General Music Radio Industry News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

| April 17, 2014

ppmunitRound Two of Nielsen Audio’s March PPM Data Released.  Owing Tuesday’s Passover observance, the second round of Nielsen Audio March 2014 PPM ratings was delayed by a day.  So,kinosianmike here are the ratings for the next group of 12 markets that include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  All the numbers can be found here, but RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways.”

  • Washington – On the strength of a seven-tenths gain, Radio One-owned gospel facility WPRS “Praise 104.1″ zooms from #13 to #8. It is the third successive (6+) progressive trend for “Praise,” which totals a combined +1.4 in that stretch (2.6 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 4.0). Seven-tenths is lucky for WIAD “94.7 – Fresh FM” as well as it improves from 2.9 to 3.6, placing the CBS Radio hot AC in a three-way tie at #10 – up from #15 in February; 3.6 is Fresh FM’s best 6+-performance since October, when it also reached that figure. After a January – February gain of eight-tenths (4.6 – 5.4), Clear Channel adult contemporary WASH returns to 4.6 (-.8) but remains at #6. 
  • Detroit – Enjoying the most significant (6+) month-to-month gain among all stations in the 12 PPM markets released Wednesday is WMXD “Mix 92.3.” Not only does the Clear Channel urban AC – which ranked third in February – rocket from 6.4 to 8.3 (+1.9), it dislodges CBS Radio all-news WWJ (7.9 – 7.2, -.7) from #1; WWJ slips to second. To help put the 8.3 that “Mix” racks up in perspective, the station heretofore had not crossed the seven-share threshold (6+). After six successive downward trends in which its 6+ share was sliced in half (8.0 – 7.6 – 6.1 – 5.4 – 4.6 – 4.0), CBS Radio sports outlet WXYT-FM “The Ticket” picks up seven-tenths (4.0 – 4.7) and returns to the top ten (#11 in February to #8). No sooner does Clear Channel adult contemporary WNIC bounce back from a massive -7.9 “Holiday” – January decline with a +.6 in February to advance from #6 to #4, it regresses by one full-share (6.1 – 5.1) and falls back to #6. CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WOMC’s string of four successive (6+) up trends (5.0 – 5.1 – 5.3 – 6.9 – 7.6) concludes with an eight-tenths decline to 6.8 (#2 to #3); 7.6 was WOMC’s best-ever 6+ PPM performance.     
  • Miami – WFEZ “Easy 93.1″ registers a +.8 (5.0 – 5.8), leapfrogging from #7 to #3. You might recall that in February, the Cox Media Group adult contemporary facility posted a negative trend (5.6 – 5.0, -.6) for the first time since July – August. The 6+ line score for “Easy 93.1″ since August was four successive 5.1 showings, back-to-back 5.4 shares, and a 5.6. Meanwhile, “Easy 93.1″ urban contemporary sibling WEDR “South Florida’s Only Station for Hip-Hop and R&B” (5.8 – 5.1, #2 to #5) and public WLRN (2.9 – 2.2, #16 to #19) are each off by seven-tenths (February – March, 6+); WEDR was coming off a +.8 (5.0 – 5.8). Despite being off by six-tenths (8.8 – 8.2), CMG-owned WHQT “Hot 105″ is #1 for an amazing 34th straight time. 
  • Seattle – As a result of posting a +.7 to 5.7, Hubbard CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5″ breaks away from a three-way logjam at #2 to claim the #1 spot (6+) from public KUOW, which falls to fifth (5.1 – 4.7). Improving by one-half share (3.6 – 4.1), Entercom‘s KKWF “The Wolf” (#11 to #9) widens its lead slightly over CBS Radio-owned country rival KMPS, which is flat at 3.5, but inches up from #12 – #11. After gaining six-tenths to 3.8 (January – February), Sinclair Broadcast Group Hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5″ drops that and a little more (3.8 – 3.0, -.8) as it plummets from #10 to #15.
  • Phoenix – When KMXP “Mix 96.9″ made its gargantuan +3.2 to 8.1 (January – February), it represented the first time in its PPM history that the Clear Channel hot AC reached/crossed the eight-share barrier (6+). “Mix” remains at #1 for the second straight month, however, it relinquishes more than half of its previous +3.2 (8.1 – 6.3). Moreover, the -1.8 is the heftiest month-to-month decline by any station in the 12 PPM markets released on Wednesday. Since the “Holiday” report, Bonneville‘s KTAR-FM has had an interesting rollercoaster ride by recording a 3.5 (“Holiday”); 4.2 (January); back down to 3.5 (February); and now back up to 4.2 (March). In the country battle, Clear Channel’s KNIX “The Best New Country” gains seven-tenths (4.4 – 5.1, #6 to #4) while CBS Radio‘s KMLE “Country@107.9″ drops three-tenths (4.0 – 3.7, #9 to #12).     
  • MinneapolisCumulus classic rocker KQRS tacks on a +1.1 to last month’s modest two-tenths gain (6.1 – 6.3 – 7.4) and creeps up from fifth to third. After rebounding from a -1.7 (December – “Holiday”) to a +1.1 (“Holiday” – January), then losing six-tenths to 5.8 (#8 in February), Clear Channel country KEEY “K-102″ adds four-tenths (5.8 – 6.2, #7). It overtakes format challenger – CBS Radio‘s KMNB – which is down one-tenth (6.0 – 5.9, #8), following January – February’s +.8. Contemporary Christian KTIS declines by one full-share (7.4 – 6.4) and falls from third to sixth.
  • San Diego – In a rare occurrence, the market has back-to-back situations of a station hitting #1 for the first time since PPM became San Diego’s ratings currency. February numbers found Clear Channel-owned KGB-FM “World Class Rock” (5.3 – 5.5, +.2) halting Lincoln Financial Media country outlet KSON-FM’s consecutive string of #1 showings (6+) at 18. Now it is LFM adult contemporary KIFM’s initial turn at the top as it leapfrogs from fourth to first (5.0 – 5.5), as KGB-FM loses one full-share (5.5 – 4.5) and plummets to sixth. Alternative turns in a good month with XETRA “91-X” (3.2 – 3.7, #12) and KBZT “FM 94/9″ (2.9 – 3.4, #13) each improving by one-half share. Sliding from second to fifth, KSON-FM has its fourth successive (6+) down trend (6.9 – 6.4 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.9) and is a cumulative -2.0 in that timeframe.  
  • Tampa – Two Tampa Bay outlets are up by at least +1.0 month-to-month (6+): Clear Channel CHR WFLZ zooms from ninth to second (5.0 – 6.1, +1.1) and CBS Radio-owned WQYK “Tampa Bay’s Country Station” jumps from #14 to #8 (3.9 – 4.9, +1.0). Conversely, Cox Media Group adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9″ – which was -1.0 January – February (7.6 – 6.6) – regresses by an additional -1.6 to 5.0. In the process, it falls from second to seventh and registers its weakest 6+-stat since August 2012 (4.8). CMG AC cluster-mates WDUV and WWRM were #1 – #2 for the past six monthly reports; WDUV (9.6 – 9.8, +.2) is #1 for the sixteenth consecutive monthly.       
  • Baltimore – Following a massive seven-share “Holiday” – January falloff (11.9 – 4.9), CBS Radio adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9″ turns in its second straight upward trend – this one a +.8 to 6.0 and stays even at #4. Radio One urban contemporary WERQ “92-Q” had recorded three successive positive trends (6.9 – 7.0 – 7.6 – 7.9, 6+) before taking a one-share decline to 6.9. It remains at #1 for the third straight monthly, but now shares top honors with Clear Channel country WPOC, which is actually down one-tenth (7.0 – 6.9).   
  • St. Louis –  Clear Channel‘s KLOU “Greatest Hits of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s” rings up a +.9 (5.1 – 6.0), shooting the classic hits-oldies outlet from a tie at #10 to a tie at #4. Hubbard-owned country property WIL-FM (6.8 – 7.3, +.5) retains the top spot for the second successive monthly; 7.3 represents the station’s most potent 6+-stat in its PPM history. Dropping by nine-tenths (6.7 – 5.8) is CBS Radio hot AC KYKY “Y-98,” which slides from fourth to sixth.

cclogoClear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown.  The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some and now the plan has been put into effect.  The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters.  However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap.  Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

kxrk logoJohnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media.  A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report.  First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah.  Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson.  He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL.  Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media.  Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests.  Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets.  Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.

kmva logoMonica Nelson to Mornings on Arizona Hot AC Duo.  Radio personality Monica Nelson is the new morning drive co-host at Riviera Broadcasting’s hot AC “Hot 97.5/103.9” – a simulcast on KMVA, Dewey-Humboldt (between Phoenix and Prescott) and KEXX, Gilbert (southeast of Phoenix).  She joins Vinnie Del Rosso for the 6:00 am to 10:00 am shift.  She comes to Riviera from her most recent gig at the former KPKX “98.7 The Peak.”  Director of operations Marc Young says, “We’re absolutely delighted to add a talent of Monica’s stature to the ‘Hot’ brand.  She is a seasoned pro and fits perfectly with our focus on all things live and local for Phoenix.”

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  At WPNT-owned hot AC WLTJ “Q 92.9,” Debbie Wilde is named midday personality, moving there from the evening slot.  Wilde joined the station last fall after previously serving at Clear Channel’s crosstown alternative WXDX…..Sebastian Davis is named executive producer of “The Regular Guys” morning show on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, Atlanta “Rock 100.5.”

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

| April 16, 2014

sarahvinnieSarah Re-Ups with KLLC, San Francisco.  Morning drive personality Sarah signs a multi-year contract extension to remain on the morning drive show with partner Vinnie at CBS RADIO’s hot AC KLLC, San Francisco “Alice@97.3.”   Sarah, who’s been with the station since 1997, says, “I’m so excited to continue our reign of terror in the morning at Alice@97.3 – we have a great team together in the morning and it’s an honor to work alongside the whole staff at Alice.  I truly have to pinch myself from time to time – I might be the luckiest person in the world.  I’m beyond stoked!”  CBS RADIO San Francisco SVP and market manager Doug Harvill adds, “All of us at CBS RADIO San Francisco are pleased to continue our relationship with Sarah.  She’s talented, lovely and a joy to be around…and now we’ll have her around for many more years.”

byromhannahHannah Byrom Joins KBFF, Portland’s ‘Morning Mess.’  The “Morning Mess” show on Alpha Broadcasting’s CHR KBFF “Live 95.5” in Portland adds Hannah Byrom to the cast that includes Tanya Brown and Mike Edwards, effective April 21.  Byrom has worked on the morning show at WAZO, Wilmington, North Carolina and as co-host of the nationally syndicated evening show, “Zach Sang and the Gang.”  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick coments, “Hannah is the perfect fit to join the cast of the ‘Morning Mess’ and bring a perspective that only someone who lives the lifestyle can bring.  We are thrilled to have Hannah on our team.”

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Sherí Taylor Joins WSPA, Greenville for Middays.  It’s a return to Entercom’s adult contemporary WSPA, Greenville “Magic 98.9” for Sherí Taylor, who left the station seven years ago.  Most recently, she’s been co-hosting the morning program at Salem Communications’ crosstown classic hits WOLT “Earth 103.3.”  The station notes that Taylor has been working in the Greenville market graduating from Clemson University in 1995 and calls her “a multi-talented personality” who’s been a comedian for 20 years, worked as an on-air personality for “Oldies 106.3,” started a small business, where she owns her own photography studio, and has worked as a television entertainment reporter.  Entercom VP/market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Last week, ‘Magic 98.9’ added Murphy, Sam & Jodi to our morning lineup and today we add another superb talent to middays in Sherí Taylor.  Sherí deserves the bigger platform and audience she’ll have with ‘Magic 98.9.’  With the largest radio audience in the state of South Carolina, we always need to deliver the best for our clients.  These moves make ‘Magic’ stronger from top to bottom and improve our station, and better position our entire cluster for the future.”  Taylor adds, “Coming back home to a place I love and respect is the icing on the cake.  Entercom has always been like family to me and I can’t wait to start on middays on a heritage brand like ‘Magic 98.9.’”

wallskentKent Walls Named to Air Staff at KKGO, Los Angeles.  The Toronto-born media personality is familiar to Angelenos as an on-air host and reporter for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.  Kent Walls serves as a correspondent for the “Ducks Weekly” show on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.  Now, he’s adding weekend air work on Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO “Go Country 105 FM” to his duties.  In addition to the above-cited work, Walls is a partner at Three-Point Stance, a multimedia production company and creative agency based in Culver City.

mccollummaryMcCollum Promoted at Idaho Media Group.  Local sales manager Mary McCollum is promoted to director of regional and national sales at IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc.  McCollum began her career in media as a marketing manager for Ubiquitel (Sprint Wireless), in 2000.   She moved to neighboring Clarkston, Washington in 2009, taking a position in Lewiston as sales manager at Pacific Empire Radio Corporation.  In 2011, McCollum moved to nationally recognized IdaVend Broadcasting as the sales manager for Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL, Inc. in Moscow.  In addition to national and regional sales, McCollum also specializes in political advertising and sponsorship promotions.

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  At Wilks License Company-owned classic hits KXKL, Denver “Kool 105.1,” Jim Berry is named program director and afternoon drive host, taking over for Gregg Cassidy…..Evening personality Chris Rock exits Tiger Communications’ alternative WTGZ, Union Springs, Alabama (Auburn-Montgomery market) “Tiger 93.9 FM.”…..JYH Broadcasting’s alternative rocker KNOB, Santa Rosa, California “96X,” Sarah Jean moves up from the promotions department to midday personality on the station.   

carriemistressWAAF, Boston’s Mistress Carrie to Participate in ‘Tough Ruck’ Fundraiser.  Afternoon drive personality Mistress Carrie is doing something no other civilian has been allowed to do – participate in the Tough Ruck fundraiser.  The WAAF personality has a long track record of supporting U.S. troops.  She went to Iraq and Afghanistan as an embedded reporter in 2006 and 2011, respectively.  Now she’ll put on a 40-pound rucksack and join some 1,000 soldiers from over 30 states in a 26 mile hike along the historic Battle Road Trail in Concord, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 19.  The event benefits Military Friends Foundation.  Mistress Carrie is part of a fundraising team that includes the 1-182 Infantry, whom she was embedded with in Afghanistan.  Mistress Carrie adds, “After being embedded with members of the 182 in Afghanistan, and visiting them as they secured Boston after the marathon bombings, I’m honored to be a member of the team, especially on April 19, because the 182 are one of only a few units in the military that carry battle streamers from Lexington, Concord, and Boston.  It’s going to be a very special day, and I just hope to keep up with them!”

simonpaulPaul Simon to Receive NAB Education Foundation Honor.  The legendary singer and songwriter will receive the 2014 Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) for his long-time commitment to providing healthcare to underserved children across the country.  The award will be presented at NABEF’s Celebration of Service to America Gala on June 17.  NABEF president Marcellus Alexander says, “Paul Simon has had a tremendous influence on the global music community for a half-century through his innovative style and inspired songwriting.  His involvement in expanding healthcare coverage for underprivileged and impoverished children is just as important.  This award honors his mission to provide a higher quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens.”  Last year, the award was presented to Stevie Wonder.

emmisSign of the Times for Emmis. Later today when it is time to ring NASDAQ‘s closing bell in Times Square, Emmis chairman/president/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan will be doing the honors.  The ceremony will officially celebrate Emmis’ February acquisition of urban AC WBLS and gospel WLIB from YMF Media.  Those outlets will be part of a three-station NYC cluster, as they unite with Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97.” Smulyan comments, “As the WBLS and WLIB staffs join the Emmis family, we are very excited to celebrate by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.”  Emmis New York general manager Deon Levingston notes, “This has been a thrilling time for all of us at WQHT, WBLS, and WLIB.  What better way to remember it than ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.”  Others taking part later today will be “Hot 97″ air personalities Funkmaster Flex and Angie Martinez; WBLS talents Lenny Green, Dr. Bob Lee, and Earthquake; and WLIB’s Bishop Hezekiah Walker.

peterstimKHLT, Wichita’s Tim Peters Dies.  Co-workers and listeners are mourning the sudden death of radio personality Tim Peters, who was morning drive co-host at Air Capitol Media Group-owned AC KHLT “99.7 Lite-FM.”  KAKE-TV reports that fellow staffers became concerned when Peters didn’t show up for work on Tuesday morning.  KHLT officials confirm he passed away but no cause is being announced at this time.  Peters worked in the Wichita market from 1982 to 1997 before leaving for gigs in other markets.  He returned to Wichita in 2007.  Fellow air staffer Dan Holiday and morning co-host Gayla Crouse are hosting a live tribute to Peters today (4/16).

aretha albumNo R-E-S-P-E-C-T At All.  There were at least two things missing from last Friday’s (4/11) widely shared story that singer Patti LaBelle was arrested after an altercation with Aretha Franklin. First, Vince McMahon could have booked it earlier in the week (Sunday, 4/6) as part of the WWE‘s benchmark “WrestleMania 30″ in New Orleans.  More importantly though, there was the ever-so-slight detail that no such fisticuffs ever occurred.  The purely fictional piece concocted and written in “The News Nerd” contends the fight took place in Atlanta on March 20. Several media outlets missed the part about it being a goof and ran with it.  Wanting to set the record straight, Franklin took to social media by writing, “I have never heard anything crazier regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting.  On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday [party]. Patti and I are cool and we always have been.  I enjoyed her at the White House – classic Patti.”  A disclaimer at the bottom of the “News Nerd” site states its posts are for “entertainment purposes only.”  Those missing that line, however, were clearly more focused on the body of the “story,” which portrays LaBelle decking Franklin with a punch following a back-and-forth feud.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

| April 15, 2014

nielsen logoRound One of Nielsen Audio’s March PPM Data Released.  The March PPM data from Nielsen Audio is being released and round one for markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union is available here.  In addition, RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group.

  • New York – The March survey period covered February 27 – March 26. On (Monday) March 3, classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM unveiled its new wakeup program headlined by a promising newcomer – Scott Shannon. Kidding aside, given his lengthy tenure at cross-town CHR WHTZ “Z-100″ (the station he signed-on) and most recently at Cumulus hot AC WPLJ, Shannon is a genuine New York City morning drive icon.  His new address – WCBS-FM – gains one-half share (5.6 – 6.1, 6+) in March and goes from a second-place tie in February with Emmis urban AC WBLS (5.6 – 5.4, dropping to fourth) to sole possession of the runner-up slot. Meanwhile, his former station – WPLJ – is down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (3.0 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.6 – 2.4, 6+) and slips from #15 to #16. This marks the eighth consecutive survey in which Clear Channel adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” is #1 (6.9 – 7.0, +.1). Several spoken-word outlets experience a rough go, particularly all-news siblings WCBS-AM (5.3 – 4.2, #4 to #7) and WINS (4.5 – 3.7, #7 to #9), which drop a combined -1.9. After gaining nine-tenths (3.2 – 4.1, “Holiday” – January, 6+) only to lose eight-tenths in February, their sports cluster-mate WFAN is down another six-tenths (3.3 – 2.7) to finish #14.
  • Los Angeles – For the fifth successive sweep, Clear Channel registers a #1 – #2 – #3 finish (6+) involving the same three properties, although none within the trio registers a (6+) month-month increase. CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” drops four-tenths (5.5 – 5.1) but remains first for the second straight time, while adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103″ is off two-tenths (5.2 – 5.0) yet nonetheless breaks its second-place tie with hot AC KBIG “My FM,” which is down three-tenths (5.2 – 4.9) and falls to third.  After declining one-half share (3.6 – 3.1, #9), Univision Spanish contemporary KLVE “K-Love 107.5″ rebounds with a +.6 to 3.7 (6+), returning to its January ranking – #7.  CBS Radio‘s KTWV “The Wave” regresses for the second straight time, this time by one-half share (3.0 – 2.7 – 2.2, 6+) as it slips from #15 to #18.
  • San Francisco – Over the past two sweeps, KCBS-AM notched a combined +1.2 (4.8 – 5.3 – 6.0). The all-news operation tacks on another three-tenths to 6.3 and finishes first (6+) for the third successive monthly report and ninth time in the last ten survey periods.  Things were getting a bit dicey for usually strong sports outlet KNBR, which endured a massive -1.6 (4.7 – 3.1, January – February, 6+), dropping it from third all the way to eleventh. It was KNBR’s lowest 6+ share since March 2013 (also 3.1), but the Cumulus Media-owned facility picks up steam with a +.7 (3.1 – 3.8) and returns to the top ten (#7). Off by one-half share is CBS Radio CHR KMVQ (4.6 – 4.1), which dips from #3 in February to #4.
  • Dallas – After an eight-tenths drop (4.1 – 3.3, #5 – #10), Clear Channel hot AC KDMX “Now 102.9″ bounces back with a +.6 (3.9) to progress to #7.  Also with a +.6, Cumulus Media country KPLX “The Wolf” is up or flat (6+) for the fourth successive time (5.2 – 5.2 – 5.6 – 5.8 – 6.4) as it remains a solid #2. Contemporary Christian tussles are not exactly run-of-the-mill ratings scenarios and Dallas-Fort Worth is home to one of the genre’s most successful stations – Salem‘s KLTY.  Notwithstanding that, KLTY “Safe for the Whole Family” has its third straight down trend which has yielded a cumulative -.8 (5.1 – 4.9 – 4.7 – 4.3). It slides from #4 to #5, while First Dallas Media‘s KCBI “Encouraging Music…Words of Hope” picks up four-tenths to 1.8; even so, it is outside the top 20 (#23).
  • Houston – Following four successive monthlies in which it finished first, Clear Channel adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1″ registers a -.7 (7.2 – 6.5) and slips to second behind Cox Media Group country KKBQ (6.8 – 7.0). It is a big milestone for “The New 93-Q” – the first time in its PPM history it has placed first. The market’s other major country outlet has good news as well: CBS Radio‘s KILT-FM “The Bull 100.3″ notches its third straight positive trend (3.0 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.9). This one is a +.5, enabling “The Bull” to crack the top ten (#14 – #10).  Not only does CMG-owned KGLK boast the market’s highest 6+ month-to-month gain (5.1 – 5.7, +.6), advancing “The Eagle” from sixth to third, 5.7 is the classic hits-oldies outlet’s strongest 6+-stat since PPM became ratings currency in Houston.
  • PhiladelphiaBeasley Broadcast Group-owned country WXTU posts a +.8 (4.9 – 5.7) to inch up from #6 to #4; it is the best (6+) performance for “Philadelphia’s Country Station” since last May (also 5.7).  On the heels of gaining an impressive two full shares (“Holiday” – January, 6+), CBS Radio all-news outlet KYW added a +.8 to 8.4 in February to overtake Jerry Lee-owned adult contemporary WBEB “More FM” at the top spot.  Now though, KYW has the dubious distinction of recording the largest month-to-month decline in the 12 markets released thus far (8.4 – 6.0, -2.4) and it drops to third. Meanwhile, “More FM” – which had occupied sole possession of first place the last 10 survey periods and tied KYW for #1 in April 2013, when both stations registered a 7.0 share (6+) – returns to the top spot (8.3 – 8.6, +.3).
  • Atlanta – The 1.9-share (6+) lead Cumulus Media CHR WWWQ “Q-100″ held in January over Clear Channel format foe WWPW “Power 96.1″ vanishes as “Power” (4.0 – 4.3, +.3) overtakes “Q-100″ (4.5 – 4.2, -.3). “Power” improves from #11 to #9, while “Q-100″ slides from ninth to tenth. Public WABE has a positive trend (6+) for the third straight time (3.0 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.9), advancing from #15 to #13. After a one-half share January – February bump (3.4 – 3.9), Lincoln Financial Media hot AC WSTR “Star 94″ drops six-tenths to 3.3 (#12 to #14).
  • Riverside – Outdoing what it did in the Los Angeles report, Univision Spanish contemporary KLVE “K-Love 107.5″ ends back-to-back Riverside monthlies at 3.1 (January and February) with a whopping +1.2 to 4.3, as it improves from sixth to fourth.  Moreover, it is the station’s best ever (6+ PPM) stat in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario market. Conversely though, its regional Mexican sibling KSCA loses nine-tenths (3.6 – 2.7) and tumbles from fourth to seventh.
  • San Jose – For the first time since last July – when it tied KBAY with a 5.9 – public KQED (6.3 – 7.1, +.8) is the market’s 6+ leader.  Displaced at the top where it had been in January and February is Empire country outlet KRTY (6.5 – 6.0, -.5, #2).  All-news KCBS-AM rings up a +1.0 (4.7 – 5.7) to zoom from sixth to third.  This is the station’s highest 6+ share in San Jose since May 2010 when it posted a 5.8. Returning to KBAY, the Digity Media adult contemporary declines by one full-share (5.5 – 4.5) sinking from fourth to eighth.
  • Middlesex – This is the only market of the 12 released yesterday where more than one station improves month-by-month by at least one full-share (6+). Turning the trick are classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM, which halts consecutive 3.8 performances (January and February) with a +1.1 to 4.9 (#11 to #6). It is the most potent 6+ share for the new home of wakeup talent Scott Shannon since last July (5.1). Classical WQXR doubles its 1.0 to 2.0 (+1.0) and narrowly misses entering the top 20 (#21). Owing to a -.9 (6.5 – 5.6), Emmis urban AC WBLS slides from second to third. Although it is off by eight-tenths (7.2 – 6.4) Townsquare Media talker WKXW is #1 for the third straight monthly.

bouloukosdonDon Bouloukos to Retire from CBS RADIO New York.  After 16 years with CBS RADIO and a career that spans 41 years, CBS RADIO New York senior vice president and market manager Don Bouloukos announces he’s retiring from the company effective June of this year.  Bouloukos first joined CBS RADIO in 1998 following the acquisition of American Radio Systems Inc. where he was co-chief operating officer.  Bouloukos comments, “It is never an easy decision to leave an industry you love, and a company and cluster of stations that have been such an important part of your life.  But after 41 years, it is time.”  Current CBS RADIO executive vice president, operations, Scott Herman will take over for Bouloukos and add supervision of the New York cluster to his duties.  The CBS RADIO New York group consists of all-news WCBS-AM, classic hits WCBS-FM, sports talker WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WINS-AM, CHR WNOW-FM and hot AC WWFS-FM.  Bouloukos continues, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that allows you to operate stations as if they were your own and I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish over the years.  Working with Dan Mason and Scott Herman has been an absolute pleasure.  My only regret is that I am not 21 years old and starting all over again.”

shannonbobThe Conclave’s Bob Shannon Steps Down After Health Scare.  The executive director of The Conclave resigned from the Minneapolis non-profit on Monday, April 14, citing health issues.  Bob Shannon says in a statement, “Upon my return from the NAB late Thursday evening, I experienced a medical episode that brought paramedics to my home in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, the problem wasn’t as life threatening as was originally thought, but it has prompted some soul searching on my part.  Therefore, after consulting with my physician and my family, I have decided to curtail all business activities for the foreseeable future and will be resigning all of my obligations over the next few weeks.  Sadly, that includes the Conclave.”  Conclave chairman Mark Bolke comments, “Obviously, Bob’s health and well-being is my primary concern, and I respect his decision.  As executive director of the Conclave, Bob brought with him the passion of a real radio broadcaster.  Not only in regards to what made it so compelling in the past, but a vision of what it still can be.  He is a champion of the medium, and never afraid to tell it like it is.  It’s been a pleasure serving with Bob, a true gentleman, and we wish him the very best.”  Shannon can be reached at 206-755-5162, or at bobshannonworks@gmail.com.

quinnrixBringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer. Ft. Worth, Texas-based multimedia storyteller, biographer and marketing strategist Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal, regardless of market size.  Learn more about this fascinating wordsmith and his ideas for adding new dimensions to local radio sales that straddle both the medium’s on-air and online space.  In a new article by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, Quinn says, “The service I provide is to help small businesses tell their story in features that run 250-300 words, which is fairly short, focusing on the unique experiences of the owner-manager of the business or the unique product or service that the business provides.”  He adds, “That can also include short-form generic features that ‘celebrate’ the tradition and community service of general local business categories such as stand-alone ice cream parlors, mom & pop hardware stores, garden supply centers, independent book stores, jewelry stores…the list is endless.  At the conclusion of each feature, the station tags it with individual examples of the category that are non-competitively located in different parts of the coverage area and makes them available to the advertisers at a very reasonable cost.”  To read McKay’s piece about Rix Quinn in its entirety, please click here.

kdhx jocksDenver’s New Alternative ‘107X’ Names Jocks.  The new Max Media-owned alternative rocker KDHX, Denver “107X” wraps its 5,000 song commercial-free period and unveils the air staff.  Pictured here (from left to right) are: morning drive personality Nasty, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm jock Wingnut and afternoon drive host Geronimo.  Nasty is a market pro who worked at Clear Channel’s crosstown active rock KBPI.  Geronimo also serves with Max Media as program director at sister rhythmic oldies KJHM “Jammin’ 101.5.”

chartrandalanAlan Chartrand Named Market President for CC Boston.  The new market president for Clear Channel in Boston is Alan Chartrand, who is promoted from his VP of sales position.  Chartrand will oversee the operations and programming of CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108,” hip hop WJMN “JAMN 94.5,” EDM WEDX “Evolution 101.7,” Spanish WKOX “MIA 1430.”  The company says, “Alan’s incredible ability to drive revenue and results, while maintaining a strong culture of collaboration and creativity, make him the perfect candidate to lead the competitive marketplace in Boston.”

Neal Moves to State College.  At hot AC WZWW, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania “3WZ” in the State College market, Jeff Neal is the new program director and afternoon drive personality.  Neal joins the First Media Radio station after eight years in upstate New York with Pembroke Pines-owned hot AC WVIN and sports talk WABH in Bath.

cbsphillyCBS RADIO Philadelphia Prepares for 5th Annual Earthfest Celebration.  The Philadelphia cluster of CBS RADIO stations is partnering with the Clean Air Council to help sponsor its 5K Run for Clean Air at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday (4/19).  CBS Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield comments, “The CBS RADIO stations are proud to partner with the Clean Air Council in their mission to improve our region’s environmental and public health. As a huge voice in the region, we have a responsibility to use our power and reach to support such important issues.”  CBS RADIO Philadelphia participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, that gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor.  WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.

kupl logoJustin Moore to Headline ‘98.7 The Bull’ CountryFest.  Country outlet KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” announces Justin Moore is the headlining act for its “98.7 The Bull 2014 CountryFest,” taking place at the Portland Rose Festival this summer.  The station is partnering with the Rose Festival to bring “CountryFest” to the RoZone entertainment venue.  Other acts on the bill for the June 1 concert include: Clay Walker, Eric Paslay, Brothers Osbourne and Frankie Ballard.

Monday, April 14, 2014

| April 14, 2014

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duanedoobie graphicDOOBIE:  Are You Listening to What You’re Playing?  When your friend, the Doob, was a rock PD in the golden era, he encouraged his disc jockeys to listen to the music as much as possible while it was playing on their shows instead of talking to friends, family or significant others on the phone or yakking with co-workers that would stop by the studio to pass the time during their three or four hour “shifts.”  The philosophy behind this was that listeners could tell – perhaps even subconsciously — if the DJ was truly engaged in the total process of the playing of a song on the air for them to enjoy hearing.  To this day, “Doobs” truly believes it really does make a huge difference when the disc jockey (or liner-reader) seems to actually be listening to the song played on the air along with the listener.  In his new column posted today (4/14) Duane Doobie writes, “This is one of many techniques that can help radio re-create a deeper bond with the audience and retake ‘ownership’ of the music culture.  It gives the impression that the air personality is not only personally ‘presenting’ the song to the listener, but consuming and enjoying it as well.  It can have the same effect as a play-by-play sports announcer showing excitement when the home team wins the championship with a sudden death score.”  What a concept!  Joining the listener in the act of listening!  Doobie shares several techniques to make it sound as if the jock is listening to the music (aside from actually doing it) without making the station too “talky.”  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

kodalineDuane Doobie’s Picks of the Week.  RadioInfo’s hard-working music editor/director, Duane Doobie, backed by a growing team of information contributing researchers and golden-eared trench broadcasters, 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 (4/14) includes such names as: Kodaline, Herbal T, Tessa Violet, Owl City, Lindsey Stirling, Ghost Beach, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes, Ben Tanner, Archie Bronson Outfit, Leon Russell, Kongos, NSYNC, Uberjakd, Koyote, Nirvana, Kings, Sander Van Doorn, Firebeatz, Bart B More, Ben Rush, Stacy Burke, Josh Leo, Brian Grilli, and Ruby Friedman Orchestra among others.  To check out this valuable information, please click here.

schnackejerryJerry Schnacke Out at Hubbard Chicago.  Market manager Jerry Schnacke was removed from his position at Hubbard Radio’s Chicago cluster that includes hot AC WTMX, classic hits WDRV and AC WILV, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  Feder reports that Hubbard EVP and COO Drew Horowitz will serve as interim market manager while a replacement is sought and that Horowitz says even though the stations were successful in 2013, the company is seeking “new thinking” to maintain its success.  Read Feder’s piece here.

hansenbradDenver’s “Wolf” Names Hansen PD.  Two-year Clear Channel Northern Colorado operations manager Brad Hansen is named program director/midday personality for Wilkes Denver country outlet KWOF “92.5 The Wolf.”  Hansen succeeds Jonathan Wilde, who exited in late-February after four years with the station.  With Hansen locking down The Wolf’s midday shift, Brooke Diaz transitions from there to morning drive, teaming with Bo Reynolds.  Prior to being OM for Clear Channel’s six-station Northern Colorado cluster, Hansen programmed Cumulus Reno, Nevada country-formatted KBUL “K-Bull 98.1.”  His past credits include five years as operations director for Journal Broadcast Group‘s Springfield, Missouri cluster and program director of country KVET-FM “The Genuine Austin Original.”

tannerguennCountry Stars Host WSOC-FM, Charlotte Morning Show During Tanner’s Medical Leave.  The host of the “Tanner in the Morning” show at CBS RADIO’s country WSOC-FM, Charlotte will be off the air for a couple of weeks while he recovers from cancer surgery.  But listeners will hear some familiar voices on the air beginning today (4/14).  Tanner (pictured here at left) asked a few of his good artist friends to help co-host his show with Guenn (right) while he takes a little time to heal from surgery. The station reports that North Carolina native and former “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery kicks off the week as Guenn’s first co-host.  John Rich from TV’s “The Apprentice” and half of country duo Big and Rich takes over the reins Tuesday the 15th followed by 2013’s  ACM Top New Female Artist and former actress from “One Tree Hill” Jana Kramer on Wednesday April 16th.  Program director DJ Stout comments, “Tanner is undergoing what will hopefully be his last surgery in his victorious fight against cancer.  When I found out he would be out for a couple of weeks I thought that it would be really cool to reach out to some of our good friends and see if they would join the rest of our morning crew and fill in for Tanner.  I couldn’t believe how quickly they responded and how they jumped at the opportunity to help out.”  Husband and wife country duo Thompson Square are live in the studio on the 22nd, followed by “One Wing in the Fire” artist Trent Tomlinson on April 23rd.  Rounding out this guest DJ campaign will be local favorites Parmalee, best known for their number one song “Carolina” on the 28th and another hometown favorite, Love and Theft, nominated for the ACM Vocal Duo of the Year, finish out the week on April 30th.  Stout continues, “I think this is going to be a great three weeks for our listeners and we can’t thank the artists enough.  Tanner’s battle against cancer has been hard on all of us and we are thrilled that he is expected back in a few weeks.”

fearsernieFears Named GSM of WRQX, Washington.  Contemporary hit radio outlet WRQX, Washington announces Ernie Fears is named general sales manager for the Cumulus Media station.  The company notes that Fears is a radio veteran with 25 years’ experience in the Washington, D.C. market.  He was previously director of agency sales as well as a GSM for CBS RADIO in Washington.  He also served with news/talk WMAL.  Cumulus SVP Gary Lewis says, “It’s exciting when the perfect combination of experience, reputation and ability comes together in a single candidate, as it does with Ernie Fears.  We are thrilled to welcome Ernie to the team.”

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  The new afternoon drive personality at Cumulus Media’s country WNNF, Cincinnati “NASH FM 94.1” is Tim Timmerman.  He comes to WNNF from his most recent post with the company’s CHR KMCK, Fayetteville, Arkansas where he was morning host…..Philly Phil (a.k.a. Phil Daniel) is the new host of “The Quiet Storm” on Radio One-owned urban contemporary WKJS, Richmond “KISS.”  Daniel takes over hosting the show that airs from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight after the untimely death of previous host Mitch Malone last November…..Ken Anderson exits Journal Broadcast Group’s country WCYQ, Knoxville “Q100.3” after six months with the station.  The station is seeking a new morning personality and will move PM drive host Opie Joe into mornings and part-timer Brad Allen will hold down afternoons in the interim.

cclogoClear Channel Study Reinforces Power of Personality Endorsements.  The study was the result of collaboration between Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and the University of Southern California surveying 2,700 respondents.  It was designed to look into the connection between consumers and radio personalities and gauge the effectiveness of the latter’s influence in directing consumer behavior.  In press release from Clear Channel detailing some of the findings, the company concludes that “radio is a far more powerful social force than ever before, particularly because of thedelilah conversations fueled by on-air personalities and the connection listeners feel to on-air local and national talent like Ryan Seacrest, Sean Hannity, Delilah and Bobby Bones.  CC reports some of the key findings were: 1) When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are “like a friend,” whose opinions they trust; 2) With even more ways for consumers and on-air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services; 3) Listeners equate an on-air personality endorsement to a friend’s recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials; and 4) More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns.  The press release did not mention breakdowns of results for various demographics.

weismanstevenRadio and KC Shootings Suspect’s Political ‘Campaign.’  The tragic triple slaying in Kansas City over the weekend in which three people lost their lives at the hands of alleged killer Frazier Glenn Cross sparked memories of his write-in political effort almost four years ago that caused grief for numerous Missouri radio stations.  In a piece published today (4/14), TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the radio advertising case that was spurred by Cross’ “campaign.”  Read his piece here.

kvoomanjamKVOO, Tulsa’s “98.5 Man Jam” Packs Local Casino.  Program director Crash Poteet shares a photo from last Wednesday’s first-ever “98.5 Man Jam” held at the River Spirit Casino that featured country artists Joe Nichols, Easton Corbin, Jack Ingram, Chase Rice and Chuck Wicks.  The Journal Broadcast Group country station reports the concert was a sellout.

bestoftri-stateCumulus New York Debuts “The Best of the Tri-State.”  The first edition of Cumulus Media’s “The Best of The Tri-State” takes place next Tuesday (4/22) at the Affinia Manhattan from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Cumulus New York stations WPLJ, WABC and WNSH are sponsoring the promotion that will be hosted live by WPLJ morning host Todd Pettengill.  The company says it will showcase the best of the Tri-State area as nominated and voted upon by the stations’ listeners, including: Best Hotel, Best Pizza, Best Bagels, Best Broadway Show, Best Health Club and more.  Cumulus says listeners attending the event will get to meet station personalities and enjoy the chance to win luxury vacations, weekend stays in New York City, Yankees tickets, Broadway show tickets and more.

scba logoSouthern California Broadcasters Association Launches College Outreach Program.  In an effort to connect with college students and “engage students on the value of radio and its many digital platforms,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan is embarking on a series of speaking engagements to take place at broadcast and communications classes at colleges and universities in Southern California and in London, England.  The SCBA states that what began as a radio career night at a UCLA radio broadcast class in Los Angeles in March has now expanded to four more speaking engagements over the next 30 days.  Callahan will speak with students “about the entire media landscape using research trends, comparative analysis, and a rich narrative of callahanthomradio’s growth and future in today’s rapidly changing media environment.”  Callahan states, “We are honored to have an honest dialog with what will be the next generation of broadcasters, producers, talent, sales executives, and future management.  Our goal is to open both minds and hearts to the tremendous future of radio and its many audio and digital platforms.”  The SCBA series will be held in April at California State University at both its Los Angeles and Fullerton campuses as well as at Pasadena Community College in Pasadena.  The fourth lecture will be broadcast via Skype to the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland in London, England on May 13.

emorycaptainherbCox Media Group Mourns Death of “Captain” Herb Emory.  Atlanta market traffic reporting legend “Captain” Herb Emory died on Saturday from what appears have been a heart attack.  Emory reported traffic for CMG’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and WSB-TV.  WBS reports that according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident when he suddenly fell ill.  He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died.  Emory’s funeral will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Captain Herb which will be open to all the public.  Details on that event are forthcoming.  Emory had been with WSB Radio and “Channel 2 Action News” since 1991and served as an Alanta traffic reporter since 1971.  Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory.  Captain Herb hosted and produced the “WSB Speed Shop” auto racing from 1993 until 2011.  Emory previously was a news/traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WQXI-AM, WSTR-FM and the Georgia Network News.

Friday, April 14, 2014

| April 11, 2014

kjsr logoKJSR, Tulsa Tweaks Format to Classic Rock.  The music at Cox Media Group’s rock KJSR, Tulsa takes a turn to the classic side as the station re-positions itself as “103.3 FM The Eagle.”  The station has been a rock outlet since its inception in 2012.  The company says “the station is changing its target music product to better reflect the core adult 25-54 demographics that advertisers want to reach.  The ‘New Eagle 103.3’ also reflects a better match of Tulsa’s population and will give listeners what they say they want – more classic rock.”  CMG Tulsa VP and market manager Gene Vidler adds, “Our team has created an amazing sounding station that our listeners and advertisers have been telling us was missing from the Tulsa dial.  This station will quickly become a core part of the Tulsa community.  The excitement surrounding the launch of ‘The Eagle 103.3’ has been fantastic, and I am extremely happy that we now get to share this great product with all of Tulsa and Green Country.”

colebobNew “Fringe”-Branded Format to Debut in Austin.  There’s not much specific being said about the new radio station reported to be coming to the Austin market courtesy of entrepreneurs Bob Cole and Jason Nassour, who operate country KOKE, “Austin’s Country Alternative” as Genuine Austin Radio LP.  The Austin Chronicle reports that the station is being branded “Fringe,” but station insiders, including program director Ray Seggern, are saying little more.  They’re not even announcing the frequency yet.  Given the company already is doing alternative country, it’s a good bet “Fringe” will be a triple A-eqse rock station…but only time will tell.  Seggern would not comment to the Chronicle whether the rumor that former KAMX morning team JB & Sandy will, indeed, be the new morning show.  All he’s saying is, “I know for a fact that Austinites love this morning show we’re about to unveil.”

deesrick disneyRick Dees Entertainment to Syndicate Radio Disney Countdown.  Through a new partnership, Disney’s “Radio Disney Top 30” weekly countdown show will be nationally syndicated via Rick Dees’ company.  The children and tweens-targeted countdown show is being geared toward hot AC and CHR outlets and is hosted by Ernie D. Martinez (pictured here at left with Dees).  In a statement, Rick Dees says, “Disney is synonymous with world-class family programming, and Ernie Martinez brings likeability and broad appeal as well as relevant music for kids and families, a reason why this show has such terrific potential for stations who are looking for family-friendly music programming.”

kinosianmikeMore PPM Analysis: Spanish Adult Hits and Urban Oldies.  RadioInfo managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of format performance over the course of the last several Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods. Today, the focus is on Spanish adult hits and urban oldies.  Of note concerning these formats is the fact that all of the qualifying Spanish adult hits stations in PPM markets are located in the West while the urban rhythmic-oldies outlets spread across the South and into the Northeast.  Check out the entire analysis here.

americanidolMinor “Pitchy” Problems or Has Idol’s Luck Tapped Out? Those believing that the number 13 is unlucky (triskaidekaphobia) will probably insist they saw it coming, but “American Idol” is enduring very real ratings problems in this – its 13th season.  Once upon a time, the music-talent search program was the water cooler show of record.  A conversation among friends, family, and/or co-workers did not begin with, “Did you watch ‘Idol’ last night?”  It was generally assumed you were talking with someone who would not dare miss it, so a show-specific comment or question was highly more likely.  These days though, queries have tended to devolve into a, “Did you remember to watch – or record it?” line of questioning.  Unheard of several years ago, it is stunning that “no” has become a typical response.  ”Idol” result shows – which Fox milked into 60-minute extravaganzas – have been trimmed in half.  In the middle of last month (3/12), CBS‘ “Survivor” topped “Idol” for the first time ever in their common hour.  The trend continued the following two weeks as well.  Among 18 – 49s this past Wednesday night (4/9), “Survivor” outscored “Idol” 2.4 – 1.9, the worst “Idol” has ever done against “Survivor” in that demo.  There was another “first” one week ago (4/3) when CBS’ “Criminal Minds” claimed its initial 18 – 49 win over “Idol” (2.5 – 2.1).  Debates and spirited discussions will include such things as the quality of this year’s “Idol” finalists versus those in the past; judges – specifically the absence of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson (now a talent coach on the show); competition from such entities as NBC‘s “The Voice”; or if “Idol” has simply run its course.  Some of this can be strictly subjective, particularly in the case of the judges.  Especially as it regards guidance of a singer’s career and industry knowledge, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. seem to be a strong mix.  Some though will argue this particular triumvirate lacks a polarizing figure such as Cowell; an unpredictable factor (Abdul, or even Stephen Tyler, to an extent); or a generally humorous catchphrase machine (Jackson – “pitchy,” “dawg,” “I didn’t feel it tonight baby,” etc.).  Instead, they seem to be generally seacrestryaninterested in offering constructive criticism, so the audience is not apt to hear one of the three say, “If I’m being honest, that was bloody awful – just dreadful” — vintage Simon Cowell.  It makes a convenient story to state that Ryan Seacrest-hosted “Idol” only became a ratings train wreck in its unlucky 13th season, but such an assertion is simply inaccurate.  The myth about “Idol” being a huge hit in the first year and immediately leveling out is just that – a myth.  In its inaugural season when Kelly Clarkson emerged victorious and Justin Guarini was runner-up, the average rating for “America Idol” was 6.2.  It jumped to 10.1 in season two (Ruben Studdard/Clay Aiken) and improved to 10.8 in season three (Fantasia Barrino/Diana DeGarmo).  Season four was exceptionally interesting, in that, Carrie Underwood – arguably one of the most successful “Idol” winners along with Clarkson – only bumped the show up from 10.8 to 11.2 (Bo Bice was the second-place finisher that season).  There was a big uptick though in season five to 12.6 (Taylor Hicks/Katharine McPhee).  Then, believe it or not, a slip to 12.2 in season six (Jordin Sparks/Blake Lewis).  If you were of the opinion that the Hicks/McPhee season was not powerful or memorable, chew on this: Not only was it the show’s best ratings performance, the following season is when the show began its descent.  Facts/figures resume from season seven (11.1) when the two Davids – Cook and  Archuleta – finished first-second.  In season eight (9.6), it was Kris Allen/Adam Lambert; season nine (8.9, Lee DeWyze/Crystal Bowesox); season 10 (8.5, Scotty McCreery/Lauren Alaina); season 11 (6.0, Phillip Phillips/Jessica Sanchez); season 12 (4.5, Candice Glover/Kree Harrison); and season 13 (3.7 to date – competition is continuing).  Thus, it took until season 11 (6.0) for the show to slip below its 6.2 debut.  After four successive upticks that launched “Idol” (6.2 – 10.1 – 10.8 – 11.2 – 12.6), this will be the show’s eighth straight down trend, 12.6 – 12.2 – 11.1 – 9.6 – 8.9 – 8.5 – 6.0 – 4.5 – 3.7* (* to date).  Dramatic falloff is seen after season 10 and continued the following year when viewers weren’t even curious enough to see if judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj would engage in fisticuffs.  At times this year there seemed to be manufactured heat between Connick Jr.-Urban, but it’s more good-natured fun – absolutely nothing approaching the genuine Carey-Minaj feud.  As far as Seacrest is concerned, the KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning talent/countdown host was rumored to be among a bountiful list of candidates to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host, but that ship has sailed with yesterday’s announcement that Stephen Colbert has been tapped for the job.