Nielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After. Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing. As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening. A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation. One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment. However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’ Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall. If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?” But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response. He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to. “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes! And yet, the results are statically valid. Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC. And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations? Look at it from the outside. What do those stations gain? It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.” Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.
What Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working with WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would. Definitely. I miss the camaraderie.” Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it. Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017. It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS. NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.
Dirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’ For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day. The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.” Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career. Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – a radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century. Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’ Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career. And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years. To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition. Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition. The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age. Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood. I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.” This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival. Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now. He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”
BizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game. The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network. It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories. BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news. There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”
Odds & Sods. Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin. Cox has been with the station for 28 years. He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000. The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows. The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.com. Nate Hodges and executive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21. He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics. Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming. A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list. Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.