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A PD Air Checks Santa

A PD air checks Santa

Okay, Santa, here’s the deal. We need to talk. It’s Christmas time, your biggest time of the year, and the ratings aren’t what they used to be. I know you’re doing fine with the younger demographics, but that’s not the money demo. We have to expand your appeal.

Now, we’ve done some research, and there’s a few things we have to fix right away. And if we don’t make some big adjustments, there’s going to be some serious issues.

Credibility & Image

First, your credibility is shot with adults. You’re just not believable. They aren’t buying into your whole story, and it starts with your name. Where’d you get Saint Nicholas? They don’t think you’re being “real” with them. We have to change it. You need to spend more time talking about yourself and what your real life is like. None of this “North Pole” stuff.


Research & Gifts

The last couple of years, you’ve been letting too many kids ask for toys that don’t test well with 35-44 year old women. There’s only about 5 hits that everyone wants. Here’s a list. If little Lindsey asks for something not on that list, ignore her and tell her that you know better. She’ll take what you bring her. Don’t worry. She’ll adjust.


Music Choices

Now: A couple of things about music. Our research found that most people like Christmas music in general, but there are 37 Christmas songs that nobody dislikes. If you just play those songs and get rid of all that other polarizing crap, we’ll keep them in the mall for hours. That may not seem like enough variety, but we’ll be fine as long as you tell them that we play “A better mix of Christmas so you can listen longer.” They’ll believe whatever you tell them. Research proves that this will make them like you.


Less Talk, More Music

Now that we have the definitive safe list of the right songs, I need you to start playing more of it. We know that as soon as you start to talk, they tune out. So we’re replacing some of your act with “at least 10 Carols in a Row every hour” and a special “90 Minute Marathon to start the Shopping Day.” You’ll just take a few longer breaks and hang out in the back room more. We’ll drop in some of your voice-tracks so you still have a presence.


Sell The Music

When you do say something, your primary job is to promote the music. Nobody really cares about you. The Carols are the star. That and the prizes….er, presents. And be sure to back-announce Elmo and Patsy. They told us they hate it when we don’t identify every song and artist.


Positioning Statements

It’s also important that we image the brand with Christmas, so starting now, every time you say anything, the first and last thing out of your mouth should be to remind them who plays the most Christmas songs. That’s how we’ll win Christmas. Start with the positioning statement we talked about: A Better Mix of Christmas and more of it featuring 10 Carols in a row every hour and a 90 minute marathon to start your shopping day.

Then do your break with the kids, and wrap it with a quick testimonial that supports our position. You’ll ask, “Who plays the most Carols?” then get them to say “Santa.” You don’t need to ask all that other stuff, like if they’ve been naughty or nice. All that milk and cookies chatter was self-indulgent, anyway. We’ve done some tests on this, and we think you can do a great break in 12-14 seconds, so tighten it up and use your skills to entertain and relate, baby!


Less Ho Ho Ho

With shorter breaks, there’s less time for talk, so we need to cut it down a bit, big fella. There’s several ways to do this. I noticed you’ve been saying “Ho, Ho, Ho” a lot. It seems repetitive. Do you really need three ho’s to get your point across? How about just one? Less Ho – More Carols. Everyone wins.

And can we cut down the amount of time you chit-chat with the kids? We’ll have an intern screen them for their name….Huh? Yes, an intern. The elves? Sorry, budget cut. The elves are out. But we have some 18 year old kids from Community college that get social media so it’ll be an upgrade.

So when little Jason sits on your lap, just say “Hi, Jason from Springfield, what do you want?” If they can’t tell you in the first few seconds, get them off and move on to the next kid. All that filler talk is killing forward momentum. Energy, Santa! Energy!


Promise It, Even If You Can’t Deliver

This may not seem important to you, but in listening to some of the tapes from last year, we noticed that you told the kids you’d “try” to get them the gift they want. You need to promise them. No more being vague. Yes, I know they may not actually get what they ask for, but we don’t really care about that. We just want to get them through this Christmas season. We’ll worry about next year when it comes. We need impact now.


No Jingle Bells-It Doesn’t Test

Finally, back in August, we did some focus groups with 8 people in a hotel room. They spent four hours telling us what Christmas means to them, and they don’t care about jingle bells. So get rid of them, and be sure to promote it. We ran some slogans past them and they really got it when we asked if they understood “More Music, less Jingle.” It works. Let’s go with that.

Listen, I know this seems extreme, but you have to trust that we know what we’re doing. We’re taking out all potential negatives, so we’ll definitely keep the audience from going off to the competition.

With that, a dejected Santa slumped out of the office wondering why he ever decided it would be fun to be Santa in the first place.

Steve Kowch: Fall 2016 Numeris Ballot Rating Results For Radio Across Canada


Fall 2016 Diary Rating Results For Radio Stations In Canada

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0381


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0381.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Winnipeg: Tom McGouran Hired 943 The Drive | Hal Anderson Steps Down





For as long as he can remember, Tom wanted to be on the radio. To pursue that end, Tom attended Seneca College in Toronto for Radio and Television Arts. Of course, he didn’t spend much time in class, but camped in the college radio station, getting on the air as often as possible.

Near the end of the two-year course, he sent out roughly 150 tapes across Canada and ended up with a gig at a new classical music station, CFMX-FM in Cobourg, Ont, having lied about knowing anything at all about classical music! After begging for a chance, he ended up doing the midday show at their sister station, CHUC, a few months later.

Tom continued to send out tapes, and eventually landed at CFMC-FM, a rock station in Saskatoon. Rock radio! Where he’d always wanted to be! After a couple of years there on afternoon drive, he got the call from Q94 to come to Winnipeg. This was short-lived, as he was soon hired to do middays at the new 97 Kiss FM, where it really all began.

It was then that Tom met the former minister, Larry Updike, who was doing a call-in, help-line type show. After introducing him to beer and such, they became fast friends and developed a chemistry on the air that took them to the top of the ratings in Winnipeg, First at Kiss, and then – after being fired – at 92 CITI FM.

That led to a job in Vancouver at CFMI FM, Rock 101, where they quickly took the station from second place to sixth in one rating period! Vancouver, it seems, didn’t take to Tom and Larry, or as we say, just weren’t ready for Tom and Larry. Of course, they were fired.

“Contractual crap” led to the boys returning to different stations in Winnipeg. Tom came back to CITI FM, and Larry went to Power 97. Tom thoroughly enjoyed the past 18 years hosting the Tom and Joe Morning Show with his buddy Joe Aiello, but eventually, of course, he was fired.

The two constants for Larry and Tom over the years would be a) that they always had the time of their lives doing their show together, and b) they would always eventually get fired.

Many years have transpired since Tom and Larry returned to Winnipeg from Vancouver, but they have always kept in touch. Every month over the years, you’d find them at Bella Vista, talking about when we they used to work together again over many beers and laughs.Now, the time has come for them to re-join forces – as Larry says, they have some unfinished business!

(And this time, they can’t get fired!)



Radio students On Radio: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly..


Radio students on ‘Radio’

What do radio students think of radio?

Quite a bit, actually.

Eight weeks into their first semester, more than 50 first year, first semester radio students had an assignment which required them to analyze radio: familiar stations they listen to often, and stations they have never tuned into before. Results of their findings will be revealed momentarily – please stand by.

It’s always interesting getting perspective on the current state of radio from young adults. These are folks drawn into studying this industry for various reasons: they love music, love sports, love writing and/or audio, have opinions and observations they want to share, or – in some cases – just love talking and maybe just love the sound of their own voice. At this stage in their radio studies, they have just the right amount of foundational knowledge for a somewhat informed opinion, but not enough knowledge to sway their opinion from a true honest observation.

I had just finished marking this assignment, and summarizing takeaways for this blog piece, when I attended the November OAB Conference, aptly titled ‘ Visioning the Future’.

Daniel Anstandig, CEO of Futuri -which is a developer of social and mobile audience engagement technology – encouraged media companies to tap into millennial brains to get their views of the future of media. Jeff Vidler – President of Audience Insights, and one of the smartest radio people in Canada I might add – followed Daniel’s presentation by revealing results of his actual discussion with 6 millennial brains. This sample group – young adults averaging mid-twenties – urged the radio industry to be more fun, and to focus on personalities. They like contesting, ease of use and convenience of radio. They don’t want to use their data to listen to radio (hello – unlock the FM chip anyone?).

These are important takeaways from average, everyday people who are coming at these conclusions and observations from a very honest and unbiased point of view. Here at Humber college, the faculty – radio and all media programs specifically – are lucky enough to have access to these kinds of opinions and observations on the state of whatever media – on a regular basis – each and every time we step into a classroom or mark an assignment.

Here’s an example.
Circling back to the opening of this piece – and results of an assignment where the students – currently everyday people with a vested interest in radio – were asked to critically listen and analyze radio and offer the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Highlights from the ‘Radio Station Analysis’ assignment from fall 2016.
Sample Size: 50
35% female
65% male
Average age

First year, first semester radio students, Humber College School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Toronto, ON

Assignment Objective – (synopsis):
  • Listen critically to one hour of radio on a station you are familiar with, and another hour of radio on a station you have never listened to
  • Look at their web page – see if you can find information about the company, management etc
  • Record -on a hot clock, and analyze the following:
    • When did the station break during that hour, and what did those breaks contain?
    • Why were commercials placed here – observations?
    • What did the host/announcer talk about, and why did they talk about that item at that point?
    • Who is listening, what makes you think that?
    • Who is the direct competition to this station, and why?
    • If you were the PD – what would you change – if anything?
      The Good  – point form
    • The term ‘part of’ came up a bit. These young listeners liked to feel they were ‘part of’ something  - part of the joke – part of a ‘special club’ – all terms that came up
    • They LIKE news headlines. Many listened to stations they never listened to before and heard top hour headlines – questioning why all the stations didn’t do this?
    • They like to be reminded of who is talking, what was played, the time and weather, background on songs and artists…you know…radio – how it always was before someone said no one wants this anymore! Many of these students were listening to some of these stations for the first time and were unfamiliar with the songs, the host etc. One student questioned – “does the station not want to attract and keep more listeners so their ratings will increase? Then tell me what and to whom I am listening!
    • They like hosts who interact with listeners
    • They like hosts in general! A few students tuned into an hour of radio that was clearly unmanned – on auto, and they couldn’t understand why there was no host. One mentioned how it was an opportunity lost.
    • They like strategically placed spot sets – and sets that were shorter length.
    • They like good, informative and funny talk radio (some never listened to talk before)-  but they felt the hosts should identify the guests more often
    • They like classical music – and jazz – and have discovered these are relaxing stations that they will tune into moving forward. (note: opportunity here given our stressed out millennials!)
    • Many found stations for the first time that they didn’t know exist. (note: another case to implement Sean Ross’ idea of radio pooling together to advertise radio (on billboards and other mediums)
    The Bad and Ugly –  point form
  • Overuse of splitters. One student offered  - do they think the listener is stupid? We get we are listening to that station!
  • Lack of information. What are they listening to? Who are they listening to outside of the splitters?
  • No host. Many students pulled an all-nighter (as students do) to complete this assignment. Many questioned why they didn’t hear a host -or any interaction with audience. One student pondered – don’t they want people to tune in overnight? What about all the shift workers?
  • Commercial spots that were too long; Many students commented on this –and suggested that a long stop set sounded like one big commercial – the first client gets forgotten after commercial number 7 airs. 
  • Many commercials – some felt – also had too much information – they were confused. What exactly is the client selling?
  • Certain hosts were talking to audience as a whole, rather than individually – there was no intimacy
  • Information gathering; students questioned why it was so hard to find information about demographics and psycho-graphics on the radio webpage? Shouldn’t this be clearer? (Many noted CHFI did a good job with this)
  • Students also noted many stations did not clearly identify station management and how to contact them outside of a general ‘contact us’ form.
Interesting observations and takeaways from the future stakeholders in radio; our colleagues and maybe even our bosses? These young people have great ideas. They have logical observations and questions – which in some cases – don’t have a logical answer. They want to be heard and share their ‘millennial brains’ with you – the agents of change. Listen closely, and you could learn a thing or two like we profs do every time we step into the classroom.
To arrange for your own focus group, poll or survey with these students – feel free to contact me. They would love for you to hear their opinions.


It’s the Giving Season. Would You Like a Radio Station?


Paul Sullivan New York Times

PHILANTHROPICALLY minded people regularly try to donate stuff — cars, catamarans, collections of all sorts — to nonprofits. In the best of circumstances, they believe that their donations will help a cause. Other times, they are just looking for an organization to take junk off their hands or validate their taste.

Then there is the case of Jason Wolff. At the end of 2007, Mr. Wolff, who considers himself a value investor, bought 16 radio stations in the greater Los Angeles area. He did very well with them, and this year he got an offer to sell them. But after the transaction was completed, he still had one left.

“My wife said, ‘Why don’t we just give it to NPR?’” Mr. Wolff said. “My first response was, ‘Because we can make a lot of money selling it.’ But then I thought about it. Intellectually, this felt good. This felt like a value donation — if there is such a thing.”

So he called the president of KCRW, the National Public Radio affiliate in Los Angeles, and asked if she wanted his radio station in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

“It was so weird,” said Jennifer Ferro, president of KCRW. “I didn’t understand what he meant.”

Radio stations are generally owned by conglomerates that are not in the business of giving them to public radio stations. But in this particular case, the offer seemed stranger still: Weeks before Mr. Wolff’s offer, KCRW tried to buy a station in the same area but was outbid.

Ms. Ferro called her board and explained what was happening. “They said, ‘Wait, you said we weren’t going to be able to buy this station.’”

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is the giving season, when Americans make the bulk of their charitable donations.

Most of those gifts are checks written to favorite causes. But some come in the form of orphan radio stations, junked cars, unwanted boats or collections of baseball cards.

And many charities are more than happy to accept gently used or even broken-down goods that can be sold, like old cars. The proceeds go toward their mission.

“We bring in $500,000 a year from cars,” Ms. Ferro said, adding that a station in San Diego gets more than $1 million from unwanted automobiles. “Normally on a pledge drive, you’d get $10 a month. But that same person would say, ‘I have this car.’ Someone may only give you $400 for that car, but that’s $400 to KCRW.”

According to a recent survey by U.S. Trust, a banking company that caters to the wealthy, only 10 percent of people make nonfinancial gifts — like works of art, land or collections of all sorts. More than 80 percent write checks, and half of those donations are made online.

Still, more than twice as many people, the study found, give items rather than appreciated securities.

“I have a client who gave over a whole building, a rental apartment building, in the downturn,” said Claire Costello, national practice executive for philanthropic solutions at U.S. Trust. “The charity ran the building and used the proceeds for its operations. It had nothing to do with social services.”

As with any gift, advisers caution, people need to know what they want to accomplish with their donation before they make it, no matter what form it takes. And they need to understand the needs of the nonprofit.

“We were involved once when someone wanted to donate a building to a small arts nonprofit,” said Melissa Berman, president and chief executive of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “But the building needed so much work that it wasn’t clear they could remodel a building that had so much asbestos in it. In the end, it wasn’t in the nonprofit’s best interest to take the building without more support than was being offered.”

When the gifts and needs match, it works well. For potential heirs, it can also ease the worry about whether to keep something or sell it — and the speculation about what mom or dad would have done.

Ms. Costello thought of a client who had given a sizable collection of sports memorabilia to charity, a collection that probably cost the client more than it was worth. “The charity has zero investment in it, so what do they care what it’s worth?” she said. “They’re not looking to recoup their investment, like the collector was. It’s like the junk car. Who wants the junk car? But it’s valuable.”

Many of these donations are one-offs. You have only one radio station or so many junked cars to give.

But there are other helpful ways to give away unwanted items. Ken Shubin Stein, a doctor turned investor, started Crutches 4 Kids with his sister and brother-in-law, both orthopedic surgeons. The premise is straightforward: collect no-longer-needed crutches and send them to the developing world, where lack of mobility is a public health problem for 50 million children.

Mr. Shubin Stein started the charity after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when he saw a wave of children having legs amputated. Since then, the foundation has collected and distributed about 10,000 pairs of crutches.

“One of the things about crutches is you can definitely solve the problem,” he said. “They’re low-cost, lightweight, and there’s no lucrative black market value, so they’re not likely to be stolen.” There are also schools and hospitals that serve as ready-made collection points for used crutches.

Mr. Shubin Stein said he and his family had been paying for the organization’s annual budget, which is about $100,000. They have also relied on groups like Americares and MedShare International to transport the crutches that last mile.

“Our landed-and-delivered cost for children’s crutches is about $10,” he said. “It seems like the ultimate return on investment.”

What has limited this effort, he said, is the logistics of collecting the crutches more widely and then getting them to places in need.

And this can be a challenge for anyone or any organization that wants to give or get: It’s a lot harder to get things from one place to another than it is to use a credit card to make a financial donation. This is often true in the case of a natural disaster, when people send care packages.

“Even if these places need things like tents or canned goods, it may often be easier for the groups that can reach the afflicted to get local merchandise than deal with customs to get goods off the plane,” Ms. Berman said. “You may be creating more of a headache than it’s worth when you send the canned sweet potatoes.”

That is not to say that small things aren’t appreciated. Ms. Berman said donating toiletries to local homeless organizations can be helpful.

James Dondero, the founder of Highland Capital Management in Dallas, came up with a solution: When his company gets expensive bottles of wine or the use of an event space as thanks for its $3 million in annual giving, it gives them to another organization in need.

The wine, for example, goes to the American Heart Association’s annual wine auction. The space, in places like the Dallas Zoo or the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, goes to smaller organizations that couldn’t afford to rent such space themselves.

“We make large gifts, so we have access to tables, admissions and golf tournaments,” said Linda Owen, director of Highland’s charitable giving program. “We’ve calculated that there is value in this, and we thought, ‘How can we give nonfinancial gifts to other organizations?’”

She said the firm supported Education Is Freedom, which helps underserved children finish high school and get into college. It took the access it had to the Dallas Zoo and gave it to the group for its graduation ceremony, which the company also underwrote.

This matchmaking is not always easy. “It is labor-intensive,” Ms. Owen said. “On one level, the easiest thing to do would be to decline these opportunities. But we try to be mindful and thoughtful about the access that we have.”

Mr. Wolff said the radio station donation was surely bigger than any other gift he had made. He said he was still waiting for the appraiser to give him the final value, though he sold an inferior station in the same market for $600,000.

And, like many people who get more involved in an organization, he said the gift felt different. “It’s like ‘The A-Team’: ‘I love it when a plan comes together.’” he said, quoting a line from the 1980s television show. “These guys are going to be able to fulfill their mission.”

Big Names Out As CBS Radio News Makes Cuts


 CBS Radio News is losing a slew of its most seasoned journalists after distributor Westwood One cut its fees, The Post has learned.

Senior correspondents and executives were offered buy-outs in advance of CBS Radio’s imminent spin-out of CBS Corporation, sources said.

Among those departing are: Executive Producer Charlie Kaye, with CBS for 34 years; Washington correspondent Barry Bagnato, with the network for 30 years; afternoon anchor Harley Carnes, with CBS for 24 years; and, “CBS World News” anchor Bill Whitney, a 32-year veteran of CBS Radio News.

“They were offered targeted buy-outs to accomplish cuts,” a source told The Post. “They took a big haircut in the new Westwood deal, as expected.”


Insiders are expecting more exits in the coming weeks.

CBS News vice president, radio Harvey Nagler, who heads the operation, announced in November he would be retiring from the company. His last day is expected to be Jan. 6.

Late last month, CBS filed paperwork to complete the spinoff of its radio unit, which is likely to happen in early 2017.


CBS Radio News did not immediately return calls for comment.

Paul Kaye: A Guide To Making Bad Radio


Competition is fierce.  There are more radio stations in a market than there probably should be.  The advancement of technology has divided our listener’s attention and added to confusion.  The very fact the term ‘screen-agers’ exists to describe our teens signifies the disruptive nature of the landscape we now operate within.  Winning today is hard.  There is no easy way to conquer the competition. If you’re fortunate enough to develop a winning strategy enjoy the moment as it won’t last long. Winning today has a lot to do with adaptability; being able to adapt to the ever changing needs and tastes of your desired audience.  We are – to some extent – at the mercy of technological advances.  It’s hard to predict what the future will serve up for us, but one thing is for sure, it will bring more change.  Change that we can’t begin to conceive of.  If we are flexible and embracing of this change we may be lucky enough to work out how to win again tomorrow too.  Despite all this disruption some things never change.  If you are looking for a how to guide on how to erode your own ratings, then we have all you need below.  The way to lose will never change.

Here is our guide to making bad radio…  If you use it, you’re guaranteed to reduce your ratings.


  • Ensure there is nothing distinctive or different about your product. Just try and be as good as, or better than, someone else. Take the approach of “they look successful, let’s do something like that.”  Do not stand for anything; there’s no need to be divisive.
  • Fail to own a meaningful position in your target audience’s mind. Why not pursue every option available to you; surely doing more is better than doing a few things? Don’t worry about being known for one thing or by one word, instead try and win everything.
  • Make sure you avoid communicating what makes you different and desirable. People have the time and energy to work out what it is for themselves.  They don’t need you to tell them.  If you do intend to communicate what you’re about, don’t do it very often; infrequently will work best.


  • Targeting a certain type of person seems restrictive. You will surely have more success if you try and appeal to a broad audience.  Avoid having your product appeal to a certain age of person after all a retiree is not that different to a teenager right?
  • If you are targeting your product then make sure you target on age and gender alone. That’s the best way to align your audience.  This new idea of targeting a lifestyle and the values of the audience seems too complicated.  Stick to the old ways of doing it.
  • Don’t try and understand the audience. They don’t know what they want.  What’s the point in researching their behaviors and tastes, eventually they’ll learn to like your product as much as you do.
  • Keep the audience at arm’s length. They don’t need to be involved in the creative process. You – and your team – are the experts.  Build it and they shall come.  Make sure the audience is passive in the process of building your brand.


  • Make it all about the music. The only thing the audience really cares about is music.  People find it intolerable to put together their own playlists on Spotify or to stream Apple Music.  They hate searching out songs on YouTube and never pay attention to their friend’s recommendations.  They come to you purely for the music.  You are their sole source for music.
  • Ignore research. The data can’t get it right.  You have your job because your taste in music is far better than the audience’s anyway.  Research is flawed. Instead play the songs that you think are hits and that you like.  Flex your musical muscle and nothing can go wrong.
  • Never challenge the audience’s musical tastes. The audience hates surprises.  They like what they like and have no room for anything else.  Keep rotating that short list of songs in a predictable way, the audience will love you for that.
  • Play lots of music. The more music you play the better your chance of winning.  If the competition plays 40 minutes nonstop, you’ll win by playing 45 minutes nonstop.  If the competition promises 50 minutes nonstop then you can easily win by doing 60 minutes nonstop. And so on…


  • Your audience hates it when people talk on the radio. The more you can shut them up the better you’ll do.
  • Hire uninteresting, robotic and monotonous talent. No-one wants to hear them anyway (see above point).  Plus they tend to be cheaper and easier to manage.  They also probably sound a lot like your competitors’ talent and your desire is just to be a better version of them.
  • Get your talent to say the station name at the start and end of each break. Even better, get them to do it in exactly the same style each time.  Who doesn’t like uninteresting people that actually spend the majority of their time saying uninteresting things!
  • Take your time. Your audience has all the time in the world.  You have their complete attention, they haven’t got anything better to do.  Meander through your thoughts.  Present contradicting and complicated ideas.  Make multiple points at once.   Your. Time.
  • Hire people who think they’re funny. Then encourage them to do ‘funny bits’ all the time.  The more jokes, the better.  Companionship is out.  Comedians are in.
  • Hire talent who hate direction. Talent who think they know it all.  Those who have been there and done that.  It’ll make your life as the PD easier as you won’t have to work with them. They’ll make it obvious that ‘they got this’.  It’s an instant timesaver to have egotistical and arrogant talent on the team.
  • Don’t prepare. We want our talent to be spontaneous even if it comes at the expense of entertainment.  Real and lackluster always triumphs over prepared and entertaining.
  • There are only a few approaches to show prep and you should encourage your talent to do one of these at all times; (a) simply rip and read whatever is on the irrelevant prep sites and services they subscribe to. (b) read the Pop Culture stories that have been running on the internet and in social media feeds for the last 24 hours or so.  (c) talk about yourself.  We all want to hear about your trip to the supermarket or when you first swore as a child.  The audience lives to indulge in your life – after all it’s a better life than ours.  (d) If all else fails simply steal bits that you like from other radio shows (or even popular TV shows; Mean Tweets anyone).  A show full of disconnected and irrelevant bits won’t hurt.


  • Your audience is hard of hearing so make sure the voiceovers really scream the message at them. Make sure they have no warmth, just loudness.  You want movie trailer type voices vs real people.
  • The nosier the better! Make sure your imaging team really invest in putting in lots of whooshes and zaps.  The busier the piece of production – and the more excited your producer is – the better you’re doing.  Keep going.
  • It’s never about the words. It’s always about the sound.  Want to convey emotion then simply change the music in the piece. If you want it to be a sad piece put a delicate harp into it.  You don’t need to carefully consider the words, or make sure the voiceover has an authentic tone.
  • Texture is overrated. You don’t need variety in your imaging approaches.  Who cares if you have usage promos, listener imaging, sonic variety etc.  Just say the same thing over and over again so that you bombard your audience with consistency and no creativity.  That will help the message be heard.
  • Imaging is meant to be functional, not entertaining. Do whatever you can to keep it quick, repetitive and monotone.


  • Do not market your brand. If the product is good enough people will surely seek you out.  Those who do seek you out will find you so compelling that they will shout about it from the rooftops.  What we do matters to people, so marketing isn’t necessary.  It’s only about what comes out of the speakers.
  • Slash the marketing budget. If you have to save money this seems like the most sensible place to do it.  After all, they’ll find you if you’re good enough (see above point).
  • If you decide you want to market, do not use a creative agency to help you develop your messaging and visual image. Surely there is someone on your team that can use Paint or PowerPoint instead?


  • Do the same thing, in the same way, all the time. Why re-invent the wheel?  Simply regurgitate the promotions that have been used since radio promotions began.  It’s not like creativity and innovation is important to your audience.
  • Make sure the audience has to do multiple things to win – listen, enter online, follow the Facebook clues. The more often they have to interact with your brand in order to maybe win, the better!  Keep them jumping through hoops.
  • Who doesn’t like to qualify? What a fantastically cost-effective prize – you have won the chance to maybe win something.  Qualifying works for everyone.  Its zero cost and people win something.  Abuse the idea of qualifying.
  • Ignore the majority and create your own content. Seizing the moment is over-rated.  Everyone will be talking about the major disaster, sporting win, pop culture story, or musical legend’s death.  You should stick to your well-crafted strategic plan while everyone else is jumping on the big story of the moment.  People don’t come to you to hear the latest news anyway.  Plus by not doing it you’ll be offering a break from all the coverage everyone else is doing.
  • We do promotions to give away cool things and drive appointment tuning. It’s never about conveying our brand values.  Don’t worry if the prize doesn’t reflect your listener’s wants or needs.  Don’t worry if the client you’re partnering with doesn’t align with your brand.  You just want cool things to give away.  And never ever worry about running winner promos; they don’t make your station sound exciting, they just serve as a reminder you didn’t win.
  • The more promos the better. No one listens to radio for anything other than music and chances to win. Fill every break with a contest.  The more the merrier.  It also means the talent can’t be talking about something of their choosing; we already know they can’t do anything interesting.
  • Never, ever, break the cardinal rule of radio. All promotions must use “caller #4” methodology.


  • Do not respond to ratings. In fact don’t believe the ratings at all.  Ignore the fact that you are number 11, it’s probably not accurate; you know lots of people who love your station and dislike the number 1 station.  You don’t see athletes reacting to their positions after a race so why should you.
  • Always blame the methodology. It’s simply not a fair system – until you’re winning obviously.  The sample size is too small so spend your time beating up on the data rather than trying to fix the problems it’s highlighting for you.


  • Shoot the first person who utters the phrases “digital” or “multi-platform”. We do radio.  Radio still has a 95% weekly reach.  We’re healthy, we don’t need to worry about the changing consumer habits.  It’s better to stick to what you know than be curious about the future.  We can deal with the future when it’s here surely?
  • The only social media policy you need is “don’t use Facebook at work”. You need to minimize the distractions social media can have on your team.  They’re lying to you if they tell you this is where their audience communicates to them.  They just want to stalk their ex during their shows.


  • Centralization is your best friend. You’re not smart enough to make your own decisions, much better if you rely on the governance of those with bigger job titles.  Make sure you run everything you’re thinking past them.  If they aren’t positive about the idea, scrap it immediately.
  • Morale is not as important as results. Do whatever it takes to get positive results.  Happiness comes from obliterating the targets.  People don’t need to feel included, challenged, supported or happy if the results are coming in.  Results lead to happiness.  Be ruthless in how you get the results – you’ll make people happier in the end!
  • Always – and we mean always – put sales before ratings. If there are dollars attached to it then you should do it.  Make sure the talent and the content team are under no illusions the dollar wins on every occasion.  Dilute and diminish your brand for the bottom line; it’s a tough economy.
  • Hire programmers that are safe. No one wants a maverick that’s trying new things and experimenting.  You need someone who loves to build business plans and who seeks to control everything.  You don’t want corporate to notice your station because your PD is doing something unique or unusual.  Stick to what has always worked. Be conservative.  After all the world hasn’t changed, your audience hasn’t changed, why should you?

If all of the above is not having the desired impact then build your strategy around two words “Commercial Free”.  Say it often.  Shout it with pride.  There’s nothing like a commodity approach to ensure you lose in the end!

Winning is hard.  None of us can be 100% sure how to do it; I’ll let you in to a secret those who say they know how are either lying or delusional.  Winning requires us to approach each day with a fresh curiosity and a willingness to change.  But, if you want to lose those were some of the guaranteed ways to do it.

If you would like to add your own thoughts and theories to our ‘Bad Radio Handbook’ then please feel free to share them at kaye.paul@mail.com or on Twitter @mrpkaye

  Originally published as part of The Performance Playbook at www.allaccess.com/the-performance-playbook

John Gfroerer: Nights Of Radio Dreams The Magic Of Radio


There are gifts that transcend the moment of their giving. For me, the radio was one of those gifts.

It probably came at Christmas when I was 11, maybe 12, a nudge from my parents to begin the transition from toys to real things. This was a real thing. A radio with a clock. I put it next to my bed and could tune in whatever station I wanted – an adult thing that I controlled.

It was white plastic with a radial clock face and a radial tuner, with a speaker between, and stood about 5 inches high and 10 inches long. It was AM only because this was the early ’60s, and AM was all you needed. The new radio fit perfectly into the headboard space of my bed. There was a special timer on the clock so that I could go to sleep, and it would shut the radio off automatically. In 1962, this was cutting-edge technology.

The cool station in western New York was WKBW; 1520 on the dial, it came right out of downtown Buffalo. The Beach Boys, Elvis, Fabian, Bobby Rydell and many more filled its airwaves all day long. Every night I got into bed, turned off the light and WKBW carried me to sleep.

Over time, something unexpected began to happen. It might have started on nights I couldn’t fall asleep, or maybe there was a song I didn’t like, but I began to search the dial.

In the dark, I learned that distant stations also found their way to my radio. It was quite an amazing thing. The first to be discovered was WABC out of New York City, 400 miles away. Cousin Brucie was right there, talking to me from downtown Manhattan. His voice had that little touch of reverb so you knew absolutely that he was coming from the canyons of the big city. I still know the jingle, “Seventy Seven, Double U A B C!”

Listening to a New York City radio station was almost as cool as being in New York. But that wasn’t the only station I found. There was KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa. WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana. WBZ in Boston.

Music became less important than the idea of going to some distant city and hearing what they were hearing. In winter, I followed school closings in Pittsburgh. In summer, I would imagine myself in Central Park as Cousin Brucie ran down which of my favorite recording artists were doing gigs in the city that weekend.

Sometimes I would just troll, slowly going around the dial and carefully listening through the static for any form of life. I was always looking to see what was the farthest station I could tune in. I think I picked up Oklahoma once. Voices would fade in and out like little bursts of wind. In the safety of my bedroom I would connect with distant places, learn their weather, their plans for the next day. Unfamiliar street names and suburbs and radio personalities filled my imagination. Like a good book or movie, I would just immerse myself in their environment. And everyone knows, the Beatles sound better when heard from a station coming out of New York City or Boston than the radio station that was right nearby.

Part of the allure was that it only happened at night. Once the sun came up the distant stations would disappear like stars to the light. By day I lived in western New York. But when darkness fell I was traveling the Northeast, sampling other cultures, other dialects, comparing the humdrum of my life with the humdrum of theirs.

There are scientific explanations why this happens – clouds, atmosphere, clear channel frequencies – but I never took a lot of time to explore them. I was content just finding the stations. Some things are more alive if you let them exist in their mystery.

Eventually I began to settle in with WBZ. Back then, WBZ was a music station, and in late-night hours it would play the cutting edge of rock, underground and folk. I would go to sleep with Dick Summer playing Tom Rush and wake up to Carl DeSuze letting me know about traffic on Storrow Drive. I didn’t know what Storrow Drive was, but it sounded a lot more interesting than the empty streets passed on the way to Tonawanda High School.

Now I look back and think about what has changed for me and why. What are the threads that took shape from late-night radio travels? How did it happen that now I know what Storrow Drive is and tune in to WBZ for traffic alerts when I’m going to be driving on it?

Does it matter? Sometimes life is more alive if you don’t know all the answers.

What I do know is this. When I set down the book tonight and turn off the light next to the bed, I will push the sleep button on my digital clock radio. In the darkness, music will carry us to sleep.

(John Gfroerer of Concord owns a video production company based at the Capitol Center for the Arts.)

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The News Game: CBC Outsmarts Private Media Again


By Vicky Mochama MetroNews

It’s rather odd for the barons of the printed press to blame the CBC for their difficulties. Despite several years of devastating cuts and losses, five senior executives at Postmedia received a total of $2.3 million in retention bonuses.

For what they are being retained remains unclear. Yet they — and their equivalents at other major outlets — have the audacity to wander onto Parliament Hill begging for mercy.

Over the last few years, declining subscriptions, the Internet and lower advertising revenue have hit the nation’s newspapers hard. They might soon only afford a small staff of interns to yell the news in your local town square.

The heads of the newspaper business have told Parliament’s heritage committee that the CBC is to blame.

The CBC has made a number of changes, from running digital ads to launching an opinion section that has diversified the range of white people paid to have opinions.

Our public broadcaster behaved like a ruthless media company, which other media companies apparently did not realize was an option.These changes, they say, have hampered the ability of newspapers to sell advertising. It hasn’t come up that the websites of many major newspapers look like a scanned pdf. And the existence of adblockers seems to have escaped their attention

Up against this finger-pointing, the CBC has responded that they’re only too happy to get out of the advertising game. For $418 million, they’ll go ad-free like their BBC counterparts. Not only is it a clever bit of ransoming, it’s an excellent response to every criticism levelled at them.

Think the CBC should get out of the opinion game? Cut a cheque for $20 million and no one there will ever use an “I feel” statement ever again.

Think the CBC’s coverage of hockey and the Olympics is terrible? Drop $88 million at their Toronto headquarters. In no time, it’ll be “Ron McLean? Who? Haven’t heard that name in years.”

Think the broadcaster shouldn’t even be on the Internet? Put out the collection plate for $133 million, and soon we will have the world’s most impressive publicly funded fax machine.

The numbers here are my guess, but I’m sure the CBC could offer up a more accurate price list. Hell, for a gold Starbucks card and two tickets to the musical Hamilton, they might get out of the news business altogether.

For an unwieldy bureaucracy, the CBC has managed to outfox the private companies. If their ad-free gamble works, they’ll exit the diminishing returns of the advertising world with a solid financial base. And at a much lower $400K salary, CBC president Hubert Lacroix got his multimillionaire nemeses to make his argument for him.

Why Voice Control Could Be The Next Big Technology Trend In Radio


By Michael Hill The Drum 


My friend Matt Deegan, who runs several radio-related businesses, describes radio as a virus. It’s a born survivor, he says – attaching itself to new platforms and devices, just as a virus clings to cells. That could explain why 90% of UK adults listen to the radio every week, a figure unchanged in decades, despite the explosion in entertainment options.

My friend Matt Deegan, who runs several radio-related businesses, describes radio as a virus. It’s a born survivor, he says – attaching itself to new platforms and devices, just as a virus clings to cells. That could explain why 90% of UK adults listen to the radio every week, a figure unchanged in decades, despite the explosion in entertainment options.

This week I’ve been in Manchester speaking at a Radiocentre event called Tuning In: See Radio Differently. My talk is about some of the R&D and innovation that’s happening around radio, and how Radioplayer’s partnering with technology companies to achieve that. But no matter how radio is consumed, at its core is that indestructible content-model. It’s the ‘entertain me’ button.

We might need to find another way of describing it though, for devices like the Amazon Echo. This home speaker doesn’t rely on buttons, but on words. Launched in the UK a couple of months ago, I’m going to predict that this speech-controlled cylinder will be the best-selling technology gift this Christmas. It’s powered by a voice assistant called ‘Alexa’.

When Amazon was planning its top-secret UK launch, it contacted us with an interesting proposal. It wanted us to build a Radioplayer ‘skill’ (that’s what it calls ‘apps’ on the Echo), optimised for the UK radio market. We’re keen to learn more about voice-control (partly because it will be crucial in car dashboards in the future), so we built a simple ‘skill’ which enables listeners to play a station of their choice, and ask for recommended radio.

‘Alexa, ask Radioplayer to recommend a station’ is how you kick it off. She replies with the name of a station, and plays it. If you say ‘skip’, she moves on to the next. Her selection is uncannily good. It’s based on the Radioplayer ‘recommendation engine’ we’ve built, which looks at where you are in the country, what you last listened to, and what’s trending right now across UK radio. I just tried it in my Manchester hotel room, and she played me Key 103, Radio X Manchester, Revolution 96.2, All FM Manchester, Heart North West, and BBC Radio Manchester. All great stations, which a local listener might well be discovering for the first time.

Voice control is definitely one of the big emerging technology trends, and it’s a natural fit for radio – because it’s all about sound. It’s been very instructive, working with a huge and influential firm like Amazon. We’re going to take what we’ve learned about ‘VUX’ (Voice User eXperience’) and extend it to other Radioplayer products in 2017 – including our apps and our new hardware product for cars.

It’s a great time to be a virus. Particularly an entertaining one, with ears.

Michael Hill is the managing director of Radioplayer




The CRTC has approved the application by Sher-E-Punjab Radio to launch a new South Asian station on 600 in Vancouver. The new station will operate with 10,000 watts fulltime.

Approval was also granted to Akash Broadcasting for a new South Asian station on 91.5 in Surrey. The new station will operate with 290 watts (1,000 watts maximum ERP). Call letters will be CFKZ.

In addition South Asian Broadcasting got the go ahead to establish a rebroadcaster for CKYE 93.1 RED FM Vancouver in Surrey on 89.1.The new station will operate with 89 watts (250 watts maximum ERP). Call letters will be CKYE-1.


Pirate Radio Station Radio Caroline Aims To Rock The Waves Again With AM Signal Licence Application



Rebel station was founded in 1964 as an answer to broadcasting by the BBC which only played pop for an hour a week.

Pirate station Radio Caroline may soon be broadcasting from its ship again.pirate

It has applied for a licence to air AM shows from the MV Ross Revenge off the coast of Essex.

Boss Peter Moore hopes it will granted in time for the 50th anniversary of the 1967 government campaign to force the pirates off the air.

The station, immortalised in Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked, was founded in 1964 to play pop music all day in a time where broadcasting was dominated by the BBC and pop was played for an hour a week.

After the law was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast until the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast in 1991.

Moore said the vessel is “mostly fixed” and open to visitors.

Radio Caroline currently operates as an internet and digital radio station, with many shows broadcast from the Ross Revenge, which has a gadget fitted to its wheelhouse to give it a 4G signal, and also from its presenters’ home studios.

Moore said: “It would be very fitting that, 50 years after the law intended to silence us once and for all, we show that it didn’t work.”

The proposed AM signal would serve Essex and Suffolk, an area served by the station in its early years, with the transmitter based on land and connected to the studio on the ship and presenters’ homes.

“The Suffolk application is in hope of returning to what was always our heartland,” added Moore.

“We would broadcast on AM just like long ago to entertain the people who grew up with Caroline and maybe cannot listen just now.

“The presenters would be in part the same ones they listened to from our ship at sea.”

Ofcom confirmed it was reviewing the application.

Matt Cundill: The Return of Charles Adler


By Matt Cundill a 20 year veteran of the radio industry.

Episode 25: The Return of Charles Adler.

Charles Adler has made his way back to the Corus Radio, the place he spent nearly a decade doing a national radio show from 2004 to 2013. In this episode, Charles tells us who the best radio personality is in Canada, what makes terrestrial radio great, and how the media mishandled the U.S. election. I had the luxury of working with Charles for a number of years and if it sounds like we are catching up, it’s because it’s been a year.

This episode is powered by NLogic and their new cloud based ratings program – Lens. For a free trial, go to www.nlogic.ca

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Visit Matt Cundill @ www.mattcundill.com



On The Move: Pattison Mixes it Up At Q103 Kelowna| Fresh Radio Kingston Ryan Carroll


On The Move: Erin Wilde of 101.5 KooL FM #Calgary is on the move after ten years to KiSS 95.9 #Calgary. Wilde will hold down evenings.