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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If You Haven't Already Visited Today, Here's Some of What You're Missing...

Sean Hannity Moderates Blockbuster Panel on Audience Measurement at Talkers New York 2015 – See Video Today!

One of the highlights of the recently held (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference is now posted on Talkers TV – “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the panel includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP, Salem Media Group; Erica Farber, president/CEO, RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Richard Harker, founder, Harker Research; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP Audience Insights, Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media.  The session is introduced by Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  The hard-hitting, no-holds-barred conversation addresses the ongoing problem of achieving accurate radio ratings – a problem that is relevant to both music radio and spoken-word programming – during audio media’s transition into the digital era. Issues such as the PPM, the new Voltair device, achieving adequate sample size, and the challenge of rating elusive online listenership are analyzed.  Each panelist brings their own insights, problems and solutions to the discussion with Nielsen’s Jon Miller formidably bearing much of the brunt of probing questions and stinging criticism.  This video is a must-view for all professional radio broadcasters today.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been organizing and attending industry conferences since 1976.  This particular session provides more valuable take-aways than any I have ever witnessed in my entire career, as well as moving the interests of a fairer and more productive radio industry forward.  My congratulations to all the participants – especially Jon Miller – for bring their A-games to the table.  And Sean Hannity shows what a major league host and moderator he is – above and beyond his skills as a ‘political’ talk show host.  Sean’s constituency in this case is everyone who makes, or is trying to make, their living in radio.  He delivers a real clinic on how to run a discussion.  I give him a 10.”  To view the entire session, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  An intimate “fireside chat” between Cumulus Media EVP, John Dickey and Michael Harrison.

Telos Alliance’s Dr. Barry Blesser Explains Voltair’s Success.

The conclusion drawn by Telos Alliance director of research Dr. Barry Blesser regarding his company’s controversial Voltair products is, “The way that the radio industry handles the current Voltair controversy will influence its likelihood of surviving.”  Most industry pros are aware of Voltair and the controversy over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM measurement system.  Those who are not should be getting up to speed quickly and Blesser’s paper illustrates – from Telos Alliance’s perspective at least – what Voltair does, what it doesn’t do, and how it is affecting what radio listeners hear and don’t hear in PPM-rated markets.  The selling point for the $15,000 signal processing unit is that it helps stations make up for alleged inadequacies in the PPM technology and Blesser’s paper explains how those inadequacies manifest themselves for radio programmers.  One of the issues is Blesser’s assertion that different types of audio are “friendlier” to PPM code tones than others.  He says, “Voltair is basically an AGC (automatic gain control) compressor that keeps the tones higher in amplitude when they are on their way to becoming too small.  Voltair produces tone energy similar to that of a well-encoded audio signal.  The tones are perceived as being louder in part because they are of longer duration.  Why does increased duration make a difference?  Because the detector cannot identify the frequency of a tone if it is too short.  When a tone is relatively constant for the full half second, all is well; but if the tone lasts for less than a tenth of a second, the meter has no idea about its frequency.  And the exact frequency is required to determine the meaning of the codes. Tones are truncated when the spectral content of the program is in short bursts. Interestingly, speech is comprised of short spectral bursts.”  That last part may not bode well for spoken-word programming or talk-intensive morning shows.  Nielsen says it is testing the Voltair unit, but so far the industry has heard nothing.  Blesser writes, “In the decade since PPM was rolled out, radio has changed dramatically as programmers, who, ‘teach to the test’ of PPM’s technical properties, have shortened or eliminated spoken word segments, moved clocks around, and even dumped whole formats.  Now, with Voltair providing tremendous insight as a monitoring/measurement tool, this dynamic has accelerated as programmers have proven to themselves the correlation between PPM’s technical underpinnings and raw meter count.  Assuming Nielsen refuses to address technical issues raised by Voltair, we can expect this trend to accelerate.  Call it the law of unintended consequences where a measurement methodology drives programming decisions, determines careers and discards content, all in service to watermarking success.”  Read the entire paper here.

PPM Analysis: Country.

RadioInfo managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the third of three format analyses based on data from the May 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM survey.  Previous reports looked at adult contemporary and hot AC.  In today’s report you can see the 6+ shares for country-formatted stations in PPM markets over the past six surveys, fluctuations in shares from April 2015 to May 2015, fluctuations in shares from May 2014 to May 2015, market ranks (eight country stations rank #1 [6+] in their markets), plus a comparison of adult contemporary, hot AC and country stations.  View this report here.

Radlovic Returns to SBS.

After recently exiting his position with Cumulus Media where he was president and market manager for the Los Angeles duo classic rock KLOS and news/talk KABC, Marko Radlovic returns to Spanish Broadcasting System where he’ll serve as SVP and West Coast regional manager.  In this role, he’ll be in charge of the operations at Spanish-language music outlets KLAX and KXOL in Los Angeles and KRZZ in San Francisco/San Jose.  He served with SBS for 10 years from 2001 through 2011.  SBS chairman and CEO Raul Alarcon comments, “We are very excited to have Marko back at SBS.  Marko's radio experience and acumen are a matter of indisputable record and we're confident of his leadership abilities in taking our stations to the highest level of operational excellence.  He knows radio, he knows the market, he knows the company and its people and he's intimately familiar with our West Coast stations.  No one is more qualified to take over the reins.”

More RadioInfo Career Moves.

The new morning show at CBS RADIO’s country KMPS, Seattle is “Seth & Kat” – former midday host Seth Hughes and former morning show producer Kat. They replace the departed Johnson & Johnson morning show…..At Louisville country outlet WAMZ, iHeartMedia inks morning personality Chris Randolph to a contract extension.  The station recently brought Amy Nic aboard to co-hos the “Chris & Amy” show with Randolph…..Also receiving a contract extension is hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia “Power 99” personality MuthaKnows – a member of the “Rise and Grind Morning Show.”  iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of urban programming DC Corbett says, “MuthaKnow’s engaging personality, work ethic, social media skills and gift for connecting with our listeners makes him a key and highly valued member of our team.”…..Tim Moore is the new SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s New Hampshire stations that includes rock outlets WHEB, Portsmouth and WGIR-FM, Manchester and CHR WERZ, Portsmouth “Z107,” among others.

Fly Me to the Moon – Actually the Moons (of Pluto)!

RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has been expanding his probes beyond radio deep into the media universe via his international hit Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” This week, he takes his audience of “media freaks” billions of miles across the solar system in advance of NASA’s “New Horizons” mission’s unprecedented fly-by of the Pluto system on July 14.  Harrison interviews Dr. Alan Stern, a leading planetary scientist who is the “principle investigator” of this exciting and historic project and the two get into illuminating detail of the solar system’s unfolding new paradigm.  There is a lot more to the debate about whether or not Pluto is a “planet” than the mainstream media is indicating… and there is hardly consensus among scientists about the topic.  Harrison states, “All these technologically wondrous probes and space satellites are connecting the human nervous system to places that were once considered one-dimensional abstractions, completely out of reach.  After all, ‘media’ is the extension of human consciousness by technological means – plain and simple.  We used to use drums and smoke signals.  Then we accomplished such major feats as laying a trans-Atlantic cable across an ocean.  Now we are ‘wiring’ the solar system!  Anyone see an amazing pattern here?  To listen to Michael Harrison’s exclusive conversation with Dr. Alan Stern, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of

Madison Rising Releases Album American Hero RED

That band that bills itself as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” is releasing its American Hero RED album. Madison Rising says the new record is completely remixed and remastered to deliver the cleanest and strongest sound possible.  It includes four additional tracks: “Amazing America,” the band’s powerful rendition of the classic Marines’ Hymn, the hauntingly beautiful “Soldier's Christmas” and its brand-new rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.”  As with the original American Hero album, American Hero RED is anchored by Madison Rising’s best-selling rock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  Originally released in the summer of 2012, both the song and video have become huge hits, catapulting the band into the national spotlight and creating one of the most loyal fan bases in rock music history.  The band has recently partnered up with Concerned Veterans for America as well as the Young Marines National Youth Organization and is currently embarking on an ambitious 70-city tour.  Madison Rising is on a mission to make great rock music and send a message that American culture is alive and well.  Led by navy veteran and former 8404 FMF Corpsman Dave Bray, the band promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. For review copies, please contact

2015 Gracie Awards.

The 2015 Gracie Awards were presented at the New York Hilton on June 22 by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.  This photo shows just a few of the high-profile attendees and winners.  (From l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Lori Lundin, anchor/reporter WTOP and Gracie winner (also host of the new experimental animal rights show “Vox Animali” on TalkersRadio); Kristen Welch, chair, AWM/F and SVP, global content operations, Discovery Communications, Inc.; Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus New York; Kelly Ford, WNSH, New York host and Gracie Winner; Maire Mason, VP/GM WNSH, New York; Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting and past chair of AWM/F; Pavlina Osta, Gracie Winner; Loren Raye, Gracie Winner and co-host of “The TJ Show,” WODS-FM, Boston; Matt Bosso, WASH-FM, Washington; Emme, supermodel; and Kay Olin, Olin and Associates and past chair of AWM/F.

PPM Analysis: Hot AC
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor

LOS ANGELES — RadioInfo managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the second of three format analyses based on data from the May 2015 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Today, Kinosian focuses on hot AC.  Compared to the adult contemporary format (you can see that report here) with 13 stations that rank #1 in their markets, hot AC has just two stations ranking #1 (persons 6+) in their markets – KBIG, Los Angeles and WRMF, West Palm Beach.  However, the next 13 stations – of the 62 hot AC-formatted outlets in PPM markets – rank in the #2, #3,or #4 position their respective markets.  Also, in this report, view a comparison of AC and hot AC stations in the PPM markets.  View it here.

PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor

LOS ANGELES — RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of three format analyses based on May 2015 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio.  The first format is adult contemporary.  The historically stable format features 13 stations that rank #1 in their markets.  In this report you can see the 6+ PPM performances of AC stations over the last six surveys; fluctuations from April 2015 to May 2015; fluctuations from May 2014 to May 2015; market share over the past six surveys and more.  See Mike Kinosian’s full report here.  The next format analysis will be hot AC.

Duane Doobie, Jr.'s Picks of the Week
By Duane Doobie, Jr.
Co-Music Editor

RadioInfo’s hard-working co-music editor, Duane Doobie Jr., backed by a growing team of information-contributing researchers and golden-eared, trench broadcasters, including this week: on-air personalities Bayley Brown from WKLC-FM, St. Albans, West Virginia “Rock 105”; Matt James, golden-eared, on air personality at “T-100” WCLT in Newark, OH; Bill Phipps the golden-eared afternoon personality at WSIG, Mt. Jackson, Virginia “Real Country 96.9;” Golden-eared music director Karoline Kramer Gould (also known to her followers as Momma K) at WJCU 88.7 FM; Todd Cavanah, golden-eared PD at CBS owned WJMK “K-Hits” & WBBM-FM in Chicago; Jayn, golden-eared afternoon talent/music director/asst. program director at “Alice 93.7” in San Francisco; plus internet sensation The Iceman, provides programmers with musical suggestions worthy of the attention of pro-active radio formats.  You’ll be turned on to some of the exciting artists and music buzzing out there just over the horizon from the worlds of pop, rock, country and EDM.  This week’s selection posted today (6/17) includes such names as: Kaya Stewart, Nathan Sykes, The Weeknd, Emii, Alx Kawakami, Tori Kelly, Little Mix, Icona Pop, OMI, MKTO, Gunhill Road, FIDLAR, FFS, Frank Turner, Secret Lie, Marilyn Manson, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Nate Ruess, Beck, Destroyer, Alabama Shakes, Third Eye Blind, Madonna, James Reeder, Keith Urban, HoneyHoney, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Josh Goodlett, Sam Hunt, Chris Janson, Billy Lord, Kygo, Lifelike, Kris Menace, Calvin Love, Galantis, among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.

Covering Breaking News – Even for Music Stations
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television
Director, Business Continuity

NEW YORK — May 12th’s deadly Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia caught many news outlets by surprise and, according to ABC TV director, business continuity Howard B. Price, even the big networks that were on the scene late into the evening made plenty of mistakes.  If you operate a music station that also does news during any daypart (or if you’re an OM also in charge of a news/talk or news station) Price says you also should prepare for the unexpected.  “Regardless of the size of your station, or its resources, you simply have to be ready to cover it in a timely, comprehensive and authoritative way.  It’s why you have a license.  If you were watching cable news last night, you saw waaaay too much speculation as to cause…and more than anything else, you saw talent talking more than they were listening.  You also saw stunning displays of what happens when you thrust ill-prepared anchors into continuous coverage and not give them much substance to work with.”  Preparing to cover such a news event, especially for a smaller station (or a music station), takes plenty of foresight and hard work.  Price provides some detailed advice for strategizing this preparation.  Read his entire story here.

Cooke: Moms & Media
By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI -- Radio consultant Holland Cooke presents this analysis of the Edison Research “2015 Moms & Media” data from that company’s ongoing Infinite Dial project.  Cooke reports that, as previous data from numerous research sources has indicated over the years, “Mom is Secretary of the (family) Treasury to-the-tune-of $1.2 TRILLION a year in the USA.”  Moms are also tech savvy and their busy lifestyle welcomes new media.  Some takeaways from the study include: Mom spends more time per day (3 hrs 7 min) on the Internet than the survey population in general (2:51); 84% own a smartphone (69% last year); vs. 71% total respondents; and 64% of Moms surveyed own a tablet computer (47% last year).  For more data, see Cooke’s entire report here.

Can and Should You Censor a Political Ad?
By Steven J.J. Weisman
Legal Editor

BOSTON — RadioInfo legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the case involving Chicago’s ABC TV outlet and its refusal to run a political ad from a PAC. The case raises the issues of just what are the legal responsibilities of a broadcast outlet when I comes to political advertising? Does a station even have to accept political advertising at all? These and more questions are addressed by Weisman in the murky arena of political advertising on broadcast stations. Read it here.

The Power of Legacy Media
By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Sales and management pro Bill Brady writes, in a piece recently published in RadioInfo, that we’ve been hit with a barrage of non-stop brainwashing about the “power” of digital media for so long now that hardly anyone questions the validity of the narrative.  But he does.  And Brady says there are problems with what we’ve been told all these years.  “This is the product of the PR machine employed by digital start-ups to build and reinforce their investment value through rounds of funding leading to an eventual IPO.  Media consultants who hope to survive as digital experts also contribute mightily to the noise.  So do media companies themselves who are complicit in allowing the misguided narrative to go on and on and on.”  For those impressed with the digital revenue being reported by traditional media companies, be on guard.  Brady says, “Some of the digital revenue reported by traditional media companies is the result of bundling discounts which, in effect, result in broadcast revenue being reported as digital revenue.  If it wasn’t for this phenomenon, some companies might actually be reporting year-to-year increases in core broadcast revenues.  Their digital revenues, small in comparison to core revenue, would thus be less impressive.  But, we would at least be seeing accurate digital revenue figures that are not artificially inflated and the reputation of legacy media would be less tarnished.”  Read more of Brady’s cautionary column here.

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