General Music Radio Industry News

Monday, June 29, 2015

| June 29, 2015

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wvty logoMagnum Broadcasting Alters Brand of Milwaukee Adult Hits Outlet.  The resolution of the battle over “The Lake” brand of adult hits radio in Milwaukee between E.W. Scripps and Magnum Broadcasting appears to be over with Magnum changing the calls and brand of WMKQ, Racine “92.1 The Lake” to WVTY “92.1 The Shore.”  In a memo to staffers, Magnum Broadcasting CEO Dave Magnum does not address the legal scuffle between his company and Scripps, but says, “We’ve been weaving in ‘shore’ references on the air for the past 10 days.  It’s a natural fit because our new transmitting and antenna systems are delivering signal from Racine up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline from Milwaukee to the Chicago suburbs.  We’re also pleased with our coverage to the west.  Our upgrades exceeded our expectations.”  Scripps had jettisoned the adult hits format – and its brand “94.5 The Lake” – to go country and changed the calls to WKTI.  Immediately after the change, then-WMKQ flipped to an adult hits format and began using the “The Lake” brand, including a logo very similar to the one used by Scripps.  But Scripps claims it still owns the service mark for the “Lake” and the adult hits format and is still airing it on WKTI’s HD3 channel.

ultimateclassicrock logoTownsquare and Compass Partner on Nightly Classic Rock Show.  The “Ultimate Classic Rock” brand is Townsquare Media’s from its UltimateClassicRock.com site and the host of the new, nightly show is longtime rock personality Zach MartinCompass Media Networks is serving as the exclusive syndicator of the program.  The 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET program gets its start on 28 Townsquare Media-owned classic rock outlets, beginning tonight.  Martin has worked at CBS RADIO’s former WXRK “K-Rock,” WCBS-FM and iHeartMedia’s WAXQ in New York; as well as WMMR, Philadelphia and WIYY, Baltimore “98 Rock.”  Townsquare Media SVP of programming Kurt Johnson comments, “We are more than excited to name Zach Martin as host of our Ultimate Classic Rock show.  With a foundation of years in rock radio and many relationships in the genre, Zach will create unique, compelling entertainment across our content platforms, starting of course with an incredible radio show.”

applemusicReports: More Apple Music DJs Named; Beats 1 to Contain In-Programming Sponsorships.  Two separate reports – one from Ad Age and one from The New York Times – deliver news about the soon-to-debut Apple Music service.  The Times says that DJs who will appear on Apple’s Beats 1 channel in addition to already-announced Zane Lowe and Dr. Dre, include WQHT, New York morning personality Ebro Darden; London radio personality Julie Adenuga plus celebrities Pharrell Williams and Elton John.  Ad Age reports that the Beats 1 channel will, instead of traditional radio spots, contain sponsorships delivered by the DJs that are being described by Apple execs as “audio mentions” – brief announcements between records.  What’s not clear from the story is of the mentions will be live or pre-recorded.  The Beats 1 channel is part of the service set to debut tomorrow on a free, three-month trial basis.  In contrast to previous reports, Ad Age is stating that Apple will offer a free, ad-supported service as well as the ad-free subscription service.

jelli logo‘98.3’ The Bull’ in Northeast Ohio Joins ‘Powered by Jelli’ Network.  The Media One Group-owned country station WYBL, Ashtabula, Ohio “98.3 The Bull” becomes part of the Focus “Powered by Jelli” Network – a cloud-based network revenue source platform that traffics, serves and reports all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot technology.  Envision Networks and Focus 360 say Jelli’s RadioSpot platform “enables rapid, cloud-based trafficking of radio spots nationwide; integrated, automated ad serving at local affiliates and real-time reporting of the broadcast ads as they run, via an easy-to-use, powerful web-based dashboard. The RadioSpot platform delivers significantly increased accountability, measurability and transparency to advertisers and radio networks, leading to fewer errors, lower costs, better insights and higher revenue and cash flow.”

abcradioClarksonbannerABC Radio to Present Kelly Clarkson Music Special.  The one-our music special from ABC Radio is available for air between July 10 and August 2. Titled, “Kelly Clarkson: Piece by Piece, the show features her thoughts on her chart-topping album Piece by Piece and her latest hits, as well as what fans can expect from her new tour, launching in July.  She’ll also share her thoughts on motherhood and how her life has changed since she welcomed daughter River last year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

| June 26, 2015

siriusxmSiriusXM Settles in Pre-1972 Recordings Matter.  Five of the largest record companies and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. have agreed to a settlement for the latter’s use of pre-1972 recordings on its satellite radio service.  According to the Recording Industry Association of America, SiriusXM will pay $210 million to plaintiffs ABKCO Music & Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, and Warner Music Group.  The settlement provides a nationwide resolution for SiriusXM’s previous use of the plaintiffs’ pre-1972 recordings and through the end of 2017.  After that, SiriusXM must negotiate with individual record companies.  RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman comments, “This is a great step forward for all music creators.  Music has tremendous value, whether it was made in 1970 or 2015.  We hope others take note of this important agreement and follow SiriusXM’s example.”  This resolution does not include the class action suit led by Flo & Eddie Inc.  That case is currently under appeal in California’s 2nd Circuit Court.

hansontroyCumulus Taps Troy Hanson for WKQX, Chicago PD Gig.  He’s been serving as program director for the company’s rock WNNX, Atlanta and as corporate program director for rock formats.  Now, Troy Hanson will take over the PD post at Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago.  Current programmer PJ is seeking opportunities outside the radio biz.  Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay says, “Troy continues to do an excellent job as corporate PD/rock for Cumulus.  His experience, combined with the need for WKQX to continue to excel, makes him the perfect candidate for this position.”

larochebryanBryan LaRoche New PM Drive Personality at WKIS-FM, Miami.  Air personality Bryan LaRoche has most recently been with Alpha Media at its Portland cluster heard on both country KUPL and CHR KBFF.  Now he transitions to CBS RADIO’s South Florida country outlet WKIS-FM,wkis logo Miami “99.9 Kiss Country” for the afternoon drive shift.  He says, “This can’t be real life.  Country radio?  In South Florida?  For ‘99.9 Kiss Country’?  It doesn’t get any better than that!  I’m honored and thankful to have the opportunity to work with CBS RADIO and the team at WKIS.  I truly feel like this is exactly where I belong and can’t wait to call one of my favorite cities home.”  CBS RADIO Miami VP of programming Rob Morris adds, “Bryan’s talent both on air and combined with his digital programming skills makes him a great addition to the WKIS-FM team.”

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More RadioInfo Career Moves.  Executive changes at Univision Communications as the company announces that Los Angeles-based Jose Valle leaves his role overseeing the radio division and will become president of political & advocacy sales.  Responsibility for the radio division will shift to Jaime Jiminez, whosatterfieldbuster serves as executive vice president of Univision local media…..Moving from the on-air end of the business to the label side of the music industry is former WRDW, Philadelphia personality and programmer Brandon “Buster” Satterfield.  He joins Atlantic Records in New York in a regional promotions capacity.  Satterfield programmed CBS RADIO’s Philly rhythmic CHR outlet before it transitioned to the company’s mainstream CHR AMP format as WZMP.

RadioSalesSchoolEnvision Networks Offers Free Radio Sales School.  Through a deal with influence FM, Envision Networks announces it is able to share Radio Sales School with stations.  Via a partnership with radio sales trainer Chris Rolando, influence FM is able to offer the 15-day course to radio stations absolutely free.  Envision says it’s a great tool for training new sales hires and providing a refresher for more experienced radio sales reps.  Rolando brings more than 40 years of broadcasting industry experience to the course.  He comments, “No matter where I teach, I find that managers and radio station owners spend a significant amount of their time trying to find and train sales reps instead of managing the actual sales.”  The online course features educational videos, quizzes and interactive discussions.  In addition to this course, influence FM is offering access to free scripts, pre-produced spots and more to help stations recruit the best candidates possible.  influence FM produces radio management software available on a cash or barter basis. This product suite gives users complete control over every step of the sales process including asset management, spot creation and commercial production.

bobtomBradGarretts15Bob & Tom at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in Las Vegas.  Members of the Westwood One-syndicated Bob & Tom show pose for a shot with actor and comic Brad Garrett at his Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  The show transported 20 lucky winners and their guests to Vegas for the weekend where they got to do a meet & greet with Garrett.  Pictured (clockwise from top) are: Garrett, Tom Griswold, Chick McGee, Kristi Lee, and Bob Kevoian.

bobsheriBob & Sheri to Host ‘Ugliest Dog’ Contest.  WLNK, Charlotte-based and nationally syndicated morning show hosts Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch are returning to Sonoma Media Group-owned affiliate KMHX, Santa Rosa, California “Mix 104.9” today to host the “World’s Ugliest Dog Contest” at the Sonoma Marin Fair.  The internationally observed event celebrates homely hounds and the humans who love them.  The World’s Ugliest Dog winner will receive a grand prize of $1,500 and the Spirit Award Recipient will receive a special award.  Organizers say the contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend.  Sheri Lynch comments, “We are so excited to be asked back to the festival to host the contest again!  We love this event!”

NASHNYCCadillacThree15‘NASH FM 94.7’ Brings The Cadillac Three to NYC.  New York country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” presented another of its “Up Close and Country” performances in the Big Apple last night (6/25) at Hill Country Barbecue Market in the heart of the city.  The country/rock group The Cadillac Three performed for a lucky group of listeners, singing their hit singles “The South” and “White Lightning,” as well as covers of a number of top country songs.  Prior to the show, the boys stopped by the “NASH FM 94.7” studios to chat with station personality Jesse Addy (left).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

| June 25, 2015

bleudonSF’s Big ‘Bleu’ News. Bay Area Hall of Famer (class of 2007) Don Bleu will do his final KOSF “Big 103.7,” San Francisco morning drive show tomorrow (Friday, 6/26). He has been the wakeup talent on the iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies outlet the past four years, but as market president Katie Wilcox comments, “Don Bleu has been a fixture in the Bay Area radio community for decades. Beyond the years of making audiences laugh and fall in love with his authenticity, he is also credited as the inspiration for manykosf logo other local and national talents. He is no different in the halls than he is on the air – our staff will miss his quick wit and warm presence.” According to Bleu, “I am so fortunate – this has been an incredible run. When I meet listeners, I am amazed at the memories and moments they bring up. They have listened for years and their children have listened for years. As I have ended each broadcast for many years in the Bay Area, ‘Thanks for bein’ on the show.'” Bleu’s San Francisco history dates back 34 years when he did morning drive at KYUU (1981- 1989). He then had a 22-year tenure in the same day-part at cross-town KIOI. Bleu previously worked at KDWB, Minneapolis, and in North Dakota at KILO, Grand Forks and KQWB, Fargo. The East Grand Forks, Minnesota native – known earlier in his career as “The True Don Bleu” – won an Emmy for his work on “Evening Magazine,” and he hosted “The Gong Show” for one season.

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  After 11 years away from the business to stay home with her family, Courtneyfoxxcourtney Foxx returns to Alpha Media’s hot AC WIKZ, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania “Mix 95.1” as midday personality.  Foxx served as midday jock at the station from 1997 through 2004…..Gus Swanson is named digital content manager for CBS RADIO’s Seattle station group.  He was a longtime iHeartMedia staffer in the Seattle market.

CRHoF15Class of 2015 Inducted into Country Radio Hall of Fame.  This year’s class of inductees into the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Country Radio Hall of Fame was honored last night at a special ceremony held at the Omni Hotel in Nashville.  The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to “the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the country format.”  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Randy Carroll, Mike Kennedy, Karen Dalessandro, Joel Raab, and Sammy GeorgePhoto: Kristen England.

RadioInfo Tidbits.  Adult contemporary WLTW, New York “106.7 LITE FM” announces the return of its annual lunchtime theatre summer series, ‘106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park.’  The 2015 program will present the best of Broadway, free to the public, on six consecutive Thursdays beginning July 9 at 12:30 pm ET and will be hosted by LITE FM’s on-air personalities…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WARH, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch” is awarding the  prize in the next phase of its year-long FREE MONEY promotion – FREE MONEY FITS FOR TWO – tomorrow afternoon at the West County Center.  The station will be awarding a local listener with not one, but two Honda Fits – plus $5,000 in each glove box!…..1980s pop hits are now being heard on the Asheville, North Carolina simulcast dubbed “Rewind 100.3.”  The former triple A format on Saga Communications’ WTMT-HD2 and translator W262CO, Asheville at 100.3 FM disappears to make way for the new format.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

| June 24, 2015

beckDreamsDuane Doobie Jr.’s Picks of the Week.  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;” 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, 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 (6/24) includes such names as: Selena Gomez, A$AP Rocky, Afrojack, Mike Taylor, Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Olivia Kay, Alx Kawakami, The Weeknd, Kaya Stewart, Icona Pop, Madison Rising, Five Finger Death Punch, Beck, Secret Lie, Destroyer, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Nate Ruess, Beck, Billy Currington, A Thousand Horses, Jake Owen, Keith Urban, Bily Lord, Carly Jo Jackson, Baio, Gemini Club, Silento, Armin Van Buuren, Mr. Probz, Kygo, among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.

talkersny15MHJDTalkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today.  Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey.  In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics.  Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop.  On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives.  He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.”  Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena.  He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.”  On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.”  He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.”  Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio.  Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task.  Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.”  To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.

nielsen logoNielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults.  Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.”  Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital.  That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach.  Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively.  However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second.  The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50.  In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9.  Radio is close behind with 5.  Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6.  In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach.  Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded.  Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”

dillonzachDillon to Program ‘96.7 Kiss FM’ in Austin.  The change means Zach Dillon moves from iHeartMedia’s CHR KTBT, Tulsa “The Beat” to the company’s Austin cluster where he’ll program CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss FM,” effective July 12.  Dillon says, “I cannot begin to express the happiness I have in knowing I’m returning to the great state of Texas!  This position, with these call letters attached to it, doesn’t come around often.  With this move to Austin, I’m excited to re-sign with iHeartMedia, a company that’s treated me so well over the years.”

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  Weekend and fill-in personality Lisa Kosty is named the permanent midday jock at Hubbard Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago.  Kosty assumes the role previously held bysumkaken Megan Reed, who resigned her position to focus on her battle with cancer…..Non-com triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” announces radio pro Ken Sumka is the new afternoon drive personality.  The longtime WXRT, Chicago jock has been living in Milwaukee and serving as a weekend and fill-in host.  He has also worked as an airborne reporter at WMAQ and WBBM-AM in Chicago from 1998-2009.

gunhillrdBigJaySorensonGunhill Road Meets Big Jay Sorensen.  The legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road had a heck of a great time mingling with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference.  The trio, that had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s, recently released an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio.  The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in a forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their fascinating two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato).  The group is pictured here with pop radio legend and rock ‘n’ roll historian “Big” Jay Sorensen of WCBS-FM, New York.  Shown (l-r): Steve Goldrich, “Big” Jay Sorensen, Glenn Leopold and Paul Reisch.

taylorjamesiHM15James Taylor Featured at iHeartRadio Theater in NYC.  Singing and songwriting legend James Taylor was the featured artist in latest iHeartRadio ICONS series.  This live event at the iHeartRadio Theater featured a performance by Taylor and a Q&A with iHeartMedia and WAXQ, New York personality Jim Kerr.  The two discussed and listened to tracks from his new album, Before This World, which was released earlier this week.  The audio was broadcast across all iHeartMedia classic rock stations at 8:00 pm local time on June 23.  Photo: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio.

NashnightsLivedierks15Dierks Bentley Co-Hosts ‘NASH Nights Live.’  With “NASH Nights Live” personality Shawn Parr away from the studio at a charity event this week, special guests are joining co-host Elaina Smith (left) on the program.  Pictured here is Dierks Bentley (right) in the studio.  Other special guest this week include: Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae, Canaan Smith, Tim McGraw, and Hunter Hayes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

| June 23, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelSean 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.

voltair imageTelos 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.

kinosianmikePPM 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.

radlovicmarkoRadlovic 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 &sethkat 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.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallFly 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 RadioInfo.com.

madisonrisingREDMadison 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 albumreview@madisonrising.com.

gracies15b2015 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.