Friday, January 16, 2015

RETRO FRIDAY: “GROOVIN’ ON A SATURDAY NIGHT IN VIETNAM”



In the late 1960s many Top 40 stations aired a fascinating weekly public affairs program called Silhouette.  It was produced by the American Lutheran Church and helped music stations meet ascertainment requirements without going out of the format.

Silhouette was created by host John Rydren, a seminary student in St. Paul. The show mixed short clips of young folks chatting about current issues with the hottest songs of the day. Sometimes Rydren crafted sound assays – messages read over instrumental versions of popular songs, sort of like Joe Frank or Rod McKuen.

Most of Rydgren’s sound assays are laughable now because they are so hippy-dippy and over the top.  But today’s clip features what I believe is John’s best work: Groovin’ on a Saturday Night from 1968.  This sound assay resonated with me because at the time I was of draft age and I wondered if soon I’d be in Vietnam…

video


John Rydgren became “Brother John” when ABC Radio hired him to be the voice of its national automated “Love” FM network.  That concept sank in a year or so and Rydren moved to K-EARTH, an oldies station in LA.  He worked at K-EARTH until his death on the air (no kidding!) in 1988.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

MEMO TO THE FCC: REVIEW iBiquity FOR FAILING TO SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST WITH HD RADIO




Today I filed an informal complaint with the FCC asking them to review the performance of iBiquity in reference to HD Radio. After almost 13 years of stewardship of US digital radio, it is clear that iBiquity’s plan and method of digital broadcasting is failing to serve a reasonable number of people to call it “broadcasting in the public interest.”

As evidence, I submitted yesterday’s post showing HD listening is most likely FM translator listening. One of the folks who responded to my post is John Garziglia, a DC based attorney who knows a lot about HD and radio translator issues from personal experience. Here is John's take on the situation:

Several years ago, I challenged iBiquity on their claim that HD sub-channel stations (HD2s and HD3s) were “getting ratings” in major and large markets.  I pointed out to iBiquity that, to my knowledge, all such HD2s and HD3s that showed in the ratings books were being carried on FM translators, and that I was not aware of one HD2 or HD3 station that, without an FM translator, was achieving sufficient audience numbers to achieve the minimum threshold for being shown in the PPM ratings.  At first iBiquity pushed back on this but I never heard back from them one example to the contrary.

Learn more about John Gaziglia at http://www.wcsr.com/Professionals/Lawyer-Bios/Garziglia-John-F
NOTE: John Garziglia is not involved in my FCC complaint.

NIELSEN AUDIO MINIMUM REPORTING STANDARDS

PPM MARKETS: Station must embed NA “digital watermark” into its signal or audio stream to be eligible.  To be included in NA reports, an eligible station must have a minimum Weekly Cumulative Rating of 0.495 among Persons 6+, Monday – Sunday 6am – Midnight during the survey period.

DIARY MARKETS: Station, via signal or audio stream, must be reported in 10 In-Tab Metro diaries, have a minimum Weekly Cumulative Rating of 0.495 and an Average Quarter Hour rating of 0.05 among Persons 12+, Monday – Sunday 6am – Might during the survey period.

This is NOT very tough criteria.  Depending on market size, a station needs to have more than a handful of listeners to show up in the book.

In the past iBiquity has been challenged for its mind-numbing technical standards and exorbitant licensing fees.   

My complaint is based upon their system’s failure to serve enough listeners to qualify for “broadcasting in the public interest.” The FCC needs to say TIME OUT to iBiqiuty and explore other digital radio ways to serve the public.

I am also sending a copy of the complaint to the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC), a non-profit organization that studies and recommends technical standards for radio broadcasting. The NRSC was established by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

YES, THERE ARE PEOPLE LISTENING TO HD RADIO. SORT OF…



The November Nielsen Audio PPM’s do show a measurable audience for four HD stations.  But it seems to me that many of these listeners are actually hearing HD channels on terrestrial FM.

HD radio is the biggest radio technical boondoggle since AM Stereo.  In an effort to prop up the sagging platform, the FCC began authorizing the rebroadcast of HD-2 or HD-3 channels on terrestrial FM translators.  Many commercial broadcasters have claimed their "HD spot on the FM dial."

Here is the chart of the four HD stations in the November Nielsen Audio PPM’s ranked by weekly cume rating:

STATION
NIELSEN AUDIO MARKET
FORMAT
METRO RANK
WEEKLY CUME PERSONS
WEEKLY CUME RATING
WPOZ HD3
Orlando
Contemporary Christian
33
2.4
82,800
WPOZ HD2
Orlando
Contemporary Christian
33
0.2
34,600
WAMU HD2
Washington DC
Bluegrass Music
7
0.1
29,900
WPBI HD2
West Palm Beach
NPR News
48
1.0
27,900

KEN’S ANALYSIS:

• The WPOZ HD twins cover Orlando from several translators including the awesome W292DX at 106.3.  WPOZ HD-3 features Christian Rap music.  Here’s the map for W292DX:

 
• WAMU HD-2 blankets the heart of DC via W288BS, aka 105.5 FM. W288BS:


Reader tip: John Garziglia’s great translator article in Radio World: http://www.radioworld.com/article/let%E2%80%99s-talk-about-fm-translators/273859:

• WPBI HD-2 benefits from listening to W27OAD via 101.9.   Here’s the map for W27OAD:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TRITON DIGITAL REPORT SAYS NON-MUSIC STREAMING IS SURGING


Triton Digital provides periodic metrics to track listening trends for streaming audio providers.  Thank of it as an inventory of shelf-space in a store.  As I am sure you aware, streaming audio continues to grow via online and mobile platforms.

The big news from the just released October 2014 Triton Digital report is a 25% increase in streaming audio from October 2013 to October 2014.  Non-music programming such as news, talk and sports showed the greatest gains. Rob Favre from Triton Digital said of the trend towards spoken word: indicated that listeners were tuning into streaming stations more frequently as a source of information, rather than just to get their music fix. This is good news for NPR News stations.

Below is my variation of the Triton Digital “Ranker” chart indexed to show Average Time Spent Listening.  Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) is the average number or hours/minutes for each “tune in” for at least one minute.  To me, time spent listening shows the level of listener interest no matter what platform.  (Scroll down to see the complete chart.)

PROVIDER
DOMINATE PLATORMS
TYPES OF PROGRAMMING
AVERAGE TIME SPENT LISTENING
Hours/Minutes
idobi Radio
Online & Mobile
Rock & rap music
1.99
AccuRadio
Online & Mobile
Classical music
1.77
Radio One
Broadcasting
African American commercial radio
1.60
Townsquare Media
Broadcasting
Commercial radio
1.47
EMF Corporate
NONCOM Broadcasting
Christian contemporary music
1.37
Hubbard Broadcasting
Broadcasting
Commercial family owned multiple station owner including WTOP
1.17
Greater Media
Broadcasting
Commercial news & music formats
1.04
WNYC
NONCOM Broadcasting
NPR News & music
0.91
Salem Broadcasting
Broadcasting
Commercial religious & political shows
0.90
Beasley Broadcasting
Broadcasting
Commercial news & music formats
0.84
ESPN Radio
Broadcasting
Commercial sports
0.59
Pandora
Online & Mobile
Music of all types
0.59
Univision
Broadcasting
Spanish language Commercial news & music
0.56
Prisa Radio
Broadcasting & Online
Spanish language Commercial news & music
0.51
Slacker
Online & Mobile
Music aggregator
0.45
Cox Radio
Broadcasting
Commercial news & music formats & media buying service
0.94
NPR Member Stations
NONCOM
Broadcasting & Online
NPR News and music formats
0.82
Cumulus
Broadcasting
Commercial news & music formats
0.79
CBS Radio
Broadcasting
Commercial news & music formats
0.78
iHeartMedia
Broadcasting & Online
Commercial & online news & music formats
0.65

Courtesy Triton Digital

Monday, January 12, 2015

WABE "SORT OF" GOES ALL-NEWS AGAIN


I recommend a fascinating article in the Atlanta paper Casual Loafing about WABE’s latest program changes. Link:
http://clatl.com/atlanta/how-wabe-responded-when-gpb-came-to-town/Content?oid=13137935

Several weeks ago I wrote that WABE had “sort of” changed to all NPR News.  The “sort of” was because WABE left blocks of classical music in the weekday schedule – a move guaranteed to satisfy no one.  And it didn’t.  WABE just announced further changes.

It is because Georgia Public Broadcasting is now competing with 14 hours of NPR News per day via an LMA with college rock station WRAS.

The Casual Loafing article is based, in part, on a series of leaked WABE internal e-mails.  Here is an excerpt from the article than shows the mood within WABE:

Mac Holladay, one board member overseeing WABE, described GPB’s deal as both a “frontal assault” and a “direct attack.” In an email to WABE CEO Milton Clipper, board member Charles E. Taylor feared that GPB would “kill” WABE in daytime news programing.
“We were too late to the party,” Taylor wrote.
“Never panic and always keep your pants on!” Clipper replied, adding that station officials would need to accelerate the rollout of their strategic plan.
Another gem from the article:

WABE officials slowly took steps to respond to GPB, which had set the ambitious goal of poaching at least 15 percent of WABE’s audience within one year, according to WABE Director of Radio Production David Barasoain.
GPB is succeeding in that goal.  Though you can’t tell how many listeners have been “poached” via Nielsen Audio PPMs, in November WRAS had almost 20% of WABE’s weekly listening. That means it is working for GPB.  Tanya Ott has the “news mojo.”

Here are the weekday schedules for WABE and WRAS:

TIME
WABE
1/12/15
WRAS
5:00am – 6:00am
Morning Edition
Morning Edition
6:00am – 7:00am
Morning Edition
Morning Edition
7:00am – 8:00am
Morning Edition
Morning Edition
8:00am – 9:00am
Morning Edition
Morning Edition
9:00am – 10:00am
Morning Edition
On Second Thought
(local news & interviews)
10:00am – 11:00am
New Lois Reitzes Program
On Point
11:00am - Noon
New Lois Reitzes Program
On Point
Noon – 1:00pm
New Local News & Interview Program
The Takeaway
1:00pm – 2:00pm
New Local News & Interview Program
Here & Now
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Not yet announced
Here & Now
Friday: Science Friday
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Not yet announced
Fresh Air
Friday: Political Rewind
(local interviews)
4:00pm – 5:00pm
All Things Considered
All Things Considered
5:00pm – 6:00pm
All Things Considered
All Things Considered
6:00pm – 7:00pm
6:00pm ATC
6:30pm Marketplace
6:00pm Marketplace
6:30pm ATC