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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another Label Deal for Clear Channel

9-27-2012

Clear Channel's Tom Poleman said more deals with record labels were coming soon. He's true to his word. Clear Channel is teaming up with Glassnote in a partnership similar to the one the company is in with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Label. Glassnote is not a major label, and you may not recognize many of the artists, however it's another step toward paying artists for radio airplay. Details are always left out of the press releases but it's assumed these deals include a beneficial arrangement for Clear Channel when music is played online.

The joint press release says, "Glassnote will directly participate in both Clear Channel?s terrestrial broadcast radio and digital revenues to the benefit of its artists." Artists on Glassnote who will benefit from this agreement include Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, GIVERS, Childish Gambino, Oberhofer, The Temper Trap, Daughter, Robert DeLong, Little Green Cars, and Flight Facilities. Clear Channel announced its first such agreement, with Big Machine Label Group, in June 2012.

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(AUDIO) Consumers Still Turn to Radio For News

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9-29-2012
The Pew Center for the People and the Press has just released a study called "The News Consumption Report." The study details how consumers now get their news. The Internet continues to gain ground on traditional media, especially newspaper, which continues to struggle to figure out a model between free and paywalls before it goes bust. Television is also losing ground on the Internet as people find ways to get the news whenever they want it. Radio remains a steady source for news due mostly to its position in the automobile. For more detail we spoke to Carroll Doherty from the Pew Research Center.

Listen to the interview HERE 
Read the entire report HERE

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Is AM Revitalization Possible?

9-28-2012

Last week at The Radio Show in Dallas, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (pictured) advocated an AM radio revitalization initiative, asking if there are regulatory barriers to helping AM stations. We wondered if there were any regulatory barriers that the FCC could quickly lift that would have an immediate, positive, substantial impact upon AM stations? So, we posed that question to broadcast attorney John Garziglia.

John Garziglia says:  There are a number of proposals for invigorating AM broadcasting that have been advanced over the past few years including moving AM stations to TV Channels 5 and 6, migrating to all-digital HD Radio on the AM band, and massive power increases for AM stations. A new band or all-digital broadcasting both suffer from the years of time that implementation would take, and both would make the current base of almost one billion AM receivers obsolete. Power increases would incur substantial costs beyond the means of most AM broadcasters.

There are several immediate actions that Commissioner Pai and the FCC could take, however, that would quickly enhance the prospects for a number of AM broadcaster stations. These actions would not be a salvation for all AM broadcasters. But, significant numbers of AM broadcasters would be able to take advantage.

The first action the FCC can immediately take is to reduce or eliminate its efficiency requirements for AM antenna systems. Right now, each AM station is required to achieve a certain efficiency from its antenna system. Back in the days when AM was the predominant radio service, efficiency standards made sense to achieve the maximum utilization of spectrum. But today, when many AM stations are struggling to stay on the air, having to maintain expensive antenna systems to achieve the widest possible coverage is counter-productive. Rather, the FCC should allow for AM antenna systems that may not achieve the current efficiency standards so that AM antennas can be located on less-expensive real estate.

The second action that the FCC can immediately take is to allow AM broadcasters to take greater advantage of the currently pending Auction #83 FM translator applications for AM station re-broadcasts. Many marginal AM stations today remain viable and able to serve their communities as a direct result of rebroadcasting on an FM translator.

The public interest is served by the programming that AM stations provide to many smaller and medium communities. This programming service can be enhanced by FM translators. If FM translators can be used to continue this important service to communities from AM stations, the FCC should do everything it can to put as many FM translators as possible into service re-broadcasting AM stations.

Unfortunately, the FCC?s current policies for FM translators negates the opportunity for all but a few AM stations to obtain FM translators. This could be immediately changed if the FCC recognizes that its AM revitalization goals would be substantially aided by quickly changing its policies to allow AM stations to more efficiently obtain currently authorized, and Auction #83 applied-for, FM translators.

The existing FCC policies on FM translators serve FCC procedural goals rather than serving the public interest. The FCC?s current procedural goals punish mass filers and forestall hopping of FM translators from areas where they are unwanted into areas where they can re-broadcast AM stations. These regulatory barriers keep FM translators away from where they would do the most good in service to the listening public.

The FCC should take the substantive road that best benefits the listening public, rather than keeping in place the procedural regulatory barriers that salves the FCC?s dismay over FM translator mass filings and serial hopping.

Right now, there are several thousand Auction #83 FM translator applications pending, many of which could be used in rural areas to provide service from AM stations to the public in small and medium communities. The FCC procedures, however, contemplate the dismissal of the majority of these Auction #83 applications rather than allowing them to be potentially granted and moved to a location where an AM station could be re-broadcast.

To serve the goal of AM revitalization, rather than requiring dismissal of these Auction #83 FM translator applications, the FCC should allow for the grant of as many as possible. The FCC has already adopted rules to protect LPFM opportunities in spectrum-limited markets so the grant of pending Auction #83 FM translator applications outside of spectrum limited markets will not impact the FCC?s goal of LPFM service.

Once these translator applications are granted, the FCC should immediately allow for a move of FM translators to any location where an AM station may be broadcast on the translator. In the same way as the FCC allows full-service FM stations to replace service on one FM channel with a like service on another non-adjacent non-mutually-exclusive same-class channel, the FCC should allow moves of FM translators where the currently authorized FM translator service at one transmitter site would be replaced by like translator service at another non-mutually-exclusive transmitter site, as well as moves of a translator to any FM channel.

Translator authorizations are not awarded on the basis of service to a particular community or a particular area. Rather, translator authorizations are awarded on the basis of a re-broadcast of an AM or FM service. The move of FM translator sites and changes in channels should be allowed without reference to the mutual-exclusivity of the existing facility with the proposed facility. The proposed translator transmitter site or non-adjacent channel will simply replace an existing authorized service with a more needed service, in the same way as the FCC now routinely allows for same-class non-mutually-exclusive FM full-service station channel changes. 

Right now, the FCC has before it the question of whether a substantial majority of FM translator applications that are now pending from the Auction #83 filing window will be dismissed, or whether the processing of those applications may move forward with the potential that many of them can be used for the re-broadcast of AM stations. Commissioner Pai may quickly achieve AM revitalization goals by seeking an immediate change in FCC policies so that the majority of Auction #83 FM translator applications are not dismissed but rather are made potentially available to AM broadcasters, and allowing for translator transmitter site moves and channel changes to provide re-broadcast service to AM stations.

In an effort to get many FM translators, both now existing and soon to be granted, into locations where they can best serve AM stations, the FCC should move forward, beyond its restrictive translator serial hopping policies, with a policy that allows for the move of an FM translator to any channel or location where it can best serve an AM station in accord with AM revitalization goals. Doing so fits well within current FCC precedent for minor modification applications.  Hopefully, the FCC will find a way to put aside its procedural concerns on FM translators in favor of serving the public with substantive policies that can effectuate AM revitalization. 

Because the above changes can be adopted through the current Auction #83 proceedings and with application waiver policies, Commission Pai and the FCC may quickly take the actions described above for AM revitalization which would have an immediate positive effect on the AM broadcasting service.

John Garziglia is a Communications Law Attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Washington, DC and can be reached at 202-857-4455 or jgarziglia@wcsr.com  Have a question for our "Ask The Attorney" feature? Send to edryan@radioink.com.

(9/28/2012 3:28:26 PM)
Industry Canada moved most AM's to the FM band. The FCC was busy trying to jamb more new translators and LPFM's into FM while seemingly indifferent to the struggles of stand-alone AM operators. Normally, businesses change with the times, but AM's outdated technology gave FM competitive advantage. During FM's expansion, AM's were viewed as already having a community voice and the FCC wanted diversity, so C.P.'s were usually issued to out-of-state entities.
(9/28/2012 2:10:59 PM)
At the 9/19/12 Dallas Radio Show, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai mentioned an across-the-board power increase for all AM broadcast stations. I filed a similar Petition for Rulemaking in 2010. I also filed another petition requesting moving AM presunrise authority from 6am to 5am which was issued FCC file number RM-11599 and opened up for public comment. Petition copies, supporting arguments and links are available at
www.radio-broadcast-engineer.com
(9/28/2012 12:18:34 PM)
I agree with John's comments. As one who is operating an AM station and who has sought to bring a translator to better serve the public but been unable to do so, it doesn't make sense that the Commission is planning to dump a load of translator applications when there are AMs that could use those signals to better serve their markets.

\

(9/28/2012 11:31:15 AM)
An FM Translator on my daytimer AM has saved the station. Before we added the translator, the AM was just an extra signal. With the translator it has become much more listened-to station.
(9/28/2012 10:59:30 AM)
Couldn't agree more that the best and most efficient way to help AM stations, would be to make it a lot easier for AM stations to get translators. Many small and medium market AM stations are providing the community service the FCC promotes and FM translators help them continue their mission.The other proposals would be helpful, but would take time.Translators are here now. The FCC should consider granting primary status to translators meeting public service standards like Class A tv stations.


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What's Really Going On With Merlin?

9-28-2012

Everyone has their own view on this one -- and there are many of those views, none of them the same. Merlin CEO Randy Michaels flatly denies Merlin Media is for sale. He's almost a man on an island with that position. Then again when does an operator ever openly announce, "Yes, we are for sale. Does anyone want my stations?" Well, maybe Cox, but this kind of scenario is certainly rare. For those of you who've been in radio for some time, we also ask, how often does a "for sale" rumor turn out to be false? Here's what we heard yesterday.

One industry veteran told Radio Ink yesterday, "It was no secret there was a portfolio with the Merlin stations floating around the Radio Show in Dallas last week." The rampant speculation yesterday was that the Merlin stations would be broken up with the possibility of three different buyers for each (New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia). The news that the stations would be broken up, we were told, would be announced soon. "Philly and New York are basically done. Chicago was more complicated." That news was also denied as 100 percent false by someone close to the company (not Michaels).

A very radio-connected investment banker told Radio Ink yesterday that the Merlin stations are 100 percent on the block. Of course, that goes against everything we were told that this was 100 percent false, by someone close to the company. The banker went on to say, "If it were me I would just hold on to the stations at this point. They've lost so much money already, how much worse can it get? I'd hold them for a few more years." It's been reported that Merlin investors have already lost $20 million.

There is another opinion floating around that Merlin backer GTCR just wants out. They gave it a try, it didn't work, so let's just cut our losses and head for the hills. And they are attempting to see what they can get for the properties, either together or in pieces. If they can get a decent price, they would take it. If not, sit and wait. And, as people love to do, the speculation about who would want these properties was what everyone was talking about on Thursday.

In Chicago, it seems the most obvious buyer would be Cumulus. With only a pair to play with in the Windy City, and a game plan to focus on large markets, adding three more in Chicago is logical. In New York City, it would be nice for CBS to grab an FM for a WFAN simulcast. With ESPN getting an FM signal a few months ago you have to think the brass at CBS want to grab some of the younger listeners on the FM dial as well. In Philly, who knows? Clear Channel already has five FMs. CBS has three FMs and two AMs. Greater Media has four FMs. Would they want another? What about Cumulus? Cumulus is not even in the Philly market, so would they want a Philly FM to put on network product? Of course, it could be someone else for any of these, a dark horse perhaps. Or, it could be as Michaels says, "Merlin Media is not for sale!"

(9/28/2012 11:19:48 AM)
I think Walter Sabo is great doing seminars and writing columns for trade publications, in the real world his ideas are interesting theories. I don't think Randy was hands on he may be too rich now to get down to business in a radio station.


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ARNN Adds Armed Forces Radio

9-30-2012

America?s Radio News Network has been selected as the source of top of the hour news for the Armed Forces Radio Network. The hourly newscasts, delivered by America's News Network, replace CNN on Armed Forces Radio. American Forces Radio Network Worldwide Director Jef Reilly said, ?The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you?re delivering that.? Combined with America?s Morning News and America's News Network (ANN), ARN now has over 375 affiliations nationwide.

Since 1942, the mission of American Forces Network, brand name for the United States Armed Forces American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFTRS), is to provide apolitical broadcast quality radio and television services and expanded internal information products to all DoD members and their families stationed overseas, on contingency operations, and onboard Navy ships around the world.

Today, AFTRS utilizes seven satellites along with digital compression technology to provide multiple television and stereo audio channels to more than 1,000 outlets in 178 countries and U.S. territories, and onboard 150 U.S. Navy ships.

America?s Radio News Network, America?s Morning News and America's News Network are exclusively represented by TRN Syndications, Ltd. Reserve your market now by calling 888-383-3733 or visit ARN online at www.AmericasRadioNewsNetwork.com where you can also listen live.



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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Google's Self Driving Cars Legal in California

9-25-2012

All Things D and CNN are reporting that California Governor Jerry Brown stopped by Google Tuesday to sign a bill that legalizes self-driving cars. The bill establishes safety guidelines and performance standards for autonomous vehicles operating on California?s roads and highways. Self-driving cars can now be tested on public roadways ? as long as a licensed human driver is seated at the wheel and able to take over in the event of a malfunction.

?Today we?re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow?s reality,? Gov. Brown said. ?This self-driving car is another step forward in this long march of California pioneering the future and leading not just the country, but the whole world.?

Read the entire post at All Things D HERE

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John Lund Gets A Government Gig

9-25-2012

Congrats to John Lund. His company, Lund Media Research, has been contracted by American Forces Radio and Television Service, a division of the Department of Defense, to provide a worldwide audience survey of the broadcast media needs of U.S. service men and women stationed outside the United States.

Lund stated, ?We are honored and proud to again be chosen for this research and media analysis contract to help AFRTS provide the radio, TV, and online media most desired by our troops and families stationed overseas.?

In addition, members of the Lund research team will conduct focus groups at U.S. military bases in Europe and the Pacific. This survey will examine current television services and channels including prime, news, sports, and the Pentagon Channel; radio services including seven 24/7 music channels, one news/talk channel, two sports-talk services, NPR, and a political-talk channel, in addition to local and regional networks; and the use of digital and online media by the military in the Air Force, Army, Navy, and the Marines. The Lund companies provided AFRTS with a previous worldwide audience survey of media needs of our military in 2006.

Reach out to John here: John@lundradio.com.

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(DIGITAL) The Visual Side of Radio – Pt. 1

9-24-2012

How much time do you spend on your station?s visual branding, your visual imaging? Do you score in the ?several hours per year? range or is it higher? Radio is an audio medium so visuals will always be a secondary concern, but Grant Wittstruck Director of Digital Strategy for Panama City Radio Group and Powell Broadcasting says, ?Don?t underestimate the visual. Powerful logos, ads, and other visuals can make your connection with listeners even stronger.?

His statement makes sense. Given the app?d out, multimedia, digital environment our stations compete in, the need to stand out amidst the daily deluge of brands, logos, ads, and other visual interference is important.
In this first part, of a two-part piece about the importance of visual imaging, we?ll hear from Grant who specializes in crafting the graphic identities for stations at his company.

Magnuson: Grant, why is the station logo important?
Wittstruck:
You cannot have a successful brand without a powerful logo. A logo can be as simple as Hummer which is just text, or as complex as the Starbucks logo, which no longer even says Starbucks. But whatever choice you make, you want to make sure the essence of your station is conveyed through the logo. Your logo tells a listener who you are?if you?re cutting-edge Top 40, old school, Country, news/talk, and so on. And in the digital age, where listeners are seeing your brand on websites, apps, social media, stream players, podcasts, and more, your visual imaging is more important than ever.

Magnuson: How do you decide what a station logo will look like? Is it a gut feeling? Or is there some logic behind your choices of logos?
Wittstruck:
For me it?s always a gut feeling. As they say, ?I will know it when I see it, I just haven't seen it yet.? I hear this a lot and in radio if you?re not ?hearing? it, you?re not making progress. This is radio and your logo needs to drive a feeling and emotion to enhance the connection with the listener so they?ll listen more. It is also important to test different versions on your key demo.

Magnuson: So focus grouping is important?
Wittstruck:
Every time. We may think we know what listeners in our target demo want, but it?s best to get their opinion. And your focus groups do not have to be from your listening area. Have a station in one of your other markets throw it in with their focus groups. Also shoot it out to some colleagues and get feedback from other industry pros.

Magnuson: Who at the station typically picks the logo? Is it collaborative or is it all the PD, or do they throw it at you and say "Do your best." What works best for you?
Wittstruck:
At our company we get a group together. Typically the general manager, promotions director, the PD, a consultant, and the graphic designer. Once we have an idea of the station strategy, name, format, and target demo they throw it to me. I come up with four to six different looks. We then start to narrow down to one to three, and start talking about colors. Our process can take some time. Most recently a logo took 42-plus back-and-forth emails. But I believe it?s this collaborative atmosphere that allows us to nail down a really strong new station look.

Magnuson: As the creative person, what is your ideal way to come up with the logo?
Wittstruck:
I find that looking at other logos is a good place to start for inspiration. Then blend elements you like with the strategic needs of the new station brand.

Magnuson: Do you ever have a situation where you and the PD can?t agree or you get stuck on a logo where you just can?t find the sweet spot? If so how do you overcome that?
Wittstruck:
Sure, but I always go into redesign knowing the group, particularly the PD, knows best. I always put my two cents in, but in the end, side with the group.

Magnuson: How often should a station update their logo?
Wittstruck:
Well, this is tricky. If you have a very historic station or a station that is number one, I would say don?t mess with it -- or don?t mess with it too much. But if you have a station that is struggling, then definitely consider changing your logo up.

Magnuson: What are your thoughts on the station temporarily changing the logo for promotions, holidays, sponsors, or other events?
Wittstruck:
I love this idea and it works great on the Web. I feel it gives the listeners an idea that we care about whatever the cause is or shows we embrace the time of the year, or that we can be playful.

Magnuson: What are the three most important things a station should keep in mind when they set out to design a new logo or brand image?
Wittstruck:
1. Make it cutting-edge and cool
2. Make sure it looks like nothing in your market
3. Test the logo options in a focus group of the station?s core target demo

Grant Wittstruck is Director of Digital Strategy for Panama City Radio Group and Powell Broadcasting along with iCast Interactive, Powell Broadcasting?s creative agency. Hit him up for advice/help with your station?s new logo/branding project at grant@icastinteractive.com

Carl Magnuson is an online contributor to Radio Ink, runs R&DIO blog, and is the Co-Founder/Director of Sales at Social Radio, an interactive, personalized content player for radio station websites. He can be reached at carl@socialradio.org

(9/24/2012 6:01:31 AM)
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Friday, September 28, 2012

(AUDIO) Radio Can Be Better at Engaging

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Spark Capital is a venture capital firm that partners with entrepreneurs seeking to build disruptive, world-changing companies. Andrew Parker (pictured) from Spark has been on the leading edge of change and innovation. As a principal in the Boston based venture capital firm he has overseen early stage investments in Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare so he knows what's percolating on the horizon that can help the radio business.  Greater Media's Buzz Knight, reporting for Radio Ink, interviewed Parker about radios opportunity in the world of technological change. LISTEN HERE
Founded in 2005 by Todd Dagres, Santo Politi and Paul Conway, Spark Capital is a tight-knit group of partners managing approximately $1,000,000,000 across three funds. Headquartered in Boston, we maintain an office in New York City and invest across the globe. Whether you need $250,000 in seed funding or $25,000,000 to establish category leadership, we can work with you.

Spark Capital invests across a number of key market segments including: advertising & monetization, commerce & services, cloud & infrastructure, social, mobile and content. Spark?s portfolio includes companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, AdMeld, OMGPOP, ThePlatform and 5Min. The Spark team has previously backed notable companies such as Akamai Technologies, Qtera, Aether Systems and Novatel Wireless.
Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media and he can be reached at bknight@greatermediaboston.com. 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.

Read more articles by Buzz Knight HERE

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(PROGRAMMING) A Liberal Succeeding at Radio


9-26-2012

So, you've pretty much converted from TV to full-time radio. I know a lot of the people in the biz that used to be TV-only actually enjoy the immediacy of radio better. What about you?
I haven?t converted from TV to radio only. I appear on TV almost every day on either Fox News or Fox Business. I love having opportunities on both mediums. The immediacy and interactivity of radio is more akin to social media; and TV, especially on Fox, gives me a broad platform for my views.
You are on a radio network, like its cable behemoth, that is thought of as a conservative outlet yet you very proudly proclaim you're a liberal. That's pretty funny. Any thoughts?
Radio networks aren?t like TV networks. I?m in syndication in radio, which is a different model than a television network. Unlike a network, syndicated shows are cleared market by market. Fox is in the business of getting eyes on its TV properties and ears on its radio shows; ideology doesn?t play into it from my perspective.
Why did you leave Hannity? Some in the industry said it was nothing sinister -- that you were just tired of the show and wanted to move on. Are they right?
Nothing sinister at all. We had a great 12 years. When Obama won and there was a Democratic  House and Senate, my work was done.

You have a fairly entertaining radio show -- I love the caller interaction -- it can get fairly heated. How much of that is shtick and how much is real?
My views are real. My opinions are my own. It gets heated because we talk about hot-button issues about which people are passionate. You can do ?schtick? and be entertaining without sacrificing your core beliefs and values. It?s how you package your views that can make a show stand out. We do little bits of business like ?Radio Graffiti? and ?Sudden Death Radio? that appeal to listeners regardless of ideology.

Conservative radio dominates the terrestrial landscape. Yet, your brand of "liberal content" is quite lively. If liberal radio drew ratings and buzz, wouldn't that trump politics?
It always trumps politics. Rush Limbaugh didn?t become as successful as he is simply because of his political views. In fact, early Limbaugh talked more about social issues than simply politics. Liberals need entertaining hosts, but there also has to be a willingness to put liberals on big sticks. When Air America was trying to make its way, it often was put on underperformed AMs with poorer signals than the larger, heritage stations. You need both entertaining hosts and the right platforms so liberal hosts have a fair shot against the more-established shows and signals. And you need open-minded programmers. I?ve been canceled from stations where I had excellent ratings because the station wanted only conservative hosts. This makes no sense to me, if the goal is to get as wide an audience as possible. I don?t want only liberal listeners; why would a station want only conservative ones?

You just wrote a new book about being a liberal? Tell me about it.
It?s called Thank the Liberals for Saving America. Almost every advancement we?ve made has been because of liberals/progressives -- I use the words interchangeably -- and often with stiff opposition from those I refer to as regressive. Our founders were beyond liberal -- they were radical and instituted a system of governance more progressive than English common law. We today are living the liberal dream of our founders. The other premise of the book is that we are all liberal to some extent. We live a country where we cherish our freedoms and love to use the word ?liberty? which comes from the same root as the word ?liberal,? meaning ?free.?  Life makes us liberal. Just one example: When Dick Cheney accepted that he had a gay daughter he became more progressive on the issue of marriage equality than President Obama was at the time.
What do think of the state of terrestrial radio?

The bar to entry is lower now because anyone can have a radio show online. You just need an Internet connection and a computer with a microphone and you?re in business. Terrestrial radio needs to use the social media to connect with its audience. It?s not enough to just be a radio station or a radio show without the extra reach the virtual world offers. We have a chat room on my website (Alan.com) where listeners gather during my show to talk about what we?re doing on the air. My site features stories all the time that we talk about later that night. These posts get sent to my Twitter and Facebook pages. And we have a growing number of listeners who hear the show online. The idea is to be available and to interact on as many platforms as possible. That?s why we say here that ?Fox News Radio is everywhere.?

Rich Lieberman is a veteran SF Bay Area news blogger covering radio and TV since 2001.His media blog, "415 Media" (http://www.richliebermanreport.blogspot.com) is the #1-read industry sheet in SF.

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(AUDIO) Kalo: "Artists Are Not Thrilled With The Bill"

9-25-2012

Ted Kalo is the Executive Director of the musicFIRST Coalition. musicFIRST was formed to attempt to get radio stations to compensate artists for thier music when its played on the radio. "FIRST" in musicFIRST stands for Fairness in Radio Starting Today. Kalo says the Chaffetz bill is, "a race to the bottom" and, despite what Chaffetz says, artists are not thrilled with his idea. Listen or read the transcription of our interview with Kalo. 
Listen to the interview HERE

RI: You heard what Congressman Chaffetz  has proposed. What do you think?
Kalo:
Well, it?s a race to the bottom. The bill instead of correcting what is the biggest elephant in the room in terms of disparity in royalties and the fact that terrestrial radio doesn?t pay a performance right, the Chaffetz bill would reduce Pandora and other big internet radio station?s royalties to be grandfathered below market rate that is enjoyed by less than 5 companies. It is just patently unfair. It takes us in the wrong direction. It would hurt a lot of artists and music creators.

RI: One of the things that he said to us was artists are thrilled about this. I get the impression that you don?t believe that?s the case.
Kalo:
The Music First Coalition includes the major unions representing artists. I can assure the Congressman that they are not at all pleased with this legislation and the prospects of taking a pay cut for a company that is doing quite well.

RI: What do you think the chances of something like this actually gets through? Do you see it as something that happens during an election year?
Kalo:
The timing of it is curious. The Congressional session is all but over. There are some ?must-pass? items that are going to have to get done after the election and prior to the beginning of the year. It seems highly improbable that legislation such as this could pass between now and then. Clearly, what?s going on is an attempt to lay the groundwork for future activity starting next year and also to, frankly, have a bill number out that Pandora can activate grassroots email list to contact Congress and build support leading up to next year. I really think this is kind of the curtain raiser in a longer battle. In terms of its overall probability of success, the bill is so tilted to one side, which is not typically how legislation dealing with intellectual property issues is resolved in Congress. I would say the chance of the Chaffetz Bill passing as currently drafted, is exactly zero.

RI: You have to kind of give Tim Westergren some credit. He saw that these rules now in place were going to perhaps kill the company that he created. He went hard lobbying Congress and he is starting to get some traction, it appears, to change some rules.
Kalo:
First of all, if I may take issue with the premise of the question: I don?t think it?s killing his company.  He is projected to make $5 million in revenue in 2013. It is well known among Wall Street analysts, that the problem with Pandora is not that it pays artists too much. The problem with Pandora is that it hasn?t come up with? it hasn?t fully monetized it?s own service. I don?t purport to tell them how to run their business, but Wall Street analysts have said the fact that they have very little advertising on their service, makes it so that their profit margins are not as particularly as good as they could be. So, blaming artists? royalties for Pandora?s current problem is kind of like when you go to a mechanic with a flat tire and they sell you a muffler. It?s not really the problem. I think you are correct. It is a very skillful diversion. I think as we peel aside the facts to show that Pandora has actually prospered under the current system, and has done better and better every year, with positive outlooks from market analysts, while at the same time the recording industry and artists have taken a hit, people will see that this really doesn?t make any sense.

RI: What do you think is the perfect scenario where everybody could be happy? Do you have one in mind that you think would work for everybody?
Kalo:
We had it. In 2009, Pandora sat at the same table as the recording artists and the same table as the record labels, and as part of the Performance Rights that passed the House and Senate judiciary committees, there was an agreement on a standard in a bill that also addressed the elephant in the room? which is the lack of a terrestrial radio performance right. The bill also carved out many small terrestrial radio folks, as you know from your coverage of the bill, and represented a global solution to what this bill purports to address. This bill says it is about fairness and to create parity between platforms, yet it picks and chooses platforms and instead of creating parity it creates a race to the bottom, which ultimately will dis-incentivize creativity and will result in less music for Pandora to play.

RI: Do you think if something like this ever gets approved, this bill, that the artists in a few million? Many million? Is there any way to know how big the difference would be?
Kalo
: At this point, I don?t have an analysis that would tell me that. We are extremely concerned and think that the losses would be considerable to our members.

RI: What are your thoughts on these side deals that you start to see with Entercom and Clear Channel and Big Machine that the radio stations will now start to pay the artists on the front end for a little bit of a break on the online in the future?
Kalo:
I was extremely encouraged by the statement of Mr. Pittman of Clear Channel in which he said artists clearly aren?t paid enough. That was part of the motivation for the deal that he reached, in addition to the self-interest of Clear Channel. I thought that was very visionary and also a real olive branch to artists and record labels. It really stood in contrast to the rhetoric about a performance tax and all the other nonsense we?d seen the last few years. I think those deals are encouraging in terms of showing forward movement, but they can?t take the place of legislation. They are just one-off deals between one company and one label. Those terms aren?t necessarily ones that translate to other companies and to other labels. Really only Congress can do that. Ultimately, an agreement between two parties can be broken years down the line. Only Congress can create a right to something. We believe that performers have the right to be compensated when their songs are played.

(9/25/2012 8:35:51 PM)
Who gives a flying-fuck anymore?
(9/25/2012 5:37:04 PM)
Radio has always been an ENORMOUS platform for anyone, KNOWN or UNKNOWN, to promote whatever they want to promote... Next thing we'll hear about is the radio-tv intern wanting to get paid because of the enourmous asset(s) it apparently brings to the table.. Recording Ă„rtist(s): Either you find another way to promote your music, and hopefully better than radio, or you leave things the way they are..., otherwise, you'll kill the goose with the golden eggs...
(9/25/2012 11:21:22 AM)
Pardon my cynicism,but Chaffetz is just another Republican beating the drum for "small government",unless it benefits his favorite lobbyist or corporate donor.
Maynard is right.This places a tremendous extra burden on small market radio stations.
And don't count on Congress,especially the House to do what's right.
Mike
(9/25/2012 9:48:06 AM)
What the music folks don't realize is that many of us little guys are still selling spots in the single digit figures...and running on the slimmest of margins. If we have to pay $5,000 a year, for example, there go the profits! I have a hard time feeling sorry for the stars with the big tour buses when I'm driving a 2002 Trailblazer. I'm not even totally opposed to paying some kind of royalties for the music...I just don't want to be buying a second tour bus for someone. Sure, there are starving musicians out there but anyone who thinks they'll see any of the cash is sorely mistaken.

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Radio's Digital Awakening

Last week at the Radio Show in Dallas Larry Rosin of Edison Research presented research he gathered that focused on what turns out to be radio's digital report card. Edison interviewed about a dozen interactive advertising agencies to get their take on what radio brings to their table and that research is now available for the entire industry to see. The video interviews are painful to watch at times if you are fan of radio. And while Rosin admits this is more of a focus group than a detailed research study, the information can be extremely helpful to radio stations if they choose to listen, rather than ignore, what is being said. Here's our interview with Rosin about the findings. You can listen to the audio or read the transcription.

Here's the AUDIO
Here's a link to the Edison page so you can watch the VIDEO interviews.
Below is the transcription of our interview with Larry Rosin
Reach out to Larry Rosin at lrosin@edisonresearch.com

RI: Talk about the specifics of the research. It looks like you did a lot of Skype interview, video interviews. When were they? How many were they? Talk about the specifics of the interviews.
Rosin:
There were about 12 or 13 interviews with buyers, planners, and principles at digital agencies, sometimes in the digital department of more broad-ranging agencies. They were done through the middle of August, frankly right up through the NAB/RAB radio show just a few days ago. Some were done in person and some were done via Skype as we scrambled to get the project done.

RI: I noticed in your piece you wrote that it is more of a focus group than it it research. However, 12 to 13 digital agencies is a pretty good number when it comes to that group.
Rosin:
Right. But, I make no claims that it is necessarily representative of what all people in the thousands of digital agencies, large and small, might feel. So, in that sense, it should be more like a focus group. In as much as the individuals need to be similar in a lot of their points, it wouldn't be a stunning surprise if they were representative. But again, I can't argue that they necessarily were. We just got who we could get.

RI: If you were to draw a conclusion or opinion on what you witnessed, what you saw in the video interviews, what would you say to radio stations about that?
Rosin:
Well, the number one thing that I would say, frankly, is that people should go to our site to watch the videos. Nothing I am going to say is to describe them or even to try to make conclusions from them, I think is anywhere near as powerful as sort of locking yourself in your office, the tapes run at about 35 minutes all together, listening to these people themselves. That is vastly more powerful than anything that I am going to say. In many ways, they had criticisms, some of them constructive, some of them just, I would say, negative. But, in most ways, they were positive about radio. They may or may not have been positive about a lot of the digital efforts and things that radio stations are trying to sell them. Generally, they like radio. They talked a lot about radio's assets, if they weren't overly positive about the digital assets.

RI: I agree and will link to those videos when we post the story that everybody should watch the videos. Everybody should sit down and listen to what the agencies have to say. I think my conclusion was that radio has a long way to go when it comes to being serious about their digital product.
Rosin:
Yes, I think that's fair. Some of it is tough to watch. At times they are quite critical of various aspects of radio. But again, if you watch it with more of a glass half-full point of view, I think they did point the way to what radio can do. I think the two most important things, I may be anticipating a question coming later, are... One, it to integrate. I think they all have a problem with radio trying to market it's digital efforts as a separate, worthy entity. They are vastly more interested in integrated campaigns where the digital part is part of a whole and takes advantage of what radio is so strong at, which is getting a mass audience to hear a message. They were much, much more interested in coordinated, integrated campaigns and they really didn't put much value at all on radio's digital assets, whether they be in-stream, websites, or anything else...by themselves. I thought that was the number one take-away, tied with the people who were saying "Be creative. Stop just showing off and asking us to buy it just because there is whatever straight-up media value there. Come to us with ideas. Come to us with the clever stuff that radio has once been known for, and sometimes still is known for." Where the radio people are seen as creative people, who come up with clever solutions that can get the clients involved. I thought those were the two big points that they kept making from a more constructive standpoint. Be integrated and be creative.

RI: Maybe this is off the subject of exactly what you did with the research, but maybe if it's fresh in your mind from going through all that, maybe you could give us your opinion on it. It seems to me that radio still struggles with the measurement and whether or not they want to really be streaming or streaming with ad insertion. Did you get the sense that the agencies have picked up on that? That we don't really know where we want to be yet and how can we ask them to be with us?
Rosin:
I am not sure these people are reading the radio trades and are necessarily that up-to-date on our internal discussions. I think they showed the outcome of our lack of coordination, our lack of resolve, and our lack of even commitment to what we are doing. As an example, they did a lot, speak negatively about ad insertion and about the quality of stream, something I know you have written about and many others have written a lot about. It wasn't even just the issue of the injection of spots into the streams. One of the most startling moments is when a very savvy woman talked about when she had a $1 million buy and decided to put $100,000  into online radio and seemed like much of that was for the stream of over-the-air radio stations, not just about the pure-plays. She talked about how she quickly pulled the buy from the stream when somebody who was listening to the streams, I forget the exact details, said "I heard your spot 8 times in three hours," or something like that. She realized there were no frequency caps on the streams, so they just let it rip. She felt like she was hurting her clients by pounding the crap out of people with the same spot over and over again. People don't take that out on the radio station or the stream, they take it out on the client. So, she yanked the spot. When I presented this in Dallas, you could hear the gasp in the room, that a $100,000 buy, which doesn't happen all the time on streaming radio, just went "poof" because of technical challenges with what they are doing. I doubt they are reading our trades very much and know the internals of what we are talking about, but I think they see the outcome of that.

RI: Not for you to comment on, if you don't want to, but just some of the quotes that I wrote down in the early parts of the videos that you have on your site about the radio reps and the agency reps commenting on them: "Not very knowledgeable." "They know enough just to be dangerous." "They need to learn the lingo better." "They are still using lingo like 'hyper-link' from five years ago." "It's a pretty frustrating experience because radio still speaks in terms of 'demo' and they sell against other radio stations, still." Those are just a few of the comments from the agencies that we heard on your research.
Rosin:
And that's a part I could've even amplified more in the presentation, which is, these people at digital agencies, we are used to competing in a sort of relatively limited world, where there is the local newspaper, the local television stations, maybe outdoor, and us-radio. But, these people are digital agencies. Their world is so, so, so, so, so much bigger than that. One of these people told us how they are taking meetings with start-ups all day long. We almost forget about that. There are so many people knocking on the door of these agencies, saying "I am building something that had media value. Can you evaluate it? Can you let us know what you think about it? How would you get involved with this?" From that perspective, radio is just one of tens of thousands of options that these digital agencies can consider; not just the limited group that we are used to. So, how badly to we hurt ourselves when we ask people who are used to walking and talking, if you will, "old speak" of old fashioned media values to these digital hipsters who are very savvy and are evaluating things in an entirely different way than we are used to having things evaluated by from old line agencies.

RI: Did these people that you interviewed talk about their best experiences and how radio people can maybe steal some of those ideas to improve?
Rosin:
They talked at length about what we were just talking about. They just need sales people that understand them and speak their language and are sort of "of that world". They don't have to be young, but they have to be well-trained. They railed on the issue of training, and that people understand digital and can sell it knowledgeably. They did speak a lot about Pandora. They talked about that their people are stronger. A lot of people selling for Pandora are former radio people. So, obviously Pandora is training their people in a certain manner that is putting them in a stronger position when they are knocking on these doors.

RI: What can people do with the research that you have up there? It is so powerful. It is so helpful. What do you suggest they do with it? Watch it? Use it in training sessions? Use it in sales meetings, perhaps?
Rosin:
Yes. Without a doubt. Everything you just said. But, beyond that, I think radio probably needs to look outside for the expertise and training. I don't mean that for a minute as a slight on the excellent people who do sales consulting and work with radio stations on their efforts. But, I think we have to consider whether there are people from beyond and outside the normal walls of the radio industry who could be engaged, frankly, to teach us how to talk to these people in a more compelling way. 

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Sirius Teams With Nissan, Competes With OnStar

9-25-2012

Sirius XM says Nissan has selected SiriusXM as the exclusive provider of a comprehensive suite of premium telematics services for Nissan branded vehicles, including 24/7 emergency support for accidents, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance. Customers will also get a consolidated bill for their audio entertainment and a central site to manage subscriptions.

Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin said, "Offering telematics services is a logical next step for SiriusXM, building on our advanced in-vehicle technological capabilities, subscriber management expertise, and proven experience providing national service to drivers. SiriusXM is the leader in subscription services to the car and our remarkable and sustained growth has been driven by our ability to deliver unparalleled audio entertainment and services to vehicles. Our critically acclaimed satellite radio service, now coupled with dynamic and full service telematics, offers the support that drivers want and need on the road and strengthens our relationship with Nissan."

"Nissan aims to provide more than just innovations in driving performance, fuel efficiency and safety," said Trisha Jung, Director, Nissan Connected Services. "Being the first car company to launch these telematics services allows us to further enhance the whole customer driving experience by providing the finest audio entertainment and data services that meet the growing expectations of the connected driver. After working with SiriusXM for more than a decade, we are excited about bringing world-class telematics services to our customers."

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

(AUDIO) Chaffetz: "Artists Are Thrilled With My Bill."

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9-25-2012

Last week, Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz (pictured) with Colorado Democrat Jared Polis introduced the "Internet Radio Fairness Act," which will change the way streaming royalties are calculated. It appears to be a victory, so far, for Pandora founder Tim Westergren who has been lobbying Congress to get his royalty rates lowered. The word "fairness" has been thrown around a lot and, during this election year, it seems to have gotten some traction. Yesterday we spoke to Chaffetz about his bill. Here is the audio and transciption of our chat.

Chaffetz said Internet radio is "barely hanging on" because it pays such a large proportion of revenue in royalties, and said the legislation will "level the playing field for Internet radio services by putting them under the same market-based standard used to establish rates for other digital services."

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW HERE

RI: Can you first tell us why you decided to introduce this bill?
Chaffetz:
Well, it seems as that there is a bit of disparity between what was happening with satellite radio, the internet. It didn?t seem like there should be such a disparity. For traditional radio, we?ve already put that to bed. We are not trying to make any adjustment there. We are trying to allow the internet radio portion of things to actually be a financially viable model.

RI: Do you have an idea of what you think that best model is moving forward?
Chaffetz:
Yes. That?s why we introduced this piece of legislation. We did so in a bipartisan way and a bicameral way, in both the House and the Senate. We are just trying to create more parity between satellite radio, cable, and the internet. We think that would be a win-win for everybody. Artists would be able to make money. Radio stations would be able to make the transitions, so if they decide to have an internet presence they can also make that a financially viable model. Right now it is just way too expensive in terms of the royalty structures in order to make it work.

RI: Did you have a dollar amount in mind, or some kind of formula in mind that you could share with us?
Chaffetz: The standards that are already out there already work with these other models. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. We?ve actually got something that has some miles on it. It?s been tried, true, and tested and that?s why we are just trying to shift that into our model.

RI: Some folks might say that Pandora knew what it was getting into before this came along and now they are trying to change the rules of the game. How do you address that?
Chaffetz: Well, it?s not just all about Pandora. We?ve got to remember that when this royalty structure was set up internet was just in its infancy. Nobody was really making a go of it. You can see how quickly the internet is spreading  and expanding, and how consumers are demanding it. Back when it was drafted, that was the very infancy. We?ve learned a lot since then. We are trying to create a win-win, where everybody can make some money and make it a financial model.

RI: Now, the record industry had said that it is opposed to this. Do you see that group getting on board? How do you plan to get the to try to buy into this, if at all?
Chaffetz: Well, I think it?s really a win-win for artists. I think you will see as it moves forward that artists are thrilled about this and it would make a lot of sense for artists on all sides of the equation. I don?t think that will be an impediment right now. But that is certainly a viable question we have to answer as we do hearings and whatnot, but it?s not going to ultimately win the day.

RI: What are the next steps with this and how long do you think it will take before we see some action on it?
Chaffetz: Well, we just introduced it. Obviously, we have the big election coming up in November. But, after November, we will be back in the swing of things, getting ready for the next Congress. The next step is probably now  have the hearing. I hope that it happens sooner rather than later, and some good viable discussion on the bill. These things always take time, like they are supposed to. But, the process has begun.

RI: Do you think there is enough support in both houses with enough members to get this approved?
Chaffetz. Oh, yeah. I think when?. As we have been sharing this with members of the judiciary committee and other committees, both sides of the house, not a real partisan issue?..this makes a lot of sense. All you can see is a lot of support. Ultimately, we will pass this piece of legislation. It?s a good one. People have been calling for it. We?ve been working on it for a number of months and it has good, bipartisan support.

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SOCIAL)5 Ways To Turn Around Your Social Media

9-25-2012

If you find that your ?social media isn?t working,? you must take a serious look at how you are executing social media. Do you have a plan or are you following the herd? Are you engaged? Do you understand how social media is like building a relationship or are you using it only for advertising? If your social media is not working and you want to turn it around, start by asking what you might be doing wrong? Here are five of the big wrongs and how to turn them around:

1. You?re not looking at what others inside and outside broadcasting are doing to be successful and networking with those people, watching what they do, considering the variety of their content, and how they engage their chosen audience to help you be more successful with your listeners. To be truly successful, you must be unafraid to seek out those that are really hitting home runs and engage them on how you can become more successful with your goals in social media. No one is an island ? especially in social media. The more resources you pull from, the smarter you will look at the end of each day.

2. Your content is too selfish; it?s all about you. In social media, it isn?t all about you. In fact, like your over-the-air audience, it should be all about your relationship with them, what they need, what they want, and how they use your content to fill needs and wants they have in the social media environments of their choice. When you make the choice to really focus in on what your listeners want on air and in social media, you will have the most powerful tool imaginable to make things truly happen for your team. Results will follow.

3. You don?t participate ? you just push to ?listeners? and hope they will do all the ?work? of spreading your great content to the market. When you make your plan to push content that is engaging and of high quality to listeners and you decide to engage them, too, you will have taken a supersized step in a positive direction. That will result in actual engagement. They will circle back to boost your results automatically.

4. You?re not ?into? building relationships. You just want listeners to do what you say. This reminds you of a guy that just wants the one night stand. He isn?t interested in building a relationship or enjoying a mutual good time. Of course, his target (and yours) can feel this insincerity. When you start to truly engage listeners and actives in social media on their ground and invest in the relationship building between your personalities and listeners in social media, you will see results steadily grow.

5. You don?t experiment. You?re only following a well-structured plan. In social media, you should consider experimentation and trying new things to be about 20 percent of your overall plan. You?ve heard the saying, ?Play it loose.? In winning friends and influencing people, you need to play it loose and experiment to find what works and focus on giving your actives (listeners) what works in the social media environments that you are choosing to use to benefit your show or radio station.

As always, I recommend you seek out the book (or ebook) ?How To Win Friends & Influence People? by Dale Carnegie.

Finally, I leave you with these important key points (which may seem really simple, but they are powerful truths). Follow these keys in your social media and actually thrive:

-- The golden rule
-- Help others with what they are interested in
-- Give others content they feel smart to share
-- Make others look good
-- Recognize that social media is a place where people seek validation; give it to them

Radio has such a large opportunity to engage listeners on the social media platforms their most active listeners choose and become larger in their market than ever. However, individual radio stations and personalities should have a content plan and should give openly of themselves in social media to help, benefit, and entertain others. If you do this, you can turn around your social media and get real-world results that will validate how critical you are to your company and its long-term success. And that?s worth doing.

Loyd Ford is the direct marketing, ratings and social media strategist for Americalist and programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes for years, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte and WBEE in Rochester, NY. Learn more about Loyd here:  http://about.me/loydford. Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE



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(SALES) Service After The Sale

9-25-2012

We are all guilty of it. We sign an annual contract, turn in the order and count the commission in our pockets.
As soon as the first ad hits the open market, the competitors will target a fresh prospect which is your new client. If a sales rep does not service that new client, competitors could potentially steal them away. To head off the competition, make sure to provide plenty of service after the sale.

Case in point: I recently met with a former client of a media company for a property where Luce Performance Group consults. I sat down with the client to learn why she had canceled her advertising campaign with the property. The answer: A lack of customer service in two critical areas.

1. Contact: The advertiser received one return call for every 10 she placed. The rep serviced the account via email, and that was not acceptable. One of the property's unique selling advantages is personal service and developing relationships with clients. It is difficult to land a new client, and it is even harder to replace lost business.

2. Creative: It was never delivered on time. Where was the follow-through from the rep? This property has award-winning creative departments. If the rep does not deliver on time, it gives the competition time to sneak in.

After enduring these and other frustrations, the advertiser sent the following letter:

Dear: ___________

Please accept this letter as my written notice of intent to terminate my contract with your company, effective immediately. The following explains my reasons why.
First and foremost, I contacted you prior to the official run of our ad to ask for a change in the ad to include our phone number in hopes that it would be easier to remember than our web address. You stated you would take care of it. I have been waiting patiently to hear back from you, perhaps even reviewed a new copy of the ad, to no avail. If, in fact, you planned to change the ad as discussed why were you unaware that the initial ad was already up and running, and more importantly, why haven?t you followed up on the email you claimed to have sent? When selling to a customer, one of the most important priorities is to deliver to the customer what they want. You started out strong, but the minute we signed the contract (that we would have liked to sign for only 3 months), you disappeared. No response to our ad, no response to the product we created for the trade, no follow-up as to when the ads would run, no update on the change. Because no changes were made, I paid you to provide a service. We should not have to track you down. This is very unfortunate because we?ve grown fond of your company. However, you failed to deliver what I paid for, so we will take our business elsewhere.

To avoid receiving a letter like that one, follow these steps:

1. For all the A and B clients who are the bread-and-butter customers that represent 70-80 percent of the billing, make weekly in-person visits depending on the market. Make them with a purpose. No milk runs. A rep will secure the relationship through face-to-face contact. Make these clients understand that as part of their investment in YOUR company, that will they see YOU and work with YOU. Make this commitment and you will earn their trust and respect.

2. For all of the C clients which are those active in the past 90 days but not yet up to A or B annual investment levels, a rep should have face-to-face contact at least bi-weekly. If they have A and B potential, see them every week with new ideas and new energy!

3. For D accounts which are those with developing potential to be advertising in the next 60 days, make a list of these Top 10 D accounts. Really work them. Return to any other D accounts after working those Top 10. D accounts command the same in-person action as C accounts. If they are truly developing accounts, see them once a week!

The letter-writing advertiser is considering running ads with another media outlet. There are two sides to every story. However, the lesson to take away is that we can always do a better job of servicing our clients. It is not easy. Pleasing customers can be like pulling teeth. Clients will say, ?You don?t have to see me all the time,? but deep down they want the rep in there making them feel special and important. Don?t be misled. Make the customer understand that once they are up and advertising with you that the customer service begins with YOU!

Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at Sean@luceperformancegroup.com.

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(MARKETING) Does Your Marketing Suck? -- Pt. 2

9-24-2012

Radio marketers need to re-examine familiar methodologies and question long-held assumptions in order to deliver results. We pick up where we left off in Pt. 1 with point No. 3.

3. Is there a belief that the station van builds the brand, attracts listeners, and is a crucial element in the marketing mix?
Before minivans, SUVs, and Hummers took over the streets, a radio station?s van stood out. When cruising around town or parked at a client?s place of business, the van ? emblazoned with a bright station logo and encircled by enthusiastic listeners trying to get their hands on a free station t-shirt ? attracted eyeballs and inspired excitement.

But with so many big vehicles now on the road, the novelty of a large station van is lost. On its own, its effectiveness as a creator of floor traffic for the client that hires it is questionable, and its ability to generate excitement among younger listeners is also suspect. As Hofstra University media professor John Mullen notes, ?With so many distractions that are competing for listeners? attention, you have to ask yourself:  Is 'sending the van' a 1970s idea that?s out of step in 2012? Not only that, aren?t there other creative things that stations can do to build business at a client?s location beyond sending a few staffers, a vehicle, and a box of t-shirts that always run out?"

SOLUTION
Simply sending the van to a client?s place of business isn?t enough to bring about the increase in customer traffic that your client is looking for. To augment the probability of attaining results, the van?s presence must have an irresistible WIIFM at its core in order to entice attendance. In other words, while the van?s presence may have been a compelling lure to attract a crowd in the past, it isn?t any longer: There needs to be more thought and planning involved so that the client isn?t just pleased by the customer turnout, he?s blown away.

One possibility would be to heavily promote a contest on-air with a very attractive prize. To be eligible to win, listeners would need to be at the client?s place of business at a designated hour when the drawing would take place (the prize, of course, would be the product or service that is sold by the client). A twist on this idea could also build up your listener database: The contest would be open solely to event attendees who are enrolled in your loyal listener program.

To truly make a van event eventful, and to create value for the existence of the van, you can?t just schedule it, send it, park it, and think that your job is over. The presence of the van at a client?s place of business or a local event must be strategically leveraged in order to attain the greatest benefits for your station and your client.

4. Is there a belief that social buzz around your station indicates the existence of a large and loyal listening audience?
When a station?s Facebook activity, Twitter conversations, and YouTube views start racking up big numbers, it?s pretty exciting. It seems like something big is happening, and it?s taking on an incredible life of its own. Many radio marketing chiefs interpret this attention as an indication that people love what their station is doing, that their marketing work is successful, and that their ratings are on the verge of going through the roof.

However, according to news site WND, a supposed correlation between social buzz and real world ratings is quite murky. The reason is simple: social buzz and social media metrics measure exchanges between your station (news, content, and brand) and your listeners, as well as the transmission of these exchanges with your listeners? social circles. It?s great for this heat to be emanating from your station, but in no way can it be interpreted as being an indication of anything other than your most ardent P1?s taking the time to pay attention to, interact with, and spread your content.

SOLUTION
Having an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. is an essential marketing tactic for a radio station to support and embrace. But misinterpreting a healthy social media buzz surrounding your station can create a sense of dangerous complacency and unfounded over-confidence.

In the past two years, dozens of stations across the country with robust social media traction have flipped formats due to low PPM measurements and disappointing profits. Each of these stations had followers, likes, re-pins, and re-tweets out the wazoo, but in the end, station success isn?t determined by social media metrics. It?s determined by the metrics that truly represent a station?s health or lack thereof: ratings and revenue.

Click for Part 1.

Rafe Gomez is a marketing and business strategy consultant.  His work has been featured on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, PBS, ABC News Radio, WCBS-AM, FoxBusiness.com, BrandWeek.com, and more.  He?s also the host and producer of Rockmixx, an internationally syndicated classic rock mash-up feature.

(9/25/2012 6:34:26 AM)
It is indeed unfortunate that station ownership and management have had this "online saddle" slapped on their backs - and all that comes with it including the social media elements.

But then, these new responsibilities may be accepted with some relief - anything to avoid attending to the very first priorities - those of a massive improvement in local programming and commercial production. Excellent and possibly unwelcome material, Rafe.

(9/24/2012 12:21:51 PM)
Smart stuff from a smart guy. Nice going, Rafe!

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(SALES) Making Your Network Work

9-26-2012

Networking is one of the most profitable marketing strategies that sales professionals can employ, but all too often we confuse networking with simple glad-handing. Like any marketing strategy, networking must be properly planned and targeted to maximize your results.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, ?Ask not what your network can do for you, but what you can do for your network.? Following that advice is the best way to profit from your networking efforts.

If you plan to give of yourself and your company, your networks will return the favour. The most successful networkers, online and in person, are not constantly trying to sell. Instead, using the guidelines below, they create an environment where their network approaches them to buy.

1. Begin with informal networks. Practice your networking skills with people you share a common interest with, and never fake that interest. Having a common passion is a great ice-breaker. Boaters love talking to fellow boaters, and golfers are quick to share their golf stories. Once you?ve broken the ice and established a common bond, your new contact will eventually ask you what you do.

2.Formal networks. Strategically select at least one industry or business network and one charitable organization you can help and benefit from. Be a leader in those groups and become known for what you know, and for what you do for them.

3. Budget and ROI. Establish a budget for memberships, time, and promotion, and establish clear goals and targets for a return on your investment. For online networking in blogs, social media sites, or emails, budget time to create useful/helpful content and reply to your network every day.

4. Be sincere and honest. The best way to build trust and relationships is to plan to do something for your network before you ask them to return the favor. Maybe you can offer your station?s resources to promote a fundraising event, be a guest speaker, or offer a small campaign as a door prize.

5. Look for exclusivity. It is easier to become known for what you do in groups where you have no competitors or peers than to win the allegiance of groups where a long-standing member has already secured their loyalty. Too many broadcast reps all attend the same functions and belong to the same clubs, reducing their odds of capturing the dominant share of that network?s allegiance.

6. Develop your 20-second elevator pitch. Practice outlining how your contacts can benefit from doing business with you, and why you are the best at it?in less than 50 words. When your new prospect is ready to buy, they?ll ask you for more information. If they are not ready to buy, you?ll just annoy them with a lengthy spiel.

7. Learn to listen. You will learn much more about customer needs and perceptions by listening, than you will by opening a conversation with your "pitch." Ask new contacts: ?What do you do?" and be genuinely interested in them. Eventually they?ll ask you: ?What do you do?? and the door will be open for your presentation.

8. Don?t just sign up. Just having your name on a roster won?t help you win hearts and minds. More formal or organized networks or clubs resent "joiners" who don?t contribute to the cause. Always be a proactive resource for your network.

9. Buy first. Give your contacts the opportunity to sell to you and send them referrals when possible. Make sure you take credit for the referrals, and use your buying experience to learn more about the prospect?s business.

10. Ask for referrals. Once you have built your relationships, don?t be afraid to ask for referrals. Always have plenty of business cards and give them out freely. If possible, print a special offer or incentive on the back of your card that you can extend to your new friends, to make them feel special. And always have share buttons on your online messages.

11. Lighten up. Have fun and be fun. Enjoy the group, learn, participate, and smile. No one likes to be sold, everyone loves to buy. You won?t have to stick your foot in the door of people who like you; they will gladly open the door for you.

12. Work the room. Avoid becoming part of a clique. Break out of your comfort zone and sit with people or groups you have not met before. Ask for business cards from every contact and follow up with a note or email saying what a pleasure it was to meet them. Welcome, and respond to, all online comments from your network.

It?s a small world. Everyone you meet can benefit your business. If they never buy from you, or don?t own a business, they can still give you referrals or leads if over time they?ve come to know who you are and what you stand for.

Wayne Ens is the president of ENS Media Inc. and producer of SoundADvice, the radio e-marketing system and advertiser seminar that is persuading local advertisers across North America to drop their print advertising in favor of a radio-Internet media mix. He can be reached at wayne@wensmedia.com 

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Rita Cosby to Moderate Forecast Group Head Panel

9-25-2012

Radio Ink's 10th annual Forecast summit proudly presents "Radio Group Heads: Leadership Speak-Out." An annual summit highlight, this powerful panel features the leaders of the largest and most influential radio groups, speaking openly about the critical issues featuring the industry today. In Forecast tradition, no reporters are allowed. This conversation, moderated this year by Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby, is for the ears of Forecast attendees only.

A highly respected journalist with years of interviewing experience, Cosby can be expected to pose frank questions and provoke equally frank answers from the industry?s heavyweights about their businesses, their predictions, their concerns, what they are optimistic about, and their visions for radio in 2013 and beyond. This panel is historically conversational, candid, and occasionally heated.

"Each year the group heads step up to the plate for an industry dialogue," Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads said. "This year, with Rita Cosby moderating, we should see a whole new level of intrigue." Forecast 2013  is set for November 28, 2012 (the week after Thanksgiving) at the Harvard Club in New York.

Rita Cosby is an Emmy-winning TV host, veteran correspondent, and best-selling author who anchored highly rated prime time shows on Fox News Channel and NBC. She is currently a special correspondent for the top-rated CBS syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition and recently hosted WOR's nationally syndicated Rita Cosby Show.

Radio Ink EVP/Radio Deborah Parenti said, "We are especially pleased to have a journalist of the caliber of Rita Cosby lead this year's group heads' super session. With the election in the rearview mirror by the time Forecast convenes, this will be the first focused opportunity to hear from the industry's joint leadership on where they see business heading over the next four years."

Industry leaders confirmed as of today:

Lew Dickey is Chairman and CEO of Cumulus Media, the second-largest radio group in station count, a revenue leader, and a company with ever-growing industry influence. Cumulus Media Networks, meanwhile, serves more than 4,500 affiliate stations nationwide. Dickey co-founded Cumulus in 1997, and earlier founded Stratford Research; his background in research and statistics remains evident in his management style today.

David Field serves as President and CEO of Entercom Communications, which owns and operates more than 100 radio stations, including newest acquisition KBLX-FM/San Francisco. Field has been with Entercom since 1987 and became CEO in 2002, and he's known as an active and high-profile advocate on a range of industry issues.

John Hogan, longtime president and CEO of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, added the title of Chairman earlier this year. He's been with the company since 1999, when CC purchased Jacor, and now manages more than 800 stations and the top revenue generator in the radio industry. Under Hogan's auspices, Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform is growing fast and attracting partners like Cumulus Media.

Jeff Smulyan, founder and Chairman/CEO of Emmis Communications, wields outsize influence in the radio industry as a respected industry spokesman, most recently as an advocate for FM chips in cellphones, urging their importance as a matter of public safety. After operating WNTS in Indianapolis and KCRO in Omaha, Smulyan formed and became principal shareholder of Indianapolis-based Emmis in 1980.
Peter Smyth, Chairman/CEO of Greater Media, Smyth is known an industry leader on the local, state, and national levels, working with the NAB and RAB on various industry initiatives. He joined Greater Media in 1986 as GM of WMJX-FM/Boston. He became President/COO in 2000 and CEO in 2002, and added the chairman's title in 2008.

Forecast Co-Chairs

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman will co-chair Radio Ink's Forecast 2013. A vocal industry cheerleader, Pittman intends to focus the conversation at Forecast on radio's strengths. Before arriving at Clear Channel in 2010, Pittman's resume included stints as CEO of MTV Networks, AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises. But he began his career in radio, as a 15-year-old on the air in his native Mississippi, and later programmed stations in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York.

Forecast 2013 co-chair Bill Koenigsberg is founder, President, and CEO of Horizon Media, and is highly respected for his insights into marketing and media trends. Under his leadership Horizon has become the largest and fastest-growing independent media agency in the world, with billing of $3.8 billion and clients including Geico, Capital One, United Airlines, and Kraft Foods.

Forecast 2013 is set for November 28, 2012 (the week after Thanksgiving) at the Harvard Club in New York. Attendance is limited to 200.

Register HERE

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Armstrong & Getty Off The Air After Muslim Remark

9-25-2012

Apparently Clear Channel has suspended the morning team from KSTE-AM in Sacramento for remarks made about the prophet Mohammed. Armstrong said, ?Some of you people that are good with the computer ? make an anti-Mohammed ad post it to Al Jazeera. We need to swamp them with ads until they grow up. It?s absolutely unbelievable that we (The U.S.) have been put in a position where we?re apologizing and nobody condemns them." He also said, during his rant, "Mohammed sucks a#*."

There is no official word yet from Clear Channel on the suspension which apparently began Tuesday following the comments that were made on the Monday show. There is also no reference to a suspension on the A&G page at the KSTE website. A "best of" show was aired yesterday. A Facebook page has been set up by fans in support of Armostrong and Getty. You can listen to the remarks made on the show here:

(9/26/2012 6:17:25 AM)
Seriously? "You're either going to grow up and join the 21st century... or we're going to kill you." Really? How did that "We're going to kill you" stuff work out for us in Afghanistan? How is it working out in Iraq? Yes, they (rioting Moslems) need to calm down. But so do you. Inflaming the prejudices of people who look up to you is not good broadcasting.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Battle For Digital Dollars

9-25-2012

The fastest growing segment of the advertising pie is lumped into a category we now call ?digital.? According to the latest report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PWC U.S., ?Internet? advertising revenues alone were $8.4 billion for the first quarter of 2012. That was a 15% increase over the first quarter of 2011. Many different media want to increase their slice of this large and growing revenue pie. The question is, who has the advantage in this relatively new advertising space?
We think it?s important to look at some history in order to help us figure out the future.
?From the time the printing press was invented, printed content ruled. Other than speaking on a stage somewhere, it was the only way to communicate the content of the day. Newspapers owned and distributed a large portion of the content that existed before the invention of electronic media.
?When the first licensed radio stations came on the air, much of the initial content was directly from the newspaper, sometimes even read verbatim. After all, the first radio companies were sometimes owned by the newspaper publishers. Then someone figured out that good radio content didn?t have to be that way. They developed radio shows, and that content was the winner. No one continued to read the newspaper on the radio anymore.
?Then TV came along, and the first thing they did was put radio shows on television. In the beginning, viewers would see a person standing behind a microphone reading the script of the show, maybe with a sound effects person in the background. Then someone figured out that good television content didn?t have to be that way. They created sets and once the equipment allowed for it, they went on location and the shows became something entirely new. That content became the winner and no one continued to read scripts in front of the camera anymore.
?Fast forward 50 years and the Internet came along. So what happens? Newspapers put their printed content on the Internet. Radio stations put their audio content on the Internet. TV stations (once broadband came along) put their TV content on the Internet. Just as in the past, that content will not end up surviving in this new medium against the new competition. The winners will embrace the fact that the Internet is a full-on two-way street. Content needs to be created that takes advantage of that new interactive capability. It?s not much of a stretch to predict that the most interactive content will end up being the winning content.
The beauty is that existing electronic media companies have a huge advantage over the digital pure-play operators. They have talent and content that can be repurposed, leveraging that expense over multiple media distribution platforms. They also have something that no pure-play ever starts with ? an existing audience to engage with on all of these new media platforms.
It?s a lot of change to manage and we wish you the best of luck as you and your teams race to figure out the ideal content to provide on the multimedia, interactive platforms of the future.

You can also view Marc's column at the Research Director website

-Marc Greenspan is a partner at Research Director and can be reached at MGreenspan@ResearchDirectorInc.com. Before helping found Research Director in 1991, he worked as Arbitron Radio Product Manager, just as the company was introducing its first PC applications, such as Arbitrends?. Marc oversees the development of all software systems related to the production of our products and services, as well as all corporate administration.

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Promo Clocks Cause Massive Evacuation

9-25-2012

These promotional clocks were delivered to a CBS-owned radio station in Los Angeles. The person checking the mail heard them ticking. It was determined the box these clocks came in was suspicious and an evacuation of thousands followed. The 27-story building the CBS cluster is located in includes law firms and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It all turned out to be a false alarm after police determined the clocks were harmless.

See how CBS covered the story HERE

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Artists Love Hearing Their Music On Radio

9-25-2012

The artists your radio station play every day are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to being compensated for songs. They certainly want airplay on radio and understand the value the opportunities radio brings to the table. They also understand that they cannot come out and say, "We shouldn't be paid for our work." John Rich (pictured), from the Country duo Big & Rich, seemed to want to avoid picking a side on that topic when he sat on a Radio Show panel with CBS's Dan Mason, Clear Channel's Tom Poleman, and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta. Rich was emphatic about one thing. Artists love hearing their songs on the radio. He also had some specific ideas about how the relationship between artist and radio station can improve and shared some frustrations.

Rich spoke about how emotional he was the first time he ever heard himself on radio. It was when he was still with the band Lonestar. "Artists feel like they have a special relationship with the radio station when their songs are played. Radio people are the coolest people in their towns." Big label CEO Scott Borchetta added, "I have never met an artist who didn't want a hit record on the radio. Artists never get tired of hearing themselves on the radio. They love it." He added, "Radio is still the number one place for music discovery, it's just not the only one."

Where artists get a little frustrated, according to Rich, is when radio stations don't intro or backsell songs. A practice which seems to have become law in the radio industry, despite Mason's attempt to change that, at CBS anyway. Rich says, "When the artist and song title are announced, that has a direct impact on record and ticket sales. It's such an easy thing to do." He told a story about hearing a song on a radio station that he liked but had to research who it was because the station didn't say. Mason made big news last year when he was told pretty much the same thing by a label head and decided CBS was going to do more to address the issue. He said there was a time "music was sold passionately by DJs but in the 90s something happened to homogenize radio. Let's rekindle that spark. Radio really can sell product."

Rich says radio can take a lesson from television on how to use social media to improve their relationships with artists. He used The Voice as an example of how the show is always flashing Blake Shelton's Twitter handle and said radio can incorporate similar ideas. He came up with an idea of his own once, utilizing the radio station in the town Big & Rich were about to perform in. Rich called the station and played off the band's latest hit "That's Why We Pray." Listeners were told to tweet what they pray about and tag Rich as well as the radio station. Someone was chosen from all the tweets and given four tickets and backstage passes to the show. "It was the radio personality in town talking to the artist directly and it cost no money. How many people would then be following that station and the artist? We were all connecting. Every radio station is important to an artist."

By the way you can follow John Rich on Twitter @jonrich

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(TALENT) Hookline And Conflict

9-26-2012

?Without conflict, you don?t have a story. You have a reality show. A story begins with conflict.? Writer Jeff Goins? blog has several salient points on storytelling that apply to both your show and your life.

We strongly recommend that you start stories on-air by answering the question, ?What?s at risk or what?s at stake?? If you can?t answer that question, you don?t have a story that will engage the audience and you don?t have a hook headline. Hook headlines are crucial to immediately engage listeners, and they always contain conflict. For example: ?Tell me if this makes me a bad parent??

Without conflict you may have an interesting observation but you don?t have a story that will stick with people or touch them emotionally. As Goins points out, ?It all comes down to a moment. When Harry Potter finds out he?s a wizard. When Katniss steps in to die for her sister. That?s when a story really begins ? when things start to get uncomfortable. Screenwriters call this catalytic moment an ?inciting incident?.?

Inner conflicts or dilemmas almost always make us feel uncomfortable, yet bringing these types of personal stories to your show builds character depth. Chris Ebbott, PD Virgin/Toronto, echoed this point recently to the Virgin Breakfast Show, ?If something in your life makes you feel uncomfortable then that?s probably something you want to talk about on the show.?

Every great radio show, TV show, movie, book, and comedy incorporates conflict. Most of the entertainment arises out of the conflict. So mine your personal life for stories that contain conflict and use hook headlines to engage people immediately. Your show will improve... and your friends won?t nod off during a story at your next dinner party.

Email randy@randylane.net
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(9/25/2012 11:23:15 PM)
Useful and insightful info, Randy. My question is: So, who is going to be applying this strategy? Perhaps it'll be the poor slug who is V/T'ing a week's worth of "shows" over a couple hours. Maybe the girl with 2 years experience who spends 3 minutes an hour on the air doing station promo, banal gibberish and directing audience to the station's stellar website.
I get it, Randy. I really do. But, it's hard to make a wind in a vacuum.

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How Radio Creates The Next Star

9-24-2012

The New York Market Radio group will be presenting a panel focusing on ?How Radio Creates the Next Star,? Monday, October 1, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Times Center in New York City. The panel will kick off with a special keynote presentation from Grammy Award-winning music industry executive, songwriter, producer, and TV celebrity, L.A. Reid.

Also in attendance will be Joe Puglise, NYMRAD Chair and President and Market Manager, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, New York; Mark Shimmel, Chief Operating Officer, Epic Records; Steve Bartels, President and Chief Operating Officer, Island Def Jam Music Group; Bozoma Saint John, Music and Entertainment Marketing, PepsiCo; Ebro Darden, Vice President, Programming, Emmis, New York. Panel includes a special performance by Marcus Canty, newly signed recording artist to Epic Records and contestant on the first season of The X Factor.



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