DOOBIE: Daunting Task in Digital Era — Radio Must Always Be Hipper Than Television. As we celebrate the much-vaunted 50th anniversary of the British Invasion and the Historic Appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, RadioInfo music editor/director Duane Doobie makes the case that Ed Sullivan no more introduced the Beatles to America than Christopher Columbus discovered it. In a new column posted today (2/10), Doobie argues, “RADIO introduced the Beatles to America! Radio set the stage for television. How do you think all those screaming girls knew about the Beatles in the first place? It wasn’t from television.” The Doob goes on to say, “Radio has always set the stage for television when it came to the big and important stuff. At least it DID when it was growing, vital and owned the music culture and the lion’s share of popular culture. If the Beatles or something equivalent were to wash up out of the ether onto the shores of our collective psyches today, I hate to say it but it is true – radio would be learning about it from television…just like American Idol and even its knock-offs have set music radio’s stage now for what seems like an eternity.” To read Duane Doobie’s provocative piece in its entirety, please click here.
Duane 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 (2/10) includes such names as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Khurt, Astronaut, Chainsmokers, Wild Moccasins, Young Rival, Brandi Carlile, Dillon Francis, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Quintino & Moti, Taylr Renee, Yellow Claw, DJ Fresh, Jay Fay, Ms. Dynamite, Style of Eye, Soso, Twirl, Of Mice and Men, Jon King, AJ Croce, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Ben Tanner, Alabama Shakes, Neon Trees, Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang, Ben Davis Jr. and the Dirt Poor Troubadours, Buckle Rash, Kathryn Caine and the Small Band among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.
RadioInfo Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
Blair Garner-Hosted ‘America’s Morning Show’ Wakes Up New ‘NASH’ Station Listeners. Last week RadioInfo detailed Cumulus Media’s release about the 19 O&O country outlets that would become “NASH FM”-branded stations – part of a company-wide move that will eventually see more than 60 stations take on the “NASH FM” brand. This morning, those same stations woke up to the sounds of the company’s “America’s Morning Show” featuring host Blair Garner. Though the show debuted on WNSH only last year, it’s based in the heart of the country music world in Nashville, airing before a live studio audience. Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey states, “The expansion of ‘America’s Morning Show’ is just the latest preview of what’s ahead for ‘NASH.’ We’re moving full-speed ahead with growing the multi-media content offering that will drive the ‘NASH’ brand.” Garner adds, “I’m so incredibly grateful to get to lead this charge. New York country music fans have been so gracious in allowing ‘America’s Morning Show’ to become part of their daily routine. We’re excited to welcome new listeners into the ‘NASH’ family, and to honor the music that brought us all together in the first place.” Cumulus says that in the spring “America’s Morning Show” will be available to WestwoodOne affiliates nationwide.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Rick Vaughn to Program ‘Wired 96.5’ in Philly. Programmer Rick Vaughn is named new program director for Beasley Broadcasting’s hip hop WRDW, Philadelphia “Wired 96.5.” Vaughn most recently was PD at Clear Channel’s Atlanta cluster where he programmed CHR WWPW “Power 96.1” and alternative WRDA “Radio 107.5.” Ironically, Vaughn takes over for Dan Hunt, the PD who just took the helm of his old CC stations in Atlanta. Vaughn has worked in Philly before programming Clear Channel’s CHR WIOQ “Q102” from 2006 to 2008. VP of programming Justin Chase says, “We are thrilled to welcome Rick to the Beasley family! By adding Rick’s track record of excellence to the top notch talent we have in Philadelphia, ‘Wired 96.5’ is poised to have a banner year.”
Greater Media Kills Detroit Blues Show. The “Motor City Blue Project” show that aired on Greater Media’s classic rock WCSX on Sunday evenings for the past 25-plus years is no more and the company cuts ties with host Mark Pasman. The Detroit News reports the station issued a brief statement saying it is going in a different direction with its Sunday evening programming, with personality Pam Rossi – host of the Sunday morning “Over Easy” program – taking over the Sunday night shift. Pasman tells the paper though he’s disappointed with the decision he has mixed emotions because he has to give thanks to Greater Media for a “great, great run. They let me play whatever I thought was appropriate and interview some of the greatest musicians of all time.” Pasman has served as a producer and program director at Greater Media Detroit’s WCSX and WRIF during his time with the stations.
Greg Smith to Serve as GSM at Greater Media’s WRIF, Detroit. In the Motor City, Greater Media announces Greg Smith is the new general sales manager at rock WRIF effective today (2/10). Smith, who most recently held the same post at Cumulus Media’s crosstown all-news WWJ, will oversee the WRIF local sales team led by Mike Broadwell and work with national sales director Michael Mayer on the station’s sales effort. Greater Media Detroit director of national sales Jake McCann comments, “Greg brings a tremendous wealth of experience and leadership to our sales team. We look forward to having him take the station’s sales division to the next level.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. After just 11 months at the station, Tom Calococci exits Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami “Hits 97.3.” When Calococci came aboard last March the station was hot AC “97.3 The Coast.” Cox corporate programmers Steve Smith and Jeremy Rice are in charge of the station while the search is on for a new PD…..Tim Meagher is named general sales manager at Entercom‘s Norfolk cluster…..Todd Bradley is promoted from his APD role at Wilks Broadcasting’s rock WLVQ, Columbus “QFM96” to PD of the station and operations manager for the group that also includes sports talk WZOH and country WHOK “K107.1” Bradley takes over for Sue Leighton who will serve as midday personality and head up a new promotions effort…..Randy Miller is the new wake-up personality at D&H Media’s country KWKJ, Windsor, Missouri “98.5 The Bar.” At the same time, the Kansas City market pro (AC KZPL and country KBEQ) is launching the Randy Miller Radio Network…..At Barna Broadcasting’s country KSWG, Wickenburg, Arizona “96.3 Real Country” (50 miles northwest of Phoenix), Bruce Kelly begins hosting the morning program today (2/10). Kelly is a Phoenix market pro who’s done mornings at Clear Channel’s CHR KZZP “104.7 Kiss FM” and Riviera Broadcasting’s hip hop KKFR “Power 98.3.” He most recently worked weekends at classic hits KOOL-FM.
By Bill Conway
KOIT, San Francisco
Program Director, 1997-2011
SAN DIEGO — The Duane Doobie column about “Golden Ears” published Monday (2/3) was terrific and I admit that in all my years as a PD, I never had “golden ears.” Instead I always had people around me who loved music, listened to a variety of styles and were always talking about it. Most DJs got into it radio either because they loved music or they wanted to be a star. I knew I needed the music junkies to complement my strengths. It was a way to learn about new music and let listeners know more too.
In recent years I have been espousing a format that doesn’t depend on only one consultant or one god-like national PD but used the music junkies and cutting edge technology to get involve the audience to reignite the role of radio in music discovery.
The All New Music Crowd Sourced Radio format. (Not a catchy name but I’m sure we can come up with one)
Scott Shannon to Retire from WPLJ, New York. After 22 years co-hosting mornings at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ, New York, radio legend Scott Shannon announces his retirement from “Scott & Todd in the Morning,” effective immediately. Todd Pettengill will remain in mornings hosting “The Todd Show.” Longtime executive producer Joseph “Monk” Pardavila and news anchor Cooper Lawrence will continue on “The Todd Show” in their current roles. Shannon made the announcement on the program this morning. In a statement he says, “Of course I’ll miss being a part of the morning show here on ‘PLJ and I might even pop back in from time to time and try to get Todd to play a Rascals song or two.” Pettengill adds, “Scott and I had an amazing run and I’ll miss our mornings together and cherish the memories we made. I’m also very excited about the opportunity ahead with a very talented group of people that I know our listeners are going to love.” Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey comments, “Scott’s contributions to the industry and the station are incalculable and we thank him for his many years of amazing service and dedication to his many morning listeners.”
Envision Networks Announces New Brand. The new name and branding for Envision Radio Networks is Envision Networks. The 11-year-old media network, which provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations across the country, says it has grown beyond the scope of a radio-only syndication company and that the new name Envision Networks encompasses its heritage radio business as well as its growing digital networks, streaming networks and on-demand listening. President and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Envision Networks is a more accurate representation of our current evolution and growth in radio, digital, streaming and product placement. The Envision Networks name and branding now reflects everything we supply to radio stations and other media while creating a desirable audience for our advertisers and partners.”
Pssst, Buddy, Wanna Hear an Idea for a Cool New Music Radio Format? Noted music radio program director Bill Conway – who successfully guided AC KOIT, San Francisco to ratings formidability between 1997-2011 — was so motivated by RadioInfo music editor/director Duane Doobie’s “Golden Ears” column posted Monday (2/3) that he decided to openly share a very creative idea that he has been noodling around in his head in recent years with the readers of this trade publication. The format’s working title is “The All New Music Crowd Sourced Radio Format” and it doesn’t depend on only one consultant or one god-like national PD but would use the music junkies and cutting edge technology to directly involve the audience to reignite the role of radio in music discovery. Interested in hearing the idea without having to sit around the bar after hours at a radio convention? Easy. To read Bill Conway’s entire piece posted today (2/7), just click here.
Cumulus Media’s WNNF, Cincinnati Goes ‘NASH.’ Another Cumulus Media country station becomes “NASH” branded as WNNF, Cincinnati morphs from “94.1 Great Country” into “NASH FM 94.1.” Regional vice president and market manager Dave Crowl states, “We are thrilled to introduce ‘NASH’ programming content to Cincinnati’s large and very active country music listening audience. ‘NASH FM 94.1’ will bring the superstars of country to listeners in authentic, entertaining and informative ways never done before.”
Abby Krizner Moves to Mornings on Alternative WXDX, Pittsburgh; Tim Benz Promoted. The promotion of Tim Benz to sports director for Clear Channel Pittsburgh left an open morning show gig on the company’s alternative WXDX “105.9 The X” but the slot is being filled by Abby Krizner, who moves from the evening show at the station. According to Pittsburgh’s Timesonline.com, Benz’s move means he’ll host a show on sister sports talker WBGG but will also continue to contribute to WXDX’s sports content (the station is the Penguins flagship). In a related move, Benz’s co-host Bob McLaughlin stays with the station as producer of the PM drive Mark Madden program on WXDX. About his promotion and the expansion of sports programming which will see his commentary used on cluster stations including rock WDVE, CHR WKST “96.1 KISS,” news/talk WPGB “FM News Talk 104.7,” and classic hits WWSW “94.5 3WS,” Benz tells Timesonline.com, “This opportunity to extend sports programming is something we have been discussing for some time and will enhance our platforms.” He’ll host the daily 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WBGG.
KKGO, Los Angeles Names Larry Morgan Morning Host. The search to replace Shawn Parr on Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO, Los Angeles is over as Larry Morgan begins wake-up duties on February 17. Morgan has hosted morning shows at Bonneville’s crosstown classic rock KSWD “100.3 The Sound” and CBS RADIO’s hot AC KHMX, Houston in addition to serving as senior vice president of Premiere Networks’ network programs and services. In a statement, Morgan says, “I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the “Go Country 105” team. Everyone at “Go Country 105” has created such a great environment. It feels like family there. And the chance to once again wake up Southern California is going to be fun. The opportunity to play a ton of great country music is a gig I could not pass up.” Parr left the station at the end of 2013 to host Cumulus Media Networks‘ “NASH Nights Live” program.
CBS RADIO’s KOOL, Phoenix Adds Smasher to Morning Show. The classic hits station brings radio personality Smasher up to full-time status as he’s officially co-hosting the morning show with Maria Knight, dubbed “The KOOL Morning Show with Smasher & Maria.” Smasher joined the weekend staff at CBS RADIO Phoenix in 2013, and has been working with Maria since earlier this year. KOOL-FM PD Dave Shakes states, “In the short time that Smasher and Maria have been hosting mornings at KOOL-FM, it’s become clear they are a perfect match to bring listeners an exciting and fun show each weekday morning. We see an opportunity for our morning show to continue to grow, adding listeners from the station’s core 25 to 54 demographic.”
Tony and Tammie Assume AM Drive at ‘Majic 100.3’ in St. Louis. At Clear Channel’s urban contemporary KMJM, St. Louis “Majic 100.3” Tony Scott and Tammie Holland (pictured here) take over mornings beginning Monday, February 10. Regional program manager Steve Stewart states, “We are excited to bring together Tony and Tammie to entertain listeners during the morning drive. They are both heritage talents that already have great connections in St. Louis.”
Executive Changes at NextMedia in Chicago as Sale to Digity Expected to Close on Monday. The sale of NextMedia’s nine suburban Chicago radio stations to Dean Goodman-led Digity, LLC is expected to close on Monday, February 10 and Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that two executives are being told they will not be retained when the deal is consummated. General managers Patrick Pendergast and Scott Kosak will reportedly exit the company and NextMedia360 vice president Brian Foster will serve as manager for the entire group. The Chicago stations are part of a larger deal that encompasses 33 stations becoming assets in Digity, LLC. The Chicago-area stations include: classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora; country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; news/talk WJOL-AM, Joliet; AC WSSR-FM, Joliet; rock WRXQ-FM, Coal City; sports WKRS-AM, Waukegan; hot AC WXLC-FM, Waukegan; rock WIIL-FM, Union Grove, Wisconsin and news/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha, Wisconsin.
James Crystal Radio Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. After reports surfaced in the radio trades (including RadioInfo) that James Crystal Radio had missed payroll in January, questions began to arise about the state of the company’s affairs and, sure enough, it’s now public information that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida. In the filing, James Crystal Radio lists assets of between $1 million and $10 million with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities. Some of the 20 creditors with the largest claims include: more than $220,000 owned to BMI, more than $1.5 million to various attorneys for fees, plus some $861,000 owed to the IRS in payroll taxes and more than $200,000 in property and local taxes. This is a particularly unfortunate situation since the company has operated in a very locally focused manner giving opportunities to Florida personalities at news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN, both serving the West Palm Beach and South Florida markets. The company also owns foreign-language WFLL, Fort Lauderdale and gospel KBXD, Dallas.
CBS RADIO Phoenix to Work with Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces its official media partnership with CBS RADIO Phoenix stations KMLE “Country@107.9,” “94.5 KOOL FM,” and “LIVE 101.5” for Super Bowl XLIX. The partnership means the three Valley stations will be the exclusive radio marketing and promotion partners for a variety of exciting events happening throughout the coming year in the build-up to Arizona hosting the Super Bowl on February 1, 2015. CBS RADIO Phoenix SVP and market manager Tim Pohlman states, “KMLE, KOOL and ‘LIVE 101.5’ take great pride in connecting with the local communities of Phoenix and the great state of Arizona. There will be tremendous interest in our city over the next year, and through our exciting partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee we look forward to showcasing all the unique and memorable events planned to commemorate Super Bowl XLIX.” Picture here are morning show talent with Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee president and CEO Jay Parry. From right to left are: Steve Kramer and Nina D. from KMLE, Maria Knight from KOOL, Parry, Smasher from KOOL, and Lady La and JD from KZON.
RadioInfo Humanitarian Alert! As many of our readers are aware, one of the longtime friends of the radio and music industries (and all around good guys), Bruce Moser – co-founder of Could Be Wild, a promotion and marketing firm out of Buffalo – and his family desperately need help. Over the past four decades, Bruce has worked with and was part of breaking acts like U2, Bryan Adams and many more. He had to retire a few years ago due to a major heart attack and series of serious cardiac surgical procedures that nearly killed him and now his wife Mary Moser (pictured here) is in a coma after a tragic fall on July 17 caused by a embolism which resulted in a massive brain bleed and injury requiring immediate brain surgery. She is still currently in a natural (not medically induced) coma in the ECMC LTC facility in Terrace View. She has since had a portion of her skull replaced, a permanent shunt, and a tracheotomy and peg tube. From what the CT scans and EEGs show, it looks like her speech and motor functions could be affected. She has no speech and hardly any movement. There is no telling when she will wake, or what state she will be in when she does, but one thing is for sure: This is going to be a long road to recovery and the financial burden is proving devastating to the Moser family! Anyone in the industry interested in helping this family in distress – good people who are part of the extended “industry family” to which we all hopefully still belong – can find out how by visiting a fundraising campaign currently underway at YouCaring.com. Please click here.
By Pete Gustin
Voice Over Artist & Creative Services Director
BOSTON — “Imaging” isn’t nearly as difficult a concept to define as you might think, even when it comes to radio imaging. In fact, it’s quite simple. What is the image that you wish to portray to your listening public? Is it cool? Is it smart? Is it irreverent, connected or quirky? When done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are. It’s extremely powerful in fact. If you’ve ever heard the old saying “act as if”, that’s exactly what you should do when it comes to your radio imaging. Act as if you’re cool, or in this case, image as if you’re cool… and you will be.
So what happened? Why is the true art of imaging fading away? PPM consultants are breaking everything down into 15 minute segments and telling us that the most important thing to do is to get people from one block of listening to the next. So how do they propose we do this? It’s simple. Just tell the listeners what’s coming up next and they’ll stick around to hear it, Right? Maybe, but probably not. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a stand-up comic who, after delivering a really fantastic joke stopped to tell the crowd “Hey, if you liked that joke, stick around. I’ve got plenty more to come.” The show just keeps on going… until it absolutely has to stop.
Clear Channel and Horizon Media Enter into Cross-Platform Partnership. Media services agency Horizon Media and Clear Channel are announcing a partnership they call a “$100 million multi-year, cross-platform” relationship. In a statement, Clear Channel says this pact will create “first-to-market integrated marketing partnership opportunities for Horizon clients and exclusive access to select Clear Channel platforms including out-of-home, broadcast, mobile, events and digital.” Horizon’s clients include such ubiquitously marketed products as Corona beer, GEICO insurance, The History Channel and Silk. Clear Channel adds that the relationship will “provide Horizon Media with exclusive rights across key events and promotions, including select Artist Integration Programs, World Premieres, customized shows at Clear Channel’s iconic iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, as well as special events created just for Horizon clients. In addition, the agency will have access to the full array of creative talent at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for special content creation opportunities. The partnership will also allow for the co-creation of new psychographic targeting systems utilizing Horizon’s proprietary tools and insights fused with unique music and consumer research built on Clear Channel Media’s industry-leading national reach. The valuable research insights developed throughout the partnership will fuel further media mix model development.” Horizon founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg states, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking partnership and the positive impact it will have for our clients’ business. I’ve been impressed with the transformation of Clear Channel into a multi-platform company that can provide national reach while activating locally and providing measurable ROI.”
Imaging with Style and Class in a PPM World. Your imaging should not try to beat the listener over the head with your message, says voice-over and creative services pro Pete Gustin. Instead, “when done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are. It’s extremely powerful in fact.” What’s the difference? Gustin points out that “the local car dealerships scream about their deals and discounts. The car manufacturers, however, brand their vehicle lines with high-end music, breathtaking imagery, top-notch actors and subtle innuendo. Don’t be a local car dealer screaming at your listeners.” Read more of Gustin’s useful pointers for getting station imaging tuned up for connecting with modern consumers here.
Kansas City’s “Alice” Transitions to Adult Contemporary. After an approximately three-year hiatus, mainstream adult contemporary returns to Kansas City, as Wilks Broadcasting jettisons triple A KCKC “Alice 102″ in favor of “KC 102.1, More Music, More Variety & More Fun.” An adult contemporary battle existed in the 33rd-largest market several years ago between KUDL and – ironically – KCKC. Both stations though changed format, with Entercom-owned KUDL departing in March 2011 to simulcast talk KMBZ-AM as KMBZ-FM. Wilks owner and chief executive officer Jeff Wilks states that “KC 102.1″ will be playing, “familiar music that is upbeat.” Moreover, it “will deliver an updated sound of adult contemporary music that will appeal to a broad range of listeners.” Representative artists will include Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Billy Joel, Journey, Madonna, and Maroon 5. Program director Thom McGinty remains after the format flip and he comments that the station’s format “will finally serve the 900,000+ adult work force in Kansas City. It will focus on more music with variety and non-stop fun, while keeping listeners up-to-date on all major events and entertainment in the Kansas City metro area.” The highest 6+ share KCKC achieved in the last 18 Nielsen Audio PPM monthlies was 3.4 in August 2012. It remained in the two-share range (6+) for the next 15 consecutive survey periods before dipping to 1.9 in November (2013). The station improved to 2.3 in December and was tied at #16 in the “Holiday” report (2.0). Among PPM’s 48 electronically-measured metros, now only Chicago and Minneapolis are without a major adult contemporary signal.
Hot AC’s Holiday Hit. RadioInfo managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian digs into the holiday programming effects on hot AC stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets in this piece published today (2/6). Kinosian writes, “The vast majority of “all-Christmas music” stations come from the adult contemporary genre. It would therefore at least be logical to assume such a seasonal programming modification by a mainstream AC would affect hot AC as much – if not more so – as any other format.” See what the results were in Kinosian’s analysis here.
Nielsen Releases Audio Study Charting Use of Radio. A new report from Nielsen titled “State of the Media: Audio Today 2014” is a graphics-intense, 15-page summary of the use of radio among the population based on data culled from the Nielsen RADAR 119 December 2013 and the Nielsen National Regional Database Spring 2013. The study illustrates what most industry insiders probably already know – that the majority of radio listening among all demographics is done outside the home, and that Millennials listen to less radio during a given week than their older fellow media consumers. But the report also notes that “overall, midday is the highest-rated daypart,” due most likely to high at-work listening, though the 7:00 am hour is still the one with the most people listening to radio. The comparison of the three generations – Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials – shows the difference in the use of radio on a weekly basis. Some may quibble with the results. For example, the report states that 88.2% of Men 12-17 hear at least 5 minutes of radio during the week compared to 95% of Men 45-54 who hear at least 5 minutes of radio. There are industry observers who will claim the 88.2% figure is probably too high – that fewer are actually listening to radio – but the figure doesn’t pretend to show heavy users of radio, just those who’ve heard at least 5 minutes during the week. Regardless, the study does show the lower number of young consumers hearing AM/FM radio on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the population. Nielsen promises to update and expand on the study on a quarterly basis. See the entire study here.
Shannon Shifts to Dallas to Program KDGE and KDMX. It’s a move across the state of Texas for Clear Channel Austin vice president of operations Jay Shannon as he transfers to Dallas where he will program the company’s alternative KDGE “The Edge” and hot AC KDMX “Now” outlets. Clear Channel Dallas vice president of operations Patrick Davis comments that, “Jay has been very successful throughout his time in Austin, and he has a knack for developing talent. He has an outstanding track record and I could not be more pleased to have him join the Dallas team.” Shannon adds, “I am thrilled for the opportunity to work in an amazing market and be a part of such strong brands like KDGE and KDMX.” Prior to his 11 years in Austin, Shannon programmed KXXM “Mix 96,” San Antonio. He begins his Dallas duties next month (3/15).
Jay Blaze Upped to PD/PM Drive Gig at Hip Hop ‘Kiss FM 101.9’ in Eastern NC. The Beasley Broadcasting Group hip hop outlet promotes Los Angeles native Jay Blaze program director and afternoon drive personality. WIKS is licensed to New Bern, North Carolina and serves the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville market. Blaze has been with WIKS since 2009 and has been the evening personality and acting PD. Blaze comments, “Radio is about having fun and conveying that fun to your listeners. When I arrived at 101.9 WIKS and in Eastern NC in 2009, I knew I had found a special place. It’s a loyal community filled with people who really care about each other. On top of that the ENC has GREAT SOUTHERN FOOD and it’s right near the BEACH!” VP and market manager Bruce Simel adds, “Blaze has a great attitude about what it takes to win. He is a team player with a very solid understanding of programming and social media development and an exceptional ability to connect with his audience. He worked very hard to earn this promotion.”
Portland Market Pro Sonderen Named Promotions Director at Triple A KINK. Promotions pro Shannon Sonderen joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland station group to serve as promotions director for triple A KINK. PD Chris Mays says, “We are excited to have someone of Shannon’s expertise join the Alpha team. She knows marketing and the local Portland community.” Sonderen has served with Portland radio outlets in the sales and promotions departments at Entercom’s hot AC KRSK, classic rock KGON, sports KFXX and adult hits KYCH. Sonderen adds, “KINK has been a fixture in Portland radio for so long – I’m so thrilled to be part of such an amazing brand and work with Chris and the rest of the team that makes it happen!”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. At Clear Channel’s Philadelphia cluster, Jeff Daly and Josh Foreman (pictured here) arrive to host afternoon drive at CHR WIOQ “Q102” as Jeff and Josh. They move to Philly from the company’s WFLZ, Tampa where they hosted the evening show as Ratboy & Staypuff, respectively…..Steve Burrell is the new morning show host and assistant PD at Clear Channel’s alternative KTCL, Denver “Channel 99.3,” effective February 12. He recently served in the same capacity at Bahakel Communications’ alternative KRXP, Colorado Springs…..Former “98 Rock” Tampa programmer Mike Killabrew rejoins Clear Channel as PD at alternative KPTL, Des Moines “ALT 106.3.” He spent time in Florida prior to programming active rock WXTB, Tampa as assistant program director at sports talk WDAE and talk WHNZ…..Matt Miller exits Cumulus Media’s classic rock KKEG, Fayetteville, Arkansas “The Keg” where he served as brand manager and PD…..Phil Kirzyc joins Keymarket Licenses-owned classic hits WPKL, Uniontown, Pennsylvania “99 The Pickle” for mornings. Kirzyc, a.k.a. The Kielbasa Kid, previously worked in the Pittsburgh market at rock WDVE.
‘Go Away Bobby Bones’ Billboards No Stunt. That’s what nationally syndicated country morning show host Bobby Bones says about the billboards that have popped up around Nashville where Bones’ show is based. The billboard you see here is one of four in the market and though Bones swears it’s not a stunt and the agency who sold it reports the client is simply “Anti Bobby Bones,” the publicity generated from talk about the billboards has kept Bones in the spotlight a week after he teased an exit from radio that didn’t happen. Bones has been the morning host on WSIX since he arrived in the market from Texas and changed formats from CHR to country. If someone in Nashville wants him gone, they waited long enough to speak out. While RadioInfo believes Bones when he says he is not responsible, somewhere Andrew Loog Oldham is smiling. The former manager of the Rolling Stones (credited with crafting the band’s bad-boy image) is notoriously quoted as having said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” In this case that may be true enough as everyone driving by the billboard will see the name Bobby Bones.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Part three of our exclusive series on ratings implications from stations playing nothing but Christmas music (roughly) between Thanksgiving and December 25 dealt with those outlets’ performance in the Holiday 2013 report.
Facilities employing that programming strategy tended to be well rewarded with impressive Nielsen Audio Holiday numbers.
The vast majority of “All-Christmas Music” stations come from the adult contemporary genre. It would therefore at least be logical to assume such a seasonal programming modification by a mainstream AC would affect hot AC as much – if not more so – as any other format.
What actually happened is detailed below, with the same parameters applying in this overview as in yesterday’s similar country recap.
Stations featured in this 6+, full-week hot AC scoreboard had to have finished in the top 20 in their respective markets in the Holiday 2013 report; only Nielsen Audio subscribers appear in their printed data and consequently here as well.
By Mike Kinosian
Of special interest will be the extent of drop-off by stations that went through the December and Holiday survey periods by playing all-Christmas music. Related to that, of course, will be seeing which formats experience the greatest rebound – or if any wild Holiday to January fluctuations will even surface.
In the meantime, we continue putting the Holiday numbers in perspective with today’s focus on country.
Country Cheers Holiday Conclusion. RadioInfo managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian has been analyzing the effects all-Christmas formats and the Nielsen Holiday PPM ratings period are having on stations in the 48 PPM markets – particularly AC and hot AC. In less than two weeks, we’ll be capping this year’s series after seeing the January 2014 PPM numbers and reporting on the “rebound” effect. As you can see in Kinosian’s piece published today (2/5), there are probably more than a few country stations glad to see the Holiday 2013 PPM in the rear-view mirror. See the data crunch on the Holiday 2013 PPM as it relates to country stations here.
WKDF, Nashville to Air ‘America’s Morning Show’ with Blair Garner. In a move not unexpected, Cumulus Media begins rolling out the WNSH, New York-based “America’s Morning Show” with Blair Garner to other “NASH”-branded country stations with WKDF, Nashville among the first 19 Cumulus O&O country-formatted stations to add the show beginning Monday, February 10. At WKDF, Becca Walls moves back to middays to make way for Garner. Walls’ co-hosts Marty McFly and Stewart James will remain with the company in new capacities.
Premiere Networks Teams with Radio Express to Expand International Reach. Some of Premiere Networks’ most popular music programming is being hawked farther abroad as the syndicator agrees with Los Angeles-based Radio Express to begin distributing “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest”; “Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 – The 70s” and “Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 – The 80s”; “On Air with Ryan Seacrest”; “Direct from Hollywood with Ryan Seacrest”; “The Crook & Chase Countdown”; “On with Mario Lopez”; “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx”; “The Side Show Countdown with Nikki Sixx”; “TMZ Reports”; “Weekend Top 30 with Hollywood Hamilton”; “The Remix Top 30 Countdown with Hollywood Hamilton”; and “Weekend Top 30 with Ramiro” to South and Central America and 13 African countries. The companies say that in addition, Radio Express will market to Latin America and the 13 African countries the audio services BigChampagne (all formats); Mediabase (all music formats, except Jazz and BM); Rate The Music (all music formats); Imaging Blueprint (International), and Premiere’s production and imaging libraries and prep products.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Envision Radio Networks Adds Two Classic Rock Shows. There are two new weekend classic rock shows now being offered by Envision Radio Networks: “Sun City Café” and “Sun City Café Saturday Night.” The company describes “Sun City Café” as a “three-hour weekly show that features mass-appeal, 100% Hall of Fame classic rock ‘n’ roll and comedy flashbacks from legends like George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, and Steven Wright, along with a myriad of pop-culture flashbacks. It’s hosted and produced by Joe Kelly with special guests Kate West and Engineer Bill. ‘Sun City Café Saturday Night’ is a three-hour show that rocks from A-to-Z with 70s, 80s and early 90s hard rock and hair metal. It’s a fun presentation with tons of double-plays and non-stop momentum.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Re-packaging classic rock songs is critical to keeping the format sounding energized. Joe Kelly and ‘Sun City Café’ do just that, allowing stations to keep their position as the heritage rock station while showcasing the very best classic rock music mixed with comedy and pop-culture rarities.”
DOOBIE: Music Radio Needs More Broadcasters with Golden Ears. In a new column posted yesterday (2/3) RadioInfo music editor/director Duane Doobie makes a case for bringing back professional music radio tastemakers and hit-pickers affectionately known during the salad days as the industry’s “golden ears.” He writes, “When this business was clicking on all cylinders, every format of music radio was populated by a healthy smattering of well-known and widely respected programmers (PDs, MDs, jocks) who were considered by their colleagues in both the radio and record ends of the scene to have ‘golden ears.’ For the uninitiated, that means they were able to spot a hit at first-listen a mile away. Obviously they were not always right – but for the most part they were close to the mark, at least collectively. They were invaluable ‘bell cows’ giving the industry direction. They didn’t NEED ‘research.’ They WERE research! These magical people were the frontline of radio’s penetration into the bubbling, churning, seminal brew of the unfiltered energy field that constitutes the base-level from which all definition, categorization and the hierarchy of ‘hits’ rises in what we consider to be the popular music/cultural scene. They were the industry’s reconnaissance force. Their observations were a powerful enzyme – a catalyst – in the chemistry that eventually led to a vibrant scene that danced along the fine line between art and commerce.” Doobie goes on to state that one of the missions of the RadioInfo music department is to seek out such people working in the business today and tap into their inherent “gift” regardless of company, station, market size or musical format. To read this important piece in its entirety, please click here.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. ”Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. ”We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Quad Cities rocker WXLP “97X,” the morning team of Bill Michaels and Greg Dwyer signs a new, five-year deal that keeps them with the station through 2019…..Entercom brings Jay Styles aboard to host afternoons and serve as music director at hot AC KAMX, Austin “Mix 94.7.”…..Brion O’Brion is the new evening host at Midwest Communications’ CHR WMGI, Terre Haute “100.7 Mix FM.”
Michele Laven Promoted to Newly Created Corporate Post at Clear Channel. Rising from her EVP of strategic partnerships position to the new president of partnerships and local activation post is Michele Laven. She’ll report to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. Her role is described as creating “strategic alliances and marketing programs with key distribution and content partners, while expanding the capacity of Clear Channel’s local market sales organizations to develop multi-market revenue opportunities.” CEO Bob Pittman states, “Clear Channel is built on our strong relationships with listeners, advertisers and partners — both on the local and national level. We have the unparalleled ability to connect artists with their fans and brands with their consumers, and in her new role Michele is going to use her expertise to help national partners build an even closer relationship with their consumers at the local level.” Prior to joining CC eight years ago, Laven served as president and chief operating officer of New Times Media.
Entercom Elevates DiNardo to SF VP/Market Manager. Vice president of sales Steve DiNardo is boosted to vice president and market manager of Entercom‘s San Francisco-San Jose cluster. Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer comments that, “After a nationwide search, the best choice was right in front of us. I am proud to promote from within as Steve and the entire San Francisco team achieved market-leading results in Q4. They have set a blistering pace for 2014. Under Steve’s leadership, I know Entercom will continue to be one of the media leaders in the market.” The company’s Bay Area group consists of adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Lite Rock – Less Talk,” classic rock duo KUFX and KUZX “K-Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX “Yesterday and Today’s R&B.” DiNardo remarks, “Our heritage brands and innovative staff make this opportunity a dream come true. Entercom’s entrepreneurial spirit and corporate resources give us everything we need to grow our audience engagement as well as the revenues that follow.” In advance of joining the Entercom stations in 2012, DiNardo spent 15 years as a CBS Radio vice president/general manager.
Casey Named Operations Manager of Townsquare Hudson Valley. Former Clear Channel, Indianapolis director of operations Buzz Casey is tapped to become operations manager for Townsquare Media Group‘s 10 stations in the Hudson Valley and Poughkeepsie, New York. Townsquare Media senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson remarks, “Buzz has a track record of success and he brings a strong set of skills to lead Townsquare Hudson Valley to a new level on-air, online and on site.” In addition to his OM duties, Casey will be day-to-day program director of Poughkeepsie rock outlet WPDH. ”The culture and creativity of Townsquare Media Group are top-notch,” Casey comments. “The Hudson Valley brands are poised for success.” Hudson Valley is Nielsen Audio‘s 39th-highest market. Casey’s past programming and operations management resume includes Atlanta’s WKLS “96 Rock” and alternative WBZY; Phoenix rocker KDKB; classic rock WFBQ “Q-95,” Indianapolis; and WNRQ, Nashville.
Pacey Williams to Host Afternoons on ‘V101’ in Sacramento. Northern California native Pacey Williams is the new PM drive personality at Clear Channel’s urban contemporary KHYL, Sacramento “V101, The Beat of Sacramento.” Williams began his radio career in San Diego working with the “Jeff & Jer Morning Show.” After making stops in Bakersfield, Atlanta and San Francisco as an on-air host, Williams served as producer of the morning show at KMEL in San Francisco. CC San Francisco OM Steve Weed says, “Pacey’s energy and passion for music is a great addition to the talent line-up on ‘V101’ and a true reflection of ‘The Beat of Sacramento.’” Williams adds, “I’ve always loved Sacramento and I’m excited to join the ‘V101’ team. I wouldn’t be here without the experience I had at KMEL and will take that with me to ‘V101’ to entertain listeners in the afternoon.”
Cape Cod Broadcasting Tweaks Formats; Welcomes New Morning Show Talent. Recently arrived programmer Jerry McKenna and Cape Cod Broadcasting general manager Bev Tilden announce new morning personalities and some programming changes at three of the company’s properties. Tilden calls the news “a fun new concept for Cape morning radio.” First, hot AC WQRC re-brands as “99-9 The Q” with new morning show host Karen Blake. At sister country WKPE “Cape Country 104,” Ralphie Marino is the new wake-up personality. Blake and Marino (as seen in this image at left) formerly worked together as morning show co-hosts on the old “STAR Boston” (now WEEI-FM). The former partners from “STAR Boston” playfully appeared on each other’s morning shows on Monday (2/3). McKenna comments, “Ralphie and Karen are true professionals. They each know how to create great morning radio. Cape Cod is in for a treat!” Blake and Marino will be joined by Sean Doherty – former staffer at “KISS 108” and “JAMN 94.5” in Boston – who will appear on both shows delivering entertainment reports and Cape Cod lifestyle observations. Additionally, the company announces the debut of the new format slant for WOCN “Ocean 104.7.” Dubbed “Custom Crafted for the Cape,” WOCN will feature core artists such as James Taylor, Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, The Eagles, later Beatles and Bob Dylan with modern singer/songwriters like John Mayer, Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat added in. Ed McMann is serving as the new station voice.
Ashley Z Assumes Middays at Saga’s Brewtown CHR ‘Energy 106.9.’ Moving across Lake Michigan from her most recent role as evening personality at MacDonald Garber Broadcasting’s CHR WKHQ, Charlevoix, Michigan, Ashley Z is the new midday jock at WNRG, Milwaukee “Energy 106.9.” Commenting on her new gig, Ashley says, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the team at ‘Energy’ and to take this next step in my career. I’m ecstatic for this opportunity in Milwaukee.”
Clear Channel Announces More Corporate Moves. Changes at the corporate level at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment include a title adjustment and new duties for former EVP/integrated music marketing Alissa Pollack who becomes EVP/music & partner integrations for Premiere Networks. She reports to Darren Davis (recently named president of Clear Channel network groups) and will work in “developing and integrating artist, partner, and advertiser opportunities into” Premiere programs, according to a corporate memo from Davis. Also, the company announces that EVP/entertainment programming Jennifer Leimgruber signs a contract renewal to keep her in that position through 2017.
Medical Marijuana Info Ad on Boston Stations Raises Questions About ‘Pot Ads.’ The issue in Massachusetts as reported by the Boston Herald yesterday is different than the issues stations in Colorado and Washington are facing. The Massachusetts case is about medical marijuana, not legal pot for recreational use as is now allowed in Colorado and Washington. Stations in those states have so far avoided ads for legal pot because of the conflict between federal and state laws on the matter – no one is willing to become the (expensive) legal test case. But the Massachusetts ads that aired on Greater Media’s alternative WBOS and rhythmic AC WBQT in Boston were bought not by a dispensary but by the New England Grass Roots Institute which doesn’t sell marijuana; it provides information about medical marijuana. Institute founder Mike Fitzgerald tells the Herald the rules don’t apply to him. “We’re the first cannabis institute. We’re really focused on people who have never seen cannabis before. Since the American Medical Association isn’t teaching anything, we thought we need to step in.” But the Herald story also quotes a dispensary consultant who says the laws state dispensaries are not supposed to “generate demand.” Since Fitzgerald’s institute is not a dispensary, that could muddy the waters. Regardless, it’s going to be just a matter of time before advertising this new industry becomes relevant to radio. There’s just too much money to be made. Read the Herald story here.
TCCP Radio Unveils Digital Initiative. Programming consulting company TCCP Radio announces it is launching a “digital platform designed specifically to grow website views and the digital revenue of local radio stations.” The company reports the platform is being piloted on 10 local radio station websites this month and will be available nationwide in fall 2014. TCCP president Kent Phillips comments, “Radio broadcasters have challenged us to develop digital solutions with solid metrics that complement their radio stations, not take listeners and dollars away from their stations. I think we have a viable solution.”
Constantine Joins Live365 as Director of Programming. Internet radio network Live365 names Dennis Constantine director of programming. “More and more radio listening is moving online and I am thrilled to be part of the radio revolution,” Constantine comments. ”Live365 is fully involved in creating new products and improving the experience of radio listening. It is exciting to be part of the brain trust.” Within the past several months, Live365 has appointed Hong Lau chief executive officer; Bill Bungeroth vice president of sales; and Juliette Bouquerel director of broadcast services. Perhaps best known for his 13-year programming stint at Portland’s KINK – which ended in October 2010 – Constantine has programmed KFOG, San Francisco, and he has worked at various stations in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Denver.
Slacker Radio Names Duncan Orrell-Jones CEO. Coming over from game maker Nintendo where he was senior vice president of network business is Duncan Orrell-Jones who joins Slacker Radio as chief executive officer. He succeeds Jim Cady, who will remain as a member of the company’s board of directors. ”I am excited to welcome Duncan to Slacker Radio and I look forward to working with him to lead the company into its next stage of growth,” states Cady. ”Slacker has built a powerful service that blends the art of human radio with the science of streaming. We attracted more than 21 million new listeners in 2013, and it’s an ideal time to bring in someone of Duncan’s caliber to take Slacker’s business to the next level.” Orrell-Jones comments, “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Slacker Radio in what promises to be its most exciting period of growth. There is a tremendous opportunity to build on Slacker’s momentum with consumers, its strong technology platform, and its suite of billing and distribution partners across wireless carriers, automotive manufacturers, and consumer electronics devices.” In addition to Nintendo, Orrell-Jones’ background includes senior vice president and managing director of Disney Interactive Media Group, Asia Pacific. In addition, he has held executive positions at Disney’s feature animation, Disney Toon Studio, and Broadway theatrical productions groups. He begins at Slacker Radio next Monday (2/10).
‘PineCone Bluegrass Show’ Thriving in Raleigh. Going against the grain of what some country programmers might consider contemporary, the “PineCone Bluegrass Radio Show” is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Curtis Media’s WQDR, Raleigh. The program has been airing weekly there since January 29, 1989. The show’s co-hosts, Larry Nixon and Tim Woodall started spinning bluegrass on WQDR at the station’s request and a quarter-century later, Nixon and Woodall are still co-hosting the popular Sunday evening program. Curtis Media VP of programming Lisa McKay states, “’The PineCone Bluegrass Show’ on QDR – it’s a fun celebration – 25 years of playing the music that makes our country great. It’s one of my favorite Sunday night traditions! I do love the texture three hours of bluegrass brings to QDR.”
A quick observation to note: I think that Bruno Mars gave an amazing performance at the Super Bowl last night. This is not easy for me to say, because I walked out halfway during Mars’ set after I saw Janelle Monae open for him and she and her crew BLEW ME AWAY a few years ago. But we seek truth here at RadioInfo and credit must be given where credit is due.
Mars has come a long way since that show and I have a renewed interest in him. My initial interpretation that his semi-gloss was his offering over his substance… but I was quick to judge. He worked hard last night… drums, vocals, dancing, AND handling the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If anyone should win MVP of that halftime show – it’s Mars. No question. Note that his single “Young Girls” is climbing the RadioInfo Pop Music Charts this week – from 17 to 13. I expect that he will find himself with another top 10 shortly.
At the time of this writing, U2 has just released “Invisible” for free on iTunes. Each download has Bank of America donating $1.00 to the RED charity to support ending the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015. Beyond wanting to see Bank of America spend as much money as possible on something that actually helps people (don’t even get me started about big banks, fees and the way they have working people like us by the nuts), the song is actually really good and I GUARANTEE that it will be charting high next week. Look for it… but play it now and get on this early!
“Into the Blue” by Kylie Minogue Kiss Me Once (Warner Bros./Parlophone)
I am not going to make a statement like that – even though it’s no longer January. However, I am going to concur and say that this single is definitely special and I look forward to the final offering – due out by the Australian pop diva on March 18th.
The album features a team of producers including the prolific Pharrell Williams, along with Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM), MNEK (Bastille), and Greg Kurstin (P!nk). “Making this album was quite a journey but I loved it,” Kylie says in a press release. “It was through a time in my life where there were a lot of changes and new beginnings. I’m thrilled with the response to ‘Into the Blue’, and I can’t wait for you hear the rest of the record!”
I don’t normally read the comment sections on any particular posting on YouTube, etc. (or take them too seriously). It’s almost all the same. “I love it.” “I hate it.” “I hate you.” Slur. Rinse. Repeat. However, for this particular video, I noticed that everyone liked the song…but that the intelligent comments were split about whether this is an evolution of Kylie Minogue’s sound from her eighth studio album Fever (2001) that features “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and was an overall dance floor favorite or from her ninth studio album Body Language (2003) that instead explored genres like synthpop, electroclash, R&B, and hip hop. Many tracks in Body Language contain references to songs from the 1980s and lyrically, the album touches upon themes of enjoyment, flirting, and sex.
So are we heading towards another dance floor sensation or is this the latest underappreciated experiment in the long and winding career of Miss Kylie Minogue? I don’t know. But what a great question for your listeners… Play her last major hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and play “Into the Blue” and see if your listeners think it’s a dance evolution or if it’s an experiment.
“MMM Yeah” by Austin Mahone featuring Pitbull (Chase/Cash Money)
“Mmm Yeah,” which features Pitbull, debuted on Elvis Duran‘s morning show (Jan. 24) and didn’t hit iTunes for two more days. How cool is that?! Mahone performed the single live at Pepsi’s “#PEPCITY” Super Bowl XLVIII kick-off party in New York City on Jan. 29, and then again on Good Morning America on Jan. 31.
There’s definitely a pop cultural identification factor when it comes to new music. A potential listener that is flipping around the dial looking for something on the radio is more likely to stop and listen to your station if you are playing a song that either they like or that they recognize. I am not saying that you shouldn’t play new music and engage your listeners with that content. I am saying that if you are looking for the channel surfers – you have a higher likelihood of getting them to stop flipping if they can recognize the song. It doesn’t mean that you need to have played it before –or that they need to associate the song with your station. Because the outlets that covered the kickoff party and Good Morning America are building that awareness into your potential audience for you… you may as well cash in and play it.
It may not be the kind of hit that has lasting power… but considering it’s going to be in everyone’s ears, you may as well use it to engage some listeners in the next week – and get them hooked on some of your other amazing programming.
“Like A Bird” by Beth Spangler (Beth Spangler)
Born in the small town of Pearisburg, VA, Beth was raised in a family of talented singers and musicians, and whereas singing was nothing new to her, her talent quickly stood out. Her soulful vocal ability blends urban and pop with a general mass appeal.
Stone Stafford from BerkStone Entertainment tells me that with new talent like Spangler, he finds success with releasing singles and videos to the marketplace early and then using the reaction and the metric analysis to develop the album project to its full potential.
So while she is currently recording her project in Atlanta with production team MATRAX (R.Kelly) and producer Chris “Deep” Henderson (“Blame It” – Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain), radio is a beneficiary of this track dropping early.
Did I mention that she’s also the Senior Radiographer for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia? How can you not get behind this feel good single from a new rising artist!
They describe themselves as where rap and pop collide with acoustic sunshine. I think it’s more pop than hip hop… and while I am not sure what acoustic sunshine actually is… I think the song is catchy and is worth consideration for a playlist addition.
Scott Winn and Brenden Bytheway have been compared to Owl City and Imagine Dragons but I think that neither comparison really captures the urban/hip hop edge they have… though their sound will not alienate those that do not favor hip hop.
How do I know about these guys? It’s their video of Stormtroopers dancing and twerking. Something I can’t imagine doing in that getup. The video has already racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube.
So here yah go… play the song, talk about the video, and drive your engaged audience to your website to check it out and also support your advertisers there. Things like this make connecting those dots seem easy and certainly obvious.
“I Shot The Sheriff” by N.A.S.A. featuring Karen O
Then imagine it sung by the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Karen O.)…
The new collaboration helmed by Sam Spiegel debuted in a Sonos ad on a Grammys commercial break, so it’s unclear whether or not the arrival hails the coming of a proper sequel to 2009′s The Spirit of Apollo to which Karen O contributed alongside David Byrne, Lykke Li, Kanye West, M.I.A., RZA, Ghostface Killah, Santigold, Chuck D, George Clinton, amongst others.
This is great for crossover consideration as “I Shot The Sheriff” is almost universally known, and while the voice of Karen O may be new to some people, it’s a voice that really lends itself to the song. It’s catchy. It will stand out. It also moves. It’s a definite consideration for crossover play.
“We Want” by Khurt (Original Mix) (Adapted Records)
This track is the HIGHEST DEBUT on the RadioInfo EDM Music Charts, with a top five spot this week. My guess is that you probably have never heard of this French composer before… but after today, I think that is going to change. There’s a reason why I am writing about this track, despite it not being in the red zone (instead just debuting high on the charts)
From Adapted Records, Khurt’s latest production is a funkified, heavy bass explosion that’s rife with punchy drums, a shredding guitar, and enough bass to move some sub woofers. “We Want” is definitely a breath of fresh air for all the bassheads out there, taking elements from numerous genres and seamlessly blending them into a high energy party track that you can’t help but dance to.
This song has crossover hit written all over it. I couldn’t stop hitting repeat song when it came up in my playlist this week. I even have a dance that I do around the office when it’s blasting in my cans… but I don’t think it will be hitting YouTube anytime soon as why should I deprive your listeners the opportunity to create their own dance moves video to this song that I know your audience will love.
“Ghosts” by Emily Underhill (Sebastian Carter ReMix)
At only 19 years old, Sebastian Carter is making bodies melt and minds swoon with his ethereal downtempo ambience. In his latest remix of Emily Underhill’s glorious record “Ghosts”, the young beatsmith creates a delicate production underlined by melancholy violin chords, warm reverb and entrancing vocal loops. He hijacks her powerful and emotive vocal track and splices it with downtempo chords that pay tribute to house while keeping the ambiance chilled out.
Emily Underhill is 22, from London, and a writer/producer of Ambient/Electronic/Indie music. Her model for music sales is you pay what you want. She writes, “I have no label or financial backing and a lot of my music is released on a pay what you want basis, allowing people to download albums and tracks for free. So far I’ve had over 3,000 downloads on Bandcamp alone, almost 200,000 plays on Soundcloud and gigged all over the UK.”
The original “Ghosts” was recorded on Underhill’s laptop in her apartment. Since she doesn’t have a label or a production company – she went on KickStarter and crowdsourced herself her single being pressed on 7” vinyl. I missed that – but I am supporting her next KickStarter – an EP on 12” vinyl. I LOVE that the new crop of talent still wants to press to vinyl. I also love that for the £1250 she’s raising covers the pressing, production and mastering costs for 300 x 12″ vinyls and fully printed sleeves with full artwork, as well as pay all the fees to KickStarter and include t-shirts for backers.
Anyway… she’s got a huge following (how else could she crowdsource two vinyl pressings without a label meeting her goal in less than two weeks) and so does Sebastian Carter. So something they did “together” well – its worthy of crossover consideration.
“Adam’s Song” by Blink 182 (PRFFTT & Svyable Remix)
After listening to this song … Not only am I NOT SKEPTICAL – but I am EXCITED! I never thought this is something that could hit the clubs… and while it’s making waves across dance floors – it can be on your playlist making people move.
PRFFTT & Svyable are a Boston-based duo (Sam Driver & Sven Benson) that has the support of Ellie Goulding and Adventure Club. Their remixes capture hearts and ears alike with their signature melodic dub sound. You can expect big things from these two as they continue to hone their craft. They will be dropping an EP called Super//Natural soon. And if it’s anything like this track, I for one – cannot wait.
“Brighter” by Ozomatli featuring Dave Stewart Place In The Sun (Vanguard)
Imagine if you took the best of garage-rock, electro-cumbia, funk, hip-hop, mambo, dancehall, reggae, salsa and Indian raga… put it in a crock pot and let it heat for hours and hours… slow burn… so that all of the styles synthesized into a sum greater than each of the individual parts – THAT is Ozomatli and they bring it with this offering featuring Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame.
Beyond being Grammy (and Latin Grammy) winners, they perform concerts to support the work of orphanages, refugee programs, HIV/AIDS care clinics, and disadvantaged youth. Not to mention – they have served as Cultural Ambassadors for the US State Department (a role Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong each previously held).
The band’s Vanguard label debut Place In the Sun hits March 11. It is a strong statement from a group of maturing musicians who have firmly placed their imprint onto an ever-changing music scene. Between their story and the high quality of their music – this is a must add to your playlist.
“You’re Not Good Enough” by Blood Orange featuring Samantha Urbani Cupid Deluxe (Domino)
In order to be successful, a music radio station needs to engage its listeners. That doesn’t mean talk too much. It means having an investment in the music – both in terms of what and how it is played.
Mark Summer, PD/MD/Golden Eared Jock at WDDJ/WQQR/WKYQ in Paducah, KY, understands how to engage the audience with a feature on WDDJ entitled the “Daily Download.” It’s like the whole smash or trash thing where the jock opens it up to the audience (on the phones and online) to vote whether or not the song is a keeper. Summer tells RadioInfo, the purpose is to identify music that would make a regular listener feel included in the new music discovery process by asking “what are they playing now?”
Friday, January 31, Mark offered up this track from Blood Orange. Imagine the light funk circa 1979 sounds of the artist once again known as Prince in a duet with Samantha Urbani. Dev Hynes delivers lines like “I never was in love / You know that you were never good enough” with an honest nonchalance. I’d say it’s almost endearing… but leave that for your listeners…
“We’re All In This Together” by Sam Roberts Band Lo-Fantasy (Secret Brain)
October 23rd, 2006. I was in Boston with some of the now RadioInfo music crew (though this was obviously before we existed in that capacity…) to see Ben Kweller, who I had heard, could do some amazing things with a piano. Specifically, I had been jamming to his Live at Lollapalooza 2006 and wanted to see if he could recreate that energy without the whole festival thing going on. He did.
Opening for Ben was the Sam Roberts Band. Like a lot of my concert experiences, I am often more impressed with the opening band than I am with the actual act. Not to say that Ben Kweller wasn’t everything I expected… but that the Sam Roberts band was that much more.
They are a big deal in Canada. I’d compare them to The Sheepdogs – other Canadians that seem to be a big deal. Did I mention that this track was featured on CBC-TV for opening night of the NHL hockey season… and as we all know, Canadians take their hockey and probably their hockey broadcast theme songs seriously.
When I first heard this track, I knew exactly who it was. Their sound is constant from when they first formed in 2003… except their sound has gotten more richly defined with a lot more musical and vocal subtleties as they have grown together as a band.
I could have sworn I heard the track before – maybe from one of their other albums… However, it was new. Perhaps off the album they announced was in production a few months ago on their twitter. Sounds exactly like the reason I like them that much. If you haven’t heard them – you are in for a treat. So are your listeners.
“Avant Gardener” by Courtney Barnett The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (Marathon Artists/House Anxiety)
When I hear that term, I think of a subculture of millennial stoner burn outs characterized by apathy and aimlessness living in their parents basements playing World of Warcraft. Nothing wrong with this… though, when you turn 40 – you should really think about finding your own basement. Just saying.
Imagine the world of Dylan and the Byrds; the time was a blending of psychedelia, folk, and Americana. Enter Courtney Barnett and “Avant Gardener” – the bittersweet tale of a girl dragging herself out of bed late on a Monday morning to try and be accomplished… find her motivation… or at least try her hand at gardening… It is at this point she suffers a panic attack.
The scene unfolds like a dream: “Halfway down High Street, Andy looks ambivalent/ He’s probably wondering what I’m doing getting in an ambulance,” Barnett sings. “The paramedic thinks I’m clever ’cause I play guitar/ I think she’s clever ’cause she stops people dying.”
When all is said and done, Barnett sings of being left with the feeling that perhaps she shouldn’t have gotten out of bed… which seems to be the theme song of the modern slacker. But then Barnett sings about struggling to get a good pull on her asthma inhaler confessing, “I was never good at smoking bongs…”
Perhaps being a slacker doesn’t imply that one is also a stoner burn out. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the two are correlated. However, if you look at the history of the word – it gained recognition in the mid-20th century when Sudanese laborers protested their relative powerlessness by working lethargically, a form of protest known as “slacking.”
So it’s not that she’s singing about being unmotivated… she is singing about not wanting to work. I guess there is a difference. Though, Courney Barnett seems to be quite the hard worker because the song is definitely worthy of a playlist addition.
“Blue Collar Jane” by The Strypes Snapshot (Virgin/EMI)
When I first discovered the Beatles, I wanted to be them. I grew my hair out and I dreamed about learning to play the guitar. The long hair made my mom happy, and my father was so proud of my sudden interest in creating music that he went out and got me a guitar.
I can only think of a handful of bands, songs, or albums that have made me want to learn to play an instrument with the passion of those first Beatles records. Simon Harper of Clash Magazine said that this album by the Strypes “with such infectious energy and lyrics capturing the timeless topics of youth, really: what’s not to like? Harmonica sales will soar!”
Harmonica sales will soar.
He’s right. I didn’t go out and buy myself a Hohner… but I was motivated to dig the one I had out of my closet and play it long enough to remember why it was in the closet in the first place.
This Irish Quartet’s debut album is definitely worth exploring. But you want one track that you can take to the bank? It’s this one… it’s got some real guts. Think early Lou Reed and Clash but with less aggression.
“Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family Singing Bones (Carrot Top)
I mentioned earlier – in the Pop Picks – about the “pop cultural identification factor” when it comes to new music. I said that a potential listener that is flipping around the dial looking for something on the radio is more likely to stop and listen to your station if you are playing a song that either they like or that they recognize. Here’s another example – except this time it’s a country song.
On January 12, HBO premiered True Detective. The new gothic anthology series stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two Louisiana cops whose investigation of an occult-related murder spans 17 years. Viewers were eased into the surreal, Southern mystery via the Handsome Family’s “Far From Any Road,” a haunting highlight from 2003′s Singing Bones that has found a second life as the hour-long drama’s theme song.
The song is great. Whether you played it back in 2003 or not… it’s got recognition because that show has recognition. Tap into this new audience that HBO has created for you by playing this song and introducing your station to a whole bunch of fresh ears.
“Early Morning Shakes” by Whiskey Myers Early Morning Shakes (Wiggy Thump/Thirty Tigers)
Imagine a bluesy collection of the drinking man’s music. It’s full of thumping drums and swaggering guitars.
“Early Morning Shakes” may not fit in with the current trends in country, the audiences’ obsession with pickups, blue jeans, and moonlight, but singer/guitarist Cody Cannon describes the song as “the coolest song we have ever done,” and explains that it’s “about life on the road, or at least the life that we live on the road.” He continues, “For the most part, kind of when you drink a little too much and your hands start shaking. That happened to me. It just seemed like a colorful title. I don’t even really remember when I started writing the song. Probably had to be after a bad hangover or something, some sort of experience like that on the road. Yeah that was really it. Just a … it was about life on the road.”
Whiskey Myers third album “Early Morning Shakes” is due out February 2014. It’s produced by Dave Cobb (a man with the distinction of producing records for both Waylon and Shooter Jennings).
“Duane Allman” by Amy Ray Goodnight Tender (Daemon)
Many artists are activists interweaving their beliefs into the visible platform of their craft. Obviously the 60s are littered with plenty of examples. But the Indigo Girls quickly come to the top of my mind of groups in the modern era. Enter Amy Ray – singer/songwriter and one half of the Indigo Girls.
This single, the first from her first country album is special – in purpose and in the execution of the purpose. This is ultimately what will hook your listeners in when you talk about this song and explain why you are playing it.
Amy Ray tells Rolling Stone, “I was listening to the Allman Brothers when I was a young kid in the 70s. There was something so defiant yet vulnerable in their songs. It was my first taste of what I would love about southern rock boys. I was so young that it didn’t even dawn on me that Duane had died, but when I did realize it, it was my rock and roll coming of age. Susan Tedeschi of Tedeschi Trucks Band graciously agreed to sing some harmonies on ['Duane Allman'], and without a touch of irony, recorded some killer tracks at her and Derek’s studio in Florida. Her voice gave the song the wings it needed.”
This track is to mainstream country as folk is to modern rock. It will not work for all playlists but telling the story about Amy Ray and the recording of this track will definitely drive people to the stations website to listen – even if you don’t add this to the rotation.
“Howlin’ at the Moon” by Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons Hey Kid (Vital Music USA)
This group is the real deal, delivering contemporary rock ‘n’ roll that’s spiced with a healthy dose of good old fashioned southern country flavor. Angela Perley, 27, hails from Ohio and she brings that real heartland sound to this debut. It’s the shameless good times and guitar forward songwriting of bands like the Georgia Satellites with a mix of jam, glam, and honky-tonk to round out the sound.
The whole album is great and the individual songs let the band members explore different moods that somehow create a total that is greater than the sum of its parts… something that cannot be manufactured. The single is “Hurricane” and I strongly suggest that you check it out. But to me, the track that shares the name of the band is the one I would play first.
This song shouldn’t be limited to the few rock stations that have already given it some airplay. This track, this band, this album, is at its roots all country and deserves country airplay.
“Baby Come On With It” by Natalie Stovall and the Drive (HitShop)
The Nashville-based band is led by Stovall, a fiddle player who made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry when she was just 12 years old. Her vocals are backed by the Drive, made up of Miguel Cancino on guitar, Zach Morse on bass, guitarist and vocalist Joel Dormer, and drummer James Bavendam, who Stovall met in college.
“When we met I told him that I was a country singer and he said, ‘Oh! I’m a country drummer!’” Stovall, who hails from Tennessee, said in a video put out by the band. “One night in the dorm room he just said ‘Well, why don’t you have your own band?’ and I thought ‘Man, why don’t I have my own band?’ And so we put a band together and played a whole lot of gigs.”
After graduating from college and moving back to Nashville, Stovall and Bavendam began working on putting together the rest of the band, using whatever means possible… hookups from friends and some guy named Craig and his magic list.
“We kind of all found that right combination of personalities, and I think that’s one of the reasons that this band works so well together,” Stovall explained in the video.
“I’m always in an arena in my own head,” she says. “The reason that we get to play 200 shows a year is because of our fans. They keep coming back to shows and keep asking us to play and the more that they give to us, the more that we give back to them. It’s this beautiful cycle of gratitude.”
Well… you can tap into that cycle of gratitude by hopping aboard this train early and adding them to your rotation now and repeatedly.
Duane Doobie is music editor/director of RadioInfo and reflects the composite musical opinions of the RadioInfo editorial staff. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.