Radio AM to FM: January 28, 2000
I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have thought to myself, "There just aren't enough commercials on the radio."
I'm kidding. In this age of unregulated radio, when commercial breaks on the greediest of stations can take up to 15 minutes and hourly loads can approach 30; when a computer program exists to remove gaps between words so local stations running syndicated talk shows can add up to 5 minutes of commercials per hour; when stations adapt sports talk not because anyone actually listens but because the commercial load can be three or four times that of a music station, commercials are hardly an endangered species.
Yet there are times when empty commercial breaks exist on radio stations throughout the country. And, in a manner similar to selling open seats at deep discounts on an airplane just before a flight, two companies are working to fill that unsold commercial air time by offering it at a discount via the internet.
The two companies, broadcastspots.com (already selling such ads) and adauction.com (adding radio spots soon) do their thing by showcasing available ad spaces on their respective web sites, then selling them online. For their time and effort, they get a 25% cut of the action.
Of course, there are those like me that question the wisdom of running more ads per day when the stations are already driving listeners to other entertainment choices such as tapes and compact discs, while others question the need for such a service when stations in large markets are already selling about 95% of the available ad spots, and those in smaller markets sell about 75%.
And to think that it wasn't that long ago when people rebelled against the 10-15 minutes of commercials that the major AM music stations ran in the 1970s, helping to kick start progressive music stations on the FM band ... stations that bragged about having fewer commercials ...
KACE (103.9 and 98.3 FM) says "goodbye" to "dusties" on January 31st, but it appears that the station will live on through the internet. Within the next few weeks, KACE programmer Kevin Fleming plans to launch a 24-hour R&B oldies web station at www.onlineoldies.com. No word yet if any of the excellent KACE personalities will be part of the new online venture.
At least one on-line radio reporter insists that Jonathon Brandmeier is taking over the morning slot at Arrow 93 (KCBS-FM). But one observer close to the station wrote back with this:
"I hardly think that Brandmeier with a #19 Arbitron ranking in the midday would take over Joe Benson's #5 rating spot in the morning." Let's hope he's right.
Reader Polly Martens agreed, writing, "Arrow should know better."
Actually they don't. Owner CBS/Infinity (or more accurately, Infinity before the CBS merger) used to be run by radio guys; now the managers (including the former radio guys) are nothing more than suits that count beans all day. But hopefully the listeners can convince them: we don't want another lame morning talk show. Keep Brandmeier where he is or send him back to Chicago.
Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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