Friday, October 31, 2008

Your On-Line Brand

How's your on-line brand? You know, the one that's represented on LinkedIn, Facebook, or your blog. What does it say about you? What does it say if you don't have one?

Take a few minutes today to think about YOU. Here's a good thought starter:
You, the online brand
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: blogs networking)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SNL Finds Success, Again

Saturday Night Live has gotten rave reviews this political season doing what they have always done, with varying degrees of success, since the mid 1970's. Let's be honest, some seasons have been nothing short of painful. Thus far, this season has been a home run. The writing, the topicality, the guests, and the performances have been excellent. The Palin factor. And the buzz on the show? Off the map. Not to mention the huge live TV audiences and the even larger on-line audiences.

What the show tries to do every week closely resembles what entertainment based radio shows try to do every day--also with varying degrees of success. So much of a shows success starts with the prep and the writing. Typically, winging it is not the best path.

Last night on Charlie Rose (on PBS) SNL's Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Darrell Hammond, Fred Armisen and writer James Downey appeared to talk about the process, the prep, the performance, and, yes, this season's success. Pull the curtain back and get a peek into their process.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Music is Back at MTV

What began as Music Television, over the years, has morphed into something very different--virtually no music. Now, on-line, the music [videos] is back. MTV has launched MTV Music.

The database is very large--more than 22,000 videos so far. From the current to the classic. Including this vintage nugget:

In addition to all the videos, MTV Music is set up for social networking and allows for those who register (free) to post their own user created videos and author their own blog. The site also features staff picks, viewer comments, and ratings. Audio and video quality seems high as well. What's missing right now is playlist creation and there's no way to buy or download the music and videos--but you can share a link and also embed a link as I did here.

Sites like this are tough competition for radio station websites. They have the natural resources, so to speak. What natural resources do you have to help grow your traffic?

Google, Wal-Mart, and T Mobile

Two separate items--connected:

Here's a new survey of U.S. internet users. Take a look at what people are willing to pay for:

T-Mobile and Google go mega mass market--Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart To Sell Google's G1 Phones At Discount Starting Wed

October 27, 2008: 08:37 PM EST
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Wal-Mart Inc. (WMT) will start selling the G1 phone at a discounted price starting Wednesday, a Wal-Mart spokesman confirmed Monday night.

Wal-Mart will carry the Google Inc. (GOOG) G1 phone, sold through Deutsche Telekom AG's (DT) T-Mobile USA, in 550 Wal-Mart stores at the reduced price of $ 148.88 for new customers, or existing customers eligible for an upgrade, who sign up for a two-year agreement, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said.

Consumers interested in purchasing the T-Mobile G1 can save $31.11 at Wal-Mart as opposed to buying through T-Mobile, which sells the device for $179.99.

The T-Mobile G1, released for pre-order last month, is the first phone that's compatible with Android, Google's new operating system.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Arbitron vs. New York State

Thrown out!

According to the judge the states case raises "important state interests." In short, the AG's case alleges Arbitron is guilty of fraudulent and deceptive business practices and civil rights violations. [All Access posted the full text of the judges opinion here.]

In a release Arbitron SVP/Press & Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY said, "Today's ruling does not impact ARBITRON's right to publish our PPM audience estimates in New York. We went to Federal Court seeking to protect our right to provide the radio industry with the up-to-date PPM audience estimates it needs. Following our efforts, the New York Attorney General chose not to seek a temporary restraining order adversely impacting our right to produce PPM estimates.

"Now that ARBITRON has commercialized the PPM service in NEW YORK and other key markets, we look forward to defending our interests. Broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers need continual PPM audience estimates if radio is to remain competitive in an increasingly complex and crowded media marketplace."

Fraud, deception, and civil rights violations? Let me be understated here. Really? What? Over the years Arbitron has gone out of its way to fairly (some might say more than fairly) appropriately represent minority listeners. What changed? Why now?

I'm the last person to give Arbitron a free pass. I'm not saying PPM is perfect. It seems to me that stating that the state has an important interest in radio ratings is troubling. Why?

It's fair game to challenge Arbitron on panel size, ethnic balance, and other key components relating to PPM. Aside from the lawyers there are no other guaranteed winners in this case and only serves to tarnish the already hurting radio industry even further.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still Sitting On The Text Messaging Sidelines?

There may be no better way to reach radio listeners.

That's 79 billion text messages in ONE month!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just Be Aware

In my heart of hearts I don't really believe (or don't want to believe) the Fairness Doctrine will be inflicted on media in this country again. I am firmly against it. There is no shortage of places to express ones opinions and viewpoint. It is my belief we do not need the government sticking their partisan noses into a stations programming.

Take a listen to the clip from an interview with New Mexico Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman and his support for the Fairness Doctrine.

Link: New Mexico Democrat Supports Revival Of Fairness Doctrine


This posted on Radio and Records

By Mike Stern

Talking with morning host Dave Durian on Hearst talk WBAL/Baltimore, FCC commissioner Michael Copps (pictured) said he does not foresee the return of the Fairness Doctrine, at least not in the same format.

"What we do need is to make sure our airwaves are open and covering a lot of local events, covering local political races, making sure viewers and listeners both can benefit from a clash of antagonistic ideas and issues being covered," said Copps. He added, "Even though the fairness doctrine is gone that's still in the telecommunications act."

The challenge, Copps says, is how to address that issue, "Do you go back to a controversial doctrine that was really the product of a previous age when media was different or do you try to go forward and say how do we do that now with modern communications and a different media environment?"

While reinstating the old doctrine isn't the answer, "we need to have debate about how you keep these airwaves serving the public interest and nourishing the public dialog our democracy depends on," Copps said. "We still want to be sure we have that kind of free flowing debate and cover the issues people need covered to make intelligent decisions."

It's All About Tribes

Seth Godin's new book TRIBES is out and as usual he is thought provoking and has wrote a must read book for those of us who are charged with attracting an audience or helping those looking to attract customers.

What's this book all about? Mr. Godin has posted a full (and lengthy) presentation explaining why people (listeners) are looking for leaders and will seek out tribes they can be a part of and feel good about.

Take a little time and see what he has to say.
Full notes are provided with this presentation. I would suggest you click this in the viewer. It will take you to the slideshare site where the notes are visible.
Seth Godin on Tribes
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: book tribes)

Monday, October 20, 2008

You Think We Got Problems (in radio)?

With people under 30 it would appear TV may be in worse shape.

MediaPost had this story based on a Pew study:
Only 58% of adults younger than 30 say they watch TV almost every day, while 23% of say they watch television only a few times a week. That's according to new research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Numbers decidedly weaker than we are experiencing in radio. What's not mentioned is what the numbers were in the past and how far they have fallen. It's reasonable to guess that younger demos have always watched less TV than their older counterparts.

Here's how the older demo's shake out.

Among older adults, the numbers are higher. Seventy-two percent of people age 30-49 watch TV almost every day, as do 80% of those 50-64 and 89% of those 65 and older.
A huge difference.

Get this...from the same MediaPost article:

Independent of the Pew study, The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the growing number of adults who have stopped paying for cable TV because they can watch any programs they want online. Presidential debates can now be streamed live, shows on cable channels like MTV are available for free streaming, and the best moments from "Saturday Night Live" can be viewed on demand at and

And the article goes on to say:

If people had already started canceling their cable subscriptions before the recent economic events, it's easy to imagine that more will do so in a recession. And that means that Internet video, which already commands some of the highest CPMs out there, will grow in popularity. Current predictions are that the market could reach $1 billion by 2010, but that could turn out to be an underestimate if more people than expected stop watching TV.

Additionally, as people spend more time online, search advertising also is likely to continue to grow. Many Web users now view search engines, and not portals, as the gateway to the Web; when those people go online, they start at Google, Yahoo or another company's search engine. Just last week, Google reported that second quarter profit grew 26%, showing that paid search is holding up very well, even as the rest of the economy teeters.

The future is here and it's on-demand. Honestly, I had never heard that cable TV subscriptions were being canceled. But if that tidbit is accurate, that's got to send chills down the spine of TV exec's everywhere.

And we wonder why there is little to no appetite for HD Radio--good content or not.

MTV Networks learned long ago that music and music videos were becoming too much of a commodity (not to mention the declining ratings) to center most of it's programming around it. The channels today are largely about music and the people making the music but not music videos.

It's a very difficult lesson for radio to wrap its arms around. I'm guilty, we are all guilty of selling "more music." It was a plausible strategy before more music could be better deployed elsewhere. Now the challenge is to develop radio programming (live, on-line, on demand) that gets beyond the songs exclusively.

What exclusive content do you have worth searching for and consuming on-demand?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Radio Guy Glenn Beck Changes Channels From HN to FNC

Politico and Drudge report the story this afternoon:

From Politico:

Drudge teased this earlier, and Fox News has announced that conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck is joining the network, leaving behind CNN's Headline News. Beck will host a show at 5 p.m. on Fox beginning in the spring.

It hasn't yet been determined when Beck's last day will be, but I've heard from a network source that Headline News was already prepared to re-air "Lou Dobbs Tonight" at 9pm, instead of Beck's show (which first airs at 7pm). When Beck leaves, Dobbs show will be in the 9pm slot.

"Glenn has been a terrific employee and colleague to many of us at CNN," a network spokesperson said in a statement. "We wish him well.”Glenn Beck has signed a multi-year agreement to join FOX News, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FOX News. Beginning next spring, Beck will host FOX News Channel’s (FNC) 5 PM/ET weekday program as well as a weekend show on the network.

Currently, Beck serves as the host of Glenn Beck, a talk show on CNN’s Headline News which has grown more than 200% in viewership in both the 7pm and 9pm timeslots since its 2006 debut. He also hosts a daily radio show The Glenn Beck Program which is syndicated via Premiere Radio Networks to more than 300 stations nationwide as well as XM Satellite Radio, and ranks as the third most listened to radio talk show in America among adults 25-54.

In making the announcement, Ailes said, “As we embark on a new political landscape, Glenn’s thought provoking commentary will complement an already stellar line-up of stars at FOX News”

Prior to his television career, Beck served as a talk radio show host at WFLA-AM in Tampa, FL where he took his program to number one within his first year there. He began his radio career in Corpus Christi, Texas as the youngest Top 40 morning show disc jockey in America at 18 years of age. Beck later moved on to become a top 40 disc jockey in major markets around the country, including Houston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Phoenix and New Haven, CT.

Beck added, “I am thrilled and profoundly humbled to have the chance to bring my program to FOX News. Expanding my audience is exciting, but I'm really looking forward to joining Mr. Ailes and his world-class team."

A recipient of the 2008 Marconi Award for Network Syndicated Personality of the Year from the National Association of Broadcasters, Beck is also the author of the New York Times bestseller An Inconvenient Book - Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems (2007) as well as The Real America - Messages from the Heart and Heartland (2005).

First Lawsuits, Now A Press Conference--The PPM Fight Continues

Ad Age has posted this video report of a press conference at NY City Hall by political representatives and trade organizations of minority broadcasters. US House of Representatives member Representative Nydia Velazquez (D) of New York stated, "we must ensure the voices of minorities are not silenced and this is exactly what Arbitron will do."

Pretty strong words. Watch for yourself, but it seems to me the claim that Arbitron is purposefully trying to put minority broadcasters out of business is quite a stretch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Model To Find Tomorrow's Talent

Fox News is all about TALENT. Roger Ailes gets talent and the essential need for developing new talent as well, if not better, than anyone in the media business. FNC is constantly trying out new people and even entire long form programs with fresh casts of interesting people. Ever see Red Eye? It's a great will probably have to TIVO it since it's on at 3am ET.

The cable news channel also promotes a very progressive intern program.

Today while scanning the TVNewser blog I saw this:
Tuesday, Oct 14

Interns Get Their Say at Fox News

fncu_10-14.jpgFox News launched a new page on their Website today, with content that comes entirely from the network's interns. The FNCU (Fox News Channel University) page ( includes stories and videos from current interns and the application process if you'd like to be an intern.

Also featured on the site is an intern interview of FNC anchor Shepard Smith, about how he got his start in the business and his experience with interns at FNC.

Currently led by FNC's VP of recruitment, Brigette Boyle, FNC's summer internship program officially launched in 2004, and the network has had interns since the network began in 1996.

You can bet, among other things, this program is designed to sift through aspiring young talent and identify the next Sean Hannity or Sheppard Smith. [And let's not forget that FNC has committed to a content rich web experience and this is just another way to do that.]

I know radio stations have interns, but how many intern programs give their interns an entire website and encourage them to produce content?

Seems like a terrific idea to me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Suits, Countersuits and a Voice of Reason

The PPM saga continues. You've read about it and no doubt have an opinion.

Here's mine:

As I wrote in an earlier post, I am not for giving Arbitron a pass when it comes to sampling: panel size, gender, ethnicity, or geography; however, for the health and benefit of an already hurting broadcast industry I wish this matter would have been dealt with without the notice of the Washington Post, USA Today, NY Times and many others.

Too late.

One has to take notice when the NY and NJ AG's refer to PPM data as "fraudulent." In my mind that is like calling a car with a couple of bad tires a lemon. You and I both know Arbitron is having difficulty conducting research in ALL markets--not just those markets in which they are deploying PPM. Conducting research of any kind today is fraught with recruitment issues. Problematic, yes, fraudulent, I'm not prepared to make that leap. [I also found it disheartening that both the senior and junior senators from Illinois thought this was important enough to comment on. Just what we need--more government opinion inserted into private matters.]

Station owners are spending large sums of money to support PPM and it's Arbitron's duty and responsibility to deliver a market's measurement with as few anomalies and issues as possible. On Mark Ramsey's hear2.0 blog he dives into the data in one PPM market and illuminates some of the issues as one drills down into specific demographics. Frightening. And also reminiscent of the very real problems that occur every month and quarter in diary markets.

And now a pragmatic voice of reason from an individual who is a large stakeholder in PPM's success:

As many African-American and Hispanic broadcasters have been very vocal in their opposition of PPM, the Washington Post ran this article today with comments from Radio One's Alfred Liggins:

Some station executives defend the system, however, maintaining that Arbitron is working the bugs out. "Anytime you adopt a new technology, there are always short-term dislocations," said Alfred C. Liggins III, chief executive of Radio One Inc., the Lanham-based company that owns 53 stations -- including WMMJ and WKYS -- that seek African American listeners. "There's going to be a learning curve. . . . But [electronic measurement] is reality. I'd much rather get reality on the road then delay, delay, delay."

Liggins said that Radio One's stations in Houston and Philadelphia initially saw a steep drop in their ratings when the meters were introduced months ago but that they have since recovered to roughly the same ranking in the market.

Because the meters tell broadcasters who's listening to what within just a few days (compared with weeks under the diary method), stations can quickly "fine-tune" their promotions, commercial breaks and even on-air personalities, he said. In Philadelphia, for instance, Radio One removed a DJ from the air after just a few weeks when his ratings sagged; a similar personnel decision might have taken 18 months with diaries.

"If you're really brilliant and funny, you can keep talking," Liggins said. But as it turns out, "the number of people who really have that ability are few and far between."

Spot on!

Now I hope Mr. Liggins will be looking to hire more of those brilliant and funny talkers to populate additional dayparts on his radio stations. Those are the people who ARE radios future.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It Always Starts With Content

Digital marketing agency Avenue A/Razorfish takes a short but very good look at 4 digital media trends and as always it starts with CONTENT. Take a peek.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Tale of Two [Arbitron] Diaires

In the not to distant past I was involved with a station that was in a multi-front battle for male audience. In this particular small market there were at least 5 stations vying for the males shares--a tough road no matter how you sliced it.

That brings us to those two pesky male diaries, both from the same household and with enough AQH's to take a station from essentially last to first with a big lead. And since there were so few males diaries to begin with those 2 diaries carried so much weight they were the difference between success and failure! Easily provable with a simple diary review. Good thing Arbitron calls these diary ratings "estimates." Sure, we voiced our concerns, but after numerous rounds of discussion that ratings disaster stood. Magically, the next book was not quite as out of wack.

If I had known all I had to do was call the states Attorney General to complain I would have done it. After all, this stations financial health depended reliable ratings information to sell advertising and to uphold its standing in the market in the face of stiff competition. Wrong. No such help available. This was between a vendor [Arbitron] and its customer [the radio station].

So how did the current PPM battle become not only a state legal issue but a POLITICAL football as well? Of course, the two go hand in hand.

Despite having had my fair share of "discussions" with Arbitron over the years I do not believe they are purposefully trying to screw their clients. I don't fault the complainants either for trying to get the fairest ratings possible, in fact, I applaud and support their desire to get what they are paying for. My objection is making this a news event when it should be handled behind the scenes.

Like any good political fight it is escalating out of control with Arbitron releasing PPM data two days early and the NY AG warning Arbitron, radio stations and ad agencies of the risks they are taking by releasing, using, selling, quoting these potentially "tainted" numbers. (not sure if I should laugh or cry)

While radio is going through a very challenging time (along with everybody else right now) the last thing the industry needs is to be screaming from the rooftops--hey look at us we got even more problems, our fancy new 15 plus years in the making ratings systems stinks!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Thought This Was Interesting

Between laptops, smart phones, etc. electronics tops the list of college spending (aside from tuition) by 18+ students and their parents. Check it out.

US Consumer Spending on Back-to-College Products, by Category, 2008 (billions)

  • Electronics.....................................$11.05
  • Clothing.........................................$7.01
  • Dorm/apartment furnishings.................$4.74
  • School supplies.................................$3.57
  • Shoes.............................................$3.05
  • Collegiate gear..................................$1.84

Note: ages 18+; includes spending by parents of college students and college students themselves

Source: BIGresearch for National Retail Federation (NRF), “2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey,” July 22, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Friendly Reminder...

That no matter how hard we try to adjust to today's technology, it's just's technology. What will be available tomorrow is a whole different picture--literally.

The Telegraph Newspaper in the UK explains
"Researchers have demonstrated a flexible television screen which could result in people folding up their computer and putting it in their pocket.

The design could be used for television and posters, as well as computers, while it could also pave the way for the development of newspaper display technology which would allow readers to upload daily news to an easy-to-carry display contraption.

The concept demo was unveiled by researchers from Sony and the Max Planck Institute in Germany who believe "Rigid television screens, bulky laptops and still image posters are to be a thing of the past".

"There are practically no display size limitations and they could be produced relatively easily and cheaply compared to today's screens.""
Picture if you will an audio entertainment device the size and thickness of a credit card (or smaller) that connects to ones "storage and gateway cloud" wirelessly and then plays through whatever speaker device is close by.

Doesn't seem so far away to me.

We've all heard the phrase the fight for the dashboard. I think that concept down the road will be turned on its proverbial ear. There won't be a fight. Amplifiers and video screens will be standard equipment and all cars will accept wireless signals of content maybe even including a radio tuner.

While it's hard to venture a guess as to when this might happen, one can feel confident that it won't be as long as some hope it will be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

3G Is So Yesterday

Despite the continued iPhone buzz and the fact that 3G is not yet available everywhere...get ready for 4G. It's already here from Sprint in Baltimore in the form of a wireless laptop card. It's safe to assume 4G will begin to appear in other cities in the not to distant future.

After the card purchase the monthly cost is around $30.

The wireless card is surely just the opening act and the precursor for 4G making its way into smaller Blackberry and iPhone type devices--and it won't take long.

What is it capable of? Everything. Even when in a moving vehicle. Only minimal imagination is needed to have a pretty good idea how, yet again, this can and will change everything. As always this represents a great multi-channel content rich opportunity for radio.

Laptop magazine did a full review and is linked below. But check out this tidbit:


We tried watching a video on with both mobile broadband services. On Verizon EV-DO, which actually has a policy against using their service to watch video, it took 13 seconds before our video began playing and the video paused twice in the first minute to rebuffer. It would have continued to rebuffer if we kept watching. On XOHM, we saw a little jerkiness but the video started after just 9 seconds and never paused to rebuffer.

Not bad considering the how bandwidth hungry high quality video is!

Laptop Magazine reports on XOHM in Baltimore