Archive for August, 2014

Reworking website navigation

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Streaming Radio Guide’s roots go back to about 1999 when I started creating FindAnISP.com – much of the “guts” of the web site is still based on that code.

When I decided in 2004 to split the gathering of streaming radio stations into its own web site (knowing it was just a matter of time before dialup internet died), the things the web site can do were created one at a time in a somewhat random manner.

The result has been very inconsistent appearance of pages and frequently there are remarks like “Why don’t you add….” for a feature that has been there for 10 years – but not in a place where it is obvious to find it.

While today’s “home page” is great to make Googlebot happy, it isn’t really how people arrive here or what they want to do after they are here. A very large portion arrive because they did a query on a specific show (i.e. Rush Limbaugh) and nothing on that page suggests the web site has any other purpose – like browsing the other shows that are currently streaming.

Most of the pages have at least been converted to the new header format, which shows your username if you’re logged in (and a login link if you’re not) and a Menu link to take you to a high level menu without needing to navigate through pages you didn’t want to visit.

Menu

The contents of those menu items will change as I rearrange the chairs on the ship, so expect that things could change right while you’re using the menu. Once it’s complete, the menu will become the home page, and overlapping navigation (like on the What’s on now page) will be removed to streamline the presentation.

The menu should also be much easier to use on mobile devices.

Password reset

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Part of what I’ve been doing recently is to substantially strengthen the password protection on user accounts. Because I do not store your original password and cannot reverse engineer it, I had to reset all user passwords.

What this means to you is that you will need to click on “I forgot my password” at the bottom of the login screen and have a reset request sent to your email address.

Reset my passsword!

(This is the streaming guide password, not the blog password)

In the event you no longer control that email address and your favorites lists are dear to you, drop me a note and I can update the email address by hand. Be sure to tell me the old email, the new email, and the username to convince me that you are the owner. Do NOT send me the old password.

It’s very possible that you are still logged in if you don’t delete cookies, and may not need to do anything at this time.

Do you have native IPv6 connectivity?

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Since you are either brave or foolish enough to have found the new server, I’m in need of someone who understands IPv6 and has native IPv6 connectivity. If you don’t understand what that means without asking Google, I’m not looking for you. If you plan to tell me all about IPV6 proxies because you just read about them on Reddit 20 seconds ago, I do actually know what I’m doing. The issue is that I have no native ipv6 access myself – neither Time Warner, AT&T, nor T-Mobile have it enabled on my connections.

The server should be accessible via

http://newipv6.streamingradio.com/

Although it’s hard to guess what may happen if you try. My databases don’t understand IPV6 addresses and will likely be unhappy.

Random thoughts

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

I’m pondering if there is a way to create a voting system as motivation to get people to pull the wagon instead of me. You may be familiar with social sites that work based on group consensus of what is “good content” by people voting.

So let’s say the “entry price” for influencing the content is you have to find 5 radio stations for which we currently don’t have a web site or have an outdated URL – or have a web site that has a URL but we didn’t know was streaming…

Once a visitor establishes that they will actually do data gathering, the “volunteer points” could then steer the ship, based on earning points roughly the way they’ve always worked – testing schedules, setting topics, finding new web sites, etc… You could “vote” for or against types of music, specific radio stations, or specific shows. I would not use my own “points” to influence outcomes.

Up until now, “popularity” has been merely the number of times people tried to listen to a show and/or station. This approach would feel more like a competition. Points would not be “spent” and then you lose them – they would be fluid, you could recall them and apply them to something else (maybe limited to keeping them on something for a day before you can reclaim them). If you had 10 million points and today you know something important is happening, you could vote that show to the top of the list (as long as nobody else outvotes you or uses their points to cancel your points)

You should not take this post as evidence that the web site is coming back, however.

Thoughts?

August month to date

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Here is who has been doing Web Site Verification so far this month:

+--------+----------------+
| vcount | username       |
+--------+----------------+
|    732 | editor         |
|    402 | CharlotteNC    |
|      8 | janderson021   |
|      7 | WesternMA      |
|      4 | TheJerseyDevil |
|      1 | Tom505         |
+--------+----------------+

There are about 16,000 licensed radio stations in the United States, of which about 14,000 have web sites I’ve been able to locate in the past.

To reach the goal of some human looking at each one once every six months, that means needing to look at about 2,000 every month. Other than me, the contribution this month is a total of 20. Unless the station has issues, verification takes 30 seconds on the outside to pull up the web site and click Accurate.

Intentions are a nice thing.

Note that from 1:09 to 3:21 is a single unedited scene.

I’m not so naive as to believe the message of that song. The biscuits are done.

Free at Last.

Monica Crowley gone from WABC

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Monica Crowley is still syndicated by the just barely alive Talk Radio Network. Since TRN sued their own national rep firm and distributor Dial Global (now owned by Cumulus), it’s not shocking that Cumulus is shedding every single TRN program it had. There is also a trend that Cumulus/ABC programs are vanishing from non-Cumulus stations.

The good news is if you listen to WABC right now, you can find out how to save money on your mortgage.

Don’t overestimate the Dickey brothers

The new digital guy at Clear Channel on the future of Talk Radio

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

http://www.allaccess.com/power-player/archive/19736/darren-davis

Rush, Beck, and Hannity aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

That’s hard to argue with

Market classification

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

This is probably only of interest to 2 or three people, and I’m one of the them because I have to be 🙂

There are important legal distinctions at the FCC regarding which radio stations belong to which “Market”. As others have pointed out in the past, this is not such a clear thing, since different stations have different power levels and can often be heard way outside their official market.

Communications law attorneys and certified radio engineers also make a nice living “moving” stations from one market to another, when in fact nothing changed other than the underlaying paperwork. This is all related to how many stations one owner is limited to in a “market”.

There is a highly proprietary term used in the radio business called “DMA” – it is a registered Trademark of Arbitron (now Nielson). It’s an acronym for “Designated Market Area”. You get in trouble very fast if you use the term or the underlying concept without permission.

When the FCC makes a ruling, it passes the buck off to another entity called BIA/Kelsey as the authoritative source of how many stations there are in each “market”. BIA is run for the benefit of advertisers mostly, to track advertising spending in the media (including Radio). They defer to Arbitron’s method of classifying which stations are in which market.

I *think* Arbitron uses the notion of assigning counties to markets. I’ve never looked very closely at what they do, as my need to know information about market size is fairly limited. Mainly I want to know “Is this in a major market”, and be able to generally sort by the markets from largest to smallest.

I took an entirely different approach to this than the “Radio Industry”, and at least one guy probably wishes I was in charge of this 🙂
http://rbr.com/burns-calls-for-alternative-to-arbitronbia-market-definitions/

I did more what he is suggesting – looking at where population lives, not where arbitrary county boundaries are (Connecticut doesn’t even have county governments any more, just lines on a map).

I did this a very very long time ago – probably about 1999 and I barely remember what I did. My memory is that I calculated the geographic population center of each Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and then calculated the distance from that to each city in the state, and assigned each small city to the closest (as the birds fly) MSA center. Then once I assigned each city to an MSA, I assigned all radio stations in the city to that MSA. To people “In the Biz”, my groupings are horribly wrong and stupid. People in the upper Hudson Valley are not New York City listeners, right?

There is a flaw to my update process however – there are “cities” used by the FCC that aren’t actually legal entities – like out in very rural areas, like Alaska. There are also new communities being created over time, or changing their names to sound Hispanic :)… or radio stations being created in a city that was never classified before.

But the biggest nuisance is when a callsign jumps from one city to another. Back when I was using Windows, I had a process for this. Often what happens is a really “good” callsign is released, and the someone else will snatch it up the same day (usually the current owner will just park the good name on some off the air station) or maybe even cut a deal to buy the call sign. Because the existing call sign doesn’t go away for a day, the process never corrects the market information. It’s a minor hole I’ve always known about, and fixed individual stations as I found them.

WNOW-FM in New York City is a great example – one that brought TheJerseyDevil to a screeching halt in his verification processing. WNOW-FM went from being a major CBS station in New York to being a Radio One Station located in Speedway, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. Because the call sign never went away for a day, WNOW is still pointing to its CBS web site in New York, but was flagged as “Under Construction” indicating a need for a human (me) to fix it. There are 1,395 radio stations in my queue to be “fixed” for a variety of reasons. WNOW having had an HD2 and HD3 subchannel tied to it In New York is yet another problem – as the station Indiana doesn’t have them and WNOW/HD2 is not theirs and isn’t picked up by the call sign change as it isn’t actually a “License”.

There is no way for a volunteer to fix a wrong market designation. You can however, fix the station’s URL and Format. I see anything you change and if I disagree with what you did, I’ll fix it behind you.

You also have the power to click on History and add a comment explaining what you did. If you don’t know what to do, click Ignore Station and move on. I can’t spend two hours explaining every station’s reason for being wrong to each person one at a time. This process is probably futile as all that I see is people making excuses why they can’t help.

Atlas Shrugged Part III opens on September 12, 2014, less than a month from now.

I’ve created a process now to clean up these market areas automatically, although they can actually make things worse.

Here is the list that were outdated. Some are just that the community of license changed, not that there was an abrupt move of a call sign:

+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+
| streamname  | FCC City          | state | New  | Old City          | state | Old  |
+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+
| WURO-LD LD  | ROSCOMMON         | MI    | NULL | Sterling          | MI    | NULL |
| WUWB-LD LD  | WEST BRANCH       | MI    | NULL | Sterling          | MI    | NULL |
| K253BJ      | ALGONA            | IA    | NULL | Humboldt          | IA    | NULL |
| KLSY FM     | MONTESANO         | WA    | NULL | South Bend        | WA    | NULL |
| KYZZ FM     | SALINAS           | CA    |   79 | Big Sur           | CA    | NULL |
| WLVO-LD LD  | CUMMING           | GA    | NULL | Helen             | GA    | NULL |
| WNOW FM/HD  | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| WNOW FM/HD2 | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| WNOW FM/HD3 | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| KVTU-LP TX  | AGOURA HILLS      | CA    | NULL | Los Angeles       | CA    |    2 |
| WNEW FM/HD  | BOWIE             | MD    | NULL | Annapolis         | MD    |    8 |
| W266CF      | CAROLINA          | PR    |   13 | Luquillo          | PR    |   13 |
| WRZX FM/HD  | GREENVILLE        | OH    |   58 | Indianapolis      | IN    |   41 |
| WRZX FM/HD2 | GREENVILLE        | OH    |   58 | Indianapolis      | IN    |   41 |
| WNOU FM/HD  | INDIANOLA         | MS    | NULL | Speedway          | IN    |   41 |
| KLGO AM     | ELGIN             | TX    |   42 | Austin            | TX    |   42 |
| W225AR      | ROCHESTER         | NY    |   54 | Webster           | NY    |   54 |
| W235AY      | ALBANY            | NY    |   62 | Troy              | NY    |   62 |
| WABY AM     | WATERVLIET        | NY    | NULL | Mechanicville     | NY    |   62 |
| WEPT-CA CA  | KINDERHOOK        | NY    | NULL | Albany            | NY    |   62 |
| W283BJ      | MOUNTAIN TOP      | PA    |   69 | Wilkes-Barre      | PA    |   69 |
| WNML FM/HD  | FRIENDSVILLE      | TN    | NULL | Loudon            | TN    |   71 |
| K236BY      | PLATTSMOUTH       | NE    |   72 | Nebraska City     | NE    |   72 |
| KMZT FM     | BIG SUR           | CA    | NULL | Salinas           | CA    |   79 |
| WMAS FM/HD  | ENFIELD           | CT    |   50 | Springfield       | MA    |   82 |
| W290CB      | WINTERVILLE       | NC    | NULL | New Bern          | NC    |   87 |
| W266AL      | PENSACOLA         | FL    |  123 | Bay Minette       | AL    |   93 |
| WIBA FM/HD  | SAUK CITY         | WI    |   96 | Madison           | WI    |   96 |
| WXKE FM     | CHURUBUSCO        | IN    |  105 | Fort Wayne        | IN    |  105 |
| KFTY-LD LD  | MIDDLETOWN        | CA    |  118 | Santa Rosa        | CA    |  118 |
| WWIZ FM     | WEST MIDDLESEX    | PA    | NULL | Mercer            | PA    |  119 |
| K223AL      | RENO              | NV    |  124 | South Lake Tahoe  | CA    |  124 |
| KEZF FM     | PINE BLUFFS       | WY    | NULL | Fort Collins      | CO    |  126 |
| KEHO-LD LD  | HOUSTON           | TX    |    7 | Beaumont          | TX    |  133 |
| KQCS FM     | DE WITT           | IA    |  143 | Bettendorf        | IA    |  143 |
| WCPY FM     | ARLINGTON HEIGHTS | IL    | NULL | DeKalb            | IL    |  152 |
| WQNS FM/HD  | WOODFIN           | NC    | NULL | Waynesville       | NC    |  161 |
| WQNS FM/HD2 | WOODFIN           | NC    | NULL | Waynesville       | NC    |  161 |
| K248AR      | MIDLAND           | TX    |  188 | Stanton           | TX    |  188 |
| WBYB FM     | ELDRED            | PA    | NULL | Kane              | PA    |  210 |
| WKUW-LD LD  | WHITE HOUSE       | TN    | NULL | Bowling Green     | KY    |  211 |
| W288CV      | COLUMBUS          | GA    |  187 | Americus          | GA    |  269 |
| WVPB FM/HD  | CHARLESTON        | WV    |  181 | Beckley           | WV    |  293 |
| KIMO FM     | TOWNSEND          | MT    | NULL | Great Falls       | MT    |  295 |
| WSBW FM     | EPHRAIM           | WI    | NULL | Sister Bay        | WI    | 9998 |
| K227BK      | POPLAR BLUFF      | MO    | NULL | Malden            | MO    | 9998 |
| K236AR      | MISSOURI CITY     | TX    |    7 | Angleton          | TX    | 9998 |
| K238AE      | CLEARLAKE         | CA    | NULL | Lucerne           | CA    | 9998 |
| K242AD      | UKIAH             | CA    | NULL | Boonville         | CA    | 9998 |
| K253BO      | TEXARKANA         | AR    |  263 | Nashville         | AR    | 9998 |
| K269DB      | CARSON CITY       | NV    |  124 | Stateline         | NV    | 9998 |
| K283BP      | HELENA            | MT    | NULL | Boulder           | MT    | 9998 |
| K295BF      | ROYSE CITY        | TX    | NULL | Greenville        | TX    | 9998 |
| KGCO FM     | FORT COLLINS      | CO    |  126 | Pine Bluffs       | WY    | 9998 |
| KJWP DT     | WILMINGTON        | DE    |   75 | Jackson           | WY    | 9998 |
| KLWB FM     | CARENCRO          | LA    | NULL | Opelousas         | LA    | 9998 |
| KZET FM     | TOWAOC            | CO    | NULL | Cortez            | CO    | 9998 |
| KZMG FM     | MELBA             | ID    | NULL | Elko              | NV    | 9998 |
| W201CD      | ITHACA            | NY    |  179 | Lansing           | NY    | 9998 |
| W239BF      | ROCHESTER         | NY    |   54 | Greece            | NY    | 9998 |
| W242CF      | MEMPHIS           | TN    |   49 | Byhalia           | MS    | 9998 |
| W245BL      | DUNDEE            | NY    | NULL | Branchport        | NY    | 9998 |
| W246CJ      | JACKSONVILLE      | NC    |   87 | Morehead City     | NC    | 9998 |
| W247BN      | KINGSTREE         | SC    |  215 | Santee            | SC    | 9998 |
| W256CD      | FULTONDALE        | AL    | NULL | Talladega         | AL    | 9998 |
| W258AJ      | MURRAY            | KY    |  206 | Paris             | TN    | 9998 |
| W259BT      | SOUTH FULTON      | TN    | NULL | Dyersburg         | TN    | 9998 |
| W267AM      | WINSTON-SALEM     | NC    |   45 | Mocksville        | NC    | 9998 |
| W267BM      | HAWESVILLE        | KY    | NULL | Tell City         | IN    | 9998 |
| W272CT      | ST AUGUSTINE      | FL    |   48 | Palm Coast        | FL    | 9998 |
| W280DT      | LAC DU FLAMBEAU   | WI    | NULL | Minocqua          | WI    | 9998 |
| W293BV      | COLUMBUS          | GA    |  187 | Cuthbert          | GA    | 9998 |
| WCNX-LPFM   | COVINGTON         | KY    | NULL | Independence      | KY    | 9998 |
| WCPT FM     | DEKALB            | IL    |  152 | Arlington Heights | IL    | 9998 |
| WCXE-LPFM   | ERLANGER          | KY    |   28 | Walton            | KY    | 9998 |
| WJWN DT     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9998 |
| WLDN FM     | LUDINGTON         | MI    | NULL | Pentwater         | MI    | 9998 |
| WRSS AM     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9999 |
| KCYT FM     | FAYETTEVILLE      | AR    |  141 | Ozark             | AR    | 9999 |
| KDUX FM     | HOQUIAM           | WA    | NULL | Aberdeen          | WA    | 9999 |
| KIKT FM     | COOPER            | TX    | NULL | Greenville        | TX    | 9999 |
| KSHK FM     | HANAMAULU         | HI    | NULL | Kekaha            | HI    | 9999 |
| KSLG FM     | ARCATA            | CA    | NULL | Hydesville        | CA    | 9999 |
| KUAI AM     | KEKAHA            | HI    | NULL | Eleele            | HI    | 9999 |
| KWOK AM     | ABERDEEN          | WA    | NULL | Hoquiam           | WA    | 9999 |
| KXGO FM     | HYDESVILLE        | CA    | NULL | Arcata            | CA    | 9999 |
| WCGB AM     | JUANA DIAZ        | PR    | NULL | Juana Diaz        | PR    | 9999 |
| WGIT AM     | CANOVANAS         | PR    | NULL | Canovanas         | PR    | 9999 |
| WIBT FM     | GREENVILLE        | MS    | NULL | Indianola         | MS    | 9999 |
| WLRP AM     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9999 |
| WPPC AM     | PENUELAS          | PR    | NULL | Penuelas          | PR    | 9999 |
+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+

9998 and 9999 mean “I don’t know – that city isn’t in the database or was never assigned to a metro area”.

For example, WNEW-FM was originally in Annapolis, Maryland, which is part of the Washington DC Market. The station now is located in Bowie, Maryland, which I never assigned to a metro area – because there was no radio station claiming to be licensed to serve the city of Bowie. WNEW is now the only one. WNEW is the station that CBS recently bought to create an all news station in the DC area.

If I had infinite time and actual helpers, I might try to fix these kinds of problems.

Here is the Month to date volunteer stats:

+--------+----------------+
| vcount | username       |
+--------+----------------+
|    573 | editor         |
|    403 | CharlotteNC    |
|      8 | janderson021   |
|      7 | WesternMA      |
|      1 | Tom505         |
|      1 | TheJerseyDevil |
+--------+----------------+

Intentions are lovely things.

Football season approaches

Friday, August 15th, 2014

High School and college football seasons are about to gear up, and the NFL is right around the corner.

For those people who think Soccer is the American sport, there is a pretty definite pattern to when football games are played and when that means your favorite shows will suddenly be replaced by a server being down or some yahoo talking about how Jeremy Smith in Kankakee is having a great season as a freshman high school running back.

High School games are almost always played on Friday nights – once in a while there will be one on Saturday afternoon when there were weather issues or the school doesn’t haven’t lights on their stadium. College football is played during the afternoon on Saturday unless the game is being featured on national TV, in which case some games will be in the evening. The NFL games are on Sunday, the Sabbath of the religion of the inflated pig bladder. It used to be that Monday Night was the only other day you would find an NFL football game, but now they can appear on just about any day, as American’s can’t get enough pig bladder excitement.

High school has a relatively short season as there is no TV money involved (yet). After playing their rival teams, there is typically a state tournament to drag things out a few more weeks. College football ends just before Thanksgiving and the college “bowl” games trickle on and are mostly done by New Years Day. The NFL finishes the regular season in December, and keeps the excitement alive until the Super Bowl, played in Mid February.

It’s fairly common for stations to run shows on Mondays to talk about the weekend football games – or even worse, carry the syndicated programming, but delay it by an hour, but only on Monday.

Stations that preempt sports are unlikely to be the featured station for syndicated shows, unless there are not other options.

Cumulus turns over ad sales to Clear Channel

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Katz is one of the companies that Clear Channel swept up during their acquisition orgy back around 2000. Katz is the only remaining significant “national rep” firm – they handle the details of placing orders for ads, making sure the ads are played per the contract terms and that the radio station gets paid.

There used to be a 2nd national rep firm, but it declared bankruptcy and vanished the day the FCC made up a law that it was illegal for a national advertiser to say “I don’t want to spend my money on black and Hispanic radio”. Since the FCC has no ability to fine advertisers since you don’t need an FCC license to advertise (yet), it had to implement their rule by forcing radio stations to sign a statement that they would not accept ads from national rep firms that permitted advertisers to choose which types of stations to advertise on for the wrong reasons. Note that there is no rule against boycotting Conservative talk radio.

So unless you have enough clout to have your own national sales force, radio stations are left in the awkward position of having Clear Channel selling your advertising – knowing all the details of who your customers are, how much they’re paying, what stations they are advertising. This is about as anticompetitive an arrangement as there could be. The hope is that they operate at arm’s length and Clear Channel doesn’t abuse that power.

Cumulus just signed a deal with Katz and it seems to be based on new technology similar to an idea Google tried briefly and then withdrew. The basic premise is that “availabilities” [time slots set aside for commercials] will be sold in near real time to the highest bidder. So if WABC has an ad slot for 30 seconds at 8:13 AM on Friday, the ad will be sold to whichever company is willing to pay the most for it, or if there is no interest, the ad rate drops as low as market forces demand

http://www.fmqb.com/article.asp?id=2827483

Just released advertising estimates are that radio revenue fell 3% year over year.