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Monthly Archives: February 2015

STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

SNL-40

The performers at SNL’s 40 Reunion Show said it was like a high school reunion.

So much talent in one place. Dozens of stars covering several generations of performers. Tina Fay described performers as hanging out in clicks just like a high school 40th.

Social media buzzed all night. The ratings were huge.

Some fans commented on Facebook how much they loved everything. But others wondered what the producers were thinking at times.

The Californian’s bit was long and lost.

Miley Cyrus sang ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’ without Paul Simon who was in the house.

Kanye West had more airtime than most SNL legends. But why they wondered? The SNL greats were who they wanted to see. .

Personally I would have liked more classic bits. It would have been so easy for Chris Rock to introduce Eddie Murphy and lead into classic Murphy clips. Or,  Chevy Chase intro his best. Instead Murphy just chatted for a minute and Chase stumbled down the stairs to the stage. Both were lost opportunities.

Many asked on Facebook why Dan Ackroyd’s classic ‘French Chef’ bit was missing?  It’s on Hulu with many of the very best from SNL

It is one of the very best.

Still funny after all these years.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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COUNTRY RADIO’S BIG FIVE

Recently I listened to several major market country stations. It was kind of return to my radio roots after several years away programming news and talk.

The monitor startled me.

I have to wonder if anyone in country radio is listening with a critical ear?

It’s no surprise to read that ratings are down when you hear the music mix on these stations.

Programmers will be surprised, if not shocked at the message their station is sending.

I hear several glaring problems.

1. THE FORMAT IS NOT FEMALE FRIENDLY

I don’t mean there are too many male singers. I was surprised how some songs seemed sexist even sexually aggressive in nature

Country songs have had ‘sexy’ themes over the years. This is different.

2. THE FORMAT IS NOT SINGABLE.

Country successfully attracts women when the listener can sing along. Very few songs have that quality right now.

3. ALCOHOL FLOWS FREELY.

Alcohol is everywhere, sometimes three and four songs in a row.

4. THE FORMAT LACKS RELATABILTY. 

Song after song is about a guy driving down a dirt road in a pickup truck. How does a forty year old mom relate?

A twenty-minute ‘bull ride’ doesn’t speak to her either.

5. THE FORMAT LACKS VARIETY. 

That’s the bottom line.

Stations are not balancing tempo, textures and topics.

It’s an easy fix.

  • Focus on the mix.
  • Pay attention to the lyrics.
  • Spread out themes like alcohol and southern backroads.
  • Mix textures, male then female, then pop, then country.
  • Make sure everything passes the female filter test.

In short, balance the sound.

Be very picky about what you play.

And always, always keep the target listener in mind. .

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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CELEBRATING A 50 YEAR OVERNIGHT SUCCESS

1010 WINS New York and KYW Philadelphia are celebrating fifty years as ‘All News, All The Time’.

Radio Reloj in Cuba started doing All News in 1947.  The only station doing the format longer.

WINS and KYW are remarkable success stories.

Both launched when a few station owners were experimenting with All News. Gordon McLendon being the most notable. Others would follow and many would fail. WINS and KYW have evolved to become digital brands as well.

The stations are famous for the slogan “Give Us 22 Minutes, We’ll Give You The World”.  The format clocks are virtually the same as when they started.

All News matters even as media usage changes and AM listening declines.

Last week the ‘Storm Of The Century’ threatened and then missed New York and Philly. KYW and WINS kept listeners informed with traffic, weather and live press conferences.  Boston took the brunt of the storm and sister WBZ had reporters live from all over the metro.  Business as usual for an All News station  Their cities rely on them during  breaking news and weather emergencies.

Mayors and governors told the public before the storm to keep their phones charged and use them to get emergency information. Radio was barely mentioned as a source for information. These officials apparently didn’t consider the internet, cable and cell service might be interrupted during the storm.  Yet, a battery powered radio would be a lifeline.

Houston is the only top ten radio market without an All News radio station. Houston is prone to hurricanes and serious flooding and home to a major shipping channel, chemical plants and oil refineries. A place with serious traffic problems and perfect for All News.

Radio One tried the format in Houston. But economics and poor signal made it unfeasible to continue. Radio is a business after all.  (Full disclosure, I was Program Director of KROI for part of its run. The digital audience was growing rapidly. But time ran out.)

All News grows slowly. WINS and KYW were not  overnight successes. A big story, disaster or a serious weather event is usually needed for a station to catch on. KROI had none.

But, there is a big opportunity in creating a Houston All News franchise. A great signal, deep pockets and patience  is needed for the format to succeed. Houston deserves and needs a KYW or 1010 WINS.  Hard to imagine the sixth largest radio market wouldn’t support one over time.

By the way, WCBS did a great job covering the storm too. Their 50th is less than two years away.

Another slow starter with staying power.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Radio programming

 

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