WBAL/Baltimore Program Director Scott Masteller wisely grabbed this once-in-a-lifetime office wall souvenir with legendary rocker Joe Walsh, when the Eagles’ summer concert tour rolled into The Charm City this week.
In the aftermath of Nielsen’s webinar earlier this week to address questions about its PPM technology and the controversy surrounding the Voltair audio processor, many NTS MediaOnline Today readers have been emailing us feedback. Here are just a few samples of some of the comments we’ve received:
Gabe Hobbs — longtime radio programming executive and Gabe Hobbs Media founder writes, “OK, maybe I’m being a little dense here but I find it highly amusing that Nielsen is just now trying to determine what ‘true listening’ really is. Almost as funny is the fact they plan to address that very issue with the MRC and COLRAM. This goes back to the ‘listened to’ versus ‘hear’ question, or ‘active listening’ versus ‘passive listening.’ There isn’t a device in this world that can measure that. You would need to either give the respondent a follow-up pop quiz to see if they can recall enough of what they heard to be validated, or have someone actually watch them — and even that would have a fair amount of subjectivity. It’s just a ridiculous notion. Hopefully they can at least tell us what media a person is exposed to, but trying to determine ‘true listening’ is something entirely different. Under at least one definition of true listening I suspect AC stations (you know, the one everyone can agree on at work) would have a precipitous drop in the ratings.
This is all somewhat reminiscent of Arbitron’s dalliance with ‘aided recall’ versus ‘unaided recall’ in the diary.”
Dave Mason, APD at BCA/San Diego’s 105.7 MAX-FM, checks in to say, “There have always been issues with ratings’ samples, and there probably always will be. But slimming down the sample size and changing the technology — Diary to PPM — certainly didn’t help. Voltair doesn’t add those PPM codes, it (theoretically) just makes them a little more audible to the PPM receiver. Wouldn’t that point out a flaw in the original PPM coding?”
Finally, Glenda Schrader Bos, Managing Director at Harker Research, has posted insights and observations on Nielsen’s recent webinar to the company’s Radio InSights blog saying in part, “The industry needs to demand an open audit with all the data available for clients to read and question. Since the discovery of codes, audibility and detection of these codes is the business that keeps everyone employed, Nielsen needs to do much more than promise it will be better in the 4th quarter. Secrecy up to this point has potentially lost the industry billions of dollars. It is time to insist that Nielsen agree to an audit open to all broadcasters.”
NTS MediaOnline Today will continue to follow this important industry story as new information develops. Meanwhile, your comments continue to be welcomed, on-the-record or anonymously on request, HERE.
CBS Radio has made management moves and changes in several of it’s markets. In a memo to staffers, newly minted company COO Scott Herman reports that KYW/Philadelphia VP/GSM David Yadgaroff has been upped to SVP/Market Manager in the City of Brotherly Love, succeeding Marc Rayfield, who was recently named to replace Herman as SVP/Market Manager for CBS Radio/New York. Veteran manager Steve Carver returns to the company as SVP/Market Manager for its Miami and Orlando clusters, as Joe Bell and Dave Robbins exit, respectively. In Las Vegas, SVP/Market Manager Jerry McKenna exits, replaced in that role by current VP/DOS Tony Perlongo. Meanwhile, CBS Radio/Boston SVP/Market Manager Mark Hannon will add management oversight of the company’s Hartford, CT stations, as current Market Manager Suzanne McDonald retires; and Mike Valenzuela is upped to SVP/Market Manager and DOS for CBS’ Riverside, CA stations, with current manager and longtime broadcast management veteran Harvey Wells headed back home to Chicago to be closer to family.
The independently syndicated Dave Ramsey Show checks in at another major market affiliate, as Dave (right) joins the lineup at Entercom News/Talker WRKO/Boston, where he’ll air 7-10pm (ET) weeknights, beginning Monday (7/27). Ramsey’s show now airs on a reported 550+ stations nationwide … WOLF/Syracuse flips from Classic Hits to Sports/Talk as the new FOX Sports 1490. The station is airing the full roster of FSR shows … BizTalkRadio and BizTV have debuted a new five-minute top-of-the-hour news service that features segments devoted to news headlines, market reports/business headlines and business stories. Little Rock-based Independent News Network is producing the new BizTalkNews that will be available to affiliates daily from 9am-5pm (ET) … WIBC-FM/Indianapolis adds Radio America’s syndicated Chad Benson Show to its Monday-Friday lineup. Benson (left) takes the nightly 7-9pm slot on the Emmis News/Talker … Compass Media Networks picks up syndication rights to the WOAI/San Antonio-based Joe Pags Show, which airs weeknights from 5-8pm (CT). Pags also hosts Premiere Networks nationally syndicated The Weekend with Joe Pags … Envision Networks updates and upgrades the Cleveland-based syndicator’s website, featuring “improved navigation” for both existing and new affiliates. The network has also announced that its EnvisionVirtualServices is now offering Spanish-language news reports, featuring bilingual anchor Carina Garcia.
On his way out the door at ESPN Radio, Colin Cowherd gave major props to the network he’s called home for the past ten years and also gave a shout-out to former ABC Radio Network exec John McConnell during the Wednesday edition of The Herd. Cowherd (right), who replaced Tony Kornheiser on ESPN Radio a decade ago, said he still marvels that out of all the big league hosts in Sports radio the network could have picked for the job, “They chose me — a guy from a small market — nobody had heard of me. A guy flew into Portland, we got a rare snowstorm, and he was stuck there for four days. John McConnell listened to me and he recommended me. And it’s been the best 10 years of my life.” Cowherd is reportedly headed to FOX Sports … Tim McCarthy, most recently National Sales Manager for San Diego’s KUSI-TV, is joining crosstown Broadcast Company of the Americas (BCA) as Director of Sales. In his new gig McCarthy will oversee sales for BCA Sports/Talkers The Mighty 1090 AM and ESPN 1700, and Classic Hits 105.7 Max FM, reporting to President/Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus … Red Zebra Broadcasting Sports/Talker WTEM (ESPN 980)/Washington, DC signs former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis as an analyst for the upcoming NFL season. Portis will appear every Monday on the station’s afternoon show, The Drive with Cooley Czabi and Galdi, and will also co-host a monthly one-hour Redskins’ talk show during the pro-football season.
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is flanked by Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman during a recent visit to the duo’s NBC Sports Radio show. Gyllenhaal joined the co-hosts of Going Deep with Amani and Dan to promote his new film Southpaw, which opens in theaters nationwide this weekend.
After hearing from Nielsen execs that the ratings company will offer “no support” for the Telos Alliance Voltair audio processor, now in use at hundreds of stations nationwide, the big question from broadcasters a day after Nielsen’s much ballyhooed webinar seems to be, “OK, What’s next?” While Nielsen criticized the Voltair unit, they also announced the company has decided to make enhancements to its PPM service in the near future to improve it, saying the upgrades will make Voltair unnecessary. So … does that mean Voltair actually works, forcing Nielsen to upgrade PPM’s technology, or that the unit is totally unnecessary as Nielsen execs said? In short, in many ways Nielsen’s response to the debate has left broadcasters with more questions than answers.
Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo (right) — who reports he first saw for himself the shortcomings of PPM over five years ago — thinks the industry isn’t keeping the focus in the debate where it should be. “Instead of the focus being on the the radio industry trying to perform a work around with Voltair,” he said, “Let’s keep the focus where it needs to be: Demand that Nielsen perfect the PPM in exchange for the exorbitant fees they collect from media companies and ad agencies. Keep that fire up high. If the Telos Alliance has invested in technology that compensates for the vast shortcomings of the PPM, Nielsen should say ‘thank you.’ It will save them a lot of money in R&D if the PPM is field-fixed by its clients.” Meanwhile Paragon strategist Larry Johnson (left) also weighs-in saying that while he thinks Nielsen’s webinar was a good first step in resolving this issue, “Ultimately, only a quantifiable study of known stations with Voltair in use will prove or disprove its validity. Lab tests are good. Real world tests are better. Paragon encourages Nielsen to provide amnesty to all stations who are willing to pull back the sheets and allow for a verifiable study of Voltair’s impact. Anything less will keep the guessing game in play, and undermine the reliability of radio ratings.”
SOUND OFF! We want to hear your take on this story that NTS MediaOnline Today has been covering for you for the better part of the past year. Email your comments — on the record or anonymously on request — with your thoughts on the PPM/Voltair debate HERE.
Longtime First Light host and Westwood One News anchor Dirk Van (right) has announced he’ll retire on July 30th. A release from the network notes that Van leaves “with a legacy of accomplishments and awards,” including 26 years as the original and only host of the long-running early weekday morning First Light program. He also hosts The Week in Review and serves as WW One News’ morning anchor. “When you draw up the blueprint for broadcasting excellence, talent, and accomplishment, you get Dirk Van,” said Bart Tessler, Westwood One’s EVP/News & Talk. “In his long tenure at Westwood One, Dirk launched First Light, won prestigious awards, and anchored NBC Radio News, Mutual News, Fox News, and Westwood One News morning drive newscasts. How do you top that? By being a great friend and colleague. We thank Dirk for all his contributions and wish him the best as he sails into his next adventure.” Westwood One News afternoon drive anchor (and regular First Light fill-in host) Evan Haning will takeover as host of First Light and as WW One News’ morning drive anchor beginning August 11th.
Janet Mefferd (left) will launch her new one-hour daily talk show, Janet Mefferd Today, to Christian radio (and News/Talk stations) nationwide on September 14th. Ambassador Advertising will syndicate the former Salem Radio Network host’s new talk show, handling station affiliations and satellite distribution … KLBJ/Austin morning co-host Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring on July 31st, following nearly three decades on the air at the Emmis-owned News/Talker. ‘Sgt. Sam’ retired from the Austin Police Department back in 1995 after more than 30 years in local law enforcement … The 2015 NAB/RAB Radio Show will feature BMI songwriters/artists Paul McDonald, Bonnie Bishop, Shawn Mullins and Michael Tolcher, as part of the first-ever Radio Show Artist Spotlight Series. The performances will be free for registered attendees and will take place during select general sessions and networking opportunities throughout the show.
Congrats to the crew at ESPN as last week’s second annual ESPY Day to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research and its new Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund raised more than $3.85 million for cancer research. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $130 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide … The Sports radio rumor mill has been buzzing over reports of a potential reunion between longtime WFAN/New York personality Mike Francesa and his one-time radio partner SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio host Mike “Mad Dog” Russo. NJ.com’s Ryan Hatch reports Russo told 98.7 ESPN/New York host and YES Network personality Michael Kay in an interview that he’d be open to the idea of a reuniting with his old Mike & The Mad Dog partner, fueling all the media speculation. Read more HERE … Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN Analyst Mark Schlereth launches a new podcast, The Stinkin’ Truth, via PodcastOne. New episodes of the weekly show will be available each Wednesday.