Posts Tagged ‘FCC’

I haven’t had time lately to post anything new, but I’ve seen some of the news about ratings and debt and layoffs in the broadcast industry.  It’s a bleak outlook for the coming year.

I’d planned to write an upbeat article about the decline of Cumulus Media, how it’s not meeting earning projections and how ratings for their top ten stations are stagnating below expectations.  Yeah, like we didn’t see that coming.  I even laughed when I read that the Dick-eys at Cumulus continue to blame Rush Limbaugh for their financial woes.  Just the other day, I nearly had to smother a loud whoopie! when I saw Moody’s Investor’s Services had downgraded Cumulus to negative.  What a wonderful Christmas present.

Cumulus has been doing their December thing, laying people off.  I’ve read about many markets going through what we had to endure a year ago at the old KGO.  I want to connect with these groups of people and maybe we can come up with a plan to make sure Cumulus Media cannot make it in any market.  There is power in numbers.  I was ready to write an impassioned piece about how we need to unite and figure out how to fight this.  Tag every social media comment or post with a message about what Cumulus is doing to the radio industry.  Let people know we need to do something, now.

Then, I saw it.  The news reports about what Clear Channel has been doing.  All year long, they’ve been laying people off in small numbers.  Trying to stay under the radar of bad news.  Here’s one blog that mentions it:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/19/no-word-yet-on-whether-or-not-they-were-told-to-build-a-stage/

And, here’s an October NYTimes article about it:

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/clear-channel-cuts-d-j-s-across-the-country/

I’ve seen the news about Clear Channel’s losses and how it will impact their budget decisions in all markets.  Just today, it was reported Clear Channel laid off more staff.

Here’s one report:

http://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/79889/clear-channel-cuts-some-more/

Now I’m wondering,  should we be panicking?

I did panic today when I turned on KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM to listen to Len Tillem’s show.  The caller had a problem with a restaurant owner who might have had someone slash the caller’s car tires.  It was the same call I’d heard yesterday, same guy, same problem.  I thought, wait a minute, why am I hearing this again?

It didn’t help that it’s early December and around this time last year many of us listened to old shows of our favorite KGO hosts without knowing why.  So, you can’t blame me for panicking.  Finally, in the midst of my Google search for Clear Channel layoff information, Len mentioned that he’d talked to the caller yesterday.  Whew!  Hey Len, my man, don’t frighten me like that!

I had visions of having to rely on that media blogger for news of our favorite hosts.  That blogger guy has been a disappointment.  I’ve shared some of the reasons why in other articles.  He’s started his own show somewhere.  I don’t think it’s going well.  In the past when I tried to listen to him on-air, he was amateurish at best.  Then, this week, all in one day, dozens of glowing reviews showed up on his blog.  All in a similar voice.  hmmmm…  doesn’t pass the smell test.

So, please, Len and Gil and John, stay on the air and we will all have to find a way to keep you there.  Don’t send us back to blogger land and those inane posts about who do you think is the hottest weather girl.

That same guy wrote a tattler-like piece about Dana King.  An over-the-top pronouncement about King’s career.  Who knows if there is any truth in it?  That guy has claimed many things before that have never happened.  He’s not reliable.

Then we have someone like Gil Gross on KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM interviewing Dana King today on his show and it was a class act all of the way.  Gil showed interest, compassion, and respect for someone going through a big change in her life.  Gil really cared about what was happening in her life and she talked about what it was like saying goodbye to a place where she’d spent the last 25 or so years.

I will post the link when it’s up.  It was in Gil’s first hour today.  (and I’ll clean up this post, I put this together in a bit of a rush tonight)

It’s great to have Gil on-air locally, someone who can have a real conversation with a local celebrity, Dana King.  We don’t get a syndicated, canned broadcast interview of some hyped-up star of-the-day.

Should we be panicking that at this time next year that will be exactly what will be waiting for us next Christmas at Clear Channel?

Not if we think about what we can do about it now.  Save local radio.

This may be a bit wonky for most, but I found this interesting Broadcast Law blog maintained by David Oxenford.  In it, he addresses legal issues in broadcast.  I’ve been searching for material that will help explain how we got into this current broadcast mess as well as any insight on how to fight back against Cumulus Media, the mega-corporation that has been destroying local broadcast environments.

I’m not suggesting that Oxenford’s blog speaks to these issues, but it provides well-written, informative legal aspects of broadcast law.  Some if it might be interesting to those who want to know what to do about a company such as Cumulus and the Dick-eys who run it.

Here’s a link to the blog:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/

This is David Oxenford’s bio:

http://www.wbklaw.com/Our_Team/David_Oxenford

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And, here’s a sampling of some of the content found there:

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This is a link to all of the topics covered under the keywords AM Radio:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/articles/am-radio/

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This is one of those articles:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2012/10/articles/am-radio/fcc-commissioner-proposes-review-of-the-am-band-to-make-it-more-competitive-what-can-be-done/

I found this interesting tidbit in the article:

“One proposal for AM improvement was not discussed – a proposal to use TV channels 5 and 6 as a way to re-invent the AM band – moving all AM stations to what is in essence the FM band (as TV channels 5 and 6 are adjacent to the FM band), allow them to operate digitally, and avoid the many interference issues inherent in the current AM band. This proposal has already been advanced by the FCC, comments have been received, and they could be acted on tomorrow (see our previous articles on the subject here and here). This proposal is complicated by the FCC’s incentive auction proposal and the concern that these channels might be needed for TV stations reallocated out of the UHF band. So it appears that this proposal is, at least for the time being, on hold.”

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Another article:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2012/11/articles/fcc-fines/fcc-inspection-issues-for-broadcasters-auxiliary-licenses-chief-operator-designations-and-tower-issues/

“Since the KAB Convention, I’ve noted that many stations and their representatives have been receiving emails from an engineer in California identifying himself as a “frequency coordinator.” These letters identify perceived issues with auxiliary stations at many stations around the country. Take these letters seriously. They are from a group of private-industry engineers who have come together to work on broadcast auxiliary and other engineering issues.”

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Here’s some important information:

http://www.dwt.com/advisories/Preparing_for_Radio_Station_FCC_License_Renewals_03_23_2011/

“At its simplest, the license renewal application allows the FCC and the public to review the station’s conduct in the previous license term and to assess the licensee’s continuing qualifications to remain an FCC licensee. The crux of the license renewal inquiry is whether the station has complied with the Commission’s laws and served the public interest during the previous license term. Accordingly, the renewal process invites the public, competitors, public interest groups, and the government to sift through all aspects of the station’s operations during the past eight years. Based on the Form 303-S and related documents filed by the licensee, as well as any comments, petitions, or objections raised by interested parties, the FCC will then decide whether or not an extension of the license is warranted. Broadcasters need to review all aspects of their operations and prepare for the license renewal process in advance, approaching it with the seriousness it demands.”

I found the link to it in this article:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2012/01/articles/am-radio/broadcast-station-reminders-license-renewals-pre-and-postfiling-announcements-eeo-public-file-reports-and-noncommercial-ownership-reports-due-for-select-states/

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This deals with TV:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2012/08/articles/television/questions-and-answers-about-the-tv-online-public-inspection-file/

Where Do You Go To Get Access to the Online File?

“Station access is available at https://stationaccess.fcc.gov/. The public gains access to the various station files by going here: https://stations.fcc.gov/

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And, finally, another one that emphasizes the importance of free, local radio access to the general public:

http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2012/11/articles/emergency-communications/broadcasters-giving-back-thoughts-on-sandy-public-service-and-communications-charitable-contributions/

“Being on the ground at the NJ shore for a few days, without electricity other than what was provided by a small gas-powered generator, demonstrated to me the power and importance of portable media – including radio. Throughout my weekend at the shore, we could get news and entertainment from a battery-powered radio and the radio in our car. Together with tidbits of news from Facebook posts, a local list-serve and the few other sites that we could get on our mobile phones (for as long as the phones stayed charged) in an area where the mobile networks were often slow due to the high demand for wireless service as the storm had ruined many landline connections  – these were our links to the outside world. Radio kept going, providing updates of all that was going on in the area. One local radio station was particularly noteworthy, as it was operating even though it did not have operating phones or email access. Yet it continued to broadcast, conveying information as to how people could help each other. That information was collected from people posting on the station’s Twitter feed. The station truly showed how convergence of electronic and broadcast media can really work well together.”

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Imagine having to go through a local disaster and having only syndicated shows of Rush and Geraldo and Huckabee on our radio airwaves.  A chilling thought, indeed.

This is a possibility in a Cumulus world.  Turn off their world.  Do NOT listen to Cumulus Media radio stations.  Do NOT give them a future.  Think about the future of your community and how you can fight back by NOT listening to them.

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To end on a lighter note, did anyone hear the story on Gil Gross’ show about the woman who was turned away at the polls because she was wearing an MIT t-shirt?  Love it.  Gil has the best stories and he’s not on a crappy Cumulus station.  Listen to KKSF-Newstalk 910-AM from 3:oopm for the Len Tillem show and from 4:00-7:00pm for Gil Gross.  Do something good for the community and listen to our local talent.

Here’s the link:

http://www.newstalk910.com/main.html

Len Tillem – the loyah’s show:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=tillem

The Gil Gross Show:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=gil_gross

And, don’t forget about John Rothmann’s highlights in ‘Around the Political World’:

http://www.newstalk910.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=rothmann

A new Moyers & Company broadcast is now airing on PBS channels.  It’s an interesting subject about the increased wealth of super-rich, with guests, Matt Taibbi, of the Rolling Stone and Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

This quote by Matt Taibbi is excerpted on Moyers & Company website showcasing the program:

“We have this community of rich people who genuinely believe that they are the wealth creators and they should get every advantage and break,” Taibbi tells Bill. “Whereas everybody else is a parasite and they’re living off of them”

Here’s a link to the program:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/matt-taibbi-and-chrystia-freeland-on-the-one-percents-power-and-privileges/

I am startled by the information that companies are now forcing employees to work unpaid hours supporting the boss’s political candidate.  Unfortunately, it’s not included on the website video but the program I saw on PBS aired it at the end of the interview with Taibbi and Freeland.  Here is a link to that information found on Moyers & Company website:

http://billmoyers.com/2012/10/19/plutocrats-want-to-own-your-vote/

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The plutocrats know it and love it — and the rest of us should be forewarned: When the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, liberating plutocrats to buy our elections fair and square, the justices may have effectively overturned rules that kept bosses from ordering employees to do political work on company time. Election law expert Trevor Potter told us that now “corporations argue that it is a constitutionally protected use of corporate ‘resources’ to order employees to do political work or attend campaign events — even if the employee opposes the candidate, or is threatened with being fired for failure to do what the corporation asks!”

This is chilling stuff, people.  We need to wake up and do something about it before it’s too late.

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We can’t let them clip our wings.

Illustration by Melamed Katz, CC-SA-3.0

I enjoy listening to PBS on Saturday morning, the political talk shows and some others, such as Bill Moyers’ show, Moyers & Company.  Today, his guest was Trevor Potter, the founder of Campaign Legal Center, and the discussion was campaign spending.

You can see the video here:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/trevor-potter-on-fighting-big-money-in-the-2012-election/

There is also a link on the page to the entire transcript.

This exchange caught my attention:

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“BILL MOYERS: I thought that’s where we were seeing the naïveté of a Supreme Court justice really out of touch with reality. When he said, “Okay, we’re going to give them the right to spend all this money, but shareholders in particular and citizens can go to the internet, get the information they want, and then hold them accountable if they’re not spending money for the company’s profit,” right?

TREVOR POTTER: Right. And of course, that’s interesting in itself, because it reveals the bias of that decision. He assumed the test was, are they spending the money in the way that most profits the company? And that’s very interesting if you think about it, because–

BILL MOYERS: How so?

TREVOR POTTER: Well, I mean, you go back to the founding of our country. And the founders’ view was that we would be citizens, and we would act in the interests of the country, in our greater interests. They didn’t think that everyone would go out and try to act solely in their own self-interest to better themselves if it was bad for the country.

These were people who had fought a war, who had left their families and their homes, clearly not in their self-interest. So to say that the right thing to do in a democracy is have a corporation spend money in ways that will give them the most profit, never mind what happens to anyone else or the best of the country. It is, I think, an example of why you don’t really want corporations participating directly in elections.

They have a very narrow interest. Which is supposed to be their shareholders. But we want voters and citizens to have a broader interest. To think about the next generation, to think about the greater good. There’s an interesting quote from the head of Exxon in a new book out on Exxon where he says, “Exxon is not a U.S. corporation, we do not act in the best interest of the United States.”

Well, it is a U.S. corporation, but what he meant is, they have shareholders all over the world, they have investments all over the world, and it’s not his job to do things that are good for America, it’s his job to do things that are good for his international shareholders.”

-taken from the transcript on billmoyers.com

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Although this interview focused on big money in elections, it ties in what I’ve been saying about Cumulus Media and how it’s affected our radio community.  Trevor Potter encapsulates it in these comments (from the transcript above):

“…that we would be citizens, and we would act in the interests of the country, in our greater interests. They didn’t think that everyone would go out and try to act solely in their own self-interest to better themselves if it was bad for the country.”

“So to say that the right thing to do in a democracy is have a corporation spend money in ways that will give them the most profit, never mind what happens to anyone else or the best of the country.”

They have a very narrow interest. Which is supposed to be their shareholders. But we want voters and citizens to have a broader interest. To think about the next generation, to think about the greater good.”

“…and it’s not his job to do things that are good for America, it’s his job to do things that are good for his international shareholders.””

Now, I know Cumulus Media is not the first company to do this but their corporate policies have adversely affected our local broadcast community this past year, the actions of Cumulus Media management show their complete disregard for the Bay Area listener base.  Instead, they focus on how much money they can squeeze out of a once vibrant broadcast environment and how little money they can spend in doing it, at the expense of our local employment force, paying little or nothing for local talent at the same time shoving inferior syndicated programming onto our airwaves and effectively cutting off any local discussion.  They expect us to hear only one viewpoint freely on the air – theirs.

Do we want to support this one-sided policy?  It’s like cheering for a dishonest reality show contestant to win the million dollars.  We sit on the couch, shake our heads, and shrug our shoulders with, ‘it’s just a game’.

Well, this is reality and Cumulus Media is grabbing millions while we sit on the couch and listen to their stations (for what it’s worth, I do not listen).  They are gaming the system that has allowed this to happen.  How can we change this?

As I’ve said before, many other cities have experienced the same broadcast annihilation of their favorite radio stations at the hands of Cumulus Media.  I wish there was a way to get everyone together to speak with one booming voice that will not accept this as our future.

Boomers are no longer babies, and we have to BOOM, baby, BOOM, in a big voice to fix this mess.

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.   -Doug Larson

Yeah, tell me about it.  Months have disappeared in Olympics coverage, longer work hours and learning how to create a game in JavaScript.

It’s unbelievable that we are approaching another December and it’s been nearly one year since the small Dick-eys over at Cumulus Media decided to enrich themselves at the expense of the Bay Area and beyond.  They’ve taken their hatchet job on the road and decimated many other markets, leaving radio listeners across the U.S. angered that not only can one company overtake media communications across entire communities, but that the FCC doesn’t even expend the effort to shrug its shoulders.

The Dick-eys are hoping that, with time, we will forget what they’ve done to our communities and hope that we radio listeners, out of habit and out of lack of alternatives, will continue to turn on their radio stations so the Dick-eys can increase profits with lesser talent and an inferior product.

I haven’t forgotten.  It’s why I take the time to remind others what Cumulus Media has done to our market.  I’ve read about scores of other markets affected as well.  Blogs and forums and comments by listeners who’ve lost their favorite radio personalities in the same brutal way we lost ours, no surprise they are all Cumulus Media stations.  One day beloved talent is on the air, and the next day listeners are left with recycled air out of a can.  There is no outlet to discuss or question the change.  The remaining staff at the stations are expected to carry on as though nothing has happened and any reference to it by listeners through social media is banned or deleted from the affected stations’ online presence.  Is this any way to run a business?  Well, I guess it is if you want to run it into the ground.

Want to see for yourself how well it’s going for the Dick-eys?  Look at the ratings and comments of their own employees, not exactly raving reviews.  Without those employees there wouldn’t be a radio station to run into the ground.  Some say, at least it’s a job.  But that job is destroying any future job in the industry.  That job is paying almost minimum wage while the Dick-eys ask for huge bonuses from the stockholders.  Is that a future for any community?  Think about it.

Read the reviews:

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Cumulus-Media-Reviews-E7959.htm

Also, ratings for Cumulus Media stations are dropping.  Oh, there are some bumps in Quarterly reports but it’s bumping around in the low rankings and not about to bubble back to the top.

Some financial reports show a small percentage of increase in Cumulus stock.  Some even recommend buying that pile of stink coming out of Atlanta.  I’m no expert, but isn’t that increase coming at the expense of our communities’ local media being stripped down to nothing and sold  to the highest bidder?  Again, enriching only the Dick-eys and not the communities they are supposed to represent and serve.

To those who still listen to Cumulus Media, you are blindly contributing to the loss of your community’s voice and living-wage jobs and dumping all of the pay raises and bonuses into the pockets of greedy media conglomerate executives.  Is that money well spent?  Is that thoughtful use of your time?  It’s time to think about the effect of our choices.  If not now, when?

In my next post, I’ll be adding links to recent posts on Gene Burns’ blog at KKSF-Newstalk 910AM and to more articles by Bernie Ward at his blog.

See you next time…

Hey, Bay Area.  We have company!

Here’s some interesting weekend reading at Glass Door.

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Cumulus-Media-Reviews-E7959.htm

Here’s a snippet of what’s to come:

“Cons

Corporate management strips employees to the bare minimum and overworks everyone remaining, micromanages everything, shows no faith in their employees, does not inform anyone of anything until the moment that they expect the work to be done as if there is no other work that anyone does besides what they want, they consider “shareholder value” to be the one and only guiding principle for their business so benefits are laughable and they show little to no respect for the people that are foolish enough to stay there and make them their fortune. It goes on and on, but you get the idea.

Advice to Senior Management

Your management style reveals your utter lack of connection to humans other than yourself. You are not worthy of constructive criticism and I await the day that your narcissistic world view completely depletes your companies of any talent they ever had, so you manage the robots you think you bought. Ultimately, you will fail, and people of talent and skill that know how you operate will appear in greater and greater numbers at your competitors. If you doubt me, just look at your stock price. Are you still listed? Good riddance.”

ha ha.  Looks like we are not the only market that hates Cumulus Media.  Maybe we should all get together and really get something done about it.

Why not take some time to relax and listen to some recent podcasts of your favorite former KGO hosts and, for those who dare, read the recent posts from felonious Bernie Ward.

A few weeks ago, both John Rothmann and Gil Gross presented shows on the Titanic.

Gil Gross starts it out on Thursday, April 12, 2012, in his first hour filling in for Gene Burns.  In the middle of the hour, Gil discusses the events of the Titanic tragedy with author Tim Malting, who wrote a book on the subject, ‘A Very Deceiving Night’, and he discusses his theories on why the Titanic continues to interest people, 100 years later, and why it’s possible the captain and crew of the Titanic failed to see that fatal iceberg.

You can hear this in the April 12, 2012 podcast, under Gene Burns programs, Hour 1 and the Titanic dialogue begins at 15:31 into the podcast.  Be sure to listen to the end of podcast and, after a small bit about North Korea, hear Gil’s story dispelling the myth of a Marconi radio operator’s claim, David Sarnoff, to that historical Titanic moment.

Here’s the link:

http://www.newstalk910.com/player/?station=KKSF-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=burns.xml&mid=21994419

John Rothmann’s show, Monday, April 16, 2012, Hour 1 opens with a short audio clip of an eyewitness’ account of surviving the Titanic.

http://www.newstalk910.com/player/?station=KKSF-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=burns.xml&mid=22003237

I’ve also been listening to Bill Wattenburg on that strange Santa Cruz station, KSCO-AM, for only the hours Wattenburg’s show airs from 12Noon-2:00pm, Monday through Wednesday.  He had to deal with several prank callers, one who, I think, is the same weirdo who called Ronn Owens’ show a few times, according to what I was able to read on the Facebook page of FormerKGOListeners.  I really don’t read that site any longer since Facebook changed their user interface and I can’t see half of the discussions without an account.  So, I don’t even bother any longer.  Anyway, some guy called Wattenburg’s show awhile back and started out with some strange questions.  Once Bill started questioning the authenticity of the call, the idiot shouted the word penis repeatedly, until some inattentive board op finally cut the call.  Shortly afterwards, maybe a day or two later, another creep called and made some strange, sexual references on air.

But Bill handled it well – when his show started on Monday, the following week, Bill reminded his callers that people are under the illusion they are anonymous, but they forget that in this tech age calls can be tracked directly to their number and, especially in cases of abuse of the public airwaves, even the FCC can get involved.  So he gently suggested that those callers should carry around a toothbrush and fresh change of underwear because where they are going they just might need them.

Haven’t heard any prank calls after that.

Not the case with our favorite loy’ah, Len Tillem.  He’s had a few prank callers on, but he laughs it off and goes on with the show.  I wish I would have written down the date of the first prank on Len.  I went through his podcasts from April 16 back to March 15th and can’t find the audio on this call so maybe they didn’t include it on the podcast because it’s an obvious fake call.  It was pretty funny though, because Len was so excited about the call until he realized it was all made up.  Some guy called to say he was picked up for jaywalking and that he was in the jail at the moment and they were going to strip search him so he called Len to find out if they could do that do him.  Anyone hear this call?  It was pretty funny.

The other call that I’m not sure if it was a prank was called in to Len on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.  The caller identified himself as Dave from Newark and he was calling over an supposed incident that happened to him at Burger King while he was in costume.  Anyone else hear this one?  Do you think it’s a prank?

Here’s the podcast for it.  The call begins around 25:12 into the program.

http://www.newstalk910.com/player/?station=KKSF-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=tillem.xml&mid=22007098

That call is a real bacon shaker!  Let me know what you think.

Len Tillem has a new number for his show.  It’s 866-LEN-1000, or 866-536-1000.  Call him and tell him your stories when you need a loy’ah!

Finally, Bernie Ward has some new posts on his blog.  I haven’t read them yet but here are the links:

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012 – talks about deregulation:

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-do-we-keep-on-shooting-off-our-toes.html

And, this one also posted on April 26th about government taxes and budgets:

http://lionoftheleft.blogspot.com/2012/04/clear-choice.html

Well, that should be enough reading and listening for you this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

And, remember, do NOT give Cumulus Media ANY hits on any of their radio stations.  We should research who their shareholders are and campaign for them NOT to approve any executive pay raises.  They have a real Dick running the show.  Maybe he was the one yelling out his name to Wattenburg that day.  ha ha…

Say it ain’t so!

Does everyone with that name have to live up to it?

What the heck am I talking about?  I haven’t read many articles about Dick Clark since his death earlier this week, but I imagine there are many people reminiscing about the role he played in their youth and fond stories about all of the good he has done for the music industry.  That’s why the one article I did read about him surprised me.

It’s written by Roger Fallihee and posted at Open Salon, a site for bloggers.

http://open.salon.com/blog/rogerf1953/2012/04/18/dick_clark_rip_or_rot_in_hell

Fallihee even leaves his own comment about it after posting:

“I think that Clark’s cable tv business model was to build up the cash flow, stiff the vendors, take the company into bankruptcy, and eventually (in this case) sell it to Time Warner. Time Warner bought the assets but not the liabilities. I was out of business before all of that happened but I heard from another friend who got stiffed that he ended up getting about 5-10 cents on the dollar.”

Not only is it an unusual take on America’s former oldest teenager, but the history of what Dick did and how it affected Roger Fallihee’s life has the faint odor of Cumulus Media on it and the way they do business today.

Sound a bit familiar? I don’t know about stiffing the vendors, but they, Cumulus, think they can throw away the long careers of local hosts and support staff so the Dicks in Atlanta can turn a larger profit.  That money will be used to buy more broadcast outlets and pay for syndicated hosts.  Don’t forget all the money they’ll pocket as bonuses for running local business and personalities into the ground.  It’s been rumored that all Cumulus wants to do, anyway, is file bankruptcy to get out of their contractual obligations and start fresh with their equity holdings intact.  Just in time to rake in the big payload of the upcoming presidential election.  But, I wonder about that theory about making money off the election.  Berkeley Guy shared his report of KGO numbers down by 52%  based on Arbitron monthlys PPM 6+ M-SU 6am-12M from October 2011 through February 2012.

That has to cut into the amount they can charge for advertising, but even advertising rates are no longer based on an individual station.  Cumulus can now offer a national advertising network buy based on their 200+ stations in over 25 markets.  They don’t care about a single local station, with little thought about how it’s untimely demise can affect a local community.  All they want is the profit.

Maybe we need to get Cumulus shareholders on board to reject any million dollar compensation pay-offs to executive management.  Rethink this ‘make money at all costs’ corporate philosophy and think about doing some good in communities again and helping those in need.

Also, I saw that the numbers came out for March and KGO-AM, although still low, increased slightly to 2.9 (their same rating percentage as in January 2012).  I guess we need another reminder: Do NOT listen to that station people!  Do not give them any quarter-hour statistics, overall cume or clicks.  Who knows where those PPMs are nowadays.  Don’t give Cumulus any hits, online or otherwise, that can factor into a rise in their numbers.

By the way, KKSF-Newstalk AM AQH went up in March to 1.3 – so at least our former KGO hosts are moving their numbers in the right direction.  It shows a steady rise since January.

Here are the numbers, courtesy of radio-info.com:

http://www.radio-info.com/markets/san-francisco

Here is an Arbitron guide to using those numbers:

http://www.arbitron.com/downloads/guide_to_using_ppm_data.pdf

Here’s another source for the same thing:

http://americaninteractivemarketing.com/understanding-radio-ratings

Also, did you notice on the ratings recap page the note about Arbitron’s new reporting method?  Here it is again, just in case you missed it: Beginning March 2012, Arbitron only releases ratings for subscribing stations.  It has to be a hard market for media buyers these days, how to figure out all of these incomplete markets and costs associated with them.

I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had a chance to post much but I’ve noted a few things that I have yet to write up.  It will have to wait until later when I have more time.

Here’s some teasers:

The Titanic coverage on Gill Gross and John Rothmann’s fill-in shows.

Gil Gross’ stories about Dick Clark.

Len Tillem’s new number and two callers that may have been phoney-baloney.

Hopefully. I’ll get to these before the new month starts.  So much to do, so little time…

Bill Moyers wants the public to take action against broadcasters who use the airwaves to profit off of political campaign money with little or no respect to the public interest (Moyers states up to 3 billion will be spent in this election cycle).

What raised Moyers’ eyebrows this time was an overall rejection by broadcasters of a recent FCC proposal that stations post online the sources of political ads – the names of organizations paying for them.  In addition,  a bill was recently passed in the House that Moyers claims could further cripple the FCC’s power to fight on behalf of the public,  The FCC Process Reform Act.

In a call-to-action to the public,  Moyers encourages ‘crowd-sourcing’ as a way to combat the power of broadcasters, and, “…to collect the data democracy needs to work”.

Here’s Bill Moyers’ video essay:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/bill-moyers-essay-who-pays-for-political-ads/

Here’s an arstechnica.com article about the FCC Process Reform Act:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/house-votes-to-limit-fccs-power-to-make-rules-set-conditions-on-mergers.ars

Bill Moyers’ article about how to help:

http://billmoyers.com/2012/03/21/diy-making-campaign-ads-more-transparent/

Here’s an excerpt:

“Hey, you can help: Go to your local station, ask for the data and start posting it yourself. And all you professors of journalism — how about enlisting your students to be their own FOIA sleuths? The nonprofit newsroom ProPublica is encouraging students to go to their local stations, xerox the documents and post them online. (These are the documents that tell us who’s buying ads — the very data that the stations have claimed are too difficult and costly to post online.) And give your students classroom credit for putting your mentoring to work.

Want to learn more? Read “If TV Stations Won’t Post Their Data Online, We Will” on the ProPublica website.

Keep fighting, people. It’s the only way.”

And this is an interesting transcript of a 2003 interview Moyers had on his NOW program with FCC commissioner Michael Copps about media company control:

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_copps.html

And, here’s his blog on Huffington Post about campaign ad transparency:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-moyers/the-enemies-of-campaign-a_b_1370928.html

I can only repeat Moyers’ words: Keep fighting, people.  It’s the only way.

Photo by Sergio Calleja

Former FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, talked recently to Democracy Now! news program journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

According to Juan Gonzalez, those in support of reforming the Telecommunication Act of 1996 ( http://transition.fcc.gov/telecom.html ) consider Copps to have been the most progressive Commissioner in the history of the agency.

Michael Copps advocates public interest guidelines for regulating old and new media as one telecommunications group and forging the path of new media, including internet and wireless, to comply with an open policy of accessible media to everyone.

Copps shares his concern with the media world today:

“I’m extremely worried about the future of our media, because I think it impinges so directly on the future of our democracy and the future of self-government. And I think, between the private sector and the public sector, we have wreaked untold havoc on the media environment, and I hope we can have an opportunity to talk about that this morning.”

He believes the challenge of the 21st Century is to make broadband available to everyone:

“But if we’re going to have this broadband technology and have the internet available to everybody, it has to be open to everybody. It has to be accessible to everybody. It can’t be run by gatekeepers and toll booth operators. It has to serve the purposes of us all. I would like to have gone farther than the Commission has gone so far, but at least it made a start.”

He notes that in the past, public and private sectors worked together to build infrastructure, with a national goal in mind.

“And then we got off on this tangent, beginning in the ’80s, that the market would solve all of these problems. You didn’t need government, you didn’t need a vision. So, we went from being first or second in broadband in 2001, when I joined the Federal Communications Commission, to now 15th, 20th, 24th.”

“People need to understand how important this is. I am a strong proponent that one of our national priorities needs to be digital or media or news literacy, call it whatever you want, educating all of us, particularly the young children. I’d like to see a K-through-12 digital literacy, media literacy program, where you teach folks not only how to use this stuff for their own advancement, but also what to look out for and what to trust and what’s a trustworthy news site, what’s a reliable one, what’s news, what’s opinion, what’s fact, what’s rumor. So, media literacy is high on the list of our national needs, so people can really understand how important this is.”

Read the full, in-depth interview here (there is a video option as well):

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/1/12/ex_fcc_commissioner_michael_copps_on

In the article, you will read the context of these Michael Copps excerpts:

“But we’re still diddling around with those rules here, almost 10 years later. We haven’t tightened the rules. We haven’t done anything about media consolidation. And the situation gets worse and worse, and the consolidation goes on and on. And so people say, “Oh, well, it’s all over with.” Not so. We had NBCU-Comcast earlier this year, Sinclair buying up a bunch of stations, Cumulus and Citadel. And I think when the economy turns a little bit, you’re going to see a lot more of this consolidation. And every time you consolidate, you lose a local voice, you lose an element of localism, you lose coverage of the—of a community’s ethnic diversity and its cultural diversity. And it’s bad for America.”

“And goodness knows, we face some of the most awesome challenges right now in terms of our economy coming back, our global competitiveness being able to return, creating opportunity, health—you know, the whole list. But all of those issues are going to depend upon decisions made by the people, and those have to be fact-based. And you can’t have a situation where we’re saying, “Well, yeah, it’s too bad what happened to newspapers and broadcast, but the new media is going to fix that,” because we don’t have a model there for that.”

“I guess maybe the first thing we need to do is just stop thinking about old media and new media and just think about: we have a media environment right now in front of us. Part of it’s traditional, but it’s all one thing. This is how we inform ourselves. This is our information infrastructure. What are we going to do about it now? We can’t sit around and wait. We can’t watch journalism hemorrhage. We can’t watch investigative journalism go down the tubes. So this has to become really a national priority.”

“There are things we can do right now, that the FCC could do tomorrow morning. For instance, in the world of broadcasting, you know, we used to have some guidelines, public interest guidelines, that we would look at when a broadcaster came in to renew his or her license every three years. Well, all of that’s gone now, beginning in 1980. …They got rid of all the public interest guidelines. The license period went from three to eight years. Now you send in a postcard, and basically, no questions asked, you get it back. I’m not saying that having some public interest guidelines is going to solve our media problem, but it would be a down payment. And it would have immediate effects in broadcast. It would have some spillover effects in newspapers, because so many newspapers and broadcast stations are owned together. And it would get—it would get a dialogue going and confront this problem of what is the public interest on the internet.”

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What can I say?  To put this all in perspective – take a look at this:

You’ve all heard the expression, hindsight is always 20/20, well, let’s take a peek at old news, the philosophy of our now, newly-embraced, new Talk Radio home, Clear Channel.  It makes one pause to consider our options in radio today.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2003/01/27/daily29.html?page=all