Australian Radio Phone Prank Headline Story After Victim Commits Suicide. The phone prank by 2DayFM, Sydney jocks Michael Christian and Mel Greig is now an international story after the Friday suicide of a London nurse. By now, you know the back story: the duo posed as the Queen and Prince Charles (poorly, it’s been noted) and got past the nurse/receptionist at a London hospital to the nurse caring for Kate Middleton. She proceeded to give the jocks an update on the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition. On Friday the world learned that the nurse who took the call – Jacintha Saldanha – took her own life earlier that day. Now, broadcasting communities all over the world are discussing legal protocol, the ethics of prank calls and more as the two jocks went public over the weekend admitting their grief over the turn of events. Their show has been suspended and, although the bit was cleared by the station’s legal department before it was aired, most believe the two will lose their jobs permanently and it’s very likely their careers will end (or at least be suspended for a long time) in infamy. RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is just the kind of negative publicity that radio doesn’t need right now and we as an industry should not take it lightly. Although this was not an American occurrence, we must still ask ourselves, do we want to be good guys or bad guys? Blame, however, cannot be cast easily. It is complicated because it reflects the confluence of a number of conflicting issues. First, it took place in another country, so we cannot judge it by the often murky regulations governing free speech versus malicious intent here in the U.S. Second, the tradition of pulling off pranks and practical jokes is somewhat of a comedic tradition in American radio as well as TV, so it’s not like this type of thing is shocking in terms of precedence. I suspect this terrible tragedy is serving as a historic milestone or turning point in what media professionals consider to be responsible and tasteful conduct in their quest to stand out and be noticed. Perhaps it is time for some collective soul searching and just plain growing up.”
Australian Rules on Airing Phoners Not as Strict as Those in the U.S. While some people, pundits and editorial writers are decrying the actions of the two jocks and the station officials who approved the phone prank on the hospital where Kate Middleton was admitted, on the surface it doesn’t appear Australian broadcasting regulations were violated. RadioInfo legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says, “The commercial radio code of practice, which are industry standards for Australian media, provide that radio stations must not broadcast the words of an identifiable person (our italics) without that person being aware that their words might be broadcast. Here the FCC prohibits broadcasting telephone calls without permission and knowledge of all parties. Commercial radio stations in Australia are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which enacted the industry standards mentioned above and has the authority, as does the FCC here, to remove a station’s license for violations — although it has never done so in the past. It also could impose conditions for continued operation by the licensee.” Weisman continues, “It does not appear that any criminal laws were broken. Civil liability to the family of the nurse who committed suicide would be extremely difficult to prove because to do so it would have to be shown that the radio hosts should have reasonably foreseen that their actions could have resulted in the nurse’s death. It is also important to remember that we should not jump to conclusions about the suicide being caused by the telephone call. That has just been an assumption and we should not rush to judgment.”
Hot Music Monday Morning Snapshot
According to RadioInfo, the top five pop songs for airplay on mainstream CHR and hot AC stations are: 1) “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, 2) “Diamonds” by Rihanna, 3) “Die Young” by Ke$ha, 4) “Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo, and 5) “I Cry” by Flo Rida. Hot jumpers include “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran, “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers, “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin, “Try” by P!nk, “Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull featuring TJR, “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys, “Daylight” by Maroon 5, “Oath” by Cher Lloyd featuring Becky G, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch (highest chart debut), “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, “Little Things” by One Direction, and “Scream and Shout” by will.i.am & Britney Spears. Highest pop songs red zone (#s 41-50) debut: “C’mon Let Me Ride” by Skylar Grey featuring Eminem. To see entire RadioInfo Pop Songs Chart click here.
The top five rock songs for airplay on mainstream rock, alternative, active and triple A stations are: 1) “Madness” by Muse, 2) “Trojans” by Atlas Genius, 3) “Chalk Outline” by Three Days Grace, 4) “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons and “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. Hot jumpers include “We Come Running” by Youngblood Hawke, “Standing in the Sun” by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, “Carry On” by fun., “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Absolute Zero” by Stone Sour, “One Light” by 3 Doors Down, “Enemies” by Shinedown, “Put the Gun Down” by ZZ Ward, “Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night)” by Neon Trees featuring Kaskade, “Tightrope” by Walk the Moon, “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers, “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities, “Dancing with the Dead” by 10 Years (highest chart debut), “Dark Again” by Gold Fields, “Hero” by Family of the Year, “The Season’s Upon Us” by Dropkick Murphys, “Where Will We Go? by IAMDYNAMITE and “Bones” by Young Guns. Highest rock songs red zone debut: “Up All Night” by Alex Clare. To see entire RadioInfo Rock Songs Chart click here.
The top five Christian songs for airplay on contemporary Christian music stations are: 1) “I Need a Miracle” by Third Day, 2) “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave, 3) “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman, 4) “One Thing Remains” by Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill, and 5) “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin. Hot jumpers include: “Need You Now” by Plumb, “Only a Mountain” by Jason Castro, “You Are” by Colton Dixon, “Stand” by Britt Nicole, “Gift of Love” by Ashes Remain, “Well Done” by Moriah Peters, and “Human” by Manafest (highest chart debut). Highest contemporary Christian songs red zone debut: “Hope is Here” by Dan Macaulay. To see entire RadioInfo Christian Songs Chart click here.
Recapping Arbitron Client Conference Data. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s RadioInfo coverage of last week’s Arbitron Client Conference in Annapolis, Maryland continues today with a not-for-executives-only overview of the research firm’s Executive Summary covering Time Spent Listening (TSL) trends for each and every one of today’s popular radio formats as compared to last year. About 93% of the USA population uses radio every week. And despite all the shiny new objects competing for media consumption time and attention, “this widespread reach has changed very little over the decades; radio remains a reliable entertainment and information source for listeners regardless of their age, gender, income, education, or location in the home or outside the home.” That 93% is how many. As for how much: “Time Spent Listening to radio (TSL), compared to last year’s report, is relatively stable. In most listener demographic age and gender categories, and in most dayparts TSL changed at most one Quarter-Hour.” To read the piece click here.
Social Media is “The New PR” for Radio. Radio industry digital consultant Chris Miller says that radio executives should begin thinking of social media as “The New PR” for their stations, shows and overall brands. In an exclusive piece for RadioInfo he writes: “Getting our content and our brands seen and experienced in other media has always been a good thing. I used to work with a promotions director who said, ‘Anytime I get the station on TV, I get an ‘A’ for the day.’ In the old media world, we would gain visibility and credibility with our target demos by appearing in free media, instead of paid advertising. Often, we needed to hire a PR expert to create and manage our content and media relationships in the right way, because there were gatekeepers at TV and newspapers that we had to get past for our target to see our content. Today, our fans sign up to get the content they want when they follow us on social media. This is a very efficient way of getting attention from those most likely to be heavy listeners! Still, The New PR has a lot in common with great traditional public relations.” Miller explains that social media is strategic and measurable, uses content to create competition-killing relationships, and works slowly and incrementally. To read his entire article, click here.
Courtside Entertainment Raises Bar on Syndicated Show Promotion with Dynamic New “Loveline” Video. In the highly competitive world of radio syndication, legendary executive Norm Pattiz again displays moves that further his reputation as an industry leader and innovator. The Westwood One founder’s boutique syndie firm Courtside Entertainment has just produced and released a dynamic 2:15 video promoting the company’s long-running “Loveline” show. The video is having its worldwide debut today in RadioInfo. “Loveline” is a rare, multi-format nighttime show headed by several diverse hosts including media mega-star Dr. Drew Pinsky that is heard on both music and talk stations. It covers health, sex, relationships and lifestyles in a way that leaves few bases uncovered and does so in an “edgy” and entertaining style. Asked what inspired the creation of so ambitious a video Pattiz tells RadioInfo, ”With so many stations owned by so few and local programmers becoming an endangered species, providing more and better sales tools is a must. Identifying decision makers and making a strong pitch is essential, especially with a long-running successful program like ‘Loveline.’ We have to reinforce the fact that ‘Loveline’ continues to evolve, grow and remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing radio world. This approach is now part of our basic blocking and tackling.” To see the video click on the box below.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Stuart McRae exits his role with Cumulus Media Networks where he’s been working for more than 10 years as a manager in the affiliate relations department. He says, “I plan to take some time off and start in a new direction that will not be associated with network radio. Dennis Green and Marcella Turk have been great to work for and I will miss my co-workers as well as several hundred affiliates that I’ve been working with. Before joining the network, I was with Broadcast Electronics, Scott Studios and spent 13 lucky years at TM Century. It was a great ride and I will always be proud of my time with the ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media Networks.”…..Emmis Communications names LA Lloyd Hocutt program director of rock KLBJ-FM, Austin “Austin’s Rock.” Most recently, Hocutt was assistant PD and afternoon jock at Cox Media’s rock KISS-FM, San Antonio…..Clear Channel announces Gary Nolan is the new operations manager at its Panama City, Florida cluster. Nolan will also serve as program director and afternoon jock at country WPAP “Gulf Coast Country Leader.”…..Greater Media’s rock WRIF, Detroit has a new APD and music director to replace Suzy Cole who exited to join Los Angeles-based Beats By Dr. Dre. Andy Green comes to Detroit from Grand Rapids where he’d been working with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated “Free Beer and Hot Wings” morning show.
WAAF, Boston Raises Money for the Hungry. Pictured here are “Hillman Morning Show” cast members LB (l) and Spaz (r) as they pose for a shot in one of the cranes they called home for three days to raise money for the Greater Boston, New Hampshire and Worcester County Food Banks. Each spent three days aloft in the crane near local highways to draw attention to their campaign to raise funds for the food banks. The charity promotion netted more than $76,000 for the cause.
Anyone You Recognize? The photo here is from Friday’s 2012 Tampa Bay Radio Reunion at a local Hooters restaurant in Tampa. Former WFLA news anchor, writer and editor and Paxson Communications TV personality John Sipos documented the gathering. He’s the man in the middle holding the microphone as they try to gather the group of more than 100 past and present Tampa Bay radio people together for a group shot. Sipos tells RadioInfo this was the 7th such gathering, “This is a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wallet) event, rotating between Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg at popular and reasonably priced eating and beverage places willing to let all order off the regular menu. There’s no cover charges or minimum, no formal structure, just an afternoon of hanging out. It’s quite popular here.” Check out John’s video documentary of the party here.