Tuesday, June 2, 2020

MUSIC INDUSTRY RALLIES IN MEMORY OF GEORGE FLOYD • THIS WEEK’S “NONCOMM THURSDAY” FEATURES STEVE EARLE


George Floyd
Led by some of the biggest companies in the music industry, today (Tuesday (6/2) are participating in Black Out Tuesday, a quiet protest in reaction to the killing of George Floyd last week.

 According to a report on All Access Media [link], Black Out Tuesday, calls for a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with the community. 

The organizers are using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused as a virtual rallying point.

Artists and employees of Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, Bertelsmann Music Group, and over a dozen more companies,will be spending the day talking with associates about the conditions that led to the death of Floyd and the rampage that followed.

In a press release, organizers urged music radio folks to spend today “…taking responsibility as ‘gatekeepers of the culture.’”

George Floyd  mixing during a recording session
George Floyd was also a musician. 

In a story that first appeared on the blog of 89.3 The Current [link], when Floyd lived in Houston, he was involved in the local rap scene. 

He worked as a performer and DJ using the name Big Floyd and was associated with legendary Houston rapper DJ Screw. You can hear tracks recorded by Floyd on DJ Screw’s YouTube page [link].

Floyd moved to Minneapolis in the mid 1990s.

STEVE EARLE WILL PLAY THIS WEEK ON NONCOMM THURSDAY THIS

Steve Earle 
Singer/storyteller Steve Earle will be appearing on the next Noncomm Thursday Zoomcast this Thursday (June 4th) at 6:00pm ET. 

Earle is a favorite of listeners, station programmers and people in the music biz. 

His mix of social activism, “speak truth to power” messages and stunning performances has made him a welcome presence at past NONCOMMventions.



The Zoomcast will also host a discussion about how the pandemic is impacting music and programming decisions. 

WXPN’s Dan Reed will lead the discussion.. The panel includes Amy Miller from KXT in Dallas, Willobee Carlan from Indie 102.3 in Denver and Jesse Scott from WMOT in Nashville.

The panel will also talk about how to conduct virtual music meetings, connections with promotion execs and publicists, and how the pandemic has impacted programming.

For more information, and to register for the Noncomm Thursday Zoomcast, go to this page [link] on Paul Marszelek’s blog The Top 22.


Monday, June 1, 2020

IN PRAISE OF MPR’S COVERARGE OF RIOTS IN MINNEAPOLIS • “VIRTUAL TUDENT BOOTCAMP” OFFERS CAREER SKILLS AT A REASONABLE PRICE


Photo courtesy of MPR News
Over the past few days Minnesota Public Radio’s news channel (MPR News) has distinguished itself with its superb reporting on events after the murder of George Floyd.

MPR News has a big advantage over other media sources: It is closer to action. MPR’s reporters know the neighborhoods where the worst violence has occurred. Some of them live in Minneapolis neighborhoods such as Longfellow, Cedar/Riverside and east Lake Avenue near Uptown. They know first-hand what is important for people to know.

Photo courtesy of MPR News
We particularly like the way MPR News blends local faces and places into the story. Their focus on the damage to family-owned restaurants like the Town Talk Diner & Gastropub, is heart breaking. The burning of Town Talk, a business that opened days after the end of prohibition, is a deep loss for the community.

MPR News is also more nimble than national cable TV networks. MPR’s coverage conveys the immediacy of situation. For the latest news, check out MPR News' live blog here.

VIRTUAL STUDENT MEDIA BOOTCAMP IS SET FOR JULY

In past years, hundreds of college students travelled to the Twin Cities in the summer to participate in a college media workshop at the University of Minnesota. 

This year it will be online. 

That will provide an opportunity for more people to virtually attend.





The Virtual Student Media Bootcamp [link] is scheduled for July 20th through the 30th. The gathering is sponsored by three organizations:

The Associated Collegiate Press [link], the 
College Media Association [link] and the College Media Business and Advertising Managers [link]. Members of the College Radio Broadcasters (CBI) also participate.

In a press release for the event, the sponsors say why it is particularly timely this year:

“The challenges are now unprecedented.
You need help — and trusted advice — going into the year ahead.
That’s why the College Media Mega Workshop has transformed into
the Student Media Virtual Bootcamp.
We’ve trained hundreds of collegiate journalists and prepared them for their challenges. 
Let us help you, too.”

Three tracks are being offered to attendees: Week One (July 20-23), Week Two (July 27-30) and à la carte sessions. The cost to attend is $169.00 per person.

Registration information and description of sessions are here.





Friday, May 29, 2020

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…


THE JOE WALSH OLD-FASHIONED ROCK N’ ROLL SHOW IS SO POPULAR IN LA THAT 88.5 FM GAVE IT A SECOND HOUR

Earlier this week we told you about KCSN’s new program The Joe Walsh Old-Fashioned Rock n’ Roll Show [link]. 

It debuted on 88.5 FM on May 22nd



On Thursday, KCSN announced that, due to overwhelming demand from listeners, the show has added a second hour. Beginning this Saturday (5/30) it will air live from 6pm-8pm Pacific Time.

Patrick Osburn, the GM of KCSN, told us in an email that it is too soon to discuss syndicating of the show because:

“No one knows how long it will be until The Eagles can resume performing live shows and festivals.  In the mean time, his show n 88.5-FM is a great outlet for his creative juices.  It’s fun, and easy for Joe, and both parties benefit greatly.  I seems like we all share the same musical core values, so we’ll let him have the mic as longs he wants it.”

If you want to hear what The Joe Walsh Old-Fashioned Rock n’ Roll Show sounds like click here.

“LAID OFF” PORTLAND PROGRAMMER & HOST RANDI KIRSHBAUM WILL SUE SAGA COMMUNICATIONS

Randi Kirschbaum
On Thursday (5/21), Spark News reported that Saga Communications, a large commercial media company, “laid off" Randi Kirschbaum, a veteran programmer of Saga’s Portland, Maine, cluster of stations.

Saga said it took the action because Kirschbaum did not return, as ordered, to the office on Monday (5/18).

She and other Saga employees were working from home for six weeks.




Inside Radio was the first to report [link] that Kirschbaum has hired employment attorney David Webbert. She told local media that she will sue Saga for discrimination and violation of the Maine Whistleblowers Protection Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kirshbaum had worked for Saga in Portland for 38 years. Her doctors said she has a risk of contracting pulmonary fibrosis if it is triggered by Covid-19. Kirschbaum offered to continue to work from home, but Saga denied her request.

Portland media has pummeled Saga for their action and their confusing responses when asked questions about the matter. Rumors are circulating that Saga’s reason for terminating Kirschbaum was to cut costs.

MOST NEWS/TALK STATIONS SAW BIG GAINS IN AQH LISTENERS IN THE APRIL NIELSEN PPM RATINGS

According to analysis by Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor of the publication Talkers, many commercial and public radio stations saw record average-quarter-hour shares in April’s PPM ratings.

Kinosian’s analysis of the April ratings appeared in Thursday’s edition (5/28) of Talkers [link].

The chart on the right shows the stations that had the biggest gains in AQH share in the April book, compared to March.

Nielsen’s PPM ratings for May will be released beginning June 8th.

CAN’T SLEEP? TAKE A LOOK AT PUBLIC TELEVISION ID’S FROM THE PAST

Spark News reader Don McCullen sent us a tip about a YouTube page that is devoted to heritage PBS station ID’s, promos and logos.

The collection includes visual images from KCET in Los Angeles, WTTW in Chicago, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) and Milwaukee Public Television. Much of the material originally aired in the 1970s and 1980s.

The curator of the page is Stephen Cezar, a former PBS video editor. You can see the collection here.

Cezar’s archives are fun to watch, particularly after eating a pan of brownies.