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Monday, April 30, 2012

Two Congressman Want Radio Investigated


If your station, at the request of the NAB, ran any free spots promoting the FM Chip issue or The Performance Rights Act, this story may be of interest to you. Some may perceive this as a back door attempt to revive a little "Fairness Doctrine" debate. It's also a great reminder to keep your public up-to-date just in case anyone calls and asks you to provide anything remotely political. In a letter to the Comptroller General, Congressmen Darrell Issa (pictured) and Mike Quigley are requesting the radio industry be investigated for lobbying expenditures and disclosure practices.

This all has to do with spots radio stations ran to promote the FM chip and the Performance Rights Act. "Presumably these spots were intended to influence legislators to vote or act to benefit the stations airing them," the letter said.

The accusation is that radio may not have met its disclosure obligations concerning "lobbying activities and political advocacy ads." The NAB's Dennis Wharton says the "NAB believes appropriate disclosures were made on these messages. When free and local broadcasting is threatened by bad public policy proposals, we have a First Amendment right and responsibility to educate our millions of listeners and viewers."

The two Congressmen are asking the General Accounting Office to provide a long laundry list of information, that would undoubtedly have to come from radio stations. Here's that list:
- How many spots were aired between 2007 and 2010 intended to influence policy makers concerning the Performance Rights Act (such as the "No Performance Tax" spot), spectrum actions or FM chips in phones?
- What other types of editorials were aired during the same period that were intended to influence legislation that impacted the broadcast stations economic interest, and in what numbers?
- What would the fair market value of these spots be?
- Did broadcasters accept these spots presenting opposing views?
- Did the cost to advertisers presenting these spots vary depending on their point of view?

The two Congressman are awating a delivery schedule "of a credible, objective and responsive report on an expedited basis, so that they may consider whether legislative action is needed."

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Commission Could Be at Full Strength Soon


Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has agreed to lift the hold he's had on President's Obama's two FCC nominees, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel. Grassley refused to advance the nominees until he received documents regarding the FCC handling of the wireless buildout of the company LightSquare. Apparently Grassley is receiving the documents now. Since November the commission has been conducting business with only three commissioners, Chairman Julius Genachowski, Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowell. The soonest the Senate could vote on the nominees would be May 7th.

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Borrell To Unveil Eye-Popping Research


Radio Ink is proud to announce that Gordon Borrell has joined our action-packed lineup at Convergence June 4th and 5th. Borrell will bring with him new research about local media and who's generating significant digital revenue. Borrell says, "It sounds clich? to say that the radio industry is on the precipice of great change. But it?s true ? much like the newspaper industry has seen wrenching change over the last five years. This incredible transformation to the print industry has thrust the digital managers into the positions of publisher and even CEO.  I expect much the same to happen in the radio industry in a few years. And I expect that when I address Convergence in June I?ll be looking out at the next wave of leadership in the radio industry. The media?s future is undeniably digital.  Convergence is the greatest preparation for that future."

Borrell's message to the industry: "Wake Up, Kick Ass, and Take Names." While he sees most radio stations squandering the Internet opportunity, he's also seeing some who are generating five to 10 times the digital revenue of their peers. "Radio has a huge advantage when it comes to the Internet, and those who can see it -- and follow the lead of a few others -- will make the transition from a "medium" company to a media company."

See the Convergence 2012 agenda HERE
Register NOW before your seat is taken.
Submit a nomination for our DIGITAL AWARDS

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Bob Villa Launches Short Form Program Monday


At Home with Bob Villa will launch in 60 markets according to Compass Media Networks. The program features home improvement tips, voiced by America's leading voice of home improvement. The program already has affiliates in Boston (WTKK-FM), Phoenix (KFNN-AM), Tampa (WWBA-AM) and San Diego (KOGO-AM).

KOGO Program Director Cliff Albert says, "A lot of our listeners spend their weekends on "honey do's" and fix up jobs so I am sure Bob Vila's advice will make for happy homes."

The program will consist of sixty second daily vignettes. For more information on the program contact Peter Kosann at Compass Media Networks 914 610 4954

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Mark O'Brien New Manager for Clear Channel Jacksonville


Clear Channel has six stations in the Jacksonville cluster and O?Brien will take over immediately. He replaces Aaron Wilborn, who been named Director of Sales, effective immediately. O?Brien has more than 25 years of broadcasting experience at the senior level.  He started as the Director of Sales at WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and then served as VP/GM of WASH FM, DC101 FM and Z104 FM.  In 2004 O?Brien moved to ZGS Broadcasting, where he worked with the Spanish stations in the Washington, D.C., Tampa and Miami markets as Vice President and General Manager. He also previously served as Vice President of Sales for the Washington Redskins Radio Network.  

Prior to joining Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Jacksonville, O?Brien served as Vice President of Southeast Regional Sales for Westwood One, where he managed 18 markets for the past five years.  In addition to experience in the radio industry, O?Brien was also awarded the Presidential Award for Community Service in 2003. 

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The New York City Deal Between Keller and Smulyan


The speculation ended yesterday as ESPN made the announcement that the coveted FM dial position sought after for so long by the sports leader would come from Emmis Communications. This deal seems to work out well for both sides. Emmis can use the cash, and ESPN, which launched on 1050 AM in 2001 is positioned better to compete with the New York leader in sports WFAN. While ESPN certainly pioneered sports on television, WFAN started the sports on radio format during the days Imus was still doing mornings at the station. Emmis will receive $8.4 million from Disney for the first year of the LMA. That will rise 3.5 percent each year until the agreement runs out on August 31, 2024. ESPN Senior Vice President/Production, Business Divisions Traug Keller says Thursday was a great day. "A New York FM is beachfront property that doesn't come up too often."


Keller said,  "I've been working off and on with Jeff Smulyan for years on this and we also have a company who believes enough in radio to make this kind of investment.  It was just a terrific day all around for us, for our listeners, our fans and a wider swath of New York because now we are also going to be able to serve the Hispanic sports fan." Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan told Radio Ink last night, "We are very pleased with this agreement.  While it is very, very difficult to part with WRKS, it was the right decision for our company. Traug and I are good friends and he is absolutely terrific to deal with."


The move from 1050-AM to 98.7-FM was a deal worked out over time between Keller and Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan. It also opened up an opportunity for ESPN's spanish-language sports network ESPN Deportes which will take the AM slot later this year. 10% of the Hispanic population resides in New York City and Keller sees this as a huge opportunity for ESPN Deportes which will launch in New York during Hispanic Heritage month (September 15th - October 15th). Keller says that was a big win for the company. "You'll see us get involved in some local play-by-play here in New York. I'm very excited and very bullish about the Hispanic side of our business. One half of my body lives in that space every day. The Hispanic sports fan is a rabid sports fan. To have a 24/7 talk station in Spanish language in NY is going to be tremendous."

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

FCC Proposes Revision of NPR Fundraising


The commission is proposing to allow noncommercial stations to spend a modest amount of their total annual broadcast time?up to one percent?conducting fundraising activities on behalf of non-profit organizations. Under the current rules, public stations can only conduct fundraising activities for the benefit of the station.

Fundraising activities for third-parties is prohibited if fundraising activities conducted on-air would substantially alter or suspend regular programming. The policy reflects concerns that public stations are licensed to meet their mission of public service to local audiences through noncommercial and educational programming, not through fundraising activities for other organizations. This policy has been effect for over 40 years and the FCC is proposing a relaxation of the rule.

The policy would allow up to 88 hours per year ? to conduct on-air fundraising activities for charities and other nonprofits. This proposal is a recommendation of The Information Needs of Communities report, which was released in June 2011. The proposal gives viewers of public broadcasting the opportunity to raise
funds for non-profit organizations in their communities and around the world. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is another step in the Commission?s effort to review existing regulations and reduce unnecessary burdens.

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Stern Appeals Lawsuit Dismissal


Bloomberg reports that Howard Stern isn't quite ready to let his lawsuit against the company he works for die. Stern appealed a judge?s dismissal of a lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio Inc. over unpaid stock awards. Stern sued Sirius XM claiming the company did not pay him $300 million in stock awards he says they owed him. The suit was tossed April 16th. 

Bloomberg says the Stern side contends that the court ?misinterpreted the parties? contract and granted summary judgment before there was any discovery taken in the action. Reversal is warranted because, among other things, the parties? contract is clear on its face that plaintiffs are entitled to the relief they seek or is, at a minimum, ambiguous.?

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Journal Q1 Radio Revenue Increases 1.5%


Journal properties were going in opposite directions in the first quarter as publishing reported a drop in revenue of 9%. That was slightly offset by an increase in the broadcast division of 5.4%, including a 1.5% from radio. Journal's radio properties were up $200,000 for the quarter to $14.9 million.

Political and issue advertising revenue was flat in the first quarter, hitting only $100K. Radio operating expenses decreased 3.4% primarily due to a charge recorded in 2011 for a sports contract that more than off-set employee related expense increases in 2012.

Journal owns and operates or provide programming and sales services to 35 radio stations and 14 television stations in 12 states. .

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New York DJ Pete Fornatale Dies at 66

Fornatale hosted a show called "Mixed Bag" on WFUV which is a non-commercial listener-supported station at Fordham University. If you hit the station web page a photo Fornatale pops up with details about his storied radio career. The station will pay tribute May 5th. Fornatale got his start in 1964 at Fordham hosting a show on WFUV called Campus Caravan. After graduating from Fordham in 1967, Fornatale taught for several years before beginning his professional career in 1969 at the legendary WNEW-FM in New York.

Fornatale hosted several different shifts at WNEW-FM before launching his Sunday morning program, Mixed Bag, in December, 1982. As the name implies, the program was designed to be a reflection of Fornatale?s eclectic musical taste. Inspired by a fan letter from Suzanne Vega, he helped launch the careers of many singer-songwriters, including Vega, John Gorka, and Christine Lavin. Grammy winner Shawn Colvin told The New York Times in 2001, ?Pete helped pave the way for so many of us. He was a rare guy in radio then.?

In 1991 Fornatale moved the program to WXRK (K-Rock), where it was renamed The Sunday Show. In 1997 he returned to WNEW-FM when it launched a format of ?Classic Rock with Classic Jocks.? He came full circle to WFUV in 2001 as the host of Mixed Bag on Saturdays from 4-8 pm. The latter-day Mixed Bag typically focused on a single theme each week, with Fornatale drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of music for songs to illustrate that week?s theme and engaging his listeners in the process through the program?s online bulletin board.

David Hinckley at the Daily News reports that Fornatale suffered a brain hemorrhage on April 15 and been in intensive care for the last week

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Greater Media Takes Sixers From CBS


More from the "sports on FM" world. The Philadelphia 76ers and Greater Media have announced, starting with the upcoming playoffs, games will be heard 97.5 The Fanatic (WPEN FM). It's a multi-year arrangement between the two parties. In addition, the team and Greater Media will work to build a radio network to enable more sports fans in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware to listen to Sixers games on the radio. Some games will also be simulcast on 950 ESPN Radio.

Next season and beyond, 76ers game broadcasts on 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio will also include 20 minutes of coverage prior to the game tip off and 40 minutes of coverage after the game concludes, thanks to a new 10 minute pre-game show and 30 minute post-game show, which will bookend the game broadcast itself. The post-game show will include player interviews and a live broadcast of 76ers Head Coach Doug Collins post-game press conference.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ousted Marine Starting Radio Show


Discharged United States Marine Gary Stein announced Thursday that he's starting an online radio show. Stein was kicked out of the service after he criticized President Obama on his Facebook page. In a statement Stein said, "Until I am officially out of the Marine Corps I do have two ground rules for the show, I will not talk about the details of my case or about President Obama, himself." The first show will be broadcast on Tuesday, May 1st on Blog Talk Radio.

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The Media Audit's First Mistake

When it comes to how spend advertising dollars, it always seems to come down to research.  When it comes to research, it all comes down to definition and methodology, doesn?t it.   And when it comes to publicity, it?s all about headlines --   how can you get the biggest gasp. Radio Ink's article Wednesday is a pretty good example of that.

As you note, there are little liars, there are big liars and then there are statisticians.  Anyone can make numbers say anything.  So let?s look at methodology and conclusions -- and let's look at reality.

The Media Audit?s first mistake was to classify Pandora as a radio station.  No one else does ? not the analysts in their blogs, and not the users themselves if today?s article by Mark Kassoff is accurate.

Pandora is a collection of individual playlists, it?s not Radio.  When asked, users consider it to be most like other internet music playlist sites, then comparable to private collections on iPods, MP3 players, etc. Users have a different expectation of an entertainment experience when they turn on radio vs when they use a music playlist site.  When people want control over what they hear, they go to their music collection (think stacks of 45s, then cassettes, then CDs, ipods, MP3 players programmed or on random, and now playlist services, etc) to escape from the world.

The problem is that people don't want advertising running in their music collection. Think about it:  if they did, the record companies would have put ads between tracks on albums long ago.  In fact, the newest Bridge Ratings LLC survey of Pandora users shows that commercials are one of the primary causes for growing user dissatisfaction with Pandora over time.  (see charts below)  Listeners go to radio not to escape, but to be part of the world, part of a social experience, and that experience includes the information that comes from commercials and the messages they hear from their favorite DJs and personalities.

The Media Audit's second mistake was comparing the aggregation of Pandora?s individualized streams to individual local radio stations.  That's just silly ? not to mention a really misleading comparison of apples and oranges.  The idea that a combination of individual hip hop, classical, rock, contemporary hits, classic hits, or comedy playlists with no local or personal connections could ever deliver the same audience environment as one single, focused local radio station is absurd.  To come even remotely closer to an apples to apples comparison, Pandora should compare its numbers to an entire station group, say CBS or Clear Channel. But of course they don't, because they would be crushed. And if Pandora uses geographic or any other targeting refinements for an advertiser, those purported ratings would be even more invalid.

The Media Audit?s survey in October 2011 was a phone poll ? self reported estimates of what people did without benefit of notations or passive measurement concurrent with their actions.  Advertisers have long regarded phone polls as informative but not accurate enough to use as a basis for buying.  That?s why a coalition of advertisers and agencies pressed Nielsen and Arbitron into adopting passive electronic measurement systems years ago.

The differences become quite clear when we compare The Media Audit?s data from last October with Arbitron?s data for Los Angeles last October.  When one measures what people actually did vs what they say they did, the results, as those advertisers and agencies were well aware, are markedly different. In a story in today?s Los Angeles Times, The Media Audit reported that Pandora reached 1.9 million people 18+ and that KIIS-FM by itself reached only 1.45 million.

When compared with Arbitron?s reported measured reach of Adults 18+ for KIIS-FM of 2.9 million, The Media Audit has understated the PPM measurement for KIIS by an astounding 100%.

If we were to compare the Pandora data to aggregations of radio stations by group or an advertiser?s ability to buy stations with a single order through Katz Radio Group Sales, we?d find that just the top 3 groups alone would deliver 9.2 million individual listeners, 500% more listeners than The Media Audit attributed to Pandora?s combined streams.

People like Radio for reasons that are quite different from why they like music playlists or collections.  And the facts are that the average person listens to Radio 17x a week, at least 5 days a week and that 85% of listening to any given station is deliberate, for an hour or more.  More than 60% of their listening time is spent with just one radio station, making them easy to find, build a rapport with, and advertise to.  Radio reaches about 95% of people in Los Angeles ? really reaches them.  Not because people say it does.  Because Arbitron?s passive measurement knows that it does.

Listeners measure Radio by how much they like a radio station.  Considering that 70% of people in Los Angeles who have a favorite radio personality follow them or their radio station on some social media service and how much time they spend listening to Radio, I?d say Radio?s listeners are engaged and connected. And that that delivers the best environment for commercials to work.   It may not make for the most dramatic headline ? but it has the benefit of actually being true.

Mary Beth Garber is the EVP/Radio Analysis and Insights for Katz Radio


(4/26/2012 5:26:16 PM)
Still paranoid I see Mary. I think you've lost all credibility as this point.
(4/26/2012 2:11:22 PM)
It's amazing they let such an uneducated POV continue to post things.
Doesn't she understand its not 1972 and that advertisers and marketers are buying audience and not RADIO. All Marketers want is to reach a certain target market, they don't care if it's called radio, personalized radio, or streaming. The reality is that the Pandora delivery system reaches $1.9M listeners in LA - good for them. If CBS or CC wants to add all their stations to get a reach # good for them. She doesn't get i
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(SOCIAL) Nobody Wants To Read Your Boring Social Posts

April 25, 2012

True confession time. I've always been more interested in talk radio than music radio. I could never get around the basic truth that an Usher song on my station doesn't sound any different or better than the same Usher song my competition could play. The only place I could see an opportunity to differentiate my morning show from the rest, and seize the competitive advantage, was during the talk breaks. It always worked.
Why did it work? Because that's where human-to-human connections are made over our airwaves. I never knew a song, liner, or sweeper to make a human-to-human connection with anybody. What I said, whether I made listeners laugh, cry, or think, bonded them to us. So much so that they were loyal to us. Remember listener loyalty? They were giving it to us back when we were earning it.

So now an inner-industry debate is raging about whether or not talk radio is connecting with people too much, tapping into their emotions too much, relating to them too much. The message has gone out, "Hey you talk radio hosts, maybe you better pull back and tone it down." Are you kidding me? Now you want to take the one format left where human beings are the product, and where the results for the format are strong, and make it less compelling?

Radio Ink talked to syndicated talker Neal Boortz about the coming "less impactful" movement in talk radio, led by Mike Huckabee and Mike Smerconish. Boortz, with characteristic candor, says, "[Smerconish] is not compelling or exciting. The listeners are not going to react with overwhelming enthusiasm to somebody like that. It can be a liberal, a libertarian, or a conservative. If [listeners] are entertained, they are going to tune in." It blows my panties off that radio managers still actually have to be told things like that?but apparently they do.

What's this got to do with social media? Well, the exact same thing applies to your Facebook posts, your Tweets, your Pinterest pins, your YouTube videos, whatever. Your social communities look to you to entertain them. Your radio station is most likely in the position of being the primary, if not lone, source of locally generated entertainment. Even if you're not allowed to entertain on the air anymore, how dare you bore the living hell out of your social audience with one "who cares?" post after another?

Boortz also stated his feeling that syndication is destroying the supply of good local talk show hosts. "The talent pool is very shallow." Shallow? The talent pool is a dry lakebed. Not because there aren't any amazingly creative people out there who could put on a great show, but because radio managers won't give them the mic. After all, they might (shudder) interest somebody! 

So if the on-air talent pool is shallow, how's your social content talent pool doing? Did you know you even needed a social content talent pool? If you don't have social content talent, then who's doing your posts? And what are they posting? Is it interesting and entertaining to your fans? Are they engaging with it? Are you stirring up reactions on your social streams or do you keep it nice and "toned down"?

You have amazing assets. You have a radio signal that's free and easy to get. You have multiple social streams. And you have an established brand your local audience samples heavily and repeatedly in search of entertainment. If you're putting up boring, marketing-heavy posts and tweets, you're betraying both your brand and the people who are trying to like you.

Mike Stiles is a brand content specialist with the social marketing tech platform Vitrue. Check out his monologue blog The Stiles Files and follow him @mikestiles.

(4/27/2012 12:15:50 AM)
Mike puts another one out of the yard and into a parked attendant.
Indeed, whoever said "If you tell a person something long enough, they'll believe it." was both a liar and a fool.
The stations promoting the online position of: "This is us digging us and so should you." are wasting resources and tiring the rest of us out.
(4/26/2012 8:42:09 AM)
Spot on Mike. Great points about communication.
In my "live" in person workshops I have learned it is the stories that engage and make the content stick. With social media we have discovered the same thing...ENGAGE...ENGAGE...ENGAGE. Come on Radio People, listen to Mike, he speaks the truth.

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Townsquare's Erik Hellum Joins NAB Board


They typically fly under the radar quietly going about their business running small market radio clusters. However, a Townsquare Media VP has been elected to the NAB Radio Board. Erik Hellum will start his 2-year run on the NAB board starting in June. The NAB also reappointed five members to the board for 2-year terms; Dan Mason of CBS, Salem's Ed Atsinger, Don Benson from Lincoln Financial, Alfred Liggins from Radio One and Clear Channel's Jessica Marventano.

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(PROGRAMMING) First Quarter Report Card


(by Buzz Knight) The pace at radio stations across America is dizzying. Christmas seems like yesterday. We are about to reach the end of the first quarter. Time flies when you're zooming through the day. Now is an appropriate time to take a pause and evaluate your performance. Here's a checklist to assist you as you take an up-close and personal look at how you're doing:

1) Are you running technology or is technology running you?
Evaluate yourself honestly in this area. Are you so fixated with your smartphone, IPAD or laptop that you don't allow yourself to actually think? Have you become such a slave to social media that you no longer have live interaction with those around you?

2) Is your personal or organization's performance incrementally better in ways that you can see and measure from last quarter?
Quarterly ratings evaluations are only partly relevant due to Christmas patterns, so year to year reviews can be more valuable. Have you set personal performance goals that you can see the difference?

3) Have you chosen a specific group of staffers to mentor and has their performance improved?
This group should not only consist of a challenged group, but should also consist of an up and coming group of individuals that hold great promise and can benefit you with growth.

4) Have you prioritized a second quarter plan and is it still relevant?
Have all the individuals involved with your plan been aligned with the strategy and do they have the tools needed to accomplish the mission?

5) Are you encouraging your teams throughout the radio station to have healthy debate in an effort to make your product better?
Are all of the issues or opportunities out on the table for your brands?

At the end of the day, its' your job to get everyone on the bus and enjoy the ride! I'm sure there's a deeper checklist to help you focus your internal vibe but simplicity of action can be your best place to start.

Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media and he can be reached at Knight was named among ?Best Programmers? by Radio Ink Magazine in 2007 and 2010. He has served on the programming subcommittee of the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) and is currently a member of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) COLRAM Committee.

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The Debate About FM Chip was Fierce Thursday

Getting an easy-to-use FM chip into every cell phone sold has become a major issue for the radio industry. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan has spearheaded the effort, however the NAB is also heavily involved, and iBiquity just became part of the push last week when it unveiled an HD chip in Las Vegas. After an attempt to have the chip mandated was thwarted, broadcasters are now using community safety as their number-one selling proposition. Not everyone's buying the safety pitch

On Tuesday, the issue made it to Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis, who is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness. Smulyan was joined by NAB CEO Gordon Smith, Clear Channel's Jeff Littlejohn, and others representing broadcasters. AT&T and Verizon were invited but didn't show. Representatives from the International Association for the Wireless Industry (also known as the CTIA) were at the meeting, perhaps only to make sure the word "mandate" didn't pop up again. Jot Carpenter (pictured) is the organization's Vice President of Governmental Affairs. We spoke to Carpenter about the meeting and it's his opinion this has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with broadcasters wanting a free ride into the smartphone.

Carpenter says if broadcasters can get the chip into the phone, they wouldn't have to pay streaming fees because the chip delivers the over-the-air product, therefore eliminating the streaming cost. He was also less than impressed with the rollout last week of the new HD chip by iBiquity and Intel. "I chuckled when I saw that. I don't know a soul who has HD. That was just an attempt to jump start the FM chip business which has not taken off." Carpenter also says those phones that already have the chips are not really being activated all that much.
Both Smulyan and the NAB say the meeting was positive, and Smulyan believes the issue is going to get some traction ? perhaps additional meetings with lawmakers. Bilirakis has not taken a position on whether the FM chips should be installed in cell phones. He said, ?The best ideas and innovation come from the private sector, not the federal government. The telecommunications sector ? from television, to radio, to the wireless phone industry ? offered valuable insight and suggestions today for Congress to consider.?
There are some phones now on the market with chips already installed, but they are not widely known brands like the iPhone, mostly because it appears AT&T and Verizon have very little interest in the chip. The reality is there has been very little consumer outcry for the FM chip, perhaps because an emergency hasn't hit them yet. Perhaps it's because they have so many apps on their phones already they figure they have what they need. Or maybe the radio industry needs to figure out a way to organize and educate the public on why they might need it.

(4/27/2012 6:57:53 AM)
I find it deliciously ironic (and hypocritical) that we preach that many of the FCC's statutory mandates over the broadcasting industry are onerous government regulation in light of new developments int he media world, but we turn around and use political muscle in order to try to force another industry to take steps that are probably not economically justifiable in order to serve our own interests. Do we believe in a free market with only the most necessary government regulation, or is that just something we say when it is in our interests to say so? I've been in this business for more than 30 years and I see the same thing played out over and over again. The default position for many broadcasters when faced with the prospect of additional competition is to go crying to Congress or the FCC for protection. I guess you can have it both ways, but I would suggest that it is not an intellectually coherent place to end up.

The bottom line is that if the public really wanted FM radios in their phones, the phone companies would provide them. (I guess putting an AM chip is impossible?)

Rather than try to force people to buy products that they probably don't want, perhaps it would be better for broadcasters to continue to evolve into the new digital world rather than be like King Canute and try to will the tides to change. The TV guys seem to be evolving to meet their challenges. Why do we believe we have a inalienable human right to play in the sandbox with which we are comfortable?

(4/26/2012 6:02:09 PM)
From these comments its very clear that the Radio industry has to be more united for this to ever become a success. I agree with Mr. Carpenter that an HD chip was a lame ploy (my words). Why an FM chip? Why not an AM chip? Why not both? Is this a technical issue? I do agree that we need something in cell phones/smart phones so people can be alerted to natural disasters and other emergencies -- let's keep working on it!
(4/26/2012 5:40:41 PM)
In true emergencies, such as those in Tuscaloosa and Joplin last year, good luck with Twitter or anything else online, because the internet won't be there. Your smartphone will quickly become an FM radio -- if so equipped. In those true emergencies, local radio is likely to remain on the air. I know that with 24/7 staffing and back-up generators at both studio and transmitter, listeners in my market will have someplace to turn.
(4/26/2012 4:10:58 PM)
Having FM radio access on cell/smart phones is a no brainer. And there are still family owned independent broadcasters(unlike the cookie cutter conglomerates-I am proud of our 50 year history of serving the,,
There is ample precedent and history for the FCC to mandate FM access in cell phones. UHF TV access was made mandatory circa 1962, and Expanded Band AM radio was also made mandatory.
(4/26/2012 2:46:16 PM)
So its the streaming cost, yeah thats it! Because it cost so much more to stream to the phone too! But if all the FM station will stop streaming that would open more bandwidth for Pandora!

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(DIGITAL) What Makes a Great Online Ad?

April 26, 2012

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to what advertising works best. However, here are some traits of successful online ad campaigns that should help you find the best results for your clients?or even your own brand.

Many advertisers have discovered the phenomenon of "banner blindness." Banner ads don't tend to get the clicks we'd like, and it's because we treat them like print ads. Unfortunately, people have their personal internal BS detectors set on "hypersensitive" when they're surfing the Web, and often completely overlook content that looks like ads.

So, first, are you doing analog marketing or digital marketing? If you have a store, and you buy a bunch of streaming ads for a sale you're having, and all you want to do is get people into your store, that's an analog campaign. If you are using the power of the Web to track clicks or get people to go to your website for a special offer, that's a digital campaign. Neither one is right or wrong; it all depends on your needs.

Targeting is a huge advantage in online advertising. With the right target, and the right online venue, you're miles ahead when it comes to using your digital marketing dollars most effectively. Finding the right people means you're talking to those folks who see you as a valuable solution to a problem they have, not as someone who's trying to make another sale.

That's why being genuinely helpful, informative, and relevant is a key to being successful online. It's like the difference between a client viewing you as just another radio seller versus a trusted marketing adviser. Be less about promoting, and more about sincerely explaining the benefits of what you offer.

Media brands, like radio stations, have a big advantage over many other sites. When people see ads on a site that they trust, they are more likely to trust the ads on that site, too. This is where our branding and heritage pays off for our clients. An ad that appears on a reputable brand site overcomes some of the general distrust that many Web surfers still have about the Web.

When you invite people to click for more information, where you send them matters in creating the right impression. If you send them to a splashy page that's basically an ad, that won't do much to build a relationship with them. It's better to send them to a special targeted offer, or a page of helpful information about your product, or even a page of honest reviews from your other customers.

When you make a special offer, remember that the creativity and size of the offer makes an impression and says something about you. Potential customers are also hearing lots of different promotional offers, so you want yours to stand out. The better and more targeted your special offer is, the more likely your target is to share it digitally with others.

Finally, remember the advantage in the price of online advertising. Clients who can't afford to or shouldn't buy broadcast advertising can find the right target, and even build up a huge share of voice against that target, with the right budget and schedule. As accountable as advertising in the digital space is, it's much easier to figure out what works and what doesn't work for any one client, too.

Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at
Contact Chris via e-mail, or 216-236-3955.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

(SALES) No One Sees Or Hears My Ad


The number one objection I hear from media customers is, "I haven't had anyone see or hear my ad." The previous number one objection was, "That's too much money." The media that retailers use for their marketing has shifted since 2007, and so has the rate at which they expect results. Retailers often demand that customers rush through the door and say they saw or heard about the business through one form of media or another. You MUST manage their expectations.

I'm in the field with customers 42 weeks per year. These businesses have their economic lives on the line, yet many times they refuse to track and source their advertising. They promise that they'll do it, but their form of tracking primarily involves asking the customer, "How did you hear about us?"
This is not a survey, and it is a poor way to find out how people are being exposed to the client's advertisements in the market. When "How did you hear about us?" is asked, I would say from experience that more than 85 percent of the responses are, "A friend told me about you" or "I was driving by." I anticipate those responses because the outdoor signage, which is a part of their advertising dollar, is the customer's last point of recall before they enter the retailer. In other words, it is the first thing that comes to a person's mind when they are being asked the question. Remember, shoppers come in to buy things. They do not come in for a CNN/Gallup poll on buying habits.

The key issues still remains for the business: How do the customers learn about the business? How do we know as marketers if we are targeting correctly for our clients?

Here are several ways to find out:
1. Sourcing and tracking. In some of our markets we have a simple questionnaire that the customer can fill out at the register (or a question that a receptionist can ask as the customer completes their transaction). The form must be easy to fill out. My rule is that it must take no more than 20 seconds to complete. The one question to ask is:
How did you decide to come to our massage clinic today? Please check all factors that apply:
Your company (media company)
Yellow Pages
Radio station ? list them (If they are advertising on any)
Television (If they are advertising on TV, and what channels or shows)
Local print
Friend (referral) Name:___________________________

Only list those media that the business is currently using if only one question is being asked.
In addition, make sure that the media company you represent is on top of the list. This survey is not scientific.

For a longer form (60 seconds), here are a few more questions that can be used. These questions can assist the retailer in targeting where their advertising should  be directed:
1. What news media do you read?
2. What radio stations do you listen to?
3. What TV stations do you watch?
If using the longer form, make sure to list all media in the market. Always put your media on top of the list. No exceptions.
Here are a few more ideas to consider when sourcing and tracking ads to trigger recall at the store level for the media you represent:

1. Counter cards at the register. The card will trigger recall and remind the customer of the event or promotion that they saw or heard on your media. It can be done on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of laminated paper that says, "As seen on (your media). Black and Decker products  ?  for every $300 purchase receive $100 off."

2. Ceiling hangers in the department where the product is sold. Same as A.

3. Have POS and POP items with your company logo and include the products advertised with your media. If this is strictly a TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) campaign, then products or offers would not be listed.

4. Make sure everyone inside the business knows about the promotion or the offer. In many cases, the frontline troops who are responsible for selling do not know what is being offered.

5. The media sales rep should personally prep everyone inside the store, or conduct a meeting to demonstrate the creative and any other particulars about the event/promotion or advertisements. No exceptions.

Do not throw an advertising campaign out there and expect a horde of customers to run into the business and mention the ad. Sadly, in most cases, the customer will not mention the ads unless you properly manage the campaign with the advice given above. Source, track, and measure it! Be the "sustaining resource" to the company that has invested their hard-earned dollars with you. Help them determine where their store traffic is coming from and how to target it directly. Now, what happens if they are tracking by phone? Stay tuned for the next article.

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at

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Mario Lopez Launched by Premiere


The show is called "On with Mario Lopez" and will by hosted by TV personality, producer, actor and best-selling author Mario Lopez. The four-hour, music-intensive program will also feature entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. The show will originate from The Grove in Los Angeles beginning April 30th. Lopez said, "bringing the show to a national audience is an amazing opportunity, and I couldn?t be happier to partner with an industry leader like Premiere. I?m looking forward to sharing more great music, hot topics and lots of laughs!?

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NAB Says Over 92,000 People Came to Vegas

The National Association of Broadcasters has released preliminary figures for the 2012 NAB show that took place last week in Las Vegas. The NAB reports the event included 1,600 exhibitors taking up 815,000 square feet of exhibit space. 92,112 attended the 2012 show, coming to Nevada from from 151 countries. Numbers are based on pre-show and onsite registration and subject to an ongoing audit. The NAB says the final attendance number from the 2011 show was 91,932.

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Does Pandora Really Have 500K More Listeners Than KIIS in L.A.?


That could be what L.A. advertisers are being pitched after a recent survey released by The Media Audit. According to the survey, done in September and October of 2011, 1.9 million people listened to Pandora while 1.4 million listened to KIIS-FM.

The Media Audit survey is done twice a year. The problem with surveys and samples and diaries and meters is none of them are 100% accurate and pretty much all of the data can be used in various ways to make anyone look like they have great numbers. Move a daypart here, alter a demo there and before you know it, you have a presentation ready to roll. If an advertiser today sees the Media Audit survey from October of 2011, are those number still valid six months later? Now more than ever, with so many audio options available to both listeners to listen on and advertisers to advertise on, an accurate system is needed for all.

According to The Media Audit survey, Pandora is listed as the number one radio station in the Los Angeles market. During the months of September and October, The Media Audit conducted phone surveys of adults 18+ who said in the previous week they had listened to Pandora. Pandora was followed by KIIS-FM/KVVS-FM, KNX-AM, KROQ-FM and KOST-FM.

And just to illustrate how wacky the entire radio and audio ratings system can be, according to the Los Angeles PPM ratings in March, listed at All Access, KFI-AM was first (not listed in the Media Audit top 5), KIIS-FM was second, KOST-FM was third (not listed in the Media Audit top 5), KBIG-FM was fourth (not listed in the Media Audit top 5) and KPWR-FM was 5th (not listed in the Media Audit top 5). KROQ-FM, listed third by Media Audit is 14th according to Arbitron and KNX-AM, listed 2nd by Media Audit is listed 16th by Aribitron.

Of course the response to the radically different numbers would be: one survey was 6 plus and the other was 18 plus. Really?

What's an advertiser to believe?

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(SOCIAL) Grow Trust And Usage With Social Media


The simple rules of the road are mostly about expectation. When you build a radio station, you know that trust and expectation are two essential elements that cannot be faked. The same is true for social media and personal contact opportunities. Here's how you grow listener trust and usage over time using social media?

1. Think local communities, and give listeners a brand-central place to meet, discuss, and activate.

That is correct -- your outreach should involve opportunity on your website, Facebook page, and other social media platforms where your listeners can gather and engage. Giving them a place to do that freely makes your place important to them, and it also leads directly back to your primary brand. This helps bring listeners closer to using your brand -- and believing in your brand as more than just playing music they want to hear when you're playing their favorite song. 

2. Never forget that you must earn trust with valuable regular content. If you truly want listeners to care about you, you must key on constantly developing relevant and trustworthy content that has real value for listeners, within their expectations of your brand. That is the only way grow trust over time in social media environments. Regular valuable content focused on desired benefits to the listener is critical. There are no shortcuts.

3. Provide easy access for listeners to connect with you. I cannot tell you how many times I see content of all varieties from radio stations and personalities with no additional contact or usage opportunities. We are in a full-contact business. We should seek ways for people to connect with our personalities and our brand. If we don't, we will be less and less in the actual lives of our listeners. How is that in our best interest?

4. Always give listeners the opportunity and reasons to use your on-air product to get additional benefits. Yes, that means you should refer to on-air benefits in relevant content on social media platforms and in loyal-listener e-mail. It is not enough to offer content in areas other than your primary signal. Every contact you have with a listener should be an opportunity to connect that listener to your primary business.

These are four easy steps rarely followed by radio. Take these steps and make sure you are responsive to listeners in social media space the way you would be responsive at a station event or concert, and you will win.

Loyd Ford is the direct marketing, ratings, and social media strategist for Americalist. He has programmed successful radio brands in markets of all sizes, including KRMD-AM and FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte, and WBEE in Rochester, NY. Learn more about Loyd here: Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE Visit his Facebook radio-social media page HERE

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

MANAGEMENT)Leading When The Boss Isn't Around

Monday, April 16, 2012

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for an organization and not have a boss breathing down your neck? Sure, everyone -- even entrepreneurs and CEOs -- answers to someone. However, there are jobs that are so far down the deep end of the empowerment continuum that it feels like you're on your own, with little or no supervision. In many organizations and occupations, "management by walking around" and micromanagement have fell by the wayside, either by design or out of necessity. Organizations are flatter, spans of control have increased, and hundreds of thousands of employees now work from home.

I'm in one of those positions. I run executive development programs at a large university. The search committee and the dean told me they were looking for a self-starter who could work with a high degree of autonomy. They weren't kidding.

While it might sound like a great deal, working independently offers its own set of challenges. After all, the role of "manager" must have been invented for a reason, right? As much as we like to complain about our managers, some of them -- the ones who can actually lead -- can be inspiring and motivational, and help us do more than we could have on our own. In the absence of that kind of leadership, it's up to us to lead ourselves. Here are a few things I've learned about self-leadership that might work for you:
1. Have a clear set of values or principles.
That's Leadership 101, right? Well, it's just as important to have a clear set of values when leading yourself as it is when leading others. It's about making the right choice when no one's watching.

2. Have an "ownership" mindset.
You run that little piece of the world like it's your own business. It's your balance sheet and income statement, and there's no one to point fingers at if you make a mistake. Accountability is a must.
3. Develop a vision, a set of two- and three-year goals, and action plans.
Having goals is a habit I developed years ago and take with me wherever I go. It's a lot more energizing, too, when you get to create goals because you want to, not because someone's making you do it.
4. Develop measures.
Without a boss, you have to monitor your own performance. Objective, measurable performance indicators help prevent us from getting delusional about how well or badly we think we're doing.

5. Develop an informal "Advisory Board."
Identify a small group of stakeholders that can give you hard, honest feedback, listen to your ideas, and offer great advice.

6. Cultivate strong relationships with your peers and other key stakeholders.
In the absence of direct supervision, peers can offer the support you need to get things done, collaborate on problems and opportunities, and offer encouragement. The strength of your peer relationships is also a strong indicator of your leadership potential; in the absence of direct observation, your manager will heavily weigh the observations of your peers and others.
7. Make sure there are "checks and balances" in place.
When it comes to signing contracts, spending money, selecting vendors, hiring decisions, and anything where you could be exposed to allegations of favoritism, always review these decisions with someone else -- even if you're not required to. In the absence of a "buck stops here" manager, you need to find someone else to play that role. It could be a hard-nosed peer, the CFO, HR, the company attorney, whatever -- as long as it's someone who's willing to call you out if needed.
8. Keep your boss informed.
Your boss may not require or want regular meetings or updates -- but do 'em anyway. If you can't get the regular meetings, then at least provide regular updates on key decisions, achievements, metrics, and a heads-up on any problems that might end up finding their way to your manager's desk.
9. Stick to a schedule.
Disciplined time management is essential when you're not punching the clock and no one's watching. Your values should be your guide here.

10. Celebrate your achievements.
Give yourself a pat on the back now and then. Brag to your spouse or friends. Keeping yourself motivated though positive recognition is just as important as kicking yourself in the rear when things go bad. Go ahead, take a bow.
Dan McCarthy has been in the field of leadership development for over 20 years. He is currently the Director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics (WSBE). Reach Dan by e-mail at
Dan's website is

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Local Focus Adding to Growing Roster

Local Focus Radio finalized three new national representation agreements this week-- NCA Inc.?s WRSA-FM in Huntsville, AL, Magic Broadcasting?s WGWD-FM in Tallahassee, FL and Horizon Broadcasting Company?s WBYW-FM in Panama City, FL. 

Penny Neilson, President and Owner of WRSA-FM said ?As an independent broadcaster, we felt it important to choose a rep firm that shared in our mission and philosophy. It?s important that smaller, independent companies like NCA and Local Focus radio support each other. We are committing to them for national representation because they are committed to independent broadcasters? success.?

Kay Olin, President of Local Focus Radio, said, ?It means so much to have the opportunity to grow with Horizon and Magic Broadcasting. We appreciate their confidence and continued commitment. We are also thrilled about our new relationship with NCA Inc.?s WRSA-FM in Huntsville. We believe that independent broadcasters deserve independent representation, and that we can bring renewed passion and commitment to their national sales.?

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Randy Michaels Grows In Chicago.


It's somewhat of an odd pickup but it's a new signal nonetheless. Merlin enters into an LMA with WLFM-LP to program and sell ads at 87.7 on the dial starting this Monday. WLFM-LP is a low-power Chicago area TV station whose audio can be heard on 87.7, video can be received with VHF antenna?s and viewed on Comcast Cable Channel 877 where it is currently playing Smooth Jazz and displaying local news weather and traffic. Beginning at 1:00pm Wednesday WLFM-LP will air news updates from FM News 101.1 WIQI-FM.

John Gehron, Chairman of Merlin Media?s Advisory Committee said, ?We believe this transaction will create significant value for viewers and listeners of 87.7. The opportunity to expand the footprint of Merlin Media in Chicago is very exciting. Our goal is to expand the video and interactive components of WLFM-LP. We want to continue the focus of serving underserved audiences.?

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(AUDIO) He Was Tired of Big Bad Corporate Radio, So He Bought His Own Station.


(by Ed Ryan) Some would say that Paul Wilson is living the American Radio Dream. Wilson worked his way up from a weekend announcer in High School to - 6 months ago - owning his own station. How many of us radio junkies have thought about going back to that one station, where we got our first break, to buy it and live happily ever after? Some of us think about it. Paul Wilson did it.

Although it wasn't the station Wilson broke into the business on, he did his due diligence, knew what he wanted and found it. Some might also say Wilson is out of his mind. He took his entire life savings to pay for the station he now owns. The station where he's the morning host and salesperson and his wife is the sales manager. It's a great radio story and we spoke to Wilson about how it all came about. Take a listen to our interview with Wilson HERE and let us know your thoughts below. Would you ever do what he did?

The station Wilson purchased is WROX in Clarksdalle, MS
He purchased the station from Larry Fuss.
Wilson and his wife used their entire life savings to put a down payment on the station.
Fuss held the paper.
The website is
Reach out to Wilson via e-mail at

(4/24/2012 10:24:35 PM)
Here's to you, buddy!!!!

In Dec. 2007, I purchased my own station, WLSC Loris, SC (25 miles from Myrtle Beach, SC). My first 4 years as an owner have been the last 4 years (yuck!), but we should turn a profit this year. Now, it's me that's not paying me as much as I'm worth.

Local, local, local is the key, but make sure your local, local, local is growing. You can't sell ads to empty buildings and radio is no different that any other business, you gotta have sales to survive. Better put some digital in your game, too and cut those expenses. I've made a ton of mistakes, but I've learned from them. I've managed to survive the last 4 years.

(4/24/2012 12:58:34 PM)
I commend Paul on having the courage to take that step.I too took the plunge back in 2000, purchasing my first small market AM/FM combo then buying another small market station. At one point I owned 4 stations. It's more than a notion. As mentioned in some of the comments above -- long hours, hard work but the satisfaction of ownership has its merits and the opportunity to contribute to community building, particularly in small markets I truly appreciated.
(4/24/2012 12:36:35 PM)
I'm on the fence on this one. Having worked at two stations where the owners did the same thing, I would be a little nervous to do it myself. One of the owners literally worked himself into the grave, dying of a stroke in his early 50s after putting in 60+ hour weeks with little vacation time for the 8+ years I was there. The other sold out, though I heard he bought another small market, so he must have kept the bug. As a GM, I like the comfort of a company, but there's always the what if...
(4/24/2012 11:56:17 AM)
Great Story!
I can relate as I too decided to take the plunge into ownership 5 years ago.

I must admit my confusion with understanding the focus and target of the station(s).

How do you operate a "Classic Soul & R&B
Station" in a market that's 76% Black
with an all White air staff?

Also,The Donny Osmond Show must really be soulful!

(4/24/2012 11:40:18 AM)
Paul, you and your wife are going to make it so long as, beyond your commitment and hard work, you make your small market station
INDISPENSABLE to the communities you serve.
INDISPENSABLE to your listeners.
INDISPENSABLE to advertisers.
INDISPENSABLE to web site visitors
INDISPENSABLE to future employees
You cannot overdue for the communities u serve!
Do ascertainment interviews every day!
All the best!

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Underwood Focus of Clear Channel Mega Promotion


Clear Channel is teaming up with Sony Nashville to launch Carrie Underwood?s fourth album, Blown Away, which is set to be released Tuesday. Clear Channel has launched a two-week-long on-air and online Artist Integration Program designed to introduce Blown Away to listeners and fans. The multi-platform promotion will also feature a special performance by Underwood for iHeartRadio Live, a Clear Channel entertainment production at the iHeartRadio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son in New York City.  

The campaign will include a series of on-air spots created by Clear Channel?s Imaging Directors which will run on Country stations nationwide and their online station streams, featuring audio clips of Underwood. One winner and a guest will receive a trip to the Bayou Country Superfest to meet Underwood and see her perform, courtesy of Arista Nashville.  

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Kassof Says Pandora Subscribers Like Control.


New research released by Mark Kassof & Co. says Pandora listeners perceive FM radio as more different than similar to Pandora, and that the choice and control Pandora gives them is the biggest difference. Kassof based his findings on 1,177 online surveys with 18-64-year-old Pandora listeners in the U.S., conducted from April 10-12, 2012.

In the survey, Pandora listeners compared seven music sources to Pandora. Of them, iHeartRadio is most like Pandora; FM radio ranks fifth. Forty-nine percent (of those who have an opinion) rate FM a ?one? or ?two? on a scale where one means ?Totally different from Pandora? and five means ?Exactly the same as Pandora.? Twenty-nine percent rate FM one, while only 10% rate it five.

Among those who see FM as clearly different from Pandora (the ?ones? and ?twos?), Pandora?s ability to let them choose what they want to hear is the #1 difference, at 31%. More specific choices -- for example, the ability to select genres, select artists and skip songs -- also relate to the control they think Pandora gives them that FM doesn?t. Seventy-six percent of these listeners (who express an opinion) say the differences make Pandora ?better to listen to? than FM.

More details can be found at

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Longtime Tampa Talent Dick Ring Retires.


After 32 years of waking up listeners in Tampa Bay, ?With a Ring In Their Ear,? WDUV heritage morning radio host Dick Ring has announced his retirement. His last day on the air will be this Friday, April 27. Ring said, "I'm truly a blessed man. I've enjoyed a career spanning over five decades doing what I love. The Dove has been my home for well over 30 years of that time. Arriving at the decision to leave hasn't been easy, but Joyce and I look forward to spending more time at our new home in North Carolina while we're still favored with good health. Will I miss it? You bet!"

More than 30 uninterrupted years on the air in the radio industry is unique, if not unheard of. The personality stepping in to take over the reins at WDUV is another radio industry veteran, Ann Kelly, currently heard on sister-station WWRM (Magic 94-9), in Afternoon Drive. Ann?s first day on WDUV will be Monday, April 30. Both stations are owned by Cox.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dial Global Salaries Made Public


Dial Global filed its most recent 8K which included the salaries of some higher ranking company employees.  CFO Hiram Lazar will be paid $400K, President of Sales Eileen Decker $450K, Programming President Kirk Stirland $400K and Chief Accounting Office Ed Mammone $300K. Decker can receive an additional $150K bonus if certain sales goals are met. The other three executives are eligible for $100K bonuses.

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N.O.W. Schedules Anti-Rush Webinar


Calling it a strategy session with Media Matters, the National Organization for Women has scheduled a May 2nd webinar called "Enough Rush" as the two groups continue to try and get Rush Limbaugh taken off the air. Rush has been the target for both groups for many years. He's nearing his 24th year in syndication. Still playing off the Sandra Fluke incident, the webinar preview says the webinar will be "an overview of the current status of Rush Limbaugh and his airers and sponsors, as well how your chapter can take action to get Rush off the air once and for all."

The webinar page states, "This is a strategy session for NOW leaders only. Please do not publicize on broader lists or public web pages." Here is the link to that page.

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Boortz Not Buying Huckabee or Smerconish "Friendlier" Talk Angle


In the upcoming May 7th issue of Radio Ink magazine talker Neal Boortz discusses the recent push by Cumulus and others for a more toned down type of talk radio. Cumulus launched Mike Huckabee April 9th pushing the show as a friendlier conservative talk host. Boortz isn't buying that consumers have tired of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others and they want to see more talkers like Huckabee and Michael Smerconish. Boortz says listeners want to be entertained. "Mike Smerconish is immensely talented. Barack Obama likes him. But on the radio, he is not compelling or exciting. He is methodical and dependable. The listeners are not going to react with overwhelming enthusiasm to somebody like that."

Boortz adds, about Smerconish, "I can see where he would want to go on the air and say "The type of talk radio I do, that's what the consumers want. That is what they are going to be looking for in the future." It's a great sales pitch to get people to sign on to your show. I still think what the consumers are looking for is, number one, entertainment. They want to be entertained. It can be a liberal, a libertarian, or a conservative. It can be far-left or far-right. If they are entertained, they are going to tune in. The ratings are going to be there and the advertisers are going to be happy." Smerconish is syndicated by Dial Global.

In our interview with Boortz, he also says, "syndication is really destroying the supply of good local talk show hosts. The talent pool is very shallow. So, the wonderful world of syndication, while it's been marvelously lucrative for the few hosts that manage to really get into it, it has really smothered the development of local talk radio talent." Neal Boortz has now been on the air for over 40 years and is heard on over 200 radio stations.  

To subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive our May 7th issue which also includes a special report on talk radio GO HERE.

(4/23/2012 5:50:21 AM)
I'm sure the watering-down hole approach appeals to some controlling the media. Too long in broadcasting to not see the bias toward pro-government management of everything coming from news sources.

Fragmentation of sources in the media pleases those supporting big government makeovers. Truth telling IS difficult in a spin driven multimedia platform where the truth can be rewritten as it makes the circle.

(4/23/2012 1:13:37 AM)
While Steve (below) makes a valid and sobering point, the issue - as it applies to Radio is the following:

As an electronic medium, Radio impacts firstly, primarily and most powerfully as a medium that stirs emotions. As a medium that delivers information or "content" that is processed thoroughly by an audience, Radio suffers drastically.

So, even those who would be more so-called moderate and reasonable had better get excited about that if they want to be embraced by their audience. "Mellow" won't make it. Sorry, but that's the nature of our medium and we best get hip to that as a fact. Sooner would be better.

(4/22/2012 11:11:32 PM)
". . . [H]e is not compelling or exciting. He is methodical and dependable."

I believe that tells you all you need to know about the current state of political dialog in America. We are entertaining ourselves straight out of a functioning democracy.

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(SALES) Creativity is Critical. This Book Will Help.


Creativity is key to a successful sales department. You need to hire creative salespeople and you also must have a management team that offers creative solutions to the many problems you face.  The good news is ?creativity? can be learned and enhanced in everyone. It's critical in building a sales culture of high performance and coaching sales strategies.

I recently read a book titled: Perfect Phrases for Creativity and Innovation by Karen Eriksen, published by McGraw Hill.  In reading this book it quickly added ideas and insights that can be easily implemented immediately.  This is a sample of the first four chapters:

? Creativity Begins with Me
? Motivating Teams to Be Highly Creative
?  A Structure for Creativity: Idea Management and Implementation
? Discovering the ?Magic?

Each of these chapters and the other four chapters provide concepts, phrases and tools to help the strategic sales leader improve their personal creativity, but the  book also includes a process to coach individual performance. What I found extremely valuable was the chapter on ?a structure for creativity?.  In this chapter  the author identifies eleven steps to lead a team through creative problem solving event. The steps include:

? Selecting the creativity team
? Defining the problems
? Generating potential solutions (including ?wacky? , innovative or probable)
? Incubation of ideas
? Evaluating prioritizing, and choosing
? Improving solutions
? Generation a menu of potential strategies
? Deciding on step by step action plan
? Communication of the action plan
? Implementation of the action plan
? Evaluating the results

In each section Karen breaks down the concept into the detailed steps within each of the eleven categories, as a bonus she includes tools to assist both the leader  as well as the participants in improving their ability be creative. While all of these steps are somewhat fundamental in facilitation, the added elements of  stimulation for generation of creative solutions becomes the meat within the book.

Anyone reading this book will come away with the ?words or phrases? to use for personal or group stimulation.  Each chapter is loaded with these kinds of  phrases. This is just a sample:  of the categories: Perfect Phrases for: 

? Brainstorming,
? Combining or Borrowing,
? Defining the Problem,
? Stimulating the Team
? Encouraging Others Personal Creativity

If you need to improve your own creativity quotient and increase your organizations ability to solve problems more creativity, read this book.

 Reach out to Ken HERE Check out Ken Thoreson's website: and his blog You can also follow him on twitter:

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PROGRAMMING)Talent – It Don't Come Easy


Only recently have I been sensing a quivering in the music radio zeitgeist. Sporadic considerations are emanating from a number of smart, senior executives that there might be something worthwhile to bringing talent back into the fold. The rationale suggests some positive impacts on ratings and revenues by dropping in more relevant "local" content by local "live" personalities ? qualifying as more appealing broadcasting. They are dangerously mistaken.

Even as Ringo sings, "Got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues," readers are encouraged to key in on the word "dues." In our case, it refers to developing knowledge and expertise ? elements that are sorely missing in the resumes of a majority of today's on-air presenters. How this all came about is well documented and need not be revisited here. In my view, hiring on new and/or used talent, or opening up the talent that is already working, is comparable to being complicit in arranging for a car wreck around the next bend in the road. All anybody will have to show for the effort are hospital bills, insurance claims, and lawyers' fees. This would be the unwanted consequence or "blowback" even when the good and heartfelt intention was just to get a better grip and go a little faster.

Music radio, I contend, finds itself in a state where the simple fix is now unavailable. We have watered down our gruel to the point where there are no longer any nutrients, no proteins, no carbohydrates, no fats, no texture and no taste. What remains is just a murky, questionable?moistness. Furthermore, security cameras have, for years, been recording the cooks horking loogies into the pot. Some might read into the behavior a little spiteful, but still unconscious, sabotage ? based only on perceptions of the attendant body language. In other words, foisting even more of the menu that is already on the air on an unsuspecting and innocent audience, is a recipe for ptomaine poisonings of the audio kind. Audiences will not be amused or forgiving ? and they'll know who to blame.

Hiring new or used talent has always come with serious risks and responsibilities. It's like taking half a dozen cats into the family household. More food costs. Buying more scented, self-clumping kitty litter. Developing cat-herding techniques. More grooming. More petting. More cat toys. Plus, there are those times when kitty-pshrinks will have to be engaged for those felines who insist they are entitled to everything because they are actually Simba.

If I were sitting in the "Big Guy's" chair, and was presented with encouragements to bring in more talent and to open them up to live, local references, I would refuse ? categorically. But then, I already know what new talent is going to be asked to do. I also already know how, specifically, they are going to do it, and I can predict ? with confidence and some stridency ? how messy and expensive an exercise that would be. After ignoring high-quality advice and engaging in a hiring exercise anyway, any consideration of an ROI becomes more than just an embarrassing concept. It becomes a bitter, tragic laffer.

While I tip my hat to those many magnificent on-air individuals whose talent, wit, intelligence, and humanity bulges out of the speakers to make listening to the radio a compelling, satisfying, and personally intimate experience, they are, indeed, the rarest and most breathtaking of birds. The rest of us chickens will have to get by on something else. But we can't, and won't, get by on what we've got right now.

I would not let one soul back on the air unless I had directly or indirectly trained them ? thoroughly. Until that happens, I wouldn't let them utter anything other than what is written on a 3x5 card, and even then only if I had directly or indirectly trained whoever is writing up the cards. I wouldn't allow for one member of the staff to stretch out on the air until they had demonstrated they were knowledgeable and skilled in the techniques in which I had directly or indirectly trained them. They would have to earn those opportunities. I wouldn't let one more promo hit the air unless I had directly or indirectly trained the writer. The creative department would also have to undergo the same training. This would be a condition of employment for all. The benefit, however, would be that, instead of flightless chickens, there would be eagles dominating the airwaves.

Now, I am not so caught up or self-absorbed in this position that I can't recognize arrogance when it is presented. In my last piece, I distanced myself from the position of a zealot, as well. What I am referencing is a completely new paradigm for music radio ? all radio, for that matter ? but more particularly for music radio as it does have certain unique dynamics.

Generally, people claim to like the idea of new paradigms and even a willingness to embrace one or two ? at least up to the point that it's their own, old paradigm that is getting hammered in the process.

Meanwhile, some have suggested that my premise is akin to the one in the movie "Field of Dreams": Build it and they will come. As much as I enjoyed the film and reveled in the philosophical possibilities, I wouldn't offer the premise as a garden-lined pathway down which to stroll. Not if I was trying to get to the bank! There is an element of faith explicit in the position, and while faith might be acceptable to certain folks in some areas of experience, it is hardly useful as a strategic element in the programming of radio stations. In this context, faith would be synonymous with gullibility and wishful thinking. If I were in the "Big Guy's" chair, I would insist on some evidence. But then, if I were sitting in the "Big Guy's" chair ? I would have the evidence already.

Yes, I do appreciate how these comments can easily generate accusations of "arrogance" and "stridency." To the charge of "stridency," I plead utterly guilty. But, not to the one of arrogance.

Still, one could ask who am I to be making such bold and broad statements? As fortune would have it, I am a radio guy who was presented with an opportunity to learn more about broadcast communications than most of us have ever learned or are learning today. I'm a guy who studied, worked, tested, and applied the knowledge; and I'm the guy who generated the results. I'm a guy whose "dues" are paid. I'm a guy who has taken what were, once, philosophical speculations and, through years of application, turned many of them and more into a powerful methodology. As Walt Whitman put it: "If you done it, it ain't braggin'."

Indeed, promoting a new, communications paradigm for music radio is akin to walking into an evangelical church and attempting to recruit members for a club that celebrates the life and times of Carl Sagan. Folks can get right lathered up.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian Radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting, as they relate to Talent and Creative, have yet to be addressed. Check out his website

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ray J Owes Cox Radio Over $20,000


A judge has ordered Ray J to pay Cox Radio in South Carolina $26,000 for failing to turn up for a local event and meet and greet with fans in 2010. Apparently the radio station paid Ray J $20,000 and he didn't show up so Cox filed a lawsuit. They won a default judgment when the singer failed to respond to the lawsuit, causing the settlement to be increased to $26,000.

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Newsman Bob Melrose Retires From KCBS


Melrose tells that after 36 years the 61 year old has called it quits. The paper says, trying to get into radio, Melrose sent out 250 typed resumes to stations all along the West Coast and got all rejection letters. He would take a short-lived on-air job as a DJ job but it was KCBS managing editor Richard Hart who called Melrose and made his dreams come true. "Nobody ever believes this, but when I came back to Vallejo, I put my suitcase on the bed and asked myself, 'Well, what are you going to do now?' and the phone rang," Melrose told the paper. "I told him I could be there in two hours. Hart said, 'No, come tomorrow.'

Melrose says "I'm addicted to news. I was addicted in college, and nothing's changed," Melrose said. "I will still listen to the radio and I will still read the Contra Costa Times and the San Francisco Chronicle everyday. Read the entire article about Melrose at HERE

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New York DJ Brian Carter Dies Suddenly


Apparently Carter died of a heart attack. Staff at the station did not notice anything out of the ordinary on Saturday. Dillard says Carter will be missed. "He was also a great teacher. I often had newbies sit in with him first. Our staffers are in shock. I learned so much from him. You couldn't spend 5 minutes with him and not learn something."

Carter was partnered with Dave Sanborn on Power 99 in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1999 and on WDAS-FM in 2006. Sanborn said in a Power 99 statement that he is "Devastated beyond words at the loss of Brian Carter, the best radio partner on the planet and most importantly one of my dearest friends. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.?

(4/22/2012 10:48:34 PM)
I recently heard John Records Landecker mention Brian on his show. I immediately sent Brian a text saying: “You killed me. I ran off the road and am now dead.”

You see, I worked with Brian @ WBSB in Baltimore from about ‘87-‘89 and again @ XM from 07-’09.

Every time he saw me he would imitate B104 P.D. Steve Kingston and do a fake death take saying: “You’re killin’ me” or “I’m dead”. VERY funny…and ironic.

A very funny and one of the genuinely nice guys. I’ll miss him.

J. R. Russ
Movie Ticket

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Radio and Social Media

Radio Ink writer Stephanie Winans has written a blog for the website Social Media Sun entitled "Radio and Social Media." Winans explains how Radio, and now social media, share the opportunity of immediacy. "Until the emergence of social media, no other medium was able to react as quickly to breaking news or world crisis." She says both now also share a common goal: engagement. "When used incorrectly, both radio and social media can feel like a one-way broadcast. However, at their best, both inspire emotion and engagement by telling stories that yield a response from listeners or viewers."

Read the entire piece HERE

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(DIGITAL) Those Annoying Online Ads

Sometimes, we don?t have to go further than our own websites to find some incredibly irritating online ads. Digital advertising guru David Binkowski has pointed out on that online ads have often been less than effective "because their solution to reaching consumers has had little to do with being relevant or creative but everything to do with being annoying."

In today?s digital world, you can hyper-target the best audience for your marketing message. Still, lots of online advertisers are trying to build business by getting attention. This is like believing that the secret to a long and successful marriage is a first date you just can?t forget, no matter the reason.

So, here are some types of online advertising that are more effective at bugging us than actually selling product. How many of these have you accepted for your stations? websites? How many of these make you, as a web surfer, think twice about visiting a site again?

HOVER ADS. These are the ones that you accidentally trigger when your mouse rolls over them. They pop up, take over part of the screen, or even play a video. When you have a minute or two to catch up on the morning news, that?s exactly what you want, right? These are also called roll-over ads, and often feature an "X" to close the screen that doesn?t work until the ad has been up for a certain amount of time.

HOME PAGE TAKEOVER ADS. You log onto a site, but instead of seeing the content you were seeking, you get an ad. It?ll go away in a few seconds, but you don?t have any choice other than just wait. Can we call this "TV ads on the web"? There?s only minimal targeting going on here.

AUDIO AND VIDEO SURPRISE ADS. You?re on a website, and a video image of a person pops up, interrupting your concentration, trying to sell you something. Meanwhile, you rapidly close your browser window so your co-workers don?t know you were goofing off in your cubicle. Talking banner ads are just about as obnoxious and ineffective.

INTERSTITIAL ADS. These are the ads that pop up in between the page where you clicked a link, and the page where you want to end up. They almost always have an easy-to-find "Skip This Ad" link. Don?t you always click that link? Have you ever hung around to pay attention to the ad? Not me.

POP-UNDER ADS. Sometimes, when you close your original browser window, you find these untargeted annoyances. Example: You could download lots of movies from Netflix, and still find their marketing debris in a separate screen inviting you to a free trial.

Many advertisers have learned the hard way about "banner blindness," where web users automatically avoid focusing on anything that looks like an ad. However, consider the low-rent "solution" to this issue. Have you ever clicked through and bought something from a blinking or chirping banner ad? I didn?t think so.

"I want to get more attention" is the online equivalent to the oft-heard phrase, "I want to build some traffic for my store." It?s a sign that you need to spend more time with your client learning their needs and formulating a meaningful marketing solution.

Next week, I?ll focus on the most effective online ads.

Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland, and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at
Contact Chris via e-mail, or 216-236-3955.

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Arbitron Revenue Up 5.5% in First Quarter

April 19, 2012

Arbitron reports that its revenue rose 5.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, to $106.4 million, up from $100.9 million in Q1 of 2011. The gain was mostly due to annual rate increases, including the phasing in of contracted price increases for the PPM. Arbitron's costs and expenses were up 4.7 percent in the quarter, to $75.2 million from $71.8 million, with about $2.8 million of that due to costs associated with Arbitron Mobile, acquired by Arbitron in July of 2011; Arbitron Mobile just went live in the U.S. with the Arbitron Mobile Trends Panel smartphone and tablet measurement service.

Operating income was up 7.4 percent in the quarter, to $31.2 million from $29.1 million, and EBIT was up 8.7 percent, to $28.9 million from $26.6 million. Arbitron's net income in Q1 was $17.8 million (64 cents per diluted share), compared to $16.2 million (59 cents) in Q1 a year ago.

Arbitron President/CEO Bill Kerr said, "Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long-standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth." He noted that Arbitron's recently unveiled marketing mix modeling service should be up and running "and ready to improve radio's visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer."

Kerr added, "Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.?

(4/20/2012 8:10:41 AM)
We as an industry should be up in arms over this. Here is a service provider to our industry that can't get accreditation for their methodology, under samples in all markets, and is on track to make a $100MM from us... This isn't right....

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Messer Moves Up At Bobby Bones Show

April 19, 2012

Alayna Messer is upped to executive producer at Premiere Radio Networks' Bobby Bones Show, where she began as an intern in 2005. Messer was most recently network producer of the nationally syndicated morning show.

"Alayna has risen from being a hard-working intern to the engine that makes the show go," Bones said. I'm proud to have her on my team, and excited to see where she will lead the show in the future."

The 6-11 a.m. show features co-hosts Bobby Bones, Lunchbox, and Amy, with music, artist interviews, and pop culture news and conversation. Messer does the show's traffic and weather and manages

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Jaye Albright With A Different Take on Contesting

Veteran consultant Jaye Albright penned a different take on contesting that we thought you needed to read. Here's a snippet, followed by a link to the full blog. "I know the radio promotion people and our air personalities generally prefer to limit folks like Brad to "you can only win once per month" or similar limitations, but in spite of this excess, I still feel that's a mistake. Radio contests are about making it fun and rewarding to listen. Smart stations make it easier and simpler for the kind of folks who love to play radio games and contests + participate in radio research to win more often." Get the full blog HERE

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Is The New HD FM Radio Chip a Game Changer?


You don't often see radio group heads milling around a press conference at a trade show, but when those group heads are as committed to HD technology as they have been for so many years that's exactly what you see when a new product is unveiled many of them have called a game changer. The radio industry wants FM chips in cell phones. For the wireless industry it's not really a priority. The radio industry says it's a safety issue, that local broadcasters deliver big-time when it comes to providing valuable information during times of an emergency. Smartphones are everywhere and the free content provided by FM radio should be easy to access. The wireless industry doesn't seem to really buy that one. What the consumer wants is the key and there haven't been any hard numbers on that yet.

Yesterday's press conference was held to unveil a brand new chip that broadcasters say the wireless industry will be more receptive to. Originally there were complaints about the size of the FM chips, battery drain and cost. Now, according to iBiquity COO Jeff Jury, "these are new state of the art chips, low powered and low cost." The chip was developed by Intel, Emmis Interactive, iBiquity and the NAB. The NAB funded the project to develop the chip about a year ago.

The presentation included an app which residents in a particular market will see on their phone that will pick up their local stations. That app will be simple to use for the consumer and for broadcasters it will include many of the advertising opportunities now being used by companies such as Pandora and Spotify. Ray Mena of Emmis Interactive says the software can create basic ads, coupon ads, full screen ads, texting capabilities and other revenue generating opportunities. It will also include a measurement tool so stations can provide advertisers with exact numbers on who;s listening by capturing listener information.

The next step is to sell the new product to the wireless industry. And, while broadcasters already have strong relationships with some carriers, they really need AT&T and Verizon to catapult the chip into the masses. Some consumers already have FM chips in their cell phones. How to activate them is a mystery to the consumer and, most likely, the salesperson that sold the phone. Currently there are approximately 2,100 radio stations broadcasting in HD.

(4/19/2012 12:00:03 PM)
Potable radios? I'll drink to that.
(4/17/2012 10:02:14 PM)
I don't care what they put on telephones as long as no FM station on an adjacent channel transmits digital noise on my channel.
(4/17/2012 5:51:48 PM)
The wireless industry has generally rejected the analog FM chip which when compared to this new HD FM chip is cheaper and lighter, uses less power, serves the public in an emergency far better, and already exists in many handsets - needing only to be activated. What about this HD FM chip could possibly make it a game-changer? The wireless industry - for its own business reasons - has rejected an over-the-air system that works. Why would they suddenly want something that doesn't? Album art?
(4/17/2012 4:07:48 PM)
You all are pathetic - you'de follow Struble and your radio CEOs right off the cliff. You let Struble conn your CEOs, and that is what Struble is doing to the automakers. I bet the automaker CEOS are now investors in iBiquity, just like the NAB and NRSC Boards. It's time to flush this HD Radio scam!
(4/17/2012 4:02:59 PM)
@Christine N: Right, install this flawed HD Radio junk, so cell phone companies can stay in business! LMFAO!!! The iBiquity Great Chipset Salesman is only interested in the numbers of HD Radio chipsets sold, so he can claim "critical mass" and declare his fraudulent IPO. iBiquty claims "critical mass" with the automakers with their non-functioning technology. Why do you want in cell phones, anyway, don't people listen to potable radios, anymore? LOL!

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