Monday, June 18, 2012

While going through some old boxes full of radio station memorabilia, including old R&R's. Two articles from 1983 seemed fresh in concept, yet were certainly dated in terms of call letters and names of bands. I have posted two of them for your perusal.

(Friday, August 26, 1983)

AOR Section
by Jeff Gelb

WQFM: "Dinosaur" Rules Milwaukee

One way to judge the effect of modern rock on AOR this spring' is to look at a market where it was widely used. In Milwaukee, WLPX was an early and aggressive experimenter with modern rock, which made up a majority of its playlist. When the spring Arbitron results were issued, WLPX had scored significandy lower than previously, while competing AOR WQFM had its best ratings in a year. WQFM was by far the more conservative of the two stations, and its excellent ratings results would indicate that middle America may not he ready for a flood of modern rock on its AOR stations.

Masterminding the programming at WQFM for the last year-and-a-half is Lee Arnold, a 15-year broadcast industry veteran with PD credits at several stations, including WAAF/Worcester, WQXM/Tampa, and WORJ/Orlando. His track record at WQFM is excellent: three wins in a row against former dominant

Modern Vs. Dinosaur Rock

This book Arnold credited his format win to several different elements, but emphasised WLPX's reliance on modern rock: "I look at modern music as today's disco. and WLPX fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I don't think modem music is a format; it's a form of music IF you base a format around it, you might as well do a heavy metal format, or a Southern rock format. None of these are formats, they're just little pieces of the AOR pie.

"If a real good piece of modern rock came out, one that rose above the genre and became mainstream, we played that. That's the way I feel about any music we play; it has to rise above its little sub-category and make it into a mainstream, great song category. If there were 20 modern rock songs out like that right now, I'd be playing them; if there were two, I'd he playing two. Obviously. we played Men At Work, Duran Duran, and A Flock of Seagulls. WLPX annihilated themselves by being 'too hip' to play Sammy Hagar, Bob Seger, or Foreigner. We played the songs that looked right to us as far as the market was concerned, the songs that would do well with the Joe Average who listens to AOR radio."

He recalled, "We were described in the newspaper by my competitors as 'the dinosaur.' Well; I'm happy to be one; after all, dinosaurs lived for two million years, were the most powerful animais that ever walked the face of the earth, and were real peaceful till you screwed with them."

WQFM continued to play "dinosaur rock" throughout the book. As Arnold explained. "People didn't go to sleep one night saying, 'I love Led Zeppelin,' and wake up preferring the Psychedelic Furs. We just retested 'Stairway To Heaven' and 'Free Bird' and they're still two of the highest- testing records you can play on the radio. You need to play them, but you don't have to play them all the time. Songs that had gotten 'toasty' we just moved to slower rotations."

Demystifying Research

Arnold left little to chance in determining in which songs were hot with his listeners. He used the research systems of consultant John Sebastian (WQFM has since also signed with Pollack Communications Inc. for consultation services). Arnold admitted his initial emotions were mixed over the use of research: "In the time I spent in the record industry promoting albums for RCA and other labels, record research was the only thing I hadn't dealt with and had incredible misunderstandings about. When I got here, Andy Bloom, my Research Director (now MD) showed me how the systems worked. I realized then that research is just another piece of valuable information. I've used John's research system to test every record in our oldies library. Current music has always been added by gut, and checked later with John's methodologies to make sure we made the right decisions.

"You're a fool if you pass up the opportunity to use any informational tool to gain knowledge of your market. If you take the word reseach and substitute information, which is to me synonymous, you can see how vital it is. You don't have to live by it, but you should certainly use it as another tool, because if you're making value judgments based on incomplete information, you're more than likely going to make the wrong decisions."

Takin' It To The Streets

Arnold was aided in his decisions by Asst.PD/Promotions Director John Duncan, who has worked with Arnold at four radio stations. "John's input is invaluable," Arnold enthused. "The major promotions we put together this past book were our 'star flights.' once a week, we gave away trips to glamor markets to see rock and roll. In the middle of the winter, what could be better than a free trip to LA. or Florida to catch Sammy Hagar or whoever? One of the winners also was drawn later to receive a free jeep.

"The main thing we do promotionally, though. are personal appearances by the jocks. In any given week, the fewest personal appearances they've ever made is 26. The only way you win is to be visible in the steeets. The other stations in town are basically invisible; they run some newspaper or TV spots. Well, we run newspaper and TV spots, too, so that negates their entire promotional campaign. The only thing that matters to your audience is, 'Are you real human beings? Can I reach out and touch you? Are you everywhere I go? Do I see you there too?' The audience is just sitting there, waiting to relate to you. All you have to do is to give them a reason to relate. My guys were in every club, bar, and high school. It's invaluable publicity for the station, plus it makes them some money! I've got some rich jocks who can't leave this town!"

WQFM celebrates its 10th year of AOR in September. and Arnold and Duncan are already discussing ways to make it a special time for the station and its listeners.

This aggresive promotional policy helped push the station past its AOR competitor in the ratings. but WQFM did not best the 12+ figure of its CHR competition, WKTI. Arnold was undaunted: "12+ numbers mean less and less all the time. WKTI beat us 12+ by a two-tenths of a share. But they didn't beat us in our adults 18-34 target demo. That's the only demo our sales department is concerned about. We were number one in the market in that demo, along with several others. We own those demos, and that's an essential sales tool.

"Anybody who plays rock and roll in stereo is your competitor. including MTV. I would never do a promotion in conjunction with M'TV. I'll buy spots on their station - as many as they'll sell to me! But I won't sell them spots on my station."

Arnold reflected on WQFM's competition and future: "I have two direct competitors: WKTI and WLPX. This book I concentrated on taking out WLPX, and I feel I have put them away. Now that they've changed formats, I expect to see their numbers added to our own in future books. That will give us a nine or ten share. The CHR competitor will at best get a six or seven, because they have too much competition from the A/C's and soft rockers."

If ArnoId gets his ratings wish, it would be the perfect way for him to help usher in WQFM's second decade of AOR.

Friday, November 25, 1983

AOR section

Four Who Are Pure
written by Steve Feinstein

Racking your brain trying to decide whether or not your audience will cotton to the latest CHR crossover smash? As you sit in deep thought, with fist under chin like the statue of the "Thinker" in the "Dobie Gillis Show," consider how WQFM/Milwaukee PD Lee Arnold handles crossover records.

Lee blows 'em up right on the air, and he says they blow up real good. He explains he's not doing it to knock the record per se, but to make a statement about his competitors. Never known for being timid, Lee asks his audience if they "can believe there are stations in this town calling themselves rock 'n' roll stations that play this drivel? Have you seen this guy (Boy George of Culture Club)? He wears dresses and has a boyfriend named Marilyn."
Before you consider such drastic action, let's discuss the issue in a rational maner. Until recently, AOR would usually be first on a record, and develop it until CHR stood up and took notice. Shortly thereafter, AOR would ease it into currents or drop it altogether. The reasoning was that the tune would soon burn from CHR's hyper rotation or that it had lost its "hip" identity as an AOR exclusive offering.
Not only does AOR no longer drop those songs like a hot potato once they cross over to CHR, now there are records that seem to be going in the reverse direction - from CHR to AOR. The pattern doesn't necessarily hold true for every market, but songs by artists such as Culture Club, Michael Jackson, and Men WIthout Hats generally went on AOR after CHR.
More important than where the records broke first is the question of whether these artists and records are compatible for AOR. Will they be the cume building savior of AOR or its undoing? The Doubleday and Sandusky stations, among others, believe the former, as they head toward a hybrid position.
The other school of thought sees CHR crossovers in a less favorable light. Tommy Hadges, PD of KLOS/Los Angeles, calls them an "attempt to change the nature of a station. You can't just slip these records in,' they're noticed. My feeling is if you're going to play them, change your call letters and start a whole new station."
Whose Station Is This Anyway
KGB/San Diego PD Larry Bruce provides this scenario: "If you're a rock 'n' roll radio station and listeners punch in and you're playing Lionel Richie, you confuse them. The next time they want to hear rock 'n' roll, maybe they're not going to come back cause they think you've changed format."
While some programmers seek to steal some of CHR's thunder by leaning in its direction musically, Lee Arnold wants to "create an image of being as different from CHR as possible. Some Source people who were in town told me, 'As we went down the dial we knew when we got to your station even without hearing the call letters.' There are four or five radio stations here playing the same songs. Get to my station and you know you're at the rock station in the market."
Blurred Image
Our programmers mentioned "image" frequently. For years, AORs steadfastly refused to play artists whose image didn't fit the station's rock image. The success of CHR has led many sages to declare that we're in the era of the hit song, and that audiences don't care about an artist's image as long as the song is great. AOR finds itself exhorted ad nauseam to "play the hits," which is probably the most irritating cliche since "Have a nice day."
Should the sound of a record be the only consideration,, and artist image be damned? Not so, says Tommy Hadges. "There's no doubt that people have attittudes about artists. Barbra Streisand is a fabulous talent, but if she were to come out with a balls-to-the-wall rock record, I don't think our audience would embrace it. Country fans don't want to hear Led Zeppelin's "Hot Dog" on their Country station, either. It may he a country song, but they've got their own favorite groups they respect and fee1 good about."
"Image is everything in radio," says PD Brian Krysz of WGRQ/Buffalo, who won't play a song by an artist "with an image that our core audience wouldn't perceive as hip." However, he would play that same song if the artist were new, with no preconceived image. The trouble with AOR these days, in Brian's eyes and ears, is that "it's gone from playing hit acts to playing hit songs. That narrows the playlist, and you end up playing basically the same songs as CHR."
Larry Bruce proposes that "Everything you do is attempting to solidify an image. Choices that help to create and promote a station identity that's crisp and better-targeted will solidify your market position. Choices that help your image, like playing too much CHR music, detiorate that image with your core listener. If you deny your core by reaching out for the person who is so far from the center of your format that you're only going to get him for two songs anyway, you may be going too far into your cume and not be satisfying your loyal, heavy listeners. From my perspective, 90% of your quarter-hours come from 50% of your cume. I satisfy those loyal listeners before I reach for people who aren't loyal."
"A successful AOR shouldn't overreact to either perceived or anticipated trends," cautions Tommy Hadges. "One of the hardest things to get is a core of loyal station lovers. Building a station image is a very slow, ploddng process Only disaster would lead me to taking any chances to blow off that core."
What Is Hip?
Lee Arnold warns, "You can't screw around with your image. It has to be one of 'We are the rock radio siation.' Otherwise, you are them (CHR), and you make them hip. Why would you want to make somebody hip who's not hip? When they play the same records at the same time CHR does, AORs destroy themselves by making CHR hip. It's the Bobby Hattriks and Dwight Douglases of the world who are slowly but surely turning their AOR stations into CHRs because they don't understand AOR."
Larry Bruce sounds a similar theme, claiming that AOR may be undercutting its validity as a format from within. "When AOR tells its listeners that it's OK to listen to Lionel Richie, it educates them to accept CHR, as the bastion of hipness in 1983, because that's where these records were broken. Rock 'n' roll is a valid, cutting edge format, and AOR has to remain the center of hipness for listeners."
Lee Arnold recalls "the days when if a Top 40 station added record an AOR couldn't play it anymore. Well, those days have come again. They have no image, but they're stealing yours right now. That's the kiss of death."
The first thing they teach you in Program Director's school is the need for a consistent air sound, both in terms of quality and positioning. Tommy Hadges seems to have learned his lessons well, explaining, " Because of the clutter on the dial, we want to he consistent so that when a listener is thinking about a particular type of music, he'll be able to press the KLOS button and find something that is defined in his brain. Being consistent enables listeners to more or less be their own program director. If they want to hear a country song, they know where to go to If they want to hear a rock song, they know where to turn."
Cume To Me
Prevailing wisdom in some quarters these days has it that the more of your CHR competitor's music you play, the more likely you are to build your cume Lee Arnold's perspective runs to the contrary "You build cume by playirg all rock 'n' roll, because then you give the person who wants a rock 'n' roll shot in the arm a place to go for it."
He cites a listener who told him," 'I listen to Top 40 stations, but when I want to hear rock 'n' roll, I turn to WQFM. 'If she turned to us and heard Michael Jackson, she couldn't say that anymore. I can cume this girl by being dlfferent. What everybody thinks they're doing, building cume by playing what CHR plays, is the exact opposite of reality. Wrong. You build your curne by being different so they have a reason to come to you. If you play what CHR plays, why should a listener leave a CHR to come to you?"
"If they want to hear the hits over and over again, they're not going to listen to you anyway," reasons Brian Krysz.
Ever the iconoclast, Lee Arnold hasn't broadened his musical policy since becoming the only AOR in town. "I've gotten more rock 'n' roll, instead of getting wider, which would leave me vulnerable to somebody who could come along and be a rock `n` roll station."
"If you're in a market where you don't have a good, hard-edged CHR competitor It makes a lot of sense to add some records that might potentially attract a larger cume," Tommy Hadges will grant. "But in most major markets, there is such fragmentation you'd be trying to pick up some people who are not going to ever be 100% committed to your station or format, and doing so at the risk of alienating your core audience. You may pick up in cume, but you're losing the heavy quarter-hour listener."
Either way, the airsound itself isn't the primary cume-builder, according to Larry Bruce, "You build cume through advertising, not on your radio station. Cume is a product of external promotion of a solid image. Cume then transposes into quarter-hours by effective programming and fulfilling the prornise you made when you promoted the appealing image."
Viability and Buyability
Is there a big enough audience out there that wants all rock 'n' roll all the time?
Don't look for Tommy Hadges to be wearing a black armband. "Nothing has changed to lead me to believe that there's still not a sizable niche for a radio station that plays hits confined to a particular genre of music, namely rock with a heavier edge aimed at males 18-34. I don't see AOR as a dying format."
"There's as much as a ten share in every single market in America looking for a rock 'n' roll radio station," proclaims Lee Arnold. "The biggest problem in AOR radio is bad sales departments.My sales department knows how to go out there and sell rock 'n' roll. They don't see clients who want 25-34 women. That's a waste of their time. They go out there and sell to people who want 18-34 men.
"If a salesman comes into your station and says, 'What about 25-34 females?', fire hirn and tell him to go work for a station that has them. He's going to the wrong client. He should be finding the client who needs younger men and getting him on the air. Don't waste your tirne at a place that wants a demo that we're never going to get."
"But it Tests Great"
Many of the atations in the vanguard of "The Hybrid-izing Of America" are not green when it comes to research. If their research tells them crossovers are okey-dokey with AOR listeners, why are the research mavens among our programmers begging to differ? Step right up to the microphone, Mr Arnold. "Research tells you two things: what songs not to play, and the songs you can pick from to play. It doesn't say you must play all those songs, it simply says 'From the universe of records you can play, pick the ones that fit the sound of your radio station.'
"Your initial testing is to a broad audience of everybody who samples your station. You'll find a record like Michael Jackson will test well enough overall to play. But when you hone in and test it only to your loyal core, you find the reality is 'Play that record and kill your core.'"
If a record comes out 70%positive and 30% negative, Arnold suggests before slamming it into your powers. "What about that 30% that doesn't like it? How much don't they like it, and are they your core that acounts for 80% of your numbers? Play it to attract fringe and you wind up blowing off your core, even though it looked like good on paper."
The sample includes a lot of people who crosscume AOR and CHR, but Arnold notes, "They listen to the two stations for two different things. They like Michael Jackson on the CHR, but they don't want to hear it on you."
Larry Bruce sums it up succinctly: "I work on my target audience. I don't care what the 12+ listeners think, or the 18-34 listeners think. I care what the 18-34 rock 'n' roll listeners think."
- Tuesday, August 11

Triple A Radio in 1999

Seventeen Years Ago, Lee Arnold Marketing Sponsored The AAA Panel at the Conclave.
My dear friend, the late Mike Lyons, moderated. I thought you might enjoy this look back at the AAA Format.

FRIDAY, JULY 23, 1999
9:00 A.M.
Be careful what you wish for. We've sponsored the AAA panel at the Great Midwest Conclave in Minneapolis for the last three years and this year we wanted a 9 A.M.slot. And we got it, along with a sharp panel but this early in the day you just want to get traction. Or at least a half gallon of coffee, which was readily available, thank god (or Governor Ventura). I hate boilerplate, boring convention panels just as much as you do , so as the caffiene kicked in, I got to the tough questions right out of the box on Friday July 23.

Good morning! I'm Mike Lyons, VP of AAA promotion at Lee Arnold Marketing and I'd like to introduce the members of our AAA panel. Mike Perry-VP Programming for the Premiere Marketing Group in Columbia, Missouri which is 4 stations including KBXR. Jessie Scott, former programmer at WRLT Nashville and WMMO Orlando, now the Americana editor at Gavin. David Rahn, best known as the "R" in SBR Creative Media, the leading AAA format consultant. David spent years at KBCO as promotion director . Also joining us is Howard Leon from Universal Records and Jim Kerr , who is Alternative and interim AAA format editor at Radio and Records.

LYONS: We'll start with you Jim. Last year on this panel you mentioned the goal of getting as many stations as possible on the RnR AAA panel to help equalize the disparities between a KQRS and a WXPN. But since then you've ended up eliminating three reporters. Will the panel expand again?

KERR : The simple answer is yes. AAA is a very broad format and it helps to have as many stations as possible.

LYONS: Is there any way for KBXR or KBAC to get back on?

KERR: It sounds like, what you're asking is: why were they dropped?

LYONS: Well, Mike's here from KBXR to say his piece. I just notice that KBAC often gets better numbers in Albuquerque than CIDR, WXRV and WRNR get in their respective markets 12+.

KERR: Nobody can argue the case better than Mike Perry has in the last two months. The bottom line for the drops in the AAA chart at RnR were simple. All RnR formats dropped markets with less than 150,000 population, especially in the CHR/Pop and Country formats. The moves on the AAA chart were just to get in line with those formats as far as market size. (ML note: markets dropped from the RnR AAA chart were #223,Burlington,Vermont-WNCS/ #224 Santa Fe, New Mexico-KBAC and #240 Columbia, Missouri-KBXR)

LYONS: Mike Perry-what did you talk about with Jim regarding your market size?

PERRY: In the near future we will expand our market size. It's an artificially small metro.

LYONS: It's just one county, right?

PERRY: It's just one county. 27 miles away from us is the state capitol and that's not in the metro. More realistic for us is a three county metro which would be about 200,000 people 12+ which would easily meet RnR criteria. We are a larger market than that one single county indicates. We're a $10 million radio market. We do more revenue in Columbia than some markets in the top 100 that are shadows of larger markets. So, I think we're viable from a population standpoint, billing and from the record company perspective too. We have three universities in the city limits and seven in the surrounding area. So we can move a lot of music and help form music tastes in our market with so many students. Jim and Kevin at RnR have talked quite a bit about making an exception for us. In our format, we need more voices rather than less and my rational is that, for the URBAN AC, for the NAC and for AAA, all these panels have less than 50 members and I hope the rational for these panels could support an exception being made. In our format, all three of the reporters dropped have been credible and with only 32 reporters right now, putting the three back on would help the format's viability, the chart's viability and help reduce the volatility. That's my thinking and, frankly, I've been given an open ear from RnR and it's been a very respectful dialogue and I'm still hoping that ,if not through our market expansion (the redefinition of our metro), that we can report again prior to that time.

KERR : I think it's important to realize that this move had nothing to do with KBXR as a radio station. It really came down to a matter of fairness. To not put one format above another. I don't want to be the negative guy here but this is all missing the point. What we should be talking about is stations that are kicking ass instead of talking about making exceptions or changing the bar.

PERRY : Well, this was the first topic being brought up but I agree with you Jim. I mean, some AAA stations have had more of a passion for music than they have a passion for winning but there are so many stations in this format that are top 5 25-54 adults and its not such a niche format.

LYONS: Jessie, tell us about some of the success stories in the Americana format. For those not following the format, they may not have heard about successes in Dallas, Knoxville and Monterey.

SCOTT: I started at Gavin as Americana editor in January and one of the mandates was to grow the panel. When I took over there were 70 some reporters. We then did a mailer to the 2300 non-reporting country stations around the nation looking for people that played Delbert McClinton or Lucinda Williams and we expanded to 95 reporters which included a Clear Channel station that covers the northern half of Denver. One of the complaints about Americana before has been :there are no major-market stations, they don't sell records and they're tiny little stations playing to cows instead of people. Now there are significant markets involved. There's a station in Atlanta that is a 10,000 watt AM doing very well, especially in their effect on sales. It may be a little early to see Arbitron ratings for some new station on my panel but the record sales are very noticeable. KPIG has had an incredible history. Laura Hopper is a passionate programmer who stuck to her guns several years ago and won when new owners said "we're changing format!." The PIG has enjoyed its greatest ratings since then as an Americana/AAA station. It's an institution. We have a station in Dallas, ,KHYI, with a compromised signal, that is now showing up 12+ in Dallas. That AAA spirit is represented well in many new markets. There has to be a place to break music in this day and age and these two formats (AAA and Americana) do that.

LYONS: Howard Leon, isn't it true that the AAA and Americana formats are supported by the labels because, where else are you going to start records? Broadcasting is still faster than the Web.

LEON: It's TOO supported by the record industry. It is way too, for want of a better word, over-priced. And over-valued. In my opinion, there are some really great radio stations out there. But there's no sense of format, no community. It's a market by market situation. You go in and support radio stations that support you. That means you're looking for rotations. You're looking for getting the record heard. There are statistics on how much a record needs to be played before people really start hearing it and many of these AAA stations never reach that point or the stations bail on a record WAY before it creates any kind of impact. They're so passionate about music, it goes in one ear and out the other and they're on to the next thing. And this elitist attitude about fresh music…….there's fresh music on Top 40, there's fresh music on Country, there's fresh music on every format. But there are certain realities and just pragmatic conditions that AAA ignores. And because there are so few stations and people scramble to get their airplay on those stations, they are willing to spend WAY too much money and get WAY too little, and hope for the best. That it breaks in another format.

LYONS: How do you REALLY feel? I talked with Dennis Constantine and Susan Castle this week about spins and both mentioned that their spin counts are up to about 350 for a track compared to maybe 150 or 200 just a few years ago. So spins are increasing at many of the AAA winners to help claim these songs and artists quicker. Jim, you gave an even better example of the need for spin increases two weeks ago on the frequency lounge.

KERR: I can tell you that, in alternative radio, it's not unusual for the biggest records to get well over 1000 spins before it's even considered for going into recurrent. So, if an AAA station is considering 350 spins enough to go to recurrent, there are formats which aren't even confident about putting a song into research until it gets 350 spins. So… in terms of the KFOG posting on the freq.lounge, I posited "how much of the cume audience of KFOG would hear a song if it's spun 80 times a week on KFOG. Now, of course, they're not going to spin a song 80 times a week and they are driven by their core, but it was enlightening to know that if KFOG spins a record 80 times a week, less than half of their cume will hear it 5 times in that week. Just to put it in perspective.

LYONS:Now David, basically SBR consults some 'higher rotation' stations like WTTS, KTCZ,KAEP,KENZ…..KFOG and WXRT are a little different.

RAHN: Those of you who know me. I'm not on the music side of things in our company but as a general rule, we've always advocated giving songs the spins they deserve. We can do the math, just like Jim, and see how long it really does take for a song to be heard. And not only heard, but LOVED and associated with the radio station. As a listener myself to AAA, having spent the last 20 years in Boulder ,at first working at KBCO and now as a listener for the last eight years, you know, it's the special songs about the station, the unique songs on the station that keep me tuned in. They make me come back for more and make me think that if I'm not listening, I'm missing something. As a practical matter, look at all the SBR clients, we work with most of the real successful AAA stations around the country and they are practicing higher spins. Yes, AAA's are more driven by their P-1's and you have to look at that more practically. 6 spins is not right and 80 spins is not right. The number is closer to halfway in between than anything else.

LEON: And it's different at every radio station too.

RAHN:Yeah, we were talking about this before the session here. AAA is targeted to baby boomers and the stations that have been with the format for a long time got to this group when they were younger. When I first started at KBCO, we were an 18-34 radio station. We were very pleased to be #1 18-34. Several years later we started to look at 25-54. Then by the late '80's we were 25-54. Now they're looking at 35-54 as their core audience and the pool of potential listeners is getting smaller. So now, out of necessity, these stations have to focus more and more on their core and their P-1's. While at the same time looking at their younger end, they have to do it with hotter spins because that's the kind of radio that THAT demographic is accustomed to. It's a balancing act. I will tell you, I've never seen a AAA station that has a repetition problem in research. We have never even tested the boundaries of that.

PERRY: This is something that has evolved. When we turned KBXR on in 1993, SBR helped us and worked with us for 5 years and we still have contact. The model was different for spins back then. We had a certain idealism about what we could do as a format. The more successful AAA stations have evolved and increased their spins and have subverted, to a degree, their passion for music to a passion for winning. We still have the ideals but we have to put a finer point on those ideals to make them work in this day and age. And I disagree with you Howard. There IS a commonality to this format and it isn't primarily music. It's the ethos, the stationality, the presentation. That is what is common at KGSR, and KBXR and KAEP. I remember in 1993 the format consensus was that 100 spins was time to consider recurrent. Now 100 spins is the time we consider committing to 200 or 300 more spins for that song. If you're going to grow, you have to evolve.

RAHN: I want to back up and underscore one thing Mike just said in response to Howard's earlier statement about AAA being a format. I got involved with this before it WAS a format. There were stations around the country who, playlist-wise didn't have too much in common with KBCO but the concept, the ethos was similar. Forward thinking, musically adult, interesting, lifestyle oriented, respectful, intelligent.

LEON: You mean Modern AC?

RAHN: No. That's not what I'm talking about. What I've just said, could you use that to describe most Modern AC's?

LEON: Yes!

RAHN: C'mon! There's a different mindset, a different lifestyle. There's more of an AC mindset. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

LEON: Many Modern AC's target adult females. They name them female. ALICE. Lifestyle. Knowing your audience and your demographics.

RAHN: As far as being musically interesting and leading?

LEON: I always used to call Modern AC's "Alternative Recurrents". Altrex.

RAHN: Well, we consult some Modern AC's and I think that it is a format that really, wisely took the best of AAA and packaged it in a very mainstream way. A lot of AAA 's could learn from what Modern AC has done. But I still contend, though there are exceptions, that for the most part these stations are rooted in AC and when the winds of music change, they've got their finger in the air and they're going to go whichever way the music is going. And that's a very different mentality from a AAA or Rock mindset that declares "we're gonna make some things happen. We're gonna LEAD musically."

LYONS: Let's move to a question about Mediabase. I've heard about the difficulty Mediabase has had recognizing AAA and NAC songs. Jim, Jessie-how is this going to be dealt with? Are you going to search for smarter music people? Is it budgeted?

KERR: I hate to be coy but that's really a question for someone at Mediabase.

SCOTT: I can address it by just a hair. One of the things Mediabase does, is hire people. And there is an extensive musical test that they have to pass to be a monitor.

LEON: Rock n Roll Jeopardy?

SCOTT: Exactly.

KERR: Kevin McCabe is the director of formats and charts at RnR and he is our primary man who deals with Mediabase (Kevin joins the panel from the audience)

McCABE: Radio and Records elected, when we transitioned ten formats to Mediabase to not include AAA in the transition. It was our feeling that we had enough to do in getting ten formats converted without worrying that this very special format might have some holes musically. After looking at the Mediabase data , while we are very confident in it, there are some special challenges. Like KPIG in Monterey. We need to work with Mediabase to make sure they're getting every single detection at every station. So, on behalf of Rich Meyer , the president of Mediabase, he is very determined and very dedicated to the AAA format. And he's doing 20 stations now but he'd like to grow the total and when he does grow the total and we feel confident in the data, we're going to include that in RnR. But, I think it's a work in progress. There are special needs and considerations for this format. I'm not sure how the Gavin publication treated the AAA format with Mediabase but we elected not to do it at this time. It is going to come in the future, though.

SCOTT: We have some with and some without Mediabase and I know somewhere down the road we will be dealing with it at Americana as well as AAA. Part of it is getting the music into these folks hands so that they're familiar with deeper cuts on albums instead of just the single.

LYONS: I want to move to the Web now by first explaining THE FREQ LOUNGE that Jim and I were referring to earlier in that KFOG hypothetical. Paulette McCubbin, who did AAA with Lee Arnold before me, last year began a website and chat room devoted specifically to the AAA and Americana formats. It's the FREQUENCYLOUNGE.COM and it's become invaluable to us in the radio and record business who now hit it regularly. Speaking of the Web, doesn't it make sense to take some of the value-added promo stuff from sales and put it on your website. Instead of those Saturday and Sunday remote appearances, you give them a banner ad on your site?

RAHN: Well, the leading stations that we work with went through that phase abut three years ago. Putting some accounts on their website. Then they realized that they has just moved the clutter from on-the-air to on-the-website. We think there's a potential there to sell that website space on its own. Not just for value added deals, but to generate revenue on its own. Several stations we work with do not do any trade or value added at all. It is provided for sale. Links are NOT provided for free. They're available for sale. For cash. And that's where it's going.

PERRY: We've has a website for four years now. We launched it by having people register to win a trip to L.A. to see STING at the Hollywood Bowl. We use it for feedback, voting, involvement in on-the-air promotions. It expands our reach in the market.

LYONS: Do you let people play contests on it?

PERRY: Absolutely. We just did the Top 102 albums of all time and let people vote on the website.

RAHN: Five or ten years ago. One of the things I promoted so much, as a marketing person, was database, database, database. Some stations did it but most took a half -hearted approach. Now, some of the stations that did it that generated mail databases are trying hard now to convert that database to e-mail. If you're not building an e-mail database at your radio station right now , you should be. With special contesting, off-air contesting, website game pages, clubs etc. The same rule applies now to what we were talking about 5 years ago-you should have 30% of your cume in a database. An e-mail database costs nothing to mail. You've just got to mail them good stuff. The other wonderful thing about it is, you can start using your e-mail database immediately! You get 100 names, you can start using them and increase from there.

LYONS: Sorry, we're out of time. Thank you all very much for being here this morning. The Governor wants us out of here now so that Sable can set up for the NAC panel.