Fixing Radio: The Importance of Keeping it Local

This guest entry originally was posted on LinkedIN. A year or so after I lost my job as the midday DJ on KNRK in Portland, Oregon, I wrote this article for the Huffington Post about how corporate radio could be improved with simple, inexpensive measures that seemed to make a lot of sense to everyone who read it. Except for people in corporate radio, apparently, if they paid any attention to it at all, because things have only gotten worse since that blog was first posted. As I say in the Huffington Post piece, radio is our last free medium, and it needs to be valued. It will always exist in some form, so why do the big radio corporations seem hell-bent on killing it instead of bringing it roaring back to life? My suggestions on localizing radio aren’t crazy by any measure, and audien...[Read More]

How #Nelly1057 Became A Viral Sensation

It was just supposed to be like any other format change stunt that takes place dozens of times each year across the country. Univision’s “Latino Mix” 105.7 KVVF Santa Clara/100.7 KVVZ San Rafael, CA began looping Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” at 3pm on Friday in preparation of a flip. There was nothing truly unique to the stunt. Just two weeks ago, Univision made a similar flip in Albuquerque as KKRG looped Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” for over four straight days before relaunching as Classic Hip-Hop “Yo 101.3“. WRWN Savannah, GA is currently stunting with Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day with nary a mention online. Even the use of “Hot In Herre” has been done before. 93.3 KXMG Austin (now KGSR) did the e...[Read More]

Take Ownership Of Your Content

On Wednesday, World Wrestling Entertainment announced the launch of WWE Network. The network will be the first high profile live 24/7 television network eschewing traditional delivery methods, only being available via streaming devices. With the company’s existing television rights deals about to expire, WWE has increased their potential rights fees by creating an internal option for their programming. We’re starting to see some of the larger radio groups make similar moves. Clear Channel uses its Premiere Radio Networks and Premium Choice to distribute programming to its stations as well as having IHeartRadio to distribute the programming online. Cumulus is doing the same with its recent addition of Westwood One to its Cumulus Media Networks and investment in Rdio. But so many...[Read More]

Stations Come Together To Assist Each Other

In a what is unfortunately becoming a rare circumstance in this industry, there have been two occurrences this week of stations with different owners coming together to assist each other. In Seattle, five non-commercial stations are joining forces on Thursday, December 19 for Public Radio Day. NPR News/Talk 88.5 KPLU, Dance “C89.5” KNHC, Alternative 90.3 KEXP, Community 91.3 KBCS, and Classical 98.1 KING are teaming together to donate a winter care pack to the United Way for every donation of $120 or more to any of the five station. In Wisconsin, given just two weeks by the FCC to get his Construction Permit for 98.9 WEMP Two Rivers before it expired, Mark Heller got a boost from what may soon be his in-market rival. Seehafer Broadcasting’s “Lake 98.1” WLKN Cl...[Read More]

Examining The LPFM Applications

The list of nearly 2800 applicants for a new LPFM license has been released by the FCC. While many of the applications will end up in mutually-exclusive groups that will eventually be resolved via time sharing agreements or a points system. The FCC ranks the applicants by granting points for the applicant’s presence in the community for at least two years, commitment to broadcast at least twelve hours per day, and commitment to provide at least eight hours of locally originated programming each day. The applicant with the most points will be awarded the construction permit. The biggest entanglement will be in Los Angeles where fifteen organizations applied for a station on 101.5, not counting applicants in nearby cities such as Compton, Conoga Park, Glendale, Long Beach and Pasadena....[Read More]

Looking At The FCC’s AM Revitalization Proposal

As one of her final acts as Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, Mignon Clyburn and Commissioner Ajit Pai released a notice of proposed rulemaking directed towards attempting to revitalize the AM band. The proposal is broken down into six sections. We’ll look at each separately. FM Translator Filing Window For AM’s The first proposal is to open an additional filing window for licensed AM stations. The move is will enable the FCC to close the need for waivers for AM’s to relocate existing translators over multiple steps. Any new translators would continue to follow the existing policies for translators rebroadcasting an AM. No part of the 60 dBµ contour of the FM translator will extend beyond the smaller of a 25-mile radius from the AM station’s transmitter site, or the AM statio...[Read More]

The New Old Ownership Groups

As the economy improves and station values drop a new breed of owners are coming into the industry. Or rather returning to the industry. Citadel Broadcasting founder Larry Wilson is leading the way with his L&L Broadcasting. Wilson, who also operates Alpha Broadcasting in Portland, has been on a buying spree for the past eleven months. L&L paid $21 Million for 32 Triad Broadcasting stations in five markets before spinning Fargo off for $9.5 Million. They’ve since added Jackson, MS (for $9.4 Million) and Columbia, SC (for $13 Million) from YMF Media, WSSJ Savannah for $1.55 Million, and this week added Border Media’s San Antonio stations for $31 Million. With “Live & Local” as his mantra as well as company name, Wilson’s company still has to prov...[Read More]

Fybush: FCC Policy & The State Of AM

The following is reprinted with permission from this week’s Northeast Radio Watch by Scott Fybush. It’s easy to point the finger of blame for AM’s troubles these last few decades on the FCC itself. There have certainly been some misguided policy moves that have ended up hurting AM more than they’ve helped. The complicated “ratchet rule” that took effect in the 1980s was designed to reduce overall AM interference, but in practice has served largely to prevent older AM stations from being able to move to new transmitter sites from which they might offer better service. The breakdown of the old clear channels and addition of minimal night power for hundreds of former daytimers raised the noise floor across the band dramatically. The failure to settle on an AM stereo standard in the 1980...[Read More]

When Your Product Is Struggling All You Need Is An FM Signal

As the keynote speaker at today’s NAB Radio Show panel, Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn addressed the dilemmas facing the AM band. Clyburn stated that she has issued a proposed rulemaking that among other things will open a one-time filing window “limited to current AM licensees and permittees, which will allow each to apply for one new FM translator station to fill in its service area.” While the other parts of the proposal will enable AM stations to potentially save money in power costs and improve signals in their markets, Clyburn is backhandedly telling all AM stations that they need to be on FM if they want to succeed. Just a few weeks ago, Bob Struble, CEO of Ibiquity wrote a blog post about how FM translators were the saving grace for HD Radio in order to gain...[Read More]

Quickly Examining ITunesRadio

With its release of iOS7 today, Apple’s ITunes Radio service made its way into the wild. Here’s some quick thoughts on what it features. The service currently highlights 24 “Featured Stations” which vary from Guest DJ’s Katy Perry, Jared Leto, and Diplo to a stream dedicated to The Beatles to International Hits. When launching some of the streams you get imaging explaining the programming or in the case of the “Pepsi Pulse Pop” channel a video commercial for Pepsi. The hosted channels appear to be operating off a strict playlist that will pick up exactly where you left off. The first song you hear on Katy Perry’s hosted channel will always be her new single “Dark Horse”. In terms of promotion this will maximize exposure to the son...[Read More]

Looking At A Few Of This Week’s Changes

Some thoughts on a few of the format changes that took place this past week… KMTT To Rhythmic Hot AC The biggest and most surprising format change to take place over Labor Day Weekend was Entercom’s shift of “103.7 The Mountain” KMTT Seattle to Rhythmic Hot AC “Hot 103.7“. KMTT had struggled since the implementation of the PPM and jettisoned all its AAA currents/recurrents in 2011 for a full Classic Rock presentation in an attempt to streamline its brand. The new format has also had its issues in Seattle. 106.1 KBKS in the mid 90’s, “95.7 The Beat” KBTB in the early 2000’s, and “Movin 92.5” KQMV from 2006-2009 all attempted formats similar to what 103.7 is doing now and failed. The new format enters a Seattle market th...[Read More]