Howard Bedno & John Rook - 1967
A friendship that began almost 40 years ago, separated by a thousand miles and fed by as many memories. Howard Bedno was helpful when it was needed, loyal through all these years and forever missed by me� his �buddy�.
He�s gone now, but not forgotten by his many, many friends and both Chicago newspapers.
Given this era's recent payola expose' , it may be difficult for some to believe, but none ever was asked for nor offered between Howard and me. WLS & WCFL were among the most powerful radio station's in the nation, if not the world, with radio and record people actually being nothing more than "friends".
I looked forward to the many "friends" I had in the record business who brought me exciting new music to program....used as a magnet to deliver listeners.
And yes, even today many are still in touch as we reminisce of those days when we all had so much fun at a time when radio and records existed as "friends".
Like Howard, its all gone now....
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The slide continues�.
The San Francisco Chronicle leads the pack�.with a circulation drop of 15.6% over the past six months. Only five of the nation�s biggest newspapers have meager success in reversing a national trend of loosing readers as Americans rely on radio, the Internet and cable TV for news and information.
Newspaper readership among young people continues to be relatively limited. Among those under age 30, just 23% report having read a newspaper recently.
About three-in-ten (29%) Americans now report that they regularly go online to get news up from 25% in 2002 and 23% in 2000.
Talk radio is holding onto its corner of the media market as 17% of the public regularly listens to radio shows that invite listeners to call in to discuss current events, public issues and politics.
1. USA Today, 2,272,815, up 0.09 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,049,786, down 1 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,142,464, up 0.5 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 851,832, down 5.4 percent
5. The Washington Post, 724,242, down 3.7 percent
6. New York Daily News, 708,477, down 3.7 percent
7. New York Post, 673,379, down 0.7 percent
8. Chicago Tribune, 579,079, up 0.9 percent
9. Houston Chronicle, 513,387, down 3.6 percent
10. The Arizona Republic, 438,722, down 2.1 percent
11. Newsday, Long Island, 427,771, down 2.7 percent
12. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 398,329, up 0.9 percent
13. San Francisco Chronicle, 398,246, down 15.6 percent
14. The Boston Globe, 397,288, down 8.5 percent
15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 365,011, down 6.7 percent
16. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 362,964, down 2.9 percent
17. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 350,457, down 5.1 percent
18. Detroit Free Press, 345,861, up 0.04 percent
19. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 343,163, down 1.6 percent
20. St. Petersburg Times, Florida, 323,031, down 4.4 percent
With the demise of the print media, In the not to distant future I would expect most homes would have a compact home entertainment center located in the living room with smaller sub stations located
throughout the house, especially in the bed rooms.
This center will contain a large screen capable of delivering multiple video
selections that would include television, the internet, DVD�s, CD�s and other
program sources not available today. Both AM/FM and Internet programming will be included in this center.
My long time friend visionary Bob Hamilton, predicts away from home use won�t be limited to just AM/FM but the Internet and video will also be available to the family automobile.
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Clear Channel hits home run with
Click here to see them all
One would have to really stretch the imagination to come up with a music format not covered by Clear Channel�s HD2 formats created by the company in what they say is the first 75 formats covering half of the alphabet, leaving the rest for someone else. But they better hurry because Clear Channel says they aren�t through adding more programming for radio and the Internet.
Unveiling a very impressive list of formats covering every taste from Sinatra to Bluegrass, Comedy to Gay Pride, Religious to Spanish, the world largest radio company will cover the gambit with AC, Blues, Bluegrass, Classical, Comedy, Country, Dance, Gay, Hits, Jazz, Love Songs, New! Music, New Age, Oldies, Religious, Rock, Show Tunes, Spanish, Specialty and Urban. 7 oldie , 3 religious, 14 rock, 5 Spanish and 8 country formats are just some of what more than 200 programmers in the companies FormatLab have delivered.
Clear Channel has hit a home run while it�s only real radio competitor was distracted by the departure of Mel Karmazin and Howard Stern from their radio holdings.
With Viacom making it clear radio isn�t an important part of their plans, CBS radio and the company owned syndication company, Westwood One, could in future days be devoured by Citadel, Clear Channel and/or broadcast groups of lesser size.
However, with Clear Channel now providing an answer to their own needs as well as those competitors facing a programming puzzle, its doubtful anyone will be eager to challenge a company that seems to have covered all the bases with product from their Premiere Radio Networks and the FormatLab ready for distribution via terrestrial radio, the Internet and the companies ownership in XM satellite.
As they say � �snooze�you loose.�
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Radio for RV Owners
Long time radio buff and innovator Bob Hamilton has launched internet radio aimed at the rapidly growing RV market. An RV�er himself, Bob realized the huge contingent of RV owners needed RV Dream radio.
With RV sales at an all time high, families today are exploring America like never before and paying far less for their efforts while parking for a night or an extended period at RV parks that offer resort like settings.
Tapping into this market, Hamilton�s RV Dream is becoming a favorite with mobile home travelers who almost all have internet access as standard fair in their home on wheels.
Internet radio use has nearly doubled in just the past eighteen months with advertisers moving fast to reach the millions who now use the web not only for their main source of news, but to hear their favorite radio programs.
Besides offering music tailored to the traveler, RV Dream provides information covering a wide range of interests geared to those on the road.
Climb aboard and enjoy !
Click on above to listen
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for Radios Past
The late philosopher George Santayana said �history is a pack of lies, told by people who weren�t there�. With this in mind, on this website I have attempted to share my experiences and correct misinformation of radios previous 50 years, an era that I had first hand knowledge.
Santayana also reminded us, �those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it�. History tells us how to navigate the future, something today�s generation fed on the need for immediacy might well learn from.
Anyone attempting to enter music radio today has an advantage in learning from the best simply by spending some time hearing the icons of their chosen profession at
Financing and volunteering his time without pay, Richard Irwin started the site ten years ago as a labor of love. A former radio programmer himself, �uncle Ricky� like so many became a casualty of radios deregulation in recent times and has struggled to keep this fantastic collection of air checks featuring the cream of the crop of radios history alive.
Surely the thousands who are or have been a part of radio can afford to subscribe for just $12 annually. Many, who have enjoyed financial success as a direct result of radios great talent, should not only subscribe, but make a contribution to www.ReelRadio.com .
For our own memories and to make radio history available for tomorrows generation of talent, do your part to provide a future for radios past.
SUBSCRIBE NOW !
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Two decades have passed since he left us.
Those of us who knew him will never forget him.
Those who have never heard of him,
should take a few minutes to know
the man who did so much for
both radio and the music industry.
Bill Gavin measures large
in our past and we can only
Talk radio shines on
�most important issue of
Awakened by Hispanic radio�s attention given the immigration issue, English speaking talk radio is now bringing the debate to the front burner. Content with programming a menu of lesser topics, the government approved �invasion� of our nation has been long overdue for discussion. The one time FCC licensing prerequisite, �seek out and make known issues important to the community� was lost as radio overindulged in deregulation.
Focusing on the immigration issue, talk radio is beginning to connect the dots of �the new world order� that will further erase our borders and create �the American republic� of Mexico, Canada and the United States. While our government proceeds to implement the plan hatched years ago by the Council on Foreign Relations, it will come as a surprise to a sleeping populace. With talk radio finally broaching the globalization subject, discussion is almost too late given the indifference to public opinion shown by most of our elected officials.
Without the Internet, it�s likely a subject that would still be �a dirty little secret� ignored by most of the media. While it may be too little, too late, talk radio is finally shining some light on perhaps the most important issue of our lifetime
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White House Press
With his clean cut republican look, Tony Snow promoted the new world order doctrine of the Bush administration on both radio and TV. He's been doing so since his days as a speech writer for daddy Bush. He argued the new global economy required an open border. The new White House press secretary echo�s the agenda of the semi secret Council on Foreign Relations, who have long planned to erase our borders within the next five years.
The former Fox news personality �snowed� most with his fair and balanced act as his CFR masters would want. Along with many other well known media types and politicians who are members, Tony kept secret much of the agenda of the Council on Foreign Relations, seemingly unaware his job as a newsman might present a conflict of interest.
Well schooled by the CFR, as White House Press Secretary Tony Snow should do the job in keeping President Bush focused on the path set down by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group.
Like many in government today who often forget what they have said in the past, one must wonder how as a White House Spokesman Tony Snow will now serve the man he labeled �something of an embarrassment, with a listless domestic policy� who has �a habit singing from the political correctness hymnal.�
One thing is certain, as a card carrying member of the CFR, Robert Anthony Snow should fit right in with this Administration.
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the people of the
"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other bed-wetters.
We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people areconfused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they so dim they require "the Bill of Non-Rights."
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Moonves, Les Radio ?
Placing most of their chips on Howard Stern has come back to bite CBS, now that the �bad boy� has moved on to greener pastures. Weak in radio programming expertise, the company stumbled badly with his replacements. Faced with rebuilding programming, word comes the �eye� could follow the path of Disney, concentrating on TV and selling off the company�s radio business.
Revenue follows ratings and unless Opie & Anthony quickly lure back a giant slice of those chased away by David Lee Roth, CBS radio could become as obsolete as ABC radio is scheduled to be in the future.
Forced to cut the value of its 39 TV stations and 179 radio stations to less than $30 billion, half of what was paid for most of the stations in recent times, CBS radio honcho Les Moonves indicates he is considering selling off the unproductive facilities, hopefully to someone that can better compete with media competitors such as the Internet, that is fast becoming a big competitor to terrestrial and satellite radio.
The CBS radio division could soon be trimmed or even sold outright. Eyeing the $2.7 billion Disney got for its radio division could be just to much of a temptation for TV man Moonves.
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Therese Tran/Staff photographer
With all the polls showing the public considers the immigration issue a top priority, in recent days talk radio ventured off course in their attempt to create interest in a variety of non stories�.that is until a small newspaper in California broke a story that within hours became the topic of conversation on talk radio from coast to coast almost overnight.
Reporter Sara Carter of the Orlando Daily Bulletin reported our government has ordered the border patrol to keep the Mexican government informed as to the whereabouts of the Minutemen and other civilian border patrol groups. Reporting, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed the notification process, describing it as a standard procedure of the Bush administration, Carter found herself more than just a small down newspaper reporter�.she was also the darling of talk radio as she stood firm against agents of the Bush white house who danced like crazy in their attempt to explain how close they were�.or how distant they were�from the Mexican government.
"It's unbelievable that our own government is providing intelligence that aids and encourages thousands to cross our borders illegally every day� said one national host.
And to make matters even worse, our government informed Mexican authorities of Minutemen activities in places far removed from the border...in Illinois and elsewhere well inside our country.
With the Bush white house last year, along with other members of congress joining Mexico�s Vincente Fox calling the Minutemen �vigilantes�, Carter called attention to a document on the Web site, "Actions of the Mexican Government in Relation to the Activities of Vigilante Groups," it advises Mexican authorities to remain in close contact with US Border Patrol agents to ensure the safety of those attempting to cross the border illegally.
Meanwhile the white house is applying heat to have an immigration bill passed ASAP. The demand�s of an electorate for a secure border has many congressmen and the Bush Administration nervous as they approach the fall blood letting.
And that $1.9 billion passed by the senate to pay for securing the borders? Don�t count the chickens before they hatch.
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Art Bell Weds
Mr. & Mrs. Art Bell
Superstar talk show host Art Bell has found and married the new love of his life Airyn Ruez and later this month will be moving to his new home in the Phillippines where his radio show will continue to be broadcast worldwide via Premiere radio in the future.
Newlyweds Art and Airyn
Art's show place home, first class broadcast facilities and equipment in the Nevada desert he shared for many years with Ramona, who passed away earlier this year, will be sold piece by piece or in its entirety "should the right person come along". No word yet on Art's KNYE-fm licensed to Pahrump, Neveda being for sale too.
We join his fans in wishing Art and his new bride many years of happiness.
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Howard Reaching Christians ?
That move by Howard Stern to Sirius satellite has introduced him to a whole new radio audience of Christians and high brow types. Tuning in for something more spiritual or informative, they instead are finding radio�s original bad boy �shocking� their ears and soiling their mind.
Apparently some defective satellite radio units used as mini-fm transmitters are delivering Howard�s Sirius program to radio users in eastern Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. Expecting something far different than what they are hearing, even NPR listeners are being given a dose of Howard as the signal from the satellite system overrides the programming of their favorite radio stations.
Anthony Brandon, president and general manager at 88.1 WYPR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Baltimore, said he has sent 60 complaint letters to the Federal Communications Commission, while Neil Hever, program director for 88.1 WDIY, an NPR affiliate in Bethlehem, Pa., said he has forwarded 38 letters to the FCC. One listener offended with NPR programming �gangsta rap,� promised not to turn them in to the FCC.
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Radio�s loss is TV�s gain
Unequaled today in radio�s dearth of creative talent, he is one of a kind and will be missed by his many fans of which I�m one. His zany cast of characters that call in to his syndicated talk show are now due for a new life on the screen. �It�s time for me to take them from behind the microphone and present them in front of the camera,� say�s Phil who will be doing his final syndicated radio show on more than 100 radio stations nationally on June 23rd.
Its bad news for radio, but good news for NBC-TV who is just beginning to taste Phil�s unique talent as the cynical history teacher, Dick Green, on Teachers.
It�s been a long time coming for Phil Hendrie. Be watching for this creative genius to hatch some real big winners for TV, his star is on the rise.
History repeats itself
Just when radio�s big owners thought they could �negotiate� charges of run-a-way payola and receive just a slap on the wrist for their actions of recent years, the Federal Communications Commission has launched the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery since the sobering congressional payola hearings of 1960.
Days after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused the FCC of going soft on Clear Channel, Entercom, CBS & Citadel, the agency has ordered the �see no evil, hear no evil� radio giants to come clean with information that could have a major result in sanctions ranging from financial penalties to the revocation of stations' licenses. This late move could become a hurdle in the sale of ABC radio to Citadel.
Deregulation of the industry discounted ethic�s of the past, as a new sales driven management style of �anything goes� that delivered dollars to the bottom line went into effect . A �legalized payola� was common as top management reaped financial rewards that seemed to make the practice of accepting �pay for play� ok for everyone, including underlings of the industry.
In inaugurating the probe the FCC advises, "Until now, we've been limited to the evidence Spitzer gave us, but a formal investigation will compel the radio companies to answer certain questions, which are usually pretty exhaustive. It will all be on the record now, and once we start demanding documents, we can keep on going until we're convinced we've found everything.�
Perhaps those in today�s radio management will actually learn from the past�just by reviewing the hearings of almost fifty years ago they might see what�s now in their future.
Once again�.�history repeats itself�.
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Hispanic "Jack" for a day
Clear Channel�s La Preciosa Network joins the May 1st
Hispanic campaign to �shut down America� by going
�Jack� on that day.
The company supports the networks Spanish speaking on-air talent in their plan to remain silent on �a day without Latinos�. So don�t expect any spoken word on their stations in Dallas, San Francisco/San Jose, San Diego and elsewhere.
Oh wait a minute, it's doubtful Clear Channel's support would go that far.
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While the public sleeps
It�s a ticking time bomb, ignored by the Federal Communications Commission, promoted by broadcast owners and largely unknown to the English speaking public.
At no time in our nation�s history has a language other than English been broadcast by so many radio stations. The Bush Administrations open border edit has added millions of non English speakers into our society. This has triggered a rush by broadcast owners to provide programming of those whose allegiance may be fomenting anarchy and/or indecency prohibited by English speaking facilities.
Millions who are in this country illegally are unaware of our indecency standards and laws preventing the use of the public�s airwaves to aid lawbreakers or incite riotous behavior. Even if they are, they are not about to step forward in a country where they themselves are law breakers.
The FCC relies on the English speaking public to make them aware of those who broadcast offensive programming, but the agency has not taken steps to police programming other than English. Hiding behind a �politically correct� curtain, the agency is hamstrung by a lack of those who speak, much less understand a foreign language that may even vary in meaning, much like English does with its differing dialects.
This era�s broadcast owners have proven time and time again they will program anything that will deliver revenue. Brought to their senses by major fines and the threat of license revocation, they have reeled in much of the English speaking programming deemed offensive, but they exercise little if any control of what can only be termed �filthy� programming on several Hispanic and a few black radio stations.
Attention should be given to all languages spoken on the American airwaves, not just English. Allowing our public airwaves to transmit programming intended to inflame or foment insurrection could be a disastrous result of today's oversight.
Politicians are largely to blame. They control the purse strings that provide the funding needed by the Federal Communications Commission to hire and train the personnel to attack this problem. Some are allowed to ignore the law, others are held accountable�while the public sleeps.
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Radio�s New - Old Blood
At a time when radio is on a down trend, it�s nice seeing new old blood excitement coming from Connoisseur Media�s Jeff Warshaw and Mike Driscoll. Having sold a 39 station group to Cumulus Broadcasting, Connoisseur Media is now building ten new FM stations in Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia, Illinois, Montana and South Dakota.
Cheerleader Warshaw is bullish on radio, exhibiting an excitement born in radio�s past that is often missing today. Not limited to giving birth to new stations being built from the ground up, Jeff is eager to add more radio to his companies portfolio by taking advantage of �spin offs� from the industry�s continued consolidation.
Radio employee�s of the past and present looking to once again experience the excitement that built the industry, should join the Connoisseur Corp by calling 203-227-1978. Learn more about this �hot� new company here.
The wave created by Jeff Warshaw and Mike Driscoll just could wash a few more of the industry�s past�.into its future. Could Fuller-Jeffrey�s Bob Fuller be next ?
The tide is turning and radio can only be better for it.
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Rating the Ratings
Just when you thought radio was about to move away from the antiquated pen and paper method of counting listeners and would choose between Arbitrons �People Meter� and/or Media Audit�s cellphone based measurement system, along comes news of an exciting new technology that can track far more than just radio and television usage.
Integrated Media Measurement Inc. of San Mateo, California is testing a cellphone system that will include CD�s, DVDs, videogames, movies, sporting events and Internet usage by the consumer. If the IMMI system comes into being, advertisers will have a much better idea where their dollars will make cents.
The company has developed software that allows the logging of various �sounds� that are transmitted instantaneous to IMMI. Besides providing radio with details on programming that will capture or chase away listeners, IMMI would also let them know when the consumer moves to another one of radio�s �new� competitors.
The down stroke in rating the ratings - a measurement of cellphone participants would not account for the 20% of the population that are still using telephones connected by a chord that comes out of the wall. So Larry Lujack and I would not be included in the survey.
It still works for us.
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David Lee Roth
As we predicted several weeks ago, the radio career of David Lee Roth would come crashing down given a lack of experience and inability to take direction from his masters at CBS.
The fading rock star made the announcement himself on the air, but threatened to sue CBS for interfering with the big money he could have been making on tour singing his few hits of two decades ago. Without saying he was in over his head as a Howard Stern replacement, Roth admits �crappy ratings� led to his downfall.
The worst kept secret has former Stern nemeses Opie & Anthony, who were fired by the earlier monarchy of Mel Karmazin for their risqu� programming, returning to the CBS-fm stages while also continuing on XM satellite.
Besides being heard in New York, Opie & Anthony will also air in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Dallas.
They couldn�t be returning at a better time, it shouldn�t take much to dig CBS-fm�s out of the ratings pit Roth is leaving behind.
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The Poison of Politics
Once again the poison of politics comes into play in the latest skirmish between a republican chairman of the FCC and the democrat Attorney General of New York state.
It comes as no surprise the Federal Communications Commission headed by a former white house advisor would do everything possible to derail any credit Attorney General Eliot Spitzer would get for exposing radio�s rampant payola.
Meeting behind closed doors, Kevin Martin is negotiating with radio companies blinded by the greed of payola for a much lesser fine than that sought by democrats Spitzer and FCC commissioners Adelstein and Copps.
Certainly Spitzer being a strong candidate for governor in New York will be given little or no credit for investigating what the republican led FCC of the Bush administration should have uncovered long ago.
Shades of �Enron� appear as the white house would like very much to lessen penalty pains for radio �friends�. Eliot Spitzer has done much to make ethics a prerequisite for doing business. Since deregulation, it�s been largely missing in radio.
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While most of the media has sparingly addressed or outright ignored the problem of immigration, radio has once again fueled debate about one of the most important issues in our nation�s history.
Pro or con, our federal government�s decision to erase the borders is now front and center in the minds of citizens of the United States. In recent years, while the public largely slept and the media was busy reporting news that paled by comparison, the Council of Foreign Relations, elected officials in our congress and the white house set our country on a path duplicating the European Union. While all the proof was readily available, the media paid scant attention to the plan of combining northern hemisphere nations Mexico, Canada and the United States as one.
Three years ago some radio talk show hosts began to take the initial steps at making listeners aware of what our leaders were planning. As a programmer and consultant to talk radio, I found it almost impossible to motivate discussion on this firestorm that today is on the minds of Americans.
As the invasion of the United States by millions of illegal aliens spread across the nation, what has happened in southwestern states is now common place in small town mid America. Citizens first began to make their concern known via the internet. Some talk radio was listening, while TV and newspapers continued to ignore the immigration issue.
Today, suddenly the rest of the media has picked up what radio has been talking about for months. While the debate has begun, we can only hope it will bring a peaceful solution.
More than any other source, Hispanic radio is the bullhorn that triggered the massive protest of recent days. A constant drum beat rallying their listeners brought hundreds of thousands into the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago and several other cities. Now awakened from its deep sleep, the media will next be a partner with Hispanic radio in promoting
�The Great American Boycott of 2006�,
on May 1st Communism's highest holiday.
No longer limited to just a few communities, Spanish language radio is heard all across America. They of course will benefit most from a larger Hispanic population. Thus far, Hispanic radio has given the subject far more attention than English speaking talk show hosts. Many waste valuable air time discussing non issues of little or no importance to their listeners or the country.
In the days ahead, it will be interesting to see who does the best job of focusing on the immigration issue�.at this point Hispanic radio is leading.
S. O. B. campaign
She's been ahead of the pack in calling for a secure border. Talk show host Rollye James makes several sizes of her SOB posters available on-line for download
Click on above for your Poster
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"Shop on Monday, spend money...and tell your friends...oppose the illegal alien walkout that aims to damage our country"
Westwood One talk show host Lars Larson encourages his listeners to help build a wall on our southern border by sending a brick to their representatives in the nation�s capitol.
Those unable to afford the postage will find a virtual brick on his website with slogans like �Another brink in the Wall�, �What happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico� and �Good fences make good Neighbors� chiseled in them ready to be delivered to congress via the internet.
Lars provides e-mail, fax and phone numbers of each member of congress.
Click here for Lars
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Phil Valentine is an important messenger in debating illegal immigration. He has proposed a plan that would not cost taxpayers a single dime in deportation fees.
His �Demagnetize America� proposes fines of $20,000 against any employer who hires an illegal alien and jail time for chronic offenders. Phil also suggests similar fines for government workers who knowingly provide services to illegal aliens and also to those who rents or sells a home to them.
Valentine says, �The only way they�ll go home is to take away the magnet that lured them here.� Georgia recently passed legislation similar to Phil�s idea and states like Tennessee already have laws on the book to penalize business owners who hire illegal aliens by revoking their business license. Unfortunately, Tennessee has not enforced that law in for many years now. �I have no problem with legal immigration� says Phil. He does however take issue with those who are attempting to remake our country in the image of the failed society they are leaving behind.
Phil Valentine is syndicated and heard
world wide via the Internet.
Click here to visit him.
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The Internet for News
A few years ago, I discontinued delivery of newspapers. The Internet gave me more news than they provided and interference free broadcast signals that penetrate the mountainous terrain surrounding my home. E-mail has almost totally replaced snail mail and with the exception of groceries, most of my purchases are made via the Internet.
So it comes as no surprise to me in reviewing the latest from Pew Research that finds more and more Americans are gravitating to the Internet for news not to mention music, entertainment, banking, purchases or just a place to �hang out� on a chat line.
Attempting to add more �greenery� to the bottom line, broadcast and print no longer provide much of anything local. Without it expect more and more users to change �scenery� as they continue moving to the Internet.
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After many years of being heard on WBAL-Baltimore, Rush Limbaugh has been shown the door with a late May departure expected. In one of the few markets where Limbaugh�s �gospel� was not on a Clear Channel station, Premiere radio might now be faced with moving his holiness to the local CC owned religious station WCAO�or to one of their fm facilities in the market.
WBAL�s owners, Hearst-Argyle have decided local talk is better suited for the 50,000 watt powerhouse.
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CBS radio�s �Roth� problem
Very soon I�d expect the �David Lee Roth problem� will result in CBS terminating their solution to reinvent Howard Stern.
In recent years, how many times have we witnessed radio�s top management ignore local programmers, forcing them to march to the beat of the corporate drum? And so it was with the choice of David Lee Roth to �replace� Stern, who cannot be �replaced�.
Taken straight from TV's playbook, CBS proudly announced how they relied on sources other than radio programmers to make the decision. They should have cultivated and empowered creative local programmers, of which there are few left, to provide the answer.
�Citation�, �Man O� War�, �Seattle Slew� and �Affirmed� are to racing as Larry Lujack, Don Steele, Robert W, Cousin Brucie, Paul Harvey , Rush Limbaugh and yes�even Howard Stern are to radio. Thoroughbreds all - unique and gifted entertainers. Try as it may, radio will never �reinvent� these original talents. Few will gravitate to a �used� Howard Stern.
Radio should encourage and motivate talented young folks to become the stars of the future. Instead, the stages once relied on for developing programming are darkened by voices from afar. The desire to cut costs with syndication continues to short change radio�s future.
A reminder of the days when independent radio owners provided listeners with what the networks couldn�t�local programming. The independents flourished and the networks were reduced to providing niche programming. History is repeating but this time radio will become just a niche its self.
Dominated by those blinded by the revenue $tern brought in, CBS had months to create something other than �shock� radio. So it decided on David Lee Roth � who lacking Howard�s talent but with more ego, if that�s possible�will certainly crash and burn.
And thus will end CBS radio�s Roth problem.
Cash Cows Drying Up
During the deregulation of broadcasting new group owners rushed to gobble up as many facilities as possible, paying premium prices in their desire to monopolize a chosen market. It would be the �gift that keeps on giving� they reasoned, �cash cows� that would never go dry.
Largely aiming programming at �the money demo� most sought by advertisers, radio tossed away its future by ignoring the youth and those graying baby boomers that once relied on it. Little awareness was given the approaching competitive storm of new technologies that would begin to replace radio for many.
Now in a nose dive, CBS has been forced to cut the value of its 39 TV stations and 179 radio stations to less than $30 billion, half of what was paid for most of the stations in recent times. Other group owners are seeking to sell off what have become �unproductive facilities�.
The radio empire largely built relying on Howard Stern has created some real problems for CBS now that he has left the nest. Faced with hatching new programming that would replace Howard, CBS fm�s have laid an egg according to the latest ratings. Fans of Howard are currently not all that interested in those who have replaced him.
Certainly the writing is on the wall, CBS fm�s have little going for it other than the �Jack� music machine in a select market or two. Hoping to add some revenue to the bottom line, CBS is reportedly entertaining a law suit against Howard for $500 million, claiming radio's bad boy negotiated his last contract with them in bad faith knowing he was about to jump ship for Sirius. Of course he fled the CBS nest for that same amount. And so....Howard gets some more promotion from terrestrial radio...won't they ever learn?
Is it just my imagination or is it possible CBS's Les Moonves, with a TV notch in his belt, really isn't all that interested in radio? It is a very different medium than TV and Les seems less aware of that fact.
Unless radio begins to develop exciting new programming, expect those Cash Cows to continue drying up. An industry attempting to create sizzle for additional HD channels should solve the programming problem they have with those facilities they already have first.
Clear Channel is now doing some belt tightening in Los Angeles as they reduce overhead there. Most of these �cuts� are now directed in areas other than programming. Programming �feeds� sales, realizing this a few years ago would have saved those cuts now taking place.
With values plummeting, perhaps some of radios past ownership will return to give it a new future by actually offering what made it so successful in the past....local programming.
Now that�s an interesting concept.
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Bought and Paid For
Republican Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan has announced he will fight to give radio�s already monopolistic giants even more stations in each market. He insists they not be limited to just eight stations, it should be at least a dozen per market.
Then we check to find out what motivates this politician. The National Association of Broadcasters and Clear Channel have contributed substantial amounts of cash to the good (?) Congressman�s Political Action Committee.
What else is new ?
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Their seeds were planted in small markets, where they germinated and began to grow.
At Wooster, Ohio - Oxnard, California - Maxwell, Idaho � Mitchell, South Dakota � Greensboro, North Carolina - Corona, California and Yakima, Washington, any place where they could hone their talents. Fertilized by experience they would grow, step by step, until they finally reached maturity to become household names in radio.
Lujack Steele Morgan Owens Dee's
Larry Lujack, The Real Don Steele, Robert W. Moran, Gary Owens, Rick Dee�s and many other�s blossomed to play a major role in radio supplying entertainment, informing and selling the products of local merchants. More than just a voice on the radio, they were members of the family.
They are the superstars of radio.
Syndicated robots from a distant location now occupy the stages where radio�s future was once cultivated. �Where are the flowers of tomorrow�?
They are being plowed under.
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Hit Parade Hall of Fame
Nearly 5,000 fans have signed a petition urging the induction committee to include Pat Boone in the Rock n� Roll Hall of Fame. Prior to initiating the campaign I was advised by those in the recording industry how many who made major contributions in rock music were not honored for their efforts.
Certainly Pat Boone should be in the Rock n� Roll Hall of Fame. Like many his talent served as a magnet for scores of radio listeners over the past fifty years. Pat not only introduced many to rock music, his voice sold millions of ballads as well. To add your support for Pat's induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Shame go to BackPat.org .
It seems to me the time has come for a "Hit Parade Hall of Fame" that pays tribute to recording artists who's contributions may include but are not necessarily limited to rock.
We will begin to list some of the recording stars who deserve recognition for their contributions in the years since 1950.
We appreciate your suggestions for inductee's and invite you to review our candidates, among them several long time friends, who certainly deserve a place in �Hit Parade Hall of Fame�.
Click here NOW to read
"Who's Missing in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame"
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Rick Dees has returned to the airwaves of Southern California with a Sunday countdown review on KXOL 96.3.
AND�the good news for his many fans is Rick hints he could soon be returning to a full time morning gig.
AND�the bad news for his competition is Rick hints he could soon be returning to a full time morning gig.
We wish him well, his contribution to radio is legendary and he still has more chapters to add.
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"Hatred", Presented by Clear Channel ?
Power 99's Star & Buc
Clear Channel, the Texas based giant thought they could get away with indecent programming until the Federal Communications Commission got their attention with a $700,000 fine for giving a stage to Florida's peddler of vulgarity, � Bubba the Love Sponge�.
Now Clear Channel�s WUSL-fm, known as Power 99 awakens the "City of Brotherly Love" each morning with the syndicated "Star & Buc Wild Show", that originates from Clear Channel's WWPR-fm in New York where listeners regularly hear about �spics�, �hoes�, �bitches�, �faggots� and homosexuals referred to in despicable, vulgar terms. �Whitey� is blamed for a multitude of sins against blacks, even for choosing the calendars shortest month of February as Black History Month.
This show of hatred is distributed by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio and is also heard on Clear Channel's Miami facility and elsewhere nationally. The shows �Star�, a former record company executive named Troi Torain often encourages his followers to �get yourself a gun� as he unleashes an attack on everyone and everything, including some of his own race.
Ignoring the vulgarity and hatred Clear Channel insists they are perfectly legal with �nigger�, �ho�, �bitch� and the programming dispensed daily by the show, saying it is not prohibited by the FCC.
While waiting on an awakening by the FCC to recognize the hatred that�s being promoted, a group of citizens have organized to make their displeasure known to the show�s advertisers, Burger King, Coca Cola, Comcast, Nationwide Insurance, Pier One, and Toys R Us. The pressure thus far hasn�t fazed Clear Channels support for the �Buc and Wild Show�, since they simply move complaining advertisers to other time slots on the station. Unlike the reaction Clear Channel had to CAIR's protest of the KFI Bill Handel show, no such action has resulted for a citizens group complaining about the Star and Buc Wild show.
Revenue continues to guide Clear Channel, with community interests and standards of decency not very important. Hatred should have no place on Black, Hispanic or White radio. If Clear Channel won�t, let�s hope the Federal Communication Commission turns their attention to those stations airing this program nationally.
It would be wise for Clear Channel to also pay close attention to what is being programmed on their rash of new Hispanic stations. While they have taken steps to clean up "white" radio, perhaps they need to give Hispanic and Black radio similar attention.
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David Lee Roth
One thing must be said for David Lee Roth, he�s more truthful than his CBS masters who fell all over themselves to explain DLR�s absence from the airwaves �was not a suspension�.
Returning to the microphone, Roth say�s he was indeed �suspended� and that he took the time in Miami to consider his new marching orders from CBS management.
As we have noted earlier, David�s days are numbered before CBS replaces him with what they hope will erase their stumble at replacing Howard Stern. Unable to face the fact that his new found "inexperience" in radio was a disaster, Roth will halfheartedly follow the edit set down by his CBS masters, who themselves have already proven their expertise in programming is limited.
Before hiring and endorsing David Lee Roth, any programmer with experience should have spotted the flaw in his character, that Roth would not be able to take direction. But then, I suspect he was put on the air without any dry runs�without any direction. So CBS deserves what they have hatched.
Could it be that they will finally take steps allowing local program directors to create a morning show that serves the needs in their individual markets?
Radio must return to local stages where talent can be allowed to grow before it too will crash and burn. Seeds must be planted, cultivated and nourished if you expect a bountiful harvest.
Talent with longevity and major success learn their craft with time spent on local radio. It built the superstars of radio�s past, let�s hope its allowed to create more of them for its future.
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Radio Star Moves to TV
Be watching Tonight
Phil Hendrie & the cast of "Teachers"
Certainly one of my favorite talk radio performers, Phil Hendrie, will debut in primetime on NBC with �Teachers�, a comedy featuring Phil as teacher Dick Green. I�ve been a fan of Hendrie�s ever since Premiere founder Tim Kelly turned me on to his radio craziness a few years ago. There is absolutely no one on radio today that equals his comedic talent.
Tune in the night of March 28th for "Teachers" on NBC. No need to wish Phil good luck, he's got the talent to pull of a huge hit. Be there for the start of a new TV chapter in the career of this great radio talent.
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Taxe$ for $atellite Radio
The never ending need for government to help themselves to the public tax trough is on the agenda in Virginia where �representatives of the public� have voted overwhelmingly to slap a 5% tax on the subscribers of satellite radio.
Scheduled to take place on January 1, House Bill #568 is being watched closely by other states eager to follow suit. Camouflaged as a tax for wireless, landline and Internet-based telephone, as well as video, satellite radio is being included in the package.
This act specifically imposes the �fine� on users of satellite radio, not AM/FM or Internet radio�at least not yet, although the plan to tax internet use is under consideration by some in nearby Washington D.C.
XM and Sirius already pay the federal government to have their programming fed via satellite from outer space and argue they have no use of public property or roads to distribute their service like telephone and cable TV companies do.
Of course the issue of using a network of land based repeaters to provide better coverage has come back to bite satellite radio.
Nevertheless, the cost for satellite radio is on the rise.
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�FCC Asleep At The Switch�
Charging the FCC was �asleep at the switch� the Attorney General of New York files a lawsuit claiming Entercom Communications was on the take for providing airplay of records.
Eliot Spitzer suggests the FCC wake up and consider revoking at least some of the licenses Entercom has for more than 100 radio stations.
The lawsuit claims not only was cash paid by record companies for airplay, Entercom exercised little or no control when employee�s reported false data to various publications to promote certain records.
Besides violating New York civil law, Spitzer reminded the FCC payola was also a federal crime. �The decisions are being made as to what to put on the airwaves based on bribes to be paid and extracted, rather than on judgments based on artistic merit," he said.
The lawsuit is reported to have evidence that Entercom executives discussed strategies for supplementing radio station budgets with cash payoff from record companies. One memo said a single station could expect a windfall of more than $100, 000 a year in payola.
This should be just the first of payola charges against radio, Spitzer's heavy boot ain't done kicking yet.
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�Gut� Beats �Research�
In July of last year, our commentary on a move to outlaw cell phone use in automobiles in New York state advised :
�I can�t help but believe the New York rush to limit cell phone use in automobiles might benefit radio, seems to me those who choose to gab while driving probably won�t be listening to car radio�.
Now we find the latest research from Bridge Ratings advises, �During the time when cell phone calls were made or received, attention was placed exclusively on the phone call and not on the radio.� Duh?
You may recall two years ago when we advised �commercial clutter� was having an effect on radio by �turning off listeners�. At least a year would pass before �research� would move one giant radio company to introduce fewer commercials via �less is more�.
Many years ago our friend Chuck Blore said, �a good programmer must rely on his gut� for guidance. He�s right, its faster than waiting on �research� and far less expensive. Research largely tells us of the past, not the future.
Certainly radio's great programmers did indeed use their "gut" in creating radio's most successful programming concepts and in motivating talent.
Having "Gut" made the difference.
Pat Boone in the 1950s.
More Mr. Nice Guy
How Pat Boone seduced a rock critic
By Karen Schoemer
"Pat boone is rock �n� roll�s favorite whipping boy. People love to kick him around. It�s an extreme sport for un-athletic, hard-living liberals. Boone�s white buckskin shoes, milk-fed complexion, combed hair, and croony baritone voice make him an ideal villain for a genre that glorifies emaciation, bed head, screeching guitars, and raw-throated yowlers."
Read it all at
The Guessing Game is Over
A move that will change the nations radio landscape has taken place. Disney has announced a merger with Citadel of 22 ABC radio stations and the ABC radio network for 2.7 billion dollars. The radio stations involved are WABC & WPLJ - New York, WLS & WZZN-Chicago, KABC & KLOS-Los Angeles, KGO & KSFO-San Francisco, WBAP, KTYS & KSCS-Dallas/Fort Worth, WMAL, WRQX & WJZW-Washington D.C., WDRQ, WDVD & WJR-Detroit, WKHX & WYAY-Atlanta and KQRS with KXXR in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Disney�s venture into radio was akin to a duck out of water. The once proud ABC radio group was shunted to the back of a barn full of just too much hay. Mold took its toll as the parent company aimed its attention to more important avenues.
The ABC Radio Networks create and distribute programming to more than 4,000 affiliates. ABC radio reportedly contributed just over 700 million in revenue in 2004.
Winning the ABC radio auction will place Citadel�s Farid Suleman in a position he�s been dreaming of since his days behind the curtain of Mel�s media machine. Citadel currently has more than 200 radio stations in mostly medium sized markets. Now with premium stations in major markets Citadel is the nations third largest radio company.
While Citadel adds the prized ABC major market facilities, it offers to spin off radio stations in Oklahoma City, Portland, Maine, Charleston, South Carolina and Albuquerque, should the FCC request such action before approving the ABC sale.
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If HDradio has a future it must become financially affordable. easy to access and offer programming not currently available via radio.
In a nutshell, to flourish in the years ahead HD must do more than deliver a better sound. AM stereo was superior to both AM & FM but like HD today, it didn�t pass two of three hurdles noted above.
Radio veteran Mark Driscoll has created a very effective promo that compares HD to the �Black and White� radio of today. Its a promo that may never be heard elsewhere.
Visit Mark Here
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The Pendulum Swings
A few of us remember the days following the big payola hearings of more than forty years ago. The aftermath of that era brought a whole new set of rules and regulations, especially for radio personnel. As a member of ABC�s management, I recall the strict guidelines and the constant review of lawyers ever so cautious about even the slightest hint of impropriety. The threat of license revocation brought swift dismissal of any employee caught accepting anything of value. On those few times a programmer was invited and accepted dinner from a label promotion man, he or she had best not accept any meal that cost more than $25.00. In fact, ABC appreciated those times I picked up the tab and turned it in for expense. Having to fill out a form outlining what we spoke of during the dinner was more than enough to limit the times I had dinner with recording executives. Still programmers of that era had excellent relationships with those who supplied the music that brought both radio and the music industry success. Many of them were good friends then�and continue to be today.
Up until the deregulation of radio, programmers served as the quarterback of a radio station. Calling the �plays� that delivered millions of listeners, they were seldom overruled by top management. That all changed when a new kind of owner, with the blood of a banker in his veins emerged. Dismissing the importance of programming, they instead gave total power to a sales dominated team of managers. Revenue became king and the programming that delivered it was banished to the back of the bus.
Any radio programmer of the previous era will vouch for the hundreds of times they overruled a promotion or advertiser submitted by sales. It was widely accepted that most of those serving in the area of sales had little if any expertise in programming. Like most successful operators, radio pioneer�s Ken Palmer and Cecil Heftel drew a distinct line between the two departments. �Sales is sales�and programming is programming�, they said. The Program Director was the radio stations policeman.
"Commercials are programmed", said Heftel. "They are as important as all the other elements heard by the listener", said Palmer. Program directors included creative production as a part of the team that gave the station its "sound". Today those who create radio commercials are under the thumb of sales management...and it sounds like it.
Deregulation brought a total change, as radio�s new chieftains ignored over commercialization. One major player dismissed my calling it �clutter�. It would take a few years for his company to recognize the problem and introduce a �Less is More� campaign to cut back in the number of commercials and begin searching for creative talent to make some of that "clutter" more acceptable to radio listeners. While the concept of "Less is More" has legs, it was cut off at the ankles by stations not knowing how to promote it or ignoring it all together.
The goodwill and respect once shared by radio and the recording industry was virtually destroyed when this same company tried to �legalize� payola. It wouldn�t take long before the weight of mistakes saw history repeating itself as an investigation by the New York Attorney General sparked action from the Federal Communication Commission, who once again would threaten license revocation.
Some misguided employees are moved out the door, as top management gave the impression they had no idea of any wrong doing. Never mind their own actions in �making those record guys pay�, set the tone for others.
Meanwhile the same mistakes are repeated as history�s past is ignored� and the pendulum swings.
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Clear Channel�s MisHandel
It took a week before Clear Channel�s heavy boot was planted firmly in the rear of KFI�s Bill Handel pushing the top rated morning show magnet to do what he stated he would not do�.apologize for what many thought was a humorous remark called the �Annual Stampede Report� that joked about a Muslim need during their annual pilgrimage to Mecca to rely on traffic reports much like KFeye in the Sky.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations screamed foul and demanded KFI apologize for what CAIR termed offensive remarks. CAIR is known for its efforts to squelch anything it finds offensive, having been responsible for intimidating other talk show hosts nationally and the firing of Michael Graham at ABC�s WMAL.
On his own show and elsewhere on KFI, Handel said he would not apologize without certain conditions being made by CAIR to reel in Islam�s outpouring of actions, threats and insensitive remarks about Christians and Jews.
KFI�s programming ace Robin Bertolucci immediately dismissed the demand of CAIR by saying KFI would not muzzle the free speech of any of its talk show hosts. However, instead of backing the on air talent and program director, Clear Channel�s top management folded offering an apology to CAIR and reprimanding Bill Handel.
KFI's Bill Handel
Upon hearing of the reversal, CAIR thanked KFI advertisers in part for their efforts in bringing Clear Channel to its knee�s with an apology and threatened a continuation of their efforts to muzzle talk radio hosts who speak their mind about Islam. Never mind the rioting by Muslim�s over Danish cartoons, a subject not now on the agenda of most talk show hosts�who want to keep their job.
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The Internet is NOW
It didn�t take long for the new radio management of CBS to rescind the flawed judgment of Mel Karmazin and accept internet streaming. First they made the CBS owned news/talk stations across the nation available worldwide with the click to RadioMat .
In the near future the media giant will move fast to make their music stations heard via the internet, probably from one website. The fast moving acceptance of the web can no longer be denied. Consumers and advertisers are pushing all media, electronic and print to the internet. Our friend Bob Hamilton has been saying it for years�.
�The Internet is the Future�� and it is NOW.
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The Tail Doesn't Wag the Dog
Some of us can remember the birth of radio ratings�.More than four decades have passed since Hooper and Pulse gave way to Arbitron, who counted more than just the number of listeners tuned in to radio. Rock n� Roll music had been dismissed as just a teen tonic, but Arbitron began convincing advertiser�s more than just �kids� were listening to top forty.
For a few years programming delivered listeners�who delivered ratings. In time it would be reversed as radio aimed almost exclusively at the Arbriton diary keeper. As a programmer, I always made every attempt to gather the most listeners�cume delivered all the ratings needed to keep me employed over the years. Day and night, attention was given to attracting listeners�not rating�s.
Now after all these years of imperfect audience measurement, Arbitron is gaining acceptance with advertising agencies who will lead radio kicking and screaming into the world of electronic audience measuring�or PPM. It too is not perfect, neither is the cell phone based meter also under consideration. While it may be difficult to believe, a sizable portion of the population would find having a PPM connected to them like the old fashioned pager not to their liking and at least 30% of the population have not yet found they need a cellphone. Most of them are of the increasingly important older demo's. Also a cell phone meant to allow the consumer the ability to keep in contact with others is one thing, but if it also automatically provided information on ones activity, it might be an unacceptable invasion of privacy to many.
However it seems to me both the PPM and cell phone measurement would be an improvement over the old fashioned diary method.
In the end as always, the winner will be radio that programs to attract listeners�not ratings.
The tail doesn�t wag the dog.
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Les is More ?
The pep rally ended in San Diego, the troops have headed home and in the weeks ahead we�ll see if Les is more than Mel was at CBS. Karmazin rode Howard Stern into the radio winners circle but not much else.
Now CBS chief Les Moonves has saddled cheerleader Joel Hollander with the job of building what Mel didn�t at the company�s radio division. With Howard escaping to Sirius, CBS rating successes are mostly limited to its long established AM news operations in a couple of markets. In the nation�s biggest market, New Yorkers have registered their disapproval of the CBS FM stations by dumping them to the bottom of the top rated audience pleasers. The only FM�s with meaningful ratings success in the CBS group are those established stations the company purchased in years past.
As seems to be the case these days, even when programming is the main topic, not much is heard from programmers, if there are any left to quote. The days are long gone when those who create programming are encouraged or even allowed to speak. Instead of hearing from programmers, only the voice of the head honcho is heard.
In CBS�s case, radio head Hollander is over shadowed by CBS topper Moonves, who claims to soon unveil �a smart strategic way� to hide heavy commercial loads and will make the vast resources of CBS�s television and outdoor available to promote the programming on their radio stations.
Let�s just hope Les�s commercial strategy starts with creative, entertaining spots and that CBS will soon have some programming worth promoting.
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Clear Channelized Again....
While those who created �Selector� and other software products are pleased with the riches Clear Channel has given them for the system widely used by radio for music scheduling, I�d be a little annoyed if I were a licensee of RCS and a competitor of Clear Channel�s now or in the future.
Imagine supplying a competitor with your entire music system database, format clocks, liners, and all. Clear Channel will greatly appreciate the advance notice of any planned format changes a competing station is contemplating in the markets they serve.
The sale of RCS opens the door
for an independent software supplier or may force
competitors of Clear Channel not interested in supplying the
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Time and time again over the years the public has showered rebellious celebrities with adulation. They simply cannot resist someone who stands tall against authority, who goes against the grain�someone who tells �the man� to �take this job and shove it�.
Howard Stern has played the card to the hilt and reaped financial riches that even he could never have expected. I�m not convinced he couldn�t have done it without being chased off the public airwaves. Howard seemed oblivious to the storm he was creating until it was too late. Terrestrial radio enjoyed the advertising revenue Stern delivered but it melted when threatened with license revocation by the FCC.
Both Howard and his mentor Mel, would be banished to the uncertain world of satellite radio where Stern promised paying customers a totally uncensored tirade of smut. But with congress considering unleashing the FCC to police satellite radio and cable TV, Howard now admits �there are some boundaries� that even he must adhere too, including a �bleeper� that will censor Howard�s uncontrollable tongue.
Seems Sirius got serious with Howard.
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The Sky is Falling
AM/FM radio continues to prove it has tremendous power in selling a product. Satellite radio was largely unknown until terrestrial radio first began to �tease� the public and then launched into a full scale campaign of concern that benefited �pay radio�.
Radio of a previous era never called attention to a new competitor. Let alone one that charged a fee for a mediocre menu laced with programming that would make Larry Flynt proud. Never mind the need for finding a south facing window with no obstructions for antenna placement.
Free radio with �spikes� of creativity and magnetic on-air talent who have a passion for being on stage need not be concerned about Satellite radio. Listeners will move only if terrestrial radio no longer provides them with the desire to keep listening. Competition has always been with us but terrestrial radio�s demise will happen only by insisting it is about the distribution of commercials and not exciting, addictive programming.
Signaling �Less is More� may have some meaning to a sales driven industry content with commercials lacking in creativity and entertainment value. In fact, �More is More� would have been a much better campaign. More dollars spent on programming, More attention given in motivating on-air talent and More encouragement given those who create radio programming.
While he could have benefited from a good director, Howard Stern is a radio star because he offers �surprises� - a magnet most of radio no longer provides. Were he receptive to a little direction, his talent would have delivered a far larger audience and had no need of escaping to �pay radio�.
Radio today not only fails to encourage and motivate talent, it also relegates Program Directors to the back of the bus. With very few exceptions, it�s difficult to give an example of any new exciting programming concept and/or radio talent that has surfaced in the years since radio�s deregulation.
�The Sky is Falling� terrestrial radio, only if you allow it.
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WABConfusing Listeners ?
The management of WABC has decided one of radio�s most important lessons of the past��consistency�, no longer counts. Perhaps adding a �polka power hour� might further confuse the listener.
Not only have they decided to replace their �talk� franchise with a �oldie� music program on Sunday evenings, they have also demonized commercials by announcing WABC will be commercial free in morning drive for several weeks.
How they expect to sugar coat those dreaded listener killing commercials that will be broadcast during the remaining 20+ hours remains a mystery. Perhaps a reduction in commercial load overall might be in order�.at least until a creative production department can be hired. Surely in the nations largest city a few dozen must be ready to present their talents on WABC.
Well produced, creative commercials don�t chase away listeners�they actually serve to entertain and inform. Instead of a �quick fix� perhaps more thought should have been given in replacing mediocre on-air talent and commercials with superior programming. If the program director can�t deliver, then find one who can.
Admitting a Sunday night �oldie� record show is expected to be more of an audience magnet than an exciting talk show talent�says a lot about the state of today�s radio.
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The Graying of America
Fifty years ago advertisers shunned radio stations that programmed rock n roll, claiming �no one but kids listen too that stuff�. Armed with research showing otherwise, it still would take several years before radio would attract revenue from major advertisers. Five decades later loyal Elvis fans continue to purchase his music with Graceland one of the nations top tourist attractions and movies of his life a prime time feature on national TV.
Forty years ago after being first to introduce the Rolling Stones to America, I was called on the carpet by my boss when advertisers complained about KQV�s involvement. That first appearance in Pittsburgh only drew an audience of 300 but the �heat� created by Mick and the boys almost made me change my mind about following through a few months later with a planned concert by a new group called the Beatles. They too were labeled as just a teenage fad.
The Rolling Stones have since captured millions of fans as a geriatric Jaeger prances across the stage on still another world wide tour. Paul McCartney headlines a super bowl show, continues to lure fans with his recordings and today is a pitchman for the expensive Lexus luxury car.
We�ve come full circle as nearly eighty million Americans born in a fifteen year span starting in 1950 can expect advertisers to hunger for a taste of nearly two trillion dollars in spending power. The demographic tsunami will begin to make waves within the next five years as seniors grow by 30 million over the next twenty years, while those between 16 and 64 count for only half that number. Americans are living longer with a life expectancy of eighty years of age common today. Like advertisers, politicians are becoming much more aware of seniors, who not only out number but are more likely to vote than today�s youth.
That youthful �money demo� advertisers have been courting will soon expand to include the �graying of America�. Radio programming had best take note.
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Radio's HD Hype
While I�d like to accept the hope terrestrial radio has for HD, I just can�t climb aboard the bland wagon.
Promising to use the extra stages to present new and exciting local programming is difficult to swallow given the unappetizing menu provided thus far on the radio facilities gobbled up on the drive to monopolize the airwaves. I�d sooner believe creating new formats will be on the back burner. My memory of those days in the past when AM/FM operators were suddenly allowed to have an additional facility in each market, most simply used the new facility in their stable to attack an already established format of a competitor in an attempt to shave off some of that station�s audience. No new programming was created instead formats already on the air were merely duplicated with the late comer becoming a �bonus� for advertisers who bought a schedule on the groups other facilities in the market.
Today�s owners will be looking for a �hole� in the market for any one of the formats that have already been established elsewhere. I�d be pleasantly surprised if a new programming concept found it�s way on HD.
Gutting local radio programming has finally caught up with AM/FM radio. They simply haven't invested in programming or done much to encourage programmers. Thus far they have provided about the same programming offered by satellite radio. �Local� is suddenly a new concept and today�s radio moguls are hoping HD will give them a few more channels in each market to compete with satellite radio�s multiple channels.
Frankly the programming on satellite and terrestrial is mediocre at best.
Both will soon be challenged by Internet radio and terrestrial radio is rushing to make certain they marry their stations available via internet streaming.
Another thorn in the side of HD is the concern of record labels who tell government regulators music programmed on HD will be a popular source for music pirates. This is under investigation by the Senate Commerce Committee.
Never mind manufacturers have yet to agree upon a standard of how the extra HD channels will be tuned in by the public. Why should they when radio itself has yet to settle the question. Whatever they decide it had better be easy to use and easy on the pocketbook of the consumer. At the start HD radio echo's memories of AM stereo.
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The Second Signal
Interesting isn�t it how fast radio�s news/talk stations have moved in recent months to make sure their programming is now heard on the Internet with websites getting almost as many promotional mentions as the stations themselves. The Internet now makes radio from all across the country and the world available.
No longer is talk just a format for AM radio, it has crossed over to FM and we can expect more of that in the days ahead. It really doesn't matter if it's on AM or FM, the Internet will also be involved.
Talk radio is no longer hiding the Internet in the closet. They use their websites to attract new listeners and make programming more available to tune-in at home and at work. The days of a competitor with a more powerful signal are coming to an end. Thanks to the Internet everyone�s programming can be heard loud and clear�no static. As our friend Bob Hamilton predicted long ago, even the automobile is also no longer off limits to Internet radio.
A NewsGeneration.com survey of 50 news, talk and news-talk formatted stations in the top fifty markets found that 27 out of 50 stations are streaming 90% of their on-air content, and 40%, or 20 out of the 50 stations, are streaming 100% of their on-air content. While the majority of stations are audio streaming, only six out of the fifty stations currently use podcasting or MP3 streaming technology.
Motorola�s new iRadio will use the Internet to turn mobile phone handsets into portable music players. They are just one of many to deliver the consumer a personal choice in music.
Terrestrial radio is now using the Internet as �the second signal�, making their programming available to a greatly expanded listening area. In the not to distant future, Terrestrial radio could easily become "the second signal�. Remembering those days not that long ago when AM duplicated their programming on FM frequencies.... "the second signal".
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The FCC, Hispanic radio�s Toothless Tiger
Almost buried in recent days was a report that blames the flood of indecency on the airwaves over the past few years on consolidation of the media.
Research by the Center for Creative Voices in Media at Fordham University pointed an accusing finger at Clear Channel Communications and Viacom�s Infinity Broadcasting for introducing vulgarity at an alarming rate by giving a national stage to smut peddlers like Howard Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge who replaced hundreds of local radio talents with syndicated programming.
It wasn�t programmers who made the decision to soil the nation�s airwaves. It was the likes of Mel Karmazan, a salesman I began calling �radio�s Larry Flynt� a few years ago at a time he was being worshiped as radio�s guru of the consolidation era.
The entertaining and informative programming that the American family once enjoyed was disregarded as radio�s new ownership decided to aim almost exclusively at the 18 � 34 year old �money demo� advertisers wanted most. Having overpaid to gobble up most of the nation�s choice radio facilities, they needed to deliver a maximum return to pay down the debt.
Deregulation of the media not only opened the door for an entire industry to be controlled by a hand full of owners, it also rendered the FCC a toothless tiger. I well remember the new owners of radio telling me, �there is no FCC anymore, we are in charge�.
With the blessing of these new owners, smut peddling shock jocks encouraged a gutter culture where profanity and indecency is heard in public everywhere. In the years since deregulation, radio and TV blurt out words that offend generations of adults.
An awakened citizenry is now being heard by not only their elected representatives in Washington, but also at the Federal Communications Commission. 163,177 complaints of indecency found their way to the FCC in the first six months of this year.
While the threat of major fines and/or license revocation has awakened owners of English speaking radio, Hispanic radio has received a free pass to program indecency. Some of the most outrageous instances of vulgar programming regularly are heard on Spanish speaking stations. Most Hispanic�s in this country illegally don�t find the programming indecent and those who do will not be filing a complaint with the FCC, even if they knew they could.
Thus, the FCC continues to be a toothless tiger to Hispanic radio.