Archive for June, 2014

Revisting the volunteer concept

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Most of you know that I abandoned trying to maintain player links a few months ago, due to the end of Windows XP support, the shift toward mobile listening with dedicated apps and the general notion of getting away from this web site being my entire life

But that’s not the only problem and probably not the most serious problem. Radio Stations have a habit of changing their web site domains for frivolous reasons, like a change in format – http://www.1089froggyfm.com/ becomes http://www.thewolf1089.com/ because the station changed branding. They also forget to renew their domains and they expire. The old domain is frequently released (almost always within a year) and picked up by some entity in asia or eastern europe that may or may not have ill intentions to visitors still using the outdated link.

Part of the old Windows based verification process was to go through every station (All 15,000 or so) on a regular basis and confirm that the web site is still correct, the format of the station hasn’t changed, and possibly update player links or enter schedule information. Because this is such a huge task, prioritization is necessary – a few formats like News/Talk get special attention since that’s the bulk of the visitor interest, and major markets are given priority over small towns in Oklahoma. Student run college and high school stations are close to ignored because they constantly change each year or more often, and NOBODY listens to them.

Before I ended the volunteer program, there was a display of the average age of how long it had been since a station had been verified. Volunteers had access to a page to do this – the general approach was the volunteer flagged the station with the issue, and I would fix it, because that’s the kind of micromanager I am 🙂 When the Average got up to over a year, I stopped displaying the statistic.

Here is a month to month count of verification activity

+----------------+----------------------+
| verified_month | verified_month_count |
+----------------+----------------------+
| Never          |                  111 |
| 2005-10        |                    2 |
| 2006-01        |                    1 |
| 2006-02        |                   84 |
| 2006-03        |                   70 |
| 2006-04        |                   11 |
| 2006-05        |                    6 |
| 2006-06        |                   12 |
| 2006-07        |                   37 |
| 2006-08        |                   39 |
| 2006-09        |                    5 |
| 2006-11        |                    6 |
| 2006-12        |                   22 |
| 2007-01        |                    9 |
| 2007-02        |                   44 |
| 2007-03        |                   62 |
| 2007-04        |                   18 |
| 2007-05        |                   15 |
| 2007-06        |                    9 |
| 2007-07        |                   19 |
| 2007-08        |                   27 |
| 2007-09        |                  158 |
| 2007-10        |                   61 |
| 2007-11        |                   32 |
| 2007-12        |                   10 |
| 2008-01        |                   17 |
| 2008-02        |                   16 |
| 2008-03        |                   31 |
| 2008-04        |                   56 |
| 2008-05        |                   22 |
| 2008-06        |                   18 |
| 2008-07        |                   24 |
| 2008-08        |                   70 |
| 2008-09        |                   20 |
| 2008-10        |                   25 |
| 2008-11        |                   11 |
| 2008-12        |                   29 |
| 2009-01        |                   30 |
| 2009-02        |                   65 |
| 2009-03        |                  276 |
| 2009-04        |                   32 |
| 2009-05        |                   35 |
| 2009-06        |                   34 |
| 2009-07        |                   60 |
| 2009-08        |                   62 |
| 2009-09        |                   12 |
| 2009-10        |                   20 |
| 2009-11        |                   46 |
| 2009-12        |                  113 |
| 2010-01        |                   29 |
| 2010-02        |                   49 |
| 2010-03        |                   14 |
| 2010-04        |                  158 |
| 2010-05        |                   46 |
| 2010-06        |                   82 |
| 2010-07        |                   81 |
| 2010-08        |                  268 |
| 2010-09        |                  116 |
| 2010-10        |                   61 |
| 2010-11        |                  157 |
| 2010-12        |                  101 |
| 2011-01        |                   12 |
| 2011-02        |                   32 |
| 2011-03        |                   76 |
| 2011-04        |                  224 |
| 2011-05        |                  134 |
| 2011-06        |                   44 |
| 2011-07        |                  259 |
| 2011-08        |                 1750 |
| 2011-10        |                   31 |
| 2011-11        |                   13 |
| 2011-12        |                 1112 |
| 2012-03        |                  103 |
| 2012-04        |                    3 |
| 2012-05        |                  182 |
| 2012-06        |                    3 |
| 2012-07        |                   10 |
| 2012-09        |                   25 |
| 2012-11        |                   18 |
| 2013-05        |                  111 |
| 2013-06        |                  442 |
| 2013-07        |                  126 |
| 2013-08        |                 1123 |
| 2013-09        |                  465 |
| 2013-12        |                  153 |
| 2014-01        |                  287 |
| 2014-02        |                  207 |
| 2014-03        |                  191 |
| 2014-04        |                   35 |
| 2014-05        |                  286 |
| 2014-06        |                  186 |
+----------------+----------------------+

You can see the year in Chicago (August 2012 – Oct 2013), I did almost no work on verification – you were lucky if I was keeping schedules semi-current. I’ve completely given up on looking for HD2/3/4 web sites.

Here is the first few of the oldest stations to give you a sense of the things not being looked at

+------------+----------------------+--------+---------------------+----------------------------+
| streamname | CityName             | Statex | verifiedtime        | FormatName                 |
+------------+----------------------+--------+---------------------+----------------------------+
| WSPM FM    | CLOVERDALE           | IN     | 2005-10-08 20:11:58 | Catholic                   |
| WFSO FM    | OLIVEBRIDGE          | NY     | 2005-10-25 08:51:25 | Religious Ministry         |
| KBKS FM/HD | TACOMA               | WA     | 2006-01-27 09:17:44 | Contemporary Hits          |
| WKAR FM/HD | EAST LANSING         | MI     | 2006-02-13 20:08:25 | Public Radio               |
| WERG FM    | ERIE                 | PA     | 2006-02-13 20:39:55 | Educational                |
| WBER FM    | ROCHESTER            | NY     | 2006-02-13 20:47:57 | Community Radio            |
| WWOG FM    | COOKEVILLE           | TN     | 2006-02-13 21:22:20 | Gospel                     |
| WAMC FM/HD | ALBANY               | NY     | 2006-02-13 21:32:43 | Public Radio               |
| WBNI FM    | ROANOKE              | IN     | 2006-02-13 21:53:51 | Classical Music            |
| WGTE FM    | TOLEDO               | OH     | 2006-02-13 22:11:55 | Classical Music            |
| KUER FM/HD | SALT LAKE CITY       | UT     | 2006-02-14 01:25:35 | Public Radio               |
| KVLU FM/HD | BEAUMONT             | TX     | 2006-02-14 01:55:48 | Public Radio               |
| WQLN FM    | ERIE                 | PA     | 2006-02-14 01:56:13 | Public Radio               |
| WPSU FM/HD | STATE COLLEGE        | PA     | 2006-02-14 06:05:33 | Public Radio               |
| KJJP FM/HD | AMARILLO             | TX     | 2006-02-14 06:24:50 | Public Radio               |
| KING FM/HD | SEATTLE              | WA     | 2006-02-14 06:39:38 | Classical Music            |
| KVPR FM/HD | FRESNO               | CA     | 2006-02-15 19:01:43 | Public Radio               |
| KWGS FM/HD | TULSA                | OK     | 2006-02-15 19:31:46 | Public Radio               |
| WUSF FM/HD | TAMPA                | FL     | 2006-02-16 01:23:01 | Public Radio               |
| WERN FM/HD | MADISON              | WI     | 2006-02-16 04:18:40 | Classical Music            |
| KUAR FM/HD | LITTLE ROCK          | AR     | 2006-02-16 05:14:12 | Public Radio               |
| KUNR FM    | RENO                 | NV     | 2006-02-16 05:21:27 | Public Radio               |
| KHOY FM    | LAREDO               | TX     | 2006-02-16 05:22:33 | Catholic                   |
| WRNI AM/HD | PROVIDENCE           | RI     | 2006-02-16 05:26:35 | Public Radio               |
| WUTC FM/HD | CHATTANOOGA          | TN     | 2006-02-16 05:41:55 | Public Radio               |
| WVKS FM/HD | TOLEDO               | OH     | 2006-02-16 20:48:51 | Contemporary Hits          |
| WRVF FM/HD | TOLEDO               | OH     | 2006-02-16 20:50:51 | Soft/Lite Rock             |
| KCCK FM/HD | CEDAR RAPIDS         | IA     | 2006-02-17 01:19:21 | Jazz                       |
| WHRB FM    | CAMBRIDGE            | MA     | 2006-02-17 01:47:26 | Educational                |
| WGTD FM/HD | KENOSHA              | WI     | 2006-02-17 02:41:24 | Public Radio               |
| KCFY FM    | YUMA                 | AZ     | 2006-02-17 03:51:40 | Christian Music            |
| WFMU FM    | EAST ORANGE          | NJ     | 2006-02-17 07:07:25 | Community Radio            |
| WQRM AM    | DULUTH               | MN     | 2006-02-17 08:49:48 | Gospel                     |
| WFCR FM/HD | AMHERST              | MA     | 2006-02-17 09:49:35 | Public Radio               |
| WBNW AM    | CONCORD              | MA     | 2006-02-17 10:00:21 | Biz Talk                   |
| WUEC FM    | EAU CLAIRE           | WI     | 2006-02-17 11:26:35 | Public Radio               |
| WNZK AM    | DEARBORN HEIGHTS     | MI     | 2006-02-17 11:30:25 | Ethnic                     |
| WKYU FM/HD | BOWLING GREEN        | KY     | 2006-02-18 02:26:18 | Public Radio               |
| KAFM FM    | GRAND JUNCTION       | CO     | 2006-02-18 03:21:12 | Community Radio            |
| WEVO FM/HD | CONCORD              | NH     | 2006-02-18 03:26:22 | Public Radio               |
| WMAX AM    | BAY CITY             | MI     | 2006-02-18 05:24:37 | Catholic                   |
| WNJA FM/HD | JAMESTOWN            | NY     | 2006-02-18 06:27:38 | Classical Music            |
| WMEH FM/HD | BANGOR               | ME     | 2006-02-18 06:28:30 | Public Radio               |
| KUAC FM/HD | FAIRBANKS            | AK     | 2006-02-18 06:32:28 | Public Radio               |
| WKSU FM/HD | KENT                 | OH     | 2006-02-18 06:56:41 | Public Radio               |
| WKPB FM    | HENDERSON            | KY     | 2006-02-18 07:09:31 | Public Radio               |
| WEKU FM    | RICHMOND             | KY     | 2006-02-18 07:13:27 | Public Radio               |
| WAMU FM/HD | WASHINGTON           | DC     | 2006-02-18 21:36:03 | Public Radio               |
| WNTK FM    | NEW LONDON           | NH     | 2006-02-19 05:01:30 | News / Talk                |
| KZIA FM    | CEDAR RAPIDS         | IA     | 2006-02-19 07:38:21 | Contemporary Hits          |
| WEMU FM/HD | YPSILANTI            | MI     | 2006-02-20 02:06:26 | Public Radio               |
| WRVO FM/HD | OSWEGO               | NY     | 2006-02-20 11:30:31 | Public Radio               |
| WWGC AM    | ALBERTVILLE          | AL     | 2006-02-20 13:53:07 | Religious Ministry         |
| KLUX FM/HD | ROBSTOWN             | TX     | 2006-02-21 04:48:40 | Easy Listening             |
| WKOK AM    | SUNBURY              | PA     | 2006-02-21 22:05:35 | Local News / Talk / Sports |
| KDSK FM    | GRANTS               | NM     | 2006-02-22 00:18:57 | Oldies                     |
| WNNJ FM    | NEWTON               | NJ     | 2006-02-22 01:30:35 | Alternative/Hard/New Rock  |
| WSLU FM/HD | CANTON               | NY     | 2006-02-22 02:10:24 | Public Radio               |
| WSUS FM    | FRANKLIN             | NJ     | 2006-02-22 02:17:50 | Soft/Lite Rock             |
| KZMU FM/HD | MOAB                 | UT     | 2006-02-22 02:36:27 | Community Radio            |

What I’m considering / proposing / bouncing off people is the notion that a volunteer would become ruler of a portion of the database and have primary responsibility for maintaining the station and schedule information. Reports of “It doesn’t work” or “The wrong program would go to you, with a ‘cc to me, and I would expect you to resolve the problems and/or communicate with the person who reports the issue in a reasonably timely manor.

I’m thinking along the lines of states having rulers, and possibly formats, creating a matrix. One person might take the lead for stations in New Jersey, and another person might want to maintain Country music stations – so a Country Music station in New Jersey would have two people with a shared responsibility.

Of course, there is no monetary or financial reward for doing this. Nancy Pelosi wants us to stop working and just do things that interest us and help us grow as people – what more motivation could you want?

Don’t respond right away – think it over and post a thoughtful response if you think this has merit. It means building some better web based tools and a few database changes, but it isn’t a major major project – but before I proceed, I would like some feedback.

Note that I’m not looking for “I know what WKAR is!” from the list. There are about 6,000 stations that are more than a year since they were looked at:

+---------------+---------------------+
| verified_year | verified_year_count |
+---------------+---------------------+
| NULL          |                 111 |
| 2005          |                   2 |
| 2006          |                 293 |
| 2007          |                 464 |
| 2008          |                 339 |
| 2009          |                 785 |
| 2010          |                1162 |
| 2011          |                3687 |
| 2012          |                 344 |
| 2013          |                2420 |
| 2014          |                1192 |
+---------------+---------------------+

The Death of Adult Standards

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Wikipedia Definition

While the Wikipedia definition is skewed towards the bias of the person who wrote it, it has the basic facts correct. Adult standards is a music format primarily heard on a.m. radio, targeted at the self-proclaimed “Greatest Generation”. It generally includes music from the 1930s 40s and a little bit of the 1950s – anything up until the beginning of rock ‘n roll.

Typical artists you would hear would be Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, etc… 20 years ago, format was heavier on the big band era – Ella Fitzgerald, Patty Page, the Andrew sisters, Tommy Dorsey and the like. If you were a teenager in the 1930s, you are now in your 90s – so the format has been dropping most of the pre-World War II music, and adding in artists like Linda Ronstadt and Barbra Streisand.

Cumulus Media now owns both of the major satellite delivered adult standard music services – one originally part of ABC radio, and the other from Jones radio.

Last week, a person was finally put in charge of the revamp of Westwood One – which now includes NBC radio, the Westwood One Sports Lineup, the old Jones music syndication, the Jones progressive talk lineup, the a Westwood One talk network (Jim Bohannon, Dennis Miller, Phil Valentine) and the ABC music radio formats.

Cumulus already announced their intent to consolidate these music services – but they are taking it way further than just consolidating.

Now that a new guy is in place, and they’ve made it clear that the syndication done by Cumulus will be under the Westwood One brand, I started going through and changing information about these programs. In the course of doing that, I found the “new” definition of what “adult standards” means, according to Cumulus

Westwood One / Cumulus definition

Westwood one begins by saying adult standards is targeted at the people who own 89% of the wealth of the country – the upper end of which is the trailing edge of the baby boomers. At 58, I am already too old for adult standards.

The artist list includes Frank Sinatra, that’s the only old-school singer on the list – replaced with the Beatles, the Carpenters, Barry Manilow, and Michael Buble.

And so it goes…

Entercom’s 2 minute promise

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Entercom is trying an experiment in Seattle

Press Release

KNDD-FM (The End) plays “alternative” music and will now limit commercial breaks to two minutes, three times an hour

http://www.1077theend.com/

The station has about a 3% share -they own 4 stations in the market.

The idea is that if the number of commercials are cut in half, they’ll be more valuable because the station will attract more better listeners who will actually listen to the ads

On being a Great American

Friday, June 27th, 2014

In 2009, Micheal “Savage” Weiner erupted at a caller who made the mistake of saying to Savage “You’re a great American!” The greeting is used by callers to Sean Hannity (the Wall Banger), and is the signature slogan of WLW-AM’s Bill Cunningham (syndicated nationally on Sunday night)

As a result of that, I created a poll that night with a simple question:

Is Michael Savage a “Great American”

After 5 years, the results are in.

Howie Carr signs national syndication deal

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

I know how much WesternMA enjoys Howie, but I don’t see this having a snowball’s chance in Arizona to turn out well.

Announcement

Howie is a newspaper guy and has a huge following in the Boston area. The problem is – how do you translate that into national listenership? Right off the bat, large swaths of the country will have their brains slam shut the moment they hear Boston. While Howie likes to talk about President Obama, he spends a huge amount of his air time pounding the Whitey Bolger mobster thing into the ground. At least while it was being built, the Big Dig was a frequent topic – nobody in Iowa cares (other than the huge amount of Federal money poured into it). Nobody outside of Boston knows who Mayor Mumbles was.

Even so, he is a veteran radio guy and a nice guy. If he gets past the problem that national radio is not a local show you put onto a satellite, he might have legs. The syndicator’s claim to fame is he manages Bob and Sheri from Charlotte, which after 22 years has several dozen affiliates! He also carries the Dick Clark show [Dick is dead]

Aereo is DOA

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Supreme Court says 6-3 that the scheme to rent tiny antennas is a copyright violation. There is a shocker.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2014/06/25/supreme-court-essentially-kills-aereo-broadcasters-breath-a-sigh-of-relief/

Something broke!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The “what’s on now” and stats look broken. “Unknown” is suddenly very popular.

Townsquare Media to “go public”

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Townsquare Media is owned by Private equity firm Oaktree Capital. After Clear Channel went public, many of the small market stations were sold off because they were not economically viable.

Over the years, Townsquare bought up a lot of other radio stations from bankruptcy sales – mostly in the “rust belt” around the Great Lakes. The concept seems to be like if you take string and wrap it up in a ball, if you get enough string it will become valuable.

According to their SEC filing, they own 312 stations and had $279 million of revenue. The company made a net profit in 2013 of $10 million

However, the finances radically changed as Oaktree (not Townsquare) unloaded Westwood One / Dial Global onto Cumulus in exchange for a bunch of similar small market stations. Townsquare added $285 million in new debt which hasn’t yet fully been reflected into the overall results.

SEC filings

Newspaper / Media cross ownership rules

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The National Association of Broadcaaters (NAB) predates the FCC created in 1936. At the time, the only “communications” that “needed” regulation were AM radio and radio telegraphs. The ITU needed to standardize spectrum usage worldwide and the FCC was to be the United States representative at those negotiations.

The FCC has no power to “abridge freedom of speech” of newspapers – but that hasn’t stopped the FCC from keeping Newspapers out of the TV and Radio business to protect the economic interests of the establishment electronic media owners (like NBC back in the good old days)

Here are the rules. If you can actually understand what they say, you have a very peculiar mind.

The essence is that outside of the top 20 markets, the local daily newspaper cannot own a TV or radio station, and in the top 20 markes only under certain rules. Of course, all rule$ have a provi$ion for waiving the rule$ if the FCC deem$ it to be in “the public intere$t”

The rationale was that if one entity owned both the daily newspaper and Radio/TV, the evil robber Baron would have a captive audience. It’s surprising the FCC never outlawed baseball teams from owning radio stations.

In theory, running a daily newspaper doesn’t require a license – so a city can have any number of competing daily newspapers and market forces will sort out how many a city “needs”. With radio and TV, there are a finite number of frequencies, hence possibly a need for heavier government “regulation’.

If the FCC scrapped the rule or Congress forced them to, do you think that would improve things? As an example, WSB-AM in Atlanta is useful. They are owned by Cox Media that also publishes the Atlanta Journal Constitution. They are one of the highest rated AM stations in the country, probably in part due to their thorough coverage of local news and access to government leaders.

Culture Shocks

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Barry Lynn is an ordained minister who believes with every ounce of his being that government should stay out of the religion business. His religious affiliation is with the left leaning United Church of Christ. (The college I graduated from is sponsored by the UCC and while on choir tours of the country, I attended services in many of their churches)

I was going through the list of radio programs looking for “dead” shows and saw that Barry Lynn’s Culture Shocks radio show was no longer on any radio stations. Backtracking, the show had been distributed by GCN, the Alex Jones folks. The show is no longer there and it looks like production ceased in 2013.

I was curious if there was any press release, or if he just got old and unable to do the show. To my surprise, he was in front of Congress about a week ago

Raw Story video

There he is in from of Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX) being lectured about his obligation as a “good” Christian to convince non-Christians that they are going to hell if they don’t convert to Christianity. He’s pointing at a copy of a pocket New Testament, or maybe his Pocket Constitution. It might even be a pocket Quran – the type is too small to read in the video.

If the name Louie Gohhmert sounds vaguely familiar, it probably means you’re a Glenn Beck listener. Gohmert has been vocal about wanting to use government pressure to force TV aggregators to carry The Blaze.