Blogs

RossOnRadioInsight: What Was Your Song Of The Summer

It was easy for me to call a song of the summer. I was able to choose “Ride” by Twenty One Pilots by late July. At that moment, I could pretty much count on hearing “Ride” on any pop or Alternative station I listened to for any sustained period. If my monitoring of the infinite dial covered six stations in a day, I would hear it six times. And because “Ride” was still going for No. 1 on the CHR chart throughout the summer, its CHR airplay is only peaking this week. With “Heathens” climbing the charts at Top 40 as well, that also makes Twenty One Pilots one of the few acts to pull off two growing songs at a time. But I knew “Ride” was going to be a contrarian choice. And I’ve also enjoyed watching the jockeying between the leading contenders: Justin Timberlake, Drake (also with multiple hit...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

Ross On RadioInsight: This Is How The ‘90s Roll In At Classic Hits

It was the perfect driving song for the end of a road trip. I got in the car at the airport and there was Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.” And it was on WCBS-FM, “New York’s Greatest Hits.” When the song was done, it was cold-segued into “Band on the Run” by Wings. When I got home, I checked NielsenBDS Radio. While it’s sometimes the case that I come across songs after they’ve actually been playing for a while on a given station, I had come across its very first spin on the Classic Hits station as part of an “oh wow Wednesday.” (They did play the version without the rap, if you’re wondering.) It wasn’t the newest song in rotation on CBS-FM. Santana’s “Smooth,” from 1999, is up to 700 spins on the station, helped by the plausible deniability of an artist whose other hits are decades...Read More

Ross On RadioInsight: Why We Want “No Scrubs” Again

It’s still one of my favorite stories about hearing a song for the first time. When TLC’s “No Scrubs” landed on my desk in January, 1999, I hailed Billboard R&B chart manager Datu Faison into my office to listen together. We had just gotten past the pre-chorus (“No, I don’t want your number/no, I don’t want to give you mine”) to the first “I don’t want no scrubs.” “It’s a smash,” said Faison, who then left and went back to his busy chart day. We were around :35 in to the song. “No Scrubs” sounded so good in part because the first taste of TLC’s Fanmail album had been “Silly Ho.” Never officially worked as a pop single, “Silly Ho” had not just a provocative lyric and title, but also a busy track that took the rapidly developing Timbaland sound of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” and ad...Read More

Ross On RadioInsight: Fresh Listen: Chicago’s MeTV-FM

For those of us not in Chicago, WRME-LP (Me-TV-FM) arrived, literally, as an intriguing station. Me-TV-FM didn’t stream its programming, and still doesn’t. Local press reports were nebulous—I couldn’t really translate the station as I heard it described into understandable programming terms. Was it an older oldies station? A supersoft AC along the lines of those in Miami and (at the time) San Diego? AM-style MOR? It couldn’t really be all those things? When I finally heard Me-TV-FM, it was, of course, all of those things. There were the sort of ‘60s oldies that had disappeared from most of today’s Classic/Greatest Hits stations. There were ‘70s pop songs far softer than anything played in WFEZ (Easy 93) Miami or the former KIFM San Diego. The new station also had an “oh wow” factor that we...Read More

Looking At The Beasley/Greater Media Deal

For those following closely the writing on the wall for Greater Media was after their drastic layoffs a couple weeks ago along with the format change of “Detroit Sports 105.1” WMGC to the more cost-effective Classic Hip-Hop. Still while rumors were simmering for a few weeks prior to that about something potentially happening in Charlotte, nobody can say they saw Greater Media’s complete exit coming in one fell swoop ahead of time. And Beasley was the company that mostly exited its two largest markets a few years ago and now here they are returning to Philadelphia and entering Boston and Detroit’s FM band in a major way. CFO/Interim CEO Caroline Beasley is clearly seeking to lay her mark on the family-run company founded by her father George in 1961. But what could b...Read More

The Looming Engineering Age Crisis

Broadcast companies are standing on the train tracks, watching a train from a mile away making its way towards them. “Boy, that thing’s going to kill us! Should we jump? Should we run? Well, I’m pretty busy…I sure hope someone pushes us out of the way before the train hits us!” And that’s how the end will be. The surprise? The train isn’t “new media” or the internet. The train is our inability to act. There’s something we’ve been talking about in the industry for years – it’s the lack of new Engineering and Technical talent. We all know the problem is there. We know that it’s already a big problem. The issue is we keep waiting for someone to do something about it. We need to act. We need to do it now. I know of two small market stations that were off the air for an entire day. One of them ...Read More

A Movement Leading To A Revolution

Since I started traveling to radio conventions a few years ago never have I seen a group as energized for the audio medium as those here at the 2016 Podcast Movement in Chicago. The group of aspiring and established podcasters, marketers and network sales are all here for one thing. Their love of creating audio content regardless of format. That’s not to say they’re not looking to be commercial operations. The most packed rooms were those directed towards growing and monetizing your audience. The morning started with three keynote addresses. Two of the speakers came from the public radio podcasting space: Snap Judgment’s Glynn Washington and Death, Sex and Money’s Anna Sale. Washington’s first words were clear about his motives, “I don’t care about...Read More

June 1996: To Infinity And Beyond

In the first few months following deregulation many deals were made, but June 20, 1996 would be the date of the first major merger of the new era. After rumors persisted for weeks that it was pursuing a marriage with Evergreen Media, Westinghouse Electric, which had acquired CBS in 1995 to bring together two heritage groups who date back nearly to the formation of the radio medium (In Westinghouse’s case they were the first as the first commercial licensee with KDKA Pittsburgh), gobbled up Mel Karmazin’s Infinity Broadcasting for $3.9 billion in cash and stock and the assumption of another $1 billion in debt. The deal gave Westinghouse 83 stations (with 1 FM in Chicago and 3 FMs in Dallas needing to be divested). Mel Karmazin joined the buyer as Chairman/CEO of the radio operat...Read More

RossOnRadioInsight: If Currents Matter To AC, Where Are They?

At one time, it was just assumed that Top 40 wasn’t going to pass along much that Adult Contemporary radio could play, ever. For the first half of the ’00s, Top 40 was still in its “Terror Squad and Trapt” era of surprisingly aggressive hip-hop and active rock hits. AC found its currents in unlikely places, from Christian AC act Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” to “Live Like You Were Dying,” the song that finally made Tim McGraw a pop star. But AC was doing fine without a lot of current music at that point. Top 40’s adult resurgence would take a few years to develop from its early beginnings with Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani. Hot AC would need a few years beyond that for PPM ratings measurement to help it create stories. AC was the market-dominant format that could skim the top lay...Read More

Random Ramblings On Social Audio, Lack Of Quality Control, & Dan Daniel

How can radio put itself on equal footing with this? With television stations able to put their live feed directly on Facebook and other social media platforms during major events, where is the ability for easy embedding of audio? Facebook removed its embeddable audio function in 2012 and has yet to come up with a new solution. Two public media tests have been made this year as NPR worked with Facebook on a player, while WNYC used the video player with a static image to create a way to share recorded audio. But there still is nothing being done to get live audio to the masses as it is being broadcast. How much more reach could a station’s morning show have if their celebrity guest and the show publish the live stream? Between the growth of the podcasting industry and social audio pla...Read More

RossOnRadioInsight: First Listen KLIV “Country Gold 1590” San Jose

I’ve always liked “Country 95.3” KRTY San Jose. For the last 25 years, they’ve cheerfully done their own thing, often impervious to bad times elsewhere in the Country format, and regardless of whether there’s a country station in nearby San Francisco. Musically, they’ve always been assertively current, and they’ve always been unapologetically country. KRTY is one of a half-dozen stations where Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You,” not a big enough hit elsewhere, is still in recurrent. And why shouldn’t it be? So I was excited when KRTY owner Empire Broadcasting announced that it was planning to switch News/Talk AM KLIV to classic country after the California Primary. I understood the dismay of some listeners over losing a low-rated outlet for local news and information, but I per...Read More

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