Thursday, January 29, 2015

Report: Sony Dropping Music Streaming

A shakeout in the crowded market for music-streaming services appears to be gathering steam, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Sony Corp. said it is shutting down its $10-a-month Music Unlimited at the end of March, four years after launching it in the U.S. The streaming service, one of the biggest in Japan, is integrated into Sony’s PlayStation consoles and has counted mostly PlayStation users among its subscribers.

In terms of musical content and price, Music Unlimited is indistinguishable from competitors including Spotify AB, Google Inc. ’s All Access, Apple Inc. ’s Beats Music, Rdio Inc., Rhapsody and Deezer, all of which offer more or less the same 30 million songs.

Sony didn’t disclose its subscriber count but Music Unlimited had just north of 100,000 paying subscribers as of the second half of last year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Spotify—which boasts the music-streaming world’s biggest paying subscriber base at 15 million, plus another 45 million active users of its free service—will now power the music for PlayStation users in 41 markets, in a new partnership with Sony Network Entertainment International called PlayStation Music.

At least one Sony executive had predicted that a shakeout was inevitable. In 2012, before Apple launched its free iTunes Radio service, Michael Aragon —Sony’s vice president and general manager of global digital video and music services—told The Wall Street Journal that “it’s going to be a brutal business and there’s probably going to be some consolidation.”

Read More Now (Paywall)

Indy Radio: Pence Backs Away From State Run News Service

Mike Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told WIBC 93.1 FM Wednesday that he would reject any version of his new "Just IN" website that looks like state-run media, continuing to distance himself from a written news service plan developed by his staff.

Meanwhile, Pence's communications staff, who authored the plan for "Just IN," scrambled to tamp down concerns over the news service Wednesday morning in a strange, sometimes emotional exchange with Indiana Statehouse reporters.

Pence appeared on Greg Garrison's radio talk show to explain his administration's new communications plans, at one point saying he was unsure who wrote the plan for "Just IN," details of which were first reported by The Indianapolis Star.

Garrison continuously pressed Pence to abandon any plan for a state-run news service, until Pence finally said he would reject any state-run news outlet.

"As governor I can assure you that (the plan) did not meet my expectations and if this website doesn't meet my expectations of respecting the role of a free and independent press, I will reject it​," Pence said Wednesday on WIBC-FM.

Pence also repeated his earlier explanation that the new site was intended to be a resource, not a news source.

Mark Levin Inks Long-Term Deal With WW1

Mark Levin
Westwood One announces the long-term extension of the popular nationally syndicated talk radio program "The Mark Levin Show" through 2020.

Levin has become one of the most trusted voices in radio, bringing a unique perspective to his show from years in constitutional law and from his experience as a guest commentator. The fast-growing show covers the most important legal and political events of the day and has become one of the top five most-listened-to programs, reaching a listener base of millions on over 300 stations across the nation.

"I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One and look forward to further developing the show over the next five years," Levin said. "I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain my commitment to doing so."

"Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary, and we look forward to expanding his program's reach," said John Dickey, Executive Vice President of Content and Programming for Cumulus.

In 2003, "The Mark Levin Show" launched on flagship station 77 WABC Radio in New York.

Facebook Tops Q4 Estimates on Strong Mobile Growth

Facebook, the biggest social network on the planet, keeps getting bigger — and its users are more mobile and consume more video than ever.

The company posted revenue of $3.85 billion for the fourth quarter of 2014, up 49% year over year and beating analyst expectations, as the social giant grew to 1.39 billion average monthly active users worldwide (up 13%) at the end of last year and boosted mobile advertising dollars.

Accoridng to Variety, Facebook also topped Wall Street forecasts with adjusted earnings of 54¢ per share for the last three months of 2014, up 69% year over year. Analysts had expected the company to post $3.77 billion in revenue and adjusted EPS of 48¢.

Underscoring Facebook’s focus on video, chairman-CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with analysts that the service in December delivered an average of 3 billion video views per day — up from 1 billion daily over the summer of 2014. According to the company, U.S. users now watch an average of at least one video per day on the site; it’s worth noting that Facebook’s tally includes autoplay videos that users do not click on.

Boston Radio: WEEI Website Traffic Surges

Entercom/Boston is reporting the controversy surropunding the Boston Patriots and Deflategate is very good business for its WEEI 93.7 FM website.

The Boston station its website has moved into record territory. Between January 19th, the day the allegations about the footballs and January 25th, racked up over 1 million unique users to and over 4.3 million page views.

WEEI also reports a total of 6.1 million Facebook users with more than one million participating in a WEEI post and more than 1.1 million Facebook views of a special Deflate-Gate video produced by the station’s Jerry Thornton and videographer Peter Neudel, plus an additional 285,000 views on YouTube. employs its own dedicated team of 12 editors, videographers and journalists under the direction of site editor Rob Bradford who said he was not surprised by the metrics.

"Our most recent success offers yet another example of how powerful the WEEI brand has become,” Bradford commented. “I am consistently amazed by the level of talent and commitment our team at and WEEI brings to the table on a daily basis, with the last month serving as yet another reminder as to what this group has built and continues to build."

Rdio Dropped From Zenbu Media Lawsuit

Just days after Google, Apple's Beats, Sony, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Grooveshark were served with simultaneously filed lawsuits alleging exploitation of pre-1972 sound recordings without license or payment, the case against music streamer Rdio has been dismissed.

Attorneys, on behalf of Zenbu Media - the owners of recordings from The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hot Tuna, the New Riders of the Purple Sage and others - filed the lawsuits and requested class action status.

These new filings followed similar lawsuits from Flo & Eddie (The Turtles) against SiriusXM, Pandora and others over a loophole that many music services have used to not make the usual payments for use of recordings released prior to 1972.  The majority of the court findings have favored the musicians.

“We’re pleased the lawsuit was dismissed." reads a statement from Rdio sent to Hypebot Tuesday evening. "Rdio respects copyright and is committed to compensating artists for their creative works and pays royalties for all songs we offer.”

NBC Officially Sold Out For The Big Game

With the big game just days away, Seth Winter, exec VP-ad sales, NBC Universal News and Sports Group, said the network achieved record volume in ad dollars.

Winter told AdAge, NBC was able to maintain "premium pricing," with one 30-second spot costing about $4.5 million.

"Price was never an issue," he said. Mr. Winter said.  Still, he acknowledged it was a long road and that NBC hit a few challenges in selling commercial time in Super Bowl XLIX, which will air from Arizona on Feb. 1.

"It was a challenging ad sales marketplace, I won't diminish that," Mr. Winter said. "This hasn't been the easiest exercise I have been through."

The post-game is sold out and there are just a few spots remaining in the pre-game, Mr. Winter said.

NBC's digital stream of the big game is also sold out. Mr. Winter said NBC nearly tripled its digital ad revenue from when it last aired the game in 2012, noting it generated eight figures. There are 18 advertisers in the digital stream.

There will be 15 advertisers airing commercials during the Super Bowl for the first time this year, the highest number since 2000, which advertising experts say is a positive sign that companies are feeling good about the economic recovery.

Among the companies who are first-time advertisers this year, paying some $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, are well-known brands like Skittles and Carnival Cruise Lines, but also ones you've likely never heard of, which are hoping to make a name for themselves with their Super Bowl spots.

They include: glue maker Loctite; Mophie, which makes phone cases that hold extra batteries; and, which hosts customizable websites.

Report: Mobile News Media Habits Vary By Market

According to Nielsen’s latest Local Watch report, while connectivity has made the world smaller in a lot of ways, U.S. consumers still want to keep up with the happenings in their own neighborhood. While consumers continue to go local when it comes to watching television, they’re also going digital to augment that local experience!

The report found that “local digerati”—those that used internet and mobile apps for local news and community events and feel social networking is important for local information—number nearly 30 million strong in the U.S.

So who make up this digitally savvy, locally focused group?

Accoridng to Nielse, the majority of local digerati are female (55%). This group is also on the younger side—among adults 18 years old and older, local digerati peak in the 25-34 year old demographic (25%) and gradually decline as age increases.

About 70% of these consumers are educated and employed. In addition, nearly 40% of them make more than $75,000 per year. In short, local digerati represent a very desirable group of viewers and a golden opportunity for broadcasters everywhere to leverage their unique local content online with this highly engaged audience.

SoundExchange Wraps Record-Setting Year

Michael Hupe
SoundExchange Wednesdayday announced a new record with total year-end royalty payments reaching approximately $773 million (up 31 percent from $590 million the prior year). The fourth quarter 2014 distribution also increased from the previous year with more than 38,800 payments totaling approximately $183 million. In addition to breaking records with its payments,

SoundExchange also moved the industry forward in 2014 in many other important respects.

“2014 was a banner year for SoundExchange. Not only did we pay out more royalties to recording artists and record labels, but they now receive payments faster than ever after we became the first sound recording performance rights organization in the world to deliver monthly payments,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe. “While 2014 finished on a high note, we look forward to continuing our success and growth in 2015 which promises to be even more exciting.”

SoundExchange royalties are paid by more than 2,500 non-interactive Internet radio, satellite radio and cable radio services for their use of sound recordings.

Significant organizational accomplishments in 2014 included:
  • Launching Project72, a campaign to ensure fair pay for artists who recorded their music before 1972, in support of the RESPECT Act.
  • Issuing quarterly Digital Radio Reports. For the latest (Q4 2014), click here.
  • Hosting the brand new SoundExchange Influencers Series at the Bluebird CafĂ© in Nashville.
  • Reaching thousands of artists and record labels through ongoing outreach as well as several high-profile and effective database matches with partner organizations such as SXSW, CMJ, GRAMMYS, SAG-AFTRA, LOCKN’ Music Festival, and School Night!
  • Announcing Michael Huppe as President and CEO through 2018.
  • Introducing our annual year-end charts naming the Top Streaming Artists, Top Recordings, and Top Breakout Artists.
  • Representing the entire recorded music industry in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board to set rates paid by webcasters.

Lansing Radio: Morning Host Tony Conley Leaving WILS

Tony Conley
Tony Conley will broadcast his last morning news show on Tuesday, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Conley, 56, host for five years of the “Tony Conley Morning Show” on talk station WILS 1320 AM, will go to work as an account executive for Lansing’s M3 Group, a branding and marketing firm.

Conley said his radio schedule is demanding and he wants to spend more time with his wife, Julie, and two young sons.

The show, focused on discussion and analysis of local news, has been a one-man production. Conley serves as host, producer, writer and salesman.

Prior to the morning show, Conley has worked as an account executive at Fox 47 TV, as co-host of the “Staudt on Sports” radio show and on his own radio programs, which dealt with a variety of sport issues.

SoCal Radio: Newsman Jim Ness Signs-Off Friday

Jim Ness
Radio News broadcaster Jim Ness is ending a 50-year career at InlandNews Today Friday.

Ness is news director and general manager of Inland News Today, a service that has provides news for local stations in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California.

The Riverside-based company will still report Inland news on its website, and Ness said he will remain involved in video production.

Radio has been a lifelong passion for Ness, but he said that news and local programming have been squeezed out of it by consolidation and profit motives.

According to, Ness said Friday will be the 50th anniversary of the date he signed with his first Inland radio station.

Ness arrived at KASK in Ontario from the Midwest in 1965. He was aware that he was coming to a growing area for news, but at the time it was vineyards and Hells Angels, who were headquartered in Alta Loma.

He recalls a member called Blind Bob Glaze once came to the studio and insisted Ness take a ride around the block in the sidecar of his bike.

In 1992, he founded Inland Empire News Radio, a service that supplied reporting to member stations. It became part of Inland News Today when that service was founded in 2003.

WA Radio: KRPI Loses Tower Appeal Vote

In a vote this week, the Whatcom County Council in Washington upheld an earlier decision to deny a permit for 150-foot radio towers in Point Roberts.

Council voted 7-0 to affirm an Oct. 21 decision by the county hearing examiner to reject an application by KRPI 1550 AM / BBC Broadcasting, Inc., to build five towers about 1,200 feet from the Canadian border. The hearing examiner ruled the towers violated a 45-foot height restriction in Point Roberts.

KRPI (50 Kw-D-DA, 10 Kw-N-DA) currently airs Punjabi programming to a mostly Canadian audience.

Proposed Tower Site
The council deliberated on its ruling behind closed doors shortly before its public vote. Per county code, the council took no public testimony.

John Lesow, a member of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop The Radio Towers, said opponents got the decision they expected. He said he also expects the relatively deep-pocketed BBC Broadcasting to appeal again, to Superior Court.

“Last night was just another battle in a long, long war,” Lesow said on Wednesday, Jan. 28. “That’s just the realistic way of looking at it. I would hope that it’s not because wars cost money.”

“We’ve been amazingly successful in our grassroots fundraising to fund the fight against these towers,” Lesow said, adding that the coalition has received maybe thousands of small donations from residents in Point Roberts and immediately across the border in Tsawwassen.

OH Radio: Lancaster's WLOH Flipping To Country

Effective at noon Friday, local radio station WLOH will drop the syndicated talk radio shows it has carried since 2005 in favor of a locally-originated country music format, according to

WLOH co-owner and operations manager Mark Bohach says the decision to make changes comes after several months of review and research.

“We felt it was time for some changes as so much has happened in the 10 years we have owned WLOH,” Bohach noted. “For instance, our original AM signal at 1320 (500 watts) has been augmented by two FM signals and a strong online streaming presence.”

In addition to Logan’s 99.3 FM signal which has been part of the WLOH operation since 2011, WLOH operates 104.5 FM in Lancaster serving Fairfield County. (FM translators: W283BO 104.5 in Lancaster and W257EQ 99.3, both 250 watts). Collectively, they are all referred to as WLOH.

“Country listenership in Fairfield and Hocking counties is huge and at least three radio stations have abandoned the format in the past five years,” Bohach said. “We believe there is a strong demand for a station that not only plays the new music but includes the country classics as well.”

WLOH has decided to invest locally with almost all programming originating from its studios with local announcers throughout the day.

R.I.P.: Lancaster OH Broadcaster Stan Robinson

Stan Robinson
Stan Robinson known as the "Voice of Fairfield County," died Wednesday.

He was 83-years-of-age, according to the Lancaster, OH Eagle-Gazette.

Robinson had been on the air in either television or radio for more than six decades. His career began in Peekskill, New York, when he was able to get a start at a radio station. From there, he moved to Coshocton for a radio job in 1951 and then was hired at WHIZ-TV in Zanesville in 1957 to do the weather.

After doing the 11 p.m. weather spot one night in 1959, he got a call from WCMH-TV in Columbus, which wanted him to present the weather in the capital city. He remained the evening weatherman for almost 10 years at WCMH.

He then came to Lancaster and took over as the news director for WLOH 1320 AM / 104.5 T-FM / 99.3 T-FM radio. His love for television also sparked a new show, created by Innerphase Video on the LSN local cable network, called "Town & Country."

He did "Town & Country" for 12 years, retiring in 2011. Dozens of people, both to be interviewed on the show and just to thank him, came out for his final show to wish him well in retirement.

January 29 Radio History

In 1937...The CBS Radio Network debuted "Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories".

In 1942...BBC Radio launches a new program called Desert Island Discs . Still on the air today, it's the second-longest-running radio program in existence, next to the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1951...Major League Baseball signed a 6 year agreement for TV-radio rights at $6 million.

In 1956...the show "Indictment" was first broadcast on the CBS Radio Network. It aired for 3 years.

In 1964...Beatles record in German "Komm, Gib Mir Diene Hand" & "Sie Leibt Dich"

In 2000...Longtime Detroit radio personality (WQBH, WJLB, WCHB) Martha Jean "The Queen'' Steinberg died at the age of 69.

Martha Jean steinberg
Her first radio job was on Memphis’ WDIA starting in 1954. There, she was one of the first female disc jockeys in the United States, with a program that included the latest R&B hits along with the typical "household hints" programming that was de rigueur at the time for female radio personalities.

In 1963 she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she was heard on WCHB-AM and then throughout the late 1960s and 1970s on WJLB. On July 23, 1967 Steinberg convinced WJLB to cancel its normal evening programming and she did an on air program calling for people to calm down and stop rioting. It has been suggested that this prevented the 1967 Detroit Riot from being worse than it was.

During her time at WJLB, she led the station's on-air staff in protest of the fact that the station at the time had no African-American employees outside of the air staff.

In 1980, WJLB converted from AM to the FM dial (where it remains to this day), and Steinberg's show was dropped in the process. The former WJLB-AM became WMZK with an ethnic format. In 1982, Steinberg purchased WMZK-AM and changed the call letters to WQBH in order to offer more gospel music oriented programming. Steinberg remained on the air at WQBH 1400 AM until her death. WQBH is now WDTK.

In 2013...WRXP 94.7 FM, NYC changed call letters to WNSH

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Indy Radio: Cumulus Rebrands WRWM As 93.9 The Beat

Cumulus has announced that WRWM 94.9 FM  launched new branding this week as 93.9 The Beat, Indianapolis’ Classic Hip Hop station.

The former Top 40 station, which moved to Classic Hip Hop programming in December, kicked off its debut week as 93.9 The Beat with wall-to-wall music, giving Hip Hop fans 100% Classic Hip Hop with a unique blend of music.


Mike McVay, Senior Vice President, Programming for Cumulus said: “We’re excited to have this format in our stable. First in wins and we’re already seeing the spoils of victory.”

WRWM 93.9 FM (8.4 Kw) Red=60dBu Coverage Area
Jay Michaels, Program Director, WRWM-FM, said: “The response from Indy on our new radio station has been more than positive, both from listeners and advertisers.  This format is the rhythmic answer to “HOT AC” – and has already proven to be Indy’s new favorite radio station. I couldn’t be prouder to lead the new ’93.9 The Beat’ to victory!”