering wheel to a bunch of strangers. Open phones may have had a place in our medium in 1950, but the world we are competing in right now is far too fast-paced to allow listeners to control our destiny. If you think open phones is good radio, then please learn how to sell cars.
17) Too much about too little: This is where I strongly believe �less is more�. Only this form of less is more has nothing to do with commercial inventory, and everything to do with content inventory. This is often associated with the format clock as I�ve noticed many shows believe their subject or guest has to last an entire segment. People don�t live their lives in segments, so we shouldn�t program our shows that way. Some content/subject matter only needs two or three minutes, then you should reset and move on. When having a guest on your program don�t feel obligated to keep them for several minutes, once you�ve extracted the information you desired from them, reset and move on. Radio � and especially good talk radio � is driven by forward momentum. Nothing squashes forward momentum more than taking something too far. If you believe a bit needs five minutes, challenge yourself to do it in two and a half. You�ll be surprised at how much better it is when it�s edited. People are busy and it�s your job to keep it moving. Less is more! Nobody can eat an entire steak in one bite, cut it up in manageable pieces to help in the consumption of your content.
18) You�re too self-important: A close relative to trying to always prove how smart you are is simply acting as if you are so damn important. Please learn the meaning of the word humility. I realize it may be difficult to accept the fact that you don�t know it all, but shockingly, you don�t. Be prepared, be smart, but don�t be a know it all. Remember, this is an election, nobody votes for a know it all � (See George W. Bush). It is perfectly ok to say �I don�t know� and in fact that phrase will help people realize you are human. It�s your show and what you think matters, but learning to express your views in an entertaining and engaging way means learning not to be a pompous pontificator who believes every listener is hanging on his or her every word. You may be important to your bosses and your shareholders, but you�re not THAT important in the grand scheme of things.
19) You don�t understand the medium: I�m shocked by the number of talk show hosts on radio today that don�t understand the intricacies and nuances of our medium. First and foremost radio is the most intimate form of broadcast. Radio is commonly enjoyed by individuals in personal and private settings. When you are talking on the radio you aren�t talking to a mass audience, but to individuals that are listening one set of ears at a time. One of my first program directors taught me that the microphone is an ear, he even went so far as to place a photo of an ear over the top of the microphone to remind us we are speaking into one person�s ear. As corny as this may seem, it�s a terrific visual that illustrates the importance of how you communicate. If you wouldn�t say it directly into someone�s ear, than you shouldn�t say it. It also reminds us that the most powerful word you can use on the radio is YOU. When you refer to the audience individually you enhance the bond between you and your listeners. Furthermore radio is a medium that thrives on vivid language to paint the pictures that go with the words. Radio gives hosts a chance to be artists, painting colors, objects and items that form the indelible pictures in the minds of our listeners. Learn how to use the English language to enhance your storytelling and opinions. Radio calls for dazzling details and the best in our business use this to their advantage.
20) You don�t play the hits: If you learn one thing from this list, learn that nothing is more important than �playing the hits�. As a talk show host you must recognize that each topic, each phone call, each bit is like a record on a music station. If you aren�t playing the hit records for your audience, then you are asking them to tune away. Playing the hits comes out of preparing properly for your show. And, with the increasing competition I challenge you to take this a step further and realize that it�s the �hook� that matters most. As Blues Traveler eloquently taught us ��The hook brings you back�. If a story is a hit with your audience, then it�s up to you to find every �hook� (angle) to that story. This is how you sustain a story for an entire segment, hour or even several hours. It�s ok to talk about the same topic your entire show if you�re capable of attacking that story from different angles throughout the program. Playing the hits increases your chances of winning because it increases the likelihood that you are resonating with your listeners by catering to what is foremost on their mind that particular day. Playing the hits means you will take some criticism for being redundant or repetitive, but that�s actually a compliment, not a criticism. Only those that listen enormous amounts of time will feel this way, the average listener will simply realize that every time they turn on your show you are talking about what matters and that�s the secret to keeping them tuned to your program. If you stray from the hits you risk being boring and every talk show�s kryptonite is boring content. Play the hits and don�t be boring.
BONUS SIN #21-You don�t understand TSL: Spoken word radio thrives on Time Spent Listening yet many of those producing shows each day don�t understand how to manipulate TSL. There are actually two ways to drive Time Spent Listening. 1) The common well known tactic of simply asking people to listen longer. When you tell people what�s coming up next (after commercials) you are hoping to get five more minutes and five more minutes very literally increases your TSL. 2) The lesser known tactic of driving specific tune-in times. Every tune-in per week by the same listener increases that listener�s specific TSL, thereby growing the TSL of your program. Please learn that it�s FAR more effective to tell listeners EXACTLY what time you will have your guest on instead of saying tomorrow between 6 and 10am we�ll talk to� Nobody will listen for an entire show to try to find your guest. ABC Television would never run a promo that said; ��Desperate Housewives some time Sunday night between 7 and 11�, yet radio does this all the time somehow attempting to justify this as a tactic to increase TSL because it �makes� people listen for several hours. WRONG, nobody will do that, but if you tell them EXACTLY when a show, interview, subject matter will be on, you increase your tune-ins (appointment listening) and thereby grow your TSL. Be specific, be very specific.
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John Gehron is leaving a post he has held for the past four years as Clear Channel�s head man in Chicago, �to pursue new goals�. Under his tutelage Clear Channel�s group of stations dominated Chicago ratings with half of the market�s top ten. A friend since the days he took over my old post as program director of WLS and elevated to VP/GM, he's a solid professional.
Gehron has a wealth of expertise to contribute in an industry hungry for leadership. We look forward to his providing it in an expanded role.
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Jack Off Again in New York
Perhaps it�s a trait of age, but Oldie radio listeners are very loyal. So this past summer when the sales driven management tossed aside a successful format of more than thirty years, New Yorkers erupted in anger. After all those years of supporting the station they felt betrayed. Not only was Elvis gone, but so was their favorite disc jockey�s as the Viacom/Infinity station, WCBS-fm, switched to a new �Jack� format aimed at attracting a more saleable demographic. Advertising agencies cheered the move away from a format adored by the over forty crowd as �Oldies WCBS-fm� became �101.1 Jack fm�.
The previous format led by one of New York�s long time favorite DJ�s, �Cousin Brucie�, almost always occupied a rung inside the top ten in the audience ratings. �If it ain�t broke, don�t fix it� wasn�t the wisdom used by management as they dreamed of a younger audience and bigger bucks for the bottom line. Gone were the familiar voices of �Brucie� and others, replaced by a music machine that programmed more recent hits with no disc jockeys.
It was expected the new format would take time to attract new listeners, so at first when �Jack� premiered with less-than- spectacular ratings, management took it in stride. Their confidence could be a little more shaken with the latest research showing the station is no longer in the top ten�or even the top twenty.
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Serious circulation slide for Newspapers
1. USA Today, 2,296,335, down 0.59 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,083,660, down 1.10 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,126,190, up 0.46 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 843,432, down 3.79 percent
5. New York Daily News, 688,584, down 3.70 percent
6. The Washington Post, 678,779, down 4.09 percent
7. New York Post, 662,681, down 1.74 percent
8. Chicago Tribune, 586,122, down 2.47 percent
9. Houston Chronicle, 521,419, down 6.01 percent
10. The Boston Globe, 414,225, down 8.25 percent
11. The Arizona Republic, 411,043, down 0.54 percent
12. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 400,092, up 0.01 percent
13. San Francisco Chronicle, 391,681, down 16.4 percent
14. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 374,528, down 0.26 percent
15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 362,426, down 8.73 percent
16. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 357,679, down 3.16 percent
17. Detroit Free Press, 341,248, down 2.18 percent
18. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 339,055, down 4.46 percent
19. The Oregonian, Portland, 333,515, down 1.24 percent
20. The San Diego Union-Tribune, 314,279, down 6.24 percent.