Indiana RadioWatch: May 27, 2009
May 27, 2009
56 years. That's how long Bob Chase has been with WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne) radio. We estimate he worked under three owners (Westinghouse, Price Communications, and Federated Media), in at least three studio locations, and under ten plus GM's, and over twenty PD's. But just consider: 56 years at one radio station. Bob Chase will retire as WOWO Sports Director on Friday 5 June. However, Chase will remain with the Fort Wayne Komets, handling play by play duties this fall, as the Komets will fiercely defend their Turner Cup. The 83 year old Chase has done about everything at WOWO, from afternoon host to promotions to interviewing Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra. His 56 consecutive years of play by play work for the Fort Wayne Komets is second place only to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Vin Scully.
Citadel's Country/WWKI (100.5fm, Kokomo) adds online streaming at their website: http://www.wwki.com/
Where Are They Now? Neenah Ellis once worked in the "family business" at the Ellis-owned Radio One Communications in Valparaiso, which back then was just WAKE/WLJE, but now is four stations strong. Ellis just took the job as GM at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ellis also worked at WWCA (1270, Gary). She is also married to Noah Adams, who is a former long time co-host of NPR's "All Things Considered," but is now a Senior Correspondent at the National Desk for NPR.
A belated "Happy Birthday" to DePauw University's AAA/WGRE (91.5fm, Greencastle) which celebrated 60 years on the air in April. The station celebrated with an all campus concert and birthday cake for everyone. Over 200 students operate WGRE 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (How many commercial stations can claim that?) WGRE was created through the vision of DePauw professors Herold Ross and Elizabeth Turnell.
Starting 15 May, Cromwell Radio Group added Lee Wilson as GM for all seven of their stations: Country/WBIO (94.7fm, Philpot, Kentucky), Classic Rock/WXCM (97.1fm, Whitesville, Kentucky), AC/WLME (102.7fm, Lewisport, Kentucky), Standards/WTCJ (1230am, Tell City), Classic Hits/WTCJ-FM (105.7fm, Cannelton), Country/WKCM (1160am, Hawesville, Kentucky), Standards/WVJS (1420am, Owensboro, Kentucky), a simulcast of WTCJ(AM), and WVJS(AM) also has an FM translator: W263BG (100.5fm, Owensboro, Kentucky). Wilson was last GSM with Insight Cable, but has had radio experience as GSM of WSTO/WVJS, when they were co-owned.
Artistic Media Partners is looking for a dynamic Market Manager for stations in South Bend. Our four station cluster offers an excellent and exciting opportunity for a sales-minded broadcaster. If you are goal oriented and have three or more years of successful sales management experience, please send your resume to arthur at artisticradio dot com. Artistic Media Partners is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
South Central Communications in Evansville has a part time opening for a board operator. You will babysit all stations in the cluster during the nights, weekends, and holidays. Please send your resume to mark at wiky dot com. South Central Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Name: Tim Huelsing
Job Title: VP/GM
Owner: South Central Media
1. Who were your early DJ or radio station influences? (Perhaps what lead you to "catch the radio bug.")
Growing up in Central Illinois if I controlled the radio it was WLS and if it was my father it was KMOX and both stations fed my interest in the radio industry. But the moment I heard NYC and Philadelphia rock radio in the mid 70's it was all over for me. The music and the attitude coming out of the speakers was unlike anything else I had heard.
2. What makes your stations unique?
WIKY is unique for many reasons not the least of which is having the same call letters, owners and operating out of the same location since the day it signed on the air 60 years ago. The fact that there still remains a full service music intensive FM that has a three person full-time news department and live operator 365/24/7 is unique. Though that fact is as much of a statement of the industry as it is WIKY.
3. What makes your market unique?
Evansville is a big small town but its best attribute as a market is its isolation. With nothing within 100 miles of Evansville we are the defacto regional hub for small towns throughout IN/IL/KY. That is great for business as we draw in dollars from those smaller communities and the lack of larger metro signal penetration keeps listening local.
4. Who are your mentor(s)?
I have been very lucky to work with some very smart consultants, researchers and programmers in my career and I stay in touch with them all and call in favors on a regular basis. To name them all would risk leaving one out or appear to be a lame attempt at name dropping, so I won't do the laundry list.
With the resources of South Central Media, I have also been very lucky to hire people smarter than me so often I can get the best advice just down the hall.
5. What's the best advice you'd give to those wanting to get into radio?
The days of the "One Trick Pony" are gone and anyone interested in the business needs to be fluent in all aspects of the radio station. If you look at those really flourishing (especially on the programming side of the business) you see people who know how to satisfy the needs of both of our customers the listener and the advertiser.
And maybe most important, understand and embrace digital media.
6. Where do you see the radio industry five years from now?
I envision a time when we will have largely moved beyond the :30 and :60 to a point where we will be able to monetize listener interaction on-air, online on their cell phone.
Though the current regulatory environment would lead to a contrary position today, I believe after a period of de-consolidation we will actually see consolidation on an even larger scale. I also believe that within 5 years we will be discussing the elimination of the AM band with viable stations mostly having migrated to FM.
7. What's the most important issue in radio today?
The over-leveraging of the industry is at the heart of many of our problems. The demand on public companies to justify the multiples paid for the stations in the roll-up of consolidation forced many to make short term cost cutting decisions. That led to a reduction of quality and community service which then resulted in alienation of our audiences and political representatives. That alienation is coming back to us in the form of increased regulation and a performance royalty tax that could be devastating to many broadcasters already on the brink of insolvency.
The over-leveraging is beginning to unwind but this will be a painful process for the industry. Multiples will bottom-out at 4-5x broadcast cash-flow (or lower) which will wipe out the operators equity. This will start the "de-consolidation" as banks will look to unload properties in an attempt to re-coup some of their investment. So if you have a rich uncle and always wanted your own station...just be prepared to pay cash.
8. What's your favorite out-of-market radio station, and why?
I really love the imaging on WEBN Cincinnati, once again proving that the best radio stations have the best writing.
Also, WBBM AM - Chicago - Great delivery, tight with good forward momentum
Also, WXRT - Chicago - In the day one of the best adult alternative stations in the country, I still enjoy the station but sadly not the same after consolidation.
Finally, Charlie FM - Madison, WI - Fun and offbeat AAA in a fun and offbeat town.
9. Who's your favorite air personality that isn't working for you?
Though not an individual personality, what NPR has done to seamlessly intertwine their websites and embrace digital media should be an example for us all. Now I am speaking of their national programming not local affiliates. Check out iTunes and see how popular NPR programming is when time-shifting is available and listen to All Things Considered and realize that every feature has a hook to the web-site for more information. They have got it going on and they are experiencing tremendous growth while public television is languishing. A lesson for us all.
10. What book have you read that has taught you the most about the radio business?
I don't know of any book explicitly written for/about the radio business that I would recommend to anyone. But the best book that I have found that deals with the people/personality challenges inside a radio station is Patrick Lencioni's, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Which I think emphasizes the point that we are a people business - we have nothing but human assets and maximizing those assets is the difference between good and great.
Bonus Question: What's your biggest pet peeve?
Lack of Leadership.
Radio is the last Mass Medium in America. We reach 93% of Americans every week and outperform TV even before you factor in the DVR and we all know the state of newspapers. Radio is remarkably resilient yet we have been lumped in with TV/Newspaper. We have a fabulous story to tell but have no-one worthy of telling it. The largest operators have long lost the moral high ground and have no credibility inside our outside our business.
That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.
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