THE BIG STORIES
THE PEE-PEE-EMS: Amidst the fast-shrinking revenues of a tight recession, Arbitron’s electronic, personal metering system (PPMs) were dropped into the Seattle market in March/April and turned it upside down. As the new technology found out what folks were REALLY listening to, the top became the bottom. After a near 20-year hiatus, music radio once again became ratings leading format.
KIRO TAKES A SELF-INFLICTED BLOW: After much fanfare and nearly simultaneous with Arbitron’s installation of the PPM’s, Bonneville flipped their legendary AM blowtorch to sports talk, then tucked their high-paid help (Dave, Dori, Ron & Don) into their oldies FM station (the late, not too great KBSG)
where nobody could find them. 80 years of loud and clear news and talk from BC to Mexico, Seattle to the Rockies was instantly transformed into the narrow-cast jock-talk and sporting events. (They still had to simulcast the Seahawks and Mariners on the FM station just to keep it alive). Listeners wrote to say that they could only hear the station in the ladies room. A PPM-wearer told us "we have not listened to KIRO since April 1." KIRO went from a no.1 ranking to 21st in one month. Their FM music station might have had a decent audience with the PPM's, but now the old audience has most likely strayed to KJR FM. KIROFM has inched-up, but they’re still not in the top 10, a list they led in the good old days.
KOMO IS KING OF NEWS TALK. The 24/7 news station, after the PPMs started listening are an unheard-of # 3 in the market, leading in the news talk caregory. The station simulcasts with their newly acquired FM station and has a single talk show, the tepid weekdaily feud between John Carlson and Ken Schram, on The Commentators (m-f, 10-3p).
2009 R.I.P.’S: THE LIST IS LONG, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Kirby Wilbur, after 16 years doing mornings at KVI was unceremoniously dumped in November and took Kiel Mortgage with (photo: The Newt & The Kirb)
him. He's still viable in this market, but unfortunately, there are few local surviving talk slots. We've been hearing that he's been talking to Andy Skotdal about a place on the Everett family's upcoming northerly-directed talk station.
Luke Burbank and Jen Andrews were cancelled by KIRO in TBTL, R.I.P. 2008-2009. but their talk demo-busting show Too Beautiful to Live, is thriving on podcasts, and pure air. Third friendo, Sean DiTore twists the dials for TBTL’s replacement/fill-in Frank Shiers, and shows up regularly. Jen is on a vision quest in a trailer with her husband and phones in most days from Utah or somewhere.
Jane Shannon, KIRO’s morning news anchor was fired in November after nearly 15 years at the station. Co-anchor Greggg Hersholt finally prevailed after long, acrimonious efforts to dump her. She’s not been replaced… and neither have the sub-Glenn Beck ratings.
Cop Talk, KVI's long running law enforcement Saturday show with Co-hosts Myrle Carner and Ron Conlin took a perp-walk in September after failing to make bail-out.
Radio & Records was there one day and gone the next.The Neilsen Co. who owned it shuttered the 36-year-old-radio trade publication almost overnight in early June. Publisher Howard Appelbaum uttering those dreaded words all too commonin all media these days: "All jobs are eliminated.”
FM morning hosts like longtime KMPS morning guy (20 years!) Ichabod Caine (Randy Evans) (photo: Ichabod) was edged out (last show Dec. 18th) and replaced with a couple of no-one-in-particulars. T-man (Rob Tepper) KUBE’s foul morning shock-blabber was also dumped because he was too expensive. He was also seamlessly replaced by former sidekicks.
Dr. Michael Mockovac, whose name and company, Clearly Lasic are as familiar to radio listeners as Sleep Country or was arrested and being held on $2 million bail for allegedly trying to hire a hit man, and put it on his credit card.
Ed Hume, gardening guru and northwest radio icon was composted by Fisher Broadcasting on his home station, KOMO 1000 where he’d appeared on Saturday mornings approximately since the invention of irrigation.
Paul Harvey, 1918-2009. After more than 70 years on the radio, the rest of the story was told was told February 28, 2009.
The Fairness Doctrine actually died in the 1980’s but was reincarnated in 2009 in the so-called minds of right-wing talk hosts, Fox News info-actors, and Republican politicians. It was part of an effort to con willing dittoheads into believing that President Obama is Hitler and striving to cancel the First Amendment. It re-died when the Senate voted 87-11 against reinstatement and there were no plans by Obama FCCommissioners to resurrect it.
Corporate Suit, the longtime commenter in local radio chat rooms and Blatherwatch was fired or laid off wherever he worked (Fisher?) in November. He anonymously bragged about his long contribution to radio, yet never acknowledged his participation to its present dreary circumstances. Someone who knows says he's receiving unemployment; his comments which usually contained graphic, yet hilarious references to feces, have gone strangely missing.
Tomorrow: Part 2, the other news of 2009.