Friday, April 10, 2015

READER QUESTIONS & COMMENTS



• From: Kim Grehn regarding KFAI REPLIES TO MY POST “FIRE YOUR PROGRAM COMMITTEE"

I have often heard staff and volunteers at stations like KFAI say something like, "But we're offering a true community service. We're doing programming nobody else is doing." There is no community service if nobody is listening. There's an intersection between content and community support. The first step in getting somebody to contribute is to have that someone listen. Does KFAI have listeners in sufficient numbers to support its efforts?

KEN: Well stated, Dr. Grehn.  I don’t know if KFAI has enough contributing listeners to be sustainable.  I wish Patti Walsh and her new crew at KFAI the best in this quest.


As a newcomer to public radio, I have no idea what you are talking about when you refer to Pacifica’s legendary history. What is it?

KEN: While doing research about Pacifica, I came across an excellent article from 2014 published in the LA WEEKLY. It provides a splendid history of the organization. You can see the full article at [LINK]

The article is an impeccably researched and reported piece by Hillel Aron. In addition to Pacifica’s history, it tells fascinating behind-the-scene stories including herbalist/healer Gary Null’s use of Pacifica’s airwaves to sell his products, a takeover of news programs by 9/11 skeptics and the nutty beliefs of Summer Reese, the temporary Executive Director who barricaded herself in her office after she had been fired To Save Pacifica.

CLIPS FROM THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF PACIFICA



KEN: There were few working FM radios after WW2. During and just after the War, the FCC changed the location of FM frequencies further up the dial, benefiting corporate interests who felt economically threatened by FM. This story is told in wonderful detail in Ken Burns’ 1992 PBS documentary Empire of the Air [LINK].

I did my Master’s Thesis on this topic and the related Channel Six interference problem.



KEN: I had forgotten that William F. Buckley made a name for himself and National Review via appearances on WBAI.



KEN: Here is a map of KFPK’s awesome coverage area:








KEN: The Patty Hearst/SLA incident was the last time I recall Pacifica making national news other than lockouts, petty internal politics and nearly constant turnover of Board members and management.



KEN: Ruth Seymour Hirschman and Will Lewis swapped positions when they went to KCRW – Hirschman became GM and Lewis was an unofficial consultant.  Together they build KCRW into one of the most influential radio stations in America.




KEN: This happened more recently – I hadn’t known about it until I read the LA Weekly article. No wonder Amy Goodman thinks she is “larger” than Pacifica. She is.

• From: BJ Mora regarding SERIOUSLY: BIG NEW SUBSCRIBER PUSH COMING FROM SiriusXM

I subscribe to SiriusXM mainly for one channel only - but I disagree, the sonic fidelity on some of their channels is horrible.

KEN: I’ve heard this from other people, particularly regarding the older XM channels.  I am not a current subscriber. Friends of mine who do listen tend to do a lot of driving. They listen for broadcasts of Major League Baseball, Howard Stern, The Loft and Little Steven. These channels apparently sound fine.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

REMEMBERING STAN FREBERG – A “GUERRILLA SATIRIST”

NEW! KEN MILLS AGENCY, LLC COMPANY WEB SITE [LINK]

I saw the news today that Stan Freberg passed away at the age of 88. His death brought back memories of laughing at Freberg’s stuff during my formative years.



Back then, anything my parents liked I considered old and square, with two exceptions: Bob Newhart and Stan Freberg.  My mom and dad played comedy albums at home, often when they had company for cocktails and chitchat.  I would be alone in my room upstairs eavesdropping on them. That was when I first heard Stan Freberg.

Freburg was unpredictable and smart satirist who used recordings, TV and radio to their full potential.  Some of his humor was slapstick, like Ernie Kovacs.  His best stuff had a darker edge, more like Mort Saul and George Carlin.  Read an excellent obit about him at http://nyti.ms/1FdKK9r

When I lived in LA in the early 1990s, I heard a great story about his eccentric habits from a friend who did voice acting work with him. My friend and Stan were both booked for a recording session one day in Burbank.

Stan lived in Santa Monica and never, ever drove a car. But, on the day of this session he decided to drive because someone had given him a new car.  The drive from Santa Monica to Burbank typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.

At session time, my friend was there but Stan hadn’t arrived.  After a half hour of searching for him, Stan called the studio.  He had gotten lost. Instead of going east on the 101 to Burbank, Stan went west. He was in Reseda where he had booked a room at a Ramada Inn. Stan liked to stay at Ramada Inns because they had the same floor plans in all of their hotels.

My friend was dispatched to Reseda to bring Stan to the studio.  Stan was not drunk or stoned, he had gotten lost in thought on the 405 and went the wrong way.  He stopped at the Ramada Inn in Reseda because, in Stan’s words: Ramada Inn is where l can find reality.

If you’ve got an extra three minutes for a chuckle, give a listen to Stan Freberg’s parody of The Platters chestnut The Great Pretender:

video


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TRIPLE A: FEBRUARY NIELSEN AUDIO PPM & 3 MONTH TRENDS

The other day a friend of mine in the music business asked me why a certain Triple A noncom station has the almost the same listening month after month in Nielsen Audio PPM reports. They are doing a great job, why doesn’t their listening go up?

I replied: Stable is often a good sign. Stable listening is important given the increasing number of channels to choose from.

Stable is the headline for most of the Triple A stations shown in the two charts below. Scroll down to the Weekly Cume Chart and more of my comments.

CHART ONE: RANKED BY METRO AQH SHARE

NIELSEN AUDIO PPM FEBRUARY 2015
Compared to January 2015 & November 2014
Survey Period: 1/29/15 – 2/25/15
Top-Line Estimates as of 3/27/15
Monday – Sunday 6am – Midnight, Persons 6+

STATION
NIELSEN AUDIO MARKET
METRO RANK
FEB 2015
METRO AQH
JAN 2015
METRO AQH
NOV 2014
WEEKLY CUME
KCMP
Minneapolis/St. Paul
16
2.9
3.0
3.1
KUTX
Austin
35
1.5
1.5
1.2
KCRW*
Los Angeles
2
1.4
1.7
1.4
KEXP
Seattle/Tacoma
13
1.4
1.2
1.3
WCBE*
Columbus
37
1.3
0.9
1.3
WXPN
Philadelphia
8
1.1
1.4
1.4
WTMD
Baltimore
21
0.9
1.0
1.3
WERS
Boston
10
0.9
1.0
0.8
KKXT
Dallas
5
0.9
1.0
1.3
WYEP
Pittsburgh
25
0.9
0.8
0.8
KRCL
Salt Lake City
29
0.9
1.2
1.2
KDRP
Austin
(Alt Country & Americana)
35
0.7
0.7
0.6
WYMS
Milwaukee/Racine
34
0.7
0.8
0.8
WFUV
New York
1
0.7
0.6
0.7
WMNF**
Tampa/St. Petersburg
18
0.6
0.6
0.6
WNKU
Cincinnati
30
0.5
0.5
0.5
KUNC*
Denver
(Ft. Collins metro station)
20
0.5
0.5
0.5
KTBG
Kansas City
34
0.3
0.2
0.3
WMSE
Milwaukee/Racine
(College Rock)
38
0.2
0.3
0.2
WUMB
Boston
10
0.1
0.1
0.1
WSGE
Charlotte
24
0.1
0.2
0.2
KCMP stream
Minneapolis/St. Paul
16
0.1
0.2
0.3
* Station also airs Morning Edition & ATC
** Station airs block programming

CHART TWO: RANKED BY WEEKLY CUMULATIVE LISTENERS

STATION
NIELSEN AUDIO MARKET
METRO RANK
FEB 2015
WEEKLY CUME
JAN 2015
WEEKLY CUME
NOV 2014
WEEKLY CUME
KCRW*
Los Angeles
2
462,300
507,400
470,900
WFUV
New York
1
322,200
341,700
421,700
KCMP
Minneapolis/St. Paul
16
273,500
285,000
299,600
KKXT
Dallas
5
252,500
272,000
277,100
WXPN
Philadelphia
8
214,400
231,800
280,500
WERS
Boston
10
185,300
200,000
213,300
KEXP
Seattle/Tacoma
13
167,300
144,800
141,000
WYEP
Pittsburgh
25
97,700
88,400
83,000
KUTX
Austin
35
91,600
97,700
92,700
WCBE*
Columbus
37
71,800
65,900
85,500
WTMD
Baltimore
21
71,300
62,600
87,900
WMNF**
Tampa/St. Petersburg
18
71,200
67,300
84,600
KUNC*
Denver
(Ft. Collins metro station)
20
63,800
55,300
77,000
KRCL
Salt Lake City
29
61,100
60,100
70,100
WNKU
Cincinnati
30
58,400
56,200
61,300
WYMS
Milwaukee/Racine
34
56,100
49,800
63,600
KDRP
Austin
(Alt Country & Americana)
35
37,400
33,000
31,800
WUMB
Boston
10
35,500
33,200
42,300
KCMP stream
Minneapolis/St. Paul
16
33,900
33,400
27,600
WMSE
Milwaukee/Racine
(College Rock)
38
28,000
22,500
31,400
WSGE
Charlotte
24
24,900
16,800
28,800
KTBG
Kansas City
34
20,400
20,100
39,300
* Station also airs Morning Edition & ATC
** Station airs block programming

DATA © NIELSON AUDIO
Provided by RRC, Inc. for use by subscribers only
© Radio Research Consortium, Inc. // www.RRConline.org // RRC@RRConline.org
Format designations are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC. Contact us publicradio@hotmail.com

TRIPLE A NONCOM STATION TRENDS

From November 2014 through February 2015 most stations were stable or down in total listening.  KEXP, WYEP and KUNC bucked this trend and posted notable gains in listening. WFUV had the biggest decline over the same period.

Reminder: Keep these short-term trends in perspective.  There still are a lot of people listening.  Serve them well and they will keep listening (and hopefully pledging).  To quote Baba Ram Dass Be Here Now.