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Airwaves: November 10, 2006

The Phrase That Pays

One of the reasons for the great success of talk radio centers on the presentation. In many cases the hosts themselves are former music disc jockeys, the best example arguably being Rush Limbaugh, who was once top-40 jock Jeff Christie in a previous radio life (hear recordings of Christie on Often the talk stations themselves were once top-40 powerhouses, as was our own KFI (640 AM).

So perhaps it should not come as a surprise to see KABC resurrect a variation of an old top-40 radio contest to help promote the station and its drive time personalities, morning man Doug McIntyre and afternoon host Larry Elder.

Here's how it works: you listen for three key words during the Elder's show; one each from 3 - 3:30, 4 - 4:30 and 5 - 5:30. Then listen to McIntyre in the Morning between 7 and 7:30 for the Keyword Quiz. If you are the selected caller, you'll be paired with a second contestant who is called by the station. Get one word right and win $179; two right: $279; get all three and win $790.

This is the reverse of a classic contest, most recently used by KIIS-FM (102.7), in which listeners were asked to listen to "the phrase that pays" every morning at 7:10, then call when that same phrase was said again sometime later in the day. It helps promote other shifts and helps increase time spent listening to a station, when it works.

HD Update

One of the benefits of the digital HD Radio system is that the signal, when received on an HD Radio, can be split into secondary channels on the same frequency.

For example, with an HD Radio, you can tune into 93.9 FM and hear country music on the KMVN HD2 channel while Breakfast with the Beatles airs on the KLSX (97.1 FM) HD2 channel. All told, there are just under 400 FM stations across the country sending out these extra digital channels.

Currently the extra stations are commercial free, because the FCC still hasn't given permanent approval -- all are currently experimental. That is expected to change within the next year as the FCC rules further on digital broadcasting standards. Once stations can make money off the extra channels, you might see them promoted more.

In a related development, the company that invented HD Radio, Ibiquity, is pushing to lower the cost of HD radios, which haven't managed to drop below the $300 mark yet. And that's for a table radio.

Ibiquity has started a special broadcaster program, in which stations themselves will be able to sell or promote HD radios at a special price, ranging from $99 for a table radio to $250 for a component tuner. A special car adapter will come in at $199.

That's still a bit high, but its getting there.


Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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