“Stretch” Gelfand couldn’t sleep and had to leave the KQRS, Minneapolis morning show – and now he’s suing.
Suing MetLife, because it continues to refuse his request for Long Term Disability, and suing Cumulus, as the successor to Citadel. Imagine getting your sleep cycles so screwed up, you’d come in to the station not having slept for 30 or 35 hours. Mike Gelfand alleges that he suffers from DSPS, or delayed sleep-phase disorder, and he says several doctors agree it’s a big problem. Even a doc working for MetLife said his severe DSPS would interfere with his ability to be awake from 5am to 9am. For many years, Mike Gelfand was what David Brauer at MinnPost called “the nasal liberal” who talked back to the show’s star, Tom Barnard. In fact, Mike Gelfand’s suit refers to his “quirky voice,” meaning that he’d be unsuited to work as a regular jock. Besides – as a member of the highly-rated KQ Morning show, he was making more than typical announcers. Anybody who’s ever done an overnight shift or a morning show can relate to what it can do to your body – and mind. Last Fall, Gelfand (nicknamed “Stretch” by Tom Barnard) told David Brauer that “I’d be talking during the show and all of a sudden I’d lose control of my jaw muscles. I’d be in the middle of a sentence, and the words would just come out in a splash of random syllables.” He’s suing in federal court in Minnesota to recover his lost disability benefits and to secure future benefits.
Where’s the money for media sellers? Borrell says starting salaries are 50% higher in pureplay digital.
Meaning that “Yodle, Pandora, Yelp, ReachLocal and others” are offering average starting salaries of $54,100 for sales reps – “about 50% higher than what TV, newspaper and radio managers were offering.” Now, let’s add in something that Pandora CFO Mike Herring said at this week’s Cowen conference – “Every one of [the recent hires] was a top one, two, three seller at their local [terrestrial] station.” So Pandora, for one, isn’t hiring rookies. Still, the Borrell Associates findings from a survey of 220 media executives will make some motivated salespeople think about their future. Speaking of the future, Borrell report author Greg Harmon goes out of his way to cite one radio manager who’s not putting much of his resources into digital. That manager said “We should be focusing on our strength, audio advertising. Not selling our clients the pipe-dream of ‘interactivity’ that digital has promised, but seldom delivers.” Harmon calls that “a minority opinion.” But he says it illustrates “the sibling rivalry occurring in local media families where the cute digital brother gets all the attention.” And that’s the reality, often – Borrell finds that local media companies who use dedicated digital reps are reaping “twice the online revenue of those without digital reps.” They understand the product better. Download the executive summary of “Assessing local digital sales forces” from Borrell Associates here.
Have two former Inner City markets been sold?
Specifically, Columbia, South Carolina and Jackson, Mississippi? YMF Media, led by Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies, took over the Inner City Media stations last year and quickly dealt San Francisco urban AC KBLX (102.9) to Entercom for $25 million. The crown jewel remains - New York’s urban AC WBLS (107.5), now fortified with some intellectual property of former rival “Kiss” WRKS. But YMF continued as an odd combination of stations in New York (WBLS plus gospel WLIB at 1190). And the much smaller markets in the south. It took the creditors a long time to wrest Inner City away from the controlling Sutton family, and perhaps now they’re closer to selling more of the group. The Columbia cluster, in the South Carolina state capital, includes urban AC “Big DM 101” WWDM and classic rock “Fox 102” WMFX. The Jackson cluster includes urban “99 Jams” WJMI.
Pirate activity detected by the FCC…
There was a seizure of equipment reported in Roslindale, Massachusetts, with participation of the U.S. Attorney’s office. That’s because of an alleged unlicensed FM operating at 88.5, says the Wicked Local/Roslindale site.
The broadcasts continued even after a warning, and the investigation was sparked by a complaint from a licensed FM operator. But there’s plenty of other pirate activity to keep the FCC field offices hopping. A NOW Newsletter search turns up recent warnings by the FCC about an unlicensed 99.9 in Somerville, MA…a 103.1 and a 104.5 in New Haven…a 91.9 in Passaic, NJ…an 89.7 in Spring Valley, NY…and a 94.3 in Paterson, NJ. And that’s just scratching the surface.
A just-sold AM in Louisiana faces a $15,000 FCC fine – and a sister station’s on the hook for $22,500.
In fact, the EAS problem found at Pittman Broadcasting Service’s talk KVOL, Lafayette (1330) makes the penalty worse at sister “Cat Country 98.9” WUUU, Franklinton, Louisiana – because it represents a previous violation of the rule about maintaining EAS equipment and keeping up the logs. KVOL is one of four Pittman station just sold to Charles Chatelain’s Delta Media (April 26 NOW Newsletter). That may be one reason the FCC’s issuing this fine, to clear the way for the $910,000 transaction. KVOL was nailed by an agent from the FCC’s New Orleans office not only for failing to have the EAS equipment plugged in and for log maintenance – but also for running over-power at night. On two different evenings, the agent couldn’t tell that KVOL had switched from its 5,000-watt day signal to the 1,000-watt night facility. That costs Pittman $6,000 (up from the baseline amount of $4,000). The Emergency Alert System violations total $9,000 (adjusted up from $8,000), in the forfeiture order here.
At “Cat Country” WUUU, the EAS violation costs $12,500, and failure to keep the tower painted and having the top beacon light out for nine months will run another ten grand. That decision is here.
Acting FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn may be there a while, so she makes staff appointments.
Who knows when the GOP will coalesce around a single candidate to take Rob McDowell’s empty seat, thus allowing the Senate to consider both a Republican nominee and President Obama’s choice for Chairman, Tom Wheeler? Clyburn may have the wheel for most of the summer and into the Fall. Here are her staff moves – Michele Ellison, now Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, is Clyburn’s new Chief of Staff, basically running the office. Dave Grimaldi, who once worked with Ms. Clyburn’s father, Rep. James Clyburn and served her at the FCC as chief of staff, is now Chief Counsel and Senior Legal Advisor. Sarah Whitesell, former Deputy Bureau Chief of the Media Bureau, will be Legal Advisor for media issues – so she’d be the point person for radio-related issues. More about the appointments in the acting chairwoman’s office here.
After a move-in, Sacramento's about to get a new format.
Listeners to religious stations are more wedded to traditional radio.
But Results Radio’s not putting the new format on the move-in – that signal at 101.5 takes on the “K-Hits” classic hits format and KCCL calls that have been on 92.1. And it’s 92.1 that’s about to change formats, after simulcasting with 101.5 since mid-February. They could simulcast for that many months because the original 101.5 signal was licensed to Gridley, California, well to the north of Sacramento, practically halfway to Chico. Now it’s using its new facility, licensed to Woodland, and from there it can serve the basic Sacramento metro. (Though as a Class A coming from the west, it’s not exactly going to blanket the outlying eastern ‘burbs.) Meanwhile the Placerville-licensed 92.1, a Class A drifting in from the mountains to east, takes the KMJE call letters that used to be at 101.5 – and it’s on Format Watch.
They know about Pandora, etc., but use it less, according to data from a 2,000-person study from Arbitron and Edison Research. In many ways, the 94 “religious station” listeners pretty much track the general profile. About 7 in 10 have WiFi at home. 33% have listened to online radio in the last week. They’re aware of Pandora (68%), iHeart (43%) and Spotify (24%) at the same levels as the sample. They keep a cellphone within arm’s-length (54%). And they use social networking sites “several times a day” (26% do, though they have fewer “friends”). But the Infinite Dial breakout for the slice of listeners who are fans of religious radio reveals some interesting differences. These folks know about Pandora, but only 12% have used it in the last week, versus the sample’s average of 20%. They’re less likely than average to wake up with a cell phone (24% versus 30%). They’re more likely to use AM/FM radio in the car (91% versus 84%). They’re somewhat more likely to slide in a CD in the car, they’re less likely to use satellite radio, and much less likely (4% versus 12%) to be using online radio in their vehicle. And in the Infinite Dial’s now-famous question about “whether you’d be disappointed if the AM or FM station you listen to most was no longer on-air” – a whopping 96% said yes, they’d be disappointed. That suggests the strong bond they feel to a local station. One more sign from above – 18% of them have signed up for email from a favorite station, more than double the 8% figure in the overall sample.
Déjà vu in Ithaca – Saga buys a second translator from Calvary Chapel of the Finger Lakes, again paying $60,000. The first deal you may remember from the May 14 NOW – Saga bought a translator at 97.7 from the local Calvary Chapel group, to give progressive talk WNYY (1470) an FM presence. That was for $60,000, and so is this latest deal. It’s the construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 96.7. It’s licensed to Ithaca and the FCC filing says it will be simulcasting WQNY. But that’s “Q Country 103.7” WQNY, so let’s go out on the limb and surmise that it will actually be repeating an HD multicast channel and introducing a fresh format to the market. WQNY’s already feeding an HD Radio multicast signal that puts news/talk WHCU (870) on a translator at 95.9.
“Dr. Demento” Barry Hansen was honored by the National Radio Hall of Fame in November 2009 and shortly thereafter left his longtime broadcast syndication gig. But Richard Wagoner at the L.A. Daily News finds the good doctor of novelty records “still producing a new show every week” – online. A single dose of the doctor’s humor will cost $2, or you can go for a monthly or yearly subscription. Hansen’s show had a lot to with discovering talents like “Weird Al” Yankovic and making gifted satirists like Tom Lehrer available to new audiences. If you read Mad magazine under the covers at night, you probably made it a point to tune in Dr. Demento.
CBS-owned Last.fm just began offering music videos as well as streamed audio in Europe, says Jennifer Lane at Audio4Cast.
She figures the idea won’t stop at the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, but may well turn up in the U.S. as well. For now, Last.fm is partnering in Europe with MUZU.tv, and is offering about 90,000 different videos. Lane says they’ll “appear on artist pages, and also be integrated for ‘scrobbling,’ the social tool that listeners can use to fine-tune their listening and discover new music.”
Morgan Holm caps a 23-year career at radio/TV/digital operator Oregon Public Broadcasting with a promotion to Senior VP and Chief Content Officer. For the past several years, he’d been the VP of News and Public Affairs – at a division that won the Peabody Award in 2010 for excellence in electronic media. Morgan’s previous roles at OPB include hosting, producing and reporting.
Trudi Daniels journeys “40 yards and across the hall” to her next job at Greater Media-Detroit. She just wound up 22 years as the newsperson on the Drew & Mike morning show at rock WRIF (101.1). (They’ve been succeeded by “Dave and Chuck the Freak, with Lisa Way.”) Starting Monday, Daniels punches in at sister classic rock WCSX (94.7), as the new co-host for morning stalwart Ken “K.C.” Calvert. It’s worth noting that this time, Trudi gets co-billing, on “the WCSX Morning Show with K.C. & Trudi.” Former afternoon personality Calvert segued to the morning slot in early 2010, replacing Deminski & Doyle.
“SiMan” replaces the Michael Baisden replacement in Atlanta. Translated, that means Radio One’s urban AC “Magic 107.5/9.5” WAMJ/WUMJ decides to go local in afternoon drive. It had been doing well with Cumulus Media-syndicated Michael Baisden, then stayed on this Spring with his replacement Skip Murphy. Now AJC.com reports GM Tim Davies saying that after two months of the replacement show, “we felt we needed a local program” in PM drive. That’s Silas “SiMan Baby!” Alexander, moving into the daytime hours from nights.
CoCo Brother has left his Atlanta-based syndicated evening inspirational hip hop show, says Rodney Ho at AccessAtlanta.
“Spirit of Hip Hop” is based at Radio One’s gospel “Praise 102.5” WPZE and clears on 40 or more stations. New host – James Fortune. CoCo (Cory Condrey) says he’s thought about taking a break for the last 18 months and will devote the summer to working with kids at the Exodus Youth Camp. (He says “I’m tired of reading news stories of how this kid got killed.”) He started out doing secular radio in Atlanta, worked in Macon, Washington DC and then Atlanta again. He started doing inspirational radio in 2004, and continues hosting “Lift Every Voice” for BET.
Gene Burns passed away on May 21 and there’s a planned “Celebration of his life” in Orlando on Saturday, June 8. His friend and onetime radio producer Bob Poe says the event’s being held at the Unitarian Church of Orlando on East Robinson Street, starting at 10am – and if it’s in the spirit of Gene himself, it will be packed with great stories. Gene worked in Orlando radio at then-WKIS, then later in Boston, New York and San Francisco, where he was part of talk KGO.
The story about the 30-foot Coyote, the handcuffs and the fugitive station manager – Peter Cavanaugh recently invited some friends to “an informal Toledo radio reunion,” and the Toledo Blade says “it turned into a celebration of this former broadcasting executive,” who gave so many folks their first big break. Peter shares one of the true tales re-told that night – “One of our biggest annual WIOT Summer Promotions was ‘FM 104 Day at Put-In-Bay’ From Wikipedia– ‘The village of Put-In-Bay played a significant role in the War of 1812…The village is a popular summer resort.’ Among locals, Put-In-Bay is also known as ‘Disneyland for Drunks,’ with a dozen nightclubs in the downtown strip and literally dozens of bars on the island. We would erect our giant 30-foot tall WIOT Coyote right in the middle of all the action and broadcast live. This one time, I was handcuffed and led to the police station, having been restrained due to several loud and continuous expressions of outrage over the behavior of several gendarmes to a staff member. Foolishly, the arresting officer made the mistake of removing the restraints and leaving me alone in a second-floor booking room with an open window. Without hesitation, I made my escape by climbing through the window, crawling across the roof and shimmying down a support beam to freedom below. With five hours left before our WIOT buses headed back to Toledo at 10pm, I remained a fugitive, avoiding capture thanks to a loyal, supportive crew. Although this was a relatively mild adventure compared to certain other exploits referenced in the newly expanded, digital edition of ‘Local DJ,’ I was amazed at the impact it must have made, with the story surfacing 25 years down the road. I now honestly and openly confess the exploit, any statute of limitations having long since passed.” Is the coast clear for you to confess an adventure? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.
Take 2 – Let’s get the date right for the start of the NCAA football schedule presented by Sports USA (from yesterday’s pigskin roundup). President Bob Moore says it’s August 29, not August 19. That’s when USC plays Hawaii. The syndicator’s college schedule runs through the December 31 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.
Serious, but fun. What’s happening around radio is serious stuff – new competition every day and the old ways no longer working like they used to, even two-three years ago. This NOW Newsletter helps you navigate the rapids. At the same time, you need some fun, like the stories in “You Can’t Make This Up,” and you need to catch the flavor of what radio’s all about. Thanks for telling a friend about us – it’s how we keep growing. Thanks to the advertisers who keep NOW coming to you every morning at no charge. Want to reach our audience with your message, or run a classified ad for a sudden vacancy? Contact Kristy Scott, the “K” in RTK Media. She’s at Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. Enjoy this Summer weekend - Tom.