Lance’s Line

What’s The Job?

A recent look at industry job postings shows a trend that has been going on for quite some time is accelerating. On-air personalities are now “content specialists” at Townsquare. Many General Managers are now Market Presidents. And who doesn’t have a Vice President or Senior Vice President title in management? Why does the receptionist have a “Director of First Impressions” title in operations that are tucked away in an office park where there may be a handful of employees pulling multiple jobs and the only daily visitors are the mailman and FedEx driver? That first impression is one that nobody will ever see. A Digital Program Director at some operations has full oversight of the cluster’s web, social media and streaming operations. At some its simply t...Read More

Looking At The KPWR Deal

Alex Meruelo saved Jeff Smulyan and Emmis Communications. Mere weeks after Smulyan had to amend Emmis Communications’ credit agreements by agreeing to sell $80 million worth of assets by January 2018, Meruelo agrees to pay nearly that exact amount for “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles. Most of the people I’ve spoken to today figure the conversation went something like this: Meruelo: You need to cut $80 million. We’ll give you that for KPWR. Smulyan: Pay $2.75 million for filing and legal fees too. Meruelo: Done deal. By selling KPWR, Emmis doesn’t have to look at selling clusters in multiple markets where there are additional cost savings by running multiple stations and gets out from a station that has been severely challenged by the launch of iHeartMedia...Read More

How Is Removing The Ownership Subcaps Good For All?

Earlier this month six group owners wrote a letter to the FCC petitioning for the removal of the AM/FM band subcaps per market. The heads of Alpha Media, Connoisseur Media, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Galaxy Communications, Jackson Radio Works, and Roberts Communications seek the FCC to act on a previous NAB petition to reconsider the limits on the amounts of stations a company can own in a market. The Commission originally adopted the AM/FM subcaps in light of technological and marketplace differences between AM and FM stations that the FCC feared disadvantaged AM stations. The Commission’s most recent broadcast ownership order ignores record evidence that any technical and marketplace dynamics that may once have differentiated AM and FM stations no longer exist. On reconsideration, the C...Read More

How To Play The FCC And Come Out On Top

Make no mistake about it. Entercom’s maneuverings with KDND in light of the merger with CBS Radio were a stroke of genius. The potential of 107.9 KDND losing its license over the 2007 “Hold Your Wee For a Wii” contest and death of Jennifer Strange and attempts to have Entercom’s entire Sacramento cluster dragged into the matter was going to hover over the regulatory hurdles the merger with CBS Radio would need to clear in the months ahead. Now Entercom eliminates that hassle and has the potential to improve the status of its Sacramento cluster. By replacing low-rated Hot AC “Star 106.5” KUDL with the “107.9 The End” intellectual property and turning in the 107.9 license Entercom now has the ability to improve its standing in the Sacramento market. Upon c...Read More

What’s More Important? Generating Sales Leads Or Having The Content To Sell?

This morning Tom Taylor wrote about Cumulus CEO Mary Berner’s new plan to increase revenue at the company. Introducing new wolf mascot Sulumuc (Cumulus turned around), Berner’s Be A Leader campaign gives monthly and year-end prizes to all employees and not just salespeople who generate sales leads. The top ten performers get “Unique Experiences”, $1000 cash, and other prizes, while the top market for the quarter receives possession of the “Sulu” stuffed wolf mascot for “bragging rights”. The vimeo hosted video has since been made private after leaking to Taylor and AllAccess.com. This leads to a simple question. What will generate more revenue, having sales leads or having content that makes people want to advertise on your stations? Berner a...Read More

Protesting For The Sake Of Publicity

In the past 24 hours the story of Texarkana Radio Center Classic Hits “Hits 105” 105.1 KTTY New Boston TX and simulcasters 940 KCMC/105.5 K288FY Texarkana dropping Madonna from their playlist has been picked up by nearly every major publication. Let’s call a spade a spade. This isn’t a protest like Madonna expressing herself at the Women’s March in Washington was. This is a publicity stunt. A well designed publicity stunt that gave international exposure to a nondescript radio station in market 253 and made it known worldwide if even for just one day. KTTY/KCMC is one of two Classic Hits stations in the Texarkana market. It registered a 2.3 share in the Fall 2016 Nielsen Audio ratings making it a low factor even in its hometown on the borderline of Arkansas an...Read More

What Does Last Week’s Format Action Mean For The Rest Of 2017?

The Christmas/New Year’s season is normally busy for format changes, but with the amount of action (including five PPM market changes in one day) has put the entire radio industry on notice. While the circumstances behind every change were different, there was one noticeable similarity about many of the new format launches. Escaping younger demographics for older. We all know that reaching the 18-34 audience has become more difficult for broadcast radio, especially if you are not the heritage player in a market. Lots of words have been written elsewhere about the struggle for radio to reach millennials but has finally come back to hit radio in the wallet where it hurts most. New AC’s launched in Philadelphia and Tampa. Gold leaning Urban AC in Boston. Adult Hits in Houston. Onl...Read More

Who Gets Hurt The Most By A KDND License Revocation?

The incident that led to the potential license revocation of Entercom CHR “107.9 The End” KDND Sacramento took place nearly a decade ago. The employees responsible for the “Hold Your Wee For a Wii” contest and death of Jennifer Strange have mostly moved on to better jobs following their terminations from KDND. Even if the station’s license is revoked, the CHR format and “End” brand will likely just move to another one of Entercom’s stations in the Sacramento market. So what is really to be gained by revoking the license? Yes Jennifer Strange died pretty much at the hands of the radio station. Entercom was found guilty in civil court and paid $16.5 million in compensation. No criminal charges were filed against the employees responsible for th...Read More

Nearly Instant Insight On Today’s Big Moves

There are plenty of days when there is little news to report which then gets balanced by days like today when you get flooded with big stories that have the potential to have repercussions for many months and years forward. Starting with Entercom’s purchase into Charlotte via the mandated Greater Media divestitures and WFNZ, you have to first start with noting how much was paid compared to what Greater Media acquired WBT AM/FM and WLNK in 2007. Entercom will pay less than a quarter of the $100 million Greater Media forked down for one less station nine years ago. The debt taken on just before the economic collapse eventually led to Beasley acquiring the company. With Entercom bulking up lately on sports play-by-play rights and Beasley shying away from the format (Selling WQAM Miami a...Read More

A Tale Of Two Launches

Two format changes took place this week in the South Bend market. Midwest Family Broadcasting launched CHR “Live 99.9” WQLQ Benton Harbor MI following a weekend of stunting with television theme songs. Across town Artistic Media Partners broke off the simulcast of Classic Hits “The Stream” to debut Classic Rock “Rock 97.7” WYXX Goshen. WQLQ’s launch was the closest to having a fully fledged station ready at birth we’ve had in years. Unlike most launches that go for the jockless 10,000 song commercial-free debut, “Live 99.9” had a clear plan of attack against Artistic’s “U93” 92.9 WNDV. Unlike most format changes that are kept secret until the second it goes live, WQLQ announced its intention a week ahead of time ...Read More

Moving Past Call Letters And Dial Position

If there is anything lacking in my knowledge of the radio industry, it would be the lack of attention spent listening to the national and regional Christian music networks. In the part of the New York market I reside only Educational Media Foundation’s “K-Love” is available in any nearby market. But after two trips to the Midwest this summer including a week traveling through Michigan and from here in Nashville at the 2016 Radio Show one thing in particular caught my ear. Some of these brands are more prepared for our digital future than any commercial radio station as they have moved beyond reliance on the frequency and call letters. It doesn’t matter what frequency Educational Media Foundation’s “K-Love” or “Air 1” are on as the branding is the same whether its Chicago, Charlotte or Chat...Read More

Tell Your Listeners They Don’t Matter And Win?

On Monday, morning host Joe Volk was missing from Cumulus Rock “Z93” WKQZ Midland/Saginaw MI after over two decades as host of the “Joe And The Poorboy” morning show. Co-host Adam Shilling announced on the air yesterday that Volk was no longer employed at the station, but when pressed online things turned a little ugly. When a listener, who also claimed to be an occasional advertiser asked why Volk was gone the station responded “Yes, you do deserve an explanation and if you were listening this morning you would have heard one. Oh but wait, you weren’t listening.” Is that really how you want to treat a listener? Even if he wasn’t a one-time and potentially future advertiser why throw away the chance to make one? With the technology available ...Read More

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