Posts Tagged ‘Clear Channel’

Frosty, you sir, are no Gil Gross.

Image by Petritap CC-SA-3.0

And, for that, I thank you.

ha ha.  See what I did there?

I did it again on Friday.  It was so busy at work that I forgot to turn off Talk910 before the shrieking and screeching began.  Please, please,  please get Gil’s wife off the air.  I’m thinking of sending Clear Channel an extended tape of what we listeners are subjected to on the air but I don’t want to listen to it one second longer than I have to so I can’t create a ‘worst of’ Gil’s Friday shows.  There are so many to choose from.  If the suits had to listen to a compilation of high-pitched squeals and inane chatter then maybe they’d take some action that Gil won’t.

But, that’s not what I came here to discuss.  As you know, I listen to Frosty’s shows now.  I’m done with wasting time on Gil.  He repeats the same news items that Frosty does on his show anyway, with the exception of Gil inserting a Politico correspondent phone-in every few minutes.

I see many search terms on this blog looking for Frosty but seldom see anything on Gil unless it’s a negative search, such as, why is Gil Gross’ radio show so bad?  I can’t guess why Gil has given up on hosting a quality show, but it was in decline long before Sebastian Kunz left.  I miss Sebastian’s nice voice and his pleasing, calm presence on air but I do enjoy Michael the news guy on Frosty’s show.  And, of course, I always appreciate the warmth and passion of Lloyd Lindsay Young.  Love ‘ya, Lloyd.

One thing Frosty does that Gil would never do is read email from listeners (yes, I know Gil reads snippets off Facebook, but they are hand-selected, self-serving snippets).

I guess if no one calls, then email is the next best thing.  I enjoy Frosty’s email segments because he loves to read email from listeners who bash his show or berate his intelligence and physical appearance by calling him names like ‘fat clown’ or ‘moron’.  Then Frosty explains why he said what he did on an earlier show or segment, but not before he has a good laugh at some of the more vitriolic tirades.  Sometimes Frosty even agrees with the email and admits he should have worded something differently or researched something more thoroughly.

There are times Frosty flubs what we wants to say.  After he realizes it, he corrects himself but he still gets angry, vicious email about the unintended comment and he reads all of the email from the people who will ‘never listen to his show again’, that is,  until they send another email a week later.

For me, the most entertaining Frosty shows are when he shares things that have happened to him.  The One-Eyed Guy and the near miss of a speeding car and ice cream, always, ice cream.  I’ve included links to some of these stories in earlier blog posts.

Unlike Gil.

When Gil starts a story I now groan and roll my eyes because I know the story, could repeat it word for word, lame jokes and all, and for the fifteenth time he has to tell it again.  It’s excruciatingly long and drawn out, not to mention it’s usually to name drop or, in an indirect way, portray how wonderful he thinks he is.  Those nauseating attempts at humor get old fast.

Can you tell I’ve listened too long to Gil?  His show does not hold up to a long-term listener.  It’s unfortunate, because I really enjoyed him on that other station.  But, my dissatisfaction grew with the Friday shows and his amateur wife with her scorched vocal cords and I knew my time was wasted trying to listen.  I can’t listen to him on any day now without feeling irritation.  I usually turn to other options.

So I’m left with Frosty.  That’s it.

I was a bit disappointed with Frosty this week, though, because he’d been saying he watches all of the Olympic coverage he can and I was anticipating his shows this week to hear what he thought about the Sochi Games.  Well, what he said is he keeps falling asleep during the Olympics and misses prime-time events.

Darn!

He should look online at  http://www.nbcolympics.com/ .  Has he seen Johnny Weir lately?  What is up with that?  And, what does he think of Bode Miller?  Can Frosty appreciate the skill of Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya (also known as Julia)?  Probably not, because he did make a comment that figure skating is just someone skating around and flapping his or her arms at the same time.

Oh, and Frosty has commented on the ongoing saga of CostasCodeRed.

But, that’s it on Frosty’s Olympics coverage.  Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t think Frosty has even talked about Shaun White.

There was a wonderful article written about Shaun White recently on how he changed a columnist’s opinion.  You can read it here:

  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/shaun-white-olympic-moments-and-mettle-without-a-color/2014/02/11/94fa0968-9354-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html

I don’t like Matt Lauer as CodeRed’s stand-in.  He’s about exciting as a mattress-man radio ad.  Meredith is fine, though, and she appears more engaged in the events than Matt.  But those segments with Mary Carillo just aren’t the same without Costas.

But Frosty wouldn’t know about that.  He’s snoring away in his new easy chair…

Want to catch Frosty between snores?  Here’s a link to his archived podcasts:

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-frosty-podcast-frosty/

Gosh darn!  I really liked Sebastian and he made Gil’s show bearable at times.  I knew Sebastian had been on vacation and he was expected back this week Tuesday.  I wondered why he wasn’t there and now Gil has made the announcement that cBas is gone.  He’s not sick, he’s not laid off, it’s for personal reasons that he left and it’s his decision to reveal why.

I wish you the best, Sebastian!  I will miss hearing you on the air.

You can listen to Gil’s announcement on his program today, Wednesday, September 11th, Hour 2, and it starts at around 21:20 on the podcast.

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-gil_gross/gil-gross-91113-hr2-23700192/

If you missed it, Ed Baxter filled in for Gil’s Friday show.

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-gil_gross/gil-gross-82313-hr1-w-ed-23627479/

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-gil_gross/gil-gross-82313-hr2-w-ed-23627789/

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-gil_gross/gil-gross-82313-hr3-w-ed-23627884/

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-gil_gross/gil-gross-82313-hr-4-w-23627947/

Don’t miss Hour Four, where Sebastian Kunz presents his full production of Nerd News!

Plus, Ed has a new book out, Waiting at Red Lights:

http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Red-Lights-Edward-Baxter/dp/0985736763

http://edbaxtermedia.com/waiting-at-red-lights/

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This past week, on the Facebook page of formerkgolisteners, they linked a post by that media blogger guy who wrote an unflattering piece about Gil.  Here’s the Facebook page if you want to read it, the post is dated August 19th:

https://www.facebook.com/FormerKGOListeners

It’s nice to see from the comments that Gil has many fans and I wasn’t surprised that many on Facebook did not appreciate the blogger guy using prominent names such as Gil as a tactic to try to pull in readers and, now, listeners, to his substandard radio show.  Back in December 2011, I had hopes the blogger guy was better than what he’s turned out to be.  For awhile, even, I used to link his posts but no longer want to lead readers there except for the comments on his blog, or, I should say, the comments he allows.  That guy censors criticism and I’ve had suspicions that he pads his own blog with favorable comments about how great he is, written by him, and how he has the best show on the radio.  Yeah, right.  Maybe he could partner with Yelp.

I’ve thought about going back and deleting all links to his blog, but I’ll leave those old posts that document the journey transitioning from hope to disgust in real-time postings.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to moderate comments.  I used to think I’d never censor comments, but I’m forced to put up a wall between spam and bots that would overwhelm any blog space.  I understand the need to moderate, it’s saved me considerable time.  Without it, I’d have to manually delete thousands of spam and fraud items.  I welcome readers who want to comment and actually join a conversation, but I’ve also had to reject a few trollish comments with choice words about my mental ability after posts about Armstrong & Getty.  Those comments added nothing except vitriol.

I don’t care to listen to screamers in the morning.  Some do.  I don’t.

Anyway…

I am thankful we have Gil here in the Bay Area, but his show in the past year has been less satisfying than in former years and on Fridays it is downright irritating.  I realize some of my dissatisfaction comes from listening to him every day except for Friday (unless his wife stays home or someone guest hosts).  We all know and recognize Gil’s talent as a broadcaster.  The frustration is in the change of his show’s format to chase PPM (Portable People Meter).

These are thoughts about PPM attributed to Gil that I found online in a September 2008 article written by Brad Kava:

http://www.examiner.com/article/lipstick-on-a-horse-s-ass-the-american-media-never-looked-worse

Maybe KGO-AM’s afternoon host Gil Gross said it best. With the new People Meter, which measures exactly what people are listening to, radio managers can tell that a conversation about the economy gets far fewer listeners than one about an out of context, inflammatory hit piece, like the pig comment.

Sadly, if he’s right, we’ve become a country of horses asses…and no lipstick is going to fix that.

I found another quote by an out-of-state GM who is not a fan of PPM:

http://www.pugetsoundradio.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?m-1298563415/

Here’s one quote from a GM “I could go on for days about how radio is getting screwed by Arbitron’s PPM. We’ve become a reach  medium who programs to the meter measurement and not to listeners or to help clients with marketing issues. The most repulsive aspect  is the mediocrity it has caused, meaning all formats sound the same. Very sad. I loved this industry but now we are more of a commodity  than a good, tight place that listeners want to go to – to feel good and for our clients to reach those targets”. Another told us “PPM says  you are a ‘listener’ if you are exposed to the radio in a cab while on your cell phone for 5 minutes in a week  even if you didn’t hear the  station and you don’t even like it”

Here’s another discussion about PPM:

http://jacobsmedia.typepad.com/jacobs/ppm/

Jeff Vidler picked up on the theme by focusing on what he calls the “PPM engagement gap.”

Jeff points out that with the advent of PPM, it is no longer necessary for the audience to be engaged with a station as long as they are exposed to it.

The reality of this thinking is that while basic PPM tactics (less talk, more segues, staccato imaging, fewer charity events) can facilitate exposure, something is being lost in the fan engagement process.

Yet, in the digital and social worlds, it is all about making connections with audiences and communities.  And as Jeff notes, advertisers are thinking more and more about investing in marketing that engages and makes the best use of digital’s ability to connect people with brands.

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When searching the internet for information it’s difficult to take bias out of it.  I’ve located articles that support my opinion by bringing up search terms such as:

how PPM hurts radio

complaints about PPM

I realize that it’s easy to find articles I agree with when I’m not even looking for the opposing argument.  i’m going to continue to read about PPM to try and understand how it helps or hurts radio, and search for opposing opinions from mine.

I do base my negative comments about PPM on what I can hear.  Going back to discuss Gil’s show, I was an instant fan when he first joined KGO after Pete Wilson’s untimely death.  I heard Gil’s in-depth conversations, he sounded as if he enjoyed interacting with the audience, he interviewed politicians, book authors, comedians, musicians, people in the news, etc.

He had shows where he talked about his father and encouraged people to call in and talk about theirs.  He discussed beliefs and spiritualism and even Bernie Ward when no one else would touch that subject in 2008.  People called in crying, in disbelief, and Gil related how he’d noticed a change in Bernie and wondered what was going on.  He guided listeners through a difficult, sad time, both in Pete Wilson’s death and Bernie’s conviction.

Now, what we get from Gil are snippets of Politico interviews and him talking on-air to his producer and board operator and, ugh, his wife.  We get Gil standing in line at a supermarket to buy apples.  We get Gil doing mindless fluff like dumb criminals and teachers and whatever brainless story that is easily found on a Google search.

And, it seems we have no one to guide us.

Gil defends his show on the PPM numbers.  If you follow the link on the Facebook page of formerkgolisteners and read that blogger guy’s post about Gil, or, I should say, read the comments, someone said they emailed Gil to ask why he continues with the new format when so many do not like it and Gil responded.  Gil claimed the format change has increased ratings from 0.3 to 2.0.  Said he is doing what the station wants and it’s a business in the end and advertisers have no interest in a call-in talk format.  Said it’s probably not what the person wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.

Another commenter claims Gil doesn’t care.  The suits don’t care so why should he?

I hope that’s not true.

Gil should care, for the sake of talk radio in this market and for his friends on the show with him: Sebastian and Lloyd Lindsay Young and that producer and board operator he always drags on the air for their opinions instead of callers.

If this continues, we might have another news item like we had in December 2011, or even this one from back in 2000:

November 7, 2000

http://articles.philly.com/2000-11-07/news/25612553_1_sid-mark-beasley-broadcast-group-dave-donahue

“I found out a minute and a half before I thought I was going on the air,” said Gross yesterday. “That was fun.”

If you tuned in to WWDB before 5 p.m. yesterday, what you heard was an electronic voice counting backward from 6,000.

“That’s an old radio stunt,” said Gross. “The aim is to get people wondering ‘What’s going on there?’ to create interest in what’s coming next. And apparently word got around. A Lower Merion policeman told me someone called to report ‘a crazed woman was holding the station hostage while she counted.’ That was the first laugh I had all day.”

The countdown voice reached 3-2-1 at 5 p.m. at which point another voice announced: “Look out Philadelphia, here we come.” The station promised to bring listeners “the best of the ’80s.”

According to Paul Heine of the radio newsletter Friday Morning Quarterback, there has been a rash of stations switching to this ’80s format in recent months, presumably to attract 20- and 30-somethings nostalgic for the music of their high school years.

That’s a much younger audience than WWDB has been attracting.

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I truly hope not.  But if Gil won’t guide us through this, who will?

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I have a few more interesting articles on PPM, but no time to discuss them now.  Posts about phantom cumes and stories of PPM wearers.  Sounds like fun, huh?

Maybe in the next week or two since we have a long holiday weekend approaching…

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By the way, this past week on BBC Radio2 I heard about a new group who has an album coming out in September.  They have the potential to be the next big thing.

I think it was Simon Mayo, on BBC Radio2, who was interviewing a different popular group and a member of that group could not stop talking about a new group they’d heard in the studio where they’d been recording the previous afternoon.  He was talking about the new group, London Grammar.

BBC Radio2 decided to find out about this new group and they agreed London Grammar needed to get some airplay and that’s how it’s all started to happen for them.  You can listen to them here or follow the link to YouTube:

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I

Hannah Reid, the lead singer, has a strong, clear voice, similar to Florence and the Machine, except Hannah doesn’t go off in those screaming, vocal-stretching episodes that, for me, degrades the listening experience. London Grammar has the ability to express emotion in a lead voice that does not have to shout and strain to showcase it.

https://www.facebook.com/londongrammar

http://www.londongrammar.com/ustour/

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Also, last week Stan explained his obsession with Radnich:

http://stan55chevy.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-stan-and-raddy-storymost-of-it.html

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Don’t forget to check Frosty’s page and podcasts:

http://www.talk910.com/pages/frosty.html

http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-frosty-podcast-frosty/

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And, still no sign of Len Tillem.  Is he giving up as well?

Now that I can no longer listen to Gil’s show on Fridays, and I made the mistake of leaving the radio on after Frosty’s show today (Friday) until the screeching and squawking sound of Gil’s wife’s voice, that irritating, unprofessional voice, had me scrambling to turn that radio off faster than Ron Owens can say mattress, so I used my listening hours instead to explore the Radio Archive section of the website This American Life.

Oh, my gawd, I laughed, I cried, I held my hand to my heart.  This American Life episodes sneak up on you and sock you in the gut.  I had a true listening experience today.

This American Life’s style is similar to Radiolab, but it’s less scientific, focusing more on the emotional human condition than the significance of a story examined by logic and reasoning and theory.  This American Life is like cooking at home, with friends in the kitchen, while Radiolab is like being in America’s Test Kitchen, that public television show that dissects the molecules and chemistry of the food to find the optimal cooking method.

I’ll add links to some of the episodes I’ve heard on http://www.thisamericanlife.org/.  But, first, I have to mention Frosty.

I’ve read online that some people have listened to Frosty’s show for an hour and had to turn it off, couldn’t listen to it and will never listen again.  I feel the same about Gil’s Friday shows but I’m gone in one minute.  One hour of it would have me poking pins in my eardrums.

Frosty is like a bumbling, affable neighbor who comes over with a beer in his hand and sits on your creaky, wooden back porch steps and talks.  He has opinions, he sometimes says cringe-worthy things, but his show is beginning to hit a stride.  Even better that Lloyd Lindsay Young is there as well as Sebastian Kunz.  If I navigate away from Gil’s show altogether I would miss Young and Kunz.  heh, that sounds like something that needs a 900 number.

Lately, Frosty has been playing audio clips of interviews or events in the news.  He ends his show with one of those clips.  Many times it’s something heart-warming that makes me smile or say ‘ahhhh’.  I like that.  I notice.

Today, he had two interesting audio clips.  The first one was a phone call Monica Lewinsky made to Bill Clinton.  It’s fascinating.  Here’s the link to Frosty’s show today, Hour 2.  The Monica Lewinsky story starts around 6:35 on the podcast.

http://www.talk910.com/player/?station=KKSF-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=frosty.xml&mid=23537256

Later, Frosty played a clip of Richard Nixon, who sounds drunk.  It’s on after the Monica story in Hour 2.  Frosty ended his show today, Hour 3, playing Nixon’s audio clip again.

Here’s the page to all of Frosty’s archived podcasts:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=frosty

I think he even took a call today, but I could have misinterpreted a guest as a caller.  It was busy at work today and I missed sections of the show.  I heard only the end of the conversation.

I’m really warming to Frosty.

There are other listening options, though, for those who won’t listen to someone who calls himself Frosty.  Or, to Gil who, sadly, is not what he used to be.  He’s PPMing.

I found out This American Life has an archived section.  At first, I thought episodes were only available for one week unless they were downloaded.  But there is a Radio Archive section and it has years of audio listed.  As promised, here are links to some of the episodes I’ve heard:

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359: ‘Life After Death’ – Jul 18, 2008

‘Guilty As Not Charged’, Act One, still haunts me, and I listened to it last week:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/359/life-after-death

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489: ‘No Coincidence, No Story!’ – Mar 1, 2013

I loved the ‘Poopatrooper’ story in the Prologue and ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’ in Act Three, will have you scratching your head.  You can listen to each section of Episode 489, or the entire hour (this applies to any episode).  But, the hand to the heart story is in Act Two, ‘In God We Trust’ and, trust me, the dollar works in mysterious ways:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/489/no-coincidence-no-story

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486: ‘Valentine’s Day 2013′ – Feb 8, 2013

’21 Chump Street’, Act Two, about the school kid is disturbing.  ‘My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’, Act Four is hilarious.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/486/valentines-day-2013

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There are more, but the ones I’ve listed are worth the listening time.

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And, here’s a link to all of This American Life‘s Radio Archive listings:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives#2013

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So, listen to Frosty, and if Gil finally gets to you, try the above episodes instead.  It’s better than listening to Gil and Politico correspondents discuss sexual misconduct in government today.

And, if you are wondering what the heck Stan has to say today, and you don’t mind colorful language, (I’m not talking pink hearts and yellow moons), then here he is in all of his glory:

http://stan55chevy.blogspot.com/

By GeeAlice (self-made from Image:Cat silhouette.svg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As you know, I’ve become a bit unnerved by the current state of talk radio in the Bay Area.  I’ve been doing the same thing I used to accuse Bill Wattenburg of doing – saying the same thing over and over again.  Just replace ‘eco-freaks’ and ‘bubble-butt politicians’ with ‘no callers’ and ‘Gil Gross’.  Add to that Gil’s disastrous Friday shows.

I can’t guess why Bill Wattenburg does it, but I do know why I do it – out of pure frustration.  I also know I’m not the only one who is thinking the same things I’ve been posting in a public blog that few see.  Search terms for this blog ask the same things I’ve been asking:

What is wrong with Gil Gross

Why isn’t Gil Gross taking any callers

Why does Gil Gross have his wife on his radio show on fridays talk 910

Why doesn’t kksf have any callers

Why does Gil Gross suck

What happened to Len Tillem podcast – (I’ll get to that in a minute)

And, my personal favorite:

Len Tillem naked

Sorry about that last visual…

I’ve read comments on other sites that attribute this new programming style of changing topics continuously, throughout half-hour segments, to Arbitron’s new ratings measuring tool: the Portable People Meter (PPM).

PPM has devolved radio into cat-chasing-tail programming.  Around and around, keep it going, turn it around, trying to catch listeners who tune in for less than five minutes.

Finally, I found a comment by David Kaye in radiodiscussions.com that explains it as told to him by Gil Gross.  It’s in a thread from October 2012 titled ‘Jerry Doyle Takes over Savage old TRN spot’ and this is the comment and the link to the discussion:

http://radiodiscussions.com/smf/index.php?action=printpage;topic=220596.0

“Or it could be that he has changed the formatics of his show to work better with PPM.  The 15 minute block is now THE way to do talkshows.  I was talking with Gil Gross about this a few weeks ago.  If you notice, he changes topics every 15 minutes and seldom takes calls.  He told me that he does this specifically because of the PPM periods — gotta keep the topics fresh every 15 minutes or it’s too easy to lose listeners.  PPM relies on 15-minute blocks of time and transponders reflecting actual listening.  The old days of filling out diaries and *saying* that you listened to X station are gone.  A station has to keep goosing up those quarter-hour ratings.”

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It also explains why Frosty is following Gil’s program format, but it doesn’t explain why Gil’s wife is still on his Friday shows, unless it adds to the PPM when people click off the station when they hear her and return when she stops talking.

Gil is adapting to new technology.  The degradation of his show is directly associated with chasing those five minute listeners to attract advertising revenue through higher ratings published from PPM results.  Who cares about loyalty?  Listeners who tune in for hours detract from the ratings meter.

It explains the direction of the new KGO under Cumulus management, the Dick-eys, chasing those PPM hits by running all news all day, thinking they’ll get hits every few minutes from people who change stations constantly.  (It doesn’t explain Cumulus’ callous treatment of the former KGO hosts and the Dick-eys obvious disdain for the Bay Area listening audience).  They want hits from anyone wandering by their frequency and who happens to hear a minute or two of content before leaving again.

Is Arbitron the real culprit here?  Have they set-up a flawed tracking tool and radio now has to chase a lowered standard of broadcasting to compete?  Maybe Arbitron should be dropped as a revenue tool, or broadcasters should question why they chase what Arbitron dictates.  It’s evident in this market that Arbitron has miscalculated the loyalty of the old KGO listeners.  More than a year later, people are still searching for the content of the old KGO.  They’re still looking for their beloved broadcasters.  The listeners are left wanting.  Why can’t Arbitron measure that?

Add to the equation advertisers who buy air time.  They are losing as well.  Who will be there to hear about a product when stations garner and value two minute listeners?  Does this make any sense?  Why aren’t the advertisers speaking out?  It’s a long chain and someone up or down the chain has to speak out to change it.  The ironic thing about this is the advertisers benefit the least from this new structure.  Yes, the ones who supply money to the stations don’t get anything out of it.  It’s no mystery why advertisers are abandoning radio.  Advertisers understand brand loyalty – something that is not even considered in the PPM environment.

Radio broadcasters and advertisers should get together and find a better system.  Why should they accept a ratings system that pushes them all down the road to failure?  Is no one listening?   Where is the voice of the local advertisers in all of this?  No one is listening to the stations, but is anyone listening to what hordes of frustrated radio listeners are saying?

I don’t think anyone really believes this is working.

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I looked up articles about PPM to find out more about it and I found some articles of interest.

This variety.com article written by Bob Lefsetz examines the culture of radio, and I’ve included some excerpts:

http://variety.com/2013/music/news/radio-digs-its-own-grave-as-cultural-currents-shift-1200500285/

“Luddites in radio still believe the Internet didn’t happen, that we’re all prisoners of the dial, where there are few stations and little innovation.”

“Most people under age 20 have never experienced good radio. So when baby boomers and Gen X’ers start waxing rhapsodically about their old-time favorites, wanting them to come back, it’s the equivalent of wishing that musicvideos would come back to MTV.”

“Insiders believe that there’s no revolution in terrestrial radio because the owners know it’s headed into the dumper. They’re just milking it for all they can before it falls off a cliff. So if you’re waiting for format innovation and fewer commercials … you’ll be waiting forever.”

“To grow mass, you’ve got to make us feel included. In other words, it’s all about culture. Talk radio has culture. As does public radio. After that, it’s a vast wasteland of sold-out stations with the same fl aw of network TV. … Trying for broad-based appeal, they appeal to no one, and cede their market to excellence. HBO and the cable outlets killed networks with quality. … If you don’t think new services will kill terrestrial radio, you must like inane commercials, you must like me-too music, you must think airplay on one of these outlets will sell millions of albums, but that almost never happens anymore.”

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This nab.org article explains PPM and it includes an image of the meter equipment:

http://www.nab.org/xert/scitech/2008/Radio_TechCheck/radio/rd032408.asp

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This Mark Ramsey Media article addresses PPM and talk radio:

http://www.markramseymedia.com/2011/08/is-ppm-unfair-to-newstalk-radio/

“In any given quarter-hour under diary methodology, you used to have to listen at least five continuous minutes for that listening to “count” you as a listener and to “count” your listening as an “occasion.””

“Under PPM however, I’m told that those five minutes no longer need to be continuous.  That is, if I flip back to the station several times in a quarter-hour I count as a listener and my listening counts as one occasion as long as all those minutes and seconds add up to at least five minutes.

“This hurts the performance of News/Talk.”

“In other words, because of the nature of spoken word content you will need a much longer trial period to determine whether you will keep listening or not. This means you’re far less likely to flip back and forth to a News/Talk station during a quarter-hour, thus your chances of aggregating a qualifying amount of listening in that quarter hour are slimmer.

“Due to the lower churn you’re less likely to “count” as a listener to News/Talk.”

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This Talkers.com article by Michael Harrison talks about the audience factor and the purgatory of PPM:

http://www.talkers.com/2012/09/19/can-terrestrial-radio-thrive-in-the-digital-era/

“The internet is a miraculous medium but terrestrial radio stations must use it more wisely and not be in such a rush to sacrifice the uniqueness and indispensability they need to earn in each local marketplace – where the loyalty and revenue lies – for the fool’s gold of being just another of a thousand mediocre versions of its equally mediocre self co-existing on a single national dial in everyone’s dashboard.  Yikes!”

“PPM notwithstanding, there is no “meter” to measure actual usage the way electricity, water and telephone consumption is tallied.   No tickets are sold. No circulations are audited. There are no “click-thrus.”  As advertisers expect increasingly precise metrics, radio lags behind.”

“Again, Arbitron does a good job within the limits of reason and reality – but the PPM is not good at measuring the audience loyalty and quality-appreciation factors better served by the admittedly imperfect diary that also apply to getting positive results for advertisers.  Simply put, if radio allows itself to be judged in the advertising marketplace solely on numbers, it’ll soon be lights out for most of the stations currently on the air.”

“Those 30 and 60 second “spots” pile up into PPM pits of purgatory. Something must be done soon about the elephant in the room.  Commercial spots are ratings killers.  It is the cruelest of ironies that the very commercial itself can prove to be the downfall of commercial radio.”

“The terrestrial radio industry, armed only with draconian budget cuts, increased centralization of management and programming, and letting it all hang out online, can only hope to survive as long as the FM/AM car radio remains dominant in America’s dashboards.  After that has changed, all bets are off.”

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This 2010 radiostationmanagement.blogspot.com article by Doug McLeod believes there is a need for speed:

http://radiostationmanagement.blogspot.com/2010/12/ppms-lesson-for-talent-get-to-point.html

“While Top 40 programmers have preached short-and-snappy for decades, PPM makes talent who get even a little too chatty pay a stiff price: less cume. And make no mistake, it’s a cume world now. No more diary-based recall methodology. The PPM simply sits there and logs what’s being listened to. As a radio station manager that means your stations – the only brands you have to sell – had better not be wasting listeners’ time.”

“This is especially true for talk radio, both issues-oriented and sports. Many a talk show host has grown up professionally listening to the kings of talk radio but that isn’t always good. The long-winded hour opens (or teases or churns) practiced by some of the most famous yakkers in radio became Old School the day the first PPMs powered up. Now, it’s not only antiquated to cruise through a ten- to twenty-minute show or hour open, it’s deadly”.

“But one of PPM’s crucial lessons is that programmers’ long-time habits of loading up the first quarter-hour are wrong: listeners stay aboard fairly evenly – and desert just as evenly – throughout the hour. Thus the need to get into compelling subject matter fast and keep it moving.”

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This article by harkerresearch.typepad.com discusses the declining numbers of morning drive and questions the accuracy of PPM:

http://harkerresearch.typepad.com/radioinsights/2010/01/is-ppm-antipersonality.html

“Questions remain regarding the accuracy of PPM. Some critics believe participant panels are too small. They note that AQH and share are calculated based on a very small proportion of active panelists who actually carry their meter. Unfortunately, most personalities won’t get very far with their general manager rationalizing low numbers with methodological explanations.”

“The goal of a morning show has to be to produce ratings regardless of measurement issues or problems. PPM may be flawed and unfairly punish personality radio, but personalities have to understand that the game has changed. The personalities that survive will be the people who adapt.”

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This ocregister.com article written by Gary Lycan is also about PPM’s effect on morning DJs and it includes excerpts from Jeff McKay’s RadioInfo article.  I’ll add links to  McKay’s feature article as well, its focus is on music but his five-part series touches on all aspects of radio play.

First, the ocregister article titled  ‘DJs in the ’60s would never survive today’s ratings’:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/radio-413884-station-feb.html

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Now, RadioInfo’s Jeff McKay’s Five-Part series on ‘The State of the Disc Jockey’:

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Part One: Personality Radio is “Dying” – But Still Gets Solid Ratings

http://www.radioinfo.com/2013/01/28/the-state-of-the-disc-jockey/

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Part Two: The PPM – a DJ’s Downfall

http://www.radioinfo.com/2013/01/29/the-state-of-the-disc-jockey-part-2/

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Part Three: Radio Killed the Radio Star

http://www.radioinfo.com/2013/01/30/the-state-of-the-disc-jockey-part-3/

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Part Four: The “Evolving” DJ – Adapting to Radio’s Changing Times

http://www.radioinfo.com/2013/01/31/the-state-of-the-disc-jockey-part-4/

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Part Five: The Future of the Radio DJ

http://www.radioinfo.com/2013/02/01/the-state-of-the-disc-jockey-part-5/

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Finally, This radioinsights.com article is about digital dashboards:

http://www.radioinsights.com/2013/07/ford-dumps-digital-dashboard.html

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And, before I wrap this all up in a big, bright bow, I’ve noticed that Len Tillem has not posted any podcasts since June 10th.  Is he on vacation?  Why aren’t there any ‘best of’ shows?  The beauty of podcasting online is the ability to inform in real time.  I hope all is well with our loyah, well enough to update his listeners about his formerly daily podcasts.  We wonder and worry.  We need our loyah fix.

Here’s the link to his Spreaker page.  Follow him, so he can break the 6,700 followers mark this week.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/lentillem

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So, to wrap it up, now that we know why Gil Gross and his fellow broadcasters are churning their shows, the question to ask now is how…

How do we change it?

By Mgmoscatello (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Keeps him away from his radio show.

I’ve endured some bad radio before, heck, I’ve even listened to Gil’s wife, Rhoda, for a few months until I couldn’t stand it any longer.  Why is Gil doing this to us?  He has an opportunity to be great in this market, being one of the true professionals left on the air in this area, but what he’s been presenting in this major market is puzzling and frustrating.

He tells the same stories many times.  I can forgive him that, not everyone is listening every day to his entire show.  But I’ve heard these stories over and over again, all about him, and it’s eye-rolling radio.  How he broke into a radio station to start the show, how a critic once thought his name was fake, how he… Gil, Gil, Gil, Gil.  In a recent conversation with someone, he even said ‘before I was famous’.  what?  Then, he took it back, saying in his self-deprecating way that is really saying how wonderful he is, that he’s not famous but only someone with a radio show.

Did I mention he forces us to listen to the sound of his wife’s voice that, at times, can make the ears bleed?

I continue to listen, except on Fridays.  Yes, lately I’ve been turning the volume of the show down so it’s just background noise.  If there’s a big news story, I might turn it up to a hearing level.  Gil is still a trained broadcaster and he can bring it when big news breaks.

It’s all of that air time between breaking news that degrades the show to a level that now borders on honking clown noses.  Think Armstrong and Getty.

I wouldn’t be complaining about this if one or two silly stories was an anomaly.  Can’t be serious all of the time.  But, lately, Gil seems to be phoning it in.  I guess someone has to phone it in, since he doesn’t bother taking calls from the listeners.  Just this week I heard him say “I want to hear from you” meaning his listeners, and then he gave out his Facebook account, Twitter information, and email address.  Yep.  That’s how our local talk show host on our Bay Area talk station wants to communicate – in every way except for, you know, talk.

By the way, when John Rothmann filled in for Gil over the July 4th holiday, there were plenty of calls.  hmmmm…

I guess there’s no time for listener calls on a show that has someone from Politico on the line all of the time.    Plus, after Politico, Gil has to get in those ridiculous dumb criminal stories.  Now add to that dumb teachers.  Brain fluff.  Then it’s back to read a news story, have someone from Politico tell us what we should think about it, and then Gil, with his guest still on the line, goes into great detail telling another story of his life in radio.  Then the guest laughs, many times just being polite.  Oh, isn’t Gil funny and relevant in this medium?

So it goes.  But, this Thursday was the low in the life of Gil Gross on the radio.  It was a low for Bay Area radio.  I think this is the beginning of the end.

This is how it started.  The show started with its usual Politico segment.  Afterwards, Gil wanted to call Sebastian Kunz to the microphone to talk to him about something.

I don’t mind.  I enjoy Sebastian Kunz.  I really missed his voice and on-air personality when he was on vacation last week.   Anyway, Sebastian was actually working, doing traffic in addition to news, and didn’t have time to sit in with Gil.

So, Gil humphs and tells the story how earlier in the day Sebastian was histrionic over some missing apples.

It was an odd thing for him to tell on the air.  Like a little home spat that made him chuckle.  Not the kind of thing listeners in the Bay Area need to know about or even care.

But Gil didn’t let it go.  He soon brought Sebastian on-air to tell the story how he, Sebastian, saw apples in the station lunch area and why he didn’t eat one at the time and that when he came back all of the apples were gone.

Okay.

So now all of San Francisco has the news about the missing apples.  Now, can we get on with a show?

No.

This is the part that annoys me.

When Gil is supposed to be doing his show, he thinks it’s cute to run to Safeway and call in to the show, yes, the same show he doesn’t let any listeners call in to, and he has Sebastian take his call on-air.  What is Gil doing during his own program?  He’s at the local Safeway buying apples for Sebastian.  And, he thinks it’s so darn cute that he’s doing it during a segment he’s supposed to be in-studio.  Gil asks Sebastian what kind of apples he wants and names different varieties until Sebastian chooses one or two.  Then, we listeners, get to stand in line with Gil as he waits to pay for the apples.

And, that, my friends, is the state of radio in this major market.  Standing in line waiting to checkout.

I just might get in line and checkout of Gil’s show.

Photo by David Shankbone CCA-SA 3.0

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When Bernie Ward gets out of the big house, and begins podcasting or broadcasting somewhere, this blogger guy should be his first guest or first caller.  I read this blogger every so often and it’s always a fun ride.  Sure, its bumpy at times, but that’s half the fun.

http://open.salon.com/blog/james_emm/2013/07/05/what_in_gods_name_are_these_popes_up_to_now

Here’s what Bernie’s been thinking lately:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 – Slippery When Wet… (about privacy and the Patriot Act)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2013/06/slippery-when-wet.html

Saturday, June 15, 2013 – Hero or Villain? (yep, you guessed it, it’s about Edward Snowden)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2013/06/hero-or-villain.html

Thursday, June 20, 2013 –  Baaaa Humbug! (about national security policy)

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2013/06/baaaa-humbug.html

Don’t forget about Len Tillem on Spreaker:

http://www.spreaker.com/user/lentillem

Ed Baxter filled in for Frosty on Thursday, July 4th.  I haven’t listened to these yet, but I’m hoping he allowed callers on his show:

Hour 1:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=frosty&selected_podcast=07.04.13_910_AM_12-00_1372970213_13076.mp3

Hour 2:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=frosty&selected_podcast=07.04.13_910_AM_13-00_1372973468_12760.mp3

Hour 3:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=frosty&selected_podcast=07.04.13_910_AM_14-00_1372976157_21799.mp3

Don’t forget to visit Ed Baxter’s ‘Making Sense’ podcasts page posted on his edbaxtermedia website:

http://edbaxtermedia.com/category/podcasts/

And, John Rothmann filled in for Gil Gross on Thursday, July 4th.  Again, it would be so nice to hear callers!  I’ll listen to these later today hopeful to hear some:

Thursday, July 4, 2013 Hour 1:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=gil_gross&selected_podcast=Gil_Gross_7-4-13_Hr1_1372980508_11855.mp3

Hour 2:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=gil_gross&selected_podcast=Gil_Gross_7-4-13_Hr2_1372983694_18404.mp3

Hour 3:

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=gil_gross&selected_podcast=Gil_Gross_7-4-13_Hr3_1372986599_22442.mp3

Hour 4: (Special Program Note – he begins the hour with Gene Burns’ reading of the Declaration of Independence)

http://www.talk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=gil_gross&selected_podcast=Gil_Gross_7-4-13_Hr4_1372992983_944.mp3

Be sure to visit John Rothmann’s ‘Around the Political World with John Rothmann’ website as well:

http://johnrothmann.com/

Now that you have some reading and listening material, enjoy the long weekend!