Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Archive for August, 2008

WQSR – 102 1/2 fm

Posted by Steve on August 29, 2008

Or – if you prefer – Quad 102 1/2 – was my first commercial radio experience.  Every Labor Day weekend, I remember back to the fateful Labor Day weekend when Cosmos Broadcasting ripped the heart out of our baby, changing the call letters to WSRZ.  This Labor Day is the 29th anniversary of that transition; next Labor Day will be the 30th. Here’s a link to a brief history of WQSR, from Jim Maloy’s great Central Florida radio website, RadioYears.com. Enjoy!

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A small, light portable radio-type gadget with earbuds

Posted by Steve on August 16, 2008

In Walt Mossberg’s “Mossberg’s Mailbox” column on August 14th in the Wall Street Journal, a reader asks:

Q. I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions of a small, light portable radio-type gadget with earbuds that would be good for me while I do athletic activities like riding my bike. I want something that will give me different pre-programmed selections of music, not something that I have to load with music (I don’t remember names of songs). I love my Sirius satellite radio in my car.

To his credit, Walt recommended – among other things – the Zune, which as he pointed out, has an FM Radio built in. Kudos, Walt!

The scary thing is that the guy was asking for, well, a RADIO! But, we aren’t providing the content that he can live with over-the-air. At least, he doesn’t think so. The satellite subscription model with no commercials seems to be the draw for him, but I am betting that it’s really just better programming. Truly, the advent of new distribution methods for radio isn’t the reason for this attitude – it exposes it so that we can see it clearly.

Of course, many of us knew this back in the ’70s, when we were involved with putting alternative stations (progressive rock, NPR, Pacifica, WMNF come to mind) on the air. The growth of FM in the late 60s and 70s fueled the exposure of AM to alternatives then much as satellite and audio-over-ip is exposing traditional FM and AM today.

So – focusing on content – I was driving to a meeting the other day and heard an 9 minute interview on a local music-driven alternative station. It was with an artist who, when I reviewed the playlist of the station, seemed to be totally out of their range; moreover, it ended badly, with the artist telling the talent that “…I don’t need you guys, you’re bloodsuckers on my art.” (paraphrased) Wisely, the talent terminated the interview at that point. But, then, the morning team spent another 10 minutes talking about the interview and taking calls from listeners about it. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was listening to a train-wreck in process and was interested from a professional point of view, I would have punched the button in the first three minutes of this whole episode. I can’t wait to see the PPM results for this station on this particular day and time. It’s one thing to be edgy and exciting; it’s another to spend almost 20 minutes on what should have been a throw-away interview.

But – my point is that this is exactly the kind of thing that is making guys like the one who wrote in to Mossberg think of anything else first and “regular radio” last.

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Some Homework for Radio People

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2008

Peter Smyth, CEO of Greater Media, frequently writes a letter to his employees and the industry in general and posts it on the Greater Media website. This month’s article talks about heading “back to school,” an appropriate title for the end of the summer.

One of his most interesting points is that the sales management at stations needs to move away from focus on agency-driven, transactional business and be passionate about the new opportunities the radio platforms of 2008 provide. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):

We have to take a hard look at the overall workload of individual employees and make tough decisions about new priorities when we focus on revenue. As national business continues to decline, it is up to us to rethink our approach to the way we run our organizations; the current model is not working. For example, the role of the Director of Sales five years ago is not what it is today. Managing transactional business from local and national agencies will not produce the desired results. Today’s DOS needs to be an evangelist for the enhanced capabilities we bring to advertisers. He or she needs to be informed, innovative, passionate and persuasive. We need to redefine the existing responsibilities and structure of the current management and staff of our station operations and partner the right people with the right career opportunities.

More…

Saga also posted an ad for a GSM for their Asheville, NC cluster in Inside Radio. One of the job qualifications is being “nice.” I wonder if these traits (passion and niceness) are connected?

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This might be a great way to monetize a streaming audio site…

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2008

Kurt Hanson writes about a service called "The Racket" that charges users a monthly fee to set up their "radio station" that other listeners can listen to for free.  Kind of turns things like Pandora on their, well, ears.  Here’s the article from RAIN:

RAIN 8/4: RAIN Site of the Day; Social.fm/Mercorca closes 

“THE RACKET” LETS YOU PICK THE TRACKS…FOR A PRICE: New Zealand Internet radio service The Racket has finally launched, at last revealing how it would deliver its boast of “truly personalized Internet radio.” It turns out this means users can create their own radio stations, but not in the same way as Pandora of Last.fm. For around $15 a month ($20 NZ), users select up to 500 tracks out of The Racket’s music library to create their own radio station, which then can be streamed by other users. Though The Racket allows the selection of specific tracks when creating a station, will users really pay a monthly fee when very similar services are available for free elsewhere? Listening to user-created stations is free, but includes no personalization. The web-based player — which requires a quick installation of Microsoft’s Silverlight program — features only a pause/play button and volume toggle. Considering listeners have some level of control of the stream, the absence of a song-skip feature is strange. No cover art is displayed either. There aren’t too many stations up and running just yet, but interestingly a few of them have been created by artists to promote their music. For example, industrial rock group Shihad has created a station featuring only their music, specifically promoting their most recent album. The Racket is a decent service that has plenty of room for improvement, and it will be interesting to see in what direction the site grows. — MS

RAIN 8/4: RAIN Site of the Day; Social.fm/Mercorca closes
Paul Maloney
Mon, 04 Aug 2008 16:34:25 GMT

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Yet another dip into the pool of radio $$?

Posted by Steve on August 5, 2008

So – it looks like the copyright folks are thinking about yet another tariff on already beleaguered webcasters.  Greed is rampant in the halls of the copyright attorneys these days. This one is pretty esoteric, so follow along with David very carefully!

Copyright Office Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking That Could Make Section 115 Royalty Applicable to Internet Radio 

Broadcasters and other digital media companies have recently been focused on the royalties that are to be charged by the record labels for public performance of a sound recording in a digital transmission (under the Section 114 compulsory license administered by SoundExchange).  In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued this week, the Copyright Office tentatively concludes that there could be yet another royalty due for streaming – a royalty to be paid to music publishers for the reproductions of the musical compositions being made in the streaming process under Section 115 of the Copyright Act.  This notice was released just as the Copyright Royalty Board is concluding its proceeding to determine the rates that are to be paid for the Section 115 royalty.  While there have been reports of a settlement of some portions of that proceeding, the details of any settlement is not public, so whether it even contemplated noninteractive streaming as part of the agreement is unknown.

More…

Comments in the Copyright Office proceeding are due on August 15, and Replies are due on September 2. This is a very important proceeding in which parties should make their views known. 

Copyright Office Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking That Could Make Section 115 Royalty Applicable to Internet Radio
davidoxenford@dwt.com (David Oxenford)
Thu, 17 Jul 2008 03:41:56 GMT

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