This week Radio Ink's most popular issue of the year will arrive in your inbox (if you're a digital subscriber) or in your mailbox (if you're a print subscriber). It will not be available online, it's for subscribers only. The 40 Most Powerful People in Radio issue has been published since 1996 (see next story). Since 1996 only 164 people have even appeared on our list. In 2015 there remains only one executive who's been on the list since 1996. Not everyone agrees with who we put on the list -- or the order in which we rank them -- but we believe, after much debate, it's a true reflection of who holds the real power in our industry. The 40 Most Powerful is not a popularity contest. These executives control stations, they control revenue, they wield big-time influence and they hold the future of many radio employees in the palm of their hands -- for better or worse. A few years ago, Bob Pittman made a $5 million bet on radio with his personal investment in Clear Channel, and, for the fifth consecutive year, Pittman is radio's most powerful person. READ ON
Nearly 20 years ago it was announced that GroupW/CBS Radio would be merging with Infinity Broadcasting. That would give Mel Karmazin control of 83 stations, a roster of stars including Howard Stern and Don Imus, Infinity Radio Sales, Westwood One Radio Networks and Shadow Broadcast Services. Enough power to put him on top of our power list in year one. He would remain in the top three for 8 consecutive years before leaving radio. Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays was a close second, followed by Jacor CEO Randy Michaels. At the time Clear Channel had 104 stations and Jacor owned 53. Of course, eventually those two would merge. Here's a look back at the entire 1996 list of the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio.
Ken Hopkins is the PD and morning show co-host at KZZU in Spokane. On July 13, Hopkins went for a bike ride and was involved in a serious accident. He doesn't remember the last 10 seconds of the ride. As of now, Hopkins does not have the use of his legs and has no feeling from my his mid-chest down. He has a long road of rehab ahead but plans to return to KZZU as soon as he can. A GoFundMe site to help with his recovery has already raised nearly $15,000 to help him pay his medical bills. If you'd like to help Ken you can donate HERE.
Last week, WFAN/New York afternoon sports talk host Mike Francesa (pictured) ripped into the announcer of a CBS Sports Minute, Damon Amendolara, and the entire CBS Sports Minute segments that air on his station and all CBS-owned sports stations. Over the weekend, CBS Radio's John Kincade spent time on his show to back up Amendolara and rip into Francesa. Upon hearing that audio and hearing that CBS Sports Radio's Boomer Esiason sided against him, Francesa went on another rant against all of these men on Monday. The audio of all of these incidents can be heard on NJ.com.
Radio One's KBXX/Houston had its Radio Broadcast Data System hacked into late Sunday night. Instead of displaying artist, song, and station information for the hip-hop station on RBDS-compatible radios and devices (usually found in automobiles and trucks), the words being displayed were offensive. This included displaying the N-word to the station's largely African-American audience. After complaints came into the station, they were quickly able to stop the unfortunate incident. Apologies were then issued to station fans via social media. More...
After 14 consecutive weeks at #1, the home improvement retailer had fallen to the #2 radio advertiser spot earlier in July. That lasted one week, as Home Depot reclaimed the lead the following week. Just to make sure it stayed at #1, Home Depot added nearly 15,000 airings of ads from that week's total. According to Media Monitors, Home Depot aired 71,053 commercials during the week of July 20-26, making it #1 by far. Who else made the Top 10? See HERE.
According to numerous reports, a driver speeding through the streets of Greeley, CO, lost control of the vehicle, crashing into the KFKA-AM building. The car then caught fire, but the fire did not spread to the building. Nobody was in the building at the time and only the driver was injured. The station was able to board up the missing walls Monday morning and broadcast as normal.
Pentecostal Temple Development Corporation, the owner of WGBN-AM in McKeesport, PA (suburban Pittsburgh), has received permission from the FCC to temporarily become a daytime-only station. The station, which broadcasts at 5,000 watts during the day and 1,000 watts at night, told the FCC that "due to Internet problems, the station is unable to operate from its nighttime site at this time. Therefore, the licensee requests consent to operate at reduced hours, and to (operate) temporarily during daytime hours only." WGBN currently has permission to be a daytimer through October 24.
The morning show of WNNX/Atlanta held a wedding contest recently looking for a lesbian couple willing to wed on-air. That contest ended last Friday with a wedding for winners Jennifer and Robyn. The couple were married at the Rock-n-Taco in Buckhead, GA, live over the Cumulus rock station airwaves and streaming on the WNNX website. As the winning couple, they were given wedding rings, a honeymoon on the Monsters of Rock cruise, free wedding photography and video, and teeth whitening, among other prizes.
The raging debate as to whether Voltair is actually helping stations with ratings or not continues. Since consultant Randy Kabrich began analyzing real ratings data, going back years, and basically concluding that Voltair is not increasing ratings, the debate has gotten even more interesting. The latest to offer up an opinion is respected consultant Jaye Albright who says after a while all you start to see is contradicting and conflicting assertions. And that is certainly true. Let's face it, Albright says, "No one is admitting anything, not because they are hiding anything. No one knows enough as yet to draw any conclusions. It think we all can agree that Nielsen's decision to not open their webinar last week to the media was a mistake. What got reported the next day may or may not have been accurate." Read Jaye's full blog HERE.
Bridge Ratings & Media Analysis President/CEO Dave Van Dyke visited the recent Vidcon, which celebrates Internet celebrities. While there, he saw where the attention of the younger demographic is at. Van Dyke also sees a format using these Internet stars that could resuscitate broadcast radio. Read his newest blog here.
Sponsored Listening is what Internet radio service Pandora is calling its new advertising product, which will deliver an hour of uninterrupted music after the consumer has some engagement with a sponsor's video or rich media unit at the beginning of their session. During last year's beta testing period for the product, Sponsored Listening resulted in a 12 percent lift in brand awareness and a 30 percent lift in purchase intent for advertisers.
On Snapchat, users can now enjoy new music from a specially curated iHeartRadio channel. The feature will also deliver pop culture and entertainment news. To check out iHeartRadio's Discover channel, Snapchatters can tap and slide on the iHeartRadio icon.
AdLarge Media announced it has entered into an agreement to be the national ad sales representation for the Associated Press' news digital on-demand service via the AudioBoom podcast platform. The deal broadens the reach of AP's breaking news audio service and allows affiliate radio stations to host on-demand audio on their websites and mobile applications.
Pat Walsh joined Emmis in 2006 as CFO and most recently served as Executive VP/CFO/COO. He's also on the Emmis Board of Directors. Walsh's promotion to President and Chief Operating Officer becomes effective August 1. Also, Ryan Hornaday has been named Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer.
According to a report on Chicagoland Radio and Media, Cumulus Corporate Program Director Brian Thomas will be named as the new program director for Cumulus Media's WLS-FM this week. Thomas will be shifting over from WNSH/New York and replaces Jan Jeffries, who departed this month for WRQX/Washington, DC. Thomas has been with Cumulus since April 2014, when he came over from CBS Radio, where he served as that company's national VP of Classic Hits programming.
One of the most influential radio DJs of the past forty years, John Records Landecker, announced on his radio show Monday night that he will be leaving his job. His final show for WLS-FM/Chicago will be Friday night. He did not wish to call it a retirement, as he plans on working on numerous projects, but for now, none of those projects will be in radio.
Cox Media Group's WHPT/Tampa is rearranging its lineup, adding Roger Luce and John Parise -- best known as simply Roger & JP -- for middays. The radio duo will broadcast from CMG sister-station WBAB/Babylon-Long Island, NY, where they will continue to host mornings. Roger & JP will replace The Billy Madison Show, which has been coming from sister-station KISS/San Antonio. Madison will instead shift to evenings, replacing local host Shannon Burke, who is now gone from the station.
Curtis Media Group's WQDR/Raleigh has announced the hiring of Sean "Cash" Varicalli, who will take over as midday host, replacing J.J. Herr, who recently exited for a job outside of radio. Varicalli previously worked for radio stations in Lansing and Detroit, as well as for Total Traffic in Detroit.
(By Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads) Nielsen clients got on a conference call today with the company to address the Voltair controversy — and Nielsen addressed it by saying it doesn't support the Voltair unit. Company reps even went so far as to say they think it may introduce artifacts and noise into your audio stream. They also said they're making enhancements to the PPM service, to be introduced in the near future, and the Voltair is unnecessary. READ ON.
Many of you have spent a lot of money on a Voltair unit. Now you've been told by the ratings firm that impacts millions of dollars of revenue that comes into your industry that it does not support what the the Voltair may be doing to the ratings that control those dollars. If you take Nielsen at its word, that in some of its Voltair testing the PPM Watermark is being manipulated and, in some cases listeners can hear it, the folks at Telos Alliance should have to rebut what Nielsen representatives have said or explain why this is happening. READ ON.
On their special Tuesday afternoon webinar for clients when they were to reveal their Voltair testing results, Nielsen announced that they are not in support of Voltair. Nielsen stopped short of telling clients who have purchased Voltair to remove it. They also did not say that nobody is allowed to purchase the devices. Nielsen simply reiterated its "non-support for Voltair." Keep reading...
One of the biggest stories of the year is the discovery of an audio processor that, when placed in the audio chain of a radio station, allegedly makes radio stations more likely to get noticed by the PPM's detectors. In case you've not kept up, when PPM was launched, there was a lot of disruption in listening levels for certain formats and dayparts, and it changed the balance of audience power, market by market. READ MORE.
Thanks to Charlie Tuna for sending us this classic when he received a studio visit from Henry "The Fonz" Winkler. Happy Days was taped next to the KHJ studios back in 1977 which is where Charlie did his morning show at the time. Send your classic photos to firstname.lastname@example.org