Friday, March 17, 2017

READER COMMENTS


We received a couple of comments regarding our March 7th post [link] about WCQS, Asheville and their new lower-power second signal.  WCQS has a traditional dual format of NPR News and Classical music on their primary station.  They also have a new second station, WYQS. It is a 24/7 News station, but it covers only a fraction of the area covered by the primary station. 

In the post we opined that WCQS is missing an opportunity for greater success by putting the all news channel on a secondary facility.  We said it might be a better choice to put 24/7 news on WCQS.  WCQS and WYQS serve listeners the the mountainous terrain of western North Carolina.

• COMMENT ONE: From Michael Krall, Program Director, WBHM, Birmingham

Michael Krall
A caveat to your "fish where the fish are" claim.

As someone who works in public radio and regularly visits Asheville, listens to the station, and travels the area, the mountainous terrain of Western North Carolina makes consistent terrestrial (and occasionally internet) listening challenging. It's not a stretch, for example, to have multiple presets on your car radio just to listen to a program consistently.

I know what I'm looking for, and it's difficult for me to find the stations even when I'm within the respective coverage area.


• COMMENT TWO: From Joe Patti, Classical Host, WRTI, Philadelphia

Joe Patti
Umm. So you take a news station and put it on a signal that is already covered by a news station - I think that's what you're saying. Along with "fish where the fish are."

Thinking about fish in a lake, there's only so many fish. One fisherman can grab all he wants. But, every time another fisherman hits the banks, the number of fish each fisherman can catch decreases as the other fisherman start catching fish.

In other words, put a second news station where there's already a news station, and the news audience gets split, resulting in listenership decreasing for the incumbent, and a very small audience for the new service. Nice.

My guess is that the classical/news service pays the bills for the whole organization, and probably will for some time. Putting the money signal on a smaller station will just cause a drop in membership and underwriting. Before you know it, the organization finds it needs to lease the signals or sell the properties all together. I can think of three "satellator aggregators" who wouldn't mind spending many, many times cash flow for those stations. Double nice.

Radio is a business - something many people in the business do not understand. Without your bottom line, you're nothing. So, like all businesses you protect the bottom line all you can. Which, I'm sure, is the reason they did what they did. Personally, I wish Feingold and co muck luck and great service.

KEN SAYS: Thanks Michael and Joe, I appreciate your comments. You both seem to be saying is if it is not broken, don’t try to fix it. As former station GM, I can appreciate that logic. NPR News and Classical on WCQS is now the “the money signal” as Joe Patti aptly calls it. But, will it be that way in the long run?

One aspect of the WCQS plan I like is the “digital play” using the second station as the originating platform. Best wishes to the good folks at WCQS/WYQS.

READER QUESTION REGARDING EASTLAN RATINGS

A reader who asked that his name and employer not be named asked:

I’ve noticed that Eastlan Ratings lists noncommercial stations in their reports. Our station can’t afford Nielsen Audio ratings.  Is Eastlan a viable alternative?

KEN SAYS: Eastlan is based in Bellevue, Washington.  The company began conducting radio ratings in 1999 as a low-cost alternative to Arbitron. On their website [link], Eastlan claims to have 450 subscribing stations in 90 markets.

It is hard to compare Eastlan to Nielsen Audio because they use a totally different methodology. Eastlan uses telephone interviews to derive their data. Like all media ratings, Eastlan’s estimates are just estimates. They charge around $5,000 to subscribe. I know that KRVS in Lafayette, Louisiana has purchased Eastlan data in the past.

That said, it is hard for me to be objective about Eastlan because I had an extremely negative experience with one of their sales people.  In 2014, a few modnths before I started this blog, I was doing consulting work for a station that asked me to get information about Eastlan. I sent an email to a rep listed on their website. The rep replied and we set up a telephone meeting for the following day.

The day and time arrived and the rep did not call me.  I let an hour or so go by and then I called the rep.  The rep, that I will not name, told me he hadn’t called me because his son had arrived home from college and the family was having a reunion. I started to ask for a future day and time.  The rep interrupted me, saying: In fact, your call is disrupting our reunion right now. Then he hung up and I never heard for him again.

Perhaps you’ve had a sales rep do this to you. This incident has “tainted” Eastlan’s reputation in my mind ever since.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

LEARNING FROM CHARTS & GRAPHS


Today we have a few more charts and graphs that provide snapshots of media consumption over time. Please let me know if you have suggestions for chart and graphs for future posts.

Earlier this week, Nielsen released its Comparable Metrics report for the third quarter of 2016. It is quarterly data from platforms that are measured by Nielsen. The complete report can be found here.  


Slide #1 has good news for traditional radio. Radio usage during a typical week trails only broadcast and cable TV and Smartphones.  Note: Among adults 18-34 radio leads weekly consumption TV.  The group that uses TV the most is adults age 50+.











Slide #2 shows the same data in a different layout.







Slide #3 is from From Airwaves to Earbuds, a November 2016 report about trends in podcasting published by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It uses data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear studies.  It shows that podcast listeners spend more time listening to podcasts than the traditional radio and all other audio sources. The full Knight report is here.



Slide #4 is from Triton Digital and was published in December 2016 in the report Top 20 Ranker. It shows the number of Average Active Sessions (AAS) of streaming audio from radio sources from Monday through Sunday 6:00AM to Midnight. Think of this as a measure of “weekly cume.”





Slide #5 is from the same Triton Digital report.  It shows that the peak hour for streaming audio during weekdays at 1:00pm. On weekends the peak hour is at 3:00pm. Apparently there is no “morning drive” for streaming audio. The full report is available here.


Slide #6 (full screen below) is also from Triton. It shows the top 20 providers of streaming audio in December 2016.



Slide #7 is from Gabe Hobbs, a commercial radio talk show training consultant [link]. It is a mash-up of the top Rush Limbaugh stations and NPR News stations. Mr. Hobbs seems to think that commercial stations like KFI-AM, Los Angeles, have lots in common with noncoms like KQED. Hobbs says the data shows The overwhelming majority of any “Trump Bump” went to non-commercial radio


Slide #8 is an oldie-but-a-goodie from the trade publication Editor & Publisher. It shows the circulation of daily US newspapers from 1940 to 2010. Compared to newspapers, traditional radio is doing pretty well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 NON-COMMvention ARTIST LINE UP TAKES SHAPE • FCC AFFIRMS BROAD DEFINITION OF “EDUCATIONAL”


Dan Auerbach
Folks planning the 2017 NON-COMMvention have announced several of the artists and bands that will be featured at public media’s most affordable, and often most enjoyable, annual conference May 17-19 in Philadelphia. 

The latest addition is The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. The musician, producer and commentator will join WXPN’s Dan Reed for the NON-COMMversation, one of the NON-COMM’s most popular sessions.

Auerbach has produced recordings for The Pretenders, Dr. John, Cage the Elephant, St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey, The Growlers in addition to The Black Keys.

Other artists that are set to appear include Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm, Benjamin Booker, Blondie, The Pixies, Bash & Pop, Ani DiFranco, The Mavericks, Laura Marling and Chicano Batman.  Another major showcase will feature Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band, currently on their first post-David Letterman tour.

Early registration is now open and will continue through April 24th at [link]. Conference fees range from $120 to $200.

TAMPA COMMERCIAL STATION CLAIMS “NON COMMERCIAL EDUCATIONAL” STATION ATE IT'S LUNCH

Last week the FCC ruled that a station with a popular music format is, indeed, an “educational” service. Beasley Broadcasting, a commercial station owner, complained that WVVF-LP in Tampa failed to provide promised “educational” programming and is unfairly competing with one of their music stations.


In its complaint, filed with FCC in July 2015, Beasley alleged that WVVF “…is operating in a manner inconsistent with the requirement that low-power FM stations ‘be used for the advancement of an educational program.”




Beasley also said in its complaint that WVVF “has positioned itself as a competitor" with commercial stations in the Tampa market, particularly [Beasley’s] station WYUU.

WVVF is known locally as 100.1VIVA FM [link] and plays Latin Classic Hits.  In promotional material, the station describes itself this way:

VIVA FM’s Latin Music recipe reflects the authentic flavor of our culture and customs and is definitely here to stay. It exists not because of mass media exposure but because people like it, want it and create the demand for it.

Core artists heard on 100.1VIVA FM include Gloria Estefan, Ruben Blades, Mark Anthony, Celia Cruz and Grupo Niche. 100.1VIVA FM claims in its promotion material. much to Beasley's displeasure:  

Covering the Largest Concentration of Hispanics in the Entire Tampa Market!!

Beasley’s WYUU is known as Maxima FM and plays Latin Pop music. In Nielsen Audio’s January PPM ratings, WYUU had an estimated 4.0 AQH Share and 244,000 weekly cumulative listeners.  WVVF was not listed in the ratings.

According to Beasley’s complaint, WVVF violated FCC rules by:

• Broadcasting popular Spanish-language music, accompanied by professionally produced promotional announcements that attempt to create the sound and presence of a competitive commercial operation.

• Telling people that it offers “an alternative” to WYUU.

• Saying on-air that they play “more popular” music than WYUU.

In other words, Beasley says its 50,000-watt commercial operation is being out-classed by a 79-watt noncom startup. Beasley whines: It is just not fair!

The FCC found Beasley’s complaint to be without merit and dismissed it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

WDST, WOODSTOCK BECOMES LISTENER SUPPORTED…SORT OF


Legendary commercial Triple A station WDST, Woodstock, New York, known as Radio Woodstock [link], has changed its business model. WDST announced they are lowering the number of commercials each hour and rebranding the station as “listener supported.”

Radio Woodstock’s first on-air pledge-drive ended on Friday (3/3).  Over 300 people pledged their support during a five-day drive. The amount of money raised was not disclosed. WDST is planning two fund drives a year. Because of the direct support from its listeners, Radio Woodstock is promising its listeners that no commercial break will last longer than two-and-a-half minutes.

WDST owner Gary Chetkof told local reporters:

“[We are] breaking new ground for commercial radio. We are no longer ratings-driven programming. Our focus is now on super­-serving the listeners who support us.”  

The move is coming at a good time for Radio Woodstock, which competes in the Poughkeepsie market (Nielsen Audio metro #169).  In the Fall 2016 ratings, WDST had a 1.7 average-quarter-hour share, the lowest in recent memory.



VUHAUS PLANS COLORADO COLLABORATION

VuHaus, the public media music video site, announced that six Colorado noncommercial stations are part of a new statewide collaboration to promote Colorado music. The initiative, Colorado Music Strategy, includes 105.5 The Colorado Sound (KJAC); KRCC, Colorado Springs; KSJD, Cortez; KSUT, Durango; KVNF, Paonia and KRFC, Fort Collins. Other music-oriented Colorado noncoms have been invited to join.

According to Benji McPhail, PD of KJAC, Colorado Music Strategy is a non-profit organization committed to benefiting local and emerging Colorado artists. VuHaus has created a page that will feature videos from participating stations.

THE “BILL DRAKE FORMAT” ARRIVES IN SYRACUSE

Congratulations to Bill Drake, the new GM at WRVO, Syracuse. For many years Drake programed News WNIJ and Classical WNIU in Rockford, Illinois. Drake is a proud graduate of the late-great Tim Emmons School of Broadcasting and Reality.

WRVO GM BILL DRAKE
Drake is not related to the historic “Boss Jock” consultant with the same name. I don’t know if the two “radio Bill Drakes” ever met but both can hit a hard post from a mile away.

Drake said in a message on the WRVO website:

"As a long-time public radio program director, I have always felt that when I'm in that role, my primary responsibility is to be an advocate for the listener. WRVO gives me the opportunity to do that. It's my privilege to serve as the listeners' representative within the radio station."

COMMENTARY: DE-FUNDING OF CPB TO BE ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY

Steve Bannon’s campaign to end “the administrative state” will have public broadcasting (and many other federal programs) in the crosshairs this Thursday according to a report in Monday’s (3/13) Washington Post:

The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research.

The plan appears to be similar to the current effort to zap Obamacare: Propose cutting a long list of items, to assure none of them can muster enough individual support. Then move like a blitzkrieg before folks figure out what is happening.

As I’ve in earlier post, this one is personal.  Bannon and his buddy failed-public radio host David Horowitz, have been pushing for an end to CPB for years based on an old grudge against former KCRW GM Ruth Seymour. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

PACE OF CHANGE ACCELERATES IN “2017 INFINITE DIAL”


Changes in the way Americans consume audio appear to be escalating according to the just-released 2017 Infinite Dial report from Edison Research, in partnership with Triton Digital.  Only a few new audio sources have entered the mix but the trends seen in recent years with existing devices are continuing at a brisk pace.

A case-in-point is broadcast radio. AM/FM is still “king of the car” but competing audio sources are increasingly available and being used. AM/FM remains the top “Audio source used most often in primary car.” However, there has been dynamic growth in in-vehicle audio sources like “owned digital music” and “online radio.”

Begun in 1998, the annual Infinite Dial survey has become the leading barometer of trends in use of digital and analog audio devices. The study compiles responses from around 2,000 persons age 12+ via both landline and mobile telephone interviews.  The 2017 survey was conducted from January 5th through February 11th. You can download 2017 Infinite Dial report here.

2017 INFINITE DIAL ESSENTIAL SLIDES

THE GAME CHANGER: SMARTPHONE OWNERSHIP

I cannot recall any other device in my lifetime that has been adapted so quickly by the American public than smartphones. 

In less than 10 years, smartphones have become the “new normal,” 
changing forever the patterns of media consumption. 
Edison and Triton now estimate 226,000,000 people now own and use one. This is a breathtaking change.





AM/FM IS STILL THE PRIMARY AUDIO SOURCE IN VEHICLES











WHILE AM/FM REMAINS STRONG, OTHER SOURCES HAVE BECOME AVAILABLE TO MORE PEOPLE










LISTENING TO ONLINE RADIO CONTINUES TO GROW










TIME-SPENT-LISTENING TO ONLINE RADIO IS INCREASING












AM/FM IS STILL A MAJOR SOURCE OF MUSIC DISCOVERY, BUT IT IS DECLINING IN IMPORTANCE








PODCAST LISTENING CONTINUES TO GROW BUT IT REMAINS A SMALL FACTOR










 40% OF PODCAST LISTENERS SAY THEY LISTEN TO COMPLETE PROGRAMS











“SMART SPEAKERS” HAVE ENTERED THE AUDIO MARKETPLACE