Friday, February 10, 2017



On January 31st we reported [link] on a post by consultant Mark Ramsey concerned his research about Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) listeners and donors. Ramsey’s conclusion is that the magnitude of giving to CCM stations is steady or rising, but the total number of givers is declining. And, the donors are getting older and less aware the programming they support. Check out Mark's blog at [link].

Ramsey also had timely feedback about differences towards supporting non-profit media by younger and older generations. Ramsey concluded that many younger folks don’t embrace philanthropic giving and expect something more than “free music.”  I wondered aloud if public stations were in the same situation.

Mark Ramsey wrote:


Thanks for the comments, Ken!

How well this applies to Public Radio news stations depends on what the metrics are for these stations. For one thing, public radio content is increasingly unbundled from the linear broadcast thus (hypothetically) opening up more channels for support.

I'm guessing that 90% or more of a public radio news station's audience ignores pitches at pledge time. In Christian radio it's closer to 95%. The argument for supporting public radio is obvious but have you given me - the donor - that non-donors don't get for free.

KEN SAYS: It is always good to from Mark Ramsey! Mark was the person who recommended I start this blog. I’ve also observed changes in foundation expectations for programing they support. They place greater value on tangible results, rather than “feel goods.” Philanthropy and crowd sourcing can get you started but eventually you need to put meat on the donor table.


Earlier this week we reported on the growing problem of hackers hijacking Barix STL devices, often Emergency Alert Systems, causing the station to air a continuous loop of rappers YG & Nipsey Hussle singing “FDT – F*** Donald Trump.”

Reader Kevin Trueblood wrote:

Many of the "hacked" stations we password protected. They just used either a weak password or it was brute force defeated.

Barix has been vulnerable to these attacks because it can be programmed to play just about any media file and any web stream in existence. This is different than other vendors like Tieline and Comrex who don't allow that to happen.

The big reason they are the top choice for LPFM stations is they are cheaper than other vendors as well. And yes, they probably were setup with someone with some technical knowledge but not a lot. Stations need to prevent the Barix box admin ports from being visible to the outside world to prevent this in the future.


Aaron Read wrote:


What's your thoughts on KRCC doubling-down against a superior-resourced "foe" in CPR, vis a vis the "fight" between KUSP and KAZU? 

Theoretically, wouldn't KRCC be better off ceding the news space to CPR and doubling down on music?

KEN SAYS: The situations are very different.  Unlike KUSP, KRCC has been sanely managed since the station began. The problem at KRCC is that Colorado College (the licensee) and previous KRCC management have been napping while the media world changed around them. I have confidence that folks at KRCC now know the situation and are acting on it.


In August 2016 we published the news that R&B singer Percy Sledge had died [link]. We toasted Sledge’s memorable hit record When a Man Loves a Woman and what it meant to the DJs who played the song back then. We received a comment from a reader who that we keep his name confidential.

The confidential reader wrote:

I've been meaning to send you an e-mail for quite some time telling you that I am enjoying your articles. I really liked the one about you playing ‘When a man loves a woman’ by Percy Sledge in 1966. Great story. Good thing, however you weren't working in [redacted] at that time. The Top 40 stations here never played that song. Unbelievable, but true.

Me in The Window on Main Street, July 1969
KEN SAYS: Thank you so much for writing.  It is true that some Top 40 stations in the mid and late 1960s didn’t play certain records because they felt they were too racy for their children. Meanwhile the kids were out back listening to taboo songs on their transistor radios, the “mobile devices” at that time.

The story in post – The Night I Channeled Percy Sledge – is one of my most amazing moments from my earliest years in radio. Back then I felt that the songs I played were messages to people I knew. The songs said what I really wanted to say. I was searching for someone like the young woman outside the station's showcase windows who sang and danced to that song with me.

So do a favor for me.  Read my story below while you listen to Percy Sledge:

My story:

I had just started my first radio job as a ‘KISD Good Guy’ in Sioux Falls.  KISD’s air studio was in a large glass display window on a busy street. We called it The Window on Main Street.

People would walk and drive by the showcase window all day and all night. Folks liked to see the DJ live on the air.  I felt sort of like a monkey in a zoo.

The Window on Main Street was located in a seedy neighborhood close to several notorious strip clubs. 

I worked the graveyard shift, so sometimes the people watching got interesting after the bars closed at 2:00am. Sometimes drunk bar patrons would pee on the window.

That night I decided to play ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’. As usual, I walked the ramp, a DJ term for introducing a song by talking over the instrumental intro. Then I got up for the air chair and walked by the The Window on Main Street.

A beautiful young Native American woman appeared on the other side of the glass, just inches from me. I think she was a dancer at one of the bars.

There was a speaker playing outside the window and she was singing along with Percy while looking through the glass at me. I went with my vibe and started singing along with Percy too. She and I were both mouthing the words and sorta dancing with each other.  We both sang passionately. She and I both craved every word that Percy sang. We lived the song together. For a brief moment we had lonely connection. We were both crying as we sang together.

The song began to fade and I jumped back behind the control board. I hit a station jingle, and played the next record – ‘Pushin’ To Hard’ by The Seeds.

When I looked up, she was gone. But I remember her whenever I hear ‘When A Man Loves A Woman;. Thank you, Percy.

No comments:

Post a Comment