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WHY MUSIC RADIO IN THE NEW MILLENIUM DOES NOT AND CANNOT WORK FOR SPONSORS BY DAVID ALAN

STROCK Fourth Revision 4-11-2014 _______________________________________________________


1. The origins of radio

Once upon a time the medium of radio was entertaining and fun. I remember Jack Benny, the best radio comedian of all time, and Fred Allen along with other greats like Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Who would have thought that a Ventriloquist (Bergen) and his dummy would make it on radio? But they did! Then there was great Drama like Suspense, Nick Carter Master Detective, Gang Busters, Lux Radio Theatre and many, many more. How about Kids shows like The Lone Ranger, Lets Pretend and Big John and Sparky? Those are but a very small fragment of the great variety of wonderful programs that ran during what is known as The Golden Age of Radio. Now these shows are gone but not entirely forgotten thanks to Radio Spirits and other outlets that have saved and released these shows to the public on tapes, CDs and XM/Sirius Satellite Radio. But radio, which was the original outlet for these representations of the best of American Culture, has abandoned them long ago bowing to television instead. In fact many of the great radio shows moved to TV in the early days of that genre. The big radio networks were NBC Red, NBC Blue (one of which became ABC), CBS and Mutual. Mutual was the largest radio network in the country before the advent of television. But what then of radio? Where would radio go after the loss of such fabulous programming? The answer was not an easy one at first. Many claimed that radio was henceforth dead and soon to be forgotten in the path of television. But, there were thousands of radio stations across the US and Canada needing a means to survive. There would continue to be NEWS presented on radio, public affairs programs, religious programming and shows of local interest. This was, in part, because this type of programming was mandated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). As an aside, most folks dont know this; but, the FCC is one of the only if not the only federal regulatory agency brought into being at the request of those it regulates! In the
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very early days of radio, there were no regulations and engineers were constantly trying to reach ever higher degrees of power on their transmitters. In addition, to quote Jimmy Durante (a great radio personality) everybodys tryin ta get into da act! That meant that new stations were popping up on AM (amplitude modulation) radio frequencies everywheresometimes on top of each other. And therein lies the rub. So, radio station owners and others got together and requested Congress to start a new regulatory agency that would resolve the technical questions of the frequencies available, the power of transmitters and the like to bring tranquility out of chaos. Done! Now for the question of what programming would be appropriate for radio after the advent of TV. There had always been music on radio from early transcriptions (records) to live broadcasts of musicians and famous bands. In fact, the first radio remotes were from hotels and other places featuring live jazz and dance bands. Classical music also played a role on early radio. TV began in earnest in 1948; although tests had proven fruitful before WWII. The war put a hold on further development. Shows like Sid Caesars Show of Shows and stars like Milton Uncle Milty Berle drew millions to television. By 1950 TV was starting to show its true potential. By the mid-1950s shows like Our Miss Brooks, Amos n Andy, The Lone Ranger, Dragnet, The Jack Benny Program and scores of others were simulcasting on both radio and TV or had gone to TV abandoning radio forever. What were the owners of radio stations going to do to fill all the time now free from the loss of network and syndicated radio programs? It looked like music was the most viable answer. But, what kind of music? American Pop music has always been around in a variety of forms many of which survive to this day. Country Music has been and continues to be a mainstay. Classical Music has always been here too but limited in its mass appeal. Show Tunes and Gospel are also familiar along with what has become known as Soul Music aka Rhythm and Blues for its depth of feeling which is the music of African-Americans famous for Spirituals from the days of slavery in the U.S. But could radio survive on this kind of music or would something more dynamic be needed to fill the void? There had to be something which would hold great appeal to the young and young at heart.the Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are those who were born just after the end of World War Two. These babies represented a giant jump in population growth. To many radio programmers, the Baby Boomers were and are the target audience of choice beginning in the early 1960s until the present.

2. The start of Music Radio So, what would fill the void for radio? In the mid-1950s, largely because of one individual Elvis Presley a new form of music was to come on the scene. It was, of course, Rock and Roll. Just what is Rock and Roll? Aside from the sexual connotations, it simply is music with a beat that makes you feel good. I wont dwell on trying to define the genre any further as there is a wonderful radio program developed by CHUM Radio in Toronto, Canada in the mid to late 1970s entitled The Evolution of Rock which tells the entire story about as well as it can be told. More on the EOR later. The only thing I will add here is that Rock and Roll stems from the great North American Pop music culture already mentioned above. At first, Rock and Roll (I am going to use the term Rock after this point) was rejected by a large portion of the radio industry. It was considered vulgar and counterproductive for our young people. That point can be legitimately argued. But for the purposes of my discourse on radio, lets just acknowledge that Rock, has in fact, become deeply rooted in our culture and very relevant to music radio. Almost immediately, Rock took hold on a few radio stations with a very loyal Baby Boomer youth audience. Many radio announcers, whose future could have been lost to TV, grabbed onto this new genre of music to make it their own. Now I want to point out here, and I cannot emphasize this too much, that these early Disc Jockeys or DJs were a product of radios Golden days. They knew something about how radio worked and how people were motivated. Most of all, they understood that radio had always been and always needed to be an entertainment medium. They were there to entertain and inform. Because of this understood need to entertain, their presentation was important. Consider things like a persons voice. How did it sound? For a man, was it ballsy enough? That means deep enough. A DJ had to be articulate; he had to be good at elocution. But above all, he had to be ENTERTAINING. This meant that music alone would not be enough to hold the audience; especially, with TV being the big competitor. So soon a personal, individual style was developed by many of these DJs. These early folks were standalone stars of radio. They were bigger than the radio stations that they worked for and had tremendous impact on the music industry in terms of what product (music recordings) became hits and what singers and song writers became well known. Ultimately, this led to payola problems in the late 1950s and early 1960s whereby many famous DJs were accused of being bought off by record companies, et al, to play certain songs. Such was the power and influence of early DJs. In fact the phenomenon of popular DJs lasted well into the early 1980s. But, DJs then became

lost largely due to deregulation and greed. This is, in fact, what this presentation of mine is all about. It wasnt very long before radio station owners and/or managers and programmers noticed that their radio stations were almost totally dependent on one DJ for their survival. This, of course, significantly increased the value of such an individual. Hence, when radio station A refused to raise the salary or give whatever incentive was requested by their star DJ, he would simply pick up and move to radio station B. This second station was often in the same radio market as the first station. You can see the problem here for management, cant you? It became a problem of supply and demand as well as ever increasing personnel overhead costs not to mention ever inflating DJ egos. What to do? Along about this time (early 1960s for many radio stations while a few insightful stations were innovative in the mid to late 1950s) radio programmers began to come up with scenarios that would attempt to increase or at least maintain their audiences without destroying the impact of the individual DJ. At the same time, it seemed necessary to put as much of a stop to the downside of this station jumping by DJs as possible. In other words, if the right format or formats could be developed, a good DJ could be replaced by another good DJ and the impact on the particular radio station in question would be minimal. At least this was the theory and in my experience, it works. Many formats were developed and experimented with to various degrees of success. I will not dwell on any of them except for my own. I believe if it aint broke, dont fix it. Since my format is proven and it is why should I discuss any others? So, for purposes of this writing, when radio music formatting is discussed in any detail as a success, it will be mine.

3. Top 40 Radio Before long Rock was an integral part of music radio. However, because of diversity, and other good considerations, radio station programmers developed a format that has come to be known as Top 40. Quite simply, this means the top 40 songs as requested and/or sold in any given radio market. This actually began as only 10 or in some instances 20 songs. It evolved to 40 songs (give or take) over time. The theory was this: It was believed, in the early days of Pop music radio that the audience with money was going to watch TV as opposed to listening to radio no matter what. However, there were exceptions to this. The biggest exception was when the listener was traveling to and from work. The hours of the day that represented these listeners were between 6am and 9am in the morning and 4pm and 6pm in the evening.
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These very quickly became known as Drive Time(s) later redefined by ARBITRON (American Research Bureau - a radio ratings company). The question became, then, how to attract and hold listeners who were in their cars the entire time they were driving? So, as the theory goes, most drivers would only be in their cars for about an hour commuting to and from work. In order to hold their attention, the music had to be compelling and not redundant. Here is how it was done. Most songs in those early days ran about 2.5 minutes in length give or take. So, allowing for advertising time, the top ten songs would run during any given hour with some other music mixed in. So much for the problem of redundancy on the short term. However, at first, nobody seemed to consider that not everyone was going to drive their cars exactly from the top of the hour until the top of the next hour. So, over time, more songs were added to the Play List. Add to the fact that the very best songs available were being played during Drive Time, the more entertaining the DJ the better. This was a good formula for the theory and was used for quite a while. However, it became apparent over time that folks were actually listening to radio more often than just while they were driving to and from work. At the same time, the kids were listening to radio all the time. They loved this new music. It was theirs and they thought theirs alone. Savvy radio station programmers and DJs soon began to realize that the kids (ages 12 - 17) controlled the radios in most homes. Moreover, if the kids were listening, so were the adults whether they liked it or not. This led ultimately to 40 songs in rotation as opposed to 10 or 20. Now, I realize for most radio insiders my explanation is over simplified and ignores other mitigating circumstances affecting radio programming. But the point I was trying to make has been made. To put it succinctly, music radio had a playlist of current hits and they tried to have good DJs to present them. Everything else stemmed from that, or was co-incidental to it, like NEWS, SPORTS and other programs of LOCAL INTEREST. Remember, I am only referring to music radio and Top 40 in particular. This has been the traditional programming of most of the successful music radio stations in America until deregulation. Country was always a good number two music format in my opinion if presented well.

4. AM vs. FM It wasnt long until AM Top 40 radio was not only a hit but a huge money maker for its owners. AM (amplitude modulation) is a means of broadcasting that has a restricted audio band width of from 50Hz to 5,000Hz or in the case of wide band (not gone into here) from 50Hz to 7,000Hz. Hz is an abbreviation of the name Hertz. Heinrich Hertz was a German physicist who discovered the theory of electromagnetic waves
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including audio frequencies, broadcasting frequencies all the way to light. I am not an engineer and only know what little I need to know to produce good quality audio. So think of it this way (which was the way it was presented during most of my lifetime) Hz represents CPS or cycles per second. The lower the CPS the deeper the bass and the higher the CPS the higher the treble audio being reproduced. A bass drum or guitar would be relatively low while a triangle or flute would be relatively high. Get it? Now to make it more definitive, in order to distinguish the difference between a flute and say a clarinet playing in the same key or even the same note, you rely on their individual harmonics or overtones. The main key or note is the same but the harmonics are different. So, the better the ability for a mechanical or electronic device to reproduce these harmonics, the more realistic the sound and the easier to distinguish between instruments and voices. An entire industry has evolved out of this. It is called High Fidelity and refers to the highly faithful reproduction of music and musical instruments. The human ear, at its best, can hear frequencies from below 50Hz (mostly felt) to close to 20,000Hz which is very high indeed. AM radio can sound good and did in the early days because the frequency response of AM, as prescribed by the FCC, is as already stated, from 50Hz (nice and low) to 5,000Hz (good mid-range and fair highs). This is good enough for any voice reproduction and much music. But, it has its limitations. There were some great manufacturers of AM home radio receivers beginning in the 1930s right up until the present. Some early examples of wonderful Hi-Fi AM radios were made by Scott (the Auburn/Deusenberg of radio), Fisher, Magnavox, and many others. Even the radios built for the masses by companies such as RCA (who owned NBC in the beginning), Philco, Atwater Kent and loads of others made fine radios whose frequency response kept up with the best broadcasting transmitters with quality AM audio for their time. For a while AM stereo was experimented with in the 1980s and 1990s with limited success. I lay its failure right at the feet of deregulation as you will see. AM has had many advantages right up until now with digital radio right around the corner. However, since deregulation, the quality of AM radio receivers has diminished to the point where the average good AM receiver cuts the high end of the audio off at about 2,000Hz or less! This is justified in the name of eliminating the problem of too many AM stations, set too close together on the spectrum. If true, you can thank the 80/90 Docket for that in part. More about the 80/90 Docket later. It is also argued that AM is mainly talk radio and no longer requires high end reproduction capabilities. I strongly disagree. But, digital radio will make all that moot in time. AM set manufacturers just cut the costs of their AM audio circuitry. It is that simple. And, in all fairness, there are more than a few AM radio station owners that don't and never did care about audio quality for a number of reasons. Too many to go into here.

The power of AM radio stations, since regulation began in 1933, has been divided into certain categories. I will not go deep into this. I will only state that when Top 40 radio was in its heyday, the lowest powered radio stations were 250 watts which would just cover a small community to 50,000 watts which, if not restricted in any way, could cover a good bit of the entire country. Many of the great AM music radio stations from the not too distant past were famous far beyond their assigned communities. For instance, WLS from Chicago was a great Top 40 station at one time as was WCFL also from Chicago. Both these AM stations covered much of the mid-west of the United States; especially at night. I am sure you may recall many stations of similar impact all the way from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast. Every one of these radio stations had great impact on both their listening audience and the Record Industry which really grew during the days of Music Radio. If you are old enough to remember, Ill wager you can name your favorite station call letters to this day. Do not, however, underestimate the influence and power of Low Powered local radio stations; especially in the larger cities. There are too many to mention here; but, many of them are very famous while some are still relevant to this very day. FM (Frequency Modulation) was conceived and developed before WWII. It had some real advantages over AM and a few disadvantages as well. FM has an audio frequency response of from 50Hz to 15,000Hz which is three times as good as the best standard AM. In terms of harmonics, there is no comparison. FM is definitely Hi-Fi. Also, by the time the 1970s rolled around, FM was also capable of broadcasting in stereo. Stereo simply means two or two channels. Without explaining how it works, just understand that FM may broadcast with two separate signals providing for a great sound stage or imaging. For the first time in broadcasting, if listening to an FM stereo classical music station, you would hear the string violins on your left with the brass and woodwinds on your right with percussion in the middle just like if you were among a live audience listening to a huge orchestra in a great auditorium. Wonderful stuff, this! After WWII, the FCC changed the frequencies used for FM. This contributed to the slow acceptance of the technical format. In the 1950s most folks who owned FM sets were into classical, jazz or other specialized music and definitely into High Fidelity with expensive audio components. Right after the change of frequencies, the FCC allotted channels or frequencies across the United States and they were divided up according to power allotted for transmitting. There were basically three types of FM channels available. Class A which could be up to 3,000Watts, Class B which could be from 5,000 up to 50,000Watts and Class C which could be anywhere from 10,000Watts up to 100,000Watts E.R.P. or Effective Radiated Power. Class B channels were assigned
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to mountainess areas while Class C channels tended to be assigned to areas of large plains without hills or mountains as in the West and South east of the Rocky Mountains. FM is a line of sight type of broadcasting while AM can go around corners. This means that if any material hard object gets between your receiver and the FM signal, it could become distorted of even blocked out. Also, FM is not in parody with AM when it comes to power. For example a 50,000Watt AM radio station may cover much of the U.S. but a 50,000Watt FM station will only cover a radius of up to 50 Miles or so. Furthermore, FM power is not exponential. An FM 50,0000Watt station does not cover sixteen times the area of a 3,000Watt FM station. In fact, it may cover only as much as 2.5 times the distance. This is not the case with AM. The more power in AM you add, gives you exponentially more coverage area. Finally, the higher an antenna used for FM the less power it takes to cover a particular area. So a 1,000Watt Class A station may cover the same area as a 3,000Watt FM station if the antenna of the lower powered station is enough higher above mean average terrain. Get it? Got it? Good! As an aside, XM/Sirius have the same problem as FM in terms of line of sight. This explains why the signal comes and goes while youre listening to it in a moving automobile. In fact, it sucks in mountainess areas. Forgetting the audio processing and compression methods used by XM, the idea is a good one and, in my opinion, is missing a real dynamic possibility. More on that later as well. Anyway, having said all that, my background and claim to fame is in the area of FM as you will discover; although I have experience with AM radio as well.

5. Why radio used to work for advertisers (sponsors) Back in the Golden days, it was often a common occurrence to find that the sponsors actually owned the radio program. For example, The Jack Benny Program was originally The Jell-O Program with Jack Benny later to be owned by the American Tobacco Company as The Lucky Strike Program starring Jack Benny. Not only did the sponsors often own the show; but, they obviously had much to say about just how their commercial announcements or spot announcements (Spots) were to be presented. This meant in terms of content and length. Often the spots were an integral part of the show itself as opposed to being inserted at a given point. This was not always the case; but, it occurred often enough that when these famous shows moved to TV, the Networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Dumont and much later Fox) declared ownership of their shows and while sponsors could have exclusive rights to advertise, they could no longer own the shows outright. The FCC also put some limitations on commercials and their length as did the once very good NAB or National Association of Broadcasters. The NAB Code kept objectionable content off the air on both radio and
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TV. The FCC tried to do the same. The NAB also presented good guide lines for broadcasters. This all changed you guessed it with deregulation. Anyway, over time, methods of presenting the products and services that sponsors offered became an art form by its own right. Many a great ad agency produced all kinds of famous and memorable commercials. Do any of you remember the ads for Alka-Seltzer on TV? Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, oh what a relief it is. How about See the USA in your Chevrolet and Pepsi Cola hits the spot, twelve full ounces, thats a lot, twice as much for a nickel too, Pepsi is the drink for you, or Coca Cola, the pause that refreshes! and so on. Many radio personalities became well known for their ability to sell products. The most famous of them all was Arthur Godfrey who became the very best radio salesman of all time. His Arthur Godfrey Time was a mainstay on both radio and TV for decades even well into the Music Radio days. I remember Godfrey telling his audience about Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. This stuff comes in a small paper container unlike, say, Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup which comes condensed in a can. So, Godfrey would give out samples of this stuff made up and ready to eat to his live audience with the assurance that while you may not see the chicken, its in there and he made you believe it! Such is radio salesmanship at its finest. In fact Godfrey was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes for years until he got lung cancer. Immediately, Godfrey was one of the first to UNSELL cigarettes as was William Talman who played District Attorney Hamilton Burger on the first TV series of Perry Mason. Talman also died of lung cancer. Such was and is the power of folks well known to make an impression. Since radio is an audio medium it is necessary to stick religiously to the following three guidelines. In fact, I would argue that these guidelines are necessary for ANY form of advertising. I call them Dave Strocks ABC Guidelines for a Successful Ad Campaign. Here they are: A. Above all, the sponsor MUST have a PRODUCT and/or SERVICE that folks need or want. B. This PROCUCT and/or SERVICE MUST BE PRESENTED in such a way as to MAKE IT DESIRABLE. C. The message, or in the case of radio, the SPOT announcement, REMOTE or P.I. (per inquirery program or announcement) MUST be presented on a RADIO STATION (or appropriate media) THAT is able to DELIVER ample DEMOGRAPHICS that the sponsor is in need of.

No Ad Campaign is any stronger or will work any better than is permitted by the WEAKEST of the three of Strocks ABC Guidelines. Think about it. Dispute it if you are able. I dont think you can. Radio programmers, radio station owners and radio management, as well as radio sponsors, used to understand these guidelines to one degree or another. They may not have had it down pat; but, they had much more of an idea than many of them have today. In short, if these guidelines were followed, radio would always work. That is, in the case of commercial radio, if the Strock ABCs are followed, the radio station will be in every respect successful. It is that simple. If the music was cool, the DJs were entertaining and the commercials had some merit, then the sponsor got his or her moneys worth. These guidelines are not being followed today and I think I can prove it as you read on.

6. THE GOOD - Radio formatting beyond just music and DJs. As the competition in the radio world became stronger and the need to gain audience became more evident, radio programmers became more innovative. While I am aware of many of the theories of radio formatting and many of those who developed them, I am going to rely here only on my own experience and proven ideas. I am sure that many of my ideas are borrowed. No one, in all honesty, could possibly invent everything in radio from A to Z by him or herself. But, in addition to what I did invent (or discover), I was able to put together the right combination of formatting ideas, regardless of their original source on WXIL, to have produced the highest rated radio station in AmericaEVER! I will give you some of that background to help justify my work at the end of my dissertation. After almost five years of work, my company, Electrocom, Inc. was granted by the FCC a Construction Permit to build a 50,000Watt FM Radio station in Parkersburg, WV. This took five years to accomplish because there was no Class B assignment in the Parkersburg area at all and Electrocom petitioned the FCC to assign one. There was opposition to this assignment by three local broadcasters who did not want the potential competition. There was also a competing application for the license when that stage was reached in the goal. To make a very long and interesting story short (and I am writing a book about all my experiences with Electrocom and WXIL) the channel was assigned in 1974. I will only also mention, in this context, that the criteria used to justify this assignment was requested by the FCC in the form of a Preclusion Study which consisted, among other things, of the unserved and underserved aural population in the proposed
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service area of the new channel. In other words, this represented folks who up until this assignment, were it to be made, who had little or no local radio service to call their own; especially at night in our radio market. This technical justification was used later by the FCC, in part, in implementing the famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, 80/90 Docket. The main thrust of the 80/90 Docket was, in theory, to provide for the diversity of Programming meant to help increase their (the licensees) economic viability in terms of radio. To this end, while for some it worked out, for the Pubic, who have always been deemed to own or control the airwaves, it has been a dismal failure. It was this 80/90 Docket that provided for the assignment of thousands of new radio stations across the U.S. in the 1980s and 90s. More on that later. So during the wait for a Construction Permit or CP, I had plenty of time to figure out just what type format I wanted for the area. Being from West Virginia and a Small Market notwithstanding, there still were some significant obstacles I had to overcome. There were already nine radio stations AM and FM in the area at the time. The area included Parkersburg, WV and Marietta, OH later to become one radio market because of WXIL. The existing formats were three Country and Western stations with two on AM and one on FM; Pop or Top 40 on two stations, both AM; MOR (Middle of the Road) music on several and several had national networks and some simulcast on both AM and FM which was a waste of a frequency as far as I was concerned. Now I thought that I instinctively knew what to do. But, I wasnt so self-assured that I was willing to go without some verification. The FCC in those days required what they termed an Ascertainment of Community Needs and Problems for every radio station to perform that was looking for a new or renewed license. Without dwelling on the specifics of this, I just added my own survey to it and included the general public beyond the requirements stated by the FCC. Quite simply I asked folks to tell me what radio station or stations they were currently listening to and why. What would they like from a new radio station and what did they dislike the most about their current favorite radio station? In addition to following the FCC prescription for this, I hired folks to make one call from each column of the local phone book white pages in both Parkersburg and Marietta. This gave me a truly random survey and I paid 25 cents for each call they made for me. That survey information gleaned was invaluable and did confirm my ideas. One of my ideas, of course, was to program Top 40. It had to be live and I wanted a News Dept. to report on, and present professionally, local and regional News. I did not want a National Network of any kind. I wanted live DJs with as good a delivery as I could find. I wanted the best radio equipment that I could justify for a Small Market and

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I wanted media exposure for the station. Most of all, I wanted AUDIENCE! I wanted an audience that would respond to and for sponsors. Again, to make a long story short, I located my studios in the Grand Central Mall in Vienna, WV. This mall was brand new and we were located in a main corridor with a beautiful Williamsburg style Redwood store front with huge soundproof picture windows into our Main Control Room with a large window beyond that into our Production Room. There was also another huge Picture Window into the News Room. The whole onair side of the station was on display! Very cool and very innovative. I stole the idea from WGH in the Tidewater area when I was stationed there while serving Uncle Sam in the Navy. WGH also had picture windows. But the comparison ends there. They were located on a back area of the mall which was largely untraveled with a plain-Jane front. Very utilitarian. I wanted Pizzazz and exposure and I got it. I hired my entire on-air staff from out of town. I previewed Air-checks that I received from an ad that I ran in Broadcasting Magazine. I got scores of great air-checks. I hired the best DJs I could find. Some staff applied from Ohio University in Athens, OH which was a 45 minute commute to the station. These guys were wonderful. My first Program Director, Joe Johnson (Kemosabe Joe) was the greatest. We sat down before we went on the air and discussed just what I wanted in programming. And, to his credit, Joe performed magnificently and the day WXIL hit the air waves, it was already a huge success. I remember arguing with Joe over whether or not WXIL should use jingles. I said Yea and he said Nay. I won. While in the Navy, I was stationed in Philadelphia while the ship I was on (The USS Intrepid CVS-11) was in dry-dock. I grew up in Philly and it was like old home week to me. When I lived there as a child, the radio station I remembered for music and DJs was WIBG (before Hi Lit). It was in the days of Joe Niagara and Tom Donahue. Yes, Im that old. Anyway, while in Philadelphia for most of 1969 through the first of 1970, I loved to listed to WFIL (call letter coincidence trust me on that). WFIL used PAMS jingles with the famous WABC New York logo. A logo, in this sense, is the music melody used for the jingles. In this case it was based on a famous Richard Rogers melody. At least this is my speculation. Whether or not this was the true origin of the WABC logo created by PAMS, credit has to be given to the PAMS Imagineers for the most positive jingle logo ever produced.

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You will maybe recognize the tune from the lyrics by Lorenz Hart:
We'll have Manhattan The Bronx and Staten Island too. It's lovely going through The zoo!

Now follow that music line with WABC or WFIL or WXIL. Get it? Got it? Very good. This was an incredible jingle logo. Cannot be beaten. Although, at the time TM (aka TM Century) had great jingle packages of their own like the Propellants used by WCFL and the Alternative which I used in a later radio station, WYLi. But, the PAMS 34c and the shotgun jingles from a package called Philly Flo, all with the WABC logo made for super great jingles. In fact the Philly Flo jingles were not produced for WFIL with the WABC logo. I had them changed to the WABC Logo with the help of a wonderful PAMS engineer by the name of Bruce CollierGod bless him. He talked me into the shotgun jingles. It was the right thing to do. Here are some of my formatting ideas. I have never published these before because I was afraid that they would be stolen. I am older and wiser now and the industry has changed so much that my ideas are all pass as far as the current thinking goes. Boy are these folks wrong. Anyway, see what you think. A Format Clock is just as it appears. It is a Clock with the placement of music, news, spot announcements and the like listed for DJs to follow. My theory has always been that if you entertain folks and MAKE THEM HAPPY, they will stick to your station like glue. Prove me wrong if you can. So our music was divided as follows. The Top 40 was actually between 30 and 34 hit songs. They were adjusted weekly. The top 15 songs as determined by requests which were recorded and local area record sales were designated as A rotation and songs from this group ran 4 times an hour. Songs from 16 to 33 or so were classified as B rotation and ran 3 times an hour. The other songs fell into categories such as C or New Music which would run only one song out of a total of 4 once every three hours, R or recurrents which are songs up to two years old still getting heavy requests, LP cuts taken from albums the songs of which were not necessarily in the Top 40 and Gold which were the great songs older than two years. Gold songs could be picked by the DJs without restriction other than Dayparting and were filed alphabetically. Certain songs could only be played during certain hours. Music research consisted of tabulating the total requests made by way of our two Request Phone Lines, record sales as compiled by local record stores (i.e. National
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Record Mart, etc.) and Music trends as presented in national and regional Trade Magazines such as The Friday Morning Quarterback and Radio and Records (R&R sadly now defunct) to name just a few. WXIL became a reporter to many of these trade magazines within the first year of our operation including R&R. This was a huge coup. Therefore, in a fairly substantial way, WXIL influenced the playlists in the Pittsburgh, PA radio market and other markets of size around the mid-West and beyond. Jingles should only be played out of Stopsets or commercial clusters, at the Top of the Hour and rarely, no more than once an hour, to segway between two songs. Period! The jingle tempo should, if at all possible, match the song that follows it. An upshot into a fast song, a downshot into a slow song, a slow to fast transition between two songs of different tempos and so on. Good, right? It sounds great. Special attention was given to the Top and Bottom of the Hour. Awareness was an important part of getting folks to identify the radio station by call letters and to remember same. So, WXIL WIXUL THE FAMOUS 95 were all constantly hammered into the consciousness of the listening public. The fewer syllables the better. A great deal of attention also was given in special ways to the weekends. Beginning Fridays at noon, WXIL would feature an album or an artist at the top and bottom of the hour. This would run through until Sunday at 11:30pm. Sunday block programming was excluded. In order to keep the music from being redundant, or coming up at the same time every day, the DJs were given 3-deep selection from each category. This kept the music mixed up and the repeat plays kept down. Cool, huh? The News ran at 20 minutes after and 20 minutes before the hour. This is known as 20/20 News. Good idea for ratings. More on ratings later. News also played an important part in the relationship WXIL had with its audience and therefore contributed to our good ratings. News Directors like Neal Haislop and Tim Sharp made the WXIL News Department something to be proud of and a winner of numerous NEWS accolades and Awards from the AP. Neal went on to work for a national distributor of syndicated radio shows and Tim is the head of the News Dept. of the WOUB Radio and Television Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. The DJs were assigned hours on the air according to Dayparts. In other words, our two best DJs, in theory, would be on during Morning and Afternoon Drive. Actually all the Wixul Jocks were, in my opinion, superb. This was a hangover, I suppose, from the days of Drive Time only radio. The lineup went like this: Morning jock from 6-10am, Midday jock from 10am until 3pm, Afternoon jock from 3pm-7pm and the evening jock was from 7pm. until midnight. Finally the all-night jock aired from midnight until 6am. 50KW around the clock! Good stuff and in stereo to boot. Once WXIL was firmly established, the hours for the Jocks were changed for a myriad of reasons.
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All of this was to insure good ratings. Since ratings were based in quarter hour averages (much more on the methodology of this later), everything was done to keep listeners across EVERY quarter hour for at least five minutes. So music was used for this purpose. It was the correct way to increase ratings as opposed to 10 in a row or 30 minute Music Marathons etc. While doing my research in the early 1970s, I asked people if they owned one or more FM radios. The answer according to my survey was an astounding 73%. The car was the only weak link; but, that was to be cured promptly by demand. I hired a good News Director, Neil Haislop, and we were ready to go. Of great importance was where and how often to run Stopsets or commercial clusters. Without getting too specific, it was imperative to run stopsets throughout the hour. We were to have no more than 2.5 minutes of commercial time in any given stopset excluding in-house promotions. There were to be NO COMPETITORS in any stopset. This was a very time consuming process to achieve before the days of modern computers. The benefits for the sponsor were enormous. We even took it so far as to exclude any competitive sponsors during a remote. Think about that for integrity. Once the sponsors were on WXIL, they loved us and never left. But, it did take quite a while to convince them to try WXIL in the first place. My book goes into that in great detail along with all the intrigue yes intrigue around WXIL the first five years on the air. I sold the station in September of 1980. significantly since then. WXIL has steadily dropped in ratings

Before WXIL (Christ is Lord/Love) went on the air the first time on Friday, November 28, 1975 (the day after Thanksgiving), we did a lot of promoting. We had full page Newspaper ads in both the Parkersburg and Marietta Newspapers in color. Abby Hayhusrt, our Copy Writer and resident artist managed to get WXIL on the cover of ShowTime, the local TV and entertainment supplement to The Parkersburg News, with pictures of the entire staff. Then there were Billboards. My brother-in-law, Jack Ayers, who was at one time the President of Whiteco Outdoor Advertising, a nationwide billboard company, educated me to the best way to utilize billboards. He taught me that billboards are only really good for two things. The first is to introduce something new and the second is to give directions. He also taught me that since I was paying for space on the billboard, I should not go cheap on the poster itself. I should use the entire space with as few words as possible to get across the message in 3 seconds or less. Furthermore, I should purchase what is known as a 100 showing. This represents enough billboards in any given market to assure that at least one of your billboards would be seen by anybody who leaves their home to go anywhere.
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WXIL had three different styles of posters each of which was specifically designed to reach a different demographic in the market. All this worked better than my wildest imagination. When the station first went on the air at 12 noon, there was a huge crowd in the corridor of the Grand Central Mall right in front of the WXIL windows. This never changed in the five years that WXIL was in the mall. When the first ratings came out by way of ARBITRON in Spring of 1976, WXIL was way out front in our target demographic of Adults 18-34 (then the Baby Boomers) with a secondary target of kids from 12-17. The kids are always necessary for any format that introduces new music like WXIL or any Top 40 or Country format. This is because kids are Active. In my opinion, 10% of the population is Active while 90% would be classified as Passive. Example: An active says Lets have a party. A passive will say Okay, Ill go. So, the Actives ALWAYS determine NEW MUSIC to be added to a faster rotation from C while the passives tell the Music Director just how long to keep a song in rotation. Get it? Got it? Good, were on a roll. By the time 1979 rolled around, WXIL was the highest rated radio station in AmericaEver! Source: ARBITON, April/May 1979 Parkersburg, WV Marietta, OH Condensed Radio Market Report plus the Special Parkersburg, WV Trading Area (an 18 county special report made especially for WXIL from West Virginia and Ohio.) Each DJ was under contract. He would keep his current pay rate if he maintained a certain level of ratings. He would gain if his ratings improved and lose even to the point of his losing his job were his ratings to come in too low. This was NEVER a problem for any jock. I finally gave up the idea of contracts after the first year as they proved unnecessary. Remotes were to be done with the jock of choice by the sponsor and hopefully during his daypart or airshift; although this admittedly favored our all-time favorite jock Douglass Hoffman better known as Uncle Dougger who is still famous in the MidOhio Valley to this very day. Any remote absolutely had to be promoted with a 100 spot buy the week up to the remote. The spots could say anything the sponsor wanted as long as they mentioned that a personality from WXIL was going to appear, with the place and the time. While the music flow and clock remained the same, the entire show picked up and moved to the remote site with as much excitement as could be created. WXIL always gave away prizes. The unique thing about this station is that there was NEVER A LOSER. Everybody won! If you didnt win a prize, for sure you knew someone who did. This is very positive stuff.

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Our last promotion before WXIL changed ownership in 1980 was called Pops Up. Every RC, 7-Up and Dr. Pepper two liter bottle in the entire area had a WXIL flag label on each bottle and they were sequentially numbered - 60,000 in all. We took calls five deep from people EVERY HOUR around the clock for one month!!! We restricted the callers to numbers that were in groups of 500. So, if you had a bottle label with a number, for example, between 20,500 and 20,999, you would call the station when asked and if you were caller number 5, you won a prize! Now think about that for a moment. WXIL had an 80% response around the clock. Fantastic, wouldnt you say. If you won a small prize, you became eligible to win a greater weekly prize at the end of the week and at the end of the month a Grand Prize. The small prizes were almost always record albums provided to WXIL by the record companies. The weekly and Grand Prizes came from sponsors. The entire stock of the bottlers products disappeared as fast as they could be restocked by retailers! The numbers came up each hour by way of a rotating wheel similar to the Wheel of Fortune wheel broken into segments from 1 to 60,000 or so in 500 bit increments. The wheel was huge. In some promotions we used Ping-Pong balls marked the same way. I was on vacation during part of the month of August, 1980 and actually dont recall which method we used for the Pops Up promotion. Got it? Good. Coke and Pepsi you should think about it. As part of the Pops up promotion and as a mini promotion within, the bottler along with RSO records set up a visit by David Naughton. You may recall David as the star of the hit TV show Makin It and the singer of the hit single of the same name. David also represented the Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. with Im a Pepper. So, this fit right in with the Pops Up promotion. He appeared at three different remote sites in one night! These were two Wendys locations and J.C. Penny. Quite a bit of maneuvering for the station engineering. He was very well received with huge crowds at each location. Now, contrast this with the first promotion that the new owners of WXL ran during Thanksgiving of 1980. WXIL had been sold and transferred on September 10, 1980. When you heard the gobble on the air- you would call to try and win a turkey. You had to answer a question. If you got the answer wrong, you lost to the sound of a gobbling turkey. How would that make you feel? I rest my case for winners only. My book will detail the scores of super great promotions utilized by WXIL over the five years I was Manager and CEO of Electrocom, Inc. I believe that the word turkey is an appropriate description of this promotion in more ways than one, dont you agree? For more info on WXIL and a chance to listen to a small segment from before September 10, 1980 go to: http://www.reelradio.com/wxil

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Be sure to read the comments by each individual audio section. interesting. I hope you do.

You may find it

7. THE BAD Deregulation Well, by 1978 I was already trying to figure out a way to get WXIL (also affectionately known as Wixul) onto satellite. In those days, the only known way to do this was to be rebroadcast as in syndication simultaneously on other radio stations across the country. One of my employees, a jock, asked me why I thought that folks in Los Angeles would want to hear the same music as the folks in New York or Parkersburg, WV for that matter? I was blown away by the question. I guess I have always been ahead of my time. Even now, I think I have ideas that are fresh and provocative. Oh, well. Beginning under the Reagan Administration, the FCC presented the 80/90 Docket. As mentioned earlier, this represented, among many other things, the assignment of thousands of new radio frequencies allotted to communities all across the United States. To help control the potential influx of applications for these stations, they became available in stages. That is, while you could file for a license early on, many times the actual assignment took years to accomplish as the FCC worked its way through it all. Unfortunately, during this period from 1980 until the present day, a process of deregulation began to work its insidious way through the FCC with devastating results in my opinion. When Electrocom first applied for the license for Channel 236B (WXIL), in the early 1970s, the rules provided that an entity could only own and operate a total of seven radio stations across the entire country. There could be four AMs and three FMs or visa-versa. That was it. The law was originally designed, with good reason, to help insure local and diverse ownership. Always with the Public Interest at heart. It wasnt long after 1980 that the Commission began to relax those rules. It started with permitting owners of stations to operate but not own more than seven stations. Soon that rule was relaxed to allow an entity to own more than seven radio stations. Under the Clinton Administration, the entire ball of wax was tossed out along with the bath water, baby and all. If you had the resource, you could own or virtually control as many radio stations as you wanted with very little restrictions; none that have any real bearing at any rate.

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Finally, the FCC turned away from the use of Competing Applications based on qualifications and merit in favor of money. Yes, filthy lucre. Now the entire broadcast spectrum, AM, FM, TV, Cell Phones, et al, were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Wow! What a crock that is! In the Parkersburg, WV/Marietta, OH market during the end of the 1990s, a Class A FM assigned to Williamstown, WV went up for auction. The winning bidder got the license, and only the license, for $1,500,000. Get it? Got it? Yeech! This Class A soon joined the collection of stations in the market owned and/or operated by Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel currently owns half the radio stations in the Parkersburg/Marietta market followed by Burbach Broadcasting who currently owns most of the remaining stations. So much for local ownership and local control. In all fairness, there was an upside to deregulation. This is true especially if you lean toward being a Conservative politically as I do. That is the fact that deregulation led directly to the onslaught of Talk Radio (howbeit at the expense of and downfall of good music radio). Note that Rush Limbaugh is a Top 40 jock at heart. He programs his show with much of the philosophy (technically speaking) that an old Top 40 programmer would utilize. One example is his placement of Stopsets throughout the hour. There are other examples which an astute radio person will recognize. But, deregulation has led to the downfall of Top 40, entertaining, radio. And I am about to prove it once and for all so you can understand.

8. THE UGLY The aftermath of deregulation Before I go any further, I want to make an acknowledgement. I want to give some credit for indirectly prompting me to write this dissertation to Warren Cosford. Warren is a very well-known Canadian Radio Programmer and a lot more. Warren has worked, it seems, everywhere and for some of the great radio stations of the Top 40 era both above and below the Canadian border. Forgive the diversion; but, I feel compelled to offer how and why I came to know Warren. To make yet another long story short (believe me you are getting the short versions at all times), my dear friend and partner, Dave Doering, and I managed to take off an entire year and convert the Evolution of Rock from analog to digital. It was an enormous undertaking because it involved much more than just copying. When we were finished, we wanted to seek out the rights to the show for various reasons. During our search, we came across Warren Cosford who was a director of the show and an insider of great import. We also came to meet and respect Bill McDonald who wrote the EOR not to forget the late Chuck (Riley) Hanks who narrated it. After several e19

mails and phone conversations, I finally got to meet Warren in person while he was passing through the area. In fact we have had dinner together twice so far and Warren has also visited me at my home. This meeting placed me on Warrens List. These are folks, some of whom are in the top echelon of the music, broadcasting and satellite businesses. The discussion crosses the gamut from music, to radio to politics and beyond. We dont always agree. Fairly occasionally I would read and sometimes contribute to posts concerning the loss of radio as we once all knew it. I would often want to change direction from my book about WXIL to writing only about radio and radio formatting. Well, just recently, I received one of Warrens missals the content of which was brief and simply stated as follows: Competition is such that today people are excited about a 3 share. There are so many wasted signals. Our policy was, we didnt go into a market without the intent of being No. 1, period, and boom! No niche this or that. And we made it 90% of the time. You'll get to it through here: www.JohnRook.com That was all there was to it. John Rook is another famous American radio programmer with a most enviable bio. Check out his site listed above if you love radio. Anyway, I couldnt stand it any longer. I wanted to share my own two cents worth to anyone who would read it or listen to it; even if that were only one person. I have to get off my chest, so to speak, decades of discontent with radio. Now for the meat of the subject. First, a very brief and condensed education into ratings. There have always been ratings companies to rate radio listenership. In the early days there was Hoover. As time went on other companies began to rate radio and TV. But the American Research Bureau or ARBITRON became THE ratings company for radio in the early 1970s. This was accomplished by using diaries instead of Telephone Coincidental research for their main surveys. ARBITRON divided the country up into Radio and TV Markets defined by population size. There are Major Markets, Intermediate Markets and Small Markets. Coincidentally, back in the Spring of 1976, ARBITRON ran its first ever every county USA radio survey. WXIL bought in on it. Heres how the survey worked back then and basically still operates using the same statistical formulations they used then. Although, I now do not hold as much confidence
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in the survey that I once did and hopefully the reasons will become clear as I move forward here. Diaries were (and still are) randomly placed in households for a period of two weeks. Every member of each household over the age of 12 received a diary. At the end of two weeks, the diaries were packed up and sent back to ARBITRON for analysis. During the next two week period the same pattern was followed. This continued until the survey period was over. In our Small Market, back in 1976, the survey was only run once a year in the spring for roughly two months. Now days, the survey is run twice a year for three months in small markets and more often and sometimes continually in larger markets. The predetermined total number of completed diaries returned were and still are deemed sufficiently and statistically accurate to produce the survey. Each member of the household was to make an entry into his or her diary every time they listened to the radio. They would enter the time on, the station call letters and the time they turned off their radio or changed the station. If the station changed, the process would continue with next set of call letters.

At the end of the survey period, the ratings would be compiled. Essentially, this was an averaging process. The ratings are averaged into time periods and Dayparts. A time period average could be across a full week; i.e. Sunday through Saturday, from 6am to Midnight. Or it might be Monday through Friday from 6am to Midnight. The 6am to Midnight designation is also a Daypart. The short week is a hangover from thinking in terms of Drive Time. These are called Composite Weeks because they are an average of the total survey broken out as one composite week. The next smallest breakout is called a Daypart. A Daypart falls within a composite week and was averaged into four and now I believe five periods. The first Daypart is Morning Drive which is again a hangover from Drive Time radio. It goes from 6am until 10am. The next Daypart is called Middays and goes from 10am until 3pm. Next is Afternoon Drive which is from 3pm until 7pm followed by Evening which is from 7pm until Midnight. Finally, there is now Overnight which rating was not available back in the 1970s. Next, the Dayparts were broken into Quarter Hours and Daypart CUMES. Not so simply, the averages were further broken down to quarter hours within any given Daypart including 6am to Midnight or all day. This all day Daypart is good if your sponsor wants to air his or her Spots on a Run of Schedule basis. Now you have the method.

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But who was surveyed? These people are referred to as Demographics and these demographics are presented by gender and age. The genders are presented as Men, Women, Teens and Adults. The ages are broken down virtually any way you want them. However, the standard would be Teens ages 12-17; Men, Women and Adults 1834, 35-49, 50 and over. Confused yet? Hold on, theres more. The idea in a perfect world is for the survey to be used by both radio programmers and sponsors to help evaluate how a radio station is performing. Specifically, if he understands it, the sponsor is able to place his commercials precisely where and when his demographic is listening. This is ideally speaking; however, this often is not the case as many sponsors have neither the time nor inclination to even begin to understand how to read an ARBITRON. Remember those demographics and gender designations? Well, that alone isnt quite enough information to tell a sponsor how to place his ads. So, ARBITRON gives you even more information. Each Daypart audience is presented in two forms. One is Average Persons Rating and the other is Cumulative or CUME Rating. This is presented in percentages (or ratings) and in raw numbers Here is as simple an explanation as I can come up with. The Average Persons Rating represents the number of different listeners who spend at least five minutes listening to any given radio station during any given quarter hour on average within each daypart. These people are not repeated. So this number is a firm number of present listeners during any quarter hour on average. Monday through Friday and Sunday through Saturday as well as Saturday and Sunday alone, 6am until midnight, are also considered Dayparts.. The Quarter Hour people are not repeated. So this number is a firm number of present listeners during any quarter hour on average. The CUME audience is the total number of listeners who may tune in and/or out of any given radio station during any given Daypart. These people can be represented on more than one radio station. Just think of it this way, if you listen to WWWW between 6am and 6:45am and then switch to WXXX from 6:45 to 7am, and then switch back to WWWW from 7am until 9am, you will show up on both radio stations CUME rating for the Daypart. But, you will show up for eleven quarter hours for station WWWW and only one quarter hour for station WXXX. Confused yet? Wait theres more. By now, if youre paying attention, you realize that the Average Person Rating is ALWAYS the smaller the two presentations in terms of numbers. The CUME rating is always the larger of the two. So, if youre a sponsor, and are really on the proverbial ball, you will place a few spots based on the Average Person Rating or if you have

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money to spend, you will place many spots based on the CUME rating to reach the most overall Reach for your particular needs. Now how many sponsors understand all that? In my small market, I can tell you not many. Not many radio people understand it either. And this includes some of the major ad agencies in the country. Sometimes some agencies are more interested in collecting commissions from both ends (the sponsor and the radio station) than in providing a true service. And it is surely true that some radio station folks would rather sell spots than anything else WITHOUT ANY JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER regarding audience. But, what about the radio station programmer? How should he benefit from ARBITRON? Well, using the same information, the station PD should learn where his weaknesses lie. That is, which Dayparts are weaker and what Demographics are weak as well. More importantly, what format or format changes should be made to accumulate more audience? Now we have reached the crux of the current day radio malady. In short, now days, radio in general is almost useless and mundane. But just why are so many of them so useless? Always think in terms of ARBIRTON from here on out as it is the statistical basis for what I am going to say next. First, if you own 5, 6, 7 or more radio stations in any given radio market, regardless of size, what incentive do you have to make any one or two of them stand out against your other stations with fabulous ratings? Answer: NONE! These group owners are there to make money and they are betting that you do not understand ARBITRON or if you do, it is as explained to you by THEIR SALESPERSON. Get it? Got it? Not so good, is it? Radio has gone from being an "intangible asset to being a tangible asset. That is, while before your radio station value was determined by a multiple of your annual sales and your ratings or audience size which translated into sales or at least sales potential, your current value today is largely measured in real estate and the hugely inflated value of a Broadcast license or more importantly licenses. It now matters more than ever what the total income is for the group both in terms of any given market and the total of the groups combined market sales weighed against group expenses. With this in mind, creative programming is discouraged or outright abandoned. Local programming is often replaced by syndicated programs. The oldies Mix format comes from Dallas, TX or used to and is perceived as local. Local News is all but forgotten. Local community needs and problems receive even less attention than they use to.
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But even worse is how they approach music. There is no longer a Top 40 presentation. Because of the proliferation of Radio stations as a result of the 80/90 Docket, and because true competition between programmers is virtually nonexistent, something had to fill the void. Enter the end of the Disc Jockey. First, we were told that there was just too much talk from DJs. Too much. Then we were told that commercials were and are actually bad things and therefore these spots should all be relegated to one quarter hour. After all, this would free up three out of four quarter hours to play just music, uninterrupted as presented in six packs, 10 packs and 30 minutes of uninterrupted music or 30 Minute Marathons. Good for the ratings, dont ya know? Well, then the listeners wont button push since they will no longer be annoyed by pesky commercials and boring announcers and DJs. Besides, think how much corporate will save in salary expense across 5 or 6 or 7 or thousands or radio stations! Ohhh, were talkin big money here. Yes sir, they will score big on the quarter hour ratings. No more button pushing. No more button pushing until the quarter hour with spots in it. Spots, you know, those irritating, necessary blights on the music you want to hear. Hmmm. Button pushing? What about that fourth quarter hour? What about that? So the listeners button push. Will this show up in ARBITRON. Well, of course not. ARBIRTON works with AVERAGES. Get it? Got it? Sucks for sponsors, doesnt it? Let me lament with a small paraphrase to a famous song: Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing Where have all the flowers gone? Long time ago Where have all the flowers gone? Greed has picked them every one When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? Have you ever wondered why nobody goes to a radio remote site anymore? First, they have become a big boring non-event. Second, they are certainly not promoted well. And finally, who hears about them during all the button pushing?

To further help radio deteriorate, the music industry aided by Radio and Records and the like have developed the division and sub-division of music into categories. It used to be that Top 40 was a simple definition. It represented the Top 40 songs regardless of genre. Let me explain it this way. In the 1970s, you might hear a song by the Eagles, followed by Barry Manilow, followed by the BeeGees followed by Barbara Streisand followed by the Who followed by Hot Chocolate, and on and on. This was a true variety and on WXIL was dictated by our listeners and not some
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programmer or Music Director stuck in some back room fulfilling his personal taste in music or counting his unjust rewards. Now, you will find all the current music categories are a nauseating motley collection of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I mean, for example, you may find Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Hip Hop, Urban, Country, and so on and on. The last time I was able to view R&R, there were twelve different categories! I put it to you this way. America has traditionally been the most productive source for good popular music in the world and on a consistent basis. But, I ask you, is it possible to put out literally hundreds of great songs to meet the demand of very specific radio music formats AND KEEP THIS UP ON A WEEKLY BASIS? Think about it and I think you will have to answer that question with it is an impossible challenge. Have you ever wondered why a music radio station these days keeps playing the same old song forever? Could it be that Passive folks are calling the music shots? Is it any wonder that because of MP3s, XM/Sirius, CDs, iPods, iPhones and the internet that there isnt any longer a really good place to break New Music? Well, I submit that there still could be. But, in the meantime, deregulation and group ownership, motivated almost entirely by green, has actually killed the golden radio goose. I have contended for years now, that the entire house of cards will come crashing down as soon as the sponsors wake up and fully realize that RADIO DOES NOT WORK. In fact, it has already started with the bankruptcy of Citadel Broadcasting which is one of the largest conglomerates of its kind. The only problem is that I have consistently underestimated the ignorance and stupidity of many sponsors. I guess in a booming economy, things are so good that effective advertising isnt yet mandated. Either that, or desperation has already set in; but why hasnt it dawned on the powers that be just what has happed to what was and just what could be again? This could still be the only really spontaneous and effective medium around namely radio. Besides, now that the economy is on the skits, you would think that radio station owners would finally begin to think beyond just their wallets. 9. THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE THE BEAN COUNTERS In the case of WXIL, the theory was to sell audience NOT COMMERCIALS. In other words, spot announcements were only a delivery system for the sponsors message. The value in the message was only one of Strocks ABCs of an ad campaign. Equally necessary were the demographics. The more needed listeners that were provided by WXIL, the better it was for the sponsors. So, we would attempt to sell our spots based on the cost to reach 1,000 of their listeners on a quarter hour basis. This would pretty much guarantee just how many folks, of the sponsors choosing, could be reached with just one spot. Get it? Well, the sponsors had a hard time understanding the concept as did some of our sales people. But, the results were for sure excellent. And WXIL beat its competition all to pieces on this basis.
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There really is no other way to assess the value of radio for sponsors than on a cost per thousand basis. However, living with the reality of deregulation, those goals are often completely lost. Group Owners are pushing the total audience as delivered by ALL or a SELECT NUMBER of their radio stations in a given market. This is a cheap way to justify the utter lack of good numbers on any one of their radio stations. Besides, it helps to justify their Capital Investment in real estate and in radio licenses. It is VERY COSTLY for the sponsor. Get it? Radio is not alone in this phenomenon of deregulation and Pyramiding. Down-sizing/right-sizing, consolidation, maximizing, efficient economics and a plethora of other buzz words and concepts have invaded American business since deregulation (of all major industries and not just radio) and a lax view of antitrust have made their implementation possible. Consumers have benefited from lower costs and for many, a higher standard of living. Recognition of the benefits must be balanced against the costs to the public. Cheap imported goods allow Americans to purchase more with their dollars earned while they cost American industrial jobs. Raising the standard of living for the bottom rungs of the ladder in our society has eroded the middle class lifestyle. Quality has been sacrificed for plenty. Flying, as an example, has become available to more people through the low-cost fares; but at what cost? Delays, airline bankruptcies, and unbundling services are now the norm. The upper echelon business people have moved from using commercial airlines to traveling by wholly-owned or fractionally-owned corporate jets. The mediocrity of radio has pushed the more affluent listeners to iPods and other media. Starbucks has been able to carve out a niche in the higher end markets by selling an experience, not just a cup of coffee. Spas have flourished. People who can afford it want to be pampered. Since radio stations provided their products free to the consumers, how can they provide a higher cost service than their competitors and still compete for the advertisers dollars? Could the answer be found in Numbers of alert listeners, cost per thousand listeners? Could listeners who feel personally involved in their radio listening experience be of benefit? Business people have fallen into the trap of trying to increase profitability by cutting their way there. There are two sides to a Revenue & Expense Statement. Cutting expenses is always easier than increasing revenues. The problem is in knowing where to stop. Once the fat is gone they are cutting into the lean, denigrating the product. Accountants often dont know the difference. They are attempting to set
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the costs to achieve a price for the product which advertisers will pay and allow the maximum profit. The effectiveness of the product is lost in the process. The bean counters will often miss the forest because of their obsession with the trees. I lament the loss of fun radio. I miss the laughter and happiness that used to be associated with music radio. I miss looking forward for another wonderful new song to come on the playlist. And as I continue to contend: radio can only continue in its present form as long as the sponsors continue to fail to realize that music radio does not work and cannot work in its present form. By the way, do you want to know how to beat Talk Radio in the ratings? Reinstate great music radio. Trust me on that one. Finally, I like a quote from a former employee of mine from WYLi. Rob Peyton wrote this and it seems to me to ring so true. What say you?

Radio a view by Rob Peyton


For many of todays youth, channel surfing has meant listening to stations that are essentially no more than satellite relay stations for generic, prepackaged music and entertainment a cold, impersonal monoculture of digital redundancy.
I welcome your comments. Please, no profanity.

David Strock is a resident of Vienna, West Virginia and is a retired broadcaster. Please feel free to check out www.reelradio.com/wxil for a taste of Dave Strocks accomplishments. See http://music.dj-by-request.com/ for Daves newest idea for music presentation. Please write for a password until the site goes public. ______________________________________________________________________

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RATING GS A Part tial Overview for WX XIL-FM Ap pril/May 19 979* Out of ten t radio stations s rep ported as listened to in the M Metro area of Wood, Wirt Counties s in West Virginia V and Washing gton County y in Ohio, t the followin ng is a rele evant part of th hat report:

y Sunday 6:00am Midnight M Monday ADULTS S 18-34 Average e Persons Cume Pers sons Aver rage Perso n Share C Cume Perso ons Rating 3,8 800 28,100 0 54.3 63.9

TOTAL PERSONS S 12+ Average e Persons Cume Pers sons Aver rage Perso n Share Cume Perso ons Rating 6,00 00 59,300 0 33.1 47.1

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2 radio sta ations repo orted as list tened to in the 18 cou unty (in We est Virginia a and Out of 25 Ohio) S Special Par rkersburg Trading T Are ea Report*, the followin ng is a relev vant part of f that report: Monday y Sunday 6:00am Midnight M ADULTS S 18-34 Average e Persons Cume Pers sons Aver rage Perso n Share C Cume Perso ons Rating 6,300 59,700 0 35.8 not availa able

TEENS 12-17 Average e Persons Cume Pers sons Aver rage Perso n Share 2,8 800 32,100 66.7 C Cume Pers sons Rating g not avail lable

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ACKNOLEDGEMENTS

I want to thank all the many fine contributors to the success of WXIL during its first five years on the air. I especially want to thank Joe Johnson, Neil Haislop, Tim Sharp, Doug Hoffman, Joe Bello, Jim Trefney, Greg Koogler, and Abby Hayhurst along with the entire (and rotating) staff of that five year period for their encouragement and creativity. I want to give special thanks to R. Rex Marshal, former head of procurement of the FCC, Robert T. Goldenberg, Esq., William S. Reyner, Jr., Esq., James Rosenhouer, Esq., Richard A. Hayhurst, Esq., Tim Miller of Miller Communications, Charles R. Beatty, Dr. James and Ruby Carter and Warren Cosford for their importance in my radio career and influence on my personal life. Finally, I want to thank my wife, Carolyn, for her invaluable help in editing and contributing to this work and my two sons, David, Jr. and Andy both of whom are fine DJs by their own right with no outlets. I would be remiss if I didnt give credit to my late step father-in-law and mother-in-law, James and Dorothy Fenton for not only their financial support but their constant encouragement. Also I want to state my appreciation to my late Mother and Dad as well as my late brother John my sister Connie Meisgeier and my niece Melissa Noriega who all made great sacrifices for the success of WXIL. ___________________________________________________________________

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