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Radio AM to FM: August 12, 2005

Too Little Too Late has reported that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has ordered a review of the radio payola settlement between Sony/BMG and New York Attorney General Eliot Spritzer.

Nice try, Kevin. But where were you and the FCC while all of this was going on over the past five years or so? Why was it the Attorney General from New York who exposed this illegal ongoing pay-for-play system instead of the commission charged with enforcing such laws? Admit it, Kevin, you and your fellow commissioners blew it, big time. You were so busy lining your own pockets under deregulation and fake censorship that you missed what was staring you in the face.

Now that you’ve been caught sleeping with the enemy, you are trying to save yourself with an “investigation.” Well I’m not buying it. You and your cronies have destroyed radio, and have become the fox watching the chicken coop. This “investigation” does nothing to change my mind that the FCC has so damaged broadcasting that the entire commission should be disbanded. In fact it cements that opinion. Admit it: the FCC has become so ineffective that it no longer serves a purpose in the public interest.

Play Thing

L. A. Theater Works’ The Plays the Thing airs In Real Life tomorrow at 10:00 PM on KPCC (89.3 FM). This is the final play in an autobiographical trilogy by Charlayne Woodard, and recounts her days as a struggling New York actress. The play is written and performed by Woodard herself, and concludes with an interview of the actress.

I Told You So

For years, I have been critical of commercial loads on radio stations, especially when it came to huge numbers of commercials on a particular break. Imagine being the last advertiser in a ten or 15 minute block of commercials as has become common on many stations ... no one would hear your ad.

So Clear Channel, one of the worst offenders, trots out their “Less is More” campaign, essentially cutting down the number of commercial minutes on their stations each hour (although unlike my plan they do not necessarily cut the number of actual commercials, they just cut many down in length) with the hope of making up the loss in advertising revenue minutes by charging more for each minute that continues to run. Not as good as my plan, but a start.

Well, turns out it works. Time spent listening at Clear Channel stations across the country and across all formats is up. As high as 18 percent at certain stations in certain demographics. And ad revenue is also up. in spite of the ad minute decrease. All this at a time when listening habits and revenue at non-Clear Channel stations (both of them) is essentially flat.

I’m telling you, I should get a consulting fee from Clear Channel for giving them the idea. Or at least have them change the name of the campaign from “Less is More” to the more accurate “Wagoner was Right.”


Final numbers were not in by press time, but the 24th annual KLOS Blood Drive almost set a record for first day collections -- 2,850 units, more than any other single day since the record was set by KLOS in 2002. All involved expect the drive donation total to exceed the record total set last year, when 6,250 units were collected.

The station has run a blood drive every year since 1981, back when it was known as “ninety-five and a half” rather than “ninety five point five” KLOS. Station personalities and staff are rightfully proud of the annual drive, and promote it more than all of their other events. A nice tradition, and a job well done.


Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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