Thursday, February 05, 2009

The no-nonsense Thursday update

Because I couldn't come up with a cute theme.

About face at The Mic

Seems like only a few weeks ago that WXXM (92.1FM) in Madison was in panic mode, as they attempted to plop financial talker Dave Ramsey into the afternoon drive shift held by Thom Hartmann. After the outcry from many of the station's pissed-off listeners, they quickly retreated, and put Ramsey's show in morning drive delay. Then the station's program director, Brian Turaney was one of many nationwide who got caught up in ongoing Clear Channel downsizing moves.

Then the Arbitron Fall ratings book came out.

After picking their jaws off the floor following the sight of that nifty 4.7 overall share, station management obviously saw that they had a good thing going. Considering that the station actually tied with sister WMAD, the top country station in the market, they grew a brain and thought, 'hey, why fix what isn't broken, right?"

So, another lineup change will occur next Monday. And it looks like Bill Press is in, and it appears that Ramsey's out. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Buying Time

Sure, things are likely looking a bit murky over at Air America Media. There's been a lot of changes over the past year or so. They're also losing a couple big affiliates. And their best-known host Rachel Maddow has taken a lower profile there to suit her main TV gig. Their other top talent, Thom Hartmann is jumping ship to Dial Global next month. But the network that just won't die is still going.

And what better place to start than the sales team? After all, money makes the radio world go 'round. Air America is beefing up its sales team to work their radio, online and video platforms by hiring two new account executives and appointing Scott Elberg as chief revenue officer to oversee the division.

New hires include Lory George (director of digital sales) and Terry Howard (account manager). Angela Loftus will stay in her position as vice president of sponsorship sales while Joe Kenavan will also remain as the vice president and director of national and network sales.

In addition, a Washington, D.C. sales office will open later this year.

"With President Obama in office, progressive media is now the mainstream," said Elberg, who has served as Air America's chief operating officer since 2007.

"Air America Media's goal in 2009 is to focus on listeners, readers and viewers, which will include a Web site redesign, the launch of an online video offering, and several on-air initiatives," CEO Bennett Zier said in a statement.

Sirius XM suitor?

The recently formed Sirius XM has been a victim of the sluggish economy. And it looks like a bigger fish has the company in its sights.

Echostar, which owns Dish Networks, has been assuming quite a bit of Sirius XM debt that matures February 17. No word on why Echostar owner Charles Ergen is doing this, but some think Sirius' ground facilities and transmitters would be a nice fit.

Make it end already... Please!

As hinted at here the other day, the DTV transition date has been moved. Instead of the February 17 "hard" date for the end of analog television transmission, that magic date is now June 12.

Yesterday the House did an about-face and decided to postpone the change until June, as requested by many, including President Obama. And, as mentioned the other day, there is now funding for the $40 converter box voucher coupons, available to you procrastinators at this link.

But, that doesn't mean that your favorite station will still be broadcasting ghosting, static-filled analog pictures up until June. Station operators can still shut down their analog facilities at any time until that date, and there are estimates that as many as 300 may just do that. Some are being forced to, since they have already made arrangements to vacate the channel allocation or the broadcast tower facilities. And it may also come down to money. Shutting down sooner will be much easier on the bottom line, particularly in this cash-strapped economic environment.

I hope that this will be my final word on this subject until June (when I may just do a farewell salute to analog television). If you haven't already gotten your box (if you need one), then by all means do so. If you're too lazy to send away for the vouchers, then you can still pay full price at the big box retailer (as the clerks snicker at you for shelling out the extra $40). Just do it already, and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Another one bites the dust

Times are tough in radio. In a few years, we could see nothing but sports talk on the AM dial and nothing but Ryan Seacrest on the FM. And they wonder why terrestrial broadcasting is dying.

The latest talk show casualty is Los Angeles talker Tom Leykis. He does an afternoon syndicated show for Westwood One, and while it was never huge, did have a significant presence during the FM shock talk craze a few years ago.

But now, with many of those FM talkers flipping to other formats (like sports), Leykis' raunchy guy talk has been heard in fewer and fewer markets. And now, Westwood One has finally thrown in the towel. Come March 6, Leykis' show will only be heard in his home LA market, where it isn't doing too badly.

Also gone are his other two syndicated weekend shows, a 'best-of' show and one devoted to cigar smoking.


raccoonradio said...

Also: e-mails going around trying to spread the word to convince Clear Channel not to flip WINZ Miami to sports next month


Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that AAR announces plans to open up offices in Washington DC just as Redksins' owner Dan Snyder is giving the axe to the only progressive radio station in the nation's capitol (while allowing his neo-con station to stay afloat, along with other non-Snyder-owned conservative stations)...

Lu Cifer said...

Crap Channel IS stupid enough to do ANYTHING, since they are nothing but rightwing Nazis. I hope if they flip WINZ to sports crap dorkwad format, it tanks. ZERO...POINT...ZERO!
WTF is with the OBSESSION of radio station owners and sports-nerd format?! WHO...FUCKING...CARES?!?!?!?
And let's not refer to this as "down turn in the economy" or whatever. Let's cut the crap and tell it like it is: THE SECOND REPUBLICAN GREAT DEPRESSION!!!
Why isn't BU$Hitler Co. under indictment?!?!?!

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