Wednesday, November 21, 2012

| November 21, 2012

Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio.  American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes.  That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy.  Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake.  It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.”  As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”).  Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27.  Suffering through Sandy was brutal.  For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse.  As the radio industry readies itself for the Thanksgiving weekend, RadioInfo takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election (and even stopped the music at FMs up and down the coast) – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC.   To read RadioInfo managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at RadioInfo.  All of us at RadioInfo want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude at Thanksgiving to the hard-working, dedicated members of the radio industry and its associated fields who support and encourage us in this endeavor as readers, contributors and sponsors.  PLEASE NOTE:  Our regular weekday mid-morning emailed newsletter will not be sent out tomorrow (Thanksgiving) or Friday – but the home of RadioInfo (www.radioinfo.com) will be updated with major breaking stories should they occur, as is the case 365 days per year.  We sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have the opportunity to be in a business and medium that is so vital to preserving the public’s well-being as well as bringing entertainment and happiness to millions each and every minute of the day.  May we all have the courage, strength, intelligence and will to keep the spark of radio glowing through these challenging times and into the promise of yet another golden era.

Christmas Music Format Flips.  A running tally of stations that have flipped (or will) to Christmas music includes: Beasley Broadcasting’s AC WMGV, Greenville, North Carolina begins its “Christmas Around the Clock” format today at 7:00 pm ET.  Midday jock Colleen Jackson says, “We play the best mix of Christmas classics and Christmas songs from contemporary artists.  You’ll hear everything from Burl Ives’ ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,’ to Michael Buble’s ‘All I want for Christmas.’  And this year we’ll be highlighting Christmas songs from Justin Bieber to qualify listeners to win the ultimate Christmas gift…tickets to Justin Bieber’s show in Greensboro and overnight accommodations at the beautiful Grandover Resort!”…..Horizon Broadcasting Group’s soft AC KLTW, Bend, Oregon “Lite 95.7” announces it is adopting a Christmas format beginning Friday, November 23.  The station’s program director and morning personality Dave Miller tells RadioInfo the station has both a holiday promotion for listeners and a charity promotion going on this season.  “Lite 95.7 and Maul’s High Lake Spas will present a ‘Holiday Getaway-A-Day’ to a listener each weekday of Lite Christmas.  Winners will receive an overnight stay at the Vintage Plaza Hotel in Portland, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Bend, Columbia Cliff Villas in Hood River and Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton.  Plus, several less fortunate families in Central Oregon will be visited by ‘Davey Claus’ and the Lite 95.7 elves, who will deliver a holiday meal and gifts for their family.  We get to do many great things in radio, but helping families during the holidays is the most enjoyable thing we get to do at Lite 95.7 all year.  We have generous partners in the community who help us provide a Christmas experience to a family that may not otherwise have one.”

RadioInfo Career Moves.  Rock WXQR, Greenville, North Carolina “Carolina’s Pure Rock” afternoon jock Tina Smash is promoted to program director for the NextMedia-owned station.  Smash takes over for Wes Styles who left to program Townsquare Media’s rock WQBK, Albany.  Operations manager Chris Mann says of Smash. “We’re excited to give Tina the opportunity to take the legendary ‘Rock 105.5’ to the next level.  Her experience and enthusiasm will be a huge asset to the NextMedia team.”  Smash has been with the station for five years…..Triple A KINK, Portland evening host Inessa Anderson is one of a number of Alpha Broadcasting employees to suffer the budget ax.  In total, there were 10 staffers across all departments who were laid off due to the cutbacks.  Anderson hosted the “Homegrown Music Spotlight” show as well as the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program and had been with the station for 12 years…..Stephens Media’s adult hits WFKL, Rochester, New York “Fickle 93.3” names Alicia Tyler midday jock beginning Monday, November 26…..Operations manager Rob Kelley exits Federated Media’s country WQHK, Fort Wayne, Indiana “K105.”  In the interim, assistant program director and music director Dave Michaels takes over programming duties.

Clear Channel Announces Jingle Ball Concert Schedule.  The annual holiday concerts that happen in markets across the country, sponsored by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment radio stations and promoted as “Jingle Ball” concerts, are on again for this year and the new schedule is out.  Here are some of the details:  In Detroit on November 24, Channel 955’s Jingle Ball 2012 at the Fox Theater features: Flo Rida, The Wanted, Austin Mahone, Megan & Liz, Sammy Adams, Bridgit Mendler and DJ Beatboy; in Los Angeles on December 1, KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball 2012 Presented by G by Guess at Nokia Theater takes place on two nights.  Night 1 features: Taylor Swift, Ne-Yo, Ellie Goulding, OneRepublic, Sammy Adams, The Jonas Brothers and a surprise unannounced superstar band.  Night 2 features: Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Flo Rida, The Wanted, Afrojack, Owl City, Zedd, PSY, with a special acoustic appearance by fun.; in New York on December 7, Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012 Presented by Aéropostale at Madison Square Garden features: Justin Bieber, fun., B.o.B., Olly Murs, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, The Wanted, Ed Sheeran, Ne-Yo, Cher Lloyd and One Direction.  Jingle Ball concerts are also taking place in Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Miami, Tampa, Washington, DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Lending a Hand on Staten Island.  Staffers of Pillar of Fire-owned Christian contemporary WAWZ, New York (licensed to Zarephath, New Jersey) “Star 99.1” are pictured here working with local churches in an ongoing effort to assist people in the Midland Beach area of Staten Island that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  The station’s office team joined was led by business manager Nancy Walter and the team was on site to serve food, sort and distribute clothing donations and offer encouragement to residents.  Walter says, “We were shocked by the level of widespread devastation in the area and ongoing need…we were privileged to serve.”  Star 99.1 has been receiving gift cards which it will distribute to its network of churches in those hardest-hit communities between Thanksgiving and Christmas to help families replace what they lost.

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