Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Returning With A Full Basket

As we officially exit from our latest hiatus (is there a ceremony we have to do or something?), news from every corner of our media world is breaking out. And if there's breaking media news, we're here to fix it...

RATINGS CURRENCY: We've heard for a few weeks now that Arbitron's Portable People Meters, the electronic future of radio audience measurement, were filtering into the Cleveland market.

And we've heard for months that the PPMs will basically "change everything" when it comes to radio ratings. Large companies, especially, have been notoriously quick to jump on PPM results in format changes - PPM results are credited - at least in part - with the ascent of sports radio and top 40 in the CBS Radio stable, and the decline of smooth jazz just about everywhere.

But we now know when PPM "goes live" in Cleveland.

From AllAccess this morning:

On DECEMBER 31st, 2009, ARBITRON plans to commercialize the PPM radio ratings service in PORTLAND, OREGON, SACRAMENTO, CINCINNATI, CLEVELAND, SALT LAKE CITY-OGDEN-PROVO, SAN ANTONIO, KANSAS CITY and LAS VEGAS with the release of the DECEMBER PPM survey report (NOVEMBER 12th - DECEMBER 9th).

(Yes, Jeremy at Tri-State Media Watch in the Cincinnati area, this one's for you, too.)

"Commercialize" means that the December monthly report will be the first where PPM-generated ratings become "currency" here for Arbitron...the meters are around now and are in use, but starting with that report, they call the ratings shots in Cleveland, and the paper diaries are consigned to history.

Speaking of those diary-driven ratings, we don't spend a lot of time here dissecting the publicly-available "12 plus"/"beauty contest" numbers, but there's not usually a lot of news out of them in Cleveland.

The most recent Summer 2009 numbers show a familiar one-two pairing of Clear Channel's talk WTAM/1100 and country WGAR/99.5. In nearby Akron, that one-two pairing is Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 and Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9, not at all a surprising occurence. We're wondering how, or if, those "usual results" will be affected by the PPMs.

With a regular OMW reader who knows music formats better than we do, we kicked around some interesting thoughts regarding Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 Elyria, the Cleveland market's long-time smooth jazz mainstay, and how it can survive when PPM results aren't friendly to the format (CBS recently canned its Detroit smooth jazz station for a top 40 format, and that's only the most recent example).

It's our reader's contention that WNWV has already started tweaking with more AC titles, and perhaps finds a future where it's closer to being a direct competitor with CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 than it's ever been. We'll see.

But don't be surprised if the PPM ratings cause further tweaking throughout the Cleveland market...one way or the other...

JOE BOXER TO DC: Though it's already been posted on AllAccess and other radio trade sites, we also knew Monday about the exit of Clear Channel country WCOL/92.3 Columbus mainstay Joe Boxer for Clear Channel sister country outlet WMZQ/98.7 Washington DC.

The WCOL afternoon driver heads to WMZQ for morning drive starting October 26th.

In fact, Joe has had quite a busy schedule, even for a Clear Channel voicetracker. The list is literally too long to reproduce here, but he's been heard on dozens of CC stations as close as Findlay, and as far as San Diego.

And he now voices afternoon drive for the company's Mainstream Country feed in the new Premium Choice service. That's not even mentioning his local presence in sister top 40 WNCI/97.9's midday shift.

For now, he'll also voicetrack back into his afternoon drive shift on WCOL. It sounds like that may be a short term plan.

OMW hears that Joe Boxer has been with WCOL since February, 1999.

When Mr. Boxer heads to the Nation's Capitol, he'll find many ties to Ohio.

WMZQ program director Meg Stevens is the former program director of Clear Channel Cleveland country giant WGAR/99.5. And WMZQ's evening personality is Northern Ohio's own Kat Jackson, who is also still heard in evenings on WGAR. Oh, and WMZQ/WPOC-Baltimore's "Michael J." also voicetracks back to WGAR. There are other WMZQ-Ohio ties that we're sure we've missed...

STARTING OVER STARTING: Worth a brief mention, and "first impression"...Time Warner Cable's "Start Over" video service has made its way to the OMW World Headquarters, in the former Adelphia/Cleveland service area.

We've gotten scattered other user reports that it's live for many of our readers, as well.

Our first impressions are mostly positive, though there are some quirks.

For one, we had to dig up our Time Warner-issued cable box remote.

The universal remote we use does have the "SELECT" button that prompts the box to go back to the beginning of a "Start Over" enabled show. But the universal remote doesn't have, as far as we can determine, a mapped equivalent of the cable-remote-only red "C" button that is used to exit a "Start Over" playback in progress.

Though you can use the remote's Pause button to pause the program being played back, you can't use the Fast Forward button like you could if you'd used a DVR or TiVo to record the show, even if you're "back at the beginning". Of course, the selling point with "Start Over" is that you don't have to think about pre-recording a show if you stumble into it in the middle.

The number of "Start Over"-enabled shows on channels with the feature seems to vary. Late one night, we were even able to use the feature on random infomercials on some channels (!), but not on mainstream shows you'd expect would be covered on other (enabled) channels. We'd expect that this will mostly "fill in" soon...

CONDOLENCES: We mentioned it on our Twitter feed, and repeat it here.

Ohio radio/TV news veteran Mike Partin passed away over the weekend at the very young age of 42.

Partin was heard in Northeast Ohio doing news on stations like former-WZLE/104.9 Lorain (now classical WCLV) and Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland.

Partin's most recent job was as an assignment editor at Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 and sister cable channel Ohio News Network in Columbus. He came to WBNS/ONN in June from WHIZ Media Group in Zanesville, home of WHIZ/1240-WHIZ-FM/92.7 and WHIZ-TV/18, and also worked for Grant Hafley's Cambridge-based six station cluster known as AVC Communications.

But like a lot of people who "move on" from small markets like Zanesville in this business, he didn't forget what he left behind.

The Associated Press article on Partin's death says according to his wife, he passed away early Saturday morning after calling a high school football game for his former Zanesville employer. His death is believed to have resulted from natural causes.

The folks at WHIZ are remembering Partin as well, in a very personal way.

And they pass along word in the article linked here of arrangements:

Mike's going home celebration will be held Tuesday at Christian Life Center in Heath from two to four p.m. and six to eight p.m.

His funeral service will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the same location.

Also remembering Mike Partin are Ohio's Associated Press broadcasters. Partin was a two-time past president of the organization...


J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

Gracias, OMW! I'll post to my readers shortly.

johnhoward2010 said...

Without the ability to fast forward and fact that the service is not available for HD channels, this service seems pretty useless.