Our 2013 Radio Industry Trend Watch

Now that the news cycle has slowed down we can finally look forward to our expectations of the stories we’ll be seeing regularly during 2013. More Deregulation The FCC is currently deliberating on whether to lift the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. Such a move would count each type of media a company can own separately and eliminate waivers to retain newspapers and broadcast properties in the same market. Cox would be able to keep The Atlanta Journal Constitution, WSB-TV, and add to to its 1 AM and 4 FM’s in the Atlanta market. CBS would no longer have to count its two television stations in Philadelphia alongside its 3 AM’s and 3 FM’s potentially paving the way to add as many as two more radio stations in that market. The greater impact will be felt in th...Read More

Looking Back At Our 2012 Predictions

As 2012 comes to a close lets look back at our predictions we had coming into this year. Nationalized Brands We haven’t reached this point yet, but we continue to head on that path. The culmination would be the late-December launch of Clear Channel’s EDM “Evolution 101.7” Boston. This marked the first time Clear Channel brought one of its web channels to a traditional FM signal. Clear Channel was not alone as Townsquare Media converted WQSH Albany, NY and KMAX-FM Fort Collins, CO to use the branding of their and web brands respectively. Less Localization / More Localization The staff cutting continued in 2012 with more and more dayparts going jockless or coming from another market. There doesn’t seem to be an end in si...Read More

The Radio Industry Needs A Publicist

Morning show prank leads to suicide; massive layoffs at the largest group owner; listeners upset about pending format change. Just another week of headlines about radio from the non-industry press. Most of the headlines about the radio industry that make it to the mainstream press are usually negative in nature these days. Outside of a handful of columnists, most newspapers have no regular coverage of the personalities and programming in radio. We live in a world where publicists have turned people who gained notoriety for a sex tape into international superstars. The NAB or some other consortium of broadcasters need to get together and spotlight the good things being done at radio. Turn your personalities into local superstars. When you’re doing what was your ho-hum annual Christmas...Read More

Gift Ideas For The Radio Obsessive

For the benefit of those looking for a gift for their fellow radio-geek or themselves, we’d like to point out two possible options. First up is James Van Osdol’s “We Appreciate Your Enthusiasm: The Oral History Of Q101“. The book is recap of the 19 year run of Chicago’s WKQX as an Alternative Rocker from 1992 until the sale to Merlin Media in 2011. Van Osdol, who worked at the station on and off for much of its run recaps the ups and downs of the station through interviews with 75 fellow former staffers. As we await the arrival of our copy, WBEZ’s Jim DeRogatis has a thorough review here. The book is available in paperback on Amazon for $15.99 and in a Kindle version for $7.99. Scott Fybush, the mastermind behind Northeast Radio Watch, Tower Site Of The ...Read More

What Good Is An FM Chip For Emergencies If The Content Isn’t Getting There?

I live in New Jersey, near the Raritan Bay in one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully my street and home escaped any damages. I write this now from the warm shelter of a friend’s house after over two days in the dark. We lost power just after 5:00pm on Monday just as the worst of the storm was starting to reach us. By the time the roads were clear enough for me to make the 35 mile drive where I needed to go, two days in the dark had gone by. During that time my battery powered radio was the only source of information to the outside world we had as our nearby cell towers were offline. At the peak of the storm only two local FM’s were in full storm mode. New York Public Radio’s 93.9 WNYC-FM and Disney’s 98.7 WEPN-FM, the latter of which was simulca...Read More

How Many Strikes Before The Audience Bails For Good?

With CBS acquiring 101.9 WRXP to give Sports WFAN an FM home in New York, the area will once again find itself without an Alternative Rocker just three months after its return. The New York market has had a spotty history with Alternative as the format has bounced from station to station over the past two decades. CHR “Z100” leaned Alternative in 1994 and 1995; 102.7 WNEW filled the niche for a short term; “92.3 K-Rock” WXRK led the shift of the format from a broader mix to being fully male driven when it was paired with Howard Stern in 1996 but would eventually shift to Active Rock. Suburban stations “X107” WRGX in Westchester County, 92.7 WDRE and later WLIR on Long Island, and 106.3 WHTG-FM on the Jersey Shore filled the void in parts of the market at...Read More

A Missing Child… And Your Station’s Social Media Presence

The following commentary was submitted by a programmer who wishes to remain anonymous Today, I witnessed an event somewhere in the U.S. radio landscape that truly upset me and made me question if some of us in our business truly remember precisely why we are on the air to begin with. How many of us have been told throughout our career that our number one duty was to “protect the license of the radio station”? I would hope that each person reading this has been given that speech at least once, otherwise the rest of this article won’t make a lick of sense. You see, we – unfortunately – live in a world where people make really bad decisions and do awful things, such as, in this case, abducting a three-week-old child from their parent’s car while they were inside of a small-town post office fo...Read More

What Is The Best Length Of A Stunt?

While less and less stations have stunted in preparation of a format change in recent months, last week brought three examples of stations trying to generate attention on its way to debut a new format. Mainestream Media took possession of WBQW Kennebunkport ME on Thursday and began a Christmas music stunt that was announced to run 104 days until December 27. Just a day later, the station launched its permanent format as CHR “Hot 104.7“. In just one day, the station garnered attention from the radio industry press for being the first station to go all Christmas this season but that did not cross over to mainstream attention due to the short lived nature of the stunt. 101.5 WMXO Olean NY used a couple hours of stunting to shift from Hot AC to CHR while keeping its “Mix 101....Read More

Apple Patents System To Replace Live Radio Content

Apple has received a patent for a system that would enable a user to have content not of interest from a live broadcast or stream replaced with content stored on the device locally. Systems and methods are provided for seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library. When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library. The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user’s listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media ...Read More

Will RadioBDC Change The Rules For Webcasters?

When 101.7 WFNX Boston was sold in May to Clear Channel, the last company anybody would’ve expected to launch a replacement would be the Boston Globe and its parent New York Times Company. The Globe, via its website quickly pounced on many of the dismissed WFNX staffers and built a webcaster from the ground up. Bringing aboard at least six staffers from WFNX, RadioBDC hired Operations/Promotions Director Mike Snow, Program Director Paul Driscoll, morning host Henry Santoro, middayer/Music Director Julie Kramer, afternoon host Adam 12, and salesperson Johnny Lavasseur to fill out the staff at the new station. RadioBDC has something that most webcasters can only dream of: visibility. A full airstaff, dedicated sales, and exposure on the biggest news site in Boston will lead ...Read More

Will WBAI New York Be Coming On The Market?

In a report about the financial difficulties surrounding the Pacifica Foundation and its stations, states that one of the plans the board of directors repetitively floated would be to swap the Class B signal of 99.5 WBAI New York located at the top of the Empire State Building for a lesser signal and cash. Otherwise station may need to even temporarily go dark at the end of the year for the inability to pay the rent for its transmitter. According to P.N.B. member Tracy Rosenberg, a former New Yorker now representing Berkeley radio station KPFA, board members have been considering either temporarily shutting down WBAI at the end of the year when its lease runs out, or swapping the signal for another, weaker one — as the former New York Times-owned WQXR did some years ago — i...Read More

In Memoriam: FM News 2011-2012

With their format changes this week Merlin Media’s “FM News” 101.1 WIQI Chicago and 101.9 WEMP New York just missed out on reaching their first birthdays. With a 0.6 share in New York and 0.3 in Chicago, the stations simply had nobody listening. But what caused these stations to be unmitigated failures? Let’s go back to when Merlin first took control of the stations. Both dropped their Alternative Rock formats on July 18, 2011 and began stunting with a Classic Rock tinged AC placeholder format branded as “FM New“. This move flushed the frequencies of their previous listeners ensuring that none of them would be around for the full launch. Over the next few weeks the stations would gradually add the “FM News” elements. On July 29, 101.1 in Chic...Read More