Archive for Overmodulation

It’s not even Scottish

The nation is awash in sports radio stations with silly names. In this market alone, we have to deal with the Sports Animal, the Ref, the Game, the Franchise, and the Pro. I assure you, this sort of naming is not required:

There are lots of sports stations called The Fan, The Ticket, The Score, and tons of those ESPN stations, but there’s only one station that’s Talking Sports KRAP 24 hours a day. It’s Sports KRAP.

Yeah, we know what you’re saying. “Dude, is this for real? A radio station named KRAP? You’re probably some internet-only station broadcasting from the basement of some guy’s Mom’s house.”

No, we’re for real. We’re an FCC licensed radio station broadcasting at 1350 Kilohertz pounding out a whopping 500,000 milliwatts. But we do realize that we’re KRAP. In fact, our transmitter is KRAP. Our signal is KRAP. Our studios are KRAP. Even our staff is KRAP.

KRAP is in Washington, Missouri, the Corncob Pipe Capital of the World, about halfway between St. Louis and Jefferson City. Those 500 watts (yes, we do the math around here) reach to within about ten miles of each, suggesting that the FCC knew what it was doing when it approved this facility. (At night, they drop to 84 watts, which barely gets out of town.)

Station owner Brad Hildebrand speaks:

Hildebrand tells the Post-Dispatch that it’s a set of call letters he’s wanted since he was 12 years old. But to get KRAP he first needed to wait until the call sign was released from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “When I tell people my call letters are KRAP, nobody forgets that,” he says.

Twelve. Yeah. Sounds about right. (He’s pushing 60 now.)

Comments (7)




Sports shortage alleviated

RadioInsight reports on recent sales:

Fred & Evelyn Morton sell 96.5 K243BJ Oklahoma City to Tyler Media for $100. The translator is currently operated by Tyler as CHR “Now 96.5″ rebroadcasting 107.7 KRXO-HD2, however the application states Sports “The Franchise 2″ 1560 KEBC Del City will be the originating station.

Because, you know, there just aren’t enough spots on the dial where you can get sports in this town.

The Now 96.5 programming seems to have landed on K225BN, at 92.9, where it will at least have 200 watts to play with instead of 120. It won’t be interfering with KBEZ Tulsa, also on 92.9, though it’s going to be a mess where fringe-reception areas meet.

Comments (4)




Texoma bailing

There are exactly two commercial radio stations in Durant, Oklahoma, population 17,000 or so, and they and a nearby sister are changing hands:

Texoma Broadcasting sells AC “B99.7″ KBBC-FM Tishomingo, Country 106.3 KLBC Durant, and Oldies 750 KSEO/94.1 K231CE Durant, OK to Mid-Continental Communications for $2.45 million.

On the one hand, that’s a fair chunk of change for two FMs and an AM daytimer with a low-power FM translator outside any major metropolitan area. Then again, the buyer, Kinion E. Whittington, is a gynecologist in private practice in Durant, which suggests to me that he’s probably going to be keeping those stations right where they are, rather than apply for relicensing to somewhere across the Red River and then moving into north Dallas, as I might have expected.

As long as I’m mentioning Durant radio, I probably should bring up KSSU Power92FM, actually at 91.9, operated by, and presumably for, students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Their Web page is, to be charitable, a work in progress.

Comments (6)




Where the girl singers are

Duane Doobie of RadioInfo, on the present-day It Girl:

I think Taylor Swift is a lovely and talented young woman who makes appealing pop music in the long tradition of a seemingly endless string of similar artists that goes all the way back to the silly-but-effective teenage love songs that triggered the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll. She is every bit as good as Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, Helen Reddy and Olivia Newton-John in their heydays. Well, maybe.

Minor differences: Swift, until recently, wrote or co-wrote almost all of her own stuff: Gore had the peerless Quincy Jones producing her; Francis covered a much wider range of material, though I suspect this was her record company (MGM) throwing everything against the wall in the hopes of seeing something stick; weirdly, Newton-John was informed of her big break — her role in Grease — while at a party at Reddy’s house.

However, there is no way that I believe she or so many of the other big pop artists of today are truly resonating with the zeitgeist of the millions of young people presently coming of age.

I don’t give a damn how many “spins” these artists are getting on the centrally-controlled robotic radio stations of America. These numbers do not necessarily represent an organic, street level, grassroots reality. And THAT’S what has ALWAYS determined REAL success in radio — resonating with what large masses of people are really feeling in their day-to-day existence and deep inside their souls and psyches.

Except that large masses of people aren’t tuning into the same things. Take a look at the summer ratings book. Stations with ten, even eight shares are few and far between; where I live, even a seven is practically unheard of.

Of course, this was the plan all along for the centrally-controlled robotic radio stations of America: surround and control, engulf and devour. Want to snatch 0.2 away from your two competitors in the market? Put something obscure, or at least somewhat less overplayed, on your HD channel that no one listens to anyway, and then simulcast it on a hundred-watt translator somewhere in the middle of the dial.

The usual excuse is that Gen Y has a short attention span and can’t deal with anything more complex than chirpy girl singers. It ain’t necessarily so:

If Millennials are so riddled with ADD and limited by shallow concentration — why have they triggered the phenomenon of binge watching on the television side of media things?

And if they are so dumb — as implied by every attempt at music and radio geared by corporate media in the past couple of decades to attract their attention — that it would be considered suicidal to serve them up helpings of meaningful stuff, how do you explain the fact that successful television shows that have earned their loyalty are, in fact, complex as hell? Shows with multiple story lines and long arches that unfold over multiple seasons!

When TV is smarter and hipper than radio, something is very wrong with the world.

Still, winning the hearts and minds of Gen Y is not going to return us to those wonderful days of Top 40: there are too many niches, and niches within niches, and they are never, ever getting back together. Like, ever.

Comments




Y? Because we have to

Oklahoma City lost its Radio Disney affiliate quite a while back. Now just about the entire radio network is going dark:

Disney has revealed plans to sell all but one of its remaining Radio Disney stations as it moves the brand to digital delivery. Broadcasting & Cable reports the stations will go dark around September 26 with the exception of 1110 KDIS Los Angeles, which will remain with the Disney brand.

The reason? Most listeners aren’t actually listening to those radio stations, but through other sources:

B&C’s report states that Disney’s internal research finds among Radio Disney listeners six years old and up, 37% of the their listeners listen via SiriusXM, 35% via desktop streaming, 31% via mobile streaming, and 18% via over-the-air broadcasts.

All the stations are on the AM band except WRDZ-FM Plainfield, Indiana.

Comments (1)




WISH for something new

Indianapolis’ WISH-TV, channel 8, is that market’s CBS affiliate — until the end of the year. Beginning in 2015, CBS will move to WTTV, channel 4, bumping WTTV’s current affiliation with the CW to a subchannel, leaving WISH-TV with, well, nothing actually.

Why would CBS do this?

SNL Kagan senior research analyst Justin Nielson notes that CBS’s new deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football may have prompted more aggressive affiliate renewal talks.

“Fox and CBS were the first ones to start extracting [reverse retrans] money, primarily because they are spending a lot of money on sports rights,” says Nielson. “Thursday Night Football is quite costly for CBS. They want to make sure they’re getting compensated for that.”

Fox’s affiliate in Indy is WXIN, channel 59, owned by Tribune Media, which also owns, um, WTTV. No other changes have been announced for Indianapolis television — yet.

Comments (2)




You’re listening to Carrousel

“They said they liked the ‘young’ sound,” sang Harry Chapin in WOLD, “when they let me go.” And Harry wasn’t even working in India:

India’s national public radio broadcaster appears to have sacked around 100 presenters for being over its new age limit of 35.

All India Radio says it had to bring in the new age rules because the station needed to “infuse freshness in presentation of programmes”. The Kolkata-based broadcaster initially set the cut-off at 30 years — but then raised it to 35. The measure was then put on hold by an employment tribunal until 8 August — but the journalists in question were dropped the day after the freeze expired, the Hindu daily reports.

There is, however, a faint ray of hope for these senile, wizened over-35s:

All India Radio has responded by saying it will allow presenters to stay on if they pass a test to prove they don’t sound “too mature and boring”, according [to] the Kolkata paper The Telegraph.

(Via WFMU.)

Comments (1)




The point being gotten to

Back in ought-seven, I did a brief writeup of something called Short Attention Span System Radio, which sought to compensate for listeners wandering away by cramming twice as much music into the same space. The results were curious:

I sampled some SASS, and I think I’d notice that they’d boiled down Manfred Mann’s take on Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light,” which runs around 7:05 in its LP incarnation and 3:48 as a single, to a startling 1:45 — but it would take probably half a minute for it to sink in, and by then they’re a third of the way through the next song.

Truly revved up like a douche, as the kids used to say. I imagined there might be a place for such a format, but I couldn’t imagine where.

The answer, it turns out, is Calgary:

Top 40 station 90.3 Amp Radio has started to cut off the songs played on air halfway through, allowing for twice the number of songs to be played each hour in a bid to cater to their listeners’ ever-shortening attention spans.

“We’ve got so much more choice, we’ve got less time (and) our attention spans are shorter,” Amp Radio’s Paul Kaye told CTV Calgary. “We are observing people with their iPods, playing their favourite songs and skipping them before the end because they get bored.”

The station used to play about 12 songs an hour, but the new “QuickHitz” format allows for 24 songs each hour by re-editing the tracks.

It was a lot easier to do 24 songs an hour, I submit, when (1) songs were barely over two minutes and (2) you didn’t have to sell 15 minutes of ad space.

Still, having created what I think is the definitive two-minute edit of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” which runs seventeen minutes if you don’t put your foot down, I’m probably the wrong person to complain about this.

Admittedly, I’ve gone the other direction as well. Once upon a time, after listening to the Gentrys’ 1965 version of “Keep On Dancing,” which came out of the studio running barely 90 seconds, prompting the producer to start the song over and run just enough of it to break the two-minute mark, I hacked up a 3:42 extended version in which I did the same thing the producer did, only twice. Amp Radio wouldn’t play it, of course, but at least they’d have an obvious place (or two) to edit it.

Comments (4)




Your weekly dose of Hinky

Hinky Dinky Time with Uncle Michael

And this is why you ought to know about it this week, in my semi-humble opinion:

At 9:00 AM (Eastern time) on Friday, July 18th, 2014, please join Uncle Michael in a six-hour odyssey celebrating the history of the Warner Brothers “Loss Leaders.”

Beginning in 1969, Warner Brothers began selling samplers of music by artists on Warner Brothers, Reprise and other, associated labels. These samplers were comprised of a diverse array of artists and styles and were generally presented as double albums which sold for $2. They advertised on the inner sleeves of normal catalog product, in magazine ads, in promotional flyers and at point of sale displays. If you’re of a certain age, these come-ons were ubiquitous.

Listing and classifying these albums has been a side project of this site since the late 20th century. Uncle Michael and I had a longish discussion on what is, and what may not be, a Loss Leader in this context; be it known that I fully support his selections for the playlist, because the guy knows as least as much as I do on the subject, and maybe more.

If you’re not within broadcast distance of the Oranges — WFMU is licensed to East Orange, New Jersey, and its transmitter is located in West Orange — the stream is pretty much always available at wfmu.org.

Update: A darn good show, it was. This was the playlist.

Comments off




Evidently not a fan

I normally don’t like to quote an entire article, but this is so short, and so lacking in obvious break points, that I’m just going to do it and urge you to read his Other Stuff:

So apparently Rosie O’Donnell is returning to The View.

This is going to be a big problem for me in the event that my coffin is placed upright in cement in front of a television set tuned to the only frequency remaining after a strange phenomenon wiped out the entire electromagnetic spectrum other than ABC’s signal and the off-switch was sealed with a gallon of Shelob’s webbing.

See what I mean?

Now go read, oh, let’s say this, from his Younger Days.

Comments (1)




Meatcam!

Arby’s has just wrapped up its first 13-hour commercial, which is intended to remind you that the brisket in their Brisket Sandwich is actually smoked in a proper smoker for exactly that length of time. It’s not, admittedly, particularly scintillating, unless you get off on watching meat:

In the dialogue-free commercial, a brisket is placed in a smoker that has been fitted with a glass window and internal light, and it cooks on the screen in one uncut shot. Finally, the brisket is removed from the smoker and Neville Craw, Arby’s corporate executive chef (only his arms and apron-clad torso are seen), slices off some and assembles the sandwich, which includes smoked Gouda cheese, crispy fried onions and barbecue sauce.

The live-TV airing on channel 6.2 in Duluth — Guinness insisted it be carried somewhere on actual television to qualify for Longest Commercial honors — will be followed by a Webcast at www.13hourbrisket.com on Wednesday, starting 8 am Central.

How this compares in excitement level to, say, the Yule-log broadcasts at Christmas, remains to be seen.

Comments off




Also available in HD

Which, often as not, stands for “Horrible Detail.” Did you ever notice that A&E, for instance, has very little E and nothing resembling A? This is how it happens:

Maybe there’s some kind of evolutionary arms-race thing in there: a channel starts out with high intentions, it’s going to show smart programming. But then, to get ad-revenue dollars, they find they have to get eyeballs. And by and large in our culture, the way to get eyeballs is either to have really good programming (which is hard to do and expensive, and often really good programming doesn’t capture audience) or to have something sensationalistic — either the aforementioned freak show, or a show with lots of people shouting at each other and barely-bleeped four-letter-words. And so, the channel goes, “Okay. We’ll put on a show following this particular subculture and see how it does. Maybe we can even claim it’s ‘educational,’ seeing as people mostly don’t know about this subculture…” and so on. And then they decide they need a show about tattoo artists. And one about the Amish. And one involving either a pawn shop or antiques pickers. And a weird medical show. And a cooking competition show. And a show about the supernatural. And slowly, this channel that once planned on being different becomes oh, so much the same as the others.

I thought we got cable to have diversity of programming?

As in most areas of the culture, “diversity” is primarily a numbers racket: if you have 106 channels, hey, it’s got to be diverse, right? In the cable context, “diversity” means that on each “topic” you have four largely indistinguishable channels, usually one owned by NBC Universal, one by Disney, one by Viacom, and one by Fox. Smaller players occasionally bob to the surface, but are quickly slapped back down. And since the bigger players control the largest number of eyeballs, they can enforce their will: if you want Obscure Disney Toons, you have to take at least three flavors of ESPN.

Fortunately, this is the sort of thing that can’t go on forever, and, as Herb Stein assures us, it won’t.

Comments (4)




Out there in the audio radiance

KCSC, the classical-music station at the University of Central Oklahoma, changed its call letters to KUCO a couple of weeks ago; I’m frankly surprised they’d stuck with the old calls for so long, inasmuch as the school hasn’t actually been Central State College since the early 1970s. However, the RDS display still reads “KCSC@UCO.”

This should tell you that Gwendolyn had a spa day today — the dreaded MIL, attention to which has never, ever cost me less than $600 — and that they turned me loose in a ’13 G37, a competent handler with a fairly dumb seven-speed automatic and, yes, an RDS display. And I had plenty of time to enjoy the radio, since traffic on the Lake Hefner Parkway was moving at around 15-20 mph. Southbound. This, of course, is impossible, since the Hef’s main purpose in life is to provide an alternative to the Broadway Distention, three miles east, which funnels people out of downtown and into Edmond at that time of day; hardly anyone ever goes south on the Hef during the evening rush.

Near Britton Road — I’d come on at 122nd — I saw the issue. A flat slab of yellow plastic, maybe the size of the similarly colored rack where my dishes dry by evaporation, had been dropped on the line between the center and right lanes. Every swinging Ricardito for two miles had slowed down to get a good look at it. This, I decided, was the first really good argument for self-driving cars, which can’t engage in rubbernecking unless it’s part of their program. (What’s the over/under on them programming them to do exactly that?)

Spa day continues until Nissan can find an EGR valve.

Comments off




Some renaissance this is

The Friar drops in at Norman’s Medieval Faire, and spots a rolling anachronism:

A local TV station’s “storm chaser” truck and weather frou-frou display, because heaven knows we don’t have enough reminders that we’re entering storm season in Oklahoma and that if we watch some other channel we’re all going to die.

The least they could do is give the guy — they never seem to send the women for some reason — a proper broadsword.

Comments (1)




U can’t watch this

One of the great mysteries of contemporary life is how, as Springsteen put it, there seems to be 57 channels and nothing on. This is explained, I think, by the concept that they seek to cover every conceivable demographic except yours:

[T]here’s the “channel for men” (or so it used to be called), the channel for teens/twentysomethings, the LGBT channel, a couple kids’ channels, a tween channel. I wish there were a “middle aged spinster channel,” but I suppose we don’t count demographically. And anyway, what would they show? Programs about cats? (Maybe Hallmark is actually the middle-aged spinster channel, now that I think of it). I just wish there were still a channel that actually showed educational programming that was actually educational. PBS does sometimes, though most of the daily block here is taken up with kids’ educational shows rather than ones aimed at adults. I also wish HGTV still occasionally showed quilting or crafts shows, instead of just the “couples arguing over what home they want to buy” programs. (Why are so many programs now about conflict? I have enough conflict and arguing in my day-to-day life that I want something just kind of soothing for my entertainment.)

And of course you have to pay for all 57 of them, even the ones you wouldn’t watch if you were stuck on a desert island and nothing else was within range. Beyond that, there are additional tiers of service, presumably called that because when you see what they do to your bill you will weep.

Then again, I’m old enough to remember A&E as the Arts & Entertainment Network, which occasionally provided entertainment and once in a while some actual arts. And nobody would dare program like this anymore:

Among the programs broadcast on SPN were Video Concert Hall, an early music-video show (before the launch of MTV); News from Home, a program for Canadians in the US, hosted by early CNN news anchor Don Miller; The Shopping Game, a Nicholson-Muir game show produced in Nashville and hosted by Art James; The Susan Noon Show, featuring celebrity interviews; Nutrition Dialogue, hosted by Dr. Betty Kamen; Sewing with Nancy; and Moscow Meridian, a current-affairs program produced by Soviet authorities and hosted by Vladimir Posner. Reruns of old situation comedies and movies, mostly from low-budget studios, rounded out the schedule.

The Satellite Program Network, to give it its full name, was born in 1979; its rotting corpse is still operating as CNBC.

Comments (3)




One of those “weird tricks”

You may even have heard this on the radio. Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News certainly has:

It’s a simple ad. No music or special effects. Just an announcer talking. But he speaks with an urgency that grabs your attention:

“If you’re a baby boomer or a senior, please listen closely to this important message. Politicians in Washington are quietly plotting to decrease your Social Security payments drastically. And they want to do it soon.”

This is consistent with current Washington policy, which is to beggar the middle class, buy off the proles, and enrich the elites; but Social Security’s third-rail status tends to insulate it from the worst governmental ideas.

Also current Washington policy: the War of All Against All. From that same radio spot:

“In fact, despite rising prices at the gas pump, grocery store and doctor’s office, retirees have received a mere 1.3 percent annual increase to their Social Security checks. Meanwhile, food stamp recipients have seen their payouts increase over 30 percent under the Obama administration. That’s shocking.”

Which latter was part of the dubious “stimulus package,” long since expired; SNAP has since been trimmed back a bit. But that’s not what they came to tell you:

“So when we stumbled upon a weird trick that could add up to $1,000 to your monthly Social Security checks, we knew we had to share it with you. To get started, simply go to [link redacted].”

And if you go there?

If you go, you’ll discover this is just a come-on to get your credit card number for a trial subscription to financial newsletters. And those newsletters tout even more government freebies.

Of course, those terrible people in Washington can take away those freebies more easily than they can cut Social Security, but you’re not supposed to know that.

And if you’re supposed to resent all those freeloaders on food stamps, yet you send away for all this stuff to get your very own government cheese — well, what does that say about you?

(Via this Jeff Greenfield tweet.)

Comments (1)




The nearest faraway news

Champlin’s KZLS 1640 — not to be confused with Champlin’s KZLS 99.7, once the True Oldies Channel, now classic-country outlet KNAH (is Serutan sponsoring?) — is moving to a news/talk format, and they’ve hired KTOK expat Reid Mullins to do the morning show.

I’m not quite sure how well this is going to work out. The KZLS tower, east of Hennessey, reaches the Oklahoma City metro decently in the daytime, what with 10,000 watts to work with; however, they have only 1,000 watts at night, which barely gets them to the middle of Guthrie. Then again, who listens to news/talk at night? I suspect KZLS will have far more listeners to their Internet stream than to their actual radio signal.

Comments (2)




Air apparent

Welch, Oklahoma, not so hard by the Kansas border north of Vinita, is about to get a low-power community radio station:

Voice of Welch Communications, Inc. (VOW) has been granted a construction permit by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build a low-power FM (LPFM) radio station serving the Welch and Bluejacket areas.

VOW president, Tyson Wynn, said, “Providing radio service to my hometown area has long been a dream of mine. Since first working at Vinita’s KITO during high school, I have been in love with the medium of radio and its ability to provide immediate coverage of local news and events. I’m also thrilled that LPFM is designed to be a very local operation. Welchkins, including Welch school students, will have the opportunity to learn the craft of radio. Dave Boyd trained me and put me on the air at KITO when I was 16 years old, and we’re going to give another generation of young people that same opportunity.”

I’ve met Tyson Wynn, and his enthusiasm is genuine. And I’m definitely pleased that radio service, which has been migrating from small towns to big cities for many years, is showing up in a community of 600.

The Welch facility will broadcast on 94.7 MHz with 100 watts. It will not quite reach Vinita or Miami, the two nearest cities. (And in case you’re wondering, KITO, while still licensed to Vinita, broadcasts nothing of particular interest to Vinita; it’s now just a relay for the Sports Animal’s Tulsa — actually Muskogee — facility.)

Comments (1)




Hanging off the edge of the dial

I was glancing down the news listings at RadioInsight, and this little bit of broadcast history caught my eye:

WLFM-LP [Cleveland] debuted the locally oriented “Sound” format in July 2012, as one of the so-called Franken-FM’s. These are low-powered analog television signals operating on Channel 6 using the fact that its audio signal on 87.75 is able to be tuned by many radios. These signals are required to convert to digital operation by September 1, 2015 at which point they will no longer be able to operate as a radio station.

“Are there any more of these?” I wondered. More than a dozen, in fact, including WNYZ-LP in New York, about which an “out of date” Wikipedia article says:

During most of its life, the station has been operated more as a radio station than a television station; though WNYZ-LP broadcasts video, it is usually silent movies that are repeated throughout the day, and only to fulfill the Federal Communications Commission requirement that some sort of video be broadcast on the frequency. Since the digital transition, WNYZ broadcast color bars, a legal ID, and a message telling viewers to listen to 87.7 MHz, the audio of the digital channel. It is the last remaining analog television station in New York City.

So what’s on? It’s Danu Radio, billed as “The Only Russian-Speaking Radio Station in North America.” At least, that’s what it is Monday through Friday, according to the schedule; presumably something else (Caribbean?) fills up the weekend.

And at some point, we’re supposed to hear, maybe, the lovely Tatyana Rodos:

Tatyana Rodos of Danu Radio NYC

She has Twitter and Facebook presences, but hasn’t done anything with either of them lately.

Comments (1)




FCC awakens

Does this smell funny to you?

Cumulus Media has sold 104.1 KTDK Sanger, TX to Whitley Media.

The station currently rebroadcasts Sports “1310 The Ticket” KTCK to the northern suburbs of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.

The sale price will come in two parts. At closing of this sale, Cumulus will receive $100. Whitley will then turn around and resell the station at which point Cumulus will receive all proceeds from that sale minus all expenses incurred in the operation of the station and from marketing and reselling the station.

The FCC has now decided it wasn’t going to allow this sort of thing under its collective nose:

[This transaction], by providing for Whitley to be reimbursed out of the sale proceeds for any losses and expenses he incurs in operating the Station, makes it clear that all of the economic risk of operating the Station would remain with Cumulus. Likewise, because Whitley is required to remit to Cumulus all of the proceeds from the sale of the Station, less his expenses and his brokerage fee, Cumulus would retain all of the risk of loss and potential for profit from the sale of the Station to a third party. Whitley will receive his brokerage fee and no more, whether the Station is sold for $1 million or $10 million. Given these “economic realities,” we conclude that the agreement between Cumulus and Whitley cannot be reasonably characterized as a proposed $100 sale of the Station to Whitley and that Cumulus would remain the owner of the Station.

Oh, and Cumulus was just about to close on a local marketing agreement with another local sports station, pending the approval of this sale. Uh-oh.

Comments off




What is it Now?

Tyler Media’s K243BJ, otherwise known as Now 96.5, is billed, on its Web site anyway, as “Hit Music For OKC.”

And apparently it is literally so:

Now 96.5 coverage map

The 70 watts reach about to my back door.

Then again, they have a construction permit to go up to a startling 120 watts and relocate their stick to the northside. Still, right now, the selling point is “40,000 songs in a row!” — which, if they stick to it, would put their first commercial around New Year’s Eve.

Comments (4)




Piratas de radio

Doc Searls finds something unexpected, or at least unlicensed, on the radio in New York:

I went to RikaFM.com, where a graphic at the top of the page says “‘FCC Part 15 Radio Station’.” Part 15 is what those tiny transmitters for your mobile device have to obey. It’s an FCC rule on interference that limits the range of unlicensed transmissions to a few feet, not a few miles. So clearly this is a claim, not a fact. I’ve listened in the car as well, and the signal is pretty strong.

“A few feet” is putting it mildly: the rule specifies a maximum field strength of 250 microvolts per meter at a distance of 3 meters, down in the microwatt range. My wireless router has more coverage than that. Then again, it doesn’t operate on the FM band.

And they’re streaming live, albeit in mono, on their Web site. It’s a bit more interesting than the canned regional-Mexican stuff we get down here on the legit Spanish-language stations.

Comments off




The call of the Yankee dollar

The New York Mets are about to lose their radio flagship:

As reported by Neil Best of Newsday, the Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday.

The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.

Of course, it’s a matter of money:

The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio, which like WFAN, is owned by CBS. The current one-year contract is believed to pay the team $13 to $14 million.

The Mets are believed to earn about half what the Yankees do in rights fees but have been a money-loser for WFAN, which inherited the team when it took over WHN’s 1050-AM signal in 1987. The Mets then moved down the dial with WFAN to 660-AM in 1988.

Where the Mets would end up is still unclear, though I’m betting on WEPN, the ESPN Radio outlet in New York at 98.7 FM.

Comments off




Peremptory Claus

Fercryingoutloud, we only just got through with Labor Day, and already we got Christmas on the radio?

Clear Channel’s 100.9 K265CA Albuquerque is now “Santa 100.9″ via 104.1 KTEG-HD2 Santa Fe. The translator recently completed its upgrade to 250 watts from Sandia Peak giving it a signal comparable to a Class A FM.

Stunting, perhaps? Probably not:

Normally we’d expect a Christmas microformat this early in the season to likely be a short-term deal, however when you add translators to what is already a market with more signals than normal we can easily see Clear Channel going for the publicity it will get by starting Christmas music before the Fall book even begins.

To which I have now contributed. I hereby denounce myself.

Comments off




We just don’t give a [bleep]

In fact, for all you fans of Life in the Fast Lane, we take out the whole doggone line:

But on 101.3 FM, this is what we heard instead: We’ve been up and down this highway / there were lines on the mirror, lines on her face … Yup. They cut out the entire line mentioning the word “goddamned.”

This is not precisely what Pink Floyd called “goody-good bull—,” but I suppose it could have been.

Comments (3)




Al-Jazeero

Mediabistro has the Nielsen numbers for the first few days of Al-Jazeera America, and they are, shall we say, not promising:

Not surprisingly given the low-rated channel it replaced (Current TV), and the fact that it lost a few million homes from AT&T before launch (it is currently in just over 40 million homes), AJAM’s launch ratings were pretty low by traditional cable news standards.

The highest rated show on AJAM last week was the Thursday evening edition of “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” which drew 54,000 total viewers.

The 2 PM Saturday edition of “News Live” averaged 48,000 viewers, while “Inside Story” Thursday at 12:30 PM averaged 41,000 viewers. “News Live” Thursday from 12-12:30 averaged 40,000. The debut edition of “The Stream” on Tuesday averaged 38,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s accuracy threshold, while the debut of “America Tonight” averaged 34,000 viewers.

Of course, it’s an uphill battle with any new cable channel, although you have to figure they’re not happy with drawing one-eighth the audience of a random My Little Pony rerun.

AJAM bought the inside front cover and Page 1 of The Week this past week to try to drum up some business, brandishing this slogan: KNOW MORE ANGLES / NO MORE SIDES. Wouldn’t work in an audio ad, I suppose, but that’s not a bad little shibboleth. And they’re still listing a channel number on AT&T U-verse (189), though a ZIP search for AJAM around here produced the usual “Request from your provider” link for AT&T. A scan of the local Cox channels produced nothing; then again, they didn’t carry Al-Gore Current TV either.

Comments (7)




Fog at Clear Channel

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding Reed Mullins’ departure from KTOK, and perhaps a bit less of it regarding the apparent conversion of KTST “The Twister” into an automated jukebox for some dayparts.

Lest you think this was a local phenomenon, however, you might want to check RadioInsight, which has been documenting scores of Clear Channel layoffs in markets major and minor — just within the last week.

Comments (2)




You don’t watch this

“Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” the 1953 episode of I Love Lucy during which Little Ricky was born, drew 44 million viewers, a remarkable achievement considering there were barely 61 million viewers at the time. Of course, there were only three and a half networks in those days. (DuMont wasn’t dead, but it was coughing up blood, and it would go on the cart in 1956.) Today, there are more networks than you can count, or would care to count anyway, and really big audiences are not so big:

Read online entertainment news or even print entertainment magazines and you might think that HBO’s Game of Thrones and Girls were shows that most of the country was watching. But Thrones’ rating highs during season three were between 5.5 and 6 million viewers. The May 14th episode of NCIS (spoiler: Gibbs wins) racked up more than 18 million watchers. That same night, the shows Grimm, Body of Proof and Golden Boy all had as many or more people watching them as the Thrones high, and the latter two of those have been cancelled. Girls is even more of a niche item, with its high-water viewer mark around a million and usual audience about the size of Oklahoma City.

Consider, if you will, According to Jim, which ran eight seasons on ABC despite never getting mentioned by Big Media except in the context of “Is that still on?” At the end, it was drawing about three million.

Of course, HBO is happy to charge you a monthly fee for its services: the best ABC can do is make you pay through the nose for ESPN.

As for Girls and its OKC-sized audience, well, let it be known that the series in which I have the greatest interest — hint: largely female cast — pulls in Wichita-sized numbers most of the time.

Comments (5)




Rock erosion

The new, pitifully shrunken KRXO, sandwiched in at 104.5 between Magic 104.1 and Wild(ish) 104.9, is delivering, at least at my location, the sort of reception I’d expect. The Cambridge 88s have no problems pulling it in. The Big Receiver, now 39 years old, awards it a 4 on its arbitrarily calibrated signal-strength meter; the maximum realizable in practice is about 4.8. (Minimum bearable stereo signal is about 2, which is what I get from Power 103.5, a 100-kilowatt stick stuck out in Anadarko for the usual spacing reasons.) The little portable I keep on the fridge for emergency purposes couldn’t find it at all.

Comments (4)




Sunset over England

It’s truly the end of an era:

David “Slightly Less Insane” Payne presumably will fill Gary’s slot, if never, ever his shoes.

Update: TLO’s full story.

Comments (3)